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To let him there a month, behind the gest'
to let or hinder himself. The commission is given to Polixenes, to whom she is speaking, to let or hinder her husband.
WARBURTON " I'll give him my licence of absence, so as to obstruct or retard his departure for a month," &c. To let him, however, may be used as many other reflective verbs are by Shakspeare, for to let or hinder himself: then the meaning will be, « I'll give him my permission to tarry for a month," &c. Dr. Warburton and the subse. quent editors read, I think, without necessity, I'll give you my commission, &c. MALONE.
1- behind the gest -] Mr. Theobald says: he can neither trace, nor understand the phrase, and therefore thinks it should be jujt: But the word gest is right, and signifies a stage or journey. In the time of royal progresses the king's stages, as we may see by the journals of them in the herald's office, were called his gets; from the old French word gifte, diversorium. WARBURTON.
In Strype's Memorials of Archbishop Cranmer, p. 283.— The archbishop entreats Cecil, “ to let him have the new resolved upon gests, from that time to the end, that he might from time to time know where the king was.” Again, in Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, 1594:
• Caftile, and lovely Elinor with him,
“ Have in their gejts resolv'd for Oxford town.” Again, in The White Devil, or Vittoria Corombona, 1612 :
" Do, like the gests in the progress,
“ You know where you shall find me.” Steevens. Geffs, or rather gifts, from the Fr. gifte, (which signifies both a bed, and a lodging-place,) were the names of the houses or towns where the king or prince intended to lie every night during his PROGRESS. They were written in a scroll, and probably each of the royal attendants was furnished with a copy. MALONE.
3- yet, good-deed,] signifies indeed, in very deed, as ShakSpeare in another place expresses it. Good-deed is used in the fame sense by the Earl of Surry, Sir John Hayward, and Gascoigne.
Dr. Warburton would read-good heed,-meaning-take good heed. STBEVENS. The second folio readsgood heed, which, I believe, is right.
I love thee not a jar o'the clock 4 behind
No, madam, Her. Nay, but you will?
I may not, verily. Her. Verily! You put me off with limber vows: But I, Though you would seek to unsphere the stars with
oaths, Should yet say, Sir, no going. Verily, You shall not go; a lady's verily is As potent as a lord's. Will you go yet? Force me to keep you as a prisoner, Not like a guest; so you shall pay your fees, When you depart, and save your thanks. How fay
you? My prisoner? or my guest? by your dread verily, One of them you shall be. Pol.
Your guest then, madam: To be your prisoner, should import offending ;
4 ajar o'the clock -] A jar is, I believe, a single repetition of the noise made by the pendulum of a clock; what children call the ticking of it. So, in K, Richard II: “ My thoughts are minutes, and with fighs they jar."
STEEVENS. A jar perhaps means a minute, for I do not suppose that the ancient clocks ticked or noticed the seconds, See Holinshed's Defcription of England, p. 241, Tollet.
To jar certainly means to tick; as in T. Heywood's Troia Bric tannica, cant. IV. ft. 107; edit. 1609. “ He hears no waking, clocke, nor watch to jarre.” Holt White.
So, in The Spanish Tragedy, 1601:4" the owle shrieking, the toades croaking, the minutes jerring, and the clocke striking twelve."
To jar certaiv. ft. 107. "HOLT W
Which is for me less easy to commit,
Not your gaoler then,
3 boys; You were pretty lordings' then. . Pol.
We were, fair queen, Two lads, that thought there was no more behind, But such a day to-morrow as to-day, And to be boy eternal. Her. Was not my lord the verier wag o’the two? Pol. We were as twinn'd lambs, that did frisk
i'the sun, And bleat the one at the other: what we chang'd, Was innocence for innocence; we knew not The doctrine of ill-doing, no, nor dream'd6 That'any did: Had we pursued that life, And our weak spirits ne'er been higher rear'd With stronger blood, we thould have answer'd
heaven Boldly, Not guilty; the imposition clear’d, Hereditary ours,
5.- lordings - This diminutive of lord is often used by Chaucer. So, in the prologue to his Canterbury Tales, the host fays to the company, v. 790, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit: " Lordinges (quod he) now herkeneth for the beste." .
STEEVENS, The doctrine of ill-doing, no, nor dreamd - Doctrine is here used as a trifyllable. So children, tickling, and many others. The editor of the second folio inserted the word no, to supply a supposed defect in the metre, [-10, nor dream'd) and the interpolation was adopted in all the subsequent editions. MALONE.
I cannot suppose myself to be reading a verse, unless I adopt the emendation of the second folio. Steevens.
the imposition clear'd, Hereditary ourse] i. e. setting aside original fin; bating the im
By this we gather, You have tripp'd finĉe.
O my most sacred lady, Temptations have since then been born to us : for In those unfledg’d days was my wife a girl; . Your precious self had then not cross’d the eyes Of my young play-fellow.'
Grace to boot! .: Of this make no conclufion; lest you say, 8 Your queen and I are devils: Yet, go on; The offences we have made you do, we'll answer; • position from the offence of our first parents, we might have boldly protested our innocence to heaven. WARBURTON. 8. Grace to boot!
Of this make no conclufion; left you say, &c.] Polixenes had said, that since the time of childhood and innocence, temptations had grown to them; for that, in that interval, the two queens were become women. To each part of this obfervation the queen answers in order. To that of temptations the replies, Grace to boot ! 'i. ę. though temptations have grown up, yet I hope grace too has kept pace with them. Grace to boot, was a proverbial expression on these occafions. To the other part, she replies, as for our tempting you, pray take heed you draw no conclusion from thence, for that would be making your queen and me devils, &c. WARBURTON.
This explanation may be right; but I have no great faith in the existence of such a proverbial expression. Steevens.
She calls for Heaven's grace, to purify and vindicate her own character, and that of the wife of Polixenes, which might seem to be sullied by a species of argument that made them appear to have led their husbands into temptation.
Grace or Heaven help me!-Do not argue in that manner; do not draw any conelufion or inference from your, and your friend's, having, since those days of childhood and innocence, become ac: quainted with your queen and me; for, as you have said that in the period between childhood and the present time temptations have been born to you, and as in that interval you have become acquainted with us, the inference or insinuation would be ftrong against us, as your corrupters, and, “ by that kind of chafe, your queen and I would be devils. MALONE.
If you first finn'd with us, and that with us :*:*
At my request, he would not.
Never, but once, w Her. What? have I twice said well? when was't
before? I prythee, tell me: Cram us with praise, and make us As fat as tame things : One good deed, dying tongue
less, Slaughters a thousand, waiting upon that. Our praises are our wages: You may ride us, With one soft kiss, a thousand furlongs, ere With spur we heat an acre. But to the goal; My last good deed was, to entreat his stay; What was my first? it has an elder sister, Or I mistake you: 0, would her name were Grace!
* With Spur we heat an acre. But to the goal;-] Thus this passage has been always printed; whence it appears, that the editors did not take the poet's conceit. They imagined that, But to th' goal, meant, but to come to the purpose; but the sense is different, and plain enough when the line is pointed thus :
- ere With Spur we beat an acre, but to the goal, i. e. good usage will win us to any thing; but, with ill, we stop short, even there where both our interest and our inclination would otherwise have carried us. WARBURTON,
I havé followed the old copy, the pointing of which appears to afford as apt a meaning as that produced by the change recommended by Dr. Warburton. STEEVENS,