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But how comes it, he is to sojourn with you? How creeps acquaintance?
PHI. His father and I were soldiers together; to whom I have been often bound for no less than my life:
Here comes the Briton: Let him be so entertained amongst you, as suits, with gentlemen of your knowing, to a stranger of his quality.-I beseech you all, be better known to this gentleman; whom I commend to you, as a noble friend of mine: How worthy he is, I will leave to appear hereafter, rather than story him in his own hearing.
FRENCH. Sir, we have known together in Orleans.
POST. Since when I have been debtor to you for courtesies, which I will be ever to pay, and yet pay still 9.
FRENCH. Sir, you o'er-rate my poor kindness: I was glad I did atone my countryman and you'; it
See note on Antony and Cleopatra, vol. xii. p. 373, n. 4. Mr. Rowe and all the subsequent editors read-without more quality, and so undoubtedly Shakspeare ought to have written. On the stage, an actor may rectify such petty errors; but it is the duty of an editor to exhibit what his author wrote. MALONE.
As on this occasion, and several others, we can only tell what Hemings and Condel printed, instead of knowing, with any degree of certainty, what Shakspeare wrote, I have not disturbed Mr. Rowe's emendation, which leaves a clear passage to the reader, if he happens to prefer an obvious sense to no sense at all. STEEVENS.
9 - which I will be ever to pay, and yet pay still.] So, in All's Well That Ends Well:
"Which I will ever pay, and pay again,
"When I have found it."
Again, in our author's 30th Sonnet :
"Which I new pay, as if not pay'd before." MALONE,
had been pity, you should have been put together with so mortal a purpose, as then each bore, upon importance of so slight and trivial a nature2.
POST. By your pardon, sir, I was then a young traveller: rather shunned to go even with what I heard, than in my every action to be guided by others' experiences: but, upon my mended judgment, (if I offend not to say it is mended,) my quarrel was not altogether slight.
FRENCH. 'Faith, yes, to be put to the arbitrement of swords; and by such two, that would, by all likelihood, have confounded one the other 1, or have fallen both.
IACH. Can we, with manners, ask what was the difference?
FRENCH. Safely, I think: 'twas a contention in
*First folio omits not.
Again, in Heywood's English Traveller, 1633:
"The constable is call'd to atone the broil."
upon IMPORTANCE of so slight and trivial a nature.] Importance is here, as elsewhere in Shakspeare, importunity, instigation. See vol. xi. p. 498, n. 2; and vol. iv. p. 253, n. 5.
So, in Twelfth-Night: "Maria wrote the letter at Sir Toby's great importance." Again, in King John:
"At our importance hither is he come."
rather shunned to go even with what I heard, &c.] This is expressed with a kind of fantastical perplexity. He means, I was then willing to take for my direction the experience of others, more than such intelligence as I had gathered myself. JOHNSON.
This passage cannot bear the meaning that Johnson contends for. Posthumus is describing a presumptuous young man, as he acknowledges himself to have been at that time; and means to say, that he rather studied to avoid conducting himself by the opinions of other people, than to be guided by their experience." -To take for direction the experience of others, would be a proof of wisdom, not of presumption. M. MASON.
CONFOUNDED one the other,] To confound, in our author's time, signified-to destroy.
So, in Antony and Cleopatra, vol. xii. p. 280.
What willingly he did confound he wail'd." MALONE.
publick, which may, without contradiction", suffer the report. It was much like an argument that fell out last night, where each of us fell in praise of our country mistresses: This gentleman at that time vouching, (and upon warrant of bloody affirmation,) his to be more fair, virtuous, wise, chaste, constant-qualified, and less attemptible, than any the rarest of our ladies in France.
LACH. That lady is not now living; or this gentleman's opinion, by this, worn out.
POST. She holds her virtue still, and I my mind. IACH. You must not so far prefer her 'fore ours of Italy.
POST. Being so far provoked as I was in France, I would abate her nothing; though I profess myself her adorer, not her friend".
which may, without contradiction,] Which, undoubtedly, may be publickly told. JOHNSON.
6 though I profess, &c.] Though I have not the common obligations of a lover to his mistress, and regard her not with the fondness of a friend, but the reverence of an adorer. JOHNSON.
The sense seems to require a transposition of these words, and that we should read:
"Though I profess myself her friend, not her adorer." Meaning thereby the praises he bestowed on her arose from his knowledge of her virtues, not from a superstitious reverence only. If Posthumus wished to be believed, as he surely did, the declaring that his praises proceeded from adoration, would lessen the credit of them, and counteract his purpose. In confirmation of this conjecture, we find that in the next page he acknowledges her to be his wife.-Iachimo afterwards says in the same sense :
"You are a friend, and therein the wiser." Which would also serve to confirm my amendment, if it were the right reading; but I do not think it is. M. MASON.
I am not certain that the foregoing passages have been completely understood by either commentator, for want of acquaintance with the peculiar sense in which the word friend may have been employed.
A friend in ancient colloquial language, is occasionally synonymous to a paramour or inamorato of either sex, in both the favourable and unfavourable sense of that word. "Save you friend
IACH. As fair, and as good, (a kind of hand-inhand comparison,) had been something too fair, and too good, for any lady in Britany. If she went before others I have seen, as that diamond of yours out-lustres many I have beheld, I could not but believe she excelled many: but I have not seen the most precious diamond that is, nor you the lady".
Cassio!" says Bianca in Othello; and Lucio, in Measure for Measure, informs Isabella that her brother Claudio "hath got his friend [Julietta] with child." Friend, in short, is one of those "fond adoptious christendoms that blinking Cupid gossips," many of which are catalogued by Helen in All's Well That Ends Well, and friend is one of the number :
"A mother, and a mistress, and a friend,
"A phoenix, captain, and an enemy."
This word, though with some degradation, is still current among the harlotry of London, who, (like Macheath's doxies,) as often as they have occasion to talk about their absent keepers, invariably call them their friends. In this sense the word is also used by Iago, in Othello, Act IV. Sc. I. :
"Or to be naked with her friend abed."
Posthumus means to bestow the most exalted praise on Imogen, a praise the more valuable as it was the result of reason, not of amorous dotage. I make my avowal, says he, in the character of her adorer, not of her possessor.-I speak of her as a being I reverence, not as a beauty whom I enjoy.-1 rather profess to describe her with the devotion of a worshipper, than the raptures of a lover. This sense of the word also appears to be confirmed by a subsequent remark of Iachimo:
"You are a friend, and therein the wiser." i. e. you are a lover, and therefore show your wisdom in opposing all experiments that may bring your lady's chastity into question. STEEVENS.
7 If she went before others I have seen, as that diamond of yours out-lustres many I have beheld, I could not BUT believe she excelled many: but I have not seen the most precious diamond that is, nor you the lady.] The old copy reads-" I could not believe she excell'd many; but it is on all hands allowed that the reasoning of lachimo, as it stands there, is inconclusive.
On this account, Dr. Warburton reads, omitting the word—not, "I could believe she excelled many."
Mr. Heath proposes to read, "I could but believe," &c.
Mr. Malone, whom I have followed, exhibits the passage as it appears in the present text.
POST. I praised her as I rated her: so do I my
IACH. What do you esteem it at ?
POST. More than the world enjoys.
IACH. Either your unparagoned mistress is dead, or she's outprized by a trifle.
POST. You are mistaken: the one may be sold, or given; if there were wealth enough for the purchase, or merit for the gift: the other is not a thing for sale, and only the gift of the gods.
IACH. Which the gods have given you?
POST. Which, by their graces, I will keep. IACH. You may wear her in title yours: but, you know, strange fowl light upon neighbouring ponds. Your ring may be stolen too: so, of* your brace of unprizeable estimations, the one is but frail, and the other casual; a cunning thief, or a that-wayaccomplished courtier, would hazard the winning both of first and last.
POST. Your Italy contains none so accomplished a courtier, to convince the honour of my mistress"; if, in the holding or loss of that, you term her frail. I do nothing doubt, you have store of thieves; notwithstanding I fear not my ring.
*First folio omits of.
The reader who wishes to know more on this subject, may consult a note in Mr. Malone's edit.  vol. viii. p. 327, 328, and 329. STEEVENS.
As Mr. Steevens has withdrawn his former opinion with regard to this passage, I have not inserted Mr. Malone's reply here, but, as it has been referred to, have given it at the end of the play. BOSWELL.
8 if there were] Old copy-or if—for the purchases, &c. the compositor having inadvertently repeated the word—or, which has just occurred. The correction was made by Mr. Rowe. MALONE. -to CONVINCE the honour of my distress ;] Convince, for WARBURTON.
So, in Macbeth: