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him with our pikes and partizans a grave." Cymbeline, Act iv. Sc. 2.
Sc. 7. p. 518.
ENO. Drink thou; increase the reels.
Here is some corruption, and unless it was originally revels, the sense is irretrievable. In all events Mr. Steevens has erred in saying that "reel was not in our author's time, employed to signify a dance." The following passage in a book with which the learned editor was well acquainted, and which had escaped his excellent
memory, proves the contrary. Agnis Tompson was after brought againe before the king's majestie and confessed that upon the night of Allhollon even last, she was accompanied with a great many witches to the number of two hun. dreth; and that all they together went by sea each one in a riddle or cive, and went in the same very substantially with flaggons of wine making merrie and drinking by the waye in the same riddles or cives, to the kerke of North Barrick in Lowthian, and that after they had landed, tooke hands on the land, and daunced this reill or short daunce, singing all with one voice,
«Commer goe ye before, commer goe ye,
Gif ye will not goe before, commer let me."
At which time she confessed, that Geilles Duncane did goe before them playing this reill or daunce upon a small trump, call a Jewes trump, untill they entered into the kerk of North Barrick." Newes from Scotland declaring the damnable life and death of doctor Fian, a notable sorcerer, who was burned at Edenbrough in January last, 1591, sign. Biij.
Scene 6. Page 543.
The wife of Antony
Should have an army for an usher.
An usher is a person who introduces others ceremoniously, though originally a door-keeper, from the French huissier, and that from huis, ostium. This is no otherwise worth the mention, than to mark the corrupt orthography of the word, which ought to be written husher. Thus Spenser,
"A gentle husher, vanitie by name,
Made roome, and passage for them did prepare."
Cavendish the servant of Cardinal Wolsey,
speaking of his master's arrest by the Earl of
Northumberland, says, "he toke the Earle by the hande, and led him in to his bed-chamber. And they being there all alone, save onely I who kept the dore according to my dutye, being gen tleman ussher, &c." Life of Wolsey, MS.
Mr. Steevens, in claiming the merit of this necessary change from ostentation, had forgotten that it had been already made by Sir Thomas Hanmer.
Sc. 6. p. 544.
Which soon he granted,
Being an obstruct 'tween his lust and him.
The change was made by Dr. Warburton from abstract, which he declares to be absurd; but, as an eminent critic has remarked, it has been made very unnecessarily. The canon somewhere laid down, viz. that where the old text is capable of a meaning, no alteration should be hazarded, ought to have been observed in this instance. The sense is obviously, "Octavia drew
away or abstracted Cleopatra from Antony," and she might therefore be very properly called in Shakspeare's bold language, an abstract.
Another reason for retaining the old reading is, that, generally speaking, Dr. Warburton's
emendations are inadmissible.
Sc. 11. p. 587.
ANT. If from the field I shall return once more
The word nice, sometimes used by Shakspeare in a sense bordering on that of amorous or wanton, seems in the present instance to have precisely that meaning. Antony says that his former luxurious hours with Cleopatra were fortunate to those who asked his favours, but that now he will appear in blood. The historian Stowe, in re cording an accident that happened to one Mary Breame in the year 1583, says that she "had beene accused by her husband to bee a nice woman of her body." We have also an old play entitled The nice wanton.
Sc. 11. p. 589.
and in that mood,
The dove will peck the estridge.
i. e. the falcon. See the note in vol. i. p. 435, &c.
In the old copy sleep. The alteration is by Mr. Steevens, and, as he says, for the sake of measure; but that was already complete. The harmony is certainly improved, as the accent is to be laid on to in the ensuing line.
Sc. 12. p. 624.
ANT. My good knave, Eros, now thy captain is
Yet cannot hold this visible shape, my knave.
Pack'd cards with Cæsar, and false play'd my glory