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I do forswear them: and I here protest,
In russet yeas, and honest kersey noes:
Ros. Sans SANS, I pray you.8
Yet I have a trick
The modern editors read-affectation. There is no need of change. We already in this play have had affection for affectation, « witty without affection.” The word was used by our author and his contemporaries, as a quadrisyllable; and the rhyme such as they thought sufficient. Malone.
In The Merry Wives of Windsor the word affectation occurs, and was most certainly designed to occur again in the present instance. No ear can be satisfied with such rhymes as affection and ostentation. Steevens.
8 Sans sanS, I pray you.] It is scarce worth remarking, that the conceit here is obscured by the punctuation. It should be written Sans Sans, i. e. without sans; without French words: an affectation of which Biron had been guilty in the last line of his speech, though just before he had forsworn all affectation in phrases, terms, &c. Tyrwhitt.
9 Write, Lord have mercy on us,] This was the inscription put upon the door of the houses infected with the plague, to which Biron compares the love of himself and his companions; and pur. suing the metaphor finds the tokens likewise on the ladies. The tokens of the plague are the first spots or discolorations, by which the infection is known to be received. Johnson.
So, in Histriomastix, 1610:
“ It is as dangerous to read his name on a play-door, as a printed bill on a plague-door.” Again, in The Whore of Babylon, 1607 :
“ Have tokens stamp'd on them to make them known,
“More dreadful than the bills that preach the plague.” Again, in More Fools Yet, a collection of Epigrams, by R. Š. 1610:
“To declare the infection for his sin,
“ A crosse is set without, there's none within.” Steevens. So, in Sir Thomas Overbury's Characters, 1632:
“ Lord have mercy on us may well stand over their doors, for debt is a most dangerous city pestilence.” Malone.
These lords are visited; you are not free,
Prin. No, they are free, that gave these tokens to us.
Ros. It is not so; For how can this be true,
Biron. Peace; for I will not have to do with you.
gression Some fair excuse. Prin.
The fairest is confession.
King. Madam, I was.
And were you well advis'd ?2
When you then were here, What did you whisper in your lady's ear?
King. That more than all the world I did respect her.
Peace, peace, forbear; Your oath once broke, you force not to forswear.3
King. Despise me, when I break this oath of mine.
Prin. I will: and therefore keep it:-Rosaline, What did the Russian whisper in your ear?
Ros. Madam, he swore, that he did hold me dear As precious eye-sight; and did value me
1- how can this be true,
That you stand forfeit, being those that sue?] That is, how can those be liable to forfeiture that begin the process. The jest lies in the ambiguity of sue, which signifies to prosecute by law, or to offer a petition. Johnson.
2 well advis'd!) i. e. acting with sufficient deliberation. So, in The Comedy of Errors:
“My liege I am advis'd in what I say.” Steevens. 3— you force not to forswear.] You force not is the same with you make no difficulty. This is a very just observation. The crime which has been once committed, is committed again with less reluctance. Johnson. So, in Warner's Albion's England, B. X, ch. 59:
" he forced not to hide how he did err.” Steevens.
Above this world: adding thereto, moreover,
Prin. God give thee joy of him! the noble lord
King. What mean you, madam? by my life, my troth, I never swore this lady such an oath.
Ros. By heaven, you did; and to confirm it plain, You gave me this; but take it, sir, again.
King. My faith, and this, the princess I did give;
Prin. Pardon me, sir, this jewel did she wear;
Biron. Neither of either;4 I remit both twain.-
4 Neither of either ;] This seems to have been a common expression in our author's time. It occurs in The London Prodigal, 1605, and other comedies. Malone. 5- a consent,] i.e. a conspiracy. So, in K. Henry VI, P.I: “
the stars “That have consented to king Henry's death.” Steevens. 0- zany, 1 A zany is a buffoon, a merry Andrew, a gross mimick. So, in Marston's Insatiate Countess, 1613:
< - - sung
“To every seuerall zanie's instrument.” Again, in Antonio's Revenge, 1602:
“ Laughs them to scorn, as man doth busy apes,
“ When they will zany men.” Steevens. 7_ some trencher-knight,] See page 133:
“ And stand between her back, sir, and the fire,
“ Holding a trencher,” - &c. Malone. 8 some Dick,
That smiles his cheek in years ;) Mr. Theobald says, he cannot for his heart, comprehend the meaning of this phrase. It was not his heart but his head that stood in his way. In years, signi. fies, into wrinkles. So, in The Merchant of Venice:
“ With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.” See the note on that line-But the Oxford editor was in the same case, and so alters it to fleers. Warburton.
To make my lady laugh, when she's dispos'd-
Webster, in bis Dutchess of Malfy, makes Castruchio declare of his lady: “ She cannot endure merry company, for she says much laughing fills her too full of the wrinckle." Farmer. Again, in Lingua, or the Combat of the Tongue, &c. 1607 :
“ That light and quick, with wrinkled laughter painted.” Again, in Twelfth Night:“- he doth smile his cheek into more lines than is in the new map,” &c. Steevens.
The old copies read-in yeeres. Jeers, the present emendation, which I proposed some time ago, I have since observed, was made by Mr. Theobald. Dr. Warburton endeavours to support the old reading, by explaining years to mean wrinkles, which belong alike to laughter and old age. But allowing the word to be used in that licentious sense, surely our author would have writ. ten, not in, but into, years-i. e. into wrinkles, as in a passage quoted by Mr. Steevens from Twelfth Night: “ — he does smile his cheek into more lines than is in the new map,” &c. The change being only that of a single letter for another nearly re. sembling it, I have placed jeers (formerly spelt jeeres) in my text. The words-jeer, flout, and mock, were much more in use in our author's time than at present. In Othello, 1622, the former word is used exactly as here:
" And mark the jeers, the gibes, and notable scorns,
“ That dwell in every region of his face.” Out-roaring Dick was a celebrated singer, who, with William Wimbars, is said by Henry Chettle, in his Kind HARTS DREAME, to have got twenty shillings a day by singing at Braintree fair, in Essex. Perhaps this itinerant droll was here in our author's thoughts. This circumstance adds some support to the emen. dation now made. From the following passage in Sir John Oldcastle, 1600, it seems to have been a common term for a noisy swaggerer:
“O he, sir, he's a desperate Dick indeed;
“ Bar him your house." Again, in Kemp's Nine daies wonder, &c. 4to. 1600:
“A boy arm'd with a poking stick
“ Will dare to challenge cutting Dick." Again, in The Epistle Dedicatorie to Nashe's Have with you to Saffron Walden, 1596: “ - nor Dick Swash, or Desperate Dick, that's such a terrible cutter at a chine of beef, and devoures more meat at ordinaries in discoursing of his fraies, and deep acting of his slashing and hewing, than would serve half a dozen brewers draymen." Malone.
As the aptitude of my quotation from Twelfth Night is ques. tioned, I shall defend it, and without much effort; for Mr. Malone himself must, on recollection, allow that in, throughout the plays of Shakspeare, is often used for into. Thus, in King Richard III:
The ladies did change favours; and then we,
[To BOYET. Forestal our sport, to make us thus untrue? Do not you know my lady's foot by the squire,
And laugh upon the apple of her eye?
Holding a trencher, jesting merrily?
Biron. Lo, he is tilting straight! Peace; I have done.
“But first, I'll turn yon fellow in his grave.” I really conceived this usage of the preposition in, to have been too frequent to need exemplification. Steevens. 9- in will, and error.
Much upon this it is :- And might not you,] I believe this passage should be read thus:
- in will and error.
Biron. And might not you, &c. Fohnson.
Musgrave: 1- by the squire,] From esquierre, French, a rule, or square. The sense is nearly the same as that of the proverbial expression in our own language, he hath got the length of her foot; i. e. he hath humoured her so long that he can persuade her to what he pleases. Heath.
Squire in our author's time was the common term for a rule. See Minsheu's Dict. in v. The word occurs again in The Winter's Tale. Malone.
So, in Philemon Holland's translation of the seventh Book of Pliny's Natural History, ch. 56: “ As for the rule and squire, &c. Theodorus Samius devised them.” Steevens.
2_ Go, you are allow'd;] i. e. you may say what you will; you are a licensed fool, a common jester. So, in Twelfth Night:
“ There is no slander in an allow'd fool.” Warburton. 3 Hath this brave manage,] The old copy has manager. Corrected by Mr. Theobald. Malone.