Page images


A Lawn before the DUKE's Palace.

Enter ROSALIND and CELIA. Cel. I pray thee, Rosalind, sweet my coz, be merry.

Ros. Dear Celia, I show more mirth than I am mistress of; and would you yet I were merrier ? Unless you could teach me to forget a banished father, you must not learn me how to remember any extraordinary pleasure.

Cel. Herein, I see, thou lovest me not with the full weight that I love thee: if my uncle, thy banished father, had banished thy uncle, the duke my father, so thou hadst been still with me, I could have taught my love to take thy father for mine; so would'st thou, if the truth of thy love to me were so righteously temper'd as mine is to thee.

Ros. Well, I will forget the condition of my estate, to rejoice in yours.

Cel. You know, my father hath no child but I, nor none is like to have; and, truly, when he dies, thou shalt be his heir : for what he hath taken away from thy father perforce, I will render thee again in affection ; by mine honour, I will; and when I break that oath, let me turn monster : therefore, my sweet Rose, my dear Rose, be merry.

Ros. From henceforth I will, coz, and devise sports : let me see; What think you of falling in love ?

Cel. Marry, I pr’ythee, do, to make sport withal: but love no man in good earnest; nor no further in sport neither, than with safety of a pure blush thou may'st in honour come off again. .

9 - I were merrier ?] I, which was inadvertently omitted in the old copy, was inserted by Mr. Pope. MALONE.

Ros. What shall be our sport then ?

CEL. Let us sit and mock the good housewife, Fortune, from her wheel, that her gifts may henceforth be bestowed equally.

Ros. I would, we could do so; for her benefits are mightily misplaced : and the bountiful blind woman doth most mistake in her gifts to women.

Cel. 'Tis true : for those, that she makes fair, she scarce makes honest; and those, that she makes honest, she makes very ill-favouredly.

Ros. Nay, now thou goest from fortune's office to nature's : fortune reigns in gifts of the world, not in the lineaments of nature.

Enter TouchsTONE. Cel. No? When nature hath made a fair creature, may she not by fortune fall into the fire ? Though nature hath given us wit to flout at fortune, hath not fortune sent in this fool to cut off the argument ?

Ros. Indeed, there is fortune too hard for nature; when fortune makes nature's natural the cutter off of nature's wit.

Cel. Peradventure, this is not fortune's work neither, but nature's; who perceiveth our natural wits too dull to reason of such goddesses, and hath sent this natural for our whetstone': for always the

8 — mock the good housewife, Fortune, from her wheel,] The wheel of Fortune is not the wheel of a housewife. Shakspeare has confounded Fortune, whose wheel only figures uncertainty and vicissitude, with the Destiny that spins the thread of life, though not indeed with a wheel. Johnson.

Shakspeare is very fond of this idea. He has the same in Antony and Cleopatra :

" and rail so high,
“ That the false housewife, Fortune, break her wheel.”

STEEVENS. 9 — who perceiveth our natural wits too dull to reason of such goddesses, and hath sent, &c.] And is not in the old copy. This

dulness of the fool is the whetstone of his wits.-
How now, wit ? whither wander you ?
· Touch. Mistress, you must come away to your

CEL. Were you made the messenger ?
Touch. No, by mine honour: but I was bid to

come for you.
Ros. Where learned you that oath, fool ?

Touch. Of a certain knight, that swore by his honour they were good pancakes, and swore by his honour the mustard was naught: now, I'll stand to it, the pancakes were naught, and the mustard was good ; and yet was not the knight forsworn.

Cel. How prove you that, in the great heap of your knowledge ?

Ros. Ay, marry; now unmuzzle your wisdom.

Touch. Stand you both forth now: stroke your chins, and swear by your beards that I am a knave.

CEL. By our beards, if we had them, thou art.

Touch. By my knavery, if I had it, then I were : but if you swear by that that is not, you are not forsworn: no more was this knight, swearing by his honour, for he never had any'; or if he had, he had sworn it away, before ever he saw those pancakes or that mustard.

Cel. Prythee, who is't that thou mean'st ?
Touch. One that old Frederick, your father, loves.
Ros. My father's love is enough to honour him ?.

slight emendation is the present editor's. Mr. Steevens reads, who perceiving our natural wits, &c. hath sent. MALONE,

i For he never had any;] The same joke is found in the old play of Damon and Pithias, 1573:

" I have taken a wise othe on him ; have I not, trow ye, “ To trust such a false knave upon his honestie ? As he is an honest man (quoth you?) he may bewray all to

the kinge, “ And breke his oth for this never a whit.” Boswell. 2 Touch. One that old FREDERICK, your father, loves.

Ros. My father's love is enough to honour him.] This reply

Enough! speak no more of him; you'll be whip’d for taxation, one of these days.

Touch. The more pity, that fools may not speak wisely, what wise men do foolishly.

Cel. By my troth, thou say'st true : for since

to the Clown is in all the books placed to Rosalind; but Frederick was not her father, but Celia's : I have therefore ventured to prefix the name of Celia. There is no countenance from any passage in this play, or from the Dramatis Persona, to imagine, that both the Brother-Dukes were namesakes; and one called the Old, and the other the Younger-Frederick; and without some such authority, it would make confusion to suppose it.

THEOBALD. Mr. Theobald seems not to know that the Dramatis Personce were first enumerated by Rowe. Johnson.

Frederick is here clearly a mistake, as appears by the answer of Rosalind, to whom Touchstone addresses himself, though the question was put to him by Celia. I suppose some abbreviation was used in the MS. for the name of the rightful, or old duke, as he is called, sperhaps Fer, for Ferdinand,] which the transcriber or printer converted into Frederick. Fernardyne is one of the persons introduced in the novel on which this comedy is founded. Mr. Theobald solves the difficulty by giving the next speech to Celia, instead of Rosalind; but there is too much of filial warmth in it for Celia :—besides, why should her father be called old Frederick ? It appears from the last scene of this play that this was the name of the younger brother. Malone.

Mr. Malone's remark may be just ; and yet I think the speech which I have still left in the mouth of Celia, exhibits as much tenderness for the fool, as respect for her own father. She stops Touchstone, who might otherwise have proceeded to say what she could not hear without inflicting punishment on the speaker. Old is an unmeaning term of familiarity. It is still in use, and has no reference to age. The Duke in Measure for Measure is called by Lucio “ the old fantastical Duke," &c. STEEVENS.

3 - you'll be whip'd for TAXATION,] This was the discipline usually inflicted upon fools. Brantome informs us that Legar, fool to Elizabeth of France, having offended her with some indelicate speech, “ fut bien föuetté à la cuisine pour ces paroles.

Douce. Taxation is censure or satire. So, in Much Ado about Nothing : “ Niece, you tar Signior Benedick too much: but he'll be meet with you." Again, in the play before us :

" my taxing like a wildgoose flies—,” Malone.

the little wit, that fools have, was silenced, the little foolery, that wise men have, makes a great show. Here comes Monsieur Le Beau.

Enter LE BEAU. Ros. With his mouth full of news.

Cel. Which he will put on us, as pigeons feed their young.

Ros. Then shall we be news-cramm’d.

Cel. All the better; we shall be the more marketable. Bon jour, Monsieur Le Beau : What's the news ?

LE BEAU. Fair princess, you have lost much good sport.

Cel. Sport? Of what colour ?

LE BEAU. What colour, madam ? How shall I answer you?

Ros. As wit and fortune will,
Touch. Or as the destinies decree.
Cel. Well said ; that was laid on with a trowel *.
Touch. Nay, if I keep not my rank,
Ros. Thou losest thy old smell.
LE BEAU. You amaze me, ladies 5: I would have

3 — since the little wit, that fools have, was silenced,] Shakspeare probably alludes to the use of fools or jesters, who for some ages had been allowed in all courts an unbridled liberty of censure and mockery, and about this time began to be less tolerated.

JOHNSON. 4 — laid on with a trowel.] I suppose the meaning is, that there is too heavy a mass of big words laid upon a slight subject.


This is a proverbial expression, which is generally used to signify a glaring falshood. See Ray's Proverbs. STEEVENS.

It means a good round hit, thrown in without judgment or design. Ritson.

To lay on with a trowel, is, to do any thing strongly, and without delicacy. If a man flatters grossly, it is a common expression to say, that he lays it on with a trowel. M. Mason.

5 You amaze me, ladies :] To amaze, here, is not to astonish

« PreviousContinue »