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205. I urged you further.—This is the reading of the old copies. Mr Collier, as elsewhere, has farther.
205. Which sometime hath his hour.—That is, its hour. Vid. 54.
205. Wafture of your hand.-Wafter is the form of the word in all the Folios.
205. Fearing to strengthen that impatience. For the prosody of such lines see the note on 246.
205. An effect of humour. - Humour is the peculiar mood, or caprice, of the moment; a state of mind opposed or exceptional to the general disposition and character.
205. As it hath much prevailed on your condition.Condition is the general temper or state of mind. We still say ill-conditioned, for ill-tempered. Thus, in The Merchant of Venice, i. 2, Portia makes the supposition that her suitor the black Prince of Morocco, although his complexion be that of a devil, may have “the condition of a saint.” Note how vividly the strong feeling from which Portia speaks is expressed by her repetition of the much—“could it work so much As it hath much prevailed.”
205.- Dear my lord.—So, in Romeo and Juliet, iii. 5, Juliet implores her mother, “ O, sweet my mother, cast me not away !” For the principle upon which this form of expression is to be explained, see the note on 89. Though now disused in English, it corresponds exactly to the French Cher Monsieur. The personal pronoun in such phrases has become absorbed in the noun to which it is prefixed, and its proper or separate import is not thought of. A remarkable instance, in another form of construction, of how completely the pronoun in such established modes of speech was formerly apt to be overlooked, or treated as non-significant, occurs in our common version of the Bible, where in 1 Kings, xviii. 7, we have, “ And, as Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah met him: and he knew him, and fell on his face, and said, Art thou that my lord Elijah ?" Still more extraordinary is what we
have in Troilus and Cressida, v. 2, where (Ulysses having also addressed Troilus, “Nay, good my lord, go off”) Cressida exclaims to herself,
“Ah! poor our sex ! this fault in us I find,
The error of our eye directs our mind.” 209. Is it physical ? - Medicinal.
209. Of the dank morning.--The Second Folio changes dank into dark. Mr Collier retains dank ; but it is not stated that the restoration is made by his manuscript annotator.
209. To add unto his sickness. His is misprinted hit in the First Folio. So in Macbeth, i. 5, we have, in the same original text, “the effect and hit," apparently for “the effect and it” (the purpose),--although the misprint, if it be one, is repeated in the Second Folio, and is, as far as we can gather from Mr Collier, left uncorrected by his MS. annotator. It is even defended as probably the true reading by Tieck. It cannot, at any rate, be received as merely a different way of spelling it, deliberately adopted in this instance and nowhere else throughout the volume : such a view of the matter is the very Quixotism of the belief in the immaculate purity of the old text.
209. You have some sick offence. Some pain, or grief, that makes you sick.
209. By the right and virtue of my place. — By the right that belongs to, and (as we now say) in virtue of (that is by the power or natural prerogative of) my place (as your wife). The radical meaning of the term virtue, connected with vis, and perhaps also with vireo, and with vir, is force (which word itself, indeed, with its Latin progenitor fortis, may possibly be from the same root). The old spelling of the English word, and that which it has here in the First Folio, is vertue, as we still have it in the French vertu.
209. I charm you.-Charm (or charme) is the reading of all the old printed copies, and Mr Collier tells us of no correction by his MS. annotator. Pope substituted charge, which was adopted also by Hanmer. It must be confessed that the only instance which has been referred to in support of charm is not satisfactory. It is adduced by Steevens from Cymbeline, i. 7, where Iachimo says to Imogen,
có' Tis your graces
That from my mutest conscience to my tongue
Charms this report out.” This is merely the common application of the verb to charm in the sense of to produce any kind of effect as it were by incantation. Charm is no doubt a derivative from carmen, as incantation or enchantment is from cano. In the passage
before I charm you (if such be the reading) must mean I adjure or conjure you. Spenser uses charm with a meaning which it does not now retain ; as when he says in his Shepherd's Kalendar (October, 118), "Here we our slender pipes may safely charm,” and, in the beginning of his Colin Clout's Come Home Again, speaks of " charming his oaten pipe unto his peers,” that is, playing or modulating (not uttering musical sounds, as explained by Nares, but making to utter them). Still more peculiar is the application of the word by Marvel in a short poem entitled “The Picture of T. C. in a Prospect of Flowers;"-“Meanwhile, whilst
verdant thing Itself does at thy beauty charm ;”that is, apparently, delights itself in contemplating thy beauty. We do not now use this verb thus reflectively at all. There seems, however, to have been formerly a latitude in the application of it which may possibly have extended to such a sense as that which must be assigned to it if it was really the word here employed by Portia.Two stage directions are added here by Mr Collier's MS. annotator :-“Kneeling," where Portia says " Upon my knees I charm you;” and “ Raising her” at 210.
211. But, as it were, in sort, or limitation.—Only in a manner, in a degree, in some qualified or limited sense. We still say in a sort.
211. To keep with you, etc.--To keep company with you. To keep in the sense of to live or dwell is of constant occurrence in our old writers; and Nares observes that they still say in the University of Cambridge, Where do you keep? I keep in such a set of chambers. We . sometimes hear it asserted that the word comfort, as well as the thing, is exclusively English. But it is also an old French word, though bearing rather the sense of our law term to comfort, which is to relieve, assist, or encourage. And it exists, also, both in the Italian and in the Spanish. Its origin is an ecclesiastical Latin verb conforto (from con and fortis), meaning to strengthen.
211. And talk to you sometimes, etc.—The true prosodical view of this line is to regard the two combinations “to you” and “in the” as counting each for only a single syllable. It is no more an Alexandrine than it is an hexameter.
213. Being so fathered, and so husbanded. We have here two exemplifications of the remarkable power which our language possesses (though a consequence of its poverty of inflection, or of the loss of their distinctive terminations by the infinitive and present indicative of the verb) of turning almost any noun, upon occasion, into a verb. It may be called its most kingly prerogative, and may be compared to the right of ennobling exercised by the crown in our political constitution,—the more, inasmuch as words too, as well as men, were originally, it is probable, all of equal rank, and the same word served universally as noun at one time and as verb at another. Most of our verbs that are of purely English or Gothic descent are still in their simplest form undistinguishable
The noun and the verb might be exhibited together in one system of inflection ; father, for instance, might be at once declined and conjugated, through fathered, and fathering, and have fathered, and will father, and all the other moods and tenses, as well as through fathers and father's, and of a father, and to a father, and the other so called nominal changes. It is to this their identity of form with the noun that our English verbs owe in a great measure their peculiar force and liveliness of expression, consisting as that does in their power of setting before us, not merely the fact that something has been done or is doing, but the act or process itself as a concrete thing or picture. Shakespeare in particular freely employs any noun whatever as a verb.
It is interesting to note the germ of what we have here in The Merchant of Venice (i. 2)
“Her name is Portia ; nothing undervalued
To Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia." The Merchant of Venice had certainly been written by 1598.
213. I have made strong proof.—The prosody concurs here with the sense in demanding a strong emphasis upon the word strong.
214. All the charactery. — All that is charactered or expressed by my saddened aspect. The word, which occurs also in the Merry Wives of Windsor, v. 5, is accented on the second syllable there as well as here. And no doubt this was also the original, as it is still the vulgar, accentuation of character. Shakespeare, however, always accents that word on the char-, as we do, whether he uses it as a noun or as a verb; though a doubt may be entertained as to the pronunciation of the participial form both in the line, “ Are visibly charactered and engraved,” in The Two Gentlemen of' Verona, ii. 7, and in the “Show me one scar charactered on the skin” of the Second Part of King