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Now say, what would Augustus César with us?] So, in King John: Now say, Chatillon, what would France with us ?
STEEVENS. 23. With rocks unscaleable, -] This reading is Hanmer's. The old editions have, With oaks unscaleable.
JOHNSON. « The strength of our land consists of our seamen in their wooden forts and castles; our rocks, shelves, and sirtes, that lye along our coasts; and our trayned bands.” From chapter 109 of Bariffe's Military Discipline, 1639, seemingly from Tooke's Legend of Britomart.
TOLLET. 30. (Poor ignorant baubles!)] i.e. unacquainted with the nature of our boisterous seas. JOHNSON.
54. against all colour,–] Without any pretence of right.
JOHNSON. 74. Thou art welcome, Caius.
Thy Cæsar knighted me; my youth I spent
Much under him : -] Some few hints for this part of the play are taken from Holinshed :
“ Kymbeline, says he (as some write), was brought up at Rome, and there was made knight by Augustus Cæsar, under whom he served in the wars, and was in such favour with him, that he was at liberty to pay his tribute or not."
-Yet we find in the Roman writers, that after Julius Cæsar's death, when Augustus had taken upon him the rule of the empire, the Britons refused to pay that tribute.”
But whether the controversy, which appeareth to fall forth betwixt the Britons and Augustus, was occasioned by Kymbeline, I have not a vouch."
-Kymbeline reigned thirty-five years, leaying behind him two sons, Guiderius and Arviragus."
STEEVENS. 78. -keep at utterance. -] At utterance means to keep at the extremity of defiance. Combat à outrance is a desperate fight, that must conclude with the life of one of the combatants. So in The History of Helyas, Knight of the Swanne, bl. let, no date: “ Here is my gage to sustaine it to the utteraunce, and befight it to the death.''
STEEVENS. -I am perfect,] I am well informed. So, in Macbeth : -in your state of honour I am perfect.”
JOHNSON. 94. What monsters her accuse?. -] Might we not safely read, What monster's her accuser ?
STEEVENS. 96. -What false Italian,
( As pois'nous tongu'd, as handed) — ] About Shakspere's time the practice of poisoning was very conimon in Italy, and the suspicion of Italian poisons yet more common.
101. -take in some virtue. -] To take in a town, is to conquer it.
JOHNSON. So, in Antony and Cleopatra :
cut the Ionian seas, " And take in Toryne
STEEVENS. 102. Thy mind to her is now as low,-] That is, thy mind compared to her’s is now as low, as thy condition was, compared to her's. I believe the author wrote, Thy mind to her's
MALONE. 109. Do't;—the letter
That I have sent her, by her own command,
Shall give thee opportunity : -] One is tempted to think that Shakspere did not give himself the trouble to compare the several parts of his play after he had composed it. - These words are not found in the letter of Posthumus to Pisanio (which is afterwards given at length), though the substance of them is contained in it.
MALONE. 113. Art thou a feodary for this act,-) A feodary is one who holds his estate under the tenure of suit and service to a superior lord.
HANMER. Feodary is, I believe, here used for a confederate. It is, I think, used in the same sense, in The Winter's Tale.
MALONE. 115 I am ignorant in what I am commanded.] id e. I am unpractised in the arts of murder. STEEVENS.
119. 0, learn’d indeed were that astronomer, &c.] This was a very natural thought. She must needs be supposed, in her circumstances, to be extremely soliDiij
citous about the future; and desirous of coming to it by the assistance of that superstition. WARBURTON.
124. let that grieve him!] I should wish to read,
Of my lord's health, of his content ;-yet no ;
TYRWHITT. 126. For it doth physic love)—] That is, grief for absence keeps love in health and vigour.
Johnson. So, in Macheth : “ The labour we delight in, physics pain.”'
You clasp young Cupid's tables.meaning of this, which had been obscured by printing forfeitures for forfriters, is no more than that the bees are not blest by the man who forfeiting a bond is sent to prison, as they are by the lover for whom they perform the more pleasing office of sealing letters.
STEEVENS. 138. loyal to his vow, and your increasing in love,] We should, I think, read thus :-—and your, increasing in love, Leonatus Posthumus.To make it plain, that your is to be joined in construction with Leonatus, and not with increasing ; and that the latter is a participle present, and not a noun. TYRWHITT.
166. That run i' the clock's behalf:-] This fantastical expression means no more than sand in an hour-glass, used to measure time, WARBURTON.
170. A franklin's housewife.] A franklin is literally a freeholder, with a small estate, neither villain nor vassal.
JOHNSON 272. I see before me, man, nor here, nor here,
Nor what ensues; but have a fog in them,
That I cannot look through. -] The lady says: “ I can see neither one way nor other, before me nor behind me, but all the ways are covered with an impenetrable fog.” There are objections insuperable to all that I can propose, and since reason can give me no counsel, I will resolve at once to follow my inclination.
JOHNSON 178. --Stoop, boys :--] The old copy reads, -sleep, boys :—from whence Hanmer conjectured that the poet wrote-stoop, boys—as that word affyrds a good introduction to what follows. STEEVENS.
182. -their impious turbands on, -] The idea of a giant was, among the readers of romances, who were almost all the readers of those times, always confounded with that of a Saracen. JOHNSON.
194. This service is not service, &c.] In war it is not sufficient to do duty well; the advantage rises not from the act, but the acceptance of the act.
JOHNSON 198. The sharded beetle--] i.e. the beetle whose wings are enclosed within two dry husks or shards.