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Speak to my gossip Venus one fair word,
pronounce but love and dove;] Thus the first quarto, 1597. Pronounce, in the quartos of 1599 and 1609, was made provaunt.
In the first folio, which appears to have been printed from the latter of these copies, the same reading is adopted. The editor of the second folio arbitrarily substituted couply, meaning certainly couple, and all the modern editors have adopted his innovation. *Provaunt, as Mr. Steevens has observed, means provision; but I have never met with the verb To provant, nor has any example of it been produced.: I have no doubt, therefore, that it was a corruption, and have adhered to the first quarto.
In this very line, love and dove, the reading of the original copy of 1597, was corrupted in the two subsequent quartos and the folio, to-love and day; and heir, in the next line, corrupted into her. Malone.
Mr. Malone asks for instances of the verb provant. When he will produce examples of other verbs (like reverb, &c.) peculiar to our author, I may furnish him with the instance he desires. I am content, however, to follow the second folio.
STEEVENS, 9 Young Adam Cupid,] All the old copies read_Abraham Cupid. The alteration was proposed originally by Mr. Upton. See Observations, p. 243. It evidently alludes to the famous. archer, Adam Bell." Reed.
When king Cophetua &c.] Alluding to an old ballad preserved in the first Volume of Dr. Percy's Reliques of ancient English Poetry:
“ Here you may read, Cophetua,
“ Though long time fancie-fed,
« The begger for to wed.” STEEVEŅS.
" When,” &c. This word trim, the first editors, consulting the general sense of the passage, and not perceiving the allusion, would naturally alter to true; yet the former seems the more humorous expression, and, on account of its quaintness, more likely to have been used by Mercutio. . PERCY.
he ape is deadly Rosaline sher Scarlet lipo thigh,
He heareth not, stirreth not, he moveth not;
So trim is the reading of the oldest copy, and this ingenious conjecture is confirmed by it. In Decker's Satiromastix, is a reference to the same archer : : “ He shoots his bolt but seldom ; but when Adam lets ĝo, he hits :".
“ He shoots at thee too, Adam Bell; and his arrows stick here," :
Trim was an epithet formerly in common use. It occurs often in Churchyard's Siege of Leeth, 1575:
“ Made sallies forth, as tryme men might do." Again, ibid: : ." And showed themselves trimme souldiours as I ween."
STEEVENS. . The ballad here alluded to, is King Cophetua and the BeggarMaid, or, as it is called in some old copies, The Song of a Beggar and a King. The following stanza Shakspeare had particularly in' view:
« The blinded boy that shoots so trim, . '
« From heaven down did hie,
" He drew a dart and shot at him, . “ In place where he did lie.” MALONE.
- stirreth not,] Old copies, unmetrically,he stirreth not. STEEVENS.
3 The ape is dead,] This phrase appears to have been frequently applied to young men, in our author's time, without any reference to the mimickry of that animal. It was an expression of tenderness, like poor fool. Nashe, in one of his pamphlets, mentions his having read Lyly's Euphues, when he was a little ape at Cambridge. MALONE.
4 By her high forehead,] It has already been observed that a high forehead was in Shakspeare's time thought eminently beautiful. See Vol. IV. p. 146, n. 2; and Vol. XVII. p. 143, n. 9. MALONE.
s And the demesnės that there adjacent lie,] Here, perad.
BEN. An if he hear thee, thou wilt anger him.
MER. This cannot anger him: 'twould anger him To raise a spirit in his mistress' circle Of some strange nature, letting it there stand Till she had laid it, and conjur'd it down; That were some spite: my invocation Is fair and honest, and, in his mistress' name, I conjure only but to raise up him. Ben. Come, he hath hid himself among those
trees, To be consorted with the humorous night:6 Blind is his love, and best befits the dark.
MER. If love be blind, love cannot hit the mark.
venture, hath our waggish poet caught hold of somewhat from Barnabe Googe his version of Palingenius. See Cancer, editi 1561: " What shuld I here commend her thies, or places ther
that lie?” AMNER. 6.- the humorous night:] I suppose Shakspeare means humid, the moist dewy night. Chapman uses the word in that sense, in his translation of Homer, B. 11. edit. 1598:.. “ The other gods and knights at arms slept all the
humorous night.” Again, in the 21st Book: “ Whence all- floods, all the sea, all founts, wells, all
deeps humorous, s , « Fetch their beginnings ;." Again, in Drayton's Polyolbion, Song 3: “ Such matter as she takes from the gross humorous
earth." Again, $ong 13th:
" which late the humorous night : “ Bespangled had with pearl Again, in his Barons” Wars, canto i: iei “. The humorous fogs deprive us of his light.”
STEEVENS In Measure for Measure we have “ the vaporous night approaches ;" which shows that Mr. Steevens has rightly interpreted the word in the text. MALONE. ..
" their beginnings :- "
Now'will he sìt under a medlar tree;
? As maids &c.] After this line, in the old copies, I find two other verses, containing such ribaldry, that I cannot venture to insert them in the text, though I exhibit them here as a proof that the editors of our poet have sometimes known how to blot:
“O Romeo that she were, ah that she were
4. An open et cætera, thou a poprin pear!" This pear is mentioned in The Wise Woman of Hogsdon, 1638: “What needed I to have grafted in the stock of such a choke-pear, and such a goodly poprin as this to escape me?"" Again, in A new Wonder, a Woman never vexed, 1632: .
" I requested him to pull me
“ He'd have mistook, and given me a popperin.” • In The Atheist's Tragedy, by Cyril Turner, 1611, there is much conceit about this pear. I am unable to explain it with
certainty, nor does it appear indeed to deserve explanation. . . Thus much may safely be said; viz. that our pear might have been of French extraction, as Poperin was the name of a parish in the Marches of Calais. So, in Chaucer's Rime of Sire Thopas, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit. 1775, ver. 13,650: ::
“ In Flandres, al beyonde the see,
“ At Popering in the place.” In the edition of Messieurs Boydell I have also omitted these offensive lines. Dr. Johnson has somewhere observed, that there are higher laws than those of criticism. STEEVENS...
These two lines, which are found in the quartos of 1597, 1599, and in the folio, were rejected by Mr. Pope, who in like manner has rejected whole scenes of our author; but what is more strange, his example has, in this instance, been followed by the succeeding editors.
However improper any lines may be for recitation on the stage, an editor, in my apprehension, has no right to omit any passage that is found in all the authentick copies of his author's works. They appear not only in the editions already mentioned, but also in that copy which has no date, and in the edition of 1637.
I have adhered to the original copy. The two subsequent quartos and the folio read, with a slight variation
An open-or thou a poperin pear,
Romeo, good night ;-—I'll to my truckle-bed;
Go, then; for 'tis in vain To seek him here, that means not to be found.
Shakspeare followed the fashion of his own time, which was, when something indecent was meant to be suppressed, to print et cætera, instead of the word. See Minsheu's Dictionary, p. 112, col. 2. Our poet did not consider, that however such a practice might be admitted in a printed book, it is absurd where words are intended to be recited. When these lines were spoken, as undoubtedly they were to our ancestors, who do not appear to have been extremely delicate, the actor must have evaded the difficulty by an abrupt sentence.
The unseemly name of the apple here alluded to, is well known.
Poperingue is a town in French Flanders, two leagues distant from Ypres. From hence the Poperin pear was brought into England. What were the peculiar qualities of a Poperin pear, I am unable to ascertain. The word was chosen, I believe, merely for the sake of a quibble, which it is not necessary to explain. Probably for the same reason the Popering tree was preferred to any other by the author of the mock poem of Hero and Leander, small 8vo. 1653: . .
“ She thought it strange to see a man.
“ And listen'd for some novelty.” Of the parish of Poperin, or Poperling, (as we called it) John Leland the Antiquary was parson, in the time of King Henry the Eighth. By him the Poperin pear may have been introduced into England. - MALONE.