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I have no hope
The meaning may be—" He is a mere rhetorician, one who professes the art of persuasion, and nothing else; i. e. he professes to persuade another to believe that of which he himself is not convinced ; he is content to be plausible, and has no further aim.” (So, as Mr. Malone observes,) in Troilus and Cressida : " — why he'll answer nobody, he professes not answering."
STEEVENS. The obscurity of this passage arises from a misconception of the word he's, which is not an abbreviation of he is, but of he has ; and partly from the omission of the pronoun who, before the word professes, by a common poetical ellipsis. Supply that deficiency, and the sentence will run thus :
Although this lord of weak remembrance
hath here almost persuaded
“ Professes to persuade,) the king, his son's alive ; And the meaning is clearly this.—This old lord, though a mere dotard, has almost persuaded the king that his son is alive; for he is so willing to believe it, that any man who undertakes to persuade him of it, has the powers of persuasion, and succeeds in the attempt.
We find a similar expression in The First Part of Henry IV. When Poins undertakes to engage the Prince to make one of the party to Gads-hill, Falstaff says :
“Well! may'st thou have the spirit of persuasion, and he the ears of profiting! that what thou speakest may move, and what he hears may be believed !” M. Mason.
The light Mr. M. Mason's conjecture has thrown on this passage, I think, enables me 'to discover and remedy the defect in it.
I cannot help regarding the words "professes to persuade”. as a mere gloss or paraphrase on - he has a spirit of persuasion.” This explanatory sentence, being written in the margin of an actor's part, or playhouse copy, was afterwards injudiciously incorporated with our author's text. Read the passage without these words,
hath here almost persuaded
“ The king, his son's alive; 'tis as impossible,” &c. and nothing is wanting to its sense or metre.
On the contrary, the insertion of the words I have excluded, by lengthening the parenthesis, obscures the meaning of the speaker, and, at the same time, produces redundancy of measure.
Irregularity of metre ought always to excite suspicions of omission or interpolation. Where somewhat has been omitted, through chance or design, a line is occasionally formed by the junction of
0, out of that no hope, What great hope have you! no hope, that way, is Another way so high an hope, that even Ambition cannot pierce a wink beyond, But doubts discovery there. Will you grant, with
me, That Ferdinand is drown'd ?
Then, tell me, Who's the next heir of Naples ? SEB.
Claribel. Ant. She that is queen of Tunis; she that dwells Ten leagues beyond man's life * ; she that from
hemistichs previously unfitted to each other. Such a line will naturally exceed the established proportion of feet; and when marginal observations are crept into the text, they will have just such aukward effects as I conceive to have been produced by one of them in the present instance.
Perhaps (says that excellent scholar and perspicacious critic Mr. Porson, in his 6th Letter to Archdeacon Travis) you think it an affected and absurd idea that a marginal note can ever creep into the text: yet I hope you are not so ignorant as not to know that this has actually happened, not merely in hundreds or thousands, but in millions of places,” &c. &c.
“ From this known propensity of transcribers to turn every thing into the text which they found written in the margin of their MSS. or between the lines, so many interpolations have proceeded, that at present the surest canon of criticism is, Preferatur lectio brevior." P. 149, 150:
Though I once expressed a different opinion, I am now well convinced that the metre of Shakspeare's plays had originally no other irregularity than was occasioned by an accidental use of hemistichs. When we find the smoothest series of lines among our earliest dramatic writers (who could fairly boast of no other requisites for poetry) are we to expect less polished versification from Shakspeare? 'STEEVENS.
a wink beyond,] That this is the utmost extent of the prospect of ambition, the point where the eye can pass no farther, and where objects lose their distinctness, so that what is there discovered is faint, obscure, and doubtful. JOHNSON. Perhaps this is a phrase similar to what has occurred before
of green." 'BOSWELL.
Can have no note', unless the sun were post, (The man i' the moon's too slow,) till new-born
chins Be rough and razorable: she, from whom We all were sea-swallow'd, though some cast again"; And, by that, destiny to perform an act, Whereof what's past is prologue; what to come, In yours and my discharge .
SEB. What stuff is this ?-How say you ? 'Tis true, my brother's daughter's queen of Tunis; So is she heir of Naples ; 'twixt which regions There is some space.
beyond man's life ;] i. e. at a greater distance than the life of man is long enough to reach. STEEVENS.
she that from Naples Can have no NOTE, &c.] Note (as Mr. Malone observes) is notice, or information.
Shakspeare's great ignorance of geography is not more conspicuous in any instance than in this, where he supposes Tunis and Naples to have been at such an immeasurable distance from each other. He may, however, be countenanced by Apollonius Rhodius, who says, that both the Rhone and Po meet in one, and discharge themselves into the gulph of Venice; and by Æschylus, who has placed the river Eridanus in Spain. STEEVENS.
she, from whom --] i. e. in coming from whom. The old copy has-“she that from," &c. which cannot be right. The compositor's eye probably glanced on a preceding line," she that from Naples—," The emendation was made by Mr. Rowe.
MALONE. though some cast again ;] Cast is here used in the same sense as in Macbeth, Act II. Sc. III. : though he took my legs from me, I made a shift to cast him.” STEEVENS.
It does not appear that a single person was lost ; but as the passengers in the ship were dispersed by Ariel in different parts of the island, Antonio supposes that those who were not of his party were lost.
MALONE. 8 And, by that, Destiny -] It is a common plea of wickedness to call temptation destiny. Johnson.
The late Dr. Musgrave very reasonably proposed to substitutedestin'd for destiny. As the construction of the passage is made easier by this slight change, I have adopted it. Steevens.
9 In yours and my discharge.] i. e. depends on what you and I are to perform. Steevens.
A space whose every cubit Seems to cry out, How shall that Claribel Measure us back to Naples ?-Keep in Tunis, And let Sebastian wake !-Say, this were death That now hath seiz'd them ; why, they were no
Than now they are: There be, that can rule
O, that you bore
SEB. Methinks, I do.
And how does your content
True : And, look, how well my garments sit upon me; Much feater than before : My brother's servants Were then my fellows, now they are my men.
SEB. But, for your conscience
Ant. Ay, sir; where lies that ? if it were a kybe, 'Twould put me to my slipper; But I feel not This deity in my bosom: twenty consciences,
Keep in Tunis,] There is in this passage a propriety lost, which a slight alteration will restore :
Sleep in Tunis, " And let Sebastian wake!" JOHNSON. The old reading is sufficiently explicable.“ Claribel (says he), keep where thou art, and allow Sebastian time to awaken those senses by the help of which he may perceive the advantage which now presents itself.” STEEVENS.
2 A chough -] Is a bird of the jack-daw kind. So, in Macbeth, Act III. Sc. IV.: " By magot-pies, and choughs, and rooks," &c.
That stand 'twixt me and Milan, candied be they, And melt, ere they molest ®! Here lies your bro
ther, No better than the earth he lies upon, If he were that which now he's like, that's dead ; Whom I, with this obedient steel, three inches of it, Can lay to bed for ever' : whiles you, doing thus, To the perpetual wink for aye o might put
3 And melt, ere they molest!] I had rather read
5 Would melt, ere they molest.” i. e. “Twenty consciences, such as stand between me and my hopes, though they were congealed, would melt before they could molest me, or prevent the execution of my purposes. Johnson.
Let twenty consciences be first congealed and then dissolved, ere they molest me, or prevent me from executing my purposes.
Malone. If the interpretation of Johnson and Malone is just, and is certainly as intelligible as or; but I can see no reasonable meaning in this interpretation. It amounts to nothing more as thus interpreted, than . My conscience must melt and become softer than it is before it molests me;' which is an insipidity unworthy of the Poet. I would read “ Candy'd be they, or melt;" and the expression then has spirit and propriety. Had I twenty consciences,' says Antonio, they might be hot or cold for me; they should not give me the smallest trouble.'—Edinburgh Magazine, Nov. 1786. STEEVENS. 4 No better than the earth he lies upon,] So, in Julius Cæsar :
at Pompey's basis lies along,
With this obedient steel, three inches of it,
“ If he were that which now he's like, that's dead ;
“ Can lay to bed,” &c. The words_" that's dead” (as Dr. Farmer observes to me) are evidently a gloss, or marginal note, which had found its way into the text. Such a supplement is useless to the speaker's meaning, and one of the verses becomes redundant by its insertion.
STEEVENS. -] i. e. for ever. So, in King Lear :
I am come
- for AYE