Obrázky stránek

But will you hear ? the king is my love sworn.

Prin. And quick Biron hath plighted faith to


Cath. And Longaville was for my service born.
Mar. Dumain is mine, as sure as bark on tree.

Boyet. Madam, and pretty mistresses, give ear :
Immediately they will again be here
In their own shapes; for it can never be,
They will digest this harsh indignity.

Prin. Will they return?

Boyet. They will, they will, God knows ; And leap for joy, though they are lame with blows : Therefore, change favours, and, when they repair, Blow, like sweet roses, in this summer air. Prin. How, blow ? how blow ? speak to be un

derstood. Bojet. & Fair ladies, mask'd, are roses in their bud ;

Difsays," though my husband be a citizen, and his cap's made of siwool, yet I have wit.” So in the Family of Love, 1608. “ 'Tis " a law enacted by the common-council of fatute-caps.

STEVENS, 8 Fair ladies, mak'd, are roles in the bud; Dismask'd, their damask sweet commixture shewn,

Are angels veiling clouds, or roses blown.] This strange nonsense, made worse by the jumbling together and transposing the lines, I directed Mr. Theobald to read thus.

Fair ladies malked are roles in the bud :
Or angels veil'd in clours : are roses blown,

Dismask'd, their damask jweet commixture freewn. But he, willing to thew how well he could improve a thought, would print it,

Or angel-veiling clouds i.e. clouds which veil angels: and by this means gave us, as the old proverb says, a cloud for a Juno. It was Shakespeare's purpose to compare a fine lady to an angel; it was Mr. Theobald's chance to compare her to a cloud : and perhaps the ill-bred reader will say a lucky one. However I supposed the pret could never be so nonsensical as to compare a masked lady to a cloud, though he might compare her mask to one. The Oxford editor, who had the


Dismask'd, their damask sweet commixture shewn,
Are angels vailing clouds, or roses blown.

Prin. Avaunt, perplexity! What shall we do,
If they return in their own shapes to woo ?

Rof. Good madam, if by me you'll be advis'd,
Let's mock them still, as well known, as disgus'd :
Let us complain to them what fools were here,
Disguis’d, like Muscovites, in shapeless gear ;'
And, wonder what they were ; and to what erd
Their shallow shows, and prologue vilely penn'd,
And their rough carriage so ridiculous,
Should be presented at our tent to us.

Bayet. Ladies, withdraw, the gallants are at hand.
Prin. Whip to our tents, as roes run o'er the land.

[Exeunt ladies. » Enter the King, Biron, Longaville, and Dumain in their

own babits. King. Fair Sir, God save you ! Where's the prin

cess ? Boyet. Gone to her tent: Please it your majesty Command me any service to her ?

[ocr errors]

advantage both of this emendation and criticism, is a great deal more subtile and refined, and says it should not be

angels veil'd in clouds, but

angels vailing clouds, i. e. capping the fun as they go by him, just as a man vails his bonnet. WARBURTON.

I know not why fir T. Hanmer's explanation should be treated with so much contempt, or why vailing clouds should be capping the fun. Ladies unmask'd, says Boyet, are like angels vailing clouds, or letting those clouds which obscured their brightness, fink from before them. What is there in this absurd or contemptible ?

JOHNSON. hapeless gear ;) Shapeless, for uncouth, or what Shakespeare elsewhere calls diffufed. WARBURTON. * Exeunt Ladies.] Mr. Theobald ends the fourth act here.


King. That she vouchsafe me audience for one word. Boyet. I will; and so will fhe, I know, my lord.

[Exit. Biron. This fellow picks up wit, as pigeons peas;. And utters it again, when Jove doth please : He is wit's pedlar; and retails his wares At wakes and wassels, meetings, markets, fairs: And we that sell by gross, the Lord doth know, Have not the grace to grace it with such show. This gallant pins the wenches on his Neeve; Had he been Adam, he had tempted Eve. He can carve too, and lisp: Why, this is he, That kiss'd away his hand in courtesy; This is the ape of form, Monsieur the nice, That, when he plays at tables, chides the dice In honourable terms: nay, he can sing, A mean most mainly, and, in ushering, Mend him who can: the ladies call him, sweet ; The stairs, as he treads on them, kifs his feet. This is the flower, that smiles on every one,' To Thew his teeth, as white as whale his bone :

And as pigeons peas ;] This expression is proverbial. -- Children pick up words as pigeons peas,

“ And utter them again as God Mall please.” See Ray's Collection. Steevens.

• A mean most mainly, &c.] The mean, in music, is the tenor. So Bacon: “ The treble cutteth the air fo sharp, as it returneth “ too swift to make the sound equal ; and therefore a mean or tenor " is the sweetest.” STEEVENS.

3 This is the flower, that smiles on every one,] The broken disjointed metaphor is a fault in writing. But in order to pass a true judgment on this fault, it is still to be observed, that when a metaphor is grown so common as to descrt, as it were, the figurative, and to be received into the common stile, then what may be affirmed of the thing represented, or the substance, may be af. firmed of the thing representing, or the image. To illustrate this by the instance before us, a very complaisant, finical, over-gracious person, was so commonly called the flower, or, as he else. where expresses it, the pink of courtesy, that in common talk, or in the lowelt ftile, this metaphor might be used without keeping up


you should

King. Rebuke me not for that, which you pro

yoke : The virtue of your eye must break my oath. 5 Prin. You nick-name virtue ; vice

have spoke:
For virtue's office never breaks men's troth.
Now, by my maiden honour, yet as pure

As the unsully'd lilly, I protest,
A world of torments though I should endure,

I would not yield to be your house's guest :
So much I hate a breaking cause to be
Of heavenly oaths, vow'd

with integrity. King. O, you have liv'd in desolation here,

Unseen, unvisited, much to our shame. Prin. Not so, my lord; it is not so, I swear;

We have had pastimes here, and pleasant game. A mess of Russians left us but of late.

King. How, madam ? Russians ?

Prin. Ay, in truth, my lord ;
Trim gallants, full of courtship, and of state.
Roj. Madam, speak true.

It is not so, my

lord: My lady, to the manner of these days, In courtesy gives undeserving praise. We four, indeed, confronted were with four In Russian habit : here they stay'd an hour, And talk'd apace; and in that hour, my lord, They did not blefs us with one happy word.

$ The virtue of your eye must break my carb.) Common sense requires us to read,

-made break


oa!b. i. e, made me. And then the reply is pertinent. It was the force of your beauty that made me break my oath, therefore you ought not to upbraid me with a crime which you yourself was the cause of. WARBURTON.

I believe the author means that the virtue, in which word goodness and power are both comprised, must di folve the obligation of the oath. The Princess, in her answer, takes the most invidious part of the ambiguity. JOHNSON.

I dare not call them fools; but this I think,
When they are thirsty, fools would fain have drink.

Biron. This jeft is dry to me.-Fair, gentle, sweet, Your wit makes wise things foolish : when we greet Wich

eyes best seeing, heaven's fiery eye, By light we lose light : your capacity Is of that nature, as to your huge store Wise things seem foolish, and rich things but poor.

Rof. This proves you wise and rich; for in my eyeBiron. I am a fool, and full of poverty.

Ros. But that you take what doth to you belong, It were a fault to snatch words from my tongue.

Biron. O, I am yours, and all that I possess.
Rof. All the fool mine?
Biron. I cannot give you less.
Rof. Which of the vizors was it, that you wore?
Biron. Where? when? what vizor? why demand

you this?

Rof. There, then, that vizor ; that superfluous case, That hid the worse, and thew'd the better face. King. We are descry'd; they'll mock us now down.

right. Dum. Let us confess, and turn it to a jest. Prin. Amaz'd, my lord ? why looks your high

ness fad ? Ref. Help, hold his brows! he'll swoon: Why look

you pale?

Sea-sick, I think, coming from Muscovy.
Biron. Thus pour the stars down plagues for perjury.

Can any face of brass hold longer out?
Here stand I, lady; dart thy skill at me;

Bruise me with scorn, confound me with a fout; Thrust thy fharp wit quite through my ignorance ;

Cut me to pieces with thy keen conceit;

when we grret, &c.] This is a very lofty and elegant compliment. JOHNSON. VOL. II.


« PředchozíPokračovat »