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Uncouple here, and let us make a bay,
Horns wind a Peal. Enter SATURNINUS, TAMORA, BASSIANUS, LAVINIA, CHIRON, DEMETRIUS, and Attendants.
Tit. Many good morrows to your majesty;
Sat. And you have rung it lustily, my lords,
I say, no;
I have been broad awake two hours and more.
Sat. Come on then, horse and chariots let us have, And to our sport:-Madam, now shall ye see
Our Roman hunting.
Surely the Oxford editor is in the right; unless we reason like the Witches in Macbeth, and say:
"Fair is foul, and foul is fair."
The old copy is, I think, right; nor did grey anciently denote any thing of an uncheerful hue. It signified blue," of heaven's own tinct." So, in Shakspeare's 132d Sonnet ;
"And truly not the morning sun of heaven
"Better becomes the grey cheeks of the east,
Again, in King Henry VI, Part II:
66 it stuck upon him as the sun
"In the grey vault of heaven."
Again, in Romeo and Juliet:
"The grey-ey'd morn smiles on the frowning night -." Again, ibidem:
"I'll say you grey is not the morning's eye." Again, more appositely, in Venus and Adonis, which decisively supports the reading of the old copy :
"Mine eyes are grey and bright, and quick in turning."
A lady's eye of any colour may be bright; but still grey cannot mean aerial blue, nor a grey morning a bright one. Mr. Malane says grey is blue. Is a grey coat then a blue one? Steevens
I have dogs, my lord,
Will rouse the proudest panther in the chase,
And climb the highest promontory top.
Tit. And I have horse will follow where the game Makes way, and run like swallows o'er the plain. Dem. Chiron, we hunt not, we, with horse nor hound, But hope to pluck a dainty doe to ground. [Exeunt.
A desert Part of the Forest.
Enter AARON, with a Bag of Gold.
Aar. He, that had wit, would think that I had none,
To bury so much gold under a tree,
And never after to inherit it."
Let him, that thinks of me so abjectly,
Know, that this gold must coin a stratagem;
And so repose, sweet gold, for their unrest,7
Hides the gold. That have their alms out of the empress chest. Enter TAMORA.
Tam. My lovely Aaron, wherefore look'st thou sad,
6 to inherit it.] To inherit formerly signified to possess. See Vol. II, p. 108, n. 4; and Vol. VII, p. 12, n. 7. Malone.
7 - for their unrest,] Unrest, for disquiet, is a word fre quently used by the old writers. So, in The Spanish Tragedy,
"Thus therefore will I rest me in unrest." Again, in Eliosto Libidinoso, an ancient novel, by John Hinde, 1606:
"For the ease of whose unrest,
"Thus his fury was exprest."
8 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.
My lovely Aaron, wherefore look'st thou sad,] In the course of the following notes several examples of the savage genius of Ravenscroft, who altered this play in the reign of King James II, are set down for the entertainment of the reader. The following is a specimen of his descriptive talents. Instead of the line with which this speech of Tamora begins, she is made to
When every thing doth make a gleeful boast?
"The emperor, with wine and luxury o'ercome,
"This time I chose to come to thee, my Moor.
<6 My lovely Aaron, wherefore," &c.
An emperor who has had too large a dose of love and wine, and in consequence of satiety in both, falls asleep on a bed which partakes of the nature of a sailor's hammock, and a child's cradle, is a curiosity which only Ravenscroft could have ventured to describe on the stage. I hope I may be excused for transplanting a few of his flowers into the barren desart of our comments on this tragedy. Steevens.
My lovely Aaron, &c.] There is much poetical beauty in this speech of Tamora. It appears to me to be the only one in the play that is in the style of Shakspeare. M. Mason.
a checquer'd shadow-] Milton has the same expres
many a maid
"Dancing in the checquer'd shade."
The same epithet occurs in Locrine.
As if a double hunt were heard at once,] Hence, perhaps, a line in a well known song by Dryden :
"And echo turns hunter, and doubles the cry."
Of lullaby, to bring her babe asleep.3
Aar. Madam, though Venus govern your desires,
What signifies my deadly-standing eye,
No, madam, these are no venereal signs;
Which never hopes more heaven than rests in thee,This is the day of doom for Bassianus;
His Philomel must lose her tongue to-day :5
Thy sons make pillage of her chastity,
And wash their hands in Bassianus' blood.
as is a nurse's song
Of lullaby, to bring her babe asleep.] Dr. Johnson, in his Dictionary, says, "it is observable that the nurses call sleep by, by; bullaby is therefore lull to sleep." But to lull originally signified to sleep. To compose to sleep by a pleasing sound is a secondary sense retained after its primitive import became obsolete. The verbs to loll and lollop evidently spring from the same root. And by meant house; go to by is go to house or cradle. The common compliment at parting, good by is good house, may your house prosper; and Selby, the Archbishop of York's palace, is great house. So that lullaby implies literally sleep in house, i. e. the cradle. H. White.
though Venus govern your desires,
Saturn is dominator over mine:] The meaning of this passage may be illustrated by the astronomical description of Saturn, which Venus gives in Greene's Planetomachia, 1585: "The star of Saturn is especially cooling, and somewhat drie," &c. Again, in The Sea Voyage, by Beaumont and Fletcher :
for your aspect
"You 're much inclin'd to melancholy, and that
"At your nativity, a malignant planet!
"And if not qualified by a sweet conjunction
Thus also, Propertius, L. IV, i, 84:
"Et grave Saturni sydus in omne caput." Steevens.
His Philomel &c.] See Vol. XVI, p. 53, n. 9. Steevens.
Seest thou this letter? take it up, I pray thee,
Enter BASSIANUS and LAVINIA.
Bas. Who have we here? Rome's royal emperess, Unfurnish'd of her well-beseeming troop? Or is it Dian, habited like her;
Who hath abandoned her holy groves,
To see the general hunting in this forest?
Lav. Under your patience, gentle emperess,
6 of her] Old copies of our. Corrected by Mr. Rowe.
The edition 1600, reads exactly thus:
Vnfurnisht of her well beseeming troop? Todd.
7 — our private steps!] Edition 1600:-my private steps.
8 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.
The old copies have upon his new-transformed limbs. The emendation was made by Mr. Rowe. Malone.
It is said in a note by Mr. Malone, that the old copies read, upon his new-transformed limbs," and that Mr. Rowe made the emendation-thy. The edition of 1600 reads precisely thus: Should drive upon thy new transformed limbes. Todd.