Page images


[ocr errors]


Line 14. TULLY's oratory.] Thus the me
derns. The old copies read-Tully's oratour; mean-
ing perhaps, Tully De oratore.


-how she quotes the leaves.] To quote is to
observe. See a note on Hamlet, act ii. sc. 2.


82. Magne Regnator Deum, &c. is the exclama
tion of Hippolitus, when Phædra discovers the secret of
her incestuous passion in Seneca's tragedy.


90. And swear with me,- -as with the woeful feere,]
Fiere signifies a companion, and here metaphorically a
husband. The proceeding of Brutus, which is alluded
to, is described at length in our author's Rape of
Lucrece, as putting an end to the lamentations of
Collatinus and Lucretius, the husband and father of
Lucretia. So, in Sir Eglamour of Artoys, sig. A 4.

"Christabell, your daughter free

"When shall she have a fere?" i. e. a husband,


130. Revenge the heavens-

Revenge, ye heavens !-

Ye was by the transcriber taken for y',

-] It should be:



I believe

I believe the old reading is right, and signifies— may the heavens revenge, &c.

I believe we should read

Revenge then heavens.




137. Gramercy,] i. e. grand merci; great


219. I'll broach the tadpole-] A broach is a spit. I'll spit the tadpole.

So, in Heywood's Rape of Lucrece, 1630


[ocr errors]

"I'll broach thee on my steel." Again, in Greene's Pleasant Discovery of the Cosenage of Colliers, 1592: "with that she caught a spit in her hand, and swore if he offered to stirre she should therewith broach him.' COLLINS. -another leer:] Leer is complexion, STEEVENS.

253. or hue.

278. Two may keep counsel, when the third's away:] This proverb is introduced likewise in Romeo and


289. Go pack with him,


-] Pack here seems to

have the meaning of make a bargain. Or it may mean, as in the phrase of modern gamesters, to act collusively. And mighty dukes pack knavés for half a crown.


To pack is to contrive insidiously. So, in King Lear: -snuffs and packings of the dukes."



To PACK a jury, is an expression still used; though the practice, I trust, is itself obselete. HENLEY.

362. Yet wrung with wrongs,

horse is to press or strain his back.

370. To Saturn, and to Cœlus;

-] To wring a JOHNSON.

-] The quarto

and folio read: -to Caius. Mr. Rowe first substituted Calus in its room. STEEVENS.

375. -shoot all your shafts into the court :] In the ancient ballad of Titus Andronicus's Complaint, is the following passage:

"Then past reliefe I upp and downe did goe,
"And with my tears wrote in the dust my woe:
"I shot my arrowes towards heaven hie,

"And for revenge to hell did often crye.” On this Dr. Percy has the following observation: “If the ballad was written before the play, I should suppose this to be only a metaphorical expression, taken from the Psalms: "They shoot out their arrows, even bitter words, Ps. Ixiv. 3." Reliques of ancient English Poetry, Vol. I. p. 228. third edit. STEEVENS.

379. I am a mile beyond the moon;] The folio 1623 and 1632, read:


aym a mile beyond the moon.

cast beyond the moon," is an expression used in Hinde's Eliosto Libidinoso, 1606. Again, in Mother Bombie, 1594: "Risio hath gone beyond himself in casting beyond the moon.


Again, in A Woman kill'd with kindness, 1617:

I talk of things impossible,

"And cast beyond the moon."


405. --the tribunal plebs,] I suppose the Clown means to say, Plebeian tribune, i. e. tribune of


[ocr errors]

the people; for none could fill this office but such as were descended from Plebeian ancestors. STEEVENS. -his wreaks,] i. e. his revenges.




-honey-stalks to sheep ;] Honey-stalks

are clover-flowers, which contain a sweet juice. It is common for cattle to over-charge themselves with clover and die. JOHNSON.

545. cessantly.

—successfully—] The old copies read :—suc



Line 21. To gaze upon a ruinous monastery ;] Shakspere has so perpetually offended against chronology in all his plays, that no very conclusive argument can be deduced from the particular absurdity of these anachronisms, relative to the authenticity of Titus Andronicus. And yet the ruined monastery, the Popish tricks, &c. that Aaron talks of, and especially the French salutation from the mouth of Titus, are altogether so very much out of place, that I cannot persuade myself even our hasty poet could have been guilty of their insertion, or would have permitted them to remain, had he corrected the performance for another. STEEVENS.

80. his bauble-] See a note on All's Well that ends Well, act iv. STEEVENS. '. 100. That codding spirit—] i. e. that love of bedsports. Cod is a word still used in Yorkshire for a pillow. See Lloyd's catalogue of local words at the ends of Ray's Proverbs. COLLINS.

103. As true a dog as ever fought at head.-] An allusion to bull-dogs, whose generosity and courage are always shown by meeting the bull in front, and seizing his nose. JOHNSON. So in a collection of Epigrams by J. D. and C. M. printed at Middleburgh, no date :

-amongst the dogs and beares he goes;

“Where, while he skipping cries—To head, to head," &c. STEEVENS,

146. Bring down the devil;-] It appears, from these words, that the audience were entertained with part of the apparatus of an execution, and that Aaron was mounted on a ladder, as ready to be turned off. STEEVENS.

225. So thou destroy Rapine and Murder there.] I do not know of any instance that can be brought to prove that rape and rapine were ever used as synonymous terms. The word rapine has always been employed for a less fatal kind of plunder, and means the violent act of deprivation of any good, the honour here alluded to being always excepted. I have indeed since discovered that Gower, De Confessione Amantis, lib. v. fol. 116, t, uses ravine in the same



« PreviousContinue »