« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
When daisies pied, &c.] The first lines of this song that were transposed, have been replaced by Mr. Theobald.
Line 1234. -cuckoo-buds-] Miller says, that lady-smocks and cuckoo-flowers are only different names of the same plant. STEEVENS.
Line 1358. doth keel the pot.] Dr. Goldsmith says, this word is used in Ireland, and signifies to scum the pot; but the other commentators have proved the meaning of keel to be to cool.
END OF THE ANNOTATIONS ON LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST.
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.
ACT I. SCENE I.
LINE 9. Argosies] A name given in our author's time to ships of great burthen, probably galleons, such as the Spaniards now use in their West-India trade. JOHNSON.
Line 18. Plucking the grass, &c.] By holding up the grass, or any light body that will bend by a gentle blast, the direction of the wind is found.
"This way I used in shooting. Betwixt the markes was an open place, there I take a fethere, or a lyttle grasse, and so "learned how the wind stood." Ascham.
Line 28. -Andrew-] The name of the ship. 29. Vailing her high top lower than her ribs,] Means, to put off the hat, to strike sail, to give sign of submission. STEEV. Line 53. Now, by two-headed Janus,] By two-headed Janus is meant those antique bifrontine heads, which generally represent a young and smiling face, together with an old and wrinkled one, being of Pan and Bacchus; of Saturn and Apollo. WARB. Line 56. peep through their eyes,] This gives us a very
picturesque image of the countenance in laughing, when the eyes appear half shut. WARBURTON.
Line 59. their teeth in way of smile,] Because such are apt enough to shew their teeth in anger. WARBURTON.
Line 89. Let me play the Fool;] Alluding to the common comparison of human life to a stage-play. So that he desires his may be the fool's or buffoon's part, which was a constant character in the old farces from whence came the phrase, to play the fool. WARBURTON.
Line 108. would almost damn those ears,] The author's meaning is: That some people are thought wise, whilst they keep silence; who, when they open their mouths, are such stupid praters, that the hearers cannot help calling them fools, and so incur the judgment denounced in the Gospel. THEOBALD.
Line 115. I'll end my exhortation after dinner.] The humour of this consists in its being an allusion to the practice of the puritan preachers of those times; who being generally very long and tedious, were often forced to put off that part of their sermon called the exhortation, till after dinner. WARBURTON.
Line 161. —like a wilful youth,] He has formerly lost his money like a wilful youth, he now borrows more in pure innocence, without disguising his former fault, or his present designs. JOHNSON. Line 179. sometimes] i. e. Formerly.
ACT I. SCENE II.
Line 243. Ay, that's a colt, indeed, for he doth nothing but talk of his horse ;] Colt is used for a witless, heady, gay youngster; whence the phrase used of an old man too juvenile, that he still retains his colt's tooth. See Henry VIII. Act 1. Sc. 3. JOHNS.
Line 248. is there the County Palatine.] I am always inclined to believe, that Shakspeare has more allusions to particular facts and persons than his readers commonly suppose. The count here mentioned was, perhaps, Albertus a Lasco, a Polish Palatine, who visited England in our author's time, was eagerly caressed, and splendidly entertained; but running in debt, at last stole away, and endeavoured to repair his fortune by enchantment.
Line 264. if a throstle- -] The throstle is the thrush.
Line 272. -he hath neither Latin, French, nor Italian;] A satire on the ignorance of the young English travellers in our au
-Scottish lord,] Scottish, which is in the quarto,
was omitted in the first folio, for fear of giving offence to king
Line 286. I think, the Frenchmen became his surety,] Alluding to the constant assistance, or rather constant promises of assistance, that the French gave the Scots in their quarrels with the English. This alliance is here humourously satirized. WARBURTON.
Line 288. How like you the young German, &c.] In Shakspeare's time the duke of Bavaria visited London, and was made knight of the Garter.
Perhaps in this enumeration of Portia's suitors, there may be some covert allusion to those of queen Elizabeth.
ACT I. SCENE III.
Line 287. If I can catch him once upon the hip,] A phrase taken from the practice of wrestlers. JOHNSON.
See Genesis, c. xxxii. v. 24, &c.
Line 305. the ripe wants of my friend,] Ripe wants are wants come to the height, wants that can have no longer delay. Perhaps we might read, rife wants, wants that come thick upon him. JOHNSON.
-possess'd,] To possess, in our author, generally
means, to inform, to acquaint.
Line 350. O, what a goodly outside falshood hath!] Falshood, which, as truth means honesty, is taken here for treachery and knavery, does not stand for falshood in general, but for the dishonesty now operating. JOHNSON.
Line 357. terest of money.
my usances;] Usance formerly meant, the in
Line 383. A breed for 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.
Line 406. 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.
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.
So in Henry IV. Part 1.:
"A mighty and a fearful head they are."
Line 431. I like not fair terms.] Kind words, good language.
ACT II. SCENE I.
Line 7. 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. Line 9. Hath fear'd the valiant;] i. e. Terrified. To fear is often used by our old writers, in this sense. STEEVENS.
Line 26. That slew the Sophy, &c.] Shakspeare seldom escapes well when he is entangled with geography. The prince of Morocco must have travelled far to kill the Sophy of Persia. JOHNS.
Line 44. therefore be advis'd.] Therefore be not precipitant; consider well what you are to do. Advis'd is the word opposite to rash. JOHNSON.
-bless't,] Means, most blessed.
ACT II. SCENE II.
Line 90. Turn up, on your right-hand, &c.] This arch and perplexed direction, to puzzle the enquirer, seems to imitate that of Syrus to Demea in The Brothers of Terence. WARBURTON. God's sonties,] Probably used as an oath, though
the origin of it cannot be traced.