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509. When that the general is not like the hive,] The meanisig is, When the general is not to the army like the hive to the bees, the repository of the stock of every individual, that to which each particular resorts with whatever he has collected for the good of the whole, what honey is expected ? what hope of advantage? The sense is clear, the expression is confused. Johnson.
513. The heavens themselves,- -] This illustration was probably derived from a passage in Hooker: “If celestial spheres should forget their wonted motion ; if the Prince of the lights of heaven should begin to stand; if the moon should wander from her beaten way; and the seasons of the year blend themselves; what would become of man?"
The heavens themselves, the planets, and this centre,] i.e. the centre of the earth, which, according to the Ptolemaic system, then in vogue, is the centre of the solar system.
-But, when the planets,
In evil mixture, to disorder wander, &c.] I believe the poet, according to astrological opinions, means, when the planets forın malignant configuraa tions, when their aspects are evil towards one another, This he terms evil mixture.
JOHNSON. The poet's meaning may be somewhat explained by Spenser, to whom he seems to be indebted for his
present allusion :
“ For who so list into the heavens looke,
“ Shall find that from the point where they first
tooke “ Their setting forth, in these few thousand yeares They all are wandred much ; that plaine ap.
peares. " For that same golden fleecy ram, which bore “ Phrixus and Helle from their stepdames feares,
“ Hath now forgot where he was plast of yore, 61 And shouldred hath the bull which fayre Europa
" And eke the bull hath with his bow-bent horne
“! And all his creatures from their course astray, “ Till they arrive at their last ruinous decay.”
Faery Queen, B. V. c. 1,
STEEVENS. The apparent irregular motions of the planets were supposed to portend some disasters to mankind; in. deed the planets themselves were not thought formerly to be confined in any fixed orbits of their own, but to wander about ad libitum, as the etymology of their names demonstrates.
ANONYMOUS. 528. ---Inarried calm of states] The epithee C
married, which is used to denote an intimate union, is employed in the same sense by Milton:
Lydian airs « Married to immortal verse. Again :
-voice and verse “ Wed your divine sounds." Again, in Sylvester's translation of Du Bartas's Eden:
-shady groves of noble palm-tree sprays, “Of amorous myrtles and immortal bays; “ Never unleav'd, but evermore they're new, “ Self-arching, in a thousand arbours grew. " Birds mari
marrying their sweet tunes to the angels' lays, • Sung Adam's bliss, and their great Maker's
praise." The subject of Milton's great poem would naturally have led him to read this description in Sylvester. This quotation I owe to Dr. Farmer.
Shakspere calls a harmony of features, married lineaments, in Romeo and Juliet.
STEEVENS. 532. -brotherhoods in cities,] Corporations, companies, confraternities.
JOHNSON 556. That by a pacem-] That goes backward step by step:
-with a purpose
It has to climb :- -] With a design in each man to aggrandize himself, by slighting his imme. diate superior.
JOHNSON, Folio-in a purpose.
-bloodless emulation :] An emulation not vigorous and active, but malignant and sluggish.
JOHNSON. 580. Thy topless deputation -] Topless is that which has nothing topping or overtopping it ; supreme; sovereign.
JOHNSON. So, in Doctor Faustus, 1604: “ Was this the face that launch'd a thousand
ships, “ And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?” Again, in the Blind Beggar of Alexandria, 1598: “ And topless honours be bestow'd on thee."
STEEVENS. 584. 'Twixt his stretch'd footing and the scaffoldage, 1 The galleries of the theatre, in the time of our author, were sometimes termed the scaffolds. MALONE.
585. Such to-be-pitied and o'er-rested sceming] We should read, I think,-o'er-wrested. Wrested beyond the truth; overcharged. The word hitherto given has no meaning.
MALONE. 595. as near as the extremest ends, &c.] The parallels to which the allusion seems to be made, are the parallels on a map. As like as east to west.
palsy-fumbling-] This should be written-palsy-fumbling, i. e. paralytic fumbling.
TYRWHITT. 607. All our abilities, gifts, natures, shapes,
Severals and generals of grace exact,
Achievements, plots, &c.] All our good grace exact, means our excellence irreprehensible. Johnson. Cij
have a meaning, but it is not clear and distinct. I wish the copies had given, to make parodies.
bears his head
In such a rein, -] That is, holds his head as haughtily. We still say of a girl, she bridles.
JOHNSON. 624. How rank soever rounded in with danger.] A rank weed is a high weed.
JOHNSON 647. kingly ears?] The quarto: kingly eyes.
JOHNSON. 652. A stranger to those most imperial looks] And yet this was the seventh year of the war. Shakspere, who so wonderfully preserves character, usually confounds the customs of all nations, and probably supposed that the ancients (like the heroes of chivalry) fought with beavers to their helmets. So, in the fourth act of this play, Nestor says to Hector :
But this thy countenance, still lock'd in steel,
I never saw till now. Shakspere might have adopted this error from the illuminators of manuscripts, who never seem to have entertained the least idea of habits, manners, or customs, more ancient than their own. There are books in the British Museum of the age of king Henry VI. and in these the heroes of ancient Greece are repre. sented in the very dresses worn at the time when the books received their decoration.
STEEVENS. 655. Task, that I might waken reverence,] The folio has: