Abbildungen der Seite

brother Jaques he keeps at school, and report speaks goldenly of his profit: for my part, he keeps me rustically at home, or, to speak more properly, stays me here at home unkept:2 For call you that keeping for a gentleman of my birth, that differs not from the stalling of an ox? His horses are bred better; for, besides that they are fair with their feeding, they are taught their manage, and to that end riders dearly hired: but I, his brother, gain nothing under him but growth; for the which his animals on his dunghills are as much bound

scene in this manner-As I remember, it was upon this, i. e. for the reason we have been talking of, that my father left me but a thousand crowns; however, to make amends for this scanty provision, he charged my brother on his blessing to breed me well. Warburton.

There is, in my opinion, nothing but a point misplaced, and an omission of a word which every hearer can supply, and which therefore an abrupt and eager dialogue naturally excludes.

I read thus: As I remember, Adam, it was on this fashion bequeathed me. By will, but a poor thousand crowns; and, as thou sayest, charged my brother, on his blessing, to breed me well. What is there in this difficult or obscure? The nominative my father is certainly left out, but so left out that the auditor inserts it, in spite of himself. Johnson.

· it was on this fashion bequeathed me, as Dr. Johnson reads, is but aukward English. I would read: As I remember, Adam, it was on this fashion.--He bequeathed me by will, &c. Orlando and Adam enter abruptly in the midst of a conversation on this topick; and Orlando is correcting some misapprehension of the other. As I remember (says he) it was thus. He left me a thousand crowns; and, as thou sayest, charged my brother, &c. Blackstone.

Omission being of all the errors of the press the most common, I have adopted the emendation proposed by Sir W. BlackMalone.


Being satisfied with Dr. Johnson's explanation of the passage as it stands in the old copy, I have followed it. Steevens.


stays me here at home unkept:] We should read stys, i. e. keeps me like a brute. The following words-for call you that keeping-that differs not from the stalling of an ox? confirms this emendation. So, Caliban says

"And here you sty me

"In this hard rock." Warburton.

Sties is better than stays, and more likely to be Shakspeare's.

So, in Noah's Flood, by Drayton:


"And sty themselves up in a little room." Steevens.

to him as I. Besides this, nothing that he so plentifully gives me, the something that nature gave me, his countenance seems to take from me:3 he lets me feed with his hinds, bars me the place of a brother, and, as much as in him lies, mines my gentility with my education. This is it, Adam, that grieves me; and the spirit of my father, which I think is within me, begins to mutiny against this servitude: I will no longer endure it, though yet I know no wise remedy how to avoid it.


Adam. Yonder comes my master, your brother. Orl. Go apart, Adam, and thou shalt hear how he will shake me up.

Oli. Now, sir! what make you here?*

Orl. Nothing: I am not taught to make any thing. Oli. What mar you then, sir?

Orl. Marry, sir, I am helping you to mar that which God made, a poor unworthy brother of yours, with idle


Oli. Marry, sir, be better employ'd, and be naught awhile.5

3 his countenance seems to take from me: :] We should certainly read-his discountenance. Warburton.

There is no need of change; a countenance is either good or bad. Johnson.




what make you here?] i. e. what do you here? So, in

"What make you at Elsinour?" Steevens.

- be better employ'd, and be naught awhile.] Mr. Theobald has here a very critical note; which, though his modesty suffered him to withdraw it from his second edition, deserves to be perpetuated, i. e. (says he) be better employed, in my opinion, in being and doing nothing. Your idleness, as you call it, may be an exercise by which you make a figure, and endear yourself to the world: and I had rather you were a contemptible cypher. The poet seems to me to have that trite proverbial sentiment in his eye, quoted from Attilius, by the younger Pliny and others: satius est otiosum esse quàm nihil agere. But Oliver, in the perverseness of his disposition, would reverse the doctrine of the proverb. Does the reader know what all this means? But 'tis no matter. I will assure him-be nought a while is only a north-country proverbial curse equivalent to, a mischief on you. So, the old poet Skelton:

"Correct first thy selfe, walk and be nought,

"Deeme what thou list, thou knowest not my thought.”

Orl. Shall I keep your hogs, and eat husks with them? What prodigal portion have I spent, that I should come to such penury?

Oli. Know you where you are, sir?

Orl. O, sir, very well: here in your orchard.

Oli. Know you before whom, sir?

Orl. Ay, better than he I am before knows me." I

But what the Oxford editor could not explain, he would amend, and reads:

and do aught a while. Warburton.

If be nought awhile has the signification here given it, the reading may certainly stand; but till I learned its meaning from this

note, I read:

Be better employed, and be naught a while.

In the same sense as we say-It is better to do mischief, than to do nothing. Johnson.

Notwithstanding Dr. Warburton's far-fetched explanation, I believe that the words be naught awhile, mean no more than this: "Be content to be a cypher, till I shall think fit to elevate you into consequence."

This was certainly a proverbial saying. I find it in The Storie of King Darius, an interlude, 1565:

"Come away, and be nought a whyle,
"Or surely I will you both defyle."

Again, in K. Henry IV, P. II, Falstaff says to Pistol: " Nay, if he do nothing but speak nothing, he shall be nothing here." Steevens. Naught and nought are frequently confounded in old English books. I once thought that the latter was here intended, in the sense affixed to it by Mr. Steevens: "Be content to be a cypher, till I shall elevate you into consequence." But the following passage in Swetnam, a comedy, 1620, induces me to think that the reading of the old copy (naught) and Dr. Johnson's explanation are right:


get you both in, and be naught a while." The speaker is a chamber-maid, and she addresses herself to her mistress and her lover. Malone.

Malone says that nought (meaning nothing) was formerly spelled with an a, naught, which is clearly the manner in which it ought still to be spelled, as the word aught, (any thing) from whence it is derived, is spelled so.

A similar expression occurs in Bartholomew Fair, where Ursula says to Mooncalf: "Leave the bottle behind you, and be curs'd awhile;" which seems to confirm Warburton's explanation. M. Mason.

6 Ay, better than he I am before -better than him But, litt.

[ocr errors]

knows me.] The first folio reads respect is due to the anomalies

of the play-house editors; and o. this comedy there is no quarto edition. Steevens.

know, you are my eldest brother; and, in the gentle condition of blood, you should so know me: The courtesy of nations allows you my better, in that you are the first-born; but the same tradition takes not away my blood, were there twenty brothers betwixt us: I have as much of my father in me, as you; albeit, I confess, your coming before me is nearer to his reverence.7

Oli. What, boy!

Orl. Come, come, elder brother, you are too young in this.

Oli. Wilt thou lay hands on me, villain?

Orl. I am no villain: I am the youngest son of sir Rowland de Bois; he was my father; and he is thrice a villain, that says, such a father begot villains: Wert thou not my brother, I would not take this hand from thy throat till this other had pulled out thy tongue for saying so; thou hast railed on thyself.

Adam. Sweet masters, be patient; for your father's remembrance, be at accord.

Oli. Let me go, I say.

Orl. I will not, till I please: you shall hear me. My

Mr. Pope and the subsequent editors read-he I am before; more correctly, but without authority. Our author is equally irregular in The Winter's Tale:

"I am appointed him to murder you." Malone.

Of The Winter's Tale also there is none but the play-house copy. Steevens.

7 albeit, I confess, your coming before me is nearer to his reverence.] This is sense indeed, and may be thus understood.The reverence due to my father is, in some degree, derived to you, as the first-born. But I am persuaded that Orlando did not here mean to compliment his brother, or condemn himself; something of both which there is in that sense. I rather think he intended a satirical reflection on his brother, who by letting him feed with his hinds, treated him as one not so nearly related to old Sir Rowland as himself was. I imagine therefore Shakspeare might write-Albeit your coming before me is nearer his revenue, i. e. though you are no nearer in blood, yet it must be owned, indeed, you are nearer in estate. Warburton.

This, I apprehend, refers to the courtesy of distinguishing the eldest son of a knight, by the title of esquire. Henley.

8 I am no villain:] The word villain is used by the elder brother, in its present meaning, for a worthless, wicked, or bloody man; by Orlando, in its original signification, for a fellow of base extraction. Johnson.

father charged you in his will to give me good education: you have trained me like a peasant, obscuring and hiding from me all gentleman-like qualities: the spirit of my father grows strong in me, and I will no longer endure it: therefore allow me such exercises as may become a gentleman, or give me the poor allottery my father left me by testament; with that I will go buy my fortunes.

Oli. And what wilt thou do? beg, when that is spent? Well, sir, get you in: I will not long be troubled with you: you shall have some part of your will: I pray you, leave me.

Orl. I will no further offend you than becomes me for my good.

Oli. Get you with him, you old dog.

Adam. Is old dog my reward? Most true, I have lost my teeth in your service.-God be with my old master! he would not have spoke such a word.

[Exeunt ORL. and ADAM. Oli. Is it even so? begin you to grow upon me? I will physick your rankness, and yet give no thousand crowns. neither. Hola, Dennis!


Den. Calls your worship?

Oli. Was not Charles, the duke's wrestler, here to speak with me?

Den. So please you he is here at the door, and importunes access to you.

Oli. Call him in. [Exit DEN.]-Twill be a good way; and to-morrow the wrestling is.


Cha. Good morrow to your worship.

Oli. Good monsieur Charles!-what's the new news at the new court?

Cha. There's no news at the court, sir, but the old news: that is, the old duke is banished by his younger brother the new duke; and three or four loving lords have put themselves into voluntary exile with him, whose lands and revenues enrich the new duke; therefore he gives them good leave to wander.


good leave As often as this phrase occurs, it means a ready assent. So, in King John:

« ZurückWeiter »