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ACT IV. SCENE III.
Line 256. Upon whose grave thou vow'd'st pure chastity.] It was common in former ages for widowers and widows to make vows of chastity in honour of their deceased wives or husbands. In Dugdale's Antiquities of Warwickshire, page 1013, there is this form of a commission by the bishop of the diocese for taking a vow of chastity made by a widow. It seems that, besides observing the wow, the widow was, for life, to wear a veil and a mourning habit. The same distinction we may suppose to have been made in respect of male votarists; and therefore this circumstance might inform the players how Sir Eglamour should be drest; and will account for Silvia's having chosen him as a person in whom she could confide without injury to own character. STEEVENS. Line 272.
grievances;] Sorrows, sorrowful affections.
275. Recking as little what betideth me,] i. e. Caring as little what befalleth me.
ACT IV. SCENE IV.
-takes upon him to be a dog-] I believe we
should read, I would have, &c. one that takes upon him to be a dog,
360. It seems, you loved her not, to leave her token:] Pro
theus does not properly leave his lady's token, he gives it away. The old edition has it,
It seems you lov'd her not, not leave her token.
I should correct it thus,
It seems you lov'd her not, nor love her token.
Line 390. To carry that, which I would have refus'd;] The sense is, To go and present that which I wish to be not accepted, to praise him whom I wish to be dispraised. JOHNSON.
Line 446. And pinch'd the lily-tincture of her face.] The colour
of a part pinched is livid, as it is commonly termed, black and blue. The weather may therefore be justly said to pinch when it produces the same visible effect. I believe this is the reason why the cold is said to pinch.
Cleopatra says of herself,
"I that am with Phoebus' pinches black."
Line 456.weep a-good,] Means, weeping in earnest.
For Theseus' perjury and unjust flight;] The history of this twice-deserted lady is too well known to need any illustration.
To passion is used as a verb by writers contemporary with Shakspeare. In The Blind Beggar of Alexandria, printed 1598, we meet with the same expression:
what are thou passioning over the picture of Cleanthes?"
Line 483. I'll get me such a colour'd periwig.] About the year 1610, wigs of various coloured hair became fashionable.
Line 485. —her forehead's low,—] A high forehead was in our author's time accounted a feature eminently beautiful. So in The History of Guy of Warwick, Felice his lady is said to have the same high forehead as Venus. JOHNSON.
Line 493. My substance should be STATUE in thy stead.] It is evident this noun should be a participle statued, i. e. placed on a pedestal, or fixed in a shrine to be adored. WARBURTON.
Statued is, I am afraid, a new word, and that it should be received is not quite evident. JOHNSON.
It appears to me that Warburton and Johnson's explanations are quite sufficient, and instead of quoting or abridging the remarks of many commentators upon a single word like "statue," how it should be read, pronounced, and measured, I have here, as in many other places, adopted every possible opportunity of omitting such prolix and tiresome criticism; which, so far from assisting the purposes of elegant learning, by colloquial analogies weaken and destroy the argument; and answer, in my opinion, no one purpose, but that of augmenting the edition, by a display of old reading.
ACT V. SCENE I.
-sure enough.] Sure is safe, out of danger.
Black men are pearls, in beauteous ladies' eyes.] This
is an old proverb. See RAY.
ACT V. SCENE II.
Line 25. Jul. 'Tis true, &c.] This speech, which certainly belongs to Julia, is given, in the old copy, to Thurio. Mr. Rowe restored it to its proper owner.
-peevish girl,] Peevish means silly.
—reckless Silvia.] i. e. Careless Silvia.
ACT V. SCENE IV.
record-] Mr. Steevens, I think, erroneously
supposes record to mean, sing: it is much more probable, that the
signification is to indite a sonnet.
Line 94. 0 thou, that dost inhabit in my breast,
Leave not the mansion so long tenantless;
Lest, growing ruinous, the building fall,
And leave no memory of what it was!] It is hardly
possible to point out four lines, in any of the plays of Shakspeare, more remarkable for ease and elegance than these.
-meed,—] i. e. Reward.
-approv'd,] i. e. Experienced.
The private wound, &c.] I have a little mended the
Line 178. All, that was mine in Silvia, I give thee.] It is: (I think) very odd to give up his mistress thus at once, without any reason alledged. But our author probably followed the stories just as he found them in his novels as well as histories.
This passage either hath been much sophisticated, or is one great proof that the main parts of this play did not proceed from Shakspeare; for it is impossible he could make Valentine act and speak so much out of character, or give to Silvia so unnatural a
behaviour, as to take no notice of this strange concession, if it had been made.
Line 201. How oft hast thou with perjury cleft the root?] Sir
T. Hanmer reads, cleft the root on't.
-if shame live] That is, if it be any shame to
wear a disguise for the purposes of love.
-] The length of my sword, the JOHNSON.
Line 229. Milan shall not behold thee.- -] All the editions, Verona shall not hold thee. But, whether through the mistake of the first editors, or the poet's own carelessness, this reading is absurdly faulty. For the threat here is to Thurio, who is a Milanese; and has no concern, as it appears, with Verona. Besides, the scene is betwixt the confines of Milan and Mantua, to which Silvia follows Valentine, having heard that he had retreated thither. And, upon these circumstances, I ventured to adjust the text, as I imagine the poet must have intended; i. e. Milan, thy country shall never see thee again: thou shalt never live to go back thither. THEOBALD. all former griefs,] i. e. All former grievances. -include all jars—] Sir T. Hanmer reads conJOHNSON.
Line 242. 262.
clude. Line 263. With triumphs,- -] i. e. With shows. See Henry VI. Part 3. "With stately triumphs, mirthful comic shows."
END OF THE ANNOTATIONS ON THE TWO GENTLEMEN
THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR.
ACT I. SCENE I.
LINE 1. Sir Hugh,] This was a title given to the inferior clergy.
Line 2. -a Star-chamber matter of it:] Ben Jonson intimates, that the Star-chamber had a right to take cognizance of such matters. See The Magnetick Lady, Act 3. Sc. 4.
"There is a court above, of the Star-chamber,
Custalorum.] This is, I suppose, intended for a corruption of Custos Rotulorum. The mistake was hardly designed by the author, who, though he gives Shallow folly enough, makes
him rather pedantic than illiterate. If we read:
Shal. Ay, cousin Slender, and Custos Rotulorum,
Slen. Ay, and Ratalorum too.
Mr. Malone's opinion of this passage is, that Shakspeare here intended to ridicule the legal abbreviations of the times.
Line 22. The luce, &c.] I see no consequence in this answer. Perhaps we may read, the salt fish is not an old coat. That is, the