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and as Theobald hás remarked, dimidium animæ meæ was the current language with the Latins on such occasions.
To the manner of reading the above passage quoted from the Tempest, though allowed to be the same in all the impressions, Mr. Theobald objected, because he did not conceive how Miranda could be only a third part of her father's life, when he had no wife living, nor any other child to rob her of a share in his affection, He, therefore, in the true spirit of a critic, substitutes, without any authority, the word thread for third. And though the late Dr. Johnson, in his valuable edition of Shakspeare, has restored the ancient reading, he certainly did not comprehend the full purport of the lines, from his adding this observation, “ that Prospero in his reason subjoined, why he calls her a third of his life, seems to allude to some logical distinction of causes, making her the final cause." But if I am not mistaken, this obscurity may be dispelled by a little attention to the character of Prospero, and to a like mode of speaking used by him towards the end of the play.
He is represented by the Poet to be a person of a philosophical and religious turn of mind, and as such must be supposed to have employed his thoughts upon that future state of existence, which will succeed the entire dissolution of the visible fabric of the universe, described by him in those admirable lines, that are so well known as to render a repetition of them unnecessary. In the words under examination, Prospero then may be conceived to have intimated, that to consult and provide for the happiness of his daughter, for his own temporal welfare, and for his spiritual concerns, was the whole business of his life, or that for which he lived; and that to each of these interesting articles he allotted an equal portion of his time and thoughits.
With the view of satisfying your readers that this is not a vague interpretation, I will refer them to the last speech except one, delivered by Prospero, towards the conclusion of the fifth Act, where he appears to have resumed the same train of ideas, and has adopted the same word as expressive of his sentiments: for he says,
I'll bring you to your ship; and so to Naples;
Every third thought shall be my grave.
sible that his beloved daughter would continue to be the object of his affectionate care; and having been before deprived of his dukedom, in some measure through his inattention to the duties of that high station, he was determined in his own mind, on his return to Milan, not to neglect his worldly affairs; but it was also his fixed purpose, still to appropriate a third part of his time to meditating upon his last momentous change; or, that Every third thought should be his grave.
W. and D.
June 8. If I have not already overloaded you with remarks on Shakespeare, please to insert the following.
T. H. W.
Taming of the Shrew.-" I remember (says Barckley) a prctie experimcot practised by the Emperour Charles the Fifth upon a drunkard. As this Emperour on a time enteredt into Gaunt, there lay a drunken fellow ouerthwart the stretes, as though he had bene dead; who, least the horsemen should ride ouer him, was drawen out of the way by the legges, and could by no means be wakened; which, when the Emperour saw, le caused him to be taken vp and carried hone to his pallace, and vsed as he had appointed. He was brought into a faire clamber hanged with costly arras, his clothes taken off, and laid in a stately bed meet for the Emperour himselfe. He continued in sleepe vntil the next day almost noone. When he awaked and had lyen wondring a while to see himself in such a place, and diuerse braue gentlemen attending upon him, they took him out of the bed, and apparelled him like a prince, in verie costly garments, and all this was done with verie great silence on everie side. When he was readly, there was a table set and furnished with verie daintie meais, and he set in a chaire to eate, attended vpon with braue courtiers, and serued as if the Emperour had bin present, the cupboord full of gold plate and diuerse sortes of wines. When he saw such preparation nade for him, he left any longer to wonder, and thought it not good to examine the matter any further, but took his fortune as it came, and fell to his meate. His wayters with great reuerence and dutie obserned diligently his nods and becks, which were his signes to call for that he lacked, for words he vsed uone. As he thus sate in his maiestie eating
and drinking, he tooke in his cups so freelie, that he fell fast asleepe againe as he sate in his chaire. His attendants stripped him out of his fresh apparel, and arrayed him with his owne ragges againe, and carried him to the place where they found him, where he lay sleeping vntil the next day. After he was awakened, and fell into the companie of his acquaintance, being asked where he had bene; he answered that he had bene asleepe, and had the pleasantest dream that ever he had in his life; and told them all that passed, thinking that it had been nothing but a dreame.”-A Discourse of the Felicitie of Man, by Sir Richard Barckley, Knt. 1598, p. 24.
This frolic seems better suited to the gaiety of the gallant Francis, or to the revelry of the boisterous Henry, than to the cold and distant manners of the reserved Charles, of whose private character, however, historians have taken little notice.
Macbeth.—The Witch, an unpublished tragi-coomodie, by Thomas Middleton, whence Shakespeare is supposed to have taken the songs, and some hints for the incantations, in Macbeth, must, from the evidence of the following passage, have been written after the 39th of Elizabeth (1597), when the act was made against minstrels, fidlers, and pipers,
'Twill be a worthie work,
Act 2. sc.1, But it is probable, from the familiar mention of tobacco, to which Shakespeare hath no allusion, that this performance did not appear till several years after the accession of James, Middleton, in his dedication to this play, says, it was "ignorantly-ill-fated,” which seems to be a mild or tender way of owning that it was damned by an ignorant audience.
Antony and Cleopatra.--Act II. Scene 7.
Ant. It ripens toward it. Strike the vessels, ho. Here is to Casar. Vessels probably mean kettle-drums, which were beaten when the health of a person of eminence was drunk; immediately after, we have, “make battery to our ears with the loud music.” They are called kettles in Jamlet.
Give me the cups; And let the kettle to the trumpet speak. VOL. II.
Johnson's explanation, “try whether the casks sound as empty," degrades this feast of the lords of the whole world into a rustic revel.
King Lear.-Act II. Scene 2.
Rorneo and Juliet, Act 3. sc. 5.
Now the herald lark
Milton's Par. Reg. book 2. v. 281.
a sea of troubles.
Hamlet, Act 3. sc. 1. Warburton's emendation is needless, as Menander uses the very same expression. Εις πελαγος αυλον εμβαλεις γαρ πραγματων.
Fragm. p. 22. Amstel. 1719, In mare molestiarum te conjicies.
You will throw yourself into a sea of troubles. Osr. The king, Sir, hath laid, that in a dozen passes between yourself and him, he (Laertes) shall not exceed (Hamlet) three hits; he (Laertes) hath laid on (out of) twelve for nine. Act. 2. SC. 2.
Laertes, being the most expert fencer, was to give Hamlet nine hits out of twelve passes. Johnson's note seems more difficult to be understood than the passage itself. But this learned annotator, employed in unravelling such trivial entanglements, is Hercules spinning:
Et manu, clavam modo qua gerebat,
T. H. W.
LXXXVII. Imitations and accidental Resemblances of Milton, &c.
Dec. 26. WHEN it suits you, please to insert a few remarks which I have made in looking over Newton's edition of Milton. If some of them appear minute, let it be considered, that whatever gives the least light into any obscure passage in Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Dryden, or Pope, should not be esteemed trivial; neither will imitations or accidental resemblances be neglected by those who are desirous of seeing in what manner different authors express the same thought. The works of these our greatest masters are growing every day darker from the shades which time gradually spreads over them, and which it is much beyond the power of any one man to clear off effectually, I therefore throw my mite occasionally into your valuable collection. Your's &c.
T. H. W.
NOTES ON MILTON.
B. i. v. 19.
Copied from Homer's invocation of the Muses :
« Εσπελε νυν μοι, Μεσαι, ολυμπια δωμαι 'εχεσαι
Il. ii. v. 484. “ Instruct me now, ( ye Muses, who have celestial
mansions ; For ye are goddesses, and are present, and know all things.”