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Ægle, Ariadne, and Antopia, were all at different times mistresses to Theseus. See Plutarch.
83. And never, since the middle summer's spring, &c.] There are not many passages in Shakspere which one can be certain he has borrowed from the ancients; but this is one of the few that, I think, will admit of no dispute. Our author's admirable description of the miseries of the country being plainly an imitation of that which Ovid draws, as consequent on the grief of Cerus for the loss of her daughter:
Nec scit adhuc ubi sit: terras tamen increpat omnes;
-Ergo illic sæva vertentia glebas
Sideraque; ventique nocent.
WARBURTON. By the middle summer's spring, our author seems to mean the beginning of middle or mid summer. Spring for beginning he uses again : Henry IV, Part II.
“ As flaws congeal'd in the spring of day." which expression has authority from the scripture, St. Luke, ch. i. v. 78. " whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us.".
Ovid had been translated by Golding :--the first four books in 1565, and all the rest, in a few years afterwards.
STEVENS. Dr. Warburton's reason for reading That instead of The, appears to be satisfactory, and authorized by the context. The middle summer's spring, is, I apprehend, the season when trees put forth their second, or as they are frequently called their midsummer shoots. Thus, Evelyn, in his Silva : “ Cut off all the side boughs, and especially at midsummer, if you spy them breaking out.” And, again, “ Where the rows and brush lie longer than midsummer, unbound, or made up, you endanger the loss of the second spring."
HENLEY. 85. paved fountain,----] A fountain laid round the edge with stone.
JOHNSON. Perhaps paved at the bottom. So, Lord Bacon in his Essay on Gardens : “ As for the other kind of fountaine, which we may call a bathing-poole, it may admit much curiosity and beauty. As that the bottom be finely paved . the sides likewise," &c.
STEEVENS. The epithet seems here intended to mean no more, than that the beds of these fountains were covered with pebbles, in opposition to those of the rushy brooks which are oozy. The same expression is used by Sylvester in a similar sense : By some cleare river's lillie-PAVED side.”
HENLEY. 89. -the winds, piping -] So, Milton :
" While rocking winds, are piping loud."
JOHNSON 02. -pelting river] Thus the quartos: the folio reads petty.
Shakspere has in Lear the same word, low pelting farms. The meaning is plainly, despicable, meang sorry, wretched; but as it is a 'word without any reasonable etymology, I should be glad to dismiss it for petty: yet it is 'undoubtedly right. We have "petty pelting officer, in Measure for Measure.”
JOHNSON So, in Gascoigne's Glass of Government, 1575: “ Doway is a pelting town pack'd full of poor
scholars." This word is always used as a term of contempt. So again, in Lylly's Midas, 1592 :
"-attire never tised but of old women and pelting priests."
STEEVENS 93. overborne their continents. ] Borne down the banks that contain them. So in Lear ?
close pent up guilts “ Rive your concealing continents !" JOHNSON
murrain flock :] The murrain is the plague in cattle. It is here used by Shakspere as an adjective; as a substantive by others :
"sends him as a murrain
Heywood's Silver Açe, 1613.
99. The nine men's morris is fill'd up with mud;] IA that part of Warwickshire where Shakspere was edu, cated, and the neighbouring parts of Northampton shire, the shepherds and other boys dig up the turf with their knives, to represent a sort of imperfect chess-board. It consists of a square, sometimes only a foot diameter, soinetimes' three or four yards. Within this is another square, every side of which is parallel to the external square; and these squares are joined by lines drawn from each corner of both squares, and the middle of each line. One party, or player, has wooden pegs, the other stones, which they move in such a manner as to take up each other's men as they are called, and the area of the inner square is called the Pound, in which the men taken up are impounded. These figures are by the country people called Nine Men's Morris, or Merrils, and are so called, because each party has nine men. These figures are always cut upon the green turf or leys, as they are called, or upon the grass at the end of ploughed lands, and in rainy seasons never fail to be choked up with mud.
JAMES. See Peck on Milton's Masque, 115, Vol. I. p. 135,
STEEVENS. Nine men's morris is a game still play'd by the shepherds, cowkeepers, &c. in the midland counties, as follows:
A figure is made on the ground (like this which I have drawn) by cutting out the turf; and two pera sons take each nine stones, which they place by turns
in the angles, and afterwards more alternately, as at chess or drafts. He who can place three in a strait Jine, may then take off any one of his adversary's where he pleases, till one, having lost all his men, loses the game.
In Cotgrave's Di&tionary, under the articles Merelles, is the following explanation. “Le Jeu des Merelles. The boyish gaine called Merils, or fivepenny morris; played here most commonly with stones, but in France with pawns, or men' made on purpose, and termed merelles.” The pawns or figures of men used in the game might originally be black, and hence called morris, pr merelles, as we yet term a black cherry a