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Perchance his boast of Lucrece' sovereignty
His high-pitch'd thoughts, that meaner men should vaunt
That golden hap which their superiors want.
But some untimely thought did instigate
SUGGESTED this proud issue of a king;] Suggested, I think, here means tempted, prompted, instigated. So, in K. Richard II.: "What Eve, what serpent, hath suggested thee, "To make a second fall of cursed man?"
Again, in Love's Labour's Lost:
"These heavenly eyes that look into these faults,
3- which in his liver GLOws.] Thus the quarto 1594. Some of the modern editions have grows.-The liver was formerly supposed to be the seat of love. MALONE.
wrapt in REPENTANT cold,] The octavo 1600 reads: "wrapt in repentance cold," but it was evidently an errour of the press. The first repentant.
In King Richard II. we have a kindred sentiment: "His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last;
"For violent fires soon burn out themselves." MALONE.
"To quench the coal which in his liver glows.
-wrapt in repentant cold." So, in King John:
"The breath of heaven hath blown his spirit out,
5 Thy hasty spring still BLASTS, and ne'er grows old!] Like a too early spring, which is frequently checked by blights, and never produces any ripened or wholesome fruit, the irregular forward
When at Collatium this false lord arriv'd,
ness of an unlawful passion never gives any solid or permanent satisfaction. So, in a subsequent stanza:
Unruly blasts wait on the tender spring."
"For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favour,
Forward, not permanent; sweet, not lasting;
Again, in King Richard III. :
"Short summers lightly have a forward spring." Blasts is here a neutral verb; it is used by Sir W. Raleigh in the same manner, in his poem entitled the Farewell:
"Tell age, it daily wasteth;
"Tell honour, how it alters;
Tell beauty, that it blasteth," &c.
In Venus and Adonis we find nearly the same sentiment :
6 Virtue would stain that O'ER with silver white.] The original edition exhibits this line thus:
"Virtue would stain that ore with silver white."
Ore might certainly have been intended for o'er, (as it is printed in the text,) the word over, when contracted, having been formerly written ore. But in this way the passage is not reducible to grammar. Virtue would stain that, i. e. blushes, o'er with silver white. The word intended was, perhaps, or, i. e. gold, to which the poet compares the deep colour of a blush,
Thus in Hamlet we find ore used by our author manifestly in the sense of or or gold:
“O'er whom his very madness, like some ore
Among a mineral of metals base,
"Shows itself pure."
The terms of heraldry in the next stanza seem to favour this
But beauty, in that white intituled',
From Venus' doves doth challenge that fair field;
Their silver cheeks, and call'd it then their shield;
This heraldry in Lucrece' face was seen,
This silent war of lilies and of roses,
supposition: and the opposition between or and the silver white of virtue is entirely in Shakspeare's manner. So, afterwards: "Which virtue gave the golden age, to gild "Their silver cheeks-." Malone.
Shakspeare delights in opposing the colours of gold and silver to each other. So, in Macbeth:
"His silver skin lac'd with his golden blood."
We meet with a description, allied to the present one, in Much Ado About Nothing:
I have mark'd
"A thousand blushing apparitions
"To start into her face; a thousand innocent shames
"In angel whiteness bear away those blushes." STEEVENS. 7-in that white INTITULED,] I suppose he means, 'that consists in that whiteness, or takes its title from it.' STEEVENS. Our author has the same phrase in his 37th Sonnet: "For whether beauty, birth, or wealth, or wit, "Or any of these all, or all, or more,
"Intitled in their parts, do crowned sit-." Malone. -in her fair face's FIELD,] Field is here equivocally used. The war of lilies and roses requires a field of battle; the heraldry iu the preceding stanza demands another field, i. e. the ground or surface of a shield or escutcheon armorial. STEEVENS.
In their pure ranks his traitor eye encloses 9;
To those two armies, that would let him go,
Now thinks he that her husband's shallow tongue
This earthly saint, adored by this devil,
9 This silent WAR of lilies and of roses,
Which Tarquin view'd in her fair face's field,
In THEIR pure RANKS his traitor eye encloses ;] There is here much confusion of metaphor. War is, in the first line, used merely to signify the contest of lilies and roses for superiority; and in the third, as actuating an army which takes Tarquin prisoner, and encloses his eye in the pure ranks of white and red.
Our author has the same expression in Coriolanus:
Our veil'd dames
"Commit the war of white and damask in
"Their nicely-gauded cheeks, to the wanton spoil
Again, in Venus and Adonis :
"To note the fighting conflict of her hue,
So, in The Taming of a Shrew:
"Hast thou beheld a fresher gentlewoman?
"O, what a war of looks was then between them!"
'Therefore that PRAISE which Collatine doth owE-] Praise here signifies the object of praise, i. e. Lucretia. To owe in old language means to possess. MALONE.
For unstain'd thoughts do seldom dream on evil;
And reverend welcome to her princely guest,
For that he colour'd with his high estate,
But, poorly rich, so wanteth in his store,
But she, that never cop'd with stranger eyes*,
2 BIRDS never LIM'D no secret BUSHES FEAR:] So, in King Henry VI. Part III. :
“ The bird that hath been limed in a bush,
3 HIDING base sin in PLAITS OF MAJESTY ;] So, in King Lear; "Robes and furr'd gowns hide all." STEEVENS. So also in the same play, vol. x. p. 28:
"Time shall unfold what plaited cunning hides." Boswell. - with stranger eyes,] Stranger is here used as an adjective. So, in King Richard II.:
"And tread the stranger paths of banishment." MALONE. Could pick no meaning from their PARLING LOOKS,] So, Daniel in his Rosamond:
"And what obscur'd in this fair volume lies, "Find written in the margin of his eyes." Again, in Hamlet:
"Ah beauty, Syren, fair enchanting good!
"Sweet silent rhetorick of persuading eyes!" MALONE. Writ in the glassy MARGENTS of such BOOKS ;] So, in Romeo and Juliet: