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Whose edge is sharper than the sword; whose tongue
Imo. False to his bed! what is to be false?
Pis. Alas, good lady!
Imo. I false? thy conscience witness, IachimoThou didst accuse him of incontinency: Thou then lookd'it like a villain; now, methinks, Thy favour's good enough. 5 Some jay of Italy, 6 Whose mother was her painting, hath betray'd him: Poor I am stale, a garment out of fashion;
the worms of Nile ; -] Serpents and dragons by the old writers were called worms.
An old translator of Ovid's Metamorphoses, speaking of Medea, fays, “ Then to her chariot Arait her winged worms she join'd.”
STEEVENS. ftates,] Persons of highest rank. JOHNSON.
Some jay of Italy,] There is a prettiness in this expresion; putta, in Italian, fignifying both a jay and a whore : I suppose from the gay feathers of that bird. WARBURTON.
Whose MOTHER was her painting, --- ] This puzzles Mr. THEOBALD much: he thinks it may fignify whose mother was a bird of the same feather; or that it should be read, whose mother was her planting. What all this means I know not. In Mr. Rowe's edition the M in mother happening to be reversed at the press, it came out Wother. And what was very ridiculous, Gildon employed himself (properly enough indeed) in finding a meaning for it. In fhort, the true word is MEETHER, a north country word, signifying becuty. So that the ser fe of, ber meet her was her painting, is, that she had only an appearance of beauty, for which the was beholden to her paint. WARB. VOL. IX.
And, for I ain richer than to hang by the walls,
Pif. Good madam, hear me
Imo. True honelt men being heard, like false Æneas,
Some jay of Italy, made by art the creature, not of nature, bat of painting. In this sense painting may be not improperly termed her mciber. JOHNSON.
I met with a similar expression in one of the old comedies, but forgot to note the name of the piece:
a parcel of conceited feather-caps, whose faibers were their garments." STEEVENS.
So thou, Pofthumus, Wilt lay the leaven to all proper men:] When Posthumus thought his wife false, he unjustly scandalized the whole fex. His wife here, under the same impressions of his infidelity, attended with more provoking circumftances, acquits his fex, and lays the fault where it was due. The poet paints from nature. This is life and manners. The man thinks it a difhonour to the superiority of his understanding to be jilted, and therefore flatters his vanity into a conceit that the disgrace was inevitable from the general infidelity of the fex. The woman, on the contrary, not imagining her credit to be at all affected in the matter, never seeks out for so extravagant a consolation ; but at cnce eases her malice and her grief, by laying the crime and damage at the door of some obnoxious coquet. WARB. HANMER reads,
lav ihe level without any neceflity. JOHNSON,
The innocent mansion of my love, my heart:
Pif. Hence, vile instrument !
Imo. Why, I must die; And if I do not by thy hand, thou art No servant of thy master's. 'Gainst self-Naughter There is a prohibition so divine, That cravens my weak hand. Come, here's my
heart; 8 Something's afore't - soft, soft, we'll no defence; Obedient as the scabbard ! What is here? 9 The scriptures of the loyal Leonatus All turn'd to heresy? away, away,
(Pulling his letters out of her bofom. Corrupters of my faith! you shall no more Be stomachers to my heart! Thus may poor fools Believe false teachers : tho' those that are betray'd, Do feel the treason sharply, yet the traitor Stands in worfe cafe of woe. And thou, Posthumus, That didst set up my disobedience 'gainst the king My father, mad'st me put into contempt the suits Of princely fellows, shalt hereafter find, It is no act of common passage, but A strain of rareness: and I grieve myself, To think, when thou shalt be dif-edg'd by her
$ Something's afore't-] The old copy reads,
Something's afoot Johnson. 9 The fcriptures So Ben Jonson, in The Sad Shepherd,
“ The lover's fcriptures, Heliodore's, or Tatius'." Shakespeare, however, means in this place, an opposition between fcripture, in its common signification, and berely.
Steevens. P 2
" That now thou tir’st on, how thy memory
Pis. O gracious lady!
Imo. Do't, and to bed then.
Imo. Wherefore then
Pif. But to win time
Imo. Talk thy tongue weary; speak:
Pif. Then, madam,
! That now thou tir'ft on, -1 A hawk is said to tire upon that which he pecks; from tirer, French. JOHNSON: 2 I'll wake mine eye-balls first.
Imo. Wherefore then] This is the old reading. The modern editions for wake read break, and supply the deficient f,ilable by ah, wherefore. I read,
I'll wake mine eye-balls out first, or, blind first. Johns. 3 To le unbent,-) To have thy bow unbent, alluding to a hunter. JOHNSON.
Imo. Most like;
Pif. Not fo, neither:
Imo. Some Roman courtezan.
Pif. No, on my life.
Imo. Why, good fellow,
Pis. If you'll back to the court
Imo. No court, no father; nor no more ado With that harsh, noble, simple, nothing; That Cloten, whose love-suit hath been to me As fearful as a siege.
Pis. If not at court, Then not in Britain must
Pif. I am most glad
Now, if you could wear a MIND