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A trim exploit, a manly enterprize, 3
HEL. Never did mockers wafte more idle breath.
3 A trim exploit, a manly enterprize, &c.] This is written much in the manner and spirit of Juno's reproach to Venus in the fourth book of the Eneid:
Egregiam vero laudem & fpolia ampla refertis, Tuque puerque tuus; magnum & memorabile nomen, "Una dolo divûm fi fœmina vida duorum eft."
none, of noble fort,] Sort is here used for degree or quality. So, in the old ballad of Jane Shore:
Long time I lived in the court,
"With lords and ladies of great fort." MALONE.
A poor foul's patience,] Harrafs, torment. JOHNSON.
6 My heart with her but, as guest-wife, fojourn'd;
And now to Helen it is home return'd,] The ancient copies - to her." Dr. Johnfou made the correction, and exemplified the fentiment by the following paffage from Prior:
No matter what beauties I faw in my way;
So, in our author's 109th Sonnet:
"This is my home of love; if I have rang'd,
There to remain.
Helen, it is not fo.
DEM. Difparage not the faith thou doft not know, Left, to thy peril, thou aby it dear.
Look, where thy love comes; yonder is thy dear.
HER. Dark night, that from the eye his function takes,
The ear more quick of apprehension makes;
Lys. Why fhould he ftay, whom love doth press to go?
HER. What love could prefs Lyfander from my fide?
Lys. Lyfander's love, that would not let him bide, Fair Helena; who more engilds the night Than all yon fiery oes and eyes of light. Why feek'st thou me? could not this make thee know, The hate I bare thee made me leave thee fo?
all yon fiery oes-] Shakspeare ufes O for a circle. So, in the prologue to K. Henry V.
can we crowd
"Within this little 0, the very cafques
"That did affright the air at Agincourt?"
Again, in The Partheneia Sacra, 1633:
the purple canopy of the earth, powder'd over and befet with filver oes, or rather an azure vault," &c. STEEVENS.
D'Ewes's Journal of Queen Elizabeth's Parliaments, p. 650, mentions a patent to make fpangles and oes of gold; and I think haberdafhers call fmall curtain rings, O's, as being circular. TOLLET.
HER. You fpeak not as you think; it cannot be. HEL. Lo, fe is one of this confederacy! Now I perceive they have conjoin'd, all three, To fashion this falfe fport in fpite of me. Injurious Hermia! mot ungrateful maid! Have you confpir'd, have you with thefe contriv'd To bait me with this foul derifion?
Is all the counfel that we two have fhar'd,
For parting us,-O, and is all forgot?"
All fchool-days friendfhip, childhood innocence?
8 The [flers vows,] We might read more elegantly,The fifter vows, and a few lines lower,-All School-day friendship. The latter emendation was made by Mr. Pope; but changes merely for the fake of elegance ought to be admitted with great caution.
9 For parting us,-0, and is all forgot?] The firft folio omits the word - and. I have received it from the folio 1632. Mr. Malone reads-now. STELVENS.
The editor of the fecond folio, to complete the metre, introduced the word and; “ O, and is all forgot?" It slands so aukwardly, that I am perfuaded it was not the author's word. MALONE.
O, and is all forgot?] Mr. Gibbon obferves, that in a poem of Gregory Nazianzen on his own life, are fome beautiful lines which burft from the heart, and fpeak the pangs of injured and loft friendship, refembling these. He adds Shakspeare had never read the poems of Gregory Nazianzen: he was ignorant of the Greek language; but his mother tongue, the language of na-. ture, is the fame in Cappadocia and in Britain."
Gibbon's Hift. Vol. XIII. p. 277. REED. artificial gods,] Artificial is ingenious, artful.
3 Have with our neelds, &c.] Most of our modern editors, with the old copies, have-needles; but the word was probably written by Shakspeare neelds, (a common contradion in the inland counties at this day) otherwife the verfe will be inharmonious. See Gammer Gurton's Needle.
Both on one fampler, fitting on one cushion,
Two lovely berries moulded on one stem:
Again, in fir Arthur Gorges' tranflation of Lucan, 1614: "Thus Cato spake, whose feeling words
"Like pricking neelds, or points of fwords," &c. Again, in Stanyhurft's Virgil, 1582:
The fame ideas occur in Pericles Prince of Tyre, 1609:
"Would ever with Marina be:
"Be't when they weav'd the fleded filk,
"With fingers long, fmall, white as milk,
"Or when she would with sharp neeld wound
"Deep clerks fhe dumbs, and with her neele compofes
In the age of Shakspeare many contradions were used. Ben Jonfon has wher for whether in the prologue to his Sad Shepherd; and in the earl of Sterline's Darius is fport for Support, and twards for towards.
Of the evifceration and extenfion of words, however, T. Churchyard affords the most numerous and glaring inftances; for he has not fcrupled even to give us rune inftead of ruin, and mieft instead of mift, when he wants rhimes to foon, and crieft. STEEVENS.
In the old editions of thefe plays many words of two fyllables are printed at length, though intended to be pronounced as one. Thus Spirit is almost always fo written, though often used as a monofyllable; and whether, though intended often to be contracted, is always, (I think, improperly,) written at length. MALONE.
4 Two of the firft, like coats in heraldry,
Due but to one, and crowned with one creft.] The old copies read-life coats, &c. 3TEEVENs.
And will you rent our ancient love asunder,
Our fex, as well as I, may chide you for it;
HER. I am amazed at your paffionate words: I fcorn you not; it seems that you fcorn me.
HEI. Have you not set Lysander, as in scorn, To follow me, and praife my eyes and face? And made your other love, Demetrius, (Who even but now did fpurn me with his foot,) To call me goddefs, nymph, divine, and rare, Precious, celeftial? Wherefore fpeaks he this To her he hates? and wherefore doth Lyfander Deny your love, fo rich within his foul, And tender me, forfooth, affection; But by your fetting on, by your confent? What though I be not fo in grace as you, So hung upon with love, fo fortunate;
The true correction of the paffage I owe to the friendship and communication of the ingenious Martin Folkes, elq.-Two of the first, second, &c. are terms peculiar in heraldry, to distinguish the different quarterings of coats. THEOBALD.
These are, as Theobald obferves, terms peculiar to heraldry; but that observation does not help to explain them.-Every branch of a family is called a house; and none but the first of the first house can bear the arms of the family, without fome diftinction. Two of the first, therefore, means two coats of the first houfe, which are properly due but to one. M. MASON.
According to the rules of heraldry, the first house only, (e. g. a father who has a fon living, or an elder brother as diftinguished from a younger,) has a right to bear the family coat. The fon's coat is diftinguifhed from the father's by a label; the younger brother's from the elder's by a mullet. The fame creft is common to both. Helena therefore means to fay, that she and her friend were as closely united, as much one perfon, as if they were both of the first houfe; as if they both had the privilege due but to one perfon, (viz. to him of the firft house,) the right of bearing the family coat without any diftinguishing mark. MALONE.