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Our poet uses this metaphor, as the French do their poulet; which signifies both a young fowl and a love-letter.
To break up was a peculiar phrase in carving.
Line 78. king Cophetua--] The ballad of King Cophetua and the Beggar-Maid, may be seen in The Reliques of Ancient Poetry, vol. i. The beggar's name was Penelophon, here corrupted. PERCY.
The poet alludes to this song in Romeo and Juliet, Henry IV. Part 2, and Richard II. STEEVENS. Line 101. Thus dost thou hear, &c.] These six lines appear to be a quotation from some ridiculous poem of that time.
-erewhile.] Just now.
a Monarcho;] The allusion is to a fantastical character of the time." Popular applause (says Meres) dooth "nourish some, neither do they gape after any other thing, but "vaine praise and glorie,—as in our age Peter Shakerlye of Paules, "and Monarcho that lived about the court." p. 178. FARMER. Come, lords, away.] Perhaps the Princess said
Line 128. rather,
queen, not over famous for fidelity to her husband. See the song of The Boy and the Mantle, in Mr. Percy's collection. STEEVENS. the clout.] The clout was the centre of the
Line 171. target.
ACT IV. SCENE II.
-'twas a pricket.] i. e. A fawn of the second
Line 227. And such barren plants are set before us, that we
thankful should be
(Which we of taste and feeling are) for those parts
that do fructify in us, more than he.] The length of
these lines was no novelty on the English stage. The moralities afford scenes of the like measure. JOHNSON.
Line 229. For as it would ill become me to be vain, indiscreet,
or a fool;
So, were there a patch set on learning, to see him in a school.] The meaning is, to be in a school would as ill become a patch, or low fellow, as folly would be JOHNSON.
Line 247. The allusion holds in the exchange.] i. e. The riddle is as good when I use the name of Adam, as when you use the name of Cain. WARBURTON.
Line 277. If a talent be a claw, &c.] A quibble on talon and talent.
Line 307. Nath. Fauste, precor, gelidâ, &c.] Though all the editions concur to give this speech to Sir Nathaniel, yet, as Dr. Thirlby ingeniously observed to me, it is evident, it must belong to Holofernes. The Curate is employed in reading the letter to himself; and while he is doing so, that the stage may not stand still, Holofernes either pulls out a book, or, repeating some verše by heart from Mantuanus, comments upon the character of that poet. THEOBALD.
Chi non te vede, ei non te pregia.] The proverb, as I am informed, is this; He that sees Venice little, values it much;
he that sees it much, values it little.
-the tired horse- -] i. e. The horse adorned or
arrayed with ribbands, &c.
Line 370. Trip and go, my sweet;] These words probably composed the burthen of some old popular song.
Line 378. colourable colours.] That is, specious, or fair seeming appearances.
-certes,] i. e. For certain.
ACT IV. SCENE III.
Line 398. I am toiling in a pitch ;] Alluding to lady Rosaline's complexion, who is through the whole play represented as a black beauty. JOHNSON. Line 425. The night of dew, that on my cheeks down flows;] He
means, the dew that nightly flows down his cheeks. Shakspeare, in one of his other plays, uses night of dew for dewy night.
Line 444. he comes in like a perjure,] The punishment of perjury is to wear on the breast a paper expressing the crime. JOHNSON.
Line 459. 0, rhymes are guards on wanton Cupid's hose; Disfigure not his slop.] Slops are large and widekneed breeches, the garb in fashion in our author's days, as we may observe from old family pictures; but they are now worn only by boors and sea-faring men.
-the liver vein,] The liver was anciently sup
posed to be the seat of love.
Line 493. By earth, she is but corporal; there you lie.] Corporal for corporeal.
Line 495. -amber coted.] To cote, is to outstrip, to overpass. STEEVENS. Line 526. Air, would I might triumph so!] Perhaps we may better read,
Ah! would I might triumph so!
my true love's fasting pain.] Fasting is longing,
-teen!] i. e. Grief.
58-1. To see a king transformed to a gnat!] Gnat, in the old copy. The modern editors read knot, which is a bird of the snipe kind, known in Lincolnshire, remarkable for its stupidity. Line 588. critick Timon] Critick and critical are used by our author in the same sense as cynic and cynical.
Line 599. With moon-like men, of strange inconstancy,] Perhaps the poet may mean, with men like common men. JOHNSON.
Line 693. And beauty's crest becomes the heavens well.] Crest is here properly opposed to badge. Black, says the King, is the badge of hell, but that which graces the heaven is the crest of· beauty. Black darkens hell, and is therefore hateful: white adorns heaven, and is therefore lovely. JOHNSON.
and usurping hair,] Alluding to the great quantity of false hair then worn.
-some quillets,] The word quillet signifies a false
charge, or an evasive answer.
WARBURTON. -affection's men at arms :] A man at arms, ìs a
soldier armed at all points both offensively and defensively.
Teaches such beauty as a woman's eye?] i. e. A lady's
eyes give a fuller notion of beauty than any author.
Line 772. In leaden contemplation, have found out
Such fiery numbers,] Numbers are, in this passage, nothing more than poetical measures. Could you, says Biron, by solitary contemplation, have attained such poetical fire, such sprightly numbers, as have been prompted by the eyes of beauty? JOHNSON.
Line 787. —the suspicious head of theft is stopt;] i. e. A lover in pursuit of his mistress has the sense of hearing quicker than a thief (who suspects every sound he hears) in pursuit of his prey. WARBURTON.
-cockled -] i. e. Shelled.
794. As bright Apollo's lute, strung with his hair;] This expression is extremely beautiful, and highly figurative. Apollo, as the sun, is represented with golden hair; so that a lute strung with his hair, means no more than strung with gilded wire. WARBURTON.
Line 795. And, when love speaks, the voice of all the gods Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony.] A very ingenious friend observes, that the meaning of the passage is this: That the voice of all the Gods united, could inspire only drowsiness, when compared with the chearful effects of the voice of love.
-a word that loves all men ;] We should read, -a word all women love. WARBURTON. The antithesis of a word that all men love, and a word which loves all men, though in itself worth little, has much of the spirit of
sow'd cockle reap'd no corn;] This proverbial
expression intimates, that beginning with perjury, they can expect to reap nothing but falshood.
ACT V. SCENE I..
Line 2. Your reasons at dinner have been, &c.] I know not well what degree of respect Shakspeare intends to obtain for this vicar, but he has here put into his mouth a finished respresenta tion of colloquial excellence. It is very difficult to add any thing to this character of the school-master's table-talk, and perhaps all the precepts of Castiglione will scarcely be found to comprehend a rule for conversation so justly delineated, so widely dilated, and so nicely limited.
It may be proper just to note, that reason here, and in many other places, signifies discourse; and that audacious is used in a good sense for spirited, animated, confident. Opinion is the same with obstinacy or opiniatreté.
Line 4. without affection,] i. e. Without affectation.
-thrasonical.] Bragging, boastful.
14. He is too picked,] To have the beard piqued (picked) or shorn so as to end in a point, was, in our author's time, a mark of a traveller affecting foreign fashions.
point-devise--] From the French. Means,
exact to the utmost pitch.
Honorificabilitudinitatibus:] This word, whence
soever it comes, is often mentioned as the longest word known.
Line 43. --a flap-dragon:] A flap-dragon is the well known game of raisins put into brandy, and burnt.
or turn at fencing.
-a quick venew of wit:] Venew or veney is a bout
Line 82. -the charge-house--] Probably means, a school supported at the public charge, as a charity or free-school.
inward-] Means, confidential.
103. -dally with my excrement,] The author has be fore called the beard valour's excrement, in The Merchant of Venice.
—if this fadge not,] i. e. Suit not.