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King of France.
tram in the Florentine War.
Servants to the Countess of Rousillon. A Page.
Countess of Rousillon, Mother to Bertram.
Lords, attending on the King; Officers, Soldiers, &c.
French and Florentine.
SCENE, partly in France, and partly in Tuscany.
· The persons were first enumerated by Mr. Rowe. ? Lafeu,] We should read-Lefeu. STEEVENS.
3 Parolles,] I suppose we should write this name- -Paroles, i. e. a creature made up of empty words. STEEVENS.
* Violenta only enters once, and then she neither speaks, nor is spoken to. This name appears to be borrowed from an old metrical history, entitled Didaco and Violenta, 1576.
ACT I. SCENE I.
Rousillon. A Room in the Countess's Palace.
Enter BERTRAM, the Countess of Rousillon,
HELENA, and LAFEU, in mourning.
Count. In delivering my son from me, I bury a second husband. BER. And I, in going, madam, weep
my father's death anew: but I must attend his majesty's command, to whom I am now in ward,' evermore in subjection.
1-in ward,] Under his particular care, as my guardian, till I come to age. It is now almost forgotten in England, that the heirs of great fortunes were the King's wards. Whether the same practice prevailed in France, it is of no great use to enquire, for Shakspeare gives to all nations the manners of England. Johnson.
Howell's fifteenth letter acquaints us that the province of Normandy was subject to wardships, and no other part of LAF. You shall find of the king a husband, madam ;-you, sir, a father: He that so generally is at all times good, must of necessity hold his virtue to you; whose worthiness would stir it
up where it wanted, rather than lack it where there is such abundance.
Count. What hope is there of his majesty's amendment?
LAF. He hath abandoned his physicians, madam; under whose practices he hath persecuted time with hope; and finds no other advantage in the process but only the losing of hope by time.
Count. This young gentlewoman had a father, (0, that had! how sad a passage 'tis!?) whose skill
France besides; but the supposition of the contrary furnished Shakspeare with a reason why the King compelled Rousillon to marry Helen. TOLLET.
The prerogative of a wardship is a branch of the feudal law, and may as well be supposed to be incorporated with the constitution of France, as it was with that of England, till the reign of Charles II. SIR J. HAWKINS.
0, that had! how sad a passage 'tis!] Imitated from the Heautontimorumenos of Terence, then translated,) where Menedemus says:
Filium unicum adolescentulum
habui, Chreme, “ Nunc habeam necne incertum est.” BLACKSTONE. So, in Spenser's Shepheard's Calender : “ Shee, while she was, (that was a woeful word to
“ She is not mine, I have no daughter now ;
MALONE. Passage is any that passes. So we now say, a passage of an author, and we said about a century ago, passages
was almost as great as his honesty; had it stretched so far, would have made nature immortal, and death should have play for lack of work. 'Would, for the king's sake, he were living! I think, it would be the death of the king's disease.
LAF. How called you the man you speak of, madam?
Count. He was famous, sir, in his profession, and it was his great right to be so: Gerard de Narbon.
LAF. He was excellent, indeed, madam; the king very lately spoke of him, admiringly, and mourn. ingly: he was skilful enough to have lived still, if knowledge could be set up against mortality.
BER. What is it, my good lord, the king languishes of ?
a reign. When the Countess mentions Helena's loss of a father, she recollects her own loss of a husband, and stops to observe how heavily the word had passes through her mind. Johnson.
Thus Shakspeare himself. See The Comedy of Errors, Act III.
sc. i :
“ Now in the stirring passage of the day." So, in The Gamester, by Shirley, 1637: “ Ill not be witness of your passages myself:" i. e. of what passes between you. Again, in A Woman's a Weathercock, 1612:
never lov’d these prying listening men “ That ask of others' states and passages.” Again: “ I knew
passages 'twixt her and Scudamore." Again, in The Dumb Knight, 1633 :
have beheld • Your vile and most lascivious passages." Again, in The English Intelligencer, a tragi-comedy, 1641 : “ - two philosophers that jeer and weep at the passages of the world.” STEEVENS.
LAF. A fistula, my lord.”
LAF. I would, it were not notorious.-Was this gentlewoman the daughter of Gerard de Narbon ?
Count. His sole child, my lord; and bequeathed to my overlooking. I have those hopes of her good, that her education promises : her dispositions she inherits, which make fair gifts fairer; for where an unclean mind carries virtuous qualities, there com
3 A fistula, my lord.] The King of France's disorder is specified as follows in Painter's translation from Boccaccio's Novel, on which this play was founded : “ She heard by report that the French King had a swelling upon his breast, which by reason of ill cure, was growen into a fistula,” &c. In Puttenham's Arte of English Poesie, 1589, p. 251, we have also mention of this inelegant disorder. Speaking of the necessity which princes occasionally find to counterfeit maladies, our author has the following remark: “ And in dissembling of diseases, which I pray you? for I have obserued it in the Court of Fraunce, not a burning feuer, or a plurisie, or a palsie, or the hydropick and swelling gowte, &c. But it must be either a dry dropsie, or a megrim or letarge, or a fistule in ano, or some such other secret disease as the common conuersant can hardly discquer, and the physitian either not speedily heale, or not honestly bewray." STEEVENS.
- virtuous qualities,] By virtuous qualities are meant qualities of good breeding and erudition; in the same sense that the Italians say, qualità virtuosa; and not moral ones. On this account it is, she says, that, in an ill mind, these virtuous qualities are virtues and traitors too: i. e. the advantages of education enable an ill mind to go further in wickedness than it could have done without them. WARBURTON.
Virtue and virtuous, as I am told, still keep this signification in the north, and mean ingenuity and ingenious. Of this sense, perhaps, an instance occurs in the Eighth Book of Chapman's version of the Iliad : " Then will I to Olympus' top our virtuous engine