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PERSONS represented.

Duke, living in exile.

Frederick, brother to the Duke, and ufurper of his


Amiens, Lords attending upon the Duke in his banishment.


Le Beau, a courtier attending upon
Charles, his wrestler.


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Sylvius,} Shepherds.

William, a country fellow, in love with Audrey.

A perfon reprefenting Hymen.

Rofalind, daughter to the banished Duke.

Celia, daughter to Frederick.

Phebe, a shepherdefs.

Audrey, a country wench.

Lords belonging to the two Dukes; Pages, Foresters, and other Attendants.

The SCENE lies, first, near Oliver's house; afterwards, partly in the Ufurper's court, and partly in the foreft of Arden.

The lift of the perfons being omitted in the old editions, was added by Mr. Rowe. JOHNSON.


An Orchard, near Oliver's Houfe.


ORL. As I remember, Adam, it was upon this fashion bequeathed me: By will, but a poor thoufand crowns; and, as thou fay'st, charged my brother, on his bleffing, to breed me well: and there begins my sadness. My brother Jaques he keeps

2 As I remember, Adam, it was upon this fashion bequeathed me: By will, but a poor thousand crowns; &c.] The grammar, as well as fenfe, fuffers cruelly by this reading. There are two nominatives to the verb bequeathed, and not so much as one to the verb charged: and yet, to the nominative there wanted, [his bleffing] refers. So that the whole fentence is confufed and obfcure. A very small alteration in the reading and pointing fets all right.-As I remember, Adam, it was upon this my father bequeathed me, &c. The grammar is now rectified, and the fenfe alfo; which is this. Orlando and Adam were difcourfing together on the cause why the younger brother had but a thoufand crowns left him. They agree upon it; and Orlando opens the fcene in this manner, Ás I remember, it was upon this, i. e. for the reafon we have been talking of, that my father left me but a thousand crowns; however, to make amends for this fcanty provifion, he charged my brother on his bleffing to breed me well. WARBURTON.

There is, in my opinion, nothing but a point misplaced, and an omiffion of a word which every hearer can fupply, and which therefore an abrupt and eager dialogue naturally excludes.

I read thus: As I remember, Adam, it was on this fashion be queathed me. By will, but a poor thousand crowns; and, as thou fayeft, charged my brother, on his bleffing, to breed me well. What is there in this difficult or obfcure? The nominative my father is certainly left out, but fo left out that the auditor inferts it, in spite of himself. JOHNSON.

at school, and report speaks goldenly of his profit: for my part, he keeps me ruftically at home, or, to fpeak more properly, ftays me here at home unkept: For call you that keeping for a gentleman of my birth, that differs not from the ftalling of an ox? His horfes are bred better; for, befides that they are fair with their feeding, they are taught their manage, and to that end riders dearly hired: but I, his brother, gain nothing under him but growth; for the which his animals on his dunghills are as much bound to him as I. Besides this nothing that he fo plentifully gives me, the fomething that nature gave me, his countenance feems to take from me: he lets me feed with his hinds,

it was on this fashion bequeathed me, as Dr. Johnfon reads, is but aukward English. I would read: As I remember, Adam, it was on this fashion. He bequeathed me by will, &c. Orlando and Adam enter abruptly in the midft of a converfation on this topick; and Orlando is correcting fome mifapprehenfion of the other. As I remember (fays he) it was thus. He left me a thousand crowns; and, as thou fayeft, charged my brother, &c. BLACKSTONE. Omiffion being of all the errors of the prefs the most common, I have adopted the emendation proposed by Sir W. Blackstone. MALONE.

Being fatisfied with Dr. Johnfon's explanation of the passage as it ftands in the old copy, I have followed it. STEEVENS.

3 Stays me here at home unkept :] We fhould read flys, i. e. keeps me like a brute. The following words-for call you that keepingthat differs not from the ftalling of an ox? confirms this emendation. So Caliban fays,

"And here you fty me

"In this hard rock." WARBURTON.

Sties is better than ftays, and more likely to be Shakspeare's.

So, in Noah's Flood, by Drayton:

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And fty themselves up in a little room." STEEVENS. his countenance feems to take from me:] We fhould cer tainly read-his discountenance. WARBURTON.

There is no need of change; a countenance is either good or bad. JOHNSON.

bars me the place of a brother, and, as much as in him lies, mines my gentility with my education. This is it, Adam, that grieves me; and the fpirit of my father, which I think is within me, begins to mutiny against this fervitude: I will no longer endure it, though yet I know no wife remedy how to avoid it.


ADAM. Yonder comes my mafter, your brother. ORL. Go apart, Adam, and thou fhalt hear how he will shake me up.

OLI. Now, fir! what make you here?s

ORL. Nothing: I am not taught to make any thing.

OLI. What mar you then, fir?

ORL. Marry, fir, I am helping you to mar that which God made, a poor unworthy brother of yours, with idleness.

OLI. Marry, fir, be better employ'd, and be naught awhile."

S - what make you here?] i. e. what do you here? So, in Hamlet:

"What make you at Elfinour?" STEEVENS.

6 be better employ'd, and be naught a while.] Mr. Theobald has here a very critical note; which, though his modesty suffered him to withdraw it from his fecond edition, deferves to be perpetuated, i. e. (fays he) be better employed, in my opinion, in being and doing nothing. Your idleness, as you call it, may be an exercife by which you make a figure, and endear yourself to the world: and I had rather you were a contemptible cypher. The poet seems to me to have that trite proverbial fentiment in his eye, quoted from Attilius, by the younger Pliny and others; fatius eft otiofum effe quàm nihil agere. But Oliver, in the perverfenefs of his difpofition, would reverfe the doctrine of the proverb. Does the reader know what all this means? But 'tis no matter. I will affure him-be nought a

ORL. Shall I keep your hogs, and eat husks with them? What prodigal portion have I spent, that I fhould come to fuch penury?

while is only a north-country proverbial curfe equivalent to, a mifchief on you. So, the old poet Skelton:

"Correct firft thy felfe, walk and be nought,

"Deeme what thou lift, thou knoweft not my thought." But what the Oxford editor could not explain, he would amend, and reads:

and do aught a while. WARBURTON.

If be nought awhile has the fignification here given it, the reading may certainly ftand; but till I learned its meaning from this note, I read:

Be better employed, and be naught a while,

In the fame fenfe as we fay,-It is better to do mischief, than to do nothing. JOHNSON.

Notwithstanding Dr. Warburton's far-fetched explanation, I believe that the words be naught awhile, mean no more than this: "Be content to be a cypher, till I fhall think fit to elevate you into confequence."

This was certainly a proverbial faying, I find it in The Storie of King Darius, an interlude, 1565:

"Come away, and be nought a whyle,
"Or furely I will you both defyle."

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Again, in King Henry IV. P. II. Falftaff fays to Pistol: Nay, if he do nothing but speak nothing, he shall be nothing here."


Naught and nought are frequently confounded in old English books. I once thought that the latter was here intended, in the fenfe affixed to it by Mr. Steevens: "Be content to be a cypher, till I fhall elevate you into confequence." But the following paffage in Swetnam, a comedy, 1620, induces me to think that the reading of the old copy (naught) and Dr. Johnfon's explanation are right:


get you both in, and be naught a while." The fpeaker is a chamber-maid, and fhe addreffes herself to her miftrefs and her lover. MALONE.

Malone fays that nought (meaning nothing) was formerly spelled with an a, naught; which is clearly the manner in which it ought ftill to be fpelled, as the word aught (any thing) from whence it is derived, is fpelled fo.

A fimilar expreffion occurs in Bartholomew Fair, where Urfula fays to Mooncalf: "Leave the bottle behind you, and be curs'd awhile;" which feems to confirm Warburton's explanation. M. MASON.

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