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“ He must be let blood, in a scarfe wear his
arme, 56 And drink the herb grace in a posset luke. warme."
STEEVENS. The following passage from Greene's Quip for an Upstart Courtier, will furnish the best reason for call. ing rue herb of grace o’Sundays : " --some of them smild and said, Rue was called Herbegrace, which though they scorned in their youth, they might wear in their age, and it was never too late to say miserere."
HENLEY. 411. You may wear your rue with a difference.] This seems to refer to the rules of heraldry, where the younger brothers of a family' bear the same arms with a difference, or mark of distinction. So, in Holinshed's Reign of King Richard II. p. 443: “ be. cause he was the youngest of the Spensers, he bare a border gules for a difference.”
There may, however, be somewhat more implied here than is expressed. You madam (says Ophelia to the queen), may call your rue by its Sunday name, HERB OF GRACE, and so wear it with a difference, to distinguish it from mine, which can never be any thing but merely RUE, i, e. sorrow.
STEEVENS. Perhaps the difference consisted in Ophelia's wearng rue, as an emblem of ruing her own unsuccessful passion ; whereas she gives rue to the queen, as herb of grace o' Sundays ; to imply that she ought to repent the gratification of her's, by means of an incestuous marriage,
412. - There's a daisy :-) Greene, in his Quip for an Upstart Courtier, has explained the significance also of this flower.-“ Next them grew the DissEMBLING daisie, to warne such light of love wenches, not to trust every faire promise that such aniorous bachelors make them"
HENLEY. 416. For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy,--] This is part of an old song, mentioned likewise by Beau. monţ and Fletcher. Two Noble Kinsmen, act iv, sc. 1.
-I can sing the broom, “ And Bonny Robin.” In the books of the Stationers-Company, 26 April, 1594, is entered “A ballad, intituled, Adoleful adewe to the last Erle of Darbie, to the tune of Bonny sweet Robin."
STEEVENS, 428. God aʼmercy on his soul !
And of all Christian souls!] This is the common conclusion to many of the ancient monumental inscriptions. See Weever's Funeral Monuments, p. 657, 658. Berthelette, the publisher of Gower's Confessio Amantis, 1554, speaking first of the funeral of Chaucer, and then of Gower, says, li he lieth buried in the monasterie of Seynt Peter's at Westminster, &c. On whose soules and all christen, Jesu have mercie."
-] Should not the king say, “ Laertes, I must commune with your grief," &c.
HENDERSON. 444. No trophy, sword, nor katchment o’er his bones,] This practice is uniformly kept up to this day. Not Oiij
only the sword, but the helmet, gauntlet, spurs, and tabard (i.e. a coat whereon the armorial ensigns were anciently depicted, from whence the term coat of ar. mour) are hung over the grave of every knight.
Sir J. HAWKINS, 476. —for the bore of the matter] The bore is the caliber of a gun, or the capacity of the barrel. The matter (says Hamlet) would carry heavier words.
Johnson. 503. --the general gender-] The common race of the people.
Johnson. 505. Work, like the spring—] This simile is neither very seasonable in the deep interest of this conversation, nor very accurately applied. If the spring had changed base metals to gold, the thought had been more proper:
Johnson. The folio, instead of_work, reads--would.
STEEVENS. 507. --for so loud a wind,] Thus the folio. One of the quartos reads--for so lov'd, arm’d. If these words have any meaning, it should seem to be-The instruments of offence I employ, would have proved too weak to injure one who is so loved and armd by the affection of the people. Their love, like armour, would revert the arrow to the bow. STEEVENS.
512. -if praises may go back again,] If I may praise what has been, but is now to be found no more.
JOHNSON. 517. That we can let our beard be shook with danger,] ! is wonderful that none of the advocates for the
learning of Shakspere have told us that this line is
<< Idcirco stolidam præbet tibi vellere barbam
STEEVENS. 521. How now ? &c.] Omitted in the quartos.
THEOBALD. 522. Letters, &c.] Omitted in the quartos.
STEEVENS. 527. Of him that brought them.] I have restored this hemistich from the quartos.
Steevens. 558. Laer.] The next sixteen lines are omitted in the folio.
STEEVENS. 567. Of the unworthiest siege.] Of the lowest rank, Siege, for seat, place."
JOHNSON So in Othello : 66-I fetch
birth “ From men of royal siege." STEEVENS, 576. -] The folio reads, ran.
HENDERSON. 581. --in forgery of shapes and tricks,] I could not contrive so many proofs of dexterity as he could per. form.
JOHNSON. 591. -in your defence,] That is, in the science of defence.
JOHNSON 594. —the scrimers-] The fencers. JOHNSON. This passage is not in the folio. STEEVENS.
607. -love is begun by time;] This is obscure. The meaning may be, love is not innate in us, and co-essential to our nature, but begins at a certain time from some external cause, and being always subject
to the operations of time, suffers change and diminution,
JOHNSON. 608. -passages of proof,] In transactions of daily experience.
JOHNSON 610. There lives, &c.] The next ten lines are not in the folio.
STEEVENS. 618. And then this should is like a spendthrifi's sigh,
That hurts by easing.--] This nonsense should be read thus:
And then this should is like a spendthrift's sign,
That hurts by easing ; i. e. though a spendthrift's entering into bonds or mortgages gives hin a present relief from his straits, yet it ends in much greater distresses. The application is, If you neglect a fair opportunity now, when it may be done with ease and safety, time may throw so znany difficulties in your way, that, in order to surmount them, you must put your whole fortune into hazard.
WARBURTON. This conjecture is so ingenious, that it can hardly be opposed, but with the same reluctance as the bow is drawn against a hero whose virtues the archer holds in veneration. Here may be applied what Voltaire writes to the empress :
Le genereux François
Te combat et t'admire. Yet this emendation, however specious, is mistaken. The original reading is, not a spendthrifi's sigh, but a spendthrift sigh; a sigh that makes an unnecessary waste of the vital Aame. It is a notion very preva.