Графични страници
PDF файл

Laun. That makes amends for her sour breath.
Speed. Item, She doth talk in her sleep.

Laun. It's no matter for that, so she sleep not in her talk.

Speed. Item, She is slow in words.

Laun. O villain! that set this down among her vices ! To be slow in words is a woman's only virtue: I pray thee, out with 't; and place it for her chief virtue.

Speed. Item, She is proud.

Laun. Out with that too; it was Eve's legacy, and cannot be ta'en from her.

Speed. Item, She hath no teeth.
Laun. I care not for that neither, because I love crusts.
Speed. Item, She is curst.
Laun. Well; the best is, she hath no teeth to bite.
Speed. Item, She will often praise her liquor.?

Laun. If her liquor be good, she shall : if she will not, I will; for good things should be praised.

Speed. Item, She is too liberal.3

Laun. Of her tongue she cannot; for that's writ down she is slow of: of her purse she shall not; for that I 'll keep shut: now, of another thing she may; and that I cannot help. Well, proceed.

Speed. Item, She hath more hair than wit; and more faults than hairs, and more wealth than faults.

Laun. Stop there; I'll have her: she was mine, and not mine, twice or thrice in that last article. Rehearse that once more.



So, in Measure for Measure : “ Their saucy sweetness that do coin heaven's image,” &c.

Steedene. - praise her liquor.] That is, shew how well she likes it, by drinking often. Johnson.

She is too liberal.] Liberal, is licentious and gross in language. So, in Othello: “Is he not a prophane and very liberal counsellor?" Johnson. Again, in The Fair Maid of Bristow, 1605, bl. 1:

“ But Vallenger, most like a liberal villain,

“ Did give her scandalous ignoble terms." Mr. Malone adds another instance from Woman's a Weathercock, by N. Field, 1612:

“ Next that the fame
“ Of your neglect, and liberal talking tongue,
“ Which breeds my honour an eternal wrong.Steevens.

Speed. Item, She hath more hair than wit,4—

Laun. More hair than wit—it may be; I 'll prove it: The cover of the salt hides the salt, and therefore it is more than the salt: the hair that covers the wit, is more than the wit; for the greater hides the less. What's next?

Speed. And more faults than hairs,
Laun. That's monstrous: 0 that that were out!
Speed. —And more wealth than faulis.

Laun. Why, that word makes the faults gracious:5 Well, I 'll have her: And if it be a match, as nothing is impossible,

Speed. What then?

Laun. Why, then I will tell thee,—that thy master stays for thee at the north gate.

Speed. For me?

Laun. For thee? ay; who art thou? he hath staid for a better man than thee.

Speed. And must I go to him?

Laun. Thou must run to him; for thou hast staid so long, that going will scarce serve the turn.



She hath more hair than wit,] An old English proverb. See Ray's collection:

“ Bush natural, more hair than wit.Again, in Decker's Satiromastix:

Hair! 'tis the basest stubble; in scorn of it

“ This proverb sprung,-He has more hair than wit.Again, in Rhodon and Iris, 1631 :

“ Now is the old proverb really perform’d;
More hair than wit." Steevens.

makes the faults gracious:] Gracious, in old language, means graceful. So, in K. John:

“ There was not such a gracious creature born.” Again, in Albion's Triumph, 1631:

“ On which (the frieze ) were festoons of several fruits in their natural colours, on which, in gracious postures lay children sleeping." Again, in The Malcontent, 1604:

* The most exquisite, &c. that ever made an old lady gracious by torch-light.” Steevens.

Mr. Steevens's interpretation of the word gracious has been controverted, but it is right. We have the same sentiment in The Merry Wives of Windsor :

“O what a world of vile ill-favour'd faults
“ Look handsome in three hundred pounds a year!" Malone.

Speed. Why didst not tell me sooner? 'pox of your love-letters!

[Exit. Laun. Now will he be swinged for reading my letter: An unmannerly slave, that will thrust himself into secrets. I'll after, to rejoice in the boy's correction. [Exit.


The same. A room in the Duke's Palace.

Enter DUKE and Thurio; PROTEUS behind.
Duke. Sir Thurio, fear not, but that she will love you,
Now Valentine is banish'd from her sight.

Thu. Since his exíle she hath despis'd me most,
Forsworn my company, and rail'd at me,
That I am desperate of obtaining her.

Duke. This weak impress of love is as a figure
Trenched in ice;6 which, with an hour's heat,
Dissolves to water, and doth lose its form.
A little time will melt her frozen thoughts,
And worthless Valentine shall be forgot.
How now, sir Proteus? Is your countryman,
According to our proclamation, gone?

Pro. Gone, my good lord.
Duke. My daughter takes his going grievously.
Pro. A little time, my lord, will kill that grief.

Duke. So I believe; but Thurio thinks not so.-
Proteus, the good conceit I hold of thee,
(For thou hast shown some sign of good desert)
Makes me the better to confer with thee.

Pro. Longer than I prove loyal to your grace,
Let me not live to look upon your grace.

Duke. Thou know'st how willingly I would effect The match between sir Thúrio and my daughter.

Pro. I do, my lord.

Duke. And also, I think, thou art not ignorant How she opposes her against my will.

Pro. She did, my lord, when Valentine was here. Duke. Ay, and perversely she persévers so.

o Trenched in ice;] Cut, carved in ice. Trancher, to cut, French. Fohnson. So, in Arden of Feversham, 1592:

“ Is deeply trenched in my blushing brow.” Steevens.

What might we do, to make the girl forget
The love of Valentine, and love sir Thurio?

Pro. The best way is to slander Valentine
With falsehood, 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.8

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 love from him,
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
As you, in worth, dispraise sir Valentine.

Duke. And, Proteus, we dare trust you in this kind; Because we know, on Valentine's report,




- 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:"

“ A bottome for your silke it seems

“ My letters are become,
“ Which oft with winding off and on

“ Are wasted whole and some.” Steevens.

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,1 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
Moist it again; and frame some feeling line,
That may discover such integrity:3-
For Orpheus' lute was strung with poets' sinews;*




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.

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. 4 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 lute, is to be understood his system of laws; and by the poets' sinews, the power of numbers, which Orpheus actually employed in those laws, to make them received by a fierce and barbarous people. Warburton.

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

« ПредишнаНапред »