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Oh, train me not, sweet Mermaid, with thy note,
To drown me in thy Gister's flood of tears; Sing, Siren, for thy self, and I will dote ;
Spread o'er the silver waves thy golden hairs,
And in that glorious supposition think,
Let love, being light, be drowned if she sink.
fight. S. Ant. As good to wink, sweet love, as look on
S. Ant. No;
Luc. All this my sister is, or else should be.
S. Ant. Call thy self Gifter, Sweet; for I mean thee : Thee will I love, and with thee lead my life; Thou haft no husband yet, nor I no wife. Give me thy hand.
Luc. Oh, soft, Sir, hold you still; I'll fetch my sister, to get her good will. [Exit Luc.
Enter Dromio of Syracuse.
S. Ant. Why, how now, Dromio, where run'st thou so fast?
S. Dro. Do you know me, Sir? am I Dremio ? am I your man? am I my self?
S. Ant. Thou art Dromio, thou art my man, thou art thy self.
S. Dro. I am an ass, I am a woman's man and besides
S. Ant. What woman's man? and how besides thy self?
S. Dro. Marry, Sir, besides my self, I am due to a woman; one that claims me, one that haunts me, one that will have me.
S. Ant. What claim lays she to thee?
S. Dro. Marry, Sir, such claim as you would lay to your horse; and the would have me as a beaft: not chat, Í being a beaft, she would have me; but that the, being a very beastly creature, lays claim to me.
S. Ant. What is she?
S. Dro. A very reverent body; ay, such a one as a man may not speak of, without he say, Sir reverence: I have but lean luck in the match; and yet is the a wond'rous fat marriage.
S. Ant. How dost thou mean, a fat marriage?
S. Dro. Marry, Sir, The's the kitchen-wench, and all grease; and I know not what use to put her to, but to make a lamp of her, and run from her by her own light. I warrant, her rags, and the tallow in them, will burn a Poland winter: if she lives 'till doomsday, she'll burn a week longer than the whole world.
S. Ant. What complexion is the of?
S. Dro. Swart, like my shoe, but her face nothing like so clean kept; for why? she sweats, a man may go over-shoes in the grime of it.
S. Ant. That's a fault, that water will mend.
S. Dro. No, Sir, 'tis in grain; Noah's flood could not do it.
S. Ant. (14) What's her name? (14) What's her Name?
S. Dro. Nell; Sir; but her name is three quarters; that is, an Ell and three Quarters, &c.] This Passage has hitherto lain as perplext and unintelligible, as it is now easy, and truly humourous. If a Conundrum be restor’d, in setting it right, who can help it? There are enough befides in our Author, and Ben Jonson, to countenance that current Vice of the Times when this Play appear’d. Nor is Mr. Pope, in the Chafility of his. Taste, to bristle up at me for the Revival of this Wiiticism, fince I owe the Correction to the Sagacity of the ingenious Dr. Thirlby.
S. Dro. Nell, Sir ;- but her name and three quarters (that is, an ell and three quarters) will not measure her from hip to hip.
S. Ant. Then she bears some breadth?
S. Dro. No longer from head to foot, than from hip to hip; she is spherical, like a globe: I could find out countries in her.
S. Ant. In what part of her body stands Ireland ?
S. Dro. Marry, Sir, in her buttocks; I found it out by the bogs.
S. Ant. Where Scotland ?
S. Dro. I found it out by the barrenness, hard in the palm of her hand.
(15) S. Ant. Where France ?
S. Dro. In her forehead; arm'd and reverted, making war against her Heir
S. Ant. Where England ? S. Dro. I look'd for the chalky cliffs, but I could (15) S. Ant. Where France?
S. Dro. In her Forehead; arm'd and reverted, making War against ber hair.] All the other Countries, mention'd in this Description, are in Dromio's Replies satirically characteriz’d: but here, as the Editors have order'd it, no Remark is made upon France ; nor any Reason given, why it should be in her Forehead: but only the Kitchen-wench's high Forehead is rallied, as pushing back her hair. Thus all the modern Editions ; but the first Folio reads making War against ber heir.-And I am very apt to think, this Laft is the true Reading; and that an Equivoque, as the French call it, a double Meaning is design'd in the Poet's Allusion: and therefore I have replaced it in the Text. If my Conjecture be of any Weight, we may be able from it pretty precisely to fix the Date of this Play's Appearance. I am not alham'd to trust it to Judgment, & valeat quantum valere poteft. In 1589, Henry IIId of France being stab’d and dying of his Wound, was succeeded by Henry IVth of Navarre, whom he appointed his Successor; but whose Claim the States of France resisted, on account of his being a Protestant. This, I take it, is what he means, by France making War against her beir. Now as, in 1591, Queen Elizabeth sent over 4000 Men, under the Conduct of the Earl of Essex, to the Assistance of this Henry of Navarre; it seems to me very probable, that during this Expedition being on foot, this Comedy made its Appearance. And it was the finest Address imaginable in the Poet, to throw such an oblique Sneer at France, for opposing the Succession of that Heir, whose Claim his Royal Mistress, the Queen, had fent over a Force to establish, and oblige them to acknowledge.
find no whiteness in them; but I guess, it stood in her chin, by the salt rheum that ran between France and it.
S. Ant. Where Spain?
S. Dro. Oh, Sir, upon her nose, all o'er embellish'd with rubies, carbuncles, saphires; declining their rich aspect to the hot breath of Spain, who sent whole Armadoes of carracts to be ballast at her nose.
S. Ant. Where stood Belgia, the Netherlands?
S. Dro. Oh, Sir, I did not look so low. To conclude, this drudge, or diviner, laid Claim to me, callid me Dromio, swore I was assur'd to her, told me what privy marks I had about me, as the marks of my shoulder, the mole in my neck, the great wart on my left arm, that I, amaz'd, ran from her as a witch. And, I think, if my breast had not been made of faith, and my heart of steel, she had transform'd me to a curtal-dog, and made me turn i'th' wheel.
S. Ant. Go, hie thee presently; post to the road; And if the wind blow any way from shore, I will not harbour in this town to night. If any bark put forth, come to the mart; Where I will walk, 'till thou return to me: If every one knows us, and we know none; 'Tis time, I think, to trudge, pack and be gone.
S. Dro. As from a bear a man would run for life, So fly I from her that would be my wife. [Exit.
s. Ant. There's None but Witches do inhabit here; And therefore 'tis high time that I were hence: She, that doth call me husband, even my soul Doth for a wife abhor. But her fair filter, Pofleft with such a gentle sovereign grace, Of such inchanting presence and discourse, Hath almost made me traitor to my self: But left my self be guilty of self-wrong, I'll stop mine cars against the Mermaid's song.
Enter Angelo, with a Chain.
Ang. I know it well, Sir; lo, here is the Chain;
S. Ant. What is your will, that I shall do with this?
SCENE, the Street.
M É R.CH A N T.
Nor now I had not, but that I am bound