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By lady fortune; while our scenes display+
Mitylene. A Street before the Brothel.
Enter, from the Brothel, Two Gentlemen.
1 GENT. Did you ever hear the like?
2 GENT. No, nor never shall do in such a place as this, she being once gone.
1 GENT. But to have divinity preached there! did you ever dream of such a thing?
2 GENT. No, no. Come, I am for no more bawdy-houses: Shall we go hear the vestals sing?
while our scenes display-] The old copies havewhile our steare must play.
We might read-our stage-or rather, our scene (which was formerly spelt sceane). So, in As you like it: This wide and universal theatre,
"Presents more woful pageants than the scene
Again, in The Winter's Tale:
"The scene you play, were mine."
It should be remembered, that scene was formerly spelt sceane; so there is only a change of two letters, which in the writing of the early part of the last century were easily confounded.
I read as in the text. So, in King Henry VIII: "--and display'd the effects
"Of disposition gentle." STEevens.
1 GENT. I'll do any thing now that is virtuous; but I am out of the road of rutting, for ever.
A Room in the Brothel.
Enter PANDER, Bawd, and Boult.
PAND. Well, I had rather than twice the worth of her, she had ne'er come here.
BAWD. Fye, fye upon her; she is able to freeze the god Priapus,5 and undo a whole generation. We must either get her ravished, or be rid of her. When she should do for clients her fitment, and do me the kindness of our profession, she has me her quirks, her reasons, her master-reasons, her prayers, her knees; that she would make a puritan of the devil, if he should cheapen a kiss of her.
BOULT. 'Faith, I must ravish her, or she'll disfurnish us of all our cavaliers, and make all our swearers priests.
PAND. Now, the pox upon her green-sickness for me!
BAWD. 'Faith, there's no way to be rid on't, but by the way to the pox. Here comes the lord Lysimachus, disguised.
Priapus,] The present mention of this deity was perhaps suggested by the following passage in Twine's translation: "Then the bawde brought her into a certaine chappell where stoode the idoll of Priapus made of gold," &c. STEEVENS.
• Here comes the lord Lysimachus, disguised.] So, in the ancient prose romance already quoted:-"Than anone as Anthy
: BOULT. We should have both lord and lown, if the peevish baggage would but give way to cus
LYS. How now? How a dozen of virginities?" BAWD. Now, the gods to-bless your honour !8 BOULT. I am glad to see your honour in good health.
Lys. You may so; 'tis the better for you that your resorters stand upon sound legs. How now, wholesome iniquity? Have you that a man may deal withal, and defy the surgeon?
goras prynce of the cyte it wyste, went and he disguysed himselfe, and went to the bordell whereas Tarcye was" &c. STEEVENS.
So also, in the Gesta Romanorum: "Cum lenone antecedente et tuba, tertia die cum symphonia ducitur [Tharsia] ad lupanar. Sed Athenagoras princeps primus ingreditur velato corpore. Tharsia autem videns eum projecit se ad pedes ejus, et ait," &c. No mention is made in the Confessio Amantis of this interview between Athenagoras (the Lysimachus of our play) and the daughter of Appollinus. So that Shakspeare must have taken this circumstance either from King Appolyn of Thyre, or some other translation of the Gesta Romanorum. MALONE.
The same circumstances are also found in Twine's translation. STEEVENS.
7 How now? How a dozen of virginities?] For what price may a dozen of virginities be had? So, in King Henry IV. Part II:
"How a score of ewes now?" MALONE.
Now, the gods to-bless your honour!] This use of to in composition with verbs (as Mr. Tyrwhitt remarks) is very common in Gower and Chaucer. See Vol. V. p. 178, n. 9.
STEEVENS. wholesome iniquity?] Thus the quarto, 1609. The second quarto and the modern editions read—impunity.
BAWD. We have here one, sir, if she wouldbut there never came her like in Mitylene.
Lrs. If she'd do the deeds of darkness, thou would'st say.
BAWD. Your honour knows what 'tis to say, well enough.
Lys. Well; call forth, call forth.
Lys. What, pr'ythee?
BOULT. O, sir, I can be modest.
BOULT. For flesh and blood, sir, white and red, you shall see a rose; and she were a rose indeed, if she had but
Lys. That dignifies the renown of a bawd, no less than it gives a good report to a number to be chaste.1
BAWD. Here comes that which grows to the stalk ;-never plucked yet, I can assure you. Is she not a fair creature?
That dignifies the renown of a bawd, no less than it gives a good report to a number to be chaste.] This is the reading of the quarto, 1619. The first quarto has-That dignities &c. Perhaps the poet wrote-That dignity is the renown &c. The word number is, I believe, a misprint; but I know not how to rectify it. MALONE.
The intended meaning of the passage should seem to be this: "The mask of modesty is no less successfully worn by procuresses than by wantons. It palliates grossness of profession in the former, while it exempts a multitude of the latter from suspicion of being what they are. 'Tis politick for each to assume the appearance of this quality, though neither of them in reality possess it."-I join with Mr. Malone, however, in supposing this sentence to be corrupt. Steevens.
LYS. 'Faith, she would serve after a long voyage
at sea. Well, there's for you;-leave us.
BAWD. I beseech your honour, give me leave: a word, and I'll have done presently.
Lys. I beseech you, do.
BAWD. First, I would have you note, this is an honourable man.
[To MARINA, whom she takes aside. MAR. I desire to find him so, that I may worthily note him.
BAWD. Next, he's the governor of this country, and a man whom I am bound to.
MAR. If he govern the country, you are bound to him indeed; but how honourable he is in that, I know not.
BAWD. 'Pray you, without any more virginal fencing, will you use him kindly? He will line your apron with gold.
MAR. What he will do graciously, I will thankfully receive.
Lrs. Have you done?
BAWD. My lord, she's not paced yet ;3 you take some pains to work her to your manage. Come, we will leave his honour and her together.* [Exeunt Bawd, PANDER, and BOULT.
without any more virginal fencing,] This uncommon adjective occurs again in Coriolanus:
the virginal palms of your daughters-."
My lord, she's not paced yet;] She has not yet learned her paces. MALone.
* Come, we will leave his honour and her together.] The first quarto adds-Go thy ways. These words, which denote both