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Awake the god of day; and, at his warning,
“ The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
Malone. 6 Whether in sea &c.] According to the pneumatology of that time, every element was inhabited by its peculiar order of spirits, who had dispositions different, according to their various places of abode. The meaning therefore is, that all spirits extravagant, wandering out of their element, whether aërial spirits visiting earth, or earthly spirits ranging the air, return to their station, to their proper limits in which they are confined. We might read :
And at his warning
“ Or earth, or fire. And of,” &c. But this change, though it would smooth the construction, is not necessary, and, being unnecessary, should not be made against authority. Johnson.
A Chorus in Andreini's drama, called Adamo, written in 1613, consists of spirits of fire, air, water, and hell, or subterraneous, being the exiled angels.
“ Choro di Spiriti ignei, aerei, acquatici, ed infernali,” &c. These are the demons to which Shak. speare alludes. These spirits were supposed to controul the ele. ments in which they respectively resided ; and when formally invoked or commanded by a magician, to produce tempests, confiagrations, floods, and earthquakes. For thus says The Spanish Mandeville of Miracles, &c. 1600: “ Those which are in the middle region of the ayre, and those that are under them nearer the earth, are those, which sometimes out of the ordina. ry operation of nature doe moove the windes with greater fury than they are accustomed; and do, out of season, congeele the cloudes, causing it to thunder, lighten, hayle, and to destroy the grasse, corne, &c. &c. Witches and negromancers worke many such like things by the help of those spirits,” &c. Ibid. Of this school therefore was Shakspeare's Prospero in The Tempest. T. Warton.
Bourne of Newcastle, in his Antiquities of the common People, informs us, “ It is a received tradition among the vulgar, that at the time of cock-crowing, the midnight spirits forsake these lower regions, and go to their proper places.--Hence it is, (says he) that in country places, where the way of life requires more early labour, they always go chearfully to work at that time; whereas if they are called abroad sooner, they imagine every thing they see, a wandering ghost.” And he quotes on this occasion, as all his predecessors had done, the well-known lines from the first hymn of Prudentius. I know not whose translation he gives us, but there is an old one by Heywood. The pious chansons, the hymns and carrols, which Shakspeare mentions presently, were usually copied from the elder Christian poets. Farmer.
The extravagant' and erring spirit hies
Mar. It faded on the crowing of the cock.'
- The extravagant - ) i. e. got out of his bounds. Warburton. So, in Nobody and Somebody, 1598: “. - they took me up for a 'stravagant."
Shakspeare imputes the same effect to Aurora's harbinger in the the last scene of the third Act of the Midsummer Night's Dream. See Vol. II, p. 330. Steevens.
erring spirit,] Erring is here used in the sense of wandering. Thus, in Chapman's version of the fourth Book of Ho. mer's Odyssey, Telemachus calls Ulysses
My erring father: And in the ninth Book, Ulysses describing himself and his companions to the Cyclop, says
erring Grecians we, “ From Troy were turning homewards” Erring, in short, is erraticus. Steevens.
• It faded on the crowing of the cock,] This is a very ancient su. perstition. Philostratus giving an account of the apparition of Achilles' shade to Apollonius Tyaneus, says that it vanished with a little glimmer as soon as the cock crowed. Vit. Apol. iv, 16.
Steevens. Faded has here its original sense; it vanished. Vado, Lat. So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, Book I, c. v, st. 15:
“ He stands amazed how he thence should fade." That our author uses the word in this sense, appears from the following lines :
The morning cock crew loud ;
dares stir abroad ;] Thus the quarto. The folio reads can walk. Steevens.
Spirit was formerly used as a monosyllable: sprite. The quarto, 1604, has-dare stir abroad. Perhaps Shakspeare wrote--no spirits dare stir abroad. The necessary correction was made in a late quarto of no authority, printed in 1637. Malone.
2 No fairy takes,] No fairy strikes with lameness or diseases. This sense of take is frequent in this author. Johnson,
Hor. So have I heard, and do in part believe it.
Mar. Let 's do it, I pray; and I this morning know Where we shall find him most convenient. [Ereunt.
A Room of State in the same.
Enter the King, Queen, HAMLET, POLONIUS, LAERTES,
VOLTIMAND, CORNELIUS, Lords, and Attendants.
King. Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death The memory be green; and that it us befitted To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom To be contracted in one brow of woe ; Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature,
So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor :
Steevens. high eastern hill :] The old quarto has it better eastward. Warburton.
The superiority of the latter of these readings is not, to me at least, very apparent. I find the former used in Lingua, &c. 1607 :
and overclimbs “ Yonder gilt eastern hills.” Again, in Browne's Britannia's Pastorals, Book IV, Sat. iv, p. 75, edit. 1616:
“ And ere the sunne had clymb’d the easterne hils.". Again, in Chapman's version of the thirteenth Book of Homer's Odyssey :
- Ulysses still “ An eye directed to the eastern hill." Eastern and eastward, alike signify toward the east. Steevens.
and that it us befitted -] Perhaps our author elliptically wrote
and us befitted — i. e. and that it befitted us. Steevens.
That we with wisest sorrow think on him,
Now follows, that you know, young Fortinbras,
5 With one auspicious, and one dropping eye ;] Thus the folio. The quarto, with somewhat less of quaintness :
With an auspicious and a dropping eye. The same thought, however, occurs in The Winter's Tale : “ She had one eye declined for the loss of her husband ; another eleyated that the oracle was fulfilled."
After all, perhaps, we have here only the ancient proverbial phrase-" To cry with one eye and laugh with the other," buckram'd by our author for the service of tragedy. See Ray's Collection, edit. 1768, p. 188. Steevens.
o Colleagued with this dream of his advantage,] The meaning is, -He goes to war so indiscreetly, and unprepared, that he has no allies to support him but a dream, with which he is colleagued or confederated. Warburton.
This dream of his advantage (as Mr. Mason observes) means only “this imaginary advantage, which Fortinbras hoped to de rive from the unsettled state of the kingdom." Steevens.
The lists, and full proportions, are all made
Cor. Vol. In that, and all things, will we show our duty.
[Exeunt Vol. and Cor. And now, Laertes, what 's the news with you? You told us of some suit; What is 't, Laertes? You cannot speak of reason to the Dane, And lose your voice: What would'st thou beg, Laertes, That shall not be my offer, not thy asking? The head is not more native to the heart, The hand more instrumental to the mouth, Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father."
to suppress His further gait herein,] Gate or gait is here used in the northern sense, for proceeding, passage ; from the A. S. verb gae. A gate for a path, passage, or streei, io still current in the north.
Percy. So, in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act. V, sc. ii :
Every fairy take his gait." Harris. -more than the scope – ] More is comprized in the general design of these articles, which you may explain in a more diffused and dilated style. Johnson.
these dilated articles &c.] i. e. the articles when dilated. Musgrave.
The poet should have written allows. Many writers fall into this error, when a plural noun immediately precedes the verb ; as I have had occasion to observe in a note on a controverted passage in Love's Labour 's Lost. So, in Julius Cæsar :
“ The posture of your blows are yet unknown.” Again, in Cymbeline : « and the approbation of those are wonderfully to extend him," &c. Malone.
Surely, all such defects in our author, were merely the errors of illiterate transcribers or printers. Steevens. 1 The head is not more native to the heart,
The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.] The sense seems to be this : The head is not formed to be more useful to the heart, the hand is not more at the service of the mouth, than