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-good exercise :] In the midüle ages the whole education of princes and noble youths consisted in martial exercises, &c. These could not be easily had in a prison, where mental improvements might have been afforded as well as any where else; but this sort of education never entered into the thoughts of our active, warlike, but illiterate nobility. PERCY.
Between his purpose and his conscience,] Between his consciousness of guilt, and his design to conceal it by fair professions.
JOHNSON Like heralds, 'twixt two dreadful battles set:] But heralds are not planted, I presume, in the midst betwixt two lines of battle; though they, and truinpets, are often sent over from party to party, to propose terms, demand a parley, &c. I have therefore ventured to read, sent.
THEOBALD. This Dr. Warburton has followed without much advantage; set is not fixed, but only placed; heralds must be set between battles, in order to be sent between them,
JOHNSON. 224. And, when it breaks
-] This is but an indelicate metaphor, taken from an imposthumated
JOHNSON. 254. From France to England.] The king asks how all goes in France ? the messenger catches the word goes, and answers, that whatever is in France goes now into England.
JOHNSON. 260. 0, where hath our intelligence been drunk?
Where hath it slept?] So, in Macbeth :
" Was the hope drunk “Wherein you drest yourself? hath it slept since?"
STEEVENS, 304. Deliver him to saf ty,–] That is, Give him into safe custody.
- five moons were seen to-night, &c.] This incident is mentioned by few of our historians : I have met with it no where but in Matthew of Weste minster and Polydore Virgil, with a small alteration, These kinds of appearances were more common about that time, than either before or since.
This incident is likewise mentioned in the spurious copy of the play.
STEEVENS, 347 -slippers (which his nimble haste
falsely thrust upon contrary feet)] I know not how the commentators understand this important passage, which in Dr. Warburton's edition is marked as eminently beautiful, and, on the whole, not with. out justice. But Shakspere seems to have confounded the man's shoes with his gloves. He that is frighted or hurried may put his hand into the wrong glove, but either shoe will equally admit either foot. The author seems to be disturbed by the disorder which he describes.
JOHNSON, Dr. Johnson forgets that ancient slippers might possibly be very different from modern ones. Scott, in his Discoverie of Witchcraft, tells us : “ He that receiveth a mischance, will consider, whether he put not on his shirt the wrong side outwards, or his left shoe on his right foot.” One of the jests of Scegan by
Andrew Borde, is how he defrauded two Shoemakers, one of a right foot boot, and the other of a left foot
And Davies, in one of his epigrains, compares a man to “ a soft-knit hose that serves each leg."
FARMER. In the Fleire, 1615, is the following passage :
-This fellow is like your upright shoe, he will serve either foot.” From this we may infer, that some shoes could only be worn on that foot for which they were made. And Barrett in his Alvearie, 1580, as an instance of the word wrong, says: to put on his shoes wrong.” Again, in A merye Jest of a Man That was called Howleglas, bl. let. no date : “ Howleglas had cut all the lether for the lefte foote. Then when his master sawe all his lether cut for the lefie foote, then asked he Howleglas if there belonged not to the lefte foote a righte foote? Then sayd Howleglas to his maister, If that he had tolde that to me before, I would have cut them, but an it please you I shall cut as mani right shoone unto them." STEVENS.
See Martin's Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, 1703, p. 207: “ The generality now only wear shoes having one thin sole only, and shaped after the right and left foot, so that what is for one foot will not serve the other.” The meaning seems to be, that the extremities of the shoes were not round or square, but were cut in an oblique angle, or aslant from the great toe to the little one. See likewis, the Philosophical Transactions abridged, vol. iii. p. 432, and vol, vii. p. 23, where are exhibited shoes and sandals
E shaped to the feet, spreading more to the outside than the inside.
Toller. 358. It is the curse of kings, &c.] This plainly hints at Davison's case, in the affair of Mary queen of Scots.
WARBURTON. 372. Quoted-] 1. e. observed, distinguished.
STEEVENS. 381. Hadst thou but shook thy head, &c.] There are many touches of nature in this conference of John with Hubert. A man engaged in wickedness would keep the profit to himself, and transfer the guilt to his accomplice. These reproaches vented against Hubert are not the words of art or policy, but the eruptions of a mind swelling with consciousness of a crime, and desirous of discharging its misery on another.
This account of the timidity of guilt is drawn ab ipsis recessibus mentis, from the intimate knowledge of
mankind, particularly that line in which he says, that i to have bid him tell his tale in express words, would have
struck him dumb; noihing is more certain, than that bad men use all the arts of fallacy upon themselves, palliate their actions to their own minds by gentle terms, and hide themselves from their own detection in ambiguities and subterfuges.
JOHNSON. 420. The spurious play is divided into two parts, the first of which concludes with the king's dispatch of Hubert on this message ; the second begins with “ Enter Arthur," &c. as in the following scene.
435. Whose private, &c.] i. e. whose private account of the Dauphin's affection to our cause, is much more ample than the letters.
Pope. 439. or e'er we meet.] This phrase, so frequent in our old writers, is not well understood. Or is here the same as ere, i. e. before, and should be written (as it is still pronounced in Shropshire) ore. There the common people use it often. Thus, they say, Ore to-morrow, for ere or before to-morrow. The addition of ever, or e'er, is merely augmentative.
That or has the full sense of before, and that e'er wlien joined with it is merely augmentative, is proved from innumerable passages in our ancient writers, wherein or occurs simply without e'er, and must bear that signification. Thus, in the old tragedy of Master Arden of Feversham, 1599, quarto (attributed by some, though falsely, to Shakspere), the wife says: “ He shall be murdered or the guests come in.”
Sig. H. B. III.
PERCY. That or should be written ore, I am by no means convinced. The vulgar pronunciation of a particular county ought not to be received as a general guide. Ere is nearer the Saxon primitive, ær.
v.] To reason, in Shakspere, is not so often to argue, as to talk.
a holy vow; Never to taste the pleasures of the world,] This is a copy of the vows inade in the ages of superstition and chivalry.