Imagens da página

untied, and every thing about you demonstrating a careless desolation. But you are no such man; you are rather point-device in your accoutrements; as loving yourself, than seeming the lover of any other.

Orl. Fair youth, I would I could make thee believe I love.

Ros. Me believe it? you may as soon make her that you love believe it; which, I warrant, she is apter to do than to confess she does: that is one of the points in the which women still give the lie to their consciences. But, in good sooth, are you he that hangs the verses on the trees, wherein Rosalind is so admired?

Orl. I swear to thee, youth, by the white hand of Rosalind, I am that he, that unfortunate he.

Ros. But are you so much in love as your rhymes speak? Orl. Neither rhyme nor reason can express how much.

Ros. Love is merely a madness; and, I tell you, deserves as well a dark house and a whip, as mad-men do: and the reason why they are not so punished and cured, is, that the lunacy is so ordinary, that the whippers are in love too: Yet I profess curing it by counsel.

Orl. Did you ever cure any so?

Ros. Yes, one; and in this manner. He was to imagine me his love, his mistress; and I set him every day to woo me: At which time would I, being but a moonish youth, grieve, be effeminate, changeable, longing, and liking; proud, fantastical, apish, shallow, inconstant, full of tears, full of smiles; for every passion something, and for no passion truly any thing, as boys and women are for the most part cattle of this colour: would now like him, now loath him; then entertain him, then forswear him; now weep for him, then spit at him; that I drave my suitor from his mad humour of love, to a living humour of madness;? which was, to forswear the


-point-device -] i. e. exact, drest with finical nicety. So, in Love's Labour's Lost: “I hate such insociable and point-device companions.” Steevens.

a moonish youth,] i. e. variable. So, in Romeo and Ju


liet :

“O swear not by the moon, th' inconstant moon.Steevens. - to a living humour of maulness;] If this be the true read. ing, we must by living understand lasting, or permanent, but I


full stream of the world, and to live in a nook merely monastick: And thus I cured him; and this way will I take upon me to wash your liver as clean as a sound sheep's heart, that there shall not be one spot of love in 't.

Orl, I would not be cured, youth.

Ros. I would cure you, if you would but call me Rosalind, and come every day to my cote, and woo me.

Orl. Now, by the faith of my love, I will; tell me where it is.

Ros. Go with me to it, and I 'll show it you: and, by the way, you shall tell me where in the forest you live: Will you go?

Orl. With all my heart, good youth.

Ros. Nay, you must call me Rosalind :-Come, sister, will you go?


cannot forbear to think that some antithesis was intended which is now lost; perhaps the passage stood thus—I drove my suitor from a dying humour of love to a living humour of madness. Or rather thus-From a mad humour of love to a loving humour of madness, that is, “ from a madness that was love, to a love that was madness." This seems somewhat harsh and strained, but such modes of speech are not unusual in our poet; and this harshness was probably the cause of the corruption. Johnson. Perhaps we should read-to a humour of loving madness.

Farmer. Both the emendations appear to me inconsistent with the tenour of Rosalind's argument. Rosalind by her fantastick tricks did not drive her suitor either into a loving humour of madness, or a humour of loving madness; (in which he was originally without her aid;) but she drove him from love into a sequester'd and melancholy retirement. A living humour of madness is, I conceive, in our author's licentious language, a humour of living madness, a mad humour that operates on the mode of living; or, in other words, and more accurately, a mad humour of life; " - to forswear the world, and to live in a nook merely monastick.” Malone.

- as clean as a sound sheep's heart,] This is no very delicate comparison, though produced by Rosalind in her assumed character of a shepherd. A sheep's heart, before it is drest, is always split and washed, that the blood within it may be dislodged.



SCENE III. Enter TouchSTONE and AUDREY;3 JAQUES at a distance,

observing them. Touch. Come apace, good Audrey ; I will fetch up your goats, Audrey: And how, Audrey? am I the man yet? Doth my simple feature content you?4

Aud. Your features! Lord warrant us! what features?

Touch. I am here with thee and thy goats, as the most capricious poet, honest Ovid, was among the Goths.5


[ocr errors]

· Audrey;] Is a corruption of Etheldreda. The saint of that name is so styled in ancient calendars. Steevens.

4 Doth my simple feature content you.?] Says the Clown to Au. drey. Your features! (replies the wench) Lord warrant us! what features ? I doubt not this should be-your feature ! Lord warrant us! what's feature? Farmer.

Feat and feature, perhaps, had anciently the same meaning. The Clown asks, if the features of his face content her, she takes the word in another sense, i. e. feats, deeds, and in her reply seems to mean, what feats, i. e. what have we done yet? The courtship of Audrey and her gallant had not proceeded further, as Sir Wilful Witwood says, than a little mouth-glue; but she supposes him to be talking of something which as yet he had not performed. Or the jest may turn only on the Clown's pronunciation. In some parts, features might be pronounced, faitors, which signify rascals, low wretches. Pistol uses the word in The Second Part of King Henry IV, and Spenser very frequently. Steevens. In Danieľ's Cleopatra, 1594, is the following couplet:

“ I see then, artless feature can content,

" And that true beauty needs no ornament." Again, in The Spanish Tragedy:

“ It is my fault, not she, that merits blame ;
“My feature is not to content her sight;

“My words are rude, and work her no delight." Feature appears to have formerly signified the whole countenance. So, in King Henry VI, P. I:

“ Her peerless feature, joined with her birth,

Approves her fit for none but for a king.” Malone.

as the most capricious poet, honest Ovid, was among the Goths.] Capricious is not here humoursome, fantastical, &c. but lascivious. Hor. Epod. 10, Libidinosus immolabitur caper. The Goths are the Geta. Ovid. Trist. V.7, The thaich'd house is that of Baucis and Philemon. Ovid. Met. VIII, 630, Stipulis et canna tecta palustri. Upton.

Mr. Upton is, perhaps, too refined in his interpretation of ca. pricious. Our author remembered that caper was the Latin for a goat, and thence chose this epithet. This, I believe, is the whole. There is a poor quibble between goats and Goths. Malone.


Jaq. O knowledge ill-inhabited!6 worse than Jove in a thatch'd house!

[Aside. Touch. When a man's verses cannot be understood, nor a man's good wit seconded with the forward child, understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room:7-Truly I would the gods had made thee poetical.

Aud. I do not know what poetical is: Is it honest in deed, and word? It is a true thing?

Touch. No, truly; for the truest poetry is the most feigning; and lovers are given to poetry; and what they swear in poetry, may be said, as lovers, they do feign.8



ill-inhabited!] i. e. ill-lodged. An unusual sense of the word.

A similar phrase occurs in Reynolds's God's Revenge against Murder, Book V, Hist. 21: “Pieria’s heart is not so ill lodged, nor her extraction and quality so contemptible, but that she is very sensible of her disgrace.” Again, in The Golden Legend, Wynkyn de Worde's edit. fol. 196: “ I am ryghtwysnes that am enhabited here, and this hous is myne, and thou art not ryghtwyse.”

Steevens. it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room:] Nothing was ever wrote in higher humour than this simile. A great reckoning, in a little room, implies that the entertainment was mean, and the bill extravagant. The poet here alluded to the French proverbial phrase of the quarter of an hour of Rabelais: who said, there was only one quarter of an hour in human life passed ill, and that was between the calling for the reckoning and paying it. Yet the delicacy of our Oxford editor would correct this into-It strikes a man more dead than a great reeking in a little room. This is amending with a vengeance. When men are joking together in a merry humour, all are disposed to laugh. One of the company says a good thing; the jest is not taken; all are silent, and he who said it, quite confounded. This is compared to a tavern jollity interrupted by the coming in of a great reckoning. Had not Shakspeare reason now in this case to apply his simile to his own case, against his critical editor? Who, it is plain, taking the phrase to strike dead, in a literal sense, concluded, from his knowledge in philosophy, that it conld not be so effectually done by a reckoning as by a reeking. Warburton.

- and what they swear in poetry, &c.] This sentence seems perplexed and inconsequent: perhaps it were better read thusWhat they swear as lovers, they may be said to feign as poets.

Fohnson. I would read-It may be said, as lovers they do feign.

M. Mason.



[ocr errors]

Aud. Do you wish then, that the gods had made me poetical?

Touch. I do, truly: for thou swear'st to me, thou art honest; now, if thou wert a poet, I might have some hope thou didst feign.

Aud. Would you not have me honest?

Touch. No truly, unless thou wert hard-favour'd: for honesty coupled to beauty, is to have honey a sauce to sugar. Jaq. A material fool!9

[Aside. Aud. Well, I am not fair; and therefore I pray the gods make me honest!

Touch. Truly, and to cast away honesty upon a foul slut, were to put good meat into an unclean dish.

Aud. I am not a slut, though I thank the gods I am foul. 1


9 A material fool!] A fool with matter in him; a fool stocked with notions. Fohnson. So, in Chapman's version of the 24th Iliad:

his speech even charm'd his eares, “So order'd, so materiall. -" Steevens.

I am foul.) By foul is meant coy or frowning. Hanmer. I rather believe foul to be put for the rustick pronunciation of full. Audrey, supposing the Clown to have spoken of her as a foul slut, says, naturally enough, I am not a slut, though, I thank the gods, I am foul, i. e. full. She was more likely to thank the gods for a belly-full, than for her being coy or frowning. Tyrwhitt.

In confirmation of Mr. Tyrwhitt's conjecture, it may be observed, that in the song at the end of Love's Labour's Lost, in. stead of_" and ways be foul,we have in the first quarto, 1598, “ and ways be full.In that and other of our author's plays many words seem to have been spelled by the ear. Malone.

Audrey says, she is not fair, i. e. handdsome, and therefore prays the gods to make her honest. The Clown tells her that to cast honesty away upon a foul slut, (i.e. an ill favoured dirty creature) is to put meat in an unclean dish. She replies, she is no slut, (no dirty drab) though, in her great simplicity, she thanks the gods for her foulness, (homeliness) i. e. for being as she is. “ Well, (adds he) praised be the gods for thy foulness, sluttishness may come hereafter.” Ritson.

I think that, by foul, Audrey means, not fair, or what we call hornely. Audrey is neither coy or ill-humoured: but she thanks God for her homeliness, as it rendered her less exposed to temptation. So, in the next scene but one, Rosalind says to PhebeFoul is most foul, being foul, to be a scoffer.”

M. Mason.

« AnteriorContinuar »