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The bound of honour; or, in act, or will,
That way inclining; harden'd be the hearts

The fenfe would then be:

In what base reciprocation of love have I caught this ftrain? Uncurrent is what will not pafs, and is, at prefent, only applied to money.

Mrs. Ford talks of fome ftrain in her character, and in Beaumont and Fletcher's Cuftom of the Country, the fame expreffion occurs: -ftrain your loves

"With any base, or hir'd perfuafions."

To ftrain, I believe, means to go awry.

Drayton's Polyolbion:

So, in the 6th fong of

As wantonly fhe trains in her lafcivious courfe."
Drayton is fpeaking of the irregular courfe of the river Wye.


The bounds of honour, which are mentioned immediately after, juftify Mr. Steevens in fuppofing the imagery to have been taken from tilting. HENLEY.

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Johnson thinks it neceffary for the fenfe, to tranfpofe thefe words and read, "With what encounter fo uncurrent have 1 ftrained to For appear thus?" But he could not have proposed that alteration, had he confidered, with attention, the conftruction of the paffage, which runs thus: "I appeal to your own conscience, with what encounter, &c. That is, "I appeal to your own confcience to declare with what encounter fo uncurrent I have flrained to appear thus. He was probably mifled by the point of interrogation ar ot the end of the fentence, which ought not to have been there. M. MASON.

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The precife meaning of the word encounter in this paffage may be gathered from our author's use of it elsewhere:

"Who hath

Confefs'd the vile encounters they have had

"A thousand times in fecret." Much ado about Nothing. Hero and Borachio are the perfons fpoken of. Again, in Measure for Meafure: "We fhall advife this wronged maid to ftead up your appointment, go in your place: if the encounter acknowledge itself hereafter, it may compel him to her recompence. Again, in Cymbeline:

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"But what he look'd for fhould oppofe, and the
"Should from encounter guard."'

As, to pass or utter money that is not current, is contrary to
law, I believe our author in the prefent paffage, with his accuftomed
licence, ufes the word uncurrent as fynonymous to unlawful.

I have ftrain'd, may perhaps mean I have fwerved or defle&ed from the firict line of duty. So, in Romeo and Juliet:

Of all that hear me, and my near'st of kin
Cry, Fie upon my grave!


I ne'er heard yet,

That any of thefe bolder vices wanted
Lefs impudence to gainfay what they did,
Than to perform it first.


Though 'tis a faying, fir,

That's true enough;

not due to me.

More than mistress of,

LEON. You will not own it.


Which comes to me in name of fault, I must not

At all acknowledge. For Polixenes,

(With whom I am accus'd,) I do confefs,

I lov'd him, as in honour he requir'd;"

"Nor aught fo good, but ftrain'd from that fair use,

Again, in our author's 140th Sonnet :

"Bear thine eyes ftraight, though thy proud heart go wide." A bed-fwerver has already occurred in this play.

"To appear thus," is, to appear in fuch an affembly as this; to be put on my trial. MALONE.

I ne'er heard yet,

That any of thefe bolder vices wanted

Lefs impudence to gain-fay what they did,

Than to perform it firft.] It is apparen that according to the proper, at leaft according to the prefent, ufe of words, lefs thould be more, or wanted fhould be had. But Shakspeare is very uncertain in his use of negatives. It may be neceffary once to obferve, that in our language, two negatives did not originally affirm, but ftrengthen the negation. This mode of fpeech was in time changed, but, as the change was made in oppofition to long custom, it proceeded gradually, and uniformity was not obtained but through

an intermediate confufion. JOHNSON.

Examples of the fame phrafeology (as Mr. Malone obferves,) occur in this play, p. 31; in Antony and Cleopatra, A& IV. fc. xii. and in King Lear, A&. II fc. iv; and as Mr. Ritfon adds) in Macbeth, A& III. fc. vi. STEEVENS.

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(With whom I am accus'd,) I do confels

I lov'd him, as in honour he requir'd; &c.] So, in Doraftus

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With fuch a kind of love, as might become
A lady like me; with a love, even fuch,
So, and no other, as yourself commanded:
Which not to have done, I think, had been in me
Both disobedience and ingratitude,

To o you, and toward your friend; whofe love had


Even fince it could fpeak, from an infant, freely,
That it was yours. Now, for conspiracy,

I know not how it taftes; though it be difh'd
For me to try how all I know of it,


Is, that Camillo was an honeft man';

And, why he left your court, the gods themselves,
Wotting no more than I, are ignorant.

LEON. You knew of his departure, as you know
What you have underta'en to do in his abfence.
HER. Sir,

You speak a language that I understand not:
My life flands in the level of your dreams,'
Which I'll lay down.


Your actions are my dreams;

You had a baftard by Polixenes,

and Faunia: What hath paffed between him and me, the Gods only know, and I hope will presently reveale. That I loy'd Egifthus, I cannot denie; that I honour'd him, I fhame not to confefs. But as touching lafcivious luft, I fay Egifthus is honeft, and hope myfelf to be found, without fpot. For Franion, [Camillo,] I can neither accufe him nor excufe him. I was not privie to his departure. And that this is true which I have here rehearfed, I refer myfelfe to the divine oracle." MALONE.

7 My life ftands in the level of your dreams,] To be in the level is, by a metaphor from archery, to be within the reach. JOHNSON. This metaphor, (as both Mr. Douce and Mr. Ritson have already obferved,) is from gunnery. See p. 65, n. 4.

So, in King Henry VIII:

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I food i'the level

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And I but dream'd it :-As you were paft all fhame,
(Those of your fact are, fo,) fo past all truth :
Which to deny, concerns more than avails :
For as


Thy brat hath been caft out, like to itself,
No father owning it, (which is, indeed,
More criminal in thee, than it.) fo thou
Shalt feel our juftice; in whofe eafieft paffage,
Look for no lefs than death.


Sir, fpare your threats; The bug, which you would fright, me with, I feek. To me can life be no commodity:

The crown and comfort of my life, your favour,

7 As you were paft all shame,

(Those of your fact are fo,) fo paft all truth:] I do not remember that fact is ufed any where abfolutely for guilt, which must be its fenfe in this place. Perhaps we should read:

Thofe of your pack are fo.

Pack is a low coarfe word well fuited to the reft of this royal in. vedive. JOHNSON.

I fhould guess feet to be the right word. See King Henry IV. P. II. A& II. fc. iv.

In Middleton's Mad World, my Mafters, a Courtezan fays: " It is the easiest art and cunning for our fed to counterfeit fick, that are always full of fits when we are well." FARMER.

Thus, Falftaff, fpeaking of Dol Tearsheet: So is all her feet; if they be once in a calm, they are fick." Thofe of your fact may, however, mean-thofe who have done as you do. STEEVENS.

That fad is the true reading, is proved decifively from the words of the novel, which our author had in his mind, both here, and in a former paffage ["I ne'er heard yet, That any of these bolder vices," &c.]: And as for her [faid Pandofto] it was her part to deny fuch a monftrous crime, and to be impudent in forfwearing the fact, since she had passed all fhame in committing the fault." MALONE.

Which to deny concerns more than avails:] It is your business to deny this charge, but the mere denial will be ufelefs; will prove nothing. MALONE.

9 The crown and comfort of my life,] The Supreme blessing of my life. So, in Cymbeline:

"O that husband!

"My fupreme crown of grief." MALONE.

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I do give loft; for I do feel it gone,
But know not how it went: My fecond joy,
And firft-fruits of my body, from his prefence
I am barr'd, like one infectious: My third comfort,
Starr'd moft unluckily, is from my breaft


The innocent milk in its most innocent mouth,
Haled out to murder: Myfelf on every post
Proclaim'd a ftrumpet; With immodeft hatred,
The child-bed privilege denied, which 'longs
To women of all fashion ;-Lafly, hurried
Here to this place, i'the open air, before
I have got ftrength of limit.

Now, my liege,

Tell me what bleffings I have here alive,
That I fhould fear to die? Therefore, proceed.
But yet hear this; mistake me not; -No! life,
I prize it not a firaw but for mine honour,
(Which I would free,) if I fhall be condemn'd
Upon furmises; all proofs fleeping elfe,
But what your jealoufies awake; I tell you,.
'Tis rigour, and not law. -Your honours all,

2 Starr'd most unluckily,] i. e. born under an inaufpicious planet,
So, in Romeo and Juliet:

"And shake the yoke of inauspicious flars

"From this world-wearied flefh." STEEVENS.

3 I have got frength of limit.] I know not well how firength of limit can mean ftrength to pass the limits of the child-bed chamber; which yet it muft mean in this place, unless we read in a more easy phrafe, ftrength of limb. And now, c. JOHNSON.

Mr. M. Mafon judiciously conceives ftrength of limit to mean, the limited degree of ftrength which it is customary for women to acquire, before they are fuffered to go abroad after child-bearing. STEEVENS.


-I tell you,

'Tis rigour, and not law.] This alfo is from the novel: "Bellaria, no whit difmaid with this rough reply, told her husband Pandofto, that he spake upon choller, and not confcience; for her virtuous life had been fuch as no spot of fufpicion could ever flayne. And if he had borne a friendly countenance to Egifthus, it was in refped he was his friend, and not for any lufting affection; there fore if he were condemned without any farther proofe, it was rigour and not law." MALONE.

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