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And these assume but valour's excrement,
you shall see 'tis purchas'd by the weight';
valour's EXCREMENT,] i. e. what a little higher is called the beard of Hercules. So,“ pedler's excrement," in the Winter's Tale. Malone.
1 - by the weight;] That is, artificial beauty is purchased so; as, false hair, &c. Steevens.
? Making them lightest that wear most of it :) Lightest is here used in a wanton sense. So, afterwards :
“Let me be light, but let me not seem light." Malone. 3 – crisped - ] i. e. curled. So, in The Philosopher's Satires, by Robert Anton : “ Her face as beauteous as the crisped morn."
Steevens. - in the sepulchre.] See a note on Timon of Athens, Act IV. Sc. III. Shakspeare has likewise satirized this yet prevailing fashion in Love's Labour's Lost. Steevens.
The prevalence of this fashion in Shakspeare's time is evinced by the following passage in an old pamphlet entitled, The Honestie of this Age, proving by good Circumstance that the World was never honest till now, by Barnabe Rich, quarto, 1615 :—“My lady holdeth on her way, perhaps to the tire-maker's shop, where she shaketh her crownes to bestow upon some new fashioned attire, upon such artificial deformed periwigs, that they were fitter to furnish a theatre, or for her that in a stage-play should represent some hag of hell, than to be used by a christian woman." Again, ibid. : “ These attire-makers within these fortie yeares were not known by that name ; and but now very lately they kept their lowzie commodity of periwigs, and their monstrous attires closed in boxes ;-and those women that used to weare them would not buy them but in secret. But now they are not ashamed to set them forth upon their stalls,—such monstrous mop-powles of haire, so proportioned and deformed, that but within these twenty or thirty yeares would have drawne the passers-by to stand and gaze, and to wonder at them." Malone.
Thus ornament is but the guiled shores
gold, Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee: Nor none of thee, thou pale and common drudge "Tween man and man: but thou, thou meager
lead, Which rather threat'nest, than dost promise aught, Thy paleness moves me more than eloquence 8, And here choose I ; Joy be the consequence! * So quarto R.; first folio, and quarto, H. therefore then.
the guiled shore -] i. e. the treacherous shore. So, in The Pilgrim, by Beaumont and Fletcher :
* Or only a fair show, to guile his mischiefs.” I should not have thought the word wanted explanation, but that some of our modern editors have rejected it, and read gilded. Guiled is the reading of all the ancient copies. Shakspeare in this instance, as in many others, confounds the participles. Guiled stands for guiling. Steevens. 6-Indian beauty ;) Sir T. Hanmer reads :
Indian dowdy. Johnson. - thou PALE and common DRUDGE
'Tween man and man :) So, in Chapman's Hymnus in Noctern, 4to. 1594 :
“ To whom pale day (with whoredom soked quite)
“Is but a drudge. Steevens. 8 Thy Plainness moves me more than eloquence,] The old copies read-paleness. STEEVENS.
Bassanio is displeased at the golden casket for its gaudiness, and the silver one for its paleness; but what! is he charmed with the leaden one for having the very same quality that displeased him in the silver ? The poet certainly wrote:
“Thy plainness moves me more than eloquence :" This characterizes the lead from the silver, which paleness does not, they being both pale. Besides, there is a beauty in the antithesis between plainness and eloquence ; between paleness and eloquence none. So it is said before of the leaden casket: “ This third, dull lead, with warning all is blunt."
Por. How all the other passions fleet to air, As doubtful thoughts, and rash-embrac'd despair, And shudd’ring fear and green-ey'd jealousy. O love, be moderate, allay thy ecstasy, In measure rain thy joy”, scant this excess; I feel too much thy blessing, make it less,
any alteration be necessary. I would rather give the character of silver,
Thou stale, and common drudge
"Tween man and man.". The paleness of lead is for ever alluded to.
* Diane declining, pale as any ledde," Says Stephen Hawes. In Fairfax's Tasso, we have
“The lord Tancredie, pale with rage as lead," Again, Sackville, in his Legend of the Duke of Buckingham :
Now pale as lead, now cold as any stone." And in the old ballad of the King and the Beggar:
“She blushed scarlet red,
“Then straight again, as pale as lead." As to the antithesis, Shakspeare has already made it in A Midsummer-Night's Dream :
“When (says Theseus) I have seen great clerks look pale, “ I read as much, as from the rattling tongue
“Of fancy and audacious eloquence.” FARMER. By laying an emphasis on Thy, [Thy paleness moves me, &c.) Dr. W.'s objection is obviated. Though Bassanio might object to silver, that “pale and common drudge,” lead, though pale also, yet not being in daily use, might, in his opinion, deserve a preference. I have therefore great doubts concerning Dr. Warburton's emendation. Malone. 9 In measure Rain thy joy,] The first quarto edition reads :
“ In measure range thy joy." The folio, and one of the quartos :
“In measure raine thy joy.” I once believ'd Shakspeare meant :
In measure rein thy joy. The words rain and rein were not in these times distinguished by regular orthography. There is no difficulty in the present - reading, only where the copies vary, some suspicion of error is always raised. Johnson.
Having had frequent occasion to make the same observation in the perusal of the first folio, I was once strongly inclined to read rein; but I now think the text is right. It is supported by the following passage in Henry IV. Part I. :
" — But in short space
What find I here?
[Opening the leaden casket. Fair Portia's counterfeit? What demi-god Hath come so near creation ? Move these eyes ? Or whether, riding on the balls of mine, Seem they in motion ? Here are sever'd lips, Parted with sugar breath: so sweet a bar Should sunder such sweet friends: Here in her
hairs The painter plays the spider; and hath woven A golden mesh to entrap the hearts of men, Faster than gnats in cobwebs : But her eyes,How could he see to do them ? having made one,
So, in The Laws of Candy, by Beaumont and Fletcher :
pour not too fast joys on me, “ But sprinkle them so gently, I may stand them.” Mr. Tollet is of opinion that rein is the true word, as it better agrees with the context; and more especially on account of the following passage in Coriolanus, which approaches very near to the present reading :
being once chaf'd, he cannot “ Be rein'd again to temperance.” So, in Love's Labour's Lost, Act V. Sc. II. :
“ Rein thy tongue." Steevens. Lord Lansdowne, in his alteration of this play, has thus exhibited the present passage:
“ In measure pour thy joy." Boswell. 1 What find I HERE?] The latter word is here employed as a dissyllable. MALONE. Some monosyllable appears to have
omitted. There is no example of–here, used as a dissyllable; and even with such assistance, the verse, to the ear at least, would be defective. Perhaps our author design'd Portia to say:
“ For fear I surfeit me." Steevens. Mr. Capell reads “ Ha! what find I here ?" Boswell.
Fair Portia's COUNTERFEIT?] Counterfeit, which is at present used only in a bad sense, anciently signified a likeness, a resemblance, without comprehending any idea of fraud. So, in The Wit of a Woman, 1604 : “ I will see if I can agree with this stranger, for the drawing of my daughter's counterfeit."
Again, (as Mr. M. Mason observes,) Hamlet calls the pictures he shows to his mother
“ The counterfeit presentment of two brothers." Steevens.
Methinks, it should have power to steal both his,
3 Methinks, it should have power to steal both his,
And leave himself unfurnish'd. Johnson. If that in the text be the right reading, unfurnished must mean “unfurnished with a companion, or fellow." "I am confirmed in this explanation, by the following passage in Fletcher's Lover's Progress, where Alcidon says to Clarangé, on delivering Lidian's challenge, which Clarangé accepts
- you are a noble gentleman,
M. Mason. Dr. Johnson's emendation would altogether subvert the poet's meaning. If the artist, in painting one of Portia's eyes, should lose both his own, that eye which he had painted, must necessarily be left unfurnished, or destitute of its fellow. Henley.
And leave itself unfurnish'd :" i. e. and leave itself incomplete; unaccompanied with the other usual component parts of a portrait, viz. another eye, &c. The various features of the face our author seems to have considered as the furniture of a picture. So, in As You Like It : “ — he was furnish'd like a huntsman ;' i. e. had all the appendages belonging to a huntsman. Malone.
The hint for this passage appears to have been taken from Greene's History of Faire Bellora ; afterwards published under the title of A Paire of Turtle Doves, or the Tragicall History of Bellora and Fidelio, bl. 1.: “ If Apelles had beene tasked to have
wne her counterfeit, her two bright-burning lampes would have so dazled his quicke-seeing sences, that quite dispairing to expresse with his cunning pensill so admirable a worke of nature, he had been inforced to have staid his hand, and left this earthly Venus unfinished."
A preceding passage in Bassanio's speech might have been suggested by the same novel :
“A golden mesh to entrap the hearts of men:” “What are our curled and crisped lockes, but snares and nets to catch and entangle the hearts of gazers,” &c. STEEVENS.