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BOYET. Madam, and pretty mistresses, give ear:
Prin. Will they return ?
They will, they will, God knows;
derstood. Boyet. Fair ladies, mask'd, are roses in their
bud: Dismask'd, their damask sweet commixture shown, Are angels vailing clouds, or roses blown."
Majestie is greatlie ofended with the ofisers, in that they wanted jugeSee Lodge's Illustrations of British History, Vol. II. p. 228. .
STEEVENS. The ftatute mentioned by Dr. Grey was repealed in the year 1597. The epithet by which' these statute caps are described, plain statute caps,
induces me to believe the interpretation given in the preceding note by Mr. Steevens, the true one. The king and his lords probably wore hats adorned with feathers. So they are represented in the print prefixed to this play in Mr. Rowe's edition, probably from some stage tradition. MALONE. 9 Fair ladies, mask'd, are roses in their bud:
Dismusk'd, their damask sweet commixture shown,
Are angels vailing clouds, or roses blown. ] Tbis ftrange nonsense, made worse by the junbling together and transpoling the lines, I diređed Mr. Theobald to read thus:
Fair ladies mask'd are roses in iheir bud :
Dismask'd, their damask sweet commixture Jhown. But he, willing to show how well he could improve a thought, would print it:
Or angel-veiling clouds i. e. clouds which veil angels : and by this means gave us, as the old proverb says, a cloud for a Juno. It was Shakspeare's purpose to compare a fine lady to an angel ; it was Mr. Theobald's chance
Prin. Avaunt, perplexity! What shall we do, If they return in their own shapes to woo ?
Ros. Good madam, if by me you'll be advis'd, Let's mock them ftill, as well known, as disguis'd: Let us complain to them what fools were here, Disguis'd like Muscovites, in shapeless gear;'
to compare her to a cloud: and perhaps the ill-bred reader will say a lucky one. However, I supposed the poet could never be so nonsensical as to compare a majked lady to a cloud, though he might compare her mask to one. The Oxford editor, who had the advantage both of this emendation and criticism, is a great deal more fubtile and refined, and says it should not be
angels veil'd in clouds, but
angels vailing clouds, i. e. capping the sun as they go by him, just as a man vails his bonnet. WARBURTON.
I know not why Sir T. Hanmer's explanation should be treated with so much contempt, or why vailing clouds should be cajping the sun. Ladies unmask'd, says Boyet, are like angels vailing clouds, or letting those clouds which obscured their brightness, fink from before them. What is there in this absurd or contemptible?
JOHNSON. Holinshed's History of Scotland, p. 91. says: “ The Britains began to avale the hills where they bad lodged." i. e. they began to descend the hills, or come down from them to meet their enemies. If Shakspeare uses the word vailing in this sense, the meaning is. Angels descending from clouds which concealed their beauties; but Dr. Johnson's exposition may be better. TOLLET.
To avale comes from the Fr. aval (Terme de batelier ] Down, downward, down the stream. So, in the French Romant de la Rose, v. 1415:
16 L'eauc aloit aval, faisant
u Son mélodieux & plaisant." Again, in Laneham's Nariative of Queen Elizabeth's Entertainment" at Kenelworth-Castle, 1575 :
a fea-shore when the water is availd. STEEVENS.
: - shapelers gear; ] Shapeless, for uncouth, or what Shakspeare elsewhere calls diffused, WAKBURTON.
And wonder, what they were; and to whatend
hand. Prin. Whip to our tents, as roes run over land.
[ Exeunt PRINCESS,' Ros. KATH. and Maria.
Enter the King, BIRON, LONGAVIlle, and DUMAIN,
in their proper habits.
King. Fair fir, God save you! Where is the prin
cess ? Boyet. Gone to her tent: Please it your majesty, Command me any service to her thither? KING. That she vouchsafe me audience for one
word. Boyet. I will; and so will she, I know, my lord.
[ Exit. Biron. This fellow pecks up wit, as pigeons
peas: And utters it again when God doth please :
3. Exeunt Princess, &c.] Mr. Theobald ends the fourth a& here.
JOHNSON. pecks up wit, as pigeons peas ; ] This expression is proverbial:
16 Children pick up words as pigeons peas,
" And utter them again as God thall please." See Ray's Colle&tion. STEEVENS.
Pecks is the reading of the first quarto. The folio has — picks. That pecks is the true reading, is ascertained by one of Nashe's trads; Chrift's Tears over Jerusalem, 1594: "The lower scattered some seede by the highway lide, which the foules of the ayre peck'd
He is wit's pedler; and retails his wares
waffels, ) Waffels were meetings of rustic mirth and in. temperance. So, in Antony and Cleopatra :
Antony " Leave thy lascivious waffels”. See note on Macbeth, Ad 1. fc. vii. STEEVENS.
Waes heal, that is, be of health, was a salutation first used by the lady Rowena 10 King Vortiger. Afterwards it became a custom in villages, on new year's eve and twelfth-night, to carry a Walsel or Waiffail bowl from house to house, which was presented with the Saxon words above mentionei. Hence in process of time wassel fignified intemperance in drinking, and also a meeting for the purpose of festivity. MALONE.
6, He can carve too, and lisp: ] The chara&er of Dovet, as drawn by Biron, represents an accomplished squire of the days of Chivalry, particulary in the instances here noted.-"Le jeune Ecuyer apprenoit long-temps dans le silence cet art de bien parler, lorsqu'en qualité d'Ecuyer TRANCHANT, il étoit debout dans les repas & dans les feftins, occupé à couper les viandes avec la propreté, l'addresse & l'élégance convenables, & à les faire distribuer aux nobles convives dont il étoit environné. Joinville, dans la jeunesse, avoit rempli à la cour de Saint Louis cet office, qui, dans les maisons des Souverains, étoit quelquefois exercé par leurs propres enfans,' Mémoires sur l'ancienne Chevalerie, Tom. I. p. 16. HENLEY.
I cannot cog, (says Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor,) and say, thou art this and that, like a many of these lisping hawthorn buds, that come like women in men's apparel -.'
On the fubje& of carving fee Vol. V. p. 39, n. 5. Malone.
9 A mean most meanly; &c.] The mean, in music, is the tenor, So, Bacon : “ The treble cutteth the air so farp, as it returneth
Mend him who can: the ladies call him, sweet ;
too swift to make the sound equal; and therefore a mean or tenor is the sweetest. Again, in Herod and Antipater, 1622 :
6. Thus sing we descant on one plain-song, kill;
" Four parts in one; the mean escluded quite." Again, in Drayton's Baron's Wars. Cant. iii.
" The base and treble married to the mean." STEEVENS.
as white as whales bone:] As white as whale's bone is a proverbial comparison in the old poets. In The Faery Queen, B. III. c. i. st. 15:
66 Whose face did seem as clear as crystal stone,
" And eke, through feare, as white as whales bone." And in L. Surrey, fol. 14, euit. 1567:
" I might perceive a wolf, as white as whales bone,
1. A fairer beast of fresher hue, beheld I never none." Skelton joins the whales bure with the brightest precious stones, in describing the position of Pallas:
" A hundred steppes inounting to the halle,
" One of jasper, another of whales bone;
Crowne of Lawrell, p. 24. edit. 1736. T. WARTON.
as whales bone : j The Saxon genitive case. So, in A Midsummer-Nighi's Dream:
" Swister than the moones fphere.' It Thould be remember'i that some of our ancient writers supposed ivory to be part of the bones of a whale. The same fimile occurs in the old black letter romance of Syr Eglamoure of Artogs, no date:
" The eile had no chylde but one,
"A mayden as white as whales bone." Again, in the aucient metrical romance of Syr Ifembras, bl. 1. no date :
5. His wyfe as white as whales bone." Again, in The Squhr of Low Degree, bl. l. no date :
Lady as white as whales bone." Again, in Nash's Lenten Stuff, &c. 1599: - his herrings which were as white as whales lone, " &c.
STEEVENS. This white whale his bome, now superseded by ivory, was the