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I think I already hear my courtiers whisp. ering to each other, „Sicilia is a cuckold, a tame cuckold,” to which (says he they will add every other opprobrious name and epithet they can think of; for such, I suppose, the meaning of the words forth. He avoids naming the word cuckold from a horrour of the very sound. I suspect, however, that our author wrote Sicilia is and so forth.
MALONE. P. 102, 1. 32. gust J i. e. taste it.
STEEVENS. P. 103, l. 3. For thy conceit is soaking, ) Dr. Grey would read in soaking; but I think without ne. cessity. Tby conceit is of an absorbeizt nature, will draw in more, etc. seems to be the meaning.
STEEVENS. P. 103, l. 6. I believe, lower messes is only used
an expression to signify the lowest degree about the court. But this passage may be somewhat differenlily explained. It appears from a passage in The inerye Jest of a Man called Howleglas, bl. 1. no date, that it was anciently the custom in publick houses to keep ordinaries of different Princes: ..What table will you be at ? for at the lordes table thei give me no less than to shylinges, and at the merchauntes table xvi pence, and at iny houshold servantes geve me twelve pence." Leontes comprehends in. feriority of understanding in the idea of inferiority of rank. STEEVENS.
Concerning the different messes in the great families of our ancicut nobility, see the Iloushold Book of the 5th Earl of Northumberland, svo. 1770. PERCY. P. 103, 1. 27. To hox is to ham-string,
The proper word is, to hough, i. e. to cut the hough or ham-string. MALONE. P. 104, 1. 8. 9. Whereof the execution did cry out
Against the non-performance, ] This is one of the expressions by which Shakspeare too fre. quently clouds his meaning. This sounding phrase means, I think, no more than a thing necessary to be done. JOHNSON,
I think we ought to read ..the now-perform. ance," which gives us this very reasonable mean. ing: At the execution whereof, such circumstarices discovered themselves, as made it prut. dent to suspeiid all further proceedings in it.
HEATH. I do not see that this attempt does any thing more, than produce a harsher word without an easier sense. JOHNSON.
I have preserved this note, [Mr. Heath's ) because I think it a good interpretation of the original text. I have, however, no doubt, that Shak. speare wrote non-performance, he having often entangled himself in the same manner;
but it is clear that he should have written, either ..against the performance," or – for the non-performance,"
MALONE. P. 104, 1. 32. 33. -- Which to reiterate, were sine
As deep as that, though true.) i. e. your suspicion is as great a sin as would be that (if committed) for which yoit suispect her.
With the pin and web,] Disorders in the eye. STIEVE.NO
P. 105, 1. 23. The running of one glass.] i. e. of one hourglass.
p. 105, 1. 25. that wears he like her medal, ) Mr. Malone reads his medal. STEEVENS.
The old copy has - her medal, which was evi. dently an error of the press, either in consequence of the compositor's eye glancing on the word her in the preceding line, or of an abbreviation being used in the Ms. It should be remembered that it was customary for gentlemen, in our author's time, to wear jewels appended to a ribbon round the neck.
MALONE. I suppose the poet meant to say, that Polixenes rvore her, as he would have worn a medal of her, about his nec'i. Sir Christopher Hatton is represented with a medal of Queen Elizabeth append. ed to his chain. STEEVENS. P. 105, l. 29. 30. - they would do that
Which should undo more doing :) The latter word is used here in a wanton sense. MALONE. P. 106, 1. 2-4.
with no rash potion, Maliciously, like poison: Rash is hasty, as in K. Henry IV. P. II. :
rash gunpowder." Maliciously is mulig. nantly, with effects openly hurtful. JOHNSON.
P. 106, 1. 7. I have lov'd thee, -] This last hemistich assign'd to Camillo must have been mis. takenly placed to him. It is disrespect and insolence
in Camillo to his King, to tell him that he has once lov'd him I have ventured at a transposition, which seems self-evident. Camillo will not be per. suaded into a suspicion of the disloyalty imputed to his mistress. The King, who believes nothing but his jealousy, provoke that wanilio is so obstinately dissident, finely starts into a rage, and cries:
I've lov'd thee
Make't thy question, and
i. e., I have tendered thee well, Camillo, but I here cancel all former respect at once.
If thou any long: er make a question of iny wife's disloyalty, go from my presence, and perdition overtake thee for the stubbornness. THEOBALD.
I have admitted this alteration, as Dr. Warbur. ton has done, but am not convinced that it is necessary. Camillo, desirous to defend the Queen, and willing to secure credit to his apology, begins, by telling the King that he has loved him, is about to give instances of his love, and to infer from then his present zeal, when he is interrupied.
Johnson. I have lov'd thee, ] In the first and second folio, these words are the conclusion of Camillo's speech. The later editors have certainly done right in giving them to Leontes; but I think they would come in better at the end of the line: Make that thy question, and go rot! – 1
have lou'd thee.
TYRWHITT. I have restored the old reading. Camillo is about to tell Leontes how much he had loved him. The imparience of the King interrupts him by saying: Make that thy question, i. é. make the love of which you boast, the subject of your future con. versation, and go to the grave with it. Question, in our author, very often has this meaning. So, in Measure for Measure: „But in the loss of ques. tion;" i. e. in conversation that is thrown away. Again, in Hamlet: questionable shape" is a form propitious to conversation. Again, in As jou like it: „an unquestionable spirit" is a spirit unwilling to be conversed with. STEEVENS.
I think Steevens right in restoring the old reading, but mistaken in his interpretation of it. Camillo is about to express his affection for Leontes, but the impaticnce of the latter will not suffcr him to proceed. He takes no notice of that part of Camillo's specch, but replies to that which gave him offence
the doubts he had expressed of the Queen's mis. conduct; and says „Make that thy question and go rot."
Nothing can be more natural than this interruption. M. Mason.
The commentators have diffcred much in explain. ing this passage, and some have wished to transfer the words „I have lov'd thce," from Camillo to Leontes. Perhaps the words being honourable" should be placed in a parenthesis, and the full point that has been put in all the editions after the latter of these words, ought to be omitted. The sense will then be: Isaving ever had the highest respect for you, and thought you so estimable and honour. able a character, so worthy of the love of my mistress, I cannot believe that she has played you false, has dishonoured you. However, the text is very intelligible as now regulated. Camillo is going to give the King instances of his love, and is interrupted. I see no sufficient reason for transferring the words, I have lov'd thee, from Camil. lo to Leontes. In the original copy there is a comma at the end of Camillo's specch, to denote an abrupt speech. MALONE.
P. 106, l. 8. Make't thy question, and go rot!] This refers to what Camillo has just sail relative to the Queen's chastity. MALONE.
P. 106, 1. 17. To blench is to start off, to shrink. Leontes means - could any man so start or fly off from propriety of behaviour? STEEVENS.