Page images

Again, within four verses, two hemistics. We might form the measure thus: Mont. “ Is he well shipp'd ?” Cas. His bark is stoutly timber'd, : “ His pilot expert, and of prov'd allow

ance,” &c. Therefore my hopes, not surfeited to death, ** Stand in bold cure.

Therefore, the sickly inquietude of Hope being in me restrained to moderate bounds, and not indulged to that excess which commonly ends in impatience and despair, rests confident of being cured at length by the general's arrival. 307. “ A sail, a sail.

Any attempts to obtain purity by a different combination of the lines, or a change in their parts, where disorder and corruption are so prevalent as in many of these plays, must be abortive; but where the mere omission of an unnecessary word, and, still more, of the useless repetition of a word, will at least restore order, it cannot be wrong to propose it :-thus the third has a sail !" is clearly erroneous : “ Stand in bold cure "

A sail ! a sail !” "

What noise ?" 308. And give us truth who 'tis that is

arriv'd.Gent. " I shull.Mont. But, good lieutenant, is your general

[ocr errors]

This untimely jingle, which could hardly be intended, might be avoided, and the gentleman's

answer admitted into the line to supply the
“ And give us truth who is arrived.,

I shall.”
“But good lieutenant,” &c.

Does bear all excellency,&c. This verse is intolerably overloaded : " Does bear all excěllence.How now? who hằs

put in ?” 312..Their mortal natures, letting go safely

by.“ Safe” might have stood adverbially, for the relief of the metre :

“ Letting safe go by,” &c. The first quarto reads,

" Their common natures,” which, perhaps, is right :- their common propensity and fitness to destroy. 313. “ You'd have enough.

This joined to Desdemona's words, will form the measure, but leave a hemistic at the beginning of Iago's speech following. I suppose some words have been lost from Iago's first speech :perhaps, like these : Ifaith, 'tis odds, but you would have enough.” 314. “ You have little cause to say so."

An easy alteration would reduce this to measure : " And chides with thinking.

You've no cause to say so.

315. Ay, madam.ise

This fragment, I suppose, belonged to the fol. lowing line: Iago. Ay, madam.” Desd. “I'm not well; but I beguile.”

It plucks out brains and all.I suppose the meaning is-My inventions are dragged forth, and I am left destitute of ideas. 316. Put on the vouch of very malice itself.

To put on, says Mr. Steevens, is to incite ; and so, undoubtedly, it sometimes is; but does it not here more plainly imply" to wear” the vouch, to exhibit the testimony ? Malice, to be “incited" or “ provoked,” does not require such "authority of her merit."

Put on the vouch of very malice itself.This is a law phrase : the meaning is--one that, confiding in her merit, did justly put herself on the vouch of very malice itself: à vouchee is a person in a feigned action, who is called to establish a fact asserted by another. B. STRUTT. 317. She was a wight,--if ever such wight

were,Desd. To do what ?"

How should Desdemona know, thus exactly, the form in which Iago's speech was to proceed ?

he had only said," She was a wight, if ever such wight were.”- Well! Desdemona would naturally exclaim, upon the pause, proceed-let us hear the rest, but she could not be apprised that the “wight” was going to do any more than

to suffer any thing. Is it not probable, the au. thor pointed the passage thus ?

“She was a wight, if ever such wight were, 66 TO

The essay is extemporaneous; and Iago has already said, he is no expert poet; he therefore pauses for a concluding thought and expression- "TO ".

What ? exclaims Desdemona; and then Iago, with some humour, at once disappoints her by his “ lame and impotent conclusion.” . 319. “O, my fair warrior !"

I believe, notwithstanding Mr. Steevens's quotation, that Othello calls his wife a warrior, because she had embarked with him on a warlike expedition.

LORD CHEDWORTH. 320. If it were now to die." : This is hardly a warrantable expression; the infinitive mood is, indeed, sometimes made a noun-but how will the sentence appear, if we substitute “ death,” for “ to die?” perhaps it is elliptical, for, “ If it were now (the time) to die.”

If it were now to die,&c. It is remarkable, that, in the passage quoted from Terence, by Mr. Malone, as a parallel to this, “ interfeci ” is printed for “ interfici," in every one of these three editions. Theobald reads, “ If I were now to die,” which is easier than the other reading, “it:" if, however, we continue to read " it,” the passage is sufficiently intelligible: it seems to be à Latinism :

Si jam moriendum fuerit, si moriendum est. pro Te."

Quint. Curt.

LORD CHEDWORTH. Amen to that, sweet powers !The omission of “ to that,” which is quite superfluous, would reform the metre: “E'en as our days do grow!"

- Amen, sweet powers !"
That eer our hearts shall make !"

" O, you are well tun'd now. .' "O” has no business here but to interrupt the verse.. Again :

Come, let's to the castle.Come should be dismissed :

“ As honest as I am.”

Let's to the castle." “ News, friends ; our wars are done." Rowe's reading, “ Now friends” should be adopted: this was no news now, as the messenger had told it before :

“ News, lords, our wars are done." 322.“ Honey, you shall be well desird.

“Honey” is, at this day, in Ireland, a common term of endearment.

I have found great love amongst them.The antecedent to “ them” is too arbitrarily implied in Cyprus" The people of Cyprus."

« PreviousContinue »