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Whose edge is sharper than the sword; whose tongue
Out-venoms all 3 the worms of Nile; whose breath
Rides on the posting winds, and doth belye
All corners of the world. Kings, queens, and 4 states,
Maids, matrons, nay, the secrets of the grave,
This viperous Nander enters. What cheer, madam?

Imo. False to his bed! what is to be false?
To lie in watch there, and to think on him?
To weep 'twixt clock and clock? if Sleep charge

To break it with a fearful dream of him,
And cry myself awake? That's false to his bed ?
Is it?

Pis. Alas, good lady!

Imo. I false? thy conscience witness, IachimoThou didst accuse him of incontinency: Thou then lookd'it like a villain; now, methinks, Thy favour's good enough. 5 Some jay of Italy, 6 Whose mother was her painting, hath betray'd him: Poor I am stale, a garment out of fashion;





the worms of Nile ;- -] Serpents and dragons by the old writers were called worms.

An old translator of Ovid's Metamorphoses, speaking of Medea, fays, “ Then to her chariot Arait her winged worms she join'd.”

STEEVENS. ftates,] Persons of highest rank. JOHNSON.

Some jay of Italy,] There is a prettiness in this expresion; putta, in Italian, fignifying both a jay and a whore : I suppose from the gay feathers of that bird. WARBURTON.

Whose MOTHER was her painting, --- ] This puzzles Mr. THEOBALD much: he thinks it may fignify whose mother was a bird of the same feather; or that it should be read, whose mother was her planting. What all this means I know not. In Mr. Rowe's edition the M in mother happening to be reversed at the press, it came out Wother. And what was very ridiculous, Gildon employed himself (properly enough indeed) in finding a meaning for it. In fhort, the true word is MEETHER, a north country word, signifying becuty. So that the ser fe of, ber meet her was her painting, is, that she had only an appearance of beauty, for which the was beholden to her paint. WARB. VOL. IX.



And, for I ain richer than to hang by the walls,
I must be ript.-To pieces with me! -Oh,
Mens' vows are womens' traitors! All good seeming
By thy revolt, oh, husband, shall be thought
Put on for villainy; not born where't grows;
But worn, a bait for ladies.

Pif. Good madam, hear me

Imo. True honelt men being heard, like false Æneas,
Were, in his time, thought falle: and Sinon's

Did scandal many a holy tear; took pity
From most true wretchedness. 7 So thou, Posthumus,
Wilt lay the leaven on all proper men:
Goodly, and gallant, shall be false and perjurid,
From thy great fail. Come, fellow, be thou honeft:
Do thou thy master's bidding: when thou seest him,
A little witness my obedience. Look !
I draw the sword myself: take it, and hit


Some jay of Italy, made by art the creature, not of nature, bat of painting. In this sense painting may be not improperly termed her mciber. JOHNSON.

I met with a similar expression in one of the old comedies, but forgot to note the name of the piece:

a parcel of conceited feather-caps, whose faibers were their garments." STEEVENS.

So thou, Pofthumus, Wilt lay the leaven to all proper men:] When Posthumus thought his wife false, he unjustly scandalized the whole fex. His wife here, under the same impressions of his infidelity, attended with more provoking circumftances, acquits his fex, and lays the fault where it was due. The poet paints from nature. This is life and manners. The man thinks it a difhonour to the superiority of his understanding to be jilted, and therefore flatters his vanity into a conceit that the disgrace was inevitable from the general infidelity of the fex. The woman, on the contrary, not imagining her credit to be at all affected in the matter, never seeks out for so extravagant a consolation ; but at cnce eases her malice and her grief, by laying the crime and damage at the door of some obnoxious coquet. WARB. HANMER reads,

lav ihe level without any neceflity. JOHNSON,


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The innocent mansion of my love, my heart:
Fear not ; 'tis empty of all things, but grief:
Thy master is not there ; who was, indeed,
The riches of it.- Do his bidding; strike.
Thou may'st be valiant in a better cause,
But now thou seem'st a coward.

Pif. Hence, vile instrument !
Thou shalt not damn my hand. .

Imo. Why, I must die; And if I do not by thy hand, thou art No servant of thy master's. 'Gainst self-Naughter There is a prohibition so divine, That cravens my weak hand. Come, here's my

heart; 8 Something's afore't - soft, soft, we'll no defence; Obedient as the scabbard ! What is here? 9 The scriptures of the loyal Leonatus All turn'd to heresy? away, away,

(Pulling his letters out of her bofom. Corrupters of my faith! you shall no more Be stomachers to my heart! Thus may poor fools Believe false teachers : tho' those that are betray'd, Do feel the treason sharply, yet the traitor Stands in worfe cafe of woe. And thou, Posthumus, That didst set up my disobedience 'gainst the king My father, mad'st me put into contempt the suits Of princely fellows, shalt hereafter find, It is no act of common passage, but A strain of rareness: and I grieve myself, To think, when thou shalt be dif-edg'd by her

$ Something's afore't-] The old copy reads,

Something's afoot- Johnson. 9 The fcriptures So Ben Jonson, in The Sad Shepherd,

“ The lover's fcriptures, Heliodore's, or Tatius'." Shakespeare, however, means in this place, an opposition between fcripture, in its common signification, and berely.

Steevens. P 2


" That now thou tir’st on, how thy memory
Will then be pang’d by me.- Pr’ythee, dispatch:
The lamb entreats the butcher. Where's thy knife?
Thou art too Now to do thy master's bidding,
When I desire it too.

Pis. O gracious lady!
Since I receiv'd command to do this business
I have not slept one wink.

Imo. Do't, and to bed then.
Pis. 2 I'll wake mine eye-balls blind first.

Imo. Wherefore then
Didst undertake it? Why hast thou abus'd
So many miles with a pretence ? this place ?
Mine action and thine own? our horses' labour?
The time inviting thee? the perturb'd court,
For my being ablent? whereunto I never
Purpole return! Why halt thou gone so far,

3 To be unbent, when thou hast ta’en thy stand,
The elected deer before thee?

Pif. But to win time
To lose fo bad employment: in the which
I have consider'd of a course. Good lady,
Hear me with patience.

Imo. Talk thy tongue weary; speak:
I have heard, I am a strumpet; and mine ear,
Therein falfe ftruck, can take no greater wound,
Nor tent to bottom that. But, speak.

Pif. Then, madam,
I thought you would not back again.

! That now thou tir'ft on,- -1 A hawk is said to tire upon that which he pecks; from tirer, French. JOHNSON: 2 I'll wake mine eye-balls first.

Imo. Wherefore then] This is the old reading. The modern editions for wake read break, and supply the deficient f,ilable by ah, wherefore. I read,

I'll wake mine eye-balls out first, or, blind first. Johns. 3 To le unbent,-) To have thy bow unbent, alluding to a hunter. JOHNSON.

Imo. Most like;
Bringing me here to kill me.

Pif. Not fo, neither:
But if I were as wise as honest, then
My purpose would prove well. It cannot be,
But that my maiter is abus’d; some villain,
Ay, and singular in his art, hath done you both
This cursed injury.

Imo. Some Roman courtezan.

Pif. No, on my life.
I'll give hiin notice you are dead, and send him
Some bloody sign of it; for 'tis commanded,
I should do so. You shall be miss'd at court,
And that will well confirm it.

Imo. Why, good fellow,
What shall I do the while ? Where bide? How live?
Or in my life what comfort, when I am
Dead to my husband ?

Pis. If you'll back to the court

Imo. No court, no father; nor no more ado
With that harsh, noble, simple, nothing;
That Cloten, whose love-suit hath been to me
As fearful as a siege.

Pis. If not at court,
Then not in Britain must you ’bide.

Imo. Where then?
Hath Britain all the sun that shines ? Day, night,
Are they not but in Britain ? [ the world's volume
Our Britain seems as of it, but not in it;
In a great pool, a fwan’s neft. Pr’ythee, think,
There's livers out of Britain.

Pif. I am most glad
You think of other place. The ambassador,
Lucius the Roman, comes to Milford-Haven
To-morrow. 4 Now, if you could wear a mind



Now, if you could wear a MIND
Dark as your fortune is, -] What had the darkness of her


P 3

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