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Thou dost make possible, things not so held," Communicat'st with dreams;-(How can this be?)
With what's unreal thou coactive art,
And fellow'st nothing: Then, 'tis very credent,
How, my lord? What cheer? how is't with you, best brother?"
As if you held a brow of much distraction:
No, in good earnest.
when strongly affected or possessed by a particular idea.” And in a kindred sense at least to this, it is used in the passage quoted from The Merchant of Venice. Malone.
• Thou dost make possible, things not so held,] i. e. thou dost make those things possible, which are conceived to be impossible. JOHNSON.
To express the speaker's meaning, it is necessary to make a short pause after the word possible. I have therefore put a comma there, though perhaps in strictness it is improper. MALONE. ·credent,] i. e. credible, So, in Measure for Measure, Act V. sc. v:
"For my authority bears a credent bulk.”
7 What cheer? how is't with you, best brother?] This line, which in the old copy is given to Leontes, has been attributed to Polixenes, on the suggestion of Mr. Steevens. Sir T. Hanmer had made the same emendation. MALONE.
: • Are you mov'd, my lord?] We have again the same expression on the same occasion, in Othello:
Iago. I see my Lord, you are mov'd.
"Othel. No, not much mov'd, not much." MALOne.
How sometimes nature will betray its folly,
How like, methought, I then was to this kernel, This squash, this gentleman:-Mine honest friend, Will you take eggs for money?3
9my dagger muzzled,
Lest it should bite-] So, in King Henry VIII:
"Have not the power to muzzle him.”
Again, in Much Ado about Nothing: "I am trusted with a muzzle." STEEVENS.
As ornaments oft do, too dangerous.] So, in The Merchant of Venice:
"Thus ornament is but the guiled shore
* This squash,] A squash is a pea-pod, in that state when the young peas begin to swell in it. HENLEY.
3 Will you take eggs for money?] 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 cucullatus, cuckowed, or cuckold. JOHNSON.
The meaning of this is, will you put up affronts? The French have a proverbial saying, A qui vendez vous coquilles? i. e. whom do you design to affront? Mamillius's answer plainly proves it. Mam. No, my Lord, I'll fight. SMITH.
I meet with Shakspeare's phrase in a comedy, call'd A Match at Midnight, 1633:"I shall have eggs for my money; I must hang myself." STEEVENS.
Leontes seems only to ask his son if he would fly from an enemy. In the following passage the phrase is evidently to be
MAM. No, my lord, I'll fight.
LEON. You will? why, happy man be his dole!*— My brother,
taken in that sense: "The French infantery skirmisheth bravely afarre off, and cavallery gives a furious onset at the first charge; but after the first heat they will take eggs for their money. Relations of the most famous Kingdomes and Commonwealths thorowout the World, 4to. 1630, p. 154.
Mamillius's reply to his father's question appears so decisive as to the true explanation of this passage, that it leaves no doubt with me even after I have read the following note. The phrase undoubtedly sometimes means what Mr. Malone asserts, but not here. REED.
This phrase seems to me to have meant originally,-Are you such a poltron as to suffer another to use you as he pleases, to compel you to give him your money and to accept of a thing of so small a value as a few eggs in exchange for it? This explanation appears to me perfectly consistent with the passage quoted by Mr. Reed. He, who will take eggs for money seems to be what, in As you like it, and in many of the old plays, is called a tame snake.
The following passage in Campion's History of Ireland, folio 1633, fully confirms my explanation of this passage; and shows that by the words-Will you take eggs for money, was meant, Will you suffer yourself to be cajoled or imposed upon?" What my cousin Desmond hath compassed, as I know not, so I beshrew his naked heart for holding out so long.-But go to, suppose hee never bee had; what is Kildare to blame for it, more than my good brother of Ossory, who, notwithstanding his high promises, having also the king's power, is glad to take eggs for his money, and to bring him in at leisure."
These words make part of the defence of the Earl of Kildare, in answer to a charge brought against him by Cardinal Wolsey, that he had not been sufficiently active in endeavouring to take the Earl of Desmond, then in rebellion. In this passage, to take eggs for his money undoubtedly means, to be trifled with, or to be imposed upon.
"For money" means, in the place of money. me money, and take eggs instead of it?" MALONE.
"Will you give
happy man be his dole!] May his dole or share in life be to be a happy man. JOHNSON.
The expression is proverbial. Dale was the term for the al
Are you so fond of your young prince, as we
If you would seek us, We are yours i'the garden: Shall's attend you there? LEON. To your own bents dispose you: you'll be found,
Be you beneath the sky:-I am angling now,
[Aside. Observing POLIXENES and HERMIONE. How she holds up the neb, the bill to him!
lowance of provision given to the poor, in great families. So, in Greene's Tu Quoque, 1614:
"Had the women puddings to their dole?"
See p. 46, n. 6. STEEVENS.
The alms immemorially given to the poor by the Archbishops of Canterbury, is still called the dole. See The History of Lambeth Palace, p. 31, in Bibl. Top. Brit. NICHOLS.
• Apparent] That is, heir apparent, or the next claimant. JOHNSON.
the neb,] The word is commonly pronounced and written nib. It signifies here the mouth. So, in Anne the Queen
And arms her with the boldness of a wife
[Exeunt POLIXENES, HERMIONE, and At-
Go, play, boy, play;-thy mother plays, and I Play too; but so disgrac'd a part, whose issue Will hiss me to my grave; contempt and clamour Will be my knell.-Go, play, boy, play ;-There have been,
Or I am much deceiv'd, cuckolds ere now;
of Hungarie, being one of the Tales in Painter's Palace of Pleasure, 1566: 66 the amorous wormes of love did bitterly gnawe and teare his heart wyth the nebs of their forked heads."
7 To her allowing husband!] Allowing in old language is approving. MALONE.
a fork'd one.] That is, a horned one; a cuckold.
So, in Othello:
"Even then this forked plague is fated to us,
9 even at this present,] i. e. present time. So, in Macbeth:
"Thy letters have transported me beyond
See note on this passage; Act I. sc. v. STEEVENS.
1 And his pond fish'd by his next neighbour,] This metaphor perhaps owed its introduction and currency, to the once frequent depredations of neighbours on each others fish, a complaint that often occurs in ancient correspondence. Thus, in one of the Paston Letters, Vol. IV. p. 15: “My mother bade me send you word that Waryn Herman hath daily fished her water all this year." STEEvens,