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398. There's one grape yet—] This speech the three last editors have perplexed themselves by dividing between Lafeu and Parolles, without any authority of copies, or any improvement of sense.
I have restored the old reading, and should have thought no explanation necessary, but that Mr. Theobald apparently misunderstood it.
Old Lafeu having, upon the supposition that the Jady was refused, reproached the young lords as boys of ice, throwing his eyes on Bertram who remained, cries out, There is one yet into whom his father put good blood, -but I have known thee long enough to know thee for an ass.
-good alone Is good, without a name; vileness is so :] The text is here corrupted into nonsense. We should read,
Is good; and, with a name, vileness is so. i. e. good is good, though there be no addition of title ; and vileness is vileness, though there be. The Oxford evitor, understanding nothing of this, strikes out vileness, and puts in its place, in’tself.
WARBURTON. The present reading is certainly wrong, and, to confess the truth, I do not think Dr. Warburton's emendation right; yet I have nothing that I can propose with much confidence. Of all the conjectures that I can make, that which least displeases me is this:
-good alone, Is good without a name ; Helen is so; The rest follows easily by this change. JOHNSON.
--without a name, vileness is so.] I would wish to read :
-good alone, Is good without a name; in vileness is so : i. e. good alone is good unadorned by title, nay, even in the meanest state it is so. Vileness does not always mean moral turpitude, but humility of situation; and in this sense it is used by Drayton.
Shakspere, however, might have meant, that ex. ternal circumstances have no power over the real nature of things.' Good alone (i. e. by itself) without the name (i. e. without the addition of titles) is good. Vileness is so. (i. e. is itself.) Either of them is what its name implies :
The property by what it is should go,
STEEVENS. I have no doubt the meaning is-Good is good, independent on any worldly distinction or title; so, vileness is vile, in whatever state it may appear. The very same phraseology is found in Macbeth : “ Though all things foul would wear the brows
grace, " Yet grace must still look so.” i.e. must still look like grace
She is young, wise, fair,
i And these breed honour : -] The objection was, that Helen had neither riches nor title: to this the king replies, she's the immediate heir of nature, from whom she inherits youth, wisdom, and beauty. The thought is fine. For by the immediate heir to nature, we must understand one who inherits wisdom and beauty in a supreme degree.
WARBURTON. The attractions of which (Dr. Warburton might have added) her youth contributed to enhance.
that is honour's scorn Which challenges itself as honour's born,] i. r. the child of honour. Born is here used, as bairne still is in the north.
HENLEY. 436. And is not like the sire. Honours best thrive,] Best is an interpolation made by the ignorant editor of the second folio; who did not know that the word sire was here used by Shakspere like fire, 'hour, &c. as a dissyllable. It certainly ought therefore to be rejected.
MALONE. 464. Into the staggers, --] One species of the staggers, or the horses' apoplexy, is a raging impatience, which makes the animal dash himself with destructive violence against posts or walls. To this the allusion, I suppose, is made.
JOHNSON. Shakspere has the same expression in Cymbeline, where Posthumus says, “Whence come these staggers on me?"
And be perform'd to-night;--) This, if it be at all intelligible, is at least obscure and inaccurate, Perhaps it was written thus:
Shall seem expedient on the new-born brief,
Shall more attend -] The brief is the contract of espousal, or the licence of the church. The king means, What ceremony is necessary to make this contra&t a marriage, shall be immediately performed; the rest may be delayed.
JOHNSON The only authentick ancient copy reads-now-born. I do not perceive that any change is necessary.
MALOne. Now-born, the epithet in the old copy, prefixed to brief, unquestionably ought to be restored. The nowborn brief, is the breve originale of the feudal times, which, in this instance, formally notified the king's consent to the marriage of Bertram, his ward.
HENLEY. 487. The old copy has this singular stage direction: Parolles and Lafeu stay behind, commenting of this wedding.
STEEVENS, To comment means here, I believe, to assume the appearance of persons discoursing, observing, &c.
MALONE. 505. --for two ordinaries,] While I sat twice with thee at table.
511. -taking up ;-] To take up, is to contradie, to cast up account ; as well as to pick off the ground.
JOHNSON. 533. in the default, -] That is, at a need."
JOHNSON. 538. --for doing, I am past; as I will by thee, in what motion age will give me leave.] The conceit, which is so thin that it might well escape a hasty reader is in the word past, I am past, as I will be past by thee.
JOHNSON Doing is here used obscenely.
COLLINS. 541. Well, thou hast a son shall take this disgrace of me:] This the poet makes Parolles speak alone; and this is nature. A coward should try to hide his poltroonery even from himself.-An ordinary writer would have been glad of such an opportunity to bring him to confession.
WARBURTON. 567. In former copies :
than the commission of your birth and virtue gives you heraldry,] Sir Thomas Hanmer restored it.
JOHNSON. 586. That hugs his kicksy-wicksy, &c.] Sir T. Hanmer, in his Glossary, observes, that kicksy-wicksy is a made word in ridicule and disdain of a wife. Taylor, the water-poet, has a poem in disdain of his debtors, entitled, a kicksy-winsy, or a Lerry-come-twang
GREY. 598. To the dark-house,] The dark-house is a house made gloomy by discontent. Milton says of death and the king of hell preparing to combat: