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I would not be the villian that thou think'st,
Be not offended :
What should he be?
I have, however, adopted Mr. Malone's emendation, as it varies, but in a single letter, from the reading of the old copy. See his subsequent note. Steevens.
If we read-The title is affeerd, the meaning may be:Poor country, wear those thy wrongs, the title to them is legally settled by those who had the final judication of it.
Affeerers had the power of confirming, or moderating fines and amercements. Tollet.
To affeer (for so it should be written) is to assess, or reduce to certainty. All amerciaments-that is, judgments of any court of justice, upon a presentment or other proceeding, that a party shall be amerced, or in mercy,-are by Magna Charta to be affeered by lawful men, sworn to be impartial. This is the ordinary practice of a Court Leet, with which Shakspeare seem's to have been intimately acquainted, and where he might have occasionally acted as an affeerer. Ritson.
For the emendation now made I am answerable. The was, I conceive, the transcriber's mistake, from the similar sounds of the and thy, which are frequently pronounced alike.
Perhaps the meaning is,-Poor country, wear thou thy wrongs! Thy title to them is now fully established by law. Or, perhaps, be addresses Malcolm. Continue to endure tamely the wrongs you suffer: thy just title to the throne is cow'd, has not spirit to establish itself. Malone."
Esteem him as a lamb, being compar'd
Not in the legions
I grant him bloody,
With this, there grows,
confineless barms.) So, in The Merry Wives of Wind sor, Act II, sc. ii: “ thou unconfinable baseness Steevens.
9 Sudden, malicious,] Sudden, for capricious. Warburton. Rather, violent, passionate, hasty. Fobnson.
1 Boundless intemperance -] Perhaps the epithet-boundless, which overloads the metre; was a play-house interpolation
grows with more pernicious root
Than summer-seeding lust;] The old copy has-summer seeming. Steevens. Summer-seeming has no manner of sense: correct,
Than summer-teeming lust; i. e. the passion that lasts no longer than the beat of life, and which goes
off in the winter of age. Warburton. When I was younger, and bolder, I corrected it thus:
Than fume, or seething lust. That is, than angry passion, or boiling lust. Fobnson. Summer-seeming lust, may signify lust that seems as hot as
Steevens. Read-summer-seeding. The allusion is to plants; and the sense is,-“ Avarice is a perennial weed; it has a deeper and more pernicious root than lust, which is a mere annual, and lasts but for a summer, when it sheds its seed and decays."
Blackstone. I have paid the attention to this conjecture which I think it deserves, by admitting it into the text. Steevens.
Surimer-seeming is, I believe, the true reading. In Donne's Poems we meet with “winter-seeming.” Malone.
Sir W. Blackstone's elegant emendation is countenanced by the following passages : Thus, in The Rape of Lucrece :
“ How will thy shame be see:led in thine age,
“When thus thy vices bud before thy spring?". And in Troilus and Cressida :
The seeded pride
- forsons —] Plenty. Pope. It means provisions in plenty. So, in The Ordinary, by Carta wright: “New fo,sons byn ygraced with new titles.” The word was antiquated in the time of Cartwright, and is by him put into the mouth of an antiquary. Again, in Holinshed's Reign of King Henry VI, p. 1613: “ fifteene hundred men, and great foisin of vittels." Steevens.
- All these are portable,] Portable is, perhaps, here used for supportable. All these vices, being balanced by your vir. fues, may be endured. Malone.
Portable answers exactly to a phrase now in use. Such fail. ing's may be borne wiib, or are bearabic. Steedens,
With other graces weigh’d.
Mal. But I have none: The king-becoming graces, As justice, verity, temperance, stableness, Bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness, Devotion, patience, courage, fortitude, I have no relish of them; but abound In the division of each several crime, Acting it many ways. Nay, had I power, I should Pour the sweet milk of concord into hell, Uproar the universal
confound All unity on earth.5
Nay, bad I power, I should
All unity on earth.] Malcolm, I think, means to say, that if he had ability, he would change the general state of things, and introduce into hell, and earth, perpetual vexation, uproar, and confusion. Hell, in its natural state, being always repre. sented as full of discord and mutual enmity, in which its inha. bitants may be supposed to takr the greatest delight, he proposes as the severest stroke on them, to pour the sweet milk of concord amongst them, so as to render them peaceable and quiet, a state the most adverse to their natural disposition; while on the other hand he would throw the peaceable inhabitants of earth into uproar and confusion.
Perhaps, however, this may be thought too strained an interpretation. Malcolm, indeed, may only mean, that he will pour all that milk of human kindness, which is so beneficial to man. kind, into the abyss, so as to leave the earth without any portion of it; and that by thus depriving mankind of those humane affections which are so necessary to their mutual happiness, he will throw the whole world into confusion. I believe, however, the former interpretation to be the true one.
In king James's first speech to his parliament, in March 1603-4, he says, that he had “suck'd the milk of God's truth with the milk of his nurse."
The following passage in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, which exhibits the reverse of this image, may be urged in fa. vour of my first interpretation:
“ If he, compact of jars, grow musical,
“ We shall have shortly discord in the spheres." Malone. I believe, all that Malcolm designs to say is,-that, if he had power, he would even annihilate the gentle source or principle of peace : pour the soft milk by which it is nourished, among the flames of hell, which could not fail to dry it up.
Lady Macbeth has already observed that her husband was too full of the milk of human kindness.” Steevens.
O Scotland! Scotland! Mal. If such a one be fit to govern, speak: I am as I have spoken. Macd.
Fit to govern! No, not to live.--O nation miserable, With an untitled tyranto bloody-scepter'd, When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again? Since that the truest issue of thy throne By his own interdiction stands accurs’d, And does blaspheme his breed ?-Thy royal father Was a most sainted king; the queen, that bore thee, Oftner
her knees than on her feet,
Macduff, this noble passion,
an untitled tyrant - ] Thus, in Chaucer's Manciple's Tale:
Right so hetwix a titleles tiraunt
“ And an outlawe.” Steevens. i Died every day she lived ] The expression is borrowed from the sacred writings: “I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus, I die daily.” Malone.
J. Davies, of Hereford, in his Epigram on-A proud lying Dyer, has the same allusion :
“ Yet (like the mortifide) he dyes to live.” To die unto sin, and to live unto righteousness, are phrases em ployed in our Liturgy. Steevens. 8 From over-credulous baste:] From over-hasty credulity.