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Boyet. Madam, and pretty mistresses, give ear: Immediately they will again be here In their own shapes; for it can never be, They will digest this harsh indignity.
Prin. Will they return ?
BOYET. They will, they will, God knows; And leap for joy, though they are lame with blows: Therefore, change favours; and, when they repair, Blow like sweet roles in this summer air. Prin. How blow ? how blow? speak to be un
derstood. Boyet. Fair ladies, malk'd, are roses in their
bud: Dismask'd, their damask sweet commixture shown, Are angels vailing clouds, or roses blown.
Majestie is greatlie ofended with the ofisers, in that they wanted jugeSee Lodge's Illustrations of British History, Vol. II. p. 228.
STEEVENS. The statute mentioned by Dr. Grey was repealed in the year 1597. The epithet by which' these statute caps are described, plain statute caps,
induces me to believe the interpretation given in the preceding note by Mr. Steevens, the true one. The king and his lords probably wore hats adorned with feathers. So they are represented in the print prefixed to this play in Mr. Rowe's edition, probably from some stage tradition. MALONE. 9 Fair ladies, mask'd, are roses in their bud:
Dismask'd, their damask sweet commixture shown,
Arc angels vailing clouds, or roses blown. ] This strange non. fense, made worse by the juribling together and transpoling the lines, I dire&ed Mr. Theobald to read thus:
Fair ladies mask'd are roses in their bud :
Dismask'd, their damask sweet commixture Jhown. But he, willing to show how well he could improve a thought, would print it:
Or angel-veiling clouds i. c. clouds whicla veil angels: and by this means gave us, as the old proverb says, a cloud for a Juno. It was Shakspeare's purpose * to compare a fine lady to an angel ; it was Mr. Theobald's chance
PRIN. Avaunt, perplexity! What shall we do, If they return in their own shapes to woo?
Ros. Good madam, if by me you'll be advis’d, Let's mock them ftill, as well known, as disguis'd: Let us complain to them what fools were here, Disguis'd like Muscovites, in shapeless gear;'
to compare her to a cloud: and perhaps the ill-bred reader will say a lucky one. However, I supposed the poet could never be so nonfer cal as to compare a majked lady to a cloud, though he might compare her mask to one. The Oxford editor, who had the advantage both of this emendation and criticism, is a great deal more subtile and refined, and says it should not be
angels veil'd in clouds, but
angels vailing clouds, i. e. capping the sun as they go by him, just as a man vails his bonnet. WARBURTON.
I know not why Sir T. Hanmer's explanation should be treated with so much contempt, or why vailing clouds should be capping the sun. Ladies unmask'd, says Boyet, are like angels vailing cloud. or letting those clouds which obscured their brightness, fink from before them. What is there in this absurd or contemptible?
JOHNSON. Holinshed's History of Scotland, p. 91. says: “ The Britains began to avale the hills where they bad lodged." i. e. they began to descend the hills, or come down from them to meet their enemies. If Shakspeare uses the word vailing in this sense, the meaning is – Angels descending from clouds which concealed their beauties; but Dr. Johnson's expofition may be better. Toller.
To avale comes from the Fr. aval (Terme de batelier ] Down, downward, down the stream. So, in the French Romant de lo Rose, v. 1415:
" L'eauc aloit aval, faisant
" Son mélodieux & plaisant." Again, in Laneham's Narrative of Queen Elizabeth's Entertainment at Kenelworth-Castle, 1575: "as a sea-shore when the water is availd. STEEVENS.
? — shapeless gear;] Shapeless, for uncouth, or what Shakspçare elsewhere calls diffused. WAKBURTON.
And wonder, what they were; and to what end
[Exeunt PRINCESS, ' Ros. Kath. and Maria,
Enter the King, Biron, LONGAVILLE, and DUMAIN,
in their proper habits.
King. Fair fir, God save you! Where is the prin
cess ? Boyet. Gone to her tent: Please it your majesty, Command me any
service to her thither? KING. That she vouchsafe me audience for one
word. Boyet. I will; and so will she, I know, my lord.
[Exit. Biron. This fellow pecks up wit, as pigeons
peas : And utters it again when God doth please :
3. Exeunt Prinsess, &c.] Mr. Theobald ends the fourth ađ here.
JOHNSON. pecks up wit, as pigeons peas ; ] This expression is proverbial:
" Children pick up words as pigeons peas,
" And utter them again as God shall please. " See Ray's Collection. STEEVENS.
Pecks is the reading of the first quarto. The folio has — picks. That pocks is the true reading, is ascertained by one of Nashe's trads; Chrift's Tears over Jerusalem, 1594 : - The fower scattered some seede by the highway lide, which the foules of the ayre peck'd ub." MALONE,
He is wit's pedler; and retails his wares
waffels, ) Waffels were meetings of ruftic mirth and in. temperance. So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
- Antony " Leave thy lascivious wassels". See note on Macbeth, Ad l. fc. vii. STEEVENS.
Waes heal, that is, be of health, was a salutation first used by the lady Rowena to King Vortiger. Afterwards it became a custom in villages, on new year's eve and twelfth-night, to carry a Wassel or Waifail bowl from house to house, which was presented with the Saxon words above mentioned. Hence in process of time wafel fignified intemperance in drinking, and also a ineeting for the purpose of festivity. MALONE.
6. He can carve too, and lisp: ] The chara&er of Boyet, as drawa by Biron, represents an accomplished squire of the days of Chivalry, particulary iu the instances here noted.--"Le jeune Ecuyer apprenoit long-temps dans le Glence cet art de bien parler, lorsqu'en qualité d'Ecuyer TRÁNCHANT, il étoit debout dans les repas & dans les festins, occupé à couper les viandes avec la propreté, l'addresse & l'élégance convenables, & à les faire distribuer aux nobles convives dont il étoit environné. Joinville, dans la jeunesse, avoit rempli à la cour de Saint Louis cet office, qui, dans les maisons des Souverains, étoit quelquefois exercé par leurs propres enfans." Mémoires sur l'ancienne Chevalerie, Tom. I. p. 16. HENLEY.
I cannot cog, (says Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor,) and say, thou art this and that, like a many of these lisping hawthorn buds, that come like women in men's apparel
On the subje& of carving fee Vol. V. p. 39, n. 5. MALONE.
7 A mean most meanly; &c.] The mean, in music, is the tenor, So, Bacon: “ Tas treble cutteth the air so sharp, as it returneth
Mend him who can: the ladies call him, sweet ;
too swift to make the sound equal; and therefore a mean or tenor is the sweetest. Again, in Herod and Antipater, 1622 :
"Thus fing we descant on one plain-song, kill;
" Four parts in one; the mean excluded quite. Again, in Drayton's Baron's Wars. Cant. ii.
" The base and treble married to the mean." STEEVENS.
—as white as whales bone: ] As white as whale's bone is a proverbial comparison in the old pocts. In The Facry Queen, B. III. c. i. ft. 15:
6. Whose face did leem as clear as crystal stone,
" And eke, through feare, as white as whalis bone." And in L. Surrey, fol. 14, edit. 1567:
" I might perceive a wolf, as white as whales bone,
- A fairer beast of fresher hue, beheld I never none." Skelton joins the whales bone with the brightest precious stones, in describing the position of Pallas:
" A hundred steppes inounting to the halle,
" One of jasper, another of whales bone;
Crowne of Lawrell, p. 94. edit. 1736. T. WARTON.
as whales bone : j The Saxon genitive case. So, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream :
* Swister than the moones fphere." It hould be remember'd that some of our ancieot writers supposed ivory to be part of the bones of a whale. The same fimile occurs in the old black letter romance of Syr Eglamoure of Artoys, no date:
The erle had no chylde but one,
" A mayden as white as whales bone.' Again, in the ancient metrical romance of Syr Ifembras, bl. 1. no date :
6. His wyse as white as whales bone.' Again, in The Squhr of Low Degree, bl. l. no date :
Lady as white as whales bone." Again, in Nash's Lenten Stuff, &c. 1599: - his herrings which were as white as whales lone, " &c.
STEEVENS. This white whale his bone, now superseded by ivory, was the