Page images

Thou dy’dst, a most rare boy, of melancholy !
How found you him?

Arv. Stark, as you see;
Thus smiling, as some fly had tickled number,
Not as death's dart, being laugh'd at: his right

cheek Reposing on a cushion.

Guid. Where?

Arv. O'the floor; His arms thus leagu’d: I thought, he Nept; and


My clouted brogues' from off my feet, whose rude

Answer'd my steps too loud.

Guid. Why, he but neeps + :
If he be gone, he'll make his gravé a bed;

meaning of the passage I take to be this:-Jave knows, what man thou might have made, but I know, thou diedA, &c.

TYRWHITT. but I, Thou dy'dft, a must rare boy, of melancholy !:-) I believe, “ but ab!to be the true reading. Ay is through the first folio, and in all books of that time, printed instead of ab! Hence probably I, which was used for the affirmative particle ay, crept into the text here.

Heaven knows, (says Belarius) what a man thou would'At have been, had'st thou lived, but alas ! thou diedAt of melancholy, wbile yet only a most accomplished boy. Malone.

3 --clouted brogues-o] Are fhoes strengthened with clouf or bob-nails. In some parts of England, thin plates of iron called clouts, are likewise fixed to the shoes of ploughmen and other rusticks. STEEVENS.

* Wby, be but sleeps :) I cannot forbear to introduce a passage somewhat like this, from Webster's White Devil, or Vittoria Co. rombona, on account of its fingular beauty.

" Oh, thou soft natural death! thou art joint twin
To sweetest slumber! no rough-bearded comet
“ Stares on thy mild departure: the dull owl
“ Beats not against thy casement: the hoarse wolf
Scents not thy carrion :-pity winds thy corse,
" While horror waits on princes!". STHEVENS.
X 2


With female fairies will his tomb be haunted,
And worms will not come to thee,

Arv. With faireft Aowers,
Whilst summer lasts s, and I live here, Fidele,
I'll sweeten thy fad grave: Thou shalt not lack
The flower, that's like thy face, pale primrose; nor
The azur'd hare-bell, like thy veins ; no, nor
The leaf of eglantine, whom not to Nander,
Out-sweeten'd not thy breath : the ruddock would,

With s With fairejt flowers Whilt summer lafts, &c.) So in Pericles Prince of Tyre:

“ No, I will rob Tellus of her weede
" To strewe thy greene with flowers: the yellowes, blues,
“ The purple violets and marygolds,
“ Shall as a carpet hang upon thy grave
" While fummer dayes dotb lap.STEEVENS.

The ruddock would,
With charitable bill, bring thee all this;
rea, and furr'd mods besides, when flow'rs are none,

To winter-ground thy corse.-) Here again, the metaphor is strangely mangled. What sense is there in winter-grounding a corse with moss? A corse might indeed be said to be wintergrounded in good thick clay. But the epithet furr'd to moss directs us plainly to another reading,

To winter-gown thy corse : i.e. thy summer habit Mall be a light gown of flowers, thy winter habit a good warm furr'd gown of moss. WARBURTON.

I have no doubt but that the rejected word was Shakspeare's, since the protection of the dead, and not their ornament; was what he meant to express. To winter-ground a plant, is to protect it from the inclemency of the winter-season, by ftraw, dung, &c. laid over it. This precaution is commonly taken in respect of tender trees or flowers, such as Arviragus, who loved Fidele, represents her to be.

The ruddeck is the red-breast, and is so called by Chaucer and Spenser:

“ The tame ruddock, and the coward kite." The office of covering the dead is likewise ascribed to the rudo dock, by Drayton in his poem called The Owl:

Cov'ring with moss the dead's unclosed eye,

“ The little redbreast teacheth charitie.” STEEVENS, -the ruddock would, &c.] Is this an allusion to the babes of the wood, or was the notion of the red-breast covering dead budies, general before the writing that ballad? Percy.

With charitable bill (O bill, sore-shaming
Those rich-left heirs, that let their fathers lie
Without a monument !) bring thee all this ;
Yea, and furr'd moss besides, when flowers are none,

This passage is imitated by Webster in his tragedy of The White Devil; and in such a manner, as confirms the old reading :

• The robin-red-breast, and the wren,
“ With leaves and flowers do cover friendless bodies;
The ant, the field-mouse, and the mole
« Shall raise him hillocks that shall keep him warm, &c.”

FARMER. Which of these two plays was first written, cannot now be determined. Webster's play was published in 1612, that of Shakspeare did not appear in print till 1623. In the preface to the edition of Webster's play, he thus speaks of Shakspeare:

« And lastly (without wrong last to be named) the right happy and copious industry of M. Shakespeare, &c." Steevens.

We may fairly conclude that Webster imitated Shakspeare ; for in the same page from which Dr. Farmer has cited the fore. going lines, is found a passage taken almost literally from Ham. kt. It is spoken by a distracted lady:

-you're very welcome ;
“ Here's rosemary for you, and rue for you ;
“ Heart's.ease for you; I pray make much of it;

" I have left more for myself.” The lines cited by Dr. Farmer stand thus in The White Devil:

( Call for the robin-red-breast and the wren,
« Since o'er shady groves they hover,
ç And with leaves and lowers do cover
“ The friendless bodies of unburied men ;
! Call unto his funeral dole
“ The ant, the field-mouse, and the mole,

" To rear hin llocks that shall keep him warm." Dr. Warburton alks, " What sense is there in winter-grounding a corse with mossg"But winter-ground does not refer to mofs, but to the last antecedent, 'flowers. The paffage should therefore, in my opinion, be printed thus :

Yea, and furr'd moss beside, when flowers are none

To winter-ground thy corse. i. e, you shall have also a warm covering of moss, when there are no flowers to adorn thy grave with that ornament with which Winter is usually decorated. So, in Cupid's Revenge by Beaumont and Fletcher, 1625 : “ He looks like WINTER, fuck here and there with fresh flowers.". MALONE,

To winter-ground thy corse.

Guid. Prythee, have done;
And do not play in wench-like words with that
Which is so serious. Let us bury him,
And not protract with admiration what
Is now due debt.-To the grave.

Arv. Say, where shall's lay him?
Guid. By good Euriphile, our mother.

Aru. Be't so:
And let us, Polydore, though now our voices
Have got the mannish crack, sing him to the ground,
As once our mother; use like note, and words,
Save that Euriphile must be Fidele.

Guid. Cadwal, I cannot sing: I'll weep, and word it with thee:. For notes of sorrow, out of tune, are worse Than priests and fanes that lie. · Arv. We'll speak it then. Bel. Great griefs, I fee, medicine the less : for

Cloten Is quite forgot. He was a queen's son, boys; And, though he came our enemy, remember, ? He was paid for that: Though mean and mighty,

rotting Together, have one dust; yet reverence, (That angel of the world) doth make distinction Of place 'twixt high and low. Our foe was princely ; And though you took his life, as being our foe, Yet bury him as a prince.

Guid. Pray you, fetch him hither.
? He was paid for that :-) Hanmer reads:

He has paid for that: rather plausibly than rightly. Paid is for punibed. So Jonson :

“ Twenty things more, my friend, which you know due, « For which, or pay me quickly, or I'll pay you."

JOHNSON. reverence, (That angel of the world)--) Reverence, or due regard to subordination, is the power that keeps peace and order in the world. JOHNSON.




Thersites' body is as good as Ajax,
When neither are alive.

Aru. If you'll go fetch him, ,
We'll say our song the whilft.-Brother, begin.

[Exit Belarius. Guid. Nay, Cadwal, we must lay his head to the east; My father hath a reason for't.

Aru. 'Tis true.
Guid. Come on then, and remove him.
Arv. So,-Begin.

Guid. Fear no more the heat o' the fun,

Nor the furious winter's rages;
Thou thy worldly task bast done,

Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages ;
Both. Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to duft.
Arv. ' Fear no more the frown o' the great

Thou art past the tyrant's stroke ;
Care no more to cloath, and eat;

To thee the reed is as the oak:
Both. 'The Scepter, learning, pbysic, must
All follow this, and come to dust,
Guid. Fear no more the lightning-flash,
Arv. Nor the all-dreaded thunder-stone ;
Guid. ? Fear not fander, censure rash;

Arv. Thou hast finish'd joy and moan: . Fear no more, &c.] This is the topic of consolation that nature dictates to all men on these occasions. The same farewel we have over the dead body in Lucian. Τέκνον άθλιον έχετε διψήσεις, έκετι πεινήσεις, &c. WARBURTON.

! The fcepter, leorning, &c.] The poet's sentiment seems to have been this.--All human excellence is equally subject to the stroke of death : neither the power of kings, nor the science of scholars, nor the art of those whose immediate study is the prolongation of life, can protect them from the final destiny of man.

JOHNSON, ? Fear not fander, &c.] Perhaps, Fear not flander's censure rath. JOHNSON, X 4


« PreviousContinue »