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ACT IV. SCENE II.
Line 125. No more of that!
I pr'ythee do not strive against my vows:
Diana tells him unexpectedly of his wife. He answers with perturbation, No more of that! I pr'ythee do not play the confessor. —against my own consent I was compelled to her.
When a young profligate finds his courtship so gravely repressed by an admonition of his duty, he very naturally desires the girl not to take upon her the office of a confessor. JOHNSON.
Line 140. If I should swear by Jove's great attributes,] In the print of the old folio, it is doubtful whether it be Jove's or Love's, the characters being not distinguishable. If it is read Love's, perhaps it may be something less difficult. I am still at a loss.
Line 143. To swear by him whom I protest to love, &c.] This passage likewise appears to me corrupt. She swears not by him whom she loves, but by Jupiter. I believe we may read, to swear to him. There is, says she, no holding, no consistency, in swearing to one that I love him, when I swear it only to injure him. JOHNSON.
Since Frenchmen are so braid,
Marry that will, I'll live and die a maid:] Nothing is more common than for girls, on such occasions, to say in a pet what they do not think, or to think for a time what they do not finally resolve. JOHNSON.
Braid does not signify crooked or perverse, but crafty or deceitful. STEEVENS.
ACT IV. SCENE III.
Line 200. 1 Lord] The later editors have with great liberality bestowed lordship upon these interlocutors, who, in the original edition, are called, with more propriety, capt. E. and capt. G. It is true that captain E. is in a former scene called lord E. but the subordination in which they seem to act, and the timorous manner in which they converse, determines them to be only captains. Yet as the later readers of Shakspeare have been used to find them
lords, I have not thought it worth while to degrade them in the JOHNSON. margin.
Line 226. -in his proper stream o'erflows himself:] That is, betrays his own secrets in his own talk. The reply shews that this is JOHNSON. the meaning.
Line 234. -he might take a measure of his own judgments,] This is a very just and moral reason. Bertram, by finding how erroneously he has judged, will be less confident, and more easily JOHNSON. moved by admonition. Line 303. bring forth this counterfeit module;] Module being the pattern of any thing, may be here used in that sense. Bring forth this fellow, who, by counterfeit virtue, pretended to make himself a pattern. JOHNSON. Line 349. -that had the whole theorick-] i. e. Theory. 360. con thanks
I con him no thanks for 't,] To may, indeed, exactly answer the French sçavoire gré.
To con is STEEVENS.
Line 377. off their cassocks,] Cassock signifies a horseman's loose coat, and is used in that sense by the writers of the STEEVENS. age of Shakspeare.
Line 419. Dian. The count's a fool, and full of gold,] After this line there is apparently a line lost, there being no rhime that JOHNSON. corresponds to gold.
Line 438. Men are to mell with, boys are not to kiss;] To mell, from the French meler, is to meddle or mingle; from which the meaning of the expression may be understood.
Line 460. -an egg out of a cloister;] I know not that cloister, though it may etymologically signify any thing shut, is used by our author, otherwise than for a monastery, and therefore I cannot guess whence this hyperbole could take its original; perhaps it means only this: He will steal any thing, however trifling, from JOHNSON. any place, however holy,
he's a cat still.] That is, throw him how you will, he lights upon his legs. The same speech also was applied by king James to Coke, with respect to his subtleties of law, that throw him which way we would, he could still like a cat light upon his legs. JOHNSON. Line 494. Why does he ask him of me?] This is nature. Every
man is on such occasions more willing to hear his neighbour's character than his own. JOHNSON. Line 509. -to beguile the supposition-] That is, to deceive the opinion, to make the count think me a man that deserves well. JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE IV.
my motive--] Motive for assistant. When saucy trusting of the cozen'd thoughts, Defiles the pitchy night!] Saucy may very properly signify luxurious, and by consequence lascivious. JOHNSON, Line 587. But with the word, the time will bring on summer, &c.] With the word, i. e. in an instant of time. WARBURTON.
The meaning of this observation is, that as briars have sweetness with their prickles, so shall these troubles be recompensed with joy. JOHNSON.
Line 591. the fines-] i. e. the finis, or end.
ACT IV. SCENE V.
Line 594. whose villainous saffron would have made all the unbak'd and doughy youth of a nation in his colour :] This alludes to a fantastic fashion, then much followed, of using yellow starch for their bands and ruffs. WARBURTON.
Stubbs in his Anatomie of Abuses, published in 1595, speaks of starch of various colours.
-"The one arch or piller wherewith the devil's kingdome of "great ruffes is underpropped, is a certain kinde of liquid matter, "which they call startch, wherein the devill hath learned them to "wash and dye their ruffes, which, being drie, will stand stiff " and inflexible about their neckes. And this startch they make "of divers substances, sometimes of wheate flower, of branne, " and other graines: sometimes of rootes, and sometimes of other "thinges of all collours and hues, as white, redde, blewe, pur"ple, and the like." STEEVENS.
Line 600. I would I had not known him!] This dialogue serves to connect the incidents of Parolles with the main plan of the play.
Line 632. His phisnomy is more hotter in France than there.] The allusion is, in all probability, to the morbus Gallicus. STEEV. Line 638. to suggest-] i. e. seduce or tempt.
640. I am a woodland fellow, sir, &c.] Shakspeare is but rarely guilty of such impious trash. And it is observable, that then he always puts that into the mouth of his fools, which is now grown the characteristic of the fine gentleman. WARBURTON. unhappy.] That is, mischievously waggish; un
Line 660. -he has no pace, but runs where he will.] A pace is a certain or prescribed walk; so we say of a man meanly obsequious, that he has learned his paces. JOHNSON.
Line 695. -carbonadoed-] i. e. Scotched like a piece of meat for the gridiron. STEEVENS.
ACT V. SCENE I.
Line 7. Enter a gentle Astringer.] Perhaps a gentle stranger, i. e. a stranger of gentle condition, a gentleman. STEEVENS.
Line 40. Our means will make us means.] Shakspeare delights much in this kind of reduplication, sometimes so as to obscure his meaning. Helena says, they will follow with such speed as the means which they have will give them ability to exert. JOHNSON.
ACT V. SCENE II.
Line 70. I do pity his distress in my smiles of comfort,] The meaning is, I testify my pity for his distress, by encouraging him with a gracious smile. HEATH.
Line 102. -you shall eat ;] Parolles has many of the lineaments of Falstaff, and seems to be the character which Shakspeare delighted to draw, a fellow that had more wit than virtue. Though justice required that he should be detected and exposed, yet his vices sit so fit in him that he is not at last suffered to starve. JOHNS.
ACT V. SCENE III.
Line 104. -esteem-] Esteem is here reckoning or estimate. Since the loss of Helen with her virtues and qualifications, our account is sunk; what we have to reckon ourselves king of, is much poorer than before. JOHNSON.
Line 107. -home.] That is, completely, in its full extent.
-blaze of youth,] In the old copy, blade. In the spring of early life, when the man is yet green; oil and fire suit but ill with blade, and therefore Dr. Warburton reads, blaze of youth. JOHNSON.
The first view shall kill
All repetition:] The first interview shall put an end to all recollection of the past. Shakspeare is now hastening to the end of the play, finds his matter sufficient to fill up his remaining scenes, and therefore, as on other such occasions, contracts his dialogue and precipitates his action. Decency required that Bertram's double crime of cruelty and disobedience, joined likewise with some hypocrisy, should raise more resentment; and that though his mother might easily forgive him, his king should more pertinaciously vindicate his own authority and Helen's merit: of all this Shakspeare could not be ignorant, but Shakspeare wanted to conclude his play. JOHNSON. Line 150. My high-repented blames,] High-repented blames, are faults repented of to the height, to the utmost. STEEVENS.
Line 184. Our own love waking, &c.] For sleep I think we should read slept. Love cries to see what was done while hatred slept, and suffered mischief to be done. Or the meaning may be, that hatred still continues to sleep at ease, while love is weeping.
Line 217. In Florence was it from a casement thrown me,] Bertram still continues to have too little virtue to deserve Helen. He did not know indeed that it was Helen's ring, but he knew that he had it not from a window. JOHNSON.
noble she was, and thought
I stood ingag'd:] The meaning is, when she saw me receive the ring, she thought me engaged to her. JOHNSON. Line 226. Plutus himself,
That knows the tinct, and multiplying medicine,] Plutus the grand alchemist, who knows the tincture which confers the properties of gold upon base metals, and the matter by which gold is multiplied, by which a small quantity of gold is made to communicate its qualities to a large mass of metal.