« PreviousContinue »
SCENE I. Paris. A Room in the King's Palace.
Flourish. Enter King, with young Lords, taking
leave for the Florentine war; BERTRAM, Pa. ROLLES, and Attendants. King. Farewell, young lord, these warlike prin
ciples Do not throw from you :-and you, my lord, fare
It is our hope, sir,
King. No, no, it cannot be ; and yet my heart Will not confess he owes the malady
That doth my life besiege.? Farewell, young lords;
7- and yet my heart, &c.] i. e. in the common phrase, I am still heart-whole ; my spirits, by not sinking under my dis. temper, do not acknowledge its influence.
- let higher Italy
Of the last monarchy,) see, &c.] The ancient geographers have divided Italy into the higher and the lower, the Apennine hills being a kind of natural line of partition ; the side next the Adriatic was denominated the higher Italy, and the other side the lower ; and the two seas followed the same terms of distinction, the Adriatic being called the upper Sea, and the Tyrrhene, or Tuscan, the lower. Now the Sennones, or Senois, with whom
Not to woo honour, but to wed it; when
majesty! King. Those girls of Italy, take heed of them
; They say, our French lack language to deny, If they demand; beware of being captives, Before you serve. Both.
Our hearts receive your warnings. King, Farewell.-Come hither to me.
[The King retires to a couch. i Lord. O my sweet lord, that you
behind us ! Par. "Tis not his fault; the spark2 Lord.
0, 'tis brave wars! Par. Most admirable: I have seen those wars. Ber. I am commanded here, and kept a coil
with; Too young, and the next year, and 'tis too early. Par. And thy mind stand to it, boy, steal away
bravely. Ber. I shall stand here the forehorse to a
smock, Creaking my shoes on the plain masonry, Till honour be bought up, and no sword worn,
the Florentines are here supposed to be at war, inhabited the higher Italy, their chief town being Arminium, now called Rimini, upon the Adriatic. HANMER.
Dr. Johnson says, that the sense may be this: Let upper Italy, where you are to exercise your valour, see that you come to gain honour, to the abatement that is, to the disgrace and depression of those that have now lost their ancient military fame, and inherit but the fall of the last monarchy. To abate is used by Shakspeare in the original sense of abatre, to depress, to sink, to deject, to subdur. 9-beware of being captives, Before you serve.] The word serve is equivocal; the sense Be not captives before you serve in the war.
But one to dance with!' By heaven, I'll steal
away. 1 Lord. There's honour in the theft. Par.
Commit it, Count. 2 Lord. I am your accessary; and so farewell.
Ber. I grow to you, and our parting is a tortured body.
i Lord. Farewell, captain.
Par. Noble heroes, my sword and yours are kin. Good sparks and lustrous, a word, good metals :You shall find in the regiment of the Spinii, one captain Spurio, with his cicatrice, an emblem of war, here on his sinister cheek ;
cheek ; it was this very sword entrenched it: say to him, I live; and observe his reports for me.
2 Lord. We shall, noble captain.
Par. Mars dote on you for his novices ! [Exeunt Lords.] What will you do?
Ber. Stay ; the king [Seeing him rise.
Par. Use a more spacious ceremony to the noble lords; you have restrained yourself within the list of too cold an adieu : be more expressive to them ; for they wear themselves in the cap of the time, there, do muster true gait, eat, speak, and move under
and no sword worn, But one to dance with!] It should be remembered that, in Shakspeare's time, it was usual for gentlemen to dance with swords on. Our author gave to all countries the manners of his own.
they wear themselves in the cap of the time, there, do muster true gait, &c.] The obscurity of the passage arises from the fantastical language of a character like Parolles, whose affectation of wit urges his imagination from one allusion to another, without allowing time for his judgment to determine their congruity. The cap of time being the first image that occurs, true gait, manner of eating, speaking, &c. are the several ornaments which they muster, place, or arrange in time's cap. This is done under the influence of the most received star ; that is, the person in the highest repute for setting the fashions:--and though the devil were
the influence of the most received star ; and though the devil lead the measure, such are to be followed : after them, and take a more dilated farewell.
Ber. And I will do so.
Par. Worthy fellows; and like to prove most sinewy sword-men.
[Ereunt BERTRAM and PAROLLES.
Laf. Pardon, my lord, (Kneeling.] for me and
my tidings. King. I'll fee thee to stand
Then here's a man Stands, that has brought his pardon. I would, you Had kneeld, my lord, to ask me mercy ; and That at my bidding, you could so stand up.
King. I would I had; so I had broke thy pate,
Goodfaith, across :*
to lead the measure or dance of fashion, such is their implicit sub-
across :) This word is used when any pass of wit miscarries. While chivalry was in vogue, breaking spears against a quintain was a favourite exercise. He who shivered the greatest number was esteemed the most adroit; but then it was to be performed exactly with the point, for if achieved by a sidestroke, or across, it showed unskilfulness, and disgraced the practiser.
$ medicine,) is here put for a she-physician.
Quicken a rock, and make you dance canary,
What her is this?
Now, good Lafeu,
Nay, I'll fit you,
Exit LAFEU. King. Thus he his special nothing ever prologues,
Re-enter LAFEU, with HÆLENA.
This haste hath wings indeed.
6 dance canary,] a kind of dance.
i her years, profession,] By profession is meant her declaration of the end and purpose of her coming.
8 Than I dare blame my weakness :) Lafeu's meaning appears to me to be this :-“ That the amazement she excited in him was so great, that he could not impute it merely to his own weakness, but to the wonderful qualities of the object that occasioned it.”