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Of general wonder. But alack!
Which makes her both the heart and place
Which makes high both the art and place &c.
Of general wonder.] Such an education as rendered her the center and situation of general wonder. We still use the heart of oak for the central part of it, and the heart of the land in much such another sense. Shakspeare in Coriolanus says, that one of his ladies is" the spire and top of praise." STEEVENS.
So, in Twelfth-Night:
"I will on with my speech in your praise, and then show you the heart of my message.'
Again, in Antony and Cleopatra: the very heart of loss."
Again, in The Rape of Lucrece:
"On her bare breast, the heart of all her land.” Place here signifies residence. So, in A Lover's Complaint: "Love lack'd a dwelling, and made him her place." In this sense it was that Shakspeare, when he purchased his house at Stratford, called it The New Place. MALONE.
oft the wrack
Of earned praise,] Praise that has been well deserved. The same expression is found in the following lines, which our author has imitated in his Romeo and Juliet:
"How durst thou once attempt to touch the honor of his name?
"If we have unearned luck-." MALONE.
"Whose deadly foes do yeld him dew and earned praise." Tragicall Hystorie of Romeus and Juliet, 1562.5
So, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream:
And in this kind hath our Cleon
One daughter, and a wench full grown,] The old copy reads:
One daughter, and a full grown wench..
Even ripe for marriage fight; this maid
Would ever with Marina be:
Be't when she weav'd the sleided silk s
The rhyme shows evidently that it is corrupt. For the present regulation the reader is indebted to Mr. Steevens. MALONE. Even ripe for marriage fight;] The first quarto reads: Even right for marriage sight;
The quarto, 1619, and all the subsequent editions, have— Even ripe for marriage sight
Sight was clearly misprinted for fight. We had before in this play Cupid's wars. MALONE.
I would read:
Even ripe for marriage rites. PERCY.
Read fight; i. e. the combats of Venus; or night, which needs no explanation.
"Let heroes in the dusty field delight,
"Those limbs were fashion'd for a softer fight."
Dryden's version of Ovid's Epistle from Helen to Paris. STEEVENS.
Be't when she weav'd the sleided silk-] The old copies read:
or when to the lute
"She sung," &c. MALONE.
Be it when they wear'd &c.
But the context shows that she was the author's word. To have praised even the hands of Philoten would have been inconsistent with the general scheme of the present chorus. In all the other members of this sentence we find Marina alone mentioned: "Or when she would &c.
Sleided silk is untwisted silk, prepared to be used in the weaver's sley or slay. PERCY.
For a further explanation of sleided silk, see Vol. X. p. 112, n. 9; and Mr. Malone's edit. of our author, Vol. X. p. 353, n. 5.
With fingers, long, small, white &c.] So, in Twine's translation: "beautified with a white hand, and fingers long and slender."
Or when she would with sharp neeld wound'
Or when she would with sharp neeld wound-] All the copies read-with sharp needle wound; but the metre shows that we ought to read neeld. In a subsequent passage, in the first quarto, the word is abbreviated :
and with her neele composes."
So, in Stanyhurst's Virgil, 1582:
or when to the lute
She sung, and made the night-bird mute,
That still records with moan;] The first quarto reads:
That still records with moan;
for which in all the subsequent editions we find
There can, I think, be no doubt, that the author wrotenight-bird. Shakspeare has frequent allusions, in his works, to the nightingale. So, in his 101st Sonnet:
"As Philomel in summer's front doth sing, "And stops her pipe in growth of riper days, "Not that the summer is less pleasant now "Than when her mournful hymns did hush the night," &c. Again, in his Rape of Lucrece, 1594:
"And for, poor bird, thou sing'st not in the day, "As shaming anie eye should thee behold,-." So, Milton's Paradise Lost, Book IV:
These to their nests
"Were slunk; all but the wakeful nightingale; "She all night long her amorous descant sung. To record anciently signified to sing. So, in Sir Philip Sidney's Ourania, by N. B. [Nicholas Breton] 1606: "Recording songs unto the Deitie❞
See Vol. IV. p. 297, n. 7.-“ A bird (I am informed) is said to
Vail to her mistress Dian; still
This Philoten contends in skill
With absolute Marina: so
record, when he sings at first low to himself, before he becomes master of his song and ventures to sing out. The word is in constant use with bird-fanciers at this day." MALONE.
- with rich and constant pen
Vail to her mistress Dian;] To vail is to bow, to do homage. The author seems to mean-When she would compose supplicatory hymns to Diana, or verses expressive of her gratitude to Dionyza.
We might indeed read-Hail to her mistress Dian; i. e. salute her in verse. STEEVENS.
I strongly suspect that vail is a misprint. We might read: Wail to her mistress Dian.
i. e. compose elegies on the death of her mother, of which she had been apprized by her nurse, Lychorida.
That Dian, i. e. Diana, is the true reading, may, I think, be inferred from a passage in The Merchant of Venice; which may at the same time perhaps afford the best comment on that before
"Come, ho, and wake Diana with a hymn;
Again, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream:
"Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon."
With absolute Marina:] i. e. highly accomplished, perfect. So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
"He is an absolute master."
Again, in Green's Tu Quoque, 1614: "-from an absolute and most complete gentleman, to a most absurd, ridiculous, and fond lover." MALONE.
Vie feathers white.] See note on The Taming of a Shrew, Vol. IX. p. 89, n. 1. STEEVENS.
And not as given. This so darks
The dove of Paphos might with the crow
The sense requires a transposition of these words, and that we should read:
With the dove of Paphos might the crow
I have adopted Mr. M. Mason's judicious arrangement.
This so darks
In Philoten all graceful marks,] So, in Coriolanus:
"Shall darken him for ever."
66 You are darken'd in this action, sir,
"Even by your own." MALONE.
with envy rare,] Envy is frequently used by our ancient writers, in the sense of malice. See Vol. XVI. p. 301, n. 2. It is, however, I believe, here used in its common acceptation.
• The pregnant instrument of wrath-] Pregnant, in this instance, means prepared, instructed. It is used in a kindred sense in Measure for Measure. See Vol. VI. p. 191, n. 5.
Pregnant is ready. So, in Hamlet:
"And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee,—.”