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Hel. Gentlemen, Heaven hath, through me, restor'd the king to health.
All. We understand it, and thank heaven for you:
Hel. I am a simple maid; and therein wealthiest,
Make choice; and, see, Who shuns thy love, shuns all his love in me.
Hel. Now, Dian, from thy altar do I fly;
I Lord. And grant it.
Thanks, sir; all the rest is mute.? Laf. I had rather be in this choice, than throw amesace3 for
1 We blush, that thou should'st choose; but, be refus’d,
Let the white death &c.] In the original copy, these lines are pointed thus:
We blush that thou should'st choose, but be refus'd;
Let the white death sit on thy cheek for ever, &c. This punctuation has been adopted in all the subsequent editions. The present regulation of the text appears to me to afford a much clearer sense. My blushes (says Helen) thus whisper me. We blush that thou should'st have the nomination of thy husband. However, choose him at thy peril. But, if thou be refused, let thy cheeks be for ever pale; we will never revisit them again.”
The blushes which are here personified could not be supposed to know that Helena would be refused, as, according to the former punctuation, they appear to do; and, even if the poet had meant this, he would surely have written — and be refused, not “ — but be refused.”
“ Be refus'd,” means the same as- s—thou being refused, or, be thou refused. Malone.
The white death is the chlorosis. Fohnson.
The pestilence that ravaged England in the reign of Edward III was called “ the black death " Steevens.
all the rest is mute.] i. e. I have no more to say to you So, Hamlet: “- the rest is silence.” Steevens.
- ames-ace -] i. e. the lowest chance of the dice. So, in The Ordinary, by Cartwright: “ may I at my last stake, &c. throw ames-aces thrice together.” Steevens.
Hel. The honour, sir, that flames in your fair eyes,
2 Lord. No better, if you please.
My wish receive,
Laf. Do all they deny her?4 An they were sons of
Laf. These boys are boys of ice, they 'll none have her: sure, they are bastards to the English; the French ne'er got them.
Hel. You are too young, too happy, and too good, To make yourself a son out of my
blood. 4 Lord. Fair one, I think not so.
Laf. There's one grape yet,5-I am sure, thy father drank wine.-- But if thou be'st not an ass, I am a youth of fourteen; I have known thee already.
Hel. I dare not say, I take you ; [to BER.] but I give Me, and my service, ever whilst I live, Into your guiding power. This is the man. [He draws bach
ms.S2.1632 4 Laf. Do all they deny her?) None of them have yet denied her, or deny her afterwards, but Bertram. The scene must be so regulated that Lafeu and Parolles talk at a distance, where they may see what passes between Helena and the lords, but not hear it, su that they know not by whom the refusal is made.
Fohnson. 5 There's one grape yet,] This speech the three last editors [Theobald, Hanmer, and Warburton] have perplexed them. selves, by dividing between Lafeu and Parolles, without any au. thority of copies, or any improvement of sense. I have restored - the old reading, and should have thought no explanation necessary, but that Mr. Theobald apparently misunderstood it.
Old Lafeu having, upon the supposition that the lady was refused, reproached the young lords as boys of ice, throwing his eyes on Bertram, who remained, cries out, There is one yet into whom his father put good blood but I have known thee long enough to know thee for an ass. Johnson.
King. Why then, young Bertram, take her, she's
thy wife. Ber. My wife, my liege? I shall beseech your highness, In such a business give me leave to use The help of mine own eyes, King.
Know'st thou not, Bertram, What she has done for me? Ber.
Yes, my good lord;
King. 'Tis only title6 thou disdain'st in her, the which
6 'Tis only title -] i. e. the want of title. Malone.
? Of colour, weight, and heat,] That is, which are of the same colour, weight, &c. Malone.
8 From lowest place when virtuous things proceed,] The old copy has-hence. This easy correction (when) was prescribed by Dr. Thirlby. Theobald.
9 Where great additions swell,] Additions are the titles and de. scriptions by which men are distinguished from each other.
Malone. good alone Is good, without a name ; oi!eness is so:] Shakspeare may mean, that external circumstances have no power over the real nature of things. Good alone (i. e. by itself) without a name (i.e.
Not by the title. She is young, wise, fair;
without the addition of titles) is good. Vileness is so (i. e. is it. self.) Either of them is what its name implies:
“ The property by what it is should go,
“ Let's write good angel on the devil's horn,
Steevens. Steevens's last interpretation of this passage is very near being right; but I think it should be pointed thus :
good alone Is good ;--without a name, vileness is so. Meaning that good is good without any addition, and vileness would still be vileness, though we had no such name to distinguish it by. A similar expression occurs in Macbeth:
“Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace,
“ Yet grace must still look so.” That is, grace would still be grace, as vileness would still be vileness. M. Mason.
The meaning is,-Good is good, independent on any wordly distinction or title: so vileness is vile, in whatever state it may appear. Malone.
2 In these to nature she's immediate heir;] To be immediate heir is to inherit without any intervening transmitter: thus she inherits beauty immediately from nature, but honour is transmit. ted by ancestors. Johnson.
that is honour's scorn,
And is not like the sire:] Perhaps we might read more ele. gantly- -as honour-born,-honourably descended: the child of hon
Malone. Honour's born, is the child of honour. Born is here used, as bairn still is in the North. Henley.
4 And is not like the sire: Honours best thrive, &c.] The first folio omits-best; but the second folio supplies it, as it is necessary to enforce the sense of the passage, and complete its mea
Steevens. The modern editors read-Honours best thrive; in which they have followed the editor of the second folio, who introduced the word best unnecessarily; not observing that sire was used by our author, like fire, hour, &c. as a dissyllable. Malone.
Where is an example of sire, used as a dissyllable, to be found? Fire and hour were anciently written fier and hower; and conse
Than our fore-goers: the mere word 's a slave,
Ber. I cannot love her, nor will strive to do 't.
King. My honour 's at the stake; which to defeat depend I must produce my power:5 Here, take her hand, Proud scornful boy, unworthy this good gift; That dost in vile misprision shackle up My love, and her desert; that canst not dream, We, poizing us in her defective scale, Shall weigh thee to the beam:6 that wilt not know,
quently the concurring vowels could be separated in pronuncia-
I must produce my power:] The poor King of France is again made a man of Gotham, by our unmerciful editors. For he is not to make use of his authority to defeat, but to defend his hon
Theobald. Had Mr. Theobald been aware that the implication or clause of the sentence (as the grammarians say) served for the antecedent “ Which danger to defeat,” there had been no need of his wit or his alteration. Farmer.
Notwithstanding Mr. Theobald's pert censure of former edi. tors for retaining the word defeat, I should be glad to see it restored again, as I am persuaded it is the true reading. The French verb defaire (from whence our defeat) signifies to free, to disembarrass, as well as to destroy. Defaire un naud, is to untie a knot; and in this sense, I apprehend, defeat is here used. It may be observed, that our verb undo has the same varieties of signification; and I suppose even Mr. Theobald would not have been much puzzled to find the sense of this passage, if it had been written; -My honour 's at the stake, which to undo I must produce my power. Tyrwhitt.
that canst not dream,