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In those unfledg'd days was my wife a girl:
Your precious self had then not cross'd the
Of my young play-fellow.

eyes

Her.

Grace to boot!
Of this make no conclusion, lest you say,
Your queen and I are devils: yet, go on;
Th' offences we have made you do, we'll answer;
If you first sinn'd with us, and that with us
You did continue fault, and that you slipp'd not
With any, but with us.

Is he won yet?

[Coming forward.

Leon. Her. He'll stay, my lord. Leon. At my request he would not. Hermione, my dearest, thou never spok'st To better purpose. Her.

Never ?

Leon.

Never, but once.

3

Her. What? have I twice said well? when was't before? I pr'ythee, tell me. Cram's with praise, and make's ' As fat as tame things: one good deed, dying tongueless, Slaughters a thousand waiting upon that. Our praises are our wages: you may ride 's With one soft kiss a thousand furlongs, ere With spur we clear an acre. But to the good': My last good deed was to entreat his stay; What was my first? it has an elder sister, Or I mistake you: O, would her name were Grace! But once before I spoke to the purpose: when? Nay, let me have't; I long.

Leon.

Why, that was when Three crabbed months had sour'd themselves to death, Ere I could make thee open thy white hand,

3 I pr'ythee tell me. CRAM's with praise, and MAKE's] i. e. "Cram us with praise and make us :" but, for the sake of the metre, the old copies, by their mode of printing, inform us that "cram us" and "make us "" were each to be read as one syllable. Such doubtless was the mode in which the words were written in the MS. used by the old compositor, and we may presume that in this form they came from the pen of Shakespeare. This remark will apply to "to's," on the preceding page, and to various other portions of this play.

4 With spur we CLEAR an acre. But to the GOOD:] These are two emendations obtained from the corr. fo. 1632: "clear" was misprinted heat, and "good" goal. Hermione reverts from her simile to the "good" Leontes had imputed to her. The compositor misread "good" goal, erroneously thinking that the figure derived from horsemanship was still carried on.

And clap thyself my love: then didst thou utter, "I am your's for ever."

Her.

It is Grace, indeed!

Why, lo you now! I have spoke to the purpose twice:
The one for ever earn'd a royal husband,
Th' other for some while a friend.

Leon.

To mingle friendship far is mingling bloods.
I have tremor cordis on me:-my heart dances,
But not for joy,-not joy.-This entertainment
May a free face put on; derive a liberty
From heartiness, from bounty's fertile bosom,
And well become the agent: 't may, I grant;
But to be paddling palms, and pinching fingers,
As now they are; and making practis'd smiles,
As in a looking-glass;—and then to sigh, as 'twere
The mort o' the deer; O! that is entertainment
My bosom likes not, nor my brows.-Mamillius,
Art thou my boy?

Ay, my good lord.

What!

Mam.

Leon.

Why, that's my bawcock'.

nose ?—

[Giving her hand to POLIXENES. [Aside.] Too hot, too hot!

They say, it is a copy out of mine.

Come, captain,

I' fecks' ?
hast smutch'd thy

We must be neat; not neat, but cleanly, captain:
And yet the steer, the heifer, and the calf,
Are all call'd neat.-Still virginalling'

[Observing POLIXENES and HERMIONE. Upon his palm ?-How now, you wanton calf! Art thou my calf?

5 From BOUNTY's fertile bosom,] This was Malone's judicious emendation, and it accords with the corr. fo. 1632: the old wording is "from bounty, fertile bosom :" the printer perhaps mistook the s of the Saxon genitive for a comma, which he therefore placed after "bounty."

and then to sigh, as 'twere

The MORT O' the deer;] The "mort o' the deer" is the death of the deer. Leontes probably likens the violence of the supposed sighs of Hermione to the long blast of a horn at "the mort o' the deer;" or, it may be, to the heavy sighs of the animal while dying.

I' fecks?] Steevens supposes this exclamation to be a corruption of i' faith: it is as likely to be a corruption of in fact—if indeed they are not the same.

8 Why, that's my BAWCOCK.] Perhaps, says Steevens, from beau and coq.

9

9 Still virginalling] i. e. Playing with her fingers, as on the virginals.

Mam.

Yes, if you will, my lord.

Leon. Thou want'st a rough pash, and the shoots that I have',

To be full like me :-yet, they say, we are
Almost as like as eggs: women say so,
That will say any thing: but were they false
As our dead blacks', as wind, as waters; false
As dice are to be wish'd by one that fixes
No bourn 'twixt his and mine; yet were it true
To say this boy were like me.-Come, sir page,
Look on me with your welkin eye' sweet villain!
Most dear'st! my collop!-Can thy dam ?-may't be1?

1 Thou want'st a rough PASH, and the shoots that I have,] Holloway, in his "General Dictionary of Provincialisms," 8vo, 1838, informs us that "pash" in Cheshire signifies the brains, and that "mad pash" is the same as mad brains. "Pash "" may be taken in this place for the head, for which Malone states it is used in Scotland. The meaning of Leontes is therefore quite evident: by the "rough pash" we are to understand the hair on the forehead of a bull, which Mamillius wants, as well as the "shoots," i. e. the budding horns, which Leontes fancies he feels on his forehead.

2 AS OUR DEAD blacks,] i. e. Blacks for the dead, mourning, which Leontes emphatically calls "false," inasmuch as it often does not represent the real state of feeling of the wearer. It is misprinted "As o're dy'd blacks" in the folio, 1623, and hence some commentators have fancied that the allusion was to the want of

""

permanence in o'er-dyed blacks. Leontes is speaking generally of mourning, then commonly called "blacks," and "our dead blacks" (the happy emendation in the corr. fo. 1632) means only our blacks worn for the dead. It would be waste of time and space to quote proofs that "blacks was the ordinary term for mourning in the time of Shakespeare; but we may be allowed to add the following apt quotation made by Steevens from "The Old Law," by Massinger, Middleton, and Rowley

"Blacks are often such dissembling mourners,
There is no credit given to't, it has lost

All reputation by false sons and widows:
I would not hear of blacks."

3 Look on me with your WELKIN eye:] i. e. Blue eye,-the colour of the welkin, or what we commonly call the blue sky.

* Can thy dam?-may't be?] All that follows to the end of the speech is erased by the old corrector of the folio, 1632: perhaps he did not understand it, and probably it was, in his time, omitted on the stage. We shall attempt no explanation of it. beyond stating that, in all likelihood, "affection" is to be taken for imagination, and "intention," not for design or purpose but, for intentness, or vehemence of passion. Not one of the commentators, ancient or modern, has concurred with another on the poet's meaning, and there can be little hesitation in coming to the conclusion that mishearing, misrecitation, and misprinting have contributed to the obscuration of what, possibly, was never very intelligible to common readers or auditors. All that is clear is that Leontes, watching the conduct of Polixenes and Hermione, misinterprets their actions, and feeds his own jealousy, concluding that their object was criminal and that he was to be the sufferer. This notion he gives vent to in various abrupt sentences, the connexion of which is entirely mental, but their general import is sufficiently clear.

Affection, thy intention stabs the centre:
Thou dost make possible things not so held,
Communicat'st with dreams;-(how can this be?)—
With what's unreal thou coactive art,

And fellow'st nothing. Then, 'tis very credent,
Thou may'st co-join with something; and thou dost ;
(And that beyond commission ;) and I find it,
And that to the infection of my brains,
And hardening of my brows.

Pol.
What means Sicilia ?
Her. He something seems unsettled.
Pol.

How, my lord!
Leon. What cheer? how is't with you, best brother?
Her.
You look
As if

you held a brow of much distraction: Are you mov'd, my lord?

Leon.
No, in good earnest.-
How sometimes nature will betray its folly,
Its tenderness, and make itself a pastime
To harder bosoms! Looking on the lines
Of my boy's face, my thoughts I did recoil
Twenty-three years', and saw myself unbreech'd,
In my green velvet coat; my dagger muzzled,
Lest it should bite its master, and so prove,
As ornaments oft do, too dangerous.

How like, methought, I then was to this kernel,
This squash, this gentleman.-Mine honest friend,
Will you take eggs for money?

Mam. No, my lord, I'll fight.

Then, 'tis very CREDENT,] In "Measure for Measure," A. iv. sc. 4, we have had "credent," as here, used for credible.

What cheer? how is't with you, best brother?] There is no reason for taking this passage from Leontes, and adding it, as was done by Malone and Steevens, to the preceding exclamation of Polixenes, "How, my lord!" The old copies are uniform in the present distribution of the dialogue: Leontes is endeavouring to recover himself, and breaks from a fit of abstraction with the line, "What cheer? how is't with you, best brother?"

7

Looking on the lines

Of my boy's face, MY thoughts I did recoil

Twenty-three years,] In the old copies it stands, "me thoughts I did recoil," and so it has been since usually printed. A MS. correction in Lord Ellesmere's copy shows that me has been inserted for my.

This squash,] i. e. This immature peascod. We have had the word already in "Midsummer-Night's Dream," A. iii. sc. i, and in "Twelfth-Night," A. i. sc. 5.

Will you take eggs for money?] This phrase was proverbial for putting up with an affront, and so it was understood by Mamillius.

Leon. You will? why, happy man be his dole'!-My

brother,

Are you so fond of your young prince, as we
Do seem to be of our's?

Pol.
If at home, sir,
He's all my exercise, my mirth, my matter:
Now my sworn friend, and then mine enemy;
My parasite, my soldier, statesman, all.
He makes a July's day short as December;
And with his varying childness cures in me
Thoughts that would thick my blood.

Leon.

So stands this squire
Offic'd with me. We two will walk, my lord,
And leave you to your graver steps.-Hermione,
How thou lov'st us show in our brother's welcome:
Let what is dear in Sicily be cheap.
Next to thyself, and my young rover, he's
Apparent to my heart.

Her.
If you would seek us,
We are your's i' the garden: shall's attend you there?
Leon. To your own bents dispose you: you'll be found,
Be you beneath the sky.-[Aside.] I am angling now,
Though you perceive me not how I give line.
Go to, go to!

How she holds up the neb, the bill to him;
And arms her with the boldness of a wife
To her allowing husband.

[Exeunt POLIXENES, HERMIONE, and Attendants.
Gone already!

Inch-thick, knee-deep, o'er head and ears a fork'd one !—
Go play, boy, play ;-thy mother plays, and I
Play too, but so disgrac'd a part, whose issue
Will hiss me to my grave: contempt and clamour
Will be my knell.-Go play, boy, play.-There have been,
Or I am much deceiv'd, cuckolds ere now;

And many a man there is, (even at this present,

Now, while I speak this,) holds his wife by th' arm,

1

why, happy man be his DOLE!] i. e. May happiness be his portion. See "The Taming of the Shrew," A. i. sc. 1, p. 457.

2 We are your's i' the garden:] In Greene's novel of "Pandosto," we read, "When Pandosto was busied with such urgent affaires that hee could not bee present with his friend Egistus, Bellaria would walke with him into the garden, where they two in privat and pleasant devises would passe away the time to both their contents." Shakespeare's Library, Part i. p. 7.

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