图书图片
PDF
ePub

ISAB. Sir, make me not your story.“

LUCIO.
I would not’--though 'tis my familiar sin

It is true.

6- make me not your lory.Do not, by deceiving me, make me a subject for a tale. JOHNSON.

Perhaps only, Do not divert yourself with me, as you would with a story, do not make me the fubje& of your drama. Benedick talks of becoming — the argument of his own scorn.

Sir W. D'Avenant reads---foorn instead of fory.

After all, the irregular phrale [me, &c.] that perhaps, obfcures this paílage, occurs frequently in our author, and particularly in the next scene, where Escalus lays : * Come me to what was done to her.”.

--- Make me not your story," may therefore signify -invent aột your ftory on purpose to deceive me. « It is true,” in Lucio's reply, means - What I have already told you, is true. STEEVENS. Mr. Ritson explains this passage, do not make a jest of me." REED.

I have no doubt that we ought to read (as I have printed,) Sir, mrock me not; -- your story. So, in Macbeth :

« Thou com'st to use thy tongue:- thy flory quickly." In King Lear we have Pray, do not mock me. I beseech yon, Sir, (says Isabel) do not play upon my fears; reserve this idle talk for some other occasion ; --- proceed at once to your tale, Lucio's fubfequent words, [« 'Tis true,"-i. c. you are right; I thank you for reminding me;} which, as the text has been hittierto printed had no meaning, are then pertinent and clear.

Mr. Pope was so sensible of the impossibility of reconciling them to what preceded in the old copy, that he fairly omitted them. What Isabella fays afterwards, fully supports this emendation:

« You do blaspheme the good, in mocking me." I have observed that almost every pailage in our author, in which there is either a broken speech, or a sudden transition without a conneaing particic, has been corrupted by the carelellness of either the transcriber' or compositor. See a note on Love's Labour's Loft, Ad. II. fc. i:

" A man of -- sovereign, peerless, he's esteem'd." And another on Coriolanus, A& I. sc. iv:

You shames of Rome! you herd of -- Boils and plagues

« Plaster you o'er!" MALONE.
7 I would not -] i. e. Be assured, I would not mock you. So
afterwards : . Do not believe it:" i. e. Do not suppose that I
would mock you.

MALONE.
I am satisfied with the sense afforded by the old punđuation.

STEEVENS.

[ocr errors]

With maids to seem the lapwing, and to jest, Tongue far from heart,- play with all virgins so:9 I hold you as a thing ensky'd, and sainted;

8

'tis my familiar fin With maius to secm the lapwing,] The Oxford cditor's note on this paffage is in these words : I'he lapwings fly, with seemimg fright and anxiety, far from their nefis, to deceive those who seek their young. And do not all other birds do the same? But what has this to do with the infideliiy of a general lover, to whom this bird is compared ? It is another quality of the lapwing that is here alluded to, viz. its perpetually flying so low and so near the passenger, that he thinks he has it, and then is suddenly gone again. This made it a proverbial expression to signify a lover's falfhood: and it seems to be a very old one; for Chaucer, in his Plowman's Tale, says:

And lapwings that well conith lie." WARBURTON. The modern editors have not taken in the whole fimilitude here: they have taken notice of the lightness of a spark's behaviour to his mistress, and compared it to the lapwing's hovering and fluttering as it flies. But the chief, of which no notice is taken, is,

and to it." (Sec Ray's Proverbs) « The lapwing cries, tongue far from heart." i. e. most farthest from the nest, i. e. She is, as Shakspeare' has it here, -- Tongue far from heart. "The farther she is from her neft, where her heart is with her. young ones, she is the louder, or perhaps all tongue." SMITH.

Shækspeare has an expression of the like kind, in his Comedy of Errors :

o Adr. Far from her neft the lapwing cries away ;

« My heart prays for him, though my tongue do curse." We meet with the same thought in Lyly's Campajpe, 1584 ; from whence Shakspeare might borrow it: 6. Alex.

you resemble the lapwing, who crieth most where her neft is not, and so, to lead me from espying your love for Campafpe, you cry Timoclea." GREY. 9. I would not though 'tis my familiar fin

With maids to seem the lapwing, and to jeft,

Tongue far from heart , - play with all virgins fo : &c.] This parsage has been pointed in the modern editions thus :

'Tis true: - I would not (though 'tis my familiar sin
With maids to feen the lapwing, and to jest,
Tongue far from heart) play with all virgins fo:

I hold zou , &c. According to this pun&uation, Lucio is made to deliver a fentiment direaly opposite to that which the author intended. Though

By your renouncement, an immortal spirit;
And to be talk'd with in fincerity,
As with a saint.

ISAB. You do blafpheme the good, in mocking me.
Lucio. Do not believe it. Fewness and truth,

'tis thus: Your brother and his lover ! have embrac'd : As those that feed grow full; as blossoming time, *

2

'tis my common practice to jest with and to deceive all virgins, I would not so play with all virgins.

The sense, as I have regulated my text, appears to me clear and easy. 'Tis very true, (lays he) I ought indeed, as you say, to proceed at once to any story. Be ajured, I would not mock you. Though it is my familiar pra&ice to jest with maidens, and, like the lapwing, to deceive them by my insincere pratile, though, I say, it is my ordinary and habitual practice to sport in this manner with all virgins, yet I should never think of treating you fo; for I confider you, in consequence of your having renounced the world, as an immortal spirit, as one to whom I ought to speak with as much fincerity as if I were addrefling a saint. MALONE.

Mr. Malone, complains of a contradi&ion which I cannot find in the speech of Lucio. He has not faid that it is his pra&ice to jest with and deceive all virgins. Though (says he) is is my pra&ice with maids to seem the lapwing, I would not play with all virgins so; ” meaning that she herself is the exception to his usual pradice. Though he has treated other women with levity, he is serious in his address to her. STEEVENS. 2 Fewness and truth, &c.] i. e. in few words, and those true

In few, is many times thus used by Shakspeare. STEEVENS. 3 Your brother and his lover -] i. e. his mistress ; lover, in our author's time, being applied to the female as well as the male sex. Thus, one of his poems, containing the lamentation of a deserted maiden, is entitled, “ A Lover's Complaiņt. So, in Tarleton's Newes out of Purgatory, bl. 1. no date : «

he spide the fetch, and perceived that all this while this was his lover's husband, to whom he had revealed these escapes." MALONE.

as bloJoming time,
That from the feedness the bare fallow brings

To teeming foison; even fo - - ] As thc sentence now lands, it is apparently ungrammatical. I read, At blossoming time, &c.

ones.

[ocr errors]

That from the feedness the bare fallow brings
To teeming foison; even so her plenteous womb
Expresseth his full tilth and husbandry.
ISAB. Some one with child by him? --- My cousin

Juliet?
LUCIO. Is she your cousin ?
Isab. Adoptedly; as school-maids change their

names,
By vain though apt affection.
Lucio.

She it is,
ISAB. O, let him marry her!
LUCIO.

This is the point.
The duke is very strangely gone from hence:
· Bore many gentlemen, myself being one,
In hand, and hope of action: 6 but we do learn

That is, As they that feed grow full, so her womb now at blossoming time, at that time through which the feed time proceeds to the harvest, her womb fhows what has been doing. Lucio ludicrously calls pregpancy blossoming time, the time when fruit is promised, though not yet ripe. JoħNSON.

Instead of that, we may read doth; and, instead of brings, bring. Foizon is plenty. So, in The Tempefl :

nature should bring forth, « Of its owo kind, all foizon, &c. Teeming foizon, is abundant produce. STEEVENS.

The passage seems to me to require no amendment; and the meaning of it is this : « As blossoming time proves the good tillage of the farmer, so the fertility of her womb expresses Claudio's full tilth and husbandry." By blossoming time is meant, the time when the ears of corn are formed. M. MASON. This sentence,

as Dr. Johnson has observed, is apparently ungrammatical. I suspeở two half lines have been loft. Perhaps however an imperfe& sentence was intended, of which there are many instances in these plays : - or, as might have been used in the sense of like. Tilth' is tillage. So, in our author's 3d Sonnet:

" For who is she so fair, whose unear'd womb.

" Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry?” MALONE. 6 Bore many gentlemen,

da hans, and hope of action :) To bear in land is a common

Is

[ocr errors]

By those that know the very nerves of state,
His givings out were of an infinite distance
From his true-meant design. Upon his place,
And with full line' of his authority,
Governs lord Angelo; a man, whose blood
very

snow-broth; one who never feels
The wanton stings and motions of the sense ;
But doth rebate and blunt his natural edge
With profits of the mind, study and fast.
He (to give fear to use and liberty,
Which have, for long, run by the hideous law,
As mice by lions,) hath pick'd out an act,
Under whose heavy sense your brother's life
Falls into forfeit: he arrests him on it;
And follows close the rigour of the statute,
To make him an example: all hope is gone,
Unless

you

have the grace by your fair prayer To foften Angelo: and that's my pith Of business ? 'twixt

your poor brother. ISAB. Doth he so seek his life?

you and

7

phrase for to keep in expe&ation and dependance ; but we should read :

with hope of a£tion. JOHNSON. So; in Macbeth: 1 - How you were borne in hand," &c. Steevens. with full line — ] With full extent, with the whole length.

JOHNSON. to give fear to use To intimidate use, that is, pra&ices long countenanced by custom. JOHNSON.

. Unless you have the grace--] That is, the acceptableness, the power of gaining favour. So, when she makes her fuit, the provost says:

- Heaven give thee moving graces!" JOHNS

[ocr errors]

INSON.

2

my pith

of business --] The inmost part, the main of my message.

JOHNSON. So, in Hamlet :

53. And enterprizes of great pith and moment." STEEVENS.

« 上一页继续 »