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I know not the contents; but, as I guess,
By the stern brow, and waspish action
Which she did use as she was writing of it,
It bears an angry tenour: pardon me,
I am but as a guiltless messenger.

Ros. Patience herself would startle at this letter,
And play the swaggerer;2 bear this, bear all:
She says, I am not fair; that I lack manners;
She calls me proud; and that she could not love me
Were man as rare as phænix; Od's my will!
Her love is not the hare that I do hunt:
Why writes she so to me!--Well, shepherd, well,
This is a letter of your own device. ·

Sil. No, I protest: I know not the contents;
Phebe did write it.

Come, come, you are a fool,
And turn'd into the extremity of love.
I saw her hand; she has a leathern hand,
A freestone-colour'd hand ;3 I verily did think
That her old gloves were on, but 'twas her hands;
She has a huswife's hand: but that's no matter:
I say, she never did invent this letter;
This is a man's invention, and his hand.

Sil. Sure, it is hers.

Ros. Why, 'tis a boisterous and a cruel style, A style for challengers; why, she defies me, Like Turk to Christian; woman's gentle brain Could not drop forth such giant-rude invention,

Patience herself would startle at this letter,
And play the swaggerer;] So, in Measure for Measure:
“ This would make mercy swear, and play the tyrant."

Steevens. 3 Phebe did write it.

Ros. Come, come, you are a fool.
I saw her hand: she has a leathern hand,

A freestone-colourd hand;} As this passage now stands, the metre of the first line is imperfect, and the sense of the whole; for why should Rosalind dwell so much upon Phebe's hands, unless Silvius had said something about them?--I have no doubt but the line originally ran thus:

Phebe did write it with her own fair hand.
And then Rosalind's reply will naturally follow. M. Mason.

- woman's gentle brain -] Old copy-women's. Correcta ed by Mr. Rowe. Malone.



Such Ethiop words, blacker in their effect
Than in their countenance:-Will you hear the letter?

Sil. So please you, for I never heard it yet;
Yet heard too much of Phebe's cruelty.
Ros. She Phebes me: Mark how the tyrant writes.

Art thou god to shepherd turn’d, [Reads.

That a maiden's heart hath burn'd?-
Can a woman rail thus?

Sil. Call you this railing?
Ros. Why, thy godhead laid apart,

Warr'st thou with a woman's heart?
Did you ever hear such railing ?-

Whiles the eye of man did woo me,

That could do no vengeances to me.-
Meaning me a beast.-

If the scorn of your bright eyne
Have power to raise such love in mine,
Alack, in me what strange effect
Would they work in mild aspéct?


I did love;
How then might your prayers move?
He, that brings this love to thee,
Little knows this love in me:
And by him seal up thy mind;
Whether that thy youth and kind6
Will the faithful offer take
Of me, and all that I can make;?
Or else by him iny love deny,

And then I'li study how to die.
Sil. Call you this chiding?

Cel. Alas, poor shepherd!
Ros. Do you pity him? no, he deserves no pity.--

Whiles you



vengeance —] is used for mischief. Johnson.
youth and kind -] Kind is the old word for nature.

Yohnson. So, in Antony and Cleopatra : “ You must think this, look you, that the worm will do his hind.Steevens.

all that I can make ;] i. e. raise as profit from any thing. So, in Measure for Measure: - He's in for a commodity of brown paper; of which he made five marks ready money.” Steevens.


Wilt thou love such a woman? - What, to make thee an instrument, and play false strains upon thee! not to be endured! - Well, go your way to her, (for I see, love hath made thee a tame snakes) and say this to her; That if she love me, I charge her to love thee: if she will not, I will never have her, unless thou entreat for her.-If you be a true lover, hence, and not a word; for here comes more company.

[Erit Sil. Enter OLIVER. Oli. Good-morrow, fair ones: Pray you, if you know Where, in the purlieus' of this forest stands A sheep-cote, fenc'd about with olive-trees?

Cel. West of this place, down in the neighbour bottom,
The rank of osiers, by the murmuring stream,
Left on your right hand, brings you to the place:
But at this hour the house doth keep itself,

none within.
Oli. If that an eye may profit by a tongue,
Then I should know you by description;
Such garments, and such years: The boy is fair,
Of female favour, and bestows himself
Like a ripe sister:2 but the woman low, 3



- and you,


I see, love hath made thee a tame snake)] This term was, in our author's time, frequently used to express a poor contemptible fellow. So, in Sir John Oldcastle, 1600: “. poor snakes, come seldom to a booty.” Again, in Lord Cromwell, 1602;

the poorest snake,
" That feeds on lemons, pilchards ” Malone.

- purlieus of this forest,] Purlieu, says Manwood's Treatise on the Forest Laws, c. xx, “Is a certaine territorie of ground adjoyning unto the forest, meared and boundleci with moveable marks, meeres, and boundaries : which territories of ground was also forest, and afterwards disa forested againe by the perambulations made for the severing of the new forest from the old.”

Reel. Bullokar, in his Expositor, 1616, describes a pırlieu as “ a place neere joining to a forest, where it is lawful for the owner of the ground to hunt, if he can dispend fortie shillings by the yeere, of freeland.” Malone.

1 Left on your right hand,] i. e. passing by the rank of oziers, and leaving them on your right hand, you will reach the place.

Malone. bestows himself Like a ripe sister:] Of this quaint phraseology there is an


And browner than her brother.

Are not you The owner of the house I did inquire for?

Cel. It is no boast, being ask'd, to say, we are.

Oli, Orlando doth commend him to you both;
And to that youth, he calls his Rosalind,
He sends this bloody napkin;4 Are you he?

Ros. I am: What must we understand by this?

Oli. Some of my shame; if you will know of me
What man I am, and how, and why, and where
This handkerchief was stain'd.

I pray you, tell it.
Oli. When last the young Orlando parted from you,
He left a promise to return again
Within an hour;s and, pacing through the forest,
Chewing the food of sweet and bitter fancy,6
Lo, what befel! he threw his eye aside,
And, mark, what object did present itself!
Under an oak,? whose boughs were moss'd with age,


example in King Henry IV, P. II: “How might we see Falstaff bestow himself to-night in his true colours !Steevens.

- but the woman low,] But, which is not in the old copy, was added by the editor of the second folio, to supply the metre. I suspect it is not the word omitted, but have nothing better to propose.


napkin;] i. e. handkerchief. Ray says, that a pocket handkerchief is so called about Sheffield, in Yorkshire. So, in Greene's Never too Late, 1616: “I can wet one of my new lockram napkins with weeping."

Napery, indeed, signifies linen in general. So, in Decker's Honest Whore, 1635:

pr’ythee put me into wholesome napery." Again, in Chapman's May-Day, 1611: “Besides your munition of manchet napery plates." Naperia, Ital. Steevens.

5 Within an hour ;] We must read-within two hours. Johnson. May not within an hour signify within a certain time? Tyrwhitt.

of sweet and bitter fancy,] i. e. love, which is always thus described by our old poets, as composed of contraries. note on Romeo and Juliet, Act I, sc. ii.

So, in Lodge's Rosalynde, 1590: “I have noted the variable disposition of fancy,- -a bitter pleasure wrapt in sweet preju. dice.” Malone.

7 Under an oak, &c.] The ancient copy reads-Under an old oak; but as this epithet hurts the measure, without improvement of the sense, (for we are told in the same line that its “boughs were moss'd with age," and afterwards, that its top was “bald



See a

And high top bald with dry antiquity,
A wretched ragged man, o'ergrown with hair,
Lay sleeping on his back: about his neck
A green and gilded snake had wreath'd itself,
Who with her head, nimble in threats, approach'd
The opening of his mouth; but suddenly
Seeing Orlando, it unlink'd itself,
And with indented glides did slip away
Into a bush: under which bush's shade
A lioness, with udders all drawn dry,8
Lay couching, head on ground, with catlike watch,
When that the sleeping man should stir; for 'tis
The royal disposition of that beast,
To prey on nothing that doth seem as dead :
This seen, Orlando did approach the man,

with dry antiquity") I have omitted old, as an unquestionable interpolation. Steevens.

Under an oak, &c.] The passage stands thus in Lodge's novel: “Saladyne, wearie with wandring up and downe, and hungry with long fasting, finding a little cave by the side of a thicket, eating such fruite as the forrest did affoord, and contenting himself with such drinke as nature had provided, and thirst made delicate, after his repast he fell into a dead sleepe. As thus he lay, a hungry lyon came hunting downe the edge of the grove for

pray, and espying Saladyne, began to ceaze upon him: but seeing he lay still without any motion, he left to touch him, for that lyons hate to pray on dead carkasses: and yet desirous to have some foode, the lyon lay downe and watcht to see if he would stirre. While thus Saladyne slept secure, fortune that was careful of her champion, began to smile, and brought it so to passe, that Rosader (having stricken a deere that but lightly hurt fed through the thieket) came pacing downe by the grove with a boare-speare in his hande in great baste, he spyed where a man lay asleepe, and a lyon fast by him: amazed at this sight, as he stood gazing, his nose on the sodaine bledde, which made him conjecture it was some friend of his. Whereupon drawing more nigh, he might easily discerne his visage, and perceived by his phisnomie that it was his brother Saladyne, which drave Rosader into a deepe passion, as a man perplexed, &c.- -But the present time cravedl no such doubting ambages: for he must eyther resolve to hazard his life for his reliefe, or else steal away and leave him to the crueltie of the lyon. In which doubt hee thus briefly debated,” &c. Steevens.

: A lioness, with udelers all drawn dry,] So, in Arden of Feversham, 1592:

the starven lioness “ When she is dry-suckt of her eager young.” Steevens.

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