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KING. How well he's read, to reason against

reading! Dum. Proceeded well, to stop all good proceed


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Long. He weeds the corn, and still lets grow the

weeding BIRON. The spring is near, when green geese arę

a breeding.
Dum. How follows that?

Fit in his place and time
Dum. In reason nothing.

Something then in rhime,
LONG. Biron is like an envious sneaping frost, *

That bites the first-born infants of the spring.
Biron. Well, say I am ; why should proud sum.

mer boast;
Before the birds have any cause to fing?
Why should I joy in an abortive birth ?
At Christmas I no more delire a rose,
T'han wish a snow in May's new-fangled shows;
But like of each thing, that in season grows."

Biron, of too much knowledge, is not any real folution of doubts, but mere empty. reputation. That is, too much knowledge gives only fame, a name which every godfather can give likewise. JOHNSON.

9 Proceeded well, to stop all good proceeding ! ] To procere is an academical ierm, meaning, to take a degree, as he proceeded bachelor in physick. The sense is, he has taken his degrees in the art of hindering the degrees of others. JOHNSON.

I don't susped that Shakspeare had any academical term in con. templation, when he wrote this line. He has proceeded well, means only, he has gone on well. M. MASON.

sneaping frojt, ] So sneaping winds in The Winter's Tale: To sneap is to check, to rebuke. Thus also, Falstaff, in K. Henry IV. P. II: " I will not undergo this sneap, without reply." SreeVENS, 3 Why Should I joy in an abortive birth

At Christmas I no more desire a rose,
Than wish a snow. in May's new- »- fangled shows;
But like of each thing, that in seafon grows. ] As the greatest part

So you, to study now it is too late,
Climb o'er the house “ to unlock the little gate.

of this scene (both what precedes and follows) is ftri&ly in rhimes, either succrfjive, aliernate, or triple, I am persuaded, that the coprists have made a flip here. For by making a triplet of the three last lines quoted, birth in the close of the first line is quite destitute of any rhime to it. Besides, what a displeasing identity of sound recurs in the middle and close of this verse ?

Than wijn a snow in May's new-fangled shows: Again ; new fangled shows feems to have


little propriety. The flowers are not rew.fangled; but the earth is new.fangled by the profufion and variety of the flowers, that spring on its bosom in May. I have therefore ventured to substitute carih, in the 'cluse of the third line, which reftores the alternate mcalure. was very easy for a negligent transcriber to be deceived by the Thime immediately preceding; fo mistake the concluding word in the sequent line, and corrupt it into one that would chime with the other. THEOBALD.

I rather susped a line to have been loft after an abortive birth.'' For an in that line the old copies have any. Correded by Mr. l'ope. MALONE.

By these sows the poet means Maygames, at which a snow would be very unwelcome and unexpe&cd. It is only a periphrasis for May. T. WARTON. I have no doubt that the more obvious interpretation is the true

So, in Chaucer's Knightes Tale:

or And fresher than May with floures new. So also, in our poet's K. Richard 11:

” She came adorned hither, like sweet May. ' i. c. as the ground is in that month enamelled by the gay diversity of flowers which the spring produces.

Again, in The Destruction of Troy, 1619: " At the entry of the month of May, when the earth is attired and adorned with diverse flowers,” &c. MALONE.

I concur with Mr. Warton : for with what propriety can the flowers which every year produces with the same identical shape and colours, be called new-fangled? The sports of May might be annually diverfified, but its natural produdiuns would be invariably the same. STEEVENS.

4 Climb o'er the house, &c.] This is the reading of the quarto, 1598, and much preferable to that of the folio " That were to climb o'er the house to unlock the gate.




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King. Well, fit you out:

go home, Biron; adien! Biron. No, my good lord; I have sworn to stay

with you:

And, though I have for barbarism spoke more,

Than for that angel knowledge you can say, Yet confident I'll keep what I have swore,

And bide the penance of each three years' day. Give me the paper, let me read the fame; And to the stri&st decrees I'll write my name. King. How well this yielding rescues thee from

shame! Biron. [Reads. ] Item, That no woman hall come within a mile of my court.And hath this been proclaim'd ? LONG.

Four days ago. Biron. Let's see the penalty. [Reads. ]-On pain of losing her tongue.

Who devis'd this?
Long. Marry, that did I.
BIRON. Sweet lord, and why ?
Long, To fright them hence with that dread pe-

Biron. A dangerous law against gentility!

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fit you out: ] This may mean, hold you out, continue ro. fra£lory. But I suspe&, we should read -- set you out, MALONE.

To fit out, is a term 'froni the card-table, · Thus Bishop Sanderson: s6 They are glad, rather than sit out, to play very small game.

The person who cuts out at a rubber of whist, is still said to fit out; i. e. to be no longer engaged in the party. STEEVENS.

6 Who devis'd this? ] The old copies read - this penalty. I have omitted this needless repetition of the word penalty, because it deftroys the measure. SIEEVENS.

7 A dangerous law against gentility! ] I have ventured to prefix the name of Biron to this line, it being evident, for two reasons, that it, by some accident or other, lipt out of the printed books. In the first place, Longaville confesses, he had devised the penalty:

[ Reads. ] Item, If any man be seen to talk with a woman within the term of three years, he shall endure Such publick shame as the rest of the court can possibly devise.This article, my liege, yourself must break;

l'or, well you know, here comes in embassy The French king's daughter, with yourself to

speak, -A maid of grace, and complete majesty, About surrender-up of Aquitain

To her decrepit, sick, and bed-rid father: Therefore this article is made in vain,

Or vainly comes the admired princess hither. King. What say you, lords ? why, this was quite

forgot. Biron. So ftudy evermore is overshot; While it doth study to have what it would, It doth forget to do the thing it should: And when it hath the thing it hunteth most, 'Tis won, as towns with fire; so won, so lost.

KING. We must, of force, dispense with this de

cree ;

She must lie here' on mere necessity.

and why he should immediately arraign it as a dangerous law, seems to be very

inconfiftent. In the next place, it is much more natural for Biron to make this reflexion, who is cavilling at every thing; and then for him to pursue his reading over the remaining articles.

- As to the word gentility, here, it does not signify that rank of people called, gentry; but what the Freneh express by, gentillesse, i. c. clegantia, urbanitas. And then the meaning is this: Such a law for banishing women from the court, is dangerous, or injuri. ous, to politeness, urbanity, and the more refined pleasures of life. For men without women would turn brutal, and favage, in their natures and behaviour. THEOBALD.

lic here ] Means refide here, in the same sense as an ambaslador is said to lie leiger. See Beaumont and Fletcher's Love's Gure, or the Martial Maid, A& II. sc. ii:



Biron. Necessity will make us all forsworn
Three thousand times within this three years'

space :
For every man with his affects is born;

Not by might master’d, but by special grace: If I break faith, this word shall speak for me, I am forsworn on mere necessity.So to the laws at large I write my name: [Subscribes.

And he, that breaks them in the least degree, Stands in attainder of eternal shame:

Suggestions are to others, as to me; But, I believe, although I seem so loth, I am the last that will last keep his oath. But is there no quick recreation granted ? King. Ay, that there is : our court, you know,

is haunted With a refined traveller of Spain ; A man in all the world's new fashion planted,

That hath a mint of phrases in his brain :

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• Or did the cold Muscovite beget thee,

" That lay here leiger, in the last great frost?" Again, in Sir Henry Wotton's Definition: 66 An ambassador is an honest man sent to lie fi. e. reside) abroad for the good of liis country. REED.

8 Not by might master'd, but by Special grace:] Biron, amidst his extravagances, speaks with great juftness againit the folly of vows. They are made without sufficient regard to the variations of life, and are therefore broken by some unforeseen neceslity.

They proceed commonly from a presumptuous confidence, and a falfe estimate of human power. JOHNSON.

9 Suggestions - ] Temptations. JOHNSON.
So, in K. Henry IV. P. I:

". And these led on by your suggestion." STEVENS.
- quirk recreation — ) Lively sport, spritely diversion.

JOHNSON. So, in Antony and Cleopatra :

the quick comedians
• Extemporally will stage us." STEEVENS,


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