« PreviousContinue »
G.384. W.353.-A perfect friend, a wife without compare.
G.384. W.353.-My uttermost ambition is to climb
To those deserts may grace the style of servant. Read To those deserts may give the style of servant. Mr. Weber has altogether perverted the speaker's meaning; but of this he sees nothing: he had the Index to Shakspeare open before him; and we are accordingly favoured with a note, by Mr. Steevens, on the word style!
G.385. W.353.-He has some change of words; "i. e. some newcoined words."
Fernando has spoken but once since the entrance of Fiormonda, and it certainly required the eagle eye of Mr. Weber to discover any "new-coined words" in his speech, which is simple though courtly. Change of words, is plenty of words, fluency of language. Fiormonda speaks in scorn.
G. 385. W.354.-You are too silent,
Quicken your sad remembrance.
"You must be understood before quicken; and the sense will then be, You quicken, or bring to life, the sad memory of your loss.'
Nothing like it. The sense clearly is, Chase your melancholy reflections; enliven them by the admission of brisker and brighter thoughts. Mr. Weber, however, is so confident of his interpretation, that he intimates, (somewhat uncourteously, it must be confessed,) that if the Duke did not mean as he (Mr. Weber) means, he did not know what he was saying.
G. 387. W.355.-Dote on some crooked and misshapen form.
G.388. W.356.-I do beseech.
Read: I beseech.
G.388. IV.357.-O these women- -their very substance was
Mr. Weber has not the least idea of his author's meaning.
I have already lamented the necessity of noticing these apparently slight variations; but there is no escaping from it with any justice either to Ford or myself.
G.390. W.359.-Fer. Shall I speak? Shall I ?
This is far from Ferentes' meaning; whose thoughts run on something very different from speaking. Read: Shall I? Speak, shall I ?—
G. 391. W.359.—And I tasted enough.
Read: And I have tasted enough.
G. 392. W. 360.-How shy be that, la!
This is the only sense I could make of the original, which stands thus-How shey by that, la."
If the reader will turn to the passage, he will discover nothing like sense in Mr. Weber's emendation. Read: How say you by that, la? and the sense is-What do you mean by that?
G.392. W.360.-Thou art as fretting as an old gogram,
A prim old lady." Ridiculous! Gogram is a species of taffeta, gummed, like most of the silks and velvets in those days of stiffness and brocade; and therefore remarkably obnoxious to cracking and fretting. It is mentioned by Swift in his tale of Baucis now become a vicar's wife—
"Plain Goody would no longer down,
G. 393. W.361.-I have never found it.
G. 393. W.361.—I would change.
Read: I should change; which restores the passage to
G.399. W.366.—I am too much acquainted in the process.
thou hast made me laugh
Beside my spleen.
Anciently the spleen was supposed to be the seat of laughter."
And therefore the Duke laughs beside it! But what did Mr. Weber think he had explained?
G.399. W.366.-Fernando, thou hast heard
The pleasant humour of Mauruccio's dotage.
That could not be; for the Duke comes to inform him
Read: Fernando, hadst thou heard
The pleasant humour of Mauruccio's dotage,
G. 400. W.366.-What counsels hold you now, sirs?
G. 401. W.368.-And without our commission!—Say! "This word destroys the metre. It might, however, be superadded by the author in revising the play, not thinking that he sinned against the rules of metre."-Poor Ford! "In this manner we ought probably to account for similar superfluities in Shakspeare's lines, which are so unnecessarily expunged by modern editors"!
That two such unskilful and unpractised writers as Shakspeare and Ford should "siu against the rules of metre," without knowing it; and that they should do this more especially in the very attempt to render their poetry more complete, is an admirable conjecture; and does almost as much credit to Mr. Weber's modesty as to his judgment. G. 402. W.369.-Thus bodies walk unsoul'd.
"A very quaint word, coined by our author."
No writer ever coined so many words as Ford, if we believe Mr. Weber; who fathers upon him every word which he cannot find in the commentaries on Shakspeare. But how is unsoul'd (“ which signifies," as he says, "without a soul") more quaint than unbreech'd, or unshod, or a hundred other similar compounds, where un is used like the a privative of the Greeks, to express a negative of the simple word?
G. 402. W.369.-Beard, be confin'd to neatness, that no hair May stover up, to prick my mistress' lip.
"Stover," says Mr. Steevens, " in Cambridgeshire and other counties, signifies hay made of coarse rank grass, such as even cows will not eat."
And, as usual, the dictum of Mr. Steevens settles the matter. But what is this to the speaker's meaning? His mistress surely was not about to eat this hay, cows refused," though it might be put to her lips. Not to waste words on a plain passage, stover (which is here a verb) means to stiffen, bristle up, &c. In this sense it was perfectly familiar to Ford.
G.403. W.370.-One, two, three.
Let the solemn ass have his full measure.
Read: One-two-and three.
G. 405. W.372.-I will have my picture drawn in a square table. "A table signifies here a picture."
Here, it certainly signifies no such thing: it means, as it frequently does, the board, or strained canvas, on which the picture was to be painted. To have a picture drawn in a picture, may do very well for Mr. Weber; but is much too bad for Mauruccio.
G. 405. W.372.-Not further, r. No further.
G. 405. W.372.—I will have a clear and most transparent chrystal in the heart.
This does not appear very feasible.
Read: I will have a clear and most transparent chrystal in the form of a heart.
G. 405. W.373.-She shall no oftener powder her hair, surfell her cheeks, &c.
On the word powder, we have all Steevens and Malone let loose upon us, not one of whose examples, after all, refers to powdering the hair, (a fashion of recent introduction in Ford's time,) but to the ancient practice of staining it. Surfell, not having the good fortune to be placed in the Index to Shakspeare, is, as usual, fathered on the poet. "As I have not met with this word (surfell) any where else," our critic says, "it has occurred to me whether it may not be a word coined by our author, who as we have before seen is very quaintly ingenious in the art.”
Surfel, or surphule, is so common a word in our old writers, that it may seem almost superfluous to produce any examples of it: yet, as Marston's "Scourge of Villanie" now lies before me, I will give the first two or three that occur; they are all within the compass of a few pages.