Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

speeches he has just listened to is a veritable bird, over the price of which Armado and Moth have been haggling.

III. i. 116. And he ended the market. There was a proverb: 'Three women and a goose make a market.'

III. i. 185. A very beadle to a humorous sigh. The beadle was an inferior kind of constable who whipped small offenders. See 2 Henry VI II. i. 135. 'Humorous' is here used in the sense of sentimental.

III. i. 190. This senior-junior, giant-dwarf, Dan Cupid. The early editions, both quarto and folio, read "This signior Iunios giant-dwarf, dan Cupid.' It may be better, instead of Hanmer's emendation as given in the text, to print with Hart: 'This signior junior,' i.e. Mr. Youngster. IV. i. 22. O heresy in fair, fit for these days!

recent Cambridge editors, following a suggestion of Hart, see in this line and in lines 30-33 below 'a direct allusion to the conversion of Henry IV' to Romanism, July, 1593. The detached lines mentioned fit the historical situation well enough, but the Princess' speech as a whole does not. In his early plays Shakespeare is very fond of introducing passages of reflective moralizing such as this, generally without any suggestion of topical interest.

IV. i. 48. The thickest, and the tallest. As Marshall remarks, Costard's otherwise dull and uncivil joke gains point if one remembers that the ladies' parts were performed by boys. The wit apparently lies in the fact that the Princess was represented by the oldest and stoutest of this group, whose figure was outgrowing its suitability to feminine rôles.

IV. i. 56. Break up this capon. To break up & fowl was to carve it. Capon is used figuratively, like the French poulet, for a love-letter.

IV. i. 91. the Nemean lion. The lion slain by Hercules in performance of his first labor. Here and

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

in Hamlet I. iv. 83 Shakespeare erroneously accents the first syllable. Hart notes that Golding's Ovid gave him a precedent for the pronunciation.

IV. i. 102. Monarcho. 'The monarch'; a crazy Italian who lived about the English court.

He was subject to delusions of grandeur, and though he died about 1580, was still a familiar subject of allusion twenty years later.

IV. i. 112. she that bears the bow. Rosaline is punning on ‘shooter' and 'suitor,' which were pronounced alike, and often quibblingly confused. In Boyet's speech, line 111, the early editions all print 'shooter' for 'suitor.' In Shakespeare's time, it should be remembered, firearms had not replaced the bow in the fashionable sport of deer-slaying. Several writers see a special application in the deer-shooting allusions of this and the next scene to Queen Elizabeth's wellknown fondness for the cross-bow. Cf. Appendix A, p. 128, note 1.

IV. i. 115. if horns that year miscarry. If the crop of horns is not good. Boyet succumbs to the inevitable jest about cuckolds' horns, produced by unfaithful wives.

IV. i. 123. King Pepin of France. Charlemagne's father, a very ancient monarch.

IV. ii. 32. So were there a patch set on learning, to see him in a school. The word 'patch' is used ambiguously. If Dull were seen in a school, (1) a patch (fool) would be put to study, and (2) a patch (disfigurement, disgrace) would be put on learning.

IV. ii. 34. Many can brook the weather that love not the wind. Apparently a proverbial saying, similar to 'There is no accounting for tastes,' or 'It takes many sorts of men to make a world.' To brook the weather means to put up with foul weather.

IV. ii. 37. Dictynna. This rare epithet of Diana is found in Golding's Ovid and in Tottel's Miscellany.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

It made trouble for the early compositors, who spell it 'Dictisima' and 'Dictima.'

IV. ii. 42. The allusion holds in the exchange. That is, the point of the jest is still seen when Holofernes recasts (in ll. 40, 41) the form in which Dull has given it (1. 36).

IV. ii. 82. vir sapit qui pauca loquitur. That man is wise who speaks little. The sentence is borrowed directly from Lyly's Latin grammar.

IV. ii. 96-98. Fauste, precor gelida quando pecus omne sub umbra Ruminat

good old Mantuan. Holofernes quotes the opening words of the first eclogue of Mantuanus (Baptista Spagnuoli of Mantua, d. 1516), whose Latin poems were an elementary textbook in the schools of the day. The early editions read 'Facile' instead of 'Fauste,' which the recent Cambridge editors think an intentional misquotation. It is more probably a compositor's misreading of Shakespeare's manuscript.

IV. ii. 100, 101. Venetia, Venetia, Chi non te vede, non te pretia. Archaic Italian: 'Venice, Venice, he who has not seen thee cannot value thee.' The words are gibberish as they appear in the early editions. Theobald first explained them.

IV. ii. 103, 104. Ut, re, sol, la, mi, fa. Notes of the old musical scale in incorrect order. They should run: 'ut (later replaced by "do"), re, mi, fa, sol, la.'

IV. ii. 105. As Horace says in his ing of Horace Holofernes has in mind the commentators have failed to discover.

IV. ii. 124. You find not the apostrophas. You pronounce syllables which should be omitted. Or perhaps, as Gollancz suggests, Holofernes means the reverse (diereses): You omit syllables which should be pronounced.

IV. ii. 126. numbers ratified. Metre sanctioned by convention.

a V $ de

PE

to A

What saya

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

IV. ii. 136. from one Monsieur Berowne, one of the strange queen's lords. A very confusing and probably corrupt passage.

What Jaquenetta here says is directly opposed to her assertion (11. 94, 95) that the letter was sent to her from Don Armado; and the designation of Berowne as 'one of the strange queen's lords' is equally absurd. The recent Cambridge editors add another to a great list of implausible explanations by theorizing that 'Berowne' is a compositor's error for 'Boyet' (written 'Bo' or 'Boy'), and that Jaquenetta understands Holofernes to mean by 'directed'imparted. They assume, therefore, that Boyet juggled the two letters.

IV. ii. 147. Trip and go. A common phrase, borrowed from the words of a popular morris dance song.

IV. ii. 169, 170. society-saith the textis the happiness of life. Nathaniel's source for the remark has not been found. Perhaps he is inventing the 'text' like the 'certain Father' of line 155. There is a much quoted Latin hexameter line, repeated by Marlowe in Doctor Faustus, which may have been in Shakespeare's mind: 'Solamen miseris socios habuisse doloris,' it is a comfort to the wretched to have companions in their pain.

IV. iii. 7. as mad as Ajax: it kills sheep. Alluding to the story that Ajax, disappointed of the award of Achilles' armor, went mad and attacked a flock of sheep, which he took for a hostile army.

IV. iii. 89. Stoop, I say. 'Stoop' is generally explained as equivalent to stooping, crooked; but there seems no justification for such a use. It is probably the verbal imperative, addressed sotto voce to Dumaine: Come off your stilts, abandon your exalted nonsense.

IV. iii. 180. With men like men, men of inconstancy. There is little to choose between many of the emendations of this line, which is clearly imperfect

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

both in metre and in sense as printed in the early editions: ‘With men like men of inconstancie.' The reading here accepted, which appears to be original with Craig, makes the line mean 'with ordinary, inconstant men.

IV. iii. 212. sirs. Costard and Jaquenetta are addressed. Shakespeare uses 'sirs' of women alone in Antony and Cleopatra IV. xiii. 85.

IV. iii. 255. the school of night. Perhaps 'that which teaches night to be what it is: dark and sinister.' Most editors have preferred to adopt an emendation that originated with Theobald and Warburton: the scowl of night. The recent Cambridge editors lend their support to a fantastic notion of Mr. Acheson to the effect that 'the school of night is a topical allusion to a society composed of Sir Walter Raleigh, the poet Chapman, Marlowe, etc., whom it is supposed Shakespeare was ridiculing in this play.

IV. iii. 256. And beauty's crest becomes the heavens well. An obscure line. The most obvious meaning is rather flat: 'And beauty's distinguishing mark (or perfection) well becomes the regions of light.'

IV. iii. 257. Devils soonest tempt, resembling spirits of light. Perhaps an allusion to 2 Corinthians 11. 14: 'And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.' The idea recurs in Hamlet II. ii. 636, 637, and in Measure for Measure II. iv. 16, 17.

IV. iii. 299-304. The wording and argument of these lines are repeated in more extended form later in the speech. Compare especially lines 320-323 and 350-354. It is generally recognized that an earlier and a later, expanded and improved, version of the same speech have been accidentally amalgamated in the text which reached the printers. Mr. Dover Wilson argues that the opening lines of Berowne (289

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
« AnteriorContinua »