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And prove it too, against mine honour aught,
7 or my love and duty,
Against your sacred person,] There seems to be an error in the phrase “ Against your sacred person;" but I don't know how to amend it. The sense would require that we should read, “ Towards your sacred person," or some word of a similar import, which against will not bear: and it is not likely that against should be written by mistake for towards. M. Mason.
In the old copy there is not a comma in the preceding line af. ter duty. Mr. M. Mason has justly observed that, with such a punctuation, the sense requires-- Towards your sacred person. A comma being placed at duty, the construction is-If you can re. port and prove aught against mine honour, my love and duty, or aught against your sacred person, &c. but I doubt whether this was our author's intention; for such an arrangement seems to make a breach of her honour and matrimonial bond to be some. thing distinct from an offence against the king's person, which is not the case. Perhaps, however, by the latter words Shakspeare meant, against your life. Malone.
against my honour aught,
Against your sacred person, &c.] The meaning of this passage is sufficiently clear, but the construction of it has puzzled us all. It is evidently erroneous, but may be amended by merely removing the word or from the middle of the second line to the end of it. It will then run thus
- against my honour aught,
Against your sacred person, &c.
I will implore: if not; i'the name of God,
You have here, lady,
Your pleasure, madam ?
Be patient yet.
8 That longer you desire the court;] That you desire to protract the business of the court; that you solicit a more distant session and trial. To pray for a longer day, i. e, a more distant one, when the trial or execution of criminals is agitated, is yet the language of the bar.-In the fourth folio, and all the modern editions, defer is substituted for desire. Malone.
9 I am about to weep; &c.] Shakspeare has given almost a si. milar sentiment to Hermione, in The Winter's Tale, on an almost similar occasion:
“I am not prone to weeping, as our sex
and make my challenge,
I do profess,
a law term. The criminal, when he refuses a juryman, says-I challenge him. Fohnson. 2 I utterly abbor, yea, from my soul,
Refuse you for my judge;) These are not mere words of passion, but technical terms in the canon law.
Detestor and Recuso. The former, in the language of canonists, signifies no more, than I protest against. Blackstone.
The words are Holinshed's: “- and therefore openly protested that she did utterly abhor, refuse, and forsake such a judge."
Malone. 3 g ainsay ] i. e. deny. So, in Lord Surrey's translation of the fourth Book of the Æneid:
“I hold thee not, nor yet gainsay thy words.” Steevens. 4_ But if] The conjunetion-But, which is wanting in the old copy, was supplied, for the sake of measure, by Sir T. Hanmer. Steevens.
My lord, my lord,
5 You sign your place and calling,] Sign, for answer Warburton.
I think, to sign, must here be to show, to denote. By your outward meekness and humility, you show that you are of an holy order, but, &c. Fohnson. So, with a kindred sense, in Julius Cesar:
“ Sign'd in thy spoil, and crimson d in thy lethe.” Steedens. 6 Where powers are your retainers: and your words,
Domesticks to you, serve your will,] You have now got power at your beck, follo'ving in your retinue; and words therefore are degraded to the servile state of performing an office which vou shall give them in humbler and more common terms: daving now got power, you do not regard your word. Johnson.
The word power, when used in the plural and applied to one person only, will not bear the meaning that Dr. Johnson wishes to give it.
Bv powers are meant the Emperor and the King of France, in the pav of one or the other of vhoin Wolsev was constantly retained, and it is well known that Wolsev entertained some of the nobility of England among his domestics, and had an absolute power over the rest. M Mason.
Whoever were pointed at by the word powers, Shakspeare, surely, does not mean to say that Wolsey was retained by them, but that they were retainers, or subservient, to Wolsey. Malonę.
I believe that-powers, in the present instance, are used merely to express persons in whom power is lolged The Queen would in. sinuate that Wolsey had rendered the highest officers of state subservient to his will. Steevens. I believe we should read:
Where powers are your retainers, and your wards,
Domesticks to you, &c. The Queen rises naturally in her description. She paints the pow. ers of government depending upon Wolsey under three images; as his retainers, his wards, his domestick servants. Trhitt
So, in Storer's Life and Death of Thomas Wolsey, Carilinal, i poem, 1599:
“ I must have notice where their warris must dwell:
Yourself pronounce their office. I must tell you,
[She curt’sies to the King, and offers to depart. Cam.
The queen is obstinate,
K. Hen. Call her again."
court. Grif. Madam, you are callid back. Q. Kuth. What need you note it? pray you, keep your
[Exeunt Queen, GRIF. and her other Attendants. K. Hen..
Go thy ways, Kate :
Most gracious sir,
7— could speak thee out,)] If thy several qualities had tongues to speak thy praise Johnson. , Rather-had tongues capable of speaking out thy merits, i e. of doing them extensive justice. In Cymbeline we have a similar expression:
- You speak him far.” Steevens.,