A Room in the Duke's Palace.

Flourish. Enter the Duke of Florence, attended; two

French Lords, and Others.
Duke. So that, from point to point, now have you heard
The fundamental reasons of this war;
Whose great decision hath much blood let forth,
And more thirsts after.
I Lord.

Holy seems the quarrel
Upon your grace's part; black and fearful
On the opposer.

Duke. Therefore we marvel much, our cousin France
Would, in so just a business, shut his bosom
Against our borrowing prayers.
2 Lord.

Good my lord,
The reasons of our state I cannot yield,
But like a common and an outward man,5
That the great figure of a council frames
By self-unable motion : 6 therefore dare not
Say what I think of it; since I have found
Myself in my uncertain grounds to fail
As often as I guess’d.

Be it his pleasure. 2 Lord. But I am sure, the younger of our nature,? That surfeit on their ease, will, day by day,


4- I cannot yield,] I cannot inform you of the reasons.

Johnson Thus, in Antony and Cleopatra:

“ If thou say so, villain, thou kill'st thy mistress :
But well and free,
“If thou so yield him, there is gold -.” Steevens.
an outward man,] i. e. one not in the secret of affairs.

Warburton. So, inward, is familiar, admitted to secrets. “ I was an inward of his." Measure for Measure. Johnson.

6 By self-unable motion:] We should read notion. Warburton. This emendation has also been recommended by Mr. Upton.

Steevens. the younger of our nature,] i. e. as we say at present, our young fellows. The modern editors read-nation.

I have restored the old reading. Steevens.


[ocr errors]

Come here for physick.

Welcome shall they be;
And all the honours, that can fly from us,
Shall on them settle. You know your places well;
When better fall, for your avails they fell:
To-morrow to the field.

[Flourish. Exeunt.

Rousillon. A Room in the Countess's Palace.

Enter Countess and Clown. Count. It hath happened all as I would have had it, save, that he comes not along with her.

Clo. By my troth, I take my young lord to be a very melancholy man.

Count. By what observance, I pray you?

Clo. Why, he will look upon his boot, and sing; mend the ruff

, and sing;& ask questions, and sing; pick his teeth, and sing: I know a man that had this trick of melancholy, sold a goodly manor for a song.9

Count. Let me see what he writes, and when he means to come.

[Opening a letter. Clo. I have no mind to Isbel, since I was at court: our old ling and our Isbels o'the country are nothing like your old ling and your Isbels o’the court: the brains of my Cupid 's knocked out; and I begin to love, as an old man loves money, with no stomach.

Count. What have we here?
Clo. E'en that? you have there.


8 Clo. Why, he will look upon his boot, and sing; mend the ruff, and sing;] The tops of the boots, in our author's time, turned down, and hung loosely over the leg. The folding is what the Clown means by the ruff. Ben Jonson calls it ruffle; and perhaps it should be so here. “ Not having leisure to put off my silver spurs, one of the rowels catch'd hold of the rufle of my boot.” Every Man out of his Humour, Act IV, sc. vi. Whalley.

To this fashion Bishop Earle alludes in his Characters, 1638, sign. E 10: “He has learnt to ruffle his face from his boote ; and takes great delight in his walk to heare his spurs gingle.”

Malone. sold a goodly manor for a song.] Thus the modern edi.

The old copy reads—hold a goodly &c. The emendation, however, which was made in the third folio, seems necessary.



Count. [reads) I have sent you a daughter-in-law; she hath recovered the king, and undone me. I have wedded her, not bedded her; and sworn to make the not eternal. You shall hear, I am run away; know it, before the report come. If there be breadth enough in the world, I will hold a long distance. My duty to you. Your unfortunate son,

BERTRAM. This is not well, rash and unbridled boy, To fly the favours of so good a king; To pluck his indignation on thy head, By the misprizing of a maid too virtuous For the contempt of empire.

Re-enter Clown. Clo. O madam, yonder is heavy news within, between two soldiers and my young lady.

Count. What is the matter?

Clo. Nay, there is some comfort in the news, some comfort; your son will not be killed so soon as I thought he would.

Count. Why should he be kill’a?

Clo. So say I, madam, if he run away, as I hear he does: the danger is in standing to 't; that 's the loss of men, though it be the getting of children. Here they come, will tell you more: for my part, I only hear, your son was run away.

[Exit Clo. Enter HELENA and two Gentlemen. 1 Gen. Save you, good madam. Hel. Madam, my lord is gone, for ever gone. 2 Gen. Do not say so.

Count. Think upon patience.- 'Pray you, gentlemen,I have felt so many quirks of joy, and grief, That the first face of neither, on the start, Can woman me? unto 't: Where is my son, I pray you? 2 Gen. Madam, he's gone to serve the duke of Flo

rence: We met him thitherward; for thence we came,

1 Clo. E'en that —] Old copy-In that. Corrected by Mr. Theobald. Malone.

2 Can woman me - ] i. e. affect me suddenly and deeply, as my sex are usually affected. Steevens.

And, after some despatch in hand at court,
Thither we bend again.

Hel. Look on this letter, madam: here's my passport. [reads] When thou canst get the ring upon my finger, 3

which never shall come off, and show me a child begotten of thy body, that I am father to, then call me hus

band: but in such a then I write a never. This is a dreadful sentence.

Count. Brought you this letter, gentlemen? 1 Gen.

Ay, madam; And, for the contents' sake, are sorry for our pains.

Count. I pr’ythee, lady, have a better cheer; If thou engrossest all the griefs are thine, Thou robb’st me of a moiety:" He was my son; But I do wash his name out of my blood, And thou art all my child.— Towards Florence is he?

2 Gen. Ay, madam.

And to be a soldier?
2 Gen. Such is his noble purpose: and, believe 't,
The duke will lay upon him all the honour
That good convenience claims.

Return you thither? 1 Gen. Ay, madam, with the swiftest wing of speed.

3 When thou canst get the ring upon my finger,] i. e. When thou canst get the ring, which is on my finger, into thy possession. The Oxford editor, who took it the other way, to signify, when thou canst get it on upon my finger, very sagaciously alters it to -When thou canst get the ring from my finger. Warburton.

I think Dr. Warburton's explanation sufficient; but I once read it thus: When thou canst get the ring upon thy finger, which never shall come off mine. Johnson.

Dr. Warburton's explanation is confirmed incontestably by these lines in the fifth Act, in which Helena again repeats the substance of this letter:

there is your ring:
“ And, look you, here's your letter; this it says:

When from my finger you can get this ring,&c. Malone. 4 If thou engrossest all the griefs are thine, Thoú robb’st me of a moiety:] We should certainly read:

all the griefs as thine, instead of-are thine. M. Mason.

This sentiment is elliptically expressed, but, I believe, means no more than-If thou keepest all thy sorrows to thyself; i. e. “all the griefs that are thine, &c. Steevens.

Hel. [reads] Till I have no wife, I have nothing in

France. 'Tis bitter. Count.

Find you that there? Hel.

Ay, madam. I Gen. 'Tis but the boldness of his hand, haply, which His heart was not consenting to.

Count. Nothing in France, until he have no wife!
There's nothing here, that is too good for him,
But only she; and she deserves a lord,
That twenty such rude boys might tend upon,
And call her hourly, mistress. Who was with him?

I Gen. A servant only, and a gentleman
Which I have some time known.

Parolles, was 't not? 1 Gen. Ay, my good lady, he.

Count. A very tainted fellow, and full of wickedness: My son corrupts a well-derived nature With his inducement. 1 Gen.

Indeed, good lady,
The fellow has a deal of that, too much,
Which holds him much to have.5

Count. You are welcome, gentlemen.
I will entreat you, when you see my son,
To tell him, that his sword can never win
The honour that he loses: more I 'll entreat you
Written to bear along.
2 Gen.

We serve you, madam,
In that and all your worthiest affairs.

Count. Not so, but as we change our courtesies.

5 — a deal of that, too much,

Which holds him much to have.] That is, his vices stand him in stead. Helen had before delivered this thought in all the beauty of expression :

I know hin a notorious liar;
“Think him a great way fool, solely a coward ;
" Yet these fix'd evils sit so fit in him,
“ That they take place, when virtue's steely bones

“ Look bleak in the cold wind —." Warburton. Mr. Heath thinks that the meaning is, this fellow hath a deal too much of that which alone can hold or judge that he has much in him; i.e. folly and ignorance. Malone.

6 Not so, &c.] The gentlemen declare that they are servants to the Countess; she replies,-No otherwise than as she returns the same offices of civility. Fohnson.

« 上一页继续 »