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Thou dy’dst, a most rare boy, of melancholy !
Arv. Stark, as you see;
cheek Reposing on a cushion.
Arv. O'the floor; His arms thus leagu’d: I thought, he Nept; and
My clouted brogues' from off my feet, whose rude
Guid. Why, he but neeps + :
meaning of the passage I take to be this:-Jave knows, what man thou might have made, but I know, thou diedA, &c.
TYRWHITT. but I, Thou dy'dft, a must rare boy, of melancholy !:-) I believe, “ but ab!” to be the true reading. Ay is through the first folio, and in all books of that time, printed instead of ab! Hence probably I, which was used for the affirmative particle ay, crept into the text here.
Heaven knows, (says Belarius) what a man thou would'At have been, had'st thou lived, but alas ! thou diedAt of melancholy, wbile yet only a most accomplished boy. Malone.
3 --clouted brogues-o] Are fhoes strengthened with clouf or bob-nails. In some parts of England, thin plates of iron called clouts, are likewise fixed to the shoes of ploughmen and other rusticks. STEEVENS.
* Wby, be but sleeps :) I cannot forbear to introduce a passage somewhat like this, from Webster's White Devil, or Vittoria Co. rombona, on account of its fingular beauty.
" Oh, thou soft natural death! thou art joint twin
With female fairies will his tomb be haunted,
Arv. With faireft Aowers,
With s With fairejt flowers Whilt summer lafts, &c.) So in Pericles Prince of Tyre:
“ No, I will rob Tellus of her weede
The ruddock would,
To winter-ground thy corse.-) Here again, the metaphor is strangely mangled. What sense is there in winter-grounding a corse with moss? A corse might indeed be said to be wintergrounded in good thick clay. But the epithet furr'd to moss directs us plainly to another reading,
To winter-gown thy corse : i.e. thy summer habit Mall be a light gown of flowers, thy winter habit a good warm furr'd gown of moss. WARBURTON.
I have no doubt but that the rejected word was Shakspeare's, since the protection of the dead, and not their ornament; was what he meant to express. To winter-ground a plant, is to protect it from the inclemency of the winter-season, by ftraw, dung, &c. laid over it. This precaution is commonly taken in respect of tender trees or flowers, such as Arviragus, who loved Fidele, represents her to be.
The ruddeck is the red-breast, and is so called by Chaucer and Spenser:
“ The tame ruddock, and the coward kite." The office of covering the dead is likewise ascribed to the rudo dock, by Drayton in his poem called The Owl:
Cov'ring with moss the dead's unclosed eye,
“ The little redbreast teacheth charitie.” STEEVENS, -the ruddock would, &c.] Is this an allusion to the babes of the wood, or was the notion of the red-breast covering dead budies, general before the writing that ballad? Percy.
With charitable bill (O bill, sore-shaming
This passage is imitated by Webster in his tragedy of The White Devil; and in such a manner, as confirms the old reading :
• The robin-red-breast, and the wren,
FARMER. Which of these two plays was first written, cannot now be determined. Webster's play was published in 1612, that of Shakspeare did not appear in print till 1623. In the preface to the edition of Webster's play, he thus speaks of Shakspeare:
« And lastly (without wrong last to be named) the right happy and copious industry of M. Shakespeare, &c." Steevens.
We may fairly conclude that Webster imitated Shakspeare ; for in the same page from which Dr. Farmer has cited the fore. going lines, is found a passage taken almost literally from Ham. kt. It is spoken by a distracted lady:
-you're very welcome ;
" I have left more for myself.” The lines cited by Dr. Farmer stand thus in The White Devil:
( Call for the robin-red-breast and the wren,
" To rear hin llocks that shall keep him warm." Dr. Warburton alks, " What sense is there in winter-grounding a corse with mossg"But winter-ground does not refer to mofs, but to the last antecedent, 'flowers. The paffage should therefore, in my opinion, be printed thus :
Yea, and furr'd moss beside, when flowers are none
To winter-ground thy corse. i. e, you shall have also a warm covering of moss, when there are no flowers to adorn thy grave with that ornament with which Winter is usually decorated. So, in Cupid's Revenge by Beaumont and Fletcher, 1625 : “ He looks like WINTER, fuck here and there with fresh flowers.". MALONE,
To winter-ground thy corse.
Guid. Prythee, have done;
Arv. Say, where shall's lay him?
Aru. Be't so:
Guid. Cadwal, I cannot sing: I'll weep, and word it with thee:. For notes of sorrow, out of tune, are worse Than priests and fanes that lie. · Arv. We'll speak it then. Bel. Great griefs, I fee, medicine the less : for
Cloten Is quite forgot. He was a queen's son, boys; And, though he came our enemy, remember, ? He was paid for that: Though mean and mighty,
rotting Together, have one dust; yet reverence, (That angel of the world) doth make distinction Of place 'twixt high and low. Our foe was princely ; And though you took his life, as being our foe, Yet bury him as a prince.
Guid. Pray you, fetch him hither.
He has paid for that: rather plausibly than rightly. Paid is for punibed. So Jonson :
“ Twenty things more, my friend, which you know due, « For which, or pay me quickly, or I'll pay you."
JOHNSON. reverence, (That angel of the world)--) Reverence, or due regard to subordination, is the power that keeps peace and order in the world. JOHNSON.
Thersites' body is as good as Ajax,
Aru. If you'll go fetch him, ,
[Exit Belarius. Guid. Nay, Cadwal, we must lay his head to the east; My father hath a reason for't.
Aru. 'Tis true.
S ON G.
Nor the furious winter's rages;
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages ;
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke ;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
Arv. Thou hast finish'd joy and moan: . Fear no more, &c.] This is the topic of consolation that nature dictates to all men on these occasions. The same farewel we have over the dead body in Lucian. Τέκνον άθλιον έχετε διψήσεις, έκετι πεινήσεις, &c. WARBURTON.
! The fcepter, leorning, &c.] The poet's sentiment seems to have been this.--All human excellence is equally subject to the stroke of death : neither the power of kings, nor the science of scholars, nor the art of those whose immediate study is the prolongation of life, can protect them from the final destiny of man.
JOHNSON, ? Fear not fander, &c.] Perhaps, Fear not flander's censure rath. JOHNSON, X 4