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our labouring age draws to a rest: But must Calantha quail to that young grape. Read :
our labouring age draws to a rest;
But must Calantha quail too? that young grape? This speech is taken by Mr. Weber from the king, to whom it characteristically belongs, and given to Armostes: yet he has a note on it! G.344. W.313.-Have I kept my word?
Read : Have I now kept my word? The omission not only destroys the metre, but the point of the verse. G. 344. W.313.–Rich fortune's guard.
Mr. Weber, who has an explanatory note here, too, has missed the poet's meaning after all.
Read: Rich fortunes guard! i.e. may they, &c.
The youth is up on tip-toe.
The youth, &c.
“ The 4to reads, fortends, which was never, I believe, used in
the sense of forefend." The 4to clearly and distinctly reads, forefend, i.e. forbid. G. 348. W.316.-Scene IV. “ A chair with an engine.” On this unfortunate chair Mr. Weber is quite facetious.
“ This most wonderful chair, (he says) should it ever be introduced, must be furnished with a trap to catch the person who unwarily attempts to rest upon it, &c. According to our ideas, the contrivance is very ludicrous; but Ford was probably thinking of some horrible instrument of torture, in the contrivance of which our ancestors were not only inge
nious, but attempted to be elegant." Has the reader had enough of this despicable trash? To
the credit of Mr. Weber however, (and equally to the credit of themselves,) the Edinburgh, Monthly, and Critical Reviewers chime in with his mirth. What Mr. Weber “ thought of," it would be hard to tell at any time; but Ford was thinking of the theatre in the Black Friars, where a chair, such as he describes, was a well-known property, and used in various plays then on the stage. This “ horrible instrument of torture,” this most wonderful compound of “ingenuity and elegance," was, in fact, neither more nor less than a common elbow-chair, which, by means of a couple of leathern hinges and a yard or two of packthread, was made to cross its arms over the breast of the person seated in it. To suppose that Mr. Weber should know any thing that was not to be met with in the Index to Shakspeare, would be the extreme of simplicity; but surely his learned critics ought to have hinted to him that such an “engine” was of classical authority :-may be, they did not know it themselves.
While on the subject, I will subjoin a passage which has just occurred to me. “ Enter Lucretia, with a chair in her hand, which she sets
on the stage.” It was not a very ponderous “ machine," as the reader sees. -But hear the lady:
Luc. I have devised such a curious snare
grasp his armes, unable to resist,
Death's instrument inclosed in these hands. And accordingly Gismond sits down, is “ grasped,” like Ithocles, and stabbed without resistance by his wife; who retires, as she entered, “ with the chair in her hand.” This is taken from the Devil's Charter, which appeared on the stage nearly thirty years before the Broken Heart.
G. 351. W.320.
now-more to heaven. Read :
now-moves to heaven. A slight error; but which mars the sense of a very pa
G. 352. W.320.- I'll look the bodies safe.]—“This is a frequent
mode of speech. Orgilus means to say 'I will look that they
be safe.'” This is a repetition of the intrepid ignorance noticed before. (p. xcviii.) The old copy distinctly reads, “ I'll locke the bodies safe,” and accordingly Orgilus turns the key upon them, and
quest of Bassanes.
G.353. W.321.-Splay-footed.] “ Gobier is explained by Cot
grave, Baker-legged, splay-footed, shaling, ill-favouredly
G. 353, W.321.--Noble Bassanes,
Mislike me not.
Mistake me not.
G.354. W.322.- The first, the index pointing to a second] " i.e.
the index of a clock.” Nonsense. The allusion is to the finger (+) on the margin of old books, which served to point out any remarkable circumstance-of which this was ever to be the prime example of its kind.
G.355. W.323.–We miss our servants, Ithocles and Orgilus.
The princess could not say this, for Orgilus was certainly not her lover.
Read: We miss our servant Ithocles, and Orgilus.
G.357. W.325.—Prefers. i. e. arraigns.] “With this meaning the
word often occurs in writers of the author's age." It never occurs in any
any age “ with this meaning;" and our luckless critic, in turning as usual to his index, must have confounded it with some other word. • Prefers, is here used in its simple and ordinary sense.
G.361. W.828.-" The arms of Orgilus are bound, and pieces of
tape tied round the elbows. He receives a stick in each arm.” This ingenious stage direction is the production of our critic. Instead, however, of taking credit for it, as he ought to do, he very unaccountably falls upon the luckless poet, for the introduction of such ridiculous machinery."
All that is ridiculous" here, however, is his own. Ford ties no tape round the elbows, puts no sticks in the arms; and least of all, does he anticipate his own action, and begin at the wrong end of the scene: he proceeds simply enough; the arm is filleted, and a stick is then placed in the hand, to be grasped during the bleeding :-a practice which, though it diverts the ignorance of Mr. Weber, is familiar to every village doctor in the kingdom. The “
present bleeding scene," and that of the trapchair, (O that unfortunate chair !) might, Mr. Weber thinks, “ by the mere omission of the machinery, (.e. the chair, and the bleeding,) be placed among the most beautiful scenes of the old dramatic age.” A piece of criticism that sets the perspicacity of Mr. Weber's judgment in a most favourable point of view: since it will hardly be denied that if we take away the whole of the foundation on which an exquisite structure is raised, we contribute in a very eminent degree to the strength and beauty of the edifice.
G. 363. W.330.-Oh, Tecnicus,
I call to mind the augury.
thy augury. The force of the observation depends upon this word.
G. 368. W.334.- Argos, now Sparta's king, command the voices,
&c. This false reading destroys the pathos of a very beautiful passage.-Calantha does not call on Argos. I have
done, she says, with all earthly care, and Argos is now king of Sparta. Read, therefore, with the poet,
One kiss on these cold lips,—my last! Argos now's Sparta's king.-Command the voices, &c. Mr. Weber winds up his folly on this admirable drama with quoting a passage which, for daring and frantic blasphemy, has not been equalled since the days of the Apostate. Were it only to get rid of this horror, Ford ought long since to have been re-edited.
G. 374. W. 344.-Prescribed judgment.
Read: Proscribed judgment; which is a very different matter.
G. 374. W.344.—“No engagement of friendship shall more justly
live a president."
shall more justly live a precedent. G.378. W.348.-Whose commanding cheek.
Read: Whose commanding check. G.383. W.352.
a gentleman at Milan. Read :
a gentleman of Milan. G.384. W. 352.-I am a monarch in felicity. Very inferior to the genuine text.
Read: I am a monarch of felicity: i. e. I command happiness.