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Champi stehen sehr vereinzelt da) berufen und befähigt war, Tüchtiges zu leisten, und mit ihm für die Entwickelung einer volksthümlichen Literatur eine reiche Hoffnung begraben worden ist. Charlottenburg

C. Ploetz.

Notes and Emendations

to

Shakspere's „Merchant of Venice.“

I.

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I., i, 29, 4.*)

„To find the other forth, and by adventuring both.“ Verses of six feet, like this, are indeed frequent enough in Shakspere; but, unless I am much mistaken, some of them owe their origin to the early editors, and not to the poet. The present verse would assume the usual length by throwing out two useless syllables. It would then read

„To find the other forth, and venturing both.“ II, i, 1, 11

Morocco. „I would not change this hue, Except to steal your thoughts, my gentle queen.“ The word thought, which now we refer exclusively to an operation of the intellectual faculties, is in this passage, and frequently by Shakspere, used as synonymous with „feeling, “ or „heart.“ Thus it is clearly employed, II, vi., 11, where Jessica expresses a doubt if she is really Lorenzo's, and Lorenzo replies

*) As the scenes in Sbakspere are too long to serve the purposes of easy and expeditious reference, the author has numbered the speeches in each scene, and, in long speeches, even the lines. Thus I., 1, 29, 4, means first act, first scene, twenty-ninth speech, being Bassanio's, and beginning, „In my school days;“ and, of this speech, the fourth line.

„Heaven and thy thoughts are witness that thou art.“ And III., ii., 12

Portia.
„How all the other passions fleet to air,
As doubtful thoughts and rash-embraced despair,

And shuddering fear, and green-eyed jealousy !“

Here we find „thoughts“ classed as a passion, with despair, fear, and jealousy. III., iv., 5

„Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you.“ This is Lorenzo's wish at parting, and it expresses clearly very much the same that Jessica adds

„I wish your ladyship all heart's content.“ Compare „Julius Cæsar,“ III., i., 67

With all kind love, good thoughts and reverence.“

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II.

II., ix., 3, 6 -
„If I do fail in fortune of

my

choice.“ I think we have here a misprint, perpetuated through all editions, for

,, If I do fail of fortune in my choice.“ Arragon had just said – „If I fail of the right casket.“ The sense becomes much clearer by the proposed alteration.

III.

III., i., 3 –

Salanio. „I would she were as lying a gossip in that as ever knapp'd ginger, or made her neighbours believe she wept for the death of a third husband.“

The knapping of ginger and the fictitious tears must clearly be taken together as proving the woman in question to be a lying gossip, for, surely, the knapping of ginger alone is not a proof of lying. We must, therefore, read, as ever knapp'd ginger, and, &c.“ Salanio alludes to a widow that made her tears flow by the application of ginger, and then pretended she was weeping tears of sorrow.

IV.
III., ž., 10

„Tell me where is fancy bred,
Or in the heart, or in the head,
How begot, how nourished ?

Reply, reply.

Is it engendered in the eyes,
With gazing fed, and fancy dies
In the cradle, where it lies ?

Let us all ring fancy's knell;

I'll begin it: Ding, dong bell.“ The meaning of this little poem has been entirely hidden and perverted by Steevens' explanation, which appears to have been accepted by all subsequent editors, by Schlegel, in his admirable translation, and by readers in general. Steevens explains „fancy" to mean „love,“ and appends a passage from the Midsummer Night's Dream,“ where fancy clearly has that meaning

,,Sighs and tears, poor fancy's followers.“ Many more passages might be adduced to show that „, fancy“ is used as a synonym of love ;“ but the question is, whether that meaning applies here. When we examine the poem, we find that it is not a love song, but a dirge

„Let us all ring fancy's knell.“ What could be more inappropriate or of worse omen than to sing the death-song of love at the very moment when love is to be triumphant, and about to unite two loving hearts together. We must suppose the musical accompaniment to have been under the direction of Portia. But it harmonizes very badly with that lady's good sense that she should be guilty of such a blunder. Besides, is it really- true, by all the experience of lovers, or is it a theory held by Shakspere, that „love is engendered in the eyes ?" Surely it is not, but, as Helena expresses it in the Midsummer Night's Dream,“ I., i., 49

„Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,

And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind.“ We must, therefore, on all grounds, condemn Steevens' explanation; and now arises the question, what is the right one? The poem must harmonize with, and have a bearing upon, the scene into which it is inserted. It is the scene in which Bassanio has to choose the right casket. His two predecessors had both failed, being misled by the glitter of the outward show to choose the golden and the silver caskets respectively, though the Prince of Arragon, like a ,,deliberate fool,“ had wisely remarked, that the multitude choose by show, not learning more than the fond eye doth teach“ II., ix., 5. Now, Bassanio might have fallen into a similar error; but maturely reflecting on the fallacy of judging through the „fond“ eye alone, and from external appearances, and, warned by the friendly admonition contained in the song, that the eye produces fancy, he comes to the conclusion

So may the outward shows be least themselves,

The world is still deceived with ornament,“ &c. The train of ideas with which he begins is evidently but the continuation of those contained in the poem. And now cannot have the least difficulty in recognising the true meaning of „fancy.“ It is a contraction of „phantasy,“ with which „phantasma" and „phantom“ are connected, and derived from the Greek, paíveiv, „to show. It denotes that which is unreal, or only apparently real, a creation of the mind, and it is, therefore, used as opposed to truth and reality. Fancy pictures to itself things different from what they are a fancy picture has always much of fiction in it; the fancy of men, therefore, leads them astray, it is not directed by judgment, and therefore often, as in our passage, equivalent to „illusion.“

we

V.
III., ii., 14, 12

„An unlessoned girl, unschool’d, unpractised,
Happy in this, she is not yet so old

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