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was thinking of England, where voyages, for the purpose of discovering islands far away, were at this time much prosecuted. In 1595, Sir Walter Raleigh undertook a voyage to the island of Trinidado, from which he made an expedition up the river Oronoque to discover Guiana. Sir Humphry Gilbert had gone on a similar voyage of discovery the preceding year.
“ The particular situation of England in 1595, I had supposed, might have suggested the line above quoted—Some, to the wars,' &c. In that year it was generally believed that the Spaniards meditated a second invasion of England with a much more powerful and betterappointed Armada than that which had been defeated in 1588. Soldiers were levied with great diligence and placed on the seacoasts, and two great fleets were equipped—one to encounter the enemy in the British seas; the other to sail to the West Indies, under the command of Hawkins and Drake, to attack the Spaniards in their own territories. About the same time, also, Elizabeth sent a considerable body of troops to the assistance of King Henry IV. of France, who had entered into an offensive and defensive alliance with the English queen, and had newly declared war against Spain. Our author, therefore, we see, had abundant reason for both the lines before us :
Some, to the wars, to try their fortune there;
Some, to discover islands far away.' “ Among the marks of love, Speed in this play (Act II, Scene 1) enumerates the walking alone, • like one that had the pestilence.' In the year 1593, there had been a great plague, which carried off near eleven thousand persons in London. Shakespeare was undoubtedly there at that time, and his own recollection might, I thought, have furnished him with this image. But since my former edition, I have been convinced that these circumstances by no means establish the date I had assigned to this play. When Lord Essex went in 1591, with 4,000 men, to assist Henry IV. of France, we learn from Sir Robert Carey's Memoirs, p. 59, that he was attended by many volunteers ; and several voyages of discovery were undertaken about that very time by Raleigh, Cavendish, and others. There was a considerable plague in London in 1583."
Mr. Knight surmises that this play, Love's Labour's Lost, The Comedy of Errors, Midsummer-Night's Dream, Pericles, and Titus Andronicus, were written between 1585 and 1591 ; and we agree with him that this is a more probable division of the poet's labours, than ascribing to him the power of producing seventeen plays,--and such plays !-in seven years.
} Gentlemen of Verona.
DUKE OF MILAN, father of Silvia.
PANTHINO, servant to ANTONIO. VALENTINE,
Host, with whom Julia lodges in MILAN. PROTEUS,
Outlaws. ANTONIO, father of PROTEUS.
JULIA, a lady of VERONA, beloved by PROTEUS. Thorio, a foolish rival to VALENTINE.
SILVIA, beloved by VALENTINE.
LUCETTA, waiting-woman to JULIA.
Enter VALENTINE and PROTEUS.
VAL. Cease to persuade, my loving Proteus ;" Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits ; Wer 't not affection chains thy tender days To the sweet glances of thy honour'd love, I rather would entreat thy company, To see the wonders of the world abroad, Than, living dully sluggardiz'd at home, Wear out thy youth with shapeless idleness. But, since thou lov’st, love still, and thrive therein,
Even as I would, when I to love begin.
VAL. And on a love-book pray for my success ?
* Proteus ;) Throughout the old copy (folio 1623), the ancient spelling of Proteus, which was Protheus, is invariably adopted. Our ancestors," Malone observes, "were fond of introducing the letter k into proper names to which it does not belong: and hence even to this day, our common Christian name, Antony, is written improperly Anthony."
6 Homely wito;] Steevens has noted the same play of words in Milton's Comus :
"It is for homely features to keep home,
They had their name thence." c Bead's-man,-) A beadsman is one who offers up prayers for another. Bead, in Anglo-Saxon, meaning a prayer.“ To count one's beads," means, to say the Rosary, a favourite devotion in the Roman Catholic Church, composed for meditating on the principal events in the life of our Saviour. The better to fix the attention during this exercise, recourse is had to a chaplet con
Pro. Upon some book I love, I'll pray for thee. Pro. All happiness bechance to thee in Milan !
Val. That's on some shallow story of deep love, VAL. As much to you at home! and so, fareHow young Leander cross'd the Hellespont.
[Exit VALENTINE. Pro. That's a deep story of a deeper love; Pro. He after honour hunts, I after love: For he was more than over shoes in love.
He leaves his friends to dignify them more; VAL. 'Tis true; for you are over boots in love, I leave' myself, my friends, and all for love. And yet you never swom the Hellespont.
Thou, Julia, thou hast metamorphos'd me; Pro. Over the boots ? nay, give me not the Made me neglect my studies, lose my time, boots.(1)
War with good counsel, set the world at nought; Val. No, I will not, for it boots thee not. Made wit with musing weak, heart sick with PRO.
thought. VAL. To be in love, where scorn is bought with groans ;
Enter SPEED. Coy looks with heart-sore sighs ; one fading moment's mirth,
SPEED. Sir Proteus, save you: Saw you my With twenty watchful, weary, tedious nights : master? If haply won, perhaps a hapless gain ;
Pro. But now he parted hence, to embark for If lost, why then a grievous labour won;
Milan. However, but a folly bought with wit,
SPEED. Twenty to one then he is shipp'd already; Or else a wit by folly vanquished.
And I have play'd the sheep 8 in losing him. Pro. So, by your circumstance, you call me fool, Pro. Indeed a sheep doth very often stray, Val. So, by your circumstance," I fear, you 'll An* if the shepherd be awhile away. prove.
SPEED. You conclude that my master is a shepPRO. 'T is love you cavil at; I am not love. herd then, and I a sheep?b VAL. Love is your master, for he masters you:
PRO. I do. And he that is so yoked by a fool,
SPEED. Why, then my horns are his horns, Methinks should not be chronicled for wise. whether I wake or sleep.
Pro. Yet writers say, as in the sweetest bud Pro. A silly answer, and fitting well a sheep. The eating canker dwells, so eating love
SPEED. This proves me still a sheep. Inhabits in the finest wits of all.
Pro. True; and thy master a shepherd. Val. And writers say, as the most forward bud SPEED. Nay, that I can deny by a circumstance. Is eaten by the canker ere it blow,
Pro. It shall go hard but I'll prove it by Even so by love the young and tender wit
another. Is turn'd to folly ; blasting in the bud,
SPEED. The shepherd seeks the sheep, and not Losing his verdure even in the prime,
the sheep the shepherd; but I seek my master, And all the fair effects of future hopes.
and my master seeks not me: therefore, I am But wherefore waste I time to counsel thee, no sheep. That art a votary to fond desire ?
Pro. The sheep for fodder follow the shepherd, Once more adieu: my father at the road
the shepherd for food follows not the sheep; Expects my coming, there to see me shipp'd. thou for wages followest thy master, thy master
Pro. And thither will I bring thee, Valentine. for wages follows not thee : therefore, thou art VAL. Sweet Proteus, no; now let us take our a sheep. leave.
SPEED. Such another proof will make me cry To Milan let me hear from thee by letters,
baa. Of thy success in love, and what news else
Pro. But dost thou hear ? gav'st thou my Betideth here in absence of thy friend;
letter to Julia ? And I likewise will visit thee with mine.
SPEED. Ay, sir; I, a lost mutton, gave your
sisting of either fifty or a hundred and fifty beads, on each of which is repeated a short prayer.
a How young Leander cross'd the Hellespont.) This is believed to have reference to the poem of Musæus, entitled, “Hero and Leander ; " but as Marlowe's translation of this piece, though entered on the Stationers' books in 1593, was not published till 1598, a probability is raised that Shakespeare took his allusion from a classical source. The commentators, however, prefer the supposition that he saw Marlowe's version in MS.
b For you are over boots in love,–] for appears to be a misprint, perhaps instead of and or but,
(*) First folio, and. • The eating canker-) Allusions to the canker are common in the old writers. It is mentioned both in Shakespeare's plays, in his " Sonnets," and in the " Rape of Lucrece.". Topsell in his “Serpents," 1608, gives a dissertation which he heads, “or Caterpillars or Palmer-worms, called of some Cankers," and he tells us, “They gnaw off and consume by eating both leaves, boughs, and flowers, yea, and some fruits also, as I have often seen in peaches."
f I leave myself,–] The original reads, “I love myself," which Pope corrected.
& And I have pluy'd the sheep-) In many English counties, a sheep is commonly pronounced a ship, even to this day.
• Howerer,-) That is, any way.
d So, by your circumstance, - | Malone says, “circumstance is used equivocally. It here means conduct; in the preceding line, cireumstantial deduction."
h And I a sheep?] Sothe second folio, 1632. The first om.ts the article.
letter to her, a laced mutton ;(2) and she, a laced to you in telling your mind. Give her no token mutton, gave me, a lost mutton, nothing for my but stones ; for she's as hard as steel. labour !
Pro. What, said she nothing? Pro. Here's too small a pasture for such store SPEED. No, not so much as
s—Take this for of muttons.
thy pains. To testify your bounty, I thank you, SPEED. If the ground be overcharged, you you have testern'd me ;(3) in requital whereof, were best stick her.
henceforth carry your letters yourself: and so, sir, Pro. Nay, in that you are astray;* 't were best I'll commend
master. pound you.
Pro. Go, go, be gone, to save your ship from SPEED. Nay, sir, less than a pound shall serve
wrack ; me for carrying your letter.
Which cannot perish, having thee aboard, Pro. You mistake; I mean the pound, a pin- Being destin'd to a drier death on shore :fold.
I must go send some better messenger; SPEED. From a pound to a pin? fold it over I fear my Julia would not deign my lines,
Receiving them from such a worthless post. 'T is threefold too little for carrying a letter to
[Exeunt. your lover. Pro. But what said she ? [SPEED nods.] Did
she nod ?! SPEED. I. Pro. Nod, I; why, that's noddy."
SCENE II.-The same. Garden of Julia's SPEED. You mistook, sir; I say she did nod:
House. and you ask me if she did nod; and I
I. Pro. And that set together isnoddy. SPEED. Now
Enter JULIA and LUCETTA.. you have taken the pains to set it together, take it for your pains. Pro. No, no, you shall have it for bearing the
JUL. But say, Lucetta, now we are alone, letter.
Would'st thou then counsel me to fall in love ? SPEED. Well, I perceive I must be fain to bear Luc. Ay, madam ; so you stumble not un
heedfully. Pro. Why, sir, how do you bear with me?
JUL. Of all the fair resort of gentlemen, SPEED. Marry, sir, the letter very orderly;. That every day with parle encounter me, having nothing but the word, noddy, for my pains.
In thy opinion, which is worthiest love? Pro. Beshrew me, but you have a quick wit.
Luc. Please you, repeat their names,
I'll show SPEED. And yet it cannot overtake your
According to my shallow simple skill. purse.
JUL. What think'st thou of the fair sir Pro. Come, come, open the matter in brief: what said she ?
Eglamour ? SPEED. Open your purse, that the money,
Luc. As of a knight well-spoken, neat and and the matter, may be both at once delivered.
Pro. Well, sir, here is for your pains : what But, were I you, he never should be mine. said she ?
JUL. What think'st thou of the rich Mercatio ? SPEED. Truly, sir, I think you'll hardly win
Luc. Well of his wealth ; but of himself, so so. her.
JUL. What think'st thou of the gentle Proteus ? Pro. Why? Couldst thou perceive so much
Luc. Lord, Lord! to see what folly reigns in us ! from her?
JUL. How now! what means this passion at
his name? SPEED. Sir, I could perceive nothing at all from her; no, not so much as a ducat for delivering
Luc. Pardon, dear madam; 't is a passing
shame, your letter: and being so hard to me that brought your mind, I fear she 'll prove as hard
That I, unworthy body as I am,
* In that you are astray;] It has been proposed, to keep up this bout of petty quibbles, that we should read a stray, i. e. a stray sheep.
b Did she nod 1] This query, and the stage-direction, Speed nods, were added by Theobald. The latter seems essential to what follows; but I have ventured to insert it at a different place to that in which it has hitherto been given.
e I.] The old spelling of the affirmative particle Ay, without which the conceit of Proteus would be unintelligible.
d Why, that's noddy.) There is a game at cards called Noddy, but the allusion is rather to the common acceptation of Noddy.
which is, a noodle, a simpleton. In “Wit's Private Wealth," 1612, we find, “If you see a trull, scarce give her a nod, but do not follow her, lest you prove a noddy."
. The letter very orderly :) For orderly, I have sometimes thought we should read, motherly, or, according to the ancient spelling, moderly. From the words bearing, bear with you, my pains, a quick wit, and delivered, the humour appears to consist of allusions to child-bearing. None of the editors have noticed this ; and yet, unless such conceit be understood, there seems no significance whatever in the last few passages.
Should censure thus on lovely gentlemen.
JUL. Why not on Proteus, as of all the rest ? Loc. Then thus: of many good I think him
best. JUL. Your reason ?
Luc. I have no other but a woman's reason; I think him s0,–because I think him so. Jul. And wouldst thou have me cast my love
on him? Luc. Ay, if you thought your love not cast
away. JUL. Why, he of all the rest hath never mov'd
JUL. To Julia,–Say, from whom ?
from Proteus : He would have given it you, but I, being in the
way, Did in your name receive it; pardon the fault,
JUL. His little speaking shows his love but
small. Luc. Fire, that's closest kept, burns most of all. JUL. They do not love, that do not show their
love. Luc. O, they love least, that let men know their
JUL. Now, by my modesty, a goodly broker! Dare you presume to harbour wanton lines ? To whisper and conspire against my youth? Now, trust me, 't is an office of 'great worth, And you an officer fit for the place. There, take the paper, see it be return'd; Or else return no more into my sight. Luc. To plead for love deserves more fee than
gone ? Luc.
[Exit. Jul. And yet, I would I had o'erlook'd the
letter. It were a shame to call her back again,
love. Jr. I would I knew his mind. Luc. Peruse this
• Should censure thus on lovely gentlemen.] The corrector of Mr. Collier's folio reads, for the sake of rhyme
“ That I, unworthy body as I can,
Should censure thus a lovely gentleman." The alteration is specious, but uncalled for. To censure, in Shakeapeare's time, usually meant to pass judgment or opinion, and
Julia's "Why not on Proteus ?” &c. proves, I think, that on occurred in the preceding line.
b Fire, that's closest kept,-) Fire in old times was often spelt fyer, and appears here, as in other portions of these plays, to be used as a dissyllable.
c A goodly broker!] A pander, a go-between, a procuress.