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“O what excuse can my invention make,
And extreme fear can neither fight nor fly,
“Had Collatinus kill'd my son or sire,
But as he is my kinsman, my dear friend,
“Shameful it is; ay, if the fact be known:
Who fears a sentence or an old man's saw
229 doth still exceed] is still in excess. 236 quittal] requital. 239 fact] crime. Cf. line 349, infra. The usage is common. 244 sentence] maxim, proverb. 245 a painted cloth] rough tapestry which ordinarily covered the wall of
middle-class houses; on them were painted moral sentences together with illustrations of scriptural scenes or popular secular tales.
Thus graceless holds he disputation
pure effects, and doth so far proceed
Quoth he, “She took me kindly by the hand,
First red as roses that on lawn we lay,
“And how her hand, in my hand being lock’d,
That had Narcissus seen her as she stood
247 will] lust; a common usage. 248 makes dispensation] dispenses. 256 Where . . . lies] Among whom ... resides or abides. 258–259 First red ... took away] Cf. Venus and Adonis, 689–590: "a
sudden pale Like lawn being spread upon the blushing rose.” 259 the roses took away] the roses being taken away. 264 cheer) countenance. 265–266 had Narcissus ... in the flood] Cf. Venus and Adonis, 161162: “Narcissus so himself himself forsook, And died to kiss his
“Why hunt I then for colour or excuses ?
And when his gaudy banner is display'd,
The coward fights, and will not be dismay'd.
Desire my pilot is, beauty my prize;
Then who fears sinking where such treasure lies ?” 280
shadow in the brook"; and Marlowe's Hero and Leander, Sestiad I,
lines 74-76. 275 Respect] Thought, cautious prudence; like "regard" in line 277. 277 Sad pause) Pause for serious thought. 278 My part is youth ... stage) An allusion to the performance of moral
ity plays, in which the personification of youth often figured in the dramatis persona. Cf. the extant morality plays called respectively The Interlude of Youth and Lusty Juventus. In many of these pieces there is much horse-play, chiefly on the part of a character called the “Vice,” the servitor of the Devil, who at the close is wont to drive his master from the stage with blows. Cf. Tw. Night, IV, ii, 120-122, and Hen. V, IV, 70–71.
So cross him with their opposite persuasion,
Within his thought her heavenly image sits,
But with a pure appeal seeks to the heart,
And therein heartens up his servile powers,
By reprobate desire thus madly led,
The locks between her chamber and his will,
Night-wandering weasels shriek to see him there;
286 cross him] work on him at cross-purposes. 303 retires his ward] draws back its bolt. “Retires" is used like the French
“retirer.” Cf. line 641, infra. 308 his fear] the cause of his fear, his peril.
As each unwilling portal yields him way,
But his hot heart, which fond desire doth scorch,
And being lighted, by the light he spies
Is not inured; return again in haste;
But all these poor forbiddings could not stay him;
Who with a lingering stay his course doth let,
313 his conduct in this case] his conductor or guide in this business. Cf.
Rom, and Jul., V, iii, 116: “Come bitter conduct, come unsavoury
guide.” 318 the rushes) the rushes, which strewed the floors of the chief rooms in
Elizabethan houses. Cf. Cymb., II, ii, 12-13: “Our Tarquin thus
Did softly press the rushes.' 319 needle] The word must be pronounced monosyllabically. The alter
native form neeld is substituted by Malone. 328 let) hinder. So line 10, supra. Cf. line 330: “lets” (i. e., hindrances).