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261. I cannot conjure, Trojan.] That is, I cannot raise spirits in the form of Cressida. JOHNSON. 267. - do not give advantage
To stubborn criticks, apt, without a theme,
For depravation -] Critick has here, I think, the signification of Cynick. So, in Love's Labour Lost : " And critick Timon laugh at idle toys."
MALONE. 278. If there be rule in unity itself,] I do not well understand what is meant by rule in unity. By rule our author, in this place as in others, intends virtuous restraint, regularity of manners, command of passions and appetites. In Macbeth :
“ He cannot buckle his distemper'd cause
" Within the belt of rule.". But I know not how to apply the word in this sense to unity. I read,
If there be rule in purity itself, Or, If there be rule in verity itself. Such alterations would not offend the reader, who saw the state of the old editions, in which, for instance, 1 a few lines lower, the almighty sun is called the almighty fenne. -Yet the words may at last mean, If there be certainty in unity, if it be a rule that one is one.
JOHNSON. 280. -against itself!] The folio reads, against thyself.
MALONE. 281. Bi-fold authority! This is the reading of the quarto. The folio gives us,
By foul authority !There is madness in that disquisition in which a man reasons at once for and against himself upon authority which he knows not to be valid. The quarto is right.
JOHNSON. -where reason can revolt Without perdition, and loss assume all reason
Without revolt; —-] The words loss and perdition are used in their common sense, but they mean the loss or perdition of reason. JOHNSON.
289. As is Arachne's broken woof to enter.] The syllable wanting in this verse the modern editors have hitherto supplied. I hope the mistake was not originally the poet's own; yet one of the quartos reads with the folio, Ariachna's broken woof, and the other Ariathna's. It is not impossible that Shakspere might have written Ariadne's broken woof, having confounded the two names or the stories, in his imagination ; or alluding to the clue of thread, by the assistance of which Theseus escaped from the Cretan labyrinth. I do not remember that Ariadne's loom is mentioned by any of the Greek or Roman poets, though I find an allusion to it in Humour out of Breath, a comedy, 1637 :
-instead of these poor weeds, in robes “ Richer than that which Ariadne wrought,
“ Or Cytherea's airy-moving vest." Again :
“thy tresses, Ariadne's twines,
Again, in Muleasses the Turk, 1610 :
• Leads the despairing wretch into a maze;
“ The very maze of horror.” Again, in Law Tricks, 1608 :
-come Ariadne's clew, will you unwind ?" Again, in John Florio's translation of Montaigne : 6* He was to me in this inextricable labyrinth like Ariadne's thread."
Steevens, 294. -knot, five-finger-tied,] A knot tied by giving her hand to Diomed.
JOHNSON. So, in The Fatal Dowry, by Massinger, 1632 : “ Your fingers tie my heart-strings with this
touch, « In true knots, which nought but death shall loose."
MALONE. : 297. m'er-eaten faith, -] Vows which she has already swallowed once over. We still say of a faithless man, that he has eaten his words. Johnson.
The fractions of her faith, orts of her love,
Of her o'er-eaten faith, are bound to Diomed.] I believe our author had a less delicate idea in his mind. " Her o'er-eaten faith” means, I think, her troth plighted to Troilus, of which she was surfeited, and, like one who has over-eaten himself, had thrown off. All the preceding words, the fragments, scraps, &c. show that this was Shakspere's meaning.--So, in Twelfth-Night :
“ Give me excess of it (musick ;] that, surfeiting,
“ The appetite may sicken, and so die."
" The commonwealth is sick of their own choice;
And being now trimm'd up in thine own desires, “ Thou, beastly feeder, art so full of him, “ That thou provokost thyself to cast him up."
MALONE. 298. May worthy Troilus -] Can Troilus really feel on this occasion half of what he utters? A question suitable to the calm Ulysses, JOHNSON.
325. and wear a castle on thy head!] i.e. defend thy head with armour of more than common security.
So, in the Most ancient and famous History of the renowned Prince Arthur, &c. edit. 1634, ch. 158 : “ Do thou thy best, said Sir Gawaine, therefore hie thee fast that thou wert gone, and wit thou well we shall-soone come after, and breake the strongest castle that thou hast upon thy head." Wear a castle, therefore, seems to be a figurative expression, signi. fying, Keep a castle over your head; i. e. live within the walls of your castle. In Urry's Chaucer, Sir Thopas is represented with a castle by way of crest to his helmet.
339. My dreams will, sure, prove ominous to-day.] The hint for this dream of Andromache, might be either taken from Lydgate, or the following passage in Chaucer's Nonnes Prestes Tale, late edit. v. 15147:
“ Lo hire Andromacha, Hectores wif,
STEEVENS. 357. For us to count -] This is so oddly confused in the folio, that I transcribe it as a specimen of incorrectness :
-do not count it holy,
And rob in the behalf of charity. JOHNSON. I believe we should read-For we would give much, to use violent thefts, i. e. to use violent thefts, because we would give much. The word count had crept in from the last line but one.
TYRWHITT. 359. It is the purpose,] The mad prophetess speaks here with all the coolness and judgment of a skilful casuist. " The essence of a lawful vow, is a lawful purpose, and the vow of which the end is wrong, must not be regarded as cogent."