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565. a nun of winter's sisterhood] This is finely expressed. Shakspere here means an unfruitful sisterhood, which had devoted itself to chastity. For as those who were of the sisterhood of the spring, were the votaries of Venus; those of summer, the yotaries of Ceres; those of autumn, of Pomona ; so these of the sisterhood of winter were the votaries of Diana ; called, of winter, because that quarter is not, like the other three, productive of fruit or increase. On this account it is, that when the poet speaks of what is most poor, he instances it in winter, in these fine lines of Othello,
“ But riches endless is as poor as winter
“ To him that ever fears he shall be poor.” The other property of winter that made him term them of its sisterhood is its coldness. So, in the Midummer Night's Dream :
“ To be a barren sister all your life,
WARBURTON. 573. -as concave as a cover'd goblet.] Why a cover'd? Because a goblet is never kept cover'd but when empty. Shakspere never throws out his expressions at random.
WARBURTON. 583. -much question] 'i. e. conversation. See Question, catch-word Alphabet.
STEEVENS. 590. -quite traverse, athwart, &c.] An unexperienced lover is here compared to a puny tilter, to whom it was a disgrace to have his lance broken across, as it was a mark either of want of courage or address. Eij
This happened when the horse flew on one side; in the career : and hence, I supposė, arose the jocular proverbial phrase of spurring the horse only on one side.
WARBURTON. So, in Northward Hoe, 1607: " inelancholick like a tilter, that had broke his staves foul before his mis
STEÉVENS. A puny tilter, that breaks his staff like a noble goose. Sir T. Hanmer altered this to a nose-quillod goose, but no one seems to have regarded the alteration. Cer. tainly nose-quill'd is an epithet likely to be corrupted : it gives the image wanted, and may in a great measure be supported by å quotation from Turberville's Falconrie. “ Take with you a ducké, and slip one of her wing feathers, and having thrust it through her nares, throw her out unto your hawke." FARMER. 615.
will you sterner be Than he that dies and lives by bloody drops?] I am afraid our bard is at his quibbles again. To dye means as well to dip a thing in a colour foreign to its own, as to expire. In this sense, contemptible as it is, the executioner may be said to die as well as live by bloody drops. Shakspere is fond of opposing these terms to each other. In K. John is a play on words not unlike this:
-all with purpled hands “ Dy'd in the dying slaughter of their foes." Cainden has preserved an epitaph on a dyer, which has the same turn;
“ He that dyed so oft in sport,
“ Dyed at last no colour for't."
“ Is thy husband a dyer, woman? alack,
end of his life, continues a common executioner. So, in the second scene of the fifth act of this play, “ live and die a shepherd.”,
Toller. 632. The cicatrice and capable impressure] Cicatrice is here not very properly used; it is the scar of a wound. Capable impressure, hollow mark. JOHNSON.
639. power of fancy,] Fancy is here used for love, as before in the Midsummer Night's Dream.
JOHNSON. See Fancy, in catch-word Alphabet.
648. That you insult, exult, and all at once,] The * speaker may mean thus : Who might be your mother, that
you insult, exult, and that too all in a breath. Such is perhaps the meaning of all at once. STEEVENS.
649. What though you have no beauty] This was the reading of the old copy. It was recommended by a correspondent of Mr. Theobald to drop the no, and the passage in Lodge's Rosalynde, which Shakspere copied, authorises the omission :-“Because thou art beautiful, be not so coy." Mr. Malone however E iij
thinks, that no was á misprint for mo, and there. fore would read—What though you have mo beautythe word mo being often used by Shakspere for more.
654.' Of nature's sale-work :) those works that na. ture makes up carelessly and without exactness. The allusion is to the practice of mechanicks, whose work bespoke is more elaborate than that which is made up for chance customers, or to sell in quantities to retailers, which is called sale-work. WARBURTON,
659. That can entame my spirits to your worship.] Sog in Much Ado about Nothing : * Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand."
STEEVÈNS. 673. Foul is most foul, being foul to be a scoffer:] The ugly seem most ugly, when, though ugly, they are scoffers,
JOHNSON. 677. -with her foulness,] So, Sir T. Hanmer, the other editions, your foulness.
JOHNSON 689. though all the world could see,
None could be so abus'd in sight as he.] Though all mankind could look on you, none could be so deceived as to think you beautiful but he.
JOHNSON. 692. Dead shepherd, now I find thy saw of
Who ever lov’d, that lov'd not at first sight?] The second of these lines is from Marlowe's Hero and Leander, 1637, sig. B b. where it stands thus :
“ Where both deliberate, the love is slight: “ Who ever lov’d, that lov'd not at first sight?”
This line is likewise quoted in Belvidere, or the Garden of the Muses, 1610, p. 29. and in England's Parnassus, printed in 1600, p. 261. Steevens.
Might not the poet have intended this, as an apos. trophe to Marlow himlelf?
Line 34. SWAM in a gondola.] That is, been at Venice, the seat at that time of all licentiousness, where the young English gentlemen wasted their fortunes, debased their morals, and sometimes lost their re. ligion.
The fashion of travelling, which prevailed very much in our author's time, was considered by the wiser men as one of the principal causes of corrupt manners. It was therefore gravely censured by As. cham in his Schoolmaster, and by bishop Hall in his Quo Vadis; and is here, and in other passages, ridi. culed by Shakspere.
JOHnson. 61. A Rosalind of a better leer than you.] i. e. of a better feature, complexion, or colour, than you. So, in P. Holland's Pliny, B. XXXI. c. ii. p. 403 : In some places there is no other thing bred or growing, but brown and duskish, insomuch as not only the cattel is all of that lere, but also the corn on the ground, &c." The word seems to be derived from the Saxon Hleare, facies, frons, vultus. So it is used in Titus Andronicus, act iv. sc. 2. See leer in catchword Alphabet.