« VorigeDoorgaan »
" I hold the world, but as a world, Bas. might be derived from internal evisanio;
dence. The above line, for instance, A stage, where every one must play his evinces the Merchant of Venice to part,
have been the first almost of his And mine's a sad one."
productions, written whilst he was If I were not excessively delicate
very poor. in changing a letter of such a wri. ter as Shakspeare, I would slightly
“ Yet, to supply the ripe wants of my alter this into
I'll break a custom.",
save his friend from starvation, he That is, take care of the devil, will, contrary to custom, borrow Bassanio; ride fast, and take care of money at “ usance,” or, according the devil.
to the more modern term,
We must now, therefore, place our“Do cream, and mantle like a standing selves in the situation of Shakspeare,
and imagine how he would express This is a contradiction. I would
“ hunger;” not surely by ripe write,
wants," but certainly thus: Do cream and mantle like a stagnant pool. Yet, to supply the tripe wants of my
friend, I own that the Iricism would still I'll break a custom. remain, but an alteration is effected at all events, and every alteration is of the bowels, and is, I believe, à
Tripe wants signify the yearning a step to improvement, unless, in- Scotch phrase. deed, one changes for the worse.
“ That all the yeanlings which were l'arewell, I'll grow a talker for this streaked and pied,
Should fall at Jacob's hire."
An errour of typography. The old till, by chance, meeting with a work editions have it, I believe, correct; of Bracton's (the lawyer] I read: but I have not time to look into
" It was the custom of this country them. It is not the business of an formerly, when a farmer did lose a editor to be muddling his brains over young sheep, a cow, or a pig, or old and obsolete books; nor would I did become stricken in years, or did do it if it were; my mind is too no. die, for the lord to allow unto him ble.
two shillings and six-pence, for and
because of a dead gift or mortuary." “ 'Tis not unknown to you, Anthonio,
From alt which I infer that ShakHow much I have disabled my estates."
speare wrote, 'Tis not unknown to you, Anthonio, That all the younglings which were How much I have bedevil'd my estates.
stricked and died,
Should fall, &c. I alter this for the same reason that the Englishman drank gin; be- “ You that did void your rheum upon my cause I like it.
I cannot avoid the relation of a " How to get clear of all the debts I owe.” story here, which will make the.
I am convinced, with my lord reader smile. An old gentleman, Kames, that the best chronology of mounting Hampstead Hill, tarried the order of Shakspeare's plays at the Load of Hay, and exclaimed:
"This terrible wind brings the rheum into my eyes."" Then, why don't you," said the witty landlord, “bring your eyes into the room.”
"Hie thee, gentle Jew."
I would vary this, I confess, from mere caprice, but every one has his whim as well as his taste.
Hie thee, Gentile-Jew,
conveys to my ears a more pleasing melody; besides which, it expresses the wavering opinion the Hebrew's apparently generous conduct had created.
"I tell thee, lady, this aspect of mine."
It is really wonderful, that both Shakspeare and Milton accent the word aspect upon the last syllable.
"Father, come, I'll take my leave of the Jew in the twinkling of an eye."
I am sorry to say this is a very indecent, though, it must be confessed, a ludicrous allusion to the burial service:
"We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed in a moment-in the twinkling of an eye."
"Like one well-studied in a sad ostent To please his grandam."
There are two kinds of sense (be sides the five) one is denominated common sense, the second nonsense. Our commentators universally prefer the latter, and therefore never dream of explaining a passage by so slight a difference from the text as the following:
Like one well-studied in a St. Austin,
A St. Austin is a prayer-book.
"Adieu! tears exhibit my tongue."
There has been violent controversy about this passage, though it be simply an instance of transposition, or, as it is termed by the rhetoricians, “dislocation." Shakspeare
"The hyrcanian deserts and the vasty wilds,"
The word vasty grows obsolete; I propose substituting "nasty." It is true that this may injure the sense, but the metre is well preserved. Í question whether hyrcanian is not corrupted from Hesperian, and whe ther our bard did not allude to des serts gathered from the gardens of the Hesperides. But this I am not quite clear about. At all events, some deviation from the text should be introduced.
"Portia, adieu !"
I never could, with certainty, comprehend the signification of this till I had read that facetious work of M.
THE KISS: OR, MOHAMAŠIM THE ASS DRIVER.
Qui te videt beatus est
Beatior qui te audiet
Qui basiat-semi deus est.Buchannan.
Louvet de Cóuvray, entitled La fin des Amours du Chevalier de Faublas.
In one of the chapters whereof (1 forget which) is this exposition: "adieu," a contraction of “á dieu
je vous commend." I have been told that Entick's Dictionary would have given me as much information, which shows how much we are disposed to travel in search of what wé have at home; like the man who sought for a cuckold in every parish but his own.
IT was the custom of Mohamasim to rise with the sun, and drive his asses through the streets of Bagdad. All the world is aware that the milk of those animals is a sovereign remedy against stupidity. Mohamasim, therefore, grew tolerably rich, for there was not a citizen who did not persuade his neighbour that he stood in woful need of the remedy. Twenty years did he pass in this uninterrupted course, without a murmur, and without a wish. He had heard all speak with enthusiasm, of the pleasures of variety: yet heard with indifference. To him, that was most grateful which was most easy; and, though not supernaturally wise, he had discernment sufficient to discover that most things become easy by perpetual recurrence.
'Tis a piteous truth, that, be our inclinations howsoever unaspiring and inoffensive, they are equally subject to opposition with the most turbulent and ambitious. We may
"Hanging and wiving goes by destiny."
I have consulted Lowth, and, finding this line to be ungrammatical, esteem the whole an interpolation. MOMUS.
as well expect to live for ever, as to be for ever fortunate. Life is at best but like the beard of Hamlet's father, a sable silvered. Even the humble existence of Mohamasim, it seems, was to be checkered with trouble; for, one day, as the sultan passed by, the poor fellow, seized with a fit of coughing, wiped his mouth with his sleeve. Unfortunately, by the laws of the Ottomans, it is a capital crime to wipe your mouth in the supreme presence; but the sultan, who then reigned, having an uncom mon portion of humanity and forgiveness, ordered the punishment to be mitigated to a thousand lashes. Now, as Mohamasim could have no claim to feeling, for he was an ass driver, a thousand lashes was a mere flea-bite to him; even the courtiers, a kind of personage renowned for compassion and fine feeling, did not deny the justice and lenity of the sentence; for what crime could be more atrocious than to
wipe one's mouth in the presence of and sixty lashes from the heavy a being who wore red morucco slip- hand of that unmerciful scoundrel, pers?
or kiss the princess Roxalinda, the Punishments are bestowed in most angelick of mortals; the darTurkey with somewhat more alacrityling of the universe ? Am I awake? than rewards are given in England. It would have puzzled Merlin himMohamasim was stripped with sum- self to determine how long he would mary celerity, and had received a have soliloquized in interrogations, dozen tolerably smart applications to' had he not been interrupted by the his shoulders, when the sultan or- melodious remonstrances of his dered the executioner to stop. The animals; but no sooner did the executioner, having lent his sove- well known sounds salute his ears, reign money, cared not an iota for than he started as from a trance, his commands, so proceeded. The and, running to embrace his comtruth was, that having run up a score panions, profaned the very lips with with Mohamasim, for milk, he bore which he was to kiss the princess. him inveterate animosity; for there Never did scene exhibit more pathos is nothing so merciless as ingratitude. on the one side, or more indifference Stay your hand, said the vizier, but on the other. The truth is, that asses still he proceeded. Stay your hand, are not remarkable for tenderness. exclaimed the courtiers unanimous- As he quitted the animals, the ly; but still he proceeded. Dog, said difficulty of obtaining an interview the sultan, enraged, stay thy hand, with the princess, for the first time, or thou shalt be hanged, like the occurred to him. Mirthful and coffin of Mohammed, between earth thoughtless, he never dreamed of and heaven. As the man had no vio- obstacles till he tumbled over them. lent inclination to be hung, he with. It was not till now that he suspected held at last, and Mohamasim had the sultan, in giving him his choice, the satisfaction of hearing him told had condescended to be facetious, to go about his business. Mohama- and that, in fact, his shoulders were sim, said the sultan, if thou hast not doomed to be flayed as inevitably, as contrived, before one revolution of though Gravity herself held the lash. the moon, to kiss the princess Rox. In the name of the prophet, said he, alinda, thou shalt receive the rest. where, when, and how shall I behold Commander of the Faithful, said the princess Roxalinda ? What hast Mohamasim, rubbing his shoulders, thou to do with her, said a neighthy will is indisputable; mankind are bour, slapping him with friendly thy slaves; thou speakest and art freedom on the shoulder? obeyed, nay, more than obeyed. Before I proceed, it were not
ust of my feet, replied the sultan, amiss to observe upon the dissimilitamper not with my patience; choose, tude of customs in different nations. or this moment is thy last. Let me In Turkey, you prove the strength consider, said Mohamasim, with a of your friendship by raising a tuplayfulness' he could not conquer; mour upon your neighbour's shoulshall I now have nine hundred and der. Lapland, being intolerably frisixty more of these pretty, agree- gid, the inhabitants greet each other able, jocose lashes, or a kiss of the with an amicable squeeze by the princess? Why, truly, I believe I shall nose, remarkably conducive to a prefer the kiss, if it be merely for more general circulation of the blood. the sake of variety. The sultan The Dutch, of proverbial phlegm, smiled, and left him.
usually apply a bamboo of some ten Well, said the ass driver, when or twelve inches in circumference alone, can this be rejection; can this to each other's posteriors; a pracbe choice; or receive nine hundred tice, say they, which, while it de
presses the body, elevates the imagination. In France, where all are soldiers, none are esteemed friends who have not interchanged a brace of bullets. Our northwest regions, bearing a stronger affection for their apparel, than for aught besides, invariably seize each other by their coats, supporting a smart conversation until all the buttons are twisted off, or a dozen buttonholes decreased into one. We have, indeed, as well as the Turks, a fashion of tapping on the shoulder, a circumstance which renders sufficient reason for deriving the one nation from the other; especially when we consider that their "4" answers exactly to our "Aye," except that it is pronounced and spelled differently, and varies altogether in signification. But
"What hast thou to do with the princess Roxalinda?" Do with her, said Mohamasim, chuckling, why I lie under the disagreeable necessity of kissing her. What! Mohamasim, the ass-driver kiss the princess! kiss your asses, you idiot. I have, said Mohamasim. Yes, and when thou shalt have surmounted yonder walls, escaped the vigilance of five hundred eunuchs, and explored thy way through inextricable avenues, thou shalt kiss Roxalinda.
In melancholy mood did Mohamasim one moment contemplate the walls, and the next placed his hand instinctively upon his shoulders. Oh Roxalinda! exclaimed he, among the multitude of thy admirers, who more urgently needs, who more ardently desires a kiss, than Mohamasim the ass-driver. Then did his rustick imagination dwell upon her various beauties; her shape so delicate, so majestick; her motion so magnificent; her apparel so lofty, and her feathers so waving; her swelling bosom neque eas ut fœminis pendiculas, sed quales virginibus globosas and her lips rosy, and pouting like the cherry.
As he proceeded towards the pa
lace, so disordered were his senses, he thought the walls increased in height as he approached; his heart misgave him as he surveyed them; no friendly inequality for the hand to grasp, or the wearied foot to rest upon. Could I but make a beginning, said he, half my difficulties were vanquished. So Archimedes could have turned the earth, had he but possessed a second to hold his apparatus.
He now endeavoured to scale the walls, but every effort decreased his strength and his hopes; and, had he not fallen asleep in the midst of his perplexities, he had perhaps exerted himself into madness; but even from balmy sleep he gathered no relief; he dreamed of nothing but the princess. Now he beheld her pressing her ripe lips in mockery against an inaccessible window; and now placing his hand upon the summit of the wall, he leaped over it with as much facility and as much contempt as Remus over those of infant Rome. When he awoke, his faculties were less circumscribed, and his patience had acquired renewed energy; he imagined and rejected scheme after scheme; but, instead of regretting their impracticability, he lay on his back in mute amaze at the inex. haustibility of his own invention. At length he determined. If, said he, Mohamasim has any affection for the shoulders of Mohamasim, he must cease to be Mohamasim. Philosophers and Persian physicians are above all men respected in Turkey; rise up then, good Mohamasim, a philosopher, he said, and sprang from the ground; his heart dilated with hope as he hastened to his hut. He secured his doors, and proceeded to the habitation of a renowned sage, to obtain some information how to proceed. Arrived, he acquainted his host with his story, and his intentions, and petitioned for his assistance; but petitioning was not sufficient, he was compelled to pay for it.