Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

impressed was he by the sight of this gloomy prison below the lake that he wrote this history of an imaginary captive.

2. a dungeon's spoil: a donjon was the keep-tower of a castle, hence the prison under it. See Extract XIV., Note 10.

3. this was for my father's sake : this should here be it.

4. fetter'd in hand but pined in heart. A better reading (adopted by Professor Hales in his Longer English Poems) is joined in heart.

5. I ought to do, etc., i.e., it was my duty to do my best, and I did it. Ought is the past tense of owe, I possess, have, which itself is the past of an infinitive eigan, to labour. Hence, I have laboured came to mean I possess, and hence I have it as a duty, I ought. Ought is now used as both a present and a past tense.

6. For him my soul was sorely moved. The construction is here irregular ; the youngest is used absolutely, that is, it is placed at the beginning of the sentence to express the subject of the thought without being connected with any verb or preposition. We may suppose that it is governed by some preposition understood, as for, or as to, so that the sentence would run “as for the youngest, my soul was sorely moved for him.” Compare "The trumpery in my house, go bring it hither."

Tempest IV. 1, 186. 7. a polar day: in the North of Norway, the sun does not set at all for a few days in the middle of summer.

8. Lake Leman : that is, Geneva.

9. what I wist : what I knew. The prisoner loses consciousness and power of perception till he is restored by the singing of a bird.

10. The blue Rhone. Professor Hales has pointed out that the Rhone does not become blue till it leaves the lake at Geneva. (Longer English Poems.)

II. a little isle. “ Between the entrance of the Rhone and Villeneuve, not far from Chillon, is a very small island, the only one I could perceive in my voyage round and over the lake within its circumference. It contains a few trees (I think not above three), and from its singleness and diminutive size has a peculiar effect upon the view."—Byron.

XXVII. The Boyhood of the Black Prince. 1. The universities of Oxford and Cambridge, at which the students at that time were often much younger than at present. In a note to this passage Dean Stanley says that the tradition of the prince's connection with Queen's College and with Wycliffe must be taken with considerable reservation.

2. The engraving now hangs in the gallery above the hall of Queen's College.

3. The Fellows of a college are the more successíul of the students who are elected to a share in its revenues. Lord Macaulay used to tell his nephew that “if he minded his syntax, he might eventually hope to reach a position which would give him three hundred pounds a year, a stable for his horse, six dozen of audit ale every Christmas, a loaf and two pats of butter every morning, and a good dinner for nothing, with as many almonds and raisins as he could eat at dessert."

4. These Italian archers were hired soldiers. It will be seen that they were the first to run away.

5. “A sun issuing from a black cloud was the badge of the Black Prince, probably from this occurrence.”

6. “The Oriflamme of France, like the green standard of the Prophet in the Turkish Empire, had the effect of declaring the war to be what was called a "holy war;' that is, a war of extermination."

7. The king dressed his son before the battle in black armour of burnished iron. The prince used black banners and black devices in tournaments, and rode a black pony on his famous entry into London.

XXVIII. Character of the Black Prince. 1. These words are spoken, in the play of Richard 11., by the Duke of York, uncle of Richard 11. (who was the son of the Black Prince) when the latter unjustly seized the possessions of John of Gaunt.

XXIX. At the Grave of the Black Prince. 1. Cardinal Talleyrand. 2. Archbishop Chichele, in the reign of Henry v.

3. Chichele founded and endowed All Souls' College, Oxford.

4. Shakespeare's Julius Cæsar, III, 2. 5. Canterbury.

6. Two great battles between the English and the Sikhs, in the winter of 1845–6, which resulted in our conquest of the Punjab.

XXX. True Worth. 1. From a Pindaric ode to the immortal memory and friendship of that noble pair, Sir Lucius Cary (Lord Falkland) and Sir H. Morison. Morison had died young ; Falkland too fell at Newbury, at the age of thirty-three, leaving a name that has endured to prove the truth of Jonson's beautiful thought.

XXXI. The Big Trees. 1. gigantesque : of the termination esque, Professor Earle says, "This French —esque came from the Italian-esco, and this again from the Gothic-isc, which has become in German isch. So that this French --esque is radically the same as our Saxon --isc and English -ish, only having performed a tour through two Romanesque languages, it has come round to us with a peculiar complexion of its own,-an excellent specimen of the way in which the resources of language are enriched by mere variation.”-Philology of the English Tongue.

2. Andirondacks : a wilderness of mountain and lake in the north of the State of New York. In this region is the source of the Hudson, locally called the Andirondack River.

3. Sierra : a range of mountains the tops of which are edged like a saw (Latin, serra).

XXXIII Forms of Humour. 1. The Rambler. An essay-paper, similar in form to the Spectator (see Note xxii. 5), published twice a week, 1750-52, by Dr. Johnson. The essays have a pompous involved style and a Latin diction that despises common words. Johnson, however, outgrew this fault.

2. Panegyric. A speech or writing in praise of some one. 3. Lord Castlereagh, afterwards Earl of Londonderry, (1769– 1822) was a Secretary of State in the early part of this century.

4. The passage means "the two brothers and the man they were intending to murder," From Isabella, verse 27.

5. Anachronism. A mistake by which an event is referred to a time when it could not have happened. Thus in the play of King Lear, the scene of which is laid 800 years B.C., mention is made of spectacles to aid the sight.

XXXIV. The Deposition of Richard II. 1. Give me the crown : The Parliament is sitting in Westminster Hall, whither Henry Bolingbroke has come to claim the crown, and the unfortunate Richard is brought in to surrender it to him.

2. Owes. That is, owns, (see Note xxvi. 5.)

3. Ay, no; no, ay; for I must nothing be. Richard is full of idle fancies, and is fond of playing on words. The pun here depends on the fact that ay and I are sounded alike.

4. balm : the sacred oil poured over the head and breast of a king at his coronation. Elsewhere Richard says,

Not all the water in the rough rude sea.

Can wash the balm off from an anointed king. Balm is a fragrant plant, balsam ; Latin, balsamum.

5. revenues. Note the accent revenues. Sometimes the accent is on the first syllable in Shakespeare.

6. Lecture : a reading. Thus the reading of Scripture in church is called a lesson. From French leçon ; Latin lectionem, acc. of lectio, a reading.

7. More than once in this play Richard calls his enemies by the names of Pilate or Judas, thus implicitly comparing himself to Christ. The apparent profanity of such language is explained when we remember that he held strongly the doctrine of the “divine right” of a king to reign, and that he regards himself and is regarded as God's substitute, His deputy anointed in His sight.

8. sterling : that is, if my command pass current still in England. Sterling is said to be a corruption of esterling, an Easterling; a name given to German merchants whose money was noted for its purity.

9. conveyers : thieves. To convey is a polite way of saying to steal. The pun is suggested by Bolingbroke's use of the word in its natural sense of to carry.

10. “Henry's coronation was really on Monday, Oct. 13th.” “Shakespeare blends together the proceedings of Sept. 30th, with those of the Parliament which reassembled on the 14th of Oct. Richard was not himself present at either.” (From the Clarendon Press Edition).

XXXVII. Dunnet Head. 1. Thurso : in Caithness, on the north coast of Scotland.

2. gyoes. “The constantly rolling sea, ever for ever, washes itself against the rocks, grinding away the softest parts. The red sandstone goes first, leaving long hollows amongst the slates, through which the sea drives inland. In stormy weather, the waves wash in with great force, sometimes a quarter of a mile or more; and at the far end, they drive up into the open air, blowing like a whale. These hollows under the rocks are called goes or gyoes. They are common all round Caithness.” “There is an old tradition of a piper who ventured too far up a cave called Pudding Gyoe, and ultimately lost himself; and many people, good people, heard him long long after, playing his pipes in a low hollow sound, some four miles up the country." --Smiles.

XXXVIII. Alfred the Great. 1. Christian India : “envoys bore his presents to the churches of India and Jerusalem.”). R. Green.

XLI. The Great Pyramid. 1. Their Sheikh. An Arab chief, literally, an old man. 2. backsheesh: presents of money. 3. The fugitives Jeroboam, : Urijah, and others. See 1 Kings xi. 40. ; xiv. 25, 26. Jeremiah xxvi. 21 ; xliii. 7.

XLII. A Charade. None but my whole would die : the answer is blockhead.

XLIII. The Hermit Crab. The Diogenes of Crustacea. Crustacea is the name given to the class of animals whose bodies are covered with a shell, as shrimps, lobsters, etc.

Diogenes (born 414, B.C.) belonged to a sect of Greek philosophers called Cynics, who found their ideal of virtue in freedom from desire, in renunciation of all ties political and social, and in disregard of all enjoyments. Diogenes lived in a tub.

2. The Corsican Brothers : a play founded on a French story by Dumas.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »