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The daughter of this lord?
Ber. Admiringly, my liege: at first I stuck my choice upon her, ere my heart Durst make too bold a herald of my tongue: Where the impression of mine eye infixing, Contempt his scornful perspective did lend me, Which warp'd the line of every other favour; Scorn'd a fair colour, or express'd it stol’n; Extended or contracted all proportions, To a most hideous object: Thence it came, That she, whom all men prais'd, and whom myself, Since I have lost, have lov’d, was in mine eye The dust that did offend it. King.
Well excus'd: That thou didst love her, strikes some scores away From the great 'compt: But love, that comes too late, Like a remorseful pardon slowly carried, To the great sender turns a sour offence, Crying, That 's good that's gone: our rash faults Make trivial price of serious things we have, Not knowing them, until we know their grave: Oft our displeasures, to ourselves unjust, Destroy our friends, and after weep their dust: Our own love waking cries to see what 's done, While shameful hate sleeps out the afternoon.s
4 The inaudible and noiseless foot of time &c.] This idea seems to have been caught from the Third Book of Sidney's Arcadia: “The summons of Time had so creepingly stolne upon him, that hee had heard scarcely the noise of his feet.” Steevens.
5 Our own love waking &c.] These two lines I should 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 same purpose; wrote them both down that he might take his choice; and so they happened to be both preserved.
For sleep I think we should read slept. Love cries to see what was done while hatred slept, and suffered mischief to be done. Or the meaning may be, that hatred still continues to sleep at ease, while love is weeping; and so the present reading may stand.
Fohnson I cannot comprehend this passage as it stands, and have no doubt but we should read
Our old love waking, &c.
Be this sweet Helen's knell, and now forget her.
Laf. Come on, my son, in whom my house's name Must be digested give a favour from you, To sparkle in the spirits of my daughter, That she may quickly come.-By my old beard, And every hair that 's on 't, Helen, that's dead, Was a sweet creature; such a ring as this, The last that e'er I took her leave? at court, I saw upon her finger. Ber.
Hers it was not. King. Now, pray you, let me see it; for mine eye, While I was speaking, oft was fasten’d to 't.This ring was mine; and, when I gave it Helen, I bade her, if her fortunes ever stood Necessitied to help, that by this token
Our own love, can mean nothing but our self-love, which would not be sense in this place; but our old love waking, means our former affection being revived. M. Mason.
This conjecture appears to me extremely probable; but wak. ing will not, I think, here admit of Mr. Mason's interpretation, being revived; nor, indeed, is it necessary to his emendation. It is clear, from the subsequent line, that waking is here used in its ordinary sense.
Hate sleeps at ease, unmolested by any remembrance of the dead, while old love, reproaching itself for not having been sufficiently kind to a departed friend, “wakes and weeps;" crying, “that's good that 's gone.” Malone. 6 Which better than the first, О dear heaven, bless!
Or, ere they meet, in me, o nature, cease!!] I have ventured, against the authorities of the printed copies, to prefix the Countess's name to these two lines. The King appears, indeed, to be a favourer of Bertram; but if Bertram should make a bad hus. band the second time, why should it give the King such mortal pangs? A fond and disappointed mother might reasonably not desire to live to see such a day; and from her the wish of dying, rather than to behold it, comes with propriety. Theobald.
,7 The last that e'er I took her leave —] The last time that I saw her, when she was leaving the court. Mr. Rowe and the subsequent editors read--that e'er she took, &c. Malone.
I would relieve her: Had you that craft, to reave her
My gracious sovereign,
Son, on my life,
I am sure, I saw her wear it.
8 I bade her, if her fortunes ever stood
Necessitied to help, that -] Our author here, as in other places, seems to have forgotten, in the close of the sentence, how he began to construct it. See p. 159, n. 8. The meaning however is clear, and I do not suspect any corruption.
Malone. 9 In Florence was it from a casement thrown me,] Bertram still continues to have too little virtue to deserve Helen. He did not know indeed that it was Helen's ring, but he knew that he had it not from a window. Johnson.
noble she was, and thought I stood ingag'd:] Thus the old copy. Dr. Johnson readsengaged. Steevens.
The plain meaning is, when she saw me receive the ring, she thought me engaged to her. Fohnson.
Ingag’d may be intended in the same sense with the reading proposed by Mr. Theobald, [ungag’d] i.e. not engaged; as Shak. speare, in another place, uses gag‘d for engaged. Merchant of Venice, Act I, sc. i. Tyrwhitt.
I have no doubt that ingaged (the reading of the folio) is right.
Gaged is used by other writers, as well as by Shakspeare, for engaged. So, in a Pastoral, by Daniel, 1605:
« Not that the earth did gage
“Her voluntary fruits, free without fees.” Ingaged, in the sense of unengaged, is a word of exactly the same formation as inhabitable, which is used by Shakspeare and the contemporary writers for uninhabitable Malone.
In heavy satisfaction, and would never
She never saw it. King. Thou speak'st it falsely, as I love mine honour; And mak'st conjectural fears to come into me, Which I would fain shut out: If it should prove That thou art so inhuman,—'twill not prove so; And yet I know not:- Thou didst hate her deadly, And she is dead; which nothing, but to close Her eyes myself, could win me to believe, More than to see this ring:--Take him away.
[Guards seize BER. My fore-past proofs, howe'er the matter fall, Shall tax my fears of little vanity,
2 Plutus himself;
That knows the tinct and multiplying medicine,] Plutus the grand alchemist, who knows the tincture which confers the properties of gold upon base metals, and the matter by which gold is multiplied, by which a small quantity of gold is made to communicate its qualities to a large mass of base metal.
In the reign of Henry the Fourth a law was made to forbid all men thenceforth to multiply gold, or use any craft of multiplication. Of which law, Mr. Boyle, when he was warm with the hope of transmutation, procured a repeal. Fohnson.
Then, if you know
Confess 'twas hers,] i. e. confess the ring was hers, for you know iť as well as you know that you are yourself. Elwards:
The true meaning of this expression, is, If you know that your faculties are so sound, as that you have the proper consciousness of your own actions, and are able to recollect and relate what you have done, tell me, &c. Johnson.
Having vainly fear'd too little. -Away with him;
[Exit BER. guarded.
Gracious sovereign, Whether I have been to blame, or no, I know not: Here's a petition from a Florentine, Who hath, for four or five removes, come short To tender it herself. I undertook it, Vanquish'd thereto by the fair grace and speech Of the poor suppliant, who by this, I know, Is here attending: her business looks in her With an importing visage; and she told me, In a sweet verbal brief, it did concern Your highness with herself.
King. [reads] Upon his many protestations to marry me, when his wife was dead, I blush to say it, he won me. Now is the count Rousillon a widower; his vows are forfeited to me, and my honour 'paid to him. He stole from Florence, taking no leave, and I follow him to his country for justice: Grant it me, o king; in you it best lies: otherwise a seducer flourishes, and a poor maid is undone.
DIANA CAPULET. Laf. I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll him: for this, I 'll none of him.6
4 My fore-past proofs, houe'er the matter fall,
Shall tax my fears of little vanity,
Having vainly feard too little.] The proofs which I have already had are sufficient to show that my fears were not vain and irrational. I have rather been hitherto more easy than I ought, and have unreasonably had too little fear. Johnson.
5 Who hath, for four or five removes, come short &c.] Who hath missed the opportunity of presenting it in person to your majesty, either at Marseilles, or on the road from thence to Rou. sillon, in consequence of having been four or five removes behind
Malone. Removes are journies or post-stages. Johnson. 6 I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll him: for this, I'll