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Jul. O me, unhappy!
[Faints. Pro. Look to the boy.' Val. Why, boy! why, wag! how now? what is the
matter! Look up; speak. Jul.
O good sir, my master charg'd me
Pro. Where is that ring, boy?
Here 'tis: this is it.
[Gives a ring Pro. How! let me see: 4 Why this is the ring I gave to Julia.
Jui. O, cry you mercy, sir, I have mistook; This is the ring you sent to Silvia. [Shows another ring.
Pro. But, how cam’st thou by this ring? at my depart, I gave this unto Julia.
Jul. And Julia herself did give it me;
Pro. How! Julia !
I give thee.] Transfer these two lines to the end of Thu. rio's speech in page 237, and all is right. Why then should Ju. lia faint ? It is only an artifice, seeing Silvia given up to Valentine, to discover herself to Proteus, by a pretended mistake the rings. One great fault of this play is, the hastening too abruptly, and without due preparation, to the denouëment, which shews that, if it be Shakspeare's, (which I cannot doubt) it was one of his very early performances. Blackstone.
3 To deliver a ring to madam Silvia ;] Surely our author wrote L" Deliver a ring,” &c. A verse, so rugged as that in the text, must be one of those corrupted by the players, or their transcribers. Steevens.
4 Pro. How! let me see: &c.] I suspect that this unmetrical passage should be regulated as follows:
Pro. How! let me see it: Why, this is the ring
Jul. 'Cry you mercy, sir,
Pro. But how cam'st thou by this?
At my depart, I gave this unto Julia. Steevens. s Behold her that gave aim to all thy oaths,] So, in Titus Andronicus, Act V, sc. iii:
But, gentle people, give me aim a while.”
And entertain’d them deeply in her heart:
Val. Come, come, a hand from either: Let me be blest to make this happy close; 'Twere pity two such friends should be long foes.
Pro. Bear witness, heaven, I have my wish for ever. Jul. And I have mine.8
Enter Out-laws, with DUKE and THURIO.
A prize, a prize, a prize!
Both these passages allude to the aim-crier in archery. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act III, sc. ii : “ — all my neighbours shall cry aim.' See note, ibid. Steevens.
6 How oft hast thou with perjury cleft the root !] Sir T. Hanmer reads--cleft the root on't. Johnson.
cleft the root?] i. e. of her heart. Malone. An allusion to cleaving the pin in archery. Steevens.
- if shame live - ] That is, if it be any shame to wear a disguise for the purposes of love. Johnson.
8 And I have mine.] The old copy reads—“ And I mine.”-I have inserted the word have, which is necessary to metre, by the advice of Mr. Ritson. Steevens.
9 Forbear, I say; it is my lord the duke.) The old copy, without regard to metre, repeats the word forbear, which is here omitted. Steevens.
Come riot within the measurel of my wrath:
Thu. Sir Valentine, I care not for her, I;
Duke. The more degenerate and base art thou,
the measure - ] The length of my sword, the reach of my anger. Johnson.
2 Milan shall not behold thee.] All the editions-Verona shall not behold thee. But whether through the mistake of the first edi. tors, or the poet's own carelessness, this reading is absurdly faulty. For the threat here is to Thurio, who is a Milanese; and has no concern, as it appears, with Verona. Besides, the scene is between the confines of Milan and Mantua, to which Silvia follows Valentine, having heard that he had retreated thi. ther. And, upon these circumstances, I ventured to adjust the text, as I imagine the poet must have intended; i. e. Milan, thy country, shall never see thee again: thou shalt never live to go back thither. Theobald.
3 To make such means for her as thou hast done,] i. e. to make such interest for, to take such disingenuous pains about her. So, in King Richard III:
“ One that made means to come by what he hath.” Steevens. 4 And think thee worthy of an empress' love.] This thought has already occurred in the fourth scene of the second act:
“ He is as worthy for an empress' love." Steevens.
- all former griefs,] Griefs, in old language, frequently sig, nified grievances, wrongs. Malone.
6 Plead a new state – ] Should not this begin a new sentence? Plead is the same as plead thou. Tyrwhitt.
Take thou thy Silvia; for thou hast deserv'd her.
Val. I thank your grace: the gift hath made me happy. I now beseech you, for your daughter's sake, To grant one boon that I shall ask of you.
Duke. I grant it, for thine own, whate'er it be.
Val. These banish'd men, that I have kept withal, Are men endued with worthy qualities. Forgive them what they have committed here, And let them be recall’d from their exile : They are reformed, civil, full of good, And fit for great employment, worthy lord.
Duke. Thou hast prevail'd: I pardon them, and thee; Dispose of them, as thou know'st their deserts. Come, let us go; we will include all jars? With triumphs, 8 mirth, and rare solemnity.
Val. And, as we walk along, I dare be bold With our discourse to make your grace to smile: What think you of this page, my lord?
Duke. I think the boy hath grace in him; he blushes. Val. I warrant you, my lord; more grace than boy. Duke. What mean you by that saying?
Val. Please you, I 'll tell you as we pass along, That you
will wonder what hath fortuned. Come, Proteus; 'tis your penance, but to hear The story of your loves discovered: That done, our day of marriage shall be yours; One feast, one house, one mutual happiness. [Exerint."
include all jars - ] To include is to shut up, to conclude. So, in Macbeth:
- and shut up “ In measureless content.” Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. IV, ch. ix:
“ And for to shut up all in friendly love." Steevens. 8 With triumphs,] Triumphs, in this and many other passages of Shakspeare, signify Masques and Revels, &c. So, in King Henry VI, P. III:
“ With stately triumphs, mirthful comic shows.” Steevens. 9 In this play there is a strange mixture of knowledge and ig. norance, of care and neligence. The versification is often excellent, the allusions are learned and just; but the author conveys his heroes by sea from one inland town to another in the same country; he places the Emperor at Milan, and sends his young men to attend him, but never mentions him more; he makes Proteus, after an interview with Silvia, say he has only seen her picture; and, if we may credit the old copies, he has, by mistaking places, left his scenery inextricable. The reason of all this confusion seems to be, that he took his story from a novel, which he sometimes followed, and sometimes forsook, sometimes remembered, and sometimes forgot.
That this play is rightly attributed to Shakspeare, I have little doubt. If it be taken from him, to whom shall it be given? This question may be asked of all the disputed plays, except Titus Andronicus; and it will be found more credible, that Shakspeare might sometimes sink below his highest flights, than that any other should rise up to his lowest. Johnson.
Johnson's general remarks on this play are just, except that part in which he arraigns the conduct of the poet, for making Proteus say, that he had only seen the picture of Silvia, when it appears that he had had a personal interview with her. This, however, is not a blunder of Shakspeare's, but a mistake of John. son's, who considers the passage alluded to in a more literal sense than the author intended it. Sir Proteus, it is true, had seen Silvia for a few moments; but though he could form from thence some idea of her person, he was still unacquainted with her temper, manners, and the qualities of her mind. He therefore considers himself as having seen her picture only.—The thought is just, and elegantly expressed.-So, in The Scornful Lady, the el. der Loveless says to her:
“ I was mad once, when I loved pictures ;