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Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride.
PAR. Younger than she are happy mothers made. CAP. And too soon marr'd are those so early made 3.
(I) The earth hath swallow'd all my hopes but she, She is the hopeful lady of my earth*: (I)
2 Let two more summers wither in their pride,] So, in our poet's 103d Sonnet :
Three winters cold
"Have from the forests shook three summers' pride-."
MALONE. 3 And too soon MARR'D are those so early MADE.] The quarto, 1597, reads:-And too soon marr'd are those so early married.
Puttenham, in his Art of Poesy, 1589, uses this expression, which seems to be proverbial, as an instance of a figure which he calls the Rebound:
"The maid that soon married is, soon marred is." The jingle between marr'd and made is likewise frequent among the old writers. So, Sidney:
"Oh! he is marr'd, that is for others made!' Spenser introduces it very often in his different poems.
4 She is the hopeful lady of my earth :] This line is not in the first edition. POPE.
"She is the hopeful lady of my earth." This is a Gallicism: Fille de terre is the French phrase for an heiress.
King Kichard II. calls his land, i. e. his kingdom, his earth : "Feed not thy sovereign's foe, my gentle earth."
"So weeping, smiling, greet I thee, my earth." Earth in other old plays is likewise put for lands, i. e. landed estate. So, in A Trick to Catch the Old One, 1619:
'A rich widow, and four hundred a year in good earth.” Again, in the Epistle Dedicatorie to Dr. Bright's Characterie, an Arte of Shorte, Swifte, and Secrete Writing by Character, 12mo. 1588: " And this my inuention being altogether of English yeeld, where your Majestie is the Ladie of the Soyle, it appertayneth of right to you onely." STEEVENS.
The explanation of Mr. Steevens may be right; but there is a passage in The Maid's Tragedy, which leads to another, where Amintor says:
"This earth of mine doth tremble, and I feel "A stark affrighted motion in my blood." Here earth means corporal part. M. MASON.
But woo her, gentle Paris, get her heart,
Again, in this play:
"Can I go forward, when my heart is here? "Turn back, dull earth, and find thy center out." Again, in our author's 146th Sonnet :
"Poor soul, the center of my sinful earth-." MALONE. 5 My will to her consent is but a part;] To, in this instance, signifies in comparison with, in proportion to. So, in King Henry VIII.: "These are but switches to them." STEEVENS.
6 Earth-treading stars, that make dark HEAVEN light:] This nonsense should be reformed thus :
Earth-treading stars that make dark even light:
i. e. When the evening is dark, and without stars, these earthly stars supply their place, and light it up. So again, in this play: "Her beauty hangs upon the cheek of night, "Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear."
But why nonsense? is any thing more commonly said, than that beauties eclipse the sun? Has not Pope the thought and the word?
"Sol through white curtains shot a tim'rous ray, "And op'd those eyes that must eclipse the day." Both the old and the new reading are philosophical_nonsense; but they are both, and both equally, poetical sense. JOHNSON.
I will not say that this passage, as it stands, is absolute nonsense; but I think it very absurd, and am certain that it is not capable of the meaning that Johnson attributes to it, without the alteration I mean to propose, which is, to read:
Earth-treading stars that make dark, heaven's light.
That is, earthly stars that outshine the stars of heaven, and make them appear dark by their own superior brightness. But, according to the present reading, they are earthly stars that enlighten the gloom of heaven. M. MASON.
The old reading is sufficiently supported by a parallel passage in Churchyard's Shore's Wife, 1593:
Such comfort, as do lusty young men feel'
My beautie blasd like torch or twinckling starre, "A liuely lamp that lends darke world some light." Mr. M. Mason's explanation, however, may receive countenance from Sidney's Arcadia, book iii. :
Did light those beamy stars which greater light did dark.”
- do lusty YOUNG MEN feel-] To say, and to say in pompous words, that a young man shall feel as much in an assembly of beauties, as young men feel in the month of April, is surely to waste sound upon a very poor sentiment. I read: "Such comfort as do lusty yeomen feel."
You shall feel from the 'sight and conversation of these ladies, such hopes of happiness and such pleasure, as the farmer receives from the spring, when the plenty of the year begins, and the prospect of the harvest fills him with delight. JOHNSON.
Young men are certainly yeomen. So, in A lytell Geste of Robyn Hode, printed by Wynken de Worde:
Robyn commaunded his wight young men. "Of lii. wyght yonge men.
“Seuen score of wyght yonge men.
"Buske you my mery yonge men."
In all these instances Copland's edition, printed not many years after, reads-yeomen.
So again, in the ancient legend of Adam Bel, printed by Copland:
"There met he these wight yonge men.
"Now go we hence sayed these wight yong men.
But I have no doubt that he printed from a more antiquated edition, and that these passages have accidentally escaped alteration, as we generally meet with " wyght yemen." See also Spelman's Glossary; voce JUNIORES. It is no less singular that in a subsequent act of this very play the old copies should, in two places, read " young trees" and "young tree," instead of yew-trees, and yew-tree. RITSON.
The following passages from Chaucer's Romaunt of the Rose, and Virgil's third Georgick, will support the present reading, and show the propriety of Shakspeare's comparison: for to tell Paris that he should feel the same sort of pleasure in an assembly of beauties, which young folk feel in that season when they are most gay and amorous, was surely as much as the old man ought to say:
ubi subdita flamma medullis,
Of limping winter treads, even such delight
"That it was May, thus dremid me,
Romaunt of the Rose, v. 51, &c. Again, in The Romaunce of the Sowdon of Babyloyne, &c. MS. Penes Dr. Farmer.
"Hit bifelle by twyxte marche and maye,
That thay myghte with there love be," &c, p. 2.
STEEVENS. Our author's 99th Sonnet may also serve to confirm the reading of the text:
May stand in number," &c. JOHNSON.
"From you I have been absent in the spring, "When proud-pied April dress'd in all his trim, "Hath put a spirit of youth in ev'ry thing." Again, in Tancred and Gismund, a tragedy, 1592: "Tell me not of the date of Nature's days,
"Then in the April of her springing age." MALONE. 8 INHERIT at my house ;] To inherit, in the language of Shakspeare's age, is to possess. MALONE.
9 SUCH, amongst view of many, mine, being one,
May stand in number, though in reckoning none.] The first of these lines I do not understand. The old folio gives no help; the passage is there, Which one more view. I can offer nothing better than this:
66 Within your view of many, mine, being one,
Such, amongst view of many, &c." In the subsequent quarto of 1599, that
the line was printed thus:
Thus the quarto, 1597.
of 1609, and the folio,
Which one [on] more view of many," &c. MALONE.
Come, go with me ;-Go, sirrah, trudge about
A very slight alteration will restore the clearest sense to this passage. Shakspeare might have written the lines thus:
Search among view of many, mine, being one, May stand in number, though in reckoning none. i. e. Amongst the many you will view there, search for one that will please you choose out of the multitude. This agrees exactly with what he had already said to him : Hear all, all see,
“And like her most, whose merit most shall be." My daughter (he proceeds) will, it is true, be one of the number, but her beauty can be of no reckoning (i. e. estimation) among those whom you will see here. Reckoning for estimation, is used before in this very scene :
"Of honourable reckoning are you both." This interpretation is fully supported by a passage in Measure for Measure:
Our compell'd sins
"Stand more for number, than accompt."
i. e. estimation. There is here an allusion to an old proverbial expression, that one is no number. So, in Decker's Honest Whore, Part II.:
to fall to one,
is to fall to none, "For one no number is.”
Again, in Marlowe's Hero and Leander:
"One is no number.”
Again, in Shakspeare's 136th Sonnet :
Among a number one is reckon'd none,
"Then in the number let me pass untold."
The following lines in the poem on which the tragedy is founded, may add some support to Mr. Steevens's conjecture:
"To his approved friend a solemn oath he plight,
every where he would resort where ladies wont to meet; "Eke should his savage heart like all indifferently, "For he would view and judge them all with unallured eye.—
"No knight or gentleman of high or low renown "But Capulet himself had bid unto his feast, &c.
Young damsels thither flock, of bachelors a rout;
"Not so much for the banquet's sake, as beauties to search out." MALONE..
This passage is neither intelligible as it stands, nor do I think