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TIT. And I have horse will follow where the game
Makes way, and run like swallows o'er the plain. DEM. Chiron, we hunt not, we, with horse nor hound,
But hope to pluck a dainty doe to ground.
A desert Part of the Forest.
Enter AARON, with a Bag of Gold.
AAR. He, that had wit, would think that I had
To bury so much gold under a tree,
Let him, that thinks of me so abjectly,
to inherit it.] To inherit formerly signified to possess. See Vol. IV. p. 136, n. 7; and Vol. X. p. 194, n. 5.
MALONE. -for their unrest,] Unrest, for disquiet, is a word frequently used by the old writers. So, in The Spanish Tragedy, 1603:
"Thus therefore will I rest me in unrest."
Again, in Eliosto Libidinoso, an ancient novel, by John Hinde, 1606:
"For the ease of whose unrest, "Thus his furie was exprest. Again, in Chapman's translation of the ninth Iliad:
That have their alms out of the empress' chest.
TAM. My lovely Aaron, wherefore look'st thou sad,9
"Both_goddesses let fall their chins upon their ivorie breasts,
"Sat next to Jove, contriving still afflicted Troy's unrests."
Again, in An excellent pastorall Dittie, by Shep. Tonie; pub lished in England's Helicon, 1600:
"With lute in hand did paint out her unrest."
'That have their alms &c.] This is obscure. It seems to mean only, that they who are to come at this gold of the empress are to suffer by it. JOHNSON.
My lovely Aaron, wherefore look'st thou sad,] In the course of the following notes several examples of the savage genius of Ravenscroft, who altered this play in the reign of King James II. are set down for the entertainment of the reader. The following is a specimen of his descriptive talents. Instead of this line with which this speech of Tamora begins, she is made to say: "The emperor, with wine and luxury o'ercome, "Is fallen asleep; in's pendant couch he's laid, "That hangs in yonder grotto rock'd by winds, "Which rais'd by art do give it gentle motion: "And troops of slaves stand round with fans perfum'd, "Made of the feathers pluck'd from Indian birds, "And cool him into golden slumbers:
"This time I chose to come to thee, my Moor.
An emperor who has had too large a dose of love and wine, and in consequence of satiety in both, falls asleep on a bed which partakes of the nature of a sailor's hammock, and a child's cradle, is a curiosity which only Ravenscroft could have ventured to describe on the stage. I hope I may be excused for transplanting a few of his flowers into the barren desart of our comments on this tragedy. STEEvens.
My lovely Aaron, &c.] There is much poetical beauty in this
When every thing doth make a gleeful boast?
And whilst the babbling echo mocks the hounds,
Be unto us, as is a nurse's song
Of lullaby, to bring her babe asleep.3
speech of Tamora. It appears to me to be the only one in the play that is in the style of Shakspeare. M. MASON.
a checquer'd shadow-] Milton has the same ex
many a maid
"Dancing in the checquer'd shade." The same epithet occurs again in Locrine.
2 As if a double hunt were heard at once,] Hence, perhaps, a line in a well known song by Dryden:
"And echo turns hunter, and doubles the cry."
as is a nurse's song
Of lullaby, to bring her babe asleep.] Dr. Johnson, in his Dictionary, says, "it is observable that the nurses call sleep by, by; lullaby is therefore lull to sleep." But to lull originally signified to sleep. To compose to sleep by a pleasing sound is a secondary sense retained after its primitive import became obsolete. The verbs to loll and lollop evidently spring from the same root.
AAR. Madam, though Venus govern your desires,
No, madam, these are no venereal signs;
And by meant house; go to by is go to house or cradle. The common compliment at parting, good by is good house, may your house prosper; and Selby, the Archbishop of York's palace, is great house. So that lullaby implies literally sleep in house, i. e. the cradle. HOLT WHITE.
though Venus govern your desires,
Saturn is dominator over mine: :] The meaning of this passage may be illustrated by the astronomical description of Saturn, which Venus gives in Greene's Planetomachia, 1585: "The star of Saturn is especially cooling, and somewhat drie," &c. Again, in The Sea Voyage, by Beaumont and Fletcher: for your aspect
"You're much inclin❜d to melancholy, and that
Thus also, Propertius, L. IV. i. 84:
"Et grave Saturni sydus in omne caput." STEEVENS. • His Philomel &c.] See Vol. XVIII. p. 471, n. 9.
And give the king this fatal-plotted scroll :-
TAM. Ah, my sweet Moor, sweeter to me than life!
AAR. No more, great empress, Bassianus comes; Be cross with him; and I'll go fetch thy sons To back thy quarrels, whatsoe'er they be. [Exit.
Enter BASSIANUS and LAVINIA.
BAS. Who have we here? Rome's royal emperess, Unfurnish'd of her well-beseeming troop? Or is it Dian, habited like her; Who hath abandoned her holy groves, To see the general hunting in this forest?
TAM. Saucy controller of our private steps!" Had I the power, that, some say, Dian had, Thy temples should be planted presently With horns, as was Acteon's; and the hounds Should drive upon thy new-transformed limbs," Unmannerly intruder as thou art!
of her-] Old copies of our. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. MALone.
The edition 1600, reads exactly thus:
Vnfurnisht of her well besceming troop? TODD. "-- our private steps!] Edition 1600:-my private steps.
• Should drive upon thy new-transformed limbs,] Mr. Heath suspects that the poet wrote:
Should thrive upon thy new-transformed limbs,
as the former is an expression that suggests no image to the fancy. But drive, I think, may stand, with this meaning: the hounds should pass with impetuous haste, &c. So, in Hamlet: Pyrrhus at Priam drives," &c.
i. e. flies with impetuosity at him. STEEVENS.