ePub 版

Item, [reading.] If any man be feen to talk with a woman within the term of three Years, he shall endure Such public fhame as the rest of the Court can poffibly dewife.

This article, my liege, yourself must break; For, well you know, here comes in embaffy The French King's daughter with yourself to speak, A maid of grace and compleat majesty, About Surrender up of Aquitain

To her decrepit, fick, and bed-rid father: Therefore this article is made in vain,

Or vainly comes th' admired Princess hither. King. What fay you, lords? why, this was quite forgot.

Biron. So ftudy evermore is overshot ; While it doth study to have what it would, It doth forget to do the thing it should: And when it hath the thing it hunteth most, Tis won, as towns with Fire; fo won, fo loft. King. We muft, of force, dispense with this decree, She muft lye here on mere neceffity,

Biron. Neceflity will make us all forfworn,

Three thoufand times within this three years space; For every man with his affects is born:

Not by might mafter'd, but by Tpecial grace. If tility, here, it does not fignify that Rank of People called, Gentry; but what the French exprefs by, gentileffe, i. e, elegantia, urbanitas. And then the Meaning is this. Such a law for banishing Women from the Court, is dangerous, or injurious, to Polite nefs, Urbanity, and the more refined Pleasures of Life. For Men without Women would turn bru tal, and favage, in their Natures and Behaviour. THEOBALD. 9 Not by might mafter'd, but by Special grace. Biron amidst

Line, it being evident, for two Reasons, that it, by fome Accident or other, flipt out of the printed Books. In the first place, Longueville confeffes, he had devis'd the Penalty: and why he fhould immediately arraign it as a dangerous Law, feems to be very inconfiftent. In the next place, it is much more natural for Biron to make this Reflexion, who is cavilling at every thing; and then for him to purfue his reading over the remaining Articles.- As to the Word Gen

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

If I break faith, this word fhall speak for me:
I am forfworn on mere neceffity.-
So to the laws at large I write my name,

And he, that breaks them in the leaft degree, Stands in Attainder of eternal shame.


Suggestions are to others, as to me; But, I believe, although I feem fo loth, I am the last that will last keep his oath, But is there no quick recreation granted? King. Ay, that there is; our Court, you know, is haunted


With a refined traveller of Spain,

A man in all the world's new fashion planted,
That hath a mint of phrases in his brain:
One, whom the mufick of his own vain tongue
Doth ravish, like inchanting harmony:
3 A man of compliments, whom right and wrong
Have chofe as umpire of their mutiny.


his extravagancies, fpeaks with great juftnefs against the folly of They are made without fufficient regard to the variations of life, and are therefore broken by fome unforeseen neceffity. They proceed commonly from a prefumptuous confidence, and a falfe eftimate of human power. Suggestions] Temptations. quick recreation] Lively fport, fpritely diverfion.



3 A man of compliments, whom

right and wrong Have chofe as umpire of their mutiny] As very bad a Play as this is, it was certainly ShakeSpeare's, as appears by many fine mafter-ftrokes fcattered up and down. An exceffive complaifance is here admirably painted, in the perfon of one who was willing to make eyen right and


wrong friends: and to perfuade the one to recede from the accuftomed ftubbornness of her nature, and wink at the liberties of her oppofite, rather than he would incur the imputation of ill-breeding in keeping up the quarrel. And as our author, and Johnfon his contemporary, are, confeffedly, the two greatest writers in the drama that our nation could ever boaft of, this may be no improper occafion to take notice of one material difference between Shakespeare's worst plays, and the other's. Our author owed all to his prodigious natural genius; and Johnson moft to his acquired parts and learning. This, if attended to, will explain the difference we speak of. Which is this, that, in Johnson's bad pieces, we do not discover


This child of fancy, that Armado hight,

For interim to our Studies, fhall relate In high-born words the worth of many a Knight + From tawny Spain, loft in the world's debate s How you delight, my lords, I know not, I; But, I proteft, I love to hear him lie; And I will ufe him for my minftrelfie.


Biron. Armado is a moft illuftrious wight,
A man of fire-new words, fashion's own Knight.

the leaft traces of the author of the Fox and Alchemist; but, in the wildest and most extravagant notes of Shakespeare, you every now and then encounter ftrains that recognize their divine compofer. And the reafon is this, that Johnson owing his chief excellence to art, by which he fometimes ftrain'd himself to an uncommon pitch, when he unbent himfelf, had nothing to fupport him; but fell below all likeness of himself: while Shakespeare, indebted more largely to nature than the other to his acquired talents, could never, in his moft negligent hours, fo totally diveft himself of his Genius, but that it would frequently break out with amazing force and fplendour. WARBURTON. This paffage, I believe, means no more than that Don Armado was a man nicely verfed in ceremonial diftinctions, one who could diftinguish in the most delicate queftions of honour the exact boundaries of right and wrong. Compliment, in Shakefpeare's time, did not fignify, at leaft did not only fignify, verbal civility, or phrafes of courtefy, but according to its origi

nal meaning, the trappings, or ornamental appendages of a character, in the fame manner, and on the fame principles, of speech with accomplishment. Compliment is, as Armado well expreffes it, the varnish of a complete man.

+ From tawny Spain, &c.] i. e. he fhall relate to us the celebrated ftories recorded in the old romances, and in their very file. Why he fays from tawny Spain is, because thefe romances being cf Spanish original, the Heroes and the Scene were generally of that country. Why he fays, lot in the world's debate is, because the subject of thofe romances were the crufades of the European Christians against the Saracens of Afia and Africa. So that we fee here is meaning in the words. WARBURTON.

5 in the world's debate.] The world feems to be used in the monaftick fenfe by the king, now devoted for a time to a monaftick life. In the world, in feculo, in the bustle of human affairs, from which we are now happily fequeftred, in the world, to which the votaries of folitude have no relation.



Long. Coftard the swain, and he, fhall be our sport; And, so to study, three years are but short.


Enter Dull and Coftard with a letter.

Dull. Which is the King's own perfon?
Biron. This, fellow; what would'ft?

Dull. I myself reprehend his own perfon, for I am his Grace's Tharborough: but I would fee his own perfon in flesh and blood.

Biron. This is he.

Dull. Signior Arme,

Armecommends you. There's villainy abroad; this letter will tell you more, Coft. Sir, the Contempts thereof are as touching me, King. A letter from the magnificent Armado. Biron. How low foever the matter, I hope in God for high words.

Long. A high hope for a low having"; God grant us patience!

Biron. To hear, or forbear hearing?

Lorg. To hear meekly, Sir, to laugh moderately, or to forbear both.

Biron. Well, Sir, be it as the Stile fhall give us cause to climb in the merrinefs.

In former editions;
Dull. Which is the Duke's own

Perfon ?] The King of Navarre is in feveral Paffages, thro' all the Copies, called the Duke: but as this must have fprung rather from the Inadvertence of the Editors, than a Forgetfulness in the Poet, I have every where, to avoid Confufion, restored King to the Text.

THEOBALD. 7 In old editions, A high hope

for a low heaven ;] A low heaven, fure, is a very intricate Mat ter to conceive. I dare warrant, I have retrieved the Poet's true Reading; and the Meaning is this. Tho' you hope for high "Words, and fhould have them, "it will be but a low Acquifi❝tion at beft." This our Poet calls a low Having: and it is a Subftantive, which he uses in feVeral other Paffages.



Coft. The matter is to me, Sir, as concerning Jaquenetta.

The manner of it is, I was taken in the manner.
Biron. In what manner?

Coft. In manner and form, following, Sir; all thofe three. I was feen with her in the Manor-house, fitting with her upon the Form, and taken following her into the Park; which, put together, is, in manner and form following. Now, Sir, for the manner: it is the manner of a man to speak to a woman; for the form, in fome form.


Biron. For the following, Sir?

Caft. As it fhall follow in my correction; and God defend the right!

King. Will you hear the letter with attention?

Biron. As we would hear an oracle.

Coft. Such is the fimplicity of man to hearken after the flesh.

King reads. G

REAT deputy, the welkin's vice-gerent, and fole dominator of Navarre, my foul's earth's God, and body's feftring patronCoft. Not a word of Coftard yet. King. So it is

Caft. It may be fo; but if he fay it is fo, he is, in telling true, but fo, fo.

King. Peace-

Coft. Be to me, and every man that dares not fight!
King. No words-

Coft. Of other men's fecrets, I beseech you. King. So it is, Befieged with fable-coloured melancho ly, I did commend the black oppreffing humour to the most wholesome phyfick of thy health-giving air; and as I am

8 taken WITH the manner.] The following question arifing from these words thews we should read-taken IN the manner. And this was the phrafe in ufe to fignify, taken in the fact. Co Dr.

Donne in his letters, But if I melt into melancholy while I write, I shall be taken in the manner; and I fit by one, too tender to these impreffions. WARBURTON.

a gentle

« 上一頁繼續 »