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And observation strange, my meaner ministers Their several kinds have done': my high charms
work, And these, mine enemies, are all knit up In their distractions: they now are in my power; And in these fits I leave them, whilst I visit Young Ferdinand, (whom they suppose is drown'd,) And his and my loved darling.
[Exit Prospero from above. Gon. I'the name of something holy, sir, why
In this strange stare ?
the tract of every thing
“ Which action's self was tongue to." Good life, however, in Twelfth Night, seems to be used for innocent jollity, as we now say a bon vivant :
“ Would you (says the Clown) have a love song, or a song of good life?” Sir Toby answers,
love song, a love song ;"- Ay, ay, (replies Sir Andrew,) I care not for good life." It is plain, from the character of the last speaker, that he was meant to mistake the sense in which good life is used by the Clown. It may, therefore, in the present instance, mean, honest alacrity, or cheerfulness.
Life seems to be used in the chorus to the fifth act of King Henry V. with some meaning like that wanted to explain the approbation of Prospero :
• Which cannot in their huge and proper life
“ Be here presented." The same phrase occurs yet more appositely in Chapman's translation of Homer's Hymn to Apollo:
“ And these are acted with such exquisite life,
“ Are turn'd immortals." STEEVENS. To do any thing with good life, is still a provincial expression in the West of England, and signifies,' to do it with the full bent and energy of mind :-" And observation strange,” is with such minute attention to the orders given, as to excite admiration.
HENLEY. 9 Their several KINDS HAVE DONE :] i. e. have discharged the several functions allotted to their different natures. Thus, in Antony and Cleopatra, Act V. Sc. II. the Clown says" You must think this, look you, that the worm will do his kind."
O, it is monstrous! monstrous ! Methought, the billows, spoke, and told me of it; The winds did sing it to me; and the thunder, That deep and dreadful organ-pipe, pronounc'd The name of Prosper ; it did bass my trespass'. Therefore my son i' the ooze is bedded; and I'll seek him deeper than e'er plummet sounded, And with him there lie mudded”.
But one fiend at a time, I'll fight their legions o'er. Ant.
I'll be thy second.
[Ereunt SEB. and Ant. Gon. All three of them are desperate; their great
Bass my trespass.] The deep pipe told it me in a rough bass sound. JOHNSON. So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, b. ii. c. 12:
the rolling sea resounding soft,
“ The singing bullets made his soul rejoice
“ He seemed as ravisht with an heavenly noise.” Reed. 2 And with HIM there lie mudded.
But one fiend-] As these hemistichs, taken together, exceed the propoportion of a verse, I cannot help regarding the words-with him, and but, as playhouse interpolations.
The Tempest was evidently one of the last works of Shakspeare; and it is therefore natural to suppose the metre of it must have been exact and regular. Dr. Farmer concurs with me in this supposition. STEEVENS.
3 Like poison given, &c.] The natives of Africa have been supposed to be possessed of the secret how to temper poisons with such art as not to operate till several years after they were administered. Their drugs were then as certain in their effect, as subtle in their preparation. So, in the celebrated libel called Leicester's Commonwealth : “ I heard him once myselfe in publique act at Oxford, and that in presence of my lord of Leicester,
And hinder them from what this ecstacy
Follow, I pray you.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
Before PROSPERO's Cell.
Enter PROSPERO, FERDINAND, and MIRANDA.
Pro. If I have too austerely punish'd you, Your compensation makes amends; for Have given you here a thread of mine own life”, maintain that poison might be so tempered and given, as it should not appear presently, and yet should kill the party afterwards at what time should be appointed.” Steevens.
this ecstacy-) Ecstacy meant not anciently, as at present, rapturous pleasure, but alienation of mind. So, in Hamlet Act III. Sc. IV.:
“ Nor sense to ecstacy was e'er so thrallid," Mr Locke has not inelegantly styled it dreaming with our eyes open. Steevens.
a THREAD of mine own life,] The old copy reads — third. The word thread was formerly so spelt, as appears from the following passage:
Long maist thou live, and when the sisters shall decree “ To cut in twaine the twisted third of life,
“ Then let him die,” &c. See comedy of Mucedorus, 1619, signat. C 3. HAWKINS.
“ A third of mine own life" is a fibre or a part of my own life. Prospero considers himself as the stock or parent-tree, and his daughter as a fibre or portion of himself, and for whose benefit he himself lives. In this sense the word is used in Markham's English Husbandman, edit. 1635, p. 146 : “ Cut off all the maine rootes, within half a foot of the tree, only the small thriddes or twist rootes you shall not cut at all.” Again, ibid. : branch and thrid of the root.” This is evidently the same word as thread, which is likewise spelt thrid by Lord Bacon.
TOLLETT. So, in Lingua, &c. 1607; and I could furnish many more instances :
Or that for which I live ; whom once again
rich gift. O Ferdinand,
I do believe it,
sition? Worthily purchas'd, take my daughter : But If thou dost break her virgin knot before
“ For as a subtle spider closely sitting
- She feels it instantly." The following quotation, however, should seem to place the meaning beyond all dispute. In Acolastus, a comedy, 1540, is this passage :
one of worldly shame's children, of his countenance, and THREDE of his body.” STEEVENS.
Again, in Tancred and Gismund, a tragedy, 1592, Tancred, speaking of his intention to kill his daughter, says:
Against all law of kinde to shred in twaine
Malone, STRANGELY stood the test :] Strangely is used by way of commendation, merveilleusement, to a wonder; the same is the sense in the foregoing scene. JOHNSON. i. e. in the last scene of the preceding act :
with good life
STEEVENS. 7 Then, as my Gift, and thine own ACQUISITION—] My guest, first folio. Rowe first read-gift. Johnson. A similar thought occurs in Antony and Cleopatra :
I send him
- her VIRGIN KNOT-] The same expression occurs in Pericles Prince of Tyre, 1609 :
“Untide I still my virgin knot will keepe." STEEVENS.
As I hope
All sanctimonious ceremonies may
FER. For quiet days, fair issue, and long life, With such love as 'tis now; the murkiest den, The most opportune place, the strong'st sugges
tion Our worser Genius can, shall never melt Mine honour into lust; to take away The edge of that day's celebration, When I shall think, or Phoebus' steeds are foun
der'd, Or night kept chain’d below ?.
9 If thou dost break her VIRGIN KNOT before
All sanctimonious ceremonies, &c.] This and the passage in Pericles Prince of Tyre, are manifest allusions to the zones of the ancients, which were worn as guardians of chastity by marriageable young women, Puellæ, contra, nondum viripotentes, hu. jusmodi zonis non utebantur: quod videlicet immaturis virgunculis nullum, aut certè minimum, a corruptoribus periculum immineret : quas propterea vocabant apotpous, nempe discinctas." There is a passage in Nonnus, which will sufficiently illustrate Prospero's expression :
Κουρης δ' εύγυς ικανε και ατρεμας ακρον ερυσσας
HENLEY. No sweet ASPERSION-] Aspersion is here used in its primitive sense of sprinkling. At present it is expressive only of calumny and detraction. STEEVENS, 2 When I shall think, or Phæbus' steeds are founder'd,
Or night kept chain'd below.] A similar train of ideas occurs in the 23d book of Homer's Odyssey thus translated by Chapman :