« PreviousContinue »
ACT IV. SCENE II.
94. " Coal-black is better than another hue,
" In that it scorns to bear another hue.” This poor conceit was thought, by Southerne, worthy of being repeated by the noble Oroonoko: "
It is high time this execrable tragedy were deposed from the station which it has been suffered to usurp among the Plays of Shakspeare, ever since the fraudulent artifice of the folio publishers (for the first quarto was anonymous) inserted it in their edition. Where those i masterly touches,” alluded to by Theobald, or that “ improvement with a few fine touches,” perceived by Dr. Percy are lurking, I can, by no means, discover; there is not, according to my observation, the slightest resemblance of our author's manner, in any part of the composition.
PRINCE OF TYRE.
This play was not admitted into the catalogue of those published by Hemings and Condell; a 6 pretty sufficient proof, I think, that it was not, at that time, imputable to Shakspeare.
ACT I. SCENE I.
164. “ Graces her subjects, and her thoughts
the king “Of every virtue gives renown to men.” Graces are her subjects; and her thoughts, or inclinations, the sovereign of those Graces.
“ Of every virtue gives,” &c. Is elliptical : " She comes, “ (Made up) of every virtue (that) gives re
nown,” &c. “King,” for “sovereign,” merely, is used with greater licence in K. Henry V. where the queen bee is meant: and more appositely still, we find
“king” put, generally without reference to sexual distinction, by Bacon:-“ Ferdinando and Isabella, Kings of Spain, &c. Hist. of the Reigne of K. Henry VII. 165. “ Her face, the book of praises." ;
The brief volume, the epitome of all that is beautiful, or the subject of praise. 167. “ A countless glory.”
This may mean no more than an inestimable glory: though I believe there is also an allusion to the stars. 168. “ — As sick men do, “Who know the world, see heaven, but
feeling woe, “ Gripe not,” &c. Mr. Malone has certainly carried his explanation beyond the limits of the construction.- An opposition or disparity seems intended between speculative and positive perception; and the whole imeaning of the passage, I believe, is this :-as reflecting men, who, in the hour of sickness, are incited to serious cares, by the rational prospect of futurity, but more urgently, by those pains, which indicate the termination of our present state, no longer gripe at earthly joys, so I, &c. 177. “Where now you're both a father and a
son.”. How is Antiochus a son? Pericles says, he who embraces a woman should be her husband, and, consequently, the son (in-law) of her father.
certainly he constrided bet
184. “ Give experience tongue.”
Let experience speak. It is a strange expression, and none of Shakspeare's. For dogs to give tongue is a phrase well known among sportsmen. 190. “ Thou show'dst a subject's shine, I a true
prince.” Mr. Malone says "shine,” here, is a substantive; and then the sense must be—thou didst exhibit the glitter of a subject.-"I show'd myself a true prince," - but for the subject thus to take all the “ shine" to himself, and leave the prince in the shade or with only the vouch of his title to illuminate him, would not be quite decorous. I rather think, with Mr. M. Mason, that "shine” has a verbal implication, and that this is the sense :-Thou didst display a subject shining or illustrious; I, a glorious or illustrious prince.-+ According to the elliptic and licentious phraseology abounding in the present play—this is no strained interpretation: “Thou show'dst a subject (to) shine, I a true
prince (to shine)"
196. “ For riches, strew'd herself even in the
streets.” “Riches," for wealth, treasure, is certainly, as Mr. Malone observes, a singular noun; but
this line, being only a comment on that which immediately precedes it, ought also, as I find Mr. M. Mason has hinted, to be included in the pa-. renthesis : "
This Tharsus " (A city on whom Plenty held full haud “ For Riches strew'd herself even in the streets) “ Whose towers,” &c.
Mr. Mason proposes - Richness" instead of " Riches,” and challenges Mr. Malone to shew where Shakspeare makes riches a person. It is surely enough to know that he scruples not, at any time to make the neuter pronoun personal, But Shakspeare, or his commentator for him, in the present work, has very little to answer for: “Riches strew'd herself even in the streets" is an expression equivalent to the streets were paved with gold. 198. “ Here many sink, yet those which see
them fall, “ Have scarce strength left to give them
burial.” Dr. Armstrong has an image resembling this, in The Art of Preserving Health, describing the plague that raged during the civil wars, he says,
'Twas all the business then, “ To tend the sick; and, in their turns, to die." 201. “Welcome is peace, if he on peace consist.”
King John says, “ Peace be to France, if France in peace permit,"
&c. - 202.“ Needy bread.”