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was almost as great as his honesty; had it stretch'd so far, would have made nature immortal, and death should have play for lack of work. Would, for the king's sake, he were living! I think, it would be the death of the king's disease.
LAF. How call’d you the man you speak of, madam?
Count. He was famous, fir, in his profession, and it was his great right to be so: Gerard de Narbon.
Lar. He was excellent, indeed, madam; the king very lately spoke of him, admiringly, and mourningly: he was skilful enough to have liv'd still, if knowledge could be set up against mortality.
Ber. What is it, my good lord, the king languishes of ?
LAF. A fistula, my lord.*
So, in The Gamester, by Shirley, 1637 : “ I'll not be witness of your passages myself :" i. e. of what passes between you. Again, in A Woman's a Weathercock, 1612 :
never lov'd these prying listening men « That ask of others' states and passages.' Again :
“ I knew the passages 'twixt her and Scudamore." Again, in The Dumb Knight, 1633 :
have beheld “ Your vile and most lascivious passages." Again, in The English Intelligencer, a tragi-comedy, 1641:“- two philosophers that jeer and weep at the palages of the world.”
STEEVENS, 4 A fiftula, my lord.] Perhaps Shakspeare was induced by a pasfage in Puttenham's Arte of English Porpe, 1589, p. 251, to afflict the King of France with this inelegant disorder. Speaking of the neceffity which princes occasionally find to counterfeit maladies, our author has the following remark :—" And in dissembling of diseases, which I pray you ? for I have obserued it in the Court of Fraunce, not a burning feuer, or a plurisie, or a palfie, or the hydropick and swelling gowte, &c.- -But it must be either a dry, dropfie, or a megrim or letarge, or a fistule in ano, or some such
Ber. I heard not of it before.
LAF. I would, it were not notorious.--Was this gentlewoman the daughter of Gerard de Narbon?
Count. His sole child, my lord; and bequeathed to my overlooking. I have those hopes of her good, that her education promises : her dispositions she inherits, which make fair gifts fairer; for where an unclean mind carries virtuous qualities, there commendations go with pity, they are virtues and traitors too; in her they are the better for their simpleness ;' fhe derives her honesty, and achieves her goodness.
other secret disease as the common conuersant can hardly discover, and the physitian either not speedily beale, or not honestly bewray.”
ŚTEEVENS. - virtuous qualities,] By virtuous qualities are meant qualities of good breeding and erudition ; in the same sense that the Italians say, qualità virtuofa ; and not moral ones. On this account it is, she says, that, in an ill mind, these virtuous qualities are vir. tues and traitors too: i. e. the advantages of education enable an ill mind to go further in wickedness than it could have done without them. WARBURTON.
Virtue, and virtuous, as I am told, still keep this fignification in the north, and mean ingenuity and ingenious. Of this sense perhaps an instance occurs in the Eighth Book of Chapman's Version of the Iliad:
“ Then will I to Olympus' top our virtuous engine bind,
“ And by it every thing shall hang,” &c. Again, in Marlowe's Tamburlaine, p. !, 1590:
“ If these had made one poem's period,
they are virtues and traitors too; in her they are the better for their fimpleness ;] Her virtues are the better for their fimpleness, that is, her excellencies are the better because they are artless and open, without fraud, without design. The learned commentator has well explained virtues, but has not, I think, reached the force of the word traitors, and therefore has not shown the full extent
Lap. Your commendations, madam, get from her tears.
COUNT. 'Tis the best brine a maiden can season her praise in.? The remembrance of her father never approaches her heart, but the tyranny of her sorrows takes all livelihood from her cheek. No more of this, Helena, go to, no more; left it be rather thought you affect a forrow, than to have.9
Hel. I do affect a sorrow, indeed, but I have it too."
of Shakspeare's masterly observation. Virtues in an unclean mind are virtues and traitors 100. Eftimable and useful qualities, joined with an evil disposition, give that evil disposition power over others, who, by admiring the virtue, are betrayed to the malevolence. The Tatler, mentioning the sharpers of his time, observes, that some of them are men of such elegance and knowledge, that a young man who falls into their way, is betrayed as much by his judgement as his pasions. Johnson. In As
you Like it, virtues are called traitors on a very different ground:
to some kind of men
can season her praise in.) To seafon has here a culinary fense; to preserve by falting. A passage in Twelfth Night will best explain its meaning :
all this to seafon “ A brother's dead love, which she would keep fresh, “ And lasting in her remembrance.” MALONE. all livelihood --] i. e. all appearance of life. Steevens.
left it be rather thought you affect a forrow, than to have.] Our author sometimes is guilty of such Night inaccuracies; and concludes a sentence as if the former part of it had been constructed differently.—Thus, in the present instance, he seems to have meant-left you be rather thought to affect a forrow, than to bave. MALONE,
2 I do affe&t a forrow, indeed, but I have it too. Helena has, I believe, a meaning here, that she does not wish should be under
LAF. Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead, excessive grief the enemy to the living.
Count. If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess makes it soon mortal.}
Ber. Madam, I desire your holy wishes.
ftood by the countess. Her affected forrow was for the death of her father; her real grief for the lowness of her situation, which The feared would for ever be a bar to her union with her beloved Bertram. Her own words afterwards fully support this interpretation :
I think not on my father ;
What was he like?
“ I am undone.” MALONE. The forrow that Helen affected, was for her father ; that which the really felt, was for Bertram's departure. This line Mould be particularly attended to, as it tends to explain some subsequent passages which have hitherto been misunderstood. M. MASON.
3 If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess makes it soon mortal.) Lafeu says, excelsive grief is the enemy of the living : the counters replies, If the living be an enemy to grief, the excess foon makes it mortal : that is, If the living do not indulge grief, grief destroys itself by its own excess. By the word mortal I understand that which dies; and Dr. Warburton (who reads—be not enemy-] that which destroys. I think that my interpretation gives a sentence more acute and more refined. Let the reader judge.
JOHNSON. A passage in The Winter's Tale, in which our author again speaks of grief destroying itself by its own excess, adds support to Dr. Johnson's interpretation :
scarce any joy
“ But kill'd itself much jooner.'
“ These violent delights have violent ends,
In manners, as in shape ! thy blood, and virtue, Contend for empire in thee; and thy goodness Share with thy birth-right! Love all, trust a few, Do wrong to none: be able for thine enemy Rather in power, than use; and keep thy friend Under thy own life's key: be check'd for filence, But never tax'd for speech. What heaven more
will, That thee may furnish,* and my prayers pluck
LAF. He cannot want the best
[Exit Countess. Ber. The best wishes, that can be forged in your thoughts, [To Helena.] be servants to you ! s Be comfortable to my mother, your mistress, and make much of her.
Laf. Farewell, pretty lady: You must hold the credit of
[Exeunt BERTRAM and Lapeu. Hel. O, were that all !—I think not on my fa
4 That thee may furnish,] That may help thee with more and better qualifications. JOHNSON.
s The best wishes, &c.] That is, may you be mistress of your wishes, and have power to bring them to effect. JOHNSON.
6 Laf. Farewell, pretty lady :- You must hold the credit of 3018 father,
Hel. O, were that all! I think not on my father;] This paffage has been passed over in silence by all the commentators, yet it is evidently defective. The only meaning that the speech of Lafeu will bear, as it now stands, is this:-mor That Helena, who was a