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Rome. An Apartment in PHILARIO'S House.
Enter PHILARIO, LACHIMO2, a Frenchman, a Dutchman, and a Spaniard3.
IACH. Believe it, sir: I have seen him in Britain: he was then of a crescent note; expected to prove so worthy, as since he hath been allowed the name of: but I could then have looked on him without the help of admiration; though the catalogue of his endowments had been tabled by his side, and I to peruse him by items.
PHI. You speak of him when he was less furnished, than now he is, with that which makes him both without and within.
FRENCH. I have seen him in France: we had very many there, could behold the sun with as firm eyes as he.
IACH. This matter of marrying his king's daughter, (wherein he must be weighed rather by her
- Iachimo,] The name of Giacomo occurs in The Two Gentlemen of Venice, a novel, which immediately follows that of Rhomeo and Julietta in the second tome of Painter's Palace of Pleasure. MALONE.
3-a DUTCHMAN, and a SPANIARD.] Thus the old copy; but Mynheer, and the Don, are mute characters.
Shakspeare, however, derived this circumstance from whatever translation of the original novel he made use of. Thus, in the ancient one described in our Prolegomena to this drama: Howe iiii merchauntes met all togyther in on way, whyche were of iiii dyverse landes," &c. STEEVENS.
4 — MAKES him-] In the sense in which we say, This will make or mar you. JOHNSON.
So, in Othello:
This is the night
"Tha either makes me, or for does me quite."
Makes him, in the text, means forms him. M. MASON.
value, than his own,) words him, I doubt not, a great deal from the matter".
FRENCH. And then his banishment :
LACH. Ay, and the approbation of those, that weep this lamentable divorce, under her colours". are wonderfully to extend him; be it but to fortify her judgment, which else an easy battery might lay flat, for taking a beggar without less quality.
5 — words him,-a great deal from the matter,] Makes the description of him very distant from the truth. JOHNSON.
6- under her colours,] Under her banner; by her influence. JOHNSON.
7- and the APPROBATION of those,-ARE wonderfully to extend him ;] This grammatical inaccuracy is common in Shakspeare's plays. So, in Julius Cæsar :
"The posture of your blows are yet unknown." See vol. xii. p. 154, and vol. iv. p. 389. The modern editors, however, read-approbations.
Extend has here the same meaning as in a former scene. See p. 8, n. 4. MALONE. I perceive no inaccuracy on the present occasion. "This matter of his marrying his king's daughter,"-" and then his banishment;"-" and the approbation of those," &c. “are (i. e. all these circumstances united) wonderfully to extend him."
8-without LESS quality.] Whenever less or more is to be joined with a verb denoting want, or a preposition of a similar import, Shakspeare never fails to be entangled in a grammatical inaccuracy, or rather, to use words that express the very contrary of what he means. In a note on Antony and Cleopatra, I have proved this incontestably, by comparing a passage similar to that in the text with the words of Plutarch on which it is formed. The passage is :
-I-condemn myself to lack
"The courage of a woman, less noble mind
Again, in The Winter's Tale :
I ne'er heard yet
"That any of these bolder vices wanted
Again, in King Lear:
I have hope
"You less know how to value her deserts
But how comes it, he is to sojourn with you? How creeps acquaintance?
PHI. His father and I were soldiers together; to whom I have been often bound for no less than my life:
Here comes the Briton: Let him be so entertained amongst you, as suits, with gentlemen of your knowing, to a stranger of his quality.-I beseech you all, be better known to this gentleman; whom I commend to you, as a noble friend of mine: How worthy he is, I will leave to appear hereafter, rather than story him in his own hearing.
FRENCH. Sir, we have known together in Orleans.
POST. Since when I have been debtor to you for courtesies, which I will be ever to pay, and yet pay still".
FRENCH. Sir, you o'er-rate my poor kindness: I was glad I did atone my countryman and you'; it
See note on Antony and Cleopatra, vol. xii. p. 373, n. 4. Mr. Rowe and all the subsequent editors read—without more quality, and so undoubtedly Shakspeare ought to have written. On the stage, an actor may rectify such petty errors; but it is the duty of an editor to exhibit what his author wrote. MALONE.
As on this occasion, and several others, we can only tell what Hemings and Condel printed, instead of knowing, with any degree of certainty, what Shakspeare wrote, I have not disturbed Mr. Rowe's emendation, which leaves a clear passage to the reader, if he happens to prefer an obvious sense to no sense at all.
9-which I will be ever to pay, and yet pay still.] So, in All's Well That Ends Well:
"Which I will ever pay, and pay again,
Again, in our author's 30th Sonnet :
"Which I new pay, as if not pay'd before." MALONE.
I did ATONE, &c.] To atone signifies in this place to re-
had been pity, you should have been put together with so mortal a purpose, as then each bore, upon importance of so slight and trivial a nature2.
POST. By your pardon, sir, I was then a young traveller rather shunned to go even with what I heard, than in my every action to be guided by others' experiences: but, upon my mended judgment, (if I offend not to say it is mended,) my quarrel was not altogether slight.
FRENCH. 'Faith, yes, to be put to the arbitrement of swords; and by such two, that would, by all likelihood, have confounded one the other, or have fallen both.
IACH. Can we, with manners, ask what was the difference?
FRENCH. Safely, I think: 'twas a contention in
*First folio omits not.
Again, in Heywood's English Traveller, 1633: "The constable is call'd to atone the broil." STEEVENS. 2-upon IMPORTANCE of so slight and trivial a nature.] Importance is here, as elsewhere in Shakspeare, importunity, instigation. See vol. xi. p. 498, n. 2; and vol. iv. p. 253, n. 5.
MALONE. So, in Twelfth-Night: "Maria wrote the letter at Sir Toby's great importance." Again, in King John:
"At our importance hither is he come." STEEvens.
3 - rather shunned to go even with what I heard, &c.] This is expressed with a kind of fantastical perplexity. He means, I was then willing to take for my direction the experience of others, more than such intelligence as I had gathered myself. JOHNSON.
This passage cannot bear the meaning that Johnson contends for. Posthumus is describing a presumptuous young man, as he acknowledges himself to have been at that time; and means to say, that he rather studied to avoid conducting himself by the opinions of other people, than to be guided by their experience." -To take for direction the experience of others, would be a proof of wisdom, not of presumption. M. MASON.
- CONFOUNDED one the other,] To confound, in our author's time, signified-to destroy.
So, in Antony and Cleopatra, vol. xii. p. 280.
"What willingly he did confound he wail'd." MALONE.
publick, which may, without contradiction, suffer the report. It was much like an argument that fell out last night, where each of us fell in praise of our country mistresses: This gentleman at that time vouching, (and upon warrant of bloody affirmation,) his to be more fair, virtuous, wise, chaste, constant-qualified, and less attemptible, than any the rarest of our ladies in France.
LACH. That lady is not now living; or this gentleman's opinion, by this, worn out.
PosT. She holds her virtue still, and I my mind. LACH. You must not so far prefer her 'fore ours of Italy.
Posr. Being so far provoked as I was in France, I would abate her nothing; though I profess myself her adorer, not her friend".
which may, without contradiction,] Which, undoubtedly, may be publickly told. JOHNSON.
though I profess, &c.] Though I have not the common obligations of a lover to his mistress, and regard her not with the fondness of a friend, but the reverence of an lorer. JOHNSON.
The sense seems to require a transposition of these words, and that we should read:
"Though I profess myself her friend, not her adorer." Meaning thereby the praises he bestowed on her arose from his knowledge of her virtues, not from a superstitious reverence only. If Posthumus wished to be believed, as he surely did, the declaring that his praises proceeded from adoration, would lessen the credit of them, and counteract his purpose. In confirmation of this conjecture, we find that in the next page he acknowledges her to be his wife.-Iachimo afterwards says in the same sense:
"You are a friend, and therein the wiser."
Which would also serve to confirm my amendment, if it were the right reading; but I do not think it is. M. MASON.
I am not certain that the foregoing passages have been completely understood by either commentator, for want of acquaintance with the peculiar sense in which the word friend may have been employed.
A friend in ancient colloquial language, is occasionally synonymous to a paramour or inamorato of either sex, in both the favourable and unfavourable sense of that word. "Save you friend