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Val. And why not death, rather than living torment? To die, is to be banish'd from myself: And Silvia is myself; banish'd from her, Is felf from felf: a deadly banishment! What light is light, if Silvia be not feen? What joy is joy, if Silvia be not by? Unless it be to think, that fhe is by; And feed upon the fhadow of perfection. Except I be by Silvia in the night, There is no mufick in the nightingale ; Unless I look on Silvia in the day, There is no day for me to look upon : She is my effence, and I leave to be, If I be not by her fair influence Fofter'd, illumin'd, cherish'd, kept alive. I fly not death, to fly his deadly doom; 3 Tarry I here, I but attend on death: But fly I hence, I fly away from life.
Enter Protheus and Launce.
Pro. Run, boy, run, run, and seek him out.
Pro. What feest thou?
Laun. Him we go to find:
There's not an hair on's head, but 'tis a Valentine.
Pro. Who then; his fpirit?
Pro. What then?
3 I fly not death, to fly his dead. ly doom] To fy his doom, ufed for by flying, or in flying, is a gallicifm. The fenfe is, By avoiding the execution of his fen
tence I fhall not escape death.. If I ftay here, I fuffer myfelf to be destroyed; if I go away, I deftroy myself.
Laun. Can nothing speak? master, shall I strike? Pro. Whom wouldst thou ftrike?
Pro. Villain, forbear.
Laun. Why, Sir, I'll frike nothing; I pray you-
Pro. Then in dumb filence will I bury mine;
Pro. No, Valentine.
Val. No Valentine, indeed, for facred Silvia! Hath fhe forfworn me?
Pro. No, Valentine.
Val. No Valentine, if Silvia have forfworn me! What is your news?
Laun. Sir, there's a proclamation that you are va
Pro. That thou art banifh'd; oh, that is the news, From hence, from Silvia, and from me thy friend.
Val. Oh, I have fed upon this woe already; And now excess of it will make me furfeit, Doth Silvia know that I am banished?
Pro. Ay, ay; and fhe hath offer'd to the doom, Which unrevers'd ftands in effectual force,
A fea of melting pearl, which fome call tears;
That to clofe prifon he commanded her,
Val. No more; unless the next word, that thou
Have fome malignant power upon my life,
Pro. Ceafe to lament for that thou canst not help,
Val. I pray thee, Launce, an' if thou feest my boy, Bid him make hafte, and meet me at the north-gate. Pro. Go, Sirrah, find him out. Come, Valentine. Val. O my dear Silvia! haplefs Valentine! [Exeunt Valentine and Protheus.
SCENE E IV.
Laun. I am but a fool, look I have you, and yet the wit to think my matter is a kind of a knave: but that's all one, if he be but one knave. 4 He lives not now that knows me to be in love; yet I am in love;
4 Laun. I am but a fool, look you, and yet I have the wit to think my mafter is a kind of knave; VOL. J.
but that's all one, if he be but one KNAVE.] Where is the fenfe, or, if you won't allow the Speaker
love; but a team of horfe 5 fhall not pluck that from me, nor who 'tis I love, and yet 'tis a woman; but what woman I will not tell myfelf, and yet'tis a milkmaid; yet 'tis not a maid, for fhe hath had goffips; yet 'tis a maid, for fhe is her mafter's maid, and ferves for wages: fhe hath more qualities than a water-spaniel, which is much in a bare christian. Here is the cat log [Pulling out a Paper] of her conditions; Imprimis, fhe can fetch and carry; why, a horfe can do no more; nay, a horse cannot fetch, but only carry ; therefore he is better than a jade. Item, fhe can milk; look you, a fweet virtue in a maid with clean hands.
Speed. How now, fignior Launce? what news with your mastership?
Laun. With my master's ship? why, it is at fea. 6 Speed. Well, your old vice ftill; miftake the word: what news then in your paper?
Speaker that, where is the humour of this fpeech? Nothing had given the fool occafion to fufpect that his master was become double, like Antipholis in the Comedy of Errors. The laft word is corrupt. We should read,
if he be but one KIND. He thought his mafter was a kind of knave; however, he keeps himself in countenance with this reflexion, that if he was a knave but of one kind, he might pafs well enough amongst his neighhours. This is truly humourous. WARBURTON. This alteration is acute and fpecious, yet I know not whether, in Shakespear's language, one knave may not fignify a krave only one occafion, a fingle knave. We till ufe a double villain for a
villain beyond the common rate of guilt.
5 A team of horse ball not pluck.-] I fee bow Valentine fuffers for telling his love fecrets, therefore I will keep mine close.
6 In former editions it is, With my Maftership? why it is at Sea. For how does Launce miftake the word? Speed asks him about his Mastership, and he replies to him litteratim. But then how was his Mastership at Sea, and on Shore too? The Addition of a Letter and a Note of Apostrophe makes Launce both miftake the Word, and fets the Pun right: It reftores, indeed, but a mean Joke; but, without it, there is no Senfe in the Paffage. Befides, it is in Character with the reft of the Scene; and, I dare be confident, the Poet's own Conceit. THEOBALD. Laun.
Laun. The blackeft news that ever thou heard'ft.
Laun. Fie on thee, jolt-head, thou can'ft not read.
Laun. I will try thee; tell me this, who begot thee? Speed. Marry, the fon of my grand-father.
Laun O illiterate loiterer, it was the fon of thy grand-mother; this proves, that thou can'ft not read. Speed. Come fool, come, try me in thy paper. Laun. There, and St. Nicholas be thy speed! 7 Speed. Imprimis, fhe can milk. Laun. Ay, that she can.
Speed. Item, the brews good ale.
Laun. And therefore comes the proverb, Bleffing of your heart, you brew good ale.
Speed. Item, the can fowe.
Laun. That's as much as to fay, Can fhe fo?
Speed. Item, fhe can knit.
Laun. What need a man care for a ftock with a wench, when fhe can knit him a stock!
Speed. Item, fhe can wash and fcour.
Laun. A fpecial virtue, for then she need not to be wafh'd and fcour'd.
Speed. Item, fhe can fpin.
Laun. Then may I fet the world on wheels, when fhe can fpin for her living.
Speed. Item, the hath many nameless virtues. Laun. That's as much as to fay, Baftard Virtues ; that indeed, know not their fathers, and therefore have no names. Speed. Here follow her vices.
7- St. Nicholas be thy Speed.] St. Nicholas prefided over Scholars, who were therefore called St. Nicholas's Clarks. Hence, by a quibble between Nicholas and
Old Nick, Highway-men, in the first part of Henry the fourth, are called Nicholas's Clerks.