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But, since your falshood shall become you well, &c.] This is hardly sense. We may read, with very little alteration,
"But since you're false, it shall become you well."
Dr. Johnson surely did not consider this passage well when he proposed an alteration.
"But, since your falshood, it shall become you well," is the same as
"But, since you're false, it shall, &c." Shakspeare's grammar is frequently more licentious. 62 —your ladyship's impose,] Impose means command. 63-remorseful,] pitiful.
64 Upon whose grave thou vow'dst pure chastity.] It was common in former ages for widowers and widows to make vows of chastity in honour of their deceased wives or husbands. In Dugdale's Antiquities of Warwickshire, p. 1013, there is the form of a commission by the bishop of the diocese for taking a vow of chastity made by a widow. It seems that, besides observing the vow, the widow was, for life, to wear a veil and a mourning habit. The same distinction we may suppose to have been made in respect of male votaries and therefore this circumstance might inform the players how sir Eglamour should be drest; and will account for Silvia's having chosen him as a person in whom she could confide, without injury to her own character.
65 The fellow that whips the dogs:] Launce had a right to ask the question, "How many masters would
do this for their servant?" His zeal was certainly very great, for though he knew Crab's stench from that of the three or four gentlemen-like dogs, it is not clear that this distinction could have been so easily made by the fellow whose office it was to whip them all.
still an end,] still an end, means in the end. 67 She lov'd me well, deliver'd it to me.] She lov'd me well, who deliver'd it to me.
68 How tall was she?] How tall is she? is perhaps the reading.
69 —my mistress love so much.] Hanmer reads his mistress love.
70 I'll get me such a colour'd periwig.] The reader may object that wigs were not in fashion in Shakspeare's days: Not generally for the men, but the ladies wore false hair at that time, which was called a periwig.
71 'Tis true, such pearls as put out ladies' eyes.] This speech, which certainly belongs to Julia, is given in the old copy to Thurio. Mr. Rowe restored it to its proper owner.
72 Considers she my possessions ?]" By Thurio's possessions he himself understands his lands and estate. But Proteus chooses to take the word likewise in a figurative sense, as signifying his mental endowments : and when he says they are out by lease, he means they are no longer enjoyed by their master (who is a fool), but are leased out to another." EDINB. MAG, 73 -record my woes.] To record means to sing, or to recite in verse.
74 All, that was mine in Silvia, I give thee.] It is (I think) very odd, to give up his mistress thus at once, without any reason alledged. But our author probably followed the stories just as he found them in his novels as well as histories.
This passage either hath been much sophisticated, or is one great proof that the main parts of this play did not proceed from Shakspeare; for it is impossible he could make Valentine act and speak so much out of character, or give to Silvia so unnatural a behaviour, as to take no notice of this strange concession, if it had been made.
75 How oft hast thou with perjury cleft the root?] Sir T. Hanmer reads-cleft the root on't. JOHNSON.
76 Milan shall not behold thee.] All the editionsVerona shall not behold thee. But, whether through the mistake of the first editors, or the poet's own carelessness, this reading is absurdly faulty. For the threat here is to Thurio, who is a Milanese; and has no concern, as it appears, with Verona. Besides, the scene is betwixt the confines of Milan and Mantua, to which Silvia follows Valentine, having heard that he had retreated thither. And, upon these circumstances, I ventured to adjust the text, as I imagine the poet must have intended; i. e. Milan, thy country shall never see thee again: thou shalt never live to go back thither.
77 With triumphs,] Triumphs is put for pageants or shows; such things as were performed on days of rejoicing or triumph.
END OF VOLUME I.