« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
the closet of the learned, uniform and of a piece, is by no means singular; and it may be fairly questioned, whether it was not altogether as honourable in the author to take on himself the demerits of the whole, thus made his own, as to purloin a portion of fame from the secret appropriation of what the critics are now pleased to assure us, was the only valuable part of the piece.
As Jonson is very profuse in his explanatory references, I have contented myself with bringing them back, (for Whalley omitted them altogether,) and again left the play, as the author left it, to the "judgment of the learned." I can much easier excuse Whalley for suppressing Jonson's notes, and taking the merit of his quotations, than for introducing the names of Simpson, Seward, and Grey, the opprobrium of criticism, with fulsome compliments to their ingenuity, for discovering allusions which Jonson himself had pointed out more than a century before. The whole of this officious impertinence is now removed.
ELIUS Sejanus, son to Seius Strabo, a gentleman of Rome, and born at Vulsinium; after his long service in court, first under Augustus; afterward, Tiberius; grew into that favour with the latter, and won him by those arts, as there wanted nothing but the name to make him a co-partner of the empire. Which greatness of his, Drusus, the emperor's son, not brooking; after many smothered dislikes, it one day breaking out, the prince struck him publicly on the face. To revenge which disgrace, Livia, the wife of Drusus (being before corrupted by him to her dishonour, and the discovery of her husband's counsels) Sejanus practiseth with, together with her· physician called Eudemus, and one Lygdus an eunuch, to poison Drusus. This their inhuman act having successful and unsuspected passage, it emboldeneth Sejanus to further and more insolent projects, even the ambition of the empire; where finding the lets he must encounter to be many and hard, in respect of the issue of Germanicus, who were next in hope for the succession,' he deviseth to make Tiberius' self his means, and instils into his ears many doubts and suspicions, both against the princes, and their mother. Agrippina; which Cæsar jealously hearkening to, as covetously consenteth to their ruin, and their friends. In this time, the better to mature and strengthen his design, Sejanus labours to marry Livia, and
7 For the succession.] These words, wanting in the quarto of 1605, were added in the folio, 1616, to complete the sense.
worketh with all his ingine, to remove Tiberius from the knowledge of public business, with allurements of a quiet and retired life; the latter of which, Tiberius, out of a proneness to lust, and a desire to hide those unnatural pleasures which he could not so publicly practise, embraceth: the former enkindleth his fears, and there gives him first cause of doubt or suspect towards Sejanus: against whom he raiseth in private a new instrument, one Sertorius Macro, and by him underworketh, discovers the other's counsels, his means, his ends, sounds the affections of the senators, divides, distracts them: at last, when Sejanus least looketh, and is most secure; with pretext of doing him an unwonted honour in the senate, he trains him from his guards, and with a long doubtful letter, in one day hath him suspected, accused, condemned, and torn in pieces by the rage of the people.
By the rage of the people.] After this, the quarto has the following: "This do we advance, as a mark of terror to all traitors, and treasons; to shew how just the heavens are, in "pouring and thundering down a weighty vengeance on their "unnatural intents, even to the worst princes; much more to "those, for guard of whose piety and virtue the angels are in "continual watch, and Gon himself miraculously working."
This seems to have been added, in compliment to K. James, on the discovery of the powder-plot. WHAL.
The SCENE, Rome.
9 Lucius Arruntius, &c.] I have added the cognomen or pronomen to many of the characters, as a necessary help for the English reader, since Jonson, without noticing the circumstance, sometimes uses the one, and sometimes the other, as suits the conveniency of his verse.
ACT I. SCENE I.
A State Room in the Palace.
Enter SABINUS and SILIUS, followed by LATI
Sab. Hail, Caius Silius! Sil. Titius 'Sabinus, hail! You're rarely met in court.
Sab. Therefore, well met.
Sil. 'Tis true: indeed, this place is not our sphere.
Sab. No, Silius, we are no good inginers. We want their fine arts, and their thriving use Should make us graced, or favour'd of the times: We have no shift of faces, no cleft tongues, No soft and glutinous bodies, that can stick, Like snails on painted walls; or, on our breasts, Creep up, to fall from that proud height, to which We did by slavery, not by service climb. We are no guilty men, and then no great;
De Caio Silio, vid. Tacit. Lips. edit. quarto. Ann. Lib i. pag. 11. Lib. ii. p. 28 et 33. This, together with every succeeding note marked by the letters of the alphabet, is from the pen of Jonson.
b De Titio Sabino, vid. Tacit. Lib. iv. p. 79.