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Ber. For this description of thine honesty? A pox upon him for me, he is more and more a cat.
I Sold. What say you to his expertness in war?
Par. Faith, sir, he has led the drum before the English tragedians, to belie him, I will not,--and more of his soldiership I know not; except, in that country, he had the honour to be the officer at a place there callid Mileend, to instruct for the doubling of files: I would do the man what honour I can, but of this I am not certain.
i Lord. He hath out-villained villainy so far, that the rarity redeems him.
Ber. A pox on him! he's a cat still.8
1 Sold. His qualities being at this poor price, I need not ask you, if gold will corrupt him to revolt.
Par, Sir, for a quari d'ecu' he will sell the fee-simple of his salvation, the inheritance of it; and cut the entail from all remainders, and a perpetual succession for it perpetually.
at a place there call’d Mile-end,] See a note on K. Henry IV, P. II, Act III, sc. ii. Malone.
he's a cat știll.] That is, throw him how you will, he lights upon his legs. Fohnson.
Bertram has no such meaning: In a speech or two before, he declares his arersion to a cat, and now only continues in the same opinion, and says he hates Parolles as much as he hates a cat. The other explanation will not do, as Parolles could not be meant by the cat, which always lights on its legs, for Parolles is now in a fair way to be totally disconcerted. Steevens.
I am still of my former opinion. The speech was applied by King James to Coke, with respect to his subtilties of law, that throw him which way we would, he could still, like a cat, light upon his legs. Fohnson.
The Count had said, that formerly a cat was the only thing in the world which he could not endure; but that now Parolles was as much the object of his aversion as that animal. After Parolles has gone through his next list of falshoods, the Count adds, “he's more and more a cat,"—still more and more the object of my aversion than he was. As Parolles proceeds still further, one of the Frenchmen observes, that the singularity of his impudence and villainy redeems his character.— Not at all, replies the Count; “he's a cat still;" he is as bateful to me as ever. There cannot, therefore, I think be any doubt that Dr. Johnson's interpretation, “throw him how you will, he lights upon his legs," -is founded on a misapprehension. Malone.
for a quart d'ecu – ] The fourth part' of the smaller French crown; about eight-pence of English money. Malone.
I Sold. What's his brother, the other captain Dumain?
2 Lord. Why does he ask him of me?1 I Sold. What's he?
Par. E'en a crow of the same nest; not altogether so great as the first in goodness, but greater a great deal in evil. He excels his brother for a coward, yet his brother is reputed one of the best that is: In a retreat he out-runs any lackey; marry, in coming on he has the cramp.
1 Sold. If your life be saved, will you undertake to betray the Florentine?
Par. Ay, and the captain of his horse, count Rousillon.
1 Sold. I'll whisper with the general, and know his pleasure.
Par. I'll no more drumming; a plague of all drums! Only to seem to deserve well, and to beguile the supposition? of that lascivious young boy the count, have I run into this danger: Yet, who would have suspected an ambush where I was taken?
[Aside. I Sold. There is no remedy, sir, but you must die : the general says, you, that have so traitorously discovered the secrets of your army, and made such pestiferous reports of men very nobly held, can serve the world for no honest use; therefore you must die. Come, headsman, off with his head.
Par. O Lord, sir; let me live, or let me see my death!
1 Sold. That shall you, and take your leave of all your friends.
[Unmuffling him. So, look about you; Know you any here?
Ber. Good morrow, noble captain.
2 Lord. Captain, what greeting will you to my lord Lafeu? I am for France.
1 Why does he ask him of me?] This is nature. Every man is, on such occasions, more willing to hear his neighbour's character than his own. Fohnson.
2 to beguile the supposition - ] That is, to deceive the opinion, to make the Count think me a man that deserves well.
I Lord. Good captain, will you give me a copy of the sonnet you writ to Diana in behalf of the count Rousillon? an I were not a very coward, I'd compel it of you; but fare you well.
[Exeunt BER. Lords, &c. | Sold. You are undone, captain: all but your scarf, that has a knot on 't yet.
Par. Who cannot be crushed with a plot?
1 Sold. If you can find out a country where but women were that had received so much shame, you might begin an impudent nation. Fare you well, sir; I am for France too: we shall speak of you there. [Exit.
Par. Yet am I thankful: if my heart were great, 'Twould burst at this: Captain, I'll be no more; But I will eat and drink, and sleep as soft As captain shall: simply the thing I am Shall make me live. Who knows himself a braggart, Let him fear this; for it will come to pass, That every braggart shall be found an ass. Rust, sword! cool, blushes! and, Parolles, live Safest in shame! being foolid, by foolery thrive! There 's place, and means, for every man alive. I'll after them.
Florence. A Room in the Widow's House.
Enter HELENA, Widow, and DIANA.
3 His grace is at Marseilles ; &c.] From this line, and others, it appears that Marseilles was pronounced by our author as a word of three syllables. The old copy has here Marcelle, and in the last scene of this Act, Marcellus. Malone.
We have convenient convoy. You must know,
Nor you, mistress,
Let death and honesty?
Yet, I pray you,
4 Nor you,] Old copy-Nor your. Corrected by Mr. Rowe.
Malone my motive -] Motive for assistant. Warburton. Rather for mover. So, in the last Act of this play:
all impediments in fancy's course “ Are motives of more fancy." Malone. 6 When saucy trusting of the cozen'd thoughts
Defiles the pitchy night!] Saucy may very properly signify luxurious, and by consequence lascivious. Johnson. So, in Measure for Measure:
as to remit
death and honesty - ] i. e. an honest death. So, in ano. ther of our author's plays, we have “death and honour" for honourable death. Steedens.
- your impositions,] i. e. your commands. Malone. An imposition is a task imposed. The term is still current in Universities. Steevens.
world But with the word,' the time will bring on summer,
When briars shall have leaves as well as thorns,
The meaning of this observation is, that as briars have sweetness with their prickles, so shall these troubles be recompensed with joy. Johnson. I would read:
Yet I'fray you
But with the word: the time will bring, &c. And then the sense will be, “ I only frighten you by mentioning the word suffer; for a short time will bring on the season of happiness and delight.” Blackstone.
As the beginning of Helen's reply is evidently a designed aposiopesis, a break ought to follow it, thus:
Hel. Yet, I pray you: The sense appears to be this:-Do not think that I would engage you in any service that should expose you to such an alternative, or, indeed, to any lasting inconvenience; But with the word, i. e. But on the contrary, you shall no sooner have delivered what you will have to testify on my account, than the irksomeness of the service will be over, and every pleasant circumstance to result from it will instantaneously appear. Henley.
1 Our waggon is prepard, and time revives us:] The word revives conveys so little sense, that it seems very liable to suspicion.
and time revyes us : i. e. looks us in the face, talls upon us to hasten. Warburton.
The present reading is corrupt, and I am afraid the emendation none of the soundest. I never remember to have seen the word revye. One may as well leave blunders as make them. Why may we not read for a shift, without much effort, the time in. vites us? Johnson.
To wye and revye were terms at several ancient games at cards, but particularly at Gleek. So, in Greene's Art of Coney-catching, 1592: “I'll either win something or lose something, therefore I'll vie and revie every card at my pleasure, till either yours or mine come out: therefore 12d. upon this card, my card comes first.” Again: “ so they vie and revie till some ten shillings be on the stake,” &c. Again: “ This flesheth the Conie, and the sweetness of gain makes him frolick, and none more ready to vie and revie than he.” Again: “So they vie and revie, and for once that the Barnacle wins, the Conie gets five.” Perhaps, however, revyes is not the true reading. Shakspeare might have written--time reviles us, i. e. reproaches us for wasting it. Yet, -time revives us may mean, it rouses us. So, in another play of our author: