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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. -427.
flap-dragoned it :] i. e. swallowed it. 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.
-some changeling :] i. e. some child left behind
by the fairies, in the room of one which they had stolen. STEEV.
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. JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
Line 31. Is the argument of time:] Argument is the same with subject. JOHNSON.
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. 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.
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.
away. Line 87.
-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 JOHNSON.
cant of gypsies.
Line 106. —my aunts,] Aunt appears to have been at this time a cant word for a bawd.
wore three-pile ;] three-pile was the old name
for rich velvet.
With die and drab, I purchased this caparison;]
i.e. with gaming and whoring, I brought myself to this shabby dress.
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. Line 128.
tods;] A tod is twenty-eight pounds of wool.
—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.
Line 141. warden-pies;] Wardens are a species of large pears. I believe the name is disused at present. STEEVENS.. Line 184. with trol-my-dames:] Trou-madame, French. WARBURTON.
The game of nine-holes. Line 191. abide.] To abide, here, must signify, to sojourn, to live for a time without a settled habitation. JOHNSON. Line 195. -motion of the prodigal son,] i. e. the puppet-shew, then called motions. A term frequently occurring in our author. WARBURTON.
Line 222. let me be unrolled, and my name put in the book of virtue] Begging gypsies, in the time of our author, were in gangs and companies, that had something of the shew of an incorporated body. From this noble society he wishes he may be unrolled if he does not so and so. WARBURTON.
-hent the stile-a:] Hent is from the verb to
hend, to take hold of, to seize.
ACT IV. SCENE III.
—your extremes,] That is, your excesses, the ex
travagance of your praises.
Line 238. The gracious murk o' the land,] The object of all men's notice and expectation.
To show myself a glass.] i. e. one would think that in putting on this habit of a shepherd, you had sworn to put me out of countenance; for in this, as in a glass, you shew me how much below yourself you must descend before you can get upon a level with me. The sentiment is fine, and expresses all the delicacy, as well as humble modesty of the character. WARB.
Vilely bound up!] It is impossible for any man to rid his mind of his profession. The authorship of Shakspeare has supplied him with a metaphor, which rather than he would lose it, he has put with no great propriety into the mouth of a country maid. Thinking of his own works, his mind passed naturally to the binder. I am glad that he has no hint at an editor. JOHNSON. Line 318. Grace, and remembrance,] Rue was called herb of
grace. Rosemary was the emblem of remembrance; I know not why, unless because it was carried at funerals.
But sweeter than the lids of Juno's eyes,] I suspect that our author mistakes Juno for Pallas, who was the goddess of blue eyes. Sweeter than an eye-lid is an odd image: but perhaps he uses sweet in the general sense, for delightful. JOHNSON.
It was formerly the fashion to kiss the eyes as a mark of extraordinary tenderness. I have somewhere met with an account of the first reception one of our kings gave to his new queen, where he is said to have kissed her fayre eyes. STEEVENS. Line 399. - -Each your doing, &c.] That is, your manner in each act crowns the act.
we stand, &c.] That is, we are now on our be
Line 434. -a worthy feeding :] I conceive feeding to be a pasture, and a worthy feeding to be a tract of pasturage not inconsiderable, not unworthy of my daughter's fortune. JOHNSON. Line 436. He looks like sooth :] Sooth is an obsolete word for truth.
-fadings:] A dance so called.
-unbraided wares?] Surely we must read braided,
for such are all the wares mentioned in the answer. JOHNSON. caddisses,] I do not exactly know what caddisses are. In Shirley's Witty Fair-one, 1633, one of the characters says,
"I will have eight velvet pages, and six footmen in cad
STEEVENS. poking-sticks of steel,] The poking-sticks were
heated in the fire, and made use of to adjust the plaits of ruffs.
-clamour your tongues,] The phrase is taken from ringing. When bells are at the height, in order to cease them, the repetition of the strokes becomes much quicker than before; this is called clamouring them. WARBURTON.
Line 520. -a pair of sweet gloves.] Sweet or perfumed gloves are frequently mentioned by Shakspeare, and were very fashionable in the age of Elizabeth, and long afterwards. WARB.
Line 595. That doth utter all men's ware-a.] To utter. To bring out, or produce. JOHNSON.
Line 598. all men of hair ;] Men of hair, are hairy men, or satyrs. A dance of satyrs was no unusual entertainment in the middle ages. At a great festival celebrated in France, the king and some of the nobles personated satyrs dressed in close habits, tufted or shagged all over, to imitate hair. They began a wild dance, and in the tumult of their merriment one of them went too near a candle and set fire to his satyr's garb, the flame ran instantly over the loose tufts, and spread itself to the dress of those that were next him; a great number of the dancers were cruelly scorched, being neither able to throw off their coats nor extinguish them. The king had set himself in the lap of the duchess of Burgundy, who threw her robe over him and saved him.
Line 600. 603.
gallimaufry-] i. e. a medley, a hotch-potch. bowling,] Bowling, I believe, is here a term for
a dance of smooth motion without great exertion of agility.
Line 690. dispute his own estate?] Perhaps for dispute we might read compute; but dispute his estate may be the same with talk over his affairs. JOHNSON.
Line 732. Far than- -] I think for far than we should read far as. We will not hold thee of our kin even so far off as Deucalion the common ancestor of all. JOHNSON.
Line 793. —and by my fancy:] It must be remembered that fancy in this author very often, as in this place, means love. JOHNSON.
Line 863. Ourselves to be the slaves of chance,] As chance has driven me to these extremities, so I commit myself to chance to be conducted through them. JOHNSON.
Line 934. -pomander,] A pomander was a little ball made of perfumes, and worn in the pocket, or about the neck, to prevent infection in times of plague. In a tract, intitled, Certain necessary Directions, as well for curing the Plague, as for preventing Infection, printed 1636, there are directions for making two sorts of pomanders, one for the rich, and another for the poor. Dr. GREY.