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Hath stinking lungs, although a simpering grace,
A muddy inside, though a surfel'd face."
So steept in lemon-juice, so surphuled,
Lies streaking brawny limmes in weakening bed, Perfumed, smooth kemb'd, new glazed, fair surfuled." These, I presume, are more than sufficient to prove the extent of Mr. Weber's researches elsewhere. For the meaning of the word, see page 405 of this volume.
G. 408. W.375.-Advance the glass, Giacopo, that I may practise, as I pass, to walk a portly grace, like a marquess. "This reminds us strongly of Shakspeare's Richard III. "Shine out, fair sun, till I have bought a glass, That I may see my shadow as I pass."
This passage may "remind" Mr. Weber of Shakspeare; but certainly never brought that poet to the recollection of any other person. Our critic, however, is so possessed with the resemblance, that he ventures to speculate at large on the subject. "It is the practice," he says, "of the most valuable of Shakspeare's commentators to adduce similar instances, where the poet's lines are ludicrously imitated, as sneers upon him, especially from Fletcher, who was certainly very far from intending to cast ridicule on an author with whom he was on good terms- -The bitterness of Ben Johnson against his too powerful rival is well ascertained-But why should we increase Shakspeare's enemies, by an author who was so truly Shakspearian as Fletcher?"
To argue with so perpetual a blunderer as Mr. Weber would be to waste both time and patience; or we might ask, with Mr. Gilchrist, why the same measure should not
be meted out to Fletcher as to Jonson? But leaving this, Mr. Weber must bear to be told, when he introduces a mass of irrelevant trash, for the sake of traducing the character of such a man as Jonson, that he is an ignorant and impudent calumniator. "The bitterness of Ben Johnson," so far from being, as he says, "well ascertained," exists no where but in the slanderous falsehoods of Steevens, Malone, and their wretched followers, who imagine that they have established a claim to the public approbation, when they ape their conduct, and bring a senseless accusation of enmity against the most faithful and affectionate friend that Shakspeare ever possessed. With respect to Fletcher, of whose "profound regard for Shakspeare" Mr. Weber is so confident, he is, I lament to say, the only dramatic writer of those times, who can be positively pronounced to have attempted, on more than one occasion, “ to ridicule him."
here's laughter worth our presence.
"The old copy reads, worthy our presence.'
And why not? it is, at least, as good a word as the critic has been pleased to put in its stead:-but, in fact, it is better; for it completes the metre, which his sophistication destroys. Read,
G. 410. W.377.-" Scene II. A room in the same, i. e. in Mauruccio's House."
"The writing of notes," as Mr. Weber formerly observed, "is of inferior importance to the well arranging of the scene:" he is, therefore, as might be expected, uncommonly attentive to this part of an editor's duty; and accordingly, wherever there is a mere possibility of committing a mistake, he very adroitly does it. Here the place of action is so clearly marked out by the author, that it requires no
little power of blundering to miss it. "At night," Fer
I'll meet you at my lord Petruchio's house." Yet Mr. Weber sends them both to Mauruccio's!
G.411, W.378.-Oh for the party, who now?
such harmony of admiral beauty. Admiral Beauty is very good! As the name however does not appear in the Navy-list of Pavy, we may venture to dismiss him at once, and read
such harmony of admirable beauty.
G.414. W.381.—The shrine of some fan'd Venus.
And this, too, is very good. But did it not occur to Mr. Weber that a shrined Venus stood in no need of a shrine? And at all events, a fane is not a shrine, but a temple. Read, 'Tis such a picture as might well become
The shrine of some famed Venus.
But our critic has less excuse than usual for his unwarrantable reading, as some of the copies have a faint dot over the first limb of the m:-fam'd (feign'd) it might be, and, perhaps, was; fan'd it could never be.
G. 414. W.381.-" His name is Frinulzio."
Name for name, I prefer the author's. Read, therefore, Trinultio.
G. 414. W.381.-Youth is threescore years and ten.
Read: Youth in threescore years and ten!
The allusion is to the juvenile foppery of the superannuated dotard, Mauruccio.
G. 416. W.383.-These are very elements in a creature of little understanding.
Just the reverse of the speaker's meaning. Read, These are very rare elements, &c.
G.417. W.384.-Enter Roseilli disguised as a Fool.
"It was a bold undertaking of our poet's-to paint a counterfeit fool after Shakspeare's admirable character of Edgar in King Lear."
The reader, who knows that Edgar counterfeits a madman, not a fool, must be startled at this; but what will he say when he learns that this bold copy after Shakspeare proves his affinity to the admirable original in such terms as these? I give the whole of his speeches as they follow in the scene before us.
1. Ros. A, a, a, a, aye.*
2. Ros. Can speak? De, e, e, e, e.
3. Ros. Dud- -a clap cheek for nowne sake. Hee, e, e,
4. Ros. U, u, umh-u, u, umh-won-not, won-not
-u, u, umh.
5. Ros. Will go, te, e, e-go, will go
And these are the marvellous scintillations of wisdom, which prove to Mr. Weber that Ford made a bold attempt (though not with his usual skill) to paint a fool after Shakspeare! It is to the praise of this great poet that he has avoided every exhibition of this kind, which must have been sufficiently repulsive even to the rude audiences of those early days. His fools are fools only in name, and, whether introduced in petticoats, or in motley, are, in reality, shrewd, petulant, licentious, and, if the truth must be told, most amusing knaves, the lineal descendants of the Vice of the old Moralities. As far as my memory serves me, indeed, Ford stands alone in this humiliating part of his dramatis persona; nor does he derive any adequate advantage from this voluntary degradation of his scenes, since the whole plot of Ro
* It is this burst of intellect which furnishes the occasion for Mr. Weber's note.
seilli is without object or end, especially after he had been recalled by the Duke.
G. 417. W.384.-" Exit Fern. and Pet."
This accuracy might have been dispensed with. Read, Exeunt Fern, and Pet.
G. 419. W.385.-" Enter Fiormonda, D'Avolos and Julia." Assuredly the conversation is such as Julia could not possibly be admitted to share. Having thus carelessly introduced the lady, Mr. Weber forgets her quite, and for aught that appears to the contrary, she is still upon the stage. Read,
"Enter Fiormonda and D'Avolos in close converse."
G. 419. W.385.-Gia. Lose no time, my lord.
G. 421. W.387.-" Scene III. Another Apartment in the same, i. e. in Mauruccio's House."
This is a continuation of the former blunder. (377.) The scene is clearly laid in the private apartments of the Duchess, which were certainly not under Mauruccio's roof. G.421. W.387.-He's a well-practised gamester: well, I care not, How cunning soe'er he be, to pass an hour. I'll try your skill, my lord.
Read: He's a well-practised gamester-well, I care
How cunning soe'er he be. To pass an hour,
G. 422. W.387.-Here Mr. Weber takes a speech from Fiormonda to give it to Fernando, " to whom, he says, it evidently belongs." If any thing be evident here, it is that the critic does not understand what he is about. The reply is not to "let 's to 't"; (or, as he chooses to give it, let's toot) but to, "I fear you not": words which Fior