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[Sound trumpets.] The King's coming, I know, by his trumpets. Sirrah, inquire further after me; I had talk of you last night; tho' you are a fool and a knave, you fhall eat; 3 go to, follow.
Par. I praife God for you.
Flourish. Enter King, Countefs, Lafeu, the two French Lords, with Attendants.
King. We loft a jewel of her; and our ✦ esteem Was made much poorer by it: but your fon,
As mad in folly, lack'd the fense to know
Count. 'Tis paft, my liege:
And I beseech your majefty to make it
King. My honour'd lady,
I have forgiven and forgotten all :
Tho' my revenges were high bent upon him,
3-you fhall cat;] Parolles has many of the lineaments of Falstaff, aud feems to be the character which Shakespeare delighted to draw, a fellow that had more wit than virtue. Though juftice required that he should be detected and expofed, yet his vices fit fo fit in him that he is not at last fuffered to starve.
efteem] Dr. Warburton, in Theobald's edition, altered this word to eftate, in his own he lets it stand and explains it by worth or eftate. But efteem is here reckoning or efiimate. Since the lofs of Helen with her virtues and qualifications, our account is Junk; what we have to reckon ourselves king of, is much poorer than before. JOHNSON.
bome.] That is, completely, in its full extent. JOHNSON. blade of youth,] In the spring of early life, when the man is yet green, oil and fire fuit but ill with blade, and therefore Dr. Warburton reads, blaze of youth. JOHNSON.
Laf. This I muft say,
But first I beg my pardon,―The young lord
Of richeft eyes; whofe words all ears took captive;
King. Praifing what is loft,
Makes the remembrance dear. Well-call him
We are reconcil'd, and the first view shall kill'
Gent. I fhall, my liege.
King. What fays he to your daughter? Have you fpoke?
Laf. All, that he is, hath reference to your high
the first view fhall kiil
All repetition :
The first interview feal put an end to all recollection of the past. Shakespeare is now haftening to the end of the play, finds his matter fufficient to fill up his remaining fcenes, and therefore, as on other fuch occafions, contracts his dialogue and precipitates his action. Decency required that Bertram's double crime of cruelty and difobedience, joined likewife with fome hypocrify, fhould raise more refentment; and that though his mother might easily forgive him, his king fhould more pertinaciously vindicate his own authority and Helen's merit: of all this Shakespeare could not be ignorant, but Shakespeare wanted to conclude his play. JOHNSON.
King. Then fhall we have a match. I have letters
That fet him high in fame.
Laf. He looks well on't.
King. I am not a day of season,
Ber. My high repented blames ',
King. All is whole;
Not one word more of the confumed time.
For we are old, and on our quick'ft decrees
Steals, ere we can effect them. You remember
Ber. Admiringly, my liege. At first
High-repented blames, are faults repented of to the height, to the utmoft. STEEVENS.
SCORN'D a fair colour, or express'd it foll'n ;] Firft, it is to be obferved, that this young man's cafe was not indifference to the fex in general, but a very strong attachment to one; therefore he could not corn a fair colour, for it was that which had captivated him. But he might very naturally be faid to do what men, ftrongly attach'd to one, commonly do, not al
Extended, or contracted, all proportions
To a most hideous object: Thence it came,
King. Well excus'd:
That thou doft love her, ftrikes fome scores away
To the great fender turns a four offence,
low beauty in any face but his miftrefs's. And that this was the
1. From the latter part of the verse,
or exprefs'd it floll'n:
2. From the preceding verse,
Which warp'd the line of every other favour 3
3. From the following verses,
Extended or contracted all proportions
To a moft hideous object :
Secondly, It is to be observed, that he defcribes his indifference for others in highly figurative expreffions. Contempt is brought in lending him her perfpective-glafs, which does its office properly by warping the lines of all other faces; by extending or contracting into a bideous object; or by expreffing or fhewing native red and white as paint. But with what propriety of fpeeth can this glafs be faid to fcorn, which is an affection of the mind? Here then the metaphor becomes miferably mangled; but the forego ing obfervation will lead us to the genuine reading, which is,
SCORCH'D a fair colour, or express'd it floll'n; i. e. this glafs represented the owner as brown or tanned; or, if not fo, caufed the native colour to appear artificial. Thus he fpeaks in character, and confiftently with the rest of his fpeech. The emendation reftores integrity to the figure, and, by a beautiful thought, makes the fcornful perspective of contempt do the office of a burning-glass. WARBURTON.
It was but just to infert this note, long as it is, because the commentator feems to think it of importance. Let the reader judge. JOHNSON.
Make trivial price of ferious things we have,
Deftroy our friends, and, after, weep their duft:
Count. Which better than the firft, O dear heaven blefs.
Or, ere they meet, in me, O nature, cease!
Laf. Come on, my fon, in whom my houfe's name Must be digefted: give a favour. from you
To fparkle in the fpirits of my daughter,
That the may quickly come. By my old beard,
1 Our own love waking, &c.]
Thefe two lines I fhould be glad to call an interpolation of a player. They are ill connected with the former, and not very clear or proper in themselves. I believe the author made two couplets to the fame purpose, wrote them both down that he might take his choice, and fo they happened to be both preferved.
For fleep I think we thould read flept. Love cries to fee what was done while hatred flept, and fuffered mifchief to be done. Or the meaning may be, that hatred fill continues to fleep at eafe, while love is weeping; and fo the prefent reading may ftand.
JOHNSON. 2 Which better than the firft, O dear heav'n, blefs, Or, e'er they meet, in m, O nature, ceaje!]
I have ventured, against the authorities of the printed copies, to prefix the Countefs's name to thefe two lines. The King appears, indeed, to be a favourer of Bertram: but if Bertram fhould make a bad husband the fecond time, why should it give the King fuch mortal pangs? A fond and difappointed mother might reafonably not defire to live to fee fuch a day and from her the wish of dying, rather than to behold it, comes with propriety. THEOBALD.