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genious commentators, respecting the word “af. fect,” which, though frequently occurring in our author's works, is, I believe, no where to be found, in that modern sense which they proceed upon, to assume, put on, but always implies liking, the being attached or addicted to; and just in this sense does Helena apply it, when she answers“I do affect a sorrow, (i. e. I do indeed like it, but I have it too." 209. “ If the living be enemy to the grief, the
excess makes it soon mortal.” The sense of this passage appears to be not very obscure : Lafeau had observed, generally, that moderate lamentation is the right of the dead, and excessive grief the enemy of the living. To this the Countess replies—" If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess makes it soon mortal." i. e. If they who are supposed the mourners, be not really and cordially so, but only put on for the nonce, the suits and trappings of woe, the extravagance of their affectation will soon have an end. Dr. Johnson, contrary to his general habits, has involved himself in a perplexity, from which neither Mr. Steevens nor Mr. Malone has attempted to extricate him. The Doctor argues thus upon the lady's words, “ if the living,” &c. i. e. (says the Doctor) If the living do not indulge grief, grief destroys itself by its own excess; but if the grief be not indulged, there will be no excess of it; and how is grief to destroy itself by its excess, or, indeed, subsist in excess at all, unless it be indulged ? 217. “ Not my virginity, yet.”
This, as I take it, is a direct answer from
Helen to Parolles's question at the end of his speech about virginity, “Will you have any thing with it ?” “Not with my virginity, yet” that is not, at present, the subject of my thoughts. I am not going to be married just now: and then she snatches up the idea of the Court and Bertram. Mr. Steevens has recourse to a very comfortable and compendious mode of criticism, whereby he may dismiss with praise to the author, or rather, to the contaminators of our author, every difficult or obscure passage: he says, its obscurity may be its merit. 224. “ Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
“Which we ascribe to heaven."
Cassius, in Julius Cæsar, makes the same re. flection :
“ The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, “ But in ourselves,” &c.
“ The fated sky.” The sky, by which the fates of men are determined, the horoscope.
227. “ Ere they can hide their levity in honour.
“ So like a courtier, contempt nor bitterness “ Were in his pride or sharpness."
Sir William Blackstone's punctuation, which Mr. Steevens recommends
“ Ere they can hide their levity in honour, “So like a courtier: contempt,” &c.
appears to be false : the peculiar praise which the King bestows on Bertram's father is, not that he was pre-eminent in courtly arts, but that the polish of his manners was exceeded by his substantial excellence; his accomplishments, though of the most splendid kind, bore no proportion to his intrinsic virtues; yet so much was he of the courtier (in an honourable sense), that his deportment, though dignified, was not imperious, and his wit; though pointed, was not envenomed. 230.“ So in approf lives not his epitaph,
“ As in your royal speech.' Mr. Heath's explanation is plausible; but approof may mean, in a sculptural sense, the eulogial blazonry upon his monument. Your praise exceeds whatever has been selected from the history of his life, to grace his tomb and extol his character; it seems to be only an amplification of what was said before " His good remembrance “ Lies richer in your thoughts than on his tomb.”
241. Though honesty be no puritan, yet it will
do no hurt.” I cannot perceive the advantage of Mr. Tyrwhitt's alteration, though Mr. Malone commends it, though honesty be a puritan. The clown's argument seems to be this: though honesty is contented to pass without the boast of undeviating rectitude, yet it will do no harm; and, rather than quarrel with obedience, it will conform to ceremonies that it dislikes, and wear the surplice of humility over a big heart. - A big heart is an honest heart, as in Julius Cæsar, Brutus says
“ There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats,
246. “ Were you both our mothers.
“ I care no more for, than I do for heaven."
There is, as Dr. Farmer remarks, a designed ambiguity here; and the construction, I believe, is, I care no more for, &c. I have no more objection to your being the mother of us both-that were no more an obstacle than heaven is, in my. way to happiness. “Both our mothers,” for the mother of us both, is a very licentious expression. 249. “This captious and intenible sieve.”
Perhaps "captious” is used here for inveigling, seducing, alluring; and the sense may be, this deceitful hope is continually calling forth, and continually wasting my enamoured sorrows, of which, still, my stock is unexhausted. But I rather think Mr. Malone is right; the same allusion to the employment of the Danaides happily, I think, suggested by that gentleman, occurs in Cymbeline, “That tub both filled and running." And again in Much Ado About Nothing,
Cease thy council,
“ As water in a sieve.” VOL. I.
ACT II. SCENE I.
.267. “ Some blessed spirit doth speak
“ His powerful sound, within an organ
weak." His powerful sound (being contained) within, &c.
285. “'Tis only title thou disdain'st in her.”
i. e. Says Mr. Malone, want of title, but I believe this is an oversight in that ingenious commentator; title seems to stand here for de. signation, peculiar distinction, whether high or low. 291. “ Are you companion to the Count Rousil
lon.” Companion often occurs it these works, but generally in a contemptuous sense, as we now use fellow: the modern implication, in this instance, I believe, is singular.
ACT III. SCENE II.
313. “We serve you, madam,” &c.'. Countess. “ Not so, but as we change our
courtesies.” Thus in Hamlet