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Par. Pray you, sir, deliver me this paper.
Clo. Foh, pr’ythee, stand away ; A paper from fortune's close-stool to give to a nobleman! Look, here he comes himself.
Enter LAFEU. Here is a pur of fortune's, sir, or of fortune's cat®, (but not a musk-cat,) that has fallen into the
quas eorum animos qui audiunt trahet similitudo. Nolo morte dici Africani castratam esse rempublicam. Nolo sturcus curiæ dici Glauciam.” Our poet himself is extremely delicate in this respect; who, throughout his large writings, if you except a passage in Hamlet, has scarce a metaphor that can offend the most squeamish reader. WARBURTON.
Dr. Warburton's recollection must have been weak, or his zeal for his author extravagant, otherwise he could not have ventured to countenance him on the score of delicacy; his offensive metaphors and allusions being undoubtedly more frequent than those of all his dramatick predecessors or contemporaries. Steevens.
In the earlier editions of Shakspeare by Mr. Steevens, he was content to pass over Warburton's remark in silent acquiescence. But his propensity to satire so far increased in later years, that even the great poet, whose works he had been so long employed in illustrating, could not escape his lash. Of this the reader may have observed abundant proofs in his bitter comments upon the character of Hamlet, and his contemptuous depreciation of Shakspeare's poems. The charge which he has brought forward in the present instance, is unfortunately of such a nature, that it will scarcely admit of more than a general contradiction, without incurring the very censure which is applied to the poet ; but, as to our author's “ dramatick predecessors,” some judgment may be formed of their superior delicacy, by Mr. Steevens's own note on The Taming of A Shrew, vol. v. p. 370. Without referring to dramas that are not accessible to every reader, the plays of Beaumont and Fletcher throughout will serve to show with what justice his contemporaries are placed above him, either for purity of thought or language. The first scene of Jonson's Alchemist, and his masque of The Metamorphosed Gipsies, performed at Court, will also be more than sufficient to show how little foundation there is for Mr. Steevens's assertion. Boswell.
8 Here is a PUR of fortune's, sir, or of fortune's cat,] We should read" or fortune's cat ; and, indeed, I believe there is an error in the former part of the sentence, and that we ought to read~" Here is a puss of fortune's," instead of pur. M. Mason.
unclean fishpond of her displeasure, and, as he says, is muddied withal: Pray you, sir, use the carp as you may; for he looks like a poor, decayed, ingenious, foolish, rascally knave. I do pity his distress in my smiles of comfort', and leave him to your lordship.
[Exit Clown. PAR. My lord, I am a man whom fortune hath cruelly scratched.
LAF. And what would you have me to do ? ’tis too late to pare her nails now. Wherein have you played the knave with fortune, that she should scratch you, who of herself is a good lady, and would not have knaves thrive long under her?? There's a quart d'ecu for you: Let the justices make you and fortune friends; I am for other business.
Par. I beseech your honour, to hear me one single word.
Lar. You beg a single penny more: come, you shall ha't ; save your word 2.
Par. My name, my good lord, is Parolles.
- I do pity his distress in my smiles of comfort,] We should read-“ similes of comfort," such as the calling him fortune's cat, carp, &c.
WARBURTON. The meaning is, I testify my pity for his distress, by encouraging him with a gracious smile. The old reading may stand.
Heath. Dr. Warburton's proposed emendation may be countenanced by an entry on the books of the Stationers' Company, 1595 : “-A booke of verie pythie similies, comfortable and profitable for all men to reade.”
The same mistake occurs in the old copies of King Henry IV. Part I. where, instead of “ unsavoury similes” we have voury smiles.” Steevens.
under HER?] Her, which is not in the first copy, was supplied by the editor of the second folio. Malone. save your word.] i. e. you need not ask ;-here it is.
MALONE. 3 You beg more than one woRD then.] A quibble is intended
my passion ! give me your hand:—How does your drum?
Par. O my good lord, you were the first that found me.
LAF. Was I, in sooth ? and I was the first that lost thee.
Par. It lies in you, my lord, to bring me in some grace, for you did bring me out.
LAF. Out upon thee, knave! dost thou put upon me at once both the office of God and the devil ? one brings thee in grace, and the other brings thee out. [Trumpets sound.] The king's coming, I know by his trumpets. -Sirrah, inquire further after me; I had talk of you last night : though you are a fool and a knave, you shall eat*; go to, follow. Par. I praise God for you.
The Same. A Room in the Countess's Palace.
Flourish. Enter King, Countess, LAFEU, Lords,
Gentlemen, Guards, &c. King. We lost a jewel of her; and our esteem 5 Was made much poorer by it: but your son,
on the word Parolles, which, in French, is plural, and signifies words. One, which is not found in the old copy, was added, perhaps unnecessarily, by the editor of the third folio. Malone.
you shall eat;] Parolles has many of the lineaments of Falstaff, and seems to be the character which Shakspeare delighted to draw, a fellow that had more wit than virtue. Though justice required that he should be detected and exposed, yet his " vices sit so fit in him” that he is not at last suffered to starve.
Johnson. esteem -] Dr. Warburton, in Theobald's edition, altered this word to estate ; in his own he lets it stand, and explains it by
As mad in folly, lack'd the sense to know
'Tis past, my liege :
My honour'd lady,
This I must say,
worth or estate. But esteem is here reckoning or estimate. Since the loss of Helen, with her virtues and qualifications, our account is sunk ; what we have to reckon ourselves king of, is much poorer than before. Johnson.
Meaning that his esteem was lessened in its value by Bertram's misconduct ; since a person who was honoured with it could be so ill treated as Helena had been, and that with impunity. Johnson's explanation is very unnatural. M. Mason. 6- home.] That is, completely, in its full extent.
JOHNSON. So, in Macbeth : “ That thrusted home,” &c. Malone. · BLAZE of youth ;] The old copy
STEEVENS. “ Blade of youth” is the spring of early life, when the man is yet green. Oil and fire suit but ill with blade, and therefore Dr. Warburton reads, “ blaze of youth.” Johnson.
This very probable emendation was first proposed by Mr. Theobald, who has produced these two passages in support of it:
I do know
“ Lends the tongue vows. These blazes,” &c. Hamlet. Again, in Troilus and
Cressida : “ For Hector, in his blaze of wrath,” &c. MALONE. In Hamlet we have also faming youth," and in the present comedy “the quick fire of youth.” I read, therefore, without hesitation, -blaze. Steevens.
Whose beauty did astonish the survey
Whose dear perfection, hearts that scorn'd to
serve, Humbly call'd mistress. KING.
Praising what is lost, Makes the remembrance dear. --Well, call him
I shall, my liege.
[Exit Gentleman. King. What says he to your daughter ? have you
LAF. All that he is hath reference to your high
8 Of Richest eyes ;] Shakspeare means that her beauty had astonished those, who, having seen the greatest number of fair women, might be said to be the richest in ideas of beauty. So, in As You Like It : to have seen much and to have nothing, is to have rich eyes and poor hands." STEEVENS.
the first view shall kill
All repetition:] “ The first interview shall put an end to all recollection of the past." Shakspeare is now hastening to the end of the play, finds his matter sufficient to fill up his remaining scenes, and therefore, as on such other occasions, contracts his dialogue and precipitates his action. Decency required that Bertram's double crime of cruelty and disobedience, joined likewise with some hypocrisy, should raise more resentment; and that though his mother might easily forgive him, his king should more pertinaciously vindicate his own authority and Helen's merit. Of all this Shakspeare could not be ignorant, but Shakspeare wanted to conclude his play. Johnson.