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We have a rare example of the termination -tion forming a dissyllable with Shakespeare in the middle of a line in Jaques's description of the Fool Touchstone (As You Like It, ii. 2):
"He hath strange places crammed
This may be compared with the similar prolongation of the -trance in the sublime chant of Lady Macbeth (Macbeth, i. 5) :
"The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements;'
or with what we have in the following line in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, ii. 4,
"And that hath dazzled my reason's light;"
or with this in A Midsummer Night's Dream, iii. 2,"O me! you juggler! you canker-blossom."
The name Henry, in like manner, occasionally occurs as a trisyllable both in the three Parts of Henry VI., and also in Richard III.
The following are examples of what is much more common, the extension or division of similar combinations at the end of a line:
"The parts and graces of the wrestler."
"O, how this spring of love resembleth."
Two Gent. of Ver., i. 3;
"And these two Dromios, one in semblance."
"These are the parents to these children."-Ibid.
"Fair sir, and you my merry mistress."
Tam. of Shrew, iv. 5.
In other cases, however, the line must apparently be held to be a regular hemistich (or truncated verse) of nine syllables; as in
"Of our dear souls. Meantime sweet sister."
Twelfth Night, v. 1;
"I'll follow you and tell what answer.”
Third Part of Henry VI., iv. 3.
"Be valued 'gainst your wife's commandment."
Mer. of Ven., iv. 1.
Unless, indeed, in this last instance we ought not to read commandement (in four syllables), as Spenser occasionally has it; although I am not aware of the occurrence of such a form of the word elsewhere in Shakespeare.
246. Which, like a fountain with an hundred spouts.This is the reading of both the First and Second Folio. Mr Collier, however, has "a hundred."
246. And these does she apply for warnings and portents. -This is the reading of all the Folios. It is not quite satisfactory; and the suspected corruption has been attempted to be cured in various ways. Shakespeare's habitual accentuation of portent seems to have been on the last syllable. If the passage were in any one of certain others of the Plays, I should be inclined to arrange the lines as follows:
"And these does she apply for warnings and
The crowding of short syllables which this would occasion in the second line is much less harsh and awkward than what the received arrangement produces in the first. But
so slight a monosyllable as and in the tenth place would give us a structure of verse of which, although common in several of the other Plays, we have no example in this. See Prolegomena, sect. vi.
246. Of evils imminent.—This conjectural emendation, which appears to be Warburton's, had long been generally accepted; but it has now the authority of Mr Collier's manuscript annotator. The reading in all the old copies is "And evils."
247. For tinctures, etc.—Tinctures and stains are understood both by Malone and Steevens as carrying an allusion to the practice of persons dipping their handkerchiefs in the blood of those whom they regarded as martyrs. And it must be confessed that the general strain of the passage, and more especially the expression "shall press for tinctures," etc., will not easily allow us to reject this interpretation. Yet does it not make the speaker assign to Cæsar by implication the very kind of death Calphurnia's apprehension of which he professes to regard as visionary? The pressing for tinctures and stains, it is true, would be a confutation of so much of Calphurnia's dream as seemed to imply that the Roman people would be delighted with his death,
"( Many lusty Romans
Came smiling, and did bathe their hands in it."
Do we refine too much in supposing that this inconsistency between the purpose and the language of Decius is intended by the poet, and that in this brief dialogue between him and Cæsar, in which the latter suffers himself to be so easily won over,-persuaded and relieved by the very words that ought naturally to have confirmed his fears, we are to feel the presence of an unseen power driving on both the unconscious prophet and the blinded victim? Compare 408.
Johnson takes both tinctures and cognizance in the heraldic sense as meaning distinctive marks of honour
and armorial bearings (in part denoted by colours). But the stains and relics are not so easily to be accounted for on this supposition; neither would it be very natural to say that men should press to secure such distinctions. The speech altogether Johnson characterizes as “intentionally pompous" and "somewhat confused."
249. The senate have concluded. To conclude, for to resolve, is one of numerous expressions, which, although no longer used, are nevertheless almost as universally intelligible as ever. They are the veterans, or emeriti, of the language, whose regular active service is over, but who still exist as a reserve force, or retired list, which may always be called out on special occasions.
249. Apt to be rendered.-Easy and likely to be thrown out in return or retaliation for your refusing to come. 249. Shall they not whisper?-We should now say "Will they not?" Vid. 238.
249. To your proceeding.-To your advancement. So in Gloster's protestation, in Rich. III. iv. 4,
"Be opposite all planets of good luck
To my proceeding! if with dear heart's love,
I tender not thy beauteous princely daughter;"
that is, to my prospering, as we should now say.
249. And reason to my love is liable.-As if he had said, And, if I have acted wrong in telling you, my excuse is, that my reason where you are concerned is subject to and is overborne by my affection. Vid. 67.
250. In the original stage direction the name of Publius stands last, instead of first.
252. Are you stirred.—We have lost this application of stirred (for out of bed). The word now commonly used, astir, does not occur in Shakespeare; and, what is remarkable, it has hitherto, although we have long been in the habit of applying it freely in various other ways as
well as in this sense, escaped all or most of our standard' lexicographers. I do not find it either in Todd's Johnson, or in Webster, or in Richardson, or in Walker, or in Smart. Of course, the emphasis is on you.
253. 'Tis strucken eight.—Shakespeare uses all the three forms, struck, strucken, and stricken, of which the existing language has preserved only the first. Vid. 192. Mr Collier has here stricken. Strictly speaking, of course, the mention of the striking of an hour by an old Roman involves an anachronism. Nor is the mode of expression that of the time when here, and in 253 and 272, what we now call eight and nine o'clock in the morning are spoken of as the eighth and ninth hours.
254. That revels long o' nights.—Vid. 65. Here again it is a-nights in the original text.
256. Bid them prepare.—The use of prepare thus absolutely (for to make preparation) is hardly now the current language, although it might not seem unnatural in verse, to which some assumption or imitation of the phraseology of the past is not forbidden.
256. I have an hour's talk, etc.- -Hour is here a dissyllable, as such words often are.
259. That every like is not the same.-That to be like a thing is not always to be that thing, said in reference to Cæsar's "We, like friends." So the old Scottish proverb, "Like's an ill mark;" and the common French saying, as it has been sometimes converted, "Le vraisemblable n'est pas toujours le vrai." The remark is surely to be supposed to be made aside, as well as that of Trebonius in 257, although neither is so noted in the old copies, and the modern editors, while they retain the direction to that effect inserted by Rowe at 257, have generally struck out the similar one inserted by Pope here. Mr Collier, I see, gives both; but whether on the authority of his MS. annotator does not appear.-In the same manner as here, in Measure for Measure, v. 2, to the Duke's Bulwer user the word in this sense," out of bed;" - "`ap The Lady of Lejons:
"pridow. I would have waited on you if I had to. were stirring. "