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nesses I believe he means experienced, accustomed ones, which are therefore less likely to err. STEEVENS. Line 451. Twenty-five years-] In former editions, thirtythree years.
'Tis impossible the poet could be so forgetful, as to design this number here and therefore I have ventured to alter it to twentyfive, upon a proof, that, I think, amounts to demonstration. The number, I presume, was at first wrote in figures, and, perhaps, blindly; and thence the mistake might arise. THEOBALD.
Line 456. and go with me ;] We should read, and gaude with me: i, e. rejoice, from the French gaudir. WARBURTON. The sense is clear enough without the alteration. STEEVENS. Line 457. After so long grief, such nativity!] We should surely read, After so long grief, such festivity!
Nativity lying so near, and the termination being the same of both words, the mistake was easy.
JOHNSON. Mr. Steevens is of opinion, nativity is the right reading, as she alludes to her sons.
Line 484. In this play we find more intricacy of plot than distinction of character; and our attention is less forcibly engaged, because we can guess in great measure how it will conclude. Yet the poet seems unwilling to part with his subject, even in the last and unnecessary scene, where the same mistakes are continued, till they have lost the power of affording any entertainment at all. STEEVENS.
END OF THE ANNOTATIONS ON THE COMEDY OF ERRORS,
ACT I. SCENE 1.
LINE 5. In my behaviour,] The word behaviour seems here to have a signification that I have never found in any other author. The king of France, says the envoy, thus speaks in my behaviour to the majesty of England; that is, the king of France speaks in the character which I here assume. I once thought that these two lines, in my behaviour, &c. had been uttered by the ambassador as part of his master's message, and that behaviour had meant the conduct of the king of France towards the king of England; but the ambassador's speech, as continued after the interruption, will not admit this meaning. JOHNSON,
Line 19. -control-] Opposition, from controller. JOHNS. 30. Be thou, as lightning-] The simile does not suit well: the lightning indeed appears before the thunder is heard, but the lightning is destructive, and the thunder innocent. JOHNSON.
Line 34. Sullen presage-] By the epithet sullen, which cannot be applied to a trumpet, it is plain, that our author's imagination had now suggested a new idea. It is as if he had said, be
a trumpet to alarm with our invasion, be a bird of ill omen to croak
out the prognostick of your own ruin. Line 58. and Philip, his bastard brother.] Holinshed says, that Richard I. had a natural son named Philip, who killed the viscount De Limoges to revenge the death of his father.
In expanding the character of the Bastard, Shakspeare seems to have proceeded on the following slight hint in the original play: "Next them, a bastard of the king's deceas'd,
"A hardie wild-head, rough, and venturous,"
Line 87. But whe'r-] i. e. whether.
98. He hath a trick of Cœur-de-lion's face,] Our author often uses this phrase, and generally in the sense of a peculiar air or cast of countenance or feature. MALONE. Line 140. This concludes,] This is a decisive argument. As your father, if he liked him, could not have been forced to resign him, so, not liking him, he is not at liberty to reject him. JOHNS.
Line 153. And I had his, sir Robert his, like him ;] This is obscure and ill expressed. The meaning is; If I had his shape-Sir Robert's-as he has.
Sir Robert his, for Sir Robert's, is agreeable to the practice of that time, when the 's added to the nominative was believed, I think erroneously, to be a contraction of his. JOHNSON.
-my face so thin,
That in mine ear I durst not stick a rose,
Lest men should say, Look where three-farthings goes!] The allusion is to a silver coin of three-farthings in the reign of Elizabeth which had the impression of a rose on one side, and being extremely thin was liable to be cracked; hence the humour of the passage.
Line 162. I would not be sir Nob-] Sir Nob is used contemptuously for sir Robert. MALONE.
Line 188. Madam, by chance, but not by truth; what though!] I am your grandson, madam, by chance, but not by honesty-what then? JOHNSON.
Line 190. Something about, a little from the right, &c.] This speech, composed of allusive and proverbial sentences, is obscure. I am, says the sprightly knight, your grandson, a little irregularly, but every man cannot get what he wishes the legal way. He that
dares not go about his designs by day, must make his motions in the night; he, to whom the door is shut, must climb the window, or leap the hatch. This, however, shall not depress me; for the world never enquires how any man got what he is known to possess, but allows that to have is to have however it was caught, and that he who wins, shot well, whatever was his skill, whether the arrow fell near the mark, or far off it. JOHNSON.
Line 191. In at the window, &c.] These expressions mean, to be born out of wedlock. STEEVENS.
Line 203. A foot of honour-] A step, un pas.
·209. 'Tis too respective, &c.] i. e. respectful. Now your traveller,] It is said in All's well that ends well, that a traveller is a good thing after dinner. In that age of newly excited curiosity, one of the entertainments at great tables seems to have been the discourse of a traveller. JOHNSON.
Line 211. He and his tooth-pick-] It has been already remarked, that to pick the tooth, and wear a piqued beard, were, in that time, marks of a man affecting foreign fashions. JOHNSON. Line 211. at my worship's mess;] Means that part of the table, where I, as a knight, shall be placed. MALONE. Line 214. My picked man of countries :] The word picked may not refer to the beard, but to the shoes, which were once worn of an immoderate length. STEEVENS.
Line 217. Like an ABC-book:] An ABC-book, or, as they spoke and wrote it, absey-book, is a catechism. JOHNSON.
Line 238. But who comes— -] Milton, in his tragedy, introduces Delilah with such an interrogatory exclamation. JOHNSON.
Line 240. To blow a horn-] He means, that a woman who travelled about like a post was likely to horn her husband. JOHNS. Line 253. James Gurney.] Our author found this name in perusing the history of King John, who, not long before his victory at Mirabeau, over the French, headed by young Arthur, seized the lands and castle of Hugh Gorney, near Butevant, in Normandy.
Line 260. Colbrand-] Colbrand was a Danish giant, whom Guy of Warwick discomfited in the presence of king Athelstan. The combat is very pompously described by Drayton in his Polyolbion. JOHNSON. Line 256. Philip?-sparrow] Dr. Grey observes, that Skel