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(33) a murdering piece] "A case-shot is any kinde of small bullets, nailes, old iron, or the like, to put into the case, to shoot out of the ordnances or murderers.” Smith's Sea Grammar, 1627.
“ And, like a murdering piece, aims not at one,
B. and Fl. Double Marriage. STBEVENS. ' Mr. Ritson cites Sir T. Roe's Voiage to the E. Indies, at the end of Della Valle's Travels, 1665 : “ – the East India company had a very little pinnace ... mann'd she was with ten men, and had only one small murdering-piece within her.” Probably it was never charged with a single ball, but always with shot, pieces of old iron, &c.
(34) my Switzers] The guards attendant on Kings are called Switzers, without any regard to the country where the scene lies.
- was it not
B. and Fl. Noble Gent. III. 1." REED. The reason is, because the Swiss in the time of our poet, as at present, were hired to fight the battles of other nations. So, in Nashe's Christ's Teares over Jerusalem, 4to. 1594: “ Law, logicke, and the Switzers, may be hired to fight for any body."
(35) impitious haste] Swallows up, engulphs not the low lands with more unpitying fury. One of the quartos reads inpitious; another, as does the folio of 1632, reads impetuous.
(36) O, this is counter, you false Danish dogs] Hounds run ,counter when they trace the trail backwards. JOHNSON.
Puttenham, in describing “ an importune and shrewd wife," whom he calls “ overthwart Jone,” has the verb:
“ So shrewd she is for God, so cunning and so wise,
Arte of Engl. Poesie, 4to. 1589, p. 176.
(37) There's such divinity doth hedge a king,
That treason can but peep to what it would,
Acts little of his will] Such divinity encompasseth about a king, that treason cannot distinctly see, cannot fully point its aim to its object.
However, at first view, we may be led to think, that here either the language sinks under the idea, or in dignity and even in decorum, the conception itself is no way adequate to the oce
casion, or the personage made to figure in the drama, this will, in part at least, be found to arise from our not being enough conversant with the phraseology of the day. Without instancing the use of words by different authors, and those treating different subjects, as appears from the word grunt, III. 1. Haml., it will be extremely hazardous to pronounce upon the fashionableness or vulgarity, upon the degree of estimation, in which any word or phrase was formerly had..
The word hedge is used by the gravest writers upon the highest subjects : Satan, approaching the Deity, addresses him respecting Job, in these words. “ Hast thou not made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side ?" Job. I. 10.; and in III.23. Job speaks of himself as a “ man, whom (in another sense indeed) God hath hedged in;" as in speaking of the Deity, the word is used in the Lament. of Jeremiah, III. 7.
(38) life-rend'ring pelican] So, in the ancient Interlude of Nature, bl. I. no date :
“ Who taught the cok hys watche-howres to observe,
“ For she nolde suffer her byrdys to dye?” Again, in the old play of King Leir, 1605 :
“I am as kind as is the pelican,
“ That kils itselfe, to save her young ones lives.” It is almost needless to add that this account of the bird is entirely fabulous. STEEVENS.
(39) Nature is fine in lode : and, where 'tis fine,
It sends some precious instance of itself
After the thing it loves] Fine, or of an ethereal character and nature-partaking of immortality, of the soul's essence: for, as love is the highest refinement of which our nature is capable; as it detaches us from ourselves, extinguishing that selfishness otherwise inseparable from us, by making the beloved object dearer to us than our own preservation or existence; where it is found in purity and sincerity, its aerial spirit, some effluvia or diviner particles of the flame, some emanations of soul, subtilizing and dissolving their links with the grosser and more material substance of our frame, will (or eagerly we per. suade ourselves that they will) fly off, aspire after, make their effort to blend themselves with that to which they are most congenial, and with which, in idea at least, they only can assimilate. This must, of course, take place in a case, where, by an abrupt severance, the soul is suddenly bereft (and whatever other causes might with her co-operate, or be principal, this, from his last interview with Ophelia, would, to Laertes, appear the leading one) of the partner of its being, its other self; for
the passion of the soul says, they are One. And here, let it be remembered, that, upon this topic generally, unity is vitality : do away this, and either it is gone, or it assumes a very different denomination.
Dr. Johnson may perhaps say, without affectation, that these lines are obscure and affected. They are, in our conception, of a very different character : and so far from being such, and fit, as he says, to be expunged, we think, that these abstractions and this high mood, beyond their intrinsic value, teach us, that what Milton derived from Plato and the Greek philosophy, our author could draw from nature and his own resources alone.
The general idea or maxim inculcated in the first part of this sentence, and afterwards so beautifully and philosophically amplified, we find insisted upon in Othello. “ They say, base men, being in love, have then a Nobility in their natures, more than is native to them.” II. 1. Iago.
And the term itself is also employed by our author, when speaking of the highest and most exquisite qualities and properties of our nature,
“ Spirits are not finely touched,
“ But to fine issues." M, for M. I. 1. Duke. And,
“ Those that with the fineness of their souls
Tr. and Cr. I. 3. Ulyss. And,
“ Love-or some joy too fine,
Ib. III. 2. Troil. And, in the following Sonnet, does he not advance and illustrate his own more particular and philosophical doctrine, contained in the second part of the above sentence?
“ Is it thy wil, thy Image should keepe open
LXI, 4to. 1609.
(40) Hey non nonny] This was the burden of an old song. To nonny, Mr. Steevens tells us, signifies, among the common people of Norfolk, to “ trifle, or play with ;” and he instances the term in Heywood's Wether :
“ Gyve boys wether, quoth a nonny nonny."
This, too, is the language of Edgar, when acting the madman, Lear, III. 3. It occurs too in As you, &c. V. 3. Page's song.
(41) Sing, Down-a-down] This, also, is the burthen of an old song,
“ Trowle the bowle, the jolly nut-browne bowle,
" And heere kind mate to thee!
Downe a-downe, hey downe a-downe,
Hey dery, dery, downe a-downe. The second Three Man's Song. Shoomaker's Holiday, 1618. Brit. Bibliogr. 8vo. 1812, II. 1701.
Mr. Steevens cites a Sonnet of Lodge's, in England's Helicon, 1600 :
- Downe a-downe,
“ By fancie once distress'd: “ And so sing I, with downe a-downe." Mr. Malone refers to Florio's Italian Dictionary, 1598: “ Filibustacchina, The burden of a countrie song; as we say, Hay doune a doune, douna."
And as such it is used by Mrs. Quickly in M. W. of W. I. 4.
(42) 0, how the wheel becomes it] « How well is this ditty adapted to the wheel :" 'tis a song, as Mr. Malone instances, which
« The spinsters, and the knitters in the sun
“ Fleshed to the presse
Hall's Virgidem. 1597. Mr. Steevens says, the wheel may mean no more than the butthen of the song, which she had just repeated, and as such was formerly used: and cites from memory a quarto M.S. before Shakespeare's time.
“ The song was accounted a good one, though it was not moche graced by the wheele, which in no wise accorded with the subject matter thereof.”
(43) Rosemary, that's for remembrance] Rosemary, conceived to have the power of strengthening the memory, and prescribed in old medical books for that purpose, was an emblem of remembrance, and of the affection of lovers; and thence, probably, was worn at weddings, as it also was at funerals.
“ There's rosemarie; the Arabians justifie
« Betweene us daie and night;
“ You present in my sight.” Handful of delites, &c. 16mo. 1584, in a “ Nosegaie alwaies sweet for lovers to send for tokens of love."
“ Shee hath given thee a nosegay of flowers, wherein, as a top-gallant for all the rest, is set in rosemary for remembrance," Greene's Never too late, 1616.
« Will I be wed this morning,
“ A piece of rosemary." Ram Alley, 1611. " I meet few but are stuck withe rosemary; every one asked me, who was to be married." Noble Spanish Soldier, 1634.
• What is here to do? wine and cakes, and rosemary and nosegaies ? what, a wedding ?” The Wit of a Woman, 1604.
Steevens and Malone. We shall add, “ My mother hath stolne a whole pecke of flower for a bride cake, and our man hath sworne he will steale a brave Rosemary Bush, and I have spoken for ale that will make a cat speake.” Nich. Breton's Poste, &c. 4to. 1637.
“ The bride-laces, that I give at my wedding, will serve to tye rosemary to." The Honest Whore, signat. K 3, b, and see II H. IV, Lady Percy, II. 3.
(44) pansies, that's for thoughts] “ Since I have lincked myselfe in mariage, I have never bin without pensees nor soucy." The marginal note says, “ Penseez is a little flower, called in English heart's ease, or pansies. Pensees in Fr. signifieth thoughtes. Soucy signifieth in English, care.” Pet. Erondelle's Fr. Garden, 12mo. 1605, signat. N 7, b. Mr. Steevens cites Chapınan's All Fools, 1605 :
“ What flowers are these?
(45) There's fennel for you, and columbines] This seems to be an address to the king; although the application to him of the latter of the two things offered, is not obvious. Mr. Steevens cites Turbervile's Epitaphs, p. 42:
“ Your fenell did declare
“ (As simple men can showe)
Where friendship ought to grow."