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ACT V. SCENE VII.
Line 351. As easy may'st thou the intrenchant air, &c.] That is, air which cannot be cut. JOHNSON.
Line 354. I bear a charmed life,] In the days of chivalry, the champions' arms being ceremoniously blessed, each took an oath, that he used no charmed weapons. Macbeth, according to the law of arms, or perhaps only in allusion to this custom, tells Macduff of the security he had in the prediction of the spirit. STEEVENS. Line 363.palter with us in a double sense;] That shuffle with ambiguous expressions. JOHNSON.
Line 398. Had I as many sons as I have hairs,
I would not wish them to a fairer death:
And so his knell is knoll'd.] This incident is thus related from Henry of Huntingdon by Camden in his Remains, from which our author probably copied it.
When Seyward, the martial earl of Northumberland, understood that his son, whom he had sent in service against the Scotchmen, was slain, he demanded whether his wounds were in the fore part or hinder part of his body. When it was answered, in the fore part, he replied, "I am right glad; neither wish I any other death "to me or mine." JOHNSON.
END OF THE ANNOTATIONS ON MACBETH.
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS.
Line 171. Richard III.
LINE 36. Was wrought by nature, not by vile offence.] By my past life, (says he) which I am going to relate, the world may understand, that my present death is according to the ordinary course of Providence, [wrought by nature] and not the effects of divine vengeance overtaking me for my crimes, [not by vile offence.]
ACT I. SCENE I.
Line 138. Roaming clean through the bounds of Asia,] Clean is a provincial word, meaning complete, perfect.
wend,] To wend, is to go. Obsolete.
ACT I. SCENE II.
―ere the weary sun set in the west.] Thus in King The weary sun hath made a golden set.
-a trusty villain,] Villain means servant.
—I shall be post indeed;
For she will score your fault upon my pate.]
It is very probable that this alludes to a practice which must have been adopted before the arts of writing and arithmetic
became understood, of chalking and notching upon wood the scores of customers; and by the text it is not unlikely a post was placed in the middle of the shop for that purpose.
Line 251. 273.
—that merry sconce of yours,] Sconce means head. o'er-raught,-] That is, over-reached. JOHNSON. -274. -They say, this town is full of cozenage ;] This was the character the ancients give of it. Hence 'Eσia äλğıpaguana was proverbial amongst them. Thus Menander uses it, and 'Epeσia yeaμuara, in the same sense. WARBURTON.
Line 275. As, nimble jugglers, that deceive the eye,
By soul-killing I understand destroying the rational faculties by such means as make men fancy themselves beasts. JOHNSON.
Witches or sorcerers themselves, as well as those who employed them, were supposed to forfeit their souls by making use of a forbidden agency. In that sense, they may be said to destroy the souls of others as well as their own. STEEVENS.
liberties of sin:] Sir T. Hanmer reads, libertines, which, as the author has been enumerating not acts but persons, seems right. JOHNSON.
Line 14. Adr. There's none, but asses, will be bridled so. Luc. Why, headstrong liberty is lash'd with woe.] Should it not rather be leash'd, i. e. coupled like a head-strong hound? ANONYMOUS.
The meaning of this passage may be, that those who refuse the bridle must bear the lash, and that woe is the punishment of headstrong liberty. It may be observed, however, that the seamen still use lash in the same sense with leash. Lace was the old English word for a cord, from which verbs have been derived differently modelled by the chances of pronunciation. When the mariner lashes his guns, the sportsman leashes his dogs, the female laces her clothes, they all perform the same act of fastening with a lace or cord. Of the same original is the word windlass, or more properly windlace, an engine, by which a lace or cord is wound upon a barrel. STEEVENS.
Line 32. that our author wrote,
start some other where?] I cannot but think
-start some other hare?
So in Much ado about Nothing, Cupid is said to be a good hareJOHNSON. -though she pause ;] To pause is to rest, to be JOHNSON.
in quiet. Line 44. fool-begg'd-] She seems to mean, by foolbegg'd patience, that patience which is so near to idiotical simplicity, that your next relation would take advantage from it to represent you as a fool, and beg the guardianship of your fortune. JOHNSON.
Line 57. —that I could scarce understand them.] i. e. that I could scarce stand under them. This quibble, poor as it is, seems to have been the favourite of Shakspeare. STEEVENS.
Line 91. Am I so round with you, as you with me,] He plays upon the word round, which signified spherical applied to himself, and unrestrained, or free in speech or action, spoken of his mistress. So the king, in Hamlet, bids the queen be round with her son. JOHNSON.
Line 107. My decayed fair-] Shakspeare uses the adjective gilt, as a substantive, for what is gilt, and very probably fair for fairness. In the Midsummer Night's Dream, the old quartos read,
"Demetrius loves your fair."
Line 109. too unruly deer,] The ambiguity of deer and dear is borrowed, poor as it is, by Waller, in his poem on the Ladies Girdle.
"This was my heaven's extremest sphere, "The pale that held my lovely deer." Line 110. poor I am but his stale.] The word stale, in our author, used as a substantive, means, not something offered to allure or attract, but something vitiated with use, something of which the best part has been enjoyed and consumed. JOHNSON.
Stale means, I believe, in this place, the same as the French word, chaperon. Poor I am but the cover for his infidelity. STEEV. Line 119. I see, the jewel, best enamelled,
Will lose his beauty; and though gold 'bides still,