Sidor som bilder

One out of suits with fortune, I believe means turned out of her service, and stripped of her livery. STEEVENS.

Line 427. Is but a quintain, a mere lifeless block.] The quintaine was a stake driven into a field, upon which were hung a shield and other trophies of war, at which they shot, darted, or rode, with a lance. When the shield and the trophies were all thrown down, the quintaine remained.


Line 443. the Duke's condition,] The word condition means character, temper, disposition. So Anthonio, the merchant of Venice, is called by his friend the best conditioned man. JOHNS.


Line 499. By this kind of chase,] That is, by this way of fol lowing the argument. Dear is used by Shakspeare in a double sense, for beloved, and for hurtful, hated, baleful. Both senses are authorised, and both drawn from etymology, but properly beloved is dear, and hateful is dere. Rosalind uses dearly in the good, and Celia in the bad sense. JOHNSON.

Line 555. And thou wilt show more bright, and seem more virtuous,] When she was seen alone, she would be more noted.


Line 597. -curtle-ax-] Or cutlace, a broad sword.


600. We'll have a swashing, &c.] i. e. We'll make a

good shew of valour. To swash, means to bully.


Line 14. Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,

Wears yet a precious jewel in his head:] It was the current opinion in Shakspeare's time, that in the head of an old toad was to be found a stone, or pearl, to which great virtues were ascribed. This stone has been often sought, but nothing has been found more than accidental or perhaps morbid indurations of the skull. JOHNSON.

Line 25. with forked heads- -] i. e. With arrows, points of which were barbed.

[blocks in formation]



him- -] To encounter him; to engage JOHNSON.


Line 84. -98.


Line 103.


the roynish clown,] Roynish means, paltry, scurvy. quail-] To quail, is to languish, to sink into de→


-0 you memory] Shakspeare often uses STEEVENS.

memory for memorial.

Line 107.

-so fond- -] i. e. So foolish.

108. The bony priser] In the former editions, The bonny priser-We should read, bony priser. For this wrestler is characterised for his strength and bulk, not for his gaiety or good humour.

So Milton,-" Giants of mighty bone."



Line 130. -diverted blood,] Blood turned out of the course

of nature.


Line 136. -and he that doth the ravens feed, &c.] See Luke xii. 6. 24.

Line 155. Even with the having:] Even with the promotion gained by service, is service extinguished. JOHNSON.


Line 181.

—yet I should bear no cross,] A cross was a piece

of money stamped with a cross. On this our author is perpetually


Line 217.



anight-] Means same as o'nights.
-batlet,] The instrument with which washers

beat their coarse clothes.


Line 221. -two cods,] For cods it would be more like sense to read peas, which having the shape of pearls, resembled the common presents of lovers. JOHNSON.

Peas-cods was the old term for peas, as they are brought to market, or, as Mr. Dance will have it, as the pea hangs upon the stalk. The ornament which was anciently worn called a peas-cod, was the resemblance of a pea half open, and rows of pearls within.

Line 224. —so is all nature in love, mortal in folly.] This expression I do not well understand. In the middle counties, mortal, from mort, a great quantity, is used as a particle of am

plification; as mortal tall, mortal little. Of this sense I believe Shakspeare takes advantage to produce one of his darling equivocations. Thus the meaning will be, so is all nature in love abounding in folly. JOHNSON.

Line 255.


And little recks-] i, e. Cares for.

And in my voice most welcome shall you be,] In my voice, as far as I have a voice or vote, as far as I have power to bid you welcome.


Line 332.


ducdame;] For ducdame Sir T. Hanmer very

acutely and judiciously reads, duc ad me, That is, bring him to me.


the first-born of Egypt.] A proverbial expres

Line 339.

sion for high-born persons.



Line 375. A motley fool; a miserable world!] A miserable world is a parenthetical exclamation, frequent among melancholy men, and natural to Jaques at the sight of a fool, or at the hearing JOHNSON.

of reflections on the fragility of life.

Line 408.


only suit;] Suit means petition, I believe, not

The poet meant a quibble.
Line 419.


If not, &c.] Unless men have the prudence not to appear touched with the sarcasms of a jester, they subject themselves to his power, and the wise man will have his folly anatomised, that is, dissected and laid open by the squandering glances or random shots of a fool. JOHNSON.

Line 431. As sensual as the brutish sting] Though the brutish sting is capable of a sense not inconvenient in this passage, yet as it is a harsh and unusual mode of speech, I should read the JOHNSON. his bravery-] Means, his gaudy apparel.

brutish sty. Line 445.

[blocks in formation]

Of bare distress hath ta’en from me the show
Of smooth civility;] We might read torn with more

elegance, but elegance alone will not justify alteration.


Line 495. And take upon command what help we have,] That is,

ask for what we can supply, and have it.


Line 529. Full of wise saws and modern instances,] It is remarkable that Shakspeare uses modern in the double sense that the Greeks used naivos, both for recens and absurdus. WARBURTON.

I am in doubt whether modern is in this place used for absurd: the meaning seems to be, that the justice is full of old sayings and late examples. JOHNSON.

Line 540. -Set down your venerable burden,] Is it not likely that Shakspeare had in his mind this line of the Metamorphoses?


Fert humeris, venerabile onus Cythereius heros.

Line 552.

Thy tooth is not so keen,


Because thou art not seen,] "Thou winter wind," says the Duke, thy rudeness gives the less pain, as thou art not seen, as thou art an enemy that dost not brave us with thy presence, and whose unkindness is therefore not aggravated by in"sult." JOHNSON.

Line 562. Though thou the waters warp,] The surface of waters, so long as they remain unfrozen, is apparently a perfect plain; whereas, when they are, this surface deviates from its exact flatness, or warps. This is remakable in small ponds, the surface of which, when frozen, forms a regular concave; the ice on the sides rising higher than in the middle. Dr. KENRICK.

To warp was probably, in Shakspeare's time, a colloquial word, which conveyed no distant allusion to any thing else, physical or medicinal. To warp is to turn, and to turn is to change: when milk is changed by curdling, we now say, it is turned: when water is changed or turned by frost, Shakspeare says, it is curdled. To be warped is only to be changed from its natural state.



Line 4. --an absent argument-] An argument is used for the contents of a book, thence Shakspeare considered it as meaning the subject, and then used it for subject in yet another sense.


Line 20. law phrase.

Make an extent upon his house and land:] This is a

Line 21. expediently,] That is, expeditiously.



Line 23. thrice crowned queen of night,] Alluding to the triple character of Proserpine, Cynthia, and Diana, given by some mythologists to the same goddess, and comprised in these memorial lines:

Terret, lustrat, agit, Proserpina, Luna, Diana,

Ima, superna, feras, sceptro, fulgore, sagittis. JOHNSON.

Line 31.


-unexpressive,] For inexpressible.


he, that hath learned no wit by nature nor art, may complain of good breeding, or comes of a very dull kindred.] I am in doubt whether the custom of the language in Shakspeare's time did not authorise this mode of speech, and make complain of good breeding the same with complain of the want of good breeding. In the last line of The Merchant of Venice we find that to fear the JOHNSON.

keeping is to fear the not keeping.

Line 59.

-like an ill-roasted egg,] Of this jest I do not JOHNSON.

fully comprehend the meaning.

Line 94. make incision in thee !] To make incision was a proverbial expression then in vogue, for, to make to understand. WARBURTON. Line 95. -thou art raw. v.] i. e. Thou art inexperienced. 104. bawd to a bell-wether;] Wether and ram had anciently the same meaning.


Line 122. ―rate to market,] Sir T. Hanmer reads rate, instead of rank, to market, as in the old copies.

Line 152. That shall civil sayings show.] Civil is here used in the same sense as when we say civil wisdom or civil life, in op, position to a solitary state, or to the state of nature. This desert shall not appear unpeopled, for every tree shall teach the maxims or incidents of social life. JOHNSON.

Line 165. Therefore heaven nature charg'd---] From the picture of Apelles, or the accomplishments of Pandora. JOHNSON.

Line 171. Atalanta's better part; ] I know not well what could be the better part of Atalanta here ascribed to Rosalind. Of the

« FöregåendeFortsätt »