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WHAT YOU WILL.
ACT I....SCENE I.
An Apartment in the Duke's Palace.
Enter Duke, CURIO, LORDS; Musicians attending.
Duke. If music be the food of love, play on,
1 Give me excess of it; that, surfeiting, &c.] So, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona:
“ And now excess of it will make me surfeit.” Steevers. 2 That strain again; —it had a dying fall:
O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet south,
Stealing, and giving odour.] Milton, in his Paradise Lost, B. IV, has very successfully introduced the same image:
- now gentle gales,
“ Those balmy spoils.” Steevens. That strain again; it had a dying fall:] Hence Pope, in his Ode on Saint Cecilia's Day:
“ The strains decay,
“In a dying, dying fall." Again, Thomson, in his Spring, v. 722, speaking of the nightingale:
Still at every dying full
the sweet south,] The old copy reads-sweet sound, which Mr. Rowe changed into wind, and Mr. Pope into south, The thought might have been borrowed from Sidney's Arcadia.
That breathes upon a bank of violets, 4
Cur. Will you go hunt, my lord?
The hart. Duke. Why, so I do, the noblest that I have: O, when mine eyes did see Olivia first, Methought, she purg'd the air of pestilence; That instant was I turned into a hart; And my desires, like fell and cruel hounds, E’er since pursue me.7—How now? what news from her?
Lib. I: “
more sweet than a gentle South-west wind, which comes creeping over flowery fields," &c. This work was published in 1590. Steevens.
I see no reason for disturbing the text of the old copy, which reads—Sound. The wind, from whatever quarter, would produce a sound in breathing on the violets, or else the simile is false. Besides, sound is a better relative to the antecedent, strain. Douce.
4 That breathes upon a bank of violets,] Here Shakspeare makes the south steal odour from the violet. In his 99th Sonnet, the violet is made the thief:
“ The forward violet thus did I chide: “Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells, “ If not from my love's breath ?” Malone.
5 Of what validity and pitch soever,] Validity is here used for value. Malone. So, in King Lear:
“ No less in space, validity, and pleasure.” Steevens. 6 That it alone is high-fantastical.] High-fantastical, means fantastical to the height. So, in All 's well that ends well;
My high-repented blames
“ Dear sovereign, pardon me." Steevens. 7 That instant was I turn'd into a hart;
And my desires, like fell and cruel hounds,
story of Acteon, by which Shakspeare seems to think men cautioned against too great familiarity with forbidden beauty. Acteon, who saw Diana naked, and was torn to pieces by his hounds, represents a man, who indulging his eyes, or his imagination, with the view of a woman that he cannot gain, has his heart torn with incessant longing. An interpretation far more elegant and natural than that of Sir Francis Bacon, who, in his Wisdom of the Ancients, supposes this story to warn us against inquiring into the secrets of princes, by shewing, that those who know that which for reasons of state is to be concealed, will be detected and destroyed by their own servants.
Fohnson. This thought, (as I learn from an anonymous writer in the Gentleman's Magazine) is borrowed from the 5th sonnet of Daniel:
“ Whilst youth and error led my wand'ring mind,
“ And sette my thoughts in heedles waies to range, “ All unawares, a goddesse chaste I finde,
“(Diana like) to worke my suddaine change, " For her no sooner had mine eye bewraid,
“ But with disdaine to see mee in that place, " With fairest hand the sweet unkindest maid
“ Casts water-cold disdaine upon my face: “Which turn'd my sport into a hart's despaire, “Which still is chac'd, while I have any
breath, By mine own thoughts, sette on me by my faire ; My thoughts, like hounds, pursue my
death. " Those that I foster'd of mine own accord,
“ Are made by her to murder thus theyr lord.” See Daniel's Delia & Rosamond, augmented, 1594. Steevens.
8 The element itself, till seven years heat,] Heat for heated. The air, till it shall bave been warmed by seven revolutions of
shall not, &c. So, in King John:
“ The iron of itself, though heat red hot _? Again, in Macbeth :
And this report
When the sun was set,
And water once a day her chamber round
Duke. O, she, that hath a heart of that fine frame,
the flock of all affections -] So, in Sidney's Arca
has the flock of unspeakable virtues.” Steevens. 1 0, she, that hath a heart of that fine frame,
To pay this debt of love but to a brother,
That live in her!] Ďr. Hurd observes, that Simo, in the Andrian of Terence, reasons on his son's concern for Chrysis in the same manner:
“ Nonnunquam conlacrumabat: placuit tum id mibi.
Steevens. 2 These sovereign thrones,] We should read three sovereign thrones. This is exactly in the manner of Shakspeare. So afterwards, in this play: Thy tongue, thy face, thy limbs, actions, and spirit, do give thee five-fold blazon. Warburton.
3 (Her sweet perfections)] Liver, brain, and heart, are admitted in poetry as the residence of passions, judgment, and sentiments. These are what Shakspeare calls, her sweet perfections, though he has not very clearly expressed what he might design to have said. Steevens.
• with one self king!] Thus the original copy. The editor of the second folio, who in many instances appears to have been equally ignorant of our author's language and metre, readsself same king: a reading, which all the subsequent editors have adopted. The verse is not defective. Perfections
ere used as a quadrisyllable. So, in a subsequent scene:
“Methinks I feel this youth's perfections." Self-king means self-same king; one and the same king. So, in King Richard II:
that self-mould that fashion'd thee, “ Made him a man." Malone. In my opinion, the reading of the second folio ought to be adopted, as it improves both the language and the metre.
Away before me to sweet beds of flowers;
Enter VIOLA," Captain, and Sailors.
sailors? Cap. It is perchance, that you yourself were saved. Vio. O my poor brother! and so, perchance, may
he be. Cap. True, madam: and, to comfort you with chance, Assure yourself, after our ship did split, When you, and that poor number saved with you, Hung on our driving boat, I saw your brother, Most provident in peril, bind himself
Malone has proved, that in Richard II, the word self is used to signify-same; but there it is a licentious expression. Once more he accuses the editor of the second folio as ignorant of Shakspeare's language and metre. It is surely rather hardy in a commentator, at the close of the 18th century, to pronounce that an editor in 1632, but 16 years after the death of Shaks. peare, was totally ignorant of his language and metre; and it happens unfortunately, that in both the passages on which Mr. Malone has preferred this accusation, the second folio is clearly a correction of the first, which is the case with some other pas. sages in this very play. M. Mason.
5 Enter Viola,] Viola is the name of a lady in the fifth book of Gower de Confessione Amariis. Steevens.
6 Illyria, lady.] The old copy reads-“This is Illyria, lady." But I have omitted the two first words, which violate the metre, without improvement of the sense. Steevens.
in Illyria? My brother he is in Elysium.] There is seemingly a play upon the words--Illyria and Elysium. Douce.
and that poor number saved with you,] We should rather read--this poor number. The old copy has tose. The sailors who were saved, enter with the captain. Malore.