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ACT I. SCENE III.
-affin'd-] i. e. affianced.
Thy latest words.] Nestor applies the words to an-
Line 500. by the brize,] The brize is the gadfly. —503. And flies fled under shade,] i.e. And flies are fled under shade. MALONE. Line 503. -the thing of courage,] It is said of the tiger, that in storms and high winds he rages and roars most furiously.
Line 507. Returns to chiding fortune.] For returns, Hanmer reads replies unnecessarily, the sense being the same. The folio and quarto have retires, corruptly. JOHNSON.
-speeches,-which were such,
As Agamemnon and the hand of Greece
Should hold up high in brass; and such again, As venerable Nestor, hatch'd in silver, Should with a bond of air (strong as the axle-tree On which heaven rides) knit all the Greekish cars To his experienc'd tongue,] Ulysses begins his oration with praising those who had spoken before him, and marks the characteristick excellencies of their different eloquence, strength, and sweetness, which he expresses by the different metals on which he recommends them to be engraven for the instruction of posterity. The speech of Agamemnon is such that it ought to be engraven in brass, and the tablet held up by him on the one side, and Greece on the other, to shew the union of their opinion. And Nestor ought to be exhibited in silver, uniting all his audience in one mind by his soft and gentle elocution. Brass is the common emblem of strength, and silver of gentleness. We call a soft voice a silver voice, and a persuasive tongue a silver tongue.- -I once read for hand, the band of Greece, but I think the text right. To hatch is a term of art for a particular method of engraving. Hatcher, to cut, Fr.
Line 533. The specialty of rule-] The particular rights of supreme authority.
JOHNSON. Line 536. When that the general is not like the hive,] The meaning is When the general is not to the army like the hive to the bees, the repository of the stock of every individual, that to which each particular resorts with whatever he has collected for the good of the whole, what honey is expected? what hope of advantage? The sense is clear, the expression is confused.
Line 540. The heavens themselves,] This illustration was probably derived from a passage in Hooker: "If celestial spheres "should forget their wonted motion; if the prince of the lights "of heaven should begin to stand; if the moon should wander " from her beaten way; and the seasons of the year blend them"selves; what would become of man?”
The heavens themselves, the planets, and this center,] i. e. the center of the earth; which, according to the Ptolemaic system then in vogue, is the center of the solar system.
Mr. Mason is of opinion that Ulysses meant the earth itself; for according to the Ptolemaic system, the earth is the center round which the planets move.
-But, when the planets,
In evil mixture, to disorder wander, &c.] I believe the poet, according to astrological opinions, means, when the planets form malignant configurations, when their aspects are evil towards one another. This he terms evil mixture. JOHNSON.
The apparent irregular motions of the planets were supposed to portend some disasters to mankind; indeed the planets themselves were not thought formerly to be confined in any fixed orbits of their own, but to wander about ad libitum, as the etymology of their names demonstrates. ANONYMOUS.
-deracinate—] i. e. pluck up by the roots.
Line 560. brotherhoods in cities,] Corporations, com
Line 569. And make a sop of all this solid globe:] Thus in K. Lear,
"I'll make a sop o' the moonshine of you!"
-with a purpose
It hath to climb.] With a design in each man to aggrandize himself, by slighting his immediate superior.
ous and active, but malignant and sluggish.
JOHNSON. -bloodless emulation:] An emulation not vigorJOHNSON. Line 601. his airy fame,] Verbal eulogium; what our author, in Macbeth, has called mouth honour. MALONE. Line 609. Thy topless deputation-] Topless is that has nothing topping or overtopping it; supreme; sovereign. JOHNSON.
Line 613. 'Twixt his stretch'd footing and the scaffoldage,] The galleries of the theatre, in the time of our author, were sometimes termed the scaffolds. (See the account of the ancient Theatres, Vol. IX.) MALONE.
-as near as the extremest ends
Of parallels;] The parallels to which the allusion seems to be made are the parallels on a map. As like as East to West. JOHNSON.
All our abilities, gifts, natures, shapes,
our good grace exact, means of excellence irreprehensible. JOHNS. Line 641. to make paradoxes.] Paradoxes may have a meaning, but it is not clear and distinct. I wish the copies had given,
-to make parodies.
In such a rein,] That is, holds up his head as haughtily. We still say of a girl, she bridles.
Line 653. How rank soever rounded in with danger.] A rank weed is a high weed.
Line 660. and know, by measure
Of their observant toil, the enemies' weight,] I think it were better to read,
-and know the measure,
By their observant toil, of th' enemies' weight. JOHNS. Line 683. A stranger to those most imperial looks-] And yet this was the seventh year of the war. Shakspeare, who so wonderfully preserves character, usually confounds the customs of all nations, and probably supposed that the ancients (like the heroes of chivalry) fought with beavers to their helmets. STEEVENS.
Line 731. -long continu'd truce-] Of this long truce there has been no notice taken; in this very act it is said, that Ajax coped Hector yesterday in the battle. JOHNSON.
Line 738. fession.
more than in confession,] Confession, for proWARBURTON.
Line 739. -to her own lips he loves,] That is, confession made with idle vows to the lips of her whom he loves. JOHNSON. Line 766. And in my vantbrace-] An armour for the arm, avantbras. POPE. Line 784. Be you my time &c.] i. e. be you to my present purpose what time is in respect of all other schemes, viz. a ripener and bringer of them to maturity. STEEVENS. nursery-] Alluding to a plantation called a
Line 797. The purpose is perspicuous even as substance, Whose grossness little characters sum up:] That is, the purpose is as plain as body or substance; and though I have collected this purpose from many minute particulars, as a gross body is made up of small insensible parts, yet the result is as clear and certain as a body thus made up is palpable and visible. This is the thought, though a little obscured in the conciseness of the expression. WARBURTON.
Line 800. And, in the publication, make no strain,] Nestor goes on to say, make no difficulty, no doubt, when this duel comes to be proclaimed, but that Achilles, dull as he is, will discover the drift of it. THEOBALD.
Line 817. scantling-] That is, a measure, proportion. The carpenter cuts his wood to a certain scantling.
small pricks-] Small points compared with
JOHNSON. Indexes were in Shakspeare's time often prefixed to books.
Line 854. The sort--] i. e. the lot.
870. Must tarre the mastiffs on,] Tarre an old English word signifying to provoke or urge on. See King John, Act 4.
-like a dog
Snatch at his master that doth tar him on.
ACT II. SCENE I.
Line 13. The plague of Greece-] Alluding perhaps to the plague sent by Apollo on the Grecian army. JOHNSON.
Line 15. Speak then, thou unsalted leaven, speak:] Unsalted leaven means sour without salt, malignity without wit. Shakspeare wrote first unsalted; but recollecting that want of salt was no fault in leaven, changed it to vinew'd. JOHNSON.
The want of salt is no fault in leaven; but leaven without the addition of salt will not make good bread: hence Shakspeare used it as a term of reproach. MALONE.
Line 31. —in Greece.] The quarto adds these words, when thou art forth in the incursions, thou strikest as slow as another.
Line 37. -ay, that thou barkest at him.] I read, O that thou barkedst at him. JOHNSON. Line 41. Cobloaf!] A Cob-loaf, says Minshieu," is a bunne." MALONE.
-pun thee into shivers] Pun is in the midland counties the vulgar and colloquial word for pound. JOHNSON. Line 46. Thou stool for a witch!] In one way of trying a witch they used to place her on a chair or stool, with her legs tied across, that all the weight of her body might rest upon her seat; and by that means, after some time, the circulation of the blood would be much stopped, and her sitting would be as painful as the wooden horse. Dr. GREY. Line 48. -an assinego-] It is difficult to ascertain the