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How shall I best convey the ladder thither? Vai/. It will be light, my lord, that you may bear it
Under a cloak, that is of any length.
Duke. A cloak as long as thine will serve the turn?
Val. Ay, my good lord.
I 'll get me one of such another length.
Val. Why, any cloak will serve the turn, my lord.
Duke. How shall I fashion me to wear a cloak?— I pray thee, let me feel thy cloak upon me.— What letter is this same? What 's here ?—To Silvia?
And here an engine fit for my proceeding!
I 'll be so bold to break the seal for once. [Heads.
My thought* do harbour with my Silvia nightly; And slaves they are to me, that send them
0, could their master come and go as lightly, Himself would lodge, where senseless they are lying.
My herald thoughts in thy pure bosom rest them; While I, their king, that thither them importune,
Do curse the grace that with such grace hath bless1 d them,
Because myself do want my servants' fortune: I curse myself, for they are sent by me, That they should harbour where their lord should be.
Silvia, this night I will enfranchise thee.
'T is so; and here's the ladder for the purpose.
Why, Phaeton, (for thou art Merops' son,)*
Wilt thou aspire to guide the heavenly car,
And with thy daring folly burn the world?
Wilt thou reach stars, because they shine on thee?
Go, base intruder! overweening slave!
Bestow thy fawning smiles on equal mates;
And think, my patience, more than thy desert,
Is privilege for thy departure hence:
Thank me for this, more than for all the favours,
WTiich, all too much, I have bestow'd on thee.
But if thou linger in my territories,
Longer than swiftest expedition
Will give thee time to leave our royal court,
By Heaven, my wrath shall far exceed the love
a Merops' son,—] "Thou art Phaeton in thy rashness, but without his pretensions: thouart notthesonof a divinity, but a terra AM", a low-born wretch; Merops is thy true father, with whom Phaeton was falsely reproached."—Johnson.
b I fly not death, to fly his deadly doom:] This is somewhat obscure. Mr. Singer reads:—
I ever bore my daughter, or thyself.
Be gone; I will not hear thy vain excuse,
But, as thou lov'st thy life, make speed from hence.
Val. And why not death, rather than living torment?
To die, is to be banish'd from myself;
Enter Proteus and Launch.
Pro. Run, boy, run, run, and seek him out.
Pro. Who then? his spirit?
Laun. Can nothing speak? Master, shall I
Pro. Who wouldst thou strike?
Laun. Why, sir, I 'll strike nothing: I pray
Pro. Sirrah, I say, forbear: Friend Valentine, a word.
Val. My ears are stopp'd, and cannot hear good news,
So much of bad already hath possess'd them.
Pro. Then in dumb silence will I bury mine, For they are harsh, untuneable, and bad.
Val. Is Silvia dead?
Pro. No, Valentine.
Vax. No Valentine, indeed, for sacred Silvia!— Hath she forsworn me? Pho. No, Valentine.
Vax. NoValentine, if Silvia have forswornmc!— What is your news?
Latjn. Sir, thero is a proclamation that you are vanished.
Pro. That thou art banished. O, that's the news;
From hence, from Silvia, and from me, thy friend.
Vax. O, I have fed upon this woe already, And now excess of it will make me surfeit. Doth Silvia know that I am banished?
Pro. Ay, ay; and she hath offcr'd to the doom (Which, unrcvers'd, stands in effectual force) A sea of melting pearl, which some call tears: Those at her father's churlish feet she tender'd; With them, upon her knees, her humble self; Wringing her hands, whose whiteness so became them,
As if but now they waxed pale for woe:
But neither bended knees, pure hands held up,
Sad sighs, deep groans, nor silver-shedding tears,
Could penetrate her uncompassionate sire;
But Valentine, if he be ta'en, must die.
Besides, her intercession chaf'd him so,
When she for thy repeal was suppliant,
That to close prison he commanded her,
With many bitter threats of 'biding there.
Vax. No more; unless the next word that thou
Have some malignant power upon my life;
Pho. Cease to lament for that thou canst not
And study help for that which thou lament'st.
Vax. I pray thee, Launce, an if thou scest my boy,
* // he be but one knave] Warburton very plausibly proposed to read—"if he be but one kind." Something, however, leading to Launce's love confession, appears to have been omitted. Possibly the poet wrote," But that's all one, if he be but one in love."
Bid him make haste, and meet me at the north gate.
Pbo. Go, sirrah, find him out. Come, Valentine.
Val. O my dear Silvia! hapless Valentine!
[Exeunt Valentine and Proteus.
Laun. I am but a fool, look you; and yet I have the wit to think my master is a kind of a knave: but that's all one, if he be but one knave.* He lives not now that knows me to be in love: yet I am in love; but a team of horse shall not pluck that from me; nor who't is I love, and yet't is a woman: but what woman, I will not tell myself; and yet't is a milkmaid; yet 't is not a maid, for she hath had gossips: yet't is a maid, for she is her master's maid, and serves for wages. She hath more qualities than a water-spaniel,— which is much in a bare Christian. Here is the cate-log [pulling out a paper) of her conditions. Imprimis, She can fetch and carry. Why, a horse can do no more: nay, a horse cannot fetch, but only carry; therefore is she better than a jade. Item, She can milk; look you, a sweet virtue in a maid with clean hands.
Speed. How now, siguior Launce? what news with your mastership?
Laun. With my master's ship? why, it is at sea.
SrEED. Well, your old vice still; mistake the word: What news then in your paper?
Laun. The blackest news that ever thou heard'st.
Speed. Why, man, how black?
Laun. Why, as black as ink.
Speed. Let me read them.
Laun. Fie on thee, jolt-head! thou canst not read.
Speed. Thou liest, I can.
Laun. I will try thee: tell me this: Who begot thee?
Speed. Marry, the son of my grandfather.
Laun. O illiterate loiterer! it was the son of thy grandmother: this proves that thou canst not read.
Speed. Come, fool, come: try me in thy paper.
Laun. There; and St. Nicholas be thy speed! (1)
Speed. Imprimis, She can milk.
Laun. Ay, that she can.
Speed. Item, She brews good ale.
The second knave may have been repeated, repetition being a very common compositor's error, instead of the words in love, which seem naturally enough to precede, "He lives not now that knows me to be in love."
Laun. And thereof comes the proverb,—Blessing of your heart, you brew good ale."
Speed. Item, She can sew.
Laun. That's as much as to say, can she so?
Speed. Item, She can knit.
Laun. What need a man care for a stock with a wench, when she can knit him a stock?
Speed; Item, She can wash and scour.
Laun. A special virtue; for then she need not be washed and scoured.
Speed. Item, She can spin.
Laun. Then may I set the world on wheels, when she can spin for her living.
Speed. Item, She hath many nameless virtues.
Laun. That 's as much as to say, bastard virtues; that, indeed, know not their fathers, and therefore have no names.
Speed. Here follow her vices.
Laun. Close at the heels of her virtues.
Speed. Item, She is not to be fasting,b in respect of her breath.
Laun. Well, that fault may be mended with a breakfast: Read on.
Speed. Item, She hath a sweet mouth."
Laun. That makes amends for her sour breath.
Speed. Item, She doth talk in her sleep.
» You brew good ale.]
11 Our ale's o' the best,
Masque, of Augurs, Bex Jonsox.
Laun. It's no matter for that, so she sleep not in her talk.
Speed. Item, She is slow in words.
Laun. O villain, that set this down among her vices! To be slow in words is a woman's only virtue: I pray thee, out with't; and place it for her chief virtue.
Speed. Item, She is proud.
Laun. Out with that too; it was Eve's legacy, and cannot be ta'en from her.
Speed. Item, She hath no teeth.
Laun. I care not for that neither, because I love crusts.
Speed. Item, She is curst.
Laun. Well; the best is, she hath no teeth to bite.
Speed. She will often praise her liquor.
Laun. If her liquor be good, she shall: if she will not, I will; for good things should be praised.
Speed. Item, She is too liberal.
Laun. Of her tongue she cannot; for that 's writ down she is slow of: of her purse she shall not; for that I 'll keep shut: now of another thing she may; and that cannot I help. Well, proceed.
Speed. Item, She hath more hair than wit* and more faults than hairs, and more wealth than faults.
b She is not to be fasting.—] So the folio. The word kissed, which is found in the modern editions, was added by Rowe.
o She hath a sweet mouth.] As we now say. a liquorish tooth.
o More hair than wit,—] A well-known old English proverb. Steevens has given many instances of its occurrence in the old writers.
Laun. Stop there; I 'll have her: she was mine, and not mine, twice or thrice in that last article: rehearse that once more.
Speed. Item, She hath more hair than wit,— Laun. More hair than wit,—it may be; I 'll prove it: the cover of the salt hides the salt, and therefore it is more than the salt; the hair that covers the wit is more than the wit; for the greater hides the less. What's next'? Speed. And more faults than hairs,— Laun. That's monstrous: O, that that were out !
Speed. And more wealth than faults.
Laun. Why, that word makes the faults gracious: well, I 'll have her: and if it be a match, as nothing is impossible,—
Speed. What then?
Laun. Why, then will I tell thee,—that thy master stays for thee at the north gate. Speed. For me?
Laun. For thee? ay: who art thou'? he hath stayed for a better man than thee.
Speed. And must I go to him?
Laun. Thou must run to him, for thou hast stayed so long, that going will scarce serve the turn.
Speed. Why didst not tell me sooner? 'pox of your love-letters! [Exit.
Laun. Now will he be swinged for reading my letter: an unmannerly slave, that will thrust himself into secrets !—I 'll after, to rejoice in the boy's correction. [Exit.
SCENE II.—The game. A Room in the Duke's Palace.
Enter Duke and Thurio; Proteus behind.
Duke. Sir Thurio, fear not but that she will love you,
Now Valentine is banish'd from her sight.
Thu. Since his exile she hath despis'd me most, Forsworn my company, and rail'd at me, That I am desperate of obtaining her.
Duke. This weak impress of love is as a figure Trenched in ice; which with an hour's heat Dissolves to water, and doth lose his form. A little time will melt her frozen thoughts, And worthless Valentine shall be forgot.— How now, sir Proteus! Is your countryman, According to our proclamation, gone?
* Hie very friend.] True friend. In modern phraseology, particular fritn d.
t> Say Mia weed—] Mr. Collier's corrector reads wean; and the same tobstitution was made by B. Victor in his alteration of this play, it 63.
« To bottom it on me;] A bottom of thread every housewife is
Pro. Gone, my good lord.
Proteus, the good conceit I hold of thee,
(For thou hast shown some sign of good desert,)
Makes me the better to confer with thee.
Pno. Longer than I prove loyal to your grace, Let me not live to look upon your grace.
Duke. Thou know'st how willingly I would effect
The match between sir Thurio and my daughter. Pro. I do, my lord.
Duke. And also, I think, thou art not ignorant How she opposes her against my will.
Pro. She did, my lord, when Valentine was here.
Duke. Ay, and perversely she persevere so. What might we do, to make the girl forget The love of Valentine, and love sir Thurio?
Pro. The best way is, to slander Valentine With falsehood, cowardice, and poor descent; Three things that women highly hold in hate.
Duke. Ay, but she 'll think that it is spoke in hate.
Pro. Ay, if his enemy deliver it: Therefore it must, with circumstance, be spoken By one whom she esteemcth as his friend.
Duke. Then you must undertake to slander him.
Pro. And that, my lord, I shall be loth to do: 'T is an ill office for a gentleman; Especially, against his very friend.'
Duke. Where your good word cannot advantage him,
Your slander never can endamage him;
Pro. You have prevail'd, my lord: if I can do it,
By aught that I can speak in his dispraise,
Thu. Therefore, as you unwind her love from him,
Lest it should ravel, and be good to none,
Duke. And, Proteus, we dare trust you in this kind;
Because we know, on Valentine's report,
"A bottome for your silke it seems
Grange's Garden, 1557. You are already love's firm votary,
And cannot soon revolt and change your mind.
Upon this warrant shall you have access
Where you with Silvia may confer at large;
For she is lumpish, heavy, melancholy,
And, for your friend's sake, will be glad of you;
Where you may temper her, by your persuasion,
To hate young Valentine, and love my friend.
Pno. As much as I can do, I will effect:—
Duke. Ay, much is the force of heaven-bred poesy.
Pno. Say that upon the altar of her beauty You sacrifice your tears, your sighs, your heart. Write till your ink be dry; and with your tears Moist it again; and frame some feeling line, That may discover such integrity For Orpheus' lute was strung with poets' sinews; Whose golden touch could soften steel and stones, Make tigers tame, and huge leviathans
* Discover such integrity :] Malone supposed that B line following this had been lost. I rather suspect some corruption in the words sveh integrity.
b With some sweet consort:] Consort is the reading of the old copy, and is certainly correct. The modern editors, for the most
Forsake unsounded deeps to dance on sands.
Duke. This discipline shows thou hast been in
Thu. And thy advice this night I 'll put in practice.
Therefore, sweet Proteus, my direction-giver,
Duke. About it, gentlemen.
Pno. We 'll wait upon your grace till after supper;
And afterward determine our proceedings.
Duke. Even now about it: I will pardon you.
part, read concert. Consort, in Shakespeare's time, appears to have been used as we use the word band, a set or company of musicians.
c Will inherit her.] That is, "obtain possession of her," Stevens says.