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Persons Represented. *
, } Shepherds.
William, in love with Audrey.
Lords belonging to the two Dukes; with pages, forefters
, and other attendants.
The SCENE lies, first, near Oliver's house; and
, afterwards, partly in the Duke's court; and partly in the forest of Arden.
• The list of the persons being omitted in the old editions, was added by Mr. Rowe. JOHNSON.
I. SCENE 1.
Enter Orlando and Adam.
S I remember, Adam, it was upon this fa-
thousand crowns*; and, as thou say'st, charged my brother on his blessing to breed me well. And there begins my fadness. My brother Jaques he keeps
As you like it was certainly borrowed, if we believe Dr. Grey, and Mr. Upton, from the Coke's Tale of Gamelyn; which by the way was not printed 'till a century afterward : 'when in truth the old bard, who was no hunter of MSS. contented himself solely with Lodge's Rosalynd, or Euphues' Golden Legacye. 4to. 1590. FARMER.
Shakespeare has followed the fable more exactly than is his general custom when he is indebted to such worthless originals; and has ketch'd some of his principal characters, and borrowed a few expressions from it. His imitations, &c. however, are too insignificant to merit transcription. Steevens.
? As I remember, Adam, it was upon this FASHION bequeathed me by will, but a poor ihousand crowns, &c.] The grammar, as well as sense, suffers cruelly by this reading. There are two nominatives to the verb bequeathed, and not so much as one to the verb charged: and yet, to the nominative there wanted, [his blessing) refers. So that the whole sentence is confused and obscure. A very small alteration in the reading and pointing sets all right. As I remem23
at school, and report speaks goldenly of his profit : for my part, he keeps me rustically at home ; or, to speak more properly, stays me here at home, unkept;' for call you that keeping for a gentleman of my birth, that differs not from the stalling of an ox? His horses are bred better; for, besides that they are fair with their feeding, they are taught their manage, and to that end riders daily hired : but I, his brother, gain nothing under him but growth; for the which his animals on his dunghills are as much bound to him as 1. Besides this Nothing that he so plentifully gives me, the Something that nature gave me, * his coun
ber, Adam, it was upon this MY FATHER bequeathed me, &c. The grammar is now rectified, and the sense alio; which is this, Or. lando and Adam were discourfing together on the cause why the younger brother had but a thousand crowns left him. They agree upon it ; and Orlando opens the scene in this manner, As I remember, it was upon this, i. e. for the reason we have been talking of, that my father left me but a thousand crowns ; however, to make amends for this scanty provision, he charged my brother on his blessing to breed me well. WARBURTON.
There is, in my opinion, nothing but a point misplaced, and an omission of a word which every hearer can supply, and which therefore an abrupt and eager dialogue naturally excludes.
I read thus: As I remember, Adam, it was on this fashion bequeatbed me. By will but a poor thousand crowns; and, as tbau Jayeft, cbarged my brother on bis blessing to breed me well. What is there in this difficult or obscure? The nominative my father is certainly left out, but so left out that the auditor inserts it, in spite of himself. JOHNSON.
3 Stays me here at home, unkept.] We should read stys, i. e. keeps me like a brute. The following words for call you tbat keeping that differs not from the falling of an ox, confirms this emendation. So Caliban says,
And here you sty me in this hard rock. WARBURTON, Stie: is better than fays, and more likely to be Shakespeare's.
JOHNSON. * His COUNTENANCE seems to take from me.) We should cerfainly read, his piscOUNTENANCE. WARBURTON.
There is no need of change, a countenance is either good or bad. JOHNSON
tenance seems to take from me. He lets me feed with his hinds, bars me the place of a brother, and, as much as in him lies, mines my gentility with my education. This is it, Adam, that grieves me; and the spirit of my father, which, I think, is within me, begins to mutiny against this servitude. I will no longer endure it, though yet I know no wise remedy how to avoid it.
Enter Oliver. Adam. Yonder comes my master, your brother.
Orla. Go apart, Adam, and thou shalt hear how he will shake me up. Oli. Now, sir! what make
here? Orla. Nothing: I am not taught to make any thing.
Oli. What mar ye then, sir? Orla. Marry, sir, I am helping you to mar that which God made; a poor unworthy brother of yours, with idleness.
Oli. Marry, sir, be better employ'd, and be nought a while. S
Orla. s Be better employ'd, and be nought a while.] Mr. Theobald has here a very critical note ; which, though his modelty suffered him to withdraw it from his second edition, deserves to be perpetuated, i.e. (says he) be better employed, in my opinion, in being and doing nothing. Your idleness, as you call it, may be an exercise by wbich you make a figure, and endear yourself to the world: and I had ratber
you were a cortemprible cypher. The poet seems to me to have ibat trite proverbial sentiment in bis eye, quoted from Attilius, by the younger Pliny and others; satius est otiosum esse quam nihil agere. But Oliver, in the perverjeness of his disposition, would reverje ihe doktrine of the proverb. Does the reader know what all this means ? But 'tis no matter. I will allure him-be nought a while is only a north-country proverbial curle equivalent to, a mi chief on ysu. So the old poet Skelton.
Corriet first I by jelfe, walke and BE NOUGHT,
Orlo. Shall I keep your hogs, and eat husks with them? What prodigal's portion have I spent, that I thould come to such penury ?
Oli. Know you where you are, sir?
Orla. Ay, better than he, I am before, knows me. I know, you are my eldest brother; and, in the gentle condition of blood, you should so know me. The courtesy of nations allows you my better, in that you are the first-born; but the same tradition takes not away my blood, were there twenty brothers betwixt
I have as much of my father in me, as you; albeit, I confess your coming before me is nearer to his reverence.
But what the Oxford editor could not explain, he would amend, and reads,
-and do aught a while. WARBURTOR. If be nought a while has the signification here given it, the reade ing may certainly stand; but till I learned its meaning from this note, I read,
Be belter employed, and be naught a while. In the same sense as we say, it is better to do mischirf, than to do noth ng: JOHNSON.
Notwithstanding Dr. Warburton's far-fetched explanation, I believe that the words be nought a while mean no more than this, Be content to be a cypher till I shall ibink fir 10 eli vate you into confequence.
STEEVENS. Albeit, Infess your crming before me is nearer to bis REVE• RENCE.] This is sense indeed, and may be thus understood. The reverence due to my father is, in some degree, derived to you, as the first-born-But I am persuaded that Orlando did not here mean to compliment his brother, or condemn himself; fomething of both which there is in that sense. I rather think he in. tended a satirical reflection on his brother, who by letting him feed with his birds, treated him as one not so nearly related to old fir Rowland as himself was. I imagine therefore Shakespeare might write, aléent your coming before me is nearer his REVENUE, i.e. though you are no nearer in blood, yet it must be owned, indeed, you are nearer in eifate. WARBURTON.