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Charging the sour-fac'd groom to hie as fast
The homely villein court'sies to her low;
When, silly groom! God wot, it was defect
Even so, this pattern of the worn-out age 2
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,
The more she saw the blood his cheeks replenish,
But long she thinks till he return again,
That she her plaints a little while doth stay,
At last she calls to mind where hangs a piece
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",
A thousand lamentable objects there,
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.
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
It is probable he also remembered these of Spenser :
"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
In Ajax and Ulysses, O, what art
But the mild glance that sly Ulysses lent,
There pleading might you see grave Nestor stand,
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,
Here one man's hand lean'd on another's head,
"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