Page images

Again, in Sir Arthur Gorges's translation of Lucan, 1614 :

“ Thus Cato spake, whose feeling words

“ Like pricking neelds, or points of swords," &c. Again, in Pericles Prince of Tyre, 1609: Deep clerks she dumbs, and with her neeld

composes “ Nature's own shape." Again, in Stanyhurst's Virgil, 1982:

"-On neeld-wrought carpets. The same ideas occur in Pericles Prince of Tyre, 1609 :

“ Would ever with Marina be:
“ Be't when they weav'd the sleded silk,
With fingers long, small, white as milk,
“ Or when she would with sharp neeld wound

“ The cambrick," &c. In the age of Shakspere many contractions were used. Ben Jonson has wher for whether in the prologue to his Sad Shepherd ; and in the earl of Sterline's Darius is sport for support, and twards for towards.

STEEVENS. 441. Ay, do, persever -] Persever is the reading of all the old copies. The word was formerly so pronounced. Thus our author in All's Well that End's Well, act iv.

-say thou art mine, and ever “ My love, as it begins, so shall persever." So, in Glapthorne's Argalus and Parthenia, 1639 :

[ocr errors]

“ – for

-for ever
“ May they in love and union still persever."

STEEVENS. 446. --such an argument.] Such a subjea of light merriment.

Johnson. So, in the first part of King Henry IV. act ii. “it would be argument for a week," &c.

STEEVENS. 455 than her weak prayers.] The old copies read: -than her weak praise.

STEEVENS. A modern editor very plausibly reads—than her weak prays. The using the verb as a substantive is much in our author's manner; and the transcriber's ear might have deceived him here as in many other places.

MALONE. 492. -you canker-blossom!] The canker-blossom is not in this place the blossom of the canker or wild Tose, which our author alludes to in Much Ado About Nothing, act i.

“ I had rather be a canker in a hedge

“ Than a rose in his grace ;" but a worm that preys on the leaves or buds of flowers, always beginning in the middle. So, in this play, act ii. “ Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds."

STEEVENS. 529. -how fond I am.] Fond, i. e. foolish.

STEEVENS. 543. You minimus,-) Shakspere might have given



" You Minim, you"i. e. You Diminutive of the creation, you reptile, as in Milton.

THEOBALD. 543. - of hind'ring knot-grass made;] It appears that knot-grass was anciently supposed to prevent the growth of any animal or child.

Beaumont and Fletcher mention this property of it in The Knight of the Burning Pestle :

• Should they put him into a straight pair of gaskins, 'twere worse than knot-grass, he would never grow after it."

Again, in The Coxcomb :

“ We want a boy extremely for this function, kept under, for a year, with milk and knot-grass." Daisyroots were supposed to have had the same effect.

That prince of verbose and pedantick coxcombs, Richard Tomlinson, apothecary, in his translation of Renodæus his Dispensatory, 1657, informs us that knotgrass “is a low reptant hearb, with exile, copious, nodose, and geniculated' branches.” Perhaps no hypochondriack is to be found who might not derive his cure from the perusal of any single chapter in this work.

STEEVENS. 550. Thou shalt aby it.] To aby is to pay dear for, to suffer. So, in the Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, 1601 :

“ Had I sword and buckler here,

“ You should aby these questions." The word has occured before in this play. Again, in The Pinner of Wakefield, 1599:

[ocr errors]

"_but thou shalt dear aby this blow."

STEVENS. The folio reads, -abide it.

MALONE. 561. I am amaz'd, and know not what to say.] This line is not in the folio.

MALONE. 563. thy knaveries willingly.] The quarto in 1600 reads wilfully.

STEEVENS, 569, -so sort,] So happen in the issue.

Johnson. So, in Monsieur D'Olive, 1606:

-never look to have any action sort to your honour."

STEEVENS, 584. -virtuous property,] Salutiferous. So he calls, in the Tempest, poisonous dew, wicked dew.

JOHNSON. 599. damned spirits all,

That in, cross-ways and floods have burial, ] i. e. The ghosts of self-murderers, who are buried in cross-roads; and of those who being drowned, were condemned (according to the opinion of the ancients) to wander for a hundred years, as the rites, of sepul. ture had never been regularly bestowed on their bodies. That the waters were sometimes the place of residence for damned spirits, we learn from the ancient bl. let. Romance of Syr Eglamoure of Artoys, no

date :

“ Let some preest a gospel saye

“ For doute of fendes in the flode.Steevens. The laying of ghosts in the red-sea is a circumstance sufficiently notorious, An account of the origin of


these notions may be seen in a note on the bishop of London's Lectures on the Hebrew Poetry, translated by Mr. Gregory.

HENLEY. 606. I with the morning's love have oft made sport ;] Thus all the old copies, and I think, rightly. Tithonus was the husband of Aurora, and Tithonus was no young deity. So, in The Fawne, by J. Marston, 1606:

Aurora yet keeps chaste old Tithan's bed;

" Yet blushes at it when she rises," Again, in Aurora, a collection of sonnets, by lord Sterline, 1604: “And why should Tithon thus, whose day grows

“ Enjoy the morning's love ?"
Again, in Spenser's Faery Queen, B. III. c. 3.

“ As faire Aurora rising hastily,
«Doth by her blushing tell that she did lye

“ All night in old Tithonus' frozen bed." Again, in the Faithful Shepherdess of Beaumont and Fletcher :

-0, lend me all thy red, “ Thou shame-fac'd morning, when from Ti.

thon's bed “ Thou risest ever-maiden!How such a waggish spirit as the King of the Fairies might make sport with an antiquated lover, or his mistress in his absence, may be easily understood. Dr. Johnson reads with all the modern editors, “I with the morning light," &c.


« PreviousContinue »