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Charging the sour-fac'd groom to hie as fast
As lagging fowls before the northern blast.
Speed more than speed but dull and slow she
Extremity still urgeth such extremes.


The homely villein court'sies to her low;
And blushing on her, with a stedfast eye
Receives the scroll, without or yea or no,
And forth with bashful innocence doth hie.
But they whose guilt within their bosoms lie,
Imagine every eye beholds their blame;
For Lucrece thought he blush'd to see her shame.

When, silly groom! God wot, it was defect
Of spirit, life, and bold audacity.
Such harmless creatures have a true respect
To talk in deeds', while others saucily
Promise more speed, but do it leisurely:

Even so, this pattern of the worn-out age 2
Pawn'd honest looks, but lay'd no words to gage.

8 As lagging FOWLS before the northern BLAST.] Thus the quarto. All the modern editions have-souls.

The quarto reads-blasts, which the rhyme shews to have been a misprint, and which I should not mention but that it proves that even in Shakspeare's own edition there were some errors. the preceding note. MALONE.


9 The homely VILLEIN Court'sies to her low;] Villein has here its ancient legal signification; that of a slave. The term court'sy was formerly applied to men as well as to women.


'TO TALK in DEEDS -] So, in Hamlet :

"As he, in his peculiar act and force,


May give his saying deed."

Again, in Troilus and Cressida :


Speaking in deeds, and deedless in his tongue."

Again, in Julius Cæsar:



"Casca. Speak hands for me."


this PATTERN of the WORN-OUT AGE-] This example of ancient simplicity and virtue. So, in King Richard III. : Behold this pattern of thy butcheries."


His kindled duty kindled her mistrust,
That two red fires in both their faces blaz'd;
She thought he blush'd, as knowing Tarquin's lust,
And, blushing with him, wistly on him gaz'd;
Her earnest eye did make him more amaz'd:

The more she saw the blood his cheeks replenish,
The more she thought he spy'd in her some

But long she thinks till he return again,
And yet the duteous vassal scarce is gone.
The weary time she cannot entertain,
For now 'tis stale to sigh, to weep, and groan:
So woe hath wearied woe, moan tired moan,

That she her plaints a little while doth stay,
Pausing for means to mourn some newer way.

At last she calls to mind where hangs a piece
Of skilful painting, made for Priam's Troy;
Before the which is drawn3 the power of Greece,
For Helen's rape the city to destroy,
Threatening cloud-kissing Ilion with annoy ';


See also p. 142, n. 4.

We meet with nearly the same expression in our author's 68th Sonnet:

"Thus is his cheek the map of days out-worn." Malone. So, in As You Like It:


how well in thee appears

"The constant service of the antique world." STEEVENS. 3 Before THE WHICH IS DRAWN-] That is, before Troy.


Drawn, in this instance, does not signify delineated, but drawn out into the field, as armies are. So, in King Henry IV.: "He cannot draw his power these fourteen days."


4 For Helen's rape-] Rape is used by all our old poets in the sense of raptus, or carrying away by force. It sometimes also signifies the person forcibly carried away. MALONE.

5 Threatening CLOUD-KISSING Ilion with annoy;] So, in Pe ricles :

Which the conceited painter drew so proud",
As heaven (it seem'd) to kiss the turrets bow'd.

A thousand lamentable objects there,
In scorn of nature, art gave lifeless life:
Many a dry drop seem'd a weeping tear",
Shed for the slaughter'd husband by the wife :
The red blood reek'd, to show the painter's strife;
And dying eyes gleam'd forth their ashy lights",
Like dying coals burnt out in tedious nights".

There might you see the labouring pioneer Begrim'd with sweat, and smeared all with dust; And from the towers of Troy there would appear

"Whose towers bore heads so high they kiss'd the clouds." Again, in Troilus and Cressida :

"Yon towers, whose wanton tops do buss the clouds." Again, in Hamlet:

like the herald Mercury,

"New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill." MALONE.


6 Which the CONCEITED painter drew so proud,] Conceited, in old language, is fanciful, ingenious. MALONE.

7 Many a DRY drop seem'd a weeping tear,] Thus the quarto. The variation made in this line, in the edition of 1616, which is said in the title-page to be newly revised and corrected, would alone prove it not to have been prepared by our author. The editor, knowing that all drops are wet, and not observing that the poet is here speaking of a picture, discarded the old reading, and gave, instead of it,

"Many a dire drop seem'd a weeping tear; Which has been followed in all the subsequent copies. Had he been at all acquainted with Shakspeare's manner, he never would have made this alteration, or have adopted it, if made before.


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And dying eyes gleam'd forth their ASHY LIGHTS, Like DYING COALS BURNT OUT in tedious nights.] Perhaps Milton had these lines in his thoughts when he wrote:


"Where glowing embers through the room
"Teach light to counterfeit a gloom."

It is probable he also remembered these of Spenser :
his glistering armour made

"A little glooming light much like a shade." MALONE.

The very eyes of men through loop-holes thrust, Gazing upon the Greeks with little lust:

Such sweet observance in this work was had, That one might see those far-off eyes look sad.

In great commanders grace and majesty
You might behold, triúmphing in their faces;
In youth, quick bearing and dexterity;
And here and there the painter interlaces
Pale cowards, marching on with trembling paces;
Which heartless peasants did so well resemble,
That one would swear he saw them quake and

In Ajax and Ulysses, O, what art
Of physiognomy might one behold!
The face of either 'cipher'd either's heart;
Their face their manners most expressly told:
In Ajax' eyes blunt rage and rigour roll'd;

But the mild glance that sly Ulysses lent,
Show'd deep regard and smiling government'.

There pleading might you see grave Nestor stand,
As 'twere encouraging the Greeks to fight;
Making such sober action with his hand,
That it beguil'd attention, charm'd the sight:
In speech, it seem'd, his beard, all silver white,
Wagg'd up and down, and from his lips did fly
Thin winding breath, which purl'd up to the sky 2.

1 - deep regard and smiling government.] Profound wisdom, and the complacency arising from the passions being under the command of reason. The former word [regard] has already occurred more than once in the same sense. MALONE.

2 In speech, it seem'd, his BEARD, ALL SILVER WHITE, Wagg'd up and down, and from his lips did fly

Thin winding BREATH, which PURL'D up to the sky.] So, in Troilus and Cressida :

"and such again

"As venerable Nestor, hatch'd in silver,


About him were a press of gaping faces3,
Which seem'd to swallow up his sound advice*;
All jointly listening, but with several graces,
As if some mermaid did their ears entice;
Some high, some low; the painter was so nice,
The scalps of many almost hid behind,
To jump up higher seem'd, to mock the mind.

Here one man's hand lean'd on another's head,
His nose being shadow'd by his neighbour's ear;
Here one, being throng'd, bears back, all boll'n and

"Should with a bond of air (strong as the axle-tree "On which heaven rides) knit all the Greekish ears "To his experienc'd tongue." MALONE. I suppose we should read-curl'd. Thus, Pope:

While curling smoaks from village tops are seen." Again, in Cymbeline:

"And let our crooked smoaks climb to their nostrils." STEEVENS.

There is no need of change, for purling had formerly the same meaning, being sometimes used to denote the curling of water, without any reference to sound. So, in Drayton's Mortimeriados, 4to. 1596:

"Whose stream an easie breath doth seem to blow; "Which on the sparkling gravel runs in purles, "As though the waves had been of silver curles." This sense of the word is unnoticed in Dr. Johnson's Dictionary.

MALONE. 3 About him were a press of gaping faces, &c.] Had any engraving, or account, of Raphael's celebrated picture of The School of Athens reached England in the time of our author, one might be tempted by this description to think that he had seen it.

MALONE. Which seem'd to SWALLOW up his sound advice:] So, in King John :

"With open mouth, swallowing a taylor's news." STEEVENS. 5 As if some mermaid-] See p. 35, n. 4. MALONE. 6 —all BOLL'N and red;] Thus the old copy. In the former edition, when I was less cautious than I am at present, I substituted blown for boll'n, which I conceived to be a misprint; but scarcely had the book issued from the press, when I discovered my mistake. The reader will, I trust, find no in

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