Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

but that I am affeard. Macbeth, Act IV. Wear thou thy wrongs, His title is affeard. And else. where. There is indeed a passage in Spencer's Fairy Queen, B. V. c. 3. st. 22. That may seem to vindicate the received reading, which is, as follows.

[ocr errors]

As for this lady which be sheweth bere, is not (I wager) Florimet at all But some fair franion, fit for fuch a fear That by misfortune in his band did fall. Fit for such a fear, i. e. fit for such a fearful perfon, such a coward ; as perhaps some might think it should be interpreted. But this place in Spencer is wrongly spelt, and it should be thus written, But some fair frannion, fit for such a fere. But some loose creature fit for such a companion. Fere is so used by Spencer and ? Chaucer. So that Spencer and Shakespeare fhould both

be

7 A passage in Chaucer I would hence corrrect : In the Prologues of the Canterbury Tales. . 166.

A Monke ther was fayr for the maistery,
• An outrider, that loved venery."

be corrected. The story is taken from Plutarcḥ in his life of Antony. Aéqwn Tow: Túzemu auri, λαμπροάτην έσαν και μεχίσης, υπό της Καίσαρος αμαυgšofan. The Latin translator is wrong here, Tuxn is his Genius, not chance or fortune γαρ σος Δαίμων τον τότε φοβείται και γαύρG- ών και υψηλος όταν η καθ' αυτόν, υπ' εκείνα γίνεθαι ΤΑΠΕΙΝΟΤΕΡΟΣ έγγίσαν, και ΑΓΕΝΝΕΣΤΕΡΟΣ. Ρlut. p. 930. E. Which passage stronly confirms my emendation. The allusion is to that belief of the ancients, which Menander so finely expresses,

Απρωθι Δαίμων ανδρί συμπαρασταθεί

Ενθυς γενομένω μωσαϊωγος τη βιά. It seems to me it should be thus,

“ A Monk ther was, fere for the mistery, &e. i.e. “ There was a Monk, a proper companion and bro

ther for the Monkish profeffion, (so mistery is used by “ the old writers ;] An outrider, &c. i. e. one not confined " to his cloyster, but a rider abroad and a lover of hunt" ing." This word is wrongly spelt in B. Johnson's Silent Woman. A& II. Sc. V. “ Morose. Dear Lady, I

am courtly, I tell you, and I must have mine eares ban

queted with pleasant and wittie conferences, pretty girds, “ scoffs, and daliance in her, that I mean to choose for

my * bedpbeere, read, bed-fere." i. e. a bed-fellow : so playing fere, a play fellow, used by Chaucer, and by Beaumont and Fletcher in the two. Noble Kinsmen. Ac IV. playpheeres. read, play-feręs. This word we had originally from the Danes.

The philofophical meaning the emperor Marcus
Antoninus lets us into. L. V. f. 27. ó Aaímwv öv
εκάσω προς την και ηγεμόνα ο Ζευς έδωκεν απόσπασμα
lauriÉs un o éxdsy vas vabzo. And our
learned Spencer. B. 2. č. 12. ft. 47.
They in that place, lim Genius did call :
Not that celestial power, to whom the care
Of life, and generation of all
That lives, pertains, in charge particular,
Who wondrous things concerning our welfare,
And strange phantoms doth let us oft foresee,
And oft of secret ills bids us beware :
That is our Self ; who [r. whom] tbowe do not

See,

Yet each doth in himself it well perceive to be.

The fame story is alluded to in Macbeth, Act III.

There is none but be
Whose being I do fear : and under him
My Genius is rebukd; as it is said,
Antony's was by Caesar.

These passagés a little considered will shew in a fine light that dialogue between Octavius and Antony, in Julius Caesar, Act V. where Octavius uses his controuling and checking genius :

[ocr errors]

“ Ant. Oétavius, lead your battle softly on,

“ Upon the left hand of the even field. “ Oct. Upon the right hand I, keep thou the

66 left. « Ant. Why do you cross me in this exigent? u Oct. I do not cross you, but I'vrill do fo." 'Twas a common opinion likewise among the ancients, that, when any great evil befel them, they were forsaken by their guardian Gods. How beautiful is this represented in Homer and Virgil?. The heavenly power, that usually prou tected the hero, deserts him just before his ruin. Plutarch tells us in his life of Antony, that, before he killed himself, a great noise of all manner of instruments was heard in the air, such as was usually made at the feasts of Bacchus ; it seemed to enter at one gate of the city, and, traversing it quite through, to go out at the gate which the enemy lay before : this signified, as 'twas interpreted, that Bacchus, his guardian God, had forsaken him. This circumstance our poet has introduced in Antony and Cleo

patra, Act IV.

.

« 2. Sold. Peace, what noise ?

1. Sold. Lift, lift! “ 2. Sold. Hark !

• 1. Sold.

"1 'Iill God at last, Wearied with their iniquities, withdraw His presence from among them, and avert His boly eyes, But I am commencing commentator, when my province is only criticism: to return therefore If the omission of a single letter occasions such confufion in modern languages, what will it not do in the Greek and Latin ? I will just mention an instance of this fort. In Ovid. Amor. III. XII.21.

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

Per nos Scylla, patri canos furata capillos,

“ Pube premit rabidos inguinibusque canes." But some copies read caros, from which word a letter is omitted, and it should be written claros.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Patri claros furata capillos.
For thus the hair of Nisus is described in Ovid
Met. VIII, 8.

CUI SPLENDIDUS ostro
• Inter honoratos medio de vertice canos
" Crinis inhaerebat, magni fiducia regni.'

Virg. Georg. I. 405.

11 Perhaps too Milton had in his mind what Josephus relates, that a voice was heard before the destruction of Jerusalem, fupposed of the guardian Angels forsaking the Jewish temple : Let us depart hence. phila Caivanev ivleüber. Joseph. de bell. Jud. L. 7.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »