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Enter the Lord Chamberlain.

CHAM. Good morrow, ladies. What wer't worth to know

The secret of your conference?

My good lord,
Not your demand; it values not your asking:
Our mistress' sorrows we were pitying.

CHAM. It was a gentle business, and becoming
The action of good women: there is hope,
All will be well.

ANNE. Now I pray God, amen!

CHAM. You bear a gentle mind, and heavenly blessings

Follow such creatures. That you may, fair lady,
Perceive I speak sincerely, and high note's
Ta'en of your many virtues, the king's majesty
Commends his good opinion to you, and

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anointed at her coronation; and in King Richard II. the word is used in that sense:

"With my own tears I wash away my balm." Dr. Johnson properly explains it, the oil of consecration.


The Old Lady's jocularity, I am afraid, carries her beyond the bounds of decorum; but her quibbling allusion is more easily comprehended than explained. RITSON.

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Commends his good opinion to you,] Thus the old copy, and subsequent editors. Mr. Malone reads:

Commends his good opinion of you. STEEVENS.

The words to you, in the next line, must in construction be understood here. The old copy, indeed, reads:

Commends his good opinion of you to you, andbut the metre shows that cannot be right. The words-to you were probably accidentally omitted by the compositor in the second line, and being marked by the corrector as out, (to speak technically,) were inserted in the wrong place. The old error

Does purpose honour to you no less flowing
Than marchioness of Pembroke; to which title
A thousand pound a year, annual support,
Out of his grace he adds.

I do not know,

What kind of my obedience I should tender;
More than my all is nothing: nor my prayers
Are not words duly hallow'd," nor my wishes

being again marked, the words that were wanting were properly inserted in the second line where they now stand, and the new error in the first was overlooked. In the printing-house this frequently happens. MALONE.

It is as probable that, in the present instance, a correction, and the erasure that was designed to make room for it, have both been printed.

The phrase I found in the text I have not disturbed, as it is supported by a passage in Antony and Cleopatra:

"Commend unto his lips thy favouring hand."

Again, in King Lear:

"I did commend your highness' letters to them."


• More than my all is nothing:] Not only my all is nothing, but if my all were more than it is, it were still nothing.

So, in Macbeth:



"More is thy due than more than all can pay."

∙nor my prayers


Are not words duly hallow'd, &c.] It appears to me absolutely necessary, in order to make sense of this passage, to read: for my prayers

Are not words duly hallow'd, &c.

instead of "nor my prayers."

Anne's argument is this: "More than my all is nothing, for my prayers and wishes are of no value, and yet prayers and wishes are all I have to return." M. MASON.

The double negative, it has been already observed, was commonly used in our author's time.

For my prayers, a reading introduced by Mr. Pope, even if such arbitrary changes were allowable, ought not to be admitted

More worth than empty vanities; yet prayers, and wishes,

Are all I can return. 'Beseech your lordship, Vouchsafe to speak my thanks, and my obedience, As from a blushing handmaid, to his highness; Whose health, and royalty, I pray for.




I shall not fail to approve the fair conceit,
The king hath of you.-I have perus'd her well;'

[Aside. Beauty and honour in her are so mingled, That they have caught the king: and who knows


But from this lady may proceed a gem,
To lighten all this isle?—I'll to the king,
And say, I spoke with you.

here, this being a distinct proposition, not an illation from what has gone before. I know not, (says Anne,) what external acts of duty and obeisance I ought to return for such unmerited favour. All I can do of that kind, and even more, if more were possible, would be insufficient: nor are any prayers that I can offer up for my benefactor sufficiently sanctified, nor any wishes that I can breathe for his happiness, of more value than the most worthless and empty vanities. MALONE.


I shall not fail &c.] I shall not omit to strengthen, by my commendation, the opinion which the King has formed.


I have perus'd her well;] From the many artful strokes of address the poet has thrown in upon Queen Elizabeth and her mother, it should seem that this play was written and performed in his royal mistress's time: if so, some lines were added by him in the last scene, after the accession of her successor, King James. THEOBALD.


a gem,

To lighten all this isle?] Perhaps alluding to the carbuncle, a gem supposed to have intrinsick light, and to shine in the dark any other gem may reflect light, but cannot give it.




My honour'd lord. [Exit Lord Chamberlain.

OLD L. Why, this it is; see, see!

I have been begging sixteen years in court,
(Am yet a courtier beggarly,) nor could
Come pat betwixt too early and too late,
For any suit of pounds and you, (O fate!)
A very fresh-fish here, (fye, fye upon

This compell'd fortune!) have your mouth fill'd up,
Before you open it.


This is strange to me.

OLD L. How tastes it? is it bitter? forty pence,


So, in Titus Andronicus:

"A precious ring, that lightens all the hole."


Thus, in a palace described in Amadis de Gaule, Trans. 1619, fol. B. IV. p. 5: "In the roofe of a chamber hung two lampes of gold, at the bottomes whereof were enchased two carbuncles, which gave so bright a splendour round about the roome, that there was no neede of any other light." With a reference to this notion, I imagine, Milton, speaking of the orb of the sun, says:

"If stone, carbuncle most or chrysolite."

Paradise Lost, B. III. v. 596. And that we have in Antony and Cleopatra:


were it carbuncled

"Like holy Phoebus' car." Holt White.

is it bitter? forty pence, no.] Mr. Roderick, in his appendix to Mr. Edwards's book, proposes to read:

-for two-pence,

The old reading may, however, stand. Forty pence was, in those days, the proverbial expression of a small wager, or a small sum. Money was then reckoned by pounds, marks, and nobles. Forty pence is half a noble, or the sixth part of a pound. Forty pence, or three and four pence, still remains, in many of fices, the legal and established fee.

So, in King Richard II. Act V. sc. v:

"The cheapest of us is ten groats too dear."

There was a lady once, ('tis an old story,)
That would not be a queen, that would she not,
For all the mud in Egypt :3-Have you heard it?
ANNE. Come, you are pleasant.

With your theme, I could
O'ermount the lark. The marchioness of Pembroke!
A thousand pounds a year! for pure respect;
No other obligation: By my life,

That promises more thousands: Honour's train
Is longer than his foreskirt. By this time,
I know, your back will bear a duchess ;-Say,
Are you not stronger than you were?


Good lady,
Make yourself mirth with your particular fancy,
And leave me out on't. 'Would I had no being,
If this salute my blood a jot; it faints me,
To think what follows.

The queen is comfortless, and we forgetful
In our long absence: Pray, do not deliver
What here you have heard, to her.


What do you think me?

Again, in All's well that ends well, Act II. the Clown says: "As fit as ten groats for the hand of an attorney."

Again, in Green's Groundwork of Coneycatching: "wagers laying, &c. forty pence gaged against a match of wrestling." Again, in The longer thou livest, the more Fool thou art, 1570: "I dare wage with any man forty pence.”

Again, in The Storye of King Darius, 1565, an interlude: Nay, that I will not for fourty pence." STEEVENS.


For all the mud in Egypt:] The fertility of Egypt is derived from the mud and slime of the Nile. STEEVENS.

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