Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

Therefore heaven nature charg’d
That one body should be fill'd
With all graces wide enlarg'd:
Nature prefently diftill'd

Helen's cheek, but not her heart;
Cleopatra's majefty;

Atalanta's better part;3

Sad Lucretia's modefty.

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

Πανδώρην, ὅτι πανίει Ολύμπια δώματ' ἔχονίες
Δῶρον ἐδώρησαν.

So, before:

But thou

"So perfect, and fo peerlefs, art created
"Of every creature's beft." Tempeft.

Perhaps from this paffage 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 afcribed to Rofalind. Of the Atalanta most celebrated, and who therefore must be intended here where the has no epithet of difcrimination, the better part seems to have been her heels, and the worse part was fo bad that Rofalind would not thank her lover for the comparifon. There is a more obfcure Atalanta, a hunt refs and a heroine, but of her nothing bad is recorded, and therefore I know not which was her better

Shakspeare was no defpicable mythologift, yet he feems here to have mistaken some other character for that of Atalanta. JOHNSON.

Perhaps the poet means her beauty and graceful elegance of fhape, which he would prefer to her fwiftnefs. Thus Ovid: nec dicere poffes,

Laude pedum, formæne bono præftantior effet.
Ut faciem, et pofito corpus velamine vidit,
Obftupuit.

But cannot Atalanta's better part mean her virtue or virgin chastity, with which nature had graced Rofalind, together with Helen's beauty without her heart or lewdnefs, with Cleopatra's dignity of behaviour, and with Lucretia's modefty, that fcorned to furvive the lofs of honour? Pliny's Natural Hiftory, B. XXXV. c. iii. mentions the portraits of Atalanta and Helen, utraque excellentif fima forma, fed altera ut virgo; that is, "both of them for beauty, incomparable, and yet a man may difcerne the one [Atalanta] of

Thus Rofalind of many parts

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

To have the touches dearest priz'd.

them to be a maiden, for her modeft and chafte countenance," as Dr. P. Holland tranflated the paffage; of which probably our poet had taken notice, for furely he had judgement in painting. TOLLET. I fuppofe Atalanta's better part is her wit, i. e. the swiftness of ber mind. FARMER.

66

Shakspeare might have taken part of this enumeration of diftinguifhed females from John Grange's Golden Aphroditis, 1577: who feemeft in my fight faire Helen of Troy, Polixene, Calliope, yea Atalanta hir felfe in beauty to furpaffe, Pandora in qualities, Penelope and Lucretia in chafteneffe 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 fometyme bore the bell of beauties price in that hyr native foyle."

It may be obferved, that Statius alfo in his fixth Thebaid, has confounded Atalanta the wife of Hippomenes, and daughter of Siconeus, with Atalanta the daughter of Enomaus, and wife of Pelops. See v. 564. STEEVENS.

Dr. Farmer's explanation may derive fome fupport from a subas fwift a wit as Atalanta's heels." fequent paffage:

[ocr errors]

MALONE.

I think this ftanza was formed on an old tetraftick epitaph, which, as I have done, Mr. Steevens may poffibly have read in a country church-yard:

She who is dead and fleepeth in this tomb,

"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 paffage in Marston's Infatiate Countesse, 1613, might lead one to fuppofe that Atalanta's better part was her lips: That eye was Juno's;

[ocr errors]

"Thofe lips were her's that won the golden ball;

"That virgin blush Diana's.'

Be this as it may, thefe lines show that Atalanta was confidered as uncommonly beautiful, and therefore may ferve to fupport Mr. Tollet's first interpretation.

O Rofalind! thefe trees fhall be my books,
And in their barks my thoughts I'll character;
That every eye, which in this forest looks,
Shall fee thy virtue witnefs'd every where.
Run, run, Orlando; carve, on every tree,
The fair, the chafte, and unexpreffive' fhe. [Exit.

Enter CORIN and TOUCHSTONE.

COR. And how like you this fhepherd's life, mafter Touchstone?

TOUCH. Truly, fhepherd, in refpect of itself, it is a good life; but in refpect that it is a fhepherd's life, it is naught. In refpect that it is folitary, I like it very well; but in refpect that it is private, it is a very vile life. Now in refpect it is in the fields, it pleafeth me well; but in refpect it is not in the court, it is tedious. As it is a fpare life, look you, it fits my humour well; but as there is no more plenty in it, it goes much against my ftomach. Haft any philofophy in thee, fhepherd?

COR. No more, but that I know, the more one fickens, the worse at ease he is; and that he that wants money, means, and content, is without three good friends :-That the property of rain is to wet, and fire to burn: That good pafture makes fat fheep; and that a great caufe of the night, is lack of the fun: That he, that hath learned no wit by

-unexpreffive-] For inexpreffible. JOHNSON.

Milton alfo, in his Hymn on the Nativity, ufes unexpreffive for inexpreffible:

[ocr errors]

Harping with loud and folemn quire,

"With unexpreffive notes to heaven's new-born heir.”

MALONF.

nature nor art, may complain of good breeding, or comes of a very dull kindred.'

TOUCH. Such a one is a natural philofopher." Waft ever in court, fhepherd?

COR. No, truly,

TOUCH. Then thou art damn'd.

COR. Nay, I hope,

TOUCH. Truly, thou art damn'd; like an illroafted egg,' all on one fide.

5 he, that hath learned no wit by nature nor art, may complain of good breeding, or comes of a very dull kindred.] I am in doubt whether the cultom of the language in Shakspeare's time did not authorise this mode of fpeech, and make complain of good breeding the fame with complain of the want of good breeding. In the laft line of The Merchant of Venice we find that to fear the keeping is to fear the not keeping. JOHNSON.

I think, he means rather-may complain of a good education, for being fo inefficient, of fo little ufe to him. MALONE.

• Such a one is a natural philofopher.] The fhepherd had faid all the philofophy he knew was the property of things, that rain wetted, fire burnt, &c. And the Clown's reply, in a fatire on phyficks or natural philofophy, though introduced with a quibble, is extremely juft. For the natural philofopher is indeed as ignorant (notwithstanding all his parade of knowledge) of the efficient cause of things, as the ruftic. It appears, from a thousand inftances, that our poet was well acquainted with the phyfics of his time; and his great penetration enabled him to see this remediless defect of it. WARBURTON.

Shakspeare is refponfible for the quibble only, let the commentator answer for the refinement. STEEVENS.

The Clown calls Corin a natural philofopher, because he reafons from his obfervations on nature. M. MASON.

A natural being a common term for a fool, Touchstone, perhaps, means to quibble on the word. He may however only mean, that Corin is a felf-taught philofopher; the difciple of nature. MALONE.

7 like an ill-roafted egg,] Of this jeft I do not fully comprehend the meaning. JOHNSON.

There is a proverb, that a fool is the best roafter of an egg, betaufe he is always turning it. This will explain how an egg may

COR. For not being at court? Your reafon.

TOUCH. Why, if thou never waft at court, thou never faw'ft good manners; if thou never faw'ft good manners, then thy manners must be wicked; and wickedness is fin, and fin is damnation: Thou art in a parlous ftate, fhepherd.

COR. Not a whit, Touchstone: thofe, that are good manners at the court, are as ridiculous in the country, as the behaviour of the country is most mockable at the court. You told me, you falute not at the court, but you kifs your hands that courtesy would be uncleanly, if courtiers were shepherds.

TOUCH. Inftance, briefly; come, inftance.

COR. Why, we are ftill handling our ewes; and their fells, you know, are greasy.

TOUCH. Why, do not your courtier's hands fweat? and is not the grease of a mutton as wholesome as the fweat of a man? Shallow, fhallow: A better inftance, I say; come.

COR. Befides, our hands are hard.

TOUCH. Your lips will feel them the fooner. Shallow, again: A more founder inftance, come.

be damn'd all on one fide; but will not fufficiently show how Touchtone applies his fimile with propriety; unless he means that he who has not been at court is but half educated. STEEVENS.

I believe there was nothing intended in the correfponding part of the fimile, to answer to the words, "all on one fide." Shakfpeare's fimiles (as has been already obferved) hardly ever run on four feet. Touchftone, I apprehend, only means to fay, that Corin is completely damned; as irretrievably deftroyed as an egg that is utterly fpoiled in the roafting, by being done all on one fide only. So, in a subsequent scene," and both in a tune, like two gypfies on a horfe." Here the poet certainly meant that the fpeaker and his companion fhould fing in unifon, and thus refemble each other as perfectly as two gypfies on a horse;-not that two gypfies on a horse fing bath in a tune. MALONE.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »