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THE WINTER'S TALE.
ACT I. SCENE I.
Sicilia. An Antechamber in LEONTES' Palace.
Enter CAMILLO and ARCHIDAMUS.
Arch. If you shall chance, Camillo, to visit Bohemia, on the like occasion whereon my services are now on foot, you shall see, as I have said, great difference betwixt our Bohemia and your Sicilia.
Cam. I think, this coming summer, the king of Sicilia means to pay Bohemia the visitation which he justly owes him.
Arch. Wherein our entertainment shall shame us, we will be justified in our loves: for, indeed,—
Cam. Beseech you,
Arch. Verily, I speak it in the freedom of my knowledge: we cannot with such magnificence-in so rare-I know not what to say. We will give you sleepy drinks, that your senses, unintelligent of our insufficience, may, though they cannot praise us, as little accuse us.
Cam. You pay a great deal too dear for what's given freely.
Arch. Believe me, I speak as my understanding instructs me, and as mine honesty puts it to utterance.
Cam. Sicilia cannot show himself over-kind to Bohemia. They were trained together in their childhoods; and there rooted betwixt them then such an affection, which cannot choose but branch now. Since their more mature dignities, and royal necessities, made separation of their society, their encounters, though not personal, have been so royally
attorney'd', with interchange of gifts, letters, loving embassies, that they have seemed to be together, though absent, shook hands, as over a vast, and embraced, as it were, from the ends of opposed winds. The heavens continue their loves!
Arch. I think, there is not in the world either malice, or matter, to alter it. You have an unspeakable comfort of your young prince Mamillius: it is a gentleman of the greatest promise that ever came into my note.
Cam. I very well agree with you in the hopes of him. It is a gallant child; one that, indeed, physics the subject, makes old hearts fresh: they that went on crutches ere he was born desire yet their life to see him a man.
Arch. Would they else be content to die?
Cam. Yes; if there were no other excuse why they should desire to live.
Arch. If the king had no son, they would desire to live on crutches till he had one.
The Same. A Room of State in the Palace.
Enter LEONTES, POLIXENES, HERMIONE, MAMILLIUS, CAMILLO, and Attendants.
Pol. Nine changes of the watery star have been The shepherd's note, since we have left our throne
- have been so royally attorney'd,] necessary to the sentence: it, no doubt, 2 shook hands, as over a VAST,] This is the reading of the first folio: the second has it, "shook hands, as over a vast sea," which, being an unnecessary addition, is here rejected. “Vast” is employed substantively, and, as Steevens observed, Shakespeare uses it for the sea in "Pericles," A. iii. sc. 1:
"Thou God of this great vast, rebuke these surges."
In "The Tempest" also we have the expression of the "vast of night." This opportunity may be taken to mention, that the line in "Hamlet,” A. i. sc. 2, which is printed in the folio, 1623,
"In the dead waste and middle of the night,"
"So" is from the corr. fo. 1632, and is escaped in the press.
is given in the earliest 4to. of 1603, in the possession of the Duke of Devonshire, "In the dead vast and middle of the night."
3 one that, indeed, PHYSICS the SUBJECT,] Here, as in "Measure for Measure," A. iii. sc. 2, (and perhaps A. ii. sc. 4,) the word subject" is used in a plural sense for "subjects." The expression "physics the subject" means, gives the subjects of the king, or the state generally, health and vigour.
Without a burden: time as long again
Would be fill'd up, my brother, with our thanks;
Go hence in debt: and therefore, like a cipher,
Sir, that's to-morrow.
I am question'd by my fears, of what may chance,
We are tougher, brother,
Very sooth, to-morrow. Leon. We'll part the time between's then; and in that I'll no gain-saying.
Press me not, beseech you'.
♦ “This is put forth too truly."] We leave the old reading unchanged, although the corr. fo. 1632 instructs us to print as follows:
May there blow
The image in the mind of the old corrector was the "sneaping" or nipping winds in spring, which might induce people to say that buds have put forth too early. The expression, we admit, is awkward "that may blow," &c., but Polixenes means to state his fears, that his anticipations of misfortune at home might have been indulged too truly. Warburton hastily condemns the passage as "nonsense," and some corruption is pretty evident, which the annotator on the folio, 1632, has not in our opinion remedied. The poet's meaning is clear, though the wording of the passage may be defective.
5 Press me not, beseech you.] The old copies have so at the end of this line, which whether we regard metre or meaning is mere surplusage. The corr. fo. 1632 omits it, most properly, as an interpolation.
To you a charge, and trouble: to save both,
Tongue-tied, our queen? speak you. Her. I had thought, sir, to have held my peace, until You had drawn oaths from him, not to stay. You, sir, Charge him too coldly: tell him, you are sure All in Bohemia's well: this satisfaction
The by-gone day proclaim'd. Say this to him,
Well said, Hermione.
Her. To tell he longs to see his son were strong: But let him say so then, and let him go;
But let him swear so, and he shall not stay,
We'll thwack him hence with distaffs.—
[He walks apart o.
Her. Nay, but you will?
Yet of your royal presence [To POLIXENES.] I'll adventure
The borrow of a week. When at Bohemia
You take my lord, I'll give him my commission,
I may not, verily.
He walks apart.] This stage-direction is in MS. in the corr. fo. 1632, and it shows, most likely, the custom of the actor of the character of Leontes to turn away, while Hermione urges her suit to Polixenes. This course seems very judicious: he comes forward with the words "Is he won yet?"
7 TO LET him there a month, behind the GEST
Prefix'd for's parting:] i. e. I will give him leave to detain himself there a month beyond the time arranged for his departure. "Gest" was a term employed with reference to the royal progresses, and meant a place of abiding for a certain period. Malone properly derives it from the French giste.
8 -- yet, good DEED,] The second folio has it "good heed," which is not less forced than to take "good deed" in the sense of indeed. In the old copies the two words are in parenthesis.
9 I love thee not A JAR O' THE CLOCK behind
What lady SHOULD her lord.] "A jar o' the clock" is a tick of the clock; "jar" being used for tick by many writers of the time. The words "what lady should her lord" have hitherto stood very unintelligibly, "what lady she her lord." The emendation is made on the authority of the old MS. corrector of the first folio belonging to Lord Ellesmere. "Should" was perhaps written, in the MS., from which the printer composed the first folio, with an abbreviation, which he misread she, and it is repeated in all the later folios, one having copied from the other. It is also "should her lord" in the corr. fo. 1632.
You put me off with limber vows; but I,
Though you would seek t' unsphere the stars with oaths,
As potent as a lord's. Will you go yet?
Not like a guest, so you shall pay your fees,
When you depart, and save your thanks. How say you?
One of them you shall be.
Your guest then, madam :
Than you to punish.
Not your jailor then,
We were, fair
And to be boy eternal.
Her. Was not my lord the verier wag o' the two?
Pol. We were as twinn'd lambs, that did frisk i' the sun, And bleat the one at th' other: what we chang'd, Was innocence for innocence; we knew not The doctrine of ill-doing, no, nor dream'd' That any did. Had we pursued that life, And our weak spirits ne'er been higher rear'd With stronger blood, we should have answer'd heaven Boldly, "not guilty;" the imposition clear'd,
By this we gather,
1 The doctrine of ill-doing, No, nor dream'd] The folio, 1623, omits "no," which is found in the folio, 1632, and probably was accidentally omitted by the compositor, confused by "no" and "nor," following each other. The measure is improved, and the meaning strengthened by "no."
2 Temptations have since then been born To's;] If, with Malone, we read "to us" as two syllables, the verse is redundant: therefore, to show that the two words were to form one syllable, they are printed "to's" in the old copies.