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lible.] In the old editions generative. Lucio, perhaps, may mean," that though Angelo have the organs of generation, yet that he makes no more use of them, than if he were an inanimate puppet. But I rather think our author wrote, and he is a motion ungenerative, because Lucio again in this very scene says,―this ungenitured agent will unpeople the province with continency.
Line 437. —clack-dish.] The beggars, two or three centuries ago, used to proclaim their want by a wooden dish with a moveable cover, which they clacked to shew that their vessel was empty. This appears in a passage quoted on another occasion by Dr. Grey. STEEVENS.
-inward- -] i. e. Familiar.
446. - —the greater file of the subject-] The larger list, the greater number. JOHNSON. -too unhurtful an opposite.] Too weak an op
Line 493. laced mutton.
-eat mutton on Fridays.] A wench was called a THEOBALD.
Line 507. -mercy swear, and play the tyrant.] We say at present, Such a thing is enough to make a parson swear, i. e. deviate from a proper respect to decency, and the sanctity of his character. STEEVENS.
Line 578. Pattern in himself to know,
Grace to stand, and virtue go;] This passage is very obscure, nor can be cleared without a more licentious paraphrase than any reader may be willing to allow. He that bears the sword of heaven should be not less holy than severe: should be able to discover in himself a pattern of such grace as can avoid temptation, together with such virtue as dares venture abroad into the world without danger of seduction. STEEVENS.
How may likeness, made in crimes,
Draw with idle spiders' strings
Most pond'rous and substantial things!] i. e. How may the making it a practice of letting great rogues break through the laws with impunity, and hanging up little ones for the same crimes; draw away in time with idle spiders strings, (For no bet
ter do the cords of the law become, according to the old saying, Leges similes aranearum telis, to which the allusion is) justice and equity, the most ponderous and substantial bases and pillars of government. When justice on offenders is not done, law, government, and commerce, are overthrown.
SMITH. Line 595. So disguise shall, by the disguis'd,] So disguise shall, by means of a person disguised, return an injurious demand with a counterfeit person. JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE I..
Line 1. Take, oh take, &c.] This is part of a little song of Shakspeare's own writing, consisting of two stanzas, and so extremely sweet, that the reader won't be displeased to have the other.
Hide, oh, hide those hills of snow, Which thy frozen bosom bears, On whose tops, the pinks that grow, Are of those that April wears. But my poor heart first set free, Bound in those icy chains by thee. This song is entire in Beaumont's Bloody Brother, and in Shakspeare's poems. The latter stanza is omitted by Mariana, as not suiting a female character. THEOBALD.
Line 16. My mirth it much displeas'd, but pleas'd my woe.] Though the musick soothed my sorrows, it had no tendency to produce light merriment. JOHNSON. Line 25. Constantly] Certainly; without fluctuation of JOHNSON.
Line 32. -circummur'd with brick,] Circummur'd, walled round. He caused the doors to be mured and cased up.
Painter's Palace of Pleasure. JOHNSON. planched gate,] i. e. A gate made of boards. STEEVENS. There have I, &c.] In the old copy the lines stand
There have I made my promise, upon the
Heavy middle of the night, to call upon him. STEEVENS.
Line 44. In action of all precept,] i. e. Shewing the several turnings of the way with his hand; which action contained so many precepts, being given for my direction. WARBURTON.
Line 49. I have possess'd him,] I have made him clearly and strongly comprehend. JOHNSON.
Line 70. millions of false eyes
-] That is, eyes insidious
Line 73. ——contrarious questsning counter to each other.
Line 90. Doth flourish the deceit.] A metaphor taken from embroidery, where a coarse ground is filled up, and covered with figures of rich materials and elegant workmanship.
WARBURTON. Line 91. for yet our tythe's to sow.] We should read tilth, i. e. our tillage is to make. JOHNSON.
"His ships are yare, yours heavy."
-] Different reports, runJOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE II.
yare:] i. e. Handy, nimble. So in Antony
-a good turn.] i. e. A turn into the other
Line 160. -starkly- -] Stiffly. These two lines afford a very pleasing image. JOHNSON.
Line 179. Even with the stroke- -] Stroke is here put for the stroke of a pen or a line.
Line 182. To qualify] To temper, to moderate, as we say wine is qualified with water. JOHNSON.
-were he meal'd- -] Were he sprinkled; were he defiled. A figure of the same kind our author uses in Mac
The blood-bolter'd Banquo.
Line 190. 202.
French. So Othello:
unsisting i. e. Unfccling. JOHNSON. siege of justice,] i. e. Seat of justice. Siege,
-I fetch my birth "From men of royal siege.”
Line 205. Enter a Messenger.
Duke. This is his lordship's man.
Prov. And here comes Claudio's pardon.] When, immediately after the Duke had hinted his expectation of a pardon, the Provost sees the Messenger, he supposes the Duke to have known something, and changes his mind. Either reading may serve equally well. JOHNSON. Line 236. -a prisoner nine years old.] i. e. Having been nine years in confinement.
Line 250. --desperately mortal.] This expression is obscure. Sir Thomas Hanmer reads, mortally desperate. Mortally is in low conversation used in this sense, but I know not whether it was ever written. I am inclined to believe, that desperately mortal means desperately mischievous. Or desperately mortal may mean a man likely to die in a desperate state, without reflection or repentance. JOHNSON.
Line 282. -and tie the beard;] The Revisal recommends Mr. Simpson's emendation, die the beard, but the present reading may stand. I believe it was usual to tie up the beard before decollation, that it might escape the blow. Sir T. More is said to have been very careful about this ornament of his face. It should however be remembered, that it was the custom to die beards. In the Midsummer-Night's Dream, Bottom says,
"I will discharge it either in your straw-colour'd beard, "your orange-tawny beard, your purple in grain," &c.
A beard tied would give a very new air to that face, which had never been seen but with the beard loose, long, and squalid.
JOHNSON. Line 310. —nothing of what is writ.] We should readhere writ―the Duke pointing to the letter in his hand.
Line 311. -the unfolding star calls up the shepherd:] "The star, that bids the shepherd fold,
"Now to the top of heav'n doth hold." Milton's Comus.
ACT IV. SCENE III.
Line 323. First, here's young master Rash, &c.] This enumeration of the inhabitants of the prison affords a very striking view of the practices predominant in Shakspeare's age. Besides those whose follies are common to all times, we have four fighting men and a traveller. It is not unlikely that the originals of the pictures were .then known. JOHNSON.
Line 324. -a commodity of brown paper and old ginger,] Thus the old copy. The modern editors read, brown pepper. The following passage in Michaelmas Term, Com. 1607, will justify the original reading.
"I know some gentlemen in town have been glad, and are "glad at this time, to take up commodities in hawk's-hoods "and brown paper." STEEVENS.
-master Forthright-] Forthright, alluding to JOHNSON.
the line in which the thrust is made?
Line 336. and brave master Shoe-tie the great traveller,] As most of these are compound names, I suspect that this was originally written, master Shoe-tye (not Shooty). As he was a traveller, it is not unlikely that he might be solicitous about the minutiae of dress, and the epithet brave seems to countenance the supposition. STEEVENS. Line 338. -all great doers in our trade,] This phrase bears an indecent application. See note in Act 1. Sc. 2. Line 339. for the Lord's sake.] i. e. of their lives.
To beg for the rest
I rather think this expression intended to ridicule the puritans, whose turbulence and indecency often brought them to prison, and who considered themselves as suffering for religion.
It is not unlikely that men imprisoned for other crimes, might represent themselves, to casual enquirers, as suffering for puritanism, and that this might be the common cant of the prisons. In Donne's time, every prisoner was brought to jail by suretiship. JOHNSON.
Line 390. —to transport him- -] To remove him from one world to another. The French trepas affords a kindred sense.