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463. -patient breast, -] The quarto not so well : -ancient breast.
JOHNSON 464. With those of nobler bulk ?] Statius has the same thought, though more diffusedly expressed :
“ Sic ubi magna novum Phario de littore puppiś
Invasitque vias; it eodem augusta phaselus
STEEVENS. 475 -by the brize,] The brize is the gad or horse-fly. So, in Monsieur Thomas, 1639:
-Have ye got the brize there? “ Give me the holy sprinkle.” Again, in Vittoria Corombona, or the White Devil, 1612: « I will put brize in his tail, set him a gadding presently."
STEEVENS. 478. —the thing of courage,] It is said of the tyger, that in storms and high winds he rages and roars most furiously.
HANMER. 481. Returns to chiding fortune. ] For returns, Hanmer reads replies, unnecessarily, the sense being the sime. The folio and quarto have retires, corruptly.
-speeches,--which were such
Should. -knit all Greekish ears
To his experienc'd tongue,-) Ulysses begins his oration with praising those who had spoken before him, and marks the characteristick excellencies of their different eloquence, strength, and sweetness, which he expresses by the different metals on which he recommends them to be engraven for the instruction of posterity. The speech of Agamemnon is such, that it ought to be engraven in brass, and the tablet held up by him on the one side, and Greece on the other, to shew the union of their opinion. And Nestor ought to be exhibited in silver, uniting all his audience in one mind by his soft and gentle elocution. Brass is the common emblem of strength, and silver of gentleness. We call a soft voice a silver voice, and a persuasive tongue a silver tongue.--I once read for hand, the band of Greece ; but I think the text right. -To hatch is a term of art for a particular method of engraving. Hacher, to cut, Fr.
JOHNSON. In the description of Agameninon's speech, there is a plain allusion to the old custom of engraving laws and public records in brass, and hanging up the tables in temples, and other places of general resort. Our author has the same allusion in Measure for Measure, act v. sc. i. The Duke, speaking of the merit of Angelo and Escalus, says, that
-it deserves with characlers of brass “ A forted residence, 'gainst the tooth of time " And razure of oblivion.".
So far, therefore, is clear. Why Nestor is said to be hatch'd in silver, is much more obscure.
I once thought that we ought to read thatch'd in silver, alluding to his silver hair; the same inetaphor being used by Timon, act iv. sc. 4. to Phryne and Timandra:
thatch your poor thin roofs “ With burthens of the dead.' But I know not whether the present reading may not be understood to convey the same allusion; as I find, that the species of engraving, called hatching, was particularly used in the hilts of swords. Sce Cotgrave in verb Haché; hacked, &c. also, Hatched, as the hilt of a sword; and in verb Hacher; to hack, &c. also to hatch a hilt. Beaumont and Fletcher's Custom of the Country: “ When thine own bloody sword cried out against
thee, “ Hatch'd in the life of him.". As to what follows, if the reader should have no ‘more conception than I have, of
-e bond of air, strong as the axle-tree On which the heavens ride ;he will perhaps excuse me for hazarding a conjecture, that the true reading may possibly be,
-a bond of awe. The expression is used by Fairfax in his 4th Eclogue, Muses Library, p. 368 :
“ Unty these bonds of awe and cords of duty." After all, the construction of this passage is very harsh and - irregular; but with that I meddle not,
believing it was left so by the author.
TYRWHITT. Perhaps no alteration is necessary; hatch'd in silver, may mean, whose white hair and beard make him look like a figure engraved on silver.
The word is metaphorically used by Heywood in the Iron Age, 1632 :
-his face “ Is hatch'd with impudency three-fold thick." And again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Humorous Lieutenant :
“ His weapon hatch'd in blood." Again, literally in the Two Merry Milkmaids, 1620 :
“ Double and treble gilt,
“ Hatch'd and inlaid, not to be worn with time." Again, more appositely, in Love in a Maze, 1632 :
“ Thy hair is fine as gold, thy chin hatch'd
" With silver.". The voice of Nestor, which on all occasions enforced attention, might be, I think, not unpoetically called, a bond of air, because its operations were visible, though his voice, like the wind, was unseen.
STEEVENS. In the following verses in our author's Rape of Lucrece, nearly the same picture is given. The fifth line of the first stanza strongly confirms Mr. Tyrwhitt's conjecture, who wishes to read—thatched in silver; or rather supports Mr. Steevens's interpre. tation of the word in the text, which he has shewn might bear the same meaning. With respect to the
breath or speech of Nestor, here called a bond of air,
Making such sober action with his hand,
sky. “ About him was a press of gaping faces, “ Which seem'd to swallow up his sound advice, “ All jointly list’ning, but with several graces, " As if some mermaid did their ears entice, “ Some high, some low; the Painter was so nice: “ The scalps of many, almost hid behind
“ To jump up higher seem'd, to mock the mind.” What is here called speech that beguiled attention, is in the text a bond of air. Shakspere frequently calls words wind. So, in one of his poems : " _Sorrow ebbs, being blown with wind of words."
MALONE. 498. Agam. Speak, &c.] This speech is not in
JOHNSON. 506. The specialty of rule] The particular rights of supreme authority.