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means to say, You bring or induce me to commit the act for which you afterwards reproach me : this general signification is evident from Pandarus's question, “ To do what? what have I brought you to do ?”. 387. “ How my achievements mock me !”
Here, Mr. Steevens subjoins, so in Anthony and Cleopatra,
" And mock our eyes with air,” as if the passage referred to were any illustration of that which was immediately before us; indeed, that gentleman frequently “ shuffles us off with such uncurrent pay:" he compliments his readers, too, largely, in thus supposing them all to be as knowing as himself. This practice, in which Mr. Steevens often indulges, of dismissing a difficult passage with only saying so, in such a play, and so, in another, where, indeed, a remarkable word may have place, but not at all amounting to explanation, reminds me of an instance of the late Mr. Bannister's pleasantry on this very subject. The present remarker was applauding the labours and sagacity of Mr. Steevens, to whom he thought, as still he does, that every reader of Shakspeare has extensive obligations. Yes, says Bannister, many of that gentleman's remarks may be ingenious and profound, but I have too often found them to be only so so. 388. “Good, good, my lord; the secrets of na
ture." As the accent cannot rest upon the latter syllable of natúre, a word is wanting to the measure: we might read, " The secrets e'en of nature.”
390. “ [Vith sounding Troilus. I will not go
from Troy." Mr. Steevens's offered ellipsis, for reducing this line to metre, is not wanted; as the common contraction of “I will” to “l'll” is sufficient for the purpose.
SCENE IV. 394. “ Time
“ — Scants us with a single famish'd kiss,
“ Distasted with the salt of broken tears." i. e. Says Mr. Malone, of tears to which we are not permitted to give full vent; but I believe the meaning rather is, a single kiss, unfed, uncherished by our wonted continuity of pressure, and disrelished or made unpalatable by the salt of abruptly-extorted tears. 397. “ They're loving, well compos’d, with gifts
of nature flowing." This extravagant line, without any thing to recommend it, is not in the quarto, and must have been, I think, an unskilful interpolation. 398. “ - A still and dumb-discoursive devil.”
In Measure for Measure we meet with a similar thought:
“A prone and speechless dialect.”
“Do you think I will ?” Troil. “No."
Some words here have been lost: perhaps we might read, Cres. “How! do you think I will be tempted?" Troil. "
“ While some, with cunning gild their copper
crowns, “ With truth and plainness, I do wear mine
bare.” There is here a very capricious association of ideas, specious impudence and mercenary fraud appear to be implied in the first line. Anachronism is no obstacle to prevent the delight of a jingle, and Troilus is made to talk, with equal freedom, of gilding a piece of English coin, and the disguising impudent falsehood under the shew of honesty. 400. “ I'll answer to my lust.”
This, surely, should be “list,” the reading which Dr. Johnson contends for.
SCENE V. 403. “ Give with thy trumpet a loud note to
That the appalled air “ May pierce the head of the great comba
tant." This seems to have a metaphisical reference to the doctrine of sounds. 404. “ Thou blow'st for Hector.” Ulysses. “ No trumpet answers.”
There was no need for Ulysses to tell what must be known by the rest as well as himself. These words were a stage direction, which has stupidly been thrust into the text;--the next words complete the measure: " 'Tis but early days,"
“ Early days,” indeed, for an early hour or time of the day, is an extraordinary expression, and early day would not much reconcile it: we might read,
“ It is early yet.” 405. “ May 1, sweet lady, beg a kiss of you ?! Cres. “You may.” Ulys. “ I do desire it.” Cres. “ Why beg then.”
This passage would have passed without remark by me, but that Dr. Johnson seems to have mistaken the meaning, when, supposing a rhyme to be intended, he says we should read, in the concluding words of Cressida :
“ — Why beg, two." The humour intended, such as it is, I take to be very different, and to depend upon the words of Ulysses' first question to the lady, “May I beg a kiss ?” to which Cressida answers, “You may;" holding in reserve her advantage of equivocation, the permission to kiss, and the leave to ask a kiss; as, in The Taming of a Shrew :
Cath. “ Let me entreat you, stay?"
“ But yet not stay, entreat me how you
406. “ There's language in her eye, her cheek,
her lip, “ Nay, her foot speaks; her wanton spi
rits look out, . “ At every joint and motive of her body.”
Dryden seems to have made use of this thought, and refined it, in his epitaph on Mrs. Killegrew :
“ So faultless was the frame, as if the whole
“ Had been an emanation of the soul.” 407. “ These encounterers, so glib of tongue, “ That give a coasting welcome ere it
comes.” I do not think that any of the attempts to explain this passage has been successful ; and yet it seems to me to be not at all abstruse. Dr. Johnson says, “a coasting welcome” means an amorous address, but he omits to tell us how it does so: and Mr. Malone says it is a concilia, tory welcome, one that makes silent advances before the tongue has uttered a word; and he fortifies his explanation by this passage from Venus and Adonis :
“ Anon she hears them chaunt it lustily,
But “ coasting,” in this instance, is merely a word by which the poet has chosen to express motion, and does not in the least, to my appre. hension, clear up the text before us give a coasting welcome. Mr. M. Mason is confident that we should read “ accosting, welcome,” because, as the text stands, there is, he says, no antecedent to the pronoun it; but the antecedent appears to me very obvious in welcome. “ This forward woman (says Ulysses) gives the welcome she ought first to have received ; she holds out, in- . discriminately, as coasting navigators do, the flag of salutation to every port or region that she arrives at.