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whale. The same simile occurs in the old black letter romance of Syr Eglamoure of Artoys, no date :
“ The erle had no chylde but one,
“ A mayden as white as whales bone." And in many other passages.
STEEVENS. 522. The virtue of your eye must break my oath.] I believe the author means, that the virtue, in which word goodness and power are both comprised, must dissolve the obligation of the oath. The princess, in her answer, takes the most invidious part of the am. biguity.
JOHNSON 583. Three-pil'd hyperboles, - A metaphor
--] A from the pile of velvet. So, in the Winter's Tale, Autolycus says, “ I have worn three-pile."
STEEVENS. spruce affectation,] The old copies read affection. There is no need of change. We already in this play have had affection for affectation ;—" witty without affeflion." The word was used by our author and his contemporaries, as a quadrisyllable.
MALONE. 592. Sans, sans, I pray you.] It is scarce worth remarking, that the conceit here is obscured by the punctuation. It should be written Sans sans, i. c. without SANS; without French words : an affectation of which Biron had been guilty in the last line of his speech, though just before he had forsworn all affectation in phrases, terms, &c.
TYRWHITT. 596. Write, &c.] This was the inscription put upon the door of the houses infected with the plague,
to which Biron compares the love of himself and his companions; and pursuing the metaphor, finds the tokens likewise on the ladies. The tokens of the plague are the first spots or discolorations, by which the in. fection is known to be received.
JOHNSON. So, in Histriomastix, 1610 :
“ It is as dangerous to read his name on a playa door, as a printed bill on a plague door." Again, in the Whore of Babylon, 1607 : “ Have tokens stamp'd on them to make them
known, « More dreadful than the bills that preach the plague."
-how can this be true,
That you stand forfeit, being those that sue :] That is, how can those be liable to forfeiture, that begin the process? The jest lies in the ambiguity of sue, which signifies to prosecute by law, or to offer a petition.
JOHNSON. 621. --you force not to forswear.] You force not, is the same with you make no difficulty. This is a very just observation. The crime which has been once committed, is committed again with less reluctance.
JOHNSON So, in Warner's Albion's England, B. X. ch. 59. -he forced not to hide how he did err.”
STEEVENS. 641. - consent,] i. e. a conspiracy. So, in
—a King Henry VI. Part I.
STEEVENS, 644. -zany,] A zany is a buffoon, a merry Andrew, a gross mimick. So, in Antonio's Revenge, 1602 :
“ Laughs them to scorn, as man doth busy apes, " When they will zany men.”
-smiles his check in years;- -] In years, signifies, into wrinkles. So, in The Merchant of Venice :
“ With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come." See the note on that line.
WARBURTON. Webster, in his Dutchesse of Malfy, makes Castru. chio declare of his lady:
« She cannot endure merry company, for she says much laughing fills her too full of the wrinckle."
FARMER Again, in Lingua, or the Combat of the Tongue, &c. 1607 : “ That light and quick, with wrinkled laughter painted.”
STEEVENS. -some Dick, Who smiles his cheek in years :) Smiling his cheek is sufficiently supported by the instances produced ; but the phrase of “ smiling his cheek in years" (even after Dr. Warburton's interpretation) is so harsh, that I suspect our author wrote---in jeers (formerly written jeeres.) The old copy has yeeres; so that there is but the change of one letter for another nearly resenibling it. 3
Out-roaring Dick (as I learn from Mr. Warton's History of English Poetry) was a celebrated singer, who, with W. Wimbars, is said by Henry Chettle, in his Kind Hart's Dreame, to have got twenty shillings a diy by singing at Braintree-Fair, in Essex.---Pera' haps this itinerant droll was here in our author's thoughts. This circumstance adds some support to the emendation now proposed.
-in will, and error. Much upon this it is :- And might not you] I believe this passage should be read thus :
-in will and error. Boyet. Much upon this it is.
Biron. And might not you, &c. JOHNSON. In will and error, i. e. first in will and afterwards'ia
MUSGRAVE. i 655. --by the squier,] Esquierre, French, a 'rule, or square. The sense is nearly the same as that of the proverbial expression in our own language, he hath
got the length of her foot; i.e. he hath humoured her so long, that he can persuade her to what he pleases.
-Go, you are allow'd ;] i. e. you may say what you will; you are a licensed fool, a common jester. So, in Twelfth Night: " There's no slander in an allow'd fool."
WARBURTON. 674. You cannot beg us, -] That is, we are not fools; our next relations cannot beg the wardship of Hij
our persons and fortunes. One of the legal tests of a natural is to try whether he can number. Johnson.
685. I am, as they say, but to parfect one man in one poor man; Pompion the great, Sir. ] We should cer. tainly read-c'en one poor man.
This mistake has happened in several places in our author's plays. See my note on All's Well that Ends Well, act i. sc. 3. “ You are shallow, madam, in
MALONE. 690. I know not the degree of the worthy, &c.] This is a stroke of satire which, to this hour, has lost nothing of its force. Few performers are solicitous about the history of the character they are to represent.
STEEVENS. 699. That sport best pleases that doth least know how:
Where zeal strives to content, and the contents
There form, &c.] The third line may be read better thus :
-the contents Die in the zeal of him which them presents. This sentiment of the princess is very natural, but less generous than that of the Amazonian Queen, who says, on a like occasion, in the Midsummer-Night's Dream :
“ I love not to see wretchedness o'ercharg'd,