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From our debate, from our diffention;
be said grace as
henchman.] Page of honour. This office was abolithcel
I will teach his hench-boys,
66 The city all that charges."
is When she was lady may'ress, and you humble
66 As her trim hinch-bogs."
Skinner derives the word from Hiuc A. S. quafi domesticus
Set your heart at reft The fairy land buys not the child of me. His mother was a votrefs of my order: And, in the spiced Indian air, by night, Full often hath she goslip'd by my side; Aud fat with me on Neptune's yellow lands, Marking the embarked traders on the flood; When we have laugh'd to see the fails conceive, And grow big-bellied , with the wanton wind: Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait, (Following her womb, then rich with my young
halle; &c. There was also a maister of the henxmen, to showe thema the schoole of nurture, and learne them to ride, to wear their harnese; to have all courtesie - to teach them all languages, and other virtues, as harping, pipynge, finging, dauncng, with honeft behavioure of temper. aunce and patyence." MS. Harl. 293.
At the funeral of Henry Vili. nine henchmen attended with fie. Francis Bryan, maler of the henchmen.
Strype's Eccl. Mem. v. 2. App. . 1, TYRWHITT.
Henchman. Quasi launch-man. One that goes behind another. Pedifequus. BLACKSTONE,
The learned commentator might have given his etymology Como support from the following passage in King Henry IV. P. II, AX IV. sc. iv :
" O Westmoreland, thou art a summer bird,
“ The lifting up of day." Sreevens.
Following (her womb, then rich with my young Jquite,)
Would imitate --} Perhaps the parenthesis should begia Cooner; as I think Mr. Kenrick obferves :
( Following her womb, then rich with my young squire,)". So, in Trulla's combat with Hudibras ;
She poss'd so home, " That he retired, and followid's. bum." And Dryden says of his Spanish Friar, “ his great belly walks in ftate before him, and his gouty legs como limping after it."
FARMER, 'I have followed 'this regulation, ( which is likewise adopted by Mr. Steevens,) though I do not think that of the old copy at all liable to the objediou made to it by Dr. Warburton. " She did
Would imitate; and fail upon the land,
Obe. How long within this wood intend you stay?
Tita. Perchance, till after Theseus' wedding-day. If you will patiently dance in our round, And see our moon - light revels, go with us, If not, shun me, and I will spare your haunts. Obe. Give me that boy, and I will go
with thee, Tıra. Not for thy kingdom.-Fairies, away: We shall chide down-right, if I longer stay.
[Exeunt TITANIA, and her train. Obe. Well, go thy way:thou shalt not from this
grove, Till I torment thee for this injury. My gentle Puck, come hither: Thou remember'st Since once I. sat upon a promontory, And heard a mermaid, on a dolphin's back, Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath, That the rude sea grew civil at her song;
not, ( he says ) follow the ship whose motion she imitated; for that failed on the water, she on land." But might she not on land move in the same dire&ion with the ship at sea, which certainly would outstrip her ? and what is this but following?
Which, according to the present regulation, trust mean - which motion of the ship with swelling fails, &c: according to the old regua ·lation it must refer to «6 embarked traders,” MALONE,
8 Not for thy kingdom. - Fairies, away:] The ancient copies read
" Not for thy fairy kingdom. — Fairies, away." By the advice of Dr. Farmer I have omitted the useless adje&ive fairy, as it spoils the metre; Fairies, the following fubftantive, being apparently used, in an carlier infance, as a trillyllable.
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea-maid's musick.] The first thing observable on these words is, that this a&ion of the mermaid is laid in the same time and place with Cupid's attack upon the veslal. By the vestal every one knows is meant queen Elizabeth. It is very natural and reasonable then to think that the mermaid stands for some eminent pessonage of her time. And if so, the allegorical covering, in which there is a mixture of satire and panegyric, will lead us to conclude that this person was one of whom it had been inconve. nient for the author to speak openly, either in praise or dispraise. All this agrees with Mary queen of Scots, and with no other. Q. Elizabeth could not bear to hear her commended ; and her success for would not forgive her satirist. But the poet has so well marked out every diftinguilhed circumstance of her life and chara&er in this beautiful allegory, as will leave no room to doubt about his secret meaning. She is called a mermaid, 1. to denote her reiga over a kingdom fituate in the sea, and 2. her beauty, and intem. perátc lust:
Ut turpiter atrum " Definat in piscem mulier formoja supernė." for as Elizabeth for her chastity is called a vesial, this unfortunate lady on a contrary account is called a mermaid. 3. An ancient story may be supposed to be here alluded to. The emperor Julian tells us, Epiftlc 41. that the Sirens ( which, with all the modern poets, are mermaids ) contended for precedeocy With the Muses, who overcoming them, took away their wings. The quarrels between Mary and Elizabeth had the same cause, and the same issue.
on a dolphin's back,] This evidently marks out that diftin. guishing circumstance of Mary's fortune, her marriage with the dauphin of France, fou of Henry II.
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,] This alludes to her great abilities of genius and learning, which rendered her the most accomplished princess of her age. The French writers tell us, that, while she was in that court, the pronounced a Latin oration in the great hall of the Louvre, with fo much grace and cloquence, as filled the whole court with admiration.
I remember, OBE. That very time I saw, (but thou could'It
That the rude' sea grew civil at her song ;] By the rude sea is meant Scoiland encircled with the occan; which rose up in arms against the regent, while she was in France, But her return home presently quieted those disorders : and had not her strange ill condud afterwards more violently inflamed them, she might have palied her whole life in peace. There is the greater justness and beauty in this image, as the vulgar opinion is, that the mermaid always lings in forms:
And certain jiars fnot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea-said's rufick.) Thus concludes the description, with that remarkable circumftance of this unhappy lady's fate, the deftru&ion thc brought upon several of the English nobility, whom she drew in to support her cause. This, in the boldéil expression of the fublime, the poet images by certain llars shooting madly frore their Ipheres : By which he meant the earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, who fell in her quarrel; and principally the great duke of Norfolk, whose proje&ed marriage with her was atiended with such fatal consequences. Here again the reader may observe a peculiar juftness in the imagery. The vulgar opinion being that the mermaid allured men to deftru&ion by her songs. To which opinion Siraklipcaic alludes in his Comedy of Errors :
" () train me not, sweet incrmaid, with thy note,
" To drown me in thy sister's fiood of tears." On the whole, it is the noblest and justest allegory that was ever written. The laying it in fairy land, and out of nature, is in the character of the speaker. And on these occasions Shakspeare always excels himself. He is borne away by the magic of his enthufiasm, and hurries his reader along with him into these ancient regions of poetry, by that power of verse, which we may well fancy to be ļike what,
Olim fauni vatesque canebant.” WARBURTON. And certain stars shot madly from their Spheres,] So, in our thor's Rape of Lucrece :
“ And little flors fot from their fixed places." MALONE. Every reader may be induced to wish that the foregoing allusion, pointed out by (o acute a critic as Dr. Warburton, should remain uncontroverted; and yet I cannot difsemble my doubts concerning it. Why is the thrice-married Queen of Scotland tiled a SeaMAID ? and is it probablc that Shakspeare ( who understood his own political as well as poetical intereft) should have ventured such a panegyric on this ill-fated Princess, during the reign of her rival Elizabeth? If it was unintelligible to his audicnce, is was thrown away ; if obvious, there was dauger of offence to her Majesty.