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Shakspere has the same allusion in Cymbeline :

in-senseless bauble, “ Art thou a feodarie for this act?" Again, in the prologue to Marston's Sophonisba, 1606:

"For seventeen kings were Carthage féodars." The old copy reads--thy weakness.


Which are as easy broke as they make forns.] Would it not be better to read, take forms.

JOHNSON. 692. In profiting by them, -] In imitating them, in taking them for examples. Johnson.

694. And credulous to false prints.] i. e. take any impression, i

WARBURTON. 705. -speak the former language.] Isabella answers to his circumlocutory courtship, that she has but one tongue, she does not understand this new phrase, and desires him to talk his former language, that is, to talk as he talked before. JOHNSON.

710. I know, your virtue hath a licence in't,] Alluding to the licences given by ministers to their spies, to go into all suspected companies, and join in the language of malecontents.

WARBURTON. 711. Which seems a little fouler, &c.] So, in Promos and Cassandra: 6 Cas. Renowned lord, you use this speech (I hope)

your thrall to trye, " If otherwise, my brother's life so deare I will not


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« Pro.

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Pro. Fair dame, my outward looks my inward

thoughts bewray, “ If you mistrust, to search my harte, would God you had a kaye.”

STEEVENS. 716. Seeming, seeming !-] Hypocrisy, hypocrisy; counterfeit virtue.

JOHNSON. 723. My vouch against you, -] I believe that vouch against means no more than denial. JOHNSON.

729. -and prolixious blushes,] The word prolixious is not peculiar to Shakspere. I find it in Moses, his Birth and Miracles, by Drayton :

“ Most part by water, more prolixious was,” &c. Again, in the Dedication to Gabriel Harvey's Hunt is Up, 1598:

-rarifier of prolixious rough barbarism,” &c. Again, in Nash's Lenten Stuff, &c. 1599: "_well known unto them by his prolixious sea-wandering,"

Steevens. 732. die the death,] This seems to be a solemn phrase for death inflicted by law. So, in Mid

r- Night's Dream:
Prepare to die the death."

It is a phrase taken from Scripture. Steevens.

The phrase is a good phrase, as Shallow says, but I do not conceive it to be either of legal or scriptural origin. Chaucer uses it frequently. See Cant. Tales, verse 607.

They were adradde of him, as of the deth.'

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verse 1222,

The deth he feleth thurgh his herte smite."

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It seems to have been originally a mistaken translation of the French La Mort.

TYRWHITT. 745. -prompture] Suggestion, temptation, instigation.

JOHNSON. 746. -such a mind of honour,] This, in Shakspere's language, may mean, such an honourable mind, as he uses elsewhere mind of love, for loving mind. Thus in Philaster :

I had thought, thy mind “ Had been of honour."


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absolute for death; -] Be determined to die, without any hope of life, -The hour, which exceeds expellation, will be wel

JOHNSON. 8. That none but fools would keep :-] The meaning seems this, that none but fools would wish to keep life ; or, none but fools would keep it, if choice were allowed. A sense, which whether true or not, is certainly innocent.

JOHNSON. Keep, in this place, I believe, may not signify preo serve, but care for. “No lenger for to liven I ne kepe," says Æneas in Chaucer's Dido, Queen of Cara


old f orde maad thic


thage ; and elsewhere, “ That I kepe not hearsed be:"?
3. e, which I care not to have rehearsed.
Again, in the Knight's Tale, late edit. ver. 2240 :

I kepe nought of armes for to yelpe."
Again, in a Mery Feste of a Man called Howleglasy
bl, let, no date :

Then the parson bad him remember that he had a soule for to kepe, and he preached and teached to him the use of confession," &c.

See the Glossary to the late edit. of the Canterbury
Tales of Chaucer, v. kepe.

-a breath thou art,
Servile to all the skiey influencés
That do this habitation, where thou keep'sty

Hourly aflict :-] The editors have changed [dost] to [do] without necessity or authority. The construction is not " the skiey influences, that do,"

a breath thou art, that dost," &c. If the second line be enclosed in a parenthesis, all the difficulty will vanish.

PORSON. io. That do this habitation,-) This reading is. substituted by Sir Thomas Hanmer, for That dost

JOHNSON, 11. merely, thou art death's fool;

For him thou labour'st by thy flight to shun,

And yet runnest toward him still : -] In those old farces called Moralities, the fool of the piece, in order to shew the inevitable approaches of death, is made to employ all his stratagems to avoid him; which, as the matter is ordered, bring the fool at


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every turn, into his very jaws. So that the repre. sentation of these scenes would afford a great deal of good marth and morals mized together. And from such circumstances, in the genius of our ancestors publick diversions, I suppose it was, that the old proverb arose, of being merry and wisz.

Such another expression as death's fool, occurs in
The Honest Lawyer, a comedy by S. S. 1616:

“ Wilt thou be a fool of fate? who can
“ Prevent the destiny decreed for man?"

STEEVENS. It is observed by the editor of The Sad Shepherd, 8vo. 1983, p. 154, that the initial letter of Stow's Survey, contains a representation of a struggle between Death and the Fool; the figures of which were most probably copied from those characters as formerly exhibited on the stage.

REED. 15. Are nurs’d by baseness ;-] Shakspere meant to observe, that a minute analysis of life at once destroys that splendour which dazzles the imagination. Whatever grandeur can display, or luxury enjoy, is procured by baseness, by offices of which the mind shrinks from the contemplation. All the delicacies of the table may be traced back to the shambles and the dunghill, all magnificence of building was hewn from the quarry, and all the pomp of ornament dug from among the damps and darkness of the mine.

JOHNSON. This is a thought which Shakspere delights to express.


he has

Shale tpestre

Pents point a


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