« PreviousContinue »
Glend. My daughter weeps ; she will not part
with you, She'll be a soldier too, she'll to the wars. Mort. Good father, tell her,—that she, and my
aunt Percy, Shall follow in your conduct speedily.
GLENDOWER Speaks to his daughter in Welsh,
and she answers him in the same. Glend. She's desperate here; a peevish self
will'd harlotry, One no persuasion 8 can do good upon.
[Lady M. Speaks to MORTIMER in Welsh. Mort. I understand thy looks: that pretty Welsh Which thou pourest down from these swelling
heavens, I am too perfect in; and, but for shame, In such a parley would I answer thee.
[Lady M. Speaks. I understand thy kisses, and thou mine, And that's a feeling disputation : 2 But I will never be a truant, love, Till I have learn'd thy language; for thy tongue Makes Welsh as sweet as ditties highly penn’d,
7- a peevish self-will'd harlotry,] Capulet, in Romeo and Juliet, reproaches his daughter in the same terms:
“A peevish self-will'd harlotry it is.” Ritson. 8 One no persuasion &c.] A common ellipsis for-One that no persuasion &c. and so the ancient copies redundantly read.
Steevens. 9 Which thou pourest down from these swelling heavens,] The defect of harmony in this line, induces me to suppose (with Sir T. Hanmer) that our author originally wrote
Which thou pour'st down from these two swelling heavens, meaning her two prominent lips. SteeVENS.
2 a feeling disputation : ] i. e, a contest of sensibility, a reciprocation in which we engage on equal terms. Steevens.
Sung by a fair queen in a summer's bower,3,
[Lady M. Speaks again. Mort. O, I am ignorance itself in this.
Glend. She bids you
3 Sung by a fair queen &c.] Our author perhaps here intended a compliment to Queen Elizabeth, who was a performer on the lute and the virginals. See Sir James Melvil's curious account. Memoirs, folio, p. 50. Malone.
4 With ravishing division, to her lute.] This verse may serve for a translation of a line in Horace :
" — grataque fæminis
“ Imbelli cithara carmina divides." It is to no purpose that you (Paris) please the women by singing “ with raviihing division," to the harp. See the Commentators, and Voflius on Catullus, p. 239. S. W.
Divisions were very uncommon in vocal musick during the time of Shakspeare. Burney.
s Nay, if you melt, then will she run mad.] We might read, to complete the verse:
Nay, if you melt, why then will she run mad. Steevens. 60, I am ignorance itfelf in this.] Maslinger uses the same expression in The Unnatural Combat, 1639:
" - in this you speak, fir,
“ I am ignorance itself." STEEVENS. 7 She bids you
Upon the wanton rushes lay you down,] It was the custom in this country, for many ages, to strew the floors with rushes, as we now cover them with carpets. JOHNSON.
It should have been observed in a note, that the old copies read on, not upon. This slight emendation was made by Mr. Steevens.
I am now, however, inclined to adhere to the original reading, and would print the line as it stands in the old copy :
She bids you on the wanton rushes lay you down.
MALONE. We hare; but there is the strongest reason for suppofing such irregularities arose from the badness of the playhouse copies, or the carelessness of printers. STEEVENS.
And rest your gentle head upon her lap,
Mort.With all my heart I'll fit, and hear her sing: By that time will our book," I think, be drawn.
8 And on your eyelids crown the god of sleep,] The expression is fine; intimating, that the god of neep should not only fit on his eyelids, but that he should fit crown'd, that is, pleased and delighted.
WARBURTON, The same image (whatever idea it was meant to convey) occurs in Beaumont and Fletcher's Philaster : :
“ who shall take up his lute,
“ Upon my eyelid.” Steevens. The image is certainly a strange one; but I do not suspect any corruption of the text. The god of sleep is not only to sit on Mortimer's eyelids, but to fit crowned, that is, with sovereign dominion. So, in Twelfth Night:
“ Him will I tear out of that cruel eve,
" Where he fits crowned in his master's spite." Again, in our poet's 114th Sonnet:
“ Or whether doth my mind, being crown'd with you,
“ Drink up the monarch's plague, this Aattery ?”. Again, in Romeo and Juliet:
« Upon his brow shame is afham'd to sit,
" Sole monarch of the universal earth.” Again, in King Henry V :
“ As if allegiance in their bosoms sat,
“ Crowned with faith and constant loyalty.” Malone. 9 Making such difference 'twixt wake and seep, ] She will lull you by her song into soft tranquillity, in which you shall be so near to sleep as to be free from perturbation, and so much awake as to be sensible of pleasure; a state partaking of sleep and wakefulness, as the twilight of night and day. Johnson.
2 our book,] Our paper of conditions. Johnson.
GLEND. Do so; And those musicians that shall play to you, Hang in the air a thousand leagues from hence; Yet Itraight they fhall be here : fit, and attend.
Hot. Come, Kate, thou art perfect in lying down: Come, quick, quick; that I may lay my head in thy lap.
Ladr P. Go, ye giddy goose.
GLENDOWER speaks fome Welsh words,
and then the mufick plays. Hot. Now I perceive, the devil understands
LaDr P. Then should you be nothing but mufical; for you are altogether govern’d by humours. Lie ftill, ye thief, and hear the lady fing in Welsh.
Hor. I had rather hear Lady, my brach, howl in Irish.
LaDr P. Would'st thou have thy head broken? Hot. No.
3 And thofe muficians that all play to you,
Hang in the air a thousand leagues from hence;
STEVENS. Glendower had before boasted that he could call spirits from the vasty deep; he now pretends to equal power over the spirits of the air. Sit, says he to Mortimer, and, by my power, you shall have heavenly musick. The musicians that shall play to you, now hang in the air a thousand miles from the earth : I will summon them, and they shall straight be here. “ And straight" is the reading of the most authentick copies, the quarto 1598, and the folio 1623, and indeed of all the other ancient editions. Mr. Rowe first introduced the reading--Yet straight, which all the subsequent editors have adopted; but the change does not seem absolutely necessary.
LADY P. Then be still.
A Welsh Song sung by Lady M.
Hot. Not yours, in good footh! 'Heart, you swear like a comfit-maker's wife! Not you, in good sooth; and, As true as I live; and, As God shall mend me; and, As sure as day: And giv'st such sarcenet surety for thy oaths, As if thou never walk'dst further than Finibury.s
4 Neither; 'tis a woman's fault.] I do not plainly see what is a woman's fault. Johnson.
It is a woman's fault, is spoken ironically. Farmer.
This is a proverbial expression. I find it in The Birth of Merlin, 1662:
“ 'Tis a woman's fault: p of this balhfulness.” Again:
“ A woman's fault, we are subject to it, sir." Again, in Greene's Planetomachia, 1985: " Ma woman's faulte, to thrust away that with her little finger, whiche they pull to them with both their hands.”
I believe the meaning is this: Hotspur having declared his resolution neither to have his head broken, nor to sit still, sily adds, that such is the usual fault of women ; i. e. never to do what they are bid or desired to do. Steevens.
The whole tenor of Hotspur's conversation in this scene shows, that the stillness which he here imputes to women as a fault, was fomething very different from silence; and that an idea was couched under these words, which may be better understood than explained. He is still in the Welsh lady's bedchamber. White. s As if thau never walk’ds further than Finsbury.] Open walks