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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

here :

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,
“ Closing the crannies of the thirsty earth,
“ Grown to a love-game, and a bridal feast?” MALONE.

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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.

The amendment which I should propose, is to read Erinnys, in-
Atead of entrance. By Erinnys is meant the fury of discord. The
Erinnys of the soil, may possibly be considered as an uncommon
mode of expression, as in truth it is; but it is juftified by a passage
in the second Æneid of Virgil, where Æneas calls Helen-

-Trojæ & patriæ communis Erinnys.
And an expression somewhat similar occurs in the first part

of King
Henry VI. where Sir William Lucy says:

" Is Talbot Nain ? the Frenchman's only scoarge,

Your kingdom's terror, and black Nemefis ?"
It is evident that the words, her own children, her fields, her
flowrets, muft all necessarily refer to this foil; and that Shakspeare
in this place, as in many others, uses the personal pronoun instead
of the impersonal ; ber instead of its; unless we suppose he means
to personify the foil, as he does in Richard II. where Bolingbroke
departing on his exile says:

sweet foil, adieu !
My mother, and my nurse, that bears me yet.” M.Mason.
Mr. M. Mason's conjecture (which I prefer to any explanation
hitherto offered respecting this difficult passage may receive sup-
port from N. Ling's Epiftle prefixed to Wit's Commonwealth, 1598:

I knowe there is nothing in this worlde but is subject to
the Erynnis of ill-disposed persons.”—The same phrafe also occurs
in the tenth book of Lucan:

Dedecus Ægypti, Latio feralis Erinnys. A
Amidft these uncertainties of opinion, however, let me present
our readers with a single fact on which they may implicitly rely;
viz. that Shakspeare could not have designed to open his play with
a speech, the fifth line of which is obscure enough to demand a
series of comments thrice as long as the dialogue to which it is
appended. All that is wanted, on this emergency, seems to be
a juft and striking personification, or, rather, a proper name. The
former of these is not discoverable in the old reading-entrance ;
but the latter, furnished by Mr. M. Mafon, may, I think, be safely
admitted, as it affords a natural unembarrassed introduction to the
train of imagery that succeeds.

again in the 5. Thebaid of Statius, V. 202 cunita vus regnat Kangoon erinnys



Of hostile paces : those opposed eyes,
Which, like the meteors of a troubled heaven,
All of one nature, of one substance bred,
Did lately meet in the intestine shock
And furious close of civil butchery,
Shall now, in mutual, well-beseeming ranks,
March all one way; and be no more oppos’d
Against acquaintance, kindred, and allies :
The edge of war, like an ill-sheathed knife,
No more shall cut his master. Therefore, friends,
As far as to the sepulcher of Christ,

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,
“ With thousand torches ushering the way:
To Risus will we consecrate this evening,
Like Meffermis cheating of the brack.

“ Weele make this night the day,” &c. *
Is it impossible, therefore, that Erinnys may have been blundered
into entrance, a transformation almost as perverse and mysterious
as the foregoing in Marston's tragedy?

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

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(Whose soldier now, under whose blessed cross
We are impressed and engag'd to fight,)
Forthwith a power of English shall we levy;'
Whose arms were moulded in their mothers' womb
To chase these pagans, in those holy fields,
Over whose acres walk'd those blessed feet,
Which, fourteen hundred years ago, were nail'd
For our advantage, on the bitter cross.
But this our purpose is a twelve-month old,
And bootless 'tis to tell you—we will go;
Therefore we meet not now :Then let me hear
Of you, my gentle cousin Westmoreland,
What yesternight our council did decree,
In forwarding this dear expedience.8

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

So, in

9 And

A post from Wales, loaden with heavy news;
Whose worst was,--that the noble Mortimer,
Leading the men of Herefordshire to fight
Against the irregular and wild Glendower,
Was by the rude hands of that Welshman taken,
And a thousand of his people butchered:
Upon whose dead corps there was such misuse,
Such beastly, shameless transformation,
By those Welshwomen done, as may not be,
Without much shame, retold or spoken of.
K. Hen. It seems then, that the tidings of this

broil Brake off our business for the Holy land. West. This, match'd with other, did, my gracious

For more uneven and unwelcome news
Came from the north, and thus it did import.
On Holy-rood day, the gallant Hotspur there,
Young Harry Percy,' and brave Archibald,

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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.


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