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Bard. We shall have him here to-morrow with his best ruff on.
Boult. To-night, to-night. But, mistress, do you know the French knight that cowers i' the hams?3
Bawd. Who? Monsieur Veroles?
Boult. Ay; he offered to cut a caper at the proclamation; but he made a groan at it, and swore he would see her to-morrow.4
Bard. Well, well; as for him, he brought his disease hither: here he does but repair it.5 I know, he will come in our shadow, to scatter his crowns in the sun.6
the quarto, 1619. The first copy reads,-a Spaniard's mouth water'd, and he went &c. Malone.
3 that cowers the hams?] To cower is to sink by bending the hams. So, in King Henry VI:
"The splitting rocks cowr'd in the sinking sands."
Again, in Gammer Gurton's Needle:
They cower so o'er the coles, their eies be blear❜d with smoke." Steevens.
he offered to cut a caper at the proclamation; but he made a groan at it, and swore he would see her to-morrow.] If there were no other proof of Shakspeare's hand in this piece, this admirable stroke of humour would furnish decisive evidence of it.
5 here he does but repair it.] To repair here means to renovate. So, in Cymbeline:
"O, disloyal thing!
"That should'st repair my youth,
Again, in All's Well that Ends Well: 66 It much repairs me
"To talk of your good father."
to scatter his crowns in the sun.] There is here perhaps some allusion to the lues venerea. though the words French Crowns in their literal acceptation were certainly also in Boult's thoughts. It occurs frequently in our author's plays. So, in Measure for Measure:
"Lucio. A French crown more.
"Gent. Thou art always figuring diseases in me." Malone. I see no allusion in this passage to the French disease, but merely to French crowns in a literal sense, the common coin of that country.
Boult had said before, that he had prolcaimed the beauty of Marina, and drawn her picture with his voice. He says, in the next speech, that with such a sign as Marina, they should draw every traveller to their house, considering Marina, or rather the picture he had drawn of her, as the sign to distinguish the house, which the Bawd, on account of her beauty, calls the sun: and the meaning of the passage is merely this:-" that the
Boult. Well, if we had of every nation a traveller, we should lodge them with this sign.
Bawd. Pray you, come hither awhile. You have fortunes coming upon you. Mark me; you must seem to do that fearfully, which you commit willingly; to despise profit, where you have most gain. To weep that you live as you do, makes pity in your lovers: Seldom, but that pity begets you a good opinion, and that opinion a mere profit.3 Mar. I understand you not.
Boult. O, take her home, mistress, take her home: these blushes of her's must be quenched with some present practice.
Bawd. Thou say'st true, i' faith, so they must: for your bride goes to that with shame, which is her way to go with warrant.9
French knight will seek the shade or shelter of their house, to scatter his money there."-But if we make a slight alteration in this passage, and read " on our shadow," instead of " in our shadow," it will then be capable of another interpretation. On our shadow may mean, on our representation or description of Marina; and the sun may mean, the real sign of the house. For there is a passage in The Custom of the Country, which gives reason to imagine that the sun was, in former times, the usual sign of a brothel.
When Sulpitia asks, "What is become of the Dane?" Jacques replies, "What! goldy-locks! he lies at the sign of the sun to be new-breeched." M. Mason.
Mr. M. Mason's note is too ingenious to be omitted; and yet, where humour is forced, (as in the present instance) it is frequently obscure, and especially when vitiated by the slightest typographical error or omission. All we can with certainty infer from the passage before us is, that an opposition between sun and shadow was designed. Steevens.
7 ---we should lodge them with this sign.] If a traveller from every part of the globe were to assemble in Mitylene, they would all resort to this house, while we had such a sign to it as this virgin. This, I think is the meaning. A similar eulogy is pronounced on Imogen in Cymbeline: "She's a good sign, but I have seen small reflection of her wit." Perhaps there is some allusion to the constellation of Virgo. Malone.
8 a mere profit.] i. e. an absolute, a certain profit. So, in
things rank and gross in nature
"Possess it merely."
Again, in The Merchant of Venice:
"Engag'd my friend to his mere enemy." Malone.
•for your bride goes to that with shame, which is her way
Boult. 'Faith some do, and some do not. But, mistress, if I have bargained for the joint,
Bawd. Thou may'st cut a morsel off the spit.
Boult. I may so.
Bawd. Who should deny it? Come young one, I like the manner of your garments well.
Boult. Ay, by my faith, they shall not be changed yet. Bawd. Boult, spend thou that in the town: report what a sojourner we have; you'll lose nothing by custom. When nature framed this piece, she meant thee a good turn; therefore say what a paragon she is, and thou hast the harvest out of thine own report.2
Boult. I warrant you, mistress, thunder shall not so awake the beds of eels,3 as my giving out her beauty stir up the lewdly-inclined. I'll bring home some to-night. Bawd. Come your ways; follow me.
Mar. If fires be hot, knives sharp, or waters deep,1 Untied I still my virgin knot will keep.5
to go with warrant.] You say true; for even a bride, who has the sanction of the law to warrant her proceeding, will not surrender her person without some constraint. Which is her way to go with warrant, means only-to which she is entitled to go. Malone.
When nature framed this piece, she meant thee a good turn;] A similar sentiment occurs in King Lear:
"That eyeless head of thine was first fram'd flesh,
2 and thou hast the harvest out of thine own report.] So, in Much Ado about Nothing:
"Frame the season for your own harvest." Steevens.
thunder shall not so awake the beds of eels,] Thunder is not supposed to have an effect on fish in general, but on eels only, which are roused by it from the mud, and are therefore more easily taken. So, in Marston's Satires:
They are nought but eeles, that never will appeare, "Till that tempestuous winds, or thunder, teare "Their slimy beds." L. II, Sat. vii, v. 204. Whalley.
4 If fires be hot, knives sharp, or waters deep,] So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
if knife, drugs, serpents, have
Again, more appositely, in Othello:
66 If there be cords, or knives,
5 Untied I still my virgin knot will keep.] We have the same classical allusion in The Tempest:
If thou dost break her virgin knot," &c. Malone.
Diana, aid my purpose!
Bard. What have we to do with Diana? Pray you, will you go with us?
Tharsus. A Room in Cleon's House.
Enter CLEON and DIONYZA.
Dion. Why, are you foolish? Can it be undone ?
The sun and moon ne'er look'd upon!
You'll turn a child again.
Cle. Were I chief lord of all the spacious world,
Much less in blood than virtue, yet a princess
I' the justice of compare! O villain Leonine,
If thou hadst drunk to him, it had been a kindness
6 Can it be undone?] Thus, Lady Macbeth:
what 's done, is done." Steevens.
to undo the deed.] So, in Macbeth:
"Wake Duncan with this knocking:-Ay, would thou could'st!"
In Pericles, as in Macbeth, the wife is more criminal than the husband, whose repentance follows immediately on the murder.
Thus also, in Twine's translation: "But Strangulio himself consented not to this treason, but so soon as he heard of the foul mischaunce, being as it were all amort, and amazed with heavi ness &c. and therewithal he looked towardes his wife, say. ing, Thou wicked woman" &c. Steevens.
If thou hadst drunk to him, it had been a kindness Becoming well thy feat:] Old copy-face; which, if this reading be genuine, must mean-hadst thou poisoned thyself by pledging him, it would have been an action well becoming thee. For the sake of a more obvious meaning, however, I read, with Mr. M. Mason, feat instead of face. Steevens.
Feat, i. e. of a piece with the rest of thy exploit. So, in The Two Noble Kinsmen, Palamon says:
"Cozener Arcite, give me language such
"As thou hast shewed me feat."
So, in Holinshed, p. 756: " -aiders and partakers of his feat and enterprize." Steevens.
When noble Pericles shall demand his child??
Dion. That she is dead. Nurses are not the fates,
She died by night; I'll say so. Who can cross it?3
what canst thou say,
When noble Pericles shall demand his child?] So, in the ancient romance already quoted: - tell me now what rekenynge
we shall gyve hym of his doughter," &c.
Again, in Twine's translation: "Thou reportedst that Prince Appollonius was dead; and loe now where he is come to require his daughter. What shall we now doe or say to him?" Steevens.
So also, in the Gesta Romanorum: "Quem [Appollonium] cum vidisset Strangulio, perrexit rabido cursu, dixitque uxori suæ Dyonisidi-Dixisti Appollonium naufragum esse mortuum. Ecce, venit ad repetendam filiam. Ecce, quid dicturi sumus pro filiâ?" Malone.
To foster it, nor ever to preserve.] So, King John, on receiving the account of Arthur's death:
"We cannot hold mortality's strong hand :
Why do you bend such solemn brows on me? "Think you I bear the shears of destiny?
"Have I commandment on the pulse of life?" Malone. 2 She died by night;] Old copy-at night. I suppose Dionyza means to say that she died by night; was found dead in the morning. The words are from Gower:
"She saith, that Thaisa sodeynly
"By night is dead."
I'll say so. Who can cross it?] So, in Macbeth:
"When we have mark'd with blood those sleepy two "Of his own chamber, and us'd their very daggers, "That they have done 't?
"Lady M. Who dares receive it other,
"As we shall make our grief and clamour roar
4 Unless you play the impious innocent,] The folios and the modern editors have omitted the word impious, which is necessary to the metre, and is found in the first quarto.-She calls him, an impious simpleton, because such a discovery would touch the life of one of his own family, his wife.
An innocent was formerly a common appellation for an idiot. See Mr. Whalley's note in Vol. V, p. 271, n. 7. Malone. Notwithstanding Malone's ingenious explanation, I should wish to read-the pious innocent, instead of impious. M. Mason. VOL. XVII.