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“ Let it be lawful,” &c. Our times are not singular in this respect; for this was the doctrine of Lord Russel, for which he was brought to the scaffold. B. STRUTT. 427. Austria. “ I must pocket up these wrongs,
" Because Faulc. “Your breeches best may carry
them.” I cannot discover the meaning of these words, unless, in his vein of ribaldry, Faulconbridge would insinuate, that a greater indignity might be inflicted on Austria's breech-a kicking.
“A new untrimmed bride." It is some compensation for the tediousness of explanatory criticism that, though the learned commentators do not always convince us by their argument, they frequently divert us by their absurdity: an instance of this occurs in the note upon the present passage by Warburton, sp whimsical as to have relaxed into merriment the rigid muscles of Dr. Johnson's countenance. Theobald's emendation, and trimmed, is certainly a feeble one; but Mr. Steevens, for the sake of luxuriating in some rich fancies which transported him all the way to Calista's bedchamber, will neither allow the lady to be dressed nor undressed. Mr. Collins's interpretation appears to me the most satisfactory, of untrimmed, unadorned, yet, with the nuptual array; which, as the match was formed unexpectedly and in haste, there was no time for providing.
My need, “Which only lives but by the death of
430. “ And even before this truce, but nero
before, “ No longer,” &c. I believe we should point thus, as an abrupt and broken sentence, “ And even before this truce, but new-before" That is, before this truce, which is new-even before we had time (perhaps he would have said) to adjust its ceremonies-no longer, &c. 431. “ All form is formless; order, orderless."
All form now loses distinction, and all order becomes confusion, 432. “ For that which thou hast sworn to do
amiss, “ Is not amiss when it is truly done.” The sense here, as usual in such cases, is sacrificed to a jingle: the plain meaning seems to be, your nonperformance of an oath which would bind you to do wrong, becomes meritorious when you have conformed to your prior and superior duty of doing right: the construction requires, according to a common licence, thąt the oath itself should be understood for the object of the oąth. 433. “ It is religion, that doth make vows kept,
" But thou hast sworn against religion.” Here is an immediate instance of our poet's licence, often indulged, of contracting or extending the penultima in words of this construction: religion in the first line, is only three 'syllables, but in the next, four.
434. “ And most forsworn, to keep what thou
dost swear.” Thus in another place: “ It is great sin to swear unto a sin, “ But greater sin to keep that sinful oath.”
437. “ Husband, I cannot pray that thou mayst
win, “ Uncle, I needs must pray that thou mayst
lose, “Grandam, I will not wish thy wishes
thrive; “Whoever wins, on that side shall I lose.” By this distinction, so repeated, I conjecture the poet would intimate, that in a bad or unjustifiable contest, where the issue on either side would be alike afflicting, it is easier to wish for failure than success.
440. " The fat ribs of peace
“ Must, by the hungry, now be fed upon.” The accumulations of peace and idleness must now be called forth to feed and sustain the needy and the laborious. 442. “By heaven, Hubert, I am almost asham'd.”
Heaven is one of those words which Shakspeare uses with an extended or contracted utterance, according to the quantity required in the line: thus, a little lower, we find “heaven” a monosyllable“The sun is in the heavěn, and the proud day." 443. "
The sun“ Is all too wanton,” &c. All too is a mode of expression that I believe is without example: I am confident it is here a corruption, and that we should read alto or allto, i. e. altogether, according to a usage, not only in our author's time, but adopted by Milton:"
Her wings, “ That in the various bustle of resort, “Were allto ruffled, and sometimes impair’d.”
Comus. " If the midnight bell “ Did, with his iron tongue and brazen mouth, “ Sound one unto the drowsy race of night.”
The old copy here presents on not one, and into not unto : the change, in the former word, was Dr. Warburton's, and in the latter, Mr. Theobald's: I doubt whether either be right; one can hardly be admitted because, though midnight, put generally, might imply no more than the season of deep repose, without reference to the distinct hour; yet the midnight bell would never, I believe, by the most careless writer, be said to sound one; whereas, the expression, sound on, seems intended to convey the idea of the solemn and lingering vibration of the bell after it has received the stroke of the clapper. I am inclined to impute corruption to a different word in the sentence, and instead of race to read reign
“Sound on into the drowsy reign of night.”
SCENE IV. 449. “ The vile prison of afflicted breath."
I cannot imagine how Dr. Farmer or Mr. Stee
vens should have been led to suppose there was any ambiguity in this passage.--Breath is life, and the prison of life is the body :--it is a common expression to say, IVhile I breathe or while I have breath, for while I live. 451. “ I defy all counsel.”
Defy, surely, in this and other places, has a stronger meaning than Mr. Steevens ascribes to it, refuse: It is to reject with vehemence, to abjure. See Henry IV. where Hotspur impatiently exclaims, “ All studies here I solemnly defy, “Save how to gall and pinch this Bolingbroke.” 452. “And thou shalt be canoniz'd, cardinal.”
Canoniz'd seems to have been again misplaced —the line might easily be restored
“ And cardinal, thou shalt be canoniz’d.” 453. “ Do glue themselves in sociable grief."
“Sociable,” a quadrisyllable. 454. “ If that be true, I shall see my boy again.”
The metre requires the contraction of shall, or rather of will, which, in our author's time, as well as now in Ireland and Scotland, was commonly used for shall :
“ If that be true I'll see my boy again.” 455.“ He talks to me, that never had a son."
In Romeo and Juliet-..
“ He jests at scars that never felt a wound.” 456. “ I will not keep this form upon my head.”
Form is “composed appearance.”-I will de