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Peering in April's front. This your sheep-shearing
Sir, my gracious lord,
I bless the time,
Now Jove afford you cause!
Apprehend Nothing but jollity. The gods themselves, Humbling their deities to love, have taken
1 i. e. the extravagance of his conduct in disguising himself in shepherd's clothes, while he pranked her up most goddesslike.
2 The gracious mark of the land is the object of all men's notice and erpectation.
3 "To show myself a glass.' She probably means, that the prince, by the rustic habit he wears, seems as if he had sworn io show her as in a glass how she ought to be dressed, instead of being so goddesslike prank'd up. And were it not for the licence and folly which custom had made familiar at such feasts, as that of sheep-shearing, when mimetic sports were allowable, she should blush to see him so attired.
4 Meaning the difference between his rank and hers.
5 «Vilely bound up.' This was a metaphor natural enough to a writer, though not exactly suitable in the mouth of Perdita Shakspeare has repeated it more than once in Romeo and Juliet. 6 This speech is almost literally taken from the novel. ? Dear is wanting in the oldest copy. 8 i e. far fetched, not arising from present objects.
The shapes of beasts upon them6 : Jupiter
O but, dear? sir,
purpose, Or I my life.
Flo. Thou dearest Perdita, With these forc'd8 thoughts, I pr'ythee, darken not The mirth o' the feast: Or I'll be thine, my fair, Or not my father's : for I cannot be Mine own, nor any thing to any, if I be not thine: to this I am most constant, Though destiny say, no. Be merry, gentle; Strangle such thoughts as these, with any thing That you behold the while. Your guests are coming: Lift up your countenance; as it were the day Of celebration of that nuptial, which We two have sworn shall come. Per.
O lady fortune, Stand you auspicious! Enter Shepherd, with POLIXENES and CAMILLO,
disguised; Clown, MOPSA, DORCAs, and others. Flo.
. See, your guests approach: Address yourself to entertain them sprightly, And let's be red with mirth.
father's oft; or I'll be thee, darken
Shep. Fye, daughter! when my old wife liv’d, upon This day, she was both pantler, butler, cook; Both dame and servant: welcom'd all; serv'd all : Would sing her song, and dance her turn: now here, At upper end o' the table, now i' the middle; On his shoulder, and his : her face o' fire With labour; and the thing, she took to quench it, She would to each one sip: You are retir'd, As if you were a feasted one, and not The hostess of the meeting: Pray you, bid These unknown friends to us welcome: for it is A way to make us better friends, more known. Come, quench your blushes; and present yourself That which you are, mistress o'the feast: Come on, And bid us welcome to your sheep-shearing, As your good flock shall prosper. Per.
Welcome, sir! [To Pol. It is my father's will, I should take on me The hostessship o' the day :-You're welcome, sir!
To CAMILLO. Give me those flowers there, Dorcas.—Reverend
Sir, the year growing ancient,-
9 i. e. appearance and smell. Rue, being used in exorcisms, was called herb of grace, and rosemary was supposed to strengthen the memory, it is prescribed for that purpose in the ancient herhals. Ophelia distributes the same plants with the same attributes.
Our rustic garden's barren; and I care not
Wherefore, gentle maiden,
For10 I have heard it said, There is an artil, which, in their piedness, shares With great creating nature.
Say, there be; Yet nature is made better by no mean, But nature makes that mean: so, o'er that art, Which, you say, adds to nature, is an art That nature makes. You see, sweet maid, we marry A gentler scion to the wildest stock; And make conceive a bark of baser kind By bud of noble race; This is an art Which does mend nature,-change it rather: but The art itself is nature. Per.
So it is. Pol. Then make your garden rich in gilliflowers 12, And do not call them bastards. Per.
I'll not put The dibble in earth to set one slip of them: No more than, were I painted, I would wish This youth should say, 'twere well; and only therefore Desire to breed by me.- Here's flowers for you; Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram;
10 For again in the sense of cause.
11 Surely there is no reference here to the impracticable pretence of producing flowers by art to rival those of nature, as Steevens supposed. The allusion is to the common practice of producing by art particular varieties of colours on flowers, especially on carnations.
12 In the folio edition it is spelt Gillyvors. Gelofer or gillofer was the old name for the whole class of carnations, pinks, and sweetwilliams; from the French girofle. There were also stockgelofers, and wall-gelofers. The variegated gilliflowers or carnations,' being considered as a produce of art, were properly called nature's bastards, and being streaked white and red, "Perdita considers them a proper emblem of a painted or immodest woman; and therefore declines to meddle with them. She conpects the gardener's art of varyi g the colours of these flowers with the art of painting the face, a fashion very prevalent in Shakspeare's time. This is Mr. Douce's very ingenious solution of this riddle, which had embarrassed Mr. Steevens.
The marigold, that goes to bed with the sun,
Cam. I should leave grazing, were I of your flock,
Out, alas! You'd be so lean, that blasts of January Would blow you through and through. – Now, my
fairest friend, I would, I had some flowers o' the spring, that might Become your time of day; and yours; and yours; That wear upon your virgin branches yet Your maidenheads growing: 0 Proserpina, For the flowers now, that, frighted, thou let'st fall From Dis's 14 waggon! daffodils, That come before the swallow dares, and take The winds of March with beauty; violets, dim, But sweeter than the lids of Juno's eyes 15, Or Cytherea's breath; pale primroses,
13 Some call it sponsas solis, the spowse of the sunne, because it sleeps and is awakened with him.'-Lupton's Notable Things book vi. 14 See Ovid's Metam. b. v.
-- ut summa vestem laxavit ab ora
Collecti flores tunicis cecidere remissis.' or the whole passage as translated by Golding, and given in the Variorum Shakspeare.
15 Johnson had not sufficient imagination to comprehend this exquisite passage, he thought that the poet had mistaken Juno for Pallas, and says, 'that 'sweeter than an eyelid is an odd image! But the eyes of Juno were as remarkable as those of Pallas, and
- of a beauty never yet
Equalled in height of tincture.' The beauties of Grecce and other Asiatic nations tinged their eyelids of an obscure violet colour by means of some unguent, which was doubtless perfumed like those for the hair, &c. mnentioned by Athenaeus. Hence Hesiod's βλεφάρων κυανείων in a passage which has been rendered
- Her flowing hair and sable eyelids Breathed enamouring odour, like the breath
of balmy Venus.' Shakspeare may not have known this, yet of the beauty and propriety of the epithet violets dim, and the transition at once to the lids of Jano's eyes and Cytherea's breath, no reader of taste and feeling need be reminded.