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lb. 1. 17. From the rushes. The apartments in England being strewed with rushes in our author's time, he has given Lucretia's chamber the same covering. The contemporary poets, however, were equally inattentive to propriety. Ma Lone.
Ib. 1. 18. The needle his finger pricks. Other copies have it neeld, as an abbreviation of needle.
Ib. 1. 27. His course doth let. To let, formerly, signified to hinder, to prevent.
P. 69,1. 1. These lets; i. e. obstructions.
Ib. 1. 3. A more rejoicing; i. e. a greater rejoicing. Malone.
lb. 1. 4. And gave. Read—give.
Ib. ib. The sneaped buds. Sneapcd is checked. MaLone.
Ib. His prey. Prey was formerly always spelt pray. Ma Lone.
This play upon words, or jingle, though now disgusting, was certainly admired in our author's time. EdiTor.
Ib. 1. 17. His fair fair; i.e. his fair charmer. Fair, Mr. Malone says, was formerly used as a substantive, and here we have it both as an adjective and substantive. Editor.
Ib. 1. 18. And they would stand ausvicious to the hour. This false concord, perhaps, owes its introduction to the rhyme. In the second line of the stanza one deity only is invoked; in the fourth line he talks of more. We must, therefore, either acknowledge the .want of grammar, or read—
"And he would stand," &c. Steevens.
If we adopt Mr. Stcevens's proposed alteration, we should also use the singular in the concluding lines of the stanza, and read —
"The power to whom I pray abhors this fact,
"How can he then assist me in the act?"
The author has, in his play of King Richard III. thus given the plural number both to heaven and to hell; and I really think with propriety. In poetry the singular is often used for the plural. We are to understand, by heaven, the heavenly assembly; by hell, the infernal*; and as a Sovereign, to this day, speaks in the plural number, the poet is certainly justified in attributing it to the Eternal Power. Editor.
Ib. 1. 25. Black sin is cleared by absolution. The first editions have it—The blackest sin, &c. which, tho' it be the measure used in the poem, does not accord with that of the second line in this stanza: if we retain the old reading (which is undoubtedly better) we should add a dis-syllable, or two words to the following line:—
"My will is back'd with resolution."
Which not only disagrees with the other stanzas, but
the subsequent line:—
"Against love's fire fear's frost hath dissolution." The addition, however insignificant, would render
the line more majestic; for instance,
"Then love and fortune be my gods, my guide: "ATot#, now my will is back'd with resolution, "Thoughts are but dreams, till their effects be tried, "The blackest sin is clear'd by absolution," &c.
Our author has here rather prematurely made Tarquin a disciple of modern Rome. Malone.
P. 70, 1. t. The guilty hand. Read—his guilty, &c.
Ib. 1. 8. He stalks, The poet meant by the word stalk to convey the notion, not of a boisterous, but quiet movement A person apprehensive of being discovered, naturally takes long steps, the sooner to arrive at his point, whether he is approaching or retiring, and thus shorten the moments of danger. Malone.
Ib. 1. 11. Nead. Read—head.
Ib. 1. 15. Which gave the watch-word to his hand toosomi. For gave, read—gives. The first editions have it-—fall soon.
Ib. 1. 25. Clear bed; i. e. pure, spotless bed.
P. 71, 1. 1. Rosy cheeks. The first copy reads— cheek, which is certainly proper, for she could not have one lily hand under both cheeks. Editor.
.Ib. 1. S. Which therefore angry. Other copies read —Who, therefore, &c.
Ib. 1. 6. Where Hie a virtuous monument she Het. On our ancient monuments the heads of the persons represented are commonly reposed on pillows. Steevens.
Ib. 1. 10. Shewing life's triumph. In the edition of 1616 it is showring, the r evidently an erratum of the press. i
Ib. 1.19. Eacft in her sleep themselves so beautify. To preserve grammar, we must make themselves the nominative case to beautify, viz. Themselves so beautify each in her sleep, &c. Editor.
Ib. 1. 23. A pair of maiden worlds unconquered. Maiden worlds! How happeneth this, friend Colatine, -when Lucretia hath so long lain by thy side? Verily, it insinuateth ihce of coldness. Amner.
Maiden is here put for virtuous, being hitherto unconquered, unseduced, and bearing no other yoke but that of their lord, (Colatine) to whom they were truly subservient. Editor.
lb- 1. 25. By oath they truly honored. Alluding to the ancient practice of swearing domestics into service. Steevens.
The matrimonial oath was, I believe, alone, in our author's thoughts Maione.
Ib. 1. 26. These words. Read—worlds.
Ib. 1. 28. To have the owner out. The first editions read—heave.
P. 72, l. 4. And in his will his wilful eyes he tired. This may mean—He glutted his lustful eye in the imagination of what he had resolved to do. To tire is a term in falconry. Perhaps we should read—And on his will, &c. Steevens.
Tb. 1. 11. By gazing qualified; i. e. softened, abated, diminished. Steevens.
Ib. 1. 13. His eyes. Read—eye.
Ib. 1. 16. Fell exploits effecting. Perhaps we should read—affecting. Steevens.
The preceding line, and the two that follow, support, l think, the old reading. Tarquin only expects the onset; but the slaves here mentioned, do not affect or meditate fell exploits; they are supposed to be actually employed in carnage :—
"For pillage fighting,
"Nor children's tears, nor mother's groans respecting."
The subsequent line,—
"Swell in their pride, the onset still expecting." Refers not to the slaves, but to Tarquin's vein). MaJlone.
Ib. 1. 23. His eye commends. To commend, in our author's time, sometimes signified to commit, and has that sense here. Malone.
P. 73, 1. 14. Supposed terror me. Thus the modern editions; but the first has it true, which is certainly the proper reading. Rue, I doubt not, was an erratum of the press, and no intended emendation. Editor.
Ib. 1. 17. There appear. The other editions have it appears, for the sake of rhyme. As there is no occasion to multiply the body's fears to a thousand, by altering the first line (suppose thus—
Wrapt and confounded, full of doubt and fear,) both rhyme and grammar may be preserved. Editor.
Ib. 1. 26. Beating her bulk. Bulk is frequently used by our author, and other ancient writers, for tody.
P. 74, 1. 4. This alarum. Read—This rash alarm.
Ib. 1. 6. But she with vehement prayers urgeth still. A most inharmonious line, which would read better by the following transposition :-
"But, with vehement prayers, she urgeth still."
Ib. 1. 19. Fought with all my might. Other editions read—sought.
Ib. 1.23. I know what thorns, &c. I think it would be better to read—ihorn. Editor.