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I rather would entreat thy company,
To this observation of Mr. Pope, which is very joft, Ms. Theobald has added, that this is one of Shakespeare's worst plays, and is less corrupted than any other. Mr. Upton peremptorily determines, that if any proof can be drawn from manner and file, this play must be sent packing, and seek for its parent elsewhere. How otherwise, says he, do painters diftinguis copies from originals, and have not authors their peculiar ftile and manner from which a true critic can form as unerring judgment as a painter? I am afraid this illuftration of a critic's science will not prove what is desired. A painter knows a copy from an original by rules somewhat resembling these by which critics know a translation, which if it be literal, and literal it muft be to resemble the copy of a picture, will be easily distinguifhed. Copies are known from originals, even when the painter copies his own picture ; so if an author should literally translate his work, he would lose the manner of an original.
Mr. Upton confounds the copy of a picture with the imi. tation of a painter's manner. Copies are easily known, but good imitations are not detected with equal certainty, and are, by the best judges, often mistaken. Nor is it true that the writer has always peculiarities equally diftinguishable with those of the painter. The peculiar manner of each arises from the desire, natural to every performer, of facilitating his subsequent works by recurrence to his former ideas; this recurrence produces that repetition which is called habit. The painter, whose work is partly intellectual and partly manual, has habits of the mind, the eye and the hand, the writer has only habits of the mind. Yet, some painters have differed as much from themselves as from any other; and I have been told, that there is little resemblance between the first works of Raphael and the last. The same variation may be expected in writers; and if it be true, as it seems, that they are less subject to habit, the difference between their works may be yet greater.
But by the internal marks of a composition we may discover the author with probability, though" feldom with certainty. When I read this play, I cannot but think that I find, both in the serious and ludicrous scenes, the language and fentiments of Shakespeare. It is not indeed one of his moft powerful effufions, it has nei her many diverfries of character, nor ftriking delineations of life, but it abounds in yuwild beyond most of his plays, and few have more lines or passages, which, fingly confidered, are eminently beautiful. I am yet inclined to believe that it was not very fuccefsful, and suspect that it
Than (living dully suggardiz'd at home)
Pro. Wilt thou be gone? Sweet Valentine, adieu !
Pro. Upon some book I love, I'll pray for thee.
Val. That's on some shallow story of deep love, How young Leander cross'd the Hellefpont.
Pro. That's a deep story of a deeper loye; . For he was more than over shoes in love.
Val. 'Tis true; for you are over boots in love, And yet you never swom the Hellespont. Pro. Over the boots ? 3 nay, give me not the boots,
Val. has escaped corruption, only because being feldom played, it was less expofed to the hazards of transcription. Johnson.
3 Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits :) Milton has the same play on words:
" It is for homely features to keep home,
“ They had their name thence." Steevens. 4 poapelers idleness.] The expression is fine, as implying that idleness prevents the giving any form or character to the manners. WARBURTON. s
n ay, give me not the boots.] A proverbial expression, though now disused, signifying, don't make a laughing stock of me ; don't play upon me. The French have a phrase, Bailler foin en corne ; which Cotgrave thus interprets, To give one the boots; to sell him a bargain. THEOBALD.
Do you know this? Why' boots at barveft ?] Perhaps this expreffion took its origin from a fport the country people in Warwickshire use at their harvest home, where one fits as judge to try misdemeanors committed in harvest, and the punishment for the men is to be laid on a bench, and Napped on the breech with a pair of boots, This they call giving them the boots. I
Val. No, I will not ; for it boots thee not.
groans; Coy looks, with heart-fore sighs; one fading mo
ment's mirth, With twenty watchful, weary, tedious nights. If haply won, perhaps, a hapless gain : If lost, why then a grievous labour won; 6 However, but a folly bought with wit; Or else a wit by folly vanquished.
Pro. So, by your circumstance, you call me fool.
Val. Love is your master; for he masters you:
Pro. Yet writers say, as in the sweetest bud
Val. And writers say, as the most forward bud
Pro. And thither will I bring thee, Valentine.
meet with the same expression in the old comedy called Mother Bombie :
" What do you give me the boots ?” STEEVENS. O However, but a folly- ] This love will end in a feelif action, to produce which you are long to spend your wil, or it will end in the loss of your wit, which will be overpowered by the folly of love. Johnson.
. . . . At
At Milan, let me hear from thee by letters
Pro. All happiness bechance to thee in Milan!
[Exit. Pro. He after honour hunts, I after love: He leaves his friends to dignify them more ; I leave myself, my friends, and all for love. Thou, Julia, thou hast metamorphos'd me; Made me neglect my studies, lose my time, War with good counsel, set the world at nought; 7 Made wit with musing weak, heart sick with thought.
8.Enter Speed. Speed. Sir Protheus, save you : saw you my master? Pro. But now he parted hence to imbark for Milan.
Speed. Twenty to one then he is shipp'd already, And I have play'd the sheep in losing him.
Pro. Indeed, a sheep doth very often stray, i An if the shepherd be awhile away.
Speed. You conclude that my master is a shepherd then, and I a sheep ?
Pro. I do. ; Made wit with mufing weak,-) For made read make. Thou, Julia, bast made me war with good counsel, and make wit weak with musing. JOHNSON.
8 This whole scene, like many others in these plays (some of which I believe were written by Shakespeare, and others interpolated by the players) is composed of the lowest and most trifling conceits, to be accounted for only from the gross taste of the age he lived in; Populo ut placerent. I wish I had authority to leave them out; but I have done all I could, set a mark of reprobation upon them throughout this edition.
Pope. That this, like many other scenes, is mean and vulgar, will be universally allowed; but that it was interpolated by the players seems advanced without any proof, only to give a greater licence to criticism. JOHNSON.
Speed. Speed. Why then my horns are his horns, whether I wake or Neep.
Pro. A lilly answer, and fitting well a sheep
Speed. The shepherd seeks the sheep, and not the sheep the shepherd; but I seek my master, and my mafter seeks not me: therefore I am no sheep.
Pro. The sheep for fodder follows the shepherd, the shepherd for the food follows not the sheep; thou for wages followest thy master, thy master for wages follows not thee: therefore thou art a sheep.
Speed. Such another proof will make me cry Baâ. Pro. But dost thou hear? gav'lt thou my letter to
Julia ? Speed. Ay, Sir :91, a loft mutton, gave your letter to her, a lac'd mutton ; and she, a lac'd mutton, gave me, a lost mutton, nothing for my labour.
, 1, a loft mutton, gove your letter to her, a lac'd mutton ;-) Speed calls himself a loft mutton, because he had lost his mafter, and becausc Protheus had been proving him a sheep. But why does he call the lady a lac'd mutton ? Wenchers are to this day called multon-mongers; and consequently the obje&t of their passion must, by the metaphor, be the mutton. And Cotgrave, in his English-French Dictionary, explains lac'd mutton, Ure garfe, putain, fille de joge. And Mr. Motteux has rendered this passage of Rabelais, in the prologue of his fourth book, Cailles coiphees mignonnement chantans, in this imanner ; Coated quails and lac'd mutton waggishly singing. So that lac'd mution has been a sort of ftandard phrase for girls of pleasure. THEOBALD.
Nath, in his Have with you 10 Saffron Walden, 1595, speaking of Gabriel Harvey's incontinence, says, he would not fick 10 extoll rotten lac'd mutton. So in the comedy of The Sboemaker's Holiday, or the Gentle Craft, 1610.
" Why here's good lac'd muiton, as I promis'd you." Again, in Blurt Mafler Constable, 1602.
Cupid hath got me a ftomach, and I long for lac'd mutton." So in Whetstone's Promos and Cassandra, 1578.
“ And I smelt he lov'd lac'd mutton well."