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That highly may advantage thee to hear:
Thy child shall live, and I will see it nourish'd. AAR. An if it please thee? why, assure thee, Lucius,
'Twill vex thy soul to hear what I shall speak;
AAR. Swear, that he shall, and then I will begin. Luc. Who should I swear by? thou believ❜st no god;
That granted, how canst thou believe an oath?
And hast a thing within thee, called conscience;
Ruthful to hear, yet piteously perform'd:] I suppose we should read-pitilessly, not piteously. M. MASON.
Is there such a word as that recommended? Piteously means, in a manner exciting pity. STEEVens.
buried by my death,] Edition 1600:-in my death.
his bauble-] See a note on All's well that ends well, Vol. VIII. p. 347, n. 7. STEEVENS.
And keeps the oath, which by that god he swears; *
Luc. Even by my god, I swear to thee, I will. AAR. First, know thou, I begot him on the empress.
Luc. O most insatiate, luxurious woman!5 AAR. Tut, Lucius! this was but a deed of charity,
To that which thou shalt hear of me anon. 'Twas her two sons that murder'd Bassianus: They cut thy sister's tongue, and ravish'd her, And cut her hands; and trimm'd her as thou saw'st. Luc. O, détestable villain! call'st thou that trimming?
AAR. Why, she was wash'd, and cut, and trimm'd; and 'twas
Trim sport for them that had the doing of it.
Luc. O, barbarous, beastly villains, like thyself!
AAR. Indeed, I was their tutor to instruct them; That codding spirit had they from their mother,
And keeps the oath, which by that god he swears;] Alluding perhaps to a custom mentioned in Genesis, xxiv. 9: " And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that matter." STEEVENS.
luxurious woman!] i. e. lascivious woman, See Vol. XV. p. 436, n. 3. MALONE.
"That codding spirit-] i. e. that love of bed-sports. Cod is a word still used in Yorkshire for a pillow. See Lloyd's catalogue of local words at the end of Ray's Proverbs.
As sure a card as ever won the set;
Thus also, in A. Wyntown's Cronykil, B. IX. ch. vi. 147:
"Gave twa lang coddis of welwete,
7 As true a dog as ever fought at head.] An allusion to bulldogs, whose generosity and courage are always shown by meeting the bull in front, and seizing his nose.
So, in A Collection of Epigrams, by J. D. [John Davies] and C. M. [Christopher Marlowe,] printed at Middleburgh, no date: Amongst the dogs and beares he goes; "Where, while he skipping cries-To head,-to head."
• I train'd thy brethren to that guileful hole,
I wrote the letter &c.] Perhaps Young had this speech in his thoughts, when he made his Moor say:
"I urg'd Don Carlos to resign his mistress;
And when I told the empress of this sport,
AAR. Ay, like a black dog, as the saying is." Luc. Art thou not sorry for these heinous deeds?
AAR. Ay, that I had not done a thousand more. Even now I curse the day, (and yet, I think, Few come within the compass of my curse,) Wherein I did not some notorious ill: As kill a man, or else devise his death; Ravish a maid, or plot the way to do it; Accuse some innocent, and forswear myself: Set deadly enmity between two friends; Make poor men's cattle break their necks;2 Set fire on barns and hay-stacks in the night, And bid the owners quench them with their tears. Oft have I digg'd up dead men from their graves, And set them upright at their dear friends' doors, Even when their sorrows almost were forgot;
• She swounded-] When this play was written, the verb to swound, which we now write swoon, was in common use.
So, in Romeo and Juliet:
"All in gore blood; I swounded at the sight."
'Goth. What! canst thou say all this, and never blush? Aar. Ay, like a black dog, as the saying is.] To blush like a black dog appears from Ray, p. 218, to have been proverbial.
Make poor men's cattle break their necks;] Two syllables have been inadvertently omitted; perhaps and die. MALONE.
In my opinion, some other syllables should be sought, to fill this chasm; for if the cattle broke their necks, it was rather un necessary for us to be informed that they died. STEEVENS.
And on their skins, as on the bark of trees,
Luc. Bring down the devil; for he must not die So sweet a death, as hanging presently.
AAR. If there be devils, 'would I were a devil, To live and burn in everlasting fire; So I might have your company in hell, But to torment you with my bitter tongue! Luc. Sirs, stop his mouth, and let him speak no
Enter a Goth.
GOTH. My lord, there is a messenger from Rome, Desires to be admitted to your presence.
Luc. Let him come near.
Welcome, Æmilius, what's the news from Rome?
And nothing grieves me &c.] Marlowe has been supposed to be the author of this play, and whoever will read the conversation between Barabas and Ithimore in the Jew of Malta, Act II, and compare it with these sentiments of Aaron in the present scene, will perceive much reason for the opinion.
• Bring down the devil;] It appears from these words, that the audience were entertained with part of the apparatus of an execution, and that Aaron was mounted on a ladder, as ready to be turned off. STEEVens.