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DEM. I'll broach the tadpoles on my rapier's


Nurse, give it me; my sword shall soon despatch it.

AAR. Sooner this sword shall plow thy bowels


[Takes the Child from the Nurse, and draws. Stay, murderous villains! will you kill


Now, by the burning tapers of the sky,

your bro

That shone so brightly when this boy was got,
He dies upon my scimitar's sharp point,
That touches this my first-born son and heir!
I tell you, younglings, not Enceladus,

With all his threat'ning band of Typhon's brood,
Nor great Alcides, nor the god of war,
Shall seize this prey out of his father's hands.
What, what; ye sanguine, shallow-hearted boys!
Ye white-lim'd walls!" ye alehouse painted signs!
Coal-black is better than another hue,

"I'll broach the tadpole-] A broach is a spit. I'll spit the tadpole. JOHNSON.

So, in Heywood's Rape of Lucrece, 1630:

"I'll broach thee on my steel."

Again, in Greene's Pleasant Discovery of the Cosenage of Colliers, 1592: "-with that she caught a spit in her hand, and swore if he offered to stirre, she should therewith broach him.” COLLINS.

Ye white-lim'd walls!] The old copies have-white limb’d. The word intended, I think, was-white limn'd. Mr. Pope and the subsequent editors read-white-lim'd. MALONE.

I read-lim'd, because I never found the term-limn'd, employed to describe white-washing, and because in A MidsummerNight's Dream, we have

"This man with lime and rough-cast, doth present


A layer-on of white-wash is not a limner. Limning comprehends the idea of delineation. STEEVENS.

In that it scorns to bear another hue:8
For all the water in the ocean

Can never turn a swan's black legs to white,
Although she lave them hourly in the flood.
Tell the emperess from me, I am of age
To keep mine own; excuse it how she can.

DEM. Wilt thou betray thy noble mistress thus? AAR. My mistress is my mistress; this, myself; The vigour, and the picture of my youth: This, before all the world, do I prefer ; This, maugre all the world, will I keep safe, Or some of you shall smoke for it in Rome.

DEM. By this our mother is for ever sham'd. CHI. Rome will despise her for this foul escape." NUR. The emperor, in his rage, will doom her death.

CHI. I blush to think upon this ignomy.'

AAR. Why, there's the privilege your beauty


Fye, treacherous hue! that will betray with blush


The close enacts and counsels of the heart!?

In that it scorns to bear another hue:] Thus both the quarto and the folio. Some modern editions had seems instead of scorns, which was restored by Dr. Johnson. MALONE.

Scorns should undoubtedly be inserted in the text.


for this foul escape.] This foul illegitimate child.

So, in King John:


"No scape of nature."



―ignomy.] i. e. ignominy. See Vol. XI. p. 426, n. 9. MALONE.

* The close enacts and counsels of the heart!] So, in Othello:

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They are close denotements working from the heart,-."

Here's a young lad fram'd of another leer :?
Look, how the black slave smiles upon the father;
As who should say, Old lad, I am thine own.
He is your brother, lords; sensibly fed
Of that self blood that first gave life to you;
And, from that womb, where you imprison'd were,
He is enfranchised and come to light:
Nay, he's your brother by the surer side,
Although my seal be stamped in his face.

NUR. Aaron, what shall I say unto the empress ?
DEM. Advise thee, Aaron, what is to be done,
And we will all subscribe to thy advice;
Save thou the child, so we may all be safe.

AAR. Then sit we down, and let us all consult. My son and I will have the wind of you: Keep there; Now talk at pleasure of your safety. [They sit on the Ground. DEM. How many women saw this child of his? AAR. Why, so, brave lords; When we all join in league,

I am a lamb but if you brave the Moor,


another leer:] Leer is complexion, or hue. So, in As you like it: " -a Rosalind of better leer than you." See "Mr. Tollet's note on Act IV. sc. i. In the notes on the Canterbury Tales of Chaucer, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit. Vol. IV. p. 320, lere is supposed to mean skin. So, in Isumbras, MS. Cott. Cal. 11. fol. 139:

"His lady is white as wales bone,

"Here lere brygte to se upon,

"So faire as blosme on tre."

Again, in the ancient metrical romance of the Sowdon of Babyloyne, MS:

"Tho spake Roulande with hevy cheere

"Woordes lamentable,

"When he saugh the ladies so whyte of lere
"Faile brede on theire table.'

that womb,] Edition 1600-your womb. TODD.

The chafed boar, the mountain lioness,
The ocean swells not so as Aaron storms.-
But, say again, how many saw the child?
NUR. Cornelia the midwife, and myself,
And no one else, but the deliver'd empress.

AAR. The emperess, the midwife, and yourself: Two may keep counsel, when the third's away: 5 Go to the empress; tell her, this I said :—

[Stabbing her. Weke, weke !-so cries a pig, prepar'd to the


DEM. What mean'st thou, Aaron? Wherefore didst thou this?

AAR. O, lord, sir, 'tis a deed of policy: Shall she live to betray this guilt of ours? A long-tongu'd babbling gossip? no, lords, no. And now be it known to you my full intent. Not far, one Muliteus lives, my countryman, His wife but yesternight was brought to bed; His child is like to her, fair as you are: Go pack with him,' and give the mother gold,

Two may keep counsel, when the third's away:] This proverb is introduced likewise in Romeo and Juliet, Act II.



one Muliteus lives,] The word lives, which is wanting in the old copies, was supplied by Mr. Rowe. MALONE.

Muliteus-] This line being too long by a foot, Muliteus, no Moorish name, (or indeed any name at all,) and the verb -lives wanting to the sense in the old copy, I suspect the designation of Aaron's friend to be a corruption, and that our author


Not far, one Muley lives, my countryman. Muley lives was easily changed by a blundering transcriber, or printer, into-Muliteus. STEEvens.

7 Go pack with him,] Pack here seems to have the meaning

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And tell them both the circumstance of all;
And how by this their child shall be advanc'd,
And be received for the emperor's heir,
And substituted in the place of mine,
To calm this tempest whirling in the court;
And let the emperor dandle him for his own.
Hark ye, lords; ye see, that I have given her
physick, [Pointing to the Nurse.
And you must needs bestow her funeral;
The fields are near, and you are gallant grooms:
This done, see that you take no longer days,
But send the midwife presently to me.

The midwife, and the nurse, well made
Then let the ladies tattle what they please.
CHI. Aaron, I see, thou wilt not trust the air
With secrets.

DEM. For this care of Tamora, Herself, and hers, are highly bound to thee. [Exeunt DEM. and CHI. bearing off the Nurse. AAR. Now to the Goths, as swift as swallow flies;

There to dispose this treasure in mine arms,
And secretly to greet the empress' friends.-
Come on, you thick-lipp'd slave, I'll bear you

of make a bargain. Or it may mean, as in the phrase of modern gamesters, to act collusively:

"And mighty dukes pack knaves for half a crown."



To pack is to contrive insidiously. So, in King Lear: snuffs and packings of the dukes." STEEVENS. To PACK a jury, is an expression still used; though the practice, I trust, is obsolete. HENLEY.

that I-] That omitted in edition 1600. TODD.

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