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'Tis past, my liege: And I beseech your majesty to make it Natural rebellion, done i'the blaze of youth ;' When oil and fire, too strong for reason's force, O'erbears it, and burns on. King.
My honour'd lady, I have forgiven and forgotten all; Though my revenges were high bent upon him, And watch'd the time to shoot. LAF.
This I must say,But first I beg my pardon,—The young lord Did to his majesty, his mother, and his lady, Offence of mighty note; but to himself The greatest wrong of all: he lost a wife, Whose beauty did astonish the survey Of richest eyes ;8 whose words all ears took cap
7- blaze of youth ;] The old copy reads-blade.
STEEVENS. “ Blade of youth” is the spring of early life, when the man is yet green. Oil and fire suit but ill with blude, and therefore Dr. Warburton reads, blaze of youth. JOHNSON.
This very probable emendation was first proposed by Mr. Theobald, who has produced these two passages in support of it:
" I do know
“ Lends the tongue vows. These blazes,” &c. Hamlet. Again, in Troilus and Cressida :
“For Hector, in his blaze of wrath,” &c. MALONE. -In Hamlet we have also“ flaming youth," and in the present comedy “ the quick fire of youth." I read, therefore, without hesitation,—blaze. ŠTEEVENS.
8 Of richest eyes ;] Shakspeare means that her beauty had astonished those, who, having seen the greatest number of fair women, might be said to be the richest in ideas of beauty. So, in As you like it : 6- to have seen much and to have nothing, is to have rich eyes and poor hands.” STEEVENS.
Whose dear perfection, hearts that scorn'd to serve,
Praising what is lost, is Makes the remembrance dear.- Well, call him
I shall, my liege.
[Exit Gentleman. King. What says he to your daughter? have you
spoke? LAF. All that he is hath reference to your high
ness. King. Then shall we have a match. I have
letters sent me, That set him high in fame.
9- the first view shall kill
All repetition:] The first interview shall put an end to all recollection of the past. Shakspeare is now hastening to the end of the play, finds his matter sufficient to fill up his remaining scenes, and therefore, as on such other occasions, contracts his dialogue and precipitates his action. Decency required that Bertram's double crime of cruelty and disobedience, joined likewise with some hypocrisy, should raise more resentment; and that though his mother might easily forgive him, his king should more pertinaciously vindicate his own authority and Helen's, merit, Of all this Shakspeare could not be ignorant, but Shakspeare wanted to conclude his play. JOHNSON.
He looks well on't.
My high-repented blames,
All is whole;
BER. Admiringly, my liege: at first
*I am not a day of season,] That is, of uninterrupted rain : one of those wet days that usually happen about the vernal equinox. A similar expression occurs in The Rape of Lucrece :
" But I alone, alone must sit and pine,
“ Seasoning the earth with showers.” The word is still used in the same sense in Virginia, in which government, and especially on the eastern shore of it, where the descendants of the first settlers have been less mixed with later emigrants, many expressions of Shakspeare's time are still cur. rent. HENLEY.
? My high-repented blames,] High-repented blames, are faults repented of to the height, to the utmost. Shakspeare has highfantastical in Twelfth-Night. STEVENS.
• The inaudible and noiseless foot of time &c.] This idea seems to have been caught from the third Book of Sidney's Arcadia : “ The summons of Time had so creepingly stolne upon him, that hee had heard scarcely the noise of his feet.”
I stuck my choice upon her, ere my heart
KING. . : : Well excus'd . That thou didst love her, strikes some scores away For the great compt: But love, that comes too
late, Like a remorseful pardon slowly carried, To the great sender turns a sour offence, Crying, That's good that's gone: our rash faults Make trivial price of serious things we have, Not knowing them, until we know their grave: Oft our displeasures, to ourselves unjust, Destroy our friends, and after weep their dust: Our own love waking cries to see what's done, While shameful hate sleeps out the afternoon.
• Our own love waking &c.] These two lines I should be glad to call an interpolation of a player. They are ill connected with the former, and not very clear or proper in themselves. I believe the author made two couplets to the same purpose ; wrote them both down that he might take his choice ; and so they happened to be both preserved.
For sleep I think we should read slept. Love cries to see what was done while hatred slept, and suffered mischief to be done. Or the meaning may be, that hatred still continues to sleep at ease, while love is weeping; and so the present reading may stand. Johnson.
Be this sweet Helen's knell, and now forget her.
LAF.Come on, my son, in whom my house's name Must be digested, give a favour from you, To sparkle in the spirits of my daughter, That she may quickly come.-By my old beard, And every hair that's on't, Helen, that's dead, Was a sweet creature ; such a ring as this,
I cannot comprehend this passage as it stands, and have no doubt but we should read
Our old love waking, &c.
Extinctus amabitur idem. Our own love, can mean nothing but our self-love, which would not be sense in this place ; but our old love waking, means our former affection being revived. M. Mason.
This conjecture appears to me extremely probable ; but waking will not, I think, here admit of Mr. M. Mason's interpretation, being revived; nor, indeed, is it necessary to his emendation. It is clear, from the subsequent line, that waking is here used in its ordinary sense. Hate sleeps at ease, unmolested by any remembrance of the dead, while old love, reproaching itself for not having been sufficiently kind to a departed friend,“ wakes and weeps;" crying, “ that's good that's gone.” MALONE. s Which better than the first, О dear heaven, bless!
Or, ere they meet, in me, O nature, cease!] I have ventured, against the authorities of the printed copies, to prefix the Countess's name to these two lines. The King appears, indeed, to be a favourer of Bertram ; but if Bertram should make a bad husband the second time, why should it give the King such mortal pangs? A fond and disappointed mother might reasonably not desire to live to see such a day; and from her the wish of dying, rather than to behold it, comes with propriety.