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He saith, she is immodest, blames her 'miss'; What follows more, she murders with a kiss'.
Even as an empty eagle, sharp by fast,
Even so she kiss'd his brow, his cheek, his chin,
And where she ends, she doth anew begin 1.
"I'll make a shadow for thee of my heares."
Which shews that there is no ground for supposing, as some have done, that the words hairs and tears were formerly pronounced alike.
"Then with her windy sighs,
"To fan and blow them dry again." So, in Antony and Cleopatra : "We cannot call her winds and waters, sighs and tears; they are greater storms and tempests than almanacks can report." Again, ibid. :
"And is become the bellows and the fan,
- her 'MISS;] That is, her misbehaviour. FARMER.
So, in Lily's Woman in the Moon, 1597:
Pale be my looks, to witness my amiss."
The same substantive is used in the 35th Sonnet. Again, in Hamlet:
"Each toy seems prologue to some great amiss."
she MURDERS with a kiss.] Thus the original copy of 1593, and the edition of 1596. So, in King Richard III. :
"Come, cousin, canst thou quake, and change thy colour? "Murder thy breath in middle of a word?'
The subsequent copies have smothers. MALONE.
3 TIRES with her beak on feathers, flesh, and bone,] To tire is So, in Decker's Match Me in London, a comedy, 1631 : the vulture tires
"Upon the eagle's heart."
4 And where she ends, she doth anew begin.] So Dryden, in his Alexander's Feast:
"Never ending, still beginning." MALONE.
Forc'd to content, but never to obey,
Wishing her cheeks were gardens full of flowers,
Look how a bird lies tangled in a net,
Pure shame and aw'd resistance made him fret,
Rain added to a river that is rankR,
5 Forc'd to CONTENT,-] I once thought that the meaning of the latter words was, to content or satisfy Venus; to endure her kisses. So, in Hamlet:
it doth much content me to hear him so inclin'd."
But I now believe that the interpretation given by Mr. Steevens is the true one. Content is a substantive, and means acquiescence.
The modern editions read-consent.
It is plain that Venus was not so easily contented. Forc'd to content, I believe, means that Adonis was forced to content himself in a situation from which he had no means of escaping. Cassio in Othello:
"So shall I clothe me in a forc'd content." STEEVens.
So they were DEW'D with such distilling showers.] So, in Macbeth:
"To dew the sovereign flower, and drown the weeds." STEEVENS. 7 Which bred more BEAUTY in his ANGRY eyes:] So, in Twelfth Night:
"O, what a deal of scorn looks beautiful "In the contempt and anger of his lip!" 8 to a river that is RANK,] Full, abounding in the quantity of its waters. So, in Julius Cæsar:
"Who else must be let blood, who else is rank? "
Again, more appositely in King John:
"We will untread the steps of damned flight,
"And, like a 'bated and retired flood,
Leaving our rankness and irregular course,
Stoop low within those bounds we have o'erlook'd."
Still she entreats, and prettily entreats,
Look how he can, she cannot choose but love;
Upon this promise did he raise his chin,
9-still he low'rs and frets,
"Twixt crimson shame, and anger ashy-pale ;] We have here a proof of the great value of first editions; for the 16mo of "still she low'rs and frecs." The true 1596, reads corruptly,reading is found in the original quarto, 1593.
In my former editions I pointed differently:
""Twixt crimson shame and anger, ashy-pale;" applying the epithet, ashy-pale, to Adonis. I have now adopted the punctuation of the original copy, which, I am persuaded, is right; and the meaning is, that Adonis lowers and frets, actuated by the different passions of crimson shame and ashy-pale anger. The following couplet shews that this is the true construction. Our poet indeed, in The Winter's Tale, has red-look'd anger; but that epithet would not suit here; and anger, it is well known, sometimes produces paleness. Besides, Adonis could not be rendered pale by crimson shame. MALOne.
Her BEST is better'd-] This is the reading of the original quarto, 1593. That of 1636, and the modern editions, read-breast. MALONE. 2 And one sweet KISS shall pay this COUNTLESS DEBT.] So, in Titus Andronicus :
kiss for kiss
"Thy brother Marcus tenders on thy lips :
Who being look'd on, ducks as quickly in;
But when her lips were ready for his pay,
Never did passenger in summer's heat,
I have been woo'd as I entreat thee now,
Yet hath he been my captive and my slave,
Over my altars hath he hung his lance,
Scorning his churlish drum, and ensign red,
Thus he that over-rul'd, I oversway'd,
6 -yet her fire must burn:] So the quarto 1593, and the 12mo. 1596. That of 1600, and the later editions, read—" yet in fire must burn, [i. e. the fiery passion that consumes her.] The context shews that the original is the true reading. Her fire, notwithstanding her being bathed in water [i. e. tears] must still continue to burn. MALONE.
4 To TOY, to wanton.] Thus the original copy, 1593. In that of 1596, we find coy, instead of toy; which has been followed in all the subsequent editions. MALONE.
s Leading him prisoner in a RED-ROSE CHAIN:] So Ronsard, Livre xiv. Öde xxiii.:
Strong-temper'd steel his stronger strength obey'd, Yet was he servile to my coy disdain°.
O, be not proud, nor brag not of thy might,
Touch but my lips with those fair lips of thine,
Art thou asham'd to kiss? then wink again,
Les Muses lierent un jour
Des chaisnes de roses Amour, &c.
Several of Ronsard's Odes had been translated into English. See Puttenham, 1589, as quoted to this purpose by Dr. Farmer, vol. xiii. p. 403. W.
Some of Anacreon's Odes, which Ronsard had imitated in French, were translated into English; and it is very probable that the ode above quoted was one of those which were translated; for it is an imitation of Anacreon's thirteenth ode, beginning, Auzoa, &c. and stands in Ronsard's works in the opposite page to the Bacchanalian ode which Shakspeare seems to have had in his thoughts in Timon of Athens. MALONE.
SERVILE TO my coy disdain.] So, in Measure for Measure: “Servile to all the skiey influences." STEEVENS.
7 - since eyes IN eyes.] So the original copy. The moderns
read corruptly, after the 16mo. of 1600, on eyes. MALONE. 8 Love keeps his revels where there are but twain ;
Be bold to play, our sport is not in sight:] So, in Romeo and Juliet:
Dark night is Cupid's day.
"Lovers can see to do their amorous rites
By their own beauties." MALONE.
9 Never can blab, nor know NOT what we mean.] So the VOL. XX.