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(5) Or had he heard the heav'nly harmony,
O, that delightful engine of her thoughts,
(5) Or, &c.] This puts me in mind of that most excellent pallage in Milton's Comus, where upon the lady's singing, Comus observes,
Can any mortal mixture of earth's mould
A Perfon in Despair, compard to one on a Rock, &c.
For now I stand as one upon a rock,
Tears compar'd to Dew on a Lily.
When I did name her brothers, then fresh tears Stood on her cheeks; as doth the honey-dew Upon a gather'd lily almost wither'd.
Refleétions on killing a Fly. Mar. (6) Alas, my lord, I have but kill'd a fli! Tit. But?how if that fly had a father and mother?
(6) Alas.] The mind of Titus is wholly taken up with a reflection on his mistortunes, and his miseries as a parent : His brother Marcus killing a fly, lie reprehends him for his cruelty ; for, says he,
Mine eyes are cloyd with view of tyranny :
Becomes not Titus' brother. And he further reflects upon it, and brings it to himself : « Iloi,. (says he,) if this poor fly had a father and mother---how: what--would he hans, &c. .The Reader must see the impresa priety; for surely, he would add, “ how would they, (the father and the mother,] for the loss, hang their slender, gilled wings, and buz-lamenting doings in the air?" so that doubtless we Thould read,
How wou'd they hang their slender, gilded wings,
And buz-lamenting doings in the air?. For the fly after being kill'd, could not hang his wings himself, nor buz-lamenting doings; which word, though perhaps not altogether to exprestive, feems to me the true one; it is frequently 02.
How would they hang their slender, gilded wings,
Lo, by thy fide where rape and murder stands ;
Lamenting delings. Though he was conscious of the similarity between the word and the epithet ; notwithstanding which the Oxford cditor givos 16,
Laments and doings.
General Observation, .
THIS is one of those plays (says Theobald) which I have always thought, with the better judges, ought not to be acknowledged in the list of Shakespear's genuine pieces. And, perhaps, I may give a proof to ftrengthen this opinion, that may put the matter out of queftion, Ben Jonson, in the introduction
to his Bartholomow-Fair, which made its first appearance in the year 1614, couples Jeronymo and Andronicus together in reputation, and speaks of them as plays then of twenty-five or thirty years standing. Consequently Andronicus must have been on the Itage before Shakespear left Iarwickshire, to come and reside in London : and I never heard it so much as intimated, that he liad turned bis genius to stage-writing before he associated with the players, and became one of their body. However, that he afterwards introduced it anew on the stage, with the addition of his own masterly touches, is incontestible ; and thence, I prefume, grew his title to it. The diction in general, where he has not taken the pains to raise it, is even beneath that of the Three Parts of Henry VI. The atory, we are to suppose merely fictitious. Andronicus is a sur-name of pure Greek derivativni. Tamnora is neither mentioned by Ammianus Marcellinus, nor any body else that I can find. Nor had Rome, in the cime of her emperors, any wars with the Goths that I know of: not till after the translation of the empire, I mean to Byzantium. And yet the scene of our play is laid at Rome, and Saturnius is elected to the empire at the capitol.
(1) YALL here my varlet : I'll unarm again.
Why should I war without the walls of
(1) Call, &c.] Mr. Theobald and Mr. Upton both perceived our author's allufron here to an ode of Anacreoir, (or, as the latter says, “ to a thought printed among those poems, which are ascribed to Aracreon.”) Ben Jonson, as well as our author, alludes to it in the following passage:
Volpone. O I am wounded !
. Where, Sir, Volpone. Not without ;
Those blows were nothing ; I could bear them ever.
Volpone, Act. 2. S. 3