תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

Tongues I'll hang on every tree,

That shall civil sayings Mow.8
Some, bow brief the life of man

Runs bis erring pilgrimage ;
That the stretching of a span

Buckles in his sum of age.
Some, of violated vows

'Twixt the souls of friend and friend:
But upon the fairest boughs,

Or at every sentence' end,
Will I Rosalinda write;

Teaching all that read, to know
The quintessence of every Sprite

Heaven would in little low.'

but although the metre may be assisted by this correction, the sense still is defective; for how will the hanging of tongues on every tree, make it less a desert? I am persuaded we ought to read :

Why thould this defert silent be? Tyrwhitt. The notice which this emendation deserves, I have paid to it, by inserting it in the text. ST E EVENS.

8. That shall civil sayings show.] Civil is here used in the same sense as when we say civil wisdom or civil life, in opposition to a solitary state, or to the state of nature. This desert shall not appear unpeopled, for every tree shall teach the maxims or incidents of social life. JOHNSON.

Civil, I believe, is not designedly opposed to folitary. It means only grave, or solemn. So, in Twelfth Night, Act III, fc. iv:

" Where is Malvolio? he is fad and civil.
i. e. grave and demure.
Again, in A Woman's Prize, by Beaumont and Fletcher :

“ That fourteen yards of satin give my woman;
“ I do not like the colour ; 'tis too civil...,

Sretyens. 9 in little show.] The allusion is to a miniature-portrait. The current phrase in our author's time was painted in little.

MALONE. So, in Hamlet: “- a hundred ducats a-piece, for his picture in little," STEVENS,

Therefore heaven nature charg'da

That one body should be filled
With all graces wide enlarg'd:

Nature presently distillid
Helen's cheek, but not her beart;

Cleopatra's majesty;
Atalanta's better part ; }

Sad + Lucretia's modesty.

2 Therefore heaven nature charg'd-] From the picture of Apelles, or the accomplishments of Pandora.

Πανδώρων, ότι παει Ολύμπια δώματ' έχουλες

Sãçev idapnour.
So, before?

“ But thou
“ So perfect, and so peerless, art created

“ Of every creature's best.” Tempeft.
Perhaps from this passage Swift had his hint of Biddy Floyd.

JOHNSON. 3 Atalanta's better part;] I know not well what could be the better part of Atalanta here ascribed to Rosalind. Of the Atalanta most celebrated, and who therefore must be intended here where she has no epithet of discrimination, the better part seems to have been her heels, and the worse part was so bad that Rosalind would not thank her lover for the comparison. There is a more obscure Atalanta, a huntress and a heroine, but of her nothing bad is recorded, and therefore I know not which was her better part. Shakspeare was no despicable mythologist, yet he seems here to have mistaken some other character for that of Atalanta.

JOHNSON. Perhaps the poet means her beauty and graceful elegance of shape, which he would prefer to her swiftness. Thus Ovid:

- nec dicere polles,
Laude pedum, formæne bono præftantior effet,
Ut faciem, et posito corpus velamine vidit,

ObitupuitBut cannot Atalanta's better part mean her virtue or virgin chastity, with which nature had graced Rosalind, together with Helen's beauty without her heart or lewdness, with Cleopatra's dignity of behaviour, and with Lucretia's modefty, that scorned to survive the loss of honour? Pliny's Natural History, B. XXXV. c, iii. mentions the portraits of Atalanta and Helen, utraque excellentifJima forma, fed altera ut virgo; that is, “ both of them for beauty, incomparable, and yet a man may discerne the one [Atalanta] of

Thus Rosalind of many parts

By heavenly Synod was devis'd;
Of many faces, eyes, and hearts,

To have the touchess dearest priz'd.

[ocr errors]

them to be a maiden, for her modeft and chalte countenance," as Dr. P. Holland translated the passage ; of which probably our poet had taken notice, for surely he had judgement in painting. Tollet.

I suppose Atalanta's better part is her wit, i. e. the swiftness of her mind. FARMER.

Shakspeare might have taken part of this enumeration of distinguished females from John Grange's Golden Aphroditis, 1577: “ who seemest in my fight faire Helen of Troy, Polixene, Calliope, yea Atalanta hir felfe in beauty to surpasse, Pandora in qualities, Penelope and Lucretia in chaftenesse to deface.” Again, ibid:

“ Polixene fayre, Caliop, and

" Penelop may give place;
Atlanta and dame Lucres fayre

“ She doth them both deface."
Again, ibid: Atalanta who somety me bore the bell of beauties
price in that hyr native soyle."

It may be observed, that Statius also in his sixth Thebaid, has confounded Atalanta the wife of Hippomenes, and daughter of Siconeus, with Atalanta the daughter of anomaus, and wife of Pelops. See v. 564. STEEVENS.

Dr. Farmer's explanation may derive some support from a subsequent passage: “ -- as swift a wit as Atalanta's heels.”

MALONE. I think this stanza was formed on an old tetrastick epitaph, which, as I have done, Mr. Steevems may poflibly have read in a country church-yard :

“ She who is dead and sleepeth in this tomb,
so Had Rachel's comely face, and Leah's fruitful womb:
“ Sarah's obedience, Lydia's open heart,

“ And Martha's care, and Mary's better part." WHALLEY. The following passage in Marston's Insatiate Countelje, 1613, might lead one to suppose that Atalanta's betier part was her lipsi

“ That eye was Juno's;
“ Those lips were her's that won the golden ball;

« That virgin blush Diana's.”
Be this as it may, these lines show that Atalanta was considered as
uncommonly beautiful, and therefore may serve to support Mr.
Tollet's firft interpretation.

Heaven would that Mae these gifts should have,
Anit I to live and die ber save.

[ocr errors]

Ros. O most gentle Jupiter !-what tedious homily of love have you wearied your parishioners withal, and never cry'd, Have patience, good people!

Cel. How now ! back friends ?-Shepherd, go off a little :-Go with him, firrah.

Touch. Come, shepherd, let us make an honourable retreat; though not with bag and baggage, yet with scrip and fcrippage.

[Exeunt Corin and TouchSTONE.

It is observable that the story of Atalanta in the Tenth Book of Ovid's Metamorphoses is interwoven with that of Venus and Adonis, which our author had undoubtedly read. The lines most material to the present point run thus in Golding's Translation, 1567:

“ She overcame them out of doubt; and hard it is to tell
“ Thee, whether she did in footemanshippe or beautie more

excell.”
" -- he did condemne the young men's love. But when
“ He saw her face and body bare, (for why, the lady then
Did frip her to her naked skin,) the which was like to mine,
“ Or rather, if that thou wait made a woman, like to thine,
" He was amaz’d.”

“ And though that she “ Did fie as swift as arrow from a Turkie bow, yet hee • More wondered at her beautie, then at swiftnesse of her pace; “ Her running greatly did augment her beautie and her grace.”

MALONE. The passage quoted by Mr. Malone from Marston's Insatiate Countess, has no reference to the ball of Atalanta, but to the golden apple which was adjudged to Venus by Paris, on Mount Ida.

After all, I believe, that “ Atalanta's better part" means onlythe best part about her, such as was most commended. STEEVENS

+ Sad— ] Is grave, feber, not light. Johnson.

So, in Much ado about Nothing :-“ She is never fad but when she sleeps.” STEEVENS.

s— the touches-] The features; les traits. Johnson. So, in King Richard III:

“ Madam, I have a touch of your condition." STEEVENS.

Cel. Didst thou hear these verses ?

Ros. O, yes, I heard them all, and more too; for some of them had in them more feet than the verses would bear.

Cel. That's no matter; the feet might bear the verses.

Ros. Ay, but the feet were lame, and could not bear themselves without the verse, and therefore stood lamely in the verse.

Cel. But didst thou hear, without wondering how thy name should be hang’d and carved upon these trees?

Ros. I was seven of the nine days out of the wonder, before you came; for look here what I found on a palm-tree : 6 I was never so be-rhimed since Pythagoras' time, that I was an Irish rat,' which I can hardly remember.

6 a palm-tree:] A palm-tree, in the forest of Arden is as much out of its place, as the lioness in a subsequent scene. Steevens.

7- I was never fo be-rhimed fince Pythagoras' time, that I was an Irish rat,] Rosalind is a very learned lady. She alludes to the Pythagorean doctrine, which teaches that souls transmigrate from one animal to another, and relates that in his time she was an Irish rat, and by some metrical charm was rhymed to death. The power of killing rats with rhymes Donne mentions in his Satires, and Ternple in his Treatises. Dr. Grey has produced a similar passage from Randolph:

“-- - My poets
“ Shall with a satire, steep'd in gall and vinegar,
“ Rhyme them to death as they do rats in Ireland.

JOHNSON. So, in an address to the reader, at the conclusion of Ben Jonson's Poetaster:

“ Rhime them to death, as they do Irish rats

In drumming tuncs.” STEEVENS. So, in The Defence of Poefie by our author's contemporary, Sir Philip Sidney: « Though I will not with unto you—to be driven by a poet's verses, as Rubonax was, to hang yourself, nor to be rimed to death, as is said to be done in Ireland"- Malone,

« הקודםהמשך »