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“ AAR. No more, great empress, Bassianus
“ Be cross with him ; and I'll go fetch thy sons “ To back thy quarrels, whatsoe'er they be. [Exit.
Enter BASSIANUS and LAVINIA.
Tam. Saucy controller of our private steps?!
Lav. Under your patience, gentle emperess, 'Tis thought you have a goodly gift in horning; And to be doubted, that your Moor and you
of her -] Old copies-of our. Corrected by Mr. Rowe.
MALONE. The edition 1600, reads exactly thus :
“ Vnfurnisht of her well beseeming troop.” TODD. OUR private steps !] Edition 1600:-my private steps.
Todd. 8 Should DRIVE upon thy new-transformed limbs,] Mr. Heath suspects that the poet wrote :
Should thrive upon thy new-transformed limbs," as the former is an expression that suggests no image to the fancy. But drive, I think, may stand, with this meaning : “the hounds should pass with impetuous haste,” &c. So, in Hamlet :
"Pyrrhus at Priam drives," &c. i. e. flies with impetuosity at him. STEEVENS.
It is said in a note by Mr. Malone, that the old copies read,
upon his new-transformed limbs,” and that Mr. Rowe made the emendation—thy. The edition of 1600 reads precisely thus :
Should drive vpon thy new-transformed limbes." TODD. It should be remembered that when Mr. Malone wrote the note referred to, the edition of 1600 had not been discovered.
Are singled forth to try experiments : Jove shield your husband from his hounds to-day! 'Tis pity, they should take him for a stag.
Bas. Believe me, queen, your swarth Cimmeriano Doth make your honour of his body's hue, Spotted, detested, and abominable. Why are you sequester'd from all your train ? Dismounted from your snow-white goodly steed, And wander'd hither to an obscure plot, Accompanied but with a barbarous Moor', If foul desire had not conducted you?
Lav. And, being intercepted in your sport, Great reason that my noble lord be rated For sauciness.--I pray you, let us hence, And let her "joy her raven-colour'd love; This valley fits the purpose passing well. Bas. The king, my brother, shall have note of
this . Lav. Ay, for these slips have made him noted
long : Good king! to be so mightily abus'd! Tam. Why have I patience to endure all this?
Enter Chiron and DEMETRIUS. Dem. How now, dear sovereign, and our gracious
- SWARTH Cimmerian-] Swarth is black. The Moor is called Cimmerian, from the affinity of blackness to darknes
Johnson. swarth Cimmerian-—." Edition 1600 :-swartie Cymerion. TODD. Accompanied with a barbarous Moor,] Edition 1600 reads:
Accompanied but with a barbarous Moore.” Todd. Later editions omitted the word but. BosweLL.
have note of this,] Old copies--notice. STEEVENS. Thus also the quarto 1600. TODD.
made him noted long :] He had yet been married but one night. Johnson. The true reading may be" made her,” i. e. Tamora.
Why doth your highness look so pale and wan ? “ TAM. Have I not reason, think you, to look
pale ? “ These two have 'tic'd me hither to this place, “ A barren detested vale“, you see, it is : “ The trees, though summer, yet forlorn and lean, “ O’ercome with moss, and baleful misletoe. “ Here never shines the sun 5; here nothing breeds, “ Unless the nightly owl, or fatal raven.
And, when they show'd me this abhorred pit,
They told me, here, at dead time of the night, “ A thousand fiends, a thousand hissing snakes, “ Ten thousand swelling toads, as many urchinso, “ Would make such fearful and confused cries, “ As any mortal body, hearing it, “ Should straight fall mad, or else die suddenly*. “ No sooner had they told this hellish tale, “ But straight they told me, they would bind me
here “Unto the body of a dismal yew; “ And leave me to this miserable death. “ And then they calld me, foul adulteress, “ Lascivious Goth, and all the bitterest terms
4 A BARREN detested vale,] As the versification of this play is by no means inharmonious, I am willing to suppose the author wrote: “ A bare detested vale
STEEVENS: 5 Here never shines the sun ; &c.] Mr. Rowe seems to have thought on this
in his Jane Shore :
STEEVENS. 6 - urchins,] i.e. hedgehogs. See vol. xv. p. 53, n. 3.
STEEVENS. 7 Should straight fall mad, or else die suddenly.) This is said in fabulous physiology, of those that hear the groan of the mana drake torn up. Johnson.
The same thought and almost the same expressions occur in Romeo and Juliet. STEEVENS.
66 That ever ear did hear to such effect.
And, had you not by wondrous fortune come, “ This vengeance on me had they executed: “ Revenge it, as you love your mother's life, “ Or be ye not henceforth call'd my children. DEM. This is a witness that I am thy son.
[Stabs BASSIANUS. - Chi. And this for me, struck home to show my
strength. [Stabbing him likewise. Lav. Ay, come, Semiramis ,—nay, barbarous
Tamora ! For no name fits thy nature but thy own! TAM. Give me thy poniard ; you shall know, my
boys, Your mother's hand shall right your mother's
wrong Dem. Stay, madam, here is more belongs to her; First, thrash the corn, then after burn the straw: This minion stood upon her chastity, Upon her nuptial vow, her loyalty, And with that painted hope braves your mighti
And shall she carry this unto her grave?
Chi. An if she do, I would I were an eunuch. Drag hence her husband to some secret hole,
Ay, come, SEMIRAMIS,] The propriety of this address will be best understood from the following passage in P. Holland's translation of the eighth book of Pliny's Nat. Hist. ch. 42: “ Queen Semiramis loved a great horse that she had, so farre forth, that she was content he should doe his kind with her," The incontinence of this lady has been already alluded to in the induction to the Taming of a Shrew, scene the second. STEVENS.
9 And with that PAINTED Hope braves your mightiness :] Painted hope is only specious hope, or ground of confidence more plausible than solid. Johnson.
The ruggedness of this line persuades me that the word—hope is an interpolation, the sense being complete without it:
“ And with that painted, braves your mightiness.”
“Poor painted queen,” &c.
And make his dead trunk pillow to our lust.
Tam. But when you have the honey you desire', Let not this wasp outlive, us both to sting.
Chi. I warrant you, madam; we will make that
Come, mistress, now perforce we will enjoy
LAV. O Tamora ! thou bear'st a woman's face,
dam? 0, do not learn her wrath; she taught it thee: The milk, thou suck'dst from her, did turn to
[To Chiron, Chi. What! would'st thou have me prove
myself a bastard ? Lav. 'Tis true; the raven doth not hatch a lark: Yet I have heard, (O could I find it now!) The lion mov'd with pity, did endure To have his princely paws par'd all away. Some say that ravens foster forlorn children, The whilst their own birds famish in their nests: O, be to me, though thy hard heart say no, Nothing so kind, but something pitiful!
Tam. I know not what it means; away with her.
you desire,] Old copies—we desire. Corrected in the second folio. MALONE. The edit. 1600 reads, with the other old copies--we desire.