« PreviousContinue »
1 50 fa
limit it to
to him. He concludes with-Take thy commission.
STEEVENS If a full point be put after therefore, the Duke may be understood to speak of himself. Hold therefore, 1. e. Let me therefore hold, or stop. And the sense of the whole passage may be this : The Duke, who has begun an exhortation to Angelo, checks himself thus : “ But I am speaking to one, that can in him (in, or by himself) apprehend my part [all that I have to say]: I will therefore say no more [on that subject].” He then merely signifies to Angelo his appointment.
TYRWHITT. 48. first in question,
-] That is, first called for; first appointed.
We have with a leaven'd and prepared choice] Leaven'd choice is one of Shakspere's harsh metaphors. His train of ideas seems to be this: I have proceeded
you with choice mature, concocted, fermented, leavened. When bread is leavened, it is left to ferment : a leavened choice is therefore a choice not hasty, but considerate; not declared as soon as it fell into the imagination, but suffered to work long in the mind.
bring you something on the way.] ico accompany you part of your way.
69. -your scape is as mine own] That is, your amplitude of power.
JOHNSON 109. -in metre ?] In the primers, there are metrical graces, such as, I suppose, were used in Shakspere's time.
* * *
113. -despight of all controversy :) Satirically Insinuating, that the controversies about grace were so intricate and endless, that the disputants unsettled every thing but this, that grace was grace; which, however, in spite of controversy, still remained certain.
WARBURTON. I am in doubt whether Shakspère's thoughts reached 50 far into ecclesiastical disputes. Every commenta. tor is warped a little by the tract of his own profession. The question is, whether the second gentle. man has ever heard grace ? The first gentleman limits the question to grace in metre. Lucio enlarges it to grace in any form or language. The first gentleman, to go beyond him, says, or in any religion ; which Lucio allows, because the nature of things is unalterable; grace is as immutably grace, as his merry antagonist is a wicked villain. Difference in religion cannot make a grace not to be grace, a prayer not to be holy; as nothing can make a villain not to be a villain. This seems to be the meaning, such as it is.
JOHNSON. 116. there went but a pair of sheers between us.] We are both of the saine piece.
JOHNSON. So, in the Maid of the Mill, by Beaumont and Fletcher :“ There went but a pair of sheers and a bodkin between them."
STEEVENS. The same expression is likewise found in Marston's Malecontent, 1604: “ There goes but a pair of sheers be.
twixt an emperor and the son of a bagpiper; only the dying, dressing, pressing, and glossing, makes the difference."
MALONE. 123. pild, as thou art pild, for a French velvet.) The jest about the pile of a French velvet, alludes to the loss of hair in the French disease, a very frequent topick of our author's jocularity. Lucio, finding that the gentleman understands the distemper so well, and mentions it so feelingly, promises to remember to drink his health, but to forget to drink after him. It was the opinion of Shakspere's time, that the cup of an infected person was contagious. JOHNSON
The jest lies between the similar sound of the words pillid and pild. This I have elsewhere explained, under a passage in Henry VIII. “ Pill'd priest thou liest."
STEEVENS. 138. To three thousand dollars a year.] A quibble intended between dollars and dolours. HANMER. The same jest occurred before in the Tempest.
JOHNSON. 140. A French crown more.] Lucio means here not the piece of money so called, but that venereal scab, which among the surgeons is styled corona Veneris. To this, I think, our author likewise makes Quince allude in Midsummer Night's Dream: “ Some of your French crowns have no hair at all,
and then you will play bare-faced.” For where these eruptions are, the skull is carious, and the party becomes bald.
So, in the Return from Parnassus, 1606 :
“ I may chance, indeed, to give the world a bloody nose, but it shall hardly give me a crack'd crown, though it gives other poets French crowns."
Again, in the Dedication to Gabriel Harvey's Hunt is up, 1598:
-never metst with any requital, except it were some few French crownes, pil'd friers crownes," &c.
STEEVENS. 169. -what with the sweat,] This may allude to the sweating sickness, of which the memory was very fresh in the time of Shakspere: but more probably to the method of cure then used for the diseases contracted in brothels.
STEEVENS. 173. Enter Clown.] As this is the first Clown who makes his appearance in the plays of our author, it may not be amiss, from a passage in Tarlton's News put of Purgatory, to point out one of the ancient dresses appropriated to the character.
"I sawe one attired in russet, with a button'd cap on his head, a great bag by his side, and a strong bat in his hand; so artificially attired for a clown, as I began to call Tarlton's woonted shape to remembrance."
Whai has he done?
“ Chiron. Thou hast undone our mother.
Titus Andronicus. Again, in the Maid's Tragedy, act ii. Evadne, while undressing, says:
" I am soon undone, Dula answers,
And as soon done." Hence the name of Over-done, which Shakspere has appropriated to his bawd.
COLLINS. 177. --in a peculiar river] i.e. a river belonging to an individual; not publick property.
MALONE. 188. --shall all our houses of resort in the suburbs be pull'd down?] This will be understood from the Scotch law of James's time, concerning huires (whores): “ that comoun women be put at “the utmost endes of townes, quiere least perril of fire is." Hence Ursula the pig-woman, in Bartholomew-Fair : “I, I, gamesters, mock a plain, plump, soft wench of the suburbs, do!"
FARMER So, in the Malcontent, 1604, when Altofront dismisses the various characters at the end of the play to different destinations, he says to Macquerelle the bawd:
-thou unto the suburbs,"