Page images
PDF
EPUB

To hide the truth of this false night's abuses :
My tongue shall utter all ; mine eyes, like sluices,

As from a mountain-spring that feeds a dale,
Shall gush pure streams to purge my impure tale.

By this, lamenting Philomel had ended
The well-tun'd warble of her nightly sorrow,
And solemn night with slow-sad gait descended
To ugly hell ; when lo, the blushing morrow
Lends light to all fair eyes that light will borrow:

But cloudy Lucrece shames herself to see,
And therefore still in night would cloister'd be.

eye of

Revealing day through every cranny spies,
And scems to point her out where she sits weeping;
To whom she sobbing speaks : 0 eyes,
Why pry'st thou through my window ? leave thy

peeping; Mock with thy tickling beams eyes that are sleeping:

Brand not my forehead with thy piercing light, For day hath nought to do what's done by night,

Thus cavils she with every thing she sees:
True grief is fond and testy as a child",
Who wayward once, his mood with nought agrees.
Old woes, not infant sorrows, bear them mild;
Continuance tames the one; the other wild,

Like an unpractis'd swimmer plunging still,
With too much labour drowns for want of skill.

So she, deep-drenched in a sea of care,
Holds disputation with each thing she views,
And to herself all sorrow doth compare ;
No object but her passion's strength renews;
And as one shifts, another straight ensues :

? True grief is fond and testy as a child,] Fond, in old language, is foolish. MALONE.

Sometime her grief is dumb, and hath no words; Sometime 'tis mad, and too much talk affords ?.

The little birds that tune their morning's joy,
Make her moans mad with their sweet melody 4:
For mirth doth search the bottom of annoy;
Sad souls are slain in merry company';
Grief best is pleas'd with grief's society:

True sorrow then is feelingly suffic'd,
When with like semblance it is sympathiz'd.

'Tis double death to drown in ken of shore;
He ten times pines, that pines beholding food;
To see the salve doth make the wound ake more;
Great grief grieves most at that would do it good:
Deep woes roll forward like a gentle flood,
Who, being stopp'd, the bounding banks o'er-

flows;
Grief dallied with nor law nor limit knows.

3. Sometime HER GRIEP IS DUMB, AND HATH NO WORDS ;

Sometime 'tis MAD, and too MUCH TALK AFFORDS.) Thus, Lothario speaking of Calista :

“ At first her rage was dumb, and wanted words ;
“ But when the storm found way, 'twas wild and loud,
Mad as the priestess of the Delphick god," &c.

Steevens. * The little birds that tune their morning's joy,

Make her moans Mad with their sweet MELODY:) So the unhappy king Richard II. in his confinement exclaims :

This musick mads me, let it sound no more ;
“For though it have holpe madmen to their wits,

“ In me it seems it will make wise men mad." Shakspeare has here (as in all his writings) shown an intimate acquaintance with the human heart. Every one that has felt the pressure of grief will readily acknowledge that "mirth doth search the bottom of annoy." Malone.

s Sad souls are slain in MERRY COMPANY ;] So, in Love's Labour's Lost :

“Oh, I am stabbed with laughter." Steevens.

You mocking birds, quoth she, your tunes entomb
Within your hollow-swelling feather'd breasts!
And in my hearing be you mute and dumb !
(My restless discord loves no stops nor rests;
À woeful hostess brooks not merry guests? :)

Relish your nimble notes to pleasing ears ® ;
Distress likes dumps' when time is kept with

tears.

6

5 And in my hearing be you MUTE AND DUMB!] The same pleonasm is found in Hamlet:

“Or given my heart a working mute and dumb." The editor of the octavo in 1616, to avoid the tautology, reads without authority :

And in my hearing be you ever dumb." Malone. “ You mocking birds, quoth she, your tunes entomb “ Within your hollow swelling feather'd breasts, “And in my hearing be you mute and dumb!

(My restless discord loves no stops nor rests; “A woeful hostess brooks not merry guests.Thus, Calista :

Be dumb for ever, silent as the grave,
“ Nor let thy fond officious love disturb

My solemn sadness with the sound of joy." Steevens. - no stops,] This word is used here in a musical sense. So, in the Prologue to King Henry IV. Part II. :

“ Rumour is a pipe

“ And of so easy and so plain a stop-." MALONE. ? A woeful hostess brooks not merry guests :] So, in Troilus and Cressida : “ A woeful Cressid 'mongst the merry Greeks."

STEEVENS. 8 Relish your nimble notes to pleasing ears ;] The quarto and all the other editions till that of 1616, read ralish, which was either used in the same sense as relish, or was a different mode of spelling the same word. Relish is used by Daniel in his 52d Sonnet in the same manner as here:

“ If any pleasing relish here I use,
“ Then judge the world, her beauty gives the same.

“ O happy ground that makes the musick such-." If ears be right, pleasing, I think, was used by the poet for pleased. In Othello we find delighted for delighting :

“ If virtue no delighted beauty lack- MALONE.

Come, Philomel, that sing'st of ravishment,
Make thy sad grove in my disheveld hair.
As the dank earth weeps at thy languishment,
So I at each sad strain will strain a tear,
And with deep groans the diapason bear :

For burthen-wise I'll hum on Tarquin still,
While thou on Tereus descant'st, better skill'.

And whiles against a thorn thou bear'st thy part,
To keep thy sharp woes waking, wretched I,
To imitate thee well, against my heart
Will fix a sharp knife, to affright mine eye:
Who, if it wink?, shall thereon fall and die.

These means, as frets upon an instrument,
Shall tune our heart-strings to true languishment.

9 Distress likes DUMPS-) A dump is a melancholy song. So, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona:

to their instruments “ Tune a deploring dump." Malone. " While thou on 'Tereus descant'st, beTTER SKILL.] Philomel, the daughter of Pandion king of Athens, was ravish'd by Tereus, the husband of her sister Progne.—According to the fable, she was turned into a nightingale, Tereus into a lapwing, and Progne into a swallow.

There seems to be something wanting to complete the sense: -with better skill,—but this will not suit the metre. In a preceding line, however, the preposition with, though equally wanting to complete the sense, is omitted, as here:

“For day hath nought to do what's done by night." All the copies have :

“ While thou on Tereus descants better skill." This kind of error (descants for descant st) occurs in almost every page of our author's plays. Malone.

Perhaps the author wrote, (I say perhaps, for in Shakspeare's licentious grammar nothing is very certain):

I'll hum on Tarquin's ill,
“While thou on Tereus' descant'st better still.

Steevens. · Who, if it wink, -] Shakspeare seldom attends to the last antecedent. The construction is-Which heart, if the eye wink, shall fall,' &c. MALONE.

And for, poor bird, thou sing'st not in the day,
As shaming any eye should thee behold,
Some dark deep desert, seated from the way,
That knows not parching heat nor freezing cold,
Will we find out *; and there we will unfold
To creatures stern sad tunes, to change their

kinds; Since men prove beasts, let beasts bear gentle

minds.

As the poor frighted deer, that stands at gaze,
Wildly determining which way to fly,
Or one encompass'd with a winding maze,
That cannot tread the way out readily;
So with herself is she in mutiny,

To live or die which of the twain were better
When life is sham'd, and death reproaches debtoro.

3

thou sinG'ST NOT IN THE DAY,] So, in The Merchant of Venice:

“ The nightingale, if she should sing by day,
“ When every goose is cackling, would be thought

“ No better a musician than the wren." Malone. * Some dark deep desert, seaTED FROM THE WAY, &c.

WILL WE FIND OUT- -] Thus, Calista :

my sad soul

[ocr errors]

“ Has form'd a dismal melancholy scene,
“ Such a retreat as I would wish to find,

"An unfrequented vale." STEEVENS. s To live or die which of the twain were better,] So, Hamlet:

“ To be, or not to be, that is the question.” Steevens. 6 When life is sham'd, and death REPROACHES debtor.] Reproaches is here, I think, the Saxon genitive case:-When death is the debtor of reproach. So, in A Midsummer Night's Dream:

“I do wander every where

“ Swifter than the moones sphere." She debates whether she should not rather destroy herself than live ; life being disgraceful in consequence of her violation, and her death being a debt which she owes to the reproach of her conscience. Malone.

We need not look for a Saton genitive here: the genitive of reproach cannot be pronounced without an additional syllable.

BoswELL.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »