Imagini ale paginilor

PRINCE. That Julius Cæsar was a famous man ; With what his valour did enrich his wit,

1 Thus, like the formal vice, INIQUITY,

I moralize two meanings in one word.) By vice, the author means not a quality, but a person. There was hardly an old play, till the period of the Reformation, which had not in it a devil, and a droll character, a jester; (who was to play upon the devil ;) and this buffoon went by the name of a Vice. This buffoon was at first accoutred with a long jerkin, a cap with a pair of ass's ears, and a wooden dagger, with which (like another Harlequin) he was to make sport in belabouring the devil. This was the constant entertainment in the times of popery, whilst spirits, and witchcraft, and exorcising held their own. When the Reformation took place, the stage shook off some grossities, and encreased in refinements. The master-devil then was soon dismissed from the scene; and this buffoon was changed into a subordinate fiend, whose business was to range on earth, and seduce poor mortals into that personated vicious quality, which he occasionally supported; as, iniquity in general, hypocrisy, usury, vanity, prodigality, gluttony, &c. Now, as the fiend, (or vice,) who personated Iniquity, (or Hypocrisy, for instance) could never hope to play his game to the purpose but by hiding his cloven foot, and assuming a semblance quite different from his real character ; he must certainly put on a formal demeanour, moralize and prevaricate in his words, and pretend a meaning directly opposite to his genuine and primitive intention. If this does not explain the passage in question, 'tis all that I can at present suggest upon it.

THEOBALD. That the buffoon, or jester of the old English farces, was called the vice, is certain : and that, in their moral representations, it was common to bring in the deadly sins, is as true. Of these we have yet several remains. But that the vice used to assume the personages of those sins, is a fancy of Mr. Theobald's, who knew nothing of the matter. The truth is, the vice was always a fool or jester; and, (as the woman, in The Merchant of Venice, calls the Clown, alluding to the character,) a merry devil. Whereas these mortal sins were so many sad serious ones. But what misled our editor was the name, Iniquity, given to this vice : But it was only on account of his unhappy tricks and rogueries. That it was given to him, and for the reason I mention, appears from the following passage of Jonson's Staple of News, second intermeane :

“ M. How like you the vice i' the play ?

“ T. Here is never a fiend to carry him away. Besides he has never a wooden dagger.

“ M. That was the old way, gossip, when Iniquity came in,

His wit set down to make his valour live :
Death makes no conquest of this conqueror ?;

like Hocas Pocas, in a jugler's jerkin, with false skirts, like the knave of clubs."

And, in The Devil's an Ass, we see this old vice, Iniquity, described more at large.

From all this, it may be gathered, that the text, where Richard compares himself to the formal vice, Iniquity, must be corrupt: and the interpolation of some foolish player. The vice or iniquity being not a formal but a merry, buffoon character. Besides, Shakspeare could never make an exact speaker refer to this character, because the subject he is upon is tradition and antiquity, which have no relation to it; and because it appears from the turn of the passage, that he is apologizing for his equivocation by a reputable practice. To keep the reader no longer in suspence, my conjecture is, that Shakspeare wrote and pointed the lines in this manner :

“ Thus like the formal-wise Antiquity,

“ I moralize: Two meanings in one word.". Alluding to the mythologick learning of the ancients, of whom they are all here speaking. So that Richard's ironical apology

s to this effect, You men of morals who so much extol your allwise antiquity, in what am I inferior to it? which was but an equivocator as I am. And it is remarkable, that the Greeks themselves called their remote antiquity, Aixóuutos, or the equivocator. So far as to the general sense ; as to that which arises particularly out of the corrected expression, I shall only observe, that formal-wise is a compound epithet, an extreme fine one, and admirably fitted to the character of the speaker, who thought all wisdom but formality. It must therefore be read for the future with a hyphen. My other observation is with regard to the pointing: the common reading

“ I moralize two meaningsis nonsense : but reformed in this manner, very sensible:

“ Thus like the formal-wise Antiquity

“ I moralize: Two meanings in one word.” i. e. I moralize as the ancients did. And how was that? the having two meanings to one word. A ridicule on the morality of the ancients, which he insinuales was no better than equivocating.

WARBURTON.. This alteration Mr. Upton very justly censures. Dr. Warburton has, in my opinion, done nothing but correct the punctuation, if indeed any alteration be really necessary. See the dissertation on the old vice at the end of this play.

To this long collection of notes may be added a question, to what equivocation Richard refers? The position immediately

For now he lives in fame, though not in life.I'll tell you what, my cousin Buckingham. preceding, that fame lives long without characters, that is, without the help of letters, seems to have no ambiguity. He must allude to the former line :

“ So young so wise, they say, do ne'er live long," in which he conceals under a proverb, his design of hastening the Prince's death. Johnson.

The Prince having caught some part of the former line, asks Richard what he says, who, in order to deceive him, preserves in his reply, the latter words of the line, but substitutes other words at the beginning of it, of a different import from those he had uttered.—This, is the equivocation that Gloster really made use of, though it does not correspond with his own description of

it :

“ I moralize—two meanings in one word." Word is not here taken in its literal sense, but means a saying, a short sentence, as motto does in Italian, and bon-mot in French. -So, in Jonson's Every Man out of his Humour, Puntarvolo says : “Let the word be, Not without mustard ; thy crest is rare.”

M. Mason, From the following stage direction, in an old dramatick piece, entituled, Histriomastrix, or The Player Whipt, 1610, it appears, that the Vice and Iniquity were sometimes distinct personages :

“Enter a roaring devil, with the Vice on his back, Iniquity in one hand, and Juventus in the other.” The devil likewise makes the distinction in his first speech :

“ Ho, ho, ho ! these babes mine are all,

“ The Vice, Iniquitie, and Child Prodigal.” The following part of this note was obligingly communicated by the Rev. Mr. Bowle, of Idmestone near Salisbury. I know no writer who gives so complete an account of this obsolete character, as Archbishop Harsnet, in his Declaration of Popish Impostures, p. 114, Lond. 1608: “ It was a pretty part (he tells us) in the old church-playes, when the nimble Vice would skip up nimbly like a jackanapes into the devil's necke, and ride the devil a course, and belabour him with his wooden dagger, till he made him roare, whereat the people would laugh to see the devil so vice-haunted.” STEEVENS.

Dr. Warburton has endeavoured to support his capricious and violent alteration of the text by a very long note, which in my apprehension carries neither conviction, nor information with it.

The Vice, Iniquity, cannot with propriety, be said to moralize Buck. What, my gracious lord ?

PRINCE. An if I live until I be a man, I'll win our ancient right in France again, in general; but in the old Moralities he, like Richard, did often moralize two meanings in one word.”

Our author has again used moralize as a verb active in his Rape of Lucrece:

“Nor could she moralize his wanton sight,

“ More than his eyes were open to the light." In which passage it means,“ to interpret or investigate the latent meaning of his wanton looks," as in the present passage, it signifies either to extract the double and latent meaning of one word or sentence, or to couch two meanings under one word or sentence. So moral is used by our author in Much Ado About Nothing, for a secret meaning : “ There is some moral in this Benedictus." See vol. vii. p. 100, n. 1; and vol. xvii. p. 478, n. 9. The word which Richard uses in a double sense is live, which in his former speech he had used literally, and in the present is used metaphorically. Mr. Mason conceives, because what we now call a motto, was formerly denominated the mot or word, that word may here signify a whole sentence. But the argument is defective. Though in tournaments the motto on a knight's shield was formerly called The word, it never at any period was called “ One word.”

The Vice of the old moralities was a buffoon character, [See Cotgrave's Dict.Badin, A foole or Vice in a play.--Mime, a vice, foole, jester, &c. in a play."] whose chief employment was to make the audience laugh, and one of the modes by which he effected his purpose was by double meanings, or playing upon words. In these moral representations, fraud, iniquity, covetousness, luxury, gluttony, vanity, &c. were frequently introduced. Mr. Upton in a dissertation which, on account of its length, is annexed at the end of the play, has shown, from Ben Jonson's Staple of News, and The Devil's an Ass, that Iniquity was sometimes the Vice of the Moralities. Mr. Steevens's note in the foregoing page, shows, that he was not always so.

The formal Vice perhaps means, the shrewd, the sensible Vice. -In The Comedy of Errors, a formal man seems to mean, one in his senses ; a rational man. Again, in Twelfth-Night, vol. xi. p. 423, n. 2: “ - this is evident to any formal capacity."

MALONE. of this conqueror ;] For this reading we are indebted to Mr. Theobald, who derived it from the original edition in 1597. All the subsequent ancient copies read corruptly-of his conqueMALONE.



Or die a soldier, as I liv'd a king. Glo. Short summers lightly have a forward spring.

[Aside. Enter York, HASTINGS, and the Cardinal. Buck. Now, in good time, here comes the duke

of York. Prince. Richard of York! how fares our loving

brother? YORK. Well, my dreadlord* ;so must I call you now.

PRINCE. Ay, brother; to our grief, as it is yours : Too late he died ', that might have kept that title, Which by his death hath lost much majesty.

Glo. How fares our cousin, noble lord of York ?

York. I thank you, gentle uncle. O, my lord, You said, that idle weeds are fast in growth : The prince my brother hath outgrown me far.

Gio. He hath, my lord.

3 - lightly-] Commonly, in ordinary course. JOHNSON.

So, in the old Proverb : “ There's lightning lightly before thunder.” See Ray's Proverbs, p. 130, edit. 3d.

Again, in Penny-wise and Pound-foolish, &c.—“ Misfortunes seldome walke alone; and so when blessings doe knocke at a man's dore, they lightly are not without followers and fellowes.”

Again, Holinshed, p. 725, concerning one of King Edward's concubines : “ - one whom no one could get out of the church lightly to any place, but it were to his bed.”' Again, in Ben Jonson's Cynthia's Revels :

“ He is not lightly within to his mercer.” Steevens. “ Short summers lightly have a forward spring." That is, short summers are usually preceded by a forward spring; or in other words, and more appositely to Gloster's latent meaning, a premature spring is usually followed by a short summer. Malone.

4 - dread lord ;] The original of this epithet applied to kings has been much disputed. In some of our old statutes the king is called Rex metuendissimus. Johnson.

5 Too Late he died;] i. e. too lately, the loss is too fresh in our memory.

So, in our author's Rape of Lucrece:

- I did give that life,
“ Which she too early, and too late hath spill’d.
Again, in King Henry V.:

- The mercy that was quick in us but late," &c. MALONE.


« ÎnapoiContinuați »