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PRETENCE. Act III., Sc. 2.
“ The pretence thereof." The pretence is the design, the intention. PUGGING. Act IV., Sc. 2.
“Doth set my pugging tooth on edge." A puggard was a cant term for a thief; pugging is probably
formed from it, though the commentators cannot explain it. ROUNDING. Act I., Sc. 2.
“ Whispering, rounding.” To round is to tell secretly, to mutter. Skelton in his 'Gar
lande of Laurelle,' has“Some whispered, some rounyd, some spake, and some cryde.” SALTIERS. Act IV., Sc. 3.
“They call themselves saltiers.”
men of hair,” who were frequently introduced in masques in Shakspere's time. Ravenscroft speaks of "the humble sylvans and their shaggy race.” A masque of this kind, performed by the French king and his courtiers, in 1392, had a tragical conclusion, as their dresses caught fire; the king had a narrow escape, and several of the courtiers lost their lives : the story is graphically told by Froissart, and has been well
translated by Lord Berners. SEEING. Act II., Sc. 1.
“But only seeing.” Seeing is here used as a noun. Sooth. Act IV., Sc. 3.
“He looks like sooth.” A genuine Anglo-Saxon word for truth. Milton, in his version of the fifth Psalm, uses it in this sense :
“No word is firm or sooth." SPEED. Act III., Sc. 2.
“ With mere conceit and fear
Of the queen's speed.”
“ Twelve foot and a half by the squire.” The squire was a measure, a carpenter's square. SUCCESS. Act I., Sc. 2.
hose success we are gentle." Success is here used for succession.
THREE-MAN. Act IV., Sc. 2.
“ Three-man song-men all.” Singers of three part songs. THREE-PILE. Act IV., Sc. 2.
" And, in my time, wore three-pile.” Three-pile was a rich kind of velvet. TROL-MY-DAMES. Act IV., Sc. 2. Trol-my-dame was a game some
what similar to the present bagatelle. L'NCURRENT. Act III., Sc. 2.
“ With what encounter so uncurrent." This is a metaphor from an encounter in chivalry, in which
one swerving from the prescribed course would be uncur
WARDEN-PIES. Act IV., Sc. 2.
“ Saffron, to colour the warden-pies.” Warden was the name of a pear. Saffron was much used for
merly in cookery. WELKIN EYE. Act I., Sc. 2. A blue eye, the colour of the welkin
or sky. WOMAN-TIRED. Act II., Sc. 3.
“ Thou art woman-tired, unroosted.” To tire is to tear, as a bird of prey does its meat.
The phrase is equivalent to our hen-pecked.
We are happy to receive the critical publications upon Shakspere that the American press now contributes, as an evidence of a growing love of the greatest poet of the fatherland. Mr. H. N. Hudson gives us two volumes of
* Lectures,' conceived in a genial spirit of reverence. Of * this play he says,
«« Winter's Tale' outdoes all the rest of Shakspere's fictions in disregard of the far-famed unities of time and place. With geography and chronology he plays the wildest tricks imaginable." Mr. Hudson does not say this depreciatingly, for he adds: “ Notwithstanding which, the play is pervaded with the strictest unity of interest and purpose: the violations of local and chronological order being forgotten in the far higher order which is everywhere preserved.”
The drama of 'A Winter's Tale' is founded upon a novel of Robert Greene, entitled 'Pandosto,' and also called "The History of Dorastus and Fawnia.' This book, which was one of the most popular of the little romances of Elizabeth's reign, has a second title, “The Triumph of Time.' In a novel, the infant of the first chapter may be the grownup man or woman of the last, and no offence taken. It is “ the triumph of time.” But in a play, say the critics, the duration of the action must be limited to a few hours, or at most a few days. Shakspere, aware of the objection, has here introduced Time as a chorus, to apologise for the lapse of sixteen years; but Dr. Johnson, sometimes the most liberal of critics, boldly meets the difficulty:
“ Time is, of all modes of existence, most obsequious to the imagination; a lapse of years is as easily conceived as a passage of hours. In contemplation we easily contract the time of real actions, and therefore willingly permit it to be contracted when we only see their imitation.”
The geographical blunder of the play is this—that Bohemia is described as having a sea-coast. In Greene's novel we read,—“It so happened that Egistus, King of Sicilia, who in his youth had been brought up with Pandosto, desirous to show that neither tract of time nor distance of place could diminish their former friendship, provided a navy of ships, and sailed into Bohemia to visit his old friend and companion.” There can be no doubt that the most accomplished
scholars—and Greene was what is called 'learned'-purposely committed anachronisms and violations of geography and chronology. The novelist and the dramatist have a law of their own, which is different from the law of the lecture
Can we imagine that Scott knew nothing of the dates of Shakspere's plays or of Shakspere's life? Scott, in · Kenilworth,' makes Raleigh recite lines from 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' at a period of Elizabeth's history when Shakspere was twelve years old ; and, further, gives a dialogue between Leicester and the poet a week before the memorable visit of Elizabeth to Leicester's castle, when, unquestionably, the boy Shakspere was at school at Stratf upon Avon. These are wilful inconsistencies, of which fictiu gives hundreds of examples ;-but they are not what the world calls blunders.
The only hint which the reader may require, to form a true conception of the scope of this charming play, has reference to the character of Leontes; and Coleridge has furnished an explanation of this character, which leaves nothing to add:“ The idea of this delightful drama is a genuine jealousy of disposition, and it should be immediately followed by the perusal of ‘Othello,' which is the direct contrast of it in every particular. For jealousy is a vice of the mind, a culpable tendency of the temper, having certain well-known and well-defined effects and concomitants, all of which are visible in Leontes, and, I boldly say, not one of which marks its presence in Othello ;—such as, first, an excitability by the most inadequate causes, and an eagerness to snatch at proofs ; secondly, a grossness of conception, and a disposition to degrade the object of the passion by sensual fancies and images; thirdly, a sense of shame of his own feelings, exhibited in a solitary moodiness of humour, and yet, from the violence of the passion, forced to utter itself, and therefore catching occasions to ease the mind by ambiguities, equivoques, by talking to those who cannot, and who are known not to be able to understand what is said to them,in short, by soliloquy in the form of dialogue, and hence a confused, broken, and fragmentary manner; fourthly, a dread of vulgar ridicule, às distinct from a high sense of honour, or a mistaken sense of duty; and lastly, and immediately consequent on this, à spirit of selfish vindictiveness.”