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Apologie of Poetrie, written 1590. and prefixed to the tranflation of Arifto, fays. that a tragedy of Richard the Third had been acted at Cambridge. His words are, "For tragedies, to omit other "famous tragedies, that which was played at St. John's in "Cambridge, of Richard the "Third, wou'd move, I think, "Phalaris the tyrant, and ter"rifie all tyrannous minded men, &c." He most probably means Shakespeare's; and if fo, we may argue, that there is fome more antient edition of this play than what I have mentioned; at least this fhews us how early Shakespeare's play appeared: or if some other Richard the
NOTES to the SIXTH VOLUME.
P. 18. For the plague of cuftom, we may read by a very easy change, the place of cuftom. The place which cuftom, and only custom, not nature, hath allotted J. SIMPSON, Efq; P. 18. Thou, nature, art my goddess;] Dr. Warburton (for the fake of introducing an oftentatious note) fays, that Shakespeare has made his baftard an Atheist; when it is very plain that Edmund only speaks of na❤ ture in oppofition to cuflom, and not (as he fuppofes) to the exiftence of a God.
Mr. STEEVENS. P. 41. Like an engine wrench'd my frane f nature.] Mr. Edwards conjectures that an engine is the rack. He is right. To
Third is here alluded to by Harrington, that a play on this fubject preceded our author's.
P. 386. I am the shadow, &c.] There may another explanation be given fomewhat harsh, but the beft that occurs to me. I am the shadow of poor Buckingham, whfe figure even this infant it puts on, whose port and dignity is affumed by this cardinal that overclouds and oppreffes me, and who gains my place, by darkening my clear fun.
P. 421. Sennet was an inftrument of mufick, as appears from other places of this authour, but of what kind I know
engine is, in Chaucer, to strain upon the rack.
P. 42. Of fifty to difquantity
your train] Mr. Pope propofes a little in the room of fifty, and gives as his reafon for the change, that the number (as the editions flood) was no more specified by Goneril.
If Mr. Pope had examined the copies as accurately as he pretended to have done, he would have found in the first filio that Lear, after these words,
To have a thankless child—go, go, my people;
has an exit marked for him, and goes out while Albany and Gɔneril have a fhort conference of two speeches, and then returns in a fill greater paffion, having
"makes his people swear at ran"dom," nor has he done fo here; though I cannot believe he received any affiftance from mythology, to furnish out a proper oath for Glofter. People always addrefs the Gods as they would have them fhew themfelves at that time in their favour; and he accordingly calls thofe kind Gods, whom he would wifh to find fo in this inftance. Our own liturgy will fufficiently evince the truth of this fuppoMr. STEEVENS.
P. 110. As flies to wanton boys, are we to th' Gods ;) They kill us for their sport.-] It may not be unentertaining to the reader to have an opportunity of feeing how differently this idea has been expreffed by three great poets of different ages.
been informed (as it should feem) of the exprefs number without. What! fifty of my followers at a clap?
This renders all change needlefs, and away, away, being reftored, prevents the repetition of go, go, my people; which, as the text now ftands, concludes both that and the foregoing fpeech. Goneril with great art avoids to mention the limited number, and leaves him to be informed of it by accident, which she knew would be the cafe as foon as he left her prefence. Mr. STEEVENS. P. 62. He wears cruel garters.] I believe a quibble was here intended. Crewel fignifies worsted, of which ftockings, garters, night caps, &c. are made, and is used in that fenfe in Beaumont and Fletcher's Scornful Lady, a&t ii.
"For who that had but half
"his wits about him, "Would commit the counfel "of a serious fin "To fuch a crewel night-cap." Mr. STEEVENS. P. 92. Mice and rats and fuch fmall deare
Have been my food for seven long year-] Warburton, inftead of deare, propofes geare; but I have discovered that these two lines are taken from an old black letter'd romance of St. Beyuys of Hampton, 4to. printed for William Copland, in which occurs this paffage, ftated within ratts, &c. Mr. PERCY.
P. 102. By the kind Gods.-] Dr. Warburton is of opinion that Shakespeare, by the kind Gods, means the dii hofpitales. I agree with him, that the Poet"
Dii nos quafi pilas bomines babent.
Plaut. Captiv. Prol. L., 22. Ludit in humanis divina potentia rebus.
Ovid. Lib. 4. de Ponto Eleg. 3. Mr. STEEVENS. 'P. 122. Therefore I do advise you take this note
My lord is dead; Edmund and
And more convenient is he for
Than for your lady's; you may gather more.
If you do find him, pray you give him this;
And when your mistress bears
thus much from you, I pray defire ber call her wif
dom to her.] This paffage, by a word's being left out and a word mifplaced, and a full ftop put where there fhould be but a
comma, has led all our editors into a very great miftake; as will, I hope, appear, when we proceed a little further in the fame play. The emendation is as follows:
"Therefore I do advise you,
i. e. this anfwer by word of
of, May be my friends."
had no letter from Regan, but only a message to be delivered by word of mouth to Edmund earl of Glofter. So that it is not to be doubted, but the last passage fhould be read thus.
"And give the letter, which
"May be my friends.”— Thus the whole is connected, clear, and confiftent.
Dr. GRAY. P. 125. Edg. Had ft thou been ought but gofs'mer feathers,
Thou'dft fhiver'd like an egg, &c.] Goffomore, the white and cobweb-like exhalations that fly about in hot funny weather.
Skinner fays, in a book called the French Gardiner, it fignifies the down of the fow-thiftle, which is driven to and fro by the wind. "As fure fome wonder on the "cause of thunder,
"On ebb and flood, on gef
forner and mist,
Reads the letter. Obferve, that here is but one letter produced and read, which is Goneril's. Had there been one of Regan's too, the audience no doubt should have heard it as well as Goneril's. But it is plain, from what is amended and explained above, that the fteward
"And on all things, till that "the caufe is wift"
Dr. GRAY. P. 128. -nor the fall'd borfe Goes to't with a mare riotous
appetite.] SoyPd barfe in all the other editions I believe, and it is a term now ufed for a horse that has been fed long with hay and corn in the ftable, and in spring
The like expreflion, Twelfth Night, act iii. fc. iv. vol. iii. P. 168.
Sir Tody." Challenge me the Duke's youth, to fight with him; "hurt him in eleven places; my niece fhall take note of it.
has fresh grafs carried to him thither, upon which he feeds gree. dily. Dr. GRAY. P. 136. Restoration hang Thy medicine on my lips-] Dr. Warburton fays that Cordelia in vokes the goddess of health, Hygicia, under the name of Reftoration; but I believe the reader will join with me in thinking, that if Shakespeare meant any goddess in this place, it was one of his own making; for we may fuppofe the Pantheons of that age (from whence most probably he furnished himself with his knowledge in mythology) were not fo particular as to take notice of the fecondary deities; and the Poet, had he been acquainted with her name, would certainly have called her by it. Refloration means no more than recovery perfonified.
Mr. STEEVENS. P. 140. Do you not love my fifter?
Edm. In honour'd love.] After this line, the quarto of 1608 continues the dialogue thus; and I fee no reason why it should be omitted.
Reg. But have you never found
my brother's way To the fore-fended place? Baft. That thought abufes you. Reg. I am doubtful that have been conjun&t And befom'd with her, as far as we call bers. Baft. No, by mine honour, ma
omitted in all; by which means the baftard is made to deny that flatly at firft, which the poet only meant to make him evade, or return flight anfwers to, till he is urged fo far as to be obliged to fhelter himself under an immediate falfhood.
Mr. STEEVENS. P. 145. The goujeres shall confume them flesh and fell.] Both flesh and fkin.
So Skelton's works, p. 257.
"Neither flesh nor fell.” Chaucer ufeth fell and bones, for fkin and bones.
"And faid that he and all his "kinne at once, "Were worthy to be brent "with fell and bone." Troilus and Creffeide, 1.91. Dr. GRAY. P. 170. In the note, for or art, read of art.
P. 175. In the note, for well be him, read well be he.
P. 320. the enemies cofile.] The Revifal affirms, and, I think, proves, that cafk is right.
P. 347: Get me a ladder] Mr. Theobald has very officiously tranfplanted this half line into the mouth of Lucius, and defires to know why the Moor, who wanted to have his child faved, fhould ask for a ladder.
Aaron very properly answers, get me a ladder, that is, hang me, but fpare my child. Could circumftance fhew a greater defire of faving his child than the offer of himself in its room? Aaron knows he must die, and being quite careless about it, would only haften that which he fees is unavoidable at laft, to
The firit and last of thefe fpeeches are inferted in Sir 7. Hanmer's, and I believe in Theobald's and Dr. Warburton's editions; but the two intermediate ones are
make it the means of faving his own offspring. Mr. STEEVENS. P. 340. Marc. My lord, I am a mile beyond the moon.] My lord, I ayme a mile beyond the
Folios 1623, and 1632.
Dr. GRAY. P. 405. -thou found and firm-fit earth.] A corrupt reading will fometimes direct us to find out the true one. The firft folio has it.
-thou lowre and firm-Jet earth. This brings us very near the right word, which was evidently meant to be,
-thou fure and firm fet earth.
"At length I on a fountain
not yet attained. The death of the king only could neither insure the crown to Macbeth, nor accomplish any other purpose, while his fons were yet living, who had therefore just reason to ap: prehend they fhould be removed by the fame means. The defign to fix the murder on fome innocent perfon had taken effect, for it was already adjudged to have been done by the grooms, who appeared intoxicated, even after it was discovered, and during that ftate, were fuppofed, at firft, to have been guilty of it; though the flight of Malcolm, and his brother, afforded Macbeth afterwards a fairer pretext for laying it to their charge.
P. 440. indiget.
Mr. STEEVENS. For indicet, read
P. 468.-bell is murky.] Lady Macbeth is acting over, in a dream, the bufinefs of the murder, and encouraging her hufband, as when awake. She, therefore, would never have faid any thing of the terrors of hell to one whofe confcience fhe faw was too much alarmed already for her purpose. She certainly imagines herself here talking to Macbeth, who (the fupposes) has juft faid, hell is murky, (i.e. hell is a difmal place to go to, in confequence of fuch a deed) and repeats his words in contempt of his cowardice.
Hell is murky!-Fie, fie, my lord, &c.
This explanation, I think, gives a fpirit to the paffage, which, for want of being underfood, has always appeared languid on the ftage.