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No more shall trenching war channel her fields,
By her lips Shakspeare may mean the lips of peace, who is men. tioned in the second line; or may use the thirsty entrance of the foil, for the porous surface of the earth, through which all moisture enters, and is thirstily drank, or soaked up.
So, in an Ode inserted by Gascoigne in his and Francis Kinwel. mersh's translation of the Phoenifa of Euripides: “ And make the greedy
ground a drinking cup, “ To sup the blood of murdered bodies up." STEEVENS. If there be no corruption in the text, I believe Shakspeare meant, however licentiously, to say, No more shall this foil have the lips of her thirsty entrance, or mouth, daubed with the blood of her own children.
Her lips, in my apprehenfion, refers to foil in the preceding line, and not to peace, as has been suggefted. Shakspeare seldom attends to the integrity of his metaphors. In the second of these lines he considers the soil or earth of England as a person ; (So, in King Richard II:
“ Tells them, he does bestride a bleeding land,
“ Gasping for life under great Bolingbroke.)" and yet in the first line the soil must be understood in its ordinary material sense, as also in a subsequent line in which its fields are said to be channelled with war. Of this kind of incongruity our author's plays furnish innumerable instances.
Daub, the reading of the earliest copy, is confirmed by a passage in K. Richard II. where we again meet with the image presented
“ For that our kingdom's earth shall not be soild
“ With that dear blood which it hath foftered.” The fame kind of imagery is found in K. Henry VI. P. III:
“ Thy brother's blood the thirsty earth hath drunk :" In which passage, as well as in that before us, the poet had perhaps the sacred writings in his thoughts : “ And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand.” Gen. iv, 2. This last observation has been made by an anonymous writer. Again, in K. Richard II :
“ Rest thy unrest on England's lawful earth,
Unlawfully made drunk with innocent blood.” The earth may with equal propriety be said to daub her lips with blood, as to be made drunk with blood.
A passage in the old play of King John, 1591, may throw some light on that before us:
“ Is all the blood y-spilt on either part,
Nor bruise her flowrets with the armed hoofs
The thirsty entrance of the soil is nothing more or less, than the face of the earth parch'd and crack'd as it always appears in a dry summer. As to its being personified, it is certainly no fach unusual practice with Shakspeare. Every one talks familiarly of Mother Earth; and they who live upon her face, may without much impropriety be called her children. Our author only confines the image to his own country. The allusion is to the Barons' wars.
-Trojæ & patriæ communis Erinnys.
" Is Talbot Nain ? the Frenchman's only scoarge,
“ Your kingdom's terror, and black Nemefis ?"
sweet foil, adieu !
I knowe there is nothing in this worlde but is subject to
Dedecus Ægypti, Latio feralis Erinnys. A
again in the 5. Thebaid of Statius, V. 202 cunita vus regnat Kangoon erinnys
Of hostile paces : those opposed eyes,
Let us likewise recollect, that, by the first editors of our author, Hyperion had been changed into Epton; and that Maríton's Insatiate Countess, 1613, concludes with a speech fo darkened by corruptions, that the comparison in the fourth line of it is abfolutely unintelligible.--It stands as follows:
“ Night, like a masque, is entred heaven's great hall,
“ Weele make this night the day,” &c. *
Being nevertheless aware thaž Mr. M. Mason's gallant effort to produce an easy sense, will provoke the flight objections and petty cavils of such as reftrain themselves within the bounds of timid conjecture, it is necessary I should subjoin, that his present emendation was not inserted in our text on merely my own judgement, but with the deliberate approbation of Dr. Farmer.-Having now prepared for controversy-ligna canant! STEEVENS.
like the meteors of a troubled heaven,] Namely, long streaks of red, which represent the lines of armies; the appearance of which, and their likeness to such lines, gave.occasion to all the
(Whose soldier now, under whose blessed cross
WESI And m But yel
to make obliged t only lyin
to the se not cori sense, o Pericles
The e I concei regards the
1 Тbe now mee intended
A post from Wales, loaden with heavy news;
broil Brake off our business for the Holy land. West. This, match'd with other, did, my gracious
Limits, as Mr. Heath observes, may mean, outlines, rough sketches or calculations. STEEVENS.
Limits may mean the regulated and appointed times for the conduct of the bufiness in hand. So, in Measure for Measure: -" between the time of the contract and limit of the folemnity, her brother Frederick was wreck'd at sea.” Again, in Macbeth:
-I'll make so bold to call, “ For 'tis my limited service." MALONE. 2 By those Welfbwomen done,] Thus Holinshed, p. 528:"_fuch shameful villanie executed upon the carcasses of the dead men by the Welsh women; as the like (I doo beleeve) hath never or sildome beene practised. STEEVENS.
the gallant Hotspur there, Young Harry Percy,] Holinshed's History of Scotland, p. 240, says: “ This Harry Perry was furnamed, for his often pricking, Henry Hotspur, as one that seldom times rested, if there were anie service to be done abroad.” TOLLET. 4 Archibald,] Archibald Douglas, earl Douglas.