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Of that wide gap;
To o'erthrow law,

since it is in my power


and in one self-born hour

space of forty years, Endymion lying down to sleep at the end of the second, and waking in the first scene of the fifth, after a nap of that unconscionable length. Lyly has likewise been guilty of much greater absurdities than ever Shakspeare committed; for he supposes that Endymion's hair, features, and person, were changed by age during his sleep, while all the other personages of the drama remained without alteration.

George Whetstone, in the epistle dedicatory, before his Promos and Cassandra, 1578, (on the plan of which Measure for Measure is formed) had pointed out many of these absurdities and offences against the laws of the Drama. It must be owned, therefore, that Shakspeare has not fallen into them through ignorance of what they were: "For at this daye, the Italian is so lascivious in his comedies, that honest hearts are grieved at his actions. The Frenchman and Spaniard follow the Italian's humour. The German is too holy; for he presents on everye common stage, what preachers should pronounce in pulpits. The Englishman in this quallitie, is most vaine, indiscreete, and out of order. He first grounds his worke on impossibilities: then in three houres ronnes he throwe the worlde: marryes, gets children, makes children men, men to conquer kingdomes, murder monsters, and bringeth goddes from heaven, and fetcheth devils from hell," &c. This quotation will serve to show that our poet might have enjoyed the benefit of literary laws, but, like Achilles, denied that laws were designed to operate on beings confident of their own powers, and secure of graces beyond the reach of art. Steevens.

In The pleasant Comedie of Patient Grissel, 1603, written by Thomas Decker, Henry Chettle, and William Haughton, Grissel is in the first Act married, and soon afterwards brought to bed of twins, a son and a daughter; and the daughter in the fifth Act is produced on the scene as a woman old enough to be married. Malone.

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and leave the growth untried

Of that wide gap;] Our author attends more to his ideas than to his words. The growth of the wide gap, is somewhat irregular; but he means, the growth, or progression of the time which filled up the gap of the story between Perdita's birth and her sixteenth year. To leave this growth untried, is to leave the passages of the intermediate years unnoted and unexamined. Untried is not, perhaps, the word which he would have chosen, but which his rhyme required. Johnson.

Dr. Johnson's explanation of growth is confirmed by a subsequent passage:

"I turn my glass; and give my scene such growing,
"As you had slept between."

Again, in Pericles, Prince of Tyre:

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To plant and o'erwhelm custom: Let me pass
The same I am, ere ancient'st order was,

Or what is now received: I witness to

The times that brought them in; so shall I do
To the freshest things now reigning; and make stale
The glistering of this present, as my tale

Now seems to it. Your patience this allowing,

I turn my glass; and give my scene such growing,
As you had slept between.
Leontes leaving

The effects of his fond jealousies; so grieving,
That he shuts up himself; imagine me,
Gentle spectators, that I now may be

In fair Bohemia; and remember well,

I mentioned a son o' the king's, which Florizel
I now name to you; and with speed so pace
To speak of Perdita, now grown in grace
Equal with wond'ring: What of her ensues,
I list not prophecy; but let Time's news

"Whom our fast-growing scene must find

"At Tharsus."

Gap, the reading of the original copy, which Dr. Warburton changed to gulf, is likewise supported by the same play, in which old Gower, who appears as Chorus, says:


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learn of me, who stand i' the gaps to teach you "The stages of our story." Malone.

since it is in my power &c.] The reasoning of Time is not very clear; he seems to mean, that he who has broke so many laws may now break another; that he who introduced every thing, may introduce Perdita in her sixteenth year; and he intreats that he may pass as of old, before any order or succession of objects, ancient or modern, distinguished his periods.

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Gentle spectators, that I now may be


In fair Bohemia;] Time is every where alike. I know not whether both sense and grammar may not dictate:

imagine we

Gentle spectators, that you now may be, &c.

Let us imagine that you, who behold these scenes, are now in Bohemia. Johnson.

Imagine me, means imagine with me, or imagine for me; and is a common mode of expression. Thus we say "do me such a thing,"-" spell me such a word." In King Henry IV, Falstaff says, speaking of sack:

"It ascends me into the brain, dries me there," &c. Again, in King Lear, Gloster says to Edmund, speaking of Edgar: "Wind me into him," &c. M. Mason.

Be known, when 'tis brought forth:-a shepherd's


And what to her adheres, which follows after,
Is the argument of time:2 Of this allow,3
If ever you have spent time worse ere now;
If never yet, that Time himself doth say,
He wishes earnestly, you never may.



The same. A Room in the Palace of Polixenes.


Pol. I pray thee, good Camillo, be no more importunate: 'tis a sickness, denying thee any thing; a death, to grant this.

Cam. It is fifteen years, since I saw my country: though I have, for the most part, been aired abroad, I desire to lay my bones there. Besides, the penitent king, my master, hath sent for me: to whose feeling sorrows I might be some allay, or I o'erween to think so; which is another spur to my departure.

Pol. As thou lovest me, Camillo, wipe not out the rest of thy services, by leaving me now: the need I have of thee, thine own goodness hath made; better not to have had thee, than thus to want thee: thou, having made me businesses, which none, without thee can sufficiently manage, must either stay to execute them thyself, or take away with thee the very services thou hast done: which if I have not enough considered, (as too much I cannot) to be more thankful to thee, shall be my study; and my profit therein, the heaping friendships.5 Of

2 Is the argument of time:] Argument is the same with subject.



Of this allow,] To allow in our author's time signified to approve. Malone.

▲ It is fifteen years,] We should read sixteen.


that I slide

O'er sixteen years

Time has just

Again, Act V, sc. iii: "Which lets go by some sixteen years." -Again, ibid:-"Which sixteen winters cannot blow away."


5 and my profit therein, the heaping friendships.] The sense

that fatal country Sicilia, pr'ythee speak no more: whose very naming punishes me with the remembrance of that penitent, as thou call'st him, and reconciled king, my brother; whose loss of his most precious queen, and children, are even now to be afresh lamented. Say to me, when saw'st thou the prince Florizel my son? Kings are no less unhappy, their issue not being gracious, than they are in losing them, when they have approved their virtues.

Cam. Sir, it is three days, since I saw the prince: What his happier affairs may be, are to me unknown: musingly but I have, missingly, noted, he is of late much retired from court; and is less frequent to his princely exercices, than formerly he hath appeared.

Pol. I have considered so much, Camillo; and with some care; so far, that I have eyes under my service, which look upon his removedness: from whom I have this intelligence; That he is seldom from the house of a most homely shepherd; a man, they say, that from very nothing, and beyond the imagination of his neighbours, is grown into an unspeakable estate.

Cam. I have heard, sir, of such a man, who hath a daughter of most rare note: the report of her is extended more, than can be thought to begin from such a cottage. Pol. That's likewise part of my intelligence. But, I fear the angle that plucks our son thither. Thou shalt accompany us to the place: where we will, not appear

of heaping friendships, though like many other of our author's, unusual, at least unusual to modern ears, is not very obscure. To be more thankful shall be my study; and my profit therein the heaping friendships. That is, I will for the future be more liberal of recompense, from which I shall receive this advantage, that as I heap benefits I shall heap friendships, as I confer favours on thee I shall increase the friendship between us. Johnson.

Friendships is, I believe, here used, with sufficient license, merely for friendly offices. Malone.

6 but I have, missingly, noted,] Missingly noted means, I have observed him at intervals, not constantly or regularly, but occasionally. Steevens.


But, I fear the angle-] Mr. Theobald reads, and I fear the engle. Johnson.

Angle in this place means a fishing-rod, which he represents as drawing his son, like a fish, away. So, in K. Henry IV, P.I:

ing what we are, have some question with the shepherd; from whose simplicity, I think it not uneasy to get the cause of my son's resort thither. Pr'ythee, be my present partner in this business, and lay aside the thoughts of Sicilia.

Cam. I willingly obey your command.

Pol. My best Camillo!-We must disguise ourselves. [Exeunt.

The same..


A Road near the Shepherd's Cottage.

Enter AUTOLYCUS, singing.

When daffodils begin to peer,1.

With, heigh! the doxy over the dale,———
Why, they comes in the sweet o'the year;
For the red blood reigns in the winter's pale.?

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"The hearts of all that he did angle for."

Again, in All's Well that Ends Well:

"She knew her distance, and did angle for me." Steevens. So, in Lyly's Sapho and Phao, 1591:

"Thine angle is ready, when thine oar is idle; and as sweet is the fish which thou gettest in the river, as the fowl which others buy in the market." Malone.



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some question -] i. e. some talk.


Autolycus,] Autolycus was the son of Mercury, and as famous for all the arts of fraud and thievery as his father: "Non fuit Autolyci tam piceata manus.?' Martial.

See also, Homer's Odyssey, Book XIX.

1 When daffodils begin to peer,


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Fog on, jog on, the foot-path way,] "Two nonsensical songs, by the rogue Autolycus," says Dr. Burney.-But could not the many compliments paid by Shakspeare to musical science, intercede for a better epithet than nonsensical?

The Dr. subsequently observes, that "This Autolycus is the true ancient Minstrel, as described in the old Fabliaux."

I believe, that many of our readers will push the comparison a little further, and concur with me in thinking that our modern minstrels of the opera, like their predecessor Autolycus, are pick-pockets as well as singers of nonsensical ballads. Steevens.

2 For the red blood reigns in the winter's pale] This line has suffered a great variety of alterations, but I am persuaded the old reading is the true one. The first folio has "the winter's pale,"

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