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“ Terret, lustrat, agit, Proserpina, Luna, Diana, “ Ima, superna, feras, sceptro, fulgore, sagittis."
JOHNSON, 28. Unexpressive] for inexpressible. JOHNSON. Milton in like manner uses unexpressive for inexpressible:
“ Harping with loud and solemn quire, "With unexpressive notes to heaven's new-bornheir."
Hymn on the Nativity. MALONE. 47. He that hath learned no wit by nature or art, may complain of good breeding, or comes of very dull kindred.] Common sense requires us to read:
May complain of gross breeding. The Oxford editor has greatly improved this emendation by reading—bad breeding. WARBURTON.
I am in doubt whether the custom of the language in Shakspére's time did not authorise this mode of speech, and make complain of good breeding, the same with complain of the want of good breeding. In the last line of The Merchant of Venice, we find that to fear the keeping is to fear the not keeping.
JOHNSON. I think, he means rather —may complain of a good education, for having been so inefficient of so little use to him.
MALONE. The context makes it probable, that the poet had the proverb in his mind, of being better fed than kaught."
50. Such a one is a natural philosopher.] The shepherd had said all the philosophy he knew was the property of things, that rain wetted, fire burnt, &c. And the Clown's reply, in a satire on physicks or
natural philosophy, though introduced with a quibble, is extremely just. For the natural philosopher is indeed as ignorant (notwithstanding all his parade of knowledge) of the efficient cause of things, as the rustick. It appears, from a thousand instances, that our poet was well acquainted with the physicks of his time: and his great penetration enabled him to see this remediless defect of it.
WÁRBURTON. Shakspere is responsible for the quibble only, let the commentator answer for the refinement. STEEVENS.
55. like an ill-roasted egg,] Of this jest I do not fully comprehend the meaning.
JOHNSON. There is a proverb, that a fool is the best roaster of an egg, because he is always turning it. This will explain how an egg may be damn'd, all on one side; but will not sufficiently shew how Touchstone applies his simile with propriety ; unless he means that he who has not been at court is but half educated.
STEEVENS. I believe there was nothing intended in the corresponding part of the simile, to answer to the words “all on one side." Shakspere's similies (as has been already observed) seldom run on four feet. Touchstone, I apprehend, only ineans to say, that Corin is completely damned; as irretrievably destroyed, as an egg that is utterly spoiled in the roasting, by being done on one side only.
MALONÉ. 58. Why, if thou never wast at court, thou never saw'st good manners; if thou never, &c.] This reasoning is drawn up in imitation of Friar John's to Panurge in
Rabelais. Si tu es Coquu, ergo ta femme sera belle ; ergo tu seras bien traité d'elle; ergo tu auras des amis beaucoup; ergo tu seras sauvé. The last inference is pleasantly drawn from the Popish doctrine of the intercession of saints, and, I suppose, our jocular English proverb, concerning this matter, was founded in Friar John's logick.
WARBURTON. 89. Make incision in thee!] To make incision was a proverbial expression then in vogue for, to make to understand. So, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Humourous Lieutenant :
-O excellent king, “ Thus he begins, thou life and light of creatures, " Angel-ey'd king, vouchsafe at length thy favour;
“ And sò proceeds to incision." i.e. to make him understand what he would be at.
WARBURTON. Till I read Dr. Warburton's note, I thought the allusion had been to that common expression, of cutting such a one for the simples; and I must own, after consulting the passage in the Humourous Lieutenant, I have no reason to alter my supposition. The editors of Beaumont and Fletcher declare the phrase to be unintelligible in that as well as in another play where it is introduced.
I find the same expression in Monsieur Thomas : “ We'll bear the burthen, proceed to incision, fidler."
STEEVENS. 90. -thou art raw.] i. e. thou art ignorant,
unexperienced. So, in Hamlet : “ --and yet but raw neither, in respect of his quick sail." MALONE.
See Raw, catch-word Alphabet.
98. Bawd to a bell-wether;] Wether and ram had anciently the same meaning.
JOHNSON. 113. But the fair of Rosalind.] Thus the old copy. Fair is beauty, complexion. See the notes on a passage in the Midsummer-Night's Dream, act i. scene 1. and the Comedy of Errors, act ii. scene 1. The modern editors read—the face of Rosalind. Lodge's Novel will likewise support the ancient reading :
“ Then muse not, nymphes, though I bemone
“ Since for her faire there is fairer none, &c." and other places.
STEEVENS. 116. rate to market. ] So Sir T. Hanmer. In the former editions, rank to market.
JOHNSON. Dr. Grey, as plausibly, proposes to read-rant. Gyll brawled like a butter-whore, is a line in an ancient medley. The sense designed, however, might have been—" it is such wretched rhyme as the butterwoman sings as she is riding to market." STEEVENS.
There can be no reason sufficient for changing rate to rant. The Clown is here speaking in reference to the ambling pace of the metre, which, after giving a specimen of, to prove his assertion, he affirms to be “the very false gallop of verses." Henley. A passage in All's Well that Ends Well_6
tongue, I must put you into a butter-woman's mouth, and buy myself another of Bajazet's mule, if you prattle me into these perils,”' -once induced me to think that
the volubility of the butter-woman selling her wares, was here alone in our author's contemplation, and that he wrote-rate at market. But I am now persuaded that Sir T. Hanmer's' emendation is right. The hobling metre of these verses (says Touchstone) is like the ambling, shuffling, pace of a butter-woman's horse, going to market. The same kind of imagery is found in the first part of King Henry IV.
" And that would set my teeth nothing on edge,
MALONE. 143. Why should this desert be ?] This is commonly printed :
Why should this a desert be? but although the metre may be assisted by this correction, the sense is still defective ; for how will the hanging of tongues on every tree, make it less a desert ? I am persuaded we ought to read,
Why should this desert silent be? TYRWHITT. The notice which this emendation deserves, I have paid to it, by inserting it in the text.
STEEVENS. 146. That shall civil sayings show.] Civil is here used in the same sense as when we say civil wisdom or civil tife, in opposition to a solitary state, or to the state of nature. This desert shall not appear unpeopled, for every tree shall teach the maxims or inci. dents of social life.
JOHNSON, See catch-word Alphabet. 159. Therefore heaven nature charg'd] From the