« ZurückWeiter »
And Silvia is myself: banish'd from her,
Enter PROTEUS and LAUNCE.
Laun. Him we go to find; there's not a hair? on's head, but 'tis a Valentine.
Animum pictara pascit inani. Virgil. 8 i. e. by flying, or in flying. It is a Gallicism.
9 Launce is still quibbling, he is running down the hare he started when he first entered.
Pro. Villain, forbear.
news, So much of bad already hath possess'd them.
Pro. Then in dumb silence will I bury mine,
Val. Is Silvia dead?
Val. No Valentine, indeed, for sacred Silvia ! Hath she forsworn me?
Pro. No, Valentine.
Val. No Valentine, if Silvia have forsworn me!What is your news? Laun. Sir, there's a proclamation that you are
vanish’d. Pro. That thou art banished, 0, that's the news : From hence, from Silvia, and from me, thy friend.
Val. O, I have fed upon this woe already, And now excess of it will make me surfeit. Doth Silvia know that I am banished ?
Pro. Ay, ay; and she hath offer'd to the doom, (Which, unrevers’d, stands in effectual force, A sea of melting pearl, which some call tears : Those at her father's churlish feet she tender'd; With them, upon her knees, her humble self; Wringing her hands, whose whiteness so became
them, As if but now they waxed pale for woe: But neither bended knees, pure hands held up, Sad sighs, deep groans, nor silver-shedding tears, Could penetrate her uncompassionate sire; But Valentine, if he be ta’en, must die. Besides, her intercession chaf'd him so When she for thy repeal was suppliant,
That to close prison he commanded her,
Pro. Cease to lament for that thou can’st not help,
Val. I pray thee, Launce, an if thou seest my boy, Bid him make haste, and meet me at the north gate.
Pro. Go, sirrah, find him out. Come, Valentine.
[Exeunt VALENTINE and PROTEUS. 10 Grief. 11 So in Hamlet :
“ These to her excellent white bosom.” To understand this mode of addressing letters, &c, it should be known that women anciently bad a pocket in the forepart of their stays, in which they carried not only love letters and love tokens, but even their money, &c. In many parts of England rustic damsels still continue the practice. A very old lady informed Mr. Steevens, that when it was the fashion to wear very prominent stays it was the custom for stratagem or gallantry to drop its literary favours within the front of them.
Laun. I am but a fool, look you; and yet I have the wit to think, my master is a kind of a knave: but that's all one, if he be but one knave. He lives not now, that knows me to be in love: yet I am in love; but a team of horse shall not pluck that from me; nor who ’tis I love, and yet ’tis a woman: but what woman, I will not tell myself: and yet 'tis a milk-maid : yet ’tis not a maid, for she hath had gossips 12 : yet 'tis a maid, for she is her master's maid, and serves for wages. She hath more qualities than a water-spaniel, which is much in a bare 13 christian. Here is the cate-log (Pulling out a paper] of her condition 14. Imprimis, She can fetch and carry. Why, a horse can do no more; nay, a horse cannot fetch, but only carry; therefore is she better than a jade. Item, She can milk; look you, a sweet virtue in a maid with clean hands.
Enter SPEED. Speed. How now, signior Launce? what news with your mastership?
Laun. With my master's ship? why it is at sea.
Speed. Well, your old vice still, mistake the word: What news then in your paper ?
Laun. The blackest news that ever thou heard’st. Speed. Why, man, how black ? Laun. Why, as black as ink. Speed. Let me read them. Laun. Fie on thee, jolt-head; thou can’st not read. Speed. Thou liest, I can. 12 Gossips not only signify those who answer for a child in baptism, but the tattling women who attend lyings-in. The quibble is evident.
13 Bare has two senses, mere and naked. Launce, quibbling on, uses it in both senses, and opposes the naked female to the water-spaniel covered with hairs of remarkable thickness.
14 “ Condition, honest behaviour or demeanour in living, a custume or facion. Mos. Moris, facon de faire.” BARÉT. The old copy reads condition, which was changed to conditions by Rowe.
Laun. I will try thee:Tell me this; Who begotthee? Speed. Marry, the son of my grandfather 15.
Laun. O illiterate loiterer! it was the son of thy grandmother: this proves that thou canst not read.
Speed. Come, fool, come: try me in thy paper.
Laun. And therefore comes the proverb,— Blessing of your heart, you brew good ale.
Speed. Item, She can sew.
Laun. What need a man care for a stock with a wench, when she can knit him a stock 17.
Speed. Item, She can wash and scour.
Laun. A special virtue; for then she need not be washed and scoured.
Speed. Item, She can spin.
Laun. Then may I set the world on wheels, when she can spin for her living.
Speed. Item, She hath many nameless virtues.
15 It is undoubtedly true that the mother only knows the legitimacy of the child. Launce infers that if Speed could read, he must have read this well known observation.
16 St. Nicholas presided over scholars, who were therefore called St. Nicholas' clerks; either because the legend makes this saint to have been a bishop while yet a boy, or from his having restored three young scholars to life. By a quibble between Nicholas and Old Nick highwaymen are called Nicholas' clerks in Henry IV. part 1. The parish clerks of London finding that scholars, more usually termed clerks, were under the patronage of this saint, conceived that clerks of any kind might have the same right, and accordingly took him as their patron, much in the same way as the woolcombers did St. Blaise, who was martyred with an instrument like a carding comb; the nailmakers St. Člou; and the booksellers St. John Port Latin.
17 i. e, stocking.