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So, in The Devil is an Ass, by Ben Jonson :
I will leave you “ To your godfathers in law. Let twelve men work.”
STEEVENS. 415 -grace of pardon;] Thus the old copies : the modern editors read, less harshly, but without authority, --your grace's pardon. The same kind of expression occurs in Othello. I humbly do beseech you of your pardon.
In the notes to As You Like It, and The MidsummerNight's Dream, I have given repeated instances of this phraseology.
Steevens. Your grace's pardon, was found in a copy of no alla thority, the 4to. of 1637.
MALONE. 476. -upon more advice,] 1. e. more reflection.
STEEVENS. Thus, in Comus :
• Advice with scrupulous head." HENLEY.
- I n such a night as this,] The several speeches in the Merchant of Venice, act v. sc. 1. be. ginning with these words, &c. are imitated in the old Comedy of Wily Beguiled: which, though not ascertaining the exact date of that play, prove it to have been written after Shakspere’s.
" In such a night did Paris win his love.
WHALLEY. 4. Troilus, methinks, mounted the Trojan wall,] This image is from Chaucer's Troilus and Cresseide, 5 B. 666 and 1142:
“Upon the wallis fast eke would he walke,
“ And yet came not to Troïlus Cresseide,
&c. Again, ibid.
" And up and doune by west and eke by est,
Stood Dido with è willow in her hand] This passage contains a small instance, out of
that might be brought, to prove that Shakspere was no reader of the classicks.
STEVENS. 15. In such a night, &c.] So, Gower, speaking of Medea :
“ Thus it befell upon a night,
“ She was vanished right as hir list,
Confessio Amantis, 1534.
“ But there are Crosses, wife; here's one in Wal
Any of these without a Pater-noster."
STEEVENS. sweet soul.] These two words should certainly be taken from the end of Launcelot's speech, and placed at the beginning of the following speech of
eke bra went
out any necessity.
Sweet soul, let's in, &c. Mr. Pope, I see, has corrected this blunder of the old edition, but he has changed soul into love, with
TYRWHITT. Sweet soul was not an alteration made by Mr. Pope, but an arbitrary and unauthorized reading introduced by the editor of the second folio. Mr. Rowe first re, gulated these speeches in the manner recommended
by Mr. Tyrwhitt, which appears to me to be clearly eredith right.
66. with pattens of bright gold;] Pattens is the reading of the first folio, and pattents of the quarto. Patterns is printed first in the folio, 1632. JOHNSON.
One of the quartos 1600 reads pattens, the other pattents.
STEEVENS. We should read patines, from patina, LAT. A patine is the small flat dish or plate used with the chalice, in the administration of the eucharist. In the time of popery, and probably in the following age, it was commonly made of gold.
MALONE. 70. Such harmony is in immortal souls ;] Part of the difficulty of this passage was occasioned by a wrong punctuation. There should be a full point after cherubims, and no note of admiration after souls. “ Such harmony,” &c. is not an exclamation arising from the foregoing line". So great is the harmony !" but a simile or illustration : “ of the same kind is the harmony." The whole runs thus:
There is not one of the heavenly orbs but sings as it moves, still quiring to the Cherubims. Similar to the harmony they make, is that of immortal souls ; (or in other words) each of us have as perfect a harmony in our souls as the harmony of the spheres, insomuch as we have the quality of being moved by sweet sounds (as he expresses it after-, wards); but our gross terrestrial part, which environs us, deadens the sound, and prevents our hearing it. - It, I; apprehend, refers to harmony, and not to souls.
Perhaps Shakspere, when he wrote this passage, had Sir Philip Sydney's elegant Defence of Poesie in his thoughts :-"But if you be born so neare the dull.
making cataract of Nilus, that you cannot heare the planet-like musick of poetrie, if you have so earthcreeping a mind that it cannot lift itself up to look to the skie of poetrie," &c.
It may be objected that this internal harmony cannot be heard—but Shakspere is not always exact in his language-he confounds it with that external and artificial harmony which is capable of being heard.
My interpretation is strengthened by the following passage in the second part of Antonio and Mellida, 1602, by Marston, who likewise supposes the harmony of immortal souls to be of the same kind with that of the spheres :
-Heaven's tones “ Strike not such harmony to immortal souls, “ As your accordance sweets my breast withall."
MALONE, The old reading in immortal souls is certainly right, and the whole line may be well explained by Hooker, in his Ecclesiastical Polity, B. V: “Touching musical harmony whether by instrument or by voice, it being but high and low in sounds in a due proportionable disposition, such notwithstanding is the force thereof, and so pleasing effects it hath in that very part of man which is most divine, that some have been thereby induced to think that the soul itself, by nature, is or hath in it harmony. For this quotation I am indebted to Dr. Farmer.
STEEVENS, Thus, in Comus :