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ACT II.-SCENE I.
"-HINT of woe"-Gonzalo calls it "hint of woe," in reference to its comparative triflingness.
"The masters of some MERCHANT"-" Merchant" is here used for merchant-vessel-merchantman. Dryden employs it in a similar way-" As convoy-ships either accompany or should accompany their merchants." The "masters of some merchant" signifies, therefore, the owners of some trading-vessel; but in the second instance, the "merchant" must mean the trader, whose goods are ventured in the merchantman. It has been suggested that "masters" is a misprint for mistress, which is not improbable, and would take away the harshness of thus using "merchant" in two different senses in the same breath.
"Letters should not be known"-Our author (says Malone) has here closely followed a passage in Montaigne's" Essayes," translated by John Florio, (1603:)— "It is a nation, would I answere Plato, that hath no kinde of trafficke, no knowledge of letters, no intelligence of numbers, no name of magistrate, nor of politike superioritie; no use of service, of riches, or of poverty; no contracts, no successions, no dividences, no occupation, but idle; no respect of kinred, but common; no apparell, but naturall; no manuring of lands; no use of wine, corne, or mettle. The very words that import lying, falsehood, treason, dissimulation, covetousness, envie, detraction, and pardon, were never heard amongst them." (Book i. chap. xxx.) The verbal coincidences show that he used this translation, and not the French original. A copy of Florio's " Montaigne," bearing the undoubted autograph of Shakespeare, has been discovered within these few years.
you adapt them to your own situation.'"-Edinburgh Magazine, (Nov. 1786.)
"from Naples"-Stevens has treated this as a remarkable instance of Shakespeare's ignorance of geog. raphy; but though the real distance between Naples and Tunis is not so immeasurable, the intercourse in early times between the Neapolitans and the Tunisians was not so frequent as to make popularly considered other than a formidable voyage.
"A CHOUGH of as DEEP CHAT"-i. e. I could make a jackdaw talk as profoundly.
"if it were a KYBE"-i. e. If conscience were a chilblain, it would mar my activity.
"That's VERITY"-The folio has verily, which, as a misprint, has been corrected into "verity," in all succeeding editions since Pope's, except Collier's, which retains verily. The sense indicates the propriety of the correction.
"a foul BOMBARD"-A "bombard" was the name of a large vessel for containing drink, as well as a piece of artillery.
- I have no long spoon"-Shakespeare gives his characters appropriate language:-" They belch forth proverbs in their drink;" "Good liquor will make a cat speak;" and "He who eats with the devil had need of a long spoon." The last is again used in the COMEDY OF ERRORS, (act iv. scene 2.)
"Young SEA-MALLS from the rock”—The old copies have scammels from the rock-a word not found in any other place, nor known as belonging to any obsolete or provincial idiom. It has been conjectured to mean some sort of scollop, or shell-fish; but to these this epithet young would have no special application as recommending them. Sea-mall, or sea-mell, is the reading proposed by Theobald, which is the popular English name for the sea-gull; which birds, when young, (says an old writer,)"were accounted a good dish at the most plentiful tables." Dyce conjectures staniels to have been the author's word, (i. e. young mountain-hawks)—a word used in the TWELFTH NIGHT. Either reading may be the right one, and will make little difference in the general sense and poetry.
ACT III.-SCENE I.
"— I FORGET"-This is to be understood as reminding himself that he forgets his task, to which he must now return. Z. Jackson ("Shakespeare's Genius," etc.) ingeniously conjectures "forget" to be a misprint for forgive't, which would make a more connected sense. The change is not necessary, though he may possibly have hit upon the original word.
"Most busy, LEAST when I do it"-With Collier, we return to the old reading; for busy-less seems to make the sense no clearer. I understand the old text to say, that his thoughts are most busy when he is least employed in his labours.
"What a PIED ninny's this! Thou scurvy PATCH!". Trinculo, as a jester, would be dressed in motley, and hence Caliban's allusion to his particoloured appearance. "Pied" was an epithet applied to fools, and " patch" a name by which they were often called.
"He's but a sor"-Modern usage has so limited the word "sot" to the sense of a sluggish, dull drunkard, that the general reader may mistake its meaning here. But in its older use, it corresponded with the French sot, from whence it is derived; and meant merely a stupid, dull person.
"Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises"-" In conducting Stephano and Trinculo to Prospero's cell,
Caliban shows the superiority of natural capacity over
"One DOWLE that's in my plume"- "Dowle" seems to mean nearly the same as down, or the light parts of which feathers are composed.
“— this ECSTASY"-Shakespeare uses " any temporary alienation of mind-a fit, or madness. Minshew's definition of this word will explain its meaning, wherever it occurs:-"Extasie, or trance; Gr. extase; Lat. extasis, abstractio mentis. Est proprie mentis emotio, et quasi ex statione sua deturbatio, seu furore, seu admiratione, seu timore, aliove casu decidat."-Guide to the Tongues, (1617.)
This is the sense in which it is used in HAMLET, in Ophelia's speech, (at end of act iii. scene 1;) and also in the fourth scene of the same act:-"Ecstasy-my pulse," etc.
surely be has
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ACT IV.-SCENE I.
"a THIRD of mine own life"-"We adhere (says Collier) to the text of every old edition of this play, where Prospero tells Ferdinand that he has given him a 'third' of his own life-a portion of his very existence-in bestowing Miranda. This seems not only perfectly intelligible, but natural, although modern editors (Capell excepted) substitute thread for third.' It is,
its prin also for
It is r origin, aphoric primitiv
"being from the England
-P have "F
later ret find pio
"it did BASE my trespass"-Carrying out the figurative allusion to the loud music of the organ, he makes the thunder, in deep organ-like note, sound his guilt. (1595,) "Base," or bass, is a verb coined by Shakespeare, from the well-known musical term. The more technical musical orthography is bass, but both modes have authority; and I have, therefore, differed from most modern editions in preserving the spelling of the origi-ing, and nal edition, as it is pronounced.
in the m
lilied ba so much the best discussed the subs
If twill L stand.
text:wall-flow de-luces the tuli
10.) E ture,' (I together
and we c 'pioned' ser, and
'twilled' as ridged, or made up in ridges-a sense it yet bears with reference to some kinds of linen. These ridges are produced by intermingling the threads; and hence, perhaps, the origin of the word in the French, (touiller.) The pioned and twilled brims' are, therefore, the brims which are dug and ridged."-COLLIER.
It may be added, in reply to an objection to the more modern reading, that the Poet does not say that the banks were in full bloom of peonies and lilies in April, but that it was that month which then so bestrewed the banks with such a growth as would yield "chaste crowns for nymphs," etc.
"with thy saffron wings"-Mr. Douce remarks that this is an elegant expansion of the following lines in Phaer's "Virgil's Eneid:"Dame rainbow down therefore with safron wings of dropping showres,
Whose face a thousand sundry hues against the sun devoures, From heaven descending came.
"this SHORT-GRASS'D green"-Many editors, since Rowe, have "short-graz'd green," or grazed down so as to be short; which is neither the genuine old reading, nor the sense. Ceres, as if finding herself out of place on the scanty wild-grass of an uncultivated island, naturally asks why she is summoned to this "shortgrass'd green."
"Enter JUNO"-She appears in the air during the first speech of Iris; and there the stage-direction, in the folio, (1623,) is "Juno descends." Collier, who is very learned in the details of the ancient English stage, supposes that she was probably let down slowly by some machine, and did not reach the stage until Iris and Ceres were concluding their speeches.
"to MEET WITH Caliban"-i. e. To counteract, to play stratagem against stratagem. "The parson knows the temper of every one in his house, and accordingly either meets with their vices, or advances their virtues."-HERBERT's Country Parson.
"-lifted up their noses"-This passage is a most accurate description of the effect produced upon colts by music. On first bearing even a trumpet, instead of being terrified, they will often advance and thrust their nose up to the very mouth of the instrument, while it is blown, provided this be done with some consideration.
"-king Stephano"-This is an allusion to the old ballad, "King Stephen was a worthy peer," of which Iago sings a verse in OTHELLO.
"-a FRIPPERY"-i. e. A shop where old clothes were sold.
"Now is the jerkin under the LINE: now, jerkin, you are like to lose your HAIR"-Malone says, that goat's-hair jerkins, both plain and ornamented, formed part of the theatrical wardrobes of this period; and he suggests that in the present instance they were hung upon a hair line. Stevens thinks there is some gross allusion in the passage. Edwards says it refers to the loss of hair by fever on passing the equinoctial line! Did the sailors shave folks with an iron hoop in those days? Stephano, was, however, drunk; half with wine, and half with his ideas of royalty.
"CAL. I will have none on't: we shall lose our time"It is an acute remark of Hazlitt's, that these drunken
sailors (who are as like drunken sailors as they can be) serve as an indirect foil to Caliban, "whose figure acquires a classical dignity in the contrast." This passage depicts a truth which, in that age, the Poet must have rather inferred from his general acquaintance of human nature than gathered from immediate knowledge, but which the intercourse of civilized man with savages has, in later years, too often and too unhappily confirmedthat, degraded and brutal as the savage may be, he is still, mentally and morally, above the level to which a more wilful depravity can degrade his civilized visitor or neighbour.
Hazlitt has presented the leading idea which pervades and individualizes Caliban's character with great taste and discrimination, as well as with sagacious insight into the principle on which manners are felt to be gross or refined:
"Caliban is generally thought (and justly so) to be one of the author's master-pieces. It is not, indeed, pleasant to see this character on the stage, any more than it is to see the god Pan represented there. But, in itself, it is one of the wildest and most abstracted of all Shakespeare's characters, where deformity, whether of body or mind, is redeemed by the power and truth of the imagination displayed in it. It is the essence of grossShakespeare has displayed the brutal mind of Caliban ness, but there is not a particle of vulgarity in it. in contrast with the pure and original forms of nature; the character grows out of the soil where it is rooted, uncontrolled, uncouth, and wild, uncramped by any of the meannesses of custom. It is of the earth, earthy.' It seems almost to have been dug out of the ground, with a soul instinctively superadded to it, answering to its wants and origin. Vulgarity is not natural coarseness, but conventional coarseness, learned from others, conand disposition; as fashion is the common-place affectatrary to or without entire conformity of natural power tion of what is elegant and refined, without any seeking of the essence of it."
A FRIPPERY, 1587.
ACT V.-SCENE I.
"the LINE-GROVE"-This is usually printed limegrove; but the old name of the tree is "line," and not lime, and so it stands in the old copies. This error is pointed out by the Rev. Mr. Hunter, in his "Disquisition on the Tempest." He, however, insists, with less reason, that the line on which the "glistering apparel" is hung means a lime-tree. All the coarse jokes of the dialogue contradict this supposition.
"Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes"-This speech is evidently suggested by Medea's, in Ovid: the by Golding, which is by no means literal, showing that expressions are (many of them) in the old translation the Poet had that in his mind, and not the original. But the exquisite fairy imagery is Shakespeare's own.
("Weak MASTERS though ye be")-i. e. "Ye are powerful auxiliaries, but weak if left to yourselvesyour employment is then to make green ringlets, and midnight mushrooms, and to play the idle pranks, mentioned by Ariel in his next song; yet, by your aid, I have been enabled to invert the course of nature. We say, proverbially, 'Fire is a good servant, but a bad master.'"-BLACKSTONE.
"There I couch when owls do cry"-There is some variation in the modes adopted by the several editors in printing and pointing this song, and in their understand ing of it. In the first edition the text of the folios has been followed, and I see little difficulty in it. "When owls do cry" (i. e. at night) Ariel "couches in a cow slip's bell;" and he uses the "bat's back" as his pleasant vehicle, to pursue the summer in its progress round the globe, and thus live merrily under continual blossoms. But some of the commentators have rejected this, which is admitted to be the most obvious sense, because bats no not migrate in search of summer, but become torpid in winter. Possibly the Poet did not advert to this, or more probably he did, but still saw no reason why Ariel might not make the bat serve as his locomotive, and obey his direction, without depending upon the bat's mere instinct to guide him. In reference to this zoological fact of the non-migration of bats, divers variations of the punctuation have been made. Theobald proposes sunset for summer. Capell and Collier place a period after "couch:".
ARIEL AS A SEA-NYMPH.
"It is observed of the TEMPEST, that its plan is regular: this the author of the Revisal' thinks, what I think too, an accidental effect of the story, not intended, or regarded, by our author. But, whatever might be Shakespeare's intention in forming or adopting the plot, he has made it instrumental to the production of many
characters, diversifi preserved with pr knowledge of opinio In a single drama, w and sailors, all speak is the agency of air The operations of m ventures of a deser taught affection, the happiness of the pai are equally intereste
"The TEMPEST movement: the un fixed at their first m apparent obstacles ir go leisurely about th and Antonio on the Caliban and his dru
are nothing but a fei completely frustrated Nothing remains, thi guilty, by dreadful sciences, the discov this want is so admit display of the fascina of mirth-the detail tractive, that it requ perceive that the already contained in love of Ferdinand a short scenes, is enc union of chivalrous on the other, of the brought up far from t has never learned to The wisdom of the magical and mysterio falsehood of the two
gossiping of the old a Stephano, two good-f associate in Caliban; whole, as the person
"Caliban has bec creation of a poetic gnome and the savag behaviour we percei disposition, and the The latter could only in the slightest deg it is as if the use of re communicated to a cowardly, false, and is essentially differen ized world, as they Shakespeare. He is falls into the low fan for he is a poetical b up every thing disse of which he has com whole variety of nat tily deformed have a nation. The magice of Prospero has asse a faint reflection into falls into a dark caveeither heat or illumin tion the poisonous va this monster is inco and notwithstanding ful to our feelings, as untouched.
"In the zephyr-lik be mistaken; his n On the other hand, C of earth. Yet they sonifications, but be general we find, in
in the TEMPEST, in the magical part of MACBETH, and wherever Shakespeare avails himself of the popular belief in the invisible presence of spirits, and the possibility of coming in contact with them, a profound view of the inward life of Nature and her mysterious springs; which, it is true, ought never to be altogether unknown to the genuine poet, as poetry is altogether incompatible with mechanical physics, but which few have possessed in an equal degree with Dante and himself."-SCHLEGEL.
"The TEMPEST is a specimen of the purely romantic drama, in which the interest is not historical, or dependent upon fidelity of portraiture, or the natural connection of events; but is a birth of the imagination, and rests only on the coaptation and union of the elements granted to, or assumed by, the Poet. It is a species of drama which owes no allegiance to time or space, and in which, therefore, errors of chronology and geography-no mortal sins in any species-are venial faults, and count for nothing. It addresses itself entirely to the imaginative faculty; and although the illusion may be assisted by the effect on the senses of the complicated scenery and decorations of modern times, yet this sort of assistance is dangerous. For the principal and only genuine excitement ought to come from within-from the moved and sympathetic imagination; whereas, where so much is addressed to the mere external senses of seeing and hearing, the spiritual vision is apt to languish, and the attraction from without will withdraw the mind from the proper and only legitimate interest which is intended to spring from within.
"The romance opens with a busy scene admirably appropriate to the kind of drama, and giving, as it were, the key-note to the whole harmony. It prepares and initiates the excitement required for the entire piece, and yet does not demand any thing from the spectators which their previous habits had not fitted them to understand. It is the bustle of a tempest, from which the real horrors are abstracted; therefore it is poetical, though not in strictness natural, (the distinction to which I have so often alluded,) and is purposely restrained from concentering the interest on itself, but used merely as an induction or tuning for what is to follow.
"In the second scene, Prospero's speeches, till the entrance of Ariel, contain the finest example, I remember, of retrospective narration, for the purpose of exciting immediate interest, and putting the audience in possession of all the information necessary for the understanding of the plot. Observe, too, the perfect probability of the moment chosen by Prospero (the very Shakespeare himself, as it were, of the tempest) to open out the truth to his daughter, his own romantic bearing, and how completely any thing that might have been disagreeable to us in the magician, is reconciled and shaded in the humanity and natural feeling of the father. In the very first speech of Miranda, the simplicity and tenderness of her character are at once laid open; it would have been lost in direct contact with the agitation of the first scene. The opinion once prevailed, but, happily, is now abandoned, that Fletcher alone wrote for women. The truth is, that with very few, and those partial, exceptions, the female characters in the plays of Beaumont and Fletcher are, when of the light kind, not decent; when heroic, complete viragos. But in Shakespeare all the elements of womanhood are holy, and there is the sweet, yet dignified feeling of all that continuates society, as sense of ancestry and of sex, with a purity unassailable by sophistry, because it rests not in the analytic processes, but in that same equipoise of the faculties, during which the feelings are representative of all past experience-not of the individual only, but of all those by whom she has been educated, and their predecessors even up to the first mother that lived. Shakespeare saw that the want of prominence, which Pope notices for sarcasm, was the blessed beauty of the woman's character, and knew that it arose not from any deficiency, but from the more exquisite harmony of all the parts of the moral being constituting one living total
of head and heart. He has drawn it, indeed, in all its distinctive energies of faith, patience, constancy, fortitude-shown in all of them as following the heart, which gives its results by a nice tact and happy intuition, without the intervention of the discursive faculty-sees all things in and by the light of the affections, and errs, if it ever err, in the exaggerations of love alone. In all the Shakespearian women there is essentially the same foundation and principle; the distinct individuality and variety are merely the result of the modification of circumstances, whether in Miranda the maiden, in Imogen the wife, or in Katharine the queen.
"But to return.
The appearance and characters of the super or ultra-natural servants are finely contrasted. Ariel has in every thing the airy tint which gives the name; and it is worthy of remark that Miranda is never directly brought into comparison with Ariel, lest the natural and human of the one and the supernatural of the other should tend to neutralize each other. Caliban, on the other hand, is all earth-all condensed and gross in feelings and images; he has the dawnings of understanding without reason or the moral sense, and in him, as in some brute animals, this advance to the intellectual faculties, without the moral sense, is marked by the appearance of vice. For it is in the primacy of the moral being only that man is truly human; in his intellectual powers he is certainly approached by the brutes, and, man's whole system duly considered, those powers cannot be considered other than means to an end, that is, to morality.
"In this scene, as it proceeds, is displayed the impression made by Ferdinand and Miranda on each other; it is love at first sight
at the first sight They have chang'd eyes.
And it appears to me that, in all cases of real love, it is at one moment that it takes place. That moment may have been prepared by previous esteem, admiration, or even affection; yet love seems to require a momentary act of volition, by which a tacit bond of devotion is imposed-a bond not to be thereafter broken without violating what should be sacred in our nature. How finely is the true Shakespearian scene contrasted with Dryden's vulgar alteration of it, in which a mere ludicrous psychological experiment, as it were, is tried-displaying nothing but indelicacy without passion. Prospero's interruption of the courtship has often seemed to me to have no sufficient motive; still his alleged reasonlest too light winning Make the prize light
is enough for the ethereal connections of the romantic imagination, although it would not be so for the historical. The whole courting scene, indeed, in the beginning of the third act, between the lovers is a masterpiece; and the first dawn of disobedience in the mind of Miranda to the command of her father is very finely drawn, so as to seem the working of the scriptural command, Thou shalt leave father and mother,' etc. O! with what exquisite purity this scene is conceived and executed! Shakespeare may sometimes be gross, but I boldly say that he is always moral and modest. Alas: in this our day decency of manners is preserved at the expense of morality of heart, and delicacies for vice are allowed, while grossness against it is hypocritically, or at least morbidly, condemned.
In this play are admirably sketched the vices generally accompanying a low degree of civilization; and in the first scene of the second act Shakespeare has, as in many other places, shown the tendency in bad men to indulge in scorn and contemptuous expressions, as a mode of getting rid of their own uneasy feelings of inferiority to the good, and also, by making the good ridiculous, of rendering the transition of others to wickedness easy. Shakespeare never puts habitual scorn into the mouths of other than bad men, as here in the instances of Antonio and Sebastian. The scene of the intended assassination of Alonzo and Gonzalo is an exact counterpart of the scene between Macbeth and his lady,