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To make him curse this cursed crimeful night:
And the dire thought of his committed evil
Disturb his hours of rest with restless trances,
And let mild women to him lose their mildness,
Let him have time to tear his curled hair,
7 Shape every BUSH a hideous shapeless devil.] So, in A Midsummer Night's Dream :
“ How easy is a bush suppos'd a bear?” Again, in King Henry VI. Part III.:
“ The thief doth fear each bush an officer.” Steevens. 8 Let ghastly shadows his lewd eyes affright,
Disturb his hours of rest with restless trances, &c.] Here we find in embryo that scene of King Richard III, in which he is terrified by the ghosts of those whom he had slain. MALONE. 9- with harden'd hearts, harder than stones ;] So, in Othello:
“ my heart is turn'd to stone;
“ I strike it, and it hurts my hand.” Again, in Antony and Cleopatra :
throw my heart “ Against the flint and hardness of my fault, “Which, being dried with grief, will break to powder,
“ And finish all foul thoughts." Malone. "Let him have time to tear his curled hair, &c.] This now common fashion is always mentioned by Shakspeare as a distinguishing characteristick of a person of rank. So, in Othello:
“The wealthy curled darlings of our nation-" . Again, in Antony and Cleopatra :
“ If she first meet the curled Antony," This and the next stanza, and many other passages both of the present performance and Venus and Adonis, are inserted with very slight variations, in a poem entitled Acolastus his After-witte, by
Let him have time to live a loathed slave,
And time to see one that by alms doth live,
Let him have time to see his friends his foes,
And ever let his unrecalling crime 2
O Time, thou tutor both to good and bad,
spill: For who so base would such an office have As slanderous death's-man to so base a slave 3 ?
S. Nicholson, 1600; a circumstance which I should hardly have thought worth mentioning, but that in the same poem is also found a line taken from The Third Part of Henry VI. and a passage evidently copied from Hamlet ; from whence we may, I think, conclude with certainty, that there was an edition of that tragedy (probably before it was enlarged) of an earlier date than any yet discovered. Malone.
Surely a passage short as the first of these referred to, might have been carried away from the play-house by an auditor of the weakest memory. Of Hamlet's address to the ghost, the idea, not the language, is preserved. Either of them, however, might have been caught during representation. Steevens.
? And ever let his UNRECALLING CRIME -] His crime which cannot be unacted. Unrecalling for unrecalled, or rather for unrecallable. This licentious use of the participle is common in the writings of our author and his contemporaries.
The edition of 1616, which has been followed by all subsequent, reads-his unrecalling time. Malone.
3 As slanderous DEATH'S-MAN to so base a slave?] i. e. executioner. So, in one of our author's plays (Lear vol. x. p. 239]:
The baser is he, coming from a king,
The moon being clouded presently is miss'd,
The crow may bathe his coal-black wings in mire,
Out, idle words ", servants to shallow fools !
For me, I force not argument a strawo,
my casot argum hediato
“ — he's dead; I am only sorry
“ He had no other death's-man." STEEVENS. 4- Sightless night,-) So, in King John :
“ thou and eyeless night
“ Have done me shame." STEEVENS. s Out, idle words,-) Thus the quarto. The octavo 1607, has our idle words, which has been followed by that of 1616. Dr. Sewell reads without authority: 0, idle words. Out is an exclamation of abhorrence or contempt yet used in the north.
For me, I PORCE not argument a straw,] I do not value or esteem argument. So, in The Tragicall Hystory of Romeus and Juliet, 1562:
“ But when he, many monthes, hopeless of his recure, “ Had served her, who forced not what paynes he did endure-." Again, in Love's Labour's Lost:
"Your oath broke once, you force not to forswear.” Malone.
In vain I rail at opportunity,
The remedy indeed to do me good,
Poor hand, why quiver'st thou at this decree ?
And wast afear’d to scratch her wicked foe,
This said, from her be-tumbled couch she starteth,
As smoke from Ætna, that in air consumes,
In vain, quoth she, I live, and seek in vain
So am I now :-O no, that cannot be ;
7 At time, at Tarquin, and UNCHEERPUL night;] The octavo 1607, and all the subsequent copies, have—unsearch ful night. Uncheerful is the reading of the quarto 1594. MALONE. 8 This helpless SMOKE OF WORDS —] So, in King John :'
“ They shoot but calm words folded up in smoke."
O! that is gone,' for which I sought to live,
Poor helpless help, the treasure stol'n away,
Well, well, dear Collatine, thou shalt not know
Nor shall he smile at thee in secret thought,
And with my trespass never will dispense,
I will not poison thee with my attaint,
9 A BADGE of fame to slander's LIVERY ;7 In our author's time the servants of the nobility all wore silver badges on their liveries, on which the arms of their masters were engraved.
MALONE. 1 This bastard GRAFF shall never come to growth :] The edition of 1616, and all the moderns, have—This bastard grass.The true reading was supplied by the earliest copy. Malone.
This sentiment is adopted from the Wisdom of Soloman, ch. 4, v. 3: “ But the multiplying brood of the ungodly shall not thrive, nor take deep rooting from bastard slips, nor lay any fast foundation.” The same allusion is employed in one of our author's his. torical plays. STEEVENS.