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O, these are barren tasks, too hard to keep;
Not to fee ladies, ftudy, faft, not sleep.3

KING. Your oath is pafs'd to pass away from these. BIRON. Let me fay no, my liege, an if you please; I only fwore, to ftudy with your grace, And stay here in your court for three years' space.

LONG. You fwore to that, Biron, and to the rest. BIRON. By yea and nay, fir, then I swore in jest.— What is the end of ftudy? let me know.

KING. Why, that to know, which else we should not know.

BIRON. Things hid and barr'd, you mean, from common sense?

KING. Ay, that is ftudy's god-like recompenfe. BIRON. Come on then, I will swear to ftudy fo, To know the thing I am forbid to know: As thus,-To ftudy where I well may dine, When I to feaft exprefsly am forbid ;4 Or, ftudy where to meet fome mistress fine, When miftreffes from common fenfe are hid:

3 Not to fee ladies, ftudy, faft, not Лleep.] The words as they ftand, will exprefs the meaning intended, if pointed thus: Not to fee ladies-study-faft-not fleep.

Biron is recapitulating the feveral tasks impofed upon him, viz. not to fee ladies, to study, to faft, and not to fleep: but Shakfpeare, by a common poetical licence, though in this paffage injudiciously exercised, omits the article to, before the three laft verbs, and from hence the obfcurity arises, M. MASON.

When I to feaft expressly am forbid ;] The copies all have : "When I to faft exprefsly am forbid ;”

But if Biron ftudied where to get a good dinner, at a time when he was forbid to faft, how was this studying to know what he was forbid to know? Common sense, and the whole tenour of the context, require us to read-feajt, or to make a change in the laft word of the verfe :-" When I to faft exprefsly am fore-bid;" i, e. when I am enjoined before-hand to faft. THEOBALD.

Or, having fworn too hard-a-keeping oath,
Study to break it, and not break my troth.
If ftudy's gain be thus, and this be fo,5
Study knows that, which yet it doth not know:
Swear me to this, and I will ne'er say, no.


KING. These be the stops that hinder ftudy quite, And train our intellects to vain delight.

BIRON, Why, all delights are yain; but that most


Which, with pain purchas'd, doth inherit pain:
As, painfully to pore upon a book,

To feek the light of truth; while truth the while Doth falfely blind the eyefight of his look:

Light, seeking light, doth light of light beguile; So, ere you find where light in darkness lies, Your light grows dark by lofing of your eyes, Study me how to please the eye indeed, By fixing it upon a fairer eye; Who dazzling fo, that eye fhall be his heed, And give him light that was it blinded by.”

$ If ftudy's gain be thus, and this befo,] Read: If ftudy's gain be this. RITSON,


while truth the while

Doth falfely blind-] Falfely is here, and in many other places, the fame as difhoneftly or treacherously. The whole fenfe of this gingling declamation is only this, that a man by too clofe Study may read himself blind; which might have been told with lefs obfcurity in fewer words. JOHNSON.

7 Who dazzling fo, that eye fhall be his heed,

And give him light that was it blinded by.] This is another paffage unneceffarily obfcure; the meaning is: that when he dazzles, that is, has his eye made weak, by fixing his eye upon a fairer eye, that fairer eye shall be his heed, his direction or lode-fiar, (See Midfummer-Night's Dream,) and give him light that was blinded by it. JOHNSON.

The old copies read-it was. Corrected by Mr. Steevens.


Study is like the heaven's glorious fun,

That will not be deep-fearch'd with faucy looks; Small have continual plodders ever won,

Save bafe authority from others' books. These earthly godfathers of heaven's lights, That give a name to every fixed ftar, Have no more profit of their fhining nights,

Than those that walk, and wot not what they are. Too much to know, is, to know nought but fame; And every godfather can give a name.8

KING. How well he's read, to reafon against reading!

DUM. Proceeded well, to ftop all good proceeding !9

LONG. He weeds the corn, and still lets grow the weeding.

BIRON. The fpring is near, when green geese are a breeding.

DUM. How follows that?

Too much to know, is, to know nought but fame;

And every godfather can give a name.] The confequence, fays Biron, of too much knowledge, is not any real folution of doubts, but mere empty reputation. That is, too much knowledge gives only fame, a name which every godfather can give likewife. JOHNSON.

• Proceeded well, to stop all good proceeding!] To proceed is an academical term, meaning, to take a degree, as he proceeded bachelor in phyfick. The fenfe is, he has taken his degrees in the art of hindering the degrees of others. JOHNSON.

So, in a quotation by Dr. Farmer: "-fuch as practise to proceed in all evil wife, till from Batchelors in Newgate, by degrees they proceed to be Maifters, and by defert be preferred at Tyborne." I cannot ascertain the book from which this paffage was transcribed. STEEVENS.

I don't fufpect that Shakspeare had any academical term in contemplation, when he wrote this line. He has proceeded well, means only, he has gone on well. M. MASON.

Fit in his place and time.


DUM. In reafon nothing.

Something then in rhyme. LONG. Biron is like an envious fneaping froft,' That bites the first-born infants of the fpring. BIRON. Well, fay I am; why should proud fummer boast,

Before the birds have any caufe to fing?
Why should I joy in an abortive birth?
At Chriftmas I no more defire a rofe,
Than with a fnow in May's new-fangled fhows;
But like of each thing, that in feafon grows."



fneaping froft,] So fneaping winds in The Winter's Tale: To fneap is to check, to rebuke. Thus also, Falstaff, in King Henry IV. P. II: "I will not undergo this neap, without reply." STEEVENS.

2 Why Should I joy in an abortive birth?

At Chriftmas I no more defire a rofe,

Than with a Snow in May's new-fangled shows;

But like of each thing, that in feafon grows.] As the greatest part of this fcene (both what precedes and follows) is ftrictly in rhymes, either fucceffive, alternate, or triple, I am perfuaded, that the copyifts have made a flip here. For by making a triplet of the three laft lines quoted,. birth in the clofe of the first line is quite deftitute of any rhyme to it. Befides, what a difpleafing identity of found recurs in the middle and clofe of this verfe?

"Than with a fnow in May's new-fangled Shows ;"

Again, new-fangled Shows feems to have very little propriety The flowers are not new-fangled; but the earth is new-fangled by the profufion and variety of the flowers, that fpring on its bofom in May. I have therefore ventured to substitute earth, in the clofe of the third line, which reftores the alternate measure. It was very eafy for a negligent transcriber to be deceived by the rhyme immediately preceding; fo mistake the concluding word in the fequent line, and corrupt it into one that would chime with the other. THEOBALD.

I rather fufpect a line to have been loft after " an abortive birth.”

So you, to ftudy now it is too late,
Climb o'er the house 3 to unlock the little gate.
KING. Well, fit you out :4 go home, Biron; adieu!
BIRON. No, my good lord; I have sworn to stay
with you:

And, though I have for barbarism spoke more,
Than for that angel knowledge you can fay,
Yet confident I'll keep what I have swore,
And bide the penance of each three years' day.

For an in that line the old copies have any.

Corrected by Mr.

By thefe Shows the poet means Maygames, at which a snow would be very unwelcome and unexpected. It is only a periphrafis for May. T. WARTON.

I have no doubt that the more obvious interpretation is the true So, in Chaucer's Knightes Tale:


"And fresher than May with floures new-.

So alfo, in our poet's King Richard II :

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"She came adorned hither, like sweet May."

í. e. as the ground is in that month enamelled by the gay diversity of flowers which the fpring produces.

Again, in The Deftruction of Troy, 1619: "At the entry of the month of May, when the earth is attired and adorned with diverfe flowers," &c. MALONE.

I concur with Mr. Warton; for with what propriety can the flowers which every year produces with the fame identical shape and colours, be called-new-fangled? The fports of May might be annually diversified, but its natural productions would be invariably the fame. STEEVENS.

3 Climb o'er the houfe &c.] This is the reading of the quarto, 1598, and much preferable to that of the folio:

"That were to climb o'er the house to unlock the gate." MALONE.

-fit you out] This may mean, hold you out, continue refractory But I fufpect, we should read-set you out.

MALONE. To fit out, is a term from the card-table. Thus, Bishop Sanderfon :


They are glad, rather than fit out, to play very small



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