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Ant. E. You have prevailid; I will depart in quiet,
Ang. I'll meet you at that place, some hour hence.
Enter LUCIANA' and ANTIPHOLUS of Syracuse.
Luc. And may it be that you have quite forgot
A husband's office? shall, Antipholus, hate, Even in the spring of love, thy love-springs rot?
Shall love, in building, grow so ruinate ?2
8 For ever hous'd, where it once gets possession.] The adverb once is wanting in the first folio. Steevens.
The second folio has once; which rather improves the sense, and is not inconsistent with the metre. Tyrwhitt.
9 And, in despight of mirth, ] Mr. Theobald does not know what to make of this; and, therefore, has put wrath instead of mirth into the text, in which he is followed by the Oxford editor. But the old reading is right, and the meaning is,-I will be merry, even out of spite to mirth, which is now, of all things, the most unpleasing to me. Warburton
Though mirth hath withdrawn herself from me, and seems determined to avoid me, yet in despight of her, and whether she will or not, I am resolved to be merry. Heath.
1 Enter Luciana – ] Here, in the old blundering first folio, we find, -"Enter Juliana.” Corrected in the second folio. Steevens.
did wed my sister for her wealth, Then, for her wealth's sake, use her with more
kindness: Or, if you like elsewhere, do it by stealth;
Muffle your false love with some show of blindness:
that you have quite forgot &c.) In former copies:
Shall love in buildings grow so ruinate? This passage has hitherto laboured under a double corruption. What conceit could our editors have of love in buildings growing ruinate ? Our poet meant no more than this: Shall thy love-springs rot, even in the spring of love? and shall thy love grow ruinous, even while 'tis but building up? The next corruption is by an accident at press, as I take it. This scene for fifty-two lines successively is strictly in alternate rhymes; and this measure is never broken, but in the second and fourth lines of these two couplets. 'Tis certain, I think, a monosyllable dropt from the tail of the second verse; and I have ventured to supply it by, I hope, a probable conjecture. Theobald.
Mr. Theobald's emendations are -the word-hate, supplied at the end of the second line, and, in the fourth, building given instead of buildings.
Love-springs are young plants or shoots of love. Thus, in The Faithful Shepherdess of Fletcher:
“ The nightingale among the thick-leav'd springs
“ That sits alone in sorrow." The rhyme which Mr. Theobald would restore, stands thus in the old edition :
shall Antipholus If, therefore, instead of ruinate, we should read ruinous, the passage may remain as it was originally written; and perhaps, indeed, throughout the play we should read Antiphilus, a name which Shakspeare might have found in some quotations from Pliny, B. XXXV, and XXXVII. Antiphilus is also one of the heroes in Sidney's Arcadia.
Ruinous is justified by a passage in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act V, sc. iv:
“Lest growing ruinous the building fall.” Throughout the first folio, Antipholus occurs much more often than Antipholis, even where the rhyme is not concerned; and were the rhyme defective here, such transgressions are accounted for in other places. Steevens.
The word-hate, in the first line, is introduced by Theobald, without authority, and certainly injures the sense of the passage, Hate rotting the springs of love, is a strange idea. It appears to me that the true reading is that suggested, though not adopted, by Steevens:
Łet not my sister read it in your eye;
Be not thy tongue thy own shame's orator;
Apparel vice like virtue's harbinger:
Teach sin the carriage of a holy saint;
What simple thief brags of his own attaint?3 'Tis double wrong, to truant with your bed,
And let her read it in thy looks at board : Shame hath a bastard fame, well managed;
Ill deeds are doubled with an evil word. Alas, poor women! make us but believe,
Being compact of credit,s that you love us; Though others have the arm, show us the sleeve;
We in your motion turn, and you may move us.
Shall love, in building, grow so ruinous ?
Shall love, in building, grow so ruinate ?) So, in our author's 119th Sonnet:
“ And ruin'd love, when it is built anew In support of Mr. Theobald's first emendation, a passage in our author's 10th Sonnet may be produced:
thou art so possess'd with murderous hate,
“ Which to repair should be thy chief desire.” Again, in The Rape of Lucrece:
“ To ruinate proud buildings with thy hours.” Malone.
his own attaint?] The old copy has-attaine. The emen. dation is Mr. Rowe's. Malone.
4 Alas, poor women! make us but believe, &c.] The old copynot. Steevens.
From the whole tenour of the context it is evident, that this negative (not) got place in the first copies instead of but. And these two monosyllables have by mistake reciprocally dispossessed one another in many other passages of our author's works.
Theobald. 6 Being compact of credit,] Means, being madle altogether of credulity. So, in Heywood's Iron Age, Part II, 1632:
she's compact “ Merely of blood Again, in our author's Venus an:Adonis :
“ Love is a spirit all compact of fire.” Steevens.
Then, gentle brother, get you in again;
Comfort my sister, cheer her, call her wife: 'Tis holy sport, to be a little vain,
When the sweet breath of flattery conquers strife. Ant. §. Sweet mistress, (what your name is else, I
know not, Nor by what wonder you do hit on mine,) Less, in your knowledge, and your grace, you show not,
Than our earth's wonder; more than earth divine. Teach me, dear creature, how to think and speak;
Lay open to my earthy gross conceit, Smother'd in errors, feeble, shallow, weak,
The folded meaning of your words' deceit. Against my soul's pure truth why labour you,
To make it wander in an unknown field? Are you a god? would you create me new?
Transform me then, and to your power I 'll yield. But if that I am I, then well I know,
Your weeping sister is no wife of mine,
Far more, far more, to you do I decline.
To drown me in thy sister's flood 8 of tears;
Spread o'er the silver waves thy golden hairs,
And, in that glorious supposition, think
Let love, being light, be drowned if she sink!!
vain,] Is light of tongue, not veracious. Johnson.
sweet mermaid,] Mermaid is only another name for sy
So, in the ludex to P. Holland's translation of Pliny's Natural History: “ Mermaids in Homer were witches, and their songs enchauntements.” Steevens.
in thy sister's flood-] The old copy reads--sister. Corrected by the editor of the second folio. Malone.
—as a bed I'll take thee,] The old copy reads—as a bud. Mr. Edwards saspects a mistake of one letter in the passage, and would read:
And as a bed I'll take them, and there lie.
As a bud I'll take thee, &c.
Luc. What are you mad, that you do reason so?
That's my sister.
i. e. I, like an insect, will take thy bosom for a rose, or some other flower, and
phænix like beneath thine eye “ Involv'd in fragrance, burn and die.” It is common for Shakspeare to shift hastily from one image to another.
Mr. Edwards's conjecture may, however, receive countenance from the following passage in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act I, sc. ii:
my bosom as a bed “ Shall lodge thee.” Mr. Malone also thinks that bed is fully supported by the word lie. Steevens.
1 Let love, being light, be drowned if she sink!] Mr. Ritson observes, that Love, in the present instance, means Venus. Thus, in the old ballad of The Spanish Lady:
“ I will spend my days in prayer,
“ Love and all her laws defy.” Steevens. So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
“ Now for tlie love of love, and her soft hours." Again, more appositely, in our author's Venus and Adonis:
" Love is a spirit, all compact of fire,
“Not gross to sink, but light, and will aspire." Venus is here speaking of herself. Again, ibidem :
“ She 's love, she loves, and yet she is not lov’d.” Malone. 2 Not mat, but mated ;) i. e. confounded. So, in Macbeth:
“My mind she has mated, and amaz'd my sight.” Steevens. I suspect there is a play upon words intended bere. Mated signifies not only confounded, but matched with a wife: and Antipholus, who had been challenged as a husband by Adriana, which he cannot account for, uses the word mated in both these
M. Mison. 3 Gaze where -] The old copy reads—hen. Steevens. The correction was made by Mr. Pope. Malone.