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PRO. The best way is to slander Valentine With falshood, cowardice, and poor descent; Three things that women highly hold in hate. DUKE. Ay, but she'll think, that it is spoke in hate.

PRO. Ay, if his enemy deliver it: Therefore it must, with circumstance, be spoken By one, whom she esteemeth as his friend.

DUKE. Then you must undertake to slander him. PRO, And that, my lord, I shall be loth to do: 'Tis an ill office for a gentleman; Especially, against his very friend.*

DUKE. Where your good word cannot advantage him,

Your slander never can endamage him;
Therefore the office is indifferent,
Being entreated to it by your friend.

PRO. You have prevail'd, my lord: if I can do it, By aught that I can speak in his dispraise, She shall not long continue love to him. But say, this weed her love from Valentine, It follows not that she will love sir Thurio.

THU. Therefore, as you unwind her love3 from him,

with circumstance,] With the addition of such incidental particulars as may induce belief. JOHNSON.

his very friend.] Very is immediate. So, in Macbeth: "And the very ports they blow." STEEVENS.

—as you unwind her love-] As you wind off her love from him, make me the bottom on which you wind it. The housewife's term for a ball of thread wound upon a central body, is a bottom of thread. JOHNSON.

So, in Grange's Garden, 1557: "in answer to a letter written unto him by a Curtyzan;"

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Lest it should ravel, and be good to none,
You must provide to bottom it on me:
Which must be done, by praising me as much
you in worth dispraise sir Valentine.

DUKE. And, Proteus, we dare trust you in this kind;


Because we know, on Valentine's report,
You are already love's firm votary,
And cannot soon revolt and change your mind.
Upon this warrant shall you have access,
Where you with Silvia may confer at large;
For she is lumpish, heavy, melancholy,
And, for your friend's sake, will be glad of you;
Where you may temper her, by your persuasion,
To hate young Valentine, and love
my friend.

PRO. As much as I can do, I will effect:-
But you, sir Thurio, are not sharp enough;
You must lay lime, to tangle her desires,
By wailful sonnets, whose composed rhymes
Should be full fraught with serviceable vows.

DUKE. Ay,much the force of heaven-bred poesy.

PRO. Say, that upon the altar of her beauty You sacrifice your tears, your sighs, your heart: Write till your ink be dry; and with your tears

"A bottome for your silke it seems


My letters are become,

"Which oft with winding off and on

"Are wasted whole and some." STEEVENS.

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you may temper her,] Mould her, like wax, to whatever shape you please. So, in King Henry IV. P. II: "I have him already tempering between my finger and my thumb; and shortly will I seal with him." MALONE.


lime,] That is, birdlime. JOHNSON.


Ay, much the force of heaven-bred poesy.] The old copy reads:

Ay, much is, &c. RITSON.

I 24

Moist it again; and frame some feeling line,
That may discover such integrity:"-
For Orpheus' lute was strung with poets' sinews;'
Whose golden touch could soften steel and stones,
Make tigers tame, and huge leviathans
Forsake unsounded deeps to dance on sands.
After your dire lamenting elegies,

Visit by night your lady's chamber-window,
With some sweet concert:2 to their instruments

such integrity:] Such integrity may mean such ardour and sincerity as would be manifested by practising the directions given in the four preceding lines. STEEVENS.

I suspect that a line following this has been lost; the import of which perhaps was

"As her obdurate heart may penetrate." MALone.

For Orpheus' lute was strung with poets' sinews;] This shews Shakspeare's knowledge of antiquity. He here assigns Orpheus his true character of legislator. For under that of a poet only, or lover, the quality given to his lute is unintelligible. But, considered as a lawgiver, the thought is noble, and the imagery exquisitely beautiful. For by his luté, is to be understood his system of laws; and by the poet's sinews, the power of numbers, which Orpheus actually employed in those laws to make them received by a fierce and barbarous people.


Proteus is describing to Thurio the powers of poetry; and gives no quality to the lute of Orpheus, but those usually and vulgarly ascribed to it. It would be strange indeed if, in order to prevail upon the ignorant and stupid Thurio to write a sonnet to his mistress, he should enlarge upon the legislative powers of Orpheus, which were nothing to the purpose. Warburton's observations frequently tend to prove Shakspeare more profound and learned than the occasion required, and to make the Poet of Nature the most unnatural that ever wrote. M. MASON.

-with some sweet concert:] The old copy has consort, which I once thought might have meant in our author's time a band or company of musicians. So, in Romeo and Juliet: "Tyb. Mercutio, thou consort'st with Romeo.

"Mer. Consort! what, dost thou make us minstrels?" The subsequent words, " To their instruments-," seem to

Tune a deploring dump ;3 the night's dead silence

favour this interpretation; but other instances, that I have since met with, in books of our author's age, have convinced me that consort was only the old spelling of concert, and I have accordingly printed the latter word in the text. The epithet sweet annexed to it, seems better adapted to the musick itself than to the band. Consort, when accented on the first syllable, (as here) had, I believe, the former meaning; when on the second, it signified a company. So, in the next scene:

"What say'st thou? Wilt thou be of our consórt?"

MALONE. 3 Tune a deploring dump:] A dump was the ancient term for a mournful elegy.


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Will well become such sweet complaining grievance. This, or else nothing, will inherit her.

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For this curiosity the reader is indebted to STAFFORD SMITH, Esq. of his Majesty's Chapel Royal. STEEVENS.

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"And never after to inherit it."

This sense of the word was not wholly disused in the time of

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