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circumstances which conftitute the fable of this play, are, probably, of the poet's own invention. Capell.
Mrs. Lenox thinks, that the ftory of Protheus and Julia might have been taken from a fimilar one in the Diana of George of Montemayor. "By the internal marks of a compofition, fays J. we may difcover the author with probability, though feldom with certainty. When I read this play, I cannot but think that I find, both in the serious and ludicrous fcenes, the language and fentiments of S. It is not indeed one of his most powerful effusions; it has neither many diversities of character, nor ftriking delineations of life, but it abounds in yvwas beyond most of his plays, and few have more lines or paffages, which, fingly confidered, are eminently beautiful. I am yet inclined to believe that it was not very fuccefsful, and fufpect that it has escaped corruption, only because being feldom played, it was lefs exposed to the hazards of transcription." He obferves further," In this play there is a strange mixture of knowledge and ignorance, of care and negligence. The verfification is often excellent, the allufions are learned and just.”
"That it is rightly attributed to S. I have little doubt. If it be taken from him, to whom fhall it be given? This queftion may be afked of all the difputed plays, except Titus Andronicus; and it will be found more credible, that S. might fometimes fink below his highest flights, than that any other fhould rife up to his loweft."
ACT I. SCENE I.
Friendship between Kings.
Cam. Sicilia cannot fhew himself over-kind to Bohemia. They were trained together in their childhood, and there rooted betwixt them fuch an affection, which cannot choose but branch now. Since their more mature dignities and royal neceffities made feparation of their fociety, their encounters, though not perfonal, have been royally attornied, with interchange of gifts, letters, loving embaffies; that they have feem'd to be together, though abfent; fhook hands, as over a vaft; and embrac'd, as it were, from the ends of oppofed winds. The heavens continue their loves!
Arch. I think, there is not in the world either malice, or matter, to alter it.
Delay of Death always wifhed.
Cam. I very well agree with you in the hopes of him. It is a gallant child; one that, indeed, phyficks the fubject, (1) makes old hearts frefh: they that went on crutches, ere he was born, defire yet their life, to see him a man.
(1) Phyficks the fubject.] Affords a cordial to the ftate; has the power of affuaging the fense of mifery. 7.
Arch. Would they elfe be content to die?
Cam. Yes; if there were no other excufe why they fhould defire to live.
Arch. If the king had no fon, they would defire to live on crutches till he had one.
We were, (2) fair queen,
Two lads, that thought there was no more behind,
Youthful Friendship and Innocence.
We were as twinn'd lambs, that did frisk i' th' fun,
Praife, its Influence on Women.
Cram us with praife, and make 's
As fat as tame things: one good deed, dying tonguelefs
Slaughters'a thoufand, waiting upon that.
(2): We avere, &c.] See Midfummer Night's Dream, 15: JP. 226121
(3) The impofition, &c.] By the impofition hereditary ours, the author means original fin, derived to us from our firft parents, and by their offence entailed on us : which cleared or fet afide, they had no other crime (fo innocent were their lives) to answer for: but would have appeared perfectly guiltless in the eve of heaven.
How fometimes nature will betray its folly!
A Father's Fondness for his Child.
Leon. Are you fo fond of your young prince as we Do feem to be of ours?
Pal. If at home, Sir,
He's all my exercise, my mirth, my matter:
Cam. In your affairs, my lord,
I play'd the fool, it was my negligence,
To do a thing, where I the iffue doubted,
(4) Whereof, &c.] i. e. "where the execution, the doing the thing, ftood in balance against the not doing it. Where, confidering its performance, I hesitated whether it would not be better omitted."
Is whispering (5) nothing?
Is leaning cheek to cheek? is meeting nofes?
-To (7) do this deed Promotion follows. If I could find example Of thousands that had struck anointed kings,
(5) Is whispering, &c.] The reader is defired to compare the other paffages in this fcene on the fame topic. Meeting, in the next line, Thirlby would read meting, i. e. meafuring.
(6) Wishing, &c.] Theobald and Warburton both print this paffage,
Wishing clocks more fwift,
Hours, minutes? the noon, midnight, and all eyes
I think there need nothing be faid of the propriety of that in the text, which is from the folio. S. excels prodigiously on the fubject of jealoufy, whenever he touches upon it; it may be an agreeable amufement to the reader to compare him on this topic, and to find, how every where different, yet excellent he is.
(7) To, &c.] We find this fentiment in feveral other parts of our author's writings, as well as in those of his cotemporaries. See Hamlet, A& 4, Sc. 6.