ePub 版

side, and will not be called off by the ordinary solicitations of other ideas." This vehemence of the mind seems to be what affects Leontes so deeply, or in Shakspeare's language,—stabs him to the center.


P. 22. A sad tale's best for winter ] Hence, I suppose, the title of the play. TYRWHITT.

P. 51. My traffic is sheets ;] Autolycus means, that his practice was to steal sheets and large pieces of linen, leaving the smaller pieces for the kites to build with. M. MASON.

When the good women, in solitary cottages near the woods where kites build, miss any of their lesser linen, as it hangs to dry on the hedge in spring, they conclude that the kite has been marauding for a lining to her nest; and there adventuturous boys often find it employed for that purpose.


P. 57. Then make your garden rich in gillyflowers,] There is some further conceit relative to gillyflowers than has yet been discovered. The old copy, (in both instances where this word occurs,) reads-Gilly'vors, a term still used by low people in Sussex, to denote a harlot. I suppose gill-flirt to be derived, or rather corrupted, from gilly-flower or carnation, which, though beautiful in its appearance, is apt, in the gardener's phrase, to run from its colours, and change as often as a licentious female. STE.

P. 60. the sleeve-hand, and the work about the square on't.] The word sleeve-hands occurs in Leland's Collectanea, 1770 "A surcoat [of crimson velvet] furred with mynever pure, the collar, skirts, and sleeve-hands garnished with ribbons of gold." So, in Cotgrave's Dict. "Poignet de la chemise" is Englished "the wristband, or gathering at the sleeve-hand of a shirt." I conceive, that the "work about the square on't," signifies the work or embroidery about the bosom part of a shift, which might then have been of a square form, or might have a square tucker, as Anne Bolen and Jane Seymour have in Houbraken's engravings of the heads of illustrious persons. TOLLET.

P. 67. Where no priest shovels-in dust.] This part of the priest's office might be remembered in Shakspeare's time it was not left off till the reign of Edward VI. FARMER.

That is-in pronouncing the words "earth to earth," &c. HENLEY.


P. 17. The Prince of Cumberland.] The crown of Scotland was originally not hereditary. When a successor was declared in the life-time of a king, (as was often the case,) the title of Prince of Cumberland was immediately bestowed on him as the mark of his designation. Cumberland was at that time held by Scotland of the crown of England, as a fief.


P. 20. the blanket of the dark,] Blanket was perhaps sug gested to our poet by the coarse woollen curtain of his own theatre, through which probably, while the house was yet but half-lighted, he had himself often peeped.-In King Henry VI. P. III. we have-" night's coverture."


P. 23. And falls on the other.] The general image, though confusedly expressed, relates to a horse, who, overleaping himself, falls, and his rider under him.

Macbeth, as I apprehend, is meant for the rider, his intent for his horse, and his ambition for his spur; but, unluckily, as the words are arranged, the spur is said to over-leap itself. Such hazardous things are long-drawn metaphors in the hands of careless writers.


P. 33. New hatch'd to the woeful time.] Prophecying is what is new-hatch'd, and in the metaphor holds the place of the egg. The events are the fruit of such hatching.

P. 36.

-the near in blood,


The nearer bloody.] Meaning, that he suspected Macbeth to be the murderer; for he was the nearest in blood to the two princes, being the cousin-german of Duncan.


P. 38. Colmes-kill;] Or Colm-kill, is the famous Iona, one of the western isles, which Dr. Johnson visited, and describes in his Tour.


It is now called Icolmkill. Kill, in the Erse language, signifies a burying-place. MAL.

P. 47. Than pity for mischance!] "I have more cause to accuse him of unkindness for his absence, than to pity him for any accident or mischance that may have occasioned it."


P. 60. when we hold rumour] Hold means, in this place, to believe, as we say, I hold such a thing to be true, i. e. I take it, I believe it to be so.

When we are led by our fears to believe every rumour of danger we hear, yet are not conscious to ourselves of any crime for which we should be disturbed with those fears.




P. 12. Knight, knight, good mother, Basilisco-like :] Faulconbridge's words here carry a concealed piece of satire on a stupid drama of that age, printed in 1509, and called Soliman and Perseda. In this piece there is a character of a bragging cowardly knight, called Basilisco. His pretension to valour is so blown, and seen through, that Piston, a buffoon-servant in the play, jumps upon his back, and will not disengage him, till he makes Basilisco swear upon his dudgeon dagger to the contents, and in the terms he dictates to him; as, for instance :: "Bas. O, I swear, I swear.

"Pist. By the contents of this blade,"Bas. By the contents of this blade,"Pist. I, the aforesaid Basilisco,

"Bas. I, the aforesaid Basilisco,―knight, good fellow, knight: Pist. Knave, good fellow, knave, knave.'

Philip, when his mother calls him knave, throws off that reproach by humorously laying claim to his new dignity of knighthood. THEOBALD:

P. 24. Do like the mutines of Jerusalem,] The mutines are the mutineers, the seditious.


Our author had probably read the following passages in A compendious and most marvellous History of the latter Times of the Jewes Common-Weale, &c. Written in Hebrew, by Joseph Ben Gorion,-translated into English, by Peter Morwyn "The same yeere the civil warres grew and increased in Jerusalem; for the citizens slew one another without any truce, rest, or quietnesse.-The people were divided into three parties; whereof the first and best followed Anani, the high-priest; another part followed seditious Jehochanan; the third most cruel Schimeon.-Anani, being a perfect godly man, and seeing the common-weale of Jerusalem governed. by the seditious, gave over his third part, that stacke to him, to Eliasar, his sonne. Eliasar with his companie took the Temple, and the courts about it; appointing of his men, some to be spyes, some to keepe watche and warde.-But Jehochanan tooke the market-place and streetes, the lower part of the citie. Then Schimeon, the Jerosolimite, tooke the highest part of the towne, wherefore his men annoyed Jehochanan's parte sore with slings and crossebowes. Between these three there was also most cruel battailes in Jerusalem for the space of four daies.

"Titus' campe was about sixe furlongs from the towne. The next morrow they of the towne seeing Titus to be encamped upon the mount Olivet, the captaines of the seditious

assembled together, and fell at argument, every man with another, intending to turne their cruelty upon the Romaines, confirming and ratifying the same atonement and purpose, by swearing one to another; and so became peace among them. Wherefore joyning together, that before were three severall parts, they set open the gates, and the best of them issued out with an horrible noyse and shoute, that they made the Romaines afraide withall, in such wise that they fled before the seditious, which sodainly did set upon them unawares." MAL.

P. 37. Volquessen,] This is the ancient name for the country now called the Vexin; in Latin, Pagus Velocassinus. That part of it called the Norman Vexin, was in dispute between Philip and John. STE.

P. 44. To England, if you will.] Neither the French king nor Pandulph has said a word of England since the entry of Constance. Perhaps, therefore, in despair, she means to address the absent King John: "Take my son to England, if you will;" now that he is in your power, I have no prospect of seeing him again. It is therefore, of no consequence to me where he is.



P. 24. Like to a tenement, or pelting farm :] "In this 22d yeare of King Richard (says Fabian,) the common fame ranne, that the king had letten to farm the realme unto Sir William Scrope, earle of Wiltshire, and then treasurer of England, to Syr John Bushey, Sir John Bagot, and Sir Henry Grene, knightes." MAL.

P. 29. As blanks, benevolences, and I wot not what :] Stow records, that Richard II. " compelled all the Religious, Gentlemen, and Commons, to set their seales to blankes, to the end he might as it pleased him, oppresse them severally, or all at once some of the Commons paid 1000 markes, some 1000 pounds," &c. Chronicle, p. 319, fol. 1639. HOLT WHITE.

P. 54. Then I must not say, no.] "The duke with a high sharpe voyce bade bring forth the kings horses, and then two little nagges, not worth forty franks, were brought forth; the king was set on the one, and the earl of Salisburie on the other and thus the duke brought the king from Flint to Chester, where he was delivered to the duke of Gloucesters sonne, and to the earle of Arundels sonne, (that loved him but little, for he had put their fathers to death, who led him straight to the castle." Stowe, (p. 521, edit. 1605,) from a manuscript account written by a person who was present. MAL

P. 57. Westminster Hall.] The rebuilding of Westminster-Hall, which Richard had begun in 1397, being finished in 1399, the first meeting of parliament in the new edifice was for the purpose of deposing him.


P.59. Surrey] Thomas Holland earl of Kent. He was brother to John Holland duke of Exeter, and was created duke of Surrey in the 21st year of King Richard the Second, 1397. The dukes of Surrey and Exeter were half brothers to the King, being sons of his mother Joan, (daughter of Edmond earle of Kent,) who after the death of her second husband, Lord Thomas Holland, married Edward the Black Prince.

P.81. The grand conspirator, abbot of Westminster,


Hath yielded up his body to the grave;] This Abbot of Westminster was William de Colchester. The relation here given of his death, after Holinshed's Chronicle, is untrue, as he survived the King many years; and though called "the grand conspirator," it is very doubtful whether he had any concern in the conspiracy; at least nothing was proved against him. RITSON.

P.82. Carlisle, this is your doom] This prelate was committed to the Tower, but on the intercession of his friends, obtained leave to change his prison for Westminster Abbey. In order to deprive him of his see, the Pope, at the King's instance, translated him to a bishopric in partibus infidelium and the only preferment he could ever after obtain, was a rectory in Gloucestershire. He died in 1409. RITSON.


P. 7. the prisoners,] Percy had an exclusive right to these prisoners, except the Earl of Fife. By the law of arms, every man who had taken any captive, whose redemption did not exceed ten thousand crowns, had him clearly for himself, either to acquit or ransom, at his pleasure. It seems from Camden's Britannia, that Pounouny castle in Scotland was built out of the ransome of this very Henry Percy, when taken prisoner at the battle of Otterbourne by an ancestor of the present Earl of Eglington. TOLLET.

Percy could not refuse the Earl of Fife to the King; for being a prince of the blood royal, (son to the Duke of Albany, brother to King Robert III.) Henry might justly claim him by his acknowledged military prerogative. STE.

P. 8. Phoebus,-he, that wandering knight so fair.] Falstaff starts at the idea of Phoebus, i. e. the sun; but deviates into an allusion to El Donzel del Febo, the knight of the sun in a

« 上一頁繼續 »