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Which to deny, concerns more than avails:2
Sir, spare your threats;
I should guess sect to be the right word. See King Henry IV, P. II, Act II, sc. iv.
In Middleton's Mad World, my Masters, a Courtezan says: “ It is the easiest art and cunning for our sect to counterfeit sick, that are always full of fits when we are well." Farmer.
Thus, Falstaff, speaking of Dol Tearsheet: “So is all her sect: if they be once in a calm, they are sick.” Those of your fact, may, however, mean-those who have done as you do. Steevens.
That fact is the true reading, is proved decisively from the words of the novel, which our author had in his mind, both here, and in a former passage: [“ I ne'er heard yet, That any
of these bolder vices,” &c.] “And as for her (said Pandosto] it was her part to deny such a monstrous crime, and to be impudent in for. swearing the fact since she had passed all shame in committing the fault.” Malone. 2 Which to deny, concerns more than avails :) It is your
business to deny this charge, but the mere denial will be useless; will prove nothing. Malone.
3 The crown and comfort of my life,] The supreme blessing of my life. So, in Cymbeline :
" that husband!
“My supreme crown of grief.” Malone. 4 Starr'd most unluckily,] i. e. born under an inauspicious planet. So, in Romeo and Juliet:
“ And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars
To women of all fashion :-Lastly, hurried
This your request
[Exeunt certain Officers. Her. The emperor of Russia was my father: O, that he were alive, and here beholding His daughter's trial! that he did but see The flatness of my misery;? yet with eyes Of pity, not revenge!
3 I have got strength of limit.] I know not well how strength of limit can mean strength to pass the limits of the child-bed chamber; which yet it must mean in this place, unless we read in a more easy phrase, strength of limb. And now, &c. Johnson.
Mr. M. Mason judiciously conceives strength of limit to mean, the limited degree of strength which it is customary for women to ac. quire, before they are suffered to go abroad after child-bearing:
I tell you
'Tis rigour, and not law.] This also is from the novel: “Bellaria, no whit dismaid with this rough reply, told her husband Pandosto, that he spake upon choller, and not conscience ; for her virtuous life had been such as no spot of suspicion could ever stayne. And if she had borne a friendly countenance to Egisthus, it was in respect he was his friend, and not for any lusting affection: therefore if she were condemned without any farther proofe, it was rigour and not law.” Malone.
? The flatness of my misery ;] That is, how low, how flat I am laid by my calamity. Fohnson. So, Milton, Paradise Lost, B. II:
Thus repuls'd, our final hope “ Is flat despair." Malone.
Re-enter Officers, with CLEOMENES and Dion, Ofi. You here shall swear upon this sword of justice, That you, Cleomenes and Dion, have Been both at Delphos; and from thence have brought. This seal’d-up oracle, by the hand deliver'd Of great Apollo's priest; and that, since then, You have not dar'd to break the holy seal, Nor read the secrets in 't. Cleo. Dion,
All this we swear. Leon. Break up the seals, and read.
Offi. [reads] Hermione is chaste,8 Polixenes blameless, Camillo a true subject, Leontes a jealous tyrant, his innocent babe truly begotten; and the king shall live without an heir, if that, which is lost, be not found. Lords. Now, blessed be the great Apollo! Her.
Praised! Leon. Hast thou read truth? Ofi.
Ay, my lord; even so As it is here set down.
Leon. There is no truth at all i' the oracle:
Enter a Servant, hastily.
What is the business? Serv. O sir, I shall be hated to report it: The prince your son, with mere conceit and fear Of the queen's speed, is gone. Leon.
How! gone? Seru,
Is dead. Leon. Apollo 's angry; and the heavens themselves Do strike at my injustice. (HER. faints] How now there?
Paul. This news is mortal to the queen:-Look down, And see what death is doing.
8 Hermione is chaste, &c.] This is almost literally from Lodge's [Greene's] novel:
« The Oracle. Suspicion is no proofe ; jealousie is an unequal judge; Bella. ria is chaste; Egisthus blameless; Franion a true subject; Pandosto treacherous; his babe innocent; and the king shall dye without an heire, if that which is lost be not found." Malone.
9 of the queen's speed,] Of the event of the queen's trial: so we still say, he sped well or ill. Johnson.
Take her hence :
[Exeunt Paul, and Ladies, with HER.
! But that the good mind of Camillo tardied
My swift command,] Here likewise our author has closely followed Greene: “- promising not only to shew himself a loyal and a loving husband; but also to reconcile himselfe to Egisthus and Franion; revealing then before them all the cause of their secret flight, and how treacherously he thought to have practised his death, if that the good mind of his cup-bearer had not prevent. ed his purpose.” Malone.
and to the certain hazard Of all incertainties himself commended,} In the original copy some word probably of two syllables, was inadvertently omitted in the first of these lines. I believe the word omitted was either doubtful, or fearful. The editor of the second folio endeavoured to cure the defect by reading—the certain hazard; the most impro. per word that could have been chosen. How little attention the alterations made in that copy are entitled to, has been shown in my Preface. Commended is committed. See p. 219. Malone.
I am of a contrary opinion, and therefore retain the emendation of the second folio.
Certain hazard, &c. is quite in our author's manner. So, in The Comedy of Errors, Act II, sc. ji:
“ Until I know this sure uncertainty.” Steevens.
Thorough my rust! and how his piety
Woe the while!
I Lord. What fit is this, good lady?
Paul. What studied torments, tyrant, hast for me? What wheels? racks? fires? What flaying? boiling, In leads, or oils? what old, or newer torture Must I receive; whose every word deserves To taste of thy most worst? Thy tyranny Together working with thy jealousies, Fancies too weak for boys, too green and idle For girls of nine!-0, think, what they have done, And then run mad, indeed; stark mad! for all Thy by-gone fooleries were but spices of it. That thou betray'dst Polixenes, 'twas nothing; That did but show thee, of a fool, inconstant, And damnable ungrateful:* nor was 't much,
3 Does my deeds make the blacker!] This vehement retraction of Leontes, accompanied with the confession of more crimes than he was suspected of, is agreeable to our daily experience of the vicissitudes of violent tempers, and the eruptions of minds oppressed with guilt. Johnson. 4 That thou betray'dst Polixenes, 'twas nothing;
That did but show thee, of a fool, inconstant,
And damnable ungrateful:) I have ventured at a slight altera. tion here, against the authority of all the copies, and for fool read -soul. It is certainly too gross and blunt in Paulina, though sbe might impeach the King of foolcrics in some of his past actions and conduct, to call him downright a fool. And it is much more pardonable in her to arraign his morals, and the qualities of his mind, than rudely to call him idiot to his face. Theobald. - show thee, of a fool,] So all the copies. We should read:
show thee off, a fool, i. e. represent thee in thy true colours; a fool, an inconstant, &c.
Warburton. Poor Mr. Theobald's courtly remark cannot be thought to de. serve much notice. Dr. Warburton too might have spared his sagacity, if he had remembered that the present reading, by a mode of speech anciently much used, means only, It showed the first a fool, then inconstant and ungrateful. Johnson,
Damnable is bere used adverbially. Malone,