Page images

Cer. Earth's increase,' and foison plenty;'

Barns, and garners never empty;
Vines, with clust'ring bunches growing ;
Plants, with goodly burden bowing ;
Spring come to you, at the farthes,
* In the very end of harvest!
Scarcity, and want, mall shun you ;

Ceres' blessing fo is on you.
Fer. This is a most majestic vision, and
Harmonious charmingly :: May I be bold

6 Earth's increase, and foifon plenty ; &c.] All the editions, that I have ever feen, concur in placing this whole fonnet to Juno; but very absurdly, in my opinion. I believe every accurate reader, who is acquainted with poetical history, and the distinct offices of these two goddeses, and who then feriously reads over our author's lines, will agree with me, that Ceres's name ought to have been placed where I have now prefixed it. THEOBALD.

And is not in the old copy. It was added by the editor of the fecond folio. Earth's increase, is the produce of the earth. The expreffion is fcriptural : “ Then all the earth bring forth her increase, and God, even our God, shall give us his blessing.” Psalm lxvii. MALONE.

This is one amongst a multitude of emendations which Mr. Malone acknowledges to have been introduced by the Editor of the second Folio; and yet, in contradiction to himself in his Prolegomena, he depreciates the second edition, as of no importance or value.

Fenton.' 7 — foison plenty;] i. e. plenty to the utmost abundance; foison signifying plenty. See p. 62. STEEVENS. 8 Harmonious charmingly:] Mr. Edwards would read :

Harmonious charming lay." For though (says he) the benediction is sung by two goddesses, it is yet but one lay or hymn. I believe, however, this passage appears as it was written by the poet, who, for the sake of the verse, made the words change places.

We might read (transferring the last fyllable of the second word to the end of the first) " Harmoniously charming."

Ferdinand has already praised this aerial Masque as an object of fight; and may not improperly or inelegantly subjoin, that the

To think these spirits ?

Spirits, which by mine art
I have from their confines call'd to enact
My present fancies.

Let me live here ever ; So rare a wonder'd father, and a wife, Make this place Paradise. [Juno and Ceres whisper, and fend Iris on employment.} PRO.

Sweet now, filence: Juno and Ceres whisper seriously; There's something else to do: hush, and be mute, Or else our spell is marr’d. Iris. You nymphs, callid Naiads, of the wan

dring brooks, With your sedg'd crowns, and ever-harmless looks, Leave your crisp channels, and on this green land Answer your summons; Juno does command : Come, temperate nymphs, and help to celebrate A contract of true love ; be not too late.

charm of found was added to that of visible grandeur. Both June and Ceres are fupposed to sing their parts. STEEVENS. A fimilar inversion occurs in A Midsummer Night's Dream :

But miferable moft to live unlov'd." MAŁONE. "- a wonder'd fatber,] i. e. a father able to perform or pro duce such wonders. Steve NS.

3-wandring brooks,] The modern editors readwinding brooks, The old copy--windring. I fuppose we should read wandring, as it is here printed. STEVENS.

4 Leave your crisp channels,] Criff, i. e. curling, winding. Lat. crispus. Henry IV, Part I. AA I. sc. iv. Hotspur, speaking of the river Severn:

“ And hid his crifped head in the hollow bank." Crifp, however, may allude to the little wave or curl (as it is commonly called) that che gentleft wind occasions on the surface of waters. STEEVENS.


Enter certain Nymphs. You sun-burn'd sicklemen, of August weary, Come hither from the furrow, and be merry; Make holy-day: your rye-straw hats put on, And these fresh nymphs encounter every one In country footing. Enter certain Reapers, properly habited: they join with

the Nymphs in a graceful dance; towards the end whereof Prospero ftarts suddenly, and speaks ; after which, to a strange, bollow, and confused noise, they beavily vanis.

Pro. [aside.] I had forgot that foul conspiracy Of the beast Caliban, and his confederates, Against my life; the minute of their plot Is almost come.—[To the spirits.] Well done ;

avoid ;-no more. Fer. This is most strange : 4 your father's in

some passion That works him strongly. Mira.

Never till this day, Saw I him touch'd with anger so distemper’d.

Pro. You do look, my son, in a mov'd fort, As if you were dismay'd: be cheerful, fir: Our revels now are ended: these our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits, and Are melted into air, into thin air: And, like the baseless fabrick of this vision,

4 This is most strange :) I have introduced the word-mt, on account of the metre, which otherwise is defective. In the first line of Prospero's next fpeech there is likewise an omislion, but I have not ventured to supply it. Steevens.

s And, like the bafelejs fabrick of this vifion, &c.] The exact period at which this play was produced is unknown: it was not,

The cloud-capt towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The folemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall diffolve;
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,"

however, published before 1623. In the year 1603, the Tragedy of Darias, by Lord Sterline, made its appearance, and there I find the following passage :

“ Let greatness of her glasfy scepters vaunt,

Not scepters, no, but reeds, foon bruis'd, soon broken; “ And let this worldly pomp our wits enchant,

“ All fades, and scarcely leaves behind a token.
“ Those golden palaces, those gorgeous halls,

“ With furniture fuperAuoully fair,
“ Those stately courts, those iky-encount'ring walls,

“ Evanish all like vapours in the air." Lord Sterline's play must have been written before the death of queen Elizabeth, (which happen'd on the 24th of March 1603) as it is dedicated to James VI. King of Scots.

Whoever should seek for this passage (as here quoted from the 40, 1603) in the folio edition, 1637, will be disappointed, as Lord Sterline made confiderable changes in all his plays, after their first publication. STEVENS.

6 all which it inherit,] i. e. all who possess, who dwell upon it. So, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona :

“ This, or else nothing, will inherit her.” Malone. ? And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,] Faded means here. baving vanished; from the Latin, vadı. So, in Hamlet:

It faded on the crowing of the cock.” To feel the justice of this comparison, and the propriety of the epithet, the nature of these exhibitions thould be remembered. The ancient Englith pageants were shows exhibited on the reception of a prince, or any other folemnity of a similar kind. They were presented on occasional stages erected in the streets. Originally they appear to have been nothing more than dumb shows; but before the time of our author, they had been enlivened by the introduction of speaking personages, who were characteristically habited. The speeches were fometimes in verse; and as the proceffion moved forward, the speakers, who constantly bore some allufion to the ceremony, either conversed together in the form of a dialogue, or addreised the noble person whose presence occafioned the celebrity. On these allegorical spectacles very costly ornaments were bestowed, See Fabian, II. 382. Warton's Hift. of Poet. II, 199, 202.

Leave not a ráck behind : 8 We are such stuff

The well-known lines before us may receive some illustration from Stowe's account of the pageants exhibited in the year 1604, (not very long before this play was written,) on King James, his Queen, &c. pafling triumphantly from the Tower to Westminfter ; on which occasion seven Ġates or Arches were etected in different places through which the proceffion passed.-Over the first gate

was represented the true likenefs of all the notable houses, « Towers, and fteeples, within the citie of London."-" The “ fixt arche or gate of triumph was erected above the Conduit in “ Fleete-Streete, whereon the Globe of the world was seen to “ move, &c. At Temple-bar a seaventh arche or gate was erect“ ed, the forefront whereof was proportioned in every respect like

a Temple, being dedicated to Janus, &c.—The citie of West“ minster, and dutchy of Lancaster, at the Strand had erected " the invention of a Rainbow, the moone, sunne, and starres, « advanced between two Pyramides,” &c. ANNALS, p. 1429, edit. 1605. Malone.

8 Leave not a rack behind :) “ The winds (says lord Bacon) which move the clouds above, which we call the rack, and are not perceived below, pass without noise." I should explain the word rack somewhat differently, by calling it the last fleeting veftige of the highest clouds, scarce perceptible on account of their distance and tenuity. What was anciently called the rack, is now termed by failors--the fcud.

The word is common to many authors contemporary with Shakspeare. So, in the Faithful Shepherdess, by Fletcher :

shall I ftray
“ In the middle air, and stay

The failing rack.
Again, in David and Bethsabe, 1599:

Beating the clouds into their swifteft rack."
Again, in the prologue to the Three Ladies of London, 1584:

“ We lift not ride the rolling rack that dims the chryftal skies." Again, in Shakspeare's 33d Sonnet:

“ Anon permits the baseft clouds to ride

“ With ugly rack on his celestial face.” Mr. Pennant in his Tour in Scotland obferves, there is a fish called a rack-rider, because it appears in winter or bad weather ; Rack, in the English of our author's days, fignifying the driving of the clouds by tempefts.

Sir T. Hanmer instead of rack, reads track, which may be countenanced by the following passage in the firft scene of Timu of Athens :

« PreviousContinue »