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With many legions of ftrange fantasics;
Invisible is here ufed adverbially. Death, having glutted him. felf with the ravage of the almoft wafted body, and knowing that the disease with which he has affailed it is mortal, before its diffolution, proceeds, from mere fatiety, to attack the mind, leaving the body invisibly; that is, in fuch a fecret manner that the eye cannot precifely mark his progrefs, or fee when his attack on the vital powers has ended, and that on the mind begins; or in other words, at what particular moment reafon ceases to perform its function, and the underftanding, in confequence of a corroding and mortal malady, begins to be difturbed. Our poet in his Venus and Adonis calls Death, " invifible commander."
Henry is here only purfuing the fame train of thought which we find in his first speech in the present scene.
Our author has, in many other passages in his plays used adje&ives adverbially. So, in All's well that ends well: "Was it not meant damnable in us, &c. Again, in K. Henry IV. part I: ten times more difhonourable ragged than an old faced an cient." See Vol. IX. p. 138, n. 9. and K. Henry IV. A& IV. sc. ii. Mr. Rowe reads her fiege, an error derived from the cor ruption of the fecond folio. I fufped, that this ftrange miftake was Mr. Gray's authority for making Death a female; in which, I believe, he has neither been preceded or followed by any poet: "The painful family of Death,
"More hideous than their queen."
The old copy, in the paffage before us, reads-Against the wind an evident error of the prefs, which was corrected by Mr. Pope, and which I should scarcely have mentioned, but that it juftifies an emendation made in Measure for Measure, [Vol. VI. p. 73, n. 9.] where by a fimilar miftake the word flawes appears in the old copy inftead of flames. MALONE.
Mr. Malone reads;
Death having prey'd upon the outward parts,
Leaves them invifible; &c.
As often as I am induced to differ from the opinions of a gentleman whofe laborious diligence in the caufe of Shakspeare is without example, I subject myself to the most unwelcome part of editorial duty. Succefs, however, is not in every inftance propor tionable to zeal and effort; and he who shrinks from controversy, should also have avoided the vestibulum ipsum, primafque fauces of the school of Shakspeare.
Sir Thomas Hanmer gives us-infenfible, which affords a meaning fufficiently commodious. But as invifible and infenfible are not
Confound themfelves," 'Tis frange, that death fhould fing.-
words of exacteft confonance, the legitimacy of this emendation has been difputed. It yet remains in the text, for the fake of those who discover no light through the ancient reading.
Perhaps (I speak without confidence) our author wrote-invincible, which, in found, so nearly resembles invisible, that an inattentive compofitor might have fubftituted the one for the other. --All our modern editors (Mr. Malone excepted) agree that invincible in King Henry IV. P. II. Ad III. fc. ii. was a misprint for invisible; and fo ( vice verfa) invifible may here have ufurped the place of invincible.
If my fuppofition be admitted, the Prince muft defign to say, that Death had battered the royal outworks, but, feeing they were invincible, quitted them, and directed his force against the mind. In the present inftance, the King of Terrors is described as a be fieger, who, failing in his attempt to form the bulwark, proceeded. to undermine the citadel. Why elfe did he change his mode and object of attack?—— The Spanish ordnance fufficiently preyed on the ramparts of Gibraltar, but ftill left them impregnable. The fame metaphor, though not continued fo far, occurs again in Timon of Athens:
Mr. Malone, however, gives a different turn to the paffage before us; and leaving the word fiege out of his account, appears to represent Death as a gourmand, who had fatiated himself with the King's-body, and took his intellectual part by way of change of provifion.
Neither can a complete acquiefcence in the fame gentleman's examples of adjectives ufed adverbially, be well expected; as they chiefly occur in light and familiar dialogue, or where the regular full-grown adverb was unfavourable to rhyme or metre. Nor indeed are thefe docked adverbs (which perform their office, like the witch's rat," without a tail,") discoverable in any folemn narrative like that before us. A portion of them alfo might be no other than typographical imperfections; for this part of fpeech, fhorn of its termination, will neceffarily take the form of an adjective. I may fubjoin, that in the beginning of the prefent fcene, the adjective corruptible is not offered as a locum tenens for
I am the cygnets to this pale faint fwán,
the adverb corruptibly, though they were alike adapted to our author's measure.
It muft, notwithstanding, be allowed that adjectives employed adverbially are fometimes met with in the language of Shakspeare. Yet, furely, we ought not (as Polonius fays) to crack the wind of the poor phrase, by fuppofing its exiftence where it muft operate equivocally, and provoke a smile, as on the prefent occa
That Death, therefore," left the outward parts of the King invifible," could not, in my judgment, have been an expreffion hazarded by our poet in his most careless moment of compofition. It conveys an idea too like the helmet of Orcus, in the fifth Iliad,* Gadfhill's receipt of fern-feed," Colonel Feignwell's? moros mufphonon, or the confequences of being bit by a Seps, as was a Roman foldier, of whom fays our excellent tranflator of Lucan, none was left, no ieaft remains were feen,
"No marks to how that once a man had been.”†' Befides, if the outward part (i, e. the body) of the expiring monarch was, in plain, familiar, and unqualified terms, pronounced to be invifible, how could thofe who pretended to have juft feen it, exped to be believed? and would not an audience, uninitiated in the mystery of adverbial adje&ives, on hearing fuch an account of the royal carcafe, have exclaimed, like the Governor of Tilbury Fort in the Critic:
thou canf not see it,
"Becaufe' is not in fight.'
But I ought not to difmifs the prefent fubject, without a few words in defence of Mr. Gray, who had authority fomewhat more decifive than that of the perfecuted fecond folio of Shakspeare, for reprefenting Death as a Woman. The writer of the Ode on a diftant Profped of Eton College, was fufficiently intimate with Lucretius, Horace, Ovid, Phædrús, Statius, Petronius, Seneca the dramatift, &c. to know that they all concurred in exhibiting Mors as a Goddefs. Mr. Spence in his Polymetis, p. 261, (I refer to a book of cafy accefs,) has produced abundant examples in proof of my alfertion, and others may be readily fupplied. One comprehenfive infiance, indeed, will anfwer my prefent purpose. Statius, in his
* Δύο Λίδος κυνέην, ΜΗ ΜΙΝ ΙΔΟΙ όβριμος "Αρης.
Rowe; Book IX. 1. 1334.
And, from the organpipe of frailty, fings
eighth Thebaid, defcribing a troop of ghaftly females who furrounded the throne of Pluto, has the following lines:
Stant Furia circum, variæque ex ordine Mortes,
Sævaque multifonas exercet Pana catenas.
From this group of perfonification, &c. it is evident, that not merely Death, as the source or principle of mortality, but each particular kind of Death was reprefented under a feminine shape. For want, therefore, of a corresponding mafculine term, Dobson, in his Latin verfion of the fecond Paradife Loft, was obliged to render the terrific offspring of Satan, by the name of Hades; a luckless neceffity, becaufe Hades, in the 964th line of the fame book, exhibits a charader completely difcriminated from that of Death.
Were I inclined to be sportive, (a difpofition which commentators fhould ftudiously reprefs,) might I not maintain on the frength of the foregoing circumftances, that the editor of the folio, 1632 (far from being an ignorant blunderer,) was well inftructed in the niceties of Roman mythology? and might not my ingenious fellow-labourer, on the score of his meditated triumph over Mr. Gray, be faluted with fuch a remark as reached the ear of Cadmus ?-
-Quid, Agenore nate, peremptum
Serpentem fpe&tas? & tu spectabere ferpens.
Fashionable as it is to cavil at the productions of our Cambridge Poet, it has not yet been discovered that throughout the fields of claffic literature, even in a fingle inftance, he had miftook his way. STEEVENS.
7 Withe, many legions of firang fantafies;
Which, in their throng and prefs to that laft hold,
Confound themfelves. ] So, in our author's Rape of Lucrece: "Much like a prefs of people at a door,
"Throng his inventions, which fhall go before."
Again, in King Henry VIII:
- which forc'd fuch way,
"That many maz'd confiderings did throng,
"And prefs in, with this caution."
in their throng and prefs to that laft hold,]. In their tumult
and hurry of reforting to the last tenable part. JOHNSON.
9 I am the cygnet Old copy-Symet. Corrected by Mr. Pope. MALONE.
SAL. Be of good comfort, prince; for you are
To fet a form upon that indigeft
Which he hath left fo fhapeless and fo rude."
Re-enter BIGOT and Attendants, who bring in King JOHN in a Chair.
K. JOHN. Ay, marry. now my foul hath elbow
It would not out at windows, nor at doors.
How fares your majefty;
K. JOHN. Poifon'd,— ill-fare;2-dead, forfook,
caft off :
3 And none of you will bid the winter come,
you are born
To fet a form upon that indigeft
Which he hath left so shapeless and fo rude.] A description of the Chaos almoft in the very words of Ovid:
་་ Quem dixere Chaos, rudis indigeftaque moles." MET. Į.
"Which Chaos hight, a huge rude heap,-:
Poifon'd-ill-fare; ] Mr. Malone fuppofes fare to be here used as a diffyllable, like fire, hour, &c. But as this word has not concurring vowels in it, like hour, fair, nor was ever diffyllabically fpelt (like fier) faer; I had rather fuppofe the prefent line imperfect, than complete it by fuch unprecedented means. STEEVENS.
3 This fcene has been imitated by Beaumont and Fletcher in The Wife for a Month, A& IV.