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Line 374. Whereof the execution did cry out
Against the non-performance,] This is one of the expressions by which Shakspeare too frequently clouds his meaning. This sounding phrase means, I think, no more than a thing necessary to be done. JOHNSON. Line 398.
As deep as that, though true.] i. e, your suspicion is as great a sin as would be that (if committed) for which you suspect her. WARBURTON. Line 401. -meeting-noses?] Dr. Thirlby reads, meting noses; that is, measuring noses.
-more doing:] The verb here is used in a wanton
with no rash potion,
But with a ling ring dram, that should not work, Maliciously, like poison:] Rash is hasty, as in another place, rash gunpowder. Maliciously is malignantly, with effects openly hurtful. Shakspeare had no thought of betraying the JOHNSON.
Line 448. I have lov'd thee, &c.] Camillo, desirous to defend the queen, and willing to secure credit to his apology, begins, by telling the king that he has loved him, is about to give instances of his love, and to infer from them his present zeal, when he is interrupted. JOHNSON.
Line 458. Could any man so blench?] To blench is to shrink. 530. In whose success we are gentle,] I know not whether
success here does not mean succession.
Line 554. I am appointed Him to murder you.] i. e. I am the person appointed to murder you. STEEVENS.
Line 561. To vice you to 't,] The vice is an instrument well known; its operation is to hold things together. So the bailiff speaking of Falstaff, "If he come but within my vice," &c.
Line 571. Swear his thought over
By each particular star in Heaven, &c.] May, perhaps mean, overswear his present persuasion, that is, endeavour to overcome his opinion, by swearing oaths numerous as the stars.
Line 608. Good expedition be my friend, and comfort
The gracious queen, part of his theme, but nothing
compounded of love and suspicion, this passion is the theme or subject of the king's thoughts.-Polixenes, perhaps, wishes the queen, for her comfort, so much of that theme or subject as is good, but deprecates that which causes misery. May part of the king's present sentiments comfort the queen, but away with his suspicion. JOHNSON.
ACT II. SCENE I
Line 58. Alack, for lesser knowledge !] That is, O that my knowledge were less. JOHNSON.
Line 60. A spider steep'd,] Spiders were formerly esteemed poisonous.
Line 65. -violent hefts :- -] i. e. violent heavings.
The center, &c.- -] That is, if the proofs which I can offer will not support the opinion I have formed, no foundation can be trusted. Line 137. He, who shall speak for her, is afar off guilty But that he speaks.] Far off guilty, signifies, guilty
in a remote degree. Line 159.
JOHNSON. this action, I now go on,] The word action is here taken in the lawyer's sense, for indictment, charge, or accusation.
-land-damn him;] Land-damn is probably one of those words which caprice brought into fashion, and which, after a short time, reason and grammar drove irrecoverably away. It perhaps meant no more than I will rid the country of him; condemn him to quit the land. JOHNSON.
Line 197. And I had rather glib myself, &c.] For glib I think we should read lib, which in the northern language, is the same with geld..
Though lib may probably be the right word, yet glib is at this time current in many counties, where they say-to glib a boar, to glib a horse. STEEVENS.
Line 232. nought for approbation,
But only seeing,] Approbation, in this place, is put
-Stuff" d sufficiency:] That is, of abilities more
Line 251. Lest that the treachery of the two, &c.] He has before declared, that there is plot against his life and crown, and that Hermione is federary with Polixenes and Camillo. JOHNSON,
ACT II. SCENE II.
Line 294. These dangerous, unsafe lunes o' the king!] There is a mode of expression with the French-Il y a de la lune : i. e. He has got the moon in his head; he is frantick. THEOBALD.
ACT II. SCENE III.
-out of the blank
Beyond the aim of any atBlank and level are terms of JOHNSON.
-leave me solely:] i. e. alone.
And level of my brain,] tempt that I can make against him. archery. Line 358. 415.
And would by combat make her good, so were I
A man, the worst about you.] The worst means only Were I the meanest of your servants, I would yet
elaim the combat against any accuser.
Line 424. A mankind witch!] A mankind woman, is yet used in the midland counties, for a woman violent, ferocious, and mischievous. It has the same sense in this passage. Witches are supposed to be mankind, to put off the softness and delicacy of women, therefore Sir Hugh, in the Merry Wives of Windsor, says, of a woman suspected to be a witch, that he does not like when a woman has a beard. JOHNSON.
Line 433. -thou art a woman-tir'd;] Woman-tir'd, is pecked by a woman. STEEVENS.
Line 436. —thy crone.] i. e. thy old worn-out woman.
Unvenerable be thy hands, if thou Tak'st up the princess, by that forced baseness-] Leontes had ordered Antigonous to take up the bastard, Paulina for
bids him to touch the princess under that appellation. Forced is false, uttered with violence to truth.
Line 475. No yellow in 't;] Yellow is the colour of jealousy.
478. And, lozel,] A lozel or losel, is a sorry or worthless
-commend it strangely to some place,] Commit to JOHNSON.
some place, as a stranger, without more provision.
ACT III. SCENE I.
Line 2. Fertile the isle ;] But the temple of Apollo at Delphi was not in an island, but in Phocis, on the continent. Either Shakspeare, or his editors, had their heads running on Delos, an island of the Cyclades. If it was the editors blunder, then Shakspeare wrote, Fertile the soil,-which is more elegant too, than the present reading. WARBURTON.
Shakspeare is little careful of geography. There is no need of this emendation in a play of which the whole plot depends upon a geographical error, by which Bohemia is supposed to be a maritime country. JOHNSON.
Line 5. For most it caught me,] It may relate to the whole spectacle. Line 18. The time is worth the use on't.] The time is worth the use on't, means, the time which we have spent in visiting Delos, has recompensed us for the trouble of so spending it. JOHNSON.
ACT III. SCENE II.
Line 37. Even to the guilt,] Even for equal or indifferent. -47. --pretence-] Is, in this place, taken for a scheme laid, a design formed; to pretend means to design, in the Gent. of Verona.
Line 55. mine integrity, &c.] That is, my virtue being accounted wickedness, my assertion of it will pass but for a lie. Falschood means both treachery and lie.
Line 71. For life, I prize it- -] Life is to me now only grief, and as such only is considered by me, I would therefore willingly dismiss it. JOHNSON.
Line 72. -I would spare:] To spare any thing is to let it go, to quit the possession of it.
That any of these bolder vices wanted
Less impudence to gainsay what they did,
Than to perform it first.] It is apparent that according
to the proper, at least according to the present use of words, less should be more, or wanted should be had. But Shakspeare is very uncertain in his use of negatives. It may be necessary once to observe, that in our language two negatives did not originally affirm, but strengthen the negation. This mode of speech was in time changed, but as the change was made in opposition to long custom, it proceeded gradually, and uniformity was not obtained but through an intermediate confusion. JOHNSON.
Line 114. My life stands in the level of your dreams,] To be in the level is by a metaphor from archery to be within the reach.
JOHNSON. Starr'd most unluckily,] i. e. born under an inauspiSTEEVENS.
Line 135. cious planet. Line 142. I have got strength of limit.] I know not well how strength of limit can mean strength to pass the limits of the childbed chamber, which yet it must mean in this place, unless we read in a more easy phrase, strength of limb. And now, &c. JOHNSON. Line 159. The flatness of my misery;] That is, how low, how flat I am laid by my calamity. JOHNSON.
Line 187. Of the queen's speed,] Of the event of the queen's trial so we still say, he sped well or ill. JOHNSON.
⚫ Line 220. Does my deeds make the blacker!] This vehement retraction of Leontes, accompanied with the confession of more crimes than he was suspected of, is agreeable to our daily experience of the vicissitudes of violent tempers, and the eruptions of minds oppressed with guilt. JOHNSON.
Would have shed water out of fire, ere done't:] i. e. a devil would have shed tears of pity o'er the damn'd ere he would have committed such an action. STEEVENS.
Line 275. I am sorry for't;] This is another instance of the sudden changes incident to vehement and ungovernable minds.
Thou art perfect then,] Perfect is often used by Shakspeare for certain, well assured, or well informed. JOHNSON.