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Line 495. And take upon command what help we have,] That is, ask for what we can supply, and have it.
JOHNSON. Full of wise saws and modern instances,] It is remarkable that Shakspeare uses modern in the double sense that the Greeks used xaivos, both for recens and absurdus. WARBURTON.
I am in doubt whether modern is in this place used for absurd: the meaning seems to be, that the justice is full of old sayings and late examples.
JOHNSON. Line 540. -Set down your venerable burden,] Is it not likely that Shakspeare had in his mind this line of the Metamorphoses ?
JOHNSON. Line 552. Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,] “Thou winter wind," says the Duke, “ thy rudeness gives the less pain, as thou art not
seen, as thou art an enemy that dost not brave us with thy pre
sence, and whose unkindness is therefore not aggravated by in« sult.”
JOHNSON Line 562. Though thou the waters warp,] The surface of waters, so long as they remain unfrozen, is apparently a perfect plain; whereas, when they are, this surface deviates from its exact flatness, or warps. This is remakable in small ponds, the surface of which, when frozen, forms a regular concave; the ice on the sides rising higher than in the middle. Dr. KENRICK.
To warp was probably, in Shakspeare's time, a colloquial word, which conveyed no distant allusion to any thing else, physical or medicinal. To warp is to turn, and to turn is to change: when milk is changed by curdling, we now say, it is turned: when water is changed or turned by frost, Shakspeare says, it is curdled. To be warped is only to be changed from its natural state.
ACT III. SCENE I.
Line 4. —an absent argument-) An argument is used for the contents of a book, thence Shakspeare considered it as meaning the subject, and then used it for subject in yet another sense.
Line 20. Make an extent upon his house and land :] This is a law phrase.
Line 21. -expediently,] That is, expeditiously. JOHNSON.
ACT III. SCENE II.
Line 23. -thrice crowned queen of night,] Alluding to the triple character of Proserpine, Cynthia, and Diana, given by some mythologists to the same goddess, and comprised in these memorial lines :
Terret, lustrat, agit, Proserpina, Luna, Diana,
Ima, superna, feras, sceptro, fulgore, sagittis. JOHNSON. Line 31. -unexpressive,] For inexpressible. JOHNSON.
51. he, that hath learned no wit by nature nor art, may complain of good breeding, or comes of a very dull kindred.] I am in doubt whether the custom of the language in Shakspeare's time did not authorise this mode of speech, and make complain of good breeding the same with complain of the want of good breediny. In the last line of The Merchant of Venice we find that to fear the keeping is to fear the not keeping.
JOHNSON. -like an ill-roasted egg,] Of this jest I do not fully comprehend the meaning.
JOHNSON. Line 94. - make incision in thee !) To make incision was a proverbial expression then in vogue, for, to make to understand.
WARBURTON. -thou art raw.] 1. e. Thou art inexperienced. 104. -bawd to a bell-wether;] Wether and ram had anciently the same meaning.
JOHNSON. Line 122. -rate to market,] Sir T. Hanmer reads rate, in, stead of rank, to market, as in the old copies.
Line 152. That shall civil sayings show.] Civil is here used in the same sense as when we say civil wisdom or civil life, in op, position to a solitary state, or to the state of nature. This desert shall not appear unpeopled, for every tree shall teach the maxims or incidents of social life.
JOHNSON Line 165. Therefore heaven nature charg'd-.-) From the picture of Apelles, or the accomplishments of Pandora. Johnson.
Line 171. Atalanta's better part;]I know not well what could be the better part of Atalanta here ascribed to Rosalind. Of the
Atalanta most celebrated, and who therefore must be intended here where she has no epithet of discrimination, the better part seems to have been her heels, and the worse part was so bad that Rosalind would not thank her lover for the comparison. There is a more obscure Atalanta, a huntress and a heroine, but of her nothing bad is recorded, and therefore I know not which was the better part. Shakspeare was no despicable mythologist, yet he seems here to have mistaken some other character for that of Ata. lanta.
JOHNSON. Line 172. Sad - ] Is grave, sober.
JOHNSON. 176. -the touches-] The features; les traits.
JOHNSON. 202. I was never so be-rhymed since Pythagoras's time, that I was an Irish rat.] Rosalind is a very learned lady. She al. ludes to the Pythagorean doctrine, which teaches that souls transmigrate from one animal to another, and relates that in his time she was an Irish rat, and by some metrical charm was rhymed to death. The power of killing rats with rhymes Donne mentions in his Satires, and Temple in his Treatises. Dr. Grey has produced a similar passage from Randolph.
JOHNSON. Line 220. Good my complexion !] The meaning is, Hold good my complerion, i. e. let me not blush. WARBURTON.
Line 222. One inch of delay more is a South-sea off discovery.] Every delay, however short, is to me tedious and irksome as the longest voyage, or as a voyage of discovery on the South-sea. How much voyages to the South-sea, on which the English had then first ventured, engaged the conversation of that time, may be casily imagined.
JOHNSON. Line 252. --Garagantua's mouth--) Rosalind requires nine questions to be answered in one word. Celia tells her that a word of such magnitude is too big for any mouth but that of Garagantua the giant of Rabelais.
JOHNSON. Line 259.
-to count atomies,] Atomies are those floating particles, discernible only when the sun shines through a crevice into a darkened room.
-to kill my heart.] A pun on hart and heart. 303. -but I answer you right painted cloth,] This alludes to the fashion, in old tapestry hangings, of mottos and moral
sentences from the mouths of the figures worked or printed in them. The poet again hints at this custom in his poem, called, Turquin and Lucrece:
“ Who fears a sentence, or an old man's saw,
“ Shall by a painted cloth be kept in awe." THEOBALD. I answer you right painted cloth, may mean, I give you a true painted cloth answer; as we say, she talks right Bilingsgate; that is, exactly such language as is used at Bilingsgate.
JOHNSON. Line 373. -in-land man;] Is used in this play for one civilised, in opposition to the rustick of the priest. So Orlando before-Yet am I in-land bred, and know some nurture. JOHNSON.
Line 403. -an unquestionable spirit;] That is, a spirit not inquisitive, a mind indifferent to common objects, and negligent of common occurrences. Here Shakspeare has used a passive for an active mode of speech : so in a former scene, The Duke is too disputable for me, that is, too disputatious.
JOHNSON. May it not mean, unwilling to be conversed with ? CHAMIER. Line 411. -point device-] Means, drest up like a coxcomb.
439. -a moonish youth,] i. e. Inconstant.
447. —to a living humour of madness;] If this be the true reading, we must by living understand lasting, or permanent, but I cannot forbear to think that some antithesis was intended which is now lost; perhaps the passage stood thus, I drove my suitor from a dying humour of love to a living humour of madness. Or rather thus, from a mad humour of love to a loving humour of madness, that is, from a madness that was love, to a love that was madness. This seems somewhat harsh and strained, but such modes of speech are not unusual in our poet : and this harshness was probably the cause of the corruption.
ACT III. SCENE III.
Line 478. -it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room:) A great reckoning, in a little room, implies that the entertainment was mean, and the bill extravagant. The poet here alluded to the French proverbial phrase of the quarter of hour of Rabelais: who said, there was only one quarter of an hour in human life passed ill, and that was between the calling for the reckoning and paying it.
WARBURTON! Line 485. - and what they swear in poetry, &c.] This sentence seems perplexed and inconsequent; perhaps it were better read thus, What they swear as lovers they may be said to feign as poets.
JOHNSON. Line 496.
A material fool!] A fool with matter in him; a fool stocked with notions.
Johnson Line 503. -I am foul.] By foul is meant coy or frowning.
HANMER. 515. what though?] What then. JOHNSON.
526. -defence-] Defence here, is in allusion to fencing.
Line 528. -Sir Oliver:] He that has taken his first degree at the university is in the academical style called Dominus, and in common language was heretofore termed Sir. This was not always a word of contempt; the graduates assumed it in their own writings; so Trevisa the historian writes himself Syr John de Trevisa.
Johnson. Line 538. -God'ild you—] Ild for yield, or reward.
543. -his bow,] i. e. His yoke. STEEVENS.
564. Not_0 sweet Oliver, O brave, &c.] The Clown dismisses Sir Oliver only because Jaques had put him out of conceit with him, by alarming his pride and raising doubts, touching the validity of a marriage solemnized by one who appears only in the character of an itinerant preacher; though he intends to have recourse to some other of more dignity in the same profession.
ACT III. SCENE IV.
Line 581. l'faith, his hair is of a good colour.] There is much of nature in this petty perverseness of Rosalind; she finds faults in her lover, in hope to be contradicted, and when Celia in sportive malice too readily seconds her accusations, she contradicts herself rather than suffer her favourite to want a vindication. Johnson.
Line 584. -as the touch of holy bread.] We should read beard, that is, as the kigs of an holy saint or hermit, called the