Johnson's Notes to Shakespeare Vol. I Comedies
by Samuel Johnson
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IV.iii.48 (318,3) [That could do no vengeance to me] Vengeance is used for mischief.

IV.iii.59 (318,4) [youth and kind] Kind is the old word for nature.

IV.iii.101 (319,5) [Within an hour] We must read, within two hours.

IV.iii.160 (321,6) [cousin—Ganymed!] Celia in her first fright forgets Rosalind's character and disguise, and calls out cousin, then recollects herself, and says Ganymed.

V.ii.21 (325,9) [And you, fair sister] I know not why Oliver should call Rosalind sister. He takes her yet to be a man. I suppose we should read, and you, and your fair sister.

V.ii.45 (326,1) [Clubs cannot part them] Alluding to the way of parting dogs in wrath.

V.ii.74 (327,2) [human as she is] That is, not a phantom, but the real Rosalind, without any of the danger generally conceived to attend the rites of incantation.

V.iii.17 (329,3) [It was a lover and his lass] The stanzas of this song are in all the editions evidently transposed: as I have regulated them, that which in the former copies was the second stanza is now the last.

The same transposition of these stanzas is made by Dr. Thirlby, in a copy containing some notes on the margin, which I have perused by the favour of Sir Edward Walpole. (see 1765, II,97,3)

V.iii.36 (330,4) [the note was very untuneable] [T: untimeable] This emendation is received. I think very undeservedly, by Dr. Warburton.

V.iv.4 (331,5) [As those that fear, they hope, and know they fear] [W: their hap, and know their] The deprivation of this line is evident, but I do not think the learned commentator's emendation very happy. 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.

V.iv.36 (332,6) [Here comes a pair of very strange beasts] [W: unclean beasts] Strange beasts are only what we call odd animals. There is no need of any alteration.

V.iv.51 (333,7) [found the quarrel was upon the seventh cause] So all the copies; but it is apparent from the sequel that we must read, the quarrel was not upon the seventh cause.

V.iv.56 (333,8) [I desire you of the like] [W: of you] I have not admitted the alteration, because there are other examples of this mode of expression. (1773)

V.iv.59 (333,9) [according as marraige binds, and blood breaks] I cannot discover what has here puzzled the commentator [W]: to swear according as marriage binds, ii to take the oath enjoin'd in the ceremonial of marriage.

V.iv.68 (334,1) [dulcet diseases] This I do not understand. For diseases it is easy to read discourses: but, perhaps the fault may lie deeper.

V.iv.114 (336,4) [Enter Hymen] Rosalind is imagined by the rest of the company to be brought by enchantment, and is therefore introduced by a supposed aerial being in the character of Hymen.

V.iv.125 (336,5) [If there be truth in sight] The answer of Phebe makes it probable that Orlando says, if there be truth in shape: that is, if a form may be trusted; if one cannot usurp the form of another.

V.iv.136 (337,6) [If truth holds true contents] That is, if there be truth in truth, unless truth fails of veracity.

V.iv.147 (337,7) [Wedding is great Juno's crown] Catullus, addressing himself to Hymen, has this stanza:

Quae tuis careat sacris, Non queat dare praesides Terra finibus: at queat Te volente. Quis huic deo Compararier ausit? (1773)

Epilogue.7 (340,5) [What a case am I in then] Here seems to be a chasm, or some other depravation, which destroys the sentiment here intended. The reasoning probably stood thus, Good wine needs no bush, good plays need no epilogue, but bad wine requires a good bush, and a bad play a good epilogue. What case am I in then? To restore the words is impossible; all that can be done without copies is, to note the fault.

Epilogue.10 (340,1) [furnish'd like a beggar] That is dressed: so before, he was furnished like a huntsman.

Epilogue.13 (340,2) [I charge you, O women, for the love you bear to men, to like as much of this Play as pleases them: and I charge you, O men, for the love you bear to women——that between you and the women] [W: pleases them...pleases them] The words you and of written as was the custom in that time, were in manuscript scarcely distinguishable. The emendation is very judicious and probable.

(341,4) General Observation. Of this play the fable is wild and pleasing. I know not how the ladies will approve the facility with which both Rosalind and Celia give away their hearts. To Celia much may be forgiven for the heroism of her friendship. The character of Jaqaes is natural and well preferred. The comick dialogue is very sprightly, with less mixture of low buffoonery than in some other plays; and the graver part is elegant and harmonious. By hastening to the end of his work, Shakespeare suppressed the dialogue between the usurper and the hermit, and lost an opportunity of exhibiting a moral lesson in which he might have found matter worthy of his highest powers.


Induction.i.l (346,1) [I'll pheeze you] To pheeze or fease. is to separate a twist into single threads. In the figurative sense it may well enough be taken, like teaze or toze, for to harrass. to plague. Perhaps I'll pheeze you, may be equivalent to I'll comb your head, a phrase vulgarly used by persons of Sly's character on like occasions. The following explanation of the word is given by Sir Tho. Sayth in his book de Sermone Anglico, printed by Robert Stephens, 4vo. To feize. means in fila diducere. (see 1765, III,[3],1)

Induction.i.3 (347,2) [no rogues] That is vagrants, no mean fellows, but gentlemen.

Induction.i.17 (348,7) [Brach Merriman, the poor cur is imboat] Sir T. Banner reads, Leech Merriman. that is, apply some remedies to Merriman, the poor cur has his joints swelled. Perhaps we might read, bathe Merriman, which is I believe the common practice of huntsmen, but the present reading may stand:

tender well my hounds: Brach—Merriman—the poor cur is imboat.

Induction.i.64 (351,8) [And when he says he is,—say that he dreams] [steevens:he's poor,—say] If any thing should be inserted, it may be done thus,

"And when he says he's Sly, say that he dreams."

The likeness in writing of Sly and say produced the omission.(1773)

Induction.i.67 (352,9)

[It will be pastime excellent, If it be husbanded with modesty]

By modesty is meant moderation, without suffering our merriment to break into an excess.

Induction.i.82 (352,1) [to accept our duty] It was in those times the custom of players to travel in companies, and offer their service at great houses.

Induction.i.101 (353,4) [property] in the language of a playhouse, is every implement necessary to the exhibition.

Induction.i.125 (355,7) [To rain a shower of commanded toars, An onion will do well for such a shift]

It is not unlikely that the onion was an expedient used by the actors of interludes.

Induction.ii.89 (359,8) [Leet] As the Court leet. or courts of the manor.

I.i.9 (362,2) [ingenious studies] I rather think it was written ingenuous studies, but of this and a thousand such observations there is little certainty.

I.i.18 (363,4) [Virtue, and that part of philosophy Will I apply] Sir Thomas Hammer, and after him Dr. Warburton, read to virtues but formerly ply and apply were indifferently used, as to ply or apply his studies.

I.i.78 (365,7) [A pretty peat!] Peat or pet is a word of endearment from petit, little, as if it meant pretty little thing.

I.i.85 (365,8) [will you be so strange?] That is, so odd, so different from others in your conduct.

I.i.97 (366,9) [cunning men] Cunning had not yet lost its original signification of knowing, learned, as nay be observed in the translations of the Bible.

I.i.167 (368,2) [Redime te captum quasi queas minimi] Our author had this line from Lilly, which I mention, that it may not be brought as an argument of his learning.

I.i.208 (369,3) [port] Pert, is figure, show, appearance.

I.ii.52 (372,5) [Where small experience grows. But, in a few] Why this should seem nonsense, I cannot perceive. In few words it means the same as in short.

I.ii.68 (373,6) [As wealth is burthen of my wooing dance] The burthen of a dance is an expression which I have never heard; the burthen of his wooing song had been more proper.

I.ii.72 (373,8) [Affection's edge in me] Surely the sense of the present reading is too obvious to be missed or mistaken. Petruchio says, that, if a girl has money enough, no bad qualities of mind or body will remove affection's edge; i.e. hinder him from liking her.

I.ii.112 (375,1) [an' he begin once, he'll rail—In his rope-tricks] This is obscure. Sir Thomas Hammer reads, he'll rail in his rhetorick; I'll tell you, &c. Rhetorick agrees very well with figure in the succeeding part of the speech, yet I am inclined to believe that rope-tricks is the true word.

I.ii.115 (375,2) [that she shall have no more eyes to see withal than a cat] It may mean, that he shall swell up her eyes with blows, till she shall seem to peep with a contracted pupil like a cat in the light. (1773)

I.ii.276 (381,9) [Please ye, we may contrive this afternoon] The word is used in the same sense of spending or wearing out in the Palace of Pleasure.

II.1.17 (382,2) [You will have Gremio, to keep you fair] I wish to read, To keep you fine. But either word may serve.

II.i.26 (388,3) [hilding] The word hildlng or hinderling—a low wretch; it is applied to Catharine for the coarseness of her behaviour.

II.i.209 (389,7) [Ay, for a turtle; as he takes a buzzard] Perhaps we may read better, Ay, for a turtle, and he take a buzzard. That is, he may take me for a turtle, and he shall find me a hawk.

II.i.310 (393,9) [kill on kiss She vy's so fast] I know not that the word vie has any construction that will suit this place; we may easily read,

—kiss on kiss She ply'd so fast.

II.i.340 (394,1)

[Tra. Grey-beard! thy love doth freeze. Ore. But thine doth fry]

Old Gremio's notions are confirmed by Shadwell:

The fire of love in youthful blood. Like what is kindled in brush-wood. But for a moment burns— But when crept into aged reins, It slowly burns, and long remains, It glows, and with a sullen heat. Like fire in logs, it burns, and warms us long; And though the flame be not so great, Yet is the heat as strong.

II.1.407 (397,4) [Yet have I fac'd it with a card of ten] [W. quoted Jonson for "a hart of ten"] If the word hart be right, I do not see any use of the latter quotation.

II.1.413 (398,5)[Here the former editors add, Sly. Sim, when will the fool come again? Steevens.] The character of the fool has not been introduced in this drama, therefore I believe that the word again should be omitted, and that Sly asks, When will the fool come? the fool being the favourite of the vulgar, or, as we now phrase it, of the upper gallery, was naturally expected in every interlude.

III.1.37 (400,6) [pantaloon] the old cully in Italian farces.

III.ii.10 (403,1) [full of spleen] That is, full of humour, caprice; and inconstancy.

III.ii.45 (404,3) [a pair of boots that have been candle—eases; one buckled, another lac'd; an old rusty sword ta'en out of the town armory, with a broken hilt, and chapeless, with two broken points] Bow a sword should have two broken points, I cannot tell. There is, I think, a transposition caused by the seeming relation of point to sword. I read, a pair of boots, one buckled, another

laced with two broken points; an old rusty swordwith a broken hilt, and chapeless.

III.ii.109 (406,7) [to digress] to deviate from any promise.

IV.i.3 (412,9) [was ever man so ray'd?] That is, was ever man so mark'd with lashes.

IV.i.93 (416,7) [garters of an indifferent knit] What is the sense of this I know not, unless it means, that their garters should be fellows; indifferent, or not different, one from the other.

IV.i.139 (417,8) [no link, to colour Peter's hat] Link, I believe, is the name with what we now call lamp-black.

IV.i.145 (418,9) [Soud, soud] That is, sweet, sweet. Soot, and sometimes sooth, is sweet. So in Milton, to sing soothly, is, to sing sweetly.

IV.i.196 (420,3) [to man my haggard] A haggard is a wild hawk; to man a hawk is to tame her.

IV.iii.43 (428,8) [And all my pains is sorted to no proof] And all my labour has ended in nothing, or proved nothing. We tried an experiment, but it sorted not. Bacon.

IV.iii.56 (428,9) [With silken coats, and caps, and golden rings, With ruffs, and cuffs, and fardingals, and things] Though things is a poor word, yet I have no better, and perhaps the authour had not another that would rhyme. I once thought to transpose the words rings and things, but it would make little improvement.

IV.iii.91 (430,2) [censer] in barber's shops, are now disused, but they may easily be imagined to have been vessels which, for the emission of the smoke, were cut with great number and varieties of interstices.

IV.iii.107 (430,3) [thou thimble] The taylor's trade having an appearance of effeminacy, has always been, among the rugged English, liable to sarcasms and contempt.

IV.iii.140 (431,3) [a small compass'd cape] A compass'd cape is a round cape. To compass is to come round. (1773)

IV.iv (434,5) I cannot but think that the direction about the Tinker, who is always introduced at the end of the acts, together with the change of the scone, and the proportion of each act to the rest, make it probable that the fifth act begins here.

IV.iv.48 (436,7) [Where then do you know best, Be we affied] This seems to be wrong. We may read more commodiously, ——Where then you do know best Be we affied;——-

Or thus, which I think is right, Where then do you trow best, We be affied;———

V.i.70 (443,2) [a copatain hat!] is, I believe, a hat with a conical crown, such as was anciently worn by well-dressed men.

V.ii.54 (448,5) [A good swift simile] besides the original sense of speedy in motion, signified witty, quick-witted. So in As You Like It, the Duke says of the Clown, He is very swift and sententious. Quick is now used in almost the same sense as nimble was in the age after that of our author. Heylin says of Hales, that he had known Laud for a nimble, disputant.

V.ii.186 (453,7) [tho' you hit the white] To hit the white is a phrase borrowed from archery: the mark was commonly white. Here it alludes to the name Bianca, or white.

(454) General Observation. From this play the Tatler formed a story, [Johnson here copies out the Tatler story.] It cannot but seen strange that Shakespeare should be so little known to the author of the Tatler, that he should suffer this story to be obtruded upon him; or so little known to the publick, that he could hope to make it pass upon his readers as a real narrative of a transaction in Lincolnshire; yet it is apparent, that he was deceived, or intended to deceive, that he knew not himself whence the story was taken, or hoped that he might rob so obscure a writer without detection.

Of this play the two plots are so well united, that they can hardly be called two without injury to the art with which they are interwoven. The attention is entertained with all the variety of a double plot, yet is not distracted by unconnected incidents.

The part between Catharine and Petruchio is eminently spritely and diverting. At the marriage of Bianca the arrival of the real father, perhaps, produces more perplexity than pleasure. The whole play is very popular and diverting, (see 1765, III,97,5)

Vol. IV


I.i.1 (3,2) [In delivering my son from me] [W: dissevering] Of this change I see no need: the present reading is clear, and, perhaps, as proper as that which the great commentator would substitute; for the king dissevers her son from her, she only delivers him.

I.i.5 (4,3) [to whom I am now in ward] Under his particular care, as my guardian, till I come to age. It is now almost forgotten in England that the heirs of great fortunes were the king's wards. Whether the same practice prevailed in France, it is of no great use to enquire, for Shakespeare gives to all nations the manners of England.

I. i.19 (4,5) [This young gentlewoman had a father, (O, that had! how sad a passage 'tis!)] [W: presage 'tis] This emendation is ingenious, perhaps preferable to the present reading, yet since passage may be fairly enough explained, I have left it in the text. Passage is anything that passes, so we now say, a passage of an authour. and we said about a century ago, the passages of a reign. When the countess mentions Helena's loss of a father, she recollects her own loss of a husband, and stops to observe how heavily that word had passes through her mind.

I.i.48 (6,6) [for where an unclean mind carries virtuous qualities, there commendations go with pity, they are virtues and traitors too; in her they are the better for their simpleness; she derives her honesty, and atchieves her goodness] [W: her simpleness] This is likewise a plausible but unnecessary alteration. Her virtues are the better for their simpleness, that is, her excellencies are the better because they are artless and open, without fraud, without design. The learned commentator has well explained virtues. but has not, I think, reached the force of the word traitors, and therefore has not shown the full extent of Shakespeare's masterly observation. Virtues in an unclean mind are virtues and traitors too. Estimable and useful qualities, joined with evil disposition, give that evil disposition power over others, who, by admiring the virtue, are betrayed to the malevolence. The Tatler mentioning the sharpers of his time, observes, that some of them are men of such elegance and knowledge, that a young man who falls into their way is betrayed as much by his judgment as his passions.

I.i.86 (7,8) [If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess makes it soon mortal] [W: be not enemy] This emendation I had once admitted into the text, but restored the old reading, because I think it capable of an easy explication. Lafeu says, excessive grief is the enemy of the living: the countess replies, If the living be an enemy to grief, the excess soon makes it mortal: that is, if the living do not indulge grief, grief destroys itself by its own excess. By the word mortal I understand that which dies, and Dr. Warburton, that which destroys. I think that my interpretation gives a sentence more acute and more refined. Let the reader judge.

I.i.78 (8,9) [That thee may furnish] That may help thee with more and better qualifications.

I.i.84 (8,1) [The best wishes that can beforg'd in your thoughts, be servants to you!] That is, may you be mistress of your wishes, and have power to bring then to effect.

I.i.91 (8,2) [And these great tears grace his remembrance more] The tears which the king and countess shed for him.

I.i.99 (8,3) [In his bright radiance and collateral light Must I be comforted, not in his sphere] I cannot be united with him and move in the same sphere, but must be comforted at a distance by the radiance that shoots on all sides from him.

I.i.107 (9,4) [Of every line and trick of his sweet favour!] So in King John; he hath a trick of Coeur de Lion's face. Trick seen to be some peculiarity of look or feature.

I.i.122 (9,6) [you have some stain of soldier in you] [W: "Stain for colour."] Stain rather for what we now say tincture, some qualities, at least superficial, of a soldier. (1773)

I.i.150 (10,8) [He, that hangs himself, is a virgin] [W: As is] I believe most readers Will spare both the emendations, which I do not think much worth a claim or a contest. The old reading is more spritely and equally just.

I.i.165 (11,1) [Marry, ill, to like him that ne'er it likes] Parolles, in answer to the question, how one shall lose virginity to her own liking? plays upon the word liking, and says, she must do ill, for virginity, to be so lost, must like him that likes not virginity.

I.i.178-191 (12,5) [Not my virginity yet] This whole speech is abrupt, unconnected, and obscure. Dr. Warburton thinks much of it suppofititious. I would be glad to think so of the whole, for a commentator naturally wishes to reject what he cannot understand. Something, which should connect Helena's words with those of Parolles, seems to be wanting. Hammer has made a fair attempt by reading,

Not my virginity yet—You're for the court, There shall your master, &c.

Some such clause has, I think, dropped out, but still the first words want connection. Perhaps Parolles, going away after his harangue, said, will you any thing with me? to which Helen may reply—I know not what to do with the passage.

I.i.184 (13,7) [a traitress] It seems that traitress was in that age a term of endearment, for when Lafeu introduces Helena to the king, he says, You like a traytor, but such traytors his majesty does not much fear.

I.i.199 (14,8) [And shew what we alone must think] And shew by realities what we now must only think.

I.i.218 (14,9) [is a virtue of a good wing, and I like the wear well] [W: good ming] This conjecture I could wish to see better proved. This common word ming I have never found. The first edition of this play exhibits wing without a capital: yet, I confess, that a virtue of good wing is an expression that I cannot understand, unless by a metaphor taken from falconry, it may mean, a virtue that will fly high, and in the stile of Hotspur, Pluck honour from the moon.

I.i.235 (15,1) [What power is it, which mounts my love so high; That makes me see, and cannot feed mine eye?]

She means, by what influence is my love directed to a person so much above me. [why am I made to discern excellence, sad left to long after it, without the food of hope.]

I.i.237 (15,2)

[The mightiest space in fortune, nature brings To join like likes, and kiss, like native things. Impossible be strange attempts, to those That weigh their pain in sense; and do suppose, What hath been]

All these four lines are obscure, and, I believe, corrupt. I shall propose an emendation, which those who can explain the present reading, are at liberty to reject.

Through mightiest space in fortune nature brings Likes to join likes, and kiss, like native things.

That is, nature brings like qualities and dispositions to meet through any distance that fortune may have set between them; she joins them and makes them kiss like things born together.

The next lines I read with Hammer.

Impossible be strange attempts to those That weigh their pains in sense, and do suppose What ha'n't been, cannot be.

New attempts seen impossible to those who estimate their labour or enterprises by sense, and believe that nothing can be but what they see before them.

I.ii.32 (17,3)

[He had the wit, which I can well observe To-day in our young lords, but they may jest, Till their own scorn return to them; unnoted, Ere they can hide their levity in honour]

I believe honour is not dignity of birth or rank, but acquired reputation: Your father, says the king, had the same airy flights of satirical wit-with the young lords of the present time, but they do not what he did, hide their unnoted levity in honour, cover petty faults with great merit.

This is an excellent observation. Jocose follies, and slight offences, are only allowed by mankind in him that overpowers them by great qualities.

I.ii.36 (18,4)

[So like a courtier, contempt nor bitterness Were in his pride or sharpness; if they were, His equal had awak'd them]

[W: no contempt or] The original edition reads the first line thus,

So like a courtier, contempt nor bitterness.

The sense is the same. Nor was used without reduplication. So in Measure for Measure,

More nor less to others paying, Than by self-offences weighing.

The old text needs to be explained. He was so like a courtier, that there was in his dignity of manner nothing contemptuous, and

I.ii.41 (19, 5) [His tongue obey'd his hand] We should read,

His tongue obeyed the hand.

That is, the hand of his honour's clock, shewing the true minute when exceptions bad him speak.

I.ii.44 (19, 7) [Making then proud of his humility, In their poor praise he humbled] [W: proud; and his] Every man has seen the mean too often proud of the humility of the great, and perhaps the great may sometimes be humbled in the praises of the mean, of those who commend them without conviction or discernment: this, however is not so common; the mean are found more frequently than the great.

I.ii.50 (19, 8)

[So in approof lives not his epitaph, As in your royal speech]

[W: Epitaph for character.] I should wish to read,

Approof so lives not in his epitaph, As in your royal speech.

Approof is approbation. If I should allow Dr. Warburton's interpretation of Epitaph, which is more than can be reasonably expected, I can yet find no sense in the present reading.

I.ii.61 (20, 9) [whose judgments are meer fathers of their garments] Who have no other use of their faculties, than to invent new modes of dress.

I.iii (21, 1) [Enter Countess, Steward, and Clown] A Clown in Shakespeare is commonly taken for a licensed jester, or domestick fool. We are not to wonder that we find this character often in his plays, since fools were, at that time, maintained in all great families, to keep up merriment in the house. In the picture of Sir Thomas More's family, by Hans Holbein, the only servant represented is Patison the fool. This is a proof of the familiarity to which they were admitted, not by the great only, but the wise.

In some plays, a servant, or a rustic, of remarkable petulance and freedom of speech, is likewise called a clown.

I.iii.3 (21, 2) [to even your content] To act up to your desires.

I.iii.45 (23, 4) [You are shallow, madam, in great friends; for the knaves come to do that for me, which I am a weary of] [Tyrwhitt: my great] The meaning seems to be, you are not deeply skilled in the character of offices of great friends. (1773)

I.iii.96 (26, 1) [Clo. That man should be at woman's command, and yet no hurt done!—Tho' honesty be no puritan, yet it will do no hurt; it will wear the surplice of humility over the black gown of a big heart] The clown's answer is obscure. His lady bids him do as he is commanded. He answers with the licentious petulance of his character, that if a man does as a woman commands, it is likely he will do amiss; that he does not amiss, being at the command of a woman, he makes the effect, not of his lady's goodness, but of his own honesty, which, though not very nice or puritanical, will do no hurt; and will not only do no hurt, but, unlike the puritans, will comply with the injunctions of superiors, and wear the surplice of humility over the black gown of a big heart; will obey commands, though not much pleased with a state of subjection.

Here is an allusion, violently enough forced in, to satirize the obstinacy with which the puritans refused the use of the ecclesiastical habits, which was, at that time, one principal cause of the breach of union, and, perhaps, to insinuate, that the modest purity of the surplice was sometimes a cover for pride.

I.iii.140 (28,3) [By our remembrances] That is, according to our recollection. So we say, he is old by my reckoning.

I.iii.169 (29,5)

[—or, were you both our mothers I care no more for, than I do for heaven. So I were not his sister]

[W: I can no more fear, than I do fear heav'n.] I do not much yield to this emendation; yet I have not been able to please myself with any thing to which even my own partiality can give the preference.

Sir Thomas Banner reads,

Or were you both our mothers. I cannot ask for more than that of heaven. So I were not his sister; can be no other Way I your daughter, but he must be my brother?

I.iii.171 (30,6) [can't no other, But, I your daughter, he must be my brother?] The meaning is obscur'd by the elliptical diction. Can it be no other way, but if I be your daughter he must be my brother?

I.iii.178 (30,8) [Your salt tears' head] The force, the fountain of your tears, the cause of your grief.

I.iii.208 (31,9) [captious and intenible sieve] The word captious I never found in this sense; yet I cannot tell what to substitute, unless carious, for rotten, which yet is a word more likely to have been mistaken by the copyers than used by the author.

I.iii.232 (32,2)

[As notes, whose faculties inclusive were Receipts in which greater _virtues_ were _inclosed]

Do not throw from you; you, my lord,, farewell; Share the advice betwixt you; if both gain all, The gift doth stretch itself as 'tis receiv'd, And is enough for both.

The first edition, from which the passage is restored, was sufficiently clear; yet it is plain, that the latter editors preferred a reading which they did not understand.

II.i.12 (35,8)

[let higher Italy (Those 'hated, that inherit but the fall Of the last monarchy) [see, that you come Not to woo honour, but to wed it]

[Hammer: Those bastards that inherit] Dr. Warburton's observation is learned, but rather too subtle; Sir Tho. Hanmer's alteration is merely arbitrary. The passage is confessedly obscure, and there-fore I may offer another explanation. I am of opinion that the epithet higher is to be understood of situation rather than of dignity. The sense may then be this,Let upper Italy, where you are to exercise your valour, see that you come to gain honour, to the abatement, that is, to the disgrace and depression of those that have now lost their ancient military fame, and inherit but the fall of the last monarchy. To abate is used by Shakespeare in the original sense of abatre, to depress, to sink, to deject, to subdue. So in Coriolanus,

'till ignorance deliver you. As moat abated captives to some nation That won you without blows. And bated is used in a kindred sense in the Jew of Venice.

in a bondman's key With bated breath and whisp'ring humbleness.

The word has still the same meaning in the language of the law.

II.i.21 (37,9) [Beware of being captives, Before you serve] The word serve is equivocal; the sense is, Be not captives before you serve in the war. Be not captives before you are soldiers.

II.i.36 (37,1) [I grow to you, and our parting is a tortur'd body] I read thus, Our parting is the parting of a tortured body. Our parting is as the disruption of limbs torn from each other. Repetition of a word is often the cause of mistakes, the eye glances on the wrong word, and the intermediate part of the sentence is omitted.

II.i.54 (38,3) [they wear themselves in the cap of the time, there, do muster true gait] [W: to muster] I think this amendation cannot be said to give much light to the obscurity of the passage. Perhaps it might be read thus, They do muster with the true gaite. that is, they have the true military step. Every man has observed something peculiar in the strut of a soldier, (rev. 1778, IV,35,8)

II.i.70 (39,4) [across] This word, as has been already observed, is used when any pass of wit miscarries.

II.i.74 (39,5) [Yes, but you will, my noble grapes, as if] These words,my noble grapes, seem to Dr. Warburton and Sir T. Hammer, to stand so much in the way, that they have silently omitted them. They may be indeed rejected without great loss, but I believe they are Shakespeare's words. You will eat, says Lafen, no grapes. Yes, but you will eat such noble grapes as I bring you, if you could reach them.

II.i. 100 (41,8) [I am Cressid's uncle] I am like Pandarus. See Troilus and Cressida. (see 1765, III,310,2)

II.i.114 (41,9) [wherein the honour Of my dear father's gift stands chief in power] Perhaps we may better read,— wherein the power Of my dear father's gift stands chief in honour,

II.i.144 (42,1) [When miracles have by the greatest been deny'd] I do not see the import or connection of this line. As the next line stands without a correspondent rhyme, I suspect that something has been lost.

II.i.159 (43,2) [Myself against the level of mine aim] I rather think that she means to say, I am not an impostor that proclaim one thing and design another, that proclaim a cure and aim at a fraud: I think what I speak.

II.i.174 (43,3)

[a divulged shame Traduc'd by odious ballds; my maiden's name Sear'd otherwise; no worse of worst extended, With vilest torture let my life be ended]

This passage is apparently corrupt, and how shall it be rectified? I have no great hope of success, but something must be tried. I read the whole thus,

King. What darest thou venture? Hal. Tax of impudence. A strumpet's boldness; a divulged shame, Traduc'd by odious ballads my maiden name; Sear'd otherwise, to worst of worst extended; With vilest torture let my life be ended.

When this alteration first came into my mind, I supposed Helen to mean thus, _First,_ I venture what is dearest to me, my maiden reputation; but if your distrust _extends_ my character _to the worst of_ the _worst, and supposes me _seared_ against the sense of infamy, I will add to the stake of reputation, the stake of life. This certainly is sense, and the language as grammatical as many other passages of Shakespeare. Yet we may try another experiment.

Fear otherwise to worst of worst extended; With vilest torture let my life be ended. That is, let me act under the greatest terrors possible.

But once again we will try to find the right way by the glimmer of Hanmer's amendation, who reads thus,

my maiden name Sear'd; otherwise the worst of worst extended. etc.

Perhaps it were better thus,

my maiden name Sear'd; otherwise the worst to worst extended;

With vilest torture let my life be ended.

II.i.182 (45,5) [Thy life is dear; for all, that life can rate Worth name of life, in thee hath estimate] May be counted among the gifts enjoyed by them.

II.i.185 (45,7) [prime] Youth; the spring or morning of life.

II.ii.40 (48,1) [To be young again] The lady censures her own levity in trifling with her jester, as a ridiculous attempt to return back to youth.

Il.iii.6 (49,3) [unknown fear] Fear is here the object of fear.

II.iii.11 (50,4)

[Par. So I say, both of Galen and Paracelsus. Laf. Of all the learned and authentic fellows]

As the whole merriment of this scene consists in the pretensions of Parollei to knowledge and sentiments which he has not, I believe here are two passages in which the words and sense are bestowed upon him by the copies, which the author gave to Lafen. I read this passage thus,

Laf. To be relinquished of the artists—— Par. So I. say. Laf. Both of Galen and Paracelsus, of all the learned and authentick fellows—— Par. Right, so I say.

II.iii.41 (51,7)

[which should, indeed, give us a farther use to be made, than alone the recovery of the King; as to be— Laf. Generally thankful]

I cannot see that there is any hiatus, or other irregularity of language than such as is very common in these plays. I believe Parolles has again usurped words and sense to which he has no right; and I read this passage thus,

Laf. In a most weak and debile minister, great power, great transcendence; which should, indeed, give us a farther use to be made than the mere recovery of the king. Par. As to be. Laf. Generally thankful.

II.iii.66 (52,9) [My mouth no more were broken than these boys'] A broken mouth is a mouth which has lost part of its teeth.

II.iii.77 (53,1) [Let the white death sit on thy cheek for ever] [W: dearth] The white death is the chlorosis.

II.iii.80 (53,2) [And to imperial Love] [W. The old editions read IMPARTIAL, which is right.] There is no edition of this play older than that of 1623, the next is that of 1632, of which both read imperials the second reads imperial Jove.

II.iii.92 (53,3) [Laf. Do they all deny her?] None of them have yet denied her, or deny her afterwards but Bertram. The scene must be so regulated that Lafeu and Parolles talk at a distance, where they nay see what passes between Helena and the lords, but not hear it, so that they know not by whom the refusal is made.

II.iii.105 (54,4) [There's one grape yet,—I am sure, they father drunk wine.—But if thou be'st not an ass, I am a youth of fourteen. I have known thee already] This speech the three last editors have perplexed themselves by dividing between Lafeu and Parolles, without any authority of copies, or any improvement of sense. I have restored the old reading, and should have thought no explanation necessary, but that Mr. Theobald apparently misunderstood it.

Old Lafeu having, upon the supposition that the lady was refused, reproached the young lords as boys of ice, throwing his eyes on Bertram who remained, cries out, "There is one yet into whom his father put good blood,——but I have known thee long enough to know thee for an ass."

II.iii.135 (55,6) [good alone Is good, without a name, vileness is so] [W: good; and with a name,] The present reading is certainly wrong, and, to confess the truth, I do not think Dr. Warburton's emendation right; yet I have nothing that I can propose with much confidence. Of all the conjectures that I can make, that which least displeases me is this:

good alone. Is good without a name; Helen is so;

The rest follows easily by this change.

II.iii.138 (56,7)

[—She is young, wise, fair; In these, to nature she's immediate heir; And these breed honour]

Here is a long note [W's] which I wish had been shorter. Good is better than young, as it refers to honour. But she is more the immediate heir of nature with respect to youth than goodness. To be immediate heir is to inherit without any intervening transmitter: thus she inherits beauty immediately from nature, but honour is transmitted by ancestors; youth is received immediately from nature. but goodness may be conceived in part the gift of parents, or the effect of education. The alteration therefore loses on one side what it gains on the other.

II.iii.170 (58,9) [Into the staggers] One species of the staggers, or the horses apoplexy, is a raging impatience which makes the animal dash himself with destructive violence against posts or walls. To this the allusion, I suppose, is made.

II.iii.185 (59,1)

[whose ceremony Shall seem expedient on the now-born brief, And be perform'd to-night]

This, if it be at all intelligible, is at least obscure and inaccurate. Perhaps it was written thus,

—what ceremony Shall seem expedient on the now-born brief Shall be perform'd to-night; the solemn feast Shall more attend

The brief is the contract of espousal, or the licence of the church. The King means, What ceremony is necessary to make this contract a marriage, shall be immediately performed; the rest may be delayed.

II.iii.211 (60,2) [I did think thee, for two ordinaries, to be a pretty wise fellow] While I sat twice with thee at table.

II.iii.217 (60,3) [yet art then good for nothing but taking up] To take up, is to contradict, to call to account, as well as to pick off the ground.

II.iii.242 (60,4) [in the default] That is, at a need.

II.iii.246 (61,5) [for doing, I am past; as I will by thee, in what motion age will give me leave] [Warburton suspected a line lost after "past"] This suspicion of chasm is groundless. The conceit which is so thin that it might well escape a hasty reader, is in the word past, I am past, as I will be past by thee.

II.iii.309 (63,9) [To the dark house] The dark house is a house made gloomy by discontent. Milton says of death and the king of hell preparing to combat,

So frown'd the mighty combatants, that hell Grew darker at their frown.

II.iv.45 (65,1) [Whose want, and whose delay, is strew'd with sweets] The sweets with which this want are strewed, I suppose, are compliments and professions of kindness.

II.iv.52 (65,2) [probable need] A specious appearance of necessity.

III.i.10 (70,5) [The reasons of our state I cannot yield] I cannot inform you of the reasons.

III.i.11 (70,6) [an outward man] [W: i.e. one not in the secret of affairs] So inward is familiar, admitted to secrets. I was an inward of his. Measure for Measure.

III.ii.59 (73,1) [When thou canst get the ring upon my finger] [W: When thou canst get the ring, which is on my finger, into thy possession] I think Dr. Warburton's explanation sufficient, but I once read it thus, When thou canst get the ring upon thy finger, which newer shall come off mine.

III.ii.100 (74,3) [Not so, but as we change our courtesies] The gentlemen declare that they are servants to the Countess, she replies, No otherwise than as she returns the same offices of civility.

III.iv.4 (77,4) [St. Jaques' pilgrim] I do not remember any place famous for pilgrimages consecrated in Italy to St. James, but it is common to visit St. James of Compostella, in Spain. Another saint might easily have been found, Florence being somewhat out of the road from Bonsillon to Compostella.

III.iv.13 (77,6) [Juno] Alluding to tho story of Hercules.

III.iv.19 (77,6) [Rinaldo, you did never lack advice so much] Advice, is discretion or thought.

III.v.21 (79,7) [are not the things they go under] [W: Mr. Theobald explains these words by, They are not really so true and sincere as in appearance they seem to be.] I think Theobald's interpretation right; to go under the name of any thing is a known expression. The meaning is, they are not the things for which their names would make them pass.

III.v.66 (81,8) [examin'd] That is, question'd, doubted.

III.v.74 (81,9) [brokes] Deals as a broker. (86,6) [we have almost imboss'd him] To imboss a deer is to inclose him in a wood. Milton uses the same word:

Like that self-begotten bird In th' Arabian woods embost. Which no second knows or third. (87,7) [ere we case him] This is, before we strip him naked. (1773)

III.vii.9 (88,2) [to your sworn council] To your private knowledge, after having required from you an oath of secrecy.

III.vii.21 (88,9) [Now his important blood will nought deny] Important here, and elsewhere, is importunate.

IV.i.16 (90,2) [some band of strangers i' the adversary's entertainment] That is, foreign troops in the enemy's pay.

Iv.i.44 (91,3) [the instance] The proof.

IV.ii.13 (94,5)

[No more of that! I pr'ythee, do not strive against my vows: I was compell'd to her]

I know not well what Bertram can mean by entreating Diana not to strive against his vows. Diana has just mentioned his wife, so that the vows seem to relate to his marriage. In this sense not Diana, but himself, strives against his vows. His vows indeed may mean vows made to Diana; but, in that case, to strive against is not properly used for to reject, nor does this sense cohere well with his first exclamation of impatience at the mention of his wife. No more of that! Perhaps we might read,

_I Pr'ythee do not_ drive _against my vows.

Do not_ run _upon that topick; talk of any thing else that I can bear to hear_.

I have another conceit upon this passage, which I would be thought to offer without much confidence:

No more of that! I pr'ythee do not strive—against my voice I was compell'd to her.

Diana tells him unexpectedly of his wife. He answers with perturbation, No more of that! I pr'ythee do not play the confessor —against my own consent I was compelled to her.

When a young profligate finds his courtship so gravely repressed by an admonition of his duty, he very naturally desires the girl not to take upon her the office of a confessor.

IV.ii.23 (95,6) [What is not holy, that we swear not 'bides] [W: not 'bides] This is an acute and excellent conjecture, and I have done it the due honour of exalting it to the text; yet, methinks, there is something yet wanting. The following words, but take the High'st to witness, even though it be understood as an anticipation or assumption in this sense,—but now suppose that you take the Highest to witness,—has not sufficient relation to the antecedent sentence. I will propose a reading nearer to the surface, and let it take its chance.

Ber. How have I sworn!

Diana. 'Tis not the many oaths, that make the truth, But the plain single vow, that is vow'd true.

Ber. What is not holy, that we swear not by. But take the High'st to witness.

Diana. Then, pray tell me. If I should swear, &c.

Bertram means to enforce his suit, by telling her, that he has bound himself to her, not by the pretty protestations usual among lovers, but by vows of greater solemnity. She then makes a proper and rational reply.

IV.ii.25 (96,7) [If I should swear by Jove's great attributes] In the print of the old folio, it is doubtful whether it be Jove's or Love's, the characters being not distinguishable. If it is read Love's, perhaps it may be something less difficult. I am still at a loss.

It may be read thus,

—"this has no holding, "To swear by him whom I attest to love, "That I will work against him."

There is no consistence in expressing reverence for Jupiter by calling him to attest my love, and shewing at the same time, by working against him by a wicked passion, that I have no respect to the name which I invoke. (1773)

IV.ii.28 (96,8) [To swear by him whom I protest to love, That I will work against him] This passage likewise appears to me corrupt. She swears not by him whom she loves, but by Jupiter. I believe we may read, to swear to him. There is, says she, no holding, no consistency, in swearing to one that I love him, when I swear it only to injure him.

IV.ii.73 (98,9) [Since Frenchmen are so braid, Marry that will, I'll live and die a maid] [W: Marry 'em] The passage is very unimportant, and the old reading reasonable enough. Nothing is more common than for girls, on such occasions, to say in a pet what they do not think, or to think for a time what they do not finally resolve.

IV.iii.7 (98,1) [I Lord] The later editors have with great liberality bestowed lordship upon these interlocutors, who, in the original edition, are called, with more propriety, capt. E. and capt. G. It is true that captain E. is in a former scene called lord E. but the subordination in which they seem to act, and the timorous manner in which they converse, determines them to be only captains. Yet as the later readers of Shakespeare have been used to find them lords, I have not thought it worth while to degrade them in the margin.

IV.iii.29 (99,2) [he, that in this action contrives against his own nobility, in his proper stream o'erflows himself] That is, betrays his own secrets in his own talk. The reply shows that this is the meaning.

IV.iii.38 (100,3) [he might take a measure of his own judgment] This is a very just and moral reason. Bertram, by finding how erroneously he has judged, will be less confident, and more easily moved by admonition.

IV.iii.113 (102,4) [bring forth this counterfeit module] [W: medal] Module being the pattern of any thing, may be here used in that sense. Bring forth this fellow, who, by counterfeit virtue pretended to make himself a pattern.

IV.iii.237 (106,8) [Dian. the Count's a fool, and full of gold] After this line there is apparently a line lost, there being no rhime that corresponds to gold.

IV.iii.254 (106,9) [Half won, is match well made; match, and well make it] This line has no meaning that I can find. I read, with a very slight alteration, Half won is match well made; watch, and well make it. That is, a match well made is half won; watch, and make it well.

This is, in my opinion, not all the error. The lines are misplaced, and should be read thus:

Half won is match well made; watch, and well make it; when he swears oaths, bid him drop gold, and take it. After he scores, he never pays the score: He never pays after-debts, take it before. And say——

That is, take his money and leave him to himself. When the players had lost the second line, they tried to make a connection out of the rest. Part is apparently in couplets, and the note was probably uniform.

IV.iii.280 (107,1) [He will steal, sir, an egg out of a cloister] I know not that cloister, though it may etymologically signify any thing shut is used by our author, otherwise than for a monastery, and therefore I cannot guess whence this hyperbole could take its original: perhaps it means only this: He will steal any thing, however trifling, from any place, however holy.

IV.iii.307 (108,2) [he's a cat still] That is, throw him how you will, he lights upon his legs. [Steevens offered another explanation] I an still of my former opinion. The same speech was applied by king James to Coke, with respect to his subtilties of law, that throw him which way we would, he could still like a cat light upon his legs. (see 1765, III,372,1)

IV.iii.317 (109,3) [Why does he ask him of me?] This is nature. Every man is on such occasions more willing to hear his neighbour's character than his own.

IV.iii.332 (109,4) [Only to seem to deserve well, and to beguile the supposition of that lascivious young boy the Count, have I run into this danger] That is, to deceive the opinion, to make the count think me a man that deserves well.

IV.iv.23 (III,6) [When saucy trusting of the cozen'd thoughts Defiles the pitchy night!] [W: When Fancy,] This conjecture is truly ingenious, but, I believe, the author of it will himself think it unnecessary, when he recollects that saucy may very properly signify luxurious, and by consequence lascivious.

IV.iv.31 (112,7)

[But with the word, the time will bring on summer, When briars shall have leaves as well as thorns, And be as sweet as sharp]

The meaning of this observation is, that as briars have sweetness with their prickles, so shall these troubles be recompensed with joy.

IV.iv.34 (112,8) [Our waggon is prepar'd, and time revives us] [W: revyes] The present reading is corrupt, and I am afraid the emendation none of the soundest. I never remember to have seen the word revye. One may as well leave blunders as make them. Why may we not read for a shift, without much effort, the time invites us?

IV.v.8 (114,1) [I would, I had not known him!] This dialogue serves to connect the incidents of Parolles with the main plan of the play.

IV.v.66 (116,4) [Laf. A shrewd knave, and an unhappy] That is, mischievously waggish; unlucky. (see 1765, III,379,3)

IV.v.70 (116,5) [he has no pace, but runs where he will] [Tyrrwhit: place] A pace is a certain or prescribed walk, so we say of a man meanly obsequious, that he has learned his paces. (1773) [(rev. 1778, IV,126,3]

V.i.35 (120,8)

[I will come after you, with what good speed Our means will make us means]

Shakespeare delights much in this kind of reduplication, sometimes so as to obscure his meaning. Helena says, they will follow with such speed as the means which they have will give them ability to exert.

V.ii.57 (123,3) [tho' you are a fool and a knave, you shall eat] Parolles has many of the lineaments of Falstaff, and seems to be the character which Shakespeare delighted to draw, a fellow that had more wit than virtue. Though justice required that he should be detected and exposed, yet his vices sit so fit in him that he is not at last suffered to starve.

V.iii.1 (123,4) [We lost a jewel of her, and our esteem Was made much poorer by it] Dr. Warburton, in Theobald's edition, altered this word to estate, in his own he lets it stand and explains it by worth or estate. But esteem is here reckoning or estimate. Since the loss of Helen with her virtues and qualifications, our account is sunk; what we have to reckon ourselves king of, is much poorer than before.

V.iii.4 (123,5) [home] That is, completely, in its full extent.

V.iii.6 (123,6) [done i' the blade of youth] In the spring of early life, when the man is yet green, oil and fire suit but ill with blade, and therefore Dr. Warburton reads, blaze of youth.

V.iii.21 (124,7) [the first view shall kill All repetition] The first interview shall put an end to all recollection of the past. Shakespeare is now hastening to the end of the play, finds his matter sufficient to fill up his remaining scenes, and therefore, as on other such occasions, contracts his dialogue and precipitates his action. Decency required that Bertram's double crime of cruelty and disobedience, joined likewise with some hypocrisy, should raise more resentment; and that though his mother might easily forgive him, his king should more pertinaciously vindicate his own authority and Helen's merit: of all this Shakespeare could not be ignorant, but Shakespeare wanted to conclude his play.

V.iii.50 (125,9) [My high repented blames] [A long note by Warburton] It was but just to insert this note, long as it is, because the commentator seems to think it of importance. Let the reader judge.

V.iii.65 (127,1)

[Our own love, waking, cries to see what's done, While shameful hate sleeps out the afternoon]

These two lines I should be glad to call an interpolation of a player. They are ill connected with the former, and not very clear or proper in themselves. I believe the author made two couplets to the same purpose, wrote them both down that he might take his choice, and so they happened to be both preserved.

For sleep I think we should read slept. Love cries to see what was done while hatred slept, and suffered mischief to be done. Or the meaning may be, that hatred still continues to sleep at ease, while love is weeping; and so the present reading may stand.

V.iii.93 (128,3) [In Florence was it from a casement thrown me] Bertram still continues to have too little virtue to deserve Helen. He did not know indeed that it was Helen's ring, but he knew that he had it not from a window.

V.iii.95 (128,4) [Noble she was, and thought I stood engag'd] [T: I don't understand this reading; if we are to understand, that she thought Bertram engag'd to her in affection, insnared by her charms, this meaning is too obscurely express'd.] The context rather makes me believe, that the poet wrote,

noble she was, and thought I stood ungag'd;——-

i.e. unengag'd: neither my heart, nor person, dispos'd of.—The plain meaning is, when she saw me receive the ring, she thought me engaged to her.

V.iii.101 (129,5) [King Plutus himself , That knows the tinct and multiplying medicine] Plutus the grand alchemist, who knows the tincture which confers the properties of gold upon base metals, and the matter by which gold is multiplied, by which a small quantity of gold is made to communicate its qualities to a large mass of metal.

In the reign of Henry the fourth a law was made to forbid all men thenceforth to multiply gold, or use any craft of multiplication. Of which law Mr. Boyle, when he was warm with the hope of transmutation, procured a repeal.

V.iii.105 (129,6) [Then if you know, That you are well acquainted with yourself] The true meaning of this strange [Warburton's word] expression is, If you know that your faculties are so found, as that you have the proper consciousness of your own actions, and are able to recollect and relate what you have done, tell me. &c.

V.iii.121 (130,7)

[My fore-past proofs, howe'er the matter fall, Shall tax my fears of little vanity, Having vainly fear'd too little]

The proofs which I have already had, are sufficient to show that my fears were not vain and irrational. I have rather been hither-to more easy than I ought, and have unreasonably had too little fear.

V.iii.131 (130,8) [Who hath, some four or five removes, come short] Removes are journies or post-stages.

V.iii.191 (133,1) [O, behold this ring. Whose high respect and rich validity] _Validity is a very bad word for _value_, which yet I think is its meaning, unless it be considered as making a contract _valid_.

V.iii.214 (133,2)

[As all impediments in fancy's course, Are motives of more fancy: and in fine, Her insult coming with her modern grace, Subdu'd me to her rate: she got the ring]

Every thing that obstructs love is an occasion by which love is heightened. And, to conclude, her solicitation concurring with her fashionable appearance, she got the ring.

I an not certain that I have attained the true meaning of the word modern, which, perhaps, signifies rather meanly pretty.

V.iii.296-305 (137,3) This dialogue is too long, since the audience already knew the whole transaction; nor is there any reason for puzzling the king and playing with his passions; but it was much easier than to make a pathetical interview between Helen and her husband, her mother, and the king.

V.iii.305 (137,4) [exorcist] This word is used not very properly for enchanter.

V.iii.339 (139,2) [Ours be your patience then, and yours our parts] The meaning is: Grant us then your patience; hear us without interruption. And take our parts; that is, support and defend us. (see 1765, III,399)

(139) General Observation. This play has many delightful scenes, though not sufficiently probable, and some happy characters, though not new, nor produced by any deep knowledge of human nature. Parolles is a boaster and a coward, such as has always been the sport of the stage, but perhaps never raised more laughter or contempt than in the hands of Shakespeare.

I cannot reconcile my heart to Bertram; a man noble without generosity, and young without truth; who marries Helen as a coward, and leaves her as a profligate: when she is dead by his unkindness, sneaks home to a second marriage, is accused by a woman whom he has wronged, defends himself by falsehood, and is dismissed to happiness.

The story of Bertram and Diana hod been told before of Mariana and Angelo, and, to confess the truth, scarcely merited to be heard a second time.


(142) The persons of the drama were first enumerated, with all the cant of the modern stage, by Mr. Rowe.

I.i.2 (143,2) [that, surfeiting, The appetite may sicken, and so die] [W: app'tite, Love] It is true, we do not talk of the death of appetite, because we do not ordinarily speak in the figurative language of poetry; but that appetite sickens by a surfeit is true, and therefore proper.

I.i.21 (145,6) [That instant was I turn'd into a hart] This image evidently alludes to the story of Acteon, by which Shakespeare seems to think men cautioned against too great familiarity with forbidden beauty. Acteon, who saw Diana naked, and was torn in pieces by his hounds, represents a man, who indulging his eyes, or his imagination, with the view of a woman that he cannot gain, has his heart torn with incessant longing. An interpretation far more elegant and natural than that of Sir Francis Bacon, who, in his Wisdom of the Antients, supposes this story to warn us against enquiring into the secrets of princes, by shewing, that those who knew that which for reasons of state is to be concealed, will be detected and destroyed by their own servants.

I.ii.25 (147,9) [A noble Duke in nature, as in name] I know not whether the nobility of the name is comprised in Duke, or in Orsino, which is, I think, the name of a great Italian family.

I.ii.42 (148,1)

[Vio. O, that I serv'd that lady; And might not be deliver'd to the world, 'Till I had made mine own occasion mellow What my estate is!]

I wish I might not be made public to the world, with regard to the state of my birth and fortune, till I have gained a ripe opportunity for my design.

Viola seems to have formed a very deep design with very little premeditation: she is thrown by shipwreck on an unknown coast, hears that the prince is a batchelor, and resolves to supplant the lady whom he courts.

I.ii.55 (149,2) [I'll serve this Duke] Viola is an excellent schemer, never at a loss; if she cannot serve the lady, she will serve the Duke.

I.iii.77 (152,5) [It's dry, sir] What is the jest of dry hand, I know not any better than Sir Andrew. It may possibly mean, a hand with no money in it; or, according to the rules of physiognomy, she may intend to insinuate, that it is not a lover's hand, a moist hand being vulgarly accounted a sign of an amorous constitution.

I.iii.148 (154,9) [Taurus? that's sides and heart] Alluding to the medical astrology still preserved in almanacks, which refers the affections or particular parts of the body, to the predominance of particular constellations.

I.iv.34 (155,1) [And all is semblative—a woman's part] That is, thy proper part in a play would be a woman's. Women were then personated by boys.

I.v.9 (156,2) [lenten answer] A lean, or as we now call it, a dry answer.

I.v.39 (157,4) [Better be a witty fool, than a foolish wit] Hall, in his Chronicle, speaking of the death of Sir Thomas More, says, that he knows not whether to call him a foolish wise man, or a wise foolish man.

I.v.105 (159,5) [Now Mercury indue thee with leasing, for thou speak'st well of fools!] [W: pleasing] I think the present reading more humourous. May Mercury teach thee to lie, since thou liest in favour of fools.

I.v.213 (164,1) [to make one in so skipping a dialogue] Wild, frolick, mad.

I.v.218 (164,2) [Some mollification for your giant] Ladies, in romance, are guarded by giants, who repel all improper or troublesome advances. Viola seeing the waiting-maid so eager to oppose her message, intreats Olivia to pacify her giant.

I.v.328 (168,8)

[Oli. I do, I know not what; and fear to find Mine eye too great a flatterer for my mind]

I believe the meaning is; I am not mistress of my own actions, I am afraid that my eyes betray me, and flatter the youth without my consent, with discoveries of love.

II.i.15 (169,9) [to express myself] That is, to reveal myself.

II.i.28 (169,1) [with such estimable wonder] These words Dr. Warburton calls an interpolation of the players, but what did the players gain by it? they may be sometimes guilty of a joke without the concurrence of the poet, but they never lengthen a speech only to make it longer. Shakespeare often confounds the active and passive adjectives. Estimable wonder is esteeming wonder, or wonder and esteem. The meaning is, that he could not venture to think so highly as others of his sister.

II.ii.21 (171,2) [her eyes had lost her tongue] [W: crost] That the fascination of the eyes was called crossing ought to have been proved. But however that be, the present reading has not only sense but beauty. We say a man loses his company when they go one way and he goes another. So Olivia's tongue lost her eyes; her tongue was talking of the Duke and her eyes gazing on his messenger.

II.ii.29 (171,3) [the pregnant enemy] is, I believe, the dexterous fiend, or enemy of mankind. (1773)

II.ii.30 (171,4)

[How easy is it, for the proper false In women's waxen hearts to set their forms]

This is obscure. The meaning is, _how easy is disguise to women_; how easily does _their own falsehood_, contained in their _waxen changeable _hearts_, enable them to assume deceitful appearances. The two next lines are perhaps transposed, and should be read thus,

For such as we are made, if such we be, Alas, our frailty is the cause, not we.

II.iii.27 (175,9) [I did impeticoat thy gratility] This, Sir T. Hammer tells us, is the same with impocket thy gratuity. He is undoubtedly right; but we must read, I did impeticoat thy gratuity. The fools were kept in long coats, to which the allusion is made. There is yet much in this dialogue which I do not understand.

II.iii.51 (176,1) [In delay there lies no plenty] [W: decay] I believe delay is right.

II.iii.52 (176,2) [Then come kiss me, sweet, and twenty] This line is obscure; we might read,

Come, a kiss then, sweet, and twenty.

Yet I know not whether the present reading be not right, for in some counties sweet and twenty, whatever be the meaning, is a phrase of endearment.

II.iii.59 (176,3) [make the welkin dance] That is, drink till the sky seems to turn round.

II.iii.75 (177,5) [They sing a catch] This catch is lost.

II.iii.81 (177,6) [Peg-a-Ramsey] Peg-a-Ramsey I do not understand. Tilly vally was an interjection of contempt, which Sir Thomas More a lady is recorded to have had very often in her mouth.

II.iii.97 (178,7) [ye squeak out your coziers catches] A Cozier is a taylor, from coudre to sew, part, consu, French, (see 1765, 11,383,2)

II.iii.128 (180,l) [rub your chain with crums] I suppose it should be read, rub your chin with crums, alluding to what had been said before that. Malvolio was only a steward, and consequently dined after his lady.

II.iii.131 (180,2) [you would not give means for this uncivil rule] Rule is, method of life, so misrule is tumult and riot.

II.iii.149 (181,3) [Possess us] That is, inform us, tell us, make us masters of the matter.

II.iv.5 (183,5) [light airs, and recollected terms] I rather think that recollected signifies, more nearly to its primitive sense, recalled, repeated, and alludes to the practice of composers, who often prolong the song by repetitions.

II.iv.26 (184,6) [favour] The word favour ambiguously used.

II.iv.35 (184,7) [lost and worn] Though lost and worn may means lost and worn out, yet lost and won being, I think, better, these two words coming usually and naturally together, and the alteration being very slight, I would so read in this place with Sir Tho. Hammer.

II.iv.46 (185,8) [free] is, perhaps, vacant, unengaged, easy in mind.

II.iv.47 (185,9) [silly sooth] It is plain, simple truth.

II.iv.49 (185,2) [old age] The old age is the ages past, the times of simplicity.

II.iv.58 (185,3) [My part of death no one so true Did share it] Though death is a part in which every one acts his share, yet of all these actors no one is so true as I.

II.iv.87 (187,6)

[But 'tis that miracle, and queen of gems, That nature pranks her in]

[W: pranks, her mind] The miracle and queen of gems is her beauty, which the commentator might have found without so emphatical an enquiry. As to her mind, he that should be captious would say, that though it may be formed by nature it must be pranked by education.

Shakespeare does not say that nature pranks her in a miracle, but in the miracle of gems, that is, in a gem miraculously beautiful.

II.v.43 (191,2) [the lady of the Strachy] [W: We should read Trachy. i.e. Thrace; for so the old English writers called it] What we should read is hard to say. Here it an allusion to some old story which I have not yet discovered.

II.v.51 (191,3) [stone-bow] That is, a cross-bow, a bow which shoots stones.

II.v.66 (192,4) [wind up my watch] In our author's time watches were very uncommon. When Guy Faux was taken, it was urged as a circumstance of suspicion that a watch was found upon him.

II.v.70 (192,5) [Tho' our silence be drawn from us with carts] I believe the true reading is, Though our silence be drawn from us with carts, yet peace. In the The Two Gentlemen of Verona, one of the Clowns says, I have a mistress, but who that is, a team of horses shall not draw from me. So in this play, Oxen and wainropes will not bring them together.

II.v.97 (193,7) [her great P's] [Steevens: In the direction of the letter which Malvolio reads, there is neither a C, nor a P, to be found] There may, however, be words in the direction which he does not read. To formal directions of two ages ago were often added these words, Humbly Present. (1773)

II.v.144 (195,2) [And O shall end, I hope] By O is here meant what we now call a hempen collar.

II.v.207 (197,6) [tray-trip] The word tray-trip I do not understand.

II.v.215 (198,7) [aqua vitae] Is the old name of strong waters.

III.i.57 (200,9) [lord Pandarus] See our author's play of Troilus and Cressida.

III.i.71 (200,1) [And, like the haggard, check at every feather] The meaning may be, that he must catch every opportunity, as the wild hawk strikes every bird. But perhaps it might be read more properly,

Not like the haggard.

He must chuse persons and times, and observe tempers, he must fly at proper game, like the trained hawk, and not fly at large like the haggard, to seize all that comes in his way. (1773)

III.i.75 (201,2) [But wise-men's folly fall'n] Sir Thomas Hammer reads, folly shewn. [The sense is, But wise men's folly, when it is once fallen into extravagance, overpowers their discretion. Revisal.] I explain it thus. The folly which he shows with proper adaptation to persons and times, is fit, has its propriety, and therefore produces no censure; but the folly of wise men when it falls or happens, taints their wit, destroys the reputation of their judgment. (see 1765, II,402,2)

III.i.86 (202,4) [she is the list of my voyage] Is the bound, limit, farthest point.

III.i.100 (202,5) [most pregnant and vouchsafed ear] Pregnant is a word in this writer of very lax signification. It may here mean liberal. (1773)

III.i.123 (203,6) [After the last enchantment (you did hear)] [W: enchantment you did here] The present reading is no more nonsense than the emendation.

III.i.132 (203,8) [a Cyprus] Is a transparent stuff.

III.i.135 (204,9) [a grice] Is a step, sometimes written greese from degres, French.

III.i.170 (205,1) [I have one heart, one bosom, and one truth, And that no woman has] And that heart and boson I have never yielded to any woman.

III.ii.45 (207,5) [Go, write it in a martial hand; be curst and brief] Martial hand, seems to be a careless scrawl, such as shewed the writer to neglect ceremony. Curst, is petulant, crabbed—a curst cur, is a dog that with little provocation snarls and bites. (1773)

III.iv.61 (213,1) [midsummer madness] Hot weather often turns the brain, which is, I suppose, alluded to here.

III.iv.82 (214,3) [I have lim'd her] I have entangled or caught her, as a bird is caught with birdlime.

III.iv.85 (214,4) [Fellow:] This word which originally signified companion, was not yet totally degraded to its present meaning; and Malvolio takes it in the favourable sense.

III.iv.130 (215,6) [Hang him, foul collier] The devil is called Collier for his blackness, Like will to like, says the Devil to the Collier. (1773)

III.iv.154 (216,7) [a finder of madmen] This is, I think, an allusion to the witch-finders, who were very busy.

III.iv.184 (217,8) [God have mercy upon one of our souls! He may have mercy upon mine, but my hope is better] We may read, He may have mercy upon thine, but my hope is better. Yet the passage may well enough stand without alteration.

It were much to be wished, that Shakespeare in this and some other passages, had not ventured so near profaneness.

III.iv.228 (218,9) [wear this jewel for me] Jewel does not properly signify a single gem, but any precious ornament or superfluity.

III.iv.257 (219,2) [Be is knight, dubb'd with unhack'd rapier, and on carpet consideration] That is, he is no soldier by profession, not a Knight Banneret, dubbed in the field of battle, but, on carpet consideration, at a festivity, or on sone peaceable occasion, when knights receive their dignity kneeling not on the ground, as in war, but on a carpet. This is, I believe, the original of the contemptuous term a carpet knight, who was naturally held in scorn by the men of war.

III.iv.301 (222,4) [I have not seen such a virago] Virago cannot be properly used here, unless we suppose Sir Toby to mean, I never saw one that had so much the look of woman with the prowess of man.

III.iv.408 (225,7) [Methinks, his words do from such passion fly, That he believes himself;—so do not I]

This I believe, means, I do not yet believe myself, when, from this accident, I gather hope of my brother's life.

IV.i.14 (227,8) [I am afraid this great lubber the world will prove a cockney] That is, affectation and foppery will overspread the world.

IV.i.57 (228,2) [In this uncivil and unjust extent] Extent is, in law, a writ of execution, whereby goods are seized for the king. It is therefore taken here for violence in general.

IV.i.60 (228,3) [This ruffian hath botch'd up] I fancy it is only a coarse expression for made up, as a bad taylor is called a botcher. and to botch is to make clumsily.

IV.i.63 (229,4) [He started one poor heart of mine in thee] I know not whether here be not an ambiguity intended between heart and hart. The sense however is easy enough. He that offends thee attacks one of my hearts; or, as the antients expressed it, half my heart.

IV.i.64 (229,5) [What relish is this?] How does it taste? What judgment am I to make of it?

IV.ii.53 (231,9) [constant question] A settled, a determinate, a regular question.

IV.ii.68 (232,1) [Nay, I am for all waters] I rather think this expression borrowed from sportsmen, and relating to the qualifications of a complete spaniel.

IV.ii.99 (233,2) [They have here property'd me] They have taken possession of me as of a man unable to look to himself.

IV.ii.107 (233,3) [Maintain no words with him] Here the Clown in the dark acts two persons, and counterfeits, by variation of voice, a dialogue between himself and Sir Topas.—I Will, sir, I Will. is spoken after a pause, as if, in the mean time, Sir Topas had whispered.

IV.ii.121 (234,4) [tell me true, are you not mad, indeed, or do you but counterfeit?] If he was not mad, what did be counterfeit by declaring that he was not mad? The fool, who meant to insult him, I think, asks, are you mad, or do you but counterfeit? That is, you look like a madman, you talk like a madman: Is your madness real, or have you any secret design in it? This, to a man in poor Malvolio's state, was a severe taunt.

IV.ii.134 (234,5) [like to the old vice] Vice was the fool of the old moralities. Some traces of this character are still preserved in puppet-shows, and by country mummers.

IV.ii.141 (235.6)'Adieu, goodman devil] This last line has neither rhime nor meaning. I cannot but suspect that the fool translates Malvolio's name, and says,

Adieu, goodman mean-evil. (1773)

IV.iii.12 (236,8) [all instance, all discourse] Instance is example. (see 1765, II,433,9)

IV.iii.15 (236,9) [To any other trust] To any other belief, or confidence, to any other fixed opinion.

IV.iii.29 (236,1) [Whiles] Is until. This word is still so used in the northern counties. It is, I think, used in this sense in the preface to the Accidence.

IV.iii.33 (237,2) [And, having sworn truth, ever will be true] Truth is fidelity.

V.i.23 (238,3) [so that, conclusions to be as kisses, if your four negatives make your two affirmatives, why, then the worse for my friends, and the better for my foes] Though I do not discover much ratiocination in the Clown's discourse, yet, methinks, I can find some glimpse of a meaning in his observation, that the conclusion is as kisses. For, says he, if four negatives make two affirmatives, the conclusion is as kisses; that is, the conclusion follows by the conjunction of two negatives, which, by kissing and embracing, coalesce into one, and make an affirmative. What the four negatives are I do not know. I read, So that conclusions be as kisses.

V.i.42 (239,4) [bells of St. Bennet] When in this play he mentioned the bed of Ware, he recollected that the scene was in Illyria, and added in England; but his sense of the same impropriety could not restrain him from the bells of St. Bennet.

V.i.67 (240,5) [desperate of shame, and state] Unattentive to his character or his condition, like a desperate man.

V.i.112 (241,5) [as fat and fulsome] [W: flat] Fat means dull; so we say a fatheaded fellow; fat likewise means gross, and is sometimes used for obscene; and fat is more congruent to fulsome than flat.

V.i.168 (244,7) [case] Case is a word used contemptuously for skin. We yet talk of a fox case, meaning the stuffed skin of a fox.

V.i.204 (246,9) [A natural perspective] A perspective seems to be taken for shows exhibited through a glass with such lights as make the pictures appear really protruberant. The Duke therefore says, that nature has here exhibited such a show, where shadows seem realities; where that which is not appears like that which is.

V.i.306 (249,3) [but to read his right wits, is to read thus] Perhaps so,—but to read his wits right is to read thus. To represent his present state of mind, is to read a madman's letter, as I now do, like a madman. (1773)

V.i.326 (249,4) [One day shall crown the alliance on't, so please you] [Revisal: an't so] This is well conjectured; but on't may relate to the double character of sister and wife. (1773)

V.i.347 (250,5) [to frown Upon sir Toby, and the lighter people] People of less dignity or importance.

V.i.351 (250,6) [geck] A fool.

(253) General Observation. This play is in the graver part elegant and easy, and in some of the lighter scenes exquisitely humorous. Ague—cheek is drawn with great propriety, but his character is, in a great measure, that of natural fatuity, and is therefore not the proper prey of a satirist. The soliloquy of Malvolio is truly comic; he is betrayed to ridicule merely by his pride. The marriage of Olivia, and the succeeding perplexity, though well enough contrived to divert on the stage, wants credibility, and fails to produce the proper instruction required in the drama, as it exhibits no just picture of life.


(257,1) The story of this play is taken from the Pleasaunt History of Dorastus and Fawnia, written by Robert Greene. (1773)

I.i.9 (258,2) [Wherein our entertainment shall shame us, we will be justified in our loves] Though we cannot give you equal entertainment, yet the consciousness of our good-will shall justify us.

I.i.30 (258,3) [royally attornied] Nobly supplied by substitution of embassies, &c.

l.i.43 (259,4) [physicks the subject] Affords a cordial to the state; has the power of assuaging the sense of misery.

I.ii.13 (259,5) [that may blow No sneaping rinds] That may blow is a Gallicism, for may there blow. (1773)

I.ii.31 (261,6) [All in Bohemia's well: this satisfaction The bygone day proclaim'd] We had satisfactory accounts yesterday of the state of Bohemia. (1773)

I.ii.123 (266,6) [We must be neat] Leontes, seeing his son's nose smutched, cries, We must be neat, then recollecting that neat is the term for horned cattle, he says, not neat, but cleanly.

I.ii.125 (266,7) [Still virginalling] Still playing with her fingers, as a girl playing on the virginals.

I.ii.132 (266,8) [As o'er-dy'd blacks] Sir T. Hammer understands, blacks died too much, and therefore rotten.

I.ii.136 (267,9) [welkin-eye] Blue eye; an eye of the same colour with the welkin, or sky.

I.ii.139 (267,2) [Thou dost make possible things not so held] i.e. thou dost make those things possible, which are conceived to be impossible. (1773)

I.ii.161,3 (268,3) [will you take eggs for mony?] This seems to be a proverbial expression, used when a man sees himself wronged and makes no resistance. Its original, or precise meaning, I cannot find, but I believe it means, will you be a cuckold for hire. The cuckow is reported to lay her eggs in another bird's nest; he therefore that has eggs laid in his nest, is said to be cocullatus, cuckow'd, or cuckold.

I.ii.163 (268,4) [happy man be his dole!] May his dole or share in life be to be a happy man.

I.ii.176 (269,5) [he's Appareat to my heart] That is, heir apparent.or the next claimant.

I.ii.186 (269,6) [a fork'd one] That is, a horned one; a cuckold.

I.ii.217 (270,9) [whispering, rounding] To round in the ear, is to whisper, or to tell secretly. The expression is very copiously explained by H. Casaubon, in his book de Ling. Sax.

I.ii.227 (271,1) [lower messes] Mess is a contraction of Master, as Mess John. Master John; an appellation used by the Scots, to those who have taken their academical degree. Lower Messes, therefore are graduates of a lower form.

The speaker is now mentioning gradations of understanding, and not of rank, (see 1765, II,244,9)

I.ii.260 (372,2) [Whereof the execution did cry out Against the nonperformance] This is one of the expressions by which Shakespeare too frequently clouds his meaning. This sounding phrase means, I think, no more than a thing necessary to be done. [Revisal; the now-performance] I do not see that this attempt does any thing more, than produce a harsher word without on easier sense, (see 1765, II,245,1)

I.ii.320 (275,5) [But with a ling'ring dram, that should not work, Maliciously, like poison] [Hammer: Like a malicious poison] Rash is hasty, as in another place, rash gunpowder. Maliciously is malignantly, with effects openly hurtful. Shakespeare had no thought of betraying the user. The Oxford emendation is harmless and useless.

1.ii.321 (275,6)

[But I cannot Believe this crack to be in my dread mistress, So sovereignly being honourable. Leo. I have lov'd thee—Make that thy question, and go rot!]

[Theobald had emended the text to give the words "I have lov'd thee" to Leontes] I have admitted this alteration, as Dr. Warburton has done, but am not convinced that it is necessary. Camillo, desirous to defend the queen, and willing to secure credit to his apology, begins, by telling the king that he has loved him, is about to give instances of his love, and to infer from them his present zeal, when he is interrupted.

I.ii.394 (278,7) [In whose success we are gentle] I know not whether success here does not mean succession.

I.ii.424 (279,1) [Cam. Swear this thought over By each particular star in heaven] [T: this though] Swear his thought over

May however perhaps mean, overswear his present persuasion, that is, endeavour to overcome his opinion, by swearing oaths numerous as the stars. (1773)

I.ii.458 (281,3) [Good expedition be my friend, and comfort The gracious queen] [W: queen's] Dr. Warburton's conjecture is, I think, just; but what shall be done with the following words, of which I can make nothing? Perhaps the line which connected them to the rest, is lost.

and comfort The gracious queen, part of his theme, but nothing Of his ill-ta'en suspicion!

Jealousy is a passion compounded of love and suspicion, this passion is the theme or subject of the king's thoughts.—Polixenes, perhaps, wishes the queen, for her comfort, so much of that theme or subject as is good, but deprecates that which causes misery. May part of the king's present sentiments comfort the queen, but away with his suspicion. This is such meaning as can be picked out. (1773)

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