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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,' he. 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 tho wars, to try their fortune there;
"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.
SCENE.—Sometimes in Verona; sometimes in Milan; and on the frontiers of Mantua.
* Frotrat;] Throughout the old copy (folio 1G2S), the ancient ipilinr of Proteus, which was Protheus, is invariably adopted. "OuiafestoTt," Malone observes, " were fond of introducing the Ictttr 6 into proper names to which it does not belong: and hence «sa to this day, our common Christian name, Antony, is written ?11^ ^ ntJkomy.m k Horsfl; rib,] Steevens has noted the same play of words in S'i Comus :—
11 It is for homely features to keep home, They had their name thence." c Bead's-man,—j A lieadsman is one who offers up prayers for another. Bead, in Anglo-Saxon, meaning a prayer. "To count one's heads," 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.
Yal. That's on some shallow story of deep love, How young Leander cross'd the Hellespont.*
Pro. That's a deep story of a deeper love; For he was more than over shoes in love.
Val. 'T is true; forbyou are over boots in love, And yet you never sworn the Hellespont.
Pro. Over the boots? nay, give me not the boots.(l)
Val. No, I will not, for it boots thee not.
Val. To be in love, where scorn is bought with groans; Coy looks with henrt-sorc sighs; one fading
Pro. So, by your circumstance, you call me fool.
Val. So, by your circuinstanee,d I fear, you '11 prove.
Pro. T is love you cavil at; I am not love.
Val. Love is your master, for he masters you: And he that is so yoked by a fool, Methinks should not be chronicled for wise.
Pro. Yet writers say, as in the sweetest bud The eating canker6 dwells, so eating love Inhabits in the finest wits of all.
Val. And writers say, as the most forward bud Is eaten by the canker ere it blow, Even so by love the young and tender wit Is turn'd to folly; blasting in the bud, Losing his verdure even in the prime, And all the fair effects of future hopes. But wherefore waste I time to counsel thee, That art a votary to fond desire? Once more adieu: my father at the road Expects my coming, there to see me shipp'd.
Pro. And thither will I bring thee, Valentine.
Val. Sweet Proteus, no; now let us take our leave. To Milan let me hear from thee by letters, Of thy success in love, and what news else Betideth here in absence of thy friend; And I likewise will visit thee with mine.
Kistinc of either fifty or a hundred and fifty beads, on each of which is repeated a short prayer.
» How young Leander cross'd the Hellespont.] This is believed to have reference to the poem of Musseus, 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.
t> For you art »rer boot* in lore,—] for appears to be a misprint, perhaps instead of and nr but.
c /fowier,—] That is, any way.
A So, by your circumstance,—] Malone says, "circumstanceis used equivocally. It here means conduct; in the preceding line, circumstantial deduction."
Pro. All happiness bechance to thee in Milan!
Val. As much to you at home! and so, farewell. [Exit Valentine.
Pro. He after honour hunts, I after love: He leaves his friends to dignify them more; I leave' myself, my friends, and all for love. Thou, Julia, thou hast mctamorphos'd me; Made me neglect my studies, lose my time, Mar with good counsel, set the world at nought: Made wit with musing weak, heart sick with thought.
Speed. Sir Proteus, save you: Saw you my master?
Pro. But now he parted hence, to embark for Milan.
Speed. Twenty to one then he is shipp'd already; And I have play'd the sheep" in losing him.
Pro. Indeed a sheep doth very often stray, An* if the shepherd be awhile away.
Speed. You conclude that my master is a shepherd then, and I a sheep ?h
Pro. I do.
Speed. Why, then my horns are his horns, whether I wake or sleep.
Pro. A silly answer, and fitting well a sheep.
Speed. This proves me still a sheep.
Pro. True; and thy master a shepherd.
Speed. Nay, that I can deny by a circumstance.
Pno. It shall go hard but I '11 prove it by another.
Speed. The shepherd seeks the sheep, and not the sheep the shepherd; but I seek my master, and my master seeks not me: therefore, I am no sheep.
Pro. The sheep for fodder follow the shepherd, the shepherd for food follows not the sheep: thou for wages followest thy master, thy master for wages follows not thee: therefore, thou art a sheep.
Speed. Such another proof will make me cry baa.
Pno. But dost thou hear? gav'st thou mv letter to Julia?
Speed. Ay, sir; I, a lost mutton, gave your
(«) First folio, and.
0 The eating canker—J 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," 160S, gives a dissertation which he head*, "Of 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."
1 I leave myself,—] The original reads, " I love myself," which Pope corrected.
K And I harp play'd the sheep—] In many English counties, a sheep is commonly pronounced a ship, even "to this day.
I> Andl ashcept] So the second folio, 16^2. The first omits the article.
a laced for my
letter to her, a laced mutton ; (2) and she, mutton, gave me, a lost mutton, nothing labour!
Pro. Here's too small a pasture for such store of muttons.
Speed. If the ground be overcharged, you were best stick her.
Pro. Nay, in that you are astray," I were best pound you.
Spied. Nay, sir, less than a pound shall serve me for carrying your letter.
Pro. You mistake; I mean the pound, a pinfold.
Speed. From a pound to a pin? fold it over and over,
T is threefold too little for carrying a letter to your lover.
Pro. But what said she? [speed «o</«.] Did
she nod?" Speed. I.e
Pno. Nod, I; why, that's noddy.d
Speed. You mistook, sir; I Bay she did nod: and you ask me if she did nod; and I say, I.
Pro. And that set together is—noddy.
Speed. Now you have taken the pains to set it together, take it for your pains.
Pbo. No, no, you shall have it for bearing the letter.
Speed. Well, I perceive I must be fain to bear with you.
Pro. Why, sir, how do you bear with me?
Speed. Marry, sir, the letter very orderly; * having nothing hut the word, noddy, for my pains.
Pro. Beshrew me, but you have a quick wit.
Speed. And yet it cannot overtake your slow purse.
Pro. Come, come, open the matter in brief: what said she? ^
Speed. Open your purse, that the money, and the matter, may be both at once delivered.
Pho. Well, sir, here is for your pains: what said she?
Speed. Truly, sir, I think you 'll hardly win her.
Pro. Why? Couldst thou perceive so much from her?
Speed. Sir, I could perceive nothing at all from her: no, not so much as a ducat for delivering your letter: and being so hard to me that brought your mind, I fear she '11 prove as hard
»In that you are astray;] i t has been proposed, to keep up this bout of petty quibbles, that we should read q stray, i. e. a stray sheep.
* Did she nod!] 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.
« /.] The old spelling of the affirmative particle Ay, without which the concept of Proteus would be unintelligible.
* Why, that's noddy.] There is a game at cards called Noddy, bot toe allusion is rather to the common acceptation of Noddy,
to you in tellinfr, your mind. Give her no token but stones; for she's as hard as steel.
Pro. What, said she nothing?
Speed. No, not so much as—Take this for thy pains. To testify your bounty, I thank you, you have testern'd me in requital whereof henceforth carry your letters yourself: and so, sir I '11 commend you to my master.
Pno. Go, go, be gone, to save your ship from wreck ;
Which cannot perish, having thee aboard,
Enter Julia and Lucetta.
Jul. But say, Lucetta, now we are alone, Would'st thou then counsel me to fall in love? Luc. Ay, madam; so you stumble not unheedfully.
Jul. Of all the fair resort of gentlemen,
Luc. Please you, repeat their names, I 'll show
According to my shallow simple skill.
Jul. What think'st thou of the fair sir
Luc. As of a knight well-spoken, neat and
But, were I you, he never should be mine.
Jul. What think'st thou of the rich Mercatio? Luc. Well of his wealth ; but of himself, so so. Jul. What think'st thou of the gentle Proteus? Luc. Lord, Lord! to see what folly reigns in us! Jul, How now! what means this passion at
his name? Luc. Pardon, dear madam; 't is
That I, unworthy body as I am,
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."
e 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-beating. 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? Luc. 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 so,—because I think him so.
Jul. And wouldst thou have me cast my love
Jul. To Julia,—Say, from whom? Luc. That the contents will show. Jul. Say, say; who gave it thee? Luc. Sir Valentine's page; and sent, I think. from Proteus: He would have given it you, but I, being in the
way, Did in your name receive it; pardon the fault, I pray. Jul. Now, by my modesty, a goodly broker ! c 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 hate. Will you be gone?
That you may ruminate. [Exit. And yet, I would I had o'erlook'd the letter. It were a shame to call her back again,
on him? Luc. Ay, if you thought your love not cast
away. Jul. Why, he of all the rest hath never mov'd
me. Luc. Yet he, of all the rest, I think, best
loves ye. Jul. His little speaking shows his love but
small. Luc. Fire,bthat'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
love. Jul. I would I knew his mind. Luc. Peruse this paper, madam.
a Should censure thus on Until gentlemen.] The corrector of Mr. Collier's folio reads, for the sake of rhyme—
"That I. unworthy body as I can,
The alteration is specious, but uncalled for. To censure, in Shake-
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.
e A goodly broker!] A gander, a go-bcturetn, a procuress.