Imagini ale paginilor

"That Bevis was believed.] Vide Camden's Britannia. This Bevis, a Saxon, was created earl of Southampton by William the Conqueror.

6 -a keech-] Keech signifies both a tub, or barrel, and a lump. A moulded cake of wax, or tallow, is called a keech.


-Every man,

After the hideous storm that follow'd, &c.] "Monday, xviii. day of June, there blew such storms of wind and weather, that marvel was to hear; for which hideous tempest some said it was a very prognostication of trouble and hatred to come between princes." Hall's Chronicle.

8 This butcher's cur-] It was the received opinion that Wolsey was the son of a butcher; and when he was tumbled from his proud eminence, and men no longer feared his power, they spared not to call him the butcher's cur, and the butcher's dog. But this notion, I believe, was a wrong one. His father seems to have been a private gentleman.

I am the shadow of poor Buckingham,
Whose figure even this instant cloud puts on,

By dark'ning my clear sun. -] These lines have passed all the editors. Does the reader understand them? By me they are inexplicable, and must be left, I fear, to some happier sagacity. If the usage of our author's time could allow figure to be taken, as now, for dignity or importance, we might read,

Whose figure even this instant cloud puts out. But I cannot please myself with any conjecture.

Another explanation may be given, somewhat harsh, but the best that occurs to me.

I am the shadow of poor Buckingham,

Whose figure even this instant cloud puts on, whose port and dignity is assumed by this cardinal, that overclouds and oppresses me, and who gains my place

By dark'ning my clear sun.


10lop, bark, and part o' the timber;] Lop signifies the branches of a tree. The word is still used in leases, &c. "All timber trees, lop and top."

11 Sir William Blomer,— -] Sir William Blomer (Holinshed calls him Bulmer) was reprimanded by the king in the star-chamber, for that, being his sworn servant, he had left the king's service for the duke of Buckingham's. Edwards's MSS.



-the spavin

A springhalt-] Mr. Steevens and Mr. Malone cannot understand, they say, why Mr. Pope and the subsequent editors read, AND springhalt. Would it be wrong to say, a man has a cold and cough? A horse may have a sparin without a springhalt, or a springhalt without a spavin: either of which will make him lame. The springhalt is frequently the effect of spavin, as cough is of cold; but they are different disorders. Shakspeare was expert in horses and dogs; he knew that many a slight blood-horse has the springhalt who was never spavin'd. Spavin

AND springhalt is sense; spavin a springhalt is non


13 Chambers-] Chambers are very small guns, used only on occasions of rejoicing. They are so contrived as to carry great charges, and thereby to make a noise more than proportioned to their size. Some of them are still fired in the Park, and at the places opposite to the parliament-house, when the king goes thither. Camden enumerates them among other guns, as follows, cannons, demi-cannons, chambers, arquebuse, musquet.'


14 You have found him, cardinal.] Holinshed says the cardinal mistook, and pitched upon sir Edward Neville; upon which the king laughed, and pulled off both his own mask and sir Edward's. Edwards's MSS.



-You few, that lov'd me, &c.] These lines are remarkably tender and pathetick.


16 -poor Edward Bohun:] The duke of Buckingham's name was Stafford. Shakspeare was led into the mistake by Holinshed.


-have great care

I be not found a talker.] I take the meaning to be, "Let care be taken that my promise be perform"ed, that my professions of welcome be not found empty talk."




-our best having.} That is, our best possession. -your soft cheveril conscience-] A cheveril conscience, is a conscience that will yield or stretch;


a conscience made of kid-skin. French, chevreau, a kid.


is it bitter? forty pence, no.] Mr. Roderick, in his appendix to Edwards's book, proposes to read,

-for two pence.

Forty pence was in those days the proverbial expression of a small wager. Money was then reckoned by pounds, marks, and nobles. Forty pence is half a noble, or the sixth part of a pound. Forty pence, or three and four pence, still remains in many offices the legal and established fee.


--sennet,] I know not the meaning of this word, which is in all the editions, except that Hanmer, not understanding it, has left it out.


Dr. Burney, to whom the world is under great obligations on the subject of musick, undertook to trace the etymology, and discover the certain meaning of this word, but without success. The following conjecture of his should not, however, be withheld from the public.

Senné ou sennie, de l'Allemand sen, qui signifie assemblee. Dict. de vieux Langage.

Senne assemblee a son de cloche. Menage.

Perhaps, therefore, says he, sennet may mean a flourish for the purpose of assembling chiefs, or apprizing the people of their approach.

I believe Dr. Burney is right in supposing sennet to signify a flourish. Mr. Malone quotes Florio's dic

tionary to prove that the Italian word sonata had formerly no other meaning. Sennet, therefore, in the directions, should be placed before trumpets.


-pillars;] Pillars were some of the ensigns of dignity carried before cardinals. Sir Thomas More, when he was speaker to the commons, advised them to admit Wolsey into the house with his maces and his pillars. More's Life of Sir T. More.


23-hulling-] For a ship to hull, is when all her mast and rigging are carried away, and she drives without government, or assistance from her sails.

24 I am wife in,] That is, if you come to examine the title by which I am the king's wife; or, if you come to know how I have behaved as a wife. The meaning, whatever it be, is so coarsely and unskilfully expressed, that the latter editors have liked nonsense better, and, contrarily to the antient and only copy, have published,

And that way I am wife in. JOHNSON. 25 And hedges, his own way.——] To hedge, is to creep along by the hedge: not to take the direct and open path, but to steal covertly through circumvolutions.


26 Enter the king, reading a schedule;] That the cardinal gave the king an inventory of his own private wealth, by mistake, and thereby ruined himself, is a known variation from the truth of history. Shakspeare, however, has not injudiciously represented the fall of that great man, as owing to an incident which

« ÎnapoiContinuă »