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Then for thy husband and thy children's sake,
Tender my suit3: bequeath not to their lot
The shame that from them no device can take,
The blemish that will never be forgot;

Worse than a slavish wipe, or birth-hour's blot 5:
For marks descried in men's nativity

Are nature's faults, not their own infamy".

Here with a cockatrice' dead-killing eye,
He rouseth up himself, and makes a pause;
While she, the picture of pure piety,

3 TENDER my suit-]


Cherish, regard my suit.

"Tender yourself more dearly." MALONE.

So, in

4 Worse than a SLAVISH WIPE,] More disgraceful than the brand with which slaves were marked. MALONE.

5 or birth-hour's BLOT:] So, in King John:

"If thou that bid'st me be content, wert grim,
"Ugly and slanderous to thy mother's womb,
"Full of unpleasing blots, and sightless stains,-
"Patch'd with foul moles and eye-offending marks,
"I would not care."

Again, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream:

"And the blots of nature's hand,

"Shall not in their issue stand;
"Never mole, hair-lip, nor scar,
"Nor mark prodigious-."

It appears that in Shakspeare's time the arms of bastards were distinguished by some kind of blot. Thus, in the play above quoted:

"To look into the blots and stains of right."

But in the passage now before us, those corporal blemishes with which children are sometimes born, seem alone to have been in our author's contemplation. MALONE.

6 For MARKS descried in men's NATIVITY

Are NATURE's faults, NOT THEIR OWN INFAMY.] So, in Hamlet :

"That for some vicious mole of nature in them,
"As, in their birth (wherein they are not guilty)-."


7 with a cockatrice' dead-killing eye,] So, in Romeo and Juliet:

"From the death-darting eye of cockatrice." STEEVens.

Like a white hind under the grype's sharp claws, Pleads in a wilderness, where are no laws,

To the rough beast that knows no gentle right, Nor aught obeys but his foul appetite.

Look, when a black-fac'd cloud the world doth threat 9,

In his dim mist the aspiring mountains hiding, From earth's dark womb some gentle gust doth get,

8 Like a white hind UNDER the GRYPE's sharp claws,] So, in King Richard III. :

"Ah me! I see the ruin of my house;

"The tyger now hath seiz'd the gentle hind."

All the modern editions read:

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The quarto, 1594, has:

"Like a white hinde under the grype's sharp claws —.” The gryphon was meant, which in our author's time was usually written grype, or gripe. MALONE.

The gripe is properly the griffin. See Cotgrave's Dictionary, and Mr. Reed's improved edition of Dodsley's Old Plays, vol. i. p. 124, where gripe seems to be used for vulture:


Ixion's wheele,

"Or cruell gripe to gnaw my growing harte."

It was also a term in the hermetick art.

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Ferrex and Porrex. Thus, in Ben Jonson's

let the water in glass E be filter'd,

"And put into the gripe's egg."

As griffe is the French word for a claw, perhaps anciently those birds which are remarkable for griping their prey in their talons, were occasionally called gripes." STEEVENS.

9 Look, when a black-fac'd cloud the world doth threat,] The quarto 1594 reads-But when, &c. For the emendation I am responsible.

But was evidently a misprint; there being no opposition whatsoever between this and the preceding passage. We had before:

"Look, as the fair and firy-pointed sun,-
"Even so

Again, in a subsequent stanza, we have:


Look, as the full-fed hound, &c.

"So surfeit-taking Tarquin -."

Again, in Venus and Adonis :


Look, how the world's poor people are amaz'd,"So she with fearful eyes-." MALONE.

Which blows these pitchy vapours from their biding,
Hindering their present fall by this dividing:
So his unhallow'd haste her words delays,
And moody Pluto winks while Orpheus plays.

Yet, foul night-waking cat, he doth but dally,
While in his hold-fast foot the weak mouse panteth:
Her sad behaviour feeds his vulture folly',

A swallowing gulf that even in plenty wanteth: His ear her prayers admits, but his heart granteth No penetrable entrance to her plaining:

Tears harden lust, though marble wear with

Her pity-pleading eyes are sadly fix'd
In the remorseless wrinkles of his face 2;
Her modest eloquence with sighs is mix'd,
Which to her oratory adds more grace.
She puts the period often from his place;

And 'midst the sentence so her accent breaks,
That twice she doth begin, ere once she speaks3.

She conjures him by high almighty Jove,

By knighthood, gentry, and sweet friendship's oath,
By her untimely tears, her husband's love,

By holy human law, and common troth,
By heaven and earth, and all the power of both,

The old copy, I think, is correct :- "He knows no gentle right, but still her words delay him, as a gentle gust blows away a blackfaced cloud." BOSWELL.

1-his vulture FOLLY,] Folly is used here, as it is in the sacred writings, for depravity of mind. So also, in Othello:

"She turn'd to folly, and she was a whore." MALONE. 2 In the REMORSELESS wrinkles of his face ;] Remorseless is pitiless. See vol. ix. p. 60, n. 7; and p. 391, n. 1. MALONE. 3 She PUTS THE PERIOD OFTEN FROM HIS PLACE,


That twice she doth begin,] So, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream:

"Make periods in the midst of sentences,

"Throttle their practis'd accent in their fears,

"And in conclusion dumbly have broke off," &c. STEEVENS.

That to his borrow'd bed he make retire,
And stoop to honour, not to foul desire.

Quoth she, reward not hospitality +

With such black payment as thou hast pretended";
Mud not the fountain that gave drink to thee;
Mar not the thing that cannot be amended;
End thy ill aim, before thy shoot be ended;
He is no wood-man that doth bend his bow
To strike a poor unseasonable doe.

4- reward not HOSPITALITY, &c.] So, in King Lear: my hospitable favours


"You should not ruffle thus."


pretended;] i. e. proposed to thyself. So, in Macbeth : 66 Alas the day!

"What good could they pretend?" STEEVENS.

6 End thy ill aim, before thy SHOOT be ended:] It is manifest, from the context, that the author intended the word shoot to be taken in a double sense; suit and shoot being in his time pronounced alike. So, in The London Prodigal, 1605:

"But there's the other black-browes, a shrood girl,
"She hath wit at will, and shuters two or three."

Again, in The Puritan, a Comedy, 1607:

"Enter the Sutors.

"Are not these archers?-what do you call them,—shooters," &c.

Again, in Lilly's Euphues and his England, 1580: "There was a lady in Spaine, who after the death of her father had three suters, and yet never a good archer," &c. MALONE.

I adhere to the old reading, nor apprehend the least equivoque. A sentiment nearly parallel occurs in Macbeth:

66 the murd'rous shaft that's shot,

"Hath not yet lighted."

"He is no wood-man that doth bend his bow," very strongly supports my opinion. STEEVENS.

There is no doubt that shoot was one of the ideas intended to be conveyed. It is, in my apprehension, equally clear, that the suit or solicitation of a lover was also in our author's thoughts. Shoot (the pronunciation of the two words being granted to be the same) suggests both ideas. The passage quoted from Macbeth, in the preceding note, does not, as I conceive, prove any thing. The word shot has there its usual signification, and no double meaning could have been intended. MALONE.

My husband is thy friend, for his sake spare me;
Thyself art mighty, for thine own sake leave me ;
Myself a weakling, do not then ensnare me:
Thou look'st not like deceit; do not deceive me:
My sighs, like whirlwinds, labour hence to heave

If ever man were mov'd with woman's moans,
Be moved with my tears, my sighs, my groans;

All which together, like a troubled ocean,
Beat at thy rocky and wreck-threat'ning heart,
To soften it with their continual motion;
For stones dissolv'd to water do convert.
O, if no harder than a stone thou art,
Melt at my tears and be compassionate!
Soft pity enters at an iron gate'.

In Tarquin's likeness I did entertain thee:
Hast thou put on his shape to do him shame
To all the host of heaven I complain me,

Thou wrong'st his honour, wound'st his princely


Thou art not what thou seem'st; and if the same,
Thou seem'st not what thou art, a god, a king;
For kings like gods should govern every thing.

How will thy shame be seeded in thine age,
When thus thy vices bud before thy spring?
If in thy hope thou dar'st do such outrage,

7 Soft pity enters at an IRON GATE.] Meaning, I suppose, the gates of a prison. STEEVENS.

8 How will thy shame be SEEDED in thine


When thus thy vices bud before thy spring?] This thought. is more amplified in our author's Troilus and Cressida:


the seeded pride,

"That hath to its maturity grown up

"In rank Achilles, must or now be cropt,


Or, shedding, breed a nursery of evil,

"To over-bulk us all." STEEVENS.

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