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War with good counsel, set the world at nought ; Made wit with musing weak, heart sick with thought.
Pro. Indeed a sheep doth very often stray, An if the shepherd be awhile away. Speed. You conclude that my master is a shep
herd then, and I a sheep ?
whether I wake or sleep.
Speed. The shepherd seeks the sheep, and not the sheep the shepherd; but I seek my master, and my master seeks not me : therefore I am no sheep.
Pro. The sheep for fodder follow the shepherd, the shepherd for food follows not the sheep; thou for wages followest thy master, thy master for wages follows not thee: therefore thou art a sheep.
Speed. Such another proof will make me cry baa.
Pro. But, dost thou hear ? gav’st thou my letter to Julia ?
Speed. Ay, sir : I, a lost mutton, gave your let8 In Warwickshire, and some other counties, sheep is pronounced ship. Without this explanation the jest, such as it is, might escape the reader.
ter to her, a lac'd mutton ; ' and she, a lac'd mutton, gave me, a lost mutton, nothing for my labour.
Pro. Here's too small a pasture for such a store of muttons.
Speed. If the ground be overcharg'd, you were best stick her.
Pro. Nay, in that you are astray : 'twere best pound you.
Speed. Nay, sir, less than a pound shall serve me for carrying your letter.
Pro. You mistake: I mean the pound, a pinfold. Speed. From a pound to a pin? fold it over and
over, 'Tis threefold too little for carrying a letter to your
lover. Pro. But what said she ? — [SPEED nods.1 — Did she nod ? 10
Speed. You mistook, sir : I say she did nod; and you ask me, if she did nod; and I say, ay.
Pro. And that set together, is noddy.
Speed. Now you have taken the pains to set it together, take it for your pains.
96 Laced mutton," we are told, « was so established a term for a courtesan, that a lane in Clerkenwell, much frequented by loose women, was thence called Mutton Lane." Speed apparently understands the person he is talking with, for it is observable that he uses no such language in his speech with Valentine ; and the reason of his daring to speak thus respecting Julia is to be found in the nature of Sir Proteus' passion, which, though doubtless characteristic of him, is not very honourable to him. H.
10 These words were supplied by Theobald to introduce what follows. The poor quibble just below is more apparent in the original, where, according to the mode of that time, the affirmative particle, ay, is spelt I. Noddy was a game at cards : applied to a person, the word meant fool ; Noddy being the name of what is commonly called the Jack.
Pro. No, no ; you shall have it for bearing the letter.
Speed. Well, I perceive I must be fain to bear with you.
Pro. Why, sir, how do you bear with me?
Speed. Marry, sir, the letter very orderly; having nothing but the word noddy for my pains.
Pro. Beshrew me, but you have a quick wit.
Speed. And yet it cannot overtake your slow purse.
Pro. Come, come ; open the matter in brief: What said she ?
Speed. Open your purse, that the money and the matter may be both at once deliver'd.
Pro. Well, sir, here is for your pains: What said she ?
Speed. Truly, sir, I think you'll hardly win her.
Pro. Why? Couldst thou perceive so much from her ?
Speed. Sir, I could perceive nothing at all from her; no, not so much as a ducat for delivering your letter: And being so hard to me that brought your mind, I fear she'll prove as hard to you in telling your mind." Give her no token but stones, for she's as hard as steel.
Pro. What! said she nothing ?
Speed. No, not so much as — « take this for thy pains.” To testify your bounty, I thank you, you have testern'd me ;' in requital whereof, henceforth
11 The meaning is, “Since she has been so hard to me, the bearer of your mind, I fear she will be equally hard to you whose mind I bore."
19 That is, you have given me a testern. Testern, now called tester, was a coin of sixpence value, first issued in England in 1542, and so named from having a teste, that is, a head, stamped upon it. It was introduced from France, and was originally 18d, but afterwards fell to 12d, 90, and finally 6d, where it stuck. H.
carry your letters yourself: And so, sir, I'll commend you to my master.
Pro. Go, go, begone, to save your ship from wreck; Which cannot perish, having thee aboard, Being destined to a drier death on shore. — I must go send some better messenger ; I fear my Julia would not deign my lines, Receiving them from such a worthless post.
Exeunt. SCENE II.
The same. Julia's Garden.
Enter JULIA and LUCETTA.
Luc. Ay, madam; so you stumble not unheedfully.
Jul. Of all the fair resort of gentlemen, That every day with parle' encounter me, In thy opinion which is worthiest love ? Luc. Please you repeat their names, I'll show
my mind According to my shallow simple skill.
Jul. What think'st thou of the fair Sir Eglamour ?
Luc. As of a knight well-spoken, neat and fine ; But, were I you, he never should be mine.
Jul. What think'st thou of the rich Mercatio ? :
i Parle is talk.
That I, unworthy body as I am,
Jul. Why not on Proteus, as of all the rest ?
Luc. I have no other but a woman's reason :
Peruse this paper, madam. Jul. « To Julia.” — Say, from whom ?
That the contents will show. Jul. Say, say; who gave it thee ? Luc. Sir Valentine's page ; and sent, I think,
from Proteus :' He would have given it you, but I, being in the way, Did in your name receive it: pardon the fault, I pray.
Jul. Now, by my modesty, a goodly broker !
2 To censure, in Shakespeare's time, generally signified to give one's judgment or opinion. Thus in The Winter's Tale, Act ii. sc. 1 : “ How blest am I in my just censure! in my true opinion ! "
3 Fire is here a dissyllable. The play has other like examples : “ But qualify the fire's extreme rage ;” and again : « Trenched in ice, which with an hour's heat,” &c. These and similar words were continually used thus by the poets of Shakespeare's time : and yet Steevens undertook to correct the Poet's measure in such cases by supplying another word!
4 A matchmaker. It was sometimes used for a procuress.