Johnson's Notes to Shakespeare Vol. I Comedies
by Samuel Johnson
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Notes to Shakespeare

Vol. I


Edited, with an Introduction, by Arthur Sherbo


RICHARD C. BOYS, University of Michigan RALPH COHEN, University of California, Los Angeles VINTON A. DEARING, University of California, Los Angeles LAWRENCE CLARK POWELL, Clark Memorial Library ASSISTANT EDITOR W. EARL BRITTON, University of Michigan ADVISORY EDITORS EMMETT L. AVERY, State College of Washington BENJAMIN BOYCE, Duke University LOUIS BREDVOLD, University of Michigan JOHN BUTT, King's College, University of Durham JAMES L. CLIFFORD, Columbia University ARTHUR FRIEDMAN, University of Chicago EDWARD NILES HOOKER, University of California, Los Angeles LOUIS A. LANDA, Princeton University SAMUEL H. MONK, University of Minnesota ERNEST C. MOSSNER, University of Texas JAMES SUTHERLAND, University College; London H. T. SWEDENBERG, JR., University of California, Los Angeles CORRESPONDING SECRETARY EDNA C. DAVIS, Clark Memorial Library


Dr. Johnson's Preface to Shakespeare is one of the most famous critical essays of the eighteenth century, and yet too many students have forgotten that it is, precisely, a preface to the plays of Shakespeare, edited by Dr. Johnson himself. That is to say, the edition itself has been obscured or overshadowed by its preface, and the sustained effort of that essay has virtually monopolized scholarly attention—much of which should be directed to the commentary. Johnson's love for Shakespeare's plays is well known; nowhere is this more manifest than in his notes on them. And it is on the notes that his claim to remembrance as a critic of Shakespeare must rest, for the famous Preface is, after all, only rarely an original and personal statement.

The idea of editing Shakespeare's plays had attracted Johnson early, and in 1745 he issued proposals for an edition. Forced to give up the project because of copyright difficulties, he returned to it again in 1756 with another, much fuller set of proposals. Between 1745 and 1756 he had completed the great Dictionary and could advance his lexicographical labors as an invaluable aid in the explication of Shakespeare. Although he had promised speedy publication, "on or before Christmas 1757," Johnson's public had to wait until Oct. 10, 1765 for the Shakespeare edition to appear. The first edition, largely subscribed for, was soon exhausted, and a second edition was ready the very next month. A third edition was published in 1768, but there were no revisions in the notes in either of these editions. At some time after February 1, 1766, the date of George Steevens' own proposals for an edition of Shakespeare, and before March 21, 1770 when Johnson wrote to Richard Farmer for some assistance in the edition (Life, II, 114), Johnson decided to join forces with Steevens. The result was, of course, the so-called 1773 Johnson-Steevens variorum from which the notes in this reprint are taken. A second Johnson-Steevens variorum appeared in 1778, but Johnson's part in this was negligible, and I have been able to find only fifty-one revisions (one, a definition, is a new note) which I feel reasonably certain are his. The third variorum, edited by Isaac Reed in 1785, contains one revision in Johnson's notes.

"Dr. Johnson has displayed, in this revisal, such ingenuity, and accuracy of just conception, as render the present annotations a valuable addition to his former remarks on the subject." The writer is a reviewer for the Critical Review (Dee., 1773, p. 416); the work in question is the 1773 Johnson-Steevens edition of Shakespeare's plays. The remark quoted is from the last paragraph of a long review beginning in November and seems almost an afterthought, for the same reviewer had said that the edition "deserves to be considered as almost entirely the production of Mr. Steevens" (p. 346). In a sense this is true, but the basis for the commentary in the 1773 edition was still the approximately 5600 notes, both his own and those of previous editors and critics, that had appeared in Dr. Johnson's 1765 edition. The actual text of the plays is another matter; a combination of collation and judicious borrowing, it was provided by George Steevens. Steevens' contributions to the text and annotation of Shakespeare's plays concern students of the dramatist; That Johnson had to say about the plays concerns Johnsonians as veil as Shakespeareans. And it is unfortunately true that too little attention has been paid to what is after all Johnson's final and reconsidered judgment on a number of passages in the plays.

The decision to reprint the commentary in the 1773 edition may be questioned. Should not the 1765 text of the notes be reprinted, since it, after all, is nearest to the author's manuscript? Will not errors from the second and third editions have been perpetuated and new ones committed in 1773, an inevitable result of reprinting any large body of material? Ideally, the 1765 edition should be the copy-text. But Johnson made about 500 revisions in his commentary, adding eighty-four new notes and omitting thirty-four of his original notes in the first edition. Obviously, Johnson cannot, or should not, be condemned for a note in the 1765 edition which he omitted in 1773. Yet in selections from Johnson's notes to Shakespeare that appear in anthologies some of these offending notes have been reprinted without any indication that the editors knew of their later retraction. In seventy-three notes Johnson adds comments to his original note; in eighty-eight, to the notes of other editors and critics. He revises seventy-five of his original notes and he omits ten comments on the notes of others. And there are many other changes. Some of the revisions come from the Appendix to the 1765 edition. I have collated the notes in the 1765 and 1773 editions for evidence of revision; changes in punctuation were passed over, and I must admit that I do not think them important. In the light of my collation and because of the greater clumsiness of an apparatus to indicate revisions in the 1765 notes I have elected to use the 1773 text of Johnson's commentary, trusting that I have not overlooked any significant changes. The reader has, then, for the first time, outside the covers of the ten volumes of the 1773 edition, an almost complete text of Johnson's notes on Shakespeare. The only omission in this reprint is of those notes which merely list variant readings, either from one of the folios or quartos or from a previous editor. Johnson's reputation as an editor of Shakespeare rests, after all, on his commentary, not on his textual labors. Up to now Johnson's notes have been available only in such books as Walter Raleigh's Johnson on Shakespeare and Mona Wilson's Johnson; Prose and Poetry, and here one gets merely a selection. For example: Miss Wilson reprints only two notes from The Tempest, one from Julius Caesar, three from Antony and Cleopatra, and one from Titus Andronicus. One rarely gets the chance to read the more than 2000 notes in the edition given over to definitions or paraphrases and explanations. Yet it must be remembered that Johnson has been most often praised for these notes by scholars whose primary interest was Shakespeare's meaning, not Johnson's personality. And, what bears constant repetition, the anthologies draw their notes from the 1765 edition, neglecting altogether Johnson's revisions. It is only very recently that these revisions have been studied at all—and then but partially.

The present division of the commentary into three parts—the notes on the comedies, those on the tragedies, and those on the history plays—is arbitrary and mostly a matter of convenience. Some division was necessary, and it seemed advantageous to present introductions which could use Johnson's reaction to comedy, tragedy, and history plays—and Shakespeare's comedies, tragedies, and histories—as a point of departure. Were the notes reprinted in the order of appearance of the plays one would find Macbeth, coming after The Winter's Tale (the last of the comedies), introducing the history plays. Since Johnson had written Miscellaneous Observations on the Tragedy of Macbeth in 1745 and had included the play among the tragedies in the 1765 edition it seems reasonable to assume that he regarded it as a tragedy and possibly bowed to Steevens' wishes in allowing it to appear where it does in 1773. Hence, the notes on Macbeth occur with those on the other tragedies in this reprint.

One of the reasons for a full reprinting of Johnson's commentary has already been discussed: a complete and accurate knowledge of his thoughts on each of the plays of the then accepted canon is thus gained. (I might add here that some notes by other editors, inadvertently unattributed in the 1765 edition—some of them still unattributed in 1773—have been erroneously reprinted as Johnson's by both Walter Raleigh and Mona Wilson.) Another reason is, of course, the relative difficulty of getting at the volumes of the 1773 edition. Although not a particularly scarce item, the edition can usually be consulted only in Rare Book rooms (there are exceptions), where the working scholar is hampered by the inaccessibility of many other books, not "rare," which he needs at his elbow. Then again, the present reprint gives only Johnson's notes, except for necessary explanations of, or quotations from, the notes of previous editors and critics. But far transcending these reasons, although deriving from them, is the enormous value to the student of Johnson the man and the critic of a now easily accessible body of literary criticism and personal comment that is second in importance only to the Lives of the Poets.

Johnson's notes to the plays of Shakespeare are an invaluable source of information of many kinds. I can only suggest here, and give a few examples of, the wealth of material that awaits further, detailed examination by other scholars. One demonstration, however, of the use to which the notes can be put is provided by Professor E. L. McAdam's Dr. Johnson and the English Law (1951) in which are recorded notes showing Johnson's familiarity with various legal terms. Further insight into Johnson's knowledge of books of esoterica, histories, ballads, etc., can be gleaned from the comments on Shakespeare. A subject in which I must confess an interest possibly out of proportion to its worth is that of Johnson's reading. Some day we will have a list, probably never complete, of the books we can be sure Johnson knew. Not only will the notes to Shakespeare supply the names of works that Johnson knew, quoted from, or alluded to only in these notes, but they will also help to establish more firmly certain fields or subjects that fascinated him. Thus, one note is evidence for Johnson's knowledge of Guevara's Dial of Princes; another for his familiarity with Ficino's De Vita Libri Tres; and nowhere else in Johnson's works, letters, or conversation are these works so much as alluded, to. Other notes show us that Johnson remembered now a poem, now an essay, from the Gentleman's Magazine. In still other notes one encounters or is able to identify the names of John Caius, John Trevisa, Dr. William Alabaster, Paul Scarron, Abraham Ortelius, Meric Casaubon, and many others. Plays, sermons, travel books, ballads, romances, proverbs, poems, histories, biographies, essays, letters, documents—all have their place in the notes to Shakespeare.

No discussion of Johnson's knowledge of books can ignore the importance of his reading for the Dictionary. Nor can this same preparatory reading be overlooked in a consideration of the Shakespeare edition. Between one-fifth and one-fourth of the notes to Shakespeare can be traced back to the Dictionary. What is more, the revision of the 1765 Shakespeare was undertaken at the same time that Johnson was revising his Dictionary; both revisions appeared in the same year. And so one is not surprised to find that these two labors are of reciprocal assistance. One illustration will have to do duty for several: in a note Johnson observes of the verb "to roam" that it is "supposed to be derived from the cant of vagabonds, who often pretended a pilgrimage to Rome;" this etymology is absent from the 1755 Dictionary; in the revised Dictionary the verb "is imagined to come from the pretenses of vagrants, who always said they were going to Rome." A number of the new notes and comments in the 1773 Shakespeare are clearly derived, directly or indirectly, from the Dictionary.

I have already mentioned the Lives of the Poets as the only critical work by Johnson which takes precedence over the commentary (and Preface, also) to the plays of Shakespeare. And yet this statement needs modification. In one important respect the notes to Shakespeare are of greater significance than the much more famous Lives for an investigation of Johnson the critic at work. Why, for example, is the Life of Cowley one of the most valuable of the Lives? For two reasons: Johnson is discussing a school of poetry which has provoked much comment, and that particular Life abounds in quotations upon which Johnson exercises his critical abilities. But there are not many of the Lives which reveal Johnson at work on particular passages, where the passage in question is quoted and critical comment is made on a particular line or a particular image, rhyme, word, etc. In short, as so often in Johnson, we are confronted with the large general statement in so much of the criticism in the Lives. The "diction" of Lycidas is "harsh." "Some philosophical notions [in Paradise Lost], especially when the philosophy is false, might have been better omitted." The plays of Nicholas Rowe are marked by "elegance of diction." Dryden is not often "pathetick." Some of Swift's poetry is "gross" and some is "trifling." The diction of Shenstone's Elegies is "often harsh, improper, and affected."

Johnson has not made his meaning entirely clear in these statements because he has not illustrated his remarks with quotations from the works or authors under examination. The famous—or notorious— condemnation of Lycidas as "harsh" in diction continues to give scholars pause. Most often Johnson has been accused of a poor—or no— ear for poetry, since the only definition of "harsh" in his Dictionary which is applicable here is "rough to the ear." As no specific lines from the poem are labelled "harsh," one is forced to conclude that the whole poem is unmusical to Johnson's ears—if "harsh" means only "rough to the ear." But the notes to Shakespeare make it perfectly clear that "harsh" often means something other than that. Sometimes a line is stigmatised as "harsh" because it contains what Johnson in Rambler No. 88 called the "collision of consonants." An image offends his sense of propriety and is therefore "harsh." Some words are "harsh" because they are "appropriated to particular arts" (the phrase comes from his Life of Dryden). Thus, in Measure for Measure, a "leaven'd choice" is "one of Shakespeare's harsh metaphors" because it conjures up images of a baker at his trade. Johnson also uses "harsh" to describe a word used in a sense not familiar to him. And "harsh" is sometimes used synonymously with "forced and far-fetched." "Is't not a kind of incest, to take life From thine own sister's shame?" asks Isabella of her brother in Measure for Measure, provoking from Johnson the remark that in her "declamation there is something harsh, and something forced and far-fetched." Only now, with the varying uses of "harsh" as exemplified in the notes to Shakespeare as guides, can one hope better to understand the bare statement that the diction of Lycidas is "harsh." Similar investigation of other important words in Johnson's critical vocabulary is possible through a close study of his commentary on Shakespeare's plays. Words such as "elegant," "inartificial," "just," "low," "pathetic," "proper," "vicious," and others used in criticism of specific lines and passages help one to pin down Johnson's meaning when he uses the same words in general contexts elsewhere.

Johnson stands clearly revealed as a critic in his notes to Shakespeare; if there is any doubt of this, it can only center about the comparative importance we may wish to attach to the commentary in relation to the rest of Johnson's criticism. But there is another aspect of Johnson of which one gets but half-glimpses in the notes; and here I may be accused or romanticizing or of reading too much significance into remarks whose purpose was to illuminate Shakespeare's art and not, decidedly, to reveal the editor's character. To put it baldly, I believe that in some notes Johnson has given us clues to his own feelings under circumstances similar to those in which Shakespeare's characters find themselves. Let me illustrate. In the concluding line of Act II of 2 Henry VI, Eleanor, wife to the Duke of Gloucester, is on her way to prison. She says, "Go, lead the way. I long to see my prison." Johnson comments: "This impatience of a high spirit is very natural. It is not so dreadful to be imprisoned, as it is desirable in a state of disgrace to be sheltered from the scorn of gazers." This note may be innocuous enough, but it is worth recalling that Johnson was arrested for debt in February, 1758, when he was engaged in the edition of Shakespeare. And two years earlier, in March of 1756, he had also been arrested for debt. Friends came to his rescue both times. Curiously, there is no mention of the arrests in Boswell's Life. Did Boswell know and deliberately omit these facts, or did Johnson prefer to keep silent about them? Anecdote after anecdote shows Johnson to have been an extremely proud man, one who would feel keenly a public disgrace. Was he exposed to "the scorn of gazers" on one or both of these occasions? It is tempting, and admittedly dangerous, to read autobiographical significance in the note on Eleanor's words. But another question intrudes itself in this connection: Is there a link between the two arrests and Idler No. 22, "Imprisonment of Debtors," which Johnson substituted for the original essay when the periodical was republished in 1761? I am not prepared to answer these questions; I can only raise them.

I cannot forbear another excursion into the region of Johnsonian autobiography (or pseudo-autobiography) even at the increased risk of committing a scholarly sin against which I have myself protested. In my own defense I can say that I know the highly conjectural nature of what I am doing. Johnson's pride may have suffered when he was arrested for debt in the presence of unsympathetic onlookers. This is sheer hypothesizing. But when, in Henry IV, Worcester speaks the following words:

For, bear ourselves as even as we can, The King will always think him in our debt; And think, we deem ourselves unsatisfy'd, Till he hath found a time to pay us home. (I.iii.285-8) and Johnson comments: "This is a natural description of the state of mind between those who have conferred, and those that have received, obligations too great to be satisfied," we may protest that such a reaction is by no means universal. The suspicion that Johnson is speaking for himself is strengthened by an observation made by Sir Joshua Reynolds and recorded by his biographer, Junes Northcote. Reynolds remarks "that if any drew [Johnson] into a state of obligation without his own consent, that man was the first he would affront, by way of clearing off the account" (see Boswell's Life, III, 345, n.l). Johnson's note may nov be looked upon as a possible personal confession. Other conjectures are justified, I believe, by still other notes, but it may be preferable to list, without comment, some of the topics upon which Johnson has his say in the notes to Shakespeare. He comments on melancholy, falsehood, the lightness with which vows are made, cruelty to animals, "the pain of deformity," the horrors of solitude, kindness to dependents, friendship, slavery, guilt, the "unsocial mind," the "mean" and the "great"—and a host of others. It is not difficult, therefore, to understand why the editor of The Beauties of Johnson quoted so often from the notes to Shakespeare.

The University of Illinois copy of the 1773 Shakespeare has been used. It is unique, I believe, in that the last volume contains a list of "Cancels In Shakespeare. This List not to be bound up with the Book, being only to direct the Binder," one of the earliest of these forgotten directions to the binder to be recorded. There is another point of bibliographical interest in the edition. L. F. Powell states that there are three Appendices in the last volume of the edition (Life. II, 490), as does T. J. Monaghan (RES, 1953, p. 238). Yet the Illinois copy has only two appendices, and a check of copies in some six large American libraries reveals the same number. The copy with the three Appendices would seem quite rare.

One or two symbols and abbreviations have been used for the sake of economy. A new note or comment by Johnson, one added in 1773, is indicated by (1773) at the end of the note. "W" is Warburton; "T" is Theobald. The notation "W: winter" points to an easily recognizable emendation by Warburton in a line quoted before the note in question. Easily identifiable references to revisions of notes in the 1765 edition, or to revisions later made in the 1778 edition, are placed in parentheses at the end of the notes. Scholars interested in these revisions must check them for themselves. Act, scene, and line references to Shakespeare are from Kittredge's edition of the works (Boston, 1936). The numbers in parentheses after the reference in Kittredge are to page and note number (the volume being given only once) in the 1773 edition. The page reference is to the page upon which the note, Johnson's or another editor's, starts; sometimes the notes extend to three or more pages. The text of Shakespeare quoted is that of the 1773 edition; this is the text that Johnson's contemporaries saw, and it would be a distortion to reprint Johnson's notes after a modern text.

The following list is of notes Johnson omitted in 1773; the references are, of course, to the 1765 edition: I, 64, 0; 94,0 106 ; 113, 0; 133,0; 151,0 ; 153,0 ; 233, 8; 469, 1; II, 217, 2; 295, 8; 326, 8; 396, 8; 464, 6; III, 193, 3; IV, 149, 2; 201, 5; 347, 4; 372, 5; 398, 7; 404, 3; V, 61, 5; 107, 9; VI, 17, 3; 80, 5; [166]; 415, 9; 440, 9; VII, 316, 3; VIII, 121, 9; 198, 2; 272, 6; 281, 9; 362, 7. Fourteen notes in the 1765 edition, there inadvertently unattributed, are taken verbatim from other editors and critics; five of these are correctly attributed in 1773 (see 1765, V, 182, 1; VI, 24, 3 and 177, 3; and Appendix, notes on V, 253 and VII, 444). Four notes are entirely omitted: 1773, II, 50, 4; 138, 5; V, 297, 6; and VII, 317, 6. In four others (1773, I, 249, 5; II, 466, 7; VI, 72, 4; and X, 417, 8) the part of the note that is not Johnson's is set off by brackets and properly attributed. Finally, the note on II, 452 in the 1765 Appendix, taken partly from "Mr. Smith," appears in 1773 (I, 195, 5) as part of Steevens' comment. Introduction on Comedies.

If I were to select the one passage in Dr. Johnson's Preface to Shakespeare which occasioned the greatest immediate protest and which has continued to be held up to critical scorn, I should have to pitch upon this: "In tragedy he is always struggling after some occasion to be comick; but in comedy he seems to repose, or to luxuriate, as in a mode of thinking congenial to his nature. In his tragick scenes there is always something wanting, but his comedy often surpasses expectation or desire. His comedy pleases by the thoughts and the language, and his tragedy for the greater part by incident and action. His tragedy seems to be skill, his comedy to be instinct." As a theatre-goer, Johnson could also say in the Preface that "familiar comedy is often more powerful on the theatre, than in the page; imperial tragedy is always less." One might logically assume, then, that Johnson's greater enjoyment of Shakespeare's comedies would be easily remarked in his commentary—and even, possibly, that they would be singled out for more annotation and comment than the tragedies or the histories. The most heavily annotated plays are, however, the tragedies, and it is curious to observe that the sombre "problem comedy," Measure for Measure, commands more notes than any other comedy. Further, Johnson's moral and religious sensibilities were offended by profanity and obscenity in the drama, and Shakespeare's comedies, far more than his tragedies and histories, transgress in this direction. One recollects, finally, that the dramatic genre favored most by Johnson was the "she-tragedy." Was Johnson lauding Shakespeare's comedies because the tragedies had been excessively praised? I do not know.

I an most grateful to the Research Board of the University of Illinois for a grant which greatly expedited my work.


Vol. I


I.i (4,2) [Enter a Ship-master and a Boatswain] In this naval dialogue, perhaps the first example of sailor's language exhibited on the stage, there are, as I have been told by a skilful narrator, some inaccuracies and contradictory orders.

I.i.8 (4,4) [blow, till thou burst thy wind, if room enough] Perhaps it might be read,—blow till thou burst, wind, if room enough.

I.i.30 (5,5) It may be observed of Gonzalo, that, being the only good man that appears with the king, he is the only man that preserves his cheerfulness in the wreck, and his hope on the island.

I.i.52 (6,7) [set her two courses; off to sea again] The courses are the main-sail and fore-sail. This term is used by Raleigh, in his Discourse on Shipping.

I.i.63 (6,9)

[He'll be hang'd yet; Though every drop of water swear against it, And gape at wid'st to glut him.]

Shakespeare probably wrote, t'englut him, to swallow him; for which I know not that glut is ever used by him. In this signification englut, from engloutir, French, occurs frequently, as in Henry VI.

"—Thou art so near the gulf Thou needs must be englutted."

And again in Timon and Othello. Yet Milton writes glutted offal for swallowed, and therefore perhaps the present text may stand.

I.i.65 (7,1) [Farewell, brother!] All these lines have been hitherto given to Gonzalo, who has no brother in the ship. It is probable that the lines succeeding the confused noise within should be considered as spoken by no determinate characters, but should be printed thus.

1 Sailor. Mercy on us! We split, we split!

2 Sailor. Farewell, my, &c.

3 Sailor. Brother, farewell, &c. (see 1765, I,6,6)

I.ii.15 (8,3) [Mira. O, woe the day! Pro. No harm, I have done nothing but in care of thee] I know not whether Shakespeare did not make Miranda speak thus:

O, woe the day! no harm?

To which Prospero properly answers:

I have done nothing but in care of thee. Miranda, when he speaks the words, O, woe the day! supposes, not that the crew had escaped, but that her father thought differently from her, and counted their destruction no harm.

I.ii.27 (8,4) [virtue of compassion] Virtue; the most efficacious part, the energetic quality; in a like sense we say, The virtue of a plant is in the extract.

I.ii.29 (8,5)

[I have with such provision in mine art So safely order'd, that there is no soul— No, not so much perdition as an hair, Betid to any creature in the vessel]

Thus the old editions read, but this is apparently defective. Mr. Rowe, and after him Dr. Warburton, read that there is no soul lost, without any notice of the variation. Mr. Theobald substitutes no foil, and Mr. Pope follows him. To come so near the right, and yet to miss it, is unlucky: the author probably wrote no soil, no stain, no spot: for so Ariel tells,

Not a hair perish'd; On their sustaining garments not a blemish, But fresher than before.

And Gonzalo, The rarity of it is, that our garments being drench'd in the sea, keep notwithstanding their freshness and glosses. Of this emendation I find that the author of notes on The Tempest had a glimpse, but could not keep it.

I.ii.58 (10,7) [and thy father Was duke of Milan, thou his only heir] Perhaps—and thou his only heir.

I.ii.83 (11,1)

[having both the key Of officer and office, set all hearts i' the state To what tune pleas'd his ear]

Key in this place seems to signify the key of a musical instrument, by which he set Hearts to tune.

I.ii.93 (11,2) [and my trust,Like a good parent, did beget of him A falshood] Alluding to the observation, that a father above the common rate of men has commonly a son below it. Heroum filii noxae.

I.ii.155 (14,6) [deck'd the sea] To deck the sea, if explained, to honour, adorn, or dignify, is indeed ridiculous, but the original import of the verb deck is, to cover; so in some parts they yet say deck the table. This sense nay be borne, but perhaps the poet wrote fleck'd, which I think is still used in rustic language of drops falling upon water. Dr. Warburton reads mock'd, the Oxford edition brack'd. (see 1765, I,13,5)

I.ii.185 (15,8) [Thou art inclin'd to sleep: 'tis a good dulness] Dr. Warburton rightly observes, that this sleepiness, which Prospero by his art had brought upon Miranda, and of which he knew not how soon the effect would begin, makes him question her so often whether she is attentive to his story.

I.ii.196 (16,1) [I boarded the king's ship: now on the beak] The beak was a strong pointed body at the head of the ancient gallies; it is used here for the forecastle, or the bolt-sprit.

I.ii.197 (16,2) [Now in the waste] The part between the quarter-deck and the forecastle.

I.ii.209 (16,3) [Not a soul But felt a fever of the mad] In all the later editions this is changed to a fever of the mind, without reason or authority, nor is any notice given of an alteration.

I.ii.218 (17,4) [On their sustaining garments not a blemish Thomas Edwards' MSS: sea-stained] This note of Mr. Edwards, with which I suppose no reader is satisfied, shews with how much greater ease critical emendations are destroyed than made, and how willingly every man would be changing the text, if his imagination would furnish alterations. (1773)

I.ii.239 (19,7) [What is the time o' the day?] This passage needs not be disturbed, it being common to ask a question, which the next moment enables us to answer; he that thinks it faulty may easily adjust it thus:

Pro. What is the time o' the day? Past the mid season. Ari. At least two glasses. Pro. The time 'twixt six and now

I.ii.250 (19,8) [Pro. Dost thou forget From what a torment I did free thee?] That the character and conduct of Prospero may be understood, something must be known of the system of enchantment, which supplied all the marvellous found in the romances of the middle ages. This system seems to be founded on the opinion that the fallen spirits, having different degrees of guilt, had different habitations allotted them at their expulsion, some being confined in hell, some (as Hooker, who delivers the opinion of our poet's age, expresses it) dispersed in air, some on earth, some in water, others in caves, dens, or minerals under the earth. Of these, some were more malignant and mischievous than others. The earthy spirits seem to have been thought the most depraved, and the aerial the least vitiated. Thus Prospero observes of Ariel:

Thou wast a spirit too delicate To act her earthy and abhorr'd commands.

Over these spirits a power might be obtained by certain rites performed or charms learned. This power was called The Black Art, or Knowledge of Enchantment. The enchanter being (as king James observes in his Demonology) one who commands the devil, whereas the witch serves him. Those who thought best of this art, the existence of which was, I am afraid, believed very seriously, held, that certain sounds and characters had a physical power over spirits, and compelled their agency; others who condemned the practice, which in reality was surely never practised, were of opinion, with more reason, that the power of charms arose only from compact, and was no more than the spirits voluntary allowed them for the seduction of man. The art was held by all, though not equally criminal, yet unlawful, and therefore Causabon, speaking of one who had commerce with spirits, blames him, though he imagines him one of the best kind who dealt with them by way of command. Thus Prospero repents of his art in the last scene. The spirits were always considered as in some measure enslaved to the enchanter, at least for a time, and as serving with unwillingness, therefore Ariel so often begs for liberty; and Caliban observes, that the spirits serve Prospero with no good will, but hate him rootedly.—Of these trifles enough.

I.ii.306 (22,1) [Mira. The strangeness of your story put Heaviness in me.] Why should a wonderful story produce sleep? I believe experience will prove, that any violent agitation of the mind easily subsides in slumber, especially when, as in Prospero's relation, the last images are pleasing.

I.ii.321 (23,2)

[As wicked dew, as e'er my mother brush'd With raven's feather from unwholsome fen, Drop on you both!]

[Some critics, Bentley among them, had spoken of Caliban's new language.] Whence these critics derived the notion of a new language appropriated to Caliban, I cannot find: they certainly mistook brutality of sentiment for uncouthness of words. Caliban had learned to speak of Prospero and his daughter, he had no names for the sun and moon before their arrival, and could not have invented a language of his own without more understanding than Shakespeare has thought it proper to bestow upon him. His diction is indeed somewhat clouded by the gloominess of his temper, and the malignity of his purposes; but let any other being entertain the same thoughts, and he will find them easily issue in the same expressions.

[As wicked dew,]—Wicked; having baneful qualities. So Spenser says, wicked weed; so, in opposition, we say herbs or medicines have virtues. Bacon mentions virtuous Bezoar, and Dryden virtuous herbs.

I.ii.351 (25,4) [Abhorred slave] This speech, which the old copy gives to Miranda, is very judiciously bestowed by Mr. Theobald on Prospero.

I.ii.364 (27,7) [the red plague] I suppose from the redness of the body universally inflamed.

I.ii.396 (28,9) [Full fathom five thy father lies] [Charles Gildon had criticized the song as trifling, and Warburton had defended its dramatic propriety.] I know not whether Dr. Warburton has very successfully defended these songs from Gildon's accusation. Ariel's lays, however seasonable and efficacious, must be allowed to be of no supernatural dignity or elegance, they express nothing great, nor reveal any thing above mortal discovery.

The reason for which Ariel is introduced thus trifling is, that he and his companions are evidently of the fairy kind, an order of beings to which tradition has always ascribed a sort of diminutive agency, powerful but ludicrous, a humorous and frolick controlment of nature, well expressed by the songs of Ariel.

I.ii.425 (31,3)

[Fer. my prime request, Which I do last pronounce, is, O you wonder! If you be maid, or no? Mira. No wonder, Sir; But, certainly, a maid.]

[Nothing could be more prettily imagined to illustrate the singularity of her character, than this pleasant mistake. W.] Dr. Warburton has here found a beauty, which I think the author never intended. Ferdinand asks her not whether she was a created being, a question which, if he meant it, he has ill expressed, but whether she was unmarried; for after the dialogue which Prospero's interruption produces, he goes on pursuing his former question.

O, if a virgin, I'll make you queen of Naples.

I.ii.439 (32,5) [controul thee] Confute thee, unanswerably contradict thee.

I.ii.471 (33,7) [come from thy ward] Desist from any hope of awing me by that posture of defence.

II.i.3 (36,1) [our hint of woe] Hint is that which recals to the memory. The cause that fills our minds with grief is common. Dr. Warburton reads stint of woe.

II.i.11 (36,3) [Ant. The visitor will not give him o'er so] Why Dr. Warburton should change visitor to 'vizer for adviser, I cannot discover. Gonzalo gives not only advice, but comfort, and is therefore properly called The Visitor, like others who visit the sick or distressed to give them consolation. In some of the Protestant churches there is a kind of officers termed consolators for the sick.

II.i.78 (38,6) [Widow Dido!] The name of a widow brings to their minds their own shipwreck, which they consider as having made many widows in Naples.

II.i.132 (39,7)

[Milan and Naples have More widows in them of this business' making, Than we bring men to comfort them]

It does not clearly appear whether the king and these lords thought the ship lost. This passage seems to imply, that they were themselves confident of returning, but imagined part of the fleet destroyed. Why, indeed, should Sebastian plot against his brother in the following scene, unless he knew how to find the kingdom which be was to inherit?

II.i.232 (43,1) [this lord of weak remembrance] This lord, who, being now in his dotage, has outlived his faculty of remembering; and who, once laid in the ground, shall be as little remembered himself, as he can now remember other things.

II.i.235 (43,2)

[For he's a spirit of persuasion, only Professes to persuade the king his son's alive]

Of this entangled sentence I can draw no sense from the present reading, and therefore imagine that the author gave it thus:

For he, a spirit of persuasion, only Professes to persuade.

Of which the meaning may be either, that he alone, who is a spirit of persuasion, professes to persuade the king; or that, He only professes to persuade, that is, without being so persuaded himself, he makes a show of persuading the king.

II.i.242 (44,3) [Ambition cannot pierce a wink beyond] That this is the utmost extent of the prospect of ambition, the point where the eye can pass no further, and where objects lose their distinctness, so that what is there discovered, is faint, obscure, and doubtful. (rev. 1778, I,50,4)

II.i.251 (44,5)

[though some cast again; And, by that destiny, to perform an act, Whereof what's past is prologue; what to come, In yours, and my discharge.]

These lines stand in the old edition thus:

though some cast again; And, by that destiny, to perform an act, Whereof what's past, is prologue; what to come, In your and my discharge.

The reading in the later editions is without authority. The old text may very well stand, except that in the last line in should be is. and perhaps we might better say—and that by destiny. It being a common plea of wickedness to call temptation destiny.

II.i.259 (45,6) [Keep in Tunis] There is in this passage a propriety lost, which a slight alteration will restore:

—Sleep in Tunis, And let Sebastian wake!

II.i.278 (45,7) [Twenty consciences, That stand 'twixt me and Milan, candy'd be they, Or melt e'er they molest] I had rather read,

Would melt e'er they molest.

i.e. Twenty consciences, such as stand between me and my hopes, though they were congealed, would melt before they could molest one, or prevent the execution of my purposes. (see 1765, I,40,7)

II.i.286 (46,8) [This ancient morsel] For morsel Dr. Warburton reads ancient moral, very elegantly and judiciously, yet I know not whether the author might not write morsel, as we say a piece of a man.

II.i.288 (46,9) [take suggestion] i.e. Receive any hint of villainy, (1773)

II.i.297 (46,1)

[Ari. My master through his art foresees the danger, That you, his friend, are in; and sends me forth (For else his project dies) to keep them living]

[i.e. Alonzo and Antonio; for it was on their lives that his project depended. Yet the Oxford Editor alters them to you, because in the verse before, it is said—you his friend; as if, because Ariel was sent forth to save his friend, he could not have another purpose in sending him, viz. to save his project too. W.]

I think Dr. Warburton and the Oxford Editor both mistaken. The sense of the passage, as it now stands, is this: He sees your danger, and will therefore save them. Dr. Warburton has mistaken Antonio for Gonzalo. Ariel would certainly not tell Gonzalo, that his master saved him only for his project. He speaks to himself as he approaches,

My master through his art foresees the danger That these his friends are in.

These written with a y, according to the old practice, did not much differ from you.

II.i.308 (47,2) [Why are you drawn?] Having your swords drawn. So in Romeo and Juliet:

"What art thou drawn among these heartless hinds?"

II.ii.12 (48,3) [sometime am I All wound with adders] Enwrapped by adders wound or twisted about me.

II.ii.32 (49,5) [make a man] That is, make a man's fortune. So in Midsummer Night's Dream—"we are all made men."

II.ii.176 (54,5) [I'll get thee Young scamels from the rock] This word has puzzled the commentators: Dr. Warburton reads shamois. Mr. Theobald would read any thing rather than scamels. Mr. Holt, who wrote notes upon this play, observes, that limpets are in some places called scams, therefore I have suffered scamels to stand.

III.i.48 (58,8) [Of every creature's best] Alluding to the picture of Venus by Apelles.

III.ii.71 (62,5) [What a py'd ninny's this?] This line should certainly be given to Stephano. Py'd ninny alludes to the striped coat worn by fools, of which Caliban could have no knowledge. Trinculo had before been reprimanded and threatened by Stephano for giving Caliban the lie, he is now supposed to repeat his offence. Upon which Stephano cries out,

What a py'd ninny's this? Thou scurvy patch!—

Caliban, now seeing his master in the mood that he wished, instigates him to vengeance:

I do beseech thy greatness, give him blows.

III.iii.48 (67,2) [Each putter out on five for one] This passage alluding to a forgotten custom is very obscure: the putter out must be a traveller, else how could he give this account? the five for one is money to be received by him at his return, Mr. Theobald has well illustrated this passage by a quotation from Jonson.

III.iii.82 (69,3) [clear life] Pure, blameless, innocent.

III.iii.86 (69,4)

[so with good life, And observation strange, my meaner ministers Their several kinds have done]

This seems a corruption. I know not in what sense life can here be used, unless for alacrity, liveliness, vigour, and in this sense the expression is harsh. Perhaps we may read,—with good lift, with good will, with sincere zeal for my service. I should have proposed,—with good lief, in the same sense, but that I cannot find lief to be a substantive. With good life may however mean, with exact presentation of their several characters, with observation strange of their particular and distinct parts. So we say, he acted to the life. (see 1765, I,60,4)

III.iii.99 (70,5) [bass my trespass] The deep pipe told it me in a rough bass sound.

IV.i.2 (71,7) [for I Have given you here a third of mine own life] [Theobald had argued that Miranda was at least half of Prospero's life and had emended.] In consequence of this ratiocination Mr. Theobald printed the text, a thread of my own life. I have restored the ancient reading. Prospero, in his reason subjoined why he calls her the third of his life, seems to allude to some logical distinction of causes, making her the final cause.

IV.i.7 (71,8) [strangely stood the test] Strangely is used by way of commendation, merveilleusement, to a wonder; the sense is the same in the foregoing scene, with observation strange.

IV.i.37 (72,1) [the rabble] The crew of meaner spirits.

IV.i.59 (73,4) [No tongue] Those who are present at incantations are obliged to be strictly silent, "else," as we are afterwards told, "the spell is marred."

IV.i.166 (80,4) [We must prepare to meet with Caliban] To meet with is to counteract; to play stratagem against stratagem.—The parson knows the temper of every one in his house, and accordingly either meets with their vices, or advances their virtues.

HERBERT's Country Parson.

IV.i.178 (80,5)

[so I charm'd their ears, That, calf-like, they my loving follow'd through Tooth'd briars, sharp furzes, pricking goss, and thorns, Which enter'd their frail shins]

Thus Drayton, in his Court of Fairie of Hobgoblin caught in a Spell:

"But once the circle got within, "The charms to work do straight begin, "And he was caught as in a gin: "For as be thus was busy, "A pain he in his head-piece feels, "Against a stubbed tree he reels, "And up went poor Hobgoblin's heels: "Alas, his brain was dizzy. "At length upon his feet he gets, "Hobgoblin fumes, Hobgoblin frets; "And as again he forward sets, "And through the bushes scrambles, "A stump doth hit him in his pace, "Down comes poor Hob upon his face, "And lamentably tore his case "Among the briers and brambles."

IV.i.196 (81,7) [your fairy ... has done little better than play'd the Jack with us] Has led us about like an iguis fatuus, by which travellers are decoyed into the mire.

IV.i.246 (83,3) [put some lime] That is, birdlime.

V.i.102 (90,7) [Ari. I drink the air before me] Is an expression of swiftness of the same kind as to devour the way in Henry IV.

V.i.144 (92,1)

[Alon. You the like loss? Pro. As great to me, as late;]

My loss is as great as yours, and has as lately happened to me.

V.i.174 (93,2) [Yes, for a score of kingdoms] I take the sense to be only this: Ferdinand would not, he says, play her false for the world; yes, answers she, I would allow you to do it for something less than the world, for twenty kingdoms, and I wish you well enough to allow you, after a little wrangle, that your play was fair. So likewise Dr. Gray.

V.i.213 (94,3) [When no man was his own] For when perhaps should be read where.

V.i.247 (96,4)

[at pick'd leisure (Which shall be shortly) single I'll resolve you, (Which to you shall seem probable) of every These happen'd accidents]

These words seem, at the first view, to have no use; some lines are perhaps lost with which they were connected. Or we may explain them thus: I will resolve you, by yourself, which method, when you hear the story [of Anthonio's and Sebastian's plot] shall seem probable, that is, shall deserve your approbation.

V.i.267 (97,5)

[Mark but the badges of these men, my lords, Then say, if they be true]

That is, honest. A true man is, in the language of that time, opposed to a thief. The sense is, Mark what these men wear, and say if they are honest.

Epilogue.10 (100,7) With the help of your good hands] By your applause, by clapping hands. (1773)

General Observation (100) It is observed of The Tempest, that its plan is regular; this the author of The Revisal thinks, what I think too, an accidental effect of the story, not intended or regarded by our author. But whatever might be Shakespeare's intention in forming or adopting the plot, he has made it instrumental to the production of many characters, diversified with boundless invention, and preserved with profound skill in nature, extensive knowledge of opinions, and accurate observation of life. In a single drama are here exhibited princes, courtiers, and sailors, all speaking in their real characters. There is the agency of airy spirits, and of an earthly goblin. The operation of magick, the tumults of a storm, the adventures of a desert island, the native effusion of untaught affection, the punishment of guilt, and the final happiness of the pair for whom our passions and reason are equally interested. (1773)


It is observable (I know not for what cause) that the stile of this comedy is less figurative, and more natural and unaffected than the greater part of this author's, though supposed to be one of the first he wrote. [Pope.] To this observation of Mr. Pope, which is very just, Mr. Theobald has added, that this is one of Shakespeare's worst plays, and is less corrupted than any other. Mr. Upton peremptorily determines, that if any proof can be drawn from manner and stile, this play must be sent packing, and seek for its parent elsewhere. How otherwise, says he, do painters distinguish copies from originals, and have not authors their peculiar stile and manner from which a true critic can form as unerring judgment as a painter? I am afraid this illustration of a critic's science will not prove what is desired. A painter knows a copy from an original by rules somewhat resembling these by which critics know a translation, which if it be literal, and literal it must be to resemble the copy of a picture, will be easily distinguished. Copies are known from originals, even when the painter copies his own picture; so if an author should literally translate his work, he would lose the manner of an original.

Mr. Upton confounds the copy of a picture with the imitation of a painter's manner. Copies are easily known, but good imitations are not detected with equal certainty, and are, by the best judges, often mistaken. Nor is it true that the writer has always peculiarities equally distinguishable with those of the painter. The peculiar manner of each arises from the desire, natural to every performer, of facilitating his subsequent works by recurrence to his former ideas; this recurrence produces that repetition which is called habit. The painter, whose work is partly intellectual and partly manual, has habits of the mind, the eye and the hand, the writer has only habits of the mind. Yet, some painters have differed as much from themselves as from any other; and I have been told, that there is little resemblance between the first works of Raphael and the last. The same variation may be expected in writers; and if it be true, as it seems, that they are less subject to habit, the difference between their works may be yet greater.

But by the internal marks of a composition we may discover the author with probability, though seldom with certainty. When I read this play, I cannot but think that I find, both in the serious and ludicrous scenes, the language and sentiments of Shakespeare. It is not indeed one of his most powerful effusions, it has neither many diversities of character, nor striking delineations of life, but it abounds in [Greek: gnomahi] beyond most of his plays, and few have more lines or passages, which, singly considered, are eminently beautiful. I am yet inclined to believe that it was not very successful, and suspect that it has escaped corruption, only because being seldom played, it was less exposed to the hazards of transcription.

I.i.34 (108,6)

[However, but a folly bought with wit; Or else a wit by folly vanquished]

This love will end in a foolish action, to produce which you are long to spend your wit, or it will end in the loss of your wit, which will be overpowered by the folly of love.

I.i.69 (109,7) [Made wit with musing weak] For made read make. Thou, Julia, hast made me war with good counsel, and make wit weak with muting.

I.i.70 (109,8) [Enter Speed] [Pope found this scene low and full of "trifling conceits" and suggested it was possibly an interpolation by the actors.] That this, like many other scenes, is mean and vulgar, will be universally allowed; but that it was interpolated by the players seems advanced without any proof, only to give a greater licence to criticism.

I.i.153 (112,4) [you have testern'd me] You have gratified me with a tester, testern, or testen, that is, with a sixpence.

I.ii.41 (114,5) [a goodly broker!] A broker was used for matchmaker, sometimes for a procuress.

I.ii.68 (115,6) [stomach on your meat] Stomach was used for passion or obstinacy.

I.ii.137 (117,8) [I see you have a month's mind to them] [A month's mind was an anniversary in times of popery. Gray.] A month's mind, in the ritual sense, signifies not desire or inclination, but remonstrance; yet I suppose this is the true original of the expression. (1773) I.iii.1 (118,9) [what sad talk] Sad is the same as grave or serious.

I.iii.26 (119,2) [Valentine, Attends the emperor in his royal court] [Theobald had tried to straighten out an historical error.] Mr. Theobald discovers not any great skill in history. Vienna is not the court of the emperor as emperor, nor has Milan been always without its princes since the days of Charlemaigne; but the note has its use.

I.iii.44 (120,3) [in good time] In good time was the old expression when something happened which suited the thing in hand, as the French say, a propos.

I.iii.84 (121,4) [Oh, how this spring of love resembleth] At the end of this verse there is wanting a syllable, for the speech apparently ends in a quatrain. I find nothing that will rhyme to sun, and therefore shall leave it to some happier critic. But I suspect that the author might write thus:

Oh, how this spring of love resembleth right, The uncertain glory of an April day; Which now shews all the glory of the light, And, by and by, a cloud takes all away.

Light was either by negligence or affectation changed to sun, which, considered without the rhyme, is indeed better. The next transcriber, finding that the word right did not rhyme to sun, supposed it erroneously written, and left it out.

II.i.27 (123,1) [Hallowmas] That is, about the feast of All-Saints, when winter begins, and the life of a vagrant becomes less comfortable.

II.i.39 (123,2) [without you were so simple, none else would] None else would be so simple.

II.i.148 (127,5) [reasoning with yourself?] That is, discoursing, talking. An Italianism.

II.iii.22 (129,2) [I am the dog] This passage is much confused, and of confusion the present reading makes no end. Sir T. Hammer reads, I am the dog, no, the dog is himself and I am me, the dog is the dog, and I am myself. This certainly is more reasonable, but I know not how much reason the author intended to bestow on Launce's soliloquy.

II.iv.57 (133,1) [not without desert] And not dignified with so much reputation without proportionate merit.

II.iv.115 (134,2) [No: that you are worthless] I have inserted the particle no to fill up the measure.

II.iv.129 (135,4)

[I have done penance for contemning love; Whose high imperious thoughts have punish'd me With bitter fasts, with penitential groans]

For whose I read those. I have contemned love and am punished. Those high thoughts by which I exalted myself above human passions or frailties have brought upon me fasts and groans.

II.iv.138 (136,5) [no woe to his correction] No misery that can be compared to the punishment inflicted by love. Herbert called for the prayers of the liturgy a little before his death, saying, None to them, none to them.

II.iv.152 (136,6) [a principality] The first or principal of women. So the old writers use state. She is a lady, a great state. Latymer. This look is called in states warlie, in others otherwise. Sir T. More.

II.iv.167 (137,8) [She is alone] She stands by herself. There is none to be compared to her.

II.iv.207 (138,1) [with more advice] With more prudence, with more discretion.

II.iv.209 (138,2) ['Tis but her picture I have yet beheld] This is evidently a slip of attention, for he had seen her in the last scene, and in high terms offered her his service.

II.v.28 (139,4) [My staff understands me] This equivocation, miserable as it is, has been admitted by Milton in his great poem. B. VI.

"——The terms we sent were terms of weight, "Such as we may perceive, amaz'd them all, "And stagger'd many who receives them right, "Had need from head to foot well understand, "Not understood, this gift they have besides, "To shew us when our foes stand not upright." (141,5) [Enter Protheus] It is to be observed, that in the first folio edition, the only edition of authority, there are no directions concerning the scenes; they have been added by the later editors, and may therefore be changed by any reader that can give more consistency or regularity to the drama by such alterations. I make this remark in this place, because I know not whether the following soliloquy of Protheus is so proper in the street. (141,6) [O sweet-suggesting love] To suggest is to tempt in our author's language. So again:

"Knowing that tender youth is soon suggested."

The sense is, O tempting love, if thou hast influenced me to sin, teach me to excuse it. Dr. Warburton reads, if I have sinn'd; but, I think, not only without necessity, but with less elegance. (142,7) [Myself in counsel, his competitor] Myself, who am his competitor or rival, being admitted to his counsel. (142,8) [pretended flight] We may read intended flight. (142,9) [Love, lend me wings to make my purpose swift, As thou hast lent me wit to plot this drift!] I suspect that the author concluded the act with this couplet, and that the next scene should begin the third act; but the change, as it will add nothing to the probability of the action, is of no great importance.

III.i.45 (146,1) [be not aimed at] Be not guessed.

III.i.47 (147,2) [of this pretence] Of this claim made to your daughter.

III.i.86 (148,4) [the fashion of the time] The modes of courtship, the acts by which men recommended themselves to ladies.

III.i.148 (150,5) [for they are sent by me] For is the same as for that, since.

III.i.153 (150,6) [why, Phaeton (for thou art Merops' son)] Thou art Phaeton in thy rashness, but without his pretensions; thou art not the son of a divinity, but a terrae filius, a low born wretch; Merops is thy true father, with whom Phaeton was falsely reproached.

III.i.185 (151,7) [I fly not death, to fly his deadly doom] To fly his doom, used for by flying, or in flying, is a gallicism. The sense is, By avoiding the execution of his sentence I shall not escape death. If I stay here, I suffer myself to be destroyed; if I go away, I destroy myself.

III.i.261 (153,8) [Laun. I am but a fool, look you; and yet I have the wit to think my master is a kind of a knave: but that's all one, if he be but one knave] [W: but one kind] This alteration is acute and specious, yet I know not whether, in Shakespeare's language, one knave may not signify a knave on only one occasion, a single knave. We still use a double villain for a villain beyond the common rate of guilt.

III.i.265 (154,9) [a team of horse shall not pluck] I see how Valentine suffers for telling his love-secrets, therefore I will keep mine close.

III.i.330 (156,4) [Speed. Item, she hath a. sweet mouth] This I take to be the same with what is now vulgarly called a sweet tooth, a luxurious desire of dainties and sweetmeats.

III.i.351 (157,5) [Speed. Item, she will often praise her liquor] That is, shew how well she likes it by drinking often.

III.i.355 (157,6) [Speed. Item, she is too liberal] Liberal, is licentious and gross in language. So in Othello, "Is he not a profane and very liberal counsellor."

III.ii.7 (158,8) [Trenched in ice] Cut, carved in ice. Trencher, to cut, French.

III.ii.36 (159,9) [with circumstance] With the addition of such incidental particulars as may induce belief.

III.ii.51 (160,1)

[Therefore as you unwind her love from him, Lest it should ravel, and be good to none, You must provide to bottom it on me]

As you wind off her love from him, make me the bottom on which you wind it. The housewife's term for a ball of thread wound upon a central body, is a bottom of thread.

III.ii.68 (160,2) [lime] That is, birdlime.

III.ii.98 (161,4) [Duke. Even now about it. I will pardon you] I will excuse you from waiting.

IV.i.36 (163,2) [By the bare scalp of Robin Hood's fat friar] Robin Hood was captain of a band of robbers, and was much inclined to rob churchmen.

IV.i.46 (163,3) [awful men] Reverend, worshipful, such as magistrates, and other principal members of civil communities.

IV.ii.12 (165,1) [sudden quips] That is, hasty passionate reproaches and scoffs. So Macbeth is in a kindred sense said to be sudden; that is, irascible and impetuous.

IV.ii.45 (166,2) [For beauty lives with kindness] Beauty without kindness dies unenjoyed, and undelighting.

IV.ii.93 (168,4) [You have your wish; my will is even this] The word will is here ambiguous. He wishes to gain her will; she tells him, if he wants her will he has it.

IV.ii.130 (169,5) [But, since your falsehood shall become you well] This is hardly sense. We may read, with very little alteration, But since you're false, it shall become you well.

IV.iii.37 (171,2) [Madam, I pity much your grievances] Sorrows, sorrowful affections.

IV.iv.13 (172,1) [I would have, as one should say, one that takes upon him to be a dog indeed, to be, as it were, a dog at all things] I believe we should read, I would have. &c. one that takes upon him to be a dog, to be a dog indeed, to be, &c.

IV.iv.79 (174,3) [It seems, you lov'd not her, to leave her token] Protheus does not properly leave his lady's token, he gives it away. The old edition has it,

It seems you lov'd her not, not leave her token.

I should correct it thus,

It seems you lov'd her not, nor love her token.

IV.iv.106 (175,4) [To carry that which I would have refus'd] The sense is, To go and present that which I wish to be not accepted, to praise him whom I wish to be dispraised.

IV.iv.159 (176,5)

[The air hath starv'd the roses in her cheeks, And pinch'd the lily-tincture of her face. That now she is become as black as I]

[W: And pitch'd] This is no emendation; none ever heard of a face being pitched by the weather. The colour of a part pinched, is livid, as it is commonly termed, black and blue. The weather may therefore be justly said to pinch when it produces the same visible effect. I believe this is the reason why the cold is said to pinch.

IV.iv.198 (179,2) [her forehead's low] A high forehead was in our author's time accounted a feature eminently beautiful. So in The History of Guy of Warwick, Felice his lady is said to have the same high forehead as Venus.

IV.iv.206 (179,3) [My substance should be statue in thy stead] [W: statued] Statued is, I am afraid, a new word, and that it should be received, is not quite evident.

V.i.12 (180,4) [sure enough] Sure is safe, out of danger.

V.iv.71 (185,1) [The private wound is deepest. Oh time, most curst!] I have a little mended the measure. The old edition, and all but Sir T. Hammer, read,

The private wound is deepest, oh time most accurst.

V.iv.106 (187,4) [if shame live In a disguise of love] That is, if it be any shame to wear a disguise for the purposes of love.

V.iv.126 (187,5) [Come not within the measure of my wrath] The length of my sword, the reach of my anger.

General Observation (189,8) In this play there is a strange mixture of knowledge and ignorance, of care and negligence. The versification is often excellent, the allusions are learned and just; but the author conveys his heroes by sea from one inland town to another in the same country; he places the emperor at Milan, and sends his young men to attend him, but never mentions him more; he makes Protheus, after an interview with Silvia, say he has only seen her picture; and, if we may credit the old copies, he has, by mistaking places, left his scenery inextricable. The reason of all this confusion seems to be, that he took his story from a novel, which he sometimes followed, and sometimes forsook, sometimes remembered, and sometimes forgot.

That this play is rightly attributed to Shakespeare, I have little doubt. If it be taken from him, to whom shall it be given? This question may be asked of all the disputed plays, except Titus Andronicus; and it will be found more credible, that Shakespeare might sometimes sink below his highest flights, than that any other should rise up to his lowest. (see 1765, I,259,5)


I.i.7 (194,4) [Custalorum] This it, I suppose, intended for a corruption of Custos Rotulorum. The mistake was hardly designed by the author, who, though he gives Shallow folly enough, makes him rather pedantic than illiterate. If we read:

Shal. Ay, cousin Slender, and Custos Rotulorum.

It follows naturally:

Slen. Ay, and Ratalorum too.

I.i.22 (194,5) [The luce is the fresh fish; the salt fish is an old coat] I see no consequence in this answer. Perhaps we may read, the salt fish is not an old coat. That is, the fresh fish is the coat of an ancient family, and the salt fish is the coat of a merchant grown rich by trading over the sea.

I.i.115 (198,1) [and broke open my lodge] This probably alludes to some real incident, at that time well known.

I.i.121 (198,2) ['Twere better for you, if 'twere not known in council; you'll be laugh'd at] The old copies read, 'Twere better for you, if 'twere known in council. Perhaps it is an abrupt speech, and must be read thus: 'Twere better for you—if 'twere known in council, you'll be laugh'd at. 'Twere better for you, is, I believe, a menace.(1773)

I.i.127 (199,3) [coney-catching rascals] A coney-catcher was, in the time of Elizabeth, a common name for a cheat or sharper. Green, one of the first among us who made a trade of writing pamphlets, published A Detection of the Frauds and Tricks of Coney-catchers and Couzeners.

I.i.159 (200,6) [Edward shovel-boards] By this term, I believe, are meant brass castors, such as are shoveled on a board, with king Edward's face stamped upon them.

I.i.166 (201,8) [Word of denial in thy Labra's here] I suppose it should rather be read,

Word of denial in my Labra's hear;

that is, hear the word of denial in my lips. Thou ly'st.

I.i.170 (201,9) [marry trap] When a man was caught in his own stratagem, I suppose the exclamation of insult was marry, trap!

I.i.184 (202,3) [and so conclusions pass'd the careires] I believe this strange word is nothing but the French cariere; and the expression means, that the common bounds of good behaviour were overpassed.

I.i.211 (203,4) [upon Allhallowmas last, a fortnight afore Michaelmas?] [Theobald suspected that Shakespeare had written "Martlemas."] This correction, thus seriously and wisely enforced, is received by Sir Tho. Hammer; but probably Shakespeare intended a blunder.

I.iii.56 (210,7) [The anchor is deep: will that humour pass?] I see not what relation the anchor has to translation. Perhaps we may read, the author is deep; or perhaps the line is out of its place, and should be inserted lower after Falstaff has said,

Sail like my pinnace to those golden shores.

It may be observed, that in the tracts of that time anchor and author could hardly be distinguished. (see 1765, II,464,7)

I.iii.110 (213,6) [I will possess him with yellowness] Yellowness is jealousy. (1773)

I.iii.III (213,7) [for the revolt of mine is dangerous] I suppose we may read, the revolt of men. Sir T. Hammer reads, this revolt of mine. Either may serve, for of the present text I can find no meaning.

I.iv.9 (213,8) [at the latter end of a sea-coal fire] That is, when my master is in bed.

II.i.5 (219,1) [though love use reason for his precisian, he admits him not for his counsellor] Of this word I do not see any meaning that is very apposite to the present intention. Perhaps Falstaff said, Though love use reason as his physician, he admits him not for his counsellor. This will be plain sense. Ask not the reason of my love; the business of reason is not to assist love, but to cure it. There may however be this meaning in the present reading. Though love, when he would submit to regulation, may use reason as his precisian, or director in nice cases, yet when he is only eager to attain his end, he takes not reason for his counsellor. (1773)

II.i.27 (220,2) [I was then frugal of my mirth] By breaking this speech into exclamations, the text may stand; but I once thought it must be read, If I was not then frugal of my mirth.

II.i.29 (220,3) [Why, I'll exhibit a bill in the parliament for the putting down of men] [T: of fat men] [W: of mum] I do not see that any alteration is necessary; if it were, either of the foregoing conjectures might serve the turn. But surely Mrs. Ford may naturally enough, in the first heat of her anger, rail at the sex for the fault of one.

II.i.52 (222,4) [These knights will hack, and so thou shouldst not alter the article of thy gentry] [W: lack] Upon this passage the learned editor has tried his strength, in my opinion, with more spirit than success.

I read thus—These knights we'll hack, and so thou shouldest not alter the article of thy gentry. The punishment of a recreant or undeserving knight, was to hack off his spurs: the meaning therefore is; it is not worth the while of a gentlewoman to be made a knight, for we'll degrade all these knights in a little time, by the usual form of hacking off their spurs, and thou, if thou art knighted, shalt be hacked with the rest.

II.i.79 (223,5) [for he cares not what he puts into the press] Press is used ambiguously, for a press to print, and a press to squeeze.

II.i.114 (224,7) [curtail-dog] That is, a dog that misses hie game. The tail is counted necessary to the agility of a greyhound; and one method of disqualifying a dog, according to the forest laws, is to cut his tail, or make him a curtail. (see 1765, II,477,+)

II.i.128 (225,9) [Away, Sir corporal Nym.—Believe it, Page, he speaks sense] Nym, I believe, is out of place, and we should read thus:

Away, Sir corporal. Nym. Believe it. Page, he speaks sense.

II.i.135 (225,1) [I have a sword, and it shall bite upon my necessity.—He loves your wife] [V: bite—upon my necessity, he] I do not see the difficulty of this passage: no phrase is more common than—you may, upon a need, thus. Nym, to gain credit, says, that he is above the mean office of carrying love-letters; he has nobler means of living; he has a sword, and upon his necessity, that is, when his need drives him to unlawful expedients, his sword shall bite.

II.i.148 (226,3) [I will not believe such a Cataian] [Theobald and Warburton had both explained "Cataian" as a liar.] Mr. Theobald and Dr. Warburton have both told their stories with confidence, I am afraid, very disproportionate to any evidence that can be produced. That Cataian was a word of hatred or contempt is plain, but that it signified a boaster or a liar has not been proved. Sir Toby, in Twelfth Night, says of the Lady Olivia to her maid, "thy Lady's a Cataian;" but there is no reason to think he means to call her liar. Besides, Page intends to give Ford a reason why Pistol should not be credited. He therefore does not say, I would not believe such a liar: for that he is a liar is yet to be made probable: but he says, I would not believe such a Cataian on any testimony of his veracity. That is, "This fellow has such an odd appearance; is so unlike a man civilized, and taught the duties of life, that I cannot credit him." To be a foreigner was always in England, and I suppose everywhere else, a reason of dislike. So Pistol calls Slender in the first act, a mountain foreigner; that is, a fellow uneducated, and of gross behaviour; and again in his anger calls Bardolph, Hungarian wight.

II.i.182 (228,4) [very rogues] A rogue is a wanderer or vagabond, and, in its consequential signification, a cheat.

II.i.236 (230,7) [my long sword] Not long before the introduction of rapiers, the swords in use were of an enormous length, and sometimes raised with both hands. Shallow, with an old man's vanity, censures the innovation by which lighter weapons were introduced, tells what he could once have done with his long sword, and ridicules the terms and rules of the rapier.

II.ii.28 (234,6) [red lattice phrases] Your ale-house conversation.

II.ii.28 (234,7) [your bold-beating oaths] [W: bold-bearing] A beating oath is, I think, right; so we now say, in low language, a thwacking or swinging thing.

II.ii.61 (235,8) [canaries] This is the name of a brisk light dance, and is therefore properly enough used in low language for any hurry or perturbation.

II.ii.94 (236,1) [frampold] This word I have never seen elsewhere, except in Dr. Hacket's Life of Archbishop Williams, where a frampul man signifies a peevish troublesome fellow.

II.ii.142 (238,3) [Clap on more sails; pursue; up with your fights] [Warburton had quoted a passage from Dryden'a Amboyna for "fights," explaining them as "small arms."] The quotation from Dryden might at least have raised a suspicion that fights were neither small arms, nor cannon. Fights and nettings are properly joined. Fights, I find, are cloaths hung round the ship to conceal the men from the enemy, and close-fights are bulkheads, or any other shelter that the fabrick of a ship affords.

II.ii.170 (240,5) [not to charge you] That is, not with a purpose of putting you to expence, or being burthensome.

II.ii.256 (242,6) [instance and argument] Instance is example.

II.ii.324 (244,8) [Eleven o'clock] Ford should rather have said ten o'clock: the time was between ten and eleven; and his impatient suspicion was not likely to stay beyond the time.

II.iii.60 (246,2) [mock-water] The host means, I believe, to reflect on the inspection of urine, which made a considerable part of practical physick in that time; yet I do not well see the meaning of mock-water.

III.i.17 (249,5) [By shallow rivers, to whose falls] [Warburton had introduced _The Passionate Shepherd to his Love_ and _The Nymph's _Reply_ at this point in his text, attributing both to Shakespeare.] These two poems, which Dr. Warburton gives to Shakespeare, are, by writers nearer that time, disposed of, one to Marlow, the other to Raleigh. These poems are read in different copies with great variations.

III.i.123 (253,6) [scald, scurvy] Scall was an old word of reproach, as scab was afterwards.

Chaucer imprecates on his scrivener;

"Under thy longe lockes mayest thou have the scalle."

III.ii.58 (255,7) [We have linger'd about a match between Anne Page and my cousin Slender, and this day we shall have our answer] They have not linger'd very long. The match was proposed by Sir Hugh but the day before.

III.ii.73 (256,1) [The gentleman is of no having] Having is the same as estate or fortune.

III.ii.90 (257,2) [I think, I shall drink in pipe-wine first with him] [Tyrwhitt: horn-pipe wine] Pipe is known to be a vessel of wine, now containing two hogsheads. Pipe wine is therefore wine, not from the bottle, but the pipe; and the text consists in the ambiguity of the word, which signifies both a cask of wine, and a musical instrument. Horn-pipe wine has no meaning. (1773)

III.iii.60 (260,4) [that becomes the ship-tire, the tire-valiant, or any tire of Venetian admittance] [Warburton had explained the two tents as head-dresses, and "of Venetian admittance" as "which will admit to be adorned."] This note is plausible, except in the explanation of Venetian admittance: but I am afraid this whole system of dress is unsupported by evidence.

III.iv.13 (267,7) [father's wealth] Some light may be given to those who shall endear one to calculate the increase of English wealth, by observing, that Latymer, in the time of Edward VI. mentions it as proof of his father's prosperity, That though but a yeoman. he gave his daughters five pounds each for her portion. At the latter end of Elizabeth, seven hundred pounds were such a temptation to courtship, as made all other motives suspected. Congreve makes twelve thousand pounds more than a counterbalance to the affectation of Belinda. Ho poet would now fly his favourite character at less than fifty thousand.

III.iv.100 (270,1) [will you cast away your child on a fool and a physician?] I should read fool or a physician, meaning Slender and Caius.

III.v.113 (274,4) [bilbo] A bilbo is a Spanish blade, of which the excellence is flexibleness and elasticity.

III.v.117 (274,5) [kidney] Kidney in this phrase now signifies kind or qualities, but Falstaff means a man whose kidnies are as fat as mine.

III.v.155 (275,6) [I'll be horn-mad] There is no image which our author appears so fond of, as that of cuckold's horns. Scarcely a light character is introduced that does not endearor to produce merriment by some allusion to horned husbands. As he wrote his plays for the stage rather than the press, he perhaps reviewed them seldom, and did not observe this repetition, or finding the jest, however, frequent, still successful, did not think correction necessary.

IV.i (276,7) [Page's house. Enter Mrs. Page. Mrs. Quickly, and William] This is a very trifling scene, of no use to the plot, and I should think of no great delight to the audience; but Shakespeare best knew what would please.

IV.ii.22 (879,8) [he so takes on] To take on, which is now used for to, grieve, seems to be used by our author for to, rage. Perhaps it was applied to any passion.

IV.ii.26 (279,9) [buffets himself on the forehead, crying, peer- out, peer-out!] That is, appear horns. Shakespeare is at his old lunes. (see 1765, II, 526,+)

IV.ii.161 (283,1) [this wrongs you] This is below your character, unworthy of your understanding, injurious to your honour. So in The Taming of the Shrew, Bianca, being ill treated by her rugged sister, says: "You wrong me much, indeed you wrong yourself."

IV.ii.195 (284,2) [ronyon!] Ronyon, applied to a woman, means, as far as can be traced, much the same with scall or scab spoken of a man.

IV.ii.204 (284,3) [I spy a great peard under his muffler] As the second stratagem, by which Falstaff escapes, is much the grosser of the two, I wish it had been practiced first. It is very unlikely that Ford, baring been so deceived before, and knowing that he had been deceived, would suffer him to escape in so slight a disguise.

IV.ii.208 (284,4) [cry out upon no trail] The expression is taken from the hunters. Trail is the scent left by the passage of the game. To cry out, is to open or bark.

IV.iii.13 (285,5) [they must come off] To come off, signifies in our author, sometimes to be uttered with spirit and volubility. In this place it seems to mean what is in our time expressed by to come down, to pay liberally and readily. These accidental and colloquial senses are the disgrace of language, and the plague of commentators.

IV.iv.32 (287,7) [And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle] To take, in Shakespeare, signifies to seize or strike with a disease, to blast. So in Hamlet;

"No planet takes."

So in Lear;

"——-Strike her young bones, "Ye taking airs, with lameness." (rev. 1778,I,341,4)

IV.v.7 (290,3) [standing-bed, and truckle-bed] The usual furniture of chambers in that time was a standing-bed, under which was a trochle, truckle, or running bed. In the standing-bed lay the master, and in the truckle-bed the servant. So in Hall's Account of a Servile Tutor:

"He lieth in the truckle-bed. "While his young master lieth o'er his head."

IV.v.21 (291,4) [Bohemian-Tartar] The French call a Bohemian what we call a Gypsey; but I believe the Host means nothing more than, by a wild appellation, to insinuate that Simple makes a strange appearance.

IV. v. 29 (291, 5) [mussel-shell] He calls poor Simple mussel-shell, because he stands with his mouth open.

IV. v. 104 (293, 6) [Primero] A game at cards.

IV. v. 122 (294, 7) [counterfeiting the action of an old woman] [T: a wood woman] This emendation is received by Sir Thomas Hammer, but rejected by Dr. Warburton. To me it appears reasonable enough.

IV. v. 130 (294, 8) [sure, one of you does not serve heaven well, that you are so cross'd] The great fault of this play, is the frequency of expressions so profane, that no necessity of preserving character can justify them. There are laws of higher authority than those of criticism.

V. v. 28 (300, 3) [my shoulders for the fellow of this walk] Who the fellow is, or why he keeps his shoulders for bin, I do not understand.

V. v. 77 (304, 9) [Fairies use flowers for their charactery] For the matter with which they make letters.

V. v. 84 (304, 1) [I smell a man of middle earth] Spirits are supposed to inhabit the ethereal regions, and fairies to dwell under ground, men therefore are in a middle station.

V. v. 99 (305, 4) [Lust is but a bloody fire] So the old copies. I once thought it should be read,

Lust is but a cloudy fire,

but Sir T. Hammer reads with less violence,

Lust is but i' the blood a fire.

V. v. 172 (308, 8) [ignorance itself is a plummet o'er me] Though this be perhaps not unintelligible, yet it is an odd way of confessing his dejection. I should wish to read:

ignorance itself has a plume o' me;

That is, I am so depressed, that ignorance itself plucks me, and decks itself with the spoils of my weakness. Of the present reading, which is probably right, the meaning may be, I am so enfeebled, that ignorance itself weighs me down and oppresses me. (see 1765, II, 554, 1)

V. v. 181 (309, 1) [laugh at my wife] The two plots are excellently connected, and the transition very artfully made in this speech.

V. v. 249 (311, 2) [Page. Tell, what remedy?] In the first sketch of this play, which, as Mr. Pope observes, is much inferior to the latter performance, the only sentiment of which I regret the omission, occurs at this critical time, when Fenton brings in his wife, there is this dialogue.

Mrs. Ford. Come, mistress Page. I must be bold with you. 'Tis pity to part love that is so true.

Mrs. Page. [Aside] Although that I have miss'd in my intent, Yet I am glad my husband's match is cross'd. —Here Fenton. take her.—

Eva. Come, master Page, you must needs agree.

Ford. I' faith, Sir, come, you see your wife is pleas'd.

Page. I cannot tell, and yet my heart is eas'd; And yet it doth me good the Doctor miss'd. Come hither, Fenton, and come hither, daughter. (1773)

General Observation. Of this play there is a tradition preserved by Mr. Rowe, that it was written at the command of queen Elizabeth, who was so delighted with the character of Falstaff, that she wished it to be diffused through more plays; but suspecting that it might pall by continued uniformity, directed the poet to diversify his manner, by shewing him in love. No task is harder than that of writing to the ideas of another. Shakespeare knew what the queen, if the story be true, seems not to have known, that by any real passion of tenderness, the selfish craft, the careless jollity, and the lazy luxury of Falstaff must have suffered so much abatement, that little of his former cast would have remained. Falstaff could not love, but by ceasing to be Falstaff. He could only counterfeit love, and his professions could be prompted, not by the hope of pleasure, but of money. Thus the poet approached as near as he could to the work enjoined him; yet having perhaps in the former plays completed his own idea, seems not to have been able to give Falstaff all his former power of entertainment.

This comedy is remarkable for the variety and number of the personages, who exhibit more characters appropriated and discriminated, than perhaps can be found in any other play.

Whether Shakespeare was the first that produced upon the English stage the effect of language distorted and depraved by provincial or foreign pronunciations, I cannot certainly decide. This mode of forming ridiculous characters can confer praise only on him, who originally discovered it, for it requires not much of either wit or judgment: its success must be derived almost wholly from the player, but its power in a skilful month, even he that despises it, is unable to resist.

The conduct of this drama is deficient; the action begins and ends often before the conclusion, and the different parts might change places without inconvenience; but its general power, that power by which all works of genius shall finally be tried, is such, that perhaps it never yet had reader or spectator, who did not think it too soon at an end.

Vol. II


Persons Represented: Varrius might be omitted, for he is only once spoken to, and says nothing.

There it perhaps not one of Shakespeare's plays more darkened than this by the peculiarities of its authour, and the unskilfulness of its editors, by distortions of phrase, or negligence of transcription.

I.i.6 (4,4) [lists] Bounds, limits.

I.i.7 (4,5) [Then no more remains, But that your sufficiency, as your worth is able, And let them work]

This is a passage which has exercised the sagacity of the editors, and is now to employ mine. [Johnson adds T's and W's notes] Sir Tho. Hammer, having caught from Mr. Theobald a hint that a line was lost, endeavours to supply it thus.

Then no more remains, But that to your sufficiency you join A will to serve us, as your worth is able.

He has by this bold conjecture undoubtedly obtained a meaning, but, perhaps not, even in his own opinion, the meaning of Shakespeare.

That the passage is more or less corrupt, I believe every reader will agree with the editors. I am not convinced that a line is lost, as Mr. Theobald conjectures, nor that the change of but to put, which Dr. Warburton has admitted after some other editor, will amend the fault. There was probably some original obscurity in the expression, which gave occasion to mistake in repetition or transcription. I therefore suspect that the authour wrote thus,

—_Then no more remains. But that to your_ sufficiencies _your worth is_ abled, _And let them work.

Then nothing remains more than to tell you, that your virtue is now invested with power equal to your knowledge and wisdom. Let therefore your knowledge and your virtue now work together._ It may easily be conceived how _sufficiencies_ was, by an inarticulate speaker, or inattentive hearer, confounded with _sufficiency as_, and how _abled_, a word very unusual, was changed into _able_. For _abled_, however, an authority is not wanting. Lear uses it in the same sense, or nearly the same, with the Duke. As for _sufficiencies_, D. Hamilton, in his dying speech, prays that Charles II. _may exceed both the_ virtues _and_ sufficiencies _of his father_.

I.i.11 (6,6) [the terms For common justice, you are as pregnant in] The later editions all give it, without authority,

the terms Of justice,—

and Dr. Warburton makes terms signify bounds or limits. I rather think the Duke meant to say, that Escalus was pregnant, that is, ready and knowing in all the forms of law, and, among other things, in the terms or times set apart for its administration.

I.i.18 (7,7) [we have with special soul Elected him our absence to supply] [W: roll] This editor is, I think, right in supposing a corruption, but less happy in his emendation. I read,

we have with special seal Elected him our absence to supply.

A special seal is a very natural metonymy for a special commission.

I.i.28 (8,8)

[There is a kind of character in thy life, That to the observer doth thy history Fully unfold]

Either this introduction has more solemnity than meaning, or it has a meaning which I cannot discover. What is there peculiar in this, that a man's life informs the observer of his history? Might it be supposed that Shakespeare wrote this?

There is a kind of character in thy look.

History may be taken in a more diffuse and licentious meaning, for future occurrences, or the part of life yet to come. If this sense be received, the passage is clear and proper.

I.i.37 (8,1) [to fine issues] To great consequences. For high purposes.

I.i.41 (9,2) [But I do bend my speech To one that can my part in him advertise] I know not whether we may not better read,

One that can my part to him advertise,

One that can inform himself of that which it would be otherwise my part to tell him.

I.i.43 (9,3) [Hold therefore, Angelo] That is, continue to be Angelo; hold as thou art.

I.i.47 (9,4) [first in question] That is, first called for; first appointed.

I.i.52 (9,5) [We have with a leaven'd and prepared choice Proceeded to you] [W: a levell'd] No emendation is necessary. Leaven'd choice is one of Shakespeare's harsh metaphors. His train of ideas seems to be this. I have proceeded to you with choice mature, concocted, fermented, leavened. When bread is leavened it is left to ferment: a leavened choice is therefore a choice not hasty, but considerate, not declared as soon as it fell into the imagination, but suffered to work long in the mind. Thus explained, it suits better with prepared than levelled.

I.i.65 (10,6) [your scope is as mine own] That is, Your amplitude of power.

I.ii.22 (12,7) [in metre?] In the primers, there are metrical graces, such as, I suppose, were used in Shakespeare's time.

I.ii.25 (12,9) [Grace is grace, despight of all controversy] [Warbarton had suspected an allusion to ecclesiastical disputes.] I am in doubt whether Shakespeare's thoughts reached so far into ecclesiastical disputes. Every commentator is warped a little by the tract of his own profession. The question is, whether the second gentleman has ever heard grace. The first gentleman limits the question to grace in metre. Lucio enlarges it to grace in any form or language. The first gentleman, to go beyond him, says, or in any religion, which Lucio allows, because the nature of things is unalterable; grace is as immutably grace, as his merry antagonist is a wicked villain. Difference in religion cannot make a grace not to be grace, a prayer not to be holy; as nothing can make a villain not to be a villain. This seems to be the meaning, such as it is.

I.ii.28 (12,1) [there went but a pair of sheers between us] We are both of the same piece.

I.ii.35 (13,2) [be pil'd, as thou art pil'd, for a French velvet?] The jest about the pile of a French velvet alludes to the loss of hair in the French disease, a very frequent topick of our authour's jocularity. Lucio finding that the gentleman understands the distemper so well, and mentions it so feelingly, promises to remember to drink his health, but to forget to drink after him. It was the opinion of Shakespeare's time, that the cup of an infected person was contagious.

I.ii.50 (13,3) [To three thousand dollars a year] [A quibble intended between dollars and dolours. Hammer.] The same jest occured before in the Tempest.

I.ii.83 (15,5) [what with the sweat] This nay allude to the sweating sickness, of which the memory was very fresh in the time of Shakespeare: but more probably to the method of cure then used for the diseases contracted in brothels.

I.ii.124 (16,6)

[Thus can the demi-god, Authority, Make us pay down, for our offence, by weight.— The words of heaven;—on whom it will, it will; On whom it will not, so; yet still 'tis just]

[Warburton had emended the punctuation of the second line] I suspect that a line is lost.

I.ii.162 (18,8) [the fault, and glimpse, of newness] Fault and glimpse have so little relation to each other, that both can scarcely be right: we may read flash for fault or, perhaps we may read,

Whether it be the fault or glimpse

That is, whether it be the seeming enormity of the action, or the glare of new authority. Yet the sane sense follows in the next lines, (see 1765, I, 275, 4)

I.ii.188 (19,2) [There is a prone and speechless dialect] I can scarcely tell what signification to give to the word prone. Its primitive and translated senses are well known. The authour may, by a prone dialect, mean a dialect which men are prone to regard, or a dialect natural and unforced, as those actions seem to which we are prone. Either of these interpretations are sufficiently strained; but such distortion of words is not uncommon in our authour. For the sake of an easier sense, we may read,

In her youth There is a pow'r, and speechless dialect, Such as moves men.

Or thus,

There is a prompt and speechless dialect.

I.ii.194 (20,3) [under grievous imposition] I once thought it should be inquisition, but the present reading is probably right. The crime would be under grievous penalties imposed.

I.iii.2 (20,4) [Believe not, that the dribbling dart of love Can pierce a compleat bosom] Think not that a breast compleatly armed can be pierced by the dart of love that comes fluttering without force.

I.iii.12 (21,5) [(A man of stricture and firm abstinence)] [W: strict ure] Stricture may easily be used for strictness; ure is indeed an old word, but, I think, always applied to things, never to persons.

I.iii.43 (22,9) [To do it slander] The text stood,

So do in slander.—

Sir Thomas Hammer has very well corrected it thus,

To do it slander.—

Yet perhaps less alteration might have produced the true reading,

And yet my nature never, in the fight, So doing slandered.—

And yet my nature never suffer slander by doing any open acts of severity. (see 1765, I,279,3)

I.iii.51 (23,2) [Stands at a guard] Stands on terms of defiance.

I.iv.30 (24,3) [make me not your story] Do not, by deceiving me, make me a subject for a tale.

I.iv.41 (26,5)

[as blossoming time That from the seedness the bare fallow brings To teeming foyson, so her plenteous womb Expresseth his full tilth and husbandry]

As the sentence now stands, it is apparently ungrammatical. I read,

At blossoming time, &c.

That is, As they that feed grow full, so her womb now at blossoming time, at that time through which the feed time proceeds to the harvest, her womb shows what has been doing. Lucio ludicrously calls pregnancy blossoming time, the time when fruit is promised, though not yet ripe.

I.iv.51 (26,6) [Bore many gentlemen, myself being one, In hand, and hope of action] To bear in hand is a common phrase for to keep in expectation and dependance, but we should read,

—with hope of action.

I.iv.56 (26,7) [with full line] With full extent, with the whole length.

I.iv.62 (27,8) [give fear to use] To intimidate use, that is, practices long countenanced by custom.

I.iv.69 (27,9) [Unless you have the grace] That is, the acceptableness, the power of gaining favour. So when she makes her suit, the provost says,

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