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takes like crimes, has disgraced so many criticks.-In his preface, his language, now and then, manifests a degree of stiffness which surprises us:

"The practice, and also the necessity of explaining the writings of Shakspeare, have already been so ably defended by former commentators, that no other apology on the part of those who may elect to persevere in this kind of labour seems to be necessary than with regard to the qualifications of the writer." This is part of the first sentence: and afterwards, p. xiii, he says, the "Gesta Romanorum had been already disserted on by Mr. Wharton." The word "dissert" does not occur in Johnson's Dictionary. But these are trifles.

The indefatigable exertions of Messrs. Stevens, Malone, Tyrwhitt, and Mason, will ever be duly appreciated by the true and zealous admirers of Shakspeare's pages. If the name of a celebrated critick and moralist be not included on this occasion, it is because he was certainly unskilled in the knowledge of obsolete customs and expressions. His explanatory notes, therefore, are, generally speaking, the most controvertible of any but no future editor will discharge his duty to the publick, who shall omit a single sentence of this writer's masterly preface, or of his sound and tasteful characters of the plays of Shakspeare. Of all the commentators, Dr. Warburton was surely the worst. His sentiments, indeed, have been seldom exhibited in modern editions, but for the purpose of confuting them.

This last is one of the severest things in the book. Certainly the lovers of Shakspeare are much beholden to the commentators here enumerated; but the name of Farmer might have been mentioned; nor should Theobald's name have been omitted.

Although the strict restitution of the old orthography is not meant to be insisted on, nor would, indeed, accommodate the generality of readers, there are many instances in which it should be stated in the notes; and such will occur to every skilful editor.

We have ever lamented the tampering with the orthography of our ancient writers. Except in Capel's edition, we do not read Shakspeare's language in any which has been published for these hundred years. Even the orthography of the once authorized translation of the Bible, which has been said to have given a fixedness to our tongue, has been modernized again and again, without authority, as it has passed through the press from time to time. This is pulling up the foundations, and removing the landmarks of language. This is mixing things new and old, and making the English Bible speak the dialect, and adhere to the spelling of no age whatever.

Tempest, sc. 2, p. 11.

It should the good ship, &c.

This word should always be written ere, and not ever, nor contractedly e'er, with which it has no connexion. It is pure Saxon. The corruption in Ecclesiastes cited in the note is as old as the time of Henry the Eighth; but in Wicliffe, we have properly er be to broke the silveren corde," and so it is given by Chaucer.


-or e'er

In Cranmer's, or the Great Bible, 1539, we read" or ever the sylver lace be taken away." We shall here give a similar use of the word ever in the sixth of Daniel-" so the lyons had the mastry of them, and brake all theyr bones asonder, or ever they came at the ground." Cranmer's bible. "Or ever" 1639, and all copies following king James's revisal. Is there not an essential difference between Saxon, Anglo-Saxon, and English? We should print as Shakspeare wrote English Now the word "ever" (contractedly e'er) has held its place in our tongue, in the sense which this passage supplies from Henry viii's to the present time.

By way of specimen of Mr Douce's diligence, and the extent of his reading, we give the following note:

Tempest, sc. 2. p. 26.
-sometimes I'd divide


And burn in many places; on the topmast,
The yards and bowsprit, would I flame distinctly,
Then meet and join

This is a very elegant description of a meteor well known to sailors. It has been called by the several names of the fire of Saint Helen, Saint Elm, Saint Herm, Saint Clare, Šaint Peter and Saint Nicholas. Whenever it appeared as a single flame, it was supposed by the ancients to be Helena, the sister of Castor and Pollux, and in this state to bring ill luck, from the calamities which this lady is known to have caused in the Trojan war. When it came double it was called Castor and Pollux and accounted a good omen. It has been described as a little blaze of fire, sometimes appearing by night on the tops of soldiers' lances, or at sea on masts and sail yards, whirling and leaping in a moment from one place to another. Some have said, but erroneously, that it never appears but after a tempest. It is also supposed to lead people to suicide by drowning.

Merchant of Venice, sc. 3, p. 441.

Enter Shylock. His stage dress should be a scarlet hat lined with black Taffeta.
This is the manner in which the Jews of Venice were formerly distinguished.

❝ on

Did not Macklin dress Shylock in this very manner? We remember that dramatick veteran relating, with no small pride, the reforms he had introduced in stage costume. He related his going into Duke's Place, and finding out an Italian Jew, who told him how the Jews were habited at Venice. Before Macklin's time, Shylock was dressed exactly like a Jew broker about the change. Macklin first dressed Macbeth in the Scottish habit. Before Macklin played the character, he had always appeared in a general's uniform. Mr. Douce, in his 2d. vol. has an essay the anachronisms, and some other incongruities of Shakspeare;" in which he mentions some absurdities of this kind; and speaks of Garrick's playing Hamlet" in a common French suit of black velvet." Does not Kemble continue to dress the Prince of Denmark in the same style? Much is yet to be done, in order to increase stage effect. Certainly the clowns are all erroneously dressed. In page 310, Mr. Douce points out the absurdity of Touchstone's three-cornered hat. The expenses of stage decoration, and the costly splendour of stage dresses, are very great. Perhaps, to consult some person skilled in the architecture of ancient times, such as Mr. Carter, particularly, would save a great deal of money, in the formation of scenery; for there are no bounds to the lavish extravagances of fancy; and to ask the opinion of some antiquary of taste, would save no inconsiderable sums in providing habiliments; for appropriate habits would eventually cost less than the gaudy vestures invented by playhouse taylors and mantua-makers. Mr. Douce has supplied several plates of the dresses and baubles of ancient clowns; and it would almost immortalize any one of our Laurents, our Grimaldis, our Bolognas, or our Montgomeries, who should have sense enough first to revive and adopt them.

Having given some account of the first volume of this interesting book; we now proceed to bring our readers acquainted, in a similar way, with the contents of the second.

King Henry VI. part II. act 3. sc. 3.
King Hen. O beat away the busy meddling fiend,
That lays strong siege unto this wretch's soul.

It was the belief of our pious ancestors, that when a man was on his death-bed, the devil or his agents attended, in the hope of getting possession of the soul, if it should happen that the party died without receiving the sacrament of the eucharist, or without confessing his sins. Accordingly, in the ancient representations of this subject, and more particularly in those which occur in such printed services of the church as contain the vigils or office of the dead, these busy meddling fiends appear,

and with great anxiety besiege the dying man; but on the approach of the priest and his attendants, they betray symptoms of horrible despair at their impending discomfiture. In an ancient manuscript book of devotions, written in the reign of Henry the sixth, there is a prayer addressed to Saint George, with the following very singular passage: judge for me when the moste hedyous and damnable dragons of helle shall be redy to take my poor soule and engloute it in to theyr infernall belyes."


Shakspeare, who in many instances has proved himself to have been well acquainted with the forms and ceremonies of the Romish church, has, without doubt, on the present occasion, availed himself of the above opinion. Whether this had happened to that preeminent painter, who, among the numerous monuments of his excellence that have immortalized himself and done honour to his country, has depicted the last moments of Cardinal Beaufort with all the powers of his art, cannot now be easily ascertained. He has been censured for personifying the fiend, on the supposition that the poet's language is merely figurative; with what justice, this note may, perhaps, assist in deciding. Some might disapprove the renovation of popish ideas; whilst others, more attentive to ancient costume, and regardless of popular or other prejudices, might be disposed to defend the painter on the ground of strict adherence to the manners of the times.

Mr. Douce subjoins two prints copied from ancient engravings on wood; on one of which, various fiends surround the bed of a dying man; and on another, an angel is represented on one side of the bed of a person yielding up the ghost, and a demon on the other This latter, says Mr. D.

Is copied from an engraving in wood, by an unknown artist of considerable merit; and from the striking semblance which it bears to the picture of our great painter above alluded to, much cannot be hazarded in supposing that he might have taken some hints from it, as it is well known that he collected many prints with the view of making such use of preceding excellence as the most exalted genius will ever condescend to do.

The print (where, however, no fiend appears) which most resembles the admirable painting of the death of Cardinal Beaufort, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, is the frontispiece to the second part of Henry VI. in Tonson's edition of Shakspeare's works, 8vo. printed in the year 1714. The position in which Beaufort lies on his couch, and the manner in which the spectators stand round, much resemble the arrangement in the admirable picture of our great artist. The mechanical construction of the piece was probably supplied by this print, which is very much at Mr. Douce's service, if he shall think fit to apply for it at our publisher's.

King Richard III. act 1. sc. 1.

Glo. He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber

To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.

The question with Dr. Johnson is, whether it be war that capers, or York. And he justly remarks, that if the latter, the antecedent is at an almost forgotten distance. The amorous temper of Edward the fourth is well known; and there cannot be a doubt that by the lascivious pleasing of a lute, he is directly alluded to. The subsequent description, likewise, that Richard gives of himself, is in comparison with the king. Dr. Johnson thought the image of war capering poetical; yet it is not easy to conceive how grim-visaged war could caper in a lady's chamber.

We must recollect that "grim-visaged war" had "SMOOTH'D HIS WRINKLED FRONT," before he presumed to " caper nimbly in a lady's chamber ;” and dressed in the habiliments of peace, had "hung up his bruised arms for monuments." This last expression was derived, no doubt, from the suspending of his shield, sword, gauntlets, helmet, spurs and banner, over the monument of a deceased warriour.

King Richard III. act 2. sc. 3.

2 Cit. Ill news by'r lady; seldom comes the better.

Well might the author of the book quoted by Mr. Reed say, "that proverb, indeed, is auncient," as will appear from the following curious account of its origin, ex

tracted from a manuscript collection of stories, compiled about the time of king Henry the Third.

We should have been glad if Mr. Douce had told us where this MS. is preserved. We translate the Latin quotation which he gives from it. There was a certain abbot who allowed his monks three messes. The monks said: "This man does not provide sufficiently for us; let us pray that he may be speedily removed " Whether their prayers were heard, or however it happened, the abbot died.-Another came in his place, who allowed them only two messes. The monks, angry and vexed, exclaimed: "Now have we more cause than ever to pray for a change; for this man has abridged our allowance." At length the second abbot breathed his last, and a third succeeded, who took away the messes which his predecessor had left. The monks enraged cried out: "This is the worst of all; he perfectly kills us with meagre diet: let us petition Heaven to take him from among us "One of the brotherhood differed in opinion with them, and advised them rather to pray that his days might be lengthened, and that he might be spared long to govern them. The rest, astonished, demanded a reason for the unaccountable advice he gave. Says he: "The first was a bad one; the second worse; and the third worst of all: it is to be feared that in case he should follow the others, another may come worse still, who may absolutely kill us with hunger." Hence comes the proverb, "Seilde comed se betere."

Timon of Athens, act 4. sc. 3.

The sea's a thief, whose liquid surge resolves
The moon into salt tears.


Some difficulty has arisen in the course of the notes on this passage, to account for the manner in which the sea could despoil the moon of its moisture, and change it into saline tears. It has been judiciously remarked by one of the commentators, that we are not to attend, on these occasions, merely to philosophical truth; but to consider what might have been the received or vulgar notions of the time: yet no example of such notions, applicable to the present occasion, has been produced. The following may, perhaps, serve to supply this defect, and to establish, at the same time, the genuineness of the text: "The moone gathereth deawe in the aire, for she printeth the vertue of hir moysture in the aire, and chaungeth the aire, in a manner that is unseene, and breedeth and gendereth deawe in the utter part thereof." Bartholomæus de propriet. rerum, lib. viii. c. 29.

"It should seem that this passage has been misconstrued, owing to an inversion of phrase in the location of the words. "Resolves the moon," i. e. the moon resolves. The meaning of the passage is perhaps, this The sea's a thief, whose liquid surge the moon resolves into salt tears. If the attraction of the moon be the cause of the tides, much more may it occasion the vapours of the sca to rise, or the surge of the sea, when dashing against the rocks, the spray is resolved-separated, into tears. Mr. Tollett proposes to read for "the moon," "the main"—that is, the main land.

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Antony and Cleopatra, act 2. sc. 4.
-and his quails
Ever beat mine, inhoop'd at odds.


It may be doubted whether quail-fighting was practised in Shakspeare's time, though Dr. Farmer appears to have thought so; but when our poet speaks of their being inhoop'd, he might suppose that Cesar's or Antony's quails, which he found in Plutarch, were trained to battle, like game cocks, in a ring or circle. Hanmer plausibly reads incoop'd-but no change is necessary. Quail combats were well known among the ancients, and especially at Athens. Julius Pollux relates, that a circle was made in which the birds were placed, and he whose quail was driven out of this circle lost the stake, which was sometimes money, and occasionally the quails themselves. Another practice was to produce one of these birds, which being first smitten or fillipped with the middle finger, a feather was then plucked from its

head: if the quail bore this operation without flinching, his master gained the stake, but lost it if he ran away. The Chinese have been always extremely fond of quailfighting, as appears from most of the accounts of that people, and particularly in Mr. Bell's excellent relation of his travels to China, where the reader will find much curious matter on the subject. See vol. I. p. 424, edit. in 8vo. We are told by Mr. Marsden, that the Sumatrans, likewise, use these birds in the manner of game cocks. The annexed copy from an elegant Chinese miniature painting represents some ladies engaged at this amusement, where the quails are actually inhoop'd.

The print here given is a neat engraving in outline.

Romeo and Juliet, act. 3. sc. 1.
Rom. O! I am fortune's fool!

"I am always running in the way of evil fortune, like the fool in the play," says Dr. Johnson. There is certainly no allusion to any play.

Romeo means here that he is fooled, i. e. tricked by fortune: he had slain "1ybalt that an hour had been his kinsman," and was therefore obliged to fly from Verona, from his bride

and confess that the derivation

We give the note on the word alligator,
of it is equally new to us and convincing.
Romeo and Juliet, act. 5. sc. 1.
Rom. An Alligator stuff’d-

Our dictionaries supply no materials towards the etymology of this word, which was probably introduced into the language by some of our early voyagers to the Spanish or Portuguese settlements in the newly discovered world. They would hear the Spaniards discoursing of the animal by the name of el lagarto, or the lizard; Lat. lacerta; and on their return home, they would inform their countrymen that this sort of crocodile was called an alligator. It would not be difficult to trace other corrupted words in a similar manner,


American Ornithology; or the Natural History of the Birds of the United States, illustrated with plates, engraved and coloured from original Drawings taken from nature. By Alexander Wilson. Imperial quarto, pp. 160. vol. i. price 12 dollars. Philadelphia, published by Bradford and Inskeep.


The history of the BLUE BIRD is the subject of another interesting article, and gives us back those images with which, in early life, we have all been familiar. The visits of this species early in spring to the " box in the garden," or "the hole in the old apple tree, the cradle of some generations of his ancestors"-his soft, pleasing warble on the fences and barn topshis single melancholy note at the approach of winter, as if seeming to deplore the desolation of nature, are all truly characteristick of this well known bird. The little poem in which the author has here celebrated the Bluebird, is tender and descriptive. Our limits will not permit the insertion of the whole; but the following stanzas, are selected.

Then loud piping frogs make the marshes to ring;
Then warm glows the sunshine, and fine is the weather;
The blue woodland flowers just beginning to spring,
And spicewood and sassafras budding together;

O then to your gardens ye housewives repair!
Your walks border up; sow and plant at
your leisure;
The Blue-bird will chant from his box such an air,
That all your hard toils will seem truly a pleasure.

He flits through the orchard, he visits each tree,
The red flowering peach and the apple's sweet blossoms;

He snaps up destroyers wherever they be,

And seizes the caitiffs that lurk in their bosoms;

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