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Florence. A Room in the Widow's House.
Enter HELENA, Widow, and DIANA, HEL. That you may well perceive I have not
wrong'd you, One of the greatest in the Christian world Shall be my surety ; 'fore whose throne, 'tis need
Nor you", mistress,
2 His grace is at MarseilLES, &c.] From this line, and others, it appears that Marseilles was pronounced by our author as a word of three syllables. The old copy has here Marcelle, and in the last scene of this Act, Marcellus. Malone. 3 Nor you,] Old copy–Nor your. Corrected by Mr. Rowe.
Malone. 4- my motive -] Motive for assistant. WARBURTON.
And helper to a husband. But O strange men!
Let death and honesty 6
Yet, I pray you, -But with the word, the time will bring on summer, When briars shall have leaves as well as thorns, And be as sweet as sharp 8. We must away ; Rather for mover. So, in the last Act of this play:
“— all impediments in fancy's course
“ Are motives of more fancy.” MALONE. s When saucy trusting of the cozen'd thoughts
Defiles the pitchy night !] Saucy may very properly signify luxurious, and by consequence lascivious. Johnson. So, in Measure for Measure:
as to remit
“ In stamps that are forbid.” MALONE. 6 - death and honesty -] i. e. an honest death. So, in another of our author's plays, we have “ death and honour" for honourable death. Steevens.
Rather, death accompanied by honesty. Boswell. 7 — your IMPOSITION,] i. e. your commands. MALONE.
An imposition is a task imposed. The term is still current in Universities. STEEVENS.
8 But with THE WORD, the time will bring on summer, &c.] “ With the word,” i. e. in an instant of time, WARBURTON.
The meaning of this observation is, that as briars have sweet ness with their prickles, so shall these troubles be recompensed with joy. Johnson. I would read :
“ Yet l'fray you
“ But with the word : the time will bring,” &c. And then the sense will be, “I only frighten you by mentioning the word suffer : for a short time will bring on the season of happiness and delight.” BLACKSTONE,
Our waggon is prepar'd, and time revives us':
As the beginning of Helen's reply is evidently a designed aposiopesis, a break ought to follow it, thus :
“ Hel. Yet, I pray you — :" The sense appears to be this :-Do not think that I would engage you in any service that should expose you to such an alternative, or, indeed, to any lasting inconvenience; “ But with the word,” i. e. But on the contrary, you shall no sooner have delivered what you will have to testify on my account, than the irksomeness of the service will be over, and every pleasant circumstance to result from it will instantaneously appear. Henley.
9 Our waggon is prepar’d, and time REVIVES us :] The word revives conveys so little sense, that it seems very liable to suspicion :
" and time revyes us :" i. e. looks us in the face, calls upon us to hasten. WARBURTON.
The present reading is corrupt, and I am afraid the emendation none of the soundest. I never remember to have seen the word revye. One may as well leave blunders as make them. Why may we not read for a shift, without much effort, the time invites us ? Johnson.
To vye and revye were terms at several ancient games at cards, but particularly at Gleek. So, in Greene's Art of Coney-catching, 1592 : “ I'll either win something or lose something, therefore I'll vie and revie every card at my pleasure, till either yours or mine come out; therefore 12d. upon this card, my card comes first." Again : “ — so they vie and revie till some ten shillings be on the stake,” &c. Again : “ This filesheth the Conie, and the sweetness of gain makes him frolick, and none more ready to vie and revie than he.” Again : “ So they vie and revie, and for once that the Barnacle wins, the Conie gets five.” Perhaps, however, revyes is not the true reading. Shakspeare might have written-time reviles us, i. e. reproaches us for wasting it. Yet, “ time revives us " may mean, it rouses us. So, in another play of our author :
“ — I would revive the soldiers' hearts,
“ Because I found them ever as myself.” STEEVENS. “ Time revives us," seems to refer to the happy and speedy termination of their embarrassments. She had just before said :
“ With the word, the time will bring on summer.” Henley.
A Room in the Countess's Palace.
Enter Countess, Lafey, and Clown.. LAF. No, no, no, your son was misled with a snipt-taffata fellow there; whose villainous saffron would have made all the unbaked and doughy youth of a nation in his colour : your daughter-in-law
i All's well that ends well ;] So, in The Spanish Tragedy:
“ The end is crown of every work well done." “ All's well that ends well,” is one of Camden's proverbial sentences.
2- the fine's —] Fine is end. So, in The London Prodigal, 1605 : “ Nature hath done the last for me, and there's the fine.”
MALONE. “ — still the fine's the crown.” So, in Chapman's version of the second Iliad :
“ We fly, not putting on the crown of our so long-held war.” Again, ibid. :
"— and all things have their crown,
“ As he interpreted.” Steevens. These words seem to be merely a translation of the common Latin proverb : “ Finis coronat opus.” BoswELL.
3 — whose villainous saffron would have made all the unbaked and doughy youth of a nation in his colour :] Parolles is represented as an affected follower of the fashion, and an encourager of his master to run into all the follies of it; where he says : “ Use a more spacious ceremony to the noble lords - they wear themselves in the cap of time—and though the devil lead the measure, such are to be followed." Here some particularities of fashionable dress are ridiculed. Snipt-taffata needs no explanation ; but villainous saffron is more obscure. This alludes to a fantastic fashion, then much followed, of using yellow starch for their bands and ruffs. So, Fletcher, in his Queen of Corinth :
“ Has he familiarly
“ Was not exactly frenchified ?" And Jonson's Devil's an Ass : “ Carmen and chimney-sweepers are got into the yellow
had been alive at this hour; and your son here at home, more advanced by the king, than by that red-tailed humble-bee I speak of.
This was invented by one Turner, a tire-woman, a court-bawd, and, in all respects, of so infamous a character, that her invention deserved the name of villainous saffron. This woman was, afterwards, amongst the miscreants concerned in the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury, for which she was hanged at Tyburn, and would die in a yellow ruff of her own invention : which made yellow starch so odious, that it immediately went out of fashion. 'Tis this, then, to which Shakspeare alludes : but using the word saffron for yellow, a new idea presented itself, and he pursues his thought under a quite different allusion " Whose villainous saffron would have made all the unbaked and doughy youths of a nation in his colour ;”i. e, of his temper and disposition. Here the general custom of that time, of colouring paste with saffron, is alluded to. So, in The Winter's Tale : “ I must have saffron to colour the warden pyes."
WARBURTON. This play was probably written several years before the death of Sir Thomas Overbury. The plain meaning of the passage seems to be : “ Whose evil qualities are of so deep a dye, as to be sufficient to corrupt the most innocent, and to render them of the same disposition with himself." Malone.
Stubbs, in his Anatomie of Abuses, published in 1595, speaks of starch of various colours :
“ The one arch or piller wherewith the devil's kingdome of great ruffes is underpropped, is a certain kind of liquid matter which they call startch, wherein the devill hath learned them to wash and die their ruffes, which, being drie, will stand stiff and indexible about their neckes. And this startch they make of divers substances, sometimes of wheate Aower, of branne, and other graines : sometimes of rootes, and sometimes of other thinges : of all collours and hues, as white, redde, blewe, purple, and the like." · In The World toss'd at Tennis, a masque by Middleton, the five starches are personified, and introduced contesting for superiority :
Again, in Albumazar, 1615 : . " What price bears wheat and saffron, that your band's so
stiff and yellow?”. Again, in Heywood's If You Know Not Me, You Know Nobody, 1606 : “ — have taken an order to wear yellow garters, points, and shoe-tyings, and 'tis thought yellow will grow a custom.”
“ It has been long used at London." It may be added, that in the year 1446, a parliament was held