To let him there a month, behind the gest
Prefix'd for his parting: yet, good-deed,1 Leontes,
I love thee not a jar o' the clock behind

be used as many other reflective verbs are by Shakspeare, for to let or hinder himself: then the meaning will be: "I'll give him my permission to tarry for a month," &c. Dr. Warburton and the subsequent editors read, I think, without necessity-"I'll give you my commission, &c. Malone.

9 behind the gest] Mr. Theobald says: he can neither trace, nor understand the phrase, and therefore thinks it should be just: But the word gest is right, and signifies a stage or journey. In the time of royal progresses the king's stages, as we may see by the journals of them in the herald's office, were called his gests; from the old French word giste, diversorium.


In Strype's Memorials of Archbishop Cranmer, p. 283,—The Archbishop entreats Cecil, "to let him have the new resolved upon gests, from that time to the end, that he might from time to time know where the king was."

Again, in Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, 1594: "Castile, and lovely Elinor with him,

"Have in their gests resolv'd for Oxford town." Again, in The White Devil, or, Vittoria Corombona, 1612: Do, like the gests in the progress,

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"You know where you shall find me." Gests, or rather gists, from the Fr. giste, (which signifies both a bed, and a lodging place) were the names of the houses or towns where the King or Prince intended to lie every night dur ing his PROGRESS. They were written in a scroll, and probably each of the royal attendants was furnished with a copy. Malone.

1 yet, good-deed,] Signifies, indeed, in very deed, as Shakspeare in another place expresses it. Good-deed, is used in the same sense by the Earl of Surrey, Sir John Hayward, and Gascoigne.

Dr. Warburton would read-good heed,-meaning-take good heed.


The second folio reads-good heed, which, I believe, is right. Tyrwhitt. 2 — a jar o' the clock —] A jar is, I believe, a single repetition of the noise made by the pendulum of a clock; what children call the ticking of it. So, in King Richard II:

"My thoughts are minutes, and with sighs they jar.”


A jar perhaps means a minute, for I do not suppose that the ancient clocks ticked or noticed the seconds. See Holinshed's Description of England, p. 241. Tollet.

To jar certainly means to tick; as in T. Heywood's Troia Britannica, cant. iv, st. 107; edit. 1609: “ He hears no waking-clocke, nor watch to jarre." H. White.

What lady she her lord.-You'll stay?


Her. Nay, but you will?


Her. Verily!

No, madam.

I may not, verily.

You put me off with limber vows: But I,

Though you would seek to unsphere the stars with oaths, Should yet say, sir, no going. Verily,

You shall not go; a lady's verily is

As potent as a lord's. Will you go yet?

Force me to keep you as a prisoner,

Not like a guest; so you shall pay your fees,

When you depart, and save your thanks. How say you? My prisoner? or my guest? by your dread verily,

One of them you shall be.

To be your prisoner, should import offending;
Which is for me less easy to commit,

Your guest then, madam:

Than you to punish.


Not your gaoler then,

But your kind hostess. Come, I'll question you
Of my lord's tricks, and yours, when you were boys;
You were pretty lordings3 then.


We were, fair
Two lads, that thought there was no more behind,
But such a day to-morrow as to-day,

And to be boy eternal.

Her. Was not my lord the verier wag o' the two? Pol. We were as twinn'd lambs, that did frisk i̇’the


And bleat the one at the other: what we chang'd,
Was innocence for innocence; we knew not
The doctrine of ill-doing, no, nor dream'd

So, in The Spanish Tragedy, 1601:-"the owle shrieking, the toades croaking, the minutes jerring, and the clocke striking twelve." Malone.

3 lordings] This diminutive of lord is often used by Chaucer. So, in the prologue to his Canterbury Tales, the host says to the company, v. 790, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit:

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Lordinges (quod he) now herkeneth for the beste."


♦ The doctrine of ill-doing, no, nor dream'd-] Doctrine is here

That any did: Had we pursued that life,
And our weak spirits ne'er been higher rear'd

With stronger blood, we should have answer'd heaven Boldly, Not guilty; the imposition clear'd,

Hereditary ours.5


By this we gather,

You have tripp'd since.


O my most sacred lady,

Temptations have since then been born to us: for
In those unfledg'd days was my wife a girl;
Your precious self had then not cross'd the eyes
Of my young play-fellow.


Grace to boot!

Of this make no conclusion; lest you say,"

used as a trisyllable. So children, tickling, and many others. The editor of the second folio inserted the word no, to supply a supposed defect in the metre, [— no, nor dream'd] and the interpolation was adopted in all the subsequent editions. Malone. I cannot suppose myself to be reading a verse, unless I adopt the emendation of the second folio. Steevens.


the imposition clear'd,

Hereditary ours.] i. e. setting aside original sin; bating the imposition from the offence of our first parents, we might have boldly protested our innocence to Heaven. Warburton.

6 Grace to boot!

Of this make no conclusion; lest you say, &c.] Polixenes had said, that since the time of childhood and innocence, temptations had grown to them; for that, in that interval, the two Queens were become women. To each part of this observation the Queen answers in order. To that of temptations she replies, Grace to boot! i. e. though temptations have grown up, yet I hope grace too has kept pace with them. Grace to boot, was a proverbial expression on these occasions. To the other part, she replies, as for our tempting you, pray take heed you draw no conclusion from thence, for that would be making your Queen and me devils, &c. Warburton.

This explanation may be right; but I have no great faith in the existence of such a proverbial expression. Steevens.

She calls for Heaven's grace, to purify and vindicate her own character, and that of the wife of Polixenes, which might seem to be sullied by a species of argument that made them appear to have led their husbands into temptation.

Grace or Heaven help me!-Do not argue in that manner; do not draw any conclusion or inference from your, and your friend's, having, since those days of childhood and innocence, become acquainted with your Queen and me; for, as you have said that in

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Your queen and I are devils: Yet, go on;

The offences we have made you do, we 'll answer;
If you first sinn'd with us, and that with us

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Her. What? have I twice said well? when was 't be


I pr'ythee, tell me : Cram us with praise, and make us
As fat as tame things: One good deed, dying tongueless,
Slaughters a thousand, waiting upon that.

Our praises are our wages: You may ride us,
With one soft kiss, a thousand furlongs, ere
With spur we heat an acre. But to the goal;7-
My last good deed was, to entreat his stay;
What was my first? it has an elder sister,

Or I mistake you: O, would her name were Grace!
But once before I spoke to the purpose: When?
Nay, let me have 't; I long.


Why, that was when

the period between childhood and the present time temptations have been born to you, and as in that interval you have become acquainted with us, the inference or in sinuation would be strong against us, as your corrupters, and "by that kind of chase," your Queen and I would be devils. Malone.

7 With spur we heat an acre. But to the goal;] Thus this passage has been always printed; whence it appears, that the editors did not take the poet's conceit. They imagined that, But to the goal, meant, but to come to the purpose; but the sense is different, and plain enough when the line is pointed thus:


With spur we heat an acre, but to the goal.

i. e. good usage will win us to any thing; but, with ill, we stop short, even there where both our interest and our inclination would otherwise have carried us. Warburton.

I have followed the old copy, the pointing of which appears to afford as apt a meaning as that produced by the change recommended by Dr. Warburton. Steevens.

Three crabbed months had sour'd themselves to death,
Ere I could make thee open thy white hand,

And clap thyself my love; then didst thou utter,
I am yours for ever.


It is Grace, indeed. 9

Why, lo you now, I have spoke to the purpose twice:
The one for ever earn'd a royal husband;
The other, for some while a friend.

[Giving her hand to PoL.
Too hot, too hot: [Aside.
To mingle friendship far, is mingling bloods.
I have tremor cordis on me:-my heart dances;
But not for joy,—not joy.-This entertainment
May a free face put on; derive a liberty

From heartiness, from bounty, fertile bosom,1

8 And clap thyself my love;] She opened her hand, to clap the palm of it into his, as people do when they confirm a bargain. Hence the phrase-to clap up a bargain, i. e. make one with no other ceremony than the junction of hands. So, in Ram-alley, or Merry Tricks, 1611:

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Speak, widow, is 't a match?

"Shall we clap it up?"

Again, in A Trick to catch the Old One, 1618: "Come, clap hands, a match."

Again, in King Henry V:


and so clap hands, and a bargain." Steevens. This was a regular part of the ceremony of troth-plighting, to which Shakspeare often alludes. So, in Measure for Measure: "This is the hand, which with a vow'd contráct

"Was fast belock'd in thine."

Again, in King John:

"Phil. It likes us well. Young princes, close your hands. "Aust. And your lips too, for I am well assur'd,

"That I did so, when I was first assur'd."

So also, in No Wit like a Woman's, a comedy, by Middleton, 1657: "There these young lovers shall clap hands together.”

I should not have given so many instances of this custom, but that I know Mr. Pope's reading—“ And clepe thyself my love," has many favourers. The old copy has—A clap, &c. The correction was made by the editor of the second folio. Malone.

9 It is Grace, indeed.] Referring to what she had just said— "O, would her name were Grace!" Malone.

1 from bounty, fertile bosom,] I suppose that a letter dropped out at the press, and would read-from bounty's fertile bosom. Malone.

By fertile bosom, I suppose, is meant a bosom like that of the

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