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Par. I know not what the success will be, my lord; but the attempt I vow.

Ber. I know, thou art valiant; and, to the possibility of thy soldiership,8 will subscribe for thee. Farewel. Par. I love not many words.

[Exit. i Lord. No more than a fish loves water.'-Is not this a strange fellow, my lord, that so confidently seems to undertake this business, which he knows is not to be done; damns himself to do, and dares better be damned than to do 't?

2 Lord. You do not know him, my lord, as we do: certain it is, that he will steal himself into a man's favour, and, for a week, escape a great deal of discoveries; but when you find him out, you have him ever after.

Ber. Why, do you think, he will make no deed at all of this, that so seriously he does address himself unto?

1 Lord. None in the world; but return with an invention, and clap upon you two or three probable lies: but we have almost embossed him, you shall see his fall


possibility of thy soldiership,] I will subscribe (says Bertram) to the possibility of your soldiership. His doubts being now raised, he suppresses that he should not be so willing to vouch for its probability. Steevens.

I believe Bertram means no more than that he is confident Parolles will do all that soldiership can effect. He was not yet certain that he was “a hilding." Malone. 9 Par. I love not many words.

1 Lord. No more than a fish loves water.) Here we have the origin of this boaster's name; which, without doubt, (as Mr. Steevens has observed) ought, in strict propriety, to be written -Paroles. But our author certainly intended it otherwise, hav. ing made it a trisyllable.

“ Rust sword, cool blushes, and Parolles live." He probably did not know the true pronunciation. Malone.

we have almost embossed him,] To emboss a deer is to inclose him in a wood. Milton uses the same word:

“ Like that self-begotten bird
“ In the Arabian woods imbost,

“ Which no second knows or third.” Johnson. It is probable that Shakspeare was unacquainted with this word, in the sense which Milton affixes to it, viz. from emboscare, Ital. to enclose in a thicket.

When a deer is run hard, and foams at the mouth, in the language of the field, he is said to be embossed. Steevens.

to-night; for, indeed, he is not for your lordship's respect.

2 Lord. We'll make you some sport with the fox, ere we case him. He was first smoked by the old lord Lafeu: when his disguise and he is parted, tell me what a sprat you shall find him; which

shall see this

very night.

1 Lord. I must go look my twigs; he shall be caught, Ber. Your brother, he shall go along with me. 1 Lord. As 't please your lordship: I'll leave you.3

[Exit. Ber. Now will I lead you to the house, and show you The lass I spoke of. 2 Lord.

But, you say, she's honest. Ber. That's all the fault: I spoke with her but once, And found her wondrous cold; but I sent to her, By this same coxcomb that we have i’ the wind, Tokens and letters which she did re-send; And this is all I have done: She's a fair creature; Will you go see her? 2 Lord. With all my heart, my lord.

Florence. A Room in the Widow's House.

Enter HELENA and Widow.
Hel. If you misdoubt me that I am not she,
I know not how I shall assure you further,



“ To know when a stag is weary (as Markham's Country Contentments say) you shall see him imbost, that is, foaming and slavering about the mouth with a thick white froth,” &c. Tollet. - ere we case him.] That is, before we strip him naked.

Fohnson. I'll leave you.] This line is given in the old copy to the second lord, there called Captain G, who goes out; and the first lord, there called Captain E, remains with Bertram. The whole course of the dialogue shows this to have been a mistake. See p. 248. “i Lord. [i.e. Captain E.] I, with a troop of Florentines,” &c.

Malone. we have i' the wind,] To have one in the wind, is enumerated as a proverbial saying by Ray, p. 261. Reed.

But I shall lose the grounds I work upon.s .

Wid. Though my estate be fallen, I was well born,
Nothing acquainted with these businesses;
And would not put my reputation now
In any staining act.

Nor would I wish you.
First, give me trust, the count he is my husband;
And, what to your sworn counsel6 I have spoken,
Is so, from word to word; and then you cannot,
By the good aid that I of you shall borrow,
Err in bestowing it.

I should believe you;
For you have show'd me that, which well approves
You are great in fortune.

Take this purse of gold,
And let me buy your friendly help thus far,
Which I will over-pay, and pay again,
When I have found it. The count he wooes your

Lays down his wanton siege before her beauty,
Resolves to carry her; let her, in fine, consent,
As we 'll direct her how 'tis best to bear it.
Now his important blood will nought deny?
That she 'll demand: A ring the county wears,
That downward hath succeeded in his house,
From son to son, some four or five descents,
Since the first father wore it: this ring he holds
In most rich choice; yet, in his idle fire,
To buy his will, it would not seem too dear,
Howe'er repented after.

Now I see
The bottom of your purpose.


5 But I shall lose the grounds I work upon.] i.e. by discovering herself to the count. Warburton.

to your sworn counsel – ] To your private knowledge, after having required from you an oath of secrecy. Johnson.

? Now his important blood will nought deny - ] Important here, and elsewhere, is importunate. Johnson. So, Sperser, in The Fairy Queen, B. II, c. vi, st. 29:

“ And with important outrage him assailed.” Important, from the French Emportant. Tyrwhitt.

the county wears,] i.e. the count. So, in Romeo and Juliet, we have “the county Paris.Steevens.



Hel. You see it lawful then: It is no more,
But that your daughter, ere she seems as won,
Desires this ring; appoints him an encounter;.
In fine, delivers me to fill the time,
Herself most chastly absent: after this,
To marry her, I'll add three thousand crowns
To what past already.

I have yielded :
Instruct my daughter how she shall perséver,
That time and place, with this deceit so lawful,
May prove coherent. Every night he comes
With musick of all sorts, and songs compos’d
To her unworthiness: It nothing steads us,
To chide him from our eaves; for he persists,
As if his life lay on 't.

Why then, to-night
Let us assay our plot; which, if it speed,
Is wicked meaning in a lawful deed,
And lawful meaning in a lawful act;1
Where both not sin, and yet a sinful fact:
But let's about it.



after this,] The latter word was added to complete the metre, by the editor of the second folio. Malone. 1 Is wicked meaning in a lawful deed,

And lawful meaning in a lawful act;] To make this gingling riddle complete in all its parts, we should read the second line thus:

And lawful meaning in a wicked act; The sense of the two lines is this: It is a wicked meaning because the woman's intent is to deceive; but a lawful deed, because the man enjoys his own wife. Again, it is a lawful meaning because done by her to gain her husband's estrangéd affection, but it is a wicked act because he goes intentionally to commit adultery. The riddle concludes thus: Where both not sin, and yet a sinful fact, i.e. Where neither of them sin, and yet it is a sinful fact on both sides; which conclusion, we see, requires the emendation here made. Warburton. Sir Thomas Hanmer reads in the same sense:

Unlawful meaning in a lawful act. Johnson. Bertram's meaning is wicked in a lawful deed, and Helen's meaning is lawful in a lawful act; and neither of them sin: yet on his part it was a sinful act, for his meaning was to commit adultery, of which he was innocent, as the lady was his wife.



Without the Florentine Camp.

Enter first Lord, with five or six Soldiers in ambush.

I Lord. He can come no other way but by this hedge' corner: When you sally upon him, speak what terrible language you will; though you understand it not yourselves, no matter: for we must not seem to understand him; unless some one among us, whom we must produce for an interpreter.

I Sold. Good captain, let me be the interpreter. 1 Lord. Art not acquainted with him? Knows he not

thy voice?

1 Sold. No, sir, I warrant you.

1 Lord. But what linsy-woolsy hąst thou to speak to us again? 1 Sold. Even such as you speak to me.

1 Lord. He must think us some band of strangers i' the adversary's entertainment. Now he hath a smack of all neighbouring languages; therefore we must every one be a man of his own fancy, not to know what we speak one to another; so we seem to know, is to know straight our purpose:3 chough's language,* gabble

The first line relates to Bertram. The deed was lawful, as be. ing the duty of marriage, owed by the husband to the wife; but his meaning was wicked, because he intended to commit adultery. The second line relates to Helena; whose meaning was lawful, in as much as she intended to reclaim her husband, and demanded only the rights of a wife. The act or deed was lawful for the rea. son already given. The subsequent line relates to them both. The fact was sinful, as far as Bertram was concerned, because he intended to commit adultery; yet neither he nor Helena ac. tually sinned: not the wife, because both her intention and action were innocent; not the husband, because he did not accomplish his intention; he did not commit adultery.- This note is partly Mr. Heath's. Malone.

some band of strangers i' the adversary's entertainment.] That is, foreign troops in the enemy's pay. Johnson.

so we seem to know, is to know &c.] I think the meaning is,-Our seeming to know what we speak one to another, is to make him to know our purpose immediately; to discover our design to him. To know, in the last instance, signifies to make


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