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Line 24. that pale, that white-fac'd shore,] England is supposed to be called Albion from the white rocks facing France.
JOHNSON, Line 36 To make a more requital, &c.] I believe it has been already observed, that more signified, in our author's time, greater.
STEEVENS. Line 148. One that will play the devil, sir, with
you, An a' may catch your hide and you alone.] The ground of the quarrel of the Bastard to Austria is no where specified in the play. But the story is, that Austria, who killed king Richard Caur-de-lion, wore, as the spoil of that prince, a lion's hide, which had belonged to him. This cir. cumstance renders the anger of the Bastard very natural, and ought not to have been omitted.
Pope. Line 208.
plagu'd for her,
Her injury,—the beadle to her sin ;]
plagu'd for her
Her injury, the beadle to her sin. That is ; instead of inflicting vengeance on this innocent and remote descendant, punish her son, her immediate offspring: then the affliction will fall where it is deserved; his injury will be her injury, and the misery of her sin; her son will be a beadle, or chastiser, to her crimes, which are now all punished in the person of this child.
JOHNSON. Live 222. It ill beseems this presence, to cry aim
To these ill-tuned repetitions.] Dr. Warburtou hás well observed on one of the former plays, that to cry aim is to encourage. I once thought it was borrowed from archery; and that aim! having been the word of command, as we now say present ! to cry aim had been to incite notice, or raise attention. But I rather think, that the old word of
applause was J'aime, love it, and that to applaud was to cry J'aime, which the English, not easily pronouncing Je, sunk into aime or aim. Our exclamations of applause are still borrowed, as bravo and encore.
JOHNSON, Line 354. Rejoice, ye men of Angiers, &c.] The English herald falls somewhat below his antagonist. Silver armour gilt with blood is a poor image. Yet our author has it again in Macbeth,
“ Here lay Duncan,
Johnson. Line 364. And, like a jolly troop of huntsmen, &c.] It was, I think, one of the savage practices of the chace, for all to stain their hands in the blood of the deer, as a trophy.
· JOHNSON. Line 543. Lest zeal, now melted, &c.] We have here a very unusual, and, I think, not very just image of zeal, which, in its highest degree, is represented by others as a flame, but by Shakspeare as a frost. To repress zeal, in the language of others, is to cool, in Shakspeare's to melt it; when it exerts its utmost power it is commonly said to flame, but by Shakspeare to be congealed.
Line 15. For I am sick, and capable of feurs ;] i. e. I am tremblingly alive to apprehension.
MALONE. Line 78. To me, and to the state of my great grief,
Lest kings assemble ;] In Much Ado about Nothing, the father of Hero, depressed by her disgrace, declares himself so subdued by grief that a threud may lead him. How is it that grief in Leonato and lady Constance produces effects directly opposite, and yet both agreeable to nature? Sorrow softens the mind while it is yet warmed by hope, but hardenssit when it is congealed by despair, Distress, while there remains any prospect of relief, is weak and flexible, but when no succour remains, is fearless and stub. born; angry alike at those that injure, and at those that do not help ; careless to please where nothing can be gained, and fearless to offend when there is nothing further to be dreaded. Such was this writer's knowledge of the passions.
JOHNSON. Line 112. You came in arms to spill mine enemies blood,
But now in arms you strengthen it with yours.] I am afraid here is a clinch intended; You came in war to destroy my enemies, but now you strengthen them in embraces.
JOHNSON. Line 143. And hang a calf's-skin on those recreunt limbs.] When fools were kept for diversion in great families, they were distinguished by a calf'-skin coat, which had the buttons down the back; and this they wore that they might be known for fools, and escape the resentment of those whom they provoked with their waggaries. HAWKINS.
Line 165. What eurthly name to interrogatories,] This must have been at the time when it was written, in our struggles with popery, a very captivating scene.
So many passages remain in which Shakspeare evidently takes bis advantage of the facts then recent, and of the passions then in motion, that I cannot but suspect that time has obscured much of his art, and that many allusions yet remain undi covered, which perhaps may be gradually retrieved by succeeding cominentators.
JOHNSON. Line 198. Thut takes away by any secret course
Thy hateful life.] This may allude to the bull published against queen Elizabeth. Or we may suppose, since we have no proof that this play appeared in its present state before the reigo of king James, that it was exhi. ACT 111.)
bited soon after the popish plot. I have seen a Spanish book in which Garnet, Faux, and their accomplices are registered as saints.
JOHNSON. Line 233. Is, purchase of a heavy curse from Rome,) It is a political maxim, that kingdoms are never married. Lewis, upon the wedding, is for making war upon his new relations.
JOHNSON. Line 322. But thou hast sworn against religion, &c.] The sense, after I had considered it, appeared to me only this : In swearing by religion against religion, to which thou hast ulready sworn, thou makest un oath the security of thy faith against on outh already taken. I will give, suys he, a rule for conscience in these cases. Thou mayst be in doubt about the matter of an oath; when thou swearest thou mayst not be always sure to swear rightly, but let this be thy settled principle, swear only not to be forsworn ; let not the latter oaths be at variance with the former.
Truth, through this whole speech, means rectitude of conduct.
JOHNSON. Line 406. Some airy devil - We must read, Some fiery devil, if we will have the cause equal to the effect.
WARBURTON. There is no end of such alterations ; every page of a vehement and negligent writer will afford opportunities for changes of terms, if mere propriety will justify them.
Johnson. Shakspeare here probably alludes to the distinctions and divisions of some of the demonologists, so much read and regarded in his time. They distributed the devils into dif. ferent tribes and classes, each of which had its peculiar properties, attributes, &c.
These are described at length in Burton's Anatomie of Melancholy, part i. sect. 2. p. 45. 1632.
Percy. Line 431. Bell, book, and candle -] In an account of
the Romish curse given by Dr. Grey, it appears that three candles were extinguished, one by one, in different parts of the execration.
JOHNSON, Line 498. Remember.] This is one of the scenes to which may be promised a lasting commendation. Art could add little to its perfection, and time itself can take nothing from its beauties.
STEEVENS. Line 505. Armado --] Armado is a Spanish word signifying a fleet of war. The armada in 1588 was called so by way of distiuction.
STEEVENS. Line 543. Misery's love, &c.] Thou, death, who art courted by Misery to come to his releaf, o come to me,
MALONE. Line 552. modern invocation.] It is hard to say what Shakspeare means by modern: it is not opposed to ancient. In All's well that ends well, speaking of a girl in contempt, he uses this word, her modern grace It apparently means something slight and inconsiderable
JOHNSON. Line 571. Bind up those tresses :) It was necessary that Constauce should be interrupted, because a passion so violent cannot be borne long. I wish the following speeches had been equally happy; but they only serve to show, how difficult it is to maintain the pathetic long. Johnson. Line 613. had you such a loss as 1,
could give better comfort -] This is a sentiment which great sorrow always dictates. Whoever cannot help himself casts his eyes on others for assistance, and often mistakes their inability for coldness. Johnson.
Line 621. There's nothing in this, &c.] The young prince feels his defeat with more sensibility than his father. Shame operates most strongly in the earlier years; and when can disgrace be less welcome than when a man is going to his bride?