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“ Pray God, we may make haste, and come too
late!” i. e. I hope death will overtake him before we can, even at our utmost speed.
ACT II. SCENE I.
. “Unstay'd.” Unbridled, unrestrained. 45.“ Lascivious metres."
The old copies read “meeters,” which I take to be, not verses, as Mr. Steevens supposes, but the rhymers, themselves. 44. “ For violent fires soon burn out them
selves.” The particle “do” before 66 burn” is necessary to the euphony, unless, with Mr. Malone, our ear could admit of the extending “our” to a dissyllable. 45. “This precious stone, set in the silver sea.”
This thought, as Bishop Newton has observed, is imitated by Milton in Comus
" All the sea-girt isles
But Milton, says Mr. Warton (I think justly), has heightened the comparison, omitting Shakspear's petty conceit, the silver sea, the conception of a jeweller, and substituting another and more striking piece of imagery : this rich inlay, to use an expression in the Paradise Lost,
“ Gives beauty to the bosom of the deep,
“Else unadorn’d.” It has its effect on a simple ground.
LORD CHEDWORTH. 46. “ Pelting.”
Petty, inconsiderable, mean, as in Measure for Measure
“ Every pelting, petty officer.”
“ Inky blots.” Mr. Steevens wishes to read “ bolts,” but that meaning, besides the want of authority, seems very harsh : “ inky blots,” I believe, merely refers to the disgraceful conveyance of the kingdom's revenues to the Earl of Wiltshire—to the “ rotten parchment bonds.” 47. “ For young hot colts, being rag'd, do rage
the more.” Mr. Ritson proposes “rein'd” instead of “rag‘d ;” but I believe the plain meaning is, that young colts, being enraged in their manage, only become more furious. 48. “ I see thee ill,
“Ill in myself to see, and in thee seeing ill." The confusion made by this paltry jingle is hardly worth the unfolding.--" I see thee ill" means at once “ I see thee unwell,” and “my sight is imperfect.”
“ Ill in myself,” &c. i. e. I am sick or ill to think I see at all, or am alive, under the burthen of my age and vexations, and especially as I discover illness in you: “to see,” as Mr. Steevens remarks, should certainly be omitted, as useless and burthensome
“ Ill in myself, and in thee seeing ill."
-Too careless patient.” This use of the adjective and sometimes of the participle for the adverb occurs in other places ; as in Romeo and Juliet
“ Too flattering sweet.” 49.“ Before thou wert.”
“ Wert” for “ wast," the subjunctive instead of the indicative mood: but Milton himself af. fords an example of similar inaccuracy“ Before the sun, before the heavens thou wert.”
Paradise Lost. “ Deposing thee before thou wert possess’d; “Which art possess'd now to depose thyself.”
Here is a play upon the three meanings of the word possess'd, invested with dominion, endued with a purpose, and being bewitched, or, as Mr. Steevens thinks, afflicted with a demon. 50. “ Lean-witted.”
I cannot help expressing my astonishment at Dr. Farmer's observation; the expressions are by no means similar; the lameness spoken of in the 106th Psalm is, surely, not exility of wit.
LORD ChedWORTH. 52.“ Live in thy shame, but die not shame with
thee.” Continue to live in your infamy, but let 'not your infamy perish with your life. 53. “ The ripest fruit first falls, and so does he.”
A similar image occurs in the Merchant of Venice
" - The weakest kind of fruit
“ Falls earliest to the ground, and so let me." 56. “ To see this business ; to-morrow next.”
Business a trisyllable. “ My heart is great, but it must break with
silence “ Ere't be disburden'd with a liberal tongue.”
“Great,” big, swollen with vexation: “liberal” is free, unrestrained, as in Othello, “a most profane and liberal speaker.”—The sentiment occurs in Hamlet 666
Cannot come to good, “But break my heart, for I must hold my
tongue.” 16 P illd with grievous taxes, . " And quite lost their hearts, the nobles
had he fin'd.” “Pillid” is pillaged; “quite," as Mr. Steevens has suggested, should certainly be ejected from this line. " As blanks, benevolences, and I wot not what."
This line, even with the aid of so many vowels, can hardly be uttered in due time: we might omit " and”—
“ As blanks benevolences- I wot not what.” 60. “Sir John Norbery,” &c.
It is probable that the names of these followers of Bolingbroke did not, at first, occur to the author, but that, a blank being left for them, they were afterwards inserted without attention to the measure of the verse.
64. “ Shapes of grief,
“ But what is not.” 65. “'Tis nothing less."
The sense of the context seems to require that this should be read,
“ 'Tis something less." “ Nothing hath begot my something grief, “ Or something hath the nothing that I grieve.”
I grieve for something or for nothing ; if for a reality, that reality is the offspring of nothing : or if for nothing, that nothing, that unsubstantial effect proceeds from some potent existing cause, It is silly antithesis,
66. “ 'Tis in reversion that I do possess ; “ But what it is, that is not yet known,
what “ I cannot name; 'tis nameless woe, I wot.” " That" I conceive to be not the conjunction. but the pronoun, and the meaning to be, that