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CAM. He would not ftay at your petitions; made His bufinefs more material.



Didft perceive it?

They're here with me already; 3 whispering, round


Sicilia is a fo forth: 5 'Tis far gone,


His lunefs more material.] i. e. the more you requested him to ftay, the more urgent be reprefented that business to be which fummoned him away. STEEVENS.

3 They're here with me already;] Not Polixenes and Hermione, but cafual obfervers, people accidentally prefent. THIRLBY.

4 whispering, rounding,] To round in the ear is to whisper, or to tell fecretly. The expreffion is very copiously explained by M. Cafaubon, in his book de Ling. Sax. JOHNSON.

The word is frequently used by Chaucer, as well as later writers, So, in Lingua, 1607: "I help'd Herodotus to pen fome part of his Mufes; lent Pliny ink to write his hiftory; and rounded Rabelais in the ear, when he hiftorified Pantagruel.' Again, in The Spanish Tragedy:

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Forthwith revenge the rounded me ith ear." STEEVENS.


5 Sicilia is a fo- forth:] This was a phrafe employed when the fpeaker, through caution or difguft, wifhed to escape the utterance of an obnoxious term. A commentator on Shakspeare will often derive more advantage from liftening to vulgar than to polite converfation. At the corner of Fleet-market, I lately heard one woman, defcribing another, say every body knows that her husband is fo-forth." As she spoke the laft word, her fingers expreffed the emblem of cuckoldom. Mr. Malone reads -Sicilia is a-fo-forth. STEEVENS.

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In regulating this line have adopted a hint fuggefted by Mr. M. Mafon. I have more than once obferved that almost every abrupt fentence in thefe plays is corrupted. Thefe words without the break now introduced are to me unintelligible. Leo ates means-I think I already hear my courtiers whispering to each other, "Sicilia is a cuckold, a tame cuckold," to which (fays he) they will add every other opprobrious name and epithet they can think of;" for fuch, I fuppofe, the meaning of the words fo forth. He avoids na ning the word cuckold from a horrour of the very found. I fufpe&, bowever, that our author wrote- Sicilia is-and fo forth. So, in The Merchant of Venice: "I will buy with you, fell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and fo following.

When I fhall guft it laft.How came't, Camillo, That he did stay?


At the good queen's entreaty.

LEON. At the queen's, be't: good, fhould be pertinent;

But fo it is, it is not.

Was this taken

By any understanding pate but thine?
For thy conceit is foaking," will draw in
More than the common blocks:-Not noted, is't,
But of the finer natures? by fome feverals,
Of head-piece extraordinary? lower meffes,"
Perchance, are to this business purblind: fay.

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Again, more appofitely, in K. Henry IV. P. II :

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with a difh of carraways, AND fo forth."

Again, in Troilus and Creffida: "Is not birth, beauty, good fhape, difcourfe, manhood, learning, AND fo forth, the fpice and falt that season a man?" MALONE.

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"Dedecus ille domus fciet ultimus." Juv. Sat. 10.


7 is foaking,] Dr. Grey would read-in foaking; but I think without neceffity. Thy conceit is of an absorbent nature, will draw in more, &c. feems to be the meaning. STEEVENS.

lower meffes,] I believe, lower messes is only used as an expreffion to fignify the loweft degree about the court. See Anftis. Ord. Gart. I. App. p. 15: "The earl of Surry began the borde in prefence: the earl of Arundel washed with him, and fat both at the firft meffe." Formerly not only at every great man's table the vifitants were placed according to their confequence or dignity, but with additional marks of inferiority, viz. of fitting below the great faltfeller placed in the center of the table, and of having coarfer provifions fet before them. The former cuftom is mentioned in The Honeft Whore, by Decker, 1604: "Plague him; fet him beneath the falt, and let him not touch a bit till every one has had his full cut.' The latter was as much a fubject of com plaint in the time of Beaumont and Fletcher, as in that of Juvenal, as the following inftance may prove :

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CAM. Business, my lord? I think, moft understand Bohemia ftays here longer.



LEON. Ay, but why?


Stays here longer.

CAM. To fatisfy your highness, and the entreaties Of our most gracious mistress.


LEON. The entreaties of your mistress-fatisfy?Let that fuffice. I have trufted thee, Camillo, With all the nearest things to my heart, as well My chamber-councils: wherein, priest-like, thou Haft cleans'd my bofom; I from thee departed The penitent reform'd: but we have been Deceiv'd in thy integrity, deceived

In that which feems fo.


Be it forbid, my lord!

LEON. To bideupon't;-Thou art not honeft: or, If thou inclin'ft that way, thou art a coward; Which hoxes honefty behind, restraining

"Uncut up pies at the nether end, filled with moss and ftones,

"Partly to make a fhew with,

"And partly to keep the lower mefs from eating."

Woman Hater, A& I. fc. ii.

This paffage may be yet fomewhat differently explained. It appears from a paffage in The merye Jest of a Man called Howleglas; bl. 1. no date, that it was anciently the cuftum in publick houses to keep ordinaries of different prices: "What table will you be at? for at the lordes table thei give me no lefs than to fhylinges, and at the merchaunts table xvi pence, and at my houfhold fervantes geve me twelve pence."-Leontes comprehends inferiority of understanding in the idea of inferiority of rank. STEEVENS.

Concerning the indifferent meffes in the great families of our an cient nobility, fee the Houshold Book of the 5th Earl of Northumber land, 8vo. 1770. PERCY.

9 hoxes honefly behind,] To how is to ham-ftring. So, in Knolles' Hiftory of the Turks:

From course requir'd: Or elfe thou must be counted A fervant, grafted in my ferious truft,

And therein negligeht; or elfe a fool,

That seesta game play'd home, the rich stake drawn, And tak'ft it all for jeft.


My gracious lord,

I may be negligent, foolish, and fearful;

In every one of these no man is free,
But that his negligence, his folly, fear,
Amongst the infinite doings of the world,.
Sometime puts forth: In your affairs, my lord,
If ever I were wilful-negligent,

It was my folly; induftriously

I play'd the fool, it was my negligence,
Not weighing well the end; if ever fearful
To do a thing, where I the iffue doubted,
Whereof the execution did cry out
Against the non performance," 'twas a fear

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alighted, and with his fword hoxed his horfe." King James VI. in his 11th Parliament, has an a& to puni "hochares," or flayers of horse, oxen, &c. STEEVENS.

The proper word is, to hough, i. c. to cut the hough, or hamftring. MALONE.


Whereof the execution did cry out

Against the non-performance,] This is one of the expreflions by which Shakspeare too frequently clouds his meaning. This founding phrase means, I think, no more than a thing neceffary to be done. JOHNSON.

I think we ought to read" the now-performance," which gives us this very reasonable meaning:-At the execution whereof, fuck circumftances difcovered themselves, as made it prudent to fufpend all further proceeding in it. HEATH.

I do not fee that this attempt does any thing more, than produce a harfher word without an easier fenfe. JOHNSON.

I have preferved this note, [Mr. Heath's] because I think it a good interpretation of the original text. I have, however, no doubt, that Shakspeare wrote non-performance, he having often entangled himself in the fame manner; but it is clear that he should


Which oft infects the wifeft: thefe, my lord,
Are fuch allow'd infirmities, that honesty
Is never free of. But, 'befeech your grace,
Be plainer with me; let me know my trespass
By its own vifage: if I then deny it,

'Tis none of mine.


Have not you feen, Camillo, (But that's paft doubt: you have; or your eye-glass Is thicker than a cuckold's horn; or heard, (For, to a vifion fo apparent, rumour

Cannot be mute,) or thought, for cogitation Relides not in that man, that does not think it,3)

have written, either against the performance," or " for the non-performance." In The Merchant of Venice our author has entangled himself in the fame manner: "I beseech you, let his lack of years be no impediment to let him lack a reverend eftimation ;" where either impediment fhould be caufe, or to let him lack, should be, to prevent his obtaining. Again, in King Lear:

I have hope

"You lefs know how to value her desert,
Than the to feant her duty."

Again, in the play before us :

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I ne'er heard yet,

That any of thefe bolder vices wanted

Lefs impudence to gain-fay what they did, "Than to perform it first."

Again, in Twelfth Night:



"Fortune forbid my outfide have not charm'd her!"

(for cogitation


Refdes not in that man, that does not think it,)] The folio, 1623, omits the pronoun-it, which is fupplied from the folio 1632. STEEVENS.

Mr. Theobald in a Letter fubjoined to one edition of The Double Falfhood has quoted this paffage in defence of a well-known line in that play "None but himfelf can be his parallel." : "Who does not fee at once (fays he) that he who does not think, has no thought in him." In the fame light this paffage fhould seem to have appeared to all the fubfequent editors, who read, with the editor of the fecond folio, " --that does not think it." But the old reading, I am perfuaded, is right. This is not an abftract proposition.

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