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King. What, did these rent lines show some love of
At the first opening of the gorgeous east,
Kisses the base ground with obedient breast? What peremptory eagle-sighted eye
Dares look upon the heaven of her brow, That is not blinded by her majesty?
King. What zeal, what fury hath inspir’d thee now? My love, her mistress, is a gracious moon;
She, an attending star, scarce seen a light.
O, but for my love, day would turn to night!
Do meet, as at a fair, in her fair cheek; Where several worthies make one dignity;
Where nothing wants, that want itself doth seek. Lend me the flourish of all gentle tongues,
Fye, painted rhetorick! O, she needs it not: To things of sale a seller's praise belongs ;3
She passes praise; then praise too short doth blot.
9 the gorgeous east,] Milton has transplanted this into the third line of the second Book of Paradise Lost:
“ Or where the gorgeous east-.” Steevens. 1 She, an attending star,] Something like this is a stanza of Sir Henry Wotton, of which the poetical reader will forgive the in. sertion:
“ You meaner beauties of the night,
“ That poorly satisfy our eyes,
“You common people of the skies,
“ Luna minores." Hor. Malone. 2 My eyes are then no eyes, nor I Birón :) Here, and indeed throughout this play, the name of Birón is accented on the second syllable. In the first quarto, 1598, and the folio, 1623, he is always called Berowne. From the line before us it appears, that in our author's time the name was pronounced Biroon.
Malone. VOL. IV.
A wither'd hermit, five-score winters worn,
Might shake off fifty, looking in her eye: Beauty doth varnish age, as if new-born,
And gives the crutch the cradle's infancy.
King. By heaven, thy love is black as ebony.
A wife of such wood were felicity.
That I may swear, beauty doth beauty lack,
No face is fair, that is not full so black.5 King. 0 paradox! Black is the badge of hell,
The hue of dungeons, and the scowl of night;8 And beauty's crest becomes the heavens well.?
Biron. Devils soonest tempt, resembling spirits of light.
3 To things of sale a seller's praise belongs;] So, in our author's 21st Sonnet:
“I will not praise, that purpose not to sell.” Malone. 4 Is ebony like her? O wood divine.' 7 Word is the reading of all the editions that I have seen: but both Dr. Thirlby and Mr. Warburton concurr'd in reading: (as I had likewise conjectured)
O wood divine! Theobald. 5 beauty doth beauty lack,
If that she learn not of her eye to look :
No face is fair, that is not full so black.] So, in our poet's 132d Sonnet:
“— those two mourning eyes become thy face:-
“ And all they foul, that thy complexion lack." See also his 127th Sonnet. Malone.
6- Black is the badge of hell, The hue of dungeons, and the scowl of night;] In former editions :
- the school of night. Black being the school of night, is a piece of mystery above my comprehension. I had guessed, it should be:
- the stole of night: but I have preferred the conjecture of my friend Mr. Warburton, who reads:
- the scowl of night, as it comes nearer in pronunciation to the corrupted reading, as well as agrees better with the other images. Theobald. In our author's 148th Sonnet we have
“Who art as black as hell, as dark as night. Malone.
0, if in black my lady's brows be deckt,
It mourns, that painting, and usurping hair, 8 Should ravish doters with a false aspéct;
And therefore is she born to make black fair. Her favour turns the fashion of the days;
For native blood is counted painting now; And therefore red, that would avoid dispraise,
Paints itself black, to imitate her brow. Dum. To look like her, are chimney-sweepers black. Long. And, since her time, are colliers counted bright. King. And Ethiops of their sweet complexion crack. Dum. Dark needs no candles now, for dark is light. Biron. Your mistresses dare never come in rain,
For fear their colours should be wash'd away. King. 'Twere good, yours did; for, sir, to tell you
plain, I'll find a fairer face not wash'd to day. Biron. I 'll prove her fair, or talk till dooms-day here. King. No devil will fright thee then so much as she. Dum. I never knew man hold vile stuff so dear. Long. Look, here's thy love: my foot and her face see.
[Showing his shoe.
7 And beauty's crest becomes the heavens well.] Crest is here properly opposed to badge. Black, says the king, is the badge of hell, but that which graces the heaven is the crest of beauty. Black darkens hell, and is therefore hateful: white adorns heaven, and is therefore lovely. Fohnson.
And beauty's crest becomes the heavens well, i. e. the very top the height of beauty, or the utmost degree of fairness, becomes the heavens. So the word crest is explained by the poet himself in King John:
" this is the very top
“Of murder's arms.” In heraldry, a crest is a device placed above a coat of arms. Sbakspeare therefore assumes the liberty to use it in a sense equivalent to top or utmost height, as he has used spire in Coriolanus :
"— to the spire and top of praises vouch’d.” Tollet. 8— and usurping hair, 1 And, which is wanting in the old copies, was supplied by the editor of the second folio. Usurping hair alludes to the fashion, which prevailed among ladies in our author's time, of wearing false hair, or periwigs, as they were then called, before that kind of covering for the head was worn by men. The sentiments here uttered by Biron, may be found, in nearly the same words, in our author's 127th Sonnet. Malone.
Biron. O, if the streets were paved with thine eyes,
Her feet were much too dainty for such tread! Dum. O vile! then as she goes, what upward lies
The street should see as she walk'd over head. King. But what of this? Are we not all in love? Biron. O, nothing so sure; and thereby all forsworn. King. Then leave this chat; and, good Birón, now prove
Our loving lawful, and our faith not torn.
Long. O, some authority how to proceed;
O, tis more than need!
9- some quillets,] Quillet is the peculiar word applied to lawchicane. I imagine the original to be this. In the French pleadings, every several allegation in the plaintiff's charge, and every distinct plea in the defendant's answer, began with the words qu'il est :- from whence was formed the word quillet, to signify a false charge or an evasive answer. Warburton.
1- affection's men at arms:) A man at arms, is a soldier armed at all points, both offensively and defensively. It is no more than, Ye soldiers of affection. Johnson.
2 — hath forsworn —] Old copies--have. Corrected by Mr. Pope. Malone.
3 — prisons up-] The quarto, 1598, and the folio, 1623, read-poisons up." The emendation was made by Mr. Theobald. A passage in King John may add some support to it:
The nimble spirits in the arteries;4
“Or, if that surly spirit, melancholy,
Malone. 4 The nimble spirits in the arteries ;] In the old system of phy. sic they gave the same office to the arteries as is now given to the nerves; as appears from the name, which is derived from üepee tnpsī. Warburton.
5 Teaches such beauty as a woman's eye?] i.e. a lady's eyes give a fuller notion of beauty than any author. Johnson.
6- our books;] i. e. our true books, from which we derive most information ;-—the eyes of women. Malone. 7 In leaden contemplation, have found out
Such fiery numbers,] Numbers are, in this passage, nothing more than poetical measures. Could you, says Biron, by solitary contemplation, have attained such poetical fire, such spritely numbers, as have been prompted by the eyes of beauty? Johnson. In leaden contemplation,] So, in Milton's Il Penseroso:
“With a sad, leaden, downward cast.” Again, in Gray's Hymn to Adversity:
“With leaden eye that loves the ground.” Steevens. 8 Of beauteous tutors -] Old copies-beauty's. Corrected by Sir T. Hanmer. Malone.
Other slow arts entirely keep the brain;] As we say, keep the house, or keep their bed. M. Mason.