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To kill myself, quoth she, alack! what were it,
That mother tries a merciless conclusion',
Will slay the other, and be nurse to none.
My body or my soul, which was the dearer?
His leaves will wither, and his sap decay;
Her house is sack'd, her quiet interrupted,
If in this blemish'd fort I make some hole",
7 That mother tries a merciless CONCLUSION,] A merciless practice, a cruel experiment. So, in Antony and Cleopatra: she hath assay'd "Conclusions infinite to die."
8 Her HOUSE IS SACK'D,-] So, in Romeo and Juliet: tell me, that I may sack
"The hated mansion." Steevens.
If in this blemish'd FORT I MAKE some hole, &c.] So, in King Richard II.:
with a little pin
"Bores through his castle wall, and-farewell king."
Yet die I will not, till my Collatine
Which by him tainted, shall for him be spent2,
My honour I'll bequeath unto the knife
For in my death I murder shameful scorn:
Dear lord of that dear jewel I have lost,
Myself, thy friend, will kill myself, thy foe, And, for my sake, serve thou false Tarquin so.
This brief abridgment of my will I make :
Revenge on him that made me STOP MY BREATH.] So, in Othello: There lies your niece,
"Whose breath indeed these hands have newly stopp'd."
2 Which BY him tainted, shall for him be spent,] The first copy has, by an apparent error of the press :
Which for him tainted-."
The correction was made in the octavo 1598. MALONE.
Mine honour be the knife's, that makes my wound;
Thou, Collatine, shalt oversee this Will3;
Yield to my hand; my hand shall conquer thee;
This plot of death when sadly she had laid,
3 THOU, Collatine, shalt oversee this Will ;] Thus the quarto. The edition of 1616 has:
"Then Collatine," &c. MALONE.
The overseer of a will was, I suppose, designed as a check upon executors. Our author appoints John Hall and his wife for his executors, and Thomas Russel and Francis Collins as his overseers. STEEVENS.
Overseers were frequently added in Wills from the superabundant caution of our ancestors; but our law acknowledges no such persons, nor are they (as contradistinguished from executors,) invested with any legal rights whatsoever. In some old Wills the term overseer is used instead of executor. Sir Thomas Bodley, the founder of the Bodleian Library in Oxford, not content with appointing two executors and two overseers, has likewise added three supervisors. MALONE.
with THOUGHT'S FEATHERS flies.] So, in King John: set feathers to thy heels,
"And fly like thought." STEEVENS.
Her mistress she doth give demure good-morrow,
Why her two suns were cloud-eclipsed so,
But as the earth doth weep, the sun being set",
Who in a salt-wav'd ocean quench their light, Which makes the maid weep like the dewy night'.
s With SOFT-SLOW TONGUE, true mark of modesty ;] So, in The Taming of the Shrew :
"Such duty to the drunkard let him do, "With soft-low tongue and lowly courtesy." In King Lear the same praise is bestowed on Cordelia : Her voice was ever soft,
"Gentle and low:-an excellent thing in woman."
❝ And sorts a sad look to her lady's sorrow,] To sort is to choose out. So before :
"When wilt thou sort an hour great strifes to end."
MALONE. 7- as the earth DOTH WEEP, THE SUN BEING SET, &c.] So, in Romeo and Juliet:
"When the sun sets, the air doth drizzle dew."
8 Each FLOWER moisten'd like a MELTING EYE;] So, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream:
"The moon, methinks, looks with a watry eye;
• Which makes the maid WEEP LIKE THE DEWY NIGHT.] So, in Dryden's Oedipus:
"Thus weeping blind like dewy night upon thee."
A pretty while these pretty creatures stand,
Grieving themselves to guess at others' smarts, And then they drown their eyes, or break their hearts:
For men have marble, women waxen, minds,
No more than wax shall be accounted evil,
I A PRETTY while-] Pretty seems formerly to have sometimes had the signification of petty,-as in the present instance. So also in Shelton's translation of Don Quixote, 4to. 1612, vol. i. p. 407: "The admiration and tears joined, indured in them all for a pretty space." MALONE.
Like ivory CONDUITS coral cisterns filling:] So, in As You Like It: "I will weep for nothing, like Diana in the fountain." Again, in Romeo and Juliet :
"How now? a conduit, girl? What? still in tears?
So, in Titus Andronicus :
"As from a conduit with their issuing spouts."
3 And therefore are they form'd as marble will ;] Hence do they [women] receive whatever impression their marble-hearted associates [men] choose. The expression is very quaint.
• Then call them not the authors of their ill,
No more than wax shall be accounted evil,
Wherein is stamp'd the semblance of a devil.] So, in Twelfth Night:
"How easy is it for the proper false
"In women's waxen hearts to set their forms!
"Alas, our frailty is the cause, not we,
"For, such as we are made of, such we be." Again, in Measure for Measure: