« PreviousContinue »
Ros. You 'll ne'er be friends with him; he kill'd your
sister. Kath. He made her melancholy, sad, and heavy; And so she died: had she been light, like you, Of such a merry, nimble, stirring spirit, She might have been a grandam ere she died; And so may you; for a light heart lives long. Ros. What's your dark meaning, mouse,5 of this
light word? Kath. A light condition in a beauty dark. Ros. We need more light to find your meaning out.
Kath. You 'll mar the light, by taking it in snuff:6 Therefore, I 'll darkly end the argument.
Ros. Look, what you do, you do it still i' the dark.
me. ' Ro8. Great reason; for, Past cure is still past care."
Prin. Well bandied both; a set of wit' well play'd. But Rosaline, you have a favour too: Who sent it? and what is it? Ros.
I would, you knew:
5- mouse,] This was a term of endearment formerly. So, in Hamlet : “ Pinch wanton on your cheek; call you his mouse."
Malone. 0- taking it in snuff;] Snuff is here used equivocally for anger, and the snuff of a candle. See more instances of this conceit in King Henry IV, P. I, Act I, sc. iii. Steevens.
1— for, Past cure is still past care.] The old copy readspast care is still past cure. The transposition was proposed by Dr. Thirlby, and, it must be owned, is supported by a line in King Richard II:
“ Things past redress are now with me past care." So, also, in a pamphlet entitled Holland's Leaguer, 4to. 1632: “ She had got this adage in her mouth. Things past cure, past care.”-Yet the following lines in our author's 147th Sonnet seem rather in favour of the old reading:
“ Past cure I am, now reason is past care,
play a set
Prin. Any thing like?
Ros. 'Ware pencils!! How? let me not die your debtor,
Kath. A pox of that jest! and beshrew all shrows !2
9'Ware pencils!] The former editions read:
“Were pencils Sir T. Hanmer here rightly restored:
«'Ware pencil's Rosaline, a black beauty, reproaches the fair Katharine for painting. Johnson.
Johnson mistakes the meaning of this sentence; it is not a reproach, but a cautionary threat. Rosaline says that Biron had drawn her picture in his letter; and afterwards playing on the word letter, Katharine compares her to a text B. Rosaline in reply advises her to beware of pencils, that is of drawing like. nesses, lest she should retaliate ; which she afterwards does, by comparing her to a red dominical letter, and calling her marks of the small pox oes. M. Mason.
1- so full of O's!] Shakspeare talks of " --- fiery O's and eyes of light,” in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Steevens.
2 Pox of that jest! and beshrew all shrows'] “Pox of that jest!” Mr. Theobald is scandalized at this language from a princess. But there needs no alarm-the small pox only is alluded to; with which, it seems, Katharine was pitted; or, as it is quaintly expressed, “her face was full of O's." Davison has a canzonet on his lady's sicknesse of the poxe: and Dr. Donne writes to his sister: « at my return from Kent, I found Pegge had the Poxe I humbly thank God, it hath not much disfigured her.” Farmer.
A pox of that jest! &c.] This line, which in the old copies is given to the Princess, Mr. Theobald rightly attributed to Katharine. The metre, as well as the mode of expression, shew that“I beshrew,” the reading of these copies, was a mistake of the transcriber. Malonę.
Prin. But what was sent to you from fair Dumain ? 3
Did he not send you twain?
Mar. This, and these pearls, to me sent Longaville; The letter is too long by half a mile.
Prin. I think no less: Dost thou not wish in heart, The chain were longer, and the letter short? Mar. Ay, or I would these hands might never part. Prin. We are wise girls, to mock our lovers so.
Ros. They are worse fools to purchase mocking so. That same Birón I'll torture ere I go. O, that I knew he were but in by the week !4 How I would make him fawn, and beg, and seek; And wait the season, and observe the times, And spend his prodigal wits in bootless rhymes; And shape his service wholly to my behests;5 And make him proud to make me proud that jests !6
3 But what was sent to you from fair Dumain?7 The old copies, after But, insert Katharine. We should, therefore, read: “But, Katharine, what was sent you from Dumain?”
Ritson. 4- in by the week!] This I suppose to be an expression taken from hiring servants or artificers; meaning, I wish I was as sure of his service for any time limited, as if I had hired him.
The expression was a common one. So, in Vittoria Corombona, 1612:
“ What, are you in by the week? So; I will try now whether thy wit be close prisoner.” Again, in The Wit of a Woman, 1604: “ Since I am in by the week, let me look to the year.”,
Steevens. 5.-- wholly to my behests ;] The quarto, 1598, and the first folio, read-to my device. The emendation, which the rhyme confirms, was made by the editor of the second folio, and is one of the very few corrections of any value to be found in that copy.
Malone. Mr. Malone, however, admits three other corrections from the second folio in this very sheet. Steevens.
6 And make him proud to make me proud that jests :'] The meaning of this obscure line seems to be, I would make him proud to · flatter me who make a mock of his flattery.--Edinburgh Magazine
for Noy. 1786. Steevens.
So portent-like? would I o'ersway his state,
Ros. The blood of youth burns not with such excess, As gravity's revolt to wantonness.'
Mar. Folly in fools bears not so strong a note,
7 So portent-like &c.] In former copies:
So pertaunt-like, would I o'er-sway his state,
That he should be my fool, and I his fate. In old farces, to show the inevitable approaches of death and destiny, the Fool of the farce is made to employ all his stratagems to avoid Death or Fate; which very stratagems, as they are or. dered, bring the Fool, at every turn, into the very jaws of Fate. To this Shakspeare alludes again in Measure for Measure:
" merely thou art Death's Fool;
“And yet run'st towards him still —.” It is plain from all this, that the nonsense of pertaunt-like, should be read, portent-like, i. e. I would be his fate or destiny, and, like a portent, hang over, and influence his fortunes. For portents were not only thought to forebode, but to influence. So the Latins call. ed a person destined to bring mischief, fatale portentum.
Warburton. The emendation appeared first in the Oxford edition. Malone.
Until some proof be brought of the existence of such characters as Death and the Fool, in old farces, (for the mere assertion of Dr. Warburton is not to be relied on) this passage must be literally understood, independently of any particular allusion. The old reading might probably mean---so scoffingly would I o'ersway,” &c. The initial letter in Stowe, mentioned by Mr. Reed in Measure for Measure, here cited, has been altogether misunderstood. It is only a copy from an older letter which formed part of a Death's Dance, in which Death and the Fool were always represented. I have several of these alphabets.
Douce. 8 None are so &c.] These are observations worthy of a man who has surveyed human nature with the closest attention. Johnson.
9 to wantonness.] The quarto, 1598, and the first folio have—to wantons be. For this emendation we are likewise in. debted to the second folio. Malone.
Enter Boyet. Prin. Here comes Boyet, and mirth is in his face. Boyet. O, I am stabb’d with laughter! Where 's her
grace? Prin. Thy news, Boyet? Boyet.
Prepare, madam, prepare! Arm, wenches, arm! encounters mounted are Against your peace: Love doth approach disguis’d, Armed in arguments; you 'll be surpris’d: Muster your wits; stand in your own defence; Or hide your heads like cowards, and fly hence.
Prin. Saint Dennis to saint Cupid!1 What are they, That charge their breath against us? say, scout, say.
Boyet. Under the cool shade of a sycamore,
1 Saint Dennis, to saint Cupid!) The Princess of France invokes, with too much levity, the patron of her country, to oppose his power to that of Cupid. Johnson.
Johnson censures the Princess for invoking with so much levity the patron of her country, to oppose his power to that of Cupid; but that was not her intention. Being determined to engage the King and his followers, she gives for the word of battle St. Dennis, as the King, when he was determined to attack her, had given for the word of battle St. Cupid:
“ Saint Cupid then, and soldiers to the field.” M. Mason. VOL. IV.