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STEW. Madam, the care I have had to even your content', I wish might be found in the calendar of my past endeavours; for then we wound our modesty, and make foul the clearness of our deservings, when of ourselves we publish them?
Count. What does this knave here ? Get you gone, sirrah: The complaints, I have heard of you, I do not all believe ; 'tis my slowness, that I do not: for, I know, you lack not folly to commit them, and have ability enough to make such knaveries yours ?.
Clo. 'Tis not unknown to you, madam, I am a poor fellow.
Count. Well, sir.
“ To see him hold out his chin, hang down his hands,
“ But ravishing joy enter'd into my heart." Malone. 9- to even your content,] To act up to your desires.
JOHNSON. 1 - when of ourselves we publish them.] So, in Troilus and Cressida :
“ The worthiness of praise disdains his worth,
MALONE. 2 — you lack not folly to commit them, and have ability enough to make such knaveries yours.] After premising that the accusative, them, refers to the precedent word, complaints, and that this, by a metonymy of the effect for the cause, stands for the freaks which occasioned those complaints, the sense will be extremely clear : “ You are fool enough to commit those irregularities you are charged with, and vet not so much fool neither, as to discredit the accusation by any defect in your ability.” Heath.
It appears to me that the accusative them refers to knaveries, and the natural sense of the passage seems to be this : “ You have folly enough to desire to commit these knaveries, and ability enough to accomplish them.” M. Mason.
poor; though many of the rich are damned : But, if I may have your ladyship’s good will to go to the world, Isbel the woman and 14 will do as we may.
Count. Wilt thou needs be a beggar ?
Clo. In Isbel's case, and mine own. Service is no heritage 5 : and, I think, I shall never have the blessing of God, till I have issue of my body; for, they say, bearns are blessings.
Count. Tell me thy reason why thou wilt marry.
Clo. My poor body, madam, requires it: I am driven on by the flesh; and he must needs go, that the devil drives.
Count. Is this all your worship's reason ?
Clo. Faith, madam, I have other holy reasons, such as they are. '
Count. May the world know them ?
Clo. I have been, madam, a wicked creature, as you and all flesh and blood are ; and, indeed, I do marry that I may repent.
Count. Thy marriage, sooner than thy wickedness.
Clo. I am out of friends, madam; and I hope to have friends for my wife's sake.
Count. Such friends are thine enemies, knave.
3 — to go to the world,] This phrase has already occurred in Much Ado About Nothing, and signifies to be married : and thus, in As You Like It, Audrey says : “ — it is no dishonest desire, to desire to be a woman of the world.” STEEVENS.
4 – and 1.-] 1, which was inadvertently omitted in the first copy, was supplied by the editor of the second folio.
MALONE. In the first folio, w is put for I. Boswell.
5 Service is no heritage :7 This is a proverbial expression. “ Needs must when the devil drives,” is another. Ritson.
Clo. You are shallow, madam ; e'en great friends"; for the knaves come to do that for me, which I am a-weary of 8. He, that ears my land ,
9 Clo. You are shallow, madam ; E'en great friends ;] The meaning [i. e. of the ancient reading mentioned in the subsequent note] seems to be, you are not deeply skilled in the character or offices of great friends. Johnson.
The old copy reads—in great friends ; evidently a mistake for e'en, which was formerly written e'n. The two words are so near in sound, that they might easily have been confounded by an inattentive hearer.
The same mistake has happened in many other places in our author's plays. So, in the present comedy, Act III. Sc. II. folio, 1623 :
“ Lady. What have we here?
“ Clown. In that you have there." Again, in Antony and Cleopatra :
“No more, but in a woman.” Again, in Twelfth-Night:
« Tis with him in standing water, between boy and man.” Again, in Romeo and Juliet, 1599 :
66 Is it in so ?” The corruption of this passage was pointed out by Mr. Tyrwhitt. For the emendation now made, I am answerable.
MALONE. 8 - the knaves come to do that for me, which I am a-weary of.] The same thought is more dilated in an old MS. play, entitled, The Second Maid's Tragedy :
“ Soph. I have a wife, would she were so preferr'd!
“ And keepes 'em nwte; nay more, a husband's sure : VOL. X.
spares my team, and gives me leave to inn the crop : if I be his cuckold, he's my drudge: He, that comforts my wife, is the cherisher of my flesh and blood; he, that cherishes my flesh and blood, loves my flesh and blood; he, that loves my flesh and blood, is my friend : ergo, he that kisses my wife, is my friend. If men could be contented to be what they are, there were no fear in marriage; for young Charbon the puritan, and old Poysam the papist’, howsoe'er their hearts are severed in religion, their heads are both one, they may joll horns together, like any deer i' the herd.
Count. Wilt thou ever be a foul-mouthed and calumnious knave ?
Clo. A prophet I, madam; and I speak the truth the next way? :
“ To have his children all of one man's gettinge ;
“ I'm e'en as happie then that save a labour.” 9 — that ears my land,] To ear is to plough. So, in Antony and Cleopatra :
"Make the sea serve them, which they ear and wound
“ With keels of every kind.” Steevens. See 1 Sam. viii. 12, Isaiah, xxx. 24, Deut. xxi. 4, Gen. xlv. 6, Exod. xxxiv. 21, for the use of this verb. Henley. :: Young Charbon the puritan, and old Poysam the papist.] I apprehend this should be read old Poisson the papist, alluding to the custom of eating fish on fast days. Charbon the puritan alludes to the firy zeal of that sect. So, Camden, in his Account of the Death of Henry, the Third Earl of Huntingdon, describes him thus; “ purioris religionis studio inflammatus, ministros flagrantiores impendiosè fovendo patrimonium plurimum imminuit."
MALONE. 2 A prophet I, madam; and I speak the truth the next way :) It is a supposition, which has run through all ages and people, that natural fools have something in them of divinity. On which account they were esteemed sacred: Travellers tell us in what esteem the Turks now hold them ; nor had they less honour paid them heretofore in France, as appears from the old word bénet, for à natural fool. Hence it was that Pantagruel, in Rabelais, advised Panurge to go and consult the fool Triboulet as an oracle; which
For I the ballad will repeat,
Which men full true shall find;
Your cuckoo sings by kind. Count. Get you gone, sir ; I'll talk with you more anon.
Stew. May it please you, madam, that he bid Helen come to you; of her I am to speak.
Count. Sirrah, tell my gentlewoman, I would speak with her; Helen I mean. Clo. Was this fair face the cause", quoth she,
[Singing. Why the Grecians sacked Troy Fond done , done fond,
Was this king Priam's joy.
gives occasion to a satirical stroke upon the privy council of Francis the First—“Par l'avis, conseil, prediction des fols vos scavez quants princes, &c. ont esté conservez,” &c. The phrase-"speak the truth the next way,” means directly; as they do who are only the instruments or canals of others ; such as inspired persons were supposed to be. WARBURTON. See the popular story of Nixon the Idiot's Cheshire Prophecy.
Douce. Next way, is nearest way. So, in K. Henry IV. Part I. :
""Tis the next way to turn tailor,” &c. Steevens. “ Next way” is a phrase still used in Warwickshire, and signifies without circumlocution, or going about. Henley..
3 — sings by kind.] I find something like two of the lines of this ballad in John Grange's Garden, 1577 :
“ Content yourself as well as I, let reason rule your minde, “ As cuckoldes come by destinie, so cuckowes sing by kinde.”
STEEVENS. 4 Was this fair face the cause, &c.] The name of Helen, whom the Countess has just called for, brings an old ballad on the sacking of Troy to the Clown's mind. MALONE.
This is a stanza of an old ballad, out of which a word or two are dropt, equally necessary to make the sense and alternate rhyme. For it was not Helen, who was King Priam's joy, but Paris. The third line, therefore, should be read thus :
“Fond done, fond done, for Paris, he," WARBURTON. . If this be a stanza taken from any ancient ballad, it will proba