« AnteriorContinuar »
JAQ. Why, 'tis good to be sad and say nothing. Ros. Why then, 'tis good to be a post.
JAQ. I have neither the scholar's melancholy. which is emulation; nor the musician's, which is fantastical; nor the courtier's, which is proud; nor the soldier's, which is ambitious; nor the lawyer's, which is politick; nor the lady's, which is nice;2 nor the lover's, which is all these: but it is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects; and, indeed, the sundry contemplation of my travels, in which my often rumination wraps me, is a most humorous sadness.
Ros. A traveller! By my faith, you have great reason to be sad: I fear, you have sold your own lands, to see other men's; then, to have seen much, and to have nothing, is to have rich eyes and poor hands.
JAQ. Yes, I have gained my experience.
-- which is nice ;] i. e. silly, trifling. So, in King Richard III:
“ But the respects thereof are nice and trivial.” See a note on Romeo and Juliet, Act V. sc. ii. STEEVENS.
3 my often rumination wraps me, is a most kumorous sadness.] The old copy reads—in a most, &c. STEEVENS.
The old copy has--by often. Corrected by the editor of the second folio. Perhaps we should rather read “ and which, by often rumination, wraps me in a most humorous sadness.”
MALONE. As this speech concludes with a sentence at once ungrammatical and obscure, I have changed a single letter in it; and instead of “ in a most humorous sadness,'' have ventured to read, “ is a most humorous sadness.” Jaques first informs Rosalind what his melancholy was not ; and naturally cocnludes by telling her what the quality of it is. To obtain a clear meaning, a less degree of violence cannot be employed. STEEVENS.
Ros. And your experience makes you sad: I had rather have a fool to make me merry, than experience to make me sad; and to travel for it too.
ORL. Good day, and happiness, dear Rosalind!
JAQ. Nay then, God be wi' you, an you talk in blank verse.
[Exit. Ros. Farewell, monsieur traveller: Look, you lisp, and wear strange suits; disable* all the benefits of your own country ; be out of love with your nativity, and almost chide God for making you that countenance you are; or I will scarce think you have swam in a gondola._ Why, how now, Orlando! where have you been all this while? You a lover?--An you serve me such another trick, never come in my sight more.
ORL. My fair Rosalind, I come within an hour of my promise.
Ros. Break an hour's promise in love? He that will divide a minute into a thousand parts, and break but a part of the thousandth part of a minute in the affairs of love, it may be said of him, that
disable -] i. e. undervalue. So afterwards :-" he disabled my judgment.” STEEVENS. o s wam in a gondola.] That is been at Venice, the seat at that time of all licentiousness, where the young English gentlemen wasted their fortunes, debased their morals, and sometimes lost their religion.
The fashion of travelling, which prevailed very much in our author's time, was considered by the wiser men as one of the principal causes of corrupt manners. It was, therefore, gravely censured by Ascham, in his Schoolmaster, and by Bishop Hall, in his Quo Vadis ; and is here, and in other passages, ridiculed by Shakspeare. Johnson.
Cupid hath clap'd him o' the shoulder, but I warrant him heart-whole.
ORL. Pardon me, dear Rosalind.
Ros. Nay, an you be so tardy, come no more in my sight; I had as lief be woo'd of a snail.
ORL. Of a snail?
Ros. Ay, of a snail; for though he comes slowly, he carries his house on his head; a better jointure, I think, than you can make a woman : Besides, he brings his destiny with him.
ORL. What's that ?
Ros. Why, horns; which such as you are fain to be beholden to your wives for : but he comes armed in his fortune, and prevents the slander of his wife.
Orl. Virtue is no horn-maker; and my Rosalind is virtuous.
Ros. And I am your Rosalind.
CEL. It pleases him to call you so ; but he hath a Rosalind of a better leer than you."
o than you can make a woman.] Old copy-you make a woman. Corrected by Sir T. Hanmer. MALONE.
7 a Rosalind of a better leer than you.] i. e. of a better feature, complexion, or colour, than you. So, in P. Holland's Pliny, B. XXXI. c. ii. p. 403 : “ In some places there is no other thing bred or growing, but brown and duskish, insomuch as not only the cattel is all of that lere, but also the corn on the ground,” &c. The word seems to be derived from the Saxon Hleare, facies, frons, vultus. So it is used in Titus Andronicus, Act IV. sc. ii:
“ Here's a young lad fram'd of another leer.” Tollet. In the notes on the Canterbury Tales of Chaucer, Vol. IV. p. 320, bere is supposed to mean skin. So, in Isumbras MSS. Cott. Cal. II. fol. 129:
“ His lady is white as whales bone,
“ So fair as blosme on tre.” STEEVENS.
· Ros. Come, woo me, woo me; for now I am in a holiday humour, and like enough to consent: What would you say to me now, an I were your yery very Rosalind ?
ORL. I would kiss, before I spoke.
Ros. Nay, you were better speak first; and when you were gravelled for lack of matter, you might take occasion to kiss.8 Very good orators, when they are out, they will spit; and for lovers, lacking (God warn us!9) matter, the cleanliest shift is to kiss.
ORL. How if the kiss be denied ?
Ros. Then she puts you to entreaty, and there. begins new matter.
ORL. Who could be out, being before his beloved mistress?
Ros. Marry, that should you, if I were your mistress; or I should think my honesty ranker than my wit.
ORL. What, of my suit?
Ros. Not out of your apparel, and yet out of your suit. Am not I your Rosalind ?
Orl. I take some joy to say you are, because I would be talking of her.
8 and when you were gravelled for lack of matter, you might take occasion to kiss.] Thus also in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, edit. 1632, p. 511: “ —and when he hath pumped his wittes dry, and can say no more, kissing and colling are never out of season." STEEVENS.
9 (God warn us!)] If this exclamation (which occurs again in the quarto copies of A Midsummer Night's Dream) is not a corruption of—God ward us," i. e. defend us, it must mean, “ summon us to himself.” So, in King Richard III: “ And sent to warn them to his royal presence."
Ros. Well, in her person, I say—I will not have you. :
ORL. Then, in mine own person, I die.
Ros. No, faith, die by attorney. The poor world is almost six thousand years old, and in all this time there was not any man died in his own person, videlicet, in a love-cause. Troilus had his brains dashed out with a Grecian club; yet he did what he could to die before; and he is one of the patterns of love. Leander, he would have lived many a fair year, though Hero had turned nun, if it had not been for a hot midsummer night: for, good youth, he went but forth to wash him in the Hellespont, and, being taken with the cramp, was drowned; and the foolish chroniclers of that age found it was—Hero of Sestos. But these are all lies; men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them, but not for love.
ORL. I would not have my right Rosalind of this mind; for, I protest, her frown might kill me.
i- chroniclers of that age -] Sir T. Hanmer reads coroners, by the advice, as Dr. Warburton hints, of some anonymous critick. Johnson.
Mr. Edwards proposes the same emendation, and supports it by a passage in Hamlet : “ The coroner hath sat on her, and finds it-Christian burial.” I believe, however, the old copy is right; though found is undoubtedly used in its forensick sense.
Malone. I am surprized that Sir Thomas Hanmer's just and ingenious amendment should not be adopted as soon as suggested. The allusion is evidently to a coroner's inquest, which Rosalind supposes to have sat upon the body of Leander, who was drowned in crossing the Hellespont, and that their verdict was, that Hero of Sestos was the cause of his death. The word found is the legal term on such occasions. We say, that a jury found it lunacy, or found it manslaughter; and the verdict is called the finding of the jury. M. MASON.