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“Can any inortal mixture of earth's mould
“ To testify his hidden residence." HENLEY. 72. -close it in-] Is the reading of the quarto.
STEEVENS, 73. wake Diana with a hymn;] Dian the moon, who is in the next scene represented as sleeping.
JOHNSON. 75. And draw her home with musick.] Shakspere was, I believe, here thinking of the custom of accompanying the last waggon-load, at the end of harvest, with rustick musick. He again alludes to this yet common practice, in As You Like It. MALONE. 90. The man that hath no musick in himself,
Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds,] The thought here is extremely fine: as if the being affected with musick was the only harmony between the internal (musick in himself ] and the external musick [concord of sweet sounds), which were mutually affected like unison strings. This whole speech could not choose but please an English audience, whose great passion, as well then as now, was love of musick, Jain verò video naturam (says Erasmus in praise of folly) ut singulis nationibus, ac pene civitatibus, communem quandam insevisse Philantiam : atque hinc fieri, ut Britanni præter alia Formam, musicam, & lautas Mensas propriè sibi vindicent.
This passage, which is neither pregnant with physical or moral truth, nor poetically beautiful in an eminent degree, has constantly enjoyed the good for. tune to be repeated by those whose inhospitable meniories would have refused to admit or retain any other sentiment or description of the same author, however exalted or just. The truth is, that it furnishes the vacant fiddler with something to say in defence of his profession, and supplies the coxcomb in musick, with an invective against such as do not pretend to discover all the various powers of language in articulate sounds.
Our ancient statutes have often received their best comment by means of reference to the particular occa. sion on which they were framed. Dr. Warburton has therefore properly accounted for Shakspere's seeming partiality to this amusement. He might have added, that Peacham requires of his Gentleman ONLY to be able “ to sing his part sure, and at first sight, and withal to play the same on a viol or lute."
Let not, however, this capricious sentiment of Shakspere descend to posterity, unattended by the opinion of the late lord Chesterfied on the same sub. ject. In his 1.48th letter to his son, who was then at Venice, his lordship, after having enumerated musick among the illiberal pleasures, adds" if you love musick, hear it; go to operas, concerts, and pay fiddlers to play to you; but I must insist upon your neither piping nor fiddling yourself. It puts a gentleman in a very frivolous contemptible light ; brings
him into a great deal of bad company, and takes up a great deal of time, which might be much better employed. Few things would mortify me more, than to see you bearing a part in a concert, with a fiddle under your chin, or a pipe in your mouth.” Again,
“ A taste of sculpture and painting is, in my mind, as becoming as a taste of fiddling and piping is unbecoming a man of fashion. The former is connected with history and poetry, the latter with nothing that I know of, but bad company.” Again,
-“« Painting and sculpture are very justly called liberal arts; a lively and strong imagination, together with a just observation, being absolutely necessary to excel in either; which, in my opinion, is by no means the case of musick, though called a liberal art, and now in Italy placed above the other two; a proof of the decline of that country.”
106. -without respect ;] Not absolutely good, but relatively good as it is modified by circumstances.
JOHNSON. 132. A tucket--] Toccata, Ital. a flourish on a trumpet.
STEEVENS. 140. Let me give light, &c.] There is scarcely any word with which Shakspere so much delights to trifle as with light, in its various significations.
JOHNSON, Most of the old dramatick writers are guilty of the same quibble. So, Marston in his Insatiate Coun. tess, 1613;
“ By this bright light that is deriv'd from thee
“ So, sir, you make me a very light creature.” Again, Middleton, in A Mad World my Masters, 1608:
“—more lights—I callid for light: here come in two are light enough for a whole house." Again, in Springes for Woodcocks, a collection of epi.
“ Lais of lighter metal is compos'd .
STEEVENS. 152. this breathing courtesy.] Breathing for verbal.So, in Timon of Athens, a senator replies to Alcibiades, who had made a long speech:
“ You breathe in vain." Again, in Hamlet :
" Having ever seen in the prenominate crimes
“ The youth you breathe of, guilty.” Malone. 160. -like cutler's poetry;] Knives as Sir John Hawkins observes, were formerly inscribed by means of aqua fortis with short sentences in distich. Mr. Reed has cited from Decker's Satiro-mastix the fol. lowing pertinent passage :
" You shall swear by Phæbus, who is your poet's good lord and master, that hereafter you will not hire Horace to give you poesies for rings, or handkerchers, or knives, which you understand not,”
167. -have been respective,-) Respective has the same meaning as respectful. See K. John, act i.
A prating boy, &c.] It is certain, from the words of the context and the tenor of the story, that Gratiano does not here speak contemptuously of the judge's clerk, who was no other than Nerissa disguised in man's clothes,
He only means to describe the person and appearance of this supposed youth, which he does by insinuating what seemed to be the precise time of his age : he represents him as having the look of a young stripling, of a boy beginning to advance towards puberty. I am therefore of opinion, that the poet wrote:
a little stubbed boy. In many counties it is a common provincialism, to call young birds not yet fledged stubbed young onese But, what is more to our purpose, the author of The History and Antiquities of Glastonbury, printed by Hearne, an antiquarian, and a plain unaffected wri. ter, says, that “ Saunders must be a stubbed boy, if not a man at the dissolution of abbeys," &c. edit, 1722, Pref. Signat. n. 2. It therefore seems to have been a common expression for stripling, the very idea which the speaker means to convey. If the emen, dation be just here, we should also correct Nerissa's speech which follows :
For that same stubbed boy, the doctor's clerk,