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Count. Not so, but as we change our courtesies. Will you draw near ?
[Exeunt Countess and Gentlemen. Hel. Till I have no wife, I have nothing in
France. Nothing in France, until he has no wife ! Thou shalt have none, Rousillon, none in France, Then hast thou all again. Poor lord ! ist I That chase thee from thy country, and expose Those tender limbs of thine to the event Of the none-sparing war ? and is it I That drive thee from the sportive court, where thou Wast shot at with fair eyes, to be the mark Of smoky muskets? O you leaden messengers, That ride upon the violent speed of fire, Fly with false aim ; move the still-piecing air, That sings with piercing?, do not touch my lord!
6 Not so, &c.] The gentlemen declare that they are servants to the Countess; she replies,-No otherwise than as she returns the same offices of civility. Johnson.
MOVE the still-PIECING air,
That sings with piercing,] The words are here oddly shuffled into nonsense.
We should read :
- pierce the still-moving air,
“ That sings with piercing. i. e. pierce the air, which is in perpetual motion, and suffers no injury by piercing. WARBURTON. The old copy reads—"the still-peering air." Perhaps we might better read :
the still-piecing air.” i. e. the air that closes immediately. This has been proposed already, but I forget by whom. Steevens.
Piece was formerly spelt--peece : so that there is but the change of one letter. See Twelfth-Night, first folio, p. 262:
“ Now, good Cesario, but that peece of songSo (as Lord Chedworth has remarked) in The Wisdom of Solomon, v. 12: “ Or Jike as when an arrow is shot at a mark, it parteth the air, which immediately cometh together again, so that a man cannot tell where it went through—."
MALONE. I have no doubt that still-piecing was Shakspeare's word. But the passage is not yet quite sound. We should read, I believe,
Whoever shoots at him, I set him there;
rove the still-piecing air." i. e. " fly at random through.” The allusion is to shooting at rovers in archery, which was shooting without any particular aim.
TYRWHITT. Mr. Tyrwhitt's reading destroys the designed antithesis between move and still ; nor is he correct in his definition of roving, which is not shooting without a particular aim, but at marks of uncertain lengths. Douce.
- the RAVIN lion -] i. e. the ravenous or ravening lion. To ravin is to swallow voraciously: MALONE.
See Macbeth, Act IV. Sc. I. STEEVENS.
9 Whence honour but of danger, &c.] The sense is, from that abode, where all the advantages that honour usually reaps from the danger it rushes upon, is only a scar in testimony of its bravery, as, on the other hand, it often is the cause of losing all, even life itself. Heath.
Florence. Before the Duke's Palace.
Flourish. Enter the Duke of Florence, BERTRAM,
Lords, Officers, Soldiers, and others. DUKE. The general of our horse thou art; and
Sir, it is
Then go thou forth ;
This very day, Great Mars, I put myself into thy file : Make me but like my thoughts; and I shall prove A lover of thy drum, hater of love. [Exeunt.
1 We'll strive to bear it for your worthy sake,
To the extreme edge of hazard.] So, in our author's 116th Sonnet :
“But bears it out even to the edge of doom." MALONE. Milton has borrowed this expression, Par. Reg. b. i. :
“ You see our danger on the utmost edge
6. Of hazard.” STEEVENS. 2 And FORTUNE PLAY upon thy prosperous helm,] So, in King Richard III.:
“ Fortune and victory sit on thy helm ! ” Again, in King John :
“ And victory with little loss doth play
Rousillon. A Room in the Countess's Palace.
Enter Countess and Steward. Count. Alas! and would you take the letter of
her ? Might you not know, she would do as she has done, By sending me a letter ? Read it again.
Stew. I am Saint Jaques' pilgrim, thither gone ;
Ambitious love hath so in me offended, That bare-foot plod I the cold ground upon,
With fainted vow my faults to have amended. Write, write, that, from the bloody course of war,
My dearest master, your dear son may hie; Bless him at home in peace, whilst I from far,
His name with zealous fervour sanctify : His taken labours bid him me forgive ;
1, his despiteful Juno 4, sent him forth From courtly friends, with camping.foes to live,
Where death and danger dog the heels of worth: He is too good and fair for Death and me; Whom I myself embrace, to set him free. Count. Ah, what sharp stings are in her mildest
Saint JAQUES' pilgrim,] I do not remember any place famous for pilgrimages consecrated in Italy to St. James, but it is common to visit St. James of Compostella, in Spain. Another saint might easily have been found, Florence being somewhat out of the road from Rousillon to Compostella. Johnson.
From Dr. Heylin's France Painted to the Life, 8vo. 1656, p. 270, 276, we learn that at Orleans was a church dedicated to St. Jacques, to which Pilgrims formerly used to resort, to adore a part of the cross pretended to be found there. Reed.
4 - Juno,] Alluding to the story of Hercules. Johnson.
Rinaldo, you did never lack advice so much,
Pardon me, madam:
What angel shall Bless this unworthy husband ? he cannot thrive, Unless her prayers, whom heaven delights to hear, And loves to grant, reprieve him from the wrath Of greatest justice.-Write, write, Rinaldo, To this unworthy husband of his wife ; Let every word weigh heavy of her worth, That he does weigh too light 6 : my greatest grief, Though little he do feel it, set down sharply. Despatch the most convenient messenger :When, haply, he shall hear that she is gone, He will return; and hope I may, that she, Hearing so much, will speed her foot again, Led hither by pure love : which of them both Is dearest to me, I have no skill in sense To make distinction Provide this messenger :My heart is heavy, and mine age is weak; Grief would have tears, and sorrow bids me speak.
lack ADVICE so much,] Advice, is discretion or thought.
JOHNSON. So, in King Henry V.:
And, on his more advice we pardon him.” Steevens. 6 That he does weigh too light :) To weigh here means to value, or esteem. So, in Love's Labour's Lost : “You weigh me not, O, that's you care not for me.”