Imagini ale paginilor

Scarce is dividant,-touch them with feveral for


The greater fcorns the leffer: Not nature,
To whom all fores lay fiege, can bear great fortune,
But by contempt of nature."

Raise me this beggar, and denude that lord;"


Not nature,

To whom all fores lay fiege, can bear great fortune,

But by contempt of nature.] The meaning I take to be this: Brother, when his fortune is enlarged, will fcorn brother; for this is the general depravity of human nature, which, beficged as it is by mifery, admonished as it is of want and imperfection, when elevated by fortune, will defpife beings of nature like its own.


Mr. M. Mafon obferves, that this paffage " but by the addition of a fingle letter may be rendered clearly intelligible; by merely reading natures inftead of nature." The meaning will then be "Not even beings reduced to the utmoft extremity of wretchednefs, can bear good fortune, without contemning their fellowcreatures."-The word natures is afterwards used in a fimilar fenfe by Apemantus:


Call the creatures

"Whofe naked natures live in all the spite

"Of wreakful heaven," &c.

Perhaps, in the prefent inftance, we ought to complete the measure by reading:

not thofe natures,


But by is here ufed for without. MALONE.

8 Raife me this beggar, and denude that lord;] [Old copydeny't that lord.] Where is the fenfe and English of deny't that lord? Deny him what? What preceding noun is there to which the pronoun it is to be referr'd? And it would be abfurd to think the poet meant, deny to raise that lord. The antithefis must be, let fortune raife this beggar, and let her frip and defpoil that lord of all his pomp and ornaments, &c. which fenfe is completed by this flight alteration:

and denude that lord;

So, lord Rea, in his relation of M. Hamilton's plot, written in 1650: "All these Hamiltons had denuded themselves of their fortunes and estates." And Charles the Firft, in his message to the parliament fays: "Denude ourselves of all."-Clar. Vol. III. p. 15, octavo edit. WARBURTON.

The fenator shall bear contempt hereditary,
The beggar native honour.

It is the pasture lards the brother's fides,"

[ocr errors]

So, as Theobald has obferved, in our author's Venus and Adonis : "Pluck down the rich, enrich the poor with treasures.' MALONE.

Perhaps the former reading, however irregular, is the true one. Raife me that beggar, and deny a proportionable degree of elevation to that lord. A lord is not fo high a title in the state, but that a man originally poor might be raised to one above it. We might read deveft that lord. Deveft is an English law phrafe, which Shakspeare uses in King Lear:

"Since now we will deveft us both of rule," &c. The word which Dr. Warburton would introduce, is not, however, uncommon. I find it in The Tragedie of Crafus, 1604:

"As one of all happiness denuded." STEEVENS.

9 It is the pafture lards the brother's fides,] This, as the editors have ordered it, is an idle repetition at the beft; fuppofing it did, indeed, contain the fame fentiment as the foregoing lines. But Shakspeare meant quite a different thing: and having, like a fenfible writer, made a smart observation, he illuftrates it by a fimilitude thus:

It is the pafture lards the wether's fides,

The want that makes him lean.

And the fimilitude is extremely beautiful, as conveying this fatirical reflection; there is no more difference between man and man in the esteem of fuperficial and corrupt judgements, than between a fat fheep and a lean one. WARBURTON.

This paffage is very obscure, nor do I discover any clear fenfe, even though we fhould admit the emendation. Let us infpect the text as it stands in the original edition :

It is the paftour lards the brother's fides,

The want that makes him leave.

Dr. Warburton found the paffage already changed thus:

It is the pafture lards the beggar's fides,

The want that makes him lean.

And upon this reading of no authority, raised another equally


Alterations are never to be made without neceffity. Let us fee what fenfe the genuine reading will afford. Poverty, fays the poet, bears contempt hereditary, and wealth native honour. To illuftrate this pofition, having already mentioned the case of a poor and rich

The want that makes him lean. Who dares, who dares,

brother, he remarks, that this preference is given to wealth by those whom it least becomes; it is the paftour that greafes or flatters the rich brother, and will greafe him on till want make him leave. The poet then goes on to afk, Who dares to fay this man, this paftour is a flatterer; the crime is univerfal; through all the world the learned pate, with allufion to the paftour, ducks to the golden fool. If it be objected, as it may juftly be, that the mention of a paftour is unfuitable, we must remember the mention of grace and cherubims in this play, and many fuch anachronisms in many others. I would therefore read thus:

It is the paftour lards the brother's fides,
'Tis want that makes him leave.

The obfcurity is ftill great.
given the original reading.

Perhaps a line is loft. I have at least

Perhaps Shakspeare wrote pafterer, for I meet with fuch a word. in Greene's Farewell to Follie, 1617: " Alexander, before he fell into the Perfian delicacies, refufed thofe cooks and pafterers that Ada queen of Caria fent to him.” There is likewife a proverb among Ray's collection, which feems to afford much the fame meaning as this paffage in Shakspeare:-" Every one bafteth the fat hog, while the lean one burneth." Again, in Troilus and Creffida, Act II:

That were to enlard his fat-already pride."


In this very difficult paffage, which ftill remains obfcure, fome liberty may be indulged. Dr. Farmer propofes to read it thus: It is the pafterer lards the broader fides,

The gaunt that makes him leave.

And in fupport of this conjecture, he obferves, that the Saxon dis frequently converted into th, as in murther, murder, burthen, burden, &c. REED.

That the paffage is corrupt as it ftands in the old copy, no one, I fuppofe, can doubt; emendation therefore in this and a few other places, is not a matter of choice but neceffity. I have already more than once obferved, that many corruptions have crept into the old copy, by the tranfcriber's ear deceiving him. In Coriolanus we have higher for hire, and hope for bolp; in the prefent play reverends for reverends't; and in almost every play fimilar corruptions. In King Richard II. quarto, 1598, we find the very error that happened here:

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

"Her paftors' grafs with faithful English blood." Again, in As you like it, folio, 1623, we find, "I have heard him read many lectors against it;" inftead of lectures.

Pafture, when the is founded thin, and paftor, are scarcely diftinguishable.

Thus, as I conceive, the true reading of the firft difputed word of this contefted paffage is afcertained. In As you like it we have"good pafture makes fat fheep." Again, in the fame play: "Anon, a careless herd,

"Full of the pafture, jumps along by him," &c.

The meaning then of the paffage is,-It is the land alone which cach man poffeffes that makes him rich, and proud, and flattered; and the want of it, that makes him poor, and an object of contempt. I fuppofe, with Dr. Johnson, that Shak fpeare was ftill thinking of the rich and poor brother already defcribed.

I doubt much whether Dr. Johnson himself was fatisfied with his far-fetched explication of paftour, as applied to brother; [See his note.] and I think no one elfe can be fatisfied with it. In order to give it fome little fupport, he fuppofes" This man's a flatterer," in the following paffage, to relate to the imaginary paftor in this; whereas those words indubitably relate to any one individual selected out of the aggregate mafs of mankind.

Dr. Warburton reads-wether's fides; which affords a commodious fenfe, but is fo far removed from the original reading as to be inadmiffible. Shak fpeare, I have no doubt, thought at first of those animals that are fatted by pasture, and passed from thence to the proprietor of the foil.

I have fometimes thought that he might have written-the breather's fides. He has thrice used the word elsewhere." I will. chide no breather in the world, but myself," fays Orlando in As you like it. Again, in one of his Sonnets:

"When all the breathers of this world are dead;"

Again, in Antony and Cleopatra:

"She shows a body, rather than a life;

"A ftatue than a breather."

If this was the author's word in the paffage before us, it must mean every living animal. But I have little faith in fuch conjectures.

Concerning the third word there can be no difficulty. Leane was the old fpelling of lean, and the u in the MSS. of our author's time is not to be diftinguished from an ". Add to this, that in the

And fay, This man's a flatterer? if one be,

firft folio u is conftantly employed where we now use a v; and hence, by inverfion, the two letters were often confounded (as they are at this day in almost every proof-fheet of every book that paffes through the prefs). Of this I have given various inftances in a note in Vol. III. p. 474, n. 3. See alfo Vol. VII. p. 197, n. 6.

But it is not neceffary to have recourfe to thefe inftances. This very word leave is again printed inftead of leane, in King Henry IV. Part II. quarto, 1600:

"The lives of all your loving complices

"Leave on your health."

On the other hand, in King Henry VIII. 1623, we have leane inftead of leave: "You'll leane your noife anon, you rascals." But any argument on this point is fuperfluous, fince the context clearly fhews that lean must have been the word intended by Shakspeare.

Such emendations as thofe now adopted, thus founded and fupported, are not capricious conjectures, against which no one has fet his face more than myself, but almost certainties.

This note has run out into an inordinate length, for which I fhall make no other apology than that finding it necessary to depart from the reading of the old copy, to obtain any fenfe, I thought it incumbent on me to fupport the readings I have chofen, in the beft manner in my power. MALONE.

As a brother (meaning, I fuppofe, a churchman) does not, literally fpeaking, fatten himself by feeding on land, it is probable that pafture fignifies eating in general, without reference to terra firma. So, in Love's Labour's Loft:

"Food for his rage, repafture for his den."

Pafture, in the fenfe of nourishment collected from fields, will undoubtedly fatten the fides of a fheep or an ox, but who ever defcribes the owner of the fields as having derived from them his embonpoint?

The emendation-lean is found in the fecond folio, which should not have been denied the praise to which it is entitled.

Breather's fides can never be right, for who is likely to grow fat through the mere privilege of breathing? or who indeed can receive fuftenance without it?

The reading in the text may be the true one; but the condition in which this play was tranfmitted to us, is fuch as will warrant repeated doubts in almost every scene of it. STEEVENS.

And fay, This man's a flatterer?] This man does not refer to any particular perfon before mentioned, as Dr. Johnfon thought,

« ÎnapoiContinuă »