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O U nymphs, callid Naiads, of the wand'ring
brooks! With your sedg'd crowns, and ever harmless locks, Leave your crisp channels. Tempest, A. 4, S. 1.
Ν Α Μ Ε.
Richard II. A. 1, S. 3.
To abide a field,
wand'ring brooks.] The modern editors read winding brooks. The old copy windring. I suppose we should read wand'ring, as it is here printed.
Steevens: Perhaps we should read, windered brooks, i. e. brooks whose fides were decked, or ornamented, with flowers. Windered, in Chaucer, is gay, trim, ornamented..
A. B. - waxen coat.] Waxen may mean soft, and consequently penetrable.
STEEVENS. waxen coat” is not a coat made of wax, nor even a soft coat. The speech is figurative. Waxen is employed as a participle present, and means growing:--Coat is used for consequence, importance, in allufion to enfigns armorial. Bolingbroke's meaning is,—that he hopes to overturn, or put down, the growing greatness of Mowbray, and to raise up the name of Gaunt.
A. B. 3 Did feem defenfible.] Defenfible does not, in this place, mean capable of defence, but bearing Arength, furnishing the means of defence,
N A TI ON.
Remember where we are;
Henry VI. P. 1, A. 4, S. 1.
Hamlet, A. 1, S. 4.
N A T U R E.
Nature is made better by no mean,
Once a day, I'll visit
The meaning is, that nothing but the name of Hotspur gave strength or support to the cause. Soin Richard III. “ Befide, the king's name is a tower of strength, &c.".
This is as strange a maze as e'er men trod :
Antony and Cleopatra, A. 5, S. 2.
Cymbeline, A. 4, S. 2.
Hath nature given them eyes
The fiery orbs above, and the twinn'd stones?
Cymbeline, A. 1, S. 7.
Here lay Duncan, His silver skin lac'd with his golden blood; And his gash'd stabs look'd like a breach in nature, For ruin's wasteful entrance: there the murderers
and the twinn'd stones Upon the number'd beach?] I have no idea in what sense the beach, or fhore, should be called number'd. I have ventured, against all the copies, to substitute,
"Upon th' unnumber'd beach?" i, e. the infinite extensive beach.
THEOBALD. “Upon th' unnumber'd beach?" Scnse, and the antithesis, oblige us to read this nonsense thus :
“Upon the humbled beach ?” i. e. because daily insulted by the flow of the tide.
WARBURTON. I know not well how to regulate this passage. Number'd is, perhaps, numerous. Twinn'd stones I do not understand. Twinn'd Shells
, or pairs of shells, are very common. For twinn'd we might read twin'd, that is, twisted, convolved; but this sense is more applicable to shells than to stones.
JOHNSON. I would read thus:
“—which can distinguish 'twixt
" Unnumber'd on the beach?" Unnumber'd seems to include both stars and stones. Twinn'd ftones, may mean, ftones in shape and number like the stars.
The fenfe, I believe, is this; Man, says the poet, can distinguish between the fiery orbs above, and the stones upon the beach, which are spherical like those orbs, and which also resemble them in number; and cannot we, aflisted as we are by reason, by the faculties of the foul'; or as he expresses it, having spectacles fo precious," distinguish between virtue and vice,-betwixt fair and foul ?
Steep'd in the colours of their trade, their daggers Unmannerly breech'd with gore !
Macbeth, A. 2, S. 3. Let your own discretion be your tutor: fuit the action to the word, the word to the action; with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature; for any thing so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first, and now, was, and is, to hold the mirror as 'twere up to nature; to Mew virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure. Hamlet, A. 3, S. 2. That nature, which contemns its origin, Cannot be border'd certain in itself; She that herself will fliver and disbranch
"Unmannerly breech'd with gore.] An unmannerly dagger, and a dagger breech'd, or, as in some editions, breach'd with gore, are expressions not easily to be understood. There are undoubtedly two faults in this passage, which I have endeavoured to take away by reading,
daggers « Unmannerly drench’d with gore.” I saw, drenched with the king's blood, the fatal daggers, not only inftruments of murder, but evidences of cowardice. JOHNSON.
“ Unmannerly breech'd with gore." This nonfenfical account of the state in which the daggers were found, must surely be read thus:
...?“Unmannerly reech'd with gore." Reech'd, foiled with a dark yellow, which is the colour of any reechy substance, and must be fo of steel stained with blood.
WARBURTON. “ This passage (says Mr. Heath) seems to have been the crux “ criticorum. Every one has tried his skill at it, and I may ture to say, no one has succeeded."
The whole matter is, I think, that some of the lines have been transposed at the press. I regulate the passage thus :
Here lay Duncan, 6. His filver sin lac'd with his golden blood; “ And his gash'd stabs look'd like a breach in nature, "(Unmannerly breach!) for ruin's wasteful entrance.« There the murderers, steep'd in the colours of their trade, ** Their daggers drenched with gore.”
A. B. From