Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 9.djvu/351

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9* 8. IX. MAY 3, 1902.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


Asters. Dele the comma at the end of the line, and for "Disasters," beginning line 118, read Disaster'd. The whole passage will now appear as follows :

The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets ; Asters with trains of tire and dews of blood Disaster'd in the sun ; and the moist star Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse.

That is (lines 117-18), meteors or shooting stars (stelloe trajectionis), or, it may be, comets, unstarred themselves, or became absorbed in the sun, "disorbed," as Troilus has it (' Troilus and Cressida,' II. ii. 46).

I think the poet adopted the Greek da-rr^p to differentiate from ordinary stars the por- tentous appearances of which Horatio speaks, and with a view to the quaint use of the word " disaster " in its primary meaning.

Though Shakespeare does not often use Greek words, yet he does sometimes, and I can imagine him listening to a discussion at the " Mermaid," between his friends Jonson and Bacon, concerning Homer's use of the word "aster," where the flight of Here is compared to that of a meteor " with trains of fire," flung as a portent by Zeus the crafty ('Iliad,' iv. 75-7). J. E. SMITH.

In his interesting account of the comets which appeared in the reign of Justinian, and were always thought to be the harbingers of war and calamity, Gibbon, speaking of one comet, says that after its appearance there ensued a remarkable paleness of the sun. It is also said that the sun looked pale during the year that followed the assassina- tion of Julius Caesar; and at that time a comet appeared which was supposed to be the soul of the dead hero. This will explain the speech of Horatio, who, after referring to the comets, says that " disasters dimmed the sun." For I believe that Capell's alteration of in to dimmed is right. As has been noticed, Shakespeare took some of the images in the speech of Horatio from Ovid ; and the verse of Homer which I quoted may have suggested to Ovid the following :

Seepe inter nimbos guttse cecidere cruentse.

" Metamorphoses,' xv. 788.

It is, however, said that there was actually a rain of blood at the time of Caesar's death. The other passage of Homer which I could not find before, and in which it is said that Zeus rained blood in order to show that he meant mischief, is in the eleventh book of the * Iliad,' lines 53-5. With regard to the repetition of the word star y I would say that it is better to repeat the right word than to change it to one that is wrong or weak.

[ have observed tautology in other great writers. I find the word yepas three times in six lines in the first book of the ' Iliad.'


'MACBETH,' I. iv. 35 (6 th S. xi. 441). -If one dwells on " sons," as one would naturally do in speaking, the line does not appear de- fective :

In drops/ of s6r/row. ScVne, kins/men, thanes/.


St. Louis.

1 MEASURE FOR MEASURE,' IV. iii. 102-3.

At the consecrated Fount, A League below the Citie.

Dr. W. Aldis Wright has, in his note on ' Coriolarius.' I. x. 31 (Clarenaon Press edition), remarked that in some cases of local colour- ing Shakespeare had probably London in his mind. It may, therefore, be not without interest to observe that both the Theatre and the Curtain (I quote from Halli well's 'Illustrations of the Life of Shakespeare,' part i. p, 9),

" were situate in the parish of Shoreditch, in the fields of the Liberty of Halliwell, in which locality, if the Davenant tradition is in the slightest degree to be trusted, Shakespeare must have commenced his metropolitan career. This Liberty, at a later period termed Holywell, derived its name from a sacred (A.-S. halig) well or fountain which took its rise in the marshy grounds situated to the west of the high street leading from Norton Folgate to Shore- ditch Church mora in qua fons qui dicitwr Halli- welle oritur, charter of A.D. 1189, printed in Dug- dale's ' Monasticon Anglicanum,' ed. 1682, p. 531."

So, too, Halliwell Priory may also have sug- gested the " moated-Grange " of the dejected Mariana's retirement, as well as the religious house where the duke donned the friar's habit. ALFRED E. THISELTON.

' MACBETH,' I. ii. 21. Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him.

While something might be said for " for- tune" as the antecedent of " which "- although disdained by Macbeth, who fought like valour's minion, fortune smiled on Mac- donwald's quarrel, and ne'er shook hands nor bade farewell to him until his death, when his supporters fled I believe that " which " refers to " brandish'd steel," and that we are to understand from the line in question that the blows were continuous until Macdonwald fell. E. MERTON DEY.

St. Louis.

MACBETH,' I. v. 23-6. Seymour says, " The difficulty here arises from the cumu- lative conjunction, which leads us to expect new matter, whereas that which follows is