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By all their influences, you may as well
How should this grow?
Swear his thought over, may perhaps mean, overswear his present persuasion, that is, endeavour to overcome his opinion, by swearing oaths numerous as the stars. Fohnson.
It may mean: “ Though you should endeavour to swear away his jealousy,—though you should strive, by your oaths, to change his present thoughts." -The vulgar still use a similar expression: "To swear a person down.” Malone.
This appears to me little better than nonsense; nor have either Malone or Johnson explained it into sense. I think, therefore, that Theobald's amendment is necessary and well imagined.
M. Mason. Perhaps the construction is—“Over-swear his thought,”-i.e. strive to bear down, or overpower, his conception by oaths.-In our author we have weigh out for outweigh, overcome for come over, &c. and overswear for swear over, in Twelfth Night, Act V.
Steevens. - you may as well Forbid the sea for to obey the moon,] We meet with the same sentiment in The Merchant of Venice:
“ You may as well go stand upon the beach,
whose foundation Is pild upon his faith, This folly which is erected on the foundation of settled belief Steevens.
His execution sworn.
I do believe thee:
3 I saw his heart in his face.] So, in Macbeth:
“ To find the mind's construction in the face." Steevens.
and thy places shall Still neighbour mine : ] Perhaps Shakspeare wrotem" And thy paces shall,” &c. Thou shalt be my conductor, and we will both pursue the same path.-The old reading, however, may meanwherever thou art, I will still be near thee. Malone.
By places, our author means--preferments, or honours. Steevens. 5 Good expedition be my friend, and comfort
The gracious queen, part of his theme, but nothing
Of his ill-ta'en suspicion!] But how could this expedition comfort the Queen? on the contrary, it would increase her husband's suspicion. We should read:
and comfort The gracious queen's; i.e. be expedition my friend, and be comfort the queen's friend.
Warburton. Dr. Warburton's conjecture is, I think, just; but what shall be done with the following words, of which I can make nothing? Perhaps the line which connected them to the rest is lost :
Of ill-ta'en suspicion! Jealousy is a passion compounded of love and suspicion ; this passion is the theme or subject of the King's thoughts.- Polixenes, perhaps, wishes the Queen, for her comfort, so much of that theme or subject as is good, but deprecates that which causes misery. May part of the King's present sentiments comfort the Queen, but away with his suspicion. This is such meaning as can be picked out. Johnson.
I will respect thee as a father, if
Cam. It is in mine authority, to command
ACT II.....SCENE I.
Enter HERMIONE, MAMILLIUS, and Ladies.
Come, my gracious lord.
No, I'll none of you.
Mam. You 'll kiss me hard; and speak to me as if I were a baby still.- I love you better.
2 Lady. And why so, my good lord ?6
Not for because "Your brows are blacker; yet black brows, they say, Become some women best; so that there be not
Perhaps the sense is–May that good speed which is my friend, comfort likewise the Queen who is part of its theme, i. e. partly on whose account I go away; but may not the same comfort extend itself to the groundless suspicions of the King; we may not my departure support him in them! His for its is common with Shakspeare: and Paulina says, in a subsequent scene, that she does not choose to appear a friend to Leontes, in comforting his evils, i. e. in strengthening his jealousy by appearing to acquiesce in it. Steevens.
Comfort is, I apprehend, here used as a verb. Good expedition befriend me, by removing me from a place of danger, and comfort the innocent Queen, by removing the object of her hus. band's jealousy; the Queen, who is the subject of his conversation, but without reason the object of his suspicion !-We meet with a similar phraseology in Twelfth Night: “Do me this cour. teous office, as to know of the knight, what my offence to him is; it is something of my negligence, nothing of my purpose. Malone.
my good lord?] The epithet-good, which is wanting in the old copies, is transplanted (for the sake of metre) from a redundant speech in the following page. Steevens.
Too much hair there, but in a semi-circle,
Who taught you this??
Blue, my lord.
She is spread of late
Her. What wisdom stirs amongst you? Come, sir,
I am for you again: Pray you, sit by us,
Merry, or sad, shall’t be?
A sad tale 's best for winter.8
Let's have that, sir.'
Mam. There was a man,
Nay, come, sit down; then on. Mam. Dwelt by a church-yard; I will tell it softly;
7 Who taught you this?] You, which is not in the old copy, was added by Mr. Rowe. Malone.
8 A sad tale 's best for winter:] Hence, I suppose, the title of the play. Tyrwhitt.
This supposition may seem to be countenanced by our author's 98th Sonnet:
“ Yet not the lays of birds, &c.
“ Could make me any Summer's story tell.” And yet I cannot help regarding the words for winter (which spoil the measure) as a playhouse interpolation. All children delight in telling dismal stories; but why should a dismal story be best for winter? Steevens.
9 Let's have that, sir.] The old copy redundantly reads-good sir. Steevens.
Yon crickets shall not hear it.
Come on then,
Enter LEONTES, ANTIGONUS, Lords, and Others. Leon. Was he met there? his train? Camilo with him?
I Lord. Behind the tuft of pines I met them; never Saw I men scour so on their way: I ey'd them Even to their ships. Leon.
How bless'd am 11 In my just censure? in my true opinion??Alack, for lesser knowledge!3-How accurs’d, In being so blest! There may be in the cup A spider steep'd, and one may drink; depart, And yet partake no venom; for his knowledge Is not infected: but if one present The abhorr’d ingredient to his eye, make known How he hath drank, be cracks his gorge, sides, With violent hefts:5_ I have drank, and seen the spider. Camillo was his help in this, his pander:There is a plot against my life, my crown; All 's true that is mistrusted!-that false villain, Whom I employ'd, was pre-employ'd by him:
1 How bless'd am I-] For the sake of metre, I suppose, our author wrote-How blessed then am I — Steevens.
2 In my just censure? in my true opinion?) Censure, in the time of our author, was generally used (as in this instance) for judgment, opinion. So, Sir Walter Raleigh, in his commendatory verses prefixed to Gascoigne's Steel Glasse, 1576:
66 Wherefore to write my censure of this book " Malone. 3 Alack, for lesser knowledge.] That is, O that my knowledge were less. Johnson.
4 A spider steepd,] That spiders were esteemed venomous, appears by the evidence of a person who was examined in Sir T. Overbury's affair: “ The Countesse wished me to get the strongest poyson I could, &c. Accordingly I bought seven -great spiders, and cantharides.” Henderson.
This was a notion generally prevalent in our author's time. So, in Holland's Leaguer, a pamphlet published in 1632: “ -- like the spider, which turneth all things to poison which it tasteth.”
Malone. violent hefts:-) Hefts are heavings, what is heaved up. So, in Sir Arthur Gorges' translation of Lucan, 1614:
“But if a part of heavens huge sphere