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Amidst the other; whose med'cinable eye
Corrects the ill aspects of planets evil, 1
And posts, like the commandment of a king,
Sans check, to good and bad: But, when the planets,
In evil mixture, to disorder wander,2
What plagues, and what portents? what mutiny?
What raging of the sea? shaking of earth?
Commotion in the winds? frights, changes, horrors,
Divert and crack, rend and deracinate 3

1 Corrects the ill aspects of planets evil,] So, the folio. The quarto reads:

Corrects the influence of evil planets. Malone.

But, when the planets, In evil mixture, to disorder wander, &c.] I believe the poet, according to astrological opinions, means, when the planets form malignant configurations, when their aspects are evil towards one another. This he terms evil mixture. Fohnson.

The poet's meaning may be somewhat explained by Spenser, to whom he seems to be indebted for his present allusion:

“ For who so liste into the heavens looke,
“ And search the courses of the rowling spheres,
“Shall find that from the point where they first tooke
“ Their setting forth, in these few thousand yeares
“ They all are wandred much; that plaine appeares.
“For that same golden fleecy ram, which bore
“ Phrixus and Helle from their stepdames feares,

“ Hath now forgot where he was plast of yore,
" And shouldred hath the bull which fayre Europa bore.

" And eke the bull hath with his bow-bent horne
“ So hardly butted those two twins of Jove,
“That they have crush'd the crab, and quite him borne
“ Into the great Nemæan lion's grove.
“So now all range, and do at random rove
“Out of their proper places far away,
“ And all this world with them amisse doe move,

“ And all his creatures from their course astray,
“Till they arrive at their last ruinous decay."

Fairy Queen, B. V, c. i. Stcer'ens. The apparent irregular motions of the planets were supposed to portend some disasters to mankind; indeed the planets them selves were not thought formerly to be confined in any fixed orbits of their own, but to wander about ad libitum, as the etymo. logy of their nameo demonstrates. Anonymous.

deracinote -] i. e. force up by the roots. King Henry V:

the coulter rusts
“That should deracinate such savag'ry.” Steereras.


So again, in

The unity and married calm of states
Quite from their fixure? O, when degree is shak’d,5
Which is the ladder of all high designs,
The enterprize is sick! How could communities,
Degrees in schools, and brotherhoods in cities,?
Peaceful commerce from dividable shores,
The primogenitive and due of birth,
Prerogative of age, crowns, sceptres, laurels,
But by degree, stand in authentick place?
Take but degree away, untune that string,
And, hark, what discord follows! each thing meets
In mere oppugnancy:9 The bounded waters
Should lift their bosoms higher than the shores,
And make a sop of all this solid globe.
Strength should be lord of imbecility,
And the rude son should strike his father dead :
Force should be right; or, rather, right and wrong,
(Between whose endless jar justice l'esides)
Should lose their names, and so shouid justice too.
Then every thing includes itself in power,
Power into will, will into appetite;
And appetite, an universal wolf,
So doubly seconded with will and power,
Must make perforce an universal prey,


4_married calm of states -] The epithet-married, which is used to denote an intimate union, is employed in the same sense by Milton:

Lydian airs 16 Married to immortal verse." Shakspeare calls a harmony of features, married lineaments, in Romeo and Juliet, Act I, sc. iii. See note on this passage. Steevens.

-0, when degree is shak’d, ] I would read:

So, when degree is shak'd. Johnson. 6 The enterprize -] Perhaps we should read':

Then enterprize is sick! Johnson.

- brotherhoods in cities,] Corporations, companies, confraternities. Johnson.

dividable shores,] i. e. divided. So, in Antony and Cleopatra, our author uses corrigible for corrected. Mr. M. Mason has the same observation. Stecvens.

mere oppugnancy: ] Mere is absolute. So, in Hamlet:

things rank and gross in nature “ Possess it merelySteevens. * And make a sop of all this solid globe:) So, in King Lewr:

I'll make a sop o' the moonshine of you.” Steevens.



And, last, eat up himself. Great Agamemnon,
This chaos, when degree is suffocale,
Follows the choking.
And this neglection of degree it is,
That by a pace3 goes backward, with a purpose
It hath to climb.“ The general's ciscain'd
By him one step below; he, by the next; .
That next, by him beneath: so every step,
Exampled by the first pace that is sick
Of his superior, grows to an envious fever
Of pale and bloodless emulation : 5
And 'tis this fever that keeps Troy on foot,
Not her own sinews. To end a tale of length,
Troy in our weakness stands, not in her strength.

Nest. Most wisely hath Ulysses here discover'd
The fever whereof all our power 6 is sick.

Agam. The nature of the sickness found, Ulysses, What is the remedy?

Ulyss. The great Achilles,—whom opinion crowns The sinew and the forehand of our host, Having his ear full of his airy fame,? Grows dainty of his worth, and in iis tent Lies mocking our designs: With him, Patroclus, Upon a lazy bed the livelong day Breaks scurril jests; And with ridiculous and aukward action (Which, slanderer, he imitation calls,)


this neglection -] This uncommon word occurs again in Pericles, 1609:

if neglection “ Should therein make me vile, --." Malone. 3 That by a pace - ] That goes backward step by step. Johnsan.

with a purpose It hath to climb.] With a design in each man to aggrandize himself, by slighting his immediate superior. Fohnson.

Thus the quarto. Folio-in a purpose. Mulone. 5

bloodless emulation:] An emulation not vigorous and active, but malignant and sluggish. Johnson.

our power -] i. e. our army. So, in another of our au. thor's plass :

s Who leads his power 3Steevens.

his airy fame,] Verbal elogium; what our author, in Macbeth, has called mouth honour. Malone.



He pageants us. Sometime, great Agamemnon,
Thy topless deputation.o he puts on;
And, like a strutting player, whose conceit
Lies in his hamstring, and doth think it rich
To hear the wooden dialogue and sound
'Twixt his stretch'd footing and the scaffoldage,
Such to-be-pitied and o’er-wrested seeming?
He acts thy greatness in: and when he speaks,
"Tis like a clime a mending;2 with terms unsquar’d,
Which, from the tongue of roaring Typhon dropp'd,
Would seem hyperboles. At this fusty stuff,
The large Achilles, on his press'd bed lolling,
From his deep chest laughs out a loud applause;
Cries—Excellent ! -'lis Agamemnon just.-
Now play me Nestor;-hem, and stroke thy beard,
As he, being 'dresi 10 some oration.
That's done ;-as near as the extremest ends
Of parallels;- as like as Vuican and his wife:

8 Thy topless deputation ] Topless is that which has nothing topping or overtopping it; supreme; sovereign. Johnson. So, in Doctor Faustus, 1604:

“Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships,

“And burnt the topless towers of lium ?” Again, in The Blind Beggar of Alexandria, 1598:

And topless lionours be bestow'd on thee.” Steevens. g'Twixt his stretch'd footing and the scaffoldage,] The galleries of the Theatre, in the time of our author, were sometimes termed the scaffolds. Malone.

o'er-wrested seeming --] i. e. wrested beyond the truth; overcharged. Both the old copies, as well as all the modern editions, have.-o'er-rested, which affords no meaning Malone.

Over-wrested is--wound up too high. A wrest was an instrument for tuning a harp, by drawing up the strings. See Mr. Douce's note on Act III, sc. iii. Steevens.

--a chime a mending;] To this comparison the praise of originality must be allowed. He who, like myself, has been in thie tower of a church while the chimes were repairing, will never wish a second time to be present at so dissonantly noisy an operation. Steevens.

- ??nequar’il,] i. e. unadapted to their subject, as stones are unfitted to the purposes of architecture, while they are yet 41?squared. Steeveris.

- as near as the extremest ends

Of parallels;] The parallels to which the allusion seems to be made, are the parallels on a map. As like as cast to west. Fohnson.



Yet good Achilles still cries, Excellent!
'Tis Nestor right! Now play him me, Patroclus,
Arming to answer in a night alarm.
And then, forsooth, the faint defects of age
Must be the scene of mirth; to cough, and spit,
And with a palsy-fumblings on his gorget,
Shake in and out the rivet:--and at this sport,
Sir Valour dies; cries, 0!-enough, Patroclus :-
Or give me ribs of steel! I shall split all
In pleasure of my spleen. And in this fashion,
All our abilities, gifts, natures, shapes,
Severals and generals of grace exact,
Achievements, plots, orders, preventions,
Excitements to the field, or speech for truce,
Success, or loss, what is, or is not, serves
As stuff for these two to make paradoxes.?

Nest. And in the imitation of these twain
(Whom, as Ulysses says, opinion crowns
With an imperial voice,) many are infect.
Ajax is grown self-will'd; and bears his head
In such a rein, 8 in full as proud a place


a palsy fumbling ---) Old copies give this as two distinct words. But it should be written-palsy-fumbling, i. e. paralytick fumbling. Tyrwhitt.

Fumbling is often applied by our old English writers to the speech. So, in King John, 1591:

he fumbleth in the mouth; “ His speech doth fail.” Again, in North’s translation of Plutarch: " he heard his wife Calphurnia being fast asleepe, weepe and sigh, and put forth many fumbling lamentable speaches."

Shakspeare, I believe, wrote-inlis gorget. Malone.

On seems to be used for-at. So, p. 53: “ Pointing on him.” i. e. at him.

Steevens. 6 All our abilities, gifts, natures, shapes,

Severals and generals of grace exact,

Achievements, pluts, &c ) All our good grace exact, means our excellence irreprehensible. Johnson.

? -- to make paradoxes.) Paradoxes may have a meaning, but it is not clear and distinct. I wish the copies had given:

to make parodies. Fohnson.

bears his head In such a rein,] That is, holds np his head as haughtily. We still say of a girl, she bridles. Fohnson.


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