And say, a soldier, Dian, told thee this,
Men are to mell with, boys are not to kiss:3
For count of this, the count 's a fool, I know it,
Who pays before, but not when he does owe it.
Thine, as he vow'd to thee in thine ear,

PAROLLES. Ber. He shall be whipped through the army, with this rhyme in his forehead.

2 Lord. This is your devoted friend, sir, the manifold linguist, and the armipotent soldier.

Ber. I could endure any thing before but a cat, and now he's a cat to me.

[ocr errors]

her to comply with his importunity, provided half the sum for which she shall stipulate be previously paid her:-Half won is match well made; match, and well make it. Henley.

Gain half of what he offers, and you are well off; if you yield to him, make your bargain secure. Malone.

3 Men are to mell with, boys are not to kiss: ] The meaning of the word mell, from meler, French, is obvious.

So, in Ane very excellent and delectabill Treatise, intitulit Phi. LOTUS, &c. 1603:

« But he na husband is to mee;
“ Then how could we twa disagree

“ That never had na melling,"
“Na melling, mistress ? will you then

Deny the marriage of that man?”
Again, in The Corpus Christi Play, acted at Coventry. MSS.
Cott. Vesp. VIII, p. 122:

“And fayr yonge qwene herby doth dwelle,
“ Both frech and gay upon to loke,
" And a tall man with her doth melle,

“ The way into hyr chawmer ryght evyn he toke.” The argument of this piece is The Woman taken in Adultery.

Steevens. Men are to mell with, boys are not to kiss :) Mr. Theobald and the subsequent editors read-boys are but to kiss. I do not see any need of change, nor do I believe that any opposition was intended between the words mell and kiss. Parolles wishes to recommend himself to Diana, and for that purpose advises her to grant her favours to men, and not to boys. He himself calls his letter - An advertisement to Diana to take heed of the allureinent of one count Rousillon, a foolish idle boy."

To mell is used by our author's contemporaries in the sense of meddling, without the indecent idea which Mr. Theobald supposed to be couched under the word in this place. So, in Hall's Satires, 1597 :

i Sold. I perceive, sir, by the general's looks, we shall be fain to hang you.

Par. My life, sir, in any case; not that I am afraid to die; but that, my offences being many, I would repent out the remainder of nature: let me live, sir, in a dungeon, i' the stocks, or any where, so I


live.5 I Sold. We'll see what may be done, so you confess freely; therefore, once more to this captain Dumain : You have answered to his reputation with the duke, and to his valour: What is his honesty?

Par. He will steal, sir, an egg out of a cloister;6 for rapes and ravishments he parallels Nessus. He professes not keeping of oaths; in breaking them, he is stronger than Hercules. He will lie, sir, with such volubility, that you would think truth were a fool: drunkenness is his best virtue; for he will be swine-drunk; and in his sleep he does little harm, save to his bed-clothes about m; but they know his conditions, and lay him in straw. I have but little more to say, sir, of his honesty: he has every thing that an honest man should not have; what an honest man should have, he has nothing.

1 Lord. I begin to love him for this.


“ Hence, ye profane; mell not with holy things.” Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. IV, c. i: “ With holy father fits not with such things to mell."

Malone. by the general's looks,] the old copy has-hy your. The emendation was made by the editor of the second folio, and the misprint probably arose from ye in the MS. being taken for yr.

Malone. let me live, sir, in a dungeon, i the stocks, or any where, so I may live.] Smith might have had this abject sentiment of Parolles in his memory, when he put the following words into the mouth of Lycon, in Phædra and Hippolytus :

“O, chain me, whip me, let me be the scorn
« Of sordid rabbles, and insulting crowds ;
“ Give me but life, and make that life most wretched!”

Steevens. - an egg out of a cloister;] I know not that cloister, though it may etymologically signify any thing shut, is used by our author otherwise than for a monastery, and therefore I cannot guess whence this hyperbole could take its original: perhaps it means only this-He will steal any thing, however trifling, from any place, however holi. Fohnson. Robbing the spital, is a common phrase, of the like import.

M. Mason.


Ber. For this description of thine honesty? A pox upon him for me, he is more and more a cat.

I Sold. What say you to his expertness in war?

Par. Faith, sir, he has led the drum before the English tragedians, to belie him, I will not,--and more of his soldiership I know not; except, in that country, he had the honour to be the officer at a place there callid Mileend, to instruct for the doubling of files: I would do the man what honour I can, but of this I am not certain.

i Lord. He hath out-villained villainy so far, that the rarity redeems him.

Ber. A pox on him! he's a cat still.8

I Sold. His qualities being at this poor price, I need not ask you, if gold will corrupt him to revolt.

Par. Sir, for a quart d'ecuo he will sell the fee-simple of his salvation, the inheritance of it; and cut the entail from all remainders, and a perpetual succession for it perpetually


? —at a place there call's Mile-end,] See a note on K. Henry IV, P. II, Act III, sc. ii. Malone.

- he's a cat still.] That is, throw hiin how you will, he lights upon his legs. Fohnson.

Bertram has no such meaning. In a speech or two before, he declares his arersion to a cat, and now only continues in the same opinion, and says he hates Parolles as much as he hates a cat. The other explanation will not do, as Parolles could not be meant by the cat, which always lights on its legs, for Parolles is now in a fair way to be totally disconcerted. Steevens.

I am still of my former opinion. The speech was applied by King James to Coke, with respect to his subtilties of law, that throw him which way we would, he could still, like a cat, light upon his legs. Fohnson.

The Count had said, that formerly a cat was the only thing in the world which he could not endure; but that now Parolles was as much the object of his aversion as that animal. After Parol. les has gone through his next list of falshoods, the Count adds, “ he's more and more a cat,”—still more and more the object of my aversion than he was. As Parolles proceeds still further, one of the Frenchmen observes, that the singularity of his impudence and villainy redeems his character.- Not at all, replies the Count; “he's a cat still;" he is as hateful to me as ever. There cannot, therefore, I think be any doubt that Dr. Johnson's interpretation, “throw him how you will, he lights upon his legs,” -is founded on a misapprehension. Malone.

- for a quart d’ecu –] The fourth part of the smaller "rench crown; about eight-pence of English money. Malone.


I Sold. What's his brother, the other captain Dumain?

2 Lord. Why does he ask him of me?1 I Sold. What's he?

Par. E'en a crow of the same nest; not altogether so great as the first in goodness, but greater a great deal in evil. He excels his brother for a coward, yet his brother is reputed one of the best that is: In a retreat he out-runs any lackey; marry, in coming on he has the cramp.

1 Sold. If your life be saved, will you undertake to betray the Florentine?

Par. Ay, and the captain of his horse, count Rousillon.

1 Sold. I'll whisper with the general, and know his pleasure.

Par. I'll no more drumming; a plague of all drums! Only to seem to deserve well, and to beguile the supposition? of that lascivious young boy the count, have I run into this danger: Yet, who would have suspected an ambush where I was taken?

[Aside. 1 Sold. There is no remedy, sir, but you must die : the general says, you, that have so traitorously discovered the secrets of your army, and made such pestiferous reports of men very nobly held, can serve the world for no honest use; therefore you must die. Come, headsman, off with his head.

Par. O Lord, sir; let me live, or let me see my death!

1 Sold. That shall you, and take your leave of all your friends.

[Unmuffling him. So, look about you; Know you any here?

Ber. Good morrow, noble captain.
2 Lord. God bless you, captain Parolles.
1 Lord. God save you, noble captain.

2 Lord. Captain, what greeting will you to my lord Lafeu? I am for France.

1 Why does he ask him of me?] This is irature. Every man is, on such occasions, more willing to hear his neighbour's character than his own. Johnson.

to beguile the supposition - ] That is, to deceive the opis nion, to make the Count think me a man that deserves well.



I Lord. Good captain, will you give me a copy of the sonnet you writ to Diana in behalf of the count Rousil. lon? an I were not a very coward, I'd compel it of you; but fare you well.

[Exeunt BER. Lords, &c. I Sold. You are undone, captain: all but your scarf, that has a knot on 't yet.

Par. Who cannot be crushed with a plot?

1 Sold. If you can find out a country where but women were that had received so much shame, you might begin an impudent nation. Fare you well, sir; I am for France too: we shall speak of you there. [Exit.

Par. Yet am I thankful: if my heart were great, "Twould burst at this: Captain, I 'll be no more; But I will eat and drink, and sleep as soft As captain shall: simply the thing I am Shall make me live. Who knows himself a braggart, Let him fear this; for it will come to pass, That every braggart shall be found an ass. Rust, sword! cool, blushes! and, Parolles, live Safest in shame! being foolid, by foolery thrive! There's place, and means, for every man alive. I'll after them.



Florence. A Room in the Widow's House.

Enter HELENA, Widow, and DIANA. Hel. That you may well perceive I have not wrong'd

you, One of the greatest in the Christian world Shall be my surety; 'fore whose throne, 'tis needful, Ere I can perfect mine intents, to kneel: Time was, I did him a desired office, Dear almost as his life; which gratitude Through flinty Tartar's bosom would peep forth, And answer, thanks: I duly am inform’d, His grace is at Marseilles; 3 to which place

3 His grace is at Marseilles ; &c.] From this line, and others, it appears that Marseilles was pronounced by our author as a word of three syllables. The old copy has here Marcelle, and in the last scene of this Act, Marcellus. Malone.

« 上一页继续 »