« AnteriorContinuar »
14 and the usurie of the same money for so fewe yeres, and the man now beggeth.” Wylson on Usurye, 1572, p. 32.
REED. 431. Still I have borne it with a patient shrug ;] So, in Marlowe's Jew of Malta, 1633:
" I learn’d in Florence how to kiss my hand,
MALONE. 434. And spit-] The old copies always read spet, which spelling is followed by Milton :
-the womb “ Of Stygian darkness spets her thickest gloom."
STEEVENS. 455. A breed of barren metal of his friend?] A breed, that is, interest money bred from the principal. By the epithet barren, the author would instruct us in the argument on which the advocates against usury went, which is this, that money is a barren thing, and cannot,
like corn and cattle, multiply itself. And to set off the absurdity of this kind of usury, he put breed and barren in opposition. WARBURTON.
Dr. Warburton very truly interprets this passage. Old Meres says, “ Usurie and encrease by gold and silver is unlawful, because against nature; nature hath made them sterill and barren, and usurie makes them procreative.”
FARMER. The quarto, 1600, printed for J. Heyes, reads a breed for
STEEVENS. 474. -pleaseth me.] Folio -it pleaseth me.
478. -dwell in my necessity.] To dwell, seems in this place to mean the same as to continue. To abide has both the senses of habitation and continuance.
JOHNSON. 482, -the value of the bond.] Folio--this bond.
-left in the fearful guard, &c.] Fearful guard, is a guard that is not to be trusted, but gives cause of fear. To fear was anciently to give as well as feel terrours.
JOHNSON. So, in Henry IV. Part I. “ A mighty and a fearful head they are."
STEEVENS. 503. I like not fair terms, -] Kind words, goud language.
Line y. To prove whose blood is reddest, his, or mine.] To understand how the tawney prince, whose savage dignity is very well supported, means to recommend himself by this challenge, it must be remembered that red blood is a traditionary sign of courage :
Thus Macbeth calls one of his frighted soldiers, a lily liver'd lown; again, in this play, Cowards are said to have livers as white as milk; and an effeminate and timorous man is termed a milksop. JOHNSON.
I was much stricken at the similiarity of a proposition to this, which was made by a negro slave in Virginia, of whom, to try his acuteness, I had asked, “-How it happened that, as Adam and Eve were white, he, their descendant should be black ?"His reply was: “I don't know : but, prick your hand and prick mine, my blood is as red as your's."
HENLEY. 9. Hath fear'd the valiant ; -] i. e. terrify'd.
Steevens 26. That slew the Sophy, &c.] Shakspere seldom escapes well when he is entangled with geography. The prince of Morocco must have travelled far to kill the Sophy of Persia.
JOHNSON. It were well, if Shakspere had never entangled him. self with geography worse than in the present case.
If the prince of Morocco be supposed to have served in the army
of sultan Soliman (the second, for instance), I see no geographical objection to his having killed the Sophy of Persia. See D'Herbelot in Soliman Ben Selim.
TYRWHITT. 44. therefore be advis’d.] Therefore be not precipitate ; consider well what you are to do. Advis'd is the word opposite to rash. JOHNSON.
50. Enter LAUNCELOT GOBBO.] The old copies read-Enter the Clown alone; and throughout the play this character is called the Clown at most of his en. trances or exits.
Steevens. 57. -scorn running with thy heels :] Launcelot was designed for a wag, but perhaps not for an absurd
one. We may therefore suppose, no such expression would have been put in his mouth, as our author had censured in another character. When Pistol says, “ he hears with ears," Sir Hugh Evans very properly is made to exclaim, ". The tevil and his tam! what phrase is this, he hears with ears? why it is affectations.” To talk of running with one's heels, has scarce less of absurdity. It has been suggested, that we should read and point the passage as follows; “ Do not run; scorn running; withe thy heels;" i. e. con. nect them with a withe (a band made of osiers), as the legs of cattle are hampered in some countries to prevent their straggling far from home. The Irishman in Sir John Oldcastle petitions to be hanged in a withe; and Chapman has the following passage :
-There let him lie “ Till I, of cut-up osiers, did imply, “ A with a fathom long, with which his feetą “ I made together in a sure league meete."
STEEVENS. 84. try conclusions] So the old quarto. The first folio, by a mere blunder, reads, try confusions, which, because it makes a kind of paultry jest, has been copied by all the editors. JOHNSON.
To try conclusions is to try experiments. So, in Heywood's Golden Age, 1611 :
-since favour “ Cannot attain thy love, I'll try conclusions." Again, in the Lancashire Witches, 1634:
« Nay then I'll try conclusions ;
STEEVENS. 88. Turn up on your right hand, &c.] This arch and perplexed direction to puzzle the inquirer, seems to imitate that of Syrus to Demea in the Brothers of Terence :
" -ubi eas præterieris,
God sonties,] I know not exactly of what oath this is a corruption. I meet with God's santy in Decker's Honest Whore, 1635.
Again, in The longer thou liv'st the more Fool thou art, a comedy, bl. let. without date :
« God's sainte, this is a goodly book indeed.” Perhaps it was once customary to swear by the santé, i. e. health, of the Supreme Being, or by his saints. Oaths of such a turn are not unfrequent among our ancient writers. All, however, seem to have been so thoroughly convinced of the crime of prophane swearing, that they were content to disguise their mean, ing by abbreviations, which were permitted silently to terminate in irremediable corruptions. STEEVENS.
103. Your worship's friend, and Launcelot, sir,] Dr. Farmer is of opinion we should read Gobbo instead of Launcelot. It may be inferred from the name