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of Solon here alluded to is, that no man can be pronounced to be happy before his death.
Line 200. —don this robe,] i. e. do on this robe, put it on. STEEVENS. 334.changing piece-] Spoken of Lavinia. Piece was then, as it is now, used personally as a word of contempt.
Line 339. To ruffle in the commonwealth of Rome.] To ruffle meant, to be noisy, disorderly, turbulent. A ruffler was a boisterous swaggerer.
Line 369. I am not bid―] i. e. invited.
416. The Greeks, upon advice, did bury Ajax
Did graciously plead for his funeral.] This passage alone would sufficiently convince me, that the play before us was the work of one who was conversant with the Greek tragedies in their original language. We have here a plain allusion to the Ajax of Sophocles, of which no translation was extant in the time of Shakspeare. In that piece, Agamemnon consents at last to allow Ajax the rites of sepulture, and Ulysses is the pleader, whose arguments prevail in favour of his remains, STEEVENS.
ACT II. SCENE Į.
Line 1. In the quarto, the direction is, Manet Aaron, and be is before made to enter with Tamora, though he says nothing. This scene ought to continue the first act. JOHNSON. Line 10. Upon her wit-] We should read-Upon her will. WARBURTON.
I think wit, for which she is eminent in the drama, is right. JOHNSON.
Line 59. Not I; till I have sheath'd &c.] This speech, which has been all along given to Demetrius, as the next to Chiron, were both given to the wrong speaker; for it was Demetrius that had thrown out the reproachful speeches on the other.
Line 115. To square for this?] To square is to quarrel. So, in A Midsummer's-Night's Dream:
"But they do square."
Line 134. by kind-] That is, by nature, which is the old signification of kind. JOHNSON.
Line 141. -file our engines with advice,] i. e. remove all impediments from our designs by advice. The allusion is to the operation of the file, which, by conferring smoothness, facilitates the motion of the wheels which compose an engine or piece of machinery. STEEVENS.
Line 154. Per Styga, &c.] These scraps of Latin are, I believe, taken, though not exactly, from some of Seneca's tragedies. STEEVENS.
ACT II. SCENE II.
Scene II.] The division of this play into Acts, which was first made by the editors in 1623, is improper. There is here an interval of action, and here the second Act ought to have begun. JOHNSON. -the morn is bright and grey,] i. e. bright and yet not red, which was a sign of storms and rain, but gray, which foretold fair weather. WARBURTON.
ACT II. SCENE III.
Line 193. for their unrest,] Unrest, for disquict, is a word frequently used by the old writers. STEEVENS.
Line 194. That have their alms &c.] This is obscure. It seems to mean only, that they who are to come at this gold of the empress are to suffer by it. JOHNSON.
Line 252. Should drive upon thy new-transformed limbs,] Mr. Heath suspects that the poet wrote—
Should thrive upon thy new-transformed limbs,
as the former is an expression that suggests no image to the fancy. But drive, I think, may stand, with this meaning: the hounds should pass with impetuous haste, &c. So, in Hamlet:
Pyrrhus at Priam drives," &c.
i. e. flies with impetuosity at him.
swarth Cimmerian-] Swarth is black. The
Moor is called Cimmerian, from the affinity of blackness to darkJOHNSON. Line 274. made him noted long:] He had yet been married but one night. JOHNSON. Line 291.
urchins,] i. e. hedgehogs.
-294. Should straight fall mad, or else die suddenly.] This is said in fabulous physiology, of those that hear the groan of the mandrake torn up. JOHNSON. Line 321. And with that painted hope braces your mightiness:] Painted hope is only specious hope, or ground of confidence more plausible than solid. JOHNSON.
ACT II. SCENE IV.
Line 440. A precious ring,] There is supposed to be a gem called a carbuncle, which emits not reflected but native light. Mr. Boyle believes the reality of its existence. JOHNSON. timeless-] means untimely.
ACT II. SCENE V.
Line 549. If I do dream, 'would all my wealth would wake me!] If this be a dream, I would give all my possessions to be delivered from it by waking. JOHNSON. Line 565. -lest thou should'st detect him, &c.] Tereus 'having ravished Philomela, his wife's sister, cut out her tongue, to prevent a discovery. MALONE.
ACT III. SCENE I.
Line 73.in thy father's sight?] We should read-spight? WARBURTON.
I'll chop off my hands too;] Perhaps we should -or chop off &c.
read : It is not easy to discover how Titus, when he had chopped off one of his hands, would have been able to have chopped off the other. STEEVENS.
Line 89. 0, that delightful engine of her thoughts,] This piece furnishes scarce any resemblances to Shakspeare's works; this one expression, however, is found in his Venus and Adonis :
"Once more the engine of her thoughts began."
Line 99. It was my deer ;] The play upon deer and dear has been used by Waller, who calls a lady's girdle
“ The pale that held my lovely deer.". JOHNSON
ACT III. SCENE II. Scene II.] This scene, which does not contribute any thing to the action, yet seems to have the same author with the rest, is omitted in the quarto of 1611, but found in the folio of 1623.
JOHNSON. Line 330. Marcus, unknit that sorrow-wreathen knot;] So, in The Tempest :
MALONE. Line 374. -by still practice,] By constant or continual practice.
JOHNSON. Line 410. Ah, sirrah!) This was formerly not a disrespectful expression. Poins uses the same address to the Prince of Wales.
ACT IV. SCENE I. Line 19. -Tully's Orator.] Tully's Treatise on Eloquence, addressed to Prutus, and entitled Orator. The quantity of Latin words was formerly little attended to.
MALONE. Line 60. - how she quotes the leaves.] To quote means to observe.
STEEVENS. Line 105. And swear with me,-as with the woful feere,] The word feere, or pheere (companion), very frequently occurs among the old dramatick writers and others. So, in Ben Jonson's Silent Woman, Morose says,
Cher that I mean to chuse for my bed-pheere.” And many other places.
STEEVENS. Line 119. And with a gad of steel-) A gad, from the Saxon gad, i. e. the point of a spear, is used here for some similar pointed instrument.
MALONE. Line 150. Revenge the heavens-] It should be
Revenge, ye heavens
I believe the old reading is right, and signifies-may the heavens revenge, &c. STEEVENS.
ACT IV. SCENE II.
Line 183. Here's no sound jest !] Thus the old copies. This mode of expression was common formerly; so, in King Henry IV. P. I: "Here's no fine villainy !"-We yet talk of giving a sound drubbing. Mr. Theobald, however, and the modern editors, read-Here's no fond jest. MALONE.
Line 247. Villain, I have done thy mother.] The verb is here used obscenely.
Line 257. I'll broach the tadpole-] A broach is a spit. I'll spit the tadpole. JOHNSON.
Line 275. In that it scorns to bear another hue:] Thus both the quarto and the folio. Some modern editions had seems instead of scorns, which was restored by Dr. Johnson. MALONE. for this foul escape.] This foul illegitimate
ignomy.] i. e. ignominy.
335. Go pack with him,] Pack here seems to have the meaning of make a bargain. Or it may mean, as in the phrase of modern gamesters, to act collusively:
"And mighty dukes pack knaves for half a crown."
Mr. Henley observes, that to PACK a jury, is an expression still used, though the practice, it is to be hoped, is obsolete.
ACT IV. SCENE III.
Line 415. Yet wrung with wrongs,] To wring a horse, is to press or strain his back. JOHNSON.
Line 424. To Saturn, Caius, &c.] Caius appears to have been one of the kinsmen of Titus. Publius and Sempronius have been already mentioned. Publius and Caius are again introduced in Act V. sc. ii:
"Tit. Publius, come hither; Caius and Valentine." The modern editors read-To Saturn, to Calum, &c.