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Or Cytherea's breath; pale primroses,
That die unmarried, ere they can behold
Bright Phoebus in his strength, a malady
Most incident to maids; bold oxlips," and
The crown-imperial; lilies of all kinds,
The flower-de-luce being one! O, these I lack,
To make you garlands of; and, my sweet friend,
To strew him o'er and o'er.


What? like a corse? Per. No, like a bank, for love to lie and play on; Not like a corse: or if not to be buried,

But quick, and in mine arms.

Again, in his 40th Sonnet:


Come, take your flowers:

"When on each eye-lid sweetly do appear

"An hundred graces, as in shade they sit." Malone.

pale primroses,

That die unmarried, ere they can behold &c.] So, in Pimlyco, or Runne Red-Cap, 1609:

"The pretty Dazie (eye of day)

"The Prime-Rose which doth first display

"Her youthful colours, and first dies:
"Beauty and Death are enemies."

Again, in Milton's Lycidas:


the rathe primrose that forsaken dies."

Mr. Warton, in a note on my last quotation, asks “But why does the Primrose die unmarried? Not because it blooms and decays before the appearance of other flowers; as in a state of solitude, and without society. Shakspeare's reason, why it dies unmarried, is unintelligible, or rather is such as I do not wish to understand. The true reason is, because it grows in the shade, uncherished or unseen by the sun, who was supposed to be in love with some sorts of flowers."

Perhaps, however, the true explanation of this passage may be deduced from a line originally subjoined by Milton to that already quoted from Lycidas:

"Bring the rathe primrose that unwedded dies,
"Colouring the pale cheek of unenjoy'd love."


5 bold oxlips,] Gold is the reading of Sir T. Hanmer; the former editions have bold. Johnson.

The old reading is certainly the true one. The oxlip has not a weak flexible stalk like the cowslip, but erects itself boldly in the face of the sun. Wallis, in his History of Northumberland, says, that the great oxlip grows a foot and a half high. It should be confessed, however, that the colour of the oxlip is taken notice of by other writers. So, in The Arraignment of Paris, 1584: yellow oxlips bright as burnish'd gold."



Methinks, I play as I have seen them do

In Whitsun' pastorals: sure, this robe of mine
Does change my disposition.


What you do,

Still betters what is done. When you speak, sweet,
I'd have you do it ever: when you sing,
I'd have you buy and sell so; so give alms;
Pray so; and, for the ordering your affairs,

To sing them too: When you do dance, I wish you

A wave o' the sea.

Nothing but that;

that you might ever do

move still, still so, and own No other function: Each your doing,"

So singular in each particular,

Crowns what you are doing in the present deeds,
That all your acts are queens.


O Doricles,

Your praises are too large: but that your youth,
And the true blood, which fairly peeps through it,
Do plainly give you out an unstain'd shepherd;
With wisdom I might fear, my Doricles,
You woo'd me the false way.

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But quick, and in mine arms.] So, Marston's Insatiate Countess,


"Isab. Heigh ho, you'll bury me, I see.

"Rob. In the swan's down, and tomb thee in my

Again, in Pericles, Prince of Tyre, 1609:

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O come, be buried

"A second time within these arms.' 29 Malone.


7 — Each your doing, &c.] That is, your manner in each act crowns the act. Johnson.

8 but that your youth,

And the true blood which fairly peeps through it,] So, Marlowe, in his Hero and Leander:

"Through whose white skin, softer than soundest sleep,
"With damaske eyes the ruby blood doth peep."

The part of the poem that was written by Marlowe, was pub. lished, I believe, in 1593, but certainly before 1598, a Second Part or Continuation of it by H. Petowe having been printed in that year. It was entered at Stationers' Hall in September 1593, and is often quoted in a collection of verses entitled England's Parnassus, printed in 1600. From that collection it appears, that Marlowe wrote only the first two Sestiads, and about a hundred lines of the third, and that the remainder was written by ChapMalone.


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I think, you have

As little skill to fear, as I have purpose
To put you to 't.-But, come; our dance, I pray:
Your hand, my Perdita: so turtles pair,

That never mean to part.


I'll swear for 'em.1


Pol. This is the prettiest low-born lass, that ever Ran on the green-sward: nothing she does, or "seems," says But smacks of something greater than herself;

Too noble for this place.


He tells her something,

That makes her blood look out: 2" Good sooth, she is wakes her blood; - wok on't

9 I think, you have

As little skill to fear,] To have skill to do a thing was a phrase then in use equivalent to our to have a reason to do a thing. The Oxford editor, ignorant of this, alters it to:

As little skill in fear,

which has no kind of sense in this place. Warburton.

I cannot approve of Warburton's explanation of this passage, or believe that to have a skill to do a thing, ever meant, to have reason to do it; of which, when he asserted it, he ought to have produced one example at least.

The fears of women, on such occasions, are generally owing to their experience. They fear, as they blush, because they understand. It is to this that Florizel alludes, when he says, that Perdita had little skill to fear.-So Juliet says to Romeo:

"But trust me, gentleman, I'll prove more true
"Than those who have more cunning to be strange."

M. Mason.
1 Per. I'll swear for 'em.] I fancy this half line is placed to a
wrong person. And that the king begins his speech aside:
Pol. I'll swear for 'em,

This is the prettiest &c. Johnson.

We should doubtless read thus:

I'll swear for one.

i. e. I will answer or engage for myself. Some alteration is absolutely necessary. This seems the easiest, and the reply will then be perfectly becoming her character. Ritson.

2 He tells her something,

That makes her blood look out:] The meaning must be this. The prince tells her something that calls the blood up into her cheeks, and makes her blush. She, but a little before, uses a like expres

sion to describe the prince's sincerity:

your youth

And the true blood, which fairly peeps through it,

Do plainly give you out an unstain'd shepherd. Theobald.

The old copy reads-look on 't. Steevens.


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The queen of curds and cream.


Come on, strike up.

Now, in good time!

Dor. Mopsa must be your mistress: marry, garlick, To mend her kissing with.


Clo. Not a word, a word; we stand3 upon our man


Come, strike up.


Here a dance of Shepherds and Shepherdesses.

Pol. Pray, good shepherd, what

Fair swain is this, which dances with your daughter? Shep. They call him Doricles; and he boasts himself4 To have a worthy feeding: 5 but I have it

Upon his own report, and I believe it;

He looks like sooth:6 He says, he loves my daughter;

I think so too; for never gaz'd the moon

Upon the water, as he 'll stand, and read,

As 'twere, my daughter's eyes: and, to be plain,

I think, there is not half a kiss to choose,


we stand &c.] That is, we are now on our behaviour.
So, in Every Man in his Humour, Master Stephen says:
Nay, we do not stand much on our gentility, friend."



and he boasts himself-] The old copy reads-and boasts himself; which cannot, I think, be right. The emendation was made by Mr. Rowe. Perhaps Shakspeare wrote—a boasts himself. Malone.


a worthy feeding:] I conceive feeding to be a pasture, and a worthy feeding to be a tract of pasturage not inconsiderable, not unworthy of my daughter's fortune. Johnson.

Dr. Johnson's explanation is just. So, in Drayton's Moon-calf "Finding the feeding for which he had toil'd

"To have kept safe, by these vile cattle spoil'd."

Again, in the sixth song of the Polyolbion:

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so much that do rely

"Upon their feedings, flocks, and their fertility."

"A worthy feeding (says Mr. M. Mason) is a valuable, a substantial one. Thus, Antonio, in Twelfth Night:

"But were my worth, as is my conscience, firm,
"You should find better dealing."

Worth here means fortune or substance.


6 He looks like sooth:] Sooth is truth. Obsolete. So, in Lyly's Woman in the Moon, 1597:

"Thou dost dissemble, but I mean good sooth." Steevens.

Who loves another best."


She dances featly.

Shep. So she does any thing; though I report it,
That should be silent: if young Doricles

Do light upon her, she shall bring him that
Which he not dreams of.

Enter a Servant.

Serv. O master, if you did but hear the pedler at the door, you would never dance again after a tabor and pipe; no, the bagpipe could not move you: he sings several tunes, faster than you'll tell money; he utters them as he had eaten ballads, and all men's ears grew to his


Clo. He could never come better: he shall come in: I love a ballad but even too well; if it be doleful matter, merrily set down, or a very pleasant thing indeed, and sung lamentably.


Serv. He hath songs, for man, or woman, of all sizes; no milliner can so fit his customers with gloves:9 he has the prettiest love-songs for maids; so without bawdry, which is strange; with such delicate burdens of dildos1 and fadings:2 jump her and thump her: and where some

7 Who loves another best.] Surely we should read-Who loves the other best. M. Mason.


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doleful matter, merrily set down,] This seems to be another stroke aimed at the title-page of Preston's Cambises; “A lamentable Tragedy, mixed full of pleasant Mirth," &c.


9- no milliner can so fit his customers with gloves:] In the time of our author, and long afterwards, the trade of a milliner was carried on by men. Malone.


of dildos-] "With a hie dildo dill," is the burthen of The Batchelors' Feast, an ancient ballad, and is likewise called the Tune of it. Steevens.

See also, Choice Drollery, 1656, p. 31:

"A story strange I will you tell,

"But not so strange as true,

"Of a woman that danc'd upon the rope,

"And so did her husband too;

"With a dildo, dildo, dildo,


"With a dildo, dildo, dee."


fadings:] An Irish dance of this name is mentioned by

Ben Jonson, in The Irish Masque at Court:


and daunsh a fading at te wedding."

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