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Cor. Why, we are still handling our ewes; and their fells, you know, are greasy.
Touch. Why, do not your courtier's hands sweat? and is not the grease of a mutton as wholesome as the sweat of a man? Shallow, shallow: A better instance, I say; come.
Cor. Besides, our hands are hard.
Touch. Your lips will feel them the sooner. Shallow, again: A more sounder instance, come.
Cor. And they are often tarr'd over with the surgery of our sheep; And would you have us kiss tar? The courtier's hands are perfumed with civet.
Touch. Most shallow man! Thou worms-meat, in respect of a good piece of flesh :-Indeed!-Learn of the wise, and perpend: Civet is of a baser birth than tar; the very uncleanly flux of a cat. Mend the instance, shepherd.
Cor. You have too courtly a wit for me: I'll rest. Touch. Wilt thou rest damn'd? God help thee, shallow man! God make incision in thee! thou art raw'.
Cor. Sir, am a true labourer; I earn that I eat, get that I wear; owe no man hate, envy no man's happiness; glad of other men's good, content with my harm: and the greatest of my pride is, to see my ewes graze, and my lambs suck.
Touch. That is another simple sin in you; to bring the ewes and the rams together, and to offer to get your living by the copulation of cattle: to be bawd to a bellwether; and to betray a she-lamb of a twelvemonth, to a crooked-pated, old cuckoldy ram out of all reasonable match. If thou be'st not damn'd for this, the devil
9 make incision in thee!] Warburton says, to make incision was a proverbial expression then in vogue for to make to understand. But Steevens thinks the allusion is to that common expression, of cutting such a one for the simples. In either case we regret the profaneness.
thou art raw.] i. e. thou art ignorant, unexperienced.
bawd to a bell-wether ;] Wether and ram had anciently the same meaning. JOHNSON.
himself will have no shepherds; I cannot see else how thou shouldst 'scape.
Cor. Here comes young master Ganymede, my new mistress's brother.
Enter ROSALIND, reading a paper.
Ros. From the east to western Ind,
Her worth, being mounted on the wind,
Let no face be kept in mind,
Touch. I'll rhyme you so, eight years together; dinners, and suppers, and sleeping hours excepted; it is the right butter woman's rank to market.
Ros. Out, fool!
Touch. For a taste:
If a hart do lack a hind,
So must slender Rosalind.
They that reap, must sheaf and bind,
Sweetest nut hath sowrest rind,
Such a nut is Rosalind.
He that sweetest Rose will find,
Must find love's prick, and Rosalind.
- fairest lin'd,] i. e. most fairly delineated.
4 But the fair -] Fair is beauty, complexion.
rank to market.] Sir T. Hanmer reads-rate to market, which Mr. Malone adopts. The hobbling metre of these verses, (says Touchstone,) is like the ambling, shuffling pace of a butterwoman's horse, going to market.
This is the very false gallop of verses; Why do you infect yourself with them?
Ros. Peace, you dull fool; I found them on a tree. Touch. Truly, the tree yields bad fruit.
Ros. I'll graff it with you, and then I shall graff it with a medlar: then it will be the earliest fruit in the country for you'll be rotten e'er you be half ripe, and that's the right virtue of the medlar.
Touch. You have said; but whether wisely or no, let the forest judge.
Enter CELIA, reading a paper.
Here comes my sister, reading; stand aside.
For it is unpeopled? No;
That shall civil sayings show".
Runs his erring pilgrimage;
Buckles in his sum of age.
'Twixt the souls of friend and friend :
But upon the fairest boughs,
Or at every sentence' end,
Teaching all that read, to know
the earliest fruit -] Shakspeare seems to have had little knowledge in gardening. The medlar is one of the latest fruits, being uneatable till the end of November. STEEVENS.
7 That shall civil sayings show.] Civil, I believe, is not designedly opposed to solitary. It means only grave, or solemn. STEEVENS.
8 in little show.] The allusion is to a miniature-portrait. The current phrase in our author's time was painted in little.” MALONE.
Therefore heaven nature charg'd
Sad Lucretia's modesty.
By heavenly synod was devis'd,
To have the touches1 dearest priz'd.
Ros. O most gentle Jupiter!-what tedious homily of love have you wearied your parishioners withal, and never cry'd, Have patience, good people!
Cel. How now! back friends; - Shepherd, go off a little-Go with him, sirrah.
Touch. Come, shepherd, let us make an honourable retreat; though not with bag and baggage, yet with scrip and scrippage. [Exeunt CORIN and TOUCHSTONE.
Cel. Didst thou hear these verses?
Ros. O, yes, I heard them all, and more too; for some of them had in them more feet than the verses would bear.
Cel. That's no matter; the feet might bear the verses. Ros. Ay, but the feet were lame, and could not bear themselves without the verse, and therefore stood lamely in the verse.
• Atalanta's better part ;] The commentators are not agreed what this lady's better part was: Dr. Johnson inclines to her beauty; Mr. Tollet to her virgin chastity; Dr. Farmer and Mr. Malone to her wit; Mr. Steevens sums up the evidence in these words: "After all, I believe that Atalanta's better part, means only the best part about her, such as was most commended."
1 the touches-] The features; les traits.
Cel. But didst thou hear, without wondering how thy name should be hang'd and carved upon these trees?
Ros. I was seven of the nine days out of the wonder, before you came; for look here what I found on a palmtree': I was never so be-rhymed since Pythagoras' time, that I was an Irish rat, which I can hardly remember.
Cel. Trow you, who hath done this?
Ros. Is it a man?
Cel. And a chain, that you once wore, about his neck. Change you colour?
Ros. I pr'ythee, who?
Cel. O lord, lord! it is a hard matter for friends to meet'; but mountains may be removed with earthquakes, and so encounter.
Ros. Nay, but who is it?
Cel. Is it possible?
Ros. Nay, I pray thee now, with most petitionary vehemence, tell me who it is.
Cel. O wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful, and yet again wonderful, and after that out of all whooping!
Ros. Good my complexion! dost thou think, though I am caparison'd like a man, I have a doublet and hose in my disposition? One inch of delay more is a South-sea
— a palm-tree :] A palm-tree, in the forest of Arden, is as much out of its place, as the lioness in a subsequent scene.
3 I was never so be-rhymed since Pythagoras' time, that I was an Irish rat,] Rosalind is a very learned lady. She alludes to the Pythagorean doctrine, which teaches that souls transmigrate from one animal to another, and relates that in his time she was an Irish rat, and by some metrical charm was rhymed to death. JOHNSON.
· friends to meet ;] Alluding ironically to the proverb :
Friends may meet, but mountains never greet."
out of all whooping!] i. e. out of all measure, or reckoning. This appears to have been a phrase of the same import as another formerly in use, "out of all cry."
6 Good my complexion !] A little unmeaning exclamatory address to her beauty; in the nature of a small oath. RITSON.