Obrázky stránek

TOUCH. Miftrefs, you must come away to your father.

CEL. Were you made the meffenger?

TOUCH. No, by mine honour; but I was bid to come for you.

Ros. Where learned you that oath, fool?

TOUCH. Of a certain knight, that swore by his honour they were good pancakes, and fwore by his honour the mustard was naught: now, I'll stand to it, the pancakes were naught, and the mustard was good; and yet was not the knight forfworn.

CEL. How prove you that, in the great heap of your knowledge?

Ros. Ay, marry; now unmuzzle your wisdom.

TOUCH. Stand you both forth now: ftroke your chins, and fwear by your beards that I am a knave. CEL. By our beards, if we had them, thou art.

TOUCH. By my knavery, if I had it, then I were: but if you fwear by that that is not, you are not forfworn: no more was this knight, fwearing by his honour, for he never had any; or if he had, he had sworn it away, before ever he faw thofe pancakes or that mustard.

CEL. Pr'ythee, who is't that thou mean'st?
TOUCH. One that old Frederick, your father, loves.
CEL. My father's love is enough to honour him."

9 Touch. One that old Frederick, your father, loves.

Rof. My father's love is enough to honour him.] This reply to the Clown is in all the books placed to Rofalind; but Frederick was not her father, but Celia's: I have therefore ventured to prefix the name of Celia. There is no countenance from any paffage in the play, or from the Dramatis Perfona, to imagine, that both the Brother-Dukes were namefakes; and one called the Old, and the other the Younger-Frederick; and without fome fuch authority, it would make confufion to suppose it. THEOBALD.



Enough! fpeak no more of him; you'll be whip'd for taxation, one of thefe days.

TOUCH. The more pity, that fools may not speak wifely, what wife men do foolishly.

CEL. By my troth, thou fay'ft true: for fince the little wit, that fools have, was filenced, the

Mr. Theobald feems not to know that the Dramatis Perfone were firft enumerated by Rowe. JOHNSON.

Frederick is here clearly a mistake, as appears by the answer of Rofalind, to whom Touchftone addreffes himfelf, though the queftion was put to him by Celia. I fuppofe fome abbreviation was used in the MS. for the name of the rightful, or old duke, as he is called, [perhaps Fer. for Ferdinand,] which the transcriber or printer converted into Frederick. Fernardyne is one of the perfons introduced in the novel on which this comedy is founded. Mr. Theobald folves the difficulty by giving the next fpeech to Celia, instead of Rofalind; but there is too much of filial warmth in it for Celia:-befides, why fhould her father be called old Frederick? It appears from the laft fcene of this play that this was the name of the younger brother. MALONE.

Mr. Malone's remark may be juft; and yet I think the speech which is ftill left in the mouth of Celia, exhibits as much tendernefs for the fool, as refpect for her own father. She stops Touchtone, who might otherwife have proceeded to fay what the could not hear without inflicting punishment on the fpeaker.-Old is an unmeaning term of familiarity. It is ftill in ufe, and has no reference to age. The Duke in Measure for Measure is called by Lucio "the old fantaftical Duke," &c. STEEVENS.

2 you'll be whip'd for taxation,] This was the difcipline ufually inflicted upon fools. Brantome informs us that Legat, fool to Elizabeth of France, having offended her with fome indelicate speech, “fut bien föuetté à la cuifine pour ces paroles." A reprefentation of this ceremony may be feen in a cut prefixed to B. II. ch. c. of the German Petrarch already mentioned in Vol. V. p. 44. DOUCE.

Taxation is cenfure, or fatire. So, in Much ado about Nothing: "Niece, you tax Signior Benedick too much; but he'll be meet with you." Again, in the play before us:


my taxing like a wildgoofe flies-" MALONE.


fince the little wit, that fools have, was filenced,] Shakfpeare probably alludes to the ufe of fools or jefters, who for fome ages had been allowed in all courts an unbridled liberty of cenfure and mockery, and about this time began to be less tolerated.



[ocr errors][ocr errors]

little foolery, that wife men have, makes a great fhow. Here comes Monfieur Le Beau.

Enter LE BEAU.

Ros. With his mouth full of news.

CEL. Which he will put on us, as pigeons feed their young.

Ros. Then shall we be news-cramm'd.

CEL. All the better; we shall be the more marketable. Bon jour, Monfieur le Beau: What's the news? LE BEAU. Fair princess, you have loft much good fport.

CEL. Sport? Of what colour?

LE BEAU. What colour, madam? How fhall I anfwer you?

Ros. As wit and fortune will.

TOUCH. Or as the deftinies decree.

CEL. Well faid; that was laid on with a trowel.*
TOUCH. Nay, if I keep not my rank,-

Ros. Thou lofeft thy old fmell.

LE BEAU. You amaze me, ladies: I would have

4- laid on with a trowel.] I fuppofe the meaning is, that there is too heavy a mafs of big words laid upon a flight subject. JOHNSON.

This is a proverbial expreffion, which is generally used to fignify a glaring falfhood. See Ray's Proverbs. STEEVENS.

It means a good round hit, thrown in without judgment or defign. RITSON.

To lay on with a trowel is, to do any thing strongly and without delicacy. If a man flatters grofsly, it is a common expreffion to fay, that he lays it on with a trowel. M. MASON.

5 You amaze me, ladies:] To amaze, here, is not to astonish or ftrike with wonder, but to perplex; to confufe, so as to put out of the intended narrative. JOHNSON.

[blocks in formation]

told you of good wrestling, which you have loft the fight of.

Ros. Yet tell us the manner of the wrestling.

LE BEAU. I will tell you the beginning, and, if it please your ladyfhips, you may fee the end; for the best is yet to do; and here, where you are, they are coming to perform it.

CEL. Well, the beginning, that is dead and buried.

LE BEAU. There comes an old man, and his three fons,

CEL. I could match this beginning with an old tale. LE BEAU. Three proper young men, of excellent growth and prefence ;

Ros. With bills on their necks,-Be it known unto all men by these presents,“

[ocr errors]

• With bills on their necks,-Be it known unto all men by thefe prefents,] The ladies and the fool, according to the mode of wit at that time, are at a kind of cross purposes. Where the words of one fpeaker are wrefted by another, in a repartee, to a different meaning. As where the Clown fays juft before-Nay, if I keep not my rank. Rofalind replies-Thou lofeft thy old fmell. So here when Rofalind had faid-With bills on their necks, the Clown, to be quits with her, puts in-Know all men by these prefents. She fpoke of an inftrument of war, and he turns it to an inftrument of law of the fame name, beginning with these words: So that they must be given to him. WARBURTON.

This conjecture is ingenious. Where meaning is fo very thin, as in this vein of jocularity, it is hard to catch, and therefore I know not well what to determine; but I cannot fee why Rofalind fhould fuppofe, that the competitors in a wrestling match carried bills on their fhoulders, and I believe the whole conceit is in the poor refemblance of prefence and prefents. JOHNSON.

With bills on their necks, fhould be the conclufion of Le Beau's fpeech. Mr. Edwards ridicules Dr. Warburton, "As if people carried fuch inftruments of war, as bills and guns on their necks, not on their fhoulders!" But unluckily the ridicule falls upon himfelf. Laffels, in his Voyage of Italy, fays of tutors, "Some perfuade their pupils, that it is fine carrying a gun upon their necks.”

LE BEAU. The eldest of the three wrestled with Charles, the duke's wrestler; which Charles in a moment threw him, and broke three of his ribs, that there is little hope of life in him: so he served the second, and fo the third: Yonder they lie; the poor old man, their father, making fuch pitiful dole over them, that all the beholders take his part with weeping.

Ros. Alas!

TOUCH. But what is the fport, monfieur, that the ladies have loft?

LE BEAU. Why, this that I speak of.

TOUCH. Thus men may grow wifer every day! it is the first time that ever I heard, breaking of ribs was sport for ladies.


But what is ftill more, the expreffion is taken immediately from Lodge, who furnished our author with his plot. Ganimede on a day fitting with Aliena, (the affumed names, as in the play,) caft up her eye, and faw where Rofader came pacing towards them with his foreft-bill on his necke." FARMER.

The quibble may be countenanced by the following passage in Woman's a Weathercock, 1612:

"Good-morrow, taylor, I abhor bills in a morning"But thou may'ft watch at night with bill in hand." Again, in Sidney's Arcadia, Book I:


[ocr errors]

with a fword by his fide, a forest-bille on his necke," &c. Again, in Rowley's When you fee me you know me, 1621: "Enter King, and Compton, with bills on his back.” Again, in The Pinner of Wakefield, 1599:

"And each of you a good bat on his neck."


[ocr errors]

are you not big enough to bear
"Your bats upon your necks 2" STEEVENS.

[ocr errors]

I don't think that by bill is meant either an inftrument of war, or one of law, but merely a label or advertisement—as we say a play-bill, a hand-bill; unlefs Farmer's ingenious amendinent be admitted, and these words become part of Le Beau's fpeech; in which cafe the word bill would be ufed by him to denote a weapon, and by Rofalind perverted to mean a label. M. MASON.

[ocr errors]
« PředchozíPokračovat »