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Thou dearest Perdita, With these forc'd thoughts, 3 I pr’ythee, darken not The mirth o’the feast: Or I 'll be thine, my fair, Or not my father's: for I cannot be Mine own, nor any thing to any, if I be not thine: to this I am most constant, Though destiny say, no. Be merry, gentle; Strangle such thoughts as these, with any thing That you behold the while. Your guests are coming: Lift up your countenance; as it were the day Of celebration of that nuptial, which We two have sworn shall come. Per.
O lady fortune, Stand you auspicious! Enter Shepherd, with POLIXENES and CAMILLO, dis
guised; Clown, Mopsa, DORCAS, and Others. Flo.
See, your guests approach:
Shep. Fy, daughter! when my old wife liv’d, upon
Welcome, sir! [to Pol.
3 With these forc'd thoughts,] That is, thoughts far-fetched, and not arising from the present objects. M. Mason.
4 That which you are, mistress o’the feast:] From the novel : “ It happened not long after this, that there was a meeting of all the farmers' daughters of Sicilia, whither Faunia was also bid. den as mistress of the feast.” Malone.
It is my father's will, I should take on me
Sir, the year growing ancient,
Wherefore, gentle maiden,
For I have heard it said,
5 For you there's rosemary, and rue; these keep
Seeming, and savour, all the winter long:
Grace, and remembrance, be to you both,] Ophelia distributes the same plants, and accompanies them with the same documents. “There's rosemary, that's for remembrance. There's rue for you: we may call it herb of grace.". The qualities of retaining seeming and savour, appear to be the reason why these plants were considered as emblematical of grace and remembrance. The nosegay distributed by Perdita with the significations annexed to each flower, reminds one of the ænigmatical letter from a Turk. ish lover, described by Lady M. W. Montagu. Henley.
Grace, and remembrance,] Rue was called herb of Grace. Rosemary was the emblem of remembrance; I know not why, unless because it was carried at funerals. Johnson.
Rosemary was anciently supposed to strengthen the memory, and is prescribed for that purpose in the books of ancient physick.
Steevens. 6 For I have heard it said,] For, in this place, signifies—because that. So, in Chaucer's Clerkes Tale, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit. v. 8092:
“She dranke, and for she wolde vertue plese,
Steevens. ? There is an art, which, in their piedness, shares With great creating nature.] That is, as Mr. T. Warton ob
Say, there be ;
So it is.
serves, “ There is an art which can produce flowers, with as great a variety of colours as nature herself.”
This art is pretended to be taught at the ends of some of the old books that treat of cookery, &c. but, being utterly impracticable, is not worth exemplification. Steevens.
in gillyflowers,] There is some further conceit relative to gill, fiowers than has yet been discovered. The old copy, (in both instances where this word occurs) reads-Gilly'vors, a term still used by low people in Sussex, to denote a harlot. In A Wonder, or a Woman never vex’d, 1632, is the following passage: A lover is behaving with freedom to his mistress as they are going
into a garden, and after she has alluded to the quality of many | herbs, he adds: “ You have fair roses, have you not ?” “ Yes,
sir, (says she) but no gilliflowers." Meaning, perhaps, that she would not be treated like a gill-flirt, i. e. wanton, a word often met with in the old plays, but written flirt-gill in Romeo and Juliet. I suppose gill-flirt to be derived, or rather corrupted, from gilly-flower or carnation, which, though beautiful in its appearance, is apt, in the gardener's phrase, to run from its colours, and change as often as a licentious female.
Prior, in his Solomon, has taken notice of the same variability in this species of flowers:
the fond carnation loves to shoot “Two various colours from one parent root.” In Lyte's Herbal, 1578, some sorts of gilliflowers are called small honesties, cuckoo gillofers, &c. And in Å. Wi's Commendation of Gascoigne and his Posies, is the following remark on this species of flower:
“Some thinke that gilliflowers do yield a gelous smell." See Gascoigne's Works, 1587. Steevens. The following line in The Paradise of Daintie Devises, 1578, may add some support to the first part of Mr. Steevens's note: “Some jolly youth the gilly-flower esteemeth for his joy."
I'll not put The dibble' in earth to set one slip of them: No more than, were I painted, I would wish This youth should say, 'twere well; and only therefore Desire to breed by me.--Here's flowers for you; Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram; The marigold, that goes to bed with the sun, And with him rises? weeping; these are flowers Of middle summer, and, I think, they are given To men of middle age: You are very welcome.
Cam. I should leave grazing, were I of your flock, And only live by gazing. Per.
Out, alas! You 'd be so lean, that blasts of January Would blow you through and through - Now, my fair
est friend, I would, I had some flowers o'the spring, that might Become your time of day; and yours, and yours; That wear upon your virgin branches yet Your maidenheads growing :-O Proserpina, For the flowers now, that, frighted, thou let'st fall From Dis’s waggon!2 daffodils,
dibble -- ) An instrument used by gardeners to make holes in the earth for the reception of young plants. See it in Minshieu. Steevens. 1 The marigold, that goes to bed with the sun,
And with him rises —] Hence, says Lupton, in his Sixth Book of Notable Things: “Some calles it, Sponsus Solis, the Spowse of the Sunne; because it sleepes and is awakened with him.”
“ut summa vestem laxavit ab ora,
“ Collecti flores tunicis cecidere remissis.” Steevens. The whole passage is thus translated by Golding, 1587:
“ While in this garden Proserpine was taking her pastime,
rent, “ By chance she let her lap slip downe, and out her flow
ers went.” Ritson.
That come before the swallow dares, and take
violets, dim, But sweeter than the lids of Juno's eyes,] I suspect that our author mistakes Juno for Pallas, who was the goddess of blue eyes. Sweeter than an eye-lid is an odd image: but perhaps he uses sweet in the general sense, for delightful Johnson.
It was formerly the fashion to kiss the eyes, as a mark of extraordinary tenderness. I have somewhere met with an account of the first reception one of our kings gave to his new queen, where he is said to have kissed her fayre eyes. So, in Chaucer's Troilus and Cresseide, v. 1358:
“ This Troilus full oft her eyen two
“ Gan for to kisse,” &c. Thus also, in the sixteenth Odyssey, 15, Eumæus kisses both the eyes of Telemachus:
« Κισσε δέ μιν κεφαλήν τε, και αμφω φάεα καλά,-" The same line occurs in the following Book, v. 39, where Penelope expresses her fondness for her son.
Again, in an ancient MS. play of Timon of Athens, in the possession of Mr. Strutt the engraver:
“O Juno, be not angry with thy Jove,
“But let me kisse thine eyes my sweete delight.” p. 6, b. Another reason, however, why the eyes were kissed instead of the lips, may be found in a very scarce book, entitled A courtlie Controversy of Cupid's Cautels : Conteyning Fiue tragicall Histories, &c. Translated out of French &c. by H. W. (Henry Wotton] 4to. 1578: “Oh howe wise were our forefathers to forbidde wyne so strictly unto their children, and much more to their wives, so that for drinking wine they deserved defame, and being taken with the maner, it was lawful to kisse their mouthes, whereas otherwise men kissed but their eyes, to showe that wine drinkers were apt to further offence.” The eyes of Juno were as remarkable as those of Pallas:
Bounos trótvice "Hpm.” Homer. But (as Mr. M. Mason observes) “ we are not told that Pallas was the goddess of blue eye-lids, besides, as Shakspeare joins in the comparison, the breath of Cytherea with the eye-lids of Juno, it is evident that he does not allude to the colour, but to the fragrance of violets.” Steevens. So, in Marston's Insatiate Countess, 1613:
That eye was Juno's,
“ That virgirr blush, Diana's.” Spenser, as well as our author, has attributed beauty to the eyelid:
“Upon her eye-lids many graces sate,
Fairy Queen, B. II, c. ïïi, st. 25.