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Each fair instalment, coat, and several crest,
Pliny informs us, that the Romans did the same, to drive away evil spirits. STEEVENS.
7 In emerald tufts, flowers PURPLE, blue, and white;
Like sapphire, pearl, AND rich embroidery,] These lines are most miserably corrupted. In the words-Flowers purple, blue and white-the purple is left uncompared. To remedy this, the editors, who seem to have been sensible of the imperfection of the comparison, read and rich embroidery; that is, according to them, as the blue and white flowers are compared to sapphire and pearl, the purple is compared to rich embroidery. Thus, instead of mending one false step, they have made two, by bringing sapphire, pearl, and rich embroidery, under one predicament. The lines were wrote thus by the poet :
In emerald tufts, flowers purfled, blue, and white; "Like sapphire, pearl, in rich embroidery."
i. e. let there be blue and white flowers worked on the greensward, like sapphire and pearl in rich embroidery. To purfle, is to overlay with tinsel, gold thread, &c. so our ancestors called a certain lace of this kind of work a purfling lace. 'Tis from the French pourfiler. So, Spenser ;
she was yclad,
"All in a silken camus, lilly white,
Purfled upon, with many a folded plight."
The change of and into in, in the second verse, is necessary. For flowers worked, or purfled in the grass, were not like sapphire and pearl simply, but sapphire and pearl in embroidery. How the corrupt reading and was introduced into the text, we have shown above. WARBURTON.
Whoever is convinced by Dr. Warburton's note, will show he has very little studied the manner of his author, whose splendid incorrectness in this instance, as in some others, is surely preferable to the insipid regularity proposed in its room. STEEVENS.
Away; disperse: But, till 'tis one o'clock,
EVA. Pray you, lock hand in hand'; yourselves in order set:
And twenty glow-worms shall our lanterns be,
charactery.] For the matter with which they make letJOHNSON.
So, in Julius Cæsar :
"All the charactery of my sad brows." i. e. all that seems to be written on them.
Again, in Ovid's Banquet of Sence, by Chapman, 1595: "Wherein was writ in sable charectry." STEEvens. Bullokar, in his English Expositor Improved by R. Browne, 12mo. says that charactery is "a writing by characters, in strange marks." In 1588 was printed-" Charactery, an Arte of Shorte, Swift, and Secrete Writing, by Character. Invented by Timothie Brighte, Doctor of Phisike." This seems to have been the first book upon short-hand writing printed in England. DOUCE.
9 lock hand IN HAND;] The metre requires us to read"lock hands." Thus Milton, who perhaps had this passage in his mind, when he makes Comus say:
"Come, knit hands, and beat the ground
"In a light fantastic round." STEEVENS.
of MIDDLE EARTH.] Spirits are supposed to inhabit the ethereal regions, and fairies to dwell under ground; men therefore are in a middle station. JOHNSON.
So, in the ancient metrical romance of Syr Guy of Warwick, bl. 1. no date :
"And win the fayrest mayde of middle erde." Again, in Gower, De Confessione Amantis, fol. 26: "Adam, for pride lost his price "In mydell erth."
Again, in the MSS. called William and the Werwolf, in the library of King's College, Cambridge, p. 15:
"And saide God that madest man, and all middel erthe." Ruddiman, the learned compiler of the Glossary to Gawin Douglas's Translation of the Æneid, affords the following illustration of this contested phrase: "It is yet in use in the North of Scotland among old people, by which we understand this earth in which we live, in opposition to the grave: Thus they say, There's no man in middle erd is able to do it, i. e. no man alive, or on this earth, and so it is used by our author. But the reason is not so
FAL. Heavens defend me from that Welch fairy! lest he transform me to a piece of cheese!
PIST. Vile worm 2, thou wast o'er-look'd even in thy birth 3.
QUICK. With trial-fire touch me his finger-end*: If he be chaste, the flame will back descend, And turn him to no pain; but if he start, It is the flesh of a corrupted heart.
easy to come by; perhaps it is because they look upon this life as a middle state (as it is) between Heaven and Hell, which last is frequently taken for the grave. Or that life is as it were a middle betwixt non-entity, before we are born, and death, when we go hence and are no more seen; as life is called a coming into the world, and death a going out of it."-Again, among the Addenda to the Glossary aforesaid: Myddil erd is borrowed from the A. S. MIDDAN-EARD, middangeard, mundus, MIDDANEARDLICE, mundanus, SE LAESSA MIDDAN-EARD, microcosmus." STEEVENS.
The author of The Remarks says, the phrase signifies neither more nor less, than the earth or world, from its imaginary situation in the midst or middle of the Ptolemaic system, and has not the least reference to either spirits or fairies. REED.
2 VILE worm,] The old copy reads-vild. That vild, which so often occurs in these plays, was not an error of the press, but the old spelling and the pronunciation of the time, appears from these lines of Heywood, in his Pleasant Dialogues and Dramas, 1637: "Earth. What goddess, or how styl'd?
Age. Age, am I call'd.
"Earth. Hence false virago vild." MALONE.
— O'ER-LOOK'D even in thy birth.] i. e. slighted as soon as born. STEEVENS.
4 With trial-fire, &c.] So, Beaumont and Fletcher, in The Faithful Shepherdess :
"In this flame his finger thrust,
"But if not, away will turn,
"As loth unspotted flesh to burn." STEEVENS.
5 And TURN him to no pain ;] This appears to have been the common phraseology of our author's tiine. So again, in The Tempest:
O, my heart bleeds,
"To think of the teen that I have turn'd you to." Again, in K. Henry VI. Part III. :
66 Edward, what satisfaction canst thou make,
PIST. A trial, come.
EVA. Come, will this wood take fire? [They burn him with their tapers. FAL. Oh, oh, oh!
QUICK. Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in desire! About him, fairies; sing a scornful rhyme : And, as you trip, still pinch him to your time. Eva. It is right; indeed he is full of lecheries and iniquity.
SONG. Fye on sinful fantasy!
Fye on lust and luxury' !
As thoughts do blow them higher and higher.
Of this line there is no trace in the original play, on which the Third Part of K. Henry VI. was formed. MALOne.
Eva. It is right; indeed, &c.] This short speech, which is very much in character for Sir Hugh, I have inserted from the old quarto 1619. THEOBALD.
I have not discarded Mr. Theobald's insertion, though perhaps the propriety of it is questionable. STEEVENS.
7-and LUXURY!] Luxury is here used for incontinence. So, in King Lear: "To't luxury, pell-mell, for I lack soldiers."
8 Lust is but a BLOODY FIRE,] A bloody fire, means a fire in the blood. In The Second Part of Henry IV. Act IV. the same expression occurs:
"Led on by bloody youth," &c. i. e. sanguine youth. STEEVENS.
In Sonnets by H. C. [Henry Constable,] 1594, we find the same image:
"Lust is a fire, that for an hour or twaine "Giveth a scorching blaze, and then he dies; "Love a continual furnace doth maintaine," &c. So also, in The Tempest:
the strongest oaths are straw "To the fire i' the blood." MALONE. VOL. VIII.
Pinch him, and burn him, and turn him about,
During this song, the fairies pinch Falstaff', Doctor Caius comes one way, and steals away a fairy in green; Slender another way, and takes off a fairy in white; and Fenton comes, and steals away Mrs. Anne Page. A noise of hunting is made within. All the fairies run away. Falstaff pulls off his buck's head, and rises.
Enter PAGE, FORD, Mrs. PAGE, and Mrs. FORD.
PAGE. Nay, do not fly: I think, we have watch'd
Will none but Herne the hunter serve your turn?
no higher :-
During this song, &c.] This direction I thought proper to insert from the old quartos. THEOBALD.
1—the fairies PINCH Falstaff.] So, in Lily's Endymion, 1591 : "The fairies dance, and, with a song, pinch him.” And, in his Maid's Metamorphosis, 1600, they threaten the same punishment. STEEVENS.
2 See you these, husband? do not these fair YOKES
Become the forest better than the town?] Mrs. Page's meaning is this. Seeing the horns (the types of cuckoldom) in Falstaff's hands, she asks her husband, whether those yokes are not more proper in the forest than in the town; i. e. than in his own family. THEOBALD.
The editor of the second folio changed yoaks to-oaks.
Perhaps, only the printer of the second folio is to blame, for the omission of the letter-y. STEEVENS.
I am confident that oaks is the right reading. I agree with Theobald that the words, "See you these, husband?" relate to the buck's horns; but what resemblance is there between the