« PreviousContinue »
Be it so then:
Yet none does know, but you, how she came dead,
1 She did disdain my child,] Thus the old copy, but I think erroneously. Marina was not of a disdainful temper. Her excellence indeed disgraced the meaner qualities of her companion, i. e. in the language of Shakspeare, distained them. Thus, Adriana, in The Comedy of Errors, says " I live distained;" and, in Tarquin and Lucrece, we meet with the same verb again :
"Were Tarquin night (as he is but night's child) "The silver-shining queen he would distain—.” The verb-to stain is frequently used by our author in the sense of-to disgrace. See Vol. XVII. p. 146, n. 8.
Whilst ours was blurted at,] Thus the quarto, 1609. All the subsequent copies have-blurred at.
This contemptuous expression frequently occurs in our an cient dramas. So, in King Edward III. 1596:
"This day hath set derision on the French,
She did disdain my child, and stood between
Whilst ours was blurted at,] The usurping Duke in As you like it, gives the same reasons for his cruelty to Rosalind: she robs thee of thy name;
"And thou wilt show more bright, and seem more vir
The same cause for Dionyza's hatred to Marina, is also alledged in Twine's translation: "The people beholding the beautie and comlinesse of Tharsia said: "Happy is the father that hath Tharsia to his daughter; but her companion that goeth with her is foule and evil favoured. When Dionisiades heard Tharsia commended, and her owne daughter Philomacia so dispraised, she returned home wonderful wrath," &c. STEEVENS.
Not worth the time of day. It pierc'd me thorough;
Heavens forgive it!
DION. And as for Pericles, What should he say? We wept after her hearse, And even yet we mourn: her monument Is almost finish'd, and her epitaphs In glittering golden characters express A general praise to her, and care in us At whose expence 'tis done.
CLE. Thou art like the harpy, Which, to betray, doth wear an angel's face, Seize with an eagle's talons."
Not worth the time of day.] A malkin is a coarse wench. A kitchen-malkin is mentioned in Coriolanus. Not worth the
time of day, is, not worth a good day, or good morrow; undeserving the most common and usual salutation.
See Vol. XVI. p. 77, n. 7. Malone.
And though you call my course unnatural,] So, in Julius Cæsar :
"Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius,
Thou art &c.] Old copy:
It greets me, as an enterprize of kindness,
Perform'd to your sole daughter.] Perhaps it greets me, may mean, it pleases me; c'est a mon gré. If greet be used in its ordinary sense of saluting or meeting with congratulation, it is surely a very harsh phrase. There is, however, a passage in King Henry VIII. which seems to support the reading of the text in its ordinary signification:
Would I had no being,
"If this salute my blood a jot." MALONE.
DION. You are like one, that superstitiously Doth swear to the gods, that winter kills the flies;" But yet I know you'll do as I advise. [Exeunt.
Which, to betray, dost, with thine angel's face,
There is an aukwardness of construction in this passage, that leads me to think it corrupt. The sense designed seems to have been-Thou resemblest in thy conduct the harpy, which allures with the face of an angel, that it may seize with the talons of an eagle. Might we read:
Thou art like the harpy,
Which, to betray, dost wear thine angel's face ;
Which is here, as in many other places, for who.
Again, in Romeo and Juliet:
"O serpent heart, hid with a flow'ring face!" Again, in King John:
"Rash, inconsiderate, fiery voluntaries,
I have adopted part of Mr. Malone's emendation, changing only a syllable or two, that the passage might at least present some meaning to the reader. STEEVENS.
7 Doth swear to the gods, that winter kills the flies;] You resemble him who is angry with heaven, because it does not control the common course of nature. Marina, like the flies in winter, was fated to perish; yet you lament and wonder at her death, as an extraordinary occurrence. MALONE.
I doubt whether Malone's explanation be right; the words, swear to the gods, can hardly imply, to be angry with heaven, though to swear at the gods might: But if this conjecture be right, we must read superciliously instead of superstitiously; for to arraign the conduct of heaven is the very reverse of superstition. Perhaps the meaning may be-" You are one of those who superstitiously appeal to the gods on every trifling and natural event." But whatever may be the meaning, swear to the gods, is a very aukward expression.
A passage somewhat similar occurs in The Fair Maid of the Inn, where Alberto says:
Enter GowER, before the Monument of MARINA at Tharsus.
Gow. Thus time we waste, and longest leagues make short;
Sail seas in cockles," have, and wish but for't;
"Here we study
"The kitchen arts, to sharpen appetite,
Sail seas in cockles,] We are told by Reginald Scott, in his Discovery of Witchcraft, 1584, that "it was believed that witches could sail in an egg shell, a cockle, or muscle shell, through and under tempestuous seas."-This popular idea wast probably in our author's thoughts. MALONE.
See Vol. X. p. 31, n. 4. STEEVens.
• Making, (to take your imagination,)
From bourn to bourn,] Making, if that be the true reading, must be understood to mean-proceeding in our course, from bourn to bourn, &c.-It is still said at sea-the ship makes much way. I suspect, however, that the passage is corrupt. All the copies have our imagination, which is clearly wrong. Perhaps the author wrote-to task your imagination. MALONE.
Making, (to take your imagination,)
From bourn to bourn, &c.] Making is most certainly the true reading. So, in p. 267:
"O make for Tharsus."
Making &c. is travelling (with the hope of engaging your attention) from one division or boundary of the world to another; i. e. we hope to interest you by the variety of our scene, and the different countries through which we pursue our story.-We still use a phrase exactly corresponding with-take your imagination; i. e. "To take one's fancy." STEEVENS.
By you being pardon'd, we commit no crime
To learn of me, who stand i'the gaps to teach
The stages of our story.' Pericles
Is now again thwarting the wayward seas,"
who stand i'the gaps to teach you
The stages of our story. &c.] So, in the Chorus to The Winter's Tale :
"O'er sixteen years, and leave the growth untry'd
The earliest quarto reads-with that in 1619-in gaps. gaps; The reading that I have substituted, is nearer that of the old copy. MALONE.
To learn of me who stand with gaps-] I should rather read -'the gaps. So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
"That I may sleep out this great gap of time
I would likewise transpose and correct the following lines thus:
To learn of me, who stand i'the gaps to teach you
Is left to govern. Bear it in your mind,
-thwarting the wayward seas,]
"Heave him away upon your winged thoughts,
So, in King Henry V: