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One, whom the musick of his own vain tongue
Doth ravish, like enchanting harmony; A man of complements, whom right and wrong
Have chofe as umpire of their mutiny::.
9 A man of complements, whom right and wrong
Have chose as umpire of their mutiny :] As very bad a play ag this is, it was certainly Shakspeare's, as appears by many fine master-strokes scattered up and down. An excessive complaisance is here admirably painted, in the person of one who was willing to make even right and wrong friends : and to perfuade the one to recede from the accustomed stubbornness of her nature, and wink at the liberties of her opposite, rather than he would incur the imputation of ill-breeding in keeping up the quarrel. And as our author, and Jonson his contemporary, are confeffedly the two greatest writers in the drama that our nation could ever boast of, this may be no improper occasion to take notice of one material difference between Shakspeare's worst plays and the other's. Our aathor owed all to his prodigious natural genius; and Jonson moft to his acquired parts and learning. This, if attended to, will explain the difference we speak of. Which is this, that, in Jonson's bad pieces, we do not discover the least traces of the author of the Fox and Alchemift; but in the wildest and most extravagant notes of Shakspeare, you every now and then encounter strains that recog. nize their divine composer. And the reason is this, that Jonson owing his chief excellence to art, by which he sometimes ftrained himself to an uncommon pitch, when he unbent himfelf, had nothing to support him; but fell below all likenefs of himself; while Shakspeare, indebted more largely to nature than the other to his acquired talents, could never, in his most negligent hours, fotos tally divest himself of his genius, but that it would frequently break out with amazing force and fplendour. WARBURTON.
This passage, I believe, means no more than that Don Armado was a man nicely versed in ceremonial diftinctions, one who could distinguish in the moft delicate questions of honour the exact boundaries of right and wrong. Compliment, in Shakspeare's time, did not fignify, at least did not only fignify verbal civility, or phrases of courtesy, but according to its original meaning, the trappings, or ornamental appendages of a character, in the same manner, and on the same principles of speech with accomplishment. Complement is, as Armado well expresses it, the varnish of a complete man,
JOHNSON. Dr. Johnson's opinion may be supported by the following pattage in Lingua, or The Combat of the Tongue and the five Senses for Superiority, 1607:—" after all falhions and of all colours, with rings, This child of fancy, 4 that Armado hight,
For interim to our studies, shall relate, In high-born words, the worth of many a knight
From tawny Spain, lost in the world's debate. How you delight, my lords, I know not, I; But, I protest, I love to hear him lie, And I will use him for my minstrelsy.?
jewels, a fan, and in every other place, odd complements." And again, by the title-page to Richard Braithwaite's English Gentlewoman, “ drawne out to the full body, expressing what habiliments doe best attire her ; what ornaments doe beft adorne her; and what complements doe best accomplish her.”
Again, in Sir Giles Goosecap, 1606:
“— adorned with the exactest complements belonging to everlasting nobleness.” Steevens.
Thus, in Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio calls Tybalt, “ the Captain of complements.” M. Mason.
4. This child of fancy,] This fantastick, The expression, in ano. ther sense, has been adopted by Milton in his L'Allegro:
“ Or fweetest Shakspeare, Fancy's child-," MALONE. · 5 That Armado hight,] Who is called Armado. Malone.
6 From tawny Spain, loft in the world's debate.] i. e. he shall relate to us the celebrated stories recorded in the old romances, and in their very ftile. Why he says from tawny Spain is, because those romances, being of Spanish original, the heroes and the scene were generally of that country. Why he says, loft in the world's debate is, because the subject of those romances were the crusades of the European Christians against the Saracens of Asia and Africa.
WARBURTON. I have suffered this note to hold its place, thoughMr. Tyrwhitt has shewn that it is wholly unfounded, because Dr. Warburton re, fers to it in his dissertation at the end of this play. MALONE.
- in the world's debate.] The world seems to be used in a monastick sense by the king, now devoted for a time to a monastic life. In the world, in feculo, in the bustle of human affairs, from which we are now happily sequestred, in the world, to which the votaries of solitude have no relation. Johnson.
Warburton's interpretation is clearly preferable to that of Johnson. The King had not yet so weaned himself from the world, as to adopt the language of a cloister. M. Mason,
9 And I will use him for my minftrelly.] i. e. I will make a min&rel of him, whose occupation was to relate fabulous stories. .
King. A letter from the magnificent Armado.
Biron. How low foever the matter, I hope in God for high words.
Long. A high hope for a low having :4 God grant us patience!
Biron. To hear? or forbear hearing?!
Long. To hear meekly, sir, and to laugh moderately; or to forbear both.
Biron. Well, fir, be it as the stile shall give us cause to climb in the merriness.
Cost. The matter is to me, fir, as concerning Jaquenetta. The manner of it is, I was taken with the manner.?
4 A high hope for a low having :] In old editions :
“ A high hope for a low heaven;" A low heaven, sure, is a very intricate matter to conceive. I dare warrant, I have retrieved the poet's true reading; and the meaning is this: “ Though you hope for high words, and should have them, it will be but a low acquisition at best.” This our poet calls a low having : and it is a substantive which he uses in several other passages. THEOBALD. It is so employed in Macbeth, AA I:
“ — great prediction
« Of noble having, and of royal hope." Heaven, however, may be the true reading, in allusion to the gradations of happiness promised by Mohammed to his followers. So, in the comedy of Old Fortunatus, 1600:. " Oh, how my soul is rapt to a third heaven!”
STEEVENS. 5 To hear? or forbear hearing?) One of the modern editors plausibly enough, reads.
“ To hear? or forbear laughing?" Malone. 0 — as the stile shall give us cause to climb ] A quibble between the flile that must be climbed to pass from one field to another, and Ayle, the term expressive of manner of writing in regard to language. STEEVENS.
i- taken with the manner.] i. e. in the fact. So, in Heywood's Rape of Lucrece, 1630 : “ — and, being taken with the manner, had nothing to say for himself.” STEEVENS.
A forenfick term. A thief is said to be taken with the manner, Vol. V.
oman: for I the mannwing. Nowe
Biron. In what manner?
Cost. In manner and form following, sir; all those three: I was seen with her in the manor house, sitting with her upon the form, and taken following her into the park; which, put together, is, in manner and form following. Now, fir, for the manner,-it is the manner of a man to speak to a woman: for the form,-in fome form.
Biron. For the following, fir ?
Cost. As it shall follow in my correction; And God defend the right!
King. Will you hear this letter with attention? Biron. As we would hear an oracle.
Cost. Such is the fimplicity of man to hearken after the flesh.
King. [reads. ] Great deputy, the welkin's vicegerent, and fole dominator of Navarre, my foul's earth's God, and body's fostering patron,
Cost. Not a word of Costard yet.
Cost. It may be so: but if he say it is so, he is, in telling true, but so, so,?
Cost.-be to me, and every man that dares not fight!
King. No words.
i. e. mainour or manour, (for so it is written in our old law-books) when he is apprehended with the thing stolen in his possession. The thing that he has taken was called mainour, from the Fr. manier, manu tractare. MALone.
7 but so, so.] The second so was added by Sir T. Hanmer, and adopted by the subsequent editors. MALONE.