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No more such wives; therefore, no wife: one worse,
And better us’d, would make her sainted spirit
Again possess her corps; and, on this stage,
(Where we offenders now appear) soul-vex’d,
Begin, And why to me? 2

Had she such power,
She had just cause.3

2 (Where we offenders now appear) soul-vex’d,

Begin, And why to me?] The old copy reads-And begin, why to me? the transposition now adopted was proposed by Mr. Steevens. Mr. Theobald reads:

and on this stage “(Where we offend her now) appear soul-ver’d,” &c. Mr. Heath would read—(Were we oftenders now) appear, &c.

- that is, if we should now at last so far offend her.” Mr. M. Mason thinks that the second line should be printed thus:

“ And begin, why? to me.” that is, begin to call me to account.

There is so much harsh and involved construction in this play, that I am not sure but the old copy, perplexed as the sentence may appear, is right. Perhaps the author intended to point it thus:

“ Again possess her corps, (and on this stage
“Where we offenders now appear soul-vex'd)

“ And begin, why to me?" Why to me did you prefer one less worthy, Leontes insinuates would be the purport of Hermione's speech. There is, I think, something awkward in the phrase- Where we offenders now appear. By removing the parenthesis, which in the old copy is placed after appear, to the end of the line, and applving the epi. thet soul-vex'd to Leontes and the rest who mourned the loss of Hermione, that difficulty is obviated. Malone.

To countenance my transposition, be it observed, that the blunders occasioned by the printers of the first folio are so numerous, that it should seem, when a word dropped out of their press, they were careless into which line they inserted it.

Steevens. I believe no change is necessary. If, instead of being repeated, the word appear be understood, as, by an obvious ellipsis, it may, the sense will be sufficiently clear. Henley.

3 She had just cause.] The first and second folio read-she had just such cause. Reed.

We should certainly read, “ she had just cause.” The insertion of the word such, hurts both the sense and the metre.

M. Mason. There is nothing to which the word such can be referred. It was, I have no doubt, inserted by the compositor's eye glancing on the preceding line. The metre is perfect without this word, which confirms the observation.-Since the foregoing remark



She had; and would incense me 4 To murder her I married. Paul.

I should so:
Were I the ghost that walk'd, I'd bid you mark
Her eye; and tell me, for what dull part in 't
Vou chose her: then I'd shriek, that even your ears
hou'd rift5 to hear me, and the words that follow'd
hould be, Remember mine.

Stars, very stars,
And all eyes else, dead coals!- fear thou no wife,
I 'll have no wife, Paulina.

Will you swear
Never to marry, but by my free leave?

Leon. Never, Paulina; so be bless'd my spirit !
Paul. Then, good my lords, bear witness to his oath.
Cleo. You tempt him over-much.

Unless another,
As like Hermione as is her picture,
Affront his eye.?

Good madam,

I have done. 8
Yet, if my lord will marry,

1,-if you will, sir, No remedy, but you will; give me the office


was printed in the Second APPENDIX to my SUPP. to SHAKSP. 1783, I have observed that the editor of the third folio made the same correction. Malone. incense me -] i. e. instigate me, set me on.

So, in King Richard III:

“ Think you, my lord, this little prating York

Was not incensed by his subtle mother) Steevens. 5 Should rift - ] i.e. split. So, in The Tempest:

rifted Jove's stout oak.” Steevens. 6 Stars, very stars,] The word-very, was supplied by Sir T. Hanmer, to assist the metre. So, in Cymbeline :

“'Twas very Cloten.”
Again, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona:
“Especially against his very

friend.” Steevens.
Afront his eye.] To affront, is to meet. Johnson.
So, in Cymbeline :

“Your preparation can affront no less.

“ Than what you hear of” Steevens. 8 Paul. I have done.] These three words in the old copy make part of the preceding speech. The present regulation, which is clearly right, was suggested by Mr. Steevens. Malone.


To choose you a queen: she shall not be so young
As was your former; but she shall be such,
As, walk'd your first queen's ghost, it should take joy
To see her in your arms.

My true Paulina,
We shall not marry, till thou bidd'st us.

Shall be, when your first queen 's again in breath;
Never till then.

Enter a Gentleman.
Gent. One that gives out himself prince Florizel,
Son of Polixenes, with his princess, (she
The fairest I have yet beheld) desires access
To your high presence.

What with him? he comes not
Like to his father's greatness: his approach,
So out of circumstance, and sudden, tells us,
'Tis not a visitation fram’d, but forc'd
By need, and accident. What train?

But few,
And those but mean.

His princess, say you, with him?
Gent. Ay; the most peerless piece of earth, I think,
That e'er the sun shone bright on.

O Hermione,
As every present time doth boast itself
Above a better, gone; so must thy grave
Give way to what's seen now.' Sir, you yourself
Have said, and writ so,' (but your writing now
Is colder than that theme?) She had not been,
Nor was not to be equalld;-thus your verse
Flow'd with her beauty once; 'tis shrewdly ebb'd,



So must thy grave Give way to what 's seen now.] Thy grave here means—thy beauties, which are buried in the grave; the continent for the contents. Edwards.

Sir, you yourself Have said and writ so,] The reader must observe, that so relates not to what precedes, but to what follows; that she had not been-equall'd. Johnson.

? Is colder than that theme,] i. e. than the lifeless body of Hermione, the theme or subject of your writing. Malone.

To say, you have seen a better.

Pardon, madam:
The one I have almost forgot; (your pardon)
The other, when she has obtain'd your eye,
Will have your tongue too.

This is such a creature, 3
Would she begin a sect, might quench the zeal
Of all professors else; make proselytes
Of who she but bid follow.

How? not women?
Gent. Women will love her, that she is a woman
More worth than any man; men, that she is
The rarest of all women.

Go, Cleomenes;
Yourself, assisted with your honour'd friends,
Bring them to our embracement.-Still ’tis strange,

[Exeunt Cleo. Lords, and Gent. He thus should steal upon us. Paul.

Had our prince,
(Jewel of children) seen this hour, he had pair'd
Well with his lord; there was not full a month
Between their births.

Pr’ythee, no more; thou know'st,*
He dies to me again, when talk'd of: sure,
When I shall see this gentleman, thy speeches
Will bring me to consider that, which may
Unfurnish me of reason. They are come.-

Your mother was most true to wedlock, prince;
For she did print your royal father off,
Conceiving you: Were I but twenty-one,
Your father's image is so hit in you,
His very air, that I should call you brother,

3 This is such a creature,] The word such, which is wanting in the old copy, was judiciously supplied by Sir T. Hanmer, for the sake of metre. Steevens.

4 Pr’ythee, no more; thou know’st,] The old copy redundantly reads

“Prythee, no more; cease; thou know'st," Cease, I believe, was a mere marginal gloss or explanation of -no more, and, injuriously to the metre, had crept into the text.


As I did him; and speak of something, wildly
By us perform'd before. Most dearly welcome!
And your fair princess, goddess!-, alas!
I lost a couple, that 'twixt heaven and earth
Might thus have stood, begetting wonder, as
You, gracious couple, do! and then I lost
(All mine own folly) the society,
Amity too, of your brave father; whom,
Though bearing misery, I desire my life
Once more to look upon.5

By his command
Have I here touch'd Sicilia: and from him
Give you all greetings, that a king, at friend,
Can send his brother: and, but infirmity
(Which waits upon worn times) hath something seiz'd
His wish'd ability, he had himself
The lands and waters 'twixt your throne and his
Measur'd, to look upon you; whom he loves
(He bade me say so) more than all the sceptres,
And those that bear them, living.

O, my brother,



Though bearing misery, I desire iny life
Once more to look upon.] The old copy reads-

Once more to look on him. Steevens. For this incorrectness our author must answer. There are many others of the same kind to be found in his writings. See p. 206, n. 9. Mr. Theobald, with more accuracy, but without necessity, omitted the word him, and to supply the metre, reads in the next line—“Sir, by his command,” &c. in which he has been followed, I think, improperly, by the subsequent editors.

Malone. As I suppose this incorrect phraseology to be the mere jargon of the old players, I have omitted-him, and (for the sake of metre) instead of-on, read upon. So, in a former part of the present scene:

“ I might have look'd upon my queen's full eyes Again, p. 323:

“Strike all that look upon with marvel.” Steevens.

that a king, at friend,], Thus the old copy; but having met with no example of such phraseology, I suspect our author wrote-and friend. At has already been printed for and in the play before us. Malone.

At friend, perhaps means, at friendship. So, in Hamlet, we have" the wind at help." We might, however, read, omitting only a single letter--a friend. Steevens.


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