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Poor I am stale, a garment out of fashion;
Good madam, hear me. Imo. True honest men being heard, like false
Æneas, Were, in his time, thought false: and Sinon's weeping Did scandal, many a holy tear: took pity From most true wretchedness: So, thou, Posthumus, Wilt lay the leaven on all proper meno; Goodly, and gallant, shall be false and perjur’d, From thy great fail.—Come, fellow, be thou honest:
Ś That is to be hung up as useless among the neglected contents of a wardrobe. So in Measure for Measure :
• That have, like unscour'd armour, hung by the wall.' Clothes were not formerly, as at present, made of slight maté. rials, were not kept in drawers, or given away as soon as lapse of time or change of fashion had impaired their value. On the contrary, they were hung up on wooden pegs, in a room appropriated to the sole purpose of receiving them; and though such cast off things as were composed of rich substances were occasionally ripped for domestic uses, articles of inferior quality were suffered to hang by the walls till age and moths had destroyed what pride would not permit to be worn by servants or poor relations :
• Comitem horridulum tritâ donare lacerna,' seems not to have been customary among our ancestors. When Queen Elizabeth died, she was found to have left above three thousand dresses bebind her. Steevens once saw one of these repositories at an ancient mansion in Suffolk, which (thanks to a succession of old maids !) had been preserved with superstitious reverence for almost a century and a half.
· Wilt lay the leaven on all proper men.' The leaven is, in Scripture phraseology, ' the whole wickedness of our sinful nature.' See 1 Corinthians, v. 6, 7, 8. “Thy failure, Fosthumus, will lay falsehood to the charge of men without guile: make all suspected.
Do thou thy master's bidding: when thou seest him,
Hence, vile instrument ! Thou shalt not damn
Why, I must die; And if I do not by thy hand, thou art No servant of thy master's: Against self-slaughter There is a prohibition so divine, That cravens my weak hand?. Come, here's my
heart; Something's afore't:--Soft, soft; we'll no defence; Obedient as the scabbard. What is here? The scriptures 8 of the loyal Leonatus, All turn'd to heresy? Away, away, Corrupters of my faith!
shall no more Be stomachers to
heart! Thus may poor fools Believe false teachers : Though those that are be
7 • That makes me afraid to put an end to my own life.' Hamlet exclaims :
O that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self slaughter.' Shakspeare here means Leonatus's letters, but there is an opposition intended between scripture, in its common significittion, and heresy.
Of princely fellows9, shalt hereafter find
how thy memory
O gracious lady,
Do't, and to bed then.
Wherefore then Didst undertake it? Why hast thou abus'd
many miles with a pretence ? this place? Mine action, and thine own? our horses' labour ? The time inviting thee? the perturb'd court, For my being absent; whereunto I never Purpose return? Why hast thou gone so far, To be unbent 12, when thou hast ta’en thy stand, The elected deer before thee?
• Fellows for equals; those of the same princely rank with myself.
- when thou shalt be disedg'd by her
That now thou tir'st on.' It is probable that the first, as well as the last, of these metaphorical expressions is from falconry. A bird of prey may be said to be disedged when the keenness of its appetite is taken away by tiring, or feeding, upon some object given to it for that purpose. Thus in Hamlet:
Oph. You are keen, my lord, you are keen.
11 Blind, which is not in the old copy, was supplied by Hanmer.
12. To have thy bow unbent, alluding to a hunter. So in one of Shakspeare's poems in The Passionate Pilgrim, 1599:
When as thine eye hath chose the dame
But to win time
Talk thy tongue weary; speak: I have heard, I am a strumpet: and mine ear, Therein false struck, can take no greater wound, Nor tent to bottom that.
But speak. Pis.
Then, madam, I thought you would not back again. Imo.
Not so, neither:
well. It cannot be,
both this cursed injury. Imo. Some Roman courtezan. Pis.
No, on my life I'll give but notice you are dead, and send him Some bloody sign of it; for 'tis commanded I should do so: You shall be miss'd at court, And that will well confirm it. Imo.
Why, good fellow, What shall I do the while? Where bide? How live? Or in my life what comfort, when I am Dead to
husband ? Pis.
If you'll back to the court, Imo. No court, no father; nor no more ado With that harsh, noble, simple, nothing 13: That Cloten, whose love-suit hath been to me As fearful as a siege.
13 This line requires some word of two syllables to complete the measure. Steevens proposed to read :
• With that harsh, noble, simple, nothing, Cloten ;
Dark as your
If not at court, Then not in Britain must
Where then ? Hath Britain all the sun that shines 14 ? Day, night, Are they not but in Britain ? I'the world's volume Our Britain seems as of it, but not in it; In a great pool, a swan's nest;, Pr’ythee, think There's livers out of Britain. Pis.
I am most glad You think of other place. The embassador Lucius the Roman, comes to Milford Haven To-morrow: Now, if
could wear a mind
fortune is 15; and but disguise
0, for such means !
Well then, here's the point: You must forget to be a woman; change
14 The poet may have had in his mind a passage in Lyly's Euphues, which he has imitated in King Richard II. See it in a note on that play, vol. v. p. 27.
15 To wear a dark mind is to carry a mind impenetrable to the search of others. Darkness, applied to the mind, is secrecy; applied to the fortune, is obscurity. The next lines are obscure. * You must (says Pisanio) disguise that greatness which, to appear hereafter in its proper form, cannot yet appear without great danger to itself.'
16 Ful of view appears to mean of ample prospect, affording a complete view of circumstances which it is your interest to know. Thus in Pericles, • Full of face' appears to signify amply beautiful :' and Duncan assures Banquo that he will labour to make him“ full of growing,' i. e. of ample growth.”