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(For that is her demand) and know her business?
That done, laugh well at me.

Now, good Lafeu,
Bring in the admiration; that we with thee
May spend our wonder too, or take off thine,
By wond'ring how thou took'st it.

Nay, I'll fit you,
And not be all day neither.

[Exit LAF. King. Thus he his special nothing ever prologues. 8

Re-enter LAFEU, with HELENA.
Laf. Nay, come your ways.

This haste hath wings indeed.
Laf. Nay, come your ways;8
This is his majesty, say your mind to him:
A traitor you do look like; but such traitors
His majesty seldom fears: I am Cressid's uncle,
That dare leave two together; fare you well. [Exit.

King. Now, fair one, does your business follow us?
Hel. Ay, my good lord. Gerard de Narbon was
My father; in what he did profess, well found.2

King. I knew. him.

Hel. The rather will I spare my praises towards him;
Knowing him, is enough. On his bed of death
Many receipts he gave me; chiefly one,
Which, as the dearest issue of his practice,
And of his old experience the only darling,
He bad me store up, as a triple eye, 3
Safer than mine own two, more dear; I have so:
And, hearing your high majesty is touch'd


8 Thus he his special nothing ever prologues.] So, in Othello:

“'Tis evermore the prologue to his sleep.” Steevens. 9 - come your ways;] This vulgarism is also put into the mouth of Polonius. See Hamlet, Act I, sc. iii. Steevens.

Cressid's uncle,] I am like Pandarus. See Troilus and Cressida. Fohnson. well found.] i. e. of known acknowledged excellence.

Steevens. 3-a triple eye,] i. e. a third eye. So, in Antony and Cleopatra :

“The triple pillar of the world, transformid
“ Into a strumpet's fool.Steevens.



With that malignant cause wherein the honour
Of my dear father's gift stands chief in power, *
I come to tender it, and my appliance,
With all bound humbleness.

We thank you, maiden;
But may not be so credulous of cure,—
When our most learned doctors leave us; and
The congregated college have concluded
That labouring art can never ransome nature
From her inaidable estate,~I say we must not
So stain our judgment, or corrupt our hope,
To prostitute our past-cure malady
To empiricks; or to dissever so
Our great self and our credit, to esteem
A senseless help, when help past sense we deem.

Hel. My duty then shall pay me for my pains:
I will no more enforce mine office on you;
Humbly entreating from your royal thoughts
A modest one, to bear me back again.

King. I cannot give thee less, to be call'd grateful:
Thou thought'st to help me; and such thanks I give,
As one near death to those that wish him live:
But, what at full I know, thou know'st no part;
I knowing all my peril, thou no art.

Hel. What I can do, can do no hurt to try, Since you set up your rest 'gainst remedy: He that of greatest works is finisher, Oft does them by the weakest minister: So holy writ in babes hath judgment shown, When judges have been babes.5 Great foods have flown


wherein the honour of my dear father's gift stands chief in power,] Perhaps we may better read?

wherein the power Of my dear father's gift stands chief in honour. Johnson. 5 So holy writ in babes hath judgment shown,

IV hen judges have been babes.] The allusion is to St. Matthew's Gospel, si, 25: O father, lord of heaven and earth. I thank thee, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and revealed thein unto babes." See also 1 Cor. i, 27: “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise ; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world, to confound the things which are mighty." Malone,

From simple sources; and great seas have dried,
When miracles have by the greatest been denied.
Oft expectation fails, and most oft there
Where most it promises; and oft it hits,
Where hope is coldest, and despair most“sits.?" fits". ms.

King. I must not hear thee; fare thee well, kind maid;
Thy pains, not us'd, must by thyself be paid:
Proffers, not took, reap thanks for their reward.

Hel. Inspired merit so by breath is barr’d:
It is not so with him that all things knows,
As 'tis with us that square our guess by shows:
But most it is presumption in us, when
The help of heaven we count the act of men.
Dear sir, to my endeavours give consent;
Of heaven, not me, make an experiment.
I am not an impostor, that proclaim
Myself against the level of mine aim ;8

6 When miracles have by the greatest been denied.) I do not see the import or connexion of this line. As the next line stands with. out a correspondent rhyme, I suspect that something has been lost. Johnson.

I point the passage thus; and then I see no reason to complain of want of connexion :

When judges have been babes. Great floods, &c.

When miracles have by the greatest been denied. Shakspeare after alluding to the production of water from a rock, and the drying up of the Red Sea, says, that miracles had been de nied by the GREATEST; or, in other words, that the ELDERS of ISRAEL (who just before, in reference to another text, were styled judges) had, notwithstanding these miracles, wrought for their own preservation, refused that compliance they ought to have yielded. See the Book of Exodus, particularly ch. xvii, 5, 6, &c. Henley.

So holy writ, &c. alludes to Daniel's judging, when, “a young youth,” the two Elders in the story of Susannah.

Great floois, i. e. when Moses smote the rock in Horeb, Exod. xvii.

great seas have driet

When miracles have by the greatest been denied. Dr. Johnson did not see the import or connexion of this line. It certainly refers to the children of Israel passing the Red Sea, when miracles had been denied, or not hearkened to, by Pharaoh.

H White. - and despair most sits.) The old copy reads--shifts. The correction was made by Mr. Pope. Malone.

8 Myself against the level of mine aim ;] i. e. pretend to greater things than befits the mediocrity of my condition. Warburton.


But know I think, and think I know most sure,
My art is not past power, nor you past cure.

King. Art thou so confident? Within what space
Hop'st thou my cure?

The greatest grace lending grace,
Ere twice the horses of the sun shall bring
Their fiery torcher his diurnal ring;
Ere twice in nurk and occidental damp
Moist Hesperus hath quench'd his sleepy lamp;'
Or four and twenty times the pilot's glass
Hath told the thievish minutes how they pass;
What is infirm from your sound parts shall fly,
Health shall live free, and sickness freely die.

King. Upon thy certainty and confidence,
What dar'st thou venture?

Tax of impudence,
A strumpet's boldness, a divulged shame,
Traduc'd by odious ballads; my maiden's name
Sear'd otherwise; no worse of worst extended,
With vilest torture let my life be ended.2


I rather think that she means to say,-1 am not an impostor that proclaim one thing and design another, that proclaim a cure and aim at a fraud; I think what I speak. Johnson. 9 The

greatest grace lending grace,] I should have thought the repetition of grace to have been superfluous, if the grace of grace had not occurred in the speech with which the tragedy of Macbeth concludes. Steevens.

The former grace in this passage, and the latter in Macbeth, evidently signify divine grace. Henley.

- his sleepy lamp;] Old copy-her sleepy lamp. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. Malone.

a divulged shame,-
Traduc'd by odious ballads, my maiden's name
Seard otherwise ; no worse of worst extended,

With vilest torture let my life be ended ] I would bear (says she) the tax of impudence, which is the denotement of a strumpet ; would endure a shame resulting from my failure in what I have undertaken, and thence become the subject of odious ballads; let my mai len reputation be otherwise braniled; and, no worse of worst extended, i.e. provided nothing worse is offered to me, (meaning violation) let my life be ended with the worst of tortures. The poet, for the sake of rhyme, has obscured the sense of the passage. The worst that can befal a woman, being extended to me, seems to be the meaning of the last line. Steevens.


King. Methinks, in thee some blessed spirit doth speak; His powerful sound, within an organ weak:3 And what impossibility would slay In common sense, sense saves another way.* Thy life is dear; for all, that life can rate Worth name of life, in thee hath estimate ;5

Tax of impudence, that is, to be charged with having the bold. ness of a strumpet:-a divulged shame ; i. e. to be traduced by odious ballads: my maiden's name seared otherwise ; i. e. to be stigmatized as a prostitute:—No worse of worst extended; i. e. to be so defamed that nothing severer can be said against those who are most publickly reported to be infamous. Shakspeare has used the word sear and extended in The Winter's Tale, both in the same sense as above:

for calumny will sear 6 Virtue itself!" And “ The report of her is extended more than can be thought."

Henley. The old copy reads, not no, but ne, probably an error for nay, or the. I would wish to read and point the latter part of the pas

sage thus:

my maiden's name
Sear'd otherwise; nav, worst of worst, extended

With wilest torture, let my life be ended. i.e. Let me be otherwise branded; -and (what is the worst of worst the consummation of misery) my body being extended on the rack by the most cruel torture, let my life pay the forfeit of my pre. sumption. So, in Daniel's Cleopatra, 1594:

the worst of worst of ills.”
No was introduced by the editor of the second folio.
Again, in The Remedie of Love, 4to. 1600:

“ If she be fat, then she is swollen, say,
“ If brow ne, then tawny as the Africk Moore;

“ If slender, Icane, meagre and worne away,

“If courtly, wanton, worst of worst before.” Malone. 3 Methinks, in thee some blessed spirit doth speak;

His powerful sound, within an organ we sk:] The verb, doth speak, in the first line, should be understood to be repeated in the construction of the second, thus:

His powerful sound speaks within a weak organ. Heath. This, in my opinion, is a very just and happy explanation.

Steevens. 4 And what impossibility would slay

In common sense, sense saves another way.] i.e. and that which, if I trusted to my reason, I should think impossible, I yet, perceiving thee to be actuated by some blessed spirit, think thee capable of effecting. Malone.

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