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When oil and fire, too strong for reason's force,
My honour'd lady,
This I must say,
Offence of mighty note; but to himself
Praising what is lost,
hither:We are reconcild, and the first view shall kill All repetition:'-Let him not ask our pardon;
This very probable emendation was first proposed by Mr. Theobald, who has produced these two passages in support of it:
I do know
“ Lends the tongue vows. These blazes,” &c. Hamlet. Again, in Troilus and Cressida:
“For Hector, in his blaze of wrath," &c. Malone. In Hamlet we have also "flaming youth," and in the present comedy “the quick fire of youth." I read, therefore, without hesitation,-blaze. Steevens.
9 of richest eyes;] Shakspeare means that her beauty had astonished those, who, having seen the greatest number of fair women, might be said to be the richest in ideas of beauty. So, in As you Like it: “ - to have seen much and to have nothing, is to have rich
hands." Steevens. the first view shall kill All repetition:] The first interview shall put an end to all recollection of the past. Shakspeare is now hastening to the end of the play, finds his matter sufficient to fill up his remaining scenes, and therefore, as on other such occasions, contracts his dialogue and precipitates his action. Decency required that Bertram's double crime of cruelty and disobedience, joined likewise with some hypocrisy, should raise more resentment, and that though his mother might easily forgive him, his king should more perti
The nature of his great offence is dead,
I shall, my liege. [Exit Gen. King. What says he to your daughter? have you spoke? Laf. All that he is hath reference to your highness. King. Then shall we have a match. I have letters
sent me, That set him high in fame.
He looks well on 't.
My high-repented blames, 3
All is whole;
naciously vindicate his own authority and Helen's merit. Of all this Shakspeare could not be ignorant, but Shakspeare wanted to conclude his play. Fohnson.
2 I am not a day of season,] That is, of uninterrupted rain: one of those wet days that usually happen about the vernal equinox. A similar expression occurs in The Rape of Lucrece:
“But I alone, alone must sit and pine,
“ Seasoning the earth with showers.” The word is still used in the same sense in Virginia, in which government, and especially on the eastern shore of it, where the descendants of the first settlers have been less mixed with later emigrants, many expressions of Shakspeare's time are still current. Henley.
3 My high-repented blames,] High-repented blames, are faults repented of to the height, to the utmost. Shakspeare has highfantastical in Twelfth Night. Steevens.
The daughter of this lord?
Ber. Admiringly, my liege: at first I stuck my choice upon her, ere my heart Durst make too bold a herald of my tongue: Where the impression of mine eye infixing, Contempt his scornful perspective did lend me, Which warp'd the line of every other favour; Scorn'd a fair colour, or express'd it stol'n; Extended or contracted all proportions, To a most hideous object: Thence it came, That she, whom all men prais'd, and whom myself, Since I have lost, have lov’d, was in mine eye The dust that did offend it. King .
Well excus'd: That thou didst love her, strikes some scores away From the great 'compt: But love, that comes too late, Like a remorseful pardon slowly carried, To the great sender turns a sour offence, Crying, That's good that 's gone: our rash faults Make trivial price of serious things we have, Not knowing them, until we know their grave: Oft our displeasures, to ourselves unjust, Destroy our friends, and after weep their dust: Our own love waking cries to see what's done, While shameful hate sleeps out the afternoon."
4 The inaudible and noiseless foot of time &c.] This idea seems to have been caught from the Third Book of Sidney's Arcadia: “ The summons of Time had so creepingly stolne upon him, that hee had heard scarcely the noise of his feet.” Steevens.
5 Our own love waking &c.] These two lines I should be glad to call an interpolation of a player. They are ill connected with the former, and not very clear or proper in themselves. I believe the author made two couplets to the same purpose; wrote them both down that he might take his choice; and so they happened to be both preserved.
For sleep I think we should read slept. Love cries to see what was done while hatred slept, and suffered mischief to be done. Or the meaning may be, that hatred still continues to sleep at ease, while love is weeping; and so the present reading may stand.
Fohnson. I cannot comprehend this passage as it stands, and have no oubt but we should read
Our old love waking, &c.
Be this sweet Helen's knell, and now forget her.
Laf. Come on, my son, in whom my house's name Must be digested give a favour from you, To sparkle in the spirits of my daughter, That she may quickly come:-By my old beard, And every hair that 's on 't, Helen, that 's dead, Was a sweet creature; such a ring as this, The last that e'er I took her leave? at court, I saw upon her finger. Ber.
Hers it was not. King. Now, pray you, let me see it; for mine eye, While I was speaking, oft was fasten'd to 't. This ring was mine; and, when I gave it Helen, I bade her, if her fortunes ever stood Necessitied to help, that' by this token
Our own love, can mean nothing but our self-love, which would not be sense in this place; but our old love waking, means our former affection being revived. M. Mason.
This conjecture appears to me extremely probable; but wak. ing will not, I think, here admit of Mr. Mason's interpretation, being revived; nor, indeed, is it necessary to his emendation. It is clear, from the subsequent line, that waking is here used in its ordinary sense. Hate sleeps at ease, unmolested by any remembrance of the dead, while old love, reproaching itself for not having been sufficiently kind to a departed friend, “wakes and weeps;" crying, “that's good that's gone.” Malone. 6 Which better than the first, o dear heaven, bless!
Or, ere they meet, in me, o nature, cease !] I have ventured, against the authorities of the printed copies, to prefix the Countess's name to these two lines. The King appears, indeed, to be a favourer of Bertram ; but if Bertram should make a bad hus. band the second time, why should it give the King such mortal pangs? A fond and disappointed mother might reasonably not desire to live to see such a day; and from her the wish of dying, rather than to behold it, comes with propriety. Theobald.
17 The last that e'er I took her leave -] The last time that I saw her, when she was leaving the court. Mr. Rowe and the sub. sequent editors read that e'er she took, &c. Malone.
I would relieve her: Had you that craft, to reave her
My gracious sovereign,
Son, on my life,
I am sure, I saw her wear it.
8 I bade her, if her fortunes ever stood
Necessitied to help, that ---] Our author here, as in many other places, seems to have forgotten, in the close of the sentence, how he began to construct it. See p. 159, n. 8. The meaning however is clear, and I do not suspect any corruption.
Malone. 9 In Florence was it from a casement thrown me,) Bertram still eontinues to have too little virtue to deserve Helen. He did not know indeed that it was Helen's ring, but he knew that he had it not from a window. Johnson.
noble she was, and thought I stood ingag'd:] Thus the old copy. Dr. Johnson reads engaged. Steevens.
The plain meaning is, when she saw me receive the ring, she thought me engaged to her. Johnson.
Ingag'd may be intended in the same sense with the reading proposed by Mr. Theobald, [ungag’d) i. e, not engaged; as Shakspeare, in another place, uses gag'd for engaged. Merchant of Venice, Act I, sc. i. Tyrwhitt.
I have no doubt that ingaged (the reading of the folio) is right. Gaged is used by other writers, as well
as by Shakspeare, for engaged. So, in a Pastoral, by Daniel, 1605:
“ Not that the earth did gage
“Her voluntary fruits, free without fees." Ingaged, in the sense of unengaged, is a word of exactly the me formation as inhabitable, which is used by Shakspeare and
contemporary writers for uninhabitable. Malone.