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Uncouple here, and let us make a bay,
And wake the emperor and his lovely bride,
And rouse the prince; and ring a hunter's peal,
That all the court may echo with the noise.
Sons, let it be your charge, as it is ours,
To tend the emperor's person carefully:
I have been troubled in my sleep this night,
But dawning day new comfort hath inspir'd.

Horns wind a Peal. Enter SATURNINUS, TAMORA, BAS-


Tit. Many good morrows to your majesty ;—
Madam, to you as many and as good!—
I promised your grace a hunter's peal.

Sat. And you have rung it lustily, my lords,
Somewhat too early for new-married ladies.
Bas. Lavinia, how say you?


I say, no;

I have been broad awake two hours and more.

Sat. Come on then, horse and chariots let us have, And to our sport:-Madam, now shall ye see

Our Roman hunting.


Surely the Oxford editor is in the right; unless we reason like the Witches in Macbeth, and say:

"Fair is foul, and foul is fair."


The old copy is, I think, right; nor did grey anciently denote any thing of an uncheerful hue. It signified blue," of heaven's own tinct." So, in Shakspeare's 132d Sonnet:

"And truly not the morning sun of heaven

"Better becomes the grey cheeks of the east,

Again, in King Henry VI, Part II:

it stuck upon him as the sun

"In the grey vault of heaven."

Again, in Romeo and Juliet:

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"The grey-ey'd morn smiles on the frowning night -" Again, ibidem:

"I'll say you grey is not the morning's eye."

Again, more appositely, in Venus and Adonis, which decisively supports the reading of the old copy:

"Mine eyes are grey and bright, and quick in turning."


A lady's eye of any colour may be bright; but still grey can

not mean aerial blue, nor a grey morning a bright one. Mr. Malane says grey is blue. Is a grey coat then a blue one? Steevens.


I have dogs, my lord,

Will rouse the proudest panther in the chase,
And climb the highest promontory top.

Tit. And I have horse will follow where the game
Makes way, and run like swallows o'er the plain.

Dem. Chiron, we hunt not, we, with horse nor hound, But hope to pluck a dainty doe to ground.


A desert Part of the Forest.

Enter AARON, with a Bag of Gold.


Aar. He, that had wit, would think that I had none, To bury so much gold under a tree,

And never after to inherit it.6

Let him, that thinks of me so abjectly,

Know, that this gold must coin a stratagem;
Which, cunningly effected, will beget
A very excellent piece of villainy :

And so repose, sweet gold, for their unrest,"

[Hides the gold. That have their alms out of the empress chest.


Tam. My lovely Aaron, wherefore look'st thou sad,

6 to inherit it.] To inherit formerly signified to possess. See Vol. II, p. 108, n. 4; and Vol. VII, p. 12, n. 7. Malone.

7 - for their unrest,] Unrest, for disquiet, is a word frequently used by the old writers. So, in The Spanish Tragedy, 1603:

"Thus therefore will I rest me in unrest." Again, in Eliosto Libidinoso, an ancient novel, by John Hinde, 1606:

"For the ease of whose unrest,

"Thus his fury was exprest."


8 That have their alms &c.] This is obscure. It seems to mean only, that they who are to come at this gold of the empress are to suffer by it. Johnson.


My lovely Aaron, wherefore look'st thou sad,] In the course of the following notes several examples of the savage genius of Ravenscroft, who altered this play in the reign of King James II, are set down for the entertainment of the reader. The following is a specimen of his descriptive talents. Instead of the line with which this speech of Tamora begins, she is made to


When every thing doth make a gleeful boast?
The birds chaunt melody on every bush;
The snake lies rolled in the cheerful sun;
The green leaves quiver with the cooling wind,
And make a checquer'd shadow on the ground :
Under their sweet shade, Aaron, let us sit,
And whilst the babbling echo mocks the hounds,
Replying shrilly to the well-tun'd horns,

As if a double hunt were heard at once,2—
Let us sit down, and mark their yelling noise :
And-after conflict, such as was suppos'd
The wandering prince and Dido once enjoy'd,
When with a happy storm they were surpriz'd,
And curtain'd with a counsel-keeping cave,-
We may, each wreathed in the other's arms,
Our pastimes done, possess a golden slumber;
Whiles hounds, and horns, and sweet melodious birds,
Be unto us, as is a nurse's song

"The emperor, with wine and luxury o'ercome,
"Is fallen asleep; in 's pendant couch he 's laid,
"That hangs in yonder grotto rock'd by winds,
"Which rais'd by art to give it gentle motion :
"And troops of slaves stand round with fans perfum'd,
"Made of the feathers pluck'd from Indian birds,
"And cool him into golden slumbers:

"This time I chose to come to thee, my Moor.
"My lovely Aaron, wherefore," &c.-

An emperor who has had too large a dose of love and wine, and in consequence of satiety in both, falls asleep on a bed which partakes of the nature of a sailor's hammock, and a child's cradle, is a curiosity which only Ravenscroft could have ventured to describe on the stage. I hope I may be excused for transplanting a few of his flowers into the barren desart of our comments on this tragedy. Steevens.

My lovely Aaron, &c.] There is much poetical beauty in this speech of Tamora. It appears to me to be the only one in the play that is in the style of Shakspeare. M. Mason.


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a checquer'd shadow-] Milton has the same expres

many a maid

Dancing in the checquer'd shade."

The same epithet occurs in Locrine.



As if a double hunt were heard at once,] Hence, perhaps, a line in a well known song by Dryden:

"And echo turns hunter, and doubles the cry."


Saturn is dominator over mine:4

What signifies my deadly-standing eye,
My silence, and my cloudy melancholy?
My fleece of woolly hair that now uncurls,
Even as an adder, when she doth unroll
To do some fatal execution?

No, madam, these are no venereal signs;
Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand,
Blood and revenge are hammering in my head.
Hark, Tamora, the empress of my soul,

Which never hopes more heaven than rests in thee,—
This is the day of doom for Bassianus ;

His Philomel must lose her tongue to-day:5

Thy sons make pillage of her chastity,

And wash their hands in Bassianus' blood.


as is a nurse's song

Of lullaby, to bring her babe asleep.] Dr. Johnson, in his Dictionary, says, "it is observable that the nurses call sleep by, by; bullaby is therefore lull to sleep." But to lull originally signified to sleep. To compose to sleep by a pleasing sound is a secondary sense retained after its primitive import became obsolete. The verbs to loll and lollop evidently spring from the same root. And by meant house; go to by is go to house or cradle. The common compliment at parting, good by is good house, may your house prosper; and Selby, the Archbishop of York's palace, is great house. So that lullaby implies literally sleep in house, i. e. the cradle. H. White.

though Venus govern your desires,


Saturn is dominator over mine:] The meaning of this sage may be illustrated by the astronomical description of Saturn, which Venus gives in Greene's Planetomachia, 1585: "The star of Saturn is especially cooling, and somewhat drie," &c. Again, in The Sea Voyage, by Beaumont and Fletcher :

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for your aspect

"You 're much inclin'd to melancholy, and that
"Tells me the sullen Saturn had predominance

66 At your nativity, a malignant planet!

"And if not qualified by a sweet conjunction
"Of a soft ruddy wench, born under Venus,
"It may prove fatal." Collins.

Thus also, Propertius, L. IV, i, 84:

“Et grave Saturni sydus in omne caput." Steevens.

5 His Philomel &c.] See Vol. XVI, p. 53, n. 9. Steevens.

Seest thou this letter? take it up, I pray thee,
And give the king this fatal-plotted scroll:-
Now question me no more, we are espied;
Here comes a parcel of our hopeful booty,
Which dreads not yet their lives' destruction.
Tam. Ah, my sweet Moor, sweeter to me than life!
Aar. No more, great empress, Bassianus comes:
Be cross with him; and I 'll go fetch thy sons
To back thy quarrels, whatsoe'er they be.



Bas. Who have we here? Rome's royal emperess,
Unfurnish'd of her well-beseeming troop?
Or is it Dian, habited like her;

Who hath abandoned her holy groves,
To see the general hunting in this forest?
Tam. Saucy controller of our private steps!
Had I the power, that, some say, Dian had,
Thy temples should be planted presently
With horns, as was Acteon's; and the hounds
Should drive upon thy new-transformed limbs,8
Unmannerly intruder as thou art!

Lav. Under your patience, gentle emperess,
'Tis thought you have a goodly gift in horning;

6 of her-] Old copies of our. Corrected by Mr. Rowe.

The edition 1600, reads exactly thus:
Vnfurnisht of her well beseeming troop? Todd.



our private steps!] Edition 1600:-my private steps.


8 Should drive upon thy new-transformed limbs,] Mr. Heath suspects that the poet wrote:

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Should thrive upon thy new-transformed limbs, as the former is an expression that suggests no image to the fancy. But drive, I think, may stand, with this meaning: the hounds should pass with impetuous haste, &c. So, in Hamlet:

66 Pyrrhus at Priam drives," &c.

i. e. flies with impetuosity at him.


The old copies have upon his new-transformed limbs. The emendation was made by Mr. Rowe. Malone.

It is said in a note by Mr. Malone, that the old copies read, upon his new-transformed limbs," and that Mr. Rowe made the emendation-thy. The edition of 1600 reads precisely thus: Should drive upon thy new transformed limbes. Todd.

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