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that, indeed, know not their fathers, and therefore have no names.
Speed. Here follow her vices.
Speed. Item, She is not to be kissed fasting, in respect of her breath.
Laun. Well, that fault may be mended with a breakfast: Read on.
Speed. Item, She hath a sweet mouth 18.
Laun. It's no matter for that, so she sleep not in her talk.
Speed. Item, She is slow in words.
Laun. O villain, that set this down among her vices ! To be slow in words, is a woman's only virtue: I pray thee, out with't; and place it for her chief virtue.
Speed. Item, She is proud.
Laun. Out with that too; it was Eve's legacy, and cannot be ta’en from her.
Speed. Item, She hath no teeth.
Laun. I care not for that neither, because I love crusts.
Speed. Item, She is curst.
Laun. If her liquor be good, she shall : if she will not, I will; for good things should be praised.
Speed. Item, She is too liberal19.
18 Speed uses the term a sweet mouth in the sense of a sweet tooth; but Launce chooses to understand it in the literal and laudatory sense. Cotgrave renders “ Friand, A sweet-lips, daintie-mouthed, sweet-toothed,” &c.
19 Liberal is licentious, free, frank, beyond honesty or decency. Thus in Othello, Desdemona says of Iago: “is he not a most profane and liberal counsellor.”
Laun. Of her tongue she cannot; for that's writ down she is slow of: of her purse she shall not; for that I'll keep shut; now of another thing she may; and that cannot I help. Well, proceed.
Speed. Item, She hath more hair than wit 20, and more faults than hairs, and more wealth than faults.
Laun. Stop there; I'll have her: she was mine, and not mine, twice or thrice in that last article : Rehearse that once more.
Speed. Item, She hath more hair than wit.
Laun. More hair than wit,-it may be; I'll prove it: The cover of the salt hides the salt 21, and therefore it is more than the salt; the hair that covers the wit, is more than the wit; for the greater hides the less. What's next?
Speed. And more faults than hairs.—
Laun. Why, that word makes the faults gracious 22: Well, I'll have her: and if it be a match, as nothing is impossible,
Speed. What then ?
Laun. Why, then will I tell thee, that thy master stays for thee at the north-gate.
Speed. For me?
Laun. For thee? ay; who art thou ? he hath staid for a better man than thee. .
20 This was an old familiar proverb, of which Steevens has given many examples. I will add one from Florio: “A tisty-tosty wag feather, more haire than wit.”
21 The ancient English saltcellar was very different from the modern, being a large piece of plate, generally much ornamented, with a cover to keep the salt clean. There was but one on the dinner table, which was placed near the top, and those who sat below it were, for the most part, of inferior condition to those who sat above it.
22 Gracious was sometimes used for favoured, countenanced, like the Italian Gratiato, v. As you Like It. Act i. Sc. 2.
Speed. And must I go to him?
Laun. Thou must run to him, for thou hast staid so long, that going will scarce serve the turn.
Speed. Why didst not tell me sooner ? 'pox of your love-letters !
[Exit. Laun. Now will he be swinged for reading my letter: An unmannerly slave, that will thrust himself into secrets! I'll after, to rejoice in the boy's correction.
Thu. Since his exile she hath despis’d me most, Forsworn my company, and rail'd at me, That I am desperate of obtaining her.
Duke. This weak impress of love is as a figure
Pro. Gone, my good lord.
Duke. So I believe; but Thurio thinks not so.-
1 i. e. cut, carved; from the Fr. trancher.
Pro. Longer than I prove loyal to your grace, Let me not live to look upon your grace.
Duke. Thou know'st, how willingly I would effect The match between Sir Thurio and my daughter.
Pro. I do, my lord.
Duke. And also, I think, thou art not ignorant How she opposes her against my will.
Pro. She did, my lord, when Valentine was here.
Duke. Ay, and perversely she persévers so.
Pro. The best way is to slander Valentine
Duke, Ay, but she'll think that it is spoke in hate.
Pro. Ay, if his enemy deliver it : Therefore it must, with circumstance”, be spoken By one, whom she esteemeth as his friend.
Duke. Then you must undertake to slander him.
Pry. And that, my lord, I shall be loth to do;
Pro. You have prevaild, my lord: if I can do it,
? i. e. with the addition of such incidental particulars as may induce belief.
3 Very, that is, true; from the Lat. verus. Massinger calls one of his plays “ A Very Woman.”
Thu. Therefore, as you unwind her love from him, Lest it should ravel, and be good to none, You must provide to bottom it on me*: Which must be done, by praising me as much As you in worth dispraise Sir Valentine.
Duke. And, Proteus, we dare trust you in this kind;
Pro. As much as I can do, I will effect:-
Duke. Ay, much is the force of heaven-bred poesy,
Pro. Say, that upon the altar of her beauty You sacrifice your tears, your sighs, your heart : Write till your ink be dry; and with your tears Moist it again; and frame some feeling line, That may discover such integrity 0 :For Orpheus' lute was strung with poet's sinews ;' Whose golden touch could soften steel and stones, Make tigers tame, and huge leviathans
4 As you unwind her love from him, make me the bottom on which you wind it. A bottom is the housewife's term for a ball of thread wound upon a central body.
5 i. e. birdlime.
6 i. e. sincerity, such as would be manifested by such impassioned writing. Malone suspects that a line following this has been lost.