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Count. Yes, Helen, you might be
my daughterin-law; God shield, you mean it not! daughter and mother, So strive upon your pulse: What, pale again? My fear hath catch'd your fondness : Now I see The mystery of your loneliness, and find Your salt tears' head. Now to all sense 'tis gross, You love my son ; invention is asham'd, Against the proclamation of thy passion,
for future happiness; I should be as content, and solicit it as much, as I pray for the bliss of heaven.” MALONE.
Can't no other, But, I your daughter, he must be my brother?] The meaning is obscured by the elliptical diction. Can it be no other way, but if I be your daughter, he must be my brother? Johnson.
strive) To strive is to contend. So, in Cymbeline : 6. That it did strive in workmanship and value.”
STEEVENS, The mystery of her loveliness is beyond my comprehension: the old Countess is saying nothing ironical, nothing taunting, or in reproach, that this word should find a place here; which it could not, unless sarcastically employed, and with some spleen. I dare warrant the poet meant his old lady should say no more than this: “ I now find the mystery
your creeping into corners, and weeping, and pining in secret.” For this reason I have amended the text, loneliness. The Steward, in the foregoing scene, where he gives the Countess intelligence of Helena's behaviour, says
“ Alone she was, and did communicate to herself, her own words to her own ears.' THEOBALD.
The late Mr. Hall had corrected this, I believe, rightlyyour lowliness. TYRWHITT.
I think Theobald's correction as plausible. To choose solitude is a mark of love. STEEVENS.
Your salt tears' head.) The source, the fountain of your tears, the cause of your grief. Johnson.
my son ?
To say, thou dost not: therefore tell me true;
Good madam, pardon me!
Your pardon, noble mistress! Count. Love you my son ? HEL.
Do not you love him, madam ? Count. Go not about; my love hath in't a bond, Whereof the world takes note: come, come, dis
Then, I confess,
- in their kind - ) i.e. in their language, according to their nature. STEEVENS.
I know I love in vain, strive against hope;
S-captious and intenible sieve,] The word captious I never found in this sense; yet I cannot tell what to substitute, unless carious for rotten, which yet is a word more likely to have been mistaken by the copiers than used by the author.
JOHNSON. Dr. Farmer supposes captious to be a contraction of capacious. As violent ones are to be found among our ancient writers, and especially in Churchyard's Poems, with which Shakspeare was not unacquainted. Steevens.
By captious, I believe Shakspeare only meant recipient, capable of receiving what is put into it; and by intenible, incapable of holding or retaining it. How frequently he and the other writers of his age confounded the active and passive adjectives, has been already more than once observed.
The original copy reads—intemible. The correction was made in the second folio. MALONE. * And lack not to lose still:] Perhaps we should read
And lack not to love still. TYRWHITT.
whose state is such, that cannot choose “ But lend and give, where she is sure to lose,” Helena means, I think, to say that, like a person who pours water into a vessel full of holes, and still continues his employment, though he finds the water all lost, and the vessel empty, so, though she finds that the waters of her love are still lost, that her affection is thrown away on an object whom she thinks she never can deserve, she yet is not discouraged, but perseveres in her hopeless endeavour to accomplish her wishes. The poet evidently alludes to the trite story of the daughters of Danaus. MALONE.
Whose aged honour cites a virtuous youth,
Dian Was both herself and love ; 8. O then, give pity To her, whose state is such, that cannot choose But lend and give, where she is sure to lose; That seeks not to find that her search implies, But, riddle-like, lives sweetly where she dies. Count. Had you not lately an intent, speak
truly, To go to Paris? HEL.
Madam, I had. COUNT.
Wherefore? tell true. HEL. I will tell truth; by grace itself, I swear. You know, my father left me some prescriptions Of rare and prov'd effects, such as his reading, And manifest experience, had collected For general sovereignty; and that he willd me In heedfullest reservation to bestow them,
? Whose aged honour cites a virtuous youth,] i. e. whose respectable conduct in age shows, or proves, that you were no less virtuous when young. As a fact is proved by citing witnesses, or examples from books, our author, with his usual licence, uses to cite, in the same sense of to prove. MALONE. & Wish chastly, and love dearly, that your Dian
Was both herself and love;] i. e. Venus. Helena means to say—“ If ever you wished that the deity who presides over chastity, and the queen of amorous rites, were one and the same person; or, in other words, if ever you wished for the honest and lawful completion of your chaste desires." I believe, however, the words were accidentally transposed at the press, and would read Love dearly, and wish chastly, that your Dian &c.
MALONE. -tell true.] This is an evident interpolation. It is needless, because it repeats what the Countess had already said : it is injurious, because it spoils the measure. STEEVENS.
As notes, whose faculties inclusive' were,
This was your motive
But think you, Helen,
There's something hints, More than my father's skill, which was the greatest Of his profession, that his good receipt
notes, whose faculties inclusive-] Receipts in which greater virtues were inclosed than appeared to observation.
Johnson. • Embowell’d of their doctrine,] i. e. exhausted of their skill. So, in the old spurious play of K. John : “ Back war-men, back; embowel not the clime.”
STEEVENS. * There's something hints More than my father's skill,
— that his good receipt, &c.] The old copy reads something in't. Steevens,
Here is an inference, [that] without any thing preceding, to which it refers, which makes the sentence vicious, and shows that we should read