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Hel. Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie, Which we ascribe to heaven: the fated sky Gives us free scope; only, doth backward pull Our slow designs, when we ourselves are dull. What power is it, which mounts my love so
high; That makes me see, and cannot feed mine eye ? ? The mightiest space in fortune nature brings To join like likes, and kiss like native things 3. Impossible be strange attempts, to those That weigh their pains in sense; and do suppose, What hath been * cannot be: Who ever strove To show her merit, that did miss her love ? The king's disease-my project may deceive me. But my intents are fix'd, and will not leave me.
2 What power is it, which mounts my love so high;
That makes me see, and cannot feed mine eye?] She means, by what influence is my love directed to a person so much above me? why am I made to discern excellence, and left to long after it, without the food of hope ? Johnson.
3 — kiss like native things.] Things formed by nature for each other, M. Mason
So, in Chapman's metrical “ Address to the Reader,” prefixed to his translation of Homer's Iliad, 1611:
“ Our monosyllables so kindly fall
4 The mightiest space in fortune nature brings
To join like likes, and kiss like native things.
What hath been – All these four lines are obscure, and, I believe, corrupt; I shall propose an emendation, which thuse who can explain the present reading, are at liberty to reject :
“ Through mightiest space in fortune nature brings
“ Likes to join likes, and kiss like native things.". That is, nature brings like qualities and dispositions to meet through any distance that fortune may set between theni; she joins them and makes them kiss like things born together.
The next lines I read with Sir T. Hanmer :
A Room in the King's Palace.
Flourish of cornets. Enter the King of France,
with letters; Lords and others attending. King. The Florentines and Senoys' are by the
“ Impossible be strange attempts to those
“ What ha'n't been, cannot be.” New attempts seem impossible to those who estimate their labour or enterprises by sense, and believe that nothing can be but what they see before them. JOHNSON.
I understand the meaning to be this—“The affections given us by nature often unite persons between whom fortune or accident has placed the greatest distance or disparity; and cause them to join, like likes (instar parium) like persons in the same situation or rank of life.” Thus (as Mr. Steevens has observed) in Timon of Athens :
“ Thou solderest close impossibilities,
“ And mak'st them kiss." This interpretation is strongly confirmed by a subsequent speech of the Countess's steward, who is supposed to have overheard this soliloquy of Helena : “ Fortune, she said, was no goddess, that had put such difference betwixt their two estates."
“The mightiest space in fortune,” for “persons the most widely separated by fortune,” is certainly a licentious expression ; but it is such a licence as Shakspeare often takes. Thus, in Cymnbeline; “ the diminution of space” is used for the diminution, of which space, or distance, is the cause. If he had written spaces, (as in Troilus and Cressida,
" her whom we know well
“ The world's large spaces cannot parallel,)” the passage would have been more clear; but he was confined by the metre. We might, however, read
“The mightiest space in nature fortune brings
“ To join,” &c. i. e. accident sometimes unites those whom inequality of rank has separated. But I believe the text is right. MALONE.
5 - Senoys -] The Sanesi, as they are termed by Boccace. Painter, who translates him, calls them Senois. They were the
Have fought with equal fortune, and continue
1 LORD. So 'tis reported, sir. ' King. Nay, 'tis most credible; we here receive it
A certainty, vouch'd from our cousin Austria,
His love and wisdom,
He hath arm’d our answer,
It may well serve
What's he comes here?
Enter BERTRAM, LAFEU, and PAROLLES. 1 LORD. It is the count Rousillon”, my good
lord, Young Bertram.
King. Youth, thou bear'st thy father's face ; Frank nature, rather curious than in haste, Hath well compos'd thee. Thy father's moral parts May'st thou inherit too! Welcome to Paris.
BER. My thanks and duty are your majesty's. King. I would I had that corporal soundness now, As when thy father, and myself, in friendship
people of a small republick, of which the capital was Sienna. The Florentines were at perpetual variance with them.
STEEVENS. 6 - Rousillon,] The old copy reads Rosignoll. STEEVENS.
First try'd our soldiership! He did look far
7_ It much REPAIRS me
To talk of your good father:] To repair, in these plays, generally signifies, to renovate. So, in Cymbeline :
“ O disloyal thing,
“ That should'st repair my youth!” MALONE. 8 He had the wit, which I can well observe
To-day in our young lords ; but they may jest,
Till their own scorn return to them unnoted, · Ere they can hide their levity in honour.] I believe honour is not dignity of birth or rank, but acquired reputation :-“ Your father, (says the king,) had the same airy fights of satirical wit with the young lords of the present time, but they do not what he did, hide their unnoted levity, in honour, cover petty faults with great merit.”
This is an excellent observation. Jocose follies, and slight offences, are only allowed by mankind in him that over-powers them by great qualities. Johnson. Point thus :
“ He had the wit, which I can well observe
6. So like a courtier. Contempt,” &c. BLACKSTONE. · The punctuation recommended by Sir William Blackstone is, I believe, the true one, at least it is such as deserves the reader's consideration. STEEVENS. 9 So like a courtier, contempt nor bitterness Were in his pride or sharpness ; if they were,
His equal had awak'd them ;] Nor was used without reduplication. So, in Measure for Measure:
Clock to itself, knew the true minute when .
“ More nor less to others paying,
“ Than by self-offences weighing." The old text needs to be explained. He was so like a courtier, that there was in “his dignity of manner nothing contemptuous, and in his keenness of wit nothing bitter.” If bitterness or contemptuousness ever appeared, they had been awakened by some injury, not of a man below him, but of his equal. This is the complete image of a well-bred man, and somewhat like this Voltaire has exhibited his hero, Lewis XIV. Johnson.
· His tongue obey'd his hand :) We should read—“ His tongue obey'd the hand.” That is, “ the hand of his honour's clock,” showing “ the true minute when exceptions bad him speak.” Johnson. His is put for its. So, in Othello :
- her motion “ Blush'd at herself.”-instead of itself. STEEVENS. ? He us'd as creatures of another place ;] i. e. he made allowances for their conduct, and bore from them what he would not from one of his own rank. The Oxford editor, not understanding the sense, has altered another place to a brother-race.
WARBURTON. I doubt whether this was our author's meaning. I rather incline to think that he meant only, “ that the father of Bertram treated those below him with becoming condescension, as creatures not indeed in so high a place as himself, but yet holding a certain place; as one of the links, though not the largest, of the great chain of society."
In The Winter's Tale, place is again used for rank or situation in life : “
O thou thing, ' “ Which I'll not call a creature of thy place.” Malone. 3 Making them proud of his humility,
In their poor praise he humbled :] But why were they proud of his humility? It should be read and pointed thus :
“ Making them proud ; and his humility,
“ In their poor praise, he humbled .". i. e. by condescending to stoop to his inferiors, he exalted them