To lay my crown at his feet, and there to kneel:
Tell him, from his all-obeying breath I hear

i. e. by proxy; I depute you to pay him that duty in my name.

Warburton. I am not certain that this change is necessary. I kiss his hand in disputation—may mean, I own he has the better in the controversy. I confess my inability to dispute or contend with him. To dispute may have no immediate reference to words or language by which controversies are agitated. So, in Macbeth : " Dispute it like a man;" and Macduff, to whom this short speech is ad. dressed, is disputing or contending with himself only. Again, in Twelfth Night: “ For though my soul disputes well with my sense.” If Dr. Warburton's change be adopted, we should read -" by deputation.” Steevens.

I have no doubt but deputation is the right reading. Steevens having proved, with much labour and ingenuity, that it is but by a forced and unnatural construction that any sense can be ex. torted from the words as they stand. It is not necessary to read by deputation, instead of in. That amendment indeed would render the passage more strictly grammatical, but Shakspeare is, frequently, at least as licentious in the use of his particles.

M. Mason. I think Dr. Warburton's conjecture extremely probable. The objection founded on the particle in being used, is, in my apprepension, of little weight. Though by deputation is the phraseology of the present day, the other might have been common in the time of Shakspeare. Thus a Deputy says in the first scene of King John:

“ Thus, after greeting, speaks the king of France,
In my behaviour, to his majesty,

“The borrow'd majesty of England here." Again, in King Henry IV, P.I:

“Of all the favourites that the absent king

In deputation left behind him here." Again: Bacon, in his History of Henry VII, says, “- if he re. lied upon that title, he could be but a king at courtesie.” We should now say, “ by courtesy.” So, “in any hand,” was the phrase of Shakspeare's time, for which, “at any hand," was afterwards used.

Supposing disputation to mean, as Mr. Steevens conceives, not verbal controversy, but struggle for power, or the contention of adversaries, to say that one kisses the hand of another in contenţion, is surely a strange phrase: but to kiss by proxy, and to marry by proxy, was the language of Shakspeare's time, and is the language of this day. I have, however, found no example of in de putation being used in the sense required here. Malone. ·

8 Tell him, from his all-obeying breath &c.] Doom is declared rather by an all-commanding than an all-obeying breath. I supposé we ought to read,

all-obeyed breath. Johnson.

The doom of Egypt.

'Tis your noblest course.
Wisdom and fortune combating together,
If that the former dare but what it can,
No chance may shake it. Give me grace to lay
My duty on your hand.

Your Cæsar's father
Oft, when he hath mus'd of taking kingdoms ing!
Bestow'd his lips on that unworthy place,
As it rain'd kisses.2


Favours, by Jove that thunders!
What art thou, fellow?

One, that but performs
The bidding of the fullest man,3 and worthiest
To have command obey'd.

You will be whipp'd.
Ant. Approach, there:-Ay, you kite!—Now gods and

devils! Authority melts from me: Of late, when I cry’d, ho! Like boys unto a muss,4 kings would start forth,

There is no need of change. In The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Shakspeare uses longing, a participle active, with a passive signi. fication :

“ To furnish me upon my longing journey." i. e. my journey long'd for.

In The Unnaturai Combat, by Massinger, the active participle is yet more irregularly employed:

“ For the recovery of a strangling husband." i.e. one that was to be strangled. Steevens.

All-obeying breath is, in Shakspeare's language, breath which all obey. Obeying for obeyed. So, inexpressive for inexpressible, delighted for delighting, &c. Malone.

Give me grace —] Grant me the favour. Johnson.

taking kingdoms in,] See p. 300, n. 4. Reed. 2 As it rain'd kisses.] This strong expression is adopted in Pope's version of the 17th Odyssey :

in his embraces dies, Rains kisses on his neck, his face, his eyes.” Steevens.

the fullest man,] The most complete and perfect. So, in Othello:

“What a full fortune doth the tick-lips owe.” Malone. * Like boys unto a muss,] i. e. a scramble. Pope.


[ocr errors]



And cry, Your will? Have you no ears? I am

Enter Attendants.
Antony yet. Take hence this Jack, and whip him.

Eno. 'Tis better playing with a lion's whelp,
Than with an old one dying.

Moon and stars!
Whip him:-Were 't twenty of the greatest tributaries
That do acknowledge Cæsar, should I find them
So saucy with the hand of she here, (What 's her name,
Since she was Cleopatra ?) - Whip him, fellows,
Till, like a boy, you see him cringe his face,
And whine aloud for mercy: Take him hence.

Thyr. Mark Antony, -

Tug him away :.being whipp'd,
Bring him again:- This Jack of Cæsar's shall
Bear us an errand to him.- [Exeunt Attend. with Thyr.
You were half blasted ere I knew you:-Ha!
Have I my pillow left unpress'd in Rome,
Forborne the getting of a lawful race,
And by a gem of women, to be abus'd

[ocr errors]


So used by Ben Jonson, in his Magnetick Lady:

nor are they thrown "To make a muss among the gamesome suitors.” Again, in The Spanish Gipsie, by Middleton and Rowley, 1653:

“ To see if thou be'st alcumy or no,

They 'll throw down gold in musses."
This word was current so late as in the year 1690:

“ Bauble and cap no sooner are thrown down,

" But there's a muss of more than half the town." Dryden's Prologue to The Widow Ranter, by Mrs. Behn. Steevens.

(What's her name Since she was Cleopatra?] That is, since she ceased to be Cleopatra. So, when Ludovico says :

" Where is this rash and most unfortunate man?" Othello replies,

“That's he that was Othello. Here I am.” M. Mason.

This Jack - ] Old copy-The Jack, Corrected by Mr. Pope. Malone.

a gem of women,] This term is often found in Chapman's version of the Iliad. Thus, in the sixth Book:

which though I use not here, “ Yet still it is my gem at home.” In short, beautiful horses, rich garments, &c. in our translator's language, are frequently spoken of as gems. A jewel of e man," is a phrase still in use among the vulgar.” Steeuens.


By one that looks on feeders ?8


Good my lord,


By one that looks on feeders?] One that waits at the table while others are eating. Johnson.

A feeder, or an eater, was anciently the term of reproach for a servant. So, in Ben Jonson's Silent Woman: “ Bar my doors. Where are all my eaters? My mouths now? bar up my doors, my yarlets." Again, in The Wits, a comedy, by Sir W. D'Avenant:

- tall eaters in blew coats, “ Sans number.” One who looks on feeders, is one who throws away her regard on servants, such as Antony would represent Thyreus to be. Thus, in Cymbeline :

that base wretch,
“ One bred of alms, and foster'd with cold dishes,

“ The very scraps o'the court.” Steevens. I incline to think Dr. Johnson's interpretation of this passage the true one. Neither of the quotations, in my apprehension, support Mr. Steevens's explication of feeders as synonymous to a servant. So fantastick and pedantick a writer as Ben Jonson, having in one passage made one of his characters call his attendants, his eaters, appears to me a very slender ground for supposing feeders and servants to be synonymous. In Timon of Athens this word occurs again :

So the gods bless me,
“ When all our offices have been oppress’d

“ With riotous feeders, There also Mr. Steevens supposes feeders to mean servants. But I do not see why “ all our offices” may not mean all the apartments in Timon's house; (for certainly the Steward did not mean to lament the excesses of Timon's retinue only, without at all noticing that of his master and his guests ;) or, if offices can only mean such parts of a dwelling-house as are assigned to servants, I do not conceive that, because feeders is there descriptive of those menial attendants who were thus fed, the word used by itself, unaccompanied by others that determine its meaning, as in the passage before us, should necessarily signify a servant.

is mailst, however, be acknowledged, that a subsequent passale sily be urged in favour of the interpretation which Mr. St...uns has given:

“ To flatter Cæsar, would you mingle eyes

With one that ties his points.?Malone. On naturer consideration, Mr. Malone will find that Timon's Sur has not left the excesses of his master, and his guests, ur ticed; for though he first adverts to the luxury of their ser

he immediately afterwards alludes to their own, which he cort:res to the rooms (not ofices) that “ blaz'd with lights, and bray'd with minstrelsy.” My definition, therefore, of the term offices, will still maintain its ground.


[ocr errors]


Ant. You have been a boggler ever:-
But when we in our viciousness grow hard,
(O misery on 't!) the wise gods seel our eyes;
In our own filth drop our clear judgments;t makes
Adore our errors; laugh at us, while we strut
To our confusion.

O, is it come to this?
Ant. I found you as a morsel, cold upon
Dead Cæsar's trencher: nay, you were a fragment
Of Cneius Pompey's; besides what hotter hours,
Unregister'd in vulgar fame, you have
Luxuriously pick'd out:2-For, I am sure,
Though you can guess what temperance should be,
You know not what it is.

Wherefore is this?
Ant. To let a fellow that will take rewards,
And say, God quit you! be familiar with
My playfellow, your hand; this kingly seal,
And plighter of high hearts!-0, that I were
Upon the hill of Basan,3 to outroar


seel our eyes ;

seel our eyes

In further support of it, see a note on Macbeth, Vol. VII, p. 94, n. 8, where offices occurs, a reading which Mr. Malone has overlooked, and consequently left without remark.

Duncan would hardly have “sent forthlargess to Macbeth's offices, had these offices been (as Mr. Malone seems willing to represent them) all the apartments in the house." Steevens.

seel our eyes ; &c.] This passage should be pointed thus:

In our own filth drop our clear judgments. Tyrwhitt.
I have adopted this punctuation. Formerly,

In our own filth ; &c. Steevens.
1 In our own filth drop our clear judgments ;] If I understand
the foregoing allusion, it is such as scarce deserves illustration,
which, however, may be caught from a simile in Mr. Pope's

“ As what a Dutchman plumps into the lakes,” &c. In King Henry V, Act III, sc. v, we have already met with a conceit of similar indelicacy:

“ He'll drop his lieart into the sink of fear.Steevens. 2 Luxuriously pick'd out:] Luxuriously means wantonly. So, in King Lear:

“ To 't, luxury, pellmell, for I lack soldiers.” Steevens.

the hill of Basan,] This is from Psalm lxviii, 15: “As the hill of Basan, so is God's hill: even an high hill, as the hill of Basan.” Steevens.


[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »