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P. 64. -wise woman of Brentford ?] In our author's time female dealers in palmistry and fortune-telling were usually denominated wise women. REED.
This appellation occurs also in our version of the Bible: "Her wise ladies answered her, yea she returned answer to herself." Judges v. 29. STE.
P. 69. Ay, sir Tike; who more bold 2] The folio readsAy, sir, like, &c. MAL.
P. 66. at primero.] Primero and primavista, two games of cards. Primum et primum visum, that is, first and first seene, because he that can show such an order of cardes, wins the game." See Minsheu's DICT. 1617. REED.
P. 20. in a pit hard by Herne's oak,] An oak, which may be that alluded to by Shakspeare, is still standing close to a pit in Windsor forest. It is yet shown as the oak of Herne.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE.
-Then no more remains
But that to your sufficiency, as your worth is able,
And let them work.] To the integrity of this reading Mr. Theobald objects, and thinks a line has been acidentally dropped, which he attempts to restore thus:
But that to your sufficiency you add
Due diligence, as your worth is able, &c.
But I am of opinion that by sufficiency is meant authority, the power delegated by the Duke to Escalus. The plain meaning of the word being this: "Put your skill in governing (says the Duke) to the power which I give you to exercise it, and let them work together.".
Some words seem to be lost, the sense of which, perhaps, may be thus supplied :
-Then no more remains,
But that to your sufficiency you put
A zeal as willing as your worth is able,
And let them work.
TYRWHITT. Sufficiency is skill in government; ability to execute his of fice. And let them work, a figurative expression; Let them fer
P. 6. Are not thine own so proper] i. e. are not so much thine own property.
Ibid. Both thanks and use] i. e. She (Nature) requires and allots to herself the same advantages that creditors usually enjoy,-thanks for the endowments she has bestowed, and extra
ordinary exertions in those whom she hath thus favoured, by way of interest for what she has lent Use, in the phraseology of our author's age, signified interest of money. MAL.
P. 14. ―make me not your story.] Mr. Ritson explains this passage, "do not make a jest of me." REED.
P. 16. What know the laws,
That thieves do pass on thieves?] How can the administrators of the laws take cognizance of what I have just mentioned? How can they know, whether the jurymen, who decide on the life or death of thieves, be themselves as criminal as those whom they try? To pass on is a forensic term.
P. 17. Some run from brakes of vice, and answer none;] I find from Holinshed that the brake was an engine of torture. "The said Hawkins was cast into the Tower, and at length brought to the brake, called the Duke of Excester's Daughter, by means of which pain he showed many things," &c.
"When the Dukes of Exeter and Suffolk, says Blackstone, in his Commentaries, Vol. IV. chap. xxv. and other ministers of Henry VI had laid a design to introduce the civil law into this kingdom as the rule of government, for a beginning thereof they erected a rack for torture; which was called in derision the Duke of Exeter's Daughter, and still remains in the Tower of London, where it was occasionally used as an engine of state, not of law, more than once in the reign of Queen Elizabeth." STE.
P.26. I am that way going to temptation,
Where prayers cross.] The petition of the Lord's Prayer—“ lead us not into temptation”—is here considered as crossing or intercepting the onward way in which Angelo was going; this appointment of his for the morrow's meeting, being a premeditated exposure of himself to temptation, which it was the general object of prayer to thwart. HENLEY.
P. 28. And pitch our evils there ?] No language could more forcibly express the aggravated profligacy of Angelo's passion, which the purity of Isabella but served the more to inflame. The desecration of edifices devoted to religion, by converting them to the most abject purposes of nature, was an eastern method of expressing contempt. See 2 Kings x. 27. HENLEY.
Ibid. O, injurious love,] Hanmer reads law, the trace of the letters in the words law and love being so nearly alike.The law affected the life of the man only, not that of the woman; and this is the injury that Juliet complains of, as she wished to die with him. M. MASON.
P. 30. Whilst my intention,] read invention. By invention, I believe the poet means-imagination.
So, in King Henry V :
"O for a muse of fire, that would ascend
P. 31. 'Tis set down so in heaven, but not in earth] What you have stated is undoubtedly the divine law: murder and fornication are both forbid by the canon of scripture ;-but on earth the latter offence is considered as less heinous than the former. MAL.
Ibid. Stand more for number than accompt] Actions to which we are compelled, however numerous, are not imputed to us by heaven as crimes. If you cannot save your brother but by the loss of your chastity, it is not a voluntary but compelled sin, for which you cannot be accountable.
P. 32. -as these black masks] The phrase these black masks signifies nothing more than black masks; according to an old idiom of our language, by which the demonstrative pronoun is put for the prepositive article.
P.46. ➡her clack-dish :] A custom is still kept up in the villages near Oxford, about Easter, for the poor people and children to go a clacking: they carry wooden bowls, salt boxes, &c. and make a rattling noise at the houses of the principal inhabitants, who give them bacon, eggs, &c. HARRIS.
P. 51. false and most contrarious quests] mean lying and contradictory messengers, with whom run volumes of report. RITSON.
P. 74. —Make rash remonstrance of my hidden power.] That is, a premature discovery of it. M. MASON.
COMEDY OF ERRORS.
P. 14. Poor I am but his stale] "Stale to catch thieves" in The Tempest, undoubtedly means a fraudulent bait. Here it seems to imply the same as stalking-horse, pretence. I am, says Adriana, but his pretended wife, the mask under which he
covers his amours.
P. 22. We shall part with neither] To part does not signify to share or divide, but to depart or go away; and Balthazar means to say, that whilst debating which is best, they should go away without either. M. MASON.
P. 25. Not mad but mated] I suspect there is a play upon words intended here. Mated signifies not only confounded,
but matched with a wife and Antipholis, who had been challenged as a husband by Adriana, which he cannot account for, uses the word mated in both these senses. M. MASON.
your customers ?] A customer is used in Othello for a common woman. Here is seems to signify one who visits such women. MAL.
P. 45. His man with scissars nicks him like a fool :] The force of this allusion I am unable to explain with certainty. Perhaps it was once the custom to cut the hair of idiots close to their heads.
There is a penalty of ten shillings in one of King Alfred's ecclesiastical laws, if one opprobriously shave a common man like a fool.
The hair of idiots is still cut close to their heads, to prevent the consequences of uncleanliness.
MERCHANT OF VENICE.
P. 13. And I am prest unto it :] Prest may not here signify impress'd, as into military service, but ready, Pret, Fr.
P. 14. the Neapolitan prince.] The Neapolitans in the time of Shakspeare, were eminently skilled in all that belongs to horsemanship; nor have they, even now, forfeited their title to the same praise. STE.
P. 37. -embraced heaviness] We say of a man now, that he "hugs his sorrows," and why might not Antonio embrace heaviness?
P. 55. It is much, that the Moor should be more, &c.] Shakspeare, no doubt, had read or heard of the old epigram on Sir Thomas More :
"When More some years had chancellor been,
"No more suits did remain ;
"The like shall never more be seen,
"Till More be there again."
-The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds,] Let not this capricious sentiment of Shakspeare descend to poster. ity, unattended by the opinion of the late Lord Chesterfield on the same subject. In his 148th letter to his son, who was then at Venice, his lordship, after having enumerated music among the illiberal pleasures, adds-"if you love music, hear
it; go to operas, concerts, and pay fiddlers to play to you; but I must insist on your neither piping nor fiddling yourself. It puts a gentleman in a very frivolous and contemptible light ; brings him into a great deal of bad company, and takes up a great deal of time, which might be much better employed. Few things would mortify me more, than to see you bearing a part in a concert, with a fiddle under your chin, or a pipe in your mouth." Again, Letter 153: "A taste of sculpture and painting is, in my mind, as becoming as a taste of fiddling and piping is unbecoming a man of fashion. The former is connected with history and poetry, the latter with nothing but bad company."
AS YOU LIKE IT.
P. 33. Wherein we play in.] I believe, with Mr. Pope, that we should only read
Wherein we play.
and add a word at the beginning of the next speech, to complete the measure; viz.
Why, all the world's a stage."
Thus, in Hamlet :
"Hor. So Rosencrantz and Guildenstern go to't.
"Ham. Why, man, they did make love to their employment." Again, in Measure for Measure :
Why, all the souls that were, were forfeit once.”
"Why, every fault's condemn'd, ere it be done."
In twenty other instances, we find the same adverb introductorily used.
P. 74. As those that fear they hope, and know they fear.] This should be read thus:
As those that fear their hap, and know their fear. WARB. "I read thus :
As those that fear with hope, and hope with fear. Or thus, with less alteration :
As those that fear, they hope, and now they fear.
I would read:
As those that fear, then hope; and know, then fear.
I have little doubt but it should run thus :
As those who fearing hope, and hoping fear. M. MASON. I believe this line requires no other alteration than the addition of a semi-colon :
As those that fear; they hope, and know they fear.