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Upon her head a platted hive of straw,
Oft did she heave her napkin 8 to her eyne,
“ Strives in his little world of man to out-scorn
“ The to-and-fro conflicting wind and rain.” Sorrow's wind and rain are sighs and tears. Thus, in Antony and Cleopatra : “We cannot call her winds and waters, sighs and tears." The modern editions read corruptedly:
“ Storming her words with sorrows, wind,” &c. Malone. 6 spent and done.) Done, it has been already observed, was anciently used in the sense of consumed. So, in the Rape of Lucrece:
“And, if possess'd, as soon decay'd and done." Malone. 7 Some BEAUTY peep'd through Lattice of sear'd age.] Thus, in the 3d Sonnet :
“ So thou through windows of thine age shalt see,
“ Despight of wrinkles, this thy golden time.' Again, in Cymbeline :
“ — or let her beauty
“ And be false with them." In Macbeth we meet with the same epithet applied as here :
“ my way of life
“ Is fallen into the sear, the yellow leaf.” MALONE. Shakspeare has applied this image to a comick purpose in King Henry VI. Part II. : “ He call’d me even now, my lord, through a red lattice, and I could discern no part of his face from the window : at last I spied his eyes ; and methought he had made two holes in the ale-wife's new-petticoat, and peep'd through."
STEEVENS. 8 Oft did she heave her NAPKIN-] Her handkerchief.
STEEVENS. 9 Which on it had conceiTED CHARACTERS,] Fanciful images. Thus, in The Rape of Lucrece: “Which the conceited painter drew so proud ."
Laund'ring the silken figures in the brine
Sometimes her level'd eyes their carriage ride",
That season'd woe had Pelleted in tears,] So, in The Rape of Lucrece:
“ Seasoning the earth with showers of silver brine." Laundering is wetting. The verb is now obsolete. To pellet is to form into pellets, to which, being round, Shakspeare, with his usual licence, compares falling tears. The word, I believe, is found no where but here and in Antony and Cleopatra :
“ My brave Egyptians all,
“ mine eyes,
“ Began to water."
“- beads of sweat have trod upon thy brow." Again, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona : “A sea of melting pearl, which some call tears."
Malone. “ Season'd woe had pelleted in tears." This phrase is from the kitchen. Pellet was the ancient culinary term for a forced meat ball, a well-known seasoning. STEEVENS.
2 - of all size,] Size is here used, with Shakspeare's usual negligence, for sizes. Malone.
3 Sometimes her level's eyes their CARRIAGE ride,] The allusion, which is to a piece of ordnance, is very quaint and farfetched. MALONE.
In The Merchant of Venice, the eyes of Portia's picture are represented as mounted on those of Bassanio :
“- Move these eyes ?
“ Seem they in motion ?" Steevens.. VOL, XX.
To every place at once, and no where fix'd,
Her hair, nor loose, nor tyd in formal plat,
A thousand favours from a maund she drew
4 Sometime DIVERTED-] Turned from their former direction. So, in As You Like It :
“I rather will subject me to the malice
“Of a diverted blood, and bloody brother." Malong. s To the ORBED EARTH;-) So, in the mock tragedy in Hamlet :
“— and Tellus' orbed ground.” Steevens. 6 — her sheav'D hat,] Her straw hat. Malone.
7- Pined cheek -] So, Spenser, (as an anonymous writer has observed,) b. iii. c. ii. st. 51 : “ — like a pined ghost."
MALONE. 8 Some in her threaden fillet -] I suspect Shakspeare wrote in their threaden fillet. MALONE.
9 — from a maund she drew] A maund is a hand basket. The word is yet used in Somersetshire. MALONE.
1 Of amber, crystal, and of Bedded jet,] Thus the quarto 1609. If bedded be right, it must mean, set in some kind of metal. Our author uses the word in The Tempest:
“— my son i' the ooze is bedded." The modern editions read-beaded jet, which may be right; beads made of jet. The construction, I think is,-she drew from a maund a thousand favours, of amber, crystal, &c. MALONE.
Baskets made of beads were sufficiently common even since the time of our author. I have seen many of them. Beaded jet, is jet formed into beads. STEEVENS.
Or monarchs' hands, that let not bounty fall Where want cries some », but where excess begs all.
Of folded schedules had she many a one,
2 Upon whose WEEPING MARGENt she was set,
Like usury, applying wet to wet,] In King Henry VI. Part III. we meet with a similar thought:
“ With tearful eyes add water to the sea,
“And give more strength to that which hath too much." These two lines are not in the old play on which the Third Part of King Henry VI. is formed. Again, in Romeo and Juliet :
“With tears augmenting the fresh morning dew,
“ Adding to clouds more clouds with his deep sighs." Again, in As You Like It:
“—— Thou mak'st a testament
“ To that which hath too much.” Perhaps we should read :
“ Upon whose margent weeping she was set." The words might have been accidentally transposed at the press. Weeping margent, however, is, I believe, right, being much in our author's manner. Weeping for weeped or be-weeped ; the margin wetted with tears. MALONE. To weep is to drop. Milton talks of
“Groves whose rich trees wept od'rous gums and balm." Pope speaks of the “ weeping amber," and Mortimer observes that “rye-grass grows on weeping ground," i. e. lands abounding with wet, like the margin of the river on which this damsel is sitting. The rock from which water drops, is likewise poetically called a weeping rock :
Koń nut' devcov TÉTONS ÚTÒ AAKPYOEXEHE. Steevens.
3 Where want cries some,] I once suspected that our author wrote:
“ Where want craves some-," Malone. I cry halves, is a common phrase among school-boys.
4 Bidding them find their SEPULCHERS IN MUD;] So, in The Tempest : “ My son i' the ooze is bedded." Malone.
With sleided silk feat and affectedlys
These often bath'd she in her fluxive eyes,
“Where my son lies.” Steevens. s With sleided silk FEAT and affectedly -] Sleided silk is, as Dr. Percy has elsewhere observed, untwisted silk, prepared to be used in the weaver's sley or slay. So, in Pericles :
“ Be't, when she weav'd the sleided silk." A weaver's sley is formed with teeth like a comb. Feat is, curiously, nicely. Malone. 6 With sleIDED SILK feat and affectedly
Enswath'd, and seal's to curious secrecy.) To be convinced of the propriety of this description, let the reader consult the Royal Letters, &c. in the British Museum, where he will find that anciently the ends of a piece of narrow ribbon were placed under the seals of letters, to connect them more closely.
Steevens. Florio's Italian and English Dialogues, entitled his Second Frutes, 1591, confirm Mr. Steevens's observation. In p. 89, a person, who is supposed to have just written a letter, calls for some wax, some sealing thread, his dust-box, and his seal."
Malone. 9 And often kiss’d, and often 'gan to tear,] The old copy reads, I think, corruptedly:
“— and often gave to tear.” We might read :
“L and often gave a tear." But the corresponding rhyme rather favours the conjectural reading which I have inserted in the text. Besides, her tears had been mentioned in the preceding line. MALONE.