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You look,

As if you held a brow of much distraction:
Are you mov'd, my lord?

No, in good earnest.—
How sometimes nature will betray its folly,
Its tenderness, and make itself a pastime
To harder bosoms! Looking on the lines
Of my boy's face, methoughts, I did recoil
Twenty-three years; and saw myself unbreech'd,
In my green velvet coat; my dagger muzzled,
Lest it should bite its master, and so prove,
As ornaments oft do, too dangerous.1

How like, methought, I then was to this kernel,
This squash, this gentleman:-Mine honest friend,
Will you take eggs for money?3

"What cheer? how is 't with you, best brother?] This line, which in the old copy is given to Leontes, has been attributed to Polixenes, on the suggestion of Mr. Steevens. Sir T. Hanmer had made the same emendation. Malone.

8 Are you mov'd, my lord?] We have again the same expression on the same occasion, in Othello:


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Iago. I see my lord, you are mov'd.

"Othel. No, not much mov'd, not much." Malone.

my dagger muzzled,

Lest it should bite-] So, in King Henry VIII:

"This butcher's cur is venom-mouth'd, and I

"Have not the power to muzzle him."

Again, in Much Ado about Nothing: "I am trusted with a muzzle." Steevens:

1 As ornaments oft do, too dangerous.] So, in The Merchant of


"Thus ornament is but the guiled shore

"To a most dangerous sea." Steevens.

2 This squash,] A squash is a pea-pod, in that state when the young peas begin to swell in it. ` Henley.

3 Will you take eggs for money?] This seems to be a proverbial expression, used when a man sees himself wronged and makes no resistance. Its original, or precise meaning, I cannot find, but I believe it means, will you be a cuckold for hire. The cuckow is reported to lay her eggs in another bird's nest; he therefore that has eggs laid in his nest is said to be cucullatus, cuckowed, or cuckold. Johnson.

The meaning of this is, will you put up affronts? The French have a proverbial saying, A qui vendez vous coquilles? i. e. whom do you design to affront? Mamillius's answer plainly proves it. Mam. No, my Lord, I'll fight. Smith.

Mam. No, my lord, I'll fight.

Leon. You will? why, happy man be his dole!"—My brother,

I meet with Shakspeare's phrase in a comedy, call'd A Match at Midnight, 1633:-“I shall have eggs for my money; I must hang myself." Steevens.

Leontes seems only to ask his son if he would fly from an enemy. In the following passage the phrase is evidently to be taken in that sense: "The French infantery skirmisheth bravely afarre off, and the cavallery gives a furious onset at the first charge; but after the first heat they will take eggs for their money." Relations of the most famous Kingdomes and Commonwealths thorowout the World, 4to. 1630, p. 154.

Mamillius's reply to his father's question appears so decisive as to the true explanation of this passage, that it leaves no doubt with me even after I have read the following note. The phrase undoubtedly sometimes means what Mr. Malone asserts, but not here. Reed.

This phrase seems to me to have meant originally,-Are you such a poltron as to suffer another to use you as he pleases, to compel you to give him your money and to accept of a thing of so small a value as a few eggs in exchange for it? This explanation appears to me perfectly consistent with the passage quoted by Mr. Reed. He, who will take eggs for money seems to be what, in As you Like it, and in many of the old plays, is called a tame snake. The following passage in Campion's History of Ireland, fol. 1633, fully confirms my explanation of this passage; and shows that by the words-Will you take eggs for money, was meant, Will you suffer yourself to be cajoled or imposed upon?" What my cousin Desmond hath compassed, as I know not, so I beshrew his naked heart for holding out so long.-But go to, suppose hee never bee had; what is Kildare to blame for it, more than my good brother of Ossory, who, notwithstanding his high promises, having also the king's power, is glad to take eggs for his money, and to bring him in at leisure."

These words make part of the defence of the Earl of Kildare, in answer to a charge brought against him by Cardinal Wolsey, that he had not been sufficiently active in endeavouring to take the Earl of Desmond, then in rebellion. In this passage, to take eggs for his money undoubtedly means, to be trifled with, or to be imposed upon. "For money" means, in the place of money. "Will you give me money, and take eggs instead of it?" Malone.


happy man be his dole!] May his dole or share in life be to be a happy man. Johnson.

The expression is proverbial. Dole was the term for the allowance of provision given to the poor, in great families. So, in Greene's Tu Quoque, 1614:

"Hall the women puddings to their dole ?"

Are you so fond of your young prince, as we
Do seem to be of ours?

If at home, sir,
He's all my exercise, my mirth, my matter:
Now my sworn friend, and then mine enemy;
My parasite, my soldier, statesman, all:
He makes a July's day short as December;
And, with his varying childness, cures in me
Thoughts that would thick my blood.


So stands this squire

Offic'd with me; We two will walk, my lord,
And leave you to your graver steps.-Hermione,
How thou lov'st us, show in our brother's welcome;
Let what is dear in Sicily, be cheap:

Next to thyself, and my young rover, he's

Apparent to my heart.


If you would seek us,

We are yours i' the garden: Shall 's attend you there? Leon. To your own bents dispose you: you'll be found, Be you beneath the sky :-I am angling now,

Though you perceive me not how I give line.

Go to, go to!


[Aside. Observing POL. and HER. How she holds up the neb, the bill to him! And arms her with the boldness of a wife

To her allowing husband!7 Gone already;

Inch-thick, knee-deep; o'er head and ears a fork'd one.8- [Exeunt POL. HER. and Attendants.

See p. 39, n. 9. Steevens.

poor by the Archbishops See The History of LamNichols.

The alms immemorially given to the of Canterbury, is still called the dole. beth Palace, p. 31, in Bibl. Top. Brit. 5 Apparent-] That is, heir apparent, or the next claimant.



the neb,] The word is commonly pronounced and written nib. It signifies here the mouth. So, in Anne the Queen of Hungarie, being one of the Tales in Painter's Palace of Pleasure, 1566: the amorous wormes of love did bitterly gnawe and teare his heart wyth the nebs of their forked heads." Steevens.

7 To her allowing husband!] Allowing in old language is approv ing. Malone.


a fork'd one.] That is, a horned one; a cuckold. Johnson. So, in Othello:

"Even then this forked plague is fated to us,
"When we do quicken." Malone.

Go, play, boy, play;-thy mother plays, and I
Play too; but so disgrac❜d a part, whose issue
Will hiss me to my grave; contempt and clamour
Will be my knell.-Go, play, boy, play;-There have

Or I am much deceiv'd, cuckolds ere now;

And many a man there is, even at this present,
Now, while I speak this, holds his wife by the arm,
That little thinks she has been sluic'd in his absence,
And his pond fish'd by his next neighbour, by
Sir Smile, his neighbour: nay, there's comfort in 't,
Whiles other men have gates; and those gates open'd,
As mine, against their will: Should all despair,
That have revolted wives, the tenth of mankind
Would hang themselves. Physick for 't there is none;
It is a bawdy planet, that will strike

Where 'tis predominant; and 'tis powerful, think it,
From east, west, north, and south: Be it concluded,
No barricado for a belly; know it;

It will let in and out the enemy,

With bag and baggage: many a thousand of us
Have the disease, and feel 't not.-How now, boy?
Mam. I am like you, they say.2


What! Camillo there?

Why, that's some comfort.

Cam. Ay, my good lord.

Leon. Go play, Mamillius; thou 'rt an honest man.—

Camillo, this great sir will yet stay longer.


[Exit MAM.

even at this present,] i. e. present time. So, in Macbeth: "Thy letters have transported me beyond

"This ignorant present;"

See note on this passage; Act I, sc. v. Steevens.

1 And his pond fish'd by his next neighbour,] This metaphor perhaps owed its introduction and currency, to the once frequent depredations of neighbours on each others fish, a complaint that often occurs in ancient correspondence. Thus, in one of the Paston Letters, Vol. IV, p. 15: “My mother bade me send you word that Waryn Herman hath daily fished her water all this year." Steevens.

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2 -they say.] They, which was omitted in the original copy by the carelessness of the transcriber or printer, was added by the editor of the second folio. Malone.

Cam. You had much ado to make his anchor hold: When you cast out, it still came home.3


Didst note it?

Cam. He would not stay at your petitions; made His business more material.4

Leon. Didst perceive it?— They're here with me already; whispering, rounding," Sicilia is a so-forth: 'Tis far gone,

3 it still came home.] This is a sea-faring expression, meaning, the anchor would not take hold. Steevens.

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His business more material.] i. e. the more you requested him to stay, the more urgent he represented that business to be which summoned him away. Steevens.

5 They're here with me already;] Not Polixenes and Hermione, but casual observers, people accidentally present. Thirlby.

6 whispering, rounding,] To round in the ear, is to whisper, or to tell secretly. The expression is very copiously explained by M. Casaubon, in his book de Ling. Sax. Johnson.

The word is frequently used by Chaucer, as well as later writers. So, in Lingua, 1607: "I helped Herodotus to pen some part of his Muses; lent Pliny ink to write his history; and rounded Rabelais in the ear, when he historified Pantagruel."

Again, in The Spanish Tragedy:

"Forthwith revenge she rounded me i' th' ear." Steevens. 7 Sicilia is a so-forth:] This was a phrase employed when the speaker, through caution or disgust, wished to escape the utterance of an obnoxious term. A commentator on Shakspeare will often derive more advantage from listening to vulgar than to polite conversation. At the corner of Fleet Market, I lately heard one woman, describing another, say "Every body knows that her husband is a so-forth." As she spoke the last word, her fingers expressed the emblem of cuckoldom. Mr. Malone readsSicilia is a-so-forth. Steevens.

In regulating this line, I have adopted a hint suggested by Mr. M. Mason. I have more than once observed, that almost every abrupt sentence in these plays is corrupted. These words without the break now introduced, are to me unintelligible. Leontes means-I think I already hear my courtiers whispering to each other, "Sicilia is a cuckold, a tame cuckold, to which (says he) they will add every other opprobrious name and epithet they can think of;" for such, I suppose, the meaning of the words-soforth. He avoids naming the word cuckold, from a horror of the very sound. I suspect, however, that our author wrote-Sicilia is-and so forth. So, in The Merchant of Venice: "I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so following."

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