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“ Full with stout grief and with disdainful woe.”
STEEVENS. 71. To me, and to the state of my great grief,
Let kings assemble ; -] In Much Ado about Nothing, the father of Hero, depressed by her disgrace, declares himself so subdued by grief that a thread
lead him. How is it that grief in Leonato and lady Constance produces effets directly opposite, and yet both agreeable to nature? Sorrow softens the mind while it is yet warmed by hope, but hardens it when it is congealed by despair. Distress, while there remains any prospect of relief, is weak and flexible ; but when no succour remains, is fearless and stub. born: angry alike at those that injure, and at those that do not help; careless to please where nothing can be gained, and fearless to offend when there is nothing further to be dreaded. Such was this writer's knowledge of the passions.
JOHNSON 74 - here I and sorrows sit ;] I believe tha author meant to personify sorrow, and wrote:
-here I and Sorrow sit; which gives a more poetical image.
The transcriber's ear might easily have deceived him, the two readings, when spoken, sounding exactly alike.
Marlowe had, before our author, introduced the same personage in his Edward 11.
“ While I am lodg'd within this cave of Care, * Where Sorrow at my elbow still attends."
75. -bid kings come bow to it.] I must here account for the liberty I have taken to make a change in the division of the second and third acts. In the old editions, the second act was made to end here; though it is evident, lady Constance here, in her despair, seats herself on the floor: and she must be supposed, as I formerly observed, immediately to rise again, only to go off and end the act decentiy; or the flat scene must shut her in from the sight of the audience, an absurdity I cannot accuse Slaakspere of. Mr. Gildon, and some other criticks, fancied, that a considerable part of the second act was lost, and that the chasm began here. I had joined in this suspicion of a scene or two being lost; and unwittingly drew Mr. Pope into this error. “ It seems to be so, says he, and it were to be wish'd the restorer (meaning me) could supply it." To deserve this great man's thanks, I'll venture at the task; and hope to convince my readers, that nothing is lost; but that I have supplied the suspected chasm, only by rectifying the division of the acts. Upon looking a little more narrowly into the constitution of the play, I am satisfied that the third act ought to begin with that scene which has hitherto been accounted the last of the second act; and my reasons for it are these : the match being concluded, in the scene before that, betwixt the Dauphin and Blanch, a messenger is sent for lady Constance to king Philip's tent, for her to come to St. Mary's church to the solemnity. The princes all go oit, as to the marriage; and the bastard staying a little be
hind, to descant on interest and commodity, very properly ends the act. The next scene then, in the French king's tent, brings us Salisbury delivering his message to Constance, who, refusing to go to the solemnity, sets herself down on the floor. The whole train returning from the church to the French king's pavilion, Philip expresses such satisfaction on occasion of the happy solemnity of that day, that Constance rises from the floor, and joins in the scene by entering her protest against their joy, and cursing the business of the day. Thus, I conceive, the scenes are fairly continued ; and there is no chasm in the action, but a proper interval made both for Salisbury's coming to lady Constance, and for the solemnization of the marriage. Besides, as Faulconbridge is evi. dently the poet's favourite character, it was very well judged to close the act with his soliloquy.
THEOBALD. This whole note seems judicious enough; but Mr. Theobald forgets that there were, in Shakspere's time, no moveable scenes in common playhouses.
JOHNSON. It appears from many passages, that the ancient theatres had the advantages of machinery, as well as the imore modern stages. See a note on the fourth scene of the fifth act of Cymbeline.
How happened that Shakspere himself should have mentioned the act of shifting scenes, if in his time there were no scenes capable of being shifted. Thus in the chorus to King Henry V.
“ Unto Southampton do we shift our scene." This phrase was hardly more ancient than the custom which it describes.
STEEVENS. 78. To solemnize this day, &c.] From this passage Rowe seems to have borrowed the first lines of his Fair Penitente
JOHNSON, 79. and plays the alchymist;] Milton has borrowed this thought, Paradise Lost, B. III.
"When with one virtuous touch
STEEVENS. 84. A wicked day, &c.] There is a passage in Tie Honest Whore, by Decker, 1604, so much resembling the present, that I cannot forbear quoting it.
“ Curst be that day for ever, that robb'd her
jury, « Slander (the beggar's sin), lies (the sin of fools), “ Or any other damn'd impieties, « On Monday let them be delivered," &c.
HENDERSON. 87. high tides, -] 2.e. solemn seasons, times to be observed above others.
99. ---prodigiously be crost:] i.e. be disappointed by the production of a prodigy, a monster. So, in the Midsummer Night's Dream :
“ Nor mark prodigious, such as are
STEEVENS. 93. But on this day,–
No bargains break, &c.] That is, except on this day.
JOHNSON. In the ancient almanacks (one of which I have in my possession, dated 1562) the days supposed to be favourable or unfivourable to bargains, are distinguished among a number of other particulars of the like importance. This circumstance is alluded to in Webster's Dutchess of Malfy, 1623:
“ By the almanack, I think
" To choose good days and shun the critical.” Again, in The Elder Brother of Beaumont and Fletcher:
Resembling majesty;] i. e. a false coin.-A counterfeit formerly meant also a portrait.--A representation of the king being usually impressed on his coin, the word seems to be here used equivocally.
MALONE. 103. You came in arms to spill mine enemies' blood,
But now in arms you strengthen it with yours:] I am afraid here is a clinch intended ; You came in war