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nought for approbation,
But only seeing,] Approbation, in this place, is put JOHNSON. Stuff'd sufficiency:] That is, of abilities more JOHNSON. Line 251. Lest that the treachery of the two, &c.] He has before declared, that there is a plot against his life and crown, and that Hermione is federary with Polixenes and Camillo. JOHNSON,
ACT II. SCENE II.
Line 294. These dangerous, unsafe lunes o' the king!] There is a mode of expression with the French-Il y a de la lune : i. e. He has got the moon in his head; he is frantick. THEOBALD.
ACT II. SCENE III.
out of the blank
And level of my brain,] Beyond the aim of any attempt that I can make against him. Blank and level are terms of archery. JOHNSON.
Line 358. 415.
-leave me solely :] i. e. alone.
And would by combat make her good, so were I A man, the worst about you.] The worst means only the lowest. Were I the meanest of your servants, I would yet elaim the combat against any accuser. JOHNSON.
Line 424. A mankind witch!] A mankind woman, is yet used in the midland counties, for a woman violent, ferocious, and mischievous. It has the same sense in this passage. Witches are supposed to be mankind, to put off the softness and delicacy of women, therefore Sir Hugh, in the Merry Wives of Windsor, says, of a woman suspected to be a witch, that he does not like when a woman has a beard. JOHNSON.
Line 433. -thou art a woman-tir'd;] Woman-tir'd, is pecked by a woman. STEEVENS.
-thy crone.] i. e. thy old worn-out woman. STEEVENS.
Unvenerable be thy hands, if thou
Tak'st up the princess, by that forced baseness-] Leontes had ordered Antigonous to take up the bastard, Paulina for
bids him to touch the princess under that appellation. Forced is false, uttered with violence to truth. JOHNSON.
Line 475. No yellow in 't;] Yellow is the colour of jealousy. JOHNSON. 478. And, lozel,] A lozel or losel, is a sorry or worthless
-commend it strangely to some place,] Commit to some place, as a stranger, without more provision. JOHNSON.
ACT III. SCENE I.
Line 2. Fertile the isle ;] But the temple of Apollo at Delphi was not in an island, but in Phocis, on the continent. Either Shakspeare, or his editors, had their heads running on Delos, an island of the Cyclades. If it was the editors blunder, then Shakspeare wrote, Fertile the soil,-which is more elegant too, than the present reading. WARBURTON.
Shakspeare is little careful of geography. There is no need of this emendation in a play of which the whole plot depends upon a geographical error, by which Bohemia is supposed to be a maritime country. JOHNSON. Line 5. For most it caught me,] It may relate to the whole spectacle. JOHNSON.
Line 18. The time is worth the use on't.] The time is worth the use on 't, means, the time which we have spent in visiting Delos, has recompensed us for the trouble of so spending it. JOHNSON.
ACT III. SCENE II.
Line 37. Even to the guilt,] Even for equal or indifferent.
-47. --pretence-] Is, in this place, taken for a scheme laid, a design formed; to pretend means to design, in the Gent. of Verona.
Line 55. mine integrity, &c.] That is, my virtue being accounted wickedness, my assertion of it will pass but for a lie. Falsehood means both treachery and lie. JOHNSON. Line 71. For life, I prize it- -] Life is to me now only grief, and as such only is considered by me, I would therefore willingly dismiss it. JOHNSON. Line 72. I would spare:] To spare any thing is to let it go, to quit the possession of it. JOHNSON.
I ne'er heard yet,
That any of these bolder vices wanted
Less impudence to gainsay what they did,
Than to perform it first.] It is apparent that according to the proper, at least according to the present use of words, less should be more, or wanted should be had. But Shakspeare is very uncertain in his use of negatives. It may be necessary once to observe, that in our language two negatives did not originally affirm, but strengthen the negation. This mode of speech was in time changed, but as the change was made in opposition to long custom, it proceeded gradually, and uniformity was not obtained but through an intermediate confusion. JOHNSON.
Line 114. My life stands in the level of your dreams,] To be in the level is by a metaphor from archery to be within the reach.
JOHNSON. Line 135. Starr'd most unluckily,] i. e. born under an inauspicious planet. STEEVENS. Line 142. I have got strength of limit.] I know not well how strength of limit can mean strength to pass the limits of the childbed chamber, which yet it must mean in this place, unless we read in a more easy phrase, strength of limb. And now, &c. JOHNSON. Line 159. The flatness of my misery;] That is, how low, how flat I am laid by my calamity. JOHNSON.
Line 187. Of the queen's speed,] Of the event of the queen's trial so we still say, he sped well or ill. JOHNSON.
• Line 220. Does my deeds make the blacker!] This vehement retraction of Leontes, accompanied with the confession of more crimes than he was suspected of, is agreeable to our daily experience of the vicissitudes of violent tempers, and the eruptions of minds oppressed with guilt. JOHNSON.
-though a devil
Would have shed water out of fire, ere done't:] i. e. a devil would have shed tears of pity o'er the damn'd ere he would have committed such an action. STEEVENS.
Line 275. I am sorry for't;] This is another instance of the sudden changes incident to vehement and ungovernable minds.
Line 303. Thou art perfect then,] Perfect is often used by Shakspeare for certain, well assured, or well informed. JOHNSON.
Line 366. A savage clamour ?] This clamour was the cry of the dogs and hunters; then seeing the bear, he cries, this is the chace, or, the animal pursued. JOHNSON.
Line 409. -flap-dragoned it :] i. e. swallowed it. -427. a bearing-cloth-] A bearing-cloth is the fine mantle or cloth with which a child is usually covered, when it is carried to the church to be baptised. PERCY. -some changeling] i. e. some child left behind by the fairies, in the room of one which they had stolen. STEEV. Line 442. they are never curst, but when they are hungry:] Curst signifies malicious, or mischievous.
Line 7. and leave the growth untried
Of that wide gap;] The growth of the wide gap, is somewhat irregular; but he means the growth, or progression of the time which filled up the gap of the story between Perdita's birth and her sixteenth year. To leave this growth untried, is to leave the passages of the intermediate years unnoted and unexamined. JOHNS. Line 8. since it is in my power, &c.] The reasoning of Time is not very clear; he seems to mean, that he who has broke so many laws may now break another, that he who introduced every thing, may introduce Perdita on her sixteenth year; and he intreats that he may pass as of old, before any order or succession of objects, ancient or modern, distinguished his periods.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
Line 31. subject.
Is the argument of time:] Argument is the same with JOHNSON. Line 54. -and my profit therein, the heaping friendships.] The sense of heaping friendships, though like many other of our author's, unusual, at least unusual to modern ears, is not very obscure. To be more thankful shall be my study; and my profit therein the heaping friendships. That is, I will for the future be more liberal of recompence, from which I shall receive this advantage, that as I heap benefits I shall heap friendships, as I confer favours on thee I shall increase the friendship between us. JOHNSON.
Line 68. but I have, missingly, noted,] Missingly noted, means, I have observed him at intervals, not constantly or regularly, but occasionally. STEEVENS.
Line 85. But, I fear the angle-] Angle in this place means a fishing-rod, which he represents as drawing his son like a fish STEEVENS. —some question-] i. e. some debate, some talk.
ACT IV. SCENE II.
Line 99. For the red blood reigns in the winter's pale.] i. e. the red or spring blood now holds dominion o'er those parts lately benumbed by winter.
Line 102. pugging tooth-] Sir T. Hanmer, and after him Dr. Warburton, read, progging tooth. It is certain that pugging is not now understood. But Dr. Thirlby observes, that this is the cant of gypsies. JOHNSON.
Line 106. —my aunts,] Aunt appears to have been at this time a cant word for a bawd. STEEVENS.
—wore three-pile ;] three-pile was the old name
Line 109. for rich velvet.
Line 121. -With die and drab, I purchased this caparison;] i.e. with gaming and whoring, I brought myself to this shabby dress. PERCY.
Line 122. -my revenue is the silly cheat:] Silly is used by the writers of our author's time, for simple, low, mean; and in this the humour of the speech consists. I don't aspire to arduous and high things, as bridewell or the gallows; I am content with this humble and low way of life, as a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles. WARBURTON.
Line 123. Gallows, and knock, &c.] The resistance which a highwayman encounters in the fact, and the punishment which he suffers on detection, withhold me from daring robbery, and determine me to the silly cheat and petty theft. JOHNSON. tods;] A tod is twenty-eight pounds of wool. PERCY. -three-man song-men all,] i. e. singers of catches in three parts. A six-man-song occurs in the Tournament of Tottenham. See The Rel, of Poetry, vol. ii. p. 24.