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That to close prison he commanded her,
With many bitter threats of 'biding there.

VAL. No more, unless the next word that thou speak'st,

Have some malignant power upon my life:

If so, I pray thee, breathe it in mine ear,

As ending anthem of my endless dolour.

PRO. Cease to lament for that thou canst not

help,

And study help for that which thou lament'st.
Time is the nurse and breeder of all good.
Here if thou stay, thou canst not see thy love;
Besides, thy staying will abridge thy life.
Hope is a lover's staff; walk hence with that,
And manage it against despairing thoughts.
Thy letters may be here, though thou art hence;
Which, being writ to me, shall be deliver'd
Even in the milk-white bosom of thy love 3.

3 Even in the MILK-WHITE BOSOM OF THY LOVE.] So, in Hamlet:

"These to her excellent white bosom," &c.

Again, in Gascoigne's Adventures of Master F. J. first edit. p. 206: At delivery thereof, [i. e. of a letter,] she understood not for what cause he thrust the "same into her bosom."

Trifling as the remark may appear, before the meaning of this address of letters to the bosom of a mistress can be understood, it should be known that women anciently had a pocket in the fore part of their stays, in which they not only carried love-letters and love tokens, but even their money and materials for needle-work. Thus Chaucer, in his Merchantes Tale:

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This purse hath she in hire bosome hid."

In many parts of England the rustic damsels still observe the same practice; and a very old lady informs me that she remembers when it was the fashion to wear very prominent stays, it was no less the custom for stratagem or gallantry to drop its literary favours within the front of them. STEEVENS.

See Lord Surrey's Sonnets, 1557:

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My song, thou shalt attain to find the pleasant place, "Where she doth live, by whom I live; may chance to have

the grace,

The time now serves not to expostulate:
Come, I'll convey thee through the city-gate;
And, ere I part with thee, confer at large
Of all that may concern thy love affairs:
As thou lov❜st Silvia, though not for thyself,
Regard thy danger, and along with me.

VAL. I pray thee, Launce, an if thou seest my boy, Bid him make haste, and meet me me at the north

gate.

PRO. Go, sirrah, find him out. Come, Valentine. VAL. O my dear Silvia! hapless Valentine!

[Exeunt VALENTINE and Proteus. LAUNCE. I am but a fool, look you; and yet I have the wit to think, my master is a kind of a knave; but that's all one, if he be but one knave1.

"When she hath read, and seen the grief wherein I serve, "Between her brests she shall thee put, there shall she thee reserve." MALONE.

4 Launce. I am but a fool, look you; and yet I have the wit to think, my master is a kind of a knave; but that's all one, if he be but ONE KNAVE.] Where is the sense, or, if you won't allow the speaker that, where is the humour of this speech? Nothing had given the fool occasion to suspect that his master was become double, like Antipholis in The Comedy of Errors. The last word is corrupt. We should read:

if he be but one kind

He thought his master was a kind of knave; however, he keeps himself in countenance with this reflection, that if he was a knave but of one kind, he might pass well enough amongst his neighbours. This is truly humourous. WARBurton.

This alteration is acute and specious, yet I know not whether, in Shakspeare's language, one knave may not signify a knave on only one occasion, a single knave. We still use a double villain for a villain beyond the common rate of guilt. JOHNSON.

This passage has been altered, with little difference, by Dr. Warburton and Sir T. Hanmer.-Mr. Edwards explains it," if he only be a knave, if I myself be not found to be another." I agree with Dr. Johnson, and will support the old reading and his interpretation with indisputable authority. In the old play of Damon and Pythias, Aristippus declares of Carisophus : "You lose money by him if you sell him for one knave, for he serves for twayne."

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He lives not now, that knows me to be in love: yet I am in love; but a team of horse shall not pluck that from me; nor who 'tis I love, and yet 'tis a woman: but what woman, I will not tell myself; and yet 'tis a milk-maid: yet 'tis not a maid, for she hath had gossips: yet 'tis a maid, for she is her master's maid, and serves for wages. She hath more qualities than a water-spaniel, which is much in a bare christian 7. Here is the

This phraseology is often met with: Arragon says, in The Merchant of Venice:

"With one fool's head I came to woo,
"But I go away with two.”

Donne begins one of his sonnets:

"I am two fools, I know,

"For loving and for saying so," &c.

And when Panurge cheats St. Nicholas of the chapel, which he vowed to him in a storm, Rabelais calls him " a rogue-a rogue and an half-Le gallant, gallant de demy." FARMer.

Again, in Like Will to Like, quoth the Devil to the Collier, 1587:

"Thus thou may'st be called a knave in graine,

"And where knaves be scant, thou may'st go for twayne.

STEEVENS. My master is a kind of knave; but that were no great matter, if he were but one knave; but he is two-a knave to his friend and a knave to his mistress. CAPELL.

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-but a team of horse shall not pluck-] I see how Valentine suffers for telling his love-secrets, therefore I will keep mine close. JOHNSON.

Perhaps Launce was not intended to shew so much sense; but here indulges himself in talking contradictory nonsense.

So, in Twelfth Night:

STEEVENS.

"I think oxen and wain ropes cannot hale them together."

MALONE. 6 for she hath had GOSSIPS:] Gossips not only signify those who answer for a child in baptism, but the tattling women who attend lyings-in. The quibble between these is evident.

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STEEVENS.

a BARE christian.] Launce is quibbling on. Bare has two senses; mere and naked. In Coriolanus it is used in the first:

"'Tis but a bare petition of the state.”

cate-log [pulling out a paper] of her conditions. Imprimis, She can fetch and carry: Why, a horse can do no more: nay, a horse cannot fetch, but only carry; therefore, is she better than a jade. Item, She can milk; look you, a sweet virtue in a maid with clean hands.

Enter SPEEed.

SPEED. How now, signior Launce? what news with your mastership?

LAUNCE. With my master's ship? why, it is

at sea.

SPEED. Well, your old vice still; mistake the word: What news then in your paper?

LAUNCE. The blackest * news that ever thou heard'st.

SPEED. Why, man, how black?
LAUNCE. Why, as black as ink.

SPEED. Let me read them.

LAUNCE. Fie on thee, jolt-head; thou canst not read.

SPEED. Thou liest, I can.

LAUNCE. I will try thee: Tell me this: Who begot thee?

SPEED. Marry, the son of my grandfather.

LAUNCE. O illiterate loiterer! it was the son of thy grandmother': this proves, that thou canst not read.

* First folio, the black'st.

Launce uses it in both, and opposes the naked female to the water-spaniel cover'd with hairs of remarkable thickness.

STEEVENS.

8 CONDITIONS.] i. e. qualities. The old copy has condition. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. MALOne.

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with my MASTER'S SHIP?] The old copy reads-mastership. The emendation was made by Mr. Theobald. MALONE. the son of thy GRANDMOTHER:] It is undoubtedly true VOL. IV.

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SPEED. Come, fool, come: try me in thy paper. LAUNCE. There; and saint Nicholas be thy speed"! SPEED. Imprimis, She can milk.

3

LAUNCE. Ay, that she can 3.

SPEED. Item, She brews good ale*.

that the mother only knows the legitimacy of the child. I suppose Launce infers, that if he could read, he must have read this well-known observation. STEEVENS.

2

SAINT NICHOLAS be thy speed!] St. Nicholas presided over scholars, who were therefore called St. Nicholas's clerks. Hence, by a quibble between Nicholas and Old Nick, highwaymen, in The First Part of Henry the Fourth, are called Nicholas's clerks. WARBURTON.

That this saint presided over young scholars may be gathered from Knight's Life of Dean Collet, p. 362; for by the statutes of Paul's school there inserted, the children are required to attend divine service at the cathedral on his anniversary. The reason I take to be, that the legend of this saint makes him to have been a bishop, while he was a boy. SIR J. HAWKINS.

So, Puttenham, in his Art of Poetry, 1589: "Methinks this fellow speaks like bishop Nicholas; for on Saint Nicholas's night commonly the scholars of the country make them a bishop, who, like a foolish boy, goeth about blessing and preaching with such childish terms, as maketh the people laugh at his foolish counterfeit speeches." STEEVENS.

3 Speed. Imprimis, SHE CAN MILK.

Launce. Ay, that she can.] These two speeches should evidently be omitted. There is not only no attempt at humour in them, contrary to all the rest in the same dialogue, but Launce clearly directs Speed to go on with the paper where he himself left off. See his preceding soliloquy. FARMER.

Of all the modes of emendation, omission is, in my opinion, the most dangerous; and therefore nothing but the most cogent reasons shall ever induce me to omit what is found in the most authentic copies. A compositor may inadvertently repeat a word in a line, or his eye may catch a word from a preceding or subsequent line, and hence the sense of a passage may be destroyed; but he never invents whole lines or speeches, nor do transcribers. Shakspeare, we know, in repeating a letter already recited from a paper, sometimes varies the words, in spite of the adage, litera scripta manet; and therefore, I am confident, took no care that Speed should begin where Launce left off. MALONE.

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She BREWS good ALE.] Females were much employed in

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