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Know'st thou not, Bertram, What she has done for me? BER.
Yes, my good lord; But never hope to know why I should marry her. King. Thou know'st, she has rais'd me from my
sickly bed. Ber. But follows it, my lord, to bring me down Must answer for your raising ? I know her well; She had her breeding at my father's charge : A poor physician's daughter my wife !-Disdain Rather corrupt me ever! King. 'Tis only title thou disdain’st in her, the
which I can build up. Strange is it, that our bloods, Of colour, weight, and heat ?, pour'd all together, Would quite confound distinction, yet stand off In differences so mighty : If she be All that is virtuous, (save what thou dislik’st, A poor physician's daughter,) thou dislik’st Of virtue for the name: but do not so: From lowest place when virtuous things proceed *, The place is dignified by the doer's deed: Where great additions swell', and virtue none, It is a dropsied honour : good alone Is good, without a name ; vileness is so?: The property by what it is should go,
6 'Tis only title - ] i. e. the want of title. Malone.
7. 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—whence. This easy correction (when) was prescribed by Dr. Thirlby. Theobald.
9 Where great ADDITIONs swell,] Additions are the titles and descriptions by which men are distinguished from each other.
Malone. In the old copy swell's, probably for swell us. BoswelL.
Is good, without a name; vileness 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
Not by the title. She is young, wise, fair ;
(i. e. without the addition of titles) is good. Vileness is so (i. e. is itself). Either of them is what its name implies:
“ The property by what it is should go,
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 worldly 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 transritted by ancestors.
that is honour's scorn,
And is not like the fire :] Perhaps we might read, more elegantly-as honour-born,-honourably descended : the child of honour. 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 measure.
Steevens. The modern editors read“ Honours best thrive;" in which they have followed the editor of the second folio, who introduced
Than our fore-goers : the mere word's a slave,
Ber. I cannot love her, nor will strive to do't.
strive to choose.
glad ; Let the rest go. King. My honour's at the stake; which to de
feat, I must produce my power 5: Here, take her hand, 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 consequently the concurring vowels could be separated in pronunciation.
STEEVENS. See the Essay on Shakspeare's Versification. Boswell. 5 My honour's at the stake; which to DEFEAT,
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 honour.
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. So, in Othello :
She dying gave it me,
“ To give it her." i. e. to my wife, though not before mentioned but by implication.
Malone. Notwithstanding Mr. Theobald's pert censure of former editors 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,
Proud scornful boy, unworthy this good gift;
hate, Loosing upon thee in the name of justice, Without all terms of pity: Speak; thine answer.
Ber. Pardon, my gracious lord; for I submit My fancy to your eyes : When I consider,
as well as to destroy. Defaire un noud, 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,
Shall weigh thee to the beam ;] That canst not understand, that if you and this maiden should be weighed together, and our royal favours should be thrown into her scale, (which you esteem so light,) we should make that in which you should be placed, to strike the beam. MALONE.
7 Into the staGGERS,] One species of the staggers, or the horse's apoplexy, is a raging impatience, which makes the animal dash himself with a destructive violence against posts or walls. To this the allusion, I suppose, is made. Johnson.
Shakspeare has the same expression in Cymbeline, where Posthumus says :
“Whence come these staggers on me?". STEEVENS,
What great creation, and what dole of honour,
Take her by the hand,
I take her hand.
this contract; whose ceremony Shall seem expedient on the now-born brief, And be perform’d to-night 8 : the solemn feast
- whose ceremony
And be perform'd to-night :] Several of the modern editors read-new-born brief. Steevens.
This, if it be at all intelligible, is at least obscure and inaccurate. Perhaps it was written thus :
- what ceremony
Shall be perform’d to-night; the solemn feast
6- Shall more attendThe brief is the contract of espousal, or the licence of the church. The King means, What ceremony is necessary to make this contract a marriage, shall be immediately performed; the rest may be delayed. Johnson.
The only authentick copy reads—"now-born." I do not perceive that any change is necessary. Malone.
The whole speech is unnaturally expressed; yet I think it intelligible as it stands, and should therefore reject Johnson's amendment and explanation.
The word brief does not here denote either a contract or a. licence, but is an adjective, and means short or contracted : and the words “ on the now-born,” signify " for the present,” in oppo
upon the coming space,” which means hereafter. The sense of the whole passage seems to be this:-" The king and fortune smile on this contract; the ceremony of which it seems expedient to abridge for the present; the solemn feast shall be performed at a future time, when we shall be able to assemble friends.” M. Mason. VOL. X.