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Then for thy husband and thy children's sake,
Worse than a slavish wipe, or birth-hour's blot 5:
Are nature's faults, not their own infamy".
Here with a cockatrice' dead-killing eye,
3 TENDER my suit-]
Cherish, regard my suit.
"Tender yourself more dearly." MALONE.
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,
Again, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream:
"And the blots of nature's hand,
"Shall not in their issue stand;
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,
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:
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:
"Or cruell gripe to gnaw my growing harte."
It was also a term in the hermetick art.
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,-
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,
Yet, foul night-waking cat, he doth but dally,
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
And 'midst the sentence so her accent breaks,
She conjures him by high almighty Jove,
By knighthood, gentry, and sweet friendship's oath,
By holy human law, and common troth,
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,
And 'MIDST THE SENTENCE SO her ACCENT BREAKS,
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,
Quoth she, reward not hospitality +
With such black payment as thou hast pretended";
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,
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;
If ever man were mov'd with woman's moans,
All which together, like a troubled ocean,
In Tarquin's likeness I did entertain thee:
Thou wrong'st his honour, wound'st his princely
Thou art not what thou seem'st; and if the same,
How will thy shame be seeded in thine age,
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.