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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,Thuss 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 ;6 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.
the specimens he exhibited of his worth, as by your royal report in his favour.” The passage above quoted from Act II, supports this interpretation. Malone. 5 Thus —] Old copy-This. Corrected by Mr. Pope.
Malone. whose judgments are Mere fathers of their garments;] Who have no other use of their faculties, than to invent new modes of dress. Johnson.
I have a suspicion that Shakspeare wrote-mere feathers of their garments; i. e. whose judgments are merely parts (and insignificant parts) of their dress, worn and laid aside, as feathers are, from the mere love of novelty and change. He goes on to say, that they are even less constant in their judgments than in their dress :
their constancies Expire before their fashions. Tyrwhitt. The reading of the old copy-fathers, is supported by a similar passage in Cymbeline :
some jay of Italy
No, nor thy tailor, rascal,
“ Which, as it seems, make thee.” There the garment is said to be the father of the man:-in the text, the judgment, being employed solely in forming or giving birth to new dresses, is called the father of the garment. So, in King Henry IV, P. II:
every minute now “Should be the father of some stratagem.” Malone.
You are lovid, sir; They, that least lend it you, shall lack you first.
King. I fill a place, I know it. How long is 't, count, Since the physician at your father's died? He was much fam’d. Ber.
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. Ber.
Thank your majesty. .
Rousillon. A Room in the Countess's Palace.
Enter Countess, Steward, and Clown.8. Count. I will now hear: what say you of this gentlewoman?
- nature and sickness
“ Death and nature do contend about them.” Steevens.,
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.
In some plays, a servant, or a rustic, of a remarkable petulance and freedom of speech, is likewise called a clown.
Fohnson. Cardinal Wolsey, after his disgrace, wishing to show King Henry VIII a mark of his respect, sent him his fool Patch, as a present; whom, says Stowe, “the King received' very gladly.”
Malone. This dialogue, or that in Twelfth Night, between Olivia and the Clown, seems to have been particularly censured by Cartwright, in one of the copies of verses prefixed to the works of Beaumont and Fletcher:
“ Shakspeare to thee was dull, whose best jest lies
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.1
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.?
“ Old fashion'd wit, which walk'd from town to town
“In trunk-hose, which our fathers call'd the Clown.” In the MS. Register of Lord Stanhope of Harrington, trea. surer of the chamber to King James I, from 1613 to 1616, are the following entries: “ Tom Derry, bis majesty's fool, at 28. per diem,-1615: Paid John Mawe for the diet and lodging of Thomas Derrie, her majesty's jester, for 13 weeks, 101. 188. 60.-1616" Steevens.
The following lines in The Careless Shepherdess, a comedy, 1656, exhibit probably a faithful portrait of this once admired character:
“ Why, I would have the fool in every act,
“But ravishing joy enter'd into my heart.” Malone. - to even your content,] To act up to your desires. Johnson.
when of ourselves we publish them.] So, in Troilus and Cressida :
“ The worthiness of praise distains his worth,
Malone. you lack not folly to commit them, and have ability enough to make such knaveries yours.] After premising that the accusative, them refers to the precedent word, complaints, and that this, by a metonymy of the effect for the cause, stands for the freaks which occasioned those complaints, the sense will be extremely clear: “You are fool enough to commit those irregu. larities you are charged with, and yet not so much fool neither, as to discredit the accusation by any defect in your ability.”
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 poor; though many of the rich are damned:3 But, if I may have your ladyship's good will to go to the world, * Isbel the woman and 15 will do as we may.
Count. Wilt thou needs be a beggar?
Clo. In Isbel's case, and mine own. Service is no heritage:6 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 must 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 wickedness.
Clo. I am out of friends, madam; and I hope to have friends for my wife's sake.
It appears to me that the accusative them refers to knaderies, and the natural sense of the passage seems to be this: “ You have folly enough to desire to commit these knaveries, and abi. lity enough to accomplish them.” M. Mason. are damned:] See S. Mark, x, 25; S. Luke, xviii, 25.
Grey. to go to the world,] This phrase has already occurred in Much Ado about Nothing, and signifies to be married: and thus, in As you Like it, Audrey says: it is no dishonest desire, to desire to be a woman of the world.” Steevens.
and 1-] 1, which was inadvertently omitted in the first copy, was supplied by the editor of the second folio.
Malone, 6 Service is no heritage:] This is a proverbial expression. Neede st when the devil drives, is another. Ritson.
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.8 He, that ears my land, o spares my team,
7 Clo. You are shallow, madam ; e’en great friends ;] The mean. ing [i. e. of the ancient reading mentioned in the subsequent note) seems to be, you are not deeply skilled in the character or offices of great friends. Johnson.
The old copy reads-in great friends ; evidently a mistake for een, which was formerly written e'n. The two words are so near in sound, that they might easily have been confounded by an inattentive hearer.
The same mistake has happened in many other places in our author's plays. So, in the present comedy, Act III, sc. ii, folio, 1623:
Ladj. What have we here!
“ Clown. In that you have there." Again, in Antony and Cleopatra:
“No more but in a woman." Again, in Twelfth Night:
“'Tis with him in standing water, between boy and man." The corruption of this passage was pointed out by Mr. Tyr. whitt. For the emendation now made, I am answerable.
Malone. the knaves come to do that for me, which I am a-teary of:] The same thought is more dilated in an old MS. play, entitled, The Second Maid's Tragedy: “ Soph. I have a wife, would she were so preferr'd!
“ I could but be her subject; so I am now.
that ears my land,] To ear is to plough. So, in Antony and Cleopatra: