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It is thyself, mine own self's better part;
Luc. All this my sister is, or else should be.
Ant. S. Call thyself sister, sweet, for I aim thee:5 Thee will I love, and with thee lead my life; Thou hast no husband yet, nor I no wife: Give me thy hand. Luc.
O,. soft, sir, hold you still; I'll fetch my sister, to get her good will. [Exit Luc. Enter, from the House of ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus,
DROMIO of Syracuse. Ant. S. Why, how now, Dromio? where run'st thou
Dro. S. Do you know me, sir? am I Dromio? am I your man? am I myself?
Ant. S. Thou art Dromio, thou art my man, thou art thyself.
Dro. S. I am an ass, I am a woman's man, and be sides myself.
Ant. S. What woman's man? and how besides thyself?
Dro. S. Marry, sir, besides myself, I am due to a woman; one that claims me, one that haunts me, one that will have me.
Ant. S. What claim lays she to thee?
4 My sole earth's heaven, and my heaven's claim.] When he calls the girl his only heaven on the earth, he utters the common cant of lovers. When he calls her his heaven's claim, I cannot understand him. Perhaps he means that which he asks of heaven.
Johnson - for I aim thee:] The old copy has
- for I am thee. Some of the modern editors
I mean thee. Perhaps we should read:
- for I aim thee. He has just told her, that she was his sweet hope's aim. So, in Orlando Furioso, 1594:
like Cassius, “Sits sadly dumping, aiming Cæsar's death." Again, in Drayton's Legend of Robert Duke of Normandy:
“I make my changes aim one certain end.” Steevens.
your horse; and she would have me as a beast: not that, I being a beast, she would have me; but that she, being a very beastly creature, lays claim to me.
Ant. S. What is she?
Dro. S. A very reverent body; ay, such a one as a man may not speak of without he say, sir-reverence: I have but lean luck in the match, and yet is she a wondrous fat marriage.
Ant. S. How dost thou mean, a fat marriage?
Dro. S. Marry, sir, she's the kitchen-wench, and all grease; and I know not what use to put her to, but to make a lamp of her, and run from her by her own light. I warrant, her rags, and the tallow in them, will burn a Poland winter: if she lives till doomsday, she 'll burn a week longer than the whole world.
Ant. S. What complexion is she of?
Dro. S. Swart, 6 like my shoe, but her face nothing like so clean kept; For why? she sweats, a man may go over shoes in the grime of it.
Ant. S. That's a fault that water will mend.
Dro. S. No, sir, 'tis in grain; Noah's flood could not do it.
Ant. S. What's her name?
Dro. S. Nell, sir;-but her name and three quarters, that is, an ell and three quarters, will not measure her from hip to hip.?
Ant. S. Then she bears some breadth ?
Dro. S. No longer from head to foot, than from hip to hip: she is spherical, like a globe; I could find out countries in her.
Ant. S. In what part of her body stands Ireland ?
6 Swart,] i. e. black, or rather of a dark brown. Thus, in Milton's Comus, v. 436:
“No goblin, or swart fairy of the mine.” Again, in King Henr , VI, P. I:
" And whereas I was black and swart before.” Steevens. 7 Dro. S. Nell, sir ;-but her name and three quarters, that is, ar ell and three quarters, &c.] The old copy reads--her name is three quarters. Steevens.
This passage has hitherto lain as perplexed and unintelligible, as it is now easy and truly humorous. If a conundrum be restored, in setting it right, who can help it? I owe the correction to the sagacity of the ingenious Dr. Thirlby. Theobald.
Dro. S. Marry, sir, in her buttocks; I found it out by the bogs.
Ant. S. Where Scotland?
Dro. S. I found it by the barrenness; hard, in the palm of the hand.
Ant. S. Where France ?
Dro. S. In her forehead; armed and reverted, making war against her hair. 8
8 In her forehead; armed and reverted, making war against her hair.) All the other countries, mentioned in this description, are in Dromio's replies satirically characterized: but here, as the editors have ordered it, no remark is made upon France; nor any reason given, why it should be in her forehead: but only the kitchen wench's high forehead is rallied, as pushing back her hair. Thus all the modern editions; but the first folio reads -making war against her heir. And I am very apt to think, this last is the true reading; and that an equivoque, as the French call it, a double meaning, is designed in the poet's allusion: and therefore I have replaced it in the text. In 1589, Henry III of France being stabbed, and dying of his wound, was succeeded by Henry IV of Navarre, whom he appointed his successor: but whose claim the states of France resisted, on account of his being a Protestant. This, I take it, is what he means, by France making war against her heir. Now, as in 1591, Queen Elizabeth sent over 4000 men, under the conduct of the Earl of Essex, to the assistance of this Henry of Navarre, it seems to me very probable, that during this expedition being on foot, this comedy made its appearance. And it was the finest address imaginable in the poet to throw such an oblique sneer at France, for opposing the succession of that heir, whose claim his royal mistress, the queen, had sent over a force to establish, and oblige them to acknowledge. Theobalt
With this correction and explication Dr. Warburton concurs, and Sir Thomas Hanmer thinks an equivocation intended, though he retains hair in the text. Yet surely they have all lost the sense by looking bevond it. Our author, in my opinion, only sports with an allusion, in which he takes too much delight, and means that his mistress had the French disease. The ideas are rather too offensive to be dilated. By a forehead arme:l, he means covered with incrusted eruptions: by reverted, he means having the hair turning backward. An equivocal word must have senses applicable to both the subjects to which it is applied. Both foreheal and France might in some sort make war against their hair, but how did the forehea-l make war against its heir ? The sense which I have given, immediately occurred to me, and will, I be. lieve, arise to every reader who is contented with the meaning that lies before him, without sending out conjecture in search of refinements. Johnson.
Ant. S. Where England?.
Dro. S. I looked for the chalky cliffs, but I could find no whiteness in them: but I guess, it stood in her chin, by the salt rheum that ran between France and it.
Ant. S. Where Spain?
Dro. S. Faith, I saw it not; but I felt it, hot in her breath.
Ant. S. Where America, the Indies?
Dro. S. O, sir, upon her nose, all o'er embellished with rubies, carbuncles, sapphires, declining their rich aspect to the hot breath of Spain; who sent whole armadas of carracks to be ballast' at her nose.
Ant. S. Where stood Belgia, the Netherlands?
Dro. S. O, sir, I did not look so low. To conclude, this drudge, or diviner, laid claim to me; called me Dromio; swore, I was assured to her;1 told me what privy marks I had about me, as the mark on my shoulder, the mole in my neck, the great wart on my left arm, that I, amazed, ran from her as a witch: and, I think, if my breast had not been made of faith,? and my heart of steel, she had transformed me to a curtail-dog, and made me turn i' the wheel.
Ant. S. Go, hie thee presently, post to the road;
Dro. S. As from a bear a man would run for life,
to be ballast -] The modern editors read-ballasted; the old copy-ballast, which is right. Thus, in Hamlet ;
to have the engineer
assured to her;] i.e. affianced to her. Thus, in K. John. “ For so I did when I was first assur'd.” Steevens.
- and, I think, if my breast had not been made of faith, &c.] Alluding to the superstition of the common people, that nothing could resist a witch's power of transforming men into animals, but a great share of faith: however, the Oxford editor thinks a breast made of flint better security, and has therefore put it in.
Ant. S. There 's none but witches do inhabit here;
Ang. I know it well, sir: Lo, here is the chain;
Ant. S. What is your will, that I shall do with this?
you. Ant. S. Made it for me, sir! I bespoke it not.
Ang. Not once, nor twice, but twenty times you have: Go home with it, and please your wife withal; And soon at supper-time I'll visit you, And then receive my money for the chain.
Ant. S. I pray you, sir, receive the money now, For fear
ne'er see chain, nor money, more. Ang. You are a merry man, sir; fare you well. [Exit.
Ant. S. What I should think of this, I cannot tell: But this I think, there's no man is so vain, That would refuse so fair an offer'd chain. I see, a man here needs not live by shifts, When in the streets he meets such golden gifts. I'll to the mart, and there for Dromio stay; If any ship put out, then straight away. [Erit.
ACT IV...... SCENE I.
Enter a Merchant, ANGELO, and an Officer. Mer. You know, since pentecost the sum is due, And since I have not much impórtun’d you;