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Line 126.-pild, as thou art pild, for a French veldet.] The jest about the pile of a French velvet alludes to the loss of hair in the French disease, a very frequent topick of our author's jocularity. Lucio finding that the gentleman understands the distemper so well, and mentions it so feelingly, promises to remember to drink his health, but to forget to drink after him. It was the opinion of Shakspeare's time, that the cup of an infected person was contagious.
JOHNSON. The jest lies between the similar sound of the words pilld and pild.
STEEVENS. Line 141. To three thousand dollars a year.] A quibble intended between dollars and dolours.
HANMER. The same jest occurred before in The Tempest. JOHNSON,
Line 143. A French crown more.] Lucio means here not the piece of money so called, but that venereal scab, which among the surgeons is stiled corona Veneris. To this, I think, our author likewise makes Quince allude in Midsummer-Night's Dream.
Some of your French crowns have no hair at all, and then you will play bare-faced. For where these eruptions are, the skull is carious, and the party becomes bald.
THEOBALD. Line 173. —what with the sweat,] This may allude to the sweating sickness, of which the memory was very fresh in the time of Shakspeare: but inore probably to the method of cure then used for the diseases contracted in brothels. JOHNSON. Line 177
-what has he done?
Clown. A woman.] To illustrate the verb, we shall quote Titus Andronicus:
Chiron. Thou has undone our mother.
Aaron. Villain, I've done thy mother! Line 180. -in a peculiar river.] A stream that is private property. Line 186. All houses in the suburbs
-] It may here be observed, that by king James's law concerning huires (whores), brothels were not permitted, but in the suburbs.
ACT I, SCENE III.
Line 212. Thus can the demi-god, Authority,
Make us pay down for our offence by weight.-
;-on whom it will, it will;
I punish and remit punishment according to my own uncontroulable will; and yet who can say, what dost thou?-Make us pay down for our offence by weight, is a fine expression, to signify paying the full penalty. The metaphor is taken from paying money by weight, which is always exact.
WARBURTON. Line 242. I got possession of Julietta's bed, &c.] This speech is surely too indelicate to be spoken concerning Juliet, before her face; for she appears to be brought in with the rest, though she has nothing to say. The Clown points her out as they enter; and yet, from Claudio's telling Lucio, that he knows the lady, &c. one would think she was not meant to have made her personal appear
STEEVENS. -the fault and glimpse of newness;] Perhaps we may read,
Whether it be the fault or glimpse That is, whether it be the seeming enormity of the action, or the glare of new authority. Yet the same sense follows in the next
JOHNSON. · Line 266. So long, that nineteen zodiacks have gone round,] The Duke in the scene immediately following says, Which for these fourteen years we have let slip. THEOBALD. -so tickle
-] i. e. Ticklish. STEEVENS, -prone and speechless dialect,] The author may,
, by a prone dialect, mean a dialect which men are prone to regard, or a dialect natural and unforced, as those actions seem to which
JOHNSON, Prone, perhaps, may stand for humble, as a prone posture is a posture of supplication.
ance on the scene.
we are prone.
Line 287. under grievous imposition :) I once thought it should be inquisition, but the present reading is probably right. The crime would be under grievous penalties imposed,
ACT I. SCENE IV.
Line 296. Believe not, that the dribbling dart of love
Can pierce a complete bosom :) Think not that a breast completely armed can be pierced by the dart of love that comes fluttering without force.
JOHNSON. Line 303.
-the life removed;] i.e. A retired life. -307. (A man of stricture and firm abstinence,) ) We should read,
A man of strict ure and firm abstinence, i. e. a man of the exactest conduct, and practised in the subdual of his passions. Ure an old word for use, practice : so enur'd, habituated to.
WARBURTON. Stricture may easily be used for strictness; ure is indeed an old word, but, I think, always applied to things, never to persons.
JOHNSON. Line 316. The needful bits and curbs for head-strong steeds,] Nothing can be more proper, than to compare persons of unbridled licentiousness to head-strong steeds: and, in this view, bridling the passions has been a phrase adopted by our best poets.
THEOBALD. Line 318. Which for these fourteen years we have let sleep;] By letting the laws sleep, adds a particular propriety to the thing represented, and accords exactly too with the simile. It is the metaphor too, that our author seems fond of using upon this occasion, in several other passages of this play, The law hath not been dead, tho' it hath slept; -Tis now awake.
THEOBALD. Line 324. Becomes more mock'd than fear'd:) Becomes was added by Mr. Pope to restore sense to the passage, some such word having been left out.
STEEVENS. Line 335. Sith- -] i. e. Since.
- 344. To do it slander.] Perhaps an alteration might have produced the true reading,
And yet my nature never, in the sight,
So doing slandered. And yet my nature never suffers slander by doing any open acts of severity.
JOHNSON. Line 352. Stands at a guard) Stands on terms of defiance.
ACT I. SCENE V. Line 388. make me not your story.] Do not, by deceiving me, make me a subject for a tale.
JOHNSON. Perhaps only, Do not divert yourself with me, as you would with a story.
STEEVENS. -'tis my familiar sin
With maids to seem the lapwing,] The quality of the lapwing, alluded to here, is, its perpetually flying so low and so near the passenger, that he thinks he has it, and then is suddenly gone again. This made it a proverbial expression to signify a lover's falshood.
WARBURTON. Line 401. -as blossoming time
That from the seedness the bare fallow brings
To teeming foison ; even som -] As the sentence now stands, it is apparently ungrammatical. I read,
At blossoming time, &c. That is, As they that feed grow full, so her womb now at blossoming time, at that time through which the seed time proceeds to the harvest, her womb shows what has been doing. Lucio ludicrously calls pregnancy blossoming time, the time when fruit is promised, though not yet ripe.
JOHNSON, Foison is, plenty Line 415. Bore many gentlemen,
In hand, and hope of action:] To bear in hand is a common phrase for to keep in expectation and dependance, but we should read, -with hope of action.
JOHNSON. Line 420. with full line-] With full extent, with the whole length.
JOHNson. Line 426. -to gire fear to use- -] To intimidate use, that is, practices long countenanced by custom. JOHNSON Line 433. Unless you have the grace-] That is, the acceptableness, the power of gaining favour. So when she makes her suit, the provost says, Heaven give thee moving graces.
JOHNSON. Line 434.
Of business- -] The inmost part, the main of my message.
JOHNSON. See also Hamlet :
“And enterprises of great pith and moment." Line 437. Has censured him,] i. e. sentenced him.
STEEVENS. 450. owe them.] i. e. Orwn or possess them.
ACT II. SCENE I.. Line 2. -to fear the birds of prey,] To fear is to affright, to terrify. So in The Merchant of Venice,
“this aspect of mine
“ Hath feard the valiant." STEEVENS. Line 7. Than fall, and bruise to death.] Shakspeare has used the same expression in the Comedy of Errors :
-as easy may'st thou fall “ A drop of water.
STEEVENS. Line 10. Let but your honour know,] To know is here to examine, to take cognizance. So in Midsummer-Night's Dream,
Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires ;
JOHNSON. Line 26. 'Tis very pregnant,] 'Tis plain that we must act with bad as with good; we punish the faults, as we take the advantages, that lie in our way, and what we do not see we cannot pote.
JOHNSON. Line 32 For I have had -] That is, because, by reason that I have had faults.
JOHNSON. Line 45. Some rise, &c.] This line is in the first folio printed in Italics as a quotation. All the folios read in the next line, Some run from brakes of ice, and answer none.
JOHNSON. The old reading is perhaps the true one, and may mean, some