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7 And thou, treble-dated crow,] So, in The Rape of Lucrece:
"To pluck the quills from ancient ravens' wings." MALONE. -cornicum ut fecla vetufta.
Ter tres ætates humanas garrula vincit
8 That thy fable gender mak'st
With the breath thou giv'ft and tak',] I fuppofe this uncouth expreffion means, that the crow, or raven, continues its race by the breath it gives to them as its parent, and by that which it takes from other animals: i. e. by first producing its young from itself, and then providing for their fupport by depredation. Thus, in King John : and vaft confufion waits
" (As doth a raven on a fick-fallen beast)
This is the best I can make of the paflage. STEEVENS.
9 But in them it were a wonder.] So extraordinary a phænomenon as bearts remote, yet not asunder, &c. would have excited admiration, had it been found any where else except in these two birds. In them it was not wonderful. MALONE.
That the turtle faw his right
Flaming in the phoenix' fight:] I suppose we should read light; i. e. the turtle faw all the day he wanted, in the eyes of the phoenix. So, Antony speaking to Cleopatra:
Property was thus appall'd,
Reason, in itself confounded,
That it cry'd, how true a twain
"O thou day o' the world,
Again, in The Merchant of Venice:
"We should hold day with the Antipodes,
"If you would walk in abfence of the fun.
Por. "Let me give light, but let me not be light." STEEVENS. I do not perceive any need of change. The turtle faw thofe qualities which were his right, which were peculiarly appropriated to him, in the phoenix.-Light certainly correfponds better with the word flaming in the next line; but Shakspeare seldom puts his comparisons on four feet. MALONE.
2 Property was thus appall'd,
That the felf was not the fame ;] This communication of apprepriated qualities alarmed the power that prefides over property. Finding that the felf was not the fame, he began to fear that nothing would remain diftinct and individual; that all things would become common. MALONE.
3 That it cry'd, bow true a twain
Still in her breaft his fecret thoughts fhe beares,
"She's all in all, and all in every part." MALONE.
4 Love bath reafon, reason none,
If what parts can fo remain.] Love is reafonable, and reason is
folly, [has no reason,] if two that are disunited from each other, can yet remain together and undivided. MALONE.
5 Whereupon it made this threne ;] This funeral fong. So, in Kendal's poems, 1577:
"Of verses, tbrenes, and epitaphs,
"Full fraught with teares of teene,"
A book entitled David's Threanes, by J. Heywood, was published in 1620. Two years afterwards it was reprinted under the title of David's Tears: the former title probably was discarded as obfolete. For this information I am indebted to Dr. Farmer.