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me pack ; via! says the fiend; away! says the fiend, for the beavens ; 8 rouse up a brave mind, says the fiend,
Well, my conscience, hanging about the neck of my heart, says very wisely to me,—my honest friend Launcelot, being an bonefi man's son, -or rather an honest woman's son ;—for, indeed, my father did something smack, something grow to, he had a kind of taste; - well, my conscience says,— Launcelot, budge not; budge, says the fiend; budge not, says my conscience: Conscience, say I, you counsel well; fiend, say I, you counsel well: to be ruled by my conscience, I should stay with the Jew my master, who, (God bless the mark!) is a kind of devil; and, to run away from the Jew, I should be ruled by the fiend, who, saving your reverence, is the devil himself: Certainly, the Jew is the very devil incarnation; and, in my conscience, my conscience is but a kind of hard conscience, to offer to counsel me to stay with the Jew: The fiend gives the more friendly counsel: I will run, fiend; my heels are at your commandment, I will run.
I perceive no need of alteration. The pleonasm appears to me consistent with the general tenour of Launcelot's speech. He had juit before expressed the same thing in three different ways:" Use your legs; take the start; run away.” Malone.
8 - away! says the fiend, for the heavens;} As it is not likely that Shakspeare should make the Devil conjure Launcelot to do any thing for Heaven's fake, I have no doubt but this pallage is corrupt, and that we ought to read,
Away! fays the fiend, for the haven, By which Launcelot was to make his escape, if he was determined to run away.
M. Mason. away! says the fiend, for the heavens;] i. e. Begone to the heavens. So again, in Much ade about Nothing :
“ So I deliver up, my apes, [to the devil,] and crear to St. Peter, for the heavens."
Enter old Gobbo,' with a basket. Gob. Master, young man, you, I pray you; which is the way to master Jew's ?
Laun. [afide.] O heavens, this is my true begotten father! who, being more than fand-blind, high-gravel blind, knows me not :- I will try conclusions with him.
Gob. Master young gentleman, I pray you, which is the way to master Jew's!
LAUN. Turn up on your right hand, at the next turning, but, at the next turning of all, on your left; marry, at the very next turning, turn of no hand, but turn down indirectly to the Jew's house.
Goe. By God's sonties,' 'twill be a hard way to
9 Enter old Gobbo,] It may be inferred from the name of Gobbo, that Shakspeare designed this character to be represented with a hump-back. Steevens.
try conclufions-) To try conclufions is to try experiments, So, in Heywood's Golden Age, 1611:
since favour “ Cannot attain thy love, I'll try conclufions,” Again, in The Lancashire Witches, 1634 :
Nay then I'll try conclufions : “ Mare, Mare, see thou be,
“ And where I point thee, carry me.” STEEVENS. So quarto R.-Quarto H. and folio read—confufions. MALONE,
3 Turn up on your right hand, &c.] This arch and perplexed direction to puzzle the enquirer, seems to imitate that of Syrus to Demea in the Brothers of Terence:
- ubi eas præterieris,
THEOBALD. God's fonties,] I know not exactly of what oath this is a corruption. I meet with God's fanty in Decker's Honeft Whore, 1635 :
Again, in the longer thou liveft the more Fool thou art, a comedy, bl. l. without date:
* Gods fantie, this is a goodly book indeed,"
hit. Can you tell me whether one Launcelot, that dwells with him, dwell with him, or no?
Laun. Talk you of young master Launcelot? Mark me now; [afide.] now will I raise the waters :Talk
you of young master Launcelot? GoB. No master, sir, but a poor man's son; his father, though I say it, is an honest exceeding poor man, and, God be thanked, well to live.
Laun. Well, let his father be what he will, we talk of young master Launcelot.
Gob. Your worship’s friend, and Launcelot, fir.s
Laun. But I pray you ergo, old man, ergo, I beseech you; Talk you of young master Launcelot?
Gob. Of Launcelot, an't please your mastership.
Laun. Ergo, master Launcelot; talk not of master Launcelot, father; for the young gentleman (according to fates and destinies, and such odd sayings, the fifters three, and such branches of learning,) is, indeed, deceased; or, as you would say, in plain terms, gone to heaven.
Gob. Marry, God forbid! the boy was the very staff of my age, my very prop.
Laun. Do I look like a cudgel, or a hovel-post, a staff, or a prop ?-Do you know me, father?
Perhaps it was once customary to swear by the santé, i. e. health, of the Supreme Being, or by his saints ; or, as Mr. Ritson observes to me, by his sanctity. Oaths of such a turn are not unfrequent among our ancient writers. All, however, seem to have been lo thoroughly convinced of the crime of profane fwearing, that they were content to disguise their meaning by abbreviations which were permitted filently to terminate in irremediable corruptions.
STEEVENS. 5 Your worship’s friend, and Launcelot, fir.] Dr. Farmer is of opinion we Mould read Gobbo inttead of Launcelot. Sleeve NS.
and Launcelot, for.] i. e. plain Launcelot; and not, as you term him, master Launcelot. MALONE.
Gob. Alack the day, I know you not, young gentleman: but, I pray you, tell me, is my boy, (God reft his soul!) alive, or dead?
Laun. Do you not know me, father?
Laun. Nay, indeed, if you had your eyes, you might fail of the knowing me: it is a wise father, that knows his own child. Well, old man, I will tell you news of your son: Give me your blessing: truth will come to light; murder cannot be hid long, a man's son may; but, in the end, truth will out.
Gob. Pray you, sir, stand up; I am sure, you are not Launcelot, my boy.
Laun. Pray you, let's have no more fooling about it, but give me your blessing ; I am Launcelot, your boy that was, your son that is, your child that shall be.?
Gob. I cannot think, you are my son.
Give me your bleffing :] In this conversation between Launcelot and his blind father, there are frequent references to the des ception practised on the blindness of Isaac, and the blessing obtained in consequence of it. Henley.
7 -- your child that fall be.] Launcelot probably here indulges himself in talking nonsense. So afterwards :-—" you may tell every finger I have with my ribs.” An anonymous critick supposes, “ he means to say, I was your child, I am your boy, and Jhall ever be your fon.” But son not being first mentioned, but placed in the middle member of the sentence, there is no ground for suppofing such an inverfion intended by our author. Besides; if Launcelos is to be seriously defended, what would his father learn, by being told that he who was child, shall be his fon? MALONE.
Launcelot may mean, that he shall hereafter prove his claim to the title of child, by his dutiful behaviour. Thus says the Prince of Wales to King Henry IV; I will redeem my character ;
“ And, in the closing of some glorious day,
but I am Launcelot, the Jew's man; and, I am sure, Margery, your wife, is my mother.
Gob. Her name is Margery, indeed: I'll be sworn, if thou be Launcelot, thou art mine own flesh and blood. Lord
Lord worshipp'd might he be! what a beard hast thou got! thou hast got more hair on thy chin, than Dobbin my thill-horse has on his tail. 8
Laun. It should seem then, that Dobbin's tail grows backward; I am sure, he had more hair on his tail, than I have on my face, when I last saw him.
Gob. Lord, how art thou changed! How doft thou and thy master agree? I have brought him a present; How 'gree you now?
Laun. Well, well; but, for mine own part, as I have set up my rest to run away, so I will not rest till I have run some ground: my master's a very Jew; Give him a present! give him a halter: 1 am familh'd in his service; you may tell every fin. ger
I have with my ribs. Father, I am glad you are come; give me your present to one master Bassanio, who, indeed, gives rare new liveries; if I serve not him, I will run as far as God has any ground.-O rare fortune! here comes the man ;-to him father; for I am a Jew, if I serve the Jew any longer.
thill-horse ~) Thill or fill, means the hafts of a cart or waggon. So, in A Woman never Vex'd, 1632 :
“ l' the fills." Again, in Fortune by Land and Sea, 1655, by Tho. Heywood and W. Rowley : acquaint you with Jock the fore-horse, and Fibb the fil-borse," &c. STEBYENS.
All the ancient copies have phil-horse, but no dictionary that I bave met with acknowledges the word. It is, I am informed, a corruption used in some counties for the proper term, thill-horse.