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Stew. Madam, the care I have had to even your content, I wish might be found in the calendar of my past endeavours; for then we wound our modesty, and make foul the clearness of our deserving's, when of ourselves we publish them. 1
Count. What does this knave here? Get you gone, sirrah: The complaints, I have heard of you, I do not all believe; 'tis my slowness, that I do not; for, I know you lack not folly to commit them, and have ability enough to make such knaveries yours.?
“Old fashion'd wit, which walk'd from town to town
6 In trunk-hose, which our fathers call'd the Clown.” In the MS. Register of Lord Stanhope of Harrington, treasurer of the chamber to King James I, from 1613 to 1616, are the following entries : “ Tom Derry, his majesty's fool, at 28. per diem,-1615: Paid John Mawe for the diet and lodging of Thomas Derrie, her majesty's jester, for 13 weeks, 101. 18s. 6d.--1616.” Steevens.
The following lines in The Careless Shepherdess, a comedy, 1656, exhibit probably a faithful portrait of this once admired character:
Why, I would have the fool in every act,
to even your content,] To act up to your desires. Johnson. 1 when of ourselves we publish them.] So, in Troilus and Cressida:
“The worthiness of praise distains his worth,
Malone. - you lack not folly to commit them, and have ability enough to make such knaveries yours.] After premising that the accusative, them refers to the precedent word, complaints, and that this, by a metonymy of the effect for the cause, stands for the freaks which occasioned those complaints, the sense will be extremely clear: “You are fool enough to commit those irregu. larities you are charged with, and yet not so much fool neither, as to discredit the accusation by any defect in your ability."
Clo. 'Tis not unknown to you, madam, I am a poor fellow.
Count. Well, sir.
Clo. No, madam, 'tis not so well, that I am poor; though many of the rich are damned:3 But, if I may have your ladyship’s good will to go to the world, 4 Isbel the woman and 15 will do as we may.
Count. Wilt thou needs be a beggar?
Clo. In Isbel's case, and mine own. Service is no heritage:6 and, I think, I shall never have the blessing of God, till I have issue of my body; for, they say, bearns are blessings.
Count. Tell me thy reason why thou wilt marry.
Clo. My poor body, madam, requires it: I am driven on by the flesh; and he must needs go, that the devil drives.
Count. Is this all your worship's reason?
Clo. Faith madam, I have other holy reasons such as they are.
Count. May the world know them?
Clo. I have been, madam, a wicked creature, as you and all flesh and blood are; and, indeed, I do marry, that I may repent.
Count. Thy marriage, sooner than thy wickedness.
Clo. I am out of friends, madam; and I hope to have friends for my wife's sake.
It appears to me that the accusative them refers to knaveries, and the natural sense of the passage seems to be this: “ You have folly enough to desire to commit these knaveries, and ability enough to accomplish them.” M. Mason. 3 are damned:] See S. Mark, x, 25; S. Luke, xviii, 25.
Grey. -- to go to the world,] This phrase has already occurred in Much Ado about Nothing, and signifies to be married: and thus, in As you Like it, Audrey says: it is no dishonest desire, to desire to be a woman of the world.” Steevens..
and I -] 1, which was inadvertently omitted in the first copy, was supplied by the editor of the second folio.
Malone. 6 Service is no heritage :) This is a proverbial expression. Needa --ust when the devil drives, is another. Ritson.
Count. Such friends are thine enemies, knave.
Clo. You are shallow, madam; e'en great friends;7 for the knaves come to do that for me, which I am a-weary of. He, that ears my land,' spares my team,
7 Clo. You are shallow, madam ; e'en great friends ;] The meaning [i. e. of the ancient reading mentioned in the subsequent note] seems to be, you are not deeply skilled in the character or offices of great friends. Fohnson.
The old copy reads--in great friends; evidently a mistake for e'en, which was formerly written e'n. The two words are so near in sound, that they might easily have been confounded by an inattentive hearer.
The same mistake has happened in many other places in our author's plays. So, in the present comedy, Act III, sc. ii, folio, 1623:
Lady. What have we here!
“ Clown. In that you have there." Again, in Antony and Cleopatra:
“No more but in a woman." Again, in Twelfth Night:
“ 'Tis with him in standing water, between boy and man." The corruption of this passage was pointed out by Mr. Tyr. whitt. For the emendation now made, I am answerable.
“ I could but be her subject; so I am now.
“I'm e’en as happie then that save a labour.” Steevens. —that ears my land,] To ear is to plough. So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
and gives me leave to inn the crop: if I be his cuckold, he 's my drudge: He, that comforts my wife, is the cherisher of my flesh and blood; he, that cherishes my flesh and blood, loves my flesh and blood; he, that loves my flesh and blood, is my friend: ergo, he that kisses my wife, is my friend. If men could be contented to be what they are, there were no fear in marriage; for young Charbon the puritan, and old Poysam the papist, howsoe'er their hearts are severed in religion, their heads are both one, they may joll horns together, like any deer i' the herd.
Count. Wilt thou ever be a foul-mouthed and calumnious knave?
Clo. A prophet I, madam; and I speak the truth the next way:1
For I the ballad will repeat,
Which men full true shall find;
Your cuckoo sings by kind.2
“Make the sea serve them, which they ear and wound
“ With keels of every kind.” Steevens. See 1 Sam. viii, 12. Isaiah, xxx, 24. Deut. xxi, 4. Gen. xlv, 6. Exod. xxxiv, 21, for the use of this verb. Henley.
1 A prophet I, madam, and I speak the truth the next way:) It is a superstition, which has run through all ages and people, that natural fools have something in them
of divinity. On which account they were esteemed sacred: Travellers tell us in what esteem the Turks now hold them; nor had they less honour paid them heretofore in France, as appears from the old word benet, for a natural fool. Hence it was that Pantagruel, in Rabelais, advised Panurge to go and consult the fool Triboulet as an oracle; which gives occasion to a satirical stroke upon the privy council of Francis the First-Par Pavis, conseil, prediction des fols vos scavez quants princes, &c. ont esté conservez, &c. The phrase-speak the truth the next way, means directly; as they do who are only the instruments or canals of others; such as inspired persons were supposed to be. Warburton. See the popular story of Nixon the Idiot's Cheshire Prophecy.
Douce. Next way, is nearest way. So, in K. Henry IV, Part I:
“ 'Tis the next way to turn tailor,” &c. Steevens. Next way is a phrase still used in Warwickshire, and signifies without circumlocution, or going about. Henley.
sings by kind.] I find something like two of the lines of this ballad in Fohn Grange's Garden, 1577:
Count. Get you gone, sir; I'll talk with you more
Stew. May it please you, madam, that he bid Helen come to you; of her I am to speak.
Count. Sirrah, tell my gentlewoman, I would speak with her; Helen I mean. Clo. Was this fair face the cause,3 quoth she, [Singing.
Why the Grecians sacked Troy?
Was this king Priam's joy.
“ Content yourself as well as I, let reason rule your minde, “As cuckoldes come by destinie, so cuckowes sing by kinde.”
Steevens. 3 Was this fair face the cause, &c.] The name of Helen, whom the Countess has just called for, brings an old ballad on the sacking of Troy to the Clown's mind. Malone.
This is a stanza of an old ballad, out of which a word or two are dropt, equally necessary to make the sense and alternate rhyme. For it was not Helen, who was king Priam's joy, but Paris. The third line, therefore, should be read thus:
Fond done, fond done, for Paris, he Warburton. If this be a stanza taken from any ancient ballad, it will probably in time be found entire, and then the restoration may be made with authority. Steevens.
In confirmation of Dr. Warburton's conjecture, Mr. Theobald has quoted, from Fletcher's Maid in the Mill, the following stanza of another old ballad:
« And here fair Paris comes,
“ The hopeful youth of Troy, “Queen Hecuba's darling son,
King Priam's only joy." This renders it extremely probabie, that Paris was the person described as “king Priam's joy” in the ballad quoted by our author; but Mr. Heath has justly observed, that Dr. Warburton, though he has supplied the words supposed to be lost, has not explained them; nor, indeed, do they seem, as they are connected, to afford any meaning. In 1585 was entered on the Stationers' books, by Edward White, The Lamentation of Hecuba, and the Ladyes of Troye; which probably contained the stanza here quoted. Malone.
I am told that this work is little more than a dull amplification of the latter part of the twenty-fourth Book of Homer's Iliad. I also learn, from a memorandum by Dr. Farmer, that The Life and Death of St. George, a ballad, begins as follows:
“Of Hector's deeds did Homer sing,
“ And of the sack of stately Troy;
“Which was Sir Paris' only joy.” Steevens.