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A fasting tiger safer by the tooth,
Our author was probably thinking on the lions, which in his time, as at present, were kept in the Tower, in dens fo small as fully to justify the epithet he has used. Malone.
8 Is not amiss, when it is truly done ;] This is a conclusion de travers. We should read :
Is yet amiss, The Oxford editor, according to his usual custom, will improve it further, and reads—most amiss. WARBURTON. I rather read :
Is't not amiss, when it is truly done? as the alteration is less, and the sense which Dr. Warburton first discovered is preserved. Johnson. The old copies read:
Is not amiss, when it is truly done. Pandulph, having conjured the King to perform his first vow to heaven,- to be champion of the church, tells him, that what he has since sworn is sworn against himself, and thesefore may not be performed by him: for that, says he, which you have sworn to do amifs, is not amiss, (i. e. becomes right) when it is done truly (that is, as he explains it, not done at all;) and being not done, where it would be a fin to do it, the truth is most done when you do it noi, So, in Love's Labour's Loft:
“ It is religion to be thus forfworn.” Ritson. Again, in Cymbeline :
she is foolid
And being not done, where doing tends to ill,
By placing the second couplet of this sentence before the first, the passage will appear perfectly clear. Where doing tends to ill, where an intended act is criminal, the truth is most done, by not doing the act. The criminal act therefore which thou haft sworn to do, is not amiss, will not be imputed to you as a crime, if it be done truly, in the sense I have now affixed to truth; that is, if you do not do it. MALONE.
9 But thou haft sworn against religion ; &c.] The propositions, that the voice of the church is the voice of heaven, and that the pope uiters the voice of the church, neither of which Pandulph's auditors would deny, being once granted, the argument here used is ir. resistible; nor is it easy, notwithstanding the gingle, to enforce it with greater brevity or propriety:
But thou has sworn against religion :
To fwear, swear only not to be forsworn. By what. Sir T. Hanmer reads---By that. I think it should be rather by which. That is, thou swearft against the thing, by which thou swear'A; that is, against religion. The most formidable difficulty is in these lines:
And makAt an oath the furety for thy truth,
To fwear, &c.
And mak' f an oath the surety for thy truth,
To fwear, &c.
Against an oath the truth thou art unfurewhich leaves the passage to me as obscure as before,
By what thou swear’st, against the thing thou
I know not whether there is any corruption beyond the omission of a point. The sense, after I had considered it, appeared to me only this: In fwearing by religion against religion, to which thou has already sworn, thou makes an oath the security for thy faith against an oath already taken. I will give, says he, a rule for conscience in these cases. Thou may'st be in doubt about the matter of an oath ; when thou sweareft, thou mayst not be always sure to fwear rightly; but let this be thy settled principle, swear only not to be forsworn; let not the latter oaths be at variance with the former, Truth, through this whole speech, means rectitude of conduct.
Johnson. I believe the old reading is right; and that the line “ By what," &c. is put in appofition with that which precedes it: ." But thou hast lworn against religion; thou hast sworn, by what thou sweareft, i. e. in that which thou haft sworn, against the thing thou sweareft hy; i, e, religion, Our author has many such el. liptical expressions. So, in K, Henry VIII:
“ Whoever the king favours,
“ And far enough from court too." Again, ibidem:
“ This is about that which the bishop fpake" [Of ], Again, in K. Richard III:
“ True ornaments to know a holy man" (by], Again, in The Winter's Tale :
" A bed-swerver, even as bad as those
“ That vulgars give bold'ít titles" [to]. Again, ibidem :
“ the queen is spotless
“ In this that you accuse her” [of]. MALONE. 22 fwear only not to be forsworn;] The old copy reads fwears, which in my apprehension shews that two half lines have been loit, in which the person fupposed to swear was mentioned, When the same word is repeated in two succeeding lines, the eye of the compofitor often glances from the first to the second, and in consequence the intermediate words are omitted. For what has
Else, what a mockery should it be to swear?
Aust. Rebellion, Alat rebellion!
Will't not be? Will not a calf's-skin stop that mouth of thine ?
Lew. Father, to arms!
Upon thy wedding day?
been loft, it is now in vain to seek; I have therefore adopted the emendation made by Mr. Pope, which makes some kind of sense.
MALONE. 3 - braying trumpets,] Bray appears to have been particularly applied to express the harsh grating sound of the trumpet. So, in Spenser's Faery Queen, B. IV. c. xii. ft. 6:
. " And when it ceaft shrill trompets loud did bray." Again, B. IV. c. iv. ft. 48:
“ Then Thrilling trompets loudly 'gan to bray." And elsewhere in the play before us:
“ - Hard-resounding trumpets' dreadful bray." Again, in Hamlet:
" The trumpet shall bray outGawin Douglas, in his Translation of the Æneid, renders “ sub axe fonanti " (Lib. V. v. 820:)
“ Under the brayand quhelis and affiltre." Blackmore is ridiculed in the Dunciad, (B. II.) for endeavouring
Clamours of hell, be measures * to our pomp?
O, upon my knee,
may Be stronger with thee than the name of wife? Const. That which upholdeth him that thee
upholds, His honour: O, thine honour, Lewis, thine honour!
Lew. I muse, your majesty doth seem so cold, When such profound respects do pull you on.
30 ennoble this word by applying it to the sound of armour, war, &c, He might have pleaded these authorities, and that of Milton:
“ Arms on armour clashing bray'd
“ Horrible discord.” Paradise Loft, B. VI. v. 209. Nor did Gray, scrupulous as he was in language, reject it in The Bard:
“ Heard ye the din of battle bray?” Holt White. . A b e measures --] The measures, it has already been more than once observed, were a species of folemn dance in our author's time. This speech is formed on the following lines in the old play :
« Blanch. And will your grace upon your wedding-day
MALONE. s I muse,] i. e. I wonder. Reed. So, in Middleton's “ Tragi-Coomodie, called The Witch:"
“ And why thou staist so long, I muse,