Therefore, sweet Proteus, my direction-giver,
Let us into the city presently
To sort'some gentlemen well skill'd in musick :
I have a sonnet that will serve the turn,
To give the onset to thy good advice.

DUKE. About it, gentlemen.

Pro. We'll wait upon your grace, till after supper; And afterward determine our proceedings. Duke. Even now about it; I will pardon you'.


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For this curiosity the reader is indebted to Stafford Smith, Esq. of His Majesty's Chapel Royal. Steevens.

- will INHERIT her.] To inherit, is by our author sometimes used, as in this instance, for to obtain possession of, without any idea of acquiring by inheritance. So, in Titus Andronicus :

“ He that had wit, would think that I had none,
“ To bury so much gold under a tree,

6 And never after to inherit it.” This sense of the word was not wholly disused in the time of Milton, who in his Comus has—“ dis-inherit Chaos," meaning only dispossess it. Steevens. 9 TO SORT] i. e. to choose out. So, in K. Richard III. :

“Yet I will sort a pitchy hour for thee.” STEEVENS. - I will pardon you.) I will excuse you from waiting.


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Enter certain OUT-LAWS. 1 Our. Fellows, stand fast; I see a passenger. 2 Out. If there be ten, shrink not, but down


Enter VALENTINE and SPEED. 3 Out. Stand, sir, and throw us that you have

about you; If not, we'll make you sit?, and rifle you.

SPEED. Sir, we are undone! these are the villains
That all the travellers do fear so much.

VAL. My friends,
1 Out. That's not so, sir; we are your enemies.
2 Out. Peace; we'll hear him.

3 Out. Ay, by my beard, will we; for he is a proper man.


2 If not, we'll make you sit, and rifle you.] The old copy reads as I have printed the passage; paltry as the opposition between stand and sit may be thought, it is Shakspeare's own. My predecessors read—we'll make you, sir, &c. STEEVENS.

Sir is the corrupt reading of the third folio. Mr. Steevens's immediate predecessor (the present editor) did not adopt this false reading. Malone.

a PROPER man.] i. e. a well-looking man; he has the appearance of a gentleman.

So, in Much Ado About Nothing, 66 at last she concluded with a sigh, thou wast the properest man in Italy.”

Proper, it should be observed, relates not to the countenance, but to the person or figure, and implies height and symmetry of form. So, near the conclusion of this scene, one of the outlaws, addressing Valentine, says,

“ And partly, seeing you are beautified

With goodly shape." Coles, in his Latin Dictionary, renders this word by procerus.

VAL. Then know, that I have little wealth to lose; A man I am, cross'd with adversity : My riches are these poor habiliments, Of which if you should here disfurnish me, You take the sum and substance that I have.

2 Out. Whither travel you? VAL. To Verona. 1 Out. Whence came you ? VAL. From Milan. 3 Out. Have you long sojourn'd there? VAL. Some sixteen months; and longer might

have staid,
If crooked fortune had not thwarted me.

2 Out. What, were you banish'd thence ?
VAL. I was.
2 Our. For what offence ?

VAL. For that which now torments me to rehearse:
I kill'd a man, whose death I much repent;
But yet I slew him manfully in fight,
Without false vantage, or base treachery.

1 Out. Why ne'er repent it, if it were done so: But were you banish'd for so small a fault ?

VAL. I was, and held me glad of such a doom. 1 Our. Have you the tongues ?

VAL. My youthful travel therein made me happy; Or else I often had been miserable.

3 Out. By the bare scalp of Robin Hood's fat friar", This fellow were a king for our wild faction.

So, in an old ballad concerning Robert the celebrated Earl of

Essex :


“ Then said the prentices proper and tall,

« For Essex's sake we will die all.” MALONE. Robin Hood's fat friar,] Robin Hood was captain of a band of robbers, and was much inclined to rob churchmen.

So, in A Merry Geste of Robin Hoode, &c. bl. 1. no date :

“ These byshoppes and these archebyshoppes
“ Ye shall them beate and bynde," &c.

1 Out. We'll have him: sirs, a word.

SPEED. Master, be one of them; It is an honourable kind of thievery.

VAL. Peace, villain ! 2 Out. Tell us this ; Have you any thing to take

to ? VAL. Nothing, but my fortune. 3 Out. Know then that some of us are gentle

men, Such as the fury of ungovern'd youth Thrust from the company of awful men:

But by Robin Hood's fat friar, I believe, Shakspeare means Friar Tuck, who was confessor and companion to this noted outlaw. So, in one of the old songs of Robin Hood :

“ And of brave little John,
“ Of Friar Tuck and Will Scarlett,

Stokesly and Maid Marian.”
Again, in the 26th song of Drayton's Polyolbion :
“ Of Tuck the merry friar which many a sermon made,

“ In praise of Robin Hoode, his out-lawes, and his trade.” Again, in Skelton's Play of Magnificence, f. 5, 6:

“ Another bade shave halfe my berde,
“ And boyes to the pylery gan me plucke,
“ And wolde have made me freer Tucke

"To preche oute of the pylery hole." See figure III. in the plate at the end of the first part of King Henry IV. with Mr. Tollet's observations on it. Steevens.

Dr. Johnson seems to have misunderstood this passage. The speaker does not swear by the scalp of some churchman who had been plundered, but by the shaven crown of Robin Hood's chaplain :

-“ We will live and die all together (says a personage in Peele's K. Edward I. 1593 :) like Robin Hood, little John, Friar Tucke, and Maid Marian.' MALONE.

— AWFUL men :) Reverend, worshipful, such as magistrates, and other principal members of civil communities. Johnson.

Awful is used by Shakspeare, in another place, in the sense of lawful. Second part of Henry IV. Act IV. sc. II. :

“We come within our awful banks again.” TYRWHITT. So, in K. Henry V. 1600 :

creatures that by awe ordain

“ An act of order to a peopled kingdom.”. Awful men are men full of awe and respect for the laws of society and the duties of life.

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Myself was from Verona banished,
For practising to steal away a lady,
An heir, and near allied unto the duke

2 Out. And I from Mantua, for a gentleman, Who, in my mood", I stabb'd unto the heart.

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So, in Richard II. :

“ And if we be, how dare thy joints forget
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pay their awful duty to our presence. Malone. I think we should read lawful in opposition to lawless men. In judicial proceedings the word has this sense. SIR J. HAWKINS.

I believe we should read lawful men ; i. e. legales homines. So, in the Newe Boke of Justices, 1560 : “commaundinge him to the same to make an inquest and pannel of lawful men of his countie.” For this remark I am indebted to Dr. Farmer. STEEVENS.

6 An heir, and near allied unto the duke.] All the impressions from the first downwards, read~" An heir and niece allied unto the duke.” But our poet would never have expressed himself so stupidly, as to tell us, this lady was the duke's niece, and allied to him : for her alliance was certainly sufficiently included in the first term. Our author meant to say, she was an heiress,' and near allied to the duke; an expression the most natural that can be for the purpose, and very frequently used by the stage-poets.

THEOBALD. A niece, or a nephew, did not always signify the daughter of a brother or sister, but any remote descendant. Of this use I have given instances as to a nephew. See Othello, Act I. I have not, however, disturbed Theobald's emendation. Steevens.

The old copy reads—and heir. The correction was made in the third folio.

Mr. Steevens asserts that a niece or a nephew did not always signify the daughter of a brother or sister, but any remote descendant. I suppose after daughter” the words

or son” have been omitted in his note by an errour of the press. Knowing, however, that the former observation could throw no light on the present passage, he added or any remote descendant.” But, in truth, the terms nephews and nieces, beside their ordinary meaning, were used to signify grand-sons and grand-daughters, but no other remote descendant; and how our understanding niece in the sense of grand-daughter would explain the present passage he has not told us. It is manifest, as Theobald has observed, that our poet would never have expressed himself so stupidly as to tell us that this lady was the Duke's niece, in whatever sense we understand the word,) and also allied to him.

MALONE. 7 Who, in my MOOD,] Mood is anger or resentment. MALONE, VOL. IV



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