Notes and Queries, Number 96, August 30, 1851 Volume IV
Excerpt: ...the word, and which can be cleared up only by a thorough analysis. "The cloud-capp'd towers," &c., are first compared with "the baseless fabric of this vision," like which they "shall dissolve," and afterwards with "this insubstantial pageant," like which (having "faded") they shall "leave not a rack behind." A given object can be said to "leave behind" only that which was originally of its elements, and for this reason only a general term such as wreck or vestige will accord with the construction of the passage. I am sorry to find that any one should misquote Shakspeare for the purpose of obtaining a temporary triumph: probably, however, in the instance I am about to cite, A. E. B. has really fallen into the common error of regarding two similes as one. He says, giving the substance of Shakspeare's passage, "the globe itself shall dissolve, and, like this vision, leave not a wreck behind." What Shakspeare in substance does say is, "The globe itself, like this vision, shall dissolve, and, like this faded pageant, shall leave not a rack behind." A. E. B.'s question, therefore, "in what was the resemblance to the vision to consist, if not in melting, like it, into thin air?" is thus answered: The resemblance does consist in dissolving, or "melting" away. My object in making these remarks is not to express an opinion on one side or the other, but to draw the attention of your readers to the real question at issue. I therefore say nothing as to whether Shakspeare may or may not have had a prevision of the nebular theory; though I cannot see that this would be in the least affected by our decision as to the meaning of this word, since the wrack or wreck of the world might well be represented 159 by the "vapour" for which A. E. B. contends. As, however, this gentleman says such is its meaning "beyond all doubt," (a rather dogmatic way of settling the question, by the way, seeing that a doubt had been thrown upon it in the very paper he has engaged...
- 189 x 246 x 2mm | 68g
- 13 Sep 2013
- United States
- black & white illustrations