NOTES AND QUERIES. [9* s. x. SEPT. e. im
IN a perusal of the First Folio of Shake- speare's plays one is struck : with the com- parative indifference shown throughout with regard to the two forms/' sence >nd sense Apparently the word in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries was written pho- netically rather than with any regard t etymological propriety. It may be useful to bring together a few illustrative examples from dramas representative of the poet s different periods. The text here used is that of the edition produced in 1876, in reduced facsimile, by Messrs. Chatto & Windus with a brief and useful introduction by Halhwell
In Move's Labour's Lost,' I. i. 57-64, the phrase "common sense" is presented exactly as it appeared at a later day in the disquisi- tions of the philosophers who opposed the doctrines of Hume. Later in the same scene, however, we find the following (11. 238-41) :- All sences to that sence did make their repaire To feele onely looking on fairest of faire ; Me thought all his sences were lockt in his eye As Jewells in Christall for some Prince to buy. On the other hand, Act III. opens with the injunction,
Warble, childe, make passionate my sense of hearing In V. ii. 259-60 the keen, razor-like tongues of mocking wenches are described as Cutting a smaller haire then may be seene, Aboue the sense of sence so sensible. Of three examples found in 'Midsummei Night's Dream' one is "O take the sence' (II. ii. 45), and the other two are respectively 1. 27 and 1. 179 of III. ii., " their sense thui weake" and "the seeing sense." Shylock's famous appeal in ' Merchant of Venice,' III i. 64, reads, " Hath not a Jew eyes 1 hath no a Jew hands, organs, dementions, sences affections, passions," &c. ? "Sence" is th( form used in the remarks of both Gregor; and Sampson, 'Romeo and Juliet,' I. i. 30 " Awake your Senses " is attributed to Brutu in ' Julius Csesar,' III. ii. 17.
The first example of several in ' Hamlet ' i in I. ii. 99 :
For, what we know must be, and is as common As any the most vulgar thing to sence
In vehemently addressing his mother (III
iv. 37) Hamlet exclaims : If damned Custome haue not braz'd it so, That it is proofe and bulwarke against Sense.
In the famous speech beginning
Look here, upon this picture, and on this, the First Folio omits the sentence "Sens^ sure, you have," &c., where the word occur
hree times. Neither has it, in a further
peech "That monster, custom, who all nse 'doth eat." "Despight of Sense and ecrecie" occurs in III. iv. 92, and halfe >nse " in IV. v. 7. Laertes is made to ex-
faim (IV. v. 154) :
)h heate drie vp my Braines, teares seuen times salt
Jurne out the Sence and Vertue of mine eye ;
vhile in V i. 76 Hamlet is responsible for he remark that " the hand of little Imploy-
tnent hath the daintier sense."
' Measure for Measure ' contains a number
f examples, some of them in expressions that
lave become proverbial, and the majority of
hem are in the form " sence." In I. iv. 59
we find " the wanton stings and motions of he sence," and in II. ii. 142-3 we have the
word twice :
Shee speakes, and 'tis such sence That my Sence breeds with it.
At 1. 169 of the same scene the question is Kit whether or not "Modesty may more Detray our Sence" than woman's lightness. Angelo exclaims (II. iv. 75), "Your sence pursues not mine " ; and the famous passage )f III. i. 76 begins, " The sence of death is most in apprehension." In V. i. there are
- our examples
- " infirmity of sence," 1. 47 ;
" the oddest frame of sense," 1. 61 ; " there is sence in truth," 1. 220; and "against all sence," 1. 434..
' King Lear ' has " square of sense," I. i. 76 ;
iarring sense," IV. vii. 16; "my sences," lit. iv. 13 ; and " your other Senses," IV. vi. 5. The gracious Duncan ('Macbeth,' I. vi. 3) appreciates the effects of the air upon the " gentle sences," while Macbeth, in II. i. 36, wonders if the dagger is "sensible," and at I. 44 strives to persuade himself that his eyes "are made the fooles o' th' other Sences." " Pester'd Senses " are commiserated in V. ii. 23 ; " my sences would have cool'd " is the reading of V. v. 10 ; while the great outburst of V. vii. 49 is given thus :
And be these Jugling Fiends 110 more beleeu'd
That palter with vs in a double sence !
'The Winter's Tale' has "Sences" in the fifteenth line of the first scene. "Sence" occurs in II. i. 150, while the visitor to the Oracle reports (III. i. 10) that his "Sence" was so much surprised by the response that he " was nothing." It is in keeping with this to find in 'The Tempest,' V. i. 158 :
Howsoe'er you have Beene justled from your sences.
It would be important to compare the promiscuous treatment exemplified in these extracts with the practice of Shakespeare's contemporaries and immediate successors,