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The Winter's Tale

(257,1) The story of this play is taken from the Pleasaunt History of Dorastus and Fawnia, written by Robert Greene. (1773)

I.i.9 (258,2) [Wherein our entertainment shall shame us, we will be justified in our loves] Though we cannot give you equal entertainment, yet the consciousness of our good-will shall justify us.

I.i.30 (258,3) [royally attornied] Nobly supplied by substitution of embassies, &c.

l.i.43 (259,4) [physicks the subject] Affords a cordial to the state; has the power of assuaging the sense of misery.

I.ii.13 (259,5) [that may blow No sneaping rinds] That may blow is a Gallicism, for may there blow. (1773)

I.ii.31 (261,6) [All in Bohemia's well: this satisfaction The bygone day proclaim'd] We had satisfactory accounts yesterday of the state of Bohemia. (1773)

I.ii.123 (266,6) [We must be neat] Leontes, seeing his son's nose smutched, cries, We must be neat, then recollecting that neat is the term for horned cattle, he says, not neat, but cleanly.

I.ii.125 (266,7) [Still virginalling] Still playing with her fingers, as a girl playing on the virginals.

I.ii.132 (266,8) [As o'er-dy'd blacks] Sir T. Hammer understands, blacks died too much, and therefore rotten.

I.ii.136 (267,9) [welkin-eye] Blue eye; an eye of the same colour with the welkin, or sky.

I.ii.139 (267,2) [Thou dost make possible things not so held] i.e. thou dost make those things possible, which are conceived to be impossible. (1773)

I.ii.161,3 (268,3) [will you take eggs for mony?] This seems to be a proverbial expression, used when a man sees himself wronged and makes no resistance. Its original, or precise meaning, I cannot find, but I believe it means, will you be a cuckold for hire. The cuckow is reported to lay her eggs in another bird's nest; he therefore that has eggs laid in his nest, is said to be cocullatus, cuckow'd, or cuckold.

I.ii.163 (268,4) [happy man be his dole!] May his dole or share in life be to be a happy man.

I.ii.176 (269,5) [he's Appareat to my heart] That is, heir apparent or the next claimant.

I.ii.186 (269,6) [a fork'd one] That is, a horned one; a cuckold.

I.ii.217 (270,9) [whispering, rounding] To round in the ear is to whisper or to tell secretly. The expression is very copiously explained by H. Casaubon, in his book de Ling. Sax.

I.ii.227 (271,1) [lower messes] Mess is a contraction of Master, as Mess John. Master John; an appellation used by the Scots, to those who have taken their academical degree. Lower Messes, therefore are graduates of a lower form.

The speaker is now mentioning gradations of understanding, and not of rank, (see 1765, II,244,9)

I.ii.260 (372,2) [Whereof the execution did cry out Against the nonperformance] This is one of the expressions by which Shakespeare too frequently clouds his meaning. This sounding phrase means, I think, no more than a thing necessary to be done. [Revisal; the now-performance] I do not see that this attempt does any thing more, than produce a harsher word without on easier sense, (see 1765, II,245,1)

I.ii.320 (275,5) [But with a ling'ring dram, that should not work, Maliciously, like poison] [Hammer: Like a malicious poison] Rash is hasty, as in another place, rash gunpowder. Maliciously is malignantly, with effects openly hurtful. Shakespeare had no thought of betraying the user. The Oxford emendation is harmless and useless.

1.ii.321 (275,6)

[But I cannot Believe this crack to be in my dread mistress, So sovereignly being honourable. Leo. I have lov'd thee--Make that thy question, and go rot!]

[Theobald had emended the text to give the words "I have lov'd thee" to Leontes] I have admitted this alteration, as Dr. Warburton has done, but am not convinced that it is necessary. Camillo, desirous to defend the queen, and willing to secure credit to his apology, begins, by telling the king that he has loved him, is about to give instances of his love, and to infer from them his present zeal, when he is interrupted.

I.ii.394 (278,7) [In whose success we are gentle] I know not whether success here does not mean succession.

I.ii.424 (279,1) [Cam. Swear this thought over By each particular star in heaven] [T: this though] Swear his thought over

May however perhaps mean, overswear his present persuasion, that is, endeavour to overcome his opinion, by swearing oaths numerous as the stars. (1773)

I.ii.458 (281,3) [Good expedition be my friend, and comfort The gracious queen] [W: queen's] Dr. Warburton's conjecture is, I think, just; but what shall be done with the following words, of which I can make nothing? Perhaps the line which connected them to the rest, is lost.

--and comfort The gracious queen, part of his theme, but nothing Of his ill-ta'en suspicion!

Jealousy is a passion compounded of love and suspicion, this passion is the theme or subject of the king's thoughts.--Polixenes, perhaps, wishes the queen, for her comfort, so much of that theme or subject as is good, but deprecates that which causes misery. May part of the king's present sentiments comfort the queen, but away with his suspicion. This is such meaning as can be picked out. (1773)

II.i.38 (283,4) [Alack, for lesser knowledge!] That is, O that my knowledge were less.

II.i.50 (284,5) [He hath discover'd my design, and I Remain a pinch'd thing] [Revisal: The sense, I think, is, He hath now discovered my design, and I am treated as a mere child's baby, a thing pinched out of clouts, a puppet for them to move and actuate as they please.] This sense is possible, but many other meanings might serve as well. (1773)

II.i.100 (286,7)

[No, if I mistake In these foundations which I build upon, The center is not big enough to bear A school-boy's top]

That is, if the proofs which I can offer will not support the opinion I have formed, no foundation can be trusted.

II.i.104 (286,8) [He, who shall speak for her, is far off guilty, But that he speaks] [T: far of] It is strange that Mr. Theobald could not find out that far off guilty, signifies, guilty in a remote degree.

II.i.121 (287,9) [this action] The word action is here taken in the lawyer's sense, for indictment, charge, or accusation.

II.i.143 (288,2) [land-damn him] Sir T. Hammer interprets, stop his urine. Land or lant being the old word for urine.

Land-damn is probably one of those words which caprice brought into fashion, and which, after a short time, reason and grammar drove irrecoverably away. It perhaps meant no more than I will rid the country of him; condemn him to quit the land, (see 1765, II,259,2)

II.i.177 (290,5) [nought for approbation, But only seeing] Approbation, in this place, is put for proof.

II.i.185 (290,6) [stuff'd sufficiency] That is, of abilities more than enough.

II.i.195 (291,7) [Left that the treachery of the two, fled hence, Be left her to perform] He has before declared, that there is a plot against his life and crown, and that Hermione is federary with Polixenes and Camillo.

II.iii.5 (294,9) [out of the blank And level of my brain] Beyond the aim of any attempt that I can make against him. Blank and level are terms of archery.

II.iii.60 (296,1) [And would by combat make her good, so were I A man, the worst about you] The worst means only the lowest. Were I the meanest of your servants, I would yet claim the combat against any accuser.

II.iii.67 (297,2) [A mankind witch:] A mankind woman, is yet used in the midland counties, for a woman violent, ferocious, and mischievous. It has the same sense in this passage. Witches are supposed to be mankind, to put off the softness and delicacy of women, therefore Sir Hugh, in the Merry Wives of Windsor says, of a woman inspected to be a witch, that he does not like when a woman has a beard. Of this meaning Mr. Theobald has given examples.

II.iii.77 (298, 5)

[Unvenerable be thy hands, if thou Tak'st up the princess, by that forced baseness]

Leontes had ordered Antigonus to take up the bastard, Paulina forbids him to touch the princess under that appellation. Forced is false, uttered with violence to truth.

II.iii.106 (299, 6) [No yellow in't] Yellow is the colour of jealousy.

II.iii.181 (301, 8) [commend it strangely to some place] Commit to some place, as a stranger, without more provision.

III.i.2 (302, 9) [Fertile the isle] [Warburton objected to "isle" as impossible geographically and offered "soil"] Shakespeare is little careful of geography. There is no need of this emendation in a play of which the whole plot depends upon a geographical error, by which Bohemia is supposed to be a maritime country.

III.i.3 (303, 1) [I shall report, For most it caught me] [W: It shames report, Foremost] Of this emendation I see no reason; the utmost that can be necessary is, to change, it caught me, to they caught me; but even this may well enough be omitted. It may relate to the whole spectacle.

III.i.14 (304, 2) [The time is worth the use on't] [W: The use is worth the time on't] Either reading may serve, but neither is very elegant. The time is worth the use on't, means, the time which we have spent in visiting Delos, has recompensed us for the trouble of so spending it.

III.ii.18 (305, 4) [pretence] Is, in this place, taken for a scheme laid, a design formed; to pretend means to design, in the Gent. of Verona.

III.ii.27 (305, 5) [mine integrity, Being counted falsehood, shall, as I express it, Be so receiv'd] That is, my virtue being accounted wickedness, my assertion of it will pass but for a lie. Falsehood means both treachery and lie.

III.ii.43 (306, 6) [For life I prize it As I weigh grief which I would spare] Life is to me now only grief, and as such only is considered by me, I would therefore willingly dismiss it.

III.ii.44 (306, 5) [I would spare] To spare any thing is to let it go to quit the possession of it. (1773)

III.ii.49 (306, 7)

[Since he came, With what encounter so uncurrent I Have strain'd, to appear thus?]

These lines I do not understand; with the license of all editors, what I cannot understand I suppose unintelligible, and therefore propose that they may be altered thus,

--------Since he came, With what encounter so uncurrent have I Been stain'd to appear thus.

At least I think it might be read,

With what encounter so uncurrent have I Strain'd to appear thus? If one Jet beyond. (see 1765, II,276,5)

III.ii.55 (307,8)

[I ne'er heard yet, That any of those bolder vices wanted Less impudence to gain--say what they did, Than to perform it first]

It is apparent that according to the proper, at least according to the present, use of words, less should be more, or wanted should be had. But Shakespeare is very uncertain in his use of negatives. It nay be necessary once to observe, that in our language two negatives did not originally affirm, but strengthen the negation. This mode of speech was in time changed, but as the change was made in opposition to long custom, it proceeded gradually, and uniformity was not obtained but through an intermediate confusion.

III.ii.82 (308,9) [My life stands in the level of your dreams] To be in the level is by a metaphor from archery to be within the reach.

III.ii.85 (308,1) [As you were past all shame, (Those of your fact are so) [so past all truth] I do not remember that fact is used any where absolutely for guilt, which must be its sense in this place. Perhaps we may read,

Those of your pack are so.

Pack is a low coarse word well suited to the rest of this royal invective.

III.ii.107 (309,3) [I have got strength of limit] I know not well how strength of limit can mean strength to pass the limits of the childbed chamber, which yet it must mean in this place, unless we read in a more easy phrase, strength of limb. And now, &c.

III.ii.123 (310,4) [The flatness of my misery] That is, how low, how flat I am laid by my calamity.

III.ii.146 (310,5) [Of the queen's speed] Of the event of the queen's trial: so we still say, he sped well or ill.

III.ii.173 (311,6) [Does my deeds make the blacker!] This vehement retraction of Leontes, accompanied with the confession of more crimes than he was suspected of, is agreeable to our daily experience of the vicissitudes of violent tempers, and the eruptions of minds oppressed with guilt.

III.ii.187 (312,7)

[That thou betray'dst Polixenes, 'twas nothing That did but shew thee, of a fool, inconstant, And damnable ungrateful]

[T: of a soul] [W: shew thee off, a fool] Poor Mr. Theobald's courtly remark cannot be thought to deserve much notice. Or. Warburton too might have spared his sagacity if he had remembered, that the present reading, by a mode of speech anciently much used, means only, It shew'd thee first a fool, then inconstant and ungrateful.

III.ii.219 (314,9) [I am sorry for't] This it another instance of the sudden changes incident to vehement and ungovernable minds.

III.iii.1 (315,1) [Thou art perfect then] Perfect is often used by Shakeapeare for certain, well assured, or well informed.

III.iii.56 (317,2) [A savage clamour!--Well may I get aboard--This is the chace] This clamour was the cry of the dogs and hunters; then seeing the bear, he cries, this is the chace or, the animal pursued.

IV.i.6 (321,9) [and leave the growth untry'd Of that wide gap] [W: gulf untry'd] This emendation is plausible, but the common reading is consistent enough with our author's manner, who attends more to his ideas than to his words. The growth of the wide gap, is some-what irregular; but he means, the growth, or progression of the time which filled up the gap of the story between Perdita's birth and her sixteenth year. To leave this growth untried, is to leave the passages of the intermediate years unnoted and unexamined. Untried is not, perhaps, the word which he would have chosen, but which his rhyme required.

IV.i.7 (321,1)

[since it is in my power To o'erthrow law, and in one self-born hour To plant and o'erwhelm custom. Let me pass The same I am, ere ancient'st order was, Or what is now receiv'd]

The reasoning of Time is not very clear! he seems to mean, that he who has broke so many laws may now break another; that he who introduced every thing, may introduce Perdita on her sixteenth year; and he intreats that he may pass as of old, before any order or succession of objects, ancient or modern, distinguished his periods.

IV.i.19 (322,2)

[Imagine me, Gentle spectators, that I now may be In fair Bohemia]

Time is every where alike. I know not whether both sense and grammar may not dictate,

--imagine we, Gentle spectators, that you now may be, &c. Let us imagine that you, who behold these scenes, are now in Bohemia?

IV.i.29 (322,3) [Is the argument of time] Argument is the same with subject.

IV.i.32 (322,4) [He wishes earnestly you newer may] I believe this speech of time rather begins the fourth act than concludes the third.

IV.ii.21 (323,6) [and my profit therein, the heaping friendships] [W. reaping] I see not that the present reading is nonsense; the sense of heaping friendships is, though like many other of our author's, unusual, at least unusual to modern ears, is not very obscure. To be more thankful shall be my study; and my profit therein the heaping friendships. That is, I will for the future be more liberal of recompence, from which I shall receive this advantage, that as I heap benefits I shall heap friendships, as I confer favours on thee I shall increase the friendship between us.

IV.ii.35 (324,7) [but I have, missingly, noted] [W. missing him] [Hammer; musingly noted] I see not how the sense is mended by Sir T. Hammer's alteration, nor how is it at all changed by Dr. Warburton's.

IV.iii.3 (325,9)

[Why, then comes in the sweet o' the year; For the red blood reigns in the winter pale]

Dr. Thirlby reads, perhaps rightly, certainly with much more probability, and easiness of construction;

For the red blood runs in the winter pale. That is, for the red blood runs pale in the winter.

Sir T. Banner reads,

For the red blood reigns o'er the winter's pale.

IV.iii.7 (326,1) [pugging tooth] Sir T. Hammer, and after his, Dr. Warburton, read, progging tooth. It is certain that pugging is not now understood. But Dr. Thirlby observes, that this is the cant of gypsies.

IV.iii.28 (327,7) [Gallows, and knock, are too powerful on the highway; beating and hanging are terrors to me] The resistance which a highwayman encounters in the fact, and the punishment which he suffers on detection, withold me from daring robbery, and determine me to the silly cheat and petty theft. (1773)

IV.iii.99 (330,4) [abide] To abide, here, must signify, to sojourn, to live for a time without a settled habitation.

IV.iv.6 (331,7) [To chide at your extremes, it not becomes me] That is, your excesses, the extravagance of your praises.

IV.iv.8 (331,8) [The gracious mark o' the land] The object of all men's notice and expectation.

IV.iv.13 (332,9) [sworn, 1 think, To shew myself a glass] [Banner: swoon] Dr. Thirlby inclines rather to Sir T. Hanmer's emendation, which certainly makes an easy sense, and is, in my opinion, preferable to the present reading. But concerning this passage I know not what to decide.

IV.ii.21 (333,1) [How would he look, to see his work, so noble, Vilely bound up!] It is impossible for any man to rid his mind of his profession. The authorship of Shakespeare has supplied him with a metaphor, which rather than he would lose it, he has put with no great propriety into the month of a country maid. Thinking of his own works, his mind passed naturally to the binder. I am glad that he has no hint at an editor.

IV.ii.76 (335,2) [Grace and remembrance] Rue was called herb of grace. Rosemary was the emblem of remembrance; I know not why, unless because it was carried at funerals. (see 1765, II,300,5)

IV.iv.143 (338,6)

[Each your doing, So singular in each particular, Crowns what you're doing in the present deeds] That is, your manner in each act crowns the act.

IV.iv.155 (338,8) [Per. I'll swear for 'em] I fancy this half line is placed to a wrong person. And that the king begins his speech aside

Pol. I'll swear for 'em This is the prettiest. &c.

IV.iv.164 (339,1) [we stand upon our manners] That is, we are now on our behaviour.

IV.iv.169 (339,2) [a worthy feeding] I conceive feeding to be a pasture, and a worthy feeding to be a tract of pasturage not inconsiderable, not unworthy of my daughter's fortune.

IV.iv.204 (340,3) [unbraided wares?] Surely we must read braided, for such are all the wares mentioned in the answer.

IV.iv.212 (341,5) [sleeve-band] Is put very properly by Sir T. Hammer, it was before sleeve--hand.

IV.iv.316 (346,9) [sad] For serious. (1773)

IV.iv.330 (346,1) [That doth utter all mens' wear-a] To utter. To bring out, or produce. (1773)

IV.iv.333 (347,3) [all men of hair] [W: i.e. nimble, that leap as if they rebounded] This is a strange interpretation. Errors, says Dryden, flow upon the surface, but there are men who will fetch them from the bottom. Men of hair, are hairy men, or satyrs. A dance of satyrs was no unusual entertainment in the middle ages. At a great festival celebrated in France, the king and some of the nobles personated satyrs dressed in close habits, tufted or shagged all over, to imitate hair. They began a wild dance, and in the tumult of their merriment one of them went too near a candle and set fire to his satyr's garb, the flame ran instantly over the loose tufts, and spread itself to the dress of those that were next him; a great number of the dancers were cruelly scorched, being neither able to throw off their coats nor extinguish them. The king had set himself in the lap of the dutchess of Burgundy, who threw her robe over him and saved him.

IV.iv.338 (347,4) [bowling] Bowling, I believe, is here a term for a dance of smooth motion with great exertion of agility.

IV.iv.411 (350,6) [dispute his own estate?] Perhaps for dispute we might read compute; but dispute his estate may be the same with talk over his affairs.

IV.iv.441 (351,7) [Not hold thee of our blood, no, not our kin, Far than Deucalion off] I think for far than we should read far as. We will not hold thee of our kin even so far off as Deucalion the common ancestor of all.

IV.iv.493 (354,2) [and by my fancy] It must be remembered that fancy in this author very often, as in this place, means love.

IV.iv.551 (356,3) [Ourselves to be the slaves of chance, and flies] As chance has driven me to these extremities, so I commit myself to chance to be conducted through them.

IV.iv.613 (359,6) [as if my trinkets had been hallowed] This alludes to beads often sold by the Romanists, as made particularly efficacious by the touch of some relick.

IV.iv.651 (360,7) [boot] that is, something over and above, or, as we now say, something to boot.

IV.iv.734 (362,9) [pedler's excrement] Is pedler's beard, (see 1765, II,323,2)

IV.iv.748 (363,1) [therefore they do not give us the lye] [W: do give] The meaning is, they are paid for lying, therefore they do not give us the lye, they sell it us. (1773)

IV.iv.768 (363,2) [Advocate's the court-word for a pheasant] This satire, or this pleasantry, I confess myself not well to understand.

IV.iv.779 (364,3) [A great man, I'll warrant; I know, by the picking on's teeth] It seems, that to pick the teeth was, at this time, a mark of some pretension to greatness or elegance. So the Bastard in King John, speaking of the traveller, says,

He and his pick-tooth at my worship's mess.

IV.iv.816 (365,4) [the hottest day prognostication proclaims] That is, the hottest day foretold in the almanack.

V.i.14 (368,7) [Or, from the All that are, took something good] This is a favourite thought; it was bestowed on Miranda and Rosalind before.

V.i,19 (368,8) [What were more holy, Than to rejoice, the former queen is well] [W: rejoice the...queen? This will.] This emendation is one of those of which many may be made; It is such as we may wish the authour had chosen, but which we cannot prove that he did chuse; the reasons for it are plausible, but not cogent.

V.i.58 (370,9) [on this stage, (Where we offend her now)] [The offenders now appear] The Revisal reads,

Were we offenders now----

very reasonably. (1773)

V.i.74 (371,1) [Affront his eye] To affront, is to meet.

V.i.98 (372,2) [Sir, you yourself Have said, and writ so] The reader must observe, that so relates not to what precedes, but to what follows that, she had not been'----equall'd.

V.i.159 (374, 3) [whose daughter His tears proclaim'd his, parting with her] This is very ungrammatical and obscure. We aay better read,

----whose daughter His tears proclaim'd her parting with her.

The prince first tells that the lady came from Lybia. the king interrupting him, says, from Smalus; from him, says the prince, whose tears, at parting, shewed her to be his daughter.

V.i.214 (376, 4) [Your choice is not so rich in worth as beauty] [W. in birth] Worth is as proper as birth. Worth signifies any kind of worthiness, and among others that of high descent. The King means that he is sorry the prince's choice is not in other respects as worthy of him as in beauty.

V.ii.105 (380, 5) [that rare Italian meter, Jolio Romano] [Theobald praised the passage but called it an anachronism] Poor Theobald's eucomium of this passage is not very happily conceired or expressed, nor is the passage of any eminent excellence; yet a little candour will clear Shakespeare from part of the impropriety imputed to him. By eternity he means only immortality, or that part of eternity which is to come; so we talk of eternal renown and eternal infamy. Immortality may subsist without divinity, and therefore the meaning only is, that if Julio could always continue his labours, he would mimick nature.

V.ii.107 (381, 6) [would beguile nature of her custom] That is, of her trade,--would draw her customers from her.

V.ii.118 (381, 7) [Who would be thence, that has the benefit of access?] It was, I suppose, only to spare his own labour that the poet put this whole scene into narrative, for though part of the transaction was already known to the audience, and therefore could not properly be shewn again, yet the two kings might have met upon the stage, and after the examination of the old shepherd, the young lady might have been recognised in sight of the spectators.

V.ii.173 (383, 8) [franklins say it] Franklin is a freeholder, or yeoman, a man above a Villain, but not a gentleman.

V.ii.179 (383 ,9) [tall fellow] Tall, in that time, was the word used for stout.

V.iii.17 (384,1) [therefore I keep it Lonely, apart] [Hammer: lovely] I am yet inclined to lonely, which in the old angular writing cannot be distinguished from lovely. To say, that I keep it alone, separate from the rest, is a pleonasm which scarcely any nicety declines.

V.iii.46 (385,2) [Oh, patience] That is, Stay a while, be not go eager.

V.iii.56 (386,3)

[Indeed, my lord, If I had thought, the sight of my poor image Would thus have wrought you, (for the stone is mine) I'd not have shew'd it]

[Tyrwhitt: for the stone i' th' mine] To change an accurate expression for an expression confessedly not accurate, has somewhat of retrogradation. (1773)

V.iii.131 (389,6) [You precious winners all] You who by this discovery have gained what you desired may join in festivity, in which I, who have lost what never can be recovered, can have no part.

(300) General Observation, Of this play no edition is known published before the folio of 1623.

This play, as Dr. Warburton justly observes, is, with all its absurdities, very entertaining. The character of Antolycus is very naturally conceived, and strongly represented, (see 1765, II, 349)

Samuel Johnson