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Yet, since love's argument was first on foot,
Prin. I understand you not; my griefs are double.1
grief; And by these badges understand the king. For your fair sakes have we neglected time,
Place a comma after the word it, and fain it would convince, will signify the same as fain would convince it.-In reading, it is certain that a proper emphasis will supply the place of that transposition. But I believe that the words which fain it would convince, mean only what it would wish to succeed in obtaining. To conwince is to overcomie; and to prevail in a suit which was strongly denied, is a kind of conquest. M. Mason.
1 I understand you not; my griefs are double.] I suppose, she means, 1. on account of the death of her father; 2. on account of not understanding the king's meaning.--A modern editor, [Mr. Capell] instead of double, reads deaf; but the former is not at all likely to have been mistaken, either by the eye or the ear, for the latter. Malone.
2 Honest plain words &c.] As it seems not very proper for Biron to court the Princess for the King in the king's presence at this critical moment, I believe the speech is given to a wrong person. I read thus:
Prin. I understand you not, my griefs are double :
King. And by these badges &c. Johnson. Too many authors sacrifice propriety to the consequence of their principal character, into whose mouth they are willing to put more than justly belongs to him, or at least the best things they have to say. The original actor of Biron, however, like Bottom in The Midsummer Night's Dream, might have wrested this speech from an inferior performer. I have been assured, that Mercutio's rhapsody concerning the tricks of Queen Mab, was put into the mouth of Romeo by the late Mr. Sheridan, as often as he himself performed that character in Ireland. Steevens.
I think Johnson judges ill in wishing to give this speech to the King, it is an apology not for him alone, but for all the competitors in oaths, and Biron is generally their spokesman. M. Mason.
In a former part of this scene Biron speaks for the King and the other lords, and being at length exhausted, tells them, they must woo for themselves. I believe, therefore, the old copies Are right in this respect; but think with Dr. Johnson that the Jine “ Honest,” &c. belongs to the Princess. Malone.
Play'd foul play with our oaths; your beauty, ladies,
Prin. We have receiv'd your letters, full of love;
3 Full of strange shapes, of habits, and of forms, 7 The old copies read-Full of straying shapes. Both the sense and the metre appear to me to require the emendation which I suggested some time ago: “strange shapes” might have been easily confounded by the ear with the words that have been substituteu in their room. In Coriolanus we meet with a corruption of the same kind, which could only have arisen in this way:
" — Better to starve
“ Than crave the higher shire) which first we do deserve." The following passages of our author will, I apprehend, fully support the correction that has been made:
“ In him a plenitude of subtle matter,
Lover's Complaint. Again, in The Rape of Lucrece:
“ the impression of strange kinds
“ Is form'd in them, by force, by fraud, or skill." In King Henry V, 4to. 1600, we have-Forraging blood of French nobility, instead of Forrage in blood, &c. Mr. Capell, I find, has made the same emendation. Mulone.
4 Suggested us — ] That is, tempted us. Fohnson. So, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona:
« Knowing that tender youth is soon suzgested.” Steevens.
Your favours, the embassadors of love;
5 As bombast, and as lining to the time :) This line is obscure. Bombast was a kind of loose texture not unlike what is now called wadding, used to give the dresses of that time bulk and protuberance, without much increase of weight; whence the same name is given to a tumour of words unsupported by solid senti. ment. The Princess, therefore, says, that they considered this courtship as but bombast, as something to fill out life, which not being closely united with it, might be thrown away at pleasure.
Johnson. Prince Henry calls Falstaff,“ — my sweet creature of bombast.”
We have receiv'd your letters full of love;
In their own fashion, like a merriment. The sixth verse being evidently corrupted, Dr. Warburton pro. poses to read:
But more devout than this (save our respects)
Have we not been; -
But more devout than this, in our respects. I would read, with less violence, I think, to the text, though with the alteration of two words:
But more devout than these are your respects
Have we not seen, - Tyrwhitt. The difficulty, I believe, arises only from Shakspeare's remark. able position of his words, which may be thus construed.-But we have not been more devout, or made a more serious matter of your letters and favours than these our respects, or considerations and reckonings of them, are, and as we have just before said, we rated them in our maiden council at courtship, pleasant jest, and courtesy. Tollet. The quarto, 1598, reads:
But more devout than this our respects. There can be no doubt, therefore, that Sir T. Hanmer's conjecture is right. The word in, which the compositor inadver. tently omitted, completes both the sense and metre. Malone.
Dum. Ourletters, madam, show'd much more than jest.
We did not quote them so.
A time, methinks, too short
6 We did not quote them so.] The old copies read coat. Steevens,
We should read-quote, esteem, reckon; though our old wri. ters spelling by the ear, probably wrote-cote, as it was pro. nounced. Fohnson.
Cote is only the old spelling of quote. So, again, in our poet's Rape of Lucrece, 1594:
" Yea, the illiterate
Will cote my loathed trespass in my looks.” Malone. We did not quote 'em so, is, we did not regard them as such. So, in Hamlet :
“I'm sorry that with better heed and judgment
“I had not quoted him.” See Act II, sc. i. Steevens. 7 To make a world-without-end bargain in:) This singular phrase, which Shakspeare borrowed probably from our liturgy, occurs again in his 57th Sonnet:
“Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour.” Malone. 8 — and thin weeds,] i. e. clothing. Malone.
9_ and last love;] I suspect that the compositor caught this word from the preceding line, and that Shakspeare wrotelast still. If the present reading be right, it must mean—" if it continue still to deserve the name of love." Malone. Last is a verb. If it last love, means, if it continue to be love.
Then, at the expiration of the year,
To flatter up these powers of mine with rest, 3
Hence ever then my heart is in thy breast.
i Come challenge, challenge me - The old copies read (probably by the compositor's eye glancing on a wrong part of the line) Come challenge me, challenge me, &c. Corrected by Sir T. Hanmer. Malone.
2 Neither intitled in the other's heart. The quarto, 1598, reads -Neither intiled;—which may be right, neither of us having a dwelling in the heart of the other.
Our author has the same kind of imagery in many other places. Thus, in The Comedy of Errors:
“Shall love in building grow so ruinate?” Again, in his Lover's Complaint:
“ Love lack'd a dwelling, and made him her place.” Again, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona :
“O thou, that dost inhabit in my breast,
“ Lest growing ruinous the building fall.” Malone. We may certainly speak, in general terms, of building a man. sion for Love to dwell in, or, of that mansion when it is become a Ruin, without departure from elegance; but when we descend to such particulars as tiling-in Love, a suspicion will arise, that the technicals of the bricklayer have debased the imagery of the poet. I hope, therefore, that the second t in the word intitled was an undesigned omission in the quarto, 1598, and, conse. quently, that intiled was not the original reading. Steevens.
3 To flatter up these powers of mine with rest,] Dr. Warburton would read fetter, but flatter or sooth is, in my opinion, more apposite to the king's purpose than fetter. Perhaps we may read:
To flatter on these hours of time with rest; That is, I would not deny to live in the hermitage, to make the year of delay pass in quiet. Johnson. 4_ are rank;] The folio and quarto, 1598, read-are rackd.