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Shakspeare, however, means, in this place, an opposition be tween scripture, in its common signification, and heresy.
Line 401. That now thou tir'st on,] A hawk is said to tire upon that which she pecks; from tirer, French. JOHNSON. Line 418. To be unbent,] To have thy bow unbent, alluding to an hunter. JOHNSON,
Now, if you could wear a mind
Dark as your fortune is ;] To wear a dark mind, is to carry a mind impenetrable to the search of others. Darkness, applied to the mind, is secrecy; applied to the fortune, is obscurity. JOHNSON, Line 468. full of view:] With opportunities of examining your affairs with your own eyes. JOHNSON. Line 474. Though peril to my modesty,] I read-Through peril. I would for such means adventure through peril of modesty; I would risque every thing but real dishonour. JOHNSON.
Line 484. Exposing it, (but, O, the harder heart! Alack, no remedy!)] I think it very natural to reflect in this distress on the cruelty of Posthumus. JOHNSON. -we'll even
All that good time will give us:] We'll make our work even with our time; we'll do what time will allow. JOHNS. Line 509. -This attempt
I'm soldier to,] i. e. I am equal to this attempt; I have enough of ardour to undertake it. MALONE.
Line 616. And that she hath all courtly parts more exquisite Than lady, ladies, woman;] She has all courtly parts, says he, more exquisite than any lady, than all ladies, than all womankind. JOHNSON.
Line 654. Or this, or perish.] These words, in my opinion, relate to Pisanio's present conduct, and they mean, I think, "I must either practise this deccit upon Cloten, or perish by his fury."
Line 720. To him that is most true.] Pisanio, notwithstanding his master's letter, commanding the murder of Imogen, considers
him as true, supposing, as he has already said to her, that Posthumus was abused by some villain, equally an enemy to them both. MALONE.
ACT III. SCENE VI
Is sorer,] Is a greater, or heavier crime. JOHNS
Take, or lend.] If you are civilized and peaceable, take a price for what I want, or lend it for a future recompense; if you are rough inhospitable inhabitants of the mountain, speak, that I may know my state. JOHNSON.
Line 738. -749.
-then had my prize
Been less and so more equal ballasting-] The meaning is, Had I been less a prize, I should not have been too heavy for Posthumus. JOHNSON
ACT III. SCENE VII.
Line 848. That since the common men are now in action 'Gainst the Pannonians and Dalmatians ;
-and to you
For this immediate levy, he commands
His absolute commission.] He commands the commission to be given to you. So we say, I ordered the materials to the workmen. JOHNSON.
And that &c.] These facts are historically true.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
in single oppositions:] In single combat.
An opposite was in Shakspeare the common phrase for an adversary, or antagonist. MALONE.
ACT IV. SCENE II.
Line 40. Stick to your journal course: the breach of custom
rupted; if the stated plan of life is once broken, nothing follows but confusion.
Line 48. How much the quantity,] How much soever the mass of my affection to my father may be, so much precisely is my love for thee: and as much as my filial love weighs, so much also weighs my affection for thee. MALONE. Line 75. I could not stir him:] Not move him to tell his story. JOHNSON. gentle, but unfortunate;] Gentle, is well-born, of birth above the vulgar. JOHNSON. Line 103. Mingle their spurs together,] Spurs, an old word for the fibres of a tree. POPE.
. Line 107. It is great morning.] A Gallicism. Grand jour. STEEVENS.
-the snatches in his voice,
And burst of speaking.] This is one of our author's strokes of observation. An abrupt and tumultuous utterance very frequently accompanies a confused and cloudy understanding.
JOHNSON. Line 185. I am perfect, what:] I am well informed, what. So, in this play:
"I am perfect, the Pannonians are in arms.” JOHNSON. Line 189. -take us in,] To take in, was the phrase in use for to apprehend an outlaw, or to make him amenable to publick justice.
Line 222. Did make my way long forth.] Fidele's sickness made my walk forth from the cave tedious. JOHNSON.
That possible strength might meet,] Such pursuit of vengeance as fell within any possibility of opposition. JOHNS. Line 249. I'd let a parish of such Clotens blood,] I would, says the young prince, to recover Fidele, kill as many Clotens as would fill a parish. JOHNSON.
Line 295. what coast thy sluggish crare- -] A crare, says Mr. Heath, is a small trading vessel, called in the Latin of the middle ages crayera. STEEVENS. Line 297. but I,] Heaven knows (says Belarius) what a man thou wouldst have been, had'st thou lived; but alas! thou diedst of melancholy, while yet only a most accomplished boy. MAL.
Line 322. the ruddock would,
With charitable bill,bring thee all this; Yea, and furr'd moss besides, when flowers are none, To winter-ground thy corse.] The ruddock is the red-breast, and is so called by Chaucer and Spenser: "The tame ruddock, and the coward kite."
Line 349. He was paid for that :] i. e. punished,
(That angel of the world,)-] Reverence, or due regard to subordination, is the power that keeps peace and order in the world. JOHNSON.
Line 368. Fear no more &c.] This is the topick of consolation that nature dictates to all men on these occasions. The same farewell we have over the dead body in Lucian. Τέκνον ̓αθλίον "σχετι υψδήσεις, ἔχετι πεινήσεις, &c. WARBURTON.
Line 378. The sceptre, learning, &c.] The poet's sentiment seems to have been this :-All human excellence is equally subject to the stroke of death :-neither the power of kings, nor the science of scholars, nor the art of those whose immediate study is the prolongation of life, can protect them from the final destiny JOHNSON.
Line 391. thy grave ! For the obsequies of Fidele, a song was written by my unhappy friend, Mr. William Collins of Chichester, a man of uncommon learning and abilities.
Line 491.—who was he,
Line 443. apposite conclusion.
JOHNSON. -'tis pregnant, pregnant!] i. e. 'tis a ready, STEEVENS.
Line 470. Last night the very gods show'd me a vision:] It was no common dream, but sent from the very gods, or the gods themselves. JOHNSON.
That, otherwise than noble nature did,
Hath alter'd that good picture?] To do a picture,
and a picture is well done, are standing phrases; the question therefore is,-Who has altered this picture, so as to make it otherwise than nature did it? JOHNSON.
Line 523. these poor pickaxes-] Meaning her fingers.
JOHNSON. 529. So please you entertain me.] i. e. hire me; receive me unto your service. MALONE. Line 536. -arm him.] That is, Take him up.n your arms.
ACT IV. SCENE III.
Does yet depend.] My suspicion is yet undetermined; if I do not condemn you, I likewise have not acquitted you. We now say, the cause is depending. JOHNSON.
Line 595. -to the note o' the king,] I will so distinguish myself, the king shall remark my valour.
ACT IV. SCENE IV.
Where we have liv'd;] An account of our place of abode. This dialogue is a just representation of the superfluous caution of an old man. JOHNSON. Line 614. —whose answer-] The retaliation of the death of Cloten would be death, &c. JOHNSON.
their quarter'd fires.] Their fires regularly dis
ACT V. SCENE I.
-bloody handkerchief.] The bloody token of Imogen's death, which Pisanio in the foregoing act determined to send.
Line 1. Yea, bloody cloth, &c.] This is a soliloquy of nature, yttered when the effervescence of a mind agitated and perturbed spontaneously and inadvertently discharges itself in words. The speech throughout all its tenor, if the last conceit be excepted, seems to issue warm from the heart. He first condemns his own violence; then tries to disburden himself by imputing part of the crime to Pisanio; he next soothes his mind to an artificial and momentary tranquillity, by trying to think that he has been only an