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-my love's tongue,] In the old copies, my lover's tongue, which could not be pronounced as a monosyllable, it was therefore corrected by Mr. Pope, to love.
ACT III. SCENE II.
Line 216. —what night-rule---] Perhaps may mean, what sort of mid-night revelry is now going forward?
Line 220. patches,] Patch was in old language used as a term of opprobry; perhaps with much the same import as we use raggamuffin, or tatterdemalion. JOHNSON. Line 228. An ass's nowl I fixed on his head;] A head. Saxon. JOHNSON.
-mimick- -] i. e. An actor.
-choughs,] A chough is a bird of the daw species. sort,] Company. So above:
-that barren sort.
236. And at our stamp,] This seems to be a vicious reading. Fairies are never represented stamping, or of a size that should give force to a stamp, nor could they have distinguished the stamps of Puck from those of their own companions. I read, And at a stump here o'er and o'er one falls. JOHNSON Line 242. Some, sleeves; some, hats:] There is the like image in Drayton of queen Mab and her fairies flying from Hobgoblin. Some tore a ruff, and some a gown, 'Gainst one another justling;
They flew about like chaff i th' wind,
For haste some left their masks behind,
latch'd,] Or letch'd, lick'd over, lecher, to lick,
In the North, it signifies to infect.
Line 262. Being o'er shoes in blood,] An allusion to the pro
verb, Over shoes, over boots.
—so dead,] Our author uses the word in Henry IV. Part 2. Act 1. Sc. 3.
Even such a man, so faint, so spiritless,
Line 286. -O brave touch!] Touch in Shakspeare's time was the same with our exploit, or rather stroke. A brave touch, a noble stroke, un grand coup. Mason was very merry, pleasantly playing both with the shrewd touches of many curst boys, and the small discretion of many lewd schoolmasters. Ascham. JOHNSON. Line 290. mispris'd mood:] Mistaken; so below misprision is mistake. JOHNSON.
Line 295. An if I could, &c.] This was the phraseology in Shakspeare's time.
—pale of cheer- -] i. e. Her countenance is
Line 348. Bearing the badge of faith, to prove them true?] Alluding to the ancient practice of having the family crest affixed in badges on the servants' sleeves.
of mountains in Asia.
Line 369. sure for Measure:
Line 375. same mind.
-Taurus' snow,] Taurus is the name of a range
seal of bliss!] He has the same image in Mca
But my kisses bring again
Seals of love, but seal'd in vain.
join, in souls,] i. e. Join heartily, unite in the Shakspeare in Henry V. uses an expression not un
For we will hear, note, and believe in heart;
i.e. heartily believe: and in Measure for Measure, he talks of electing with special soul.
A poor soul's patience,] Harass, torment.
-396. My heart with her but as guest-wise, sojourn'd; And now to Helen it is home return'd,] In the ancient copies, to her, which Dr. Johnson corrected as above, and illustrates by this passage from Prior,
No matter what beauties I saw in my way,
They were but my visits, but then not my home. Line 417. all yon fiery Oes.] I would willingly believe that the poet wrote fiery orbs. JOHNSON. Shakspeare uses O for a circle. So in the prologue to Henry V.
-artificial gods,] Artificial here means, artful. 434. Have with our neelds, &c.] Neelds is a common contraction of needles in the inland counties at this day. See Gammer Gurton's Needle. *STEEVENS.
Thus in Pericles:
"Or when she would with sharp neeld wound the cam"brick," &c.
Line 467. Ay, do, perséver,] Perséver is the reading of all the old copies. The word was formerly so pronounced. Thus our author in All's well that End's well, Act 4. Sc. 2.
"" say thou art mine, and ever
"My love, as it begins, so shall persever."
Line 472. such an argument.] Such a subject of light merriment. JOHNSON.
Line 524. -you canker-blossom!] The canker-blossom is not in this place the blossom of the canker or wild rose, which our author alludes to in Much Ado about Nothing, Act 1, Sc. 6. "I had rather be a canker in a hedge "Than a rose in his grace."
but a worm that preys on the leaves or buds of flowers, always beginning in the middle. So in the famous passage, "like a worm i' th' bud, "Feed on her damask cheek."
Line 562. —how fond I am.] Fond, i. e. foolish; often used in that sense by our author :-Merchant of Venice, Act 2. Sc. 4. "I do wonder
"Thou naughty gaoler that thou art so fond
Line 579. of hindring knot-grass made;] It appears that knot-grass was anciently supposed to prevent the growth of any animal or child.
Thus in The Coxcomb:
"We want a boy extremely for this function, kept under, for
"6 a year, with milk and knot-grass." Daisy-roots were supposed to have the same effect. STEEVENS.
Thou shalt aby it.] To aby is to pay dear for, to
-so did sort,] So happen in the issue.
virtuous property,] Salutiferous. So he calls, JOHNSON.
in The Tempest, poisonous dew, wicked dew. -wend.] i. e. Go.
Line 626. 638.
-damned spirits all,
That in cross-ways and floods have burial,] The ghosts of self-murderers, who are buried in cross-roads; and of those who being drowned, were condemned (according to the opinion of the ancients) to wander for a hundred years, as the rites of sepulture had never been regularly bestowed on their bodies. STEEVENS.
Line 645. I with the morning's love have oft made sport ;] Thus all the old copies, and I think, rightly. Tithonus was the husband of Aurora, and Tithonus was no young Deity. How such a waggish spirit as the King of the Fairies might make sport with an antiquated lover may be easily understood. Dr. Johnson reads with all the modern editors, "I with the morning light," &c. STEEVENS.
Line 694. buy this dear;] i. e. Thou shalt dearly pay for this. Though this is sense, and may well enough stand, yet the poet perhaps wrote thou shalt 'by it dear. So in another place, thou shalt aby it. So Milton, How dearly I abide that boast so
Line 729. Jack shall have Jill, &c.] These three last lines are to be found among Heywood's Epigrams on three hundred Proverbs. STEEVENS.
Line 1. I see no reason why the fourth act should begin here, when there seems no interruption of the action. In the old quartos of 1600, there is no division of acts, which seems to have
been afterwards arbitrarily made in the first folio, and may there
fore be altered at pleasure.
-do coy,] To coy is to sooth.
—neif,] i. e. Fist. Henry IV. Act 2. Sc. 10.
25. -Cavalero Cobweb.] Without doubt it should be Cavalero Pease-blossom; as for Cavalero Cobweb, he had just been dispatched upon a perilous adventure. GREY. Line 32. -the tongs—] Alludes to the old country music, of The Tongs and the Key.
and be all ways away.] i. e. Disperse yourselves, and scout out severally, in your watch, that danger approach us from no quarter. THEOBALD. Line 48.
So doth the woodbine, the sweet honey-suckle,
Enrings the barky fingers of the elm.] What Shakspeare seems to mean, is this-So the woodbine, i. e. the sweet honey-suckle, doth gently entwist the barky fingers of the elm, and so does the female ivy enring the same fingers. It is not unfrequent in the Poets, as well as other writers, to explain one word by another which is better known. The reason why Shakspeare thought woodbine wanted explanation, perhaps is this. In some countries, by woodbine or woodbind would be generally understood the Ivy, which he had occasion to mention in the very next line. STEEVENS.
Line 49. -the female ivy:] Shakspeare calls it female ivy, because it always require some support, which is poetically called its husband. So Milton:
led the vine
"To wed her elm: she spous'd, about him twines
Line 80. Dian's bud o'er Cupid's flower-] The old editions read, or Cupid's flower. The ingenious Dr. Thirlby gave me the correction, which I have inserted in the text. THEOBALD.
Line 91. of all these five the sense.] The old copies read, these fine; but this is most certainly corrupt. My emendation needs