Samuel Johnson Biography | Biography Online
Jealousy is always born with love, but does not always die with it. ~François Duc de La Rochefoucauld,
Whoever envies another confesses his superiority. ~Samuel Johnson,
It is in the character of very few men to honor without envy a friend who has prospered. ~Aeschylus
Jealousy is rubbing salt into your own wound.
Past Quotes of the Week: April - June, 2002 - Samuel Johnson
This passage I believe means no more than that Don Armado was a man nicely versed in ceremonial distinctions, one who could distinguish in the most delicate questions of honour the exact boundaries of right and wrong. "Compliment," in Shakespeare's time, did not signify, at least did not only signify verbal civility, or phrases of courtesy, but according to its original meaning, the trappings, or ornamental appendages of a character, in the same manner, and on the same principles, of speech with "accomplishment." "Compliment" is, as Armado well expresses it, "the varnish of a complete man."Act I, scene i. 171 The "world" seems to be used in the monastick sense by the king now devoted for a time to a monastick life. "In the world," , in the bustle of human affairs, from which we are now happily sequestred, "in the world," to which the votaries of solitude have no relation. Act I, scene i. 236 A "minow" is a little fish which cannot be intended here. We may read, "the base of thy mirth." Act I, scene ii. 4 "Imp" was anciently a term of dignity. Lord Cromwel in his last letter to Henry VIII. prays for "the his son." It is now used only in contempt or abhorrence; perhaps in our authour's time it was ambiguous, in which state it suits well with this dialogue. Act I, scene ii. 33 By "crosses" he means money. So in , the Clown says to Celia, "if I should bear you I should bear no cross." Act I, scene ii. 37 Mr. Theobald has endeavoured here to dignify his own industry by a very slight performance. The folios all read as he reads, except that instead of naming the persons they give their characters, enter "Clown, Constable, and wench."Act I, scene ii. 155 I suppose we should read, it is not for prisoners to be silent in their "wards," that is, in "custody," in the "holds." Act I, scene ii. 167 See the last act of with the notes. Act II, scene i. 15 "Chapman" here seems to signify the "seller," not, as now commonly, the "buyer." "Cheap" or "cheping" was anciently "market," "chapman" therefore is "marketman." The meaning is, that "the estimation of beauty depends not on the or proclamation of the seller, but on the eye of the buyer." Act II, scene i. 104Sir T. Hanmer reads "not" sin to break it. I believe erroneously. The Princess shews an inconvenience very frequently attending rash oaths, which whether kept or broken produce guilt.Act II, scene i. 202 That is, mayst thou have sense and seriousness more proportionate to thy beard, the length of which suits ill with such idle catches of wit. Act II, scene i. 222 "Several" is an inclosed field of a private proprietor, so Maria says, "her lips private property." Of a Lord that was newly married one observed that he grew fat; yes, said Sir Walter Raleigh, any beast will grow fat, if you take him from the "common" and graze him in the "several." Act II, scene i. 237 That is, "his tongue being impatiently desirous to see as well as speak." Act II, scene i. 240 Perhaps we may better read, "to only looking." Act II, scene i. 257 Mr. Theobald has reason enough to propose this alteration, but he should not have made it in his book without better authority or more need. I have therefore preserved his observation, but continued the former division. Act III, scene i. 1 In the folios the direction is, "enter Braggart and Moth," and at the beginning of every speech of Armado stands "Brag." both in this and the foregoing scene between him and his boy. The other personages of this play are likewise noted by their characters as often as by their names. All this confusion has been well regulated by the later editors. Act III, scene i. 3 Here is apparently a song lost. Act III, scene i. 19 Dr. Warburton has here changed "compliments" to "'complishments" for "accomplishments," but unnecessarily. Act III, scene i. 27 "Colt" is a hot mad-brained unbroken young fellow, or sometimes an old fellow with youthful desires. Act III, scene i. 56 How is he too swift for saying that lead is slow? I fancy we should read, as well to supply the rhyme as the sense, Act III, scene i. 62 Welkin is the sky, to which Armado, with the false dignity of a Spaniard, makes an apology for sighing in its face. Act III, scene i. 67 The old folio reads, "no salve in male, Sir," which in another folio, is "no salve, in the male, Sir." What it can mean is not easily discovered: if "mail" for a "packet" or "bag" was a word then in use, "no salve in the mail" may mean no salve in the mountebank's budget. Or shall we read, "no egma, no riddle, no l'envoy--in the , Sir--O, Sir, plantain." The matter is not great, but one would wish for some meaning or other. Act III, scene i. 128
"Cony" has the signification here given it, but "incony" I never heard nor read elsewhere. I know not whether it be right, however specious, to change "Jew" to "jewel." "Jew," in our author's time, was, for whatever reason, apparently a word of endearment. So in ,Act III, scene i. 170Mr. Upton has made a very ingenious conjecture on this passage. He reads, "This Signior Julio's giant-dwarf." Shakespeare, says he, intended to compliment Julio Romano, who drew Cupid in the character of a giant-dwarf. Dr. Warburton thinks, that by "Junio" is meant youth in general.Act III, scene i. 175An "apparitor," or "paritor," is the officer of the bishop's court who carries out citations; as citations are most frequently issued for fornication, the "paritor" is put under Cupid's government.Act III, scene i. 177The conceit seems to be very forced and remote, however it be understood. The notion is not that the "hoop wears colours," but that the colours are worn as a "tumbler" carries his "hoop," hanging on one shoulder and falling under the opposite arm.Act III, scene i. 194To this line Mr. Theobald extends his second act, not injudiciously, but, as was before observed, without sufficient authority.Act IV, scene i. 18To understand how the princess has her glass so ready at hand in a casual conversation, it must be remembered that in those days it was the fashion among the French ladies to wear a looking glass, as Mr. Bayle coarsely represents it, "on their bellies"; that is, to have a small mirrour set in gold hanging at the girdle, by which they occasionally viewed their faces, or adjusted their hair.Act IV, scene i. 34
"That my heart means no ill," is the same with "to whom my heart means no ill": the common prase suppresses the particle, as "I mean him (not him) no harm."Act IV, scene i. 41Here, I believe, is a kind of jest intended; a member of the "common"-wealth is put for one of the "common" people, one of the meanest.Act IV, scene i. 49
This conjecture is ingenious enough, but not well considered. It is plain that the ladies' girdles would not fit the princess. For when she has referred the clown to "the thickest and the tallest," he turns immediately to her with the blunt apology, "truth is truth"; and again tells her, "you are the thickest here." If any alteration is to be made, I should propose,This would point the reply; but perhaps he mentions the slendernes of his own wit to excuse his bluntness.Act IV, scene i. 63This story is again alluded to in
"Let King Cophetua know the truth thereof." But of this king and beggar the story then, doubtless, well known, is, I am afraid, lost. Zenelophon has not the appearance of a female name, but since I know not the true name, it is idle to guess.Act IV, scene i. 90Just now; a little while ago. So Raleigh,
Act IV, scene i. 99Perhaps the Princess said rather "Come, away."--The rest of the scene deserves no care.Act IV, scene ii. 1I am not of the learned commentator's opinion, that the satire of Shakespeare is so seldom personal. It is of the nature of personal invectives to be soon unintelligible; and the authour that gratifies private malice, [Virgil, "...and lay down their lives in the wound." (Describing angry bees.)] destroys the future efficacy of his own writings, and sacrifices the esteem of succeeding times to the laughter of a day. It is no wonder, therefore, that the sarcasms which, perhaps, in the authour's time "set the in a roar,"are now lost among general reflections. Yet whether the character of Holofernes was pointed at any particular man, I am, notwithstanding the plausibility of Dr. Warburton's conjecture, inclined to doubt. Every man adheres as long as he can to his own preconceptions. Before I read this note I considered the character of Holofernes as borrowed from the Rhombus of Sir Philip Sidney, who, in a kind of pastoral entertainment exhibited to Queen Elizabeth, has introduced a schoolmaster so called, speaking "a leash of languages at once," and puzzling himself and his auditors with a jargon like that of Holofernes in the present play. Sidney himself might bring the character from Italy; for as Peacham observes, the schoolmaster has long been one of the ridiculous personages in the farces of that country.Act IV, scene ii. 26
Sir T. Hanmer reads thus,And Mr. Edwards in his animadversions on Dr. Warburton's notes, applauds the emendation. I think both the editors mistaken, except that Sir T. Hanmer found the metre though he missed the sense. I read, with a slight change,That is, "such barren plants" are exhibited in the creation, to make us "thankful when we have more taste and feeling than he, of those parts which in us," and preserve us from being likewise "barren plants." Such is the sense, just in itself and pious, but a little clouded by the diction of Sir Nathaniel. The length of these lines was no novelty on the English stage. The moralities afford scenes of the like measure.Act IV, scene ii. 28The meaning is, to be in a school would as ill become "a patch," or low fellow, as folly would become me.Act IV, scene ii. 92
The proverb, as I am informed, is this; "He that sees Venice little, values it much; he that sees it much, values it little." But I suppose Mr. Theobald is right, for the true proverb would not serve the speaker's purpose.Act IV, scene ii. 140That is, specious, or fair seeming appearances.Act IV, scene iii. 2Alluding to lady Rosaline's complexion, who is, through the whole play, represented as a black beauty.Act IV, scene iii. 25I cannot think the "night of dew" the true reading, but know not what to offer.Act IV, scene iii. 43The punishment of perjury is to wear on the breast a paper expressing the crime.Act IV, scene iii. 70The "liver" was anciently supposed to be the seat of love.Act IV, scene iii. 106Perhaps we may better read, " would I might triumph so."Act IV, scene iii. 118
There is no need of any alteration; "fasting" is "longing, hungry, wanting."Act IV, scene iii. 144
To "leap" is to "exult," to skip for joy. It must stand.
It will not easily be imagined how much Shakespeare excells in accommodating his sentiments to real life, but by comparing him with other authours. It was observed of the ancient schools of declamation, that the more diligently they were frequented, the more was the student disqualified for the world, because he found nothing there which he should ever meet in any other place. The same remark may be applied to every stage but that of Shakespeare. The theatre, when it is under any other direction, is peopled by such characters as were never seen, conversing in a language which was never heard, upon topicks which will never arise in the commerce of mankind. But the dialogue of this authour is often so evidently determined by the incident which produces it, and is pursued with so much ease and simplicity, that it seems scarcely to claim the merit of fiction, but to have been gleaned by diligent selection out of common conversation, and common occurrences.