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We four, indeed, confronted were with four
In Russian habit: here they stay'd an hour,
And talk'd apace; and in that hour, my lord,
They did not bless us with one happy word.
I dare not call them fools ; but this I think,
When they are thirsty, fools would fain have drink.
Biron. This jest is dry to me. - Fair, gentle

Your wit makes wise things foolish: when we greets
With eyes best seeing heaven's fiery eye,
By light we lose light: Your capacity
Is of that nature, that to your huge store
Wise things seem foolish, and rich things but poor.
Ros. This proves you wise and rich; for in my


Bison. I am a fool, and full of poverty.

days, means according to the manner of the times. Gives undon ferving praise, means praise to what does not deserve it.

M. MASON. 4 Fair, gentle sweet,] The word fair, which is wanting in the two elder copies, was restored by the fecond folio. Mr. Malone reads" My gentle sweet."

My fair, sweet honey monarch" occurs in this very scene, P. 349. STEEVENS.

Sweet is generally used as a substantive by our author, in his addresses to ladies. So, in The Winter's Tale;

When you speak, sweet, I'd have you do it ever." Again, in The Merchant of Venice:

“ And now, good sweet, say thy opinion." Again, in Othello :

-O, my sweet, “ I prattle out of tune." The editor of the second folio, with lefs probability, (as ir appears to me,) reads-fair, gentle, sweet. MALONE.

s when we greet, &c.] This is a very lofty and elegant compliment.. Johnson.

Ros. But that you take what doth to you belong, It were a fault to snatch words from my tongue.

Biron. O, I am yours, and all that I possess.
Ros. All the fool mine?

I cannot give you less. Ros. Which of the visors was it, that you wore? Biron. Where? when? what visor? why demand

you this?

Ros. There, then, that visor ; that superfluous

case, That hid the worse, and show'd the better face. King. We are descried: they'll mock us now

downright. Dum. Let us confess, and turn it to a jest. Prin. Amaz’d, my lord? Why looks your high

ness fad? Ros. Help, hold his brows! he'll swoon! Why

look you pale?Sea-sick, I think, coming from Muscovy. Biron. Thus pour the stars down plagues for

perjury. Can any face of brass hold longer out?-Here stand 1, lady ; dart thy skill at me;

Bruise me with scorn, confound me with a flout; Thrust thy sharp wit quite through my ignorance;

Cut me to pieces with thy keen conceit; And I will with thee never more to dance,

Nor neyer more in Russian habit wait. O! never will I trust to speeches penn'd,

Nor to the motion of a school-boy's tongue; Nor never come in visor to my friend;

Nor woo in rhyme, like a blind harper's song:

my friend ;] i. e. mistress. So, in Measure for Measure :

he hath got his friend with child." STEEVENS.

Taffata phrases, filken terms precise,

Three-pil'd hyperboles, spruce affectation, Figures pedantical; these summer-fies

Have blown me full of maggot oftentation:
I do forswear them: and I here protest,
By this white glove, (how white the hand,

God knows!)
Henceforth my wooing mind shall be express’d

In russet yeas, and honest kersey noes :
And, to begin, wench,—so God help me, la!-
My love to thee is sound, sans crack or flaw.

Ros. Sans sans, I pray you.8

Yet I have a trick
Of the old rage :-bear with me, I am fick;
I'll leave it by degrees. Soft, let us see;-
Write, Lord have mercy on us, on those three;


6 Three-pild hyperboles,] A metaphor from the pile of velvet. So, in The Winter's Tale, Autolycus says: “ I have worn three-pile.

-Spruce affectation,] The old copies read-affe&ion.

STEEVENS. The modern editors read - affe&tation. There is no need of change. We already in this play have had affection for affe&tation ;

_" witty without affe&tion.The word was used by our author and his contemporaries, as a quadrifyllable; and the rhyme fuch 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 oftentation,

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 for

worn 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 Biton compares the love of himself and his companions; and pursuing

They are infected, in their hearts it lies;
They have the plague, and caught it of your eyes :
These lords are visited; you are not free,
For the Lord's tokens on you do I see.
Prin. No, they are free, that gave these tokens

to us. Biron. Our states are forfeit, seek not to undo

Ros. It is not fo; For how can this be true,

you stand forfeit, being those that sue?'
Biron. Peace; for I will not have to do with you.
Ros. Nor shall not, if I do as I intend.
Biron. Speak for yourselves, my wit is at an end.

the metaphor finds the tokens likewise on the ladies. The tokens of the plague are the first spots or discolorations, by which the infec. tion is known to be received. JOHNSON.

So, in Hiftriomaftix, 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. S. 1610 :

“ To declare the infection for his fin,

“ A crosje is set without, there's none within." Again, ibid :

“ But by the way he saw and much respected
“ A doore belonging to a house infected,
“ Whereon was plac'd (as 'tis the custom still)
The Lord have mercy on us: this sad bill

“ The sot perus’d" STEVENS.
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.

how That you stand forfeit, being those that fue?] That is, how can those be liable to forfeiture that begin the process. The jeft lies in the ambiguity of fue, which fignifies to profecute by law, or to fer a petition. JOHNSON,



this be true,

King. Teach us, sweet madam, for our rude

transgression Some fair excuse. PRIN.

The faireft is confeffion.
Were you not here, but even now, disguis’d?

King. Madam, I was.

And were you well advis’d?
KING. I was, fair madam.

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. Prin. When she shall challenge this, you will

reject her. King. Upon mine honour, no. PRIN.

Peace, peace, forbear; Your oath once broke, you force not to forswear.

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-fight; and did value me Above this world: adding thereto, moreover, That he would wed me, or else die my lover.

Prin. God give thee joy of him! the noble lord Most honourably doth uphold his word.



- 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.

- yon force not to forswear.] You force nor is the same with you make no difficulty. This is a very juft 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. “ - he forced not to hide how he did err. STEEVENS.


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