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King. The heavens have thought well on thee, Lafeu, To bring forth this discovery.-Seek these suitors:—

none of him.] Thus the second folio. The first omits-him. Either reading is capable of explanation.

The meaning of the earliest copy seems to be this: I'll buy me a new son-in-law, &c. and toll the bell for this; i. e. look upon him as a dead man. The second reading, as Dr. Percy suggests, may imply: I'll buy me a son-in-law as they buy a horse in a fair; toul him, i. e. enter him on the toul or toll-book, to prove I came honestly by him, and ascertain my title to him. In a play called The famous History of Tho. Stukely, 1605, is an allusion to this


"Gov. I will be answerable to thee for thy horses.

"Stuk. Dost thou keep a tole-booth? zounds, dost thou make a horse-courser of me?"

Again, in Hudibras, P. II, C. i:


a roan gelding

"Where, when, by whom, and what y' were sold for "And in the open market toll'd for."

Alluding (as Dr. Grey observes) to the two statutes relating to the sale of horses, 2 and 3 Phil. and Mary, and 31 Eliz. c. 12, and publickly tolling them in fairs, to prevent the sale of such as were stolen, and to preserve the property to the right owner. The previous mention of a fair seems to justify the reading I have adopted from the second folio. Steevens.

The passage should be pointed thus:

I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll;

For this, I'll none of him.

That is, "I'll buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and pay toll; as for this, I will have none of him." M. Mason.

The meaning, I think, is, “I will purchase a son-in-law at a fair, and get rid of this worthless fellow, by tolling him out of it." To toll a person out of a fair was a phrase of the time. So, in Camden's Remaines, 1605: “At a Bartholomew Faire at London there was an escheator of the same city, that had arrested a clothier that was outlawed, and had seized his goods, which he had brought into the faire, tolling him out of the faire, by a traine."

And toll for this, may, however, mean-and I will sell this fellow in a fair, as I would a horse, publickly entering in the tollbook the particulars of the sale. For the hint of this latter interpretation I am indebted to Dr. Percy. I incline, however, to the former exposition.

The following passage in King Henry IV, P. II, may be ad. duced in support of Mr. Steevens's interpretation of this passage: “Come, thou shalt go to the wars in a gown,—and I will take such order that thy friends shall ring for thee."

Here Falstaff certainly means to speak equivocally; and one of his senses is, "I will take care to have thee knocked in the head, and thy friends shall ring thy funeral knell." Malone.

Go, speedily, and bring again the count.

[Exeunt Gen. and some Attendants.

Now, justice on the doers!

I am afeard, the life of Helen, lady,
Was foully snatch'd.

Enter BERTRAM, guarded.

King. I wonder, sir, since wives are monsters to you,7
And that you fly them as you swear them lordship,
Yet you desire to marry.-What woman 's that?
Re-enter Gentleman, with Widow, and DIANA.
Dia. I am, my lord, a wretched Florentine,
Derived from the ancient Capulet;

My suit, as I do understand, you know,
And therefore know how far I may be pitied.

Wid. I am her mother, sir, whose age and honour Both suffer under this complaint we bring,

And both shall cease, without your remedy.

King. Come hither, count; Do you know these women? Ber. My lord, I neither can, nor will deny But that I know them: Do they charge me further? Dia. Why do you look so strange upon your wife? Ber. She's none of mine, my lord.

7 I wonder, sir, since wives &c.] This passage is thus read in the first folio:

I wonder, sir, sir, wives are monsters to you,

And that you fly them, as you swear them lordship,
Yet you desire to marry.

Which may be corrected thus:

"I wonder, sir, since wives are monsters &c.

The editors have made it-wives are so monstrous to you, and in the next line-swear to them, instead of-swear them lordship. Though the latter phrase be a little obscure, it should not have been turned out of the text without notice. I suppose lordship is put for that protection which the husband in the marriage ceremony, promises to the wife. Tyrwhitt.

As, I believe, here signifies as soon as. Malone.

I read with Mr. Tyrwhitt, whose emendation I have placed in the text. It may be observed, however, that the second folio reads:


I wonder, sir, wives are such monsters to you


shall cease,] i. e. decease, die. So, in King Lear: "Fall and cease." The word is used in the same sense in p. 297 of the

present comedy.



If shall marry,


You give away this hand, and that is mine;
You give away heaven's vows, and those are mine;
You give away myself, which is known mine;

For I by vow am so embodied yours,

That she, which marries you, must marry me,
Either both, or none.

Luf. Your reputation [to BER.] comes too short for my daughter, you are no husband for her.

Ber. My lord, this is a fond and desperate creature, Whom sometime I have laugh'd with: let your highness Lay a more noble thought upon mine honour, Than for to think that I would sink it here.

King. Sir, for my thoughts, you have them ill to friend, Till your deeds gain them: Fairer prove your honour, Than in my thought it lies!


Good my lord,

Ask him upon his oath, if he does think

He had not my virginity.

King. What say'st thou to her?


She 's impudent, my lord;

And was a common gamester to the camp.9

Dia. He does me wrong, my lord; if I were so,
He might have bought me at a common price:
Do not believe him: O, behold this ring,
Whose high respect, and rich validity,1
Did lack a parallel; yet, for all that,

- a common gamester to the camp.] The following passage, in an ancient MS. tragedy, entitled The Second Maiden's Tragedy, will sufficiently elucidate the idea once affixed to the term-gamester, when applied to a female:

"Tis to me wondrous how you should spare the day "From amorous clips, much less the general season "When all the world's a gamester:” ́

Again, in Pericles, Lysimachus asks Mariana-.

"Were you a gamester at five or at seven?”

Again, in Troilus and Cressida:

daughters of the game." Steevens.

1 Whose high respect, and rich validity,] Validity means,

So, in King Lear:

"No less in space, validity, and pleasure."

Again, in Twelfth Night:

"Of what validity and pitch soever." Steevens.


He gave it to a commoner o' the camp,

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Of six preceding ancestors, that gem

Conferr'd by testament to the sequent issue,

Hath it been ow'd and worn.

That ring 's a thousand proofs.


This is his wife;

Methought, you said,3

You saw one here in court could witness it.
Dia. I did, my lord, but loth am to produce
So bad an instrument; his name 's Parolles.
Laf. I saw the man to-day, if man he be.
King. Find him, and bring him hither.


What of him?

He's quoted for a most perfidious slave,
With all the spots o' the world tax'd and debosh'd;"
Whose nature sickens, but to speak a truth:
Am I or that, or this, for what he 'll utter,
That will speak any thing?


She hath that ring of yours.

· Ber. I think, she has: certain it is, I lik’d her,

2 -

'tis it:] The old copy has-'tis hit. The emendation was made by Mr. Steevens. In many of our old chronicles I have found hit printed instead of it. Hence, probably, the mistake here. Mr. Pope reads-and 'tis his. Malone

Or, he blushes, and 'tis fit. Henley.

3 Methought, you said,] The poet has here forgot himself. Diana has said no such thing. Blackstone.

4 He's quoted for a most perfidious slave,] Quoted has the same sense as noted, or observed.

So, in Hamlet:


“I'm sorry that with better heed and judgment
"I had not quoted him." Steevens.

debosh'd;] See a note on The Tempest, Act III, sc. ii. Vol. II, p. 82, n. 2. Steevens.

6 Whose nature sickens, but to speak a truth:] Here the modern editors read:

Which nature sickens with:

a most licentious corruption of the old reading, in which the punctuation only wants to be corrected. We should read, as here printed:

Whose nature sickens, but to speak a truth:

i. e. only to speak a truth. Tyrwhitt.

And boarded her i' the wanton way of youth:
She knew her distance, and did angle for me,
Madding my eagerness with her restraint,
As all impediments in fancy's course
Are motives of more fancy; and, in fine,
Her insuit coming with her modern grace,
Subdued me to her rate: she got the ring;
And I had that, which any inferior might
At market-price have bought.


I must be patient;
You, that turn'd off a first so noble wife,
May justly diet me.8 I pray you yet,

7 · all impediments in fancy's course

Are motives of more fancy;] Every thing that obstructs love is an occasion by which love is heightened. And, to conclude, her solicitation concurring with her fashionable appearance, she got the ring. I am not certain that I have attained the true meaning of the word modern, which, perhaps, signifies rather meanly pretty. Johnson.

I believe modern means common. The sense will then be this - Her solicitation concurring with her appearance of being common, i. e. with the appearance of her being to be had, as we say at present. Shakspeare uses the word modern frequently, and always in this sense. So, in King John:

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scorns a modern invocation."

Again, in As you Like it:

"Full of wise saws and modern instances."

"Trifles, such as we present modern friends with." Again, in the present comedy, p. 211, n 5: " to make modern and familiar things supernatural and causeless."


Mr. M. Mason says, that modern grace means, with a tolerable degree of beauty. He questions also the insufficiency of the instances brought in support of my explanation, but adduces none in defence of his own. Steevens.

Dr. Johnson's last interpretation is certainly the true one. See p. 59, n. 4; and p. 211, n. 5. I think, with Mr. Steevens, that modern here, as almost every where in Shakspeare, means common, ordinary; but do not suppose that Bertram here means to call Diana a common gamester, though he has styled her so in a former passage. Malone.

8 May justly diet me.] May justly loath or be weary of me, as people generally are of a regimen or prescribed diet. Such, I imagine, is the meaning. Mr. Collins thinks she means-" May justly make me fast, by depriving me (as Desdemona says) of the rites for which I love you." Malone.

Mr. Collins's interpretation is just. The allusion may be to

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