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With April's first-born flowers, and all things rare
Let them say more that like of hear-say well;
Labour's Lost : "I wish you the peace of mind, most royal couple
I formerly thought this word was of our author's invention, but I have lately found it in Spenser's Faery Queene:
" Allide with bands of mutual couplement.” MALONE. 6 That heaven's air in this huge RONDURE hems.] Rondure is a round. Rondeur, Fr. The word is again used by our author in King Henry V.:
""Pis not the roundure of your old-fac'd walls.” Malone. As those GOLD CANDLEs fix'd in heaven's air:] That is, the stars. So, in Romeo and Juliet :
- Nights candles are burnt out —" Again, in Macbeth:
“ There's husbandry in heaven;
“ Their candles are all out." So also in the Merchant of Venice: “ For by these blessed candles of the night.”
MALONE. " — those gold candles fix'd in heaven's air.” So, in the old copies of Pericles :
“ — the air-remaining lamps.” STEEVENS. 8 I will not PRAISE, that purpose not to sell.] So, in Love's Labour's Lost:
.“ To things of sale a seller's praise belongs.” Steevens. Again, in Troilus and Cressida :
« We'll not commend what we intend to sell.” Where Dr. Warburton with some probability conjectures that Shakspeare wrote, "- what we intend not sell.” MALONE,
But when in thee time's furrows I behold 9,
Presume not on thy heart, when mine is slain ;
9 — time's FURROWS I behold,] Dr. Sewell reads :
" time's sorrows " MALONE. 1 Then look I death my days should EXPIATE.) I do not comprehend how the poet's days were to be expiated by death. Perhaps he wrote:
“ my days should expirate,” i. e. bring them to an end. In this sense our author uses the verb expire, in Romeo and Juliet:
“— and expire the term
“Of a despised life.” I am sure I have met with the verb I would supply, though I have no example of it to offer in support of my conjecture. Shakspeare, however, delights to introduce words with this termination. Thus we meet with festinate and conspirate, in King Lear; combincte, in Measure for Measure; and ruinate, in King Henry VI. Steevens. I
The old reading is certainly right. Then do I expect, says Shakspeare, that death should fill up the measure of my days. The word expiate is used nearly in the same sense in the tragedy of Locrine, 1595 :
“ Lives Sabren yet to expiate my wrath ? ” i. e. fully to satisfy my wrath.
So also, in Byron's Conspiracie, a tragedy by Chapman, 1608, an old courtier says, he is
“ A poor and expiate humour of the court.” Again, in our author's King Richard III. :
“ Make haste; the hour of death is expiate.” Malone.
Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage, Whose strength's abundance weakens his own
heart; So I, for fear of trust, forget to say The perfect ceremony of love's rite; And in mine own love's strength seem to decay, O’er-charg'd with burthen of mine own love's might. 0, let my books be then the eloquence 3
2 As an unperfect actor on the stage,
“ Like a dull actor now,
“Even to a full disgrace." From the introductory lines of this Sonnet, it may be conjectured that these poems were not composed till our author had arrived in London, and became conversant with the stage. He had perhaps himself experienced what he here describes. MALONE.
It is highly probable that our author had seen plays represented, before he left his own country, by the servants of Lord Warwick. Most of our ancient noblemen had some company of comedians who enrolled themselves among their vassals, and sheltered themselves under their protection. See vol. v. p. 367, n. 7.
STEEVENS. The seeing a few plays exhibited by a company of strollers in a barn at Stratford, or in Warwick castle, would not however have made Shakspeare acquainted with the feelings of a timid actor on the stage. It has never been supposed that our author was himself a player before he came to London. Whether the lines before us were founded on experience, or observation, cannot now be ascertained. What I have advanced is merely conjectural.
MALONE. 3 0, let my Books be then the eloquence-] A gentleman to whom I am indebted for the observations which are marked with the letter C, would read:
“O, let my looks," &c. But the context, I think, shows that the old copy is right. The poet finding that he could not sufficiently collect his thoughts to express his esteem by speech, requests that his writings may speak for him. So afterwards :
“0, learn to read what silent love hath writ.” Had looks been the author's word, he hardly would have used it again in the next line but one. MALONE.
It is dangerous to make any alteration where the old copy is intelligible, or I should give a decided preference to the reading
And dumb presagers of my speaking breast* ;
suggested by Mr. Malone's correspondent as much more poetical; the eloquence of looks is more in unison with love's fine wit, which can hear with eyes. So, Donne :
“ Her pure and eloquent blood
“ Spoke in her cheeks.” And Lord Byron, with still greater beauty, in his Bride of Abydos :
“ The mind, the musick breathing from her face." Boswell. 4 And DUMB PRESAGERS of my speaking breast;] So, in King John:
" And sullen presage of your own decay." MALONE. s Mine eye hath play'd the PAINTER, and hath steeld
Thy beauty's form in TABLE OF MY HEART ;] So, in All's
“ — 'Twas pretty, though a plague,
“ Of ev'ry line and trick of his sweet favour!”
“ Drawn in the flattering table of her eye.” A table was the ancient term for a picture. See vol. x. p. 315, n. 7. MALONE.
Are windows to my breast, where-through the sun
Yet eyes this cunning want to grace their art,
Let those who are in favour with their stars,
Great princes' FAVOURITEs their fair LEAVES spread, &c.] Compare Wolsey's speech in King Henry VIII. :
“ This is the state of man: To-day he puts forth
MALONE. 7 The painful warrior famoused for fight,
After a thousand victories once foil'd,
Is from the book of honour razed auite,] The old copy reads-famoused for worlh, which not rhyming with the concluding word of the corresponding line, (quite) either one or the other must be corrupt. The emendation was suggested by Mr. Theobald, who likewise proposed, if worth was retained, to readrazed forth.
“ Is from the book of honour razed quite,” reminds us of Bolingbrooke's enumeration of the wrongs done to him by King Richard II.:
“ From my own windows torn my houshold coat,
.“ To show the world I am a gentleman." Again, in King Richard II. :