« PreviousContinue »
Most truly limn'd, and living in your face,
ACT III.....SCENE I.
A Room in the Palace.
Enter Duke FREDERICK, OLIVER, Lords, and Attendants.
Duke F. Not see him since? Sir, sir, that cannot be: But were I not the better part made mercy, I should not seek an absent argumento Of my revenge, thou present: But look to it; Find out thy brother, wheresoe'er he is; Seek him with candle ;5 bring him dead or living, Within this twelvemonth, or turn thou no more To seek a living in our territory. Thy lands, and all things that thou dost call thine, Worth seizure, do we seize into our hands; Till thou canst quit thee by thy brother's mouth, Of what we think against thee.
Oli. O, that your highness knew my heart in this ! I never lov'd my brother in my life.
3-as thy master is:) The old copy has-masters. Corrected by the editor of the second folio. Malone.
4—an absent argument - ] An argument is used for the contents of a book, thence Shakspeare considered it as meaning the subject, and then used it for subject in yet another sense. Fohnson.
5 Seek him with candle;] Alluding, probably, to St. Luke's Gospel, ch. xv, v. 8: “If she lose one piece, doth she not light a candles-and seek diligently till she find it?” Steevens.
Seek him with candle ;] Seek him without intermission by night and by day ;-let not the night shroud him from thy search-enjoy no rest until you find him. Amer. Ed.
Duke F. More villain thou.—Well, push him out of
doors; And let my officers of such a nature Make an extent upon his house and lands:6 Do this expediently," and turn him going. [Exeunt.
Enter ORLANDO, with a paper. Orl. Hang there, my verse, in witness of my love:
And, thou, thrice-crowned queen of night, 8 survey With thy chaste eye, from thy pale sphere above,
Thy huntress' name, that my full life doth sway.' O Rosalind! these trees shall be my books,
And in their barks my thoughts I 'll character; That every eye, which in this forest looks,
Shall see thy virtue witness'd every where. Run, run, Orlando; carve, on every tree, The fair, the chaste, and unexpressivel she. [Exit.
6 And let my officers of such a nature
Make an extent upon his house and lands :) “ To make an extent of lands,” is a legal phrase, from the words of a writ, (extendi facias) whereby the sheriff is directed to cause certain lands to be appraised to their full extended value, before he delivers them to the person entitled under a recognizance, &c. in order that it may be certainly known how soon the debt will be paid. Malone.
expediently,] That is, expeditiously. Fohnson.. Expedient, throughout our author's plays, signifies-expeditious. So, in King John:
“ His marches are expedient to this town." Steevens.
- thrice-crowned queen of night,] Alluding to the triple character of Proserpine, Cynthia, and Diana, given by some mythologists to the same goddess, and comprised in these memorial lines:
Terret, lustrat, agit, Proserpina, Luna, Diana,
that my full life doth sway.) So, in Twelfth Night:
unexpressive ---} For inexpressible. Fohnson. Milton also, in his Hymn on the Nativity, uses unexpressive for inexpressible:
“ Harping with loud and solemn quire,
Enter Corin and TOUCHSTONE. Cor. And how like you this shepherd's life, master Touchstone?
Touch. Truly, shepherd, in respect of itself, it is a good life; but in respect that it is a shepherd's life, it is naught. In respect that it is solitary, I like it very well; but in respect that it is private, it is a very vile life. Now in respect it is in the fields, it pleaseth me well; but in respect it is not in the court, it is tedious. As it is a spare life, look you, it fits my humour well; but as there is no more plenty in it, it goes much against my stomach. Hast any philosophy in thee, shepherd?
Cor. No more, but that I know, the more one sickens, the worse at ease he is; and that he that wants money, means, and content, is without three good friends: -That the property of rain is to wet, and fire to burn; That good pasture makes fat sheep; and that a great cause of the night, is lack of the sun: That he, that hath learned no wit by nature nor art, may complain of good breeding, or comes of a very dull kindred.2
Touch. Such a one is a natural philosopher.3 Wast ever in court, shepherd ?
he, that hath learned no wit by nature nor art, may complain of good breeding, or comes of a very dull kindred.] I am in doubt whether the custom of the language in Shakspeare's time did not authorise this mode of speech, and make complain of good breeding the same with complain of the want of good breeding. In the last line of The Merchant of Venice we find that to fear the keeping is to fear the not keeping. Fohnson.
I think he means rather may complain of a good education, for being so inefficient, of so little use to him. Malone.
3 Such a one is a natural philosopher.] The shepherd had said all the philosophy he knew was the property of things, that rain wetted, fire burnt, &c. And the Clown's reply, as a satire on physicks or natural philosophy, though introduced with a quibble, is extremely just. For the natural philosopher is indeed as ignorant (notwithstanding all his parade of knowledge) of the efficient cause of things, as the rustic. It appears, from a thousand instances, that our poet was well acquainted with the physicks of his time; and his great penetration enabled him to see this remediless defect of it. Warburton.
Shakspeare is responsible for the quibble only, let the commentator answer for the refinement. Steevens.
Cor. No, truly.
Touch. Truly, thou art damn'd; like an ill-roasted egg,“ all on one side. Cor. For not being at court? Your reason.
Touch. Why, if thou never wast at court, thou never saw'st good manners; if thou never saw'st good manners, then thy manners must be wicked; and wickedness is sin, and sin is damnation: Thou art in a parlous state, shepherd.
Cor. Not a whit, Touchstone: those, that are good manners at the court, are as ridiculous in the country, as the behaviour of the country is most mockable at the court. You told me, you salute not at the court, but you kiss your hands; that courtesy would be uncleanly, if courtiers were shepherds.
Touch. Instance, briefly; come, instance.
Cor. Why, we are still handling our ewes; and their fells, you know, are greasy.
Touch. Why, do not your courtier's hands sweat? and
The Clown calls Corin a natural, philosopher, because he reasons from his observations on nature. M. Mason.
A natural being a common term for a fool, Touchstone, per. haps, means to quibble on the word. He may however only mean, that Corin is a self-taught philosopher; the disciple of nature. Malone.
like an ill-roasted egg,] Of this jest I do not fully comprehend the meaning. Fohnson.
There is a proverb, that a fool is the best roaster of an egg, because he is always turning it. This will explain how an egg may be damn’d all on one side; but will not sufficiently show how Touchstone applies his simile with propriety; unless he means that he who has not been at court is but half educated. Steevens.
I believe there was nothing intended in the corresponding part of the simile, to answer to the words, “all on one side." Shakspeare's similes (as has been already observed) hardly ever run on four feet. Touchstone, I apprehend, only means to say, that Corin is completely damned; as irretrievably destroyed as an egg that is utterly spoiled in the roasting, by being done all on one side only. So, in a subsequent scene, “and both in a tune, like two gypsies on a horse.” Here the poet certainly meant that the speaker and his companion should sing in unison, and thus resemble each other as perfectly as two gypsies on a horse ; not two gypsies on a horse sing both in a tune. Malone.
is not the grease of a mutton as wholesome as the sweat of a man? Shallow, shallow: A better instance, I say; come.
Cor. Besides, our hands are hard.
Touch. Your lips will feel them the sooner. Shallow, again: A more sounder instance, come.
Cor. And they are often tarr'd over with the surgery of our sheep; And would you have us kiss tar? The courtier's hands are perfumed with civet.
Touch. Most shallow man! Thou worms-meat, in respect of a good piece of flesh: Indeed !--Learn of the wise, and perpend: Civet is of a baser birth than 'tar; the very uncleanly flux of a cat. Mend the instance, shepherd.
Cor. You have too courtly a wit for me; I 'll rest.
Touch. Wilt thou rest damn'd? God help thee, shallow man! God make incision in thee!5' thou art raw.6
make incision in thee! ] To make incision was a proverbial expression then in vogue for, to make to understand. So, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Humorous Lieutenant :
O excellent king,
Angel-ey'd king, vouchsafe at length thy favour;
“And so proceeds to incision” i. e. to make him understand what he would be at. Warburton.
Till I read Dr. Warburton's note, I thought the allusion had been to that common expression, of cutting such a one for the simples; and I must own, after consulting the passage in the Humorous Lieutenant, I have no reason to alter my supposition.The editors of Beaumont and Fletcher declare the phrase to be unintelligible in that, as well as in another play where it is introduced. I find the same expression in Monsieur Thomas :
“We'll bear the burthen: proceed to incision, fidler.” Again, (as I learn from a memorandum of my late friend, Dr. Farmer) in The Times W'histle, or a new Daunce of Seven Satires: MS. about the end of Qucen Eliz. by R.C. Gent. now at Canterbury: The Prologue ends
“ Be stout my heart, my hand be firm and steady;
“ Whilst with my pen I doe incision make.” Steevens. I believe that Steevens has e plained this passage justly, and am certain that Warburton has entirely mistaken the meaning of bat which he has quoted from The Humorous Lieutenant, which