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So, in Gower, De Confessione Amantis, Lib. V.
" That with his swerd, and with his spere,
“ It held all edge toole withoute.” Gower is here speaking of the dragon subdued by Jason.
STEEVENS. The epithet full-wing'd applied to the eagle, sufficiently marks the contrast of the poet's imagery; for whilst the bird can soar towards the sun beyond the reach of the human eye, the insect can but just rise above the surface of the earth, and that at the close of day.
HENLEY. attending for a check ;] Check may mean in this place a reproof; but I rather think it signifies command, control. Thus in Troilus and Cressida, the restrictions of Aristotle are called Aristotle's checks.
STEEVENS. 213. To stride a limit.] To overpass his bound.
JOHNSON. 214. What should we speak of, ] This dread of an old age, unsupplied with matter for discourse and meditation, is a sentiment natural and noble. No state can be more destitute than that of him, who, when the delights of sense forsake him, has no pleasures of the mind.
JOHNSON. 224. How you speak !] Otway seems to have taken many hints for the conversation that passes between
Acasto and his sons, from the scene before us.
STEEVENS. 244. And left me bare to w'ather.] So, in Timon :
“ That numberless upon me stuck, as leaves
SteEVENS. 267. -This Polydore] The old copy of the play (except here, where it may be only a blunder of the Printer) calls the eldest son of Cymbeline, Polia dore, as often as the name occurs; and yet there are some who may ask, whether it is not more likely that the Printer should have blundered in the other places, than that he should have hit upon such an uncommon naine as Paladour in this first instance. Paladour was the ancient name for Shaftsbury. So, in A Meeting Dialogue-wise between Nature, the Phænix, and the Turtle-dove, by R. Chester, 1601.
“ This noble king builded faire Caerguent,
-The younger brother, Cadwal] This name is likewise found in an ancient poem, entitled King Arthur, which is printed in the same collection with the Meeting Dialogue-wise, &c. in which, as Mr. Steevens has observed, our author might have found the name of Paladour :
-Augisell -Augisell king of stout Albania, “ And Caduall king of Vinedocia.
MALONE. 282. -I stole these babes ;] Shakspere seems to intend Belarius for a good character, yet he makes him forget the injury which he has done to the young princes, whom he has robbed of a kingdom only to rob their father of heirs, -The latter part of this soliloquy is very inartificial, there being no particular reason why Belarius should now tell to himself what he could not know better by telling it. JOHNson.
292. Where is Posthumus? - -] Shakspere's apparent ignorance of quantity is not the least among many proofs of his want of learning. Throughout this play he calls Posthumus, Posthūmus, and Arvirăgus, Arviragus. It may be said that quantity in the age
of our author did not appear to have been much regarded. In the tragedy of Darius, by William Alexander of Menstrie (lord Sterline) 1603, Darius is always called Daržus, and Euphrates, Euphrătes :
" The diadem that Darius erst had borne
“ The famous Euphrătes to be your border.Again, in the 21st Song of Drayton's Polyolbion :
“ That gliding go in state like swelling Euphrătes." Throughout Sir Arthur Gorges' translation of Lucan, Euphrătes is likewise given instead of Euphrates.
STEEVENS. In A Meeting Dialogue-wise between Nature, the Phænix, and the Turtle-dove, by R. Chester, 1601, where Shakspere perhaps found the name of Paladour,
Arviragus is introduced, with the same neglect of quantity as in this play:
“ Windsor, a castle of exceeding strength,
MALONE. 297. haviour] This word, as often as it occurs in Shakspere, should not be printed as an abbreviation of behaviour. Haviour was a word commonly used in his time. See Spenser, Æglogue 9. 66 Their ill haviour garres men missay."
-if it be summer news, Smile to't before : -] So, in our author's 98th Sonnet:
“ Yet not the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
MALONE. 303. -drug-damn'dm-] This is another allusion to Italian poisons.
JOHNSON. That drug-damn'd Italy hath out-crafted him,] Folio: -out-craftied.
MALONE. 323. worms of Nile ;--] Serpents and dragons by the old writers were called worms.
Of this, several instances are given in the last act of Antony and Cleopatra.
STEEVENS, 325. states,] Persons of highest rank.
-Some jay of Italy,] There is a prettiness in this expression ; putta, in Italian, signifying both a
jay jay and a whore : I suppose from the gay feathers of that bird.
WARBURTON: So, in the Merry Wives, &c. “ teach him to know turtles from jays.”
STEEVENS. 339. Whose mother was her painting,- -] Some jay of Italy, made by art the creature, not of nature, but of painting. In this sense painting may be not im. properly termed her mother.
JOHNSON. I met with a similar expression in one of the old comedies, but forgot to note the date or name of the piece :
a parcel of conceited feather-caps, whose
fathers were their garments.” STEEVENS. In All's Well that Ends Well, we have: .
-whose judgments are “ Mere fathers of their garments.' MALONE. 340. Poor I am stale, a garment out of fashion ;] This image occurs in Westward for Smelts, 1620, immediately at the conclusion of the tale on which our play is founded : “ But (said the Brainford fish-wife) I like her as a garment out of fashion." STEEVENS,
The same idea occurs in Antony and Cleopatra, when on the death of Fulvia, Enobarbus thus strangely consoles Antony : “When it pleaseth the gods to take the wife of a man from him, it shews to man the tailors of the earth ; comforting therein, that when old robes are worn out, there are members to make new :--this grief brings a consolation, your old smock brings forth a new petticoat.”