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Oli. Know you before whom, sir ?
Orl. Ay, better than him I am before knows meo. I know, you are my eldest brother; and, in the gentle condition of blood, you should so know me: The courtesy of nations allows you my better, in that you are the first-born ; but the same tradition takes not away my blood, were there twenty brothers betwixt us : I have as much of my father in me, as you; albeit, I confess, your coming before me is nearer to his reverence?.
Oli. What, boy!
ORL. Come, come, elder brother, you are too young in this.
Oli. Wilt thou lay hands on me, villain ?
Orl. I am no villain 8 : I am the youngest son of sir Rowland de Bois; he was my father ; and he is thrice a villain, that says, such a father begot vil
6 Ay, better than him I am before knows me.] Mr. Pope and the subsequent editors read—than he I am before: more correctly, but without authority. Malone. The first folio reads-better than him. But, little
respect is due to the anomalies of the play-house editors ; and of this comedy there is no quarto edition. Steevens.
7 — albeit, I confess, your coming before me is nearer to his REVERENCE.] This is sense indeed, and may be thus understood. -The reverence due to my father is, in some degree, derived to you, as the first-born. But I am persuaded that Orlando did not here mean to compliment his brother, or condemn himself; something of both which there is in that sense. I rather think he intended a satirical reflection on his brother, who by letting him feed with his hinds, treated him as one not so nearly related to old Sir Rowland as himself was. I imagine therefore Shakspeare might write—Albeit your coming before me is nearer his revenue, i. e. though you are no nearer in blood, yet it must be owned, indeed, you are nearer in estate. WARBURTON.
This, I apprehend, refers to the courtesy of distinguishing the eldest son of a knight, by the title of esquire.' HENLEY.
• I am no villain:] The word villain is used by the elder brother, in its present meaning, for a worthless, wicked, or bloody man ; by Orlando, in its original signification, for a fellow of base extraction. Johnson. VOL. VI.
lains: Wert thou not my brother, I would not take this hand from thy throat, till this other had pulled out thy tongue for saying so; thou hast railed on thyself.
Adam. Sweet masters, be patient; for your father's remembrance, be at accord.
Oli. Let me go, I say.
Orl. I will not, till I please; you shall hear me. My father charged you in his will to give me good education: you have trained me like a peasant, obscuring and hiding from me all gentleman-like qualities: the spirit of my father grows strong in me, and I will no longer endure it: therefore allow me such exercises as may become a gentleman, or give me the poor allottery my father left me by testament; with that I will go buy my fortunes.
Oli. And what wilt thou do? beg, when that is spent ? Well, sir, get you in: I will not long be troubled with you : you shall have some part of your will : I pray you, leave me.
Ori. I will no further offend you than becomes me for my good.
Olr. Get you with him, you old dog.
Adam. Is old dog my reward? Most true, I have lost my teeth in your service.--God be with my old master! he would not have spoke such a word.
[Exeunt ORLANDO and Adam. Oli. Is it even so ? begin you to grow upon me? I will physick your rankness, and yet give no thousand crowns neither. Hola, Dennis !
Oli. Was not Charles, the Duke's wrestler, here to speak with me?
Den. So please you, he is here at the door, and importunes access to you.
Oli. Call him in. [Exit Dennis.]—"Twill be a good way; and to-morrow the wrestling is.
Oli. Good monsieur Charles !-what's the new news at the new court ?
Cha. There's no news at the court, sir, but the old news: that is, the old duke is banished by his younger brother the new duke; and three or four loving lords have put themselves into voluntary exile with him, whose lands and revenues enrich the new duke; therefore he gives them good leave to wander.
Oli. Can you tell, if Rosalind, the duke's daughter, be banished with her father.
Cha. O, no; for the duke's daughter’, her cousin, so loves her,-being ever from their cradles bred together,—that she would have followed her exile, or have died to stay behind her. She is at the court, and no less beloved of her uncle than his own daughter; and never two ladies loved as they do.
Oli. Where will the old duke live?
good leave -] As often as this phrase occurs, it means a ready assent. So, in King John:
“ Bast. James Gurney, wilt thou give us leave awhile ?
- the duke's daughter,] The words old and new [inserted by Sir T. Hanmer) seem necessary to the perspicuity of the dialogue.
Johnson. - the duke's daughter,” i. e. the banished duke's daughter.
Malone. ? - for the duke's daughter,] i.e. the usurping duke's daughter. Sir T. Hanmer reads here—the new duke's ; and in the preceding speech-the old duke's daughter; but in my opinion unnecessarily. The ambiguous use of the word duke in these passages is much in our author's manner. Malone.
The author of The Revisal is of opinion, that the subsequent words-her cousin, sufficiently distinguish the person intended.
Cha. They say, he is already in the forest of Arden", and a many merry men with him ; and there they live like the old Robin Hood of England: they say, many young gentlemen flock to him every day; and fleet the time carelessly, as they did in the golden world.
Oli. What, you wrestle to-morrow before the new duke ?
Cha. Marry, do I, sir ; and I came to acquaint you
with a matter. I am given, sir, secretly to understand, that your younger brother, Orlando, hath a disposition to come in disguis'd against me to try a fall : To-morrow, sir, I wrestle for my credit; and he that escapes me without some broken limb, shall acquit him well. Your brother is but young, and tender; and, for your love, I would be loath to foil him, as I must, for my own honour, if he come in: therefore, out of my love to you, I came hither to acquaint you withal; that either you might stay him from his intendment, or brook such disgrace well as he shall run into; in that it is a thing of his own search, and altogether against my will.
OLI. Charles, I thank thee for thy love to me, which thou shalt find I will most kindly requite. I had myself notice of my brother's purpose herein, and have by underhand means laboured to dissuade him from it; but he is resolute. I'll tell thee, Charles,—it is the stubbornest young fellow of
3 — in the forest of Arden,] Ardenne is a forest of considerable extent in French Flanders, lying near the Meuse, and between Charlemont and Rocroy. It is mentioned by Spenser, in his Colin Clout's Come Home Again, 1595 :
“ Into a forest wide and waste he came,
“Not famous Ardeyn, nor foul Arlo is.” But our author was furnished with the scene of his play by Lodge's Novel. Malone.
France; full of ambition, an envious emulator of every man's good parts, a secret and villainous contriver against me his natural brother; therefore use thy discretion; I had as lief thou didst break his neck as his finger: And thou wert best look to't; for if thou dost him any slight disgrace, or if he do not mightily grace himself on thee, he will practise against thee by poison, entrap thee by some treacherous device, and never leave thee till he hath ta'en thy life by some indirect means or other: for, I assure thee, and almost with tears I speak it, there is not one so young and so villainous this day living, I speak but brotherly of him; but should I anatomize him to thee as he is, I must blush and weep, and thou must look pale and wonder.
Cha. I am heartily glad I came hither to you: If he come to-morrow, I'll give him his payment: If ever he go alone again, I'll never wrestle for prize more: And so, God keep your worship! [Exit.
Oli. Farewell good Charles.-Now will I stir this gamester* : I hope, I shall see an end of him; for my soul, yet I know not why, hates nothing more than he. Yet he's gentle ; never schoold, and yet learned ; full of noble device; of all sorts" enchantingly beloved; and, indeed, so much in the heart of the world, and especially of my own people, who best know him, that I am altogether misprised : but it shall not be so long; this wrestler shall clear all : nothing remains, but that I kindle the boy thither, which now I'll go about. [Exit. .
this GAMESTER:] Gamester, in the present instance, and some others, does not signify a man viciously addicted to games of chance, but a frolicksome person. Thus, in King Henry VIII. :
" You are a merry gamester, my lord Sands.” Steevens. s — of all sorts —] Sorts, in this place, means ranks and degrees of men. Ritson.
- KINDLE the boy thither,] A similar phrase occurs in Macbeth, Act I. Sc. III. :
enkindle you unto the crown." STEEVENS.