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Thou bear'st thy heavy riches but a journey,
nor age ;
“Rebellion thus, with paynted vizage brave,
STEEVENS. We meet with a similar comparison in Whitney's Emblems In Avaros :
“ This caitiffe wretche with pined corpes lo heare,
“ Yet beares he that which settes his teeth on edge,
“ And pines himself with thistle and with sedge.” Whitney's description of an ass bearing cates, it may be observed, corresponds with English customs; but an ass bearing ingots is an Eastern image, and was probably derived from the Scriptures. See Isaiah, xxx. 6. Malone. 5-serpigo,] The serpigo is a kind of fetter. STEEVENS.
- Thou hast nor youth, nor age ;
Dreaming on both :] This is exquisitely imagined. When we are young, we busy ourselves in forming schemes for succeeding time, and miss the gratifications that are before us ; when we are old, we amuse the languor of age with the recollection of youthful pleasures or performances ; so that our life, of which no part is filled with the business of the present time, resembles our dreams after dinner, when the events of the morning are mingled with the designs of the evening. Johnson.
7 - palsied eld ;] Eld is generally used for old age, decrepi, tude. It is here put for old people, persons worn with years. So, in Marston's Dutch Courtesan, 1604 :
“ Let colder eld their strong objections move."
Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty, To make thy riches pleasant. What's yet in this,
Again, in our author's Merry Wives of Windsor :
“ The superstitious idle-headed eld.” Gower uses it for age as opposed to youth:
“ His elde had turned into youth."
De Confessione Amantis, lib. v. fol. 106. Steevens.
Thou hast neither heat, &c.] The drift of this period is to prove, that neither youth nor age can be said to be really enjoyed, which, in poetical language, is—" We have neither youth nor, age.” But how is this made out ? That age is not enjoyed, he proves by recapitulating the infirmities of it, which deprive that period of life of all sense of pleasure. To prove that youth is not enjoyed, he uses these words :
for all thy blessed youth
“ Of palsied eld; Out of which, he that can deduce the conclusion, has a better knack at logick than I have. I suppose the poet wrote
“ For pall’d, thy blazed youth
“Of palsied eld; i. e. when thy youthful appetite becomes palled, as it will be in the very enjoyment, the blaze of youth is at once assuaged, and thou immediately contractest the infirmities of old age; as particularly the palsy and other nervous disorders, consequent on the inordinate use of sensual pleasures. This is to the purpose, and proves youth is not enjoyed, by shewing the short duration of it.
WARBURTON. Here again I think Dr. Warburton totally mistaken. Shakspeare declares that man has neither youth nor age; for in youth, which is the happiest time, or which might be the happiest, he commonly wants means to obtain what he could enjoy; he is dependent on palsied eld; must beg alms from the coffers of hoary avarice ; and being very niggardly supplied, becomes as aged, looks, like an old man, on happiness which is beyond his reach. And, when he is old and rich, when he has wealth enough for the purchase of all that formerly excited his desires, he has no longer the powers of enjoyment:
“- has neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty,
“ To make his riches pleasant.--" I have explained this passage according to the present reading,
That bears the name of life? Yet in this life
I humbly thank you.
stand without much inconvenience ; yet I am willing to persuade my reader, because I have almost persuaded myself, that our author wrote
for all thy blasted youth
“ Becomes as aged—." Johnson. The sentiment contained in these lines, which Dr. Johnson has explained with his usual precision, occurs again in the forged letter that Edmund delivers to his father, as written by Edgar; King Lear, Act I. Sc. II.: “ This policy, and reverence of age, makes the world bitter to the best of our times; keeps our fortunes from us till our oldness cannot relish them." The words above, printed in Italics, support, I think, the reading of the old copy—“blessed youth," and show that any emendation is unnecessary. Malone.
9- heat, affection, limb, nor Beauty,] But how does beauty make riches pleasant? We should read bounty, which completes the sense, and is this—'thou hast neither the pleasure of enjoying riches thyself, for thou wantest vigour; nor of seeing it enjoyed by others, for thou wantest bounty.' Where the making the want of bounty as inseparable from old age as the want of health, is extremely satirical, though not altogether just. WARBURTON.
I am inclined to believe, that neither man nor woman will have much difficulty to tell how beauty makes riches pleasant. Surely this emendation, though it is elegant and ingenious, is not such as that an opportunity of inserting it should be purchased by declaring ignorance of what every one knows, by confessing insensibility of what every one feels. Johnson.
By heat and affection the poet meant to express appetite, and by limb and beauty—strength. EDWARDS. MORE thousand deaths :) For this Sir T. Hanmer reads :
a thousand deaths :-" The meaning is, not only a thousand denths, but a thousand deaths besides what have been mentioned. Johnson. ? To sue to live, I find, I seek to die;
And, seeking death, find life :) Had the Friar, in reconciling Claudio to death, urged to him the certainty of happiness hereafter, this speech would have been introduced with more propriety; but the Friar says nothing of that subject, and argues more like a philosopher, than a Christian divine. M. Mason.
Mr. M. Mason seems to forget that no actual Friar was the
Enter IsaBELLA. Isab. What, ho! Peace here; grace and good
company ! Prov. Who's there ? come in: the wish deserves
a welcome. DUKE. Dear sir, ere long I'll visit you again '. CLAUD. Most holy sir, I thank you. ISAB. My business is a word or two with Claudio. Prov. And very welcome. Look, signior, here's
Duke. Provost, a word with you.
As many as you please. Duke. Bring me to hear them speak, where I
may be conceald, Yet hear them. [Exeunt Duke and Provost.
speaker, but the Duke, who might be reasonably supposed to have more of the philosopher than the divine in his composition.
Steevens. Surely the Duke may be supposed to have as much of the divine in his composition as Claudio; but I cannot think Mr. Mason's censure well founded : Claudio's answer is the inference which the Duke intended should be drawn from his arguments. Boswell.
3 Dear sir, ere long I'll visit you again.] Dear sir, is too courtly a phrase for the Friar, who always addresses Claudio and Isabella by the appellations of son and daughter. I should therefore read-dear son. M. Mason. + Bring them to speak, where I may be conceald,
Yet hear them.] The first copy, published by the players, gives the passage thus :
“ Bring them to hear me speak, where I may be conceald.” Perhaps we should read :
“ Bring me to hear them speak, where I,” &c. Steevens. The second folio authorizes the reading in the text. TYRWHITT.
The alterations made in that copy do not deserve the smallest credit. There are undoubted proofs that they were merely arbitrary; and, in general, they are also extremely injudicious.
Malone. I am of a different opinion, in which I am joined by Dr. Farmer; and, consequently prefer the reading of the second fólio to my own attempt at emendation, though Mr. Malone has done me the honour to adopt it. STEbvENs.
Claud. Now, sister, what's the comfort ? Isab. Why, as all comforts are; most good in
deed : Lord Angelo, having affairs to heaven, Intends you for his swift embassador, Where you shall be an everlasting leiger: Therefore your best appointment o make with speed; To-morrow you set on.
5 As all comforts are; most good in deed :) If this reading be right, Isabella must mean that she brings something better than words of comfort-she brings an assurance of deeds. This is harsh and constrained, but I know not what better to offer. Sir Thomas Hanmer reads :
in speed.” Johnson. The old copy reads :
Why, “ As all comforts are: most good, most good indeede." I believe the present reading, as explained by Dr. Johnson, is the true one. So, in Macbeth :
“We're yet but young in deed.” Steevens. I would point the lines thus : “ Claud. Now, sister, what's the comfort ?
“ Isab. Why, as all comforts are, most good. Indeed Lord Angelo," &c.
Indeed is the same as in truth, or truly, the common beginning of speeches in Shakspeare's age. See Charles the First's Trial. The King and Bradshaw seldom say any thing without this preface : “ Truly, Sir” BLACKSTONE. 6 – an everlasting LEIGER :
Therefore your best APPOINTMENT -) Leiger is the same with resident. Appointment; preparation; act of fitting, or state of being fitted for any thing. So in old books, we have a knight well appointed ; that is, well armed and mounted, or fitted at all points. Johnson
The word leiger is thus used in the comedy of Look About You, 1600:
Why do you stay, Sir?
Madam, as leiger to solicit for your absent love." Again, in Leicester's Commonwealth : “a special man of that hasty king, who was his ledger, or agent, in London,” &c.
STEEVENS. your best appointment The word appointment, on this occasion, should seem to comprehend confession, communion, and absolution. “Let him (says Escalus) be furnished with di