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Should from yon cloud speak divine things, and say,
9 And scard the moon -] [Old copy-scarr'd,] I believe, rightly. The modern editors read scar'd, that is, frightened; a reading to which the following line in King Richard III, cer. tainly adds some support:
“ Amaze the welkin with your broken staves." Malone. • I read with the modern editors, rejecting the Chrononhotonthological idea of scarifying the moon. The verb to scare is again written scarr, in the old copy of The Winter's Tale : “ They have scarr'd away two of my best sheep.” Steevens. 1- Here I clip
The anvil of my sword ;] To clip is to embrace. So, in Autony and Cleopatra:
“Enter the city, clip your wives.” Aufidius styles Coriolanus the anvil of his sword, because he had formerly laid as heavy blows on him, as a smith strikes on his anvil. So, in Hamlet :
“And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall
- never man
Sigh'd truer breath;] The same expression is found in our authors Venus and Adonis :
“I'll sigh celestial breath, whose gentle wind
“Shall cool the heat of this descending sun." Again, in The Two Noble Kinsmen, by Shakspeare and Fletcher, 1634:
“ Lover never yet made sigh
~ Truer than 1.” Malone. 3 Bestride my threshold.] Shakspeare was unaware that a Roman bride, on her entry into her husband's house, was prohibited
Once more to hew thy target from thy brawit,
You bless me, Gods! Auf. Therefore, most absolute sir, if thou wilt have The leading of thine own revenges, take
from bestriding his threshold; and that, lest she should even touch it, she was always lifted over it. Thus, Lucan, L. II, 359 :
Tralata vetuit contingere limina planta. Steevens. 4 Thou hast beat me out
Twelve several times,] Out here means, I believe, full, conplete. Malone. So, in The Tempest:
“ for then thou wast not
“Out three years old.” Steevens. 5 And wak'd half dead -- ] Unless the two preceding lines be considered as parenthetical, here is another instance of our author's concluding a sentence, as if the former part had been constructed differently. “We have been down,” must be considered as if he had written-I have been down with you, in my sleep, and wak’d, &c. See Vol. XI, p. 279, n. 4; and Vol. V, p. 159, n. 8; and p. 298, n. 8. Malone.
o Had we no quarrel else to Rome, but that -] The old copy, redundantly, and unnecessarily :
“ Had we no other quarrel else" &c. Steevens. * we would muster all
From twelve to seventy ;] i.e. all the males from the age of twelve to seventy years would be mustered, to form the invading force. Am. Ed.
? Like a bold flood o'er-beat.] Though this is intelligible, and the reading of the old copy, perhaps our author wrote-o'er-bear. So, in Othello :
"Is of such flood-gate and o'er-bearing nature -." Steevens.
The one half of my commission; and set down,
[Exeunt Cor. and Aup. I Serv. [advancing] Here's a strange alteration!
2 Serv. By my hand, I had thought to have strucken him with a cudgel; and yet my mind gave me, his clothes made a false report of him.
I Serv. What an arm he has! He turned me about with his finger and his thumb, as one would set up a top.
2 Serv. Nay, I knew by his face that there was something in him. He had, sir, a kind of face, methoughtI cannot tell how to term it.
I Serv. He had so; looking, as it were, 'Would I were hanged, but I thought there was more in him than I could think.
2 Serv. So did I, I 'll be sworn: He is simply the rarest man i' the world.
| Serv. I think, he is: but a greater soldier than he, you wot one.
2 Serv. Who? my master?
I Serv. Nay, not so neither; but I take him to be the greater soldier.
2 Serv. 'Faith, look you, one cannot tell how to say that: for the defence of a town, our general is excellent. I Serv. Ay, and for an assault too.
Re-enter third Servant. 3 Serv. O, slaves, I can tell you news; news, you fascals.
1. 2. Serv. What, what, what? let 's partake.
3 Serv. I would not be a Roman, of all nations; I had as lieve be a condemned man.
1.2. Serw. Wherefore? wherefore?
3 Serv. Why, here 's he that was wont to thwack our general,--Caius Marcius.
I Serv. Why do you say, thwack our general?
3 Serv. I do not say, thwack our general; but he was always good enough for him.
2 Serv. Come, we are fellows, and friends: he was ever too hard for him; I have heard him say so himself.
1 Serv. He was too hard for him directly, to say the truth on 't: before Corioli, he scotched him and notched him like a carbonado.
2 Serv. An he had been cannibally given, he might have broiled and eaten him too.8
1 Serr. But, inore of thy news?
3 Serv. Why, he is so made on here within, as if he were son and heir to Mars: set at upper end o' the table : no question asked him by any of the senators, but they stand bali before him: Our general himself makes a mistress of him; sanctifies himself with 's hand, and turns up the white o' the eye to his discourse. But the bottom of the news is, our general is cut i' the middle, and but one half of what he was yesterday; for the other has half, by the entreaty and grant of the whole table. He'll go, he says, and sowle the porter of Rome gates by the ears:1 He will mow down all before him, and leave his passage polled.2
8 he might have broiled and eaten him too. The old copy reads-boiled. The change was made by Mr. Pope. Malone.
9 sanctifies himself with 's hand,] Alluding, improperly, to the act of crossing upon any strange event. Johnson.
I rather imagine the meaning is, considers the touch of his hand as holy; clasps it with the same reverence as a lover would clasp the hand of his mistress. If there be any religious allusion, I should rather suppose it to be the imposition of the hand in confirmation. Malone.
Perhaps the allusion is (however out of place) to the degree of sanctity anciently supposed to be derived from touching the corporal relick of a saint or a martyr. Steevens.
1 He'll sowle the porter of Rome gates by the ears: ] That is, I suppose, drag him down by the ears into the dirt. Souiller, Fr. Johnson.
Dr. Johnson's supposition, though not his derivation, is just. Skinner says the word is derived from sow, i. e. to take hold of a person by the ears, as a dog seizes one of these animals. So, Heywood, in a comedy called Love's Mistress, 1636:
“Venus will sowle me by the ears for this.” Perhaps Shakspeare's allusion is to Hercules dragging out Cer. berus. Steevens. . Whatever the etymology of soule may be, it appears to have
2 Serv. And he 's as like to do 't, as any man I can imagine.
3 Serv. Do 't? he will do 't: For, look you, sir, he has as many friends as enemies: which friends, sir, (as it were) durst not (look you, sir,) show themselves, (as we term it) his friends, whilst he's in directitude.3
1 Serv. Directitude! what 's that?
3 Serv. But when they shall see, sir, his crest up again, and the man in blood,4 they will out of their burrows, like conies after rain, and revel all with him.
I Serv. But when goes this forward?
3 Serv. To-morrow; to-day; presently. You shall have the drum struck up this afternoon: 'tis, as it were, a parcel of their feast, and to be executed ere they wipe their lips.
been a familiar word in the last century. Lord Strafford's correspondent, Mr. Garrard, uses it, as Shakspeare does. Straff. Lett. Vol. II, p. 149: “ A lieutenant soled him well by the ears, and drew him by the hair about the room." Lord Strafford himself uses it in another sense, Vol. II, p. 138: “ It is ever a hope. ful throw, where the caster soles his bowl well.” In this passage to sole seems to signify what, I believe, is usually called to ground a bowl. Tyrwhitt.
Cole, in his Latin Dictionary, 1679, renders it, aurem summa vi oellere. Malone.
To sowle is still in use for pulling, dragging, and lugging, in the West of England. S. W.
his passage polled.] That is, bared, cleared. Fohnson.. To poll a person anciently meant to cut off his hair. So, in Dametas Madrigall in Praise of his Daphnis, by J. Wooton, published in England's Helicon, quarto, 1607:
“ Like Nisus golden hair that Scilla pold.” It likewise signified to cut off the head. So, in the ancient metrical history of the battle of Floddon Field:
“But now we will withstand his grace,
“ Or thousand heads shall there be polld.” Steevens. So, in Christ's Tears over Jerusalem, by Thomas Nashe, 1594 : “- the winning love of neighbours round about, if haply their houses should be environed, or any in them prove untruly, being pilled and pould too unconscionably.”—Poul'd is the spelling of the old copy of Coriolanus also. Malone.
3- whilst he's in directitude.] I suspect the author wrote : -whilst he's in discreditude ; a made word, instead of discredit. He intended, I suppose, to put an uncommon word into the mouth of this servant, which had some resemblance to sense: but could hardly have meant that he should talk absolute nonsense. Malone.
* -in blood,] See p. 10, n. 2. Malone.