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The green leaves quiver with the cooling wind,
and if the versification be a little formal, and the terminations monotonous, we must bear in mind that the lines were certainly written before he was well aware of the capabilities of our language. He had then only composed his “Venus and Adonis,” which is full of passages painting external nature.
Be cross with him; and I'll go fetch thy sons
Enter BASSIANUS and LAVINIA.
Tam. Saucy controller of my private steps !
Lav. Under your patience, gentle empress,
Bas. - Believe me, queen, your swart Cimmerians
Lav. And being intercepted in your sport,
7 Unfurnishid of her well-beseeming troop?] All the old copies, excepting the 4to, 1600, have our for “her.” In the next speech, the 4to, 1600, has “my private steps" for “our private steps," and “thy new-transformed limbs" for “his new-transformed limbs,” of the later impressions. The earliest copy appears to afford the better reading in these instances; but the corr. fo. 1632 supplies a farther emendation, viz. “ dine" for drive, which, considering the character of the speech, and the incidents of the fable, there is every reason to approve. The speculations upon the point have been numerous.
8 — your SWART Cimmerian] The two 4tos. have swarty. Shakespeare uses swart in “The Comedy of Errors," A. iii. sc. 2, in “King John," A. iii. sc. 1, Vol. iii. p. 155, and in “ Henry VI., Pt. I.," A. i. sc. 2, Vol. iii. p. 657. In this place alone in the tragedy before us it is spelt swarth. It is from the A. 8. sweart, and means inclining to black, dark, dusky.
9 Accompanied But with a barbarous Moor,] The folio, following the reading of the 4to, 1611, omits“ but;" it is found in the 4to, 1600.
Great reason that my noble lord be rated
Bas. The king, my brother, shall have note of this'.
Lar. Ay, for these slips have made him noted long, Good king! to be so mightily abus’d.
Tam. Why have I patience to endure all this??
Enter DEMETRIUS and CHIRON.
Tam. Have I not reason, think you, to look pale ?
1 The king, my brother, shall have NOTE of this.] It is “notice of this " in the 4tos, and folios; but the versification, as well as the corr. fo. 1632, detects the error, even if the next line did not come to our assistance :
“Ay, for these slips have made him noted long." 2 Why have I patience to endure all this?) So the second folio : the first folio and both the 4tos, make it merely an observation, “Why, I have patience," &c. which may be right. Tamora may say that she has patience, because she knows that her revenge is so near at hand.
3 - urchins,] i.e. Hedgehogs. The word “urchin " seems sometimes to have meant an evil spirit or fairy : see “ The Tempest," A. i. sc. 2, and “The Merry Wives of Windsor," A. iv. sc. 4.
• As any mortal, BARELY bearing it,] We cannot refuse the emendation here offered in the corr. 1632, viz. “ barely" for body: the line has always been given with this vulgarism,
“ As any mortal body hearing it;" which must be an error of the old printer : Tamora means, of course, that the bare hearing of the sound produced madness or death.
Unto the body of a dismal yew,
[Stabs BASSIANUS. Chi. And this for me, struck home to show my strength.
[Stabbing him likewise. Lav. Ay, come, Semiramis !—nay, barbarous Tamora ; For no name fits thy nature but thy own.
Tam. Give me thy poniard : you shall know, my boys,
Dem. Stay, madam! here is more belongs to her:
Chi. An if she do, I would I were an eunuch.
Tam. But when ye have the honey ye desire,
Chi. I warrant you, madam, we will make that sure.-
Lav. 0 Tamora! thou bear'st a woman's face,–
5 And with that painted shAPE SHE braves your MIGHT;] Here again is an emendation from the corr. fo. 1632 which must be admitted into the text: the reading bas always hitherto been
“And with that painted hope braves your mightiness ;" but what can be the meaning of “painted hope?” “painted shape" is intelligible, viz. the external form of loyalty and chastity. The verse is also overloaded by mightiness, when "might" is exactly fitted to the place.
6 – the honey ye desire,] “The honey we desire," in all the old copies previous to the folio, 1632.
To see her tears; but be your heart to them,
* Even at her teat] “At thy teat” in the old copies, but altered to “her teat” in the corr, fo. 1632 in consistency with the preceding line: “at the teat” would not have required change.
* To have his princely claws par'd all away.] In the 4tos. and folios we have paws, for “claws” of the corr, fo. 1632 : “claws” must be right, for the paws of the lion were not pared away, but his “claws.” Mr. Singer cannot decline this emendation, and acknowledges it. We are glad to give him credit for the admis. sion of the source of the improvement.
* Therefore, away, and use her as you will:) So the line is given in the corr. fo. 1632 with the two needless and redundant syllables, with her, after “away,” struck out. We may be sure that they were a corruption which had crept into the text; and in this play we have many examples of the same kind, which the old annotator has often left uncorrected.