Page images

And wore us out of act. It much repairs me
To talk of your good father: In his youth
He had the wit, which I can well observe
To-day in our young lords; but they may jest,
Till their own scorn return to them unnoted,
Ere they can hide their levity in honour.?
So like a courtier, contempt nor bitterness
Were in his pride or sharpness; if they were,
His equal had awak'd them; and his honour,
Clock to itself, knew the true minute when
Exception bid him speak, and, at this time,
His tongue obey'd his hand : who were below him
He us'd as creatures of another place;
And bow'd his eminent top to their low ranks,
Making them proud of his humility,
In their poor praise he humbled: Such a man
Might be a copy to these younger times;
Which, follow'd well, would demonstrate them now
But goers backward.

His good remembrance, sir,
Lies richer in your thoughts, than on his tomb;
So in approof lives not his epitaph,
As in your royal speech.'


It much repairs me:--) To repair, in these plays, generally signifies, to renorate.

? He had the wit, &c.] I believe honour is not dignity of birth or rank, but acquired reputation your father, says

the king, had the same airy flights of satirical wit with the young lords of the present time, but they do not what he did, hide their unnoted levity, in honour, corer petty faults with great merit.

This is an excellent observation. Jocose follies, and slight offences, are only allowed by mankind in him that over-powers them by great qualities. JOHNSON.

8 His tongue obey'd his hand:] We should read-His tongue obey'd the hand. That is, the hand of his honour's clock, showing the true minute when exceptions bad him speak, 9 So in approof lives not his epitaph,

As in your royal speech.] Mr. Heath supposes the meaning to be this: “ His epitaph, or the character he left behind him, is [ Exeunt. Flourish,

King. 'Would, I were with him! He would

always say, (Methinks, I hear him now; his plausive words He scatter'd not in ears, but grafted them, To grow there, and to bear,)- Let me not live, Thus his good melancholy oft began, On the catastrophe and heel of pastime, When it was out, let me not live, quoth he, After my flame lacks oil, to be the snuff Of younger spirits, whose apprehensive senses All but new things disdain; whose judgments are Mere fathers of their garments;' whose constancies Expire before their fashions:

--This he wish'd: I, after him, do after him wish too, Since I nor wax, nor honey, can bring home, I quickly were dissolved from my hive, To give some labourers room. 2 Lord.

You are lov'd, -sir; They, that least lend it you, shall lack you

first. King. I fill a place, I know't.—How long is't,

Since the physician at your father's died?
He was much fam’d.

Some six months since, my lord. .
King. If he were living, I would try him yet;--
Lend me an arm;-the rest have worn me out
With several applications:-nature and sickness
Debate it at their leisure. Welcome, count;
My son's no dearer.

Thank your majesty.

not so well established by the specimens he exhibited of his worth, as by your royal report in his favour.”

whose judgments are Mere fathers of their garments;] Who have no other use of their faculties, than to invent new modes of dress.


Rousillon. A Room in the Countess's Palace.

Enter Countess, Steward, and Clown.” Count. I will now hear: what say you of this gentlewoman

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.
Clo. No, madam, 'tis not so well, that I am


Steward, and Clown.] A Clown in Shakspeare is commonly taken for a licensed jester, or domestick fool. We are not to wonder that we find this character often in his plays, since fools were at that time maintained in all great families, to keep up merriment in the house. In the picture of Sir Thomas More's family, by Hans Holbein, the only servant represented is Patison the fool. This is a proof of the familiarity to which they were admitted, not by the great only, but the wise. to even your content,] To act up your

desires. - you lack not folly to commit them, and have ability enough to make such knareries yours.] It appears to me that the accusative them refers to knureries, 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.



[ocr errors]

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 I will do as we may.

Count. Wilt thou needs be a beggar?
Clo. I do beg your good-will in this case.
Count. In what case?

Clo. In Isbel's case, and mine own. Service is no heritage: 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 mụst 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 wicked


Clo. I am out of friends, madam; and I hope to have friends for


wife's sake.
Count. Such friends are thine enemies, knave.

Clo. You are shallow, madam; e'en great friends; for the knaves come to do that for me, which I am a-weary of. He, that ears my land, 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,

[ocr errors]

s to go to the world,] This phrase has already occurred, and signifies to be married. 6 Service is no heritage ] This is a proverbial expression.

that ears my land,] To ear is to plough.


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:


For I the ballad will repeat,

Which men full true shall find ;
Your marriage comes by destiny,

Your cuckoo sings by kind.
Count. Get you gone, sir; I'll talk with you more

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.

8 A prophet I, madum; and I speak the truth the next way:] It is a superstition, 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 a natural fool. Next way, is nearest way.

9 Was this fair face the cause, &c.] The name of Helen, whom

« PreviousContinue »