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Take up this mangled matter at the best:
Bra. I pray you, hear her speak;
Def. My noble father,
Bra. God be with you!-I have done :
STEEVENS. 3 You are the lord of duty,] The first quarto reads,
You are lord of all my duty. STEEVENS. 4 And so mucb duty as my motber few'd
To you, preferring you before ber father, &c.] Perhaps Shakspeare had bere in his thoughts the answer of the youngest daughter of Ina, king of the West Saxons, to her father, which he seems to have copied in King Lear. See Vol. VIII. p. 486. MALONE.
$ Which, &c.] This line is omitted in the first quarto. STE EVEN S.
Duke. Let me speak like yourself”; and lay a sen.
Bra. So let the Turk of Cyprus us beguile;
6 Let me Speak like your self ;] The duke seems to mean, when he says he will speak like Brabantio, that he will speak sententiously.
JOHNSON. Let me speak like yourself ;] i. e. let me speak as yourself would speak, were you not too much heated with passion. Sir J. REYNOLDS.
1 – as á grise,] Grize from degrees. A grize is a step. So in Timon:
for every grize of fortune “ Is (mooth'd by that below.”Ben Jonson, in his Sejanus, gives the original word :
46 Whom when he saw lie fpread on the degrees." In the will of K. Henry VI. where the dimentions of King's Col. lege chapel at Cambridge are set down, the word occurs, as spelt in Come of the old editions of Shakspeare. “ - From the provoft's itall, unto the greece
ce called Gradus Cberi, 90 feet.” STEEVENS. 8 Into your favour.] This is wanting in the folio, but found in the quarto. Johnson.
9 Wben remedies are post, the griefs are ended,-) This our poet has elsewhere expresied by a common proverbial sentence, Paft cure is fill past care. Sce Vol. X. p. 313, n. 5. MALONE. - new mischief on.] The quartos read-more mischief.
STEEVENS. 2 But the free comfort wbicb from bence be bears :] But the moral precepts of consolation, which are liberally bestowed on the occasion of the sentence. JOHNSON,
These sentences, to sugar, or to gall,
3 But words are words; I never yet did bear,
Tbat the bruis'd beart was pierced ebrough the ear.] These moral precepts, says Brabantio, may perhaps be founded in wisdom, but they are of no avail. Words after all are but words; and I never yer heard that consolatory speeches could reacb and penetrate the afflicted heart, through the medium of the ear.
Brabantio here expresses the same sentiment as the father of Hero in Mucb ado about Norbing, when he derides the attempts of those comforters who in vain endeavour to
“ Charm acbe with air, and agony with words." Our authour has in various places shewn a fondness for this antithesis between the beare and car. Thus, in his Venus and Adonis :
“ This dismal cry rings fadly in her ear,
“ Through which it enters, to surprise her beart." Again, in Mucb ado about Nothing : “ My cousin tells him in his ear, that he is in her beart.” Again, in Cymbeline :
- I have such a beart as both mine ears
" Muft not in hafte abuse." Again, in his Rape of Lucrece:
“ His ear her prayers admits, but his beart granteth
“ No penetrable entrance to her plaining." A doubt has been entertained concerning the word pierced, which Dr. Warburton supposed to mean wounded, and therefore substituted pieced in its room. But pierced is merely a figurative expression, and means not wounded, but penetrated, in a metapborical sense ; thoroughly affected; as in the following passage in Shakspeare's 46th fonnet:
“ My beart doth plead, that thou in him doft lie;
“ A closet never pierc'd with crystal eyes." So also, in Love's Labour's Loft:
“ Honest plain words belt pierce the ear of grief." Again, in Tbe Merchant of Venice :
“ With sweetest touches pierce your mistress' ear." In a word, a beart pierced tbrougb the ear, is a heart which (to ufe our poet's words elsewhere,) has granted a penetrable entrance to the language of consolation. So, in The Mirrour for Magistrates, 1575:
“ My piteous plaint--the hardest beart may pierce.” Spenser has used the word exactly in the same figurative sense in which is is here employed; Faery Queene, B. VI. c. ix :
I humbly beseech you, proceed to the affairs of state.
Duke.' The Turk with a most mighty preparation makes for Cyprus : -Othello, the fortitude of the place is best known to you: And though we have there a subftitute of moft allow'd fufficiency, yet opinion, a fovereign mistress of effects, throws a more safer voice on you: you must therefore be content to flubber the gloss of your new fortunes with this more stubborn and boisterous expedition. Oth. The tyrant custom, most grave senators,
“ Whylest thus he talkt, the knight with greedy eare
" That he was rapt with double ravilhment.” And in his fourth Pook, co viti. we have the very words of the
" Which, paling through the eares, would pierce the bart.” Some person's have supposed that pierced when applied metaphorically to the heart, can only be used to express pain; that the poet migbc have said, pierced with grief, or pierced with plaines, &c. but that to talk of piercing a heart with confolatory Speeches, is a catachrefis : but the passage above quoted from Spenser's fixth book shews that there is no ground for the objection. So also, in Marlowe's Tamburlaine, 1599, we find
« Nor thee nor them, thrice noble Tamburlaine,
“ Shall want my beart to be wirb gladness pierc'd." MALONI. That 'the bruis'd beart was pierced obrougb obe ear.] Shakspeare was continually changing his first expression for another, either stronger or more uncommon; so that very often the reader, who has not the same continuity or succession of ideas, is at a loss for its meaning. Many of Shakspeare's uncouth strained epithets may be explained, by going back to the obvious and fimple expression, which is most likely to occur to the mind in that state. I can imagine the first mode of 'expression that occurred to the poet was this:
The troubled heart was never cured by words. To give it poetical force, he altered the phrase :
The wounded heart was never reached through the car. Wounded heart he changed to broken, and that to bruised, as a more uncommon expression. Reached he altered to toucbed, and the tranfition is then easy to pierced, i. e. thoroughly touched. When the sentiment is brought to this state, the commentator, without this unravelling clue, expounds piercing the beart in its common acceptation, wounding tbe beari, which making in this place nonsense, is corrected to pierced the beari, which is very Atiff, and, as Polonius says, is a vile pbraje
. Sir J. REYNOLDS.
Hath made the finty and steel couch of war
Duke. If you please,
Bra. I will not have it so,
4 - fbrice-driven bed of down :-) A driven bed, is a bed for which the feathers are selected, by driving with a fan, which separates the light from the heavy. JOHNSON.
5 - I do agnizem] i, e. acknowledge, confess, avow. STEEVENS. It is so defined in Bullokar’s English Expositor, Svo. 1616.
MALONE. These present wars] The quarto 1622, and the folio, by an error of the press, havebis present wars. For the emendation I am responsible. MALONE. 0 I crave fie difpofition for my wife;
Dve reference of place, and exbibition, &c.] I desire, that proper disposition be made for my wife; that she may have predecency, and revenue, accommodation, and company, suitable to her rank.
For reference of place, the old quartos have reverence, which Han. mer has received. I should read, due preference of place,-. JOHNSON.
Exbibition is allowance. The word is at present used only at the universities. STEEVENS.
See Vol. VIII. p. 507, n. 3. MALONE.
To my unfolding lend a gracious ear ;] Thus the quarto 1622. The folio, to avoid the repetition of the same epithet, reads :--your prof. perous ear. i. e. your propitious ear. STEEVENS. - a charter in your voice,] Let your favour privilege me.