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Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
so Altar dif-orbid," however, (See Troilus and Cressida,) is one of our author's favourite images ; and he has no where so bapfily expressed it as in Antony and Cleopatra :
the good flars, ibat were my former guides, " Have empty left their orbs, and shot their fires
“ Into th'abysm of hell." To these remarks may be added others of a like tendency, which I met with in the Edinburgh Magazine, Nov. 1786.
" That a compliment to Queen Elizabeth was intended in the expression of the fair Veftal throned in the Well, seems to be generally allowed; but how far Shakspeare designed, under the image of the Mermaid, to figure Mary Queen of Scots, is more doubtful. If by the rude ses grew civil at her song, is meant, as Dr. Warburion supposes, that the tumults of Scotland were appeased by her address, the observation is not true; for that fea was in a fiorm during the whole of Mary's reign. Neither is the figure just, if by the fiars shooting madly from their spheres to hear the sea-maid's musick, the poet alluded 10 the fate of the Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, and particularly of the Duke of Norfolk, whose projeđed marriage with Mary, was the occasion of his ruin. It would have been absurd and irreconcileable to the good sense of the poet, to have represented a nobleman aspiring to marry a Queen, by the image of a ftar Jhooting or descending from its sphere."
See also Mr. Riison's observations on the same subje&. On account of their length, they are given at the end of the play.
STEEVENS. Cupid all arm'd:] All arm'd, does not signify dressed in panoply, but only enforces the word armed, as we might say, all booted.
JOHNSON. So, in Greene's Never 100 Late, 1516 :
" Or where proud Cupid fat all arm'd with fire." Again, in Lord Surrey's translation of the 4th book of the Æncid:
• All utterly I could not seem forsakea." Again, in K. Richard III:
“ His horse is flain, and all on foot he fights." Shakspeare's compliment to queen Elizabeth has no small degree of propriety and elegance to boast of. The faine can bardly be faid of the following, with which the tragedy of Soliman and Pero Jeda, 1599, concludes. Death is the speaker, and vows be will spare
none but 'facred Cynthia's friend,
At a fair vestal, throned by the west;}
" That Deaih shall die, if he attempt her end
Whose life is heav'n's delight, and Cynthia's friend." If incense was thrown in cart-loads on the altar, this propitious deity was not disgusted by the smoke of it. STEEVENS.
3 At a fair vejlal, throned by the west;] A compliment to queen Elizabeth. POPE.
It was no uncommon thing to introduce a compliment to her majesty in the body of a play. So, again in Tancred and Gifmunda, 1592 :
" There lives a virgin, one without compare,
STEEVENS, - fancy-free.] i. c. exempt from the power of love. Thus in Queen Elizabeth's Entertainment in Suffolke and Norfolke, written by Churchyard, Chastity deprives Cupid of his Bow, and presents it to her Majesty : and bycause that the Queene had chosen the best life, she gave the Queene Cupid's Bow, to learne to Thoote at whome she pleased : fince none coulde wounde her highnessc hart, it was meete (faid Chastitie) that the fhould do with Cupid's Bowe and arrowes what she pleased." STEEVENS.
And maidens call it, love-in-idlenels.] This is as fine a metamorphosis as any in Ovid: With a much betier moral, intimating that irregular love has only power when people are idle, or not 'well employed. WARBURTON.
I believe the fingular beauty of this metamorphosis to have been quite accidental, as the poet is of another opinion, in The Taming of a Shrew, A& l. fc. ivi
Fetch me that flower; the herb I fhow'd thee once;
Puck. I'll put a girdle round about the earth
[Exit Pucki OBE.
Having once this juice,
• But see, while idly I stood looking on,
66 If I atchieve not this young modest girl." And Lucentio's was surely a regular and honest paflion. It is scarce necessary to mention that love-in-idleness is a flower
. Taylor; the water poet, quibbling on the names of plants, mentions it as follows:
" When pasions are let loose without a bridle,
STEIGENS. The flower or violet, commonly called pansies, or heart's ease, is named love-in-idleness in Warwickshire, and in Lyte's Herbal. There is a reason why Shakspeare says it is " now purple with love's wound," because one or two of its petals are of a purple colour. TOLLET.
It is called in other counties the Three-coloured violet, the Herb of Trinity, Three facos in a kood, Cuddle me to you, &c. STEEVENS.
6 I'll put a girdle round about the earth --] This expression also occurs in The Bird in a Cage, 1633 : Perhaps, it is proverbial :
5. And when I have put a girdle 'bout the world,
“ This purchase will reward me." Again, in Bully d'Ambois, by Chapman, 1613 :
“ To put a girdle round about the world," And in other plays. STEEVENS.
She shall pursue it with the soul of love.
Enter DEMETRIUS, Helena following him.
Dem. I love thee not, therefore pursue me not.
7-I am invisible;] I thought proper here to observe, that, as Oberon and Puck his attendant, may be frequently observed to speak, when there is no mention of their entering, they are deligned by the poet to be supposed on the stage during the greatest part of the remainder of the play ; and to mix, as they plcaie, as fpirits, with the other ađors; and embroil the plot, by their interpofition, without being seen, or heard, but when to their own purpose.
THEOBALD. See Tempeft, page 41, note 5. STEEVENS. 8 The one I'll say, the other playeth me.] The old copies read
" The one I'll say, the other stayeth me. STEEVENS.
Pope. In the third part of the Couniess of Pembroke's Ivy-Church, 1591, is the same quibble on thc word :
" Daphne goes to the woods, and vowes herself to Diana;
ftark wood for love and faucie to Daphne." We also find the same word in Chaucer, in the charader of the Monke, Tyrwhitt's edit. v. 184 :
" What shulde he studie, and make himselven wood?" Spenser also uses it, Aglogue III, March :
" The elf was so wapton, and so wode." « The name Woden,” says Verstegan in his Restitution of Decayed Intelligence, kc. 1605: “ signifies fierce or furious; and in like sense we still retain it, saying when one is in a great rage, that he is wood, or taketh on as if he were wood." STEEVENS.
Because I cannot meet with Hermia.
Hel. You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant;
Dem. Do I entice you? Do I speak you fair?
the I am your spaniel ; and, Demetrius, The more you beat me, I will fawn on you: Use me but as your spaniel, spurn me, strike me, Neglect me, lose me; only give me leave, Unworthy as I am, to follow you. What worser place can I beg in your love, (And yet a place of high respect with me,) Than to be used as you use your dog? Dem, Tempt not too much the hatred of my
spirit; For I am fick, when I do look on thee.
Hel. And I am fick, when I look not on you.
Dem. You do impeach your modestys too much, To leave the city, and commit yourself Into the hands of one that loves you not;
You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant :
But yet you draw not iron,] I learn from Edward Fenton's Certaine Secrete Wonders of Nature, bl. 1. 1569, that " there is now a dayes a kind of adamant which draweth unto it feshe, and the same fo ftronglý, that it hath power to knit and tie together, two mouthes of contrary persons, and drawe the heart of a man out of his bodie without offendyng any parie of hiin."
SrEEVENS. impeach your modefly -] i. e. bring it into queflion. So in The Merchant of Venice, Ad II. sc. ii :
" And doth impeach the freedom of thic flate,