Abbildungen der Seite

No point, quoth I;' my servant straight was mute.

Kath. Lord Longaville said, I came o'er his heart;
And trow you, what he call'd me?

Prin. Qualm, perhaps.
Kath. Yes, in good faith.
Prin. Go, sickness as thou art !

Ros. Well, better wits have worn plain statute-caps.'
But will you hear ? the king is my love sworn.

Prin. And quick Birón hath plighted faith to me.
Kath. And Longaville was for my service born.
Mar. Dumain is mine, as sure as bark on tree.

Boyet. Madam, and pretty mistresses, give ear :
Immediately they will again be here
In their own shapes; for it can never be,
They will digest this harsh indignity.

Prin. Will they return?

Boyet. They will, they will, God knows ;
And leap for joy, though they are lame with blows :
Therefore, change favours ; and, when they repair,
Blow like sweet roses in this summer air.

Prin. How blow ? how blow? speak to be understood.

Boyet. Fair ladies, mask'd, are roses in their bud; Dismask'd, their damask sweet commixture shown, Are angels vailing clouds, or roses blown.3

[1] Point in French is an adverb of negation; but, if properly spoken, is not sounded like the point of a sword. A quibble, however, is intended. From this and the other passages it appears, that either our author was not well acquainted with the pronunciation of the French language, or it was different formerly to what it is at present. The former supposition appears to me much the more pro. bable of the two. MALONE.

[2] This line is not universally understood, because every reader does not know that a statute-cap is part of the academical habit. Lady Rosaline declares that her expectation was disappointed by these courtly students, and that better wits might be found in the common places of education. JOHNSON

Woollen caps were enjoined by act of parliament, in the year 1571, the 13th of Queen Elizabeth. “Besides the bills passed into acts this parliament, there was one which I judge not amiss to be taken notice of—it concerned the Queen's care for employment for her poor sort of subjects. It was for continuance of making and wearing woollen caps, in behalf of the trade of cappers ; providing, that all above the age of six yeares, (except the nobility and some others) should on sabbath days and holy days, wear caps of wool, knit, thicked, and drest in England, upon penalty of ten groats.” Strype's Annals of Queen Elizabeth. Vol. II. p. 74.

GREY. This act may account for the distinguishing mark of Mother Red-cap. STE.

The king and his lords probably wore hats adorned with feathers. So they are represented in the print aflixed to this play in Mr. Rowe's edition, probably from some stage tradition. MALONE

[3] Ladies unmaskd, says Boyet, are like angels railing clouds, or lettir.g those clouds which obscured their brightness, sink from before them. JOHNSON. Holinshed says,

“ The Britains began to avale the hills where they had lodged," I e. they began to descend the hills. Ir Shakespeare uses the word dailing in this

[ocr errors]

Prin. Avaunt, perplexity! What shall we do,
If they return in their own shapes to woo ?

Ros. Good madam, if by me you'll be advis’d,
Let's mock them still, as well known, as disguis’d:
I et us complain to them what fools were here,
Disguis'd like Muscovites, in shapeless gear ;
And wonder, what they were ; and to what end
Their shallow shows, and prologue vilely penn'd,
And their rough carriage so ridiculous,
Should be presented at our tent to us.

Boyet. Ladies, withdraw; the gallants are at hand.
Prin. Whip to our tents, as roes run over land.

[Exe. Prin. Ros. Kath, and MAR. Enter the King, BIRON, LONGAVILLE and DUMAIN, in their

proper habits.

King. Fair sir, God save you! Where is the princess ?

Boyet. Gone to her tent: Please it your majesty, Command me any service to her thither ?

King. That she vouchsafe me audience for one word.
Boyet. I will; and so will she, I know, my lord. (Exti.

Biron. This fellow pecks up wit, as pigeons peas;
And utters it again when God doth please :
He is wit's pedler; and retails his wares
At wakes, and wassels,meetings, markets, fairs ;
And we that sell by gross, the Lord doth know,
Have not the grace to grace it with such show.
This gallant pins the wenches on his sleeve ;
Had he been Adam, he had tempted Eve :
He can carve too, and lisp : Why, this is he,
That kiss'd away his hand in courtesy ;
This is the ape of form, monsieur the nice,
That, when he plays at tables, chides the dice
In honourable terms ; nay, he can sing
A mean most meanly ;6 and, in ushering,

sense, the meaning is—Angels descending from clouds which concealed their beauties. TOLLET.

To avale comes from the French aval, term de batelier. STEEVENS. [4] Waes heal, that is, be of health, was a salutation first used by the Lady Row. ena to King Vortiger. Afterwards it became a custom in villages, on new year's eve and twelfth night, to carry a wassel or waissail bowl from house to house, which was presented with the Saxon words above mentioced. Hence in process of time wassel signified intemperance in drinking, and also a meeting for the purpose of festivity. MALONE.

(5) The mean in music is the tenor. So Bacon: “ The treble cutteth the air so « sharp, as it returneth too swift

to make the sound equal. and therefore a mean of * tenor is the sweetest." STEEVENS.

Mend him who can : the ladies call him, sweet;
The stairs, as he treads on them, kiss his feet :
This is the flower that smiles on every one,
To show his teeth as white as whales bone : 6
And consciences, that will not die in debt,
Pay him the due of honey-tongued Boyet.

King. A blister on his sweet tongue, with my heart,
That put Armado's page out of his part!
Enter the Princess, usher'd by Boyet ; ROSALINE, MARIA,

KATHARINE, and Attendants. Biron. See where it comes !-Behaviour, what wert

Till this man show'd thee? and what art thou now?

King. All hail, sweet madam, and fair, time of day!
Prin. Fair, in all hail, is foul, as I conceive.
King. Construe my speeches better, if you may.
Prin. Then wish me better, I will give you leave
King. We came to visit you;

and purpose now To lead you to our court: vouchsafe it then. Prin. This field shall hold me ; and so hold your vow:

Nor God, nor I, delight in perjur'd men.
King. Rebuke me not for that which you provoke;

The virtue of your eye must break my oath.
Prin. You nick-name virtue : vice you should have

spoke ;
For virtue's office never breaks men's troth.
Now, by my maiden honour, yet as pure

As the unsullied lily, I protest,
A world of torments though I should endure,

I would not yield to be your house's guest :
So much I hate a breaking-cause to be
Of heavenly oaths, vow'd with integrity.
King. O, you have liv'd in desolation here,

Unseen, unvisited, much to our shame.
Prin. Not so, my lord; it is not so,


swear ;
We have had pastimes here, and pleasant game;

[6] As white as whales bone is a proverbial comparison in the old poets. Skelton joins the whales bone with the brightest precious stones, in describing the position of Pallas. T. WARTON.

It should be remember'd that some of our ancient writers supposed ivory to be part of the bones of a whale. STEEVENS.

This white whale his bone, now superseded by ivory, was the tooth of the Horsemhale, Morse, or Walrus, as appears by King Alfred's preface to his Saxon translation of Orosius. HOLT WHITE.

A mess of Russians left us but of late.

King. How, madam ? Russians ?

Prin. Ay, in truth, my lord;
Trim gallants, full of courtship, an of state.

Ros. Madam, speak true : It is not so, my lord ;
My lady, (to the manner of the days,)
In courtesy, gives undeserving praise.
We four, indeed, confronted here with four,
In Russian habit : here they stay'd an hour,
And talk'd apace ; and in that hour, my lord,
They did not bless us with one happy word.
I dare not call them fools; but this I think,
When they are thirsty, fools would fain have drink.

Biron. This jest is dry to me.-Fair, gentle sweet,
Your wit makes wise things foolish ; when we greet'
With eyes best seeing heaven's fiery eye,
By light we lose light: Your capacity
Is of that nature, that to your huge store
Wise things seem foolish, and rich things but poor.

Ros. This proves you wise and rich; for in my eye,
Biron. I am a fool, and full of poverty.

Ros. But that you take what doth to you belong,
It were a fault to snatch words from my tongue.

Biron. O, I am yours, and all that I possess.
Ros. All the fool mine ?
Biron, I cannot give you less.
Ros. Which of the vis:ɔrs was it, that you wore ?
Biron. Where? when ? what visor ? why demand you

this? Ros. There, then, that visor ; that superfluous case, That hid the worse, and show'd the better face.

King. We are descried: they'll mock us now downright.
Dum. Let us confess, and turn it to a jest.
Prin. Amaz'd, my lord ? Why looks your highness sad ?
Ros, Help, hold his brows! he'll swoon! Why look

you pale ? Sea-sick, I think, coming from Muscovy. Biron. Thus pour the stars down plagues for perjury.

Can any face of brass hold longer out?Here stand I, lady ; dart thy skill at me ;

Bruise me with scorn, confound me with a flout;

[7] This is a very lofty and elegant compliment.


Thrust thy sharp wit quite through my ignorance ;

Cut me to pieces with thy keen conceit; And I will wish thee never more to dance,

Nor never more in Russian habit wait. O! never will I trust to speeches penn’d,

Nor to the motion of a school-boy's tongue ; Nor never come in visor to my friend;

Nor woo in rhyme, like a blind harper's song: Taffata phrases, silken terms precise,

Three-pil'd hyperboles, spruce affectation, Figures pedantical; these summer-flies

Have blown me full of maggot ostentation : I do forswear them: and I here protest, By this white glove, (how white the hand, God

knows !). Henceforth my wooing mind shall be express'd

In russet yeas, and honest kersey noes :
And, to begin, wench,—so God help me, la !
My love to thee is sound, sans crack or flaw.
Ros. Sans Sans, I pray you.

Biron. Yet I have a trick
Of the old rage :-bear with me, I am sick;
I'll leave it by degrees. Soft, let us see ;-
Write, Lord have mercy on us,' on those three ;
They are infected, in their hearts it lies ;
They have the plague, and caught it of your eyes :
These lords are visited; you are not free,
For the Lord's tokens on you do I see.

Prin. No, they are free, that gave these tokens to us.
Biron. Our states are forfeit, seek not to undo us.

Ros. It is not so ; For how can this be true, That

you stand forfeit, being those that sue ?? Biron. Peace ; for I will not have to do with


[8] A metaphor from the pile of velvet. So, in The Winter's Tale, Autolycus says : “ I have worn three-pile.STEEVENS.

[9] i. e. without sans ;. without French words : an affectation of which Biron had been guilty in the last line of his speech, though just before he had forsworn all affectation in phrases, terms, &c. TYRWHITT.

[1] This was the inscription put upon the door of the houses infected with the plague, to which Biron compares the love of himself and his companions; and pursuing the metaphor finds the tokens likewise on the ladies. The tokens of the plague are the first spots or discolourations, by which the infection is known to be received. JOHNSON

[2] That is, how can those be liable to forfeiture that begin the process? The jest lies in the ambiguity of sue, which signifies, to prosecute by law, or to offer a petition. JOHNSON

« ZurückWeiter »