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learnt, is a modest silent accomplishment under the direction of nature and common sense, which does its office in promoting social life without being taken notice of. But that when it degenerates into shew and parade, it becomes an unmanly contemptible quality.
WARBURTON. What is told in this note is undoubtedly true, but is not comprised in the quotation. JOHNSON
52 Write, &c.] This was the inscription put upon the door of the houses infected with the plague, to which Biron compares the love of himself and his companions; and pursuing the metaphor finds the tokens likewise on the ladies. The tokens of the plague are the first spots or discolorations, by which the infection is known to be received. JOHNSON.
-how can this be true, That you should forfeit, being those that sue.] That is, how can those be liable to forfeiture that begin the process. The jest lies in the ambiguity of sue, which signifies to prosecute by law, or to offer a petition.
JOHNSON 54 That smiles his cheek in years.] Mr. Malone reads jeers, but the other commentators understand Shakspeare to use years figuratively for wrinkles; the effect both of years and laughter.
55 — squire_] Esquierre French, a rule, a square.
5h you cannot beg us, sir,] i.e. beg the guardian. ship of us, from the king, as ideots.
57 abate a throw at novum.] Novum appears from the following passage in Green's Tu quoque, to have been some game at dice.-" Change your game
“ for dice; we are a full number for novum.” Again in A Woman never vex'd," What ware deal you “in, cards, dice, bowls, or pigeon-holes? Sort them “ yourselves, either passage, novum, or mum-chance."
STEEVENS. 58 with libbard's head on knee,] alluding to the old heroic habits, which usually had a lion or leopard's head on the knees and shoulders.
59 Your lion that holds his poll ax sitting on a close stool, &c.] In Leigh's Accidence of Armoury, the arms given to Alexander in the history of The Nine Worthies, is a Lion, seiante in a chayer, holding a battleax. The paltry conceit between Ajax and a jakes is also used by Ben Jonson and Camden the antiquary.
60 Stuck with cloves.] An orange stuck with cloves appears to have been a common new-year's gift. So Ben Jonson, in his Christmas Masque,-" he has an orange and rosemary, but not a clove to stick in it.” A gilt nutmeg is mentioned in the same piece, and on the same occasion.
-more Ates;] That is, more instigation. Ate was the mischievous goddess that incited bloodshed.
JOHNSON. 62 I go woolward—]i.e with woollen next the skin.
63 Honest plain words, &c.] As it seems not very proper for Biron to court the princess for the king in the king's presence, at this critical moment, I believe the speech is given to a wrong person. I read thus,
Prin. I understand you not, my griefs are double : Honest plain words best pierce the ear of grief.
King. And ly these badges, &c. JOHNSON.
64 As bombast, and as lining to the time:] This line is obscure. Bombast was a kind of loose texture not unlike what is now called wadding, used to give the dresses of that time bulk and protuberance, without much increase of weight; whence the same name is given a tumour of words unsupported by solid sentiment. The Princess, therefore, says, that they considered this courtship as but bombast, as something to fill out life, which not being closely united with it, might be thrown away at pleasure.
JOHNSON. es To flatter up these powers of mine with rest;] Dr. Warburton would read fetter, but flatter or sooth is, in my opinion, more apposite to the king's purpose than fetter. Perhaps we may read,
To flatter on these hours of time with rest; That is, I would not deny to live in the hermitage, to make the year of delay pass in quiet. JOHNSON.
66 - dear groans.] Dr. Johnson says dear should here be dere, i.e. sad, odious.
67 When daisies, &c.] The first lines of this song, that were transposed, have been replaced by Mr. Theobald.
JOHNSON 68 While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.] This word is yet used in Ireland, and signifies to scum the pot.
GOLDSMITH. Although the other annotators do not agree in the actual mode of keeling the pot, yet they seem all of opinion that the word signifies to cool.