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Dare you presume to harbour wanton lines ?
Luc. To plead for love deserves more fee than hate.
That you may ruminate. Exit.
What would your ladyship?
I would it were; That you might kill your stomach ó on your meat, And not upon your maid.
5 Stomach is here used in the double sense of hunger and anger.
Jul. What is't that you took up so gingerly ?
Luc. Madam, it will not lie where it concerns, Unless it have a false interpreter.
Jul. Some love of yours hath writ to you in rhyme.
Luc. That I might sing it, madam, to a tune: Give me a note : your ladyship can set 6 —
Jul. As little by such toys as may be possible : Best sing it to the tune of « Light o’ love."
Luc. It is too heavy for so light a tune.
I cannot reach so high.
Luc. Keep tune there still, so you will sing it out. And yet, methinks, I do not like this tune.
Jul. You do not ?
No, madam ; it is too sharp.
Nay, now you are too flat, And mar the concord with too harsh a descant:? There wanteth but a mean to fill your song.
6 That is, set it to music. Julia in the next line plays upon the word, understanding it in the sense of set by, or make account of.
H. 7 The simple air in music was called the plain song, or ground; the descant was what is now called variations ; the mean what we call the tenor. This use of musical terms before a popular audience would seem to infer, which was indeed the case, that taste and knowledge in music was a characteristic trait of “ merry
Jul. The mean is drown'd with your unruly base. Luc. Indeed, I bid the base 8 for Proteus.
Jul. This babble shall not henceforth trouble me. Here is a coilo with protestation ! [Tears the letter. Go, get you gone; and let the papers lie: You would be fingering them, to anger me. Luc. She makes it strange; but she would be
best pleas'd To be so anger'd with another letter. [Exit.
Jul. Nay, would I were so anger'd with the same! O hateful hands! to tear such loving words: Injurious wasps ! to feed on such sweet honey, And kill the bees that yield it with your stings ! 10 I'll kiss each several paper for amends. Look, here is writ-o kind Julia:” — Unkind Julia ! As in revenge of thy ingratitude, I throw thy name against the bruising stones, Trampling contemptuously on thy disdain. And here is writ - 6 love-wounded Proteus.” — Poor wounded name! my bosom, as a bed, Shall lodge thee, till thy wound be throughly heald; And thus I search it with a sovereign kiss.
England in the olden time.” What with the sour fanaticism of the Commonwealth, and the licentiousness of the Restoration, both of which were equally fatal, this beautiful feature was so blasted, that it has never been fully recovered.
H. 8 Lucetta is still quibbling, and turns the allusion off upon the rustic game of base, or prison-base, in which one ran and challenged another to catch him.
H. ị That is, bustle, stir.
10 Shakespeare has given several proofs of a practical acquaintance with the economy of bees; some of which the naturalist as well as the poet may study with profit; as the fine description in Henry V. Act i. sc. 2, “ for so work the honey-bees," &c. He had doubtless observed how they make boot upon the summer's velvet buds," and also how the “injurious wasps" plunder them, stinging them to death for the sweetness they yield. Knight says, “ The metaphor of the pretty pouting Julia is as accurate as it is beautiful."
But twice, or thrice, was Proteus written down :
Jul. Well, let us go.
Luc. Nay, I was taken up for laying them down: Yet here they shall not lie, for catching cold.12
Jul. I see you have a month's mind 13 to them. 11 Since.
12 That is, lest they should catch cold; anciently a common form of expression.
13 « A month's mind,” says Mr. Collier, « is here equivalent to • a great mind,' or strong inclination.” In its “ritual sense” the phrase meant a month's remembrance, referring to the masses or other solemnities enjoined in the will of a deceased person for the repose of his soul. The strong desire with which these ceremonies were regarded may have caused the phrase to signify an eager longing, in which sense it is generally thought to be used here. It occurs in Ben Jonson's Magnetic Lady: “ I have a month's mind to peep a little too ;” and in Hudibras:
“For if a trumpet sound, or drum beat,
Jul. Come, come; will't please you go ? [Exeunt.
Enter ANTONIO and PANTHINO.
Pant. 'Twas of his nephew Proteus, your son.
He wonder'd, that your lordship
i That is, grave or serious.
2 This passage is all alive with the spirit of Shakespeare's own time, when enterprise, adventure, and study were every where the order of the day, and all ranks were stirred with noble agitations ; the mind's life being then no longer exhausted in domestic broils, nor as yet stifled by a passion for gain. And, to say nothing of foreign discoveries, where wonder and curiosity were ever finding new stores of food, and still grew hungry by what they fed on; or of Flemish campaigns, where chivalrous honour and mental accomplishment « kissed each other;" what a tremendous perturbation must have run through the national mind, what a noble fury must have enriched the nation's brain, to make it effervesce in such a flood as hath rolled down to us in the works of Spenser, Hooker, Shakespeare, and Bacon !