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Good word, nor look: What, are my deeds forgot?
Ulyss. Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back,6 Wherein he puts alms for oblivion, A great-sized monster of ingratitudes : Those scraps are goods deeds past: which are devour'd As fast as they are made, forgot as soon As done: Perseverance, dear my lord, Keeps honour bright: To have done, is to hang Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail In monumental mockery. Take the instant way; For honour travels in a strait so narrow, Where one but goes abreast: keep then the path; For emulation hath a thousand song, That one by one pursue: If you give way, Or hedge aşide from the direct forthright, Like to an enter'd tide, they all rush by, And leave you hindmost; Or, like a gallant horse fallen in first rank, Lie there for pavement to the abject rear, 7 O'er-runs and trampled on: Then what they do in pre
sent, Though less than yours in past, must o'ertop yours: For time is like a fashionable host,
6 Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back.] This speech is printed in all the modern editions with such deviations from the old copy, as exceed the lawful power of an editor. Johnson. This image is literally from Spenser:
“ And eeke this wallet at your backe arreare –
Fairy Queen, B. VI, c. viii, st. 24. Boaden. to the abject rear,] So Hanmer. All the editors before him read-to the abject near. Johnson.
8 O'er-run &c.] The quarto wholly omits the simile of the horse, and reads thus:
And leave you hindmost, then what they do at present The folio seems to have some omission, for the simile begins
Or, like a gallant horse - Fohnson. The construction is, Or, like a gallant horse, &c. you lie there for pavement —; the personal pronoun of a preceding line being understood here. There are many other passages in these plays which a similar ellipsis is found. So, in this play p. 115: “ - but commends itself " instead of " - but it commends itself.”
That slightly shakes his parting guest by the hand;
9- Welcome ever smiles, 7 The compositor inadvertently repeated the word the, which has just occurred, and printed the welcome, &c. The emendation was made by Mr. Pope. Malone. For beauty, wit, &c.] The modern editors read:
For beauty, wit, high birth, desert in service, &c. I do not deny but the changes produce a more easy lapse of numbers, but they do not exhibit the work of Shakspeare. Johnson.
Dr. Johnson might have said,-the work of Sbakspeare, as mangled by theatres, ignorant transcribers, and unskilful printers. He has somewhere else observed, that perhaps we have not received one of our author's plays as it was originally written. Steevens. 2 And give to dust, that is a little gilt,
More laud than gilt o'er-dusted. The old copies--goe to dust.] In this mangled condition do we find this truly fine observation transmitted. Mr. Pope saw it was corrupt, and therefore, as I presume, threw it out of the text; because he would not indulge hie private sense in attempting to make sense of it. I owe the foundation of the amendment, which I have given in the text, to the sagacity of the ingenious Dr. Thirlby. I read:
And give to dust, that is a little gilt,
More laud than they will give to gold, o'er-dusted. Theobald. This emendation has been adopted by the succeeding editors, but recedes too far from the copy. There is no other corruption than such as Shakspeare's incorrectness often resembles. He has omitted the article-to in the second line: he should have written:
More laud than to gilt o'er-dusted. Fohnson. Gilt, in the second line, is a substantive. See Coriolanus, Act 1, sc. iji.
Dust a little gilt means, ordinary performance ostentatiously displayed and magnified by the favour of friends and that admiration of novelty which prefers “new-born gawds” to “things
The present eye praises the present object:
Of this my privacy
But 'gainst your privacy
past." Gilt o'er-dusted means, splendid actions of preceding ages, the remembrance of which is weakened by time.
The poet seems to have been thinking either of those mony. ments which he has mentioned in All's Well that Ends Well:
“Where dust and damn’d oblivion is the tomb
“ Of honoux'd bones indeed; " or of the gilded armour, trophies, banners, &c. often hung up in churches in “ monumental mockery.” Malone.
3 went once on thee, ] So the quarto. The folio-went out on thee. Malone.
4 Made emulous missions ] The meaning of mission seems to be dispatches of the gods from heaven about mortal business, such as often happened at the siege of Troy. Johnson.
5 one of Priam's daughters.) Polyxena, in the act of marrying whom, he was afterwards killed by Paris. Steevens.
6 Ha! known?) I must suppose that, in the present instance, some word, wanting to the metre, has been omitted. Perhaps the poet wrote-Ha! is 't known? Steevens.
7 Knows almost every grain of Plutus' gold;] For this elegant line the quarto has only:
Knows almost every thing Johnson. The old copy has--Pluto's gold, but, I think, we should read of Plutus' gold. So, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Philaster, Act IV:
Finds bottom in the uncomprehensive deeps;
o 'Tis not the wealth of Rlutus, nor the gold
“ Lock'd in the heart of earth " Steevens. The correction of this obvious error of the press, needs no jus. tification, though it was not admitted by Mr. Steevens in his own edition. The same error is found in Fulius Cesar, Act IV, sc. iii, svhere it has been properly corrected:
within, a heart, “ Dearer than Pluto's mine, richer than gold.” So, in this play, Act IV, sc. i, we find in the quarto-to Calcho's house, instead of-to Calchas' house. Malone.
8 Keeps place with thought,] i. e. there is in the providence of a state, as in the providence of the universe, a kind of ubiquity. The expression is exquisitely fine: yet the Oxford editor alters it toKeeps pace, and so destroys all its beauty Warburton.
Is there not here some allusion to that sublime description of the Divine Omnipresence in the 139th Psalm? Henley.
9 Does thoughts unveil in their dumb cradles.] It is clear, from the defect of the metre, that some word of two syllables was omitted by the carelessnes of the transcriber or compositor. Shakspeare perhaps wrote:
Does thoughts themselves unveil in their dumb cradles,
Does infant thoughts unveil in their dumb cradles. So, in King Richard III:
And turn his infant morn to aged night.” In Timon of Athens, we have the same allusion:
« Joy had the like conception in my brain,
“ And at that instant, like a babe sprung up." Malone. im (with whom relation :
Durst never meddle)-] There is a secret administration of affairs, which no history was ever able to discover. Johnson.
2 All the commmérce-1 Thus also is the word accented by Chapman, in his version of the fourth Book of Homer's Odyssey;
“ To labour's taste nor the commerce of men." Steerengi VOL. XII.
When fame shall in our islands sound her trump,
Patr. To this effect, Achilles, have I mov'd you:
Shall Ajax fight with Hector?
Achil. I see, my reputation is at stake;
O, then beware;
Achil. Go call Thersites hither, sweet Patroclus :
3- to air.] So the quarto. The folia-ayric air. Fohnson. 4 My fame is shrewdly gor'd.] So, in our author's 110th Sonnet:
* Alas, 'tis true; I have gone here and there,
“ Gor'd mine own thoughts, " Malone. 5 Omission to do &c.] By neglecting our duty we commission or enable that danger of dishonour, which could not reach us before to lay hold upon us. Johnson.