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Biron. Things hid and barr’d (you mean) from com
Biron. Come on then, I will swear to study so,
When I to feast exprefly am forbid ; (1)
When mistresses from common sense are hid :
King. These be the stops, that hinder study quite ;
Biron. Why, all delights are vain; but that most vain, Which, with pain purchas’d, doth inherit pain ; As, painfully to pore upon a book,
To seek the light of truth ; while truth the while
Light seeking light, doth light of light beguile ;
By fixing it upon a fairer eye;
And give him light, that it was blinded by.
That will not be deep search?d with fawcy looks ;
(1) When I to fast exprefly am forbid.] This is the Reading of all the Copies in general ; but I would fain ask our accurate Editors, if Biron studied where to get a good Dinner, at a time when he was forbid to fast, how was this studying to know what he was forbid to know? Common Sense, and the whole Tenour of the context require us to read, either as I have re. ftor'd; or to make a Change in the last Word of the Verse, which will bring us to the same Meaning ;
When I to fast exprefly am fore-bid ; i. e. when I am enjoin'd beforehand to fast,
Small have continual plodders ever won,
Save base authority from others' books. These earthly godfathers of heaven's lights, That give a name to every
fixed star, Have no more profit of their shining nights,
Than those that walk and wot. not what they are. Too much to know, is to know nought but fame; And every godfather can give a name.
King. How well he's read, to reason against reading! Dim. Proceeded well, to stop all good proceeding. Long. He weeds the corn, and ftill lets grow the
weeding. Biron. The spring is near, when green geese are a
That bites the first-born infants of the spring. Biron. Well, say, I am ; why should proud summer
boast, Before the birds have any cause to fing? Why Ahould I joy in an che awuruve biru:
A: (2) Wby pould I joy in an abortive Birth ?
At Christmas I no more defire a Rose,
But like of each thing, that in Season grows.] As the greatest part of this Scene (both what proceeds and follows;) is ftri&ly in Rhymes, either successive, alternate, or triple; I am persuaded, the Copyists have made a flip here. For by making a Triplet of the three last Lines quoted, Birth in the Close of the first Line is quite deftitute of any Rhyme to it. Besides, what a displeasing Identity of Sound recurs in the Middle and Close of this Verse ?
Tban wiss a Snow in May's new-fangled Shows, Again ; new-fangled Shows seems to have very little Propriety. The Flowers are not new.
w-fangled; but the Earth is new.fargled by the Profufion and Variety of the Flowers, that spring on its Bosom in May. I have therefore ventur’d to fubftitute,
1 : 44 : (2)
At Christmas I no more defire a rose,
King. Well, fit you out-Go home, Biron: Adieu!
Biron. No, my good lord, I've sworn to stay with you. And though I have for barbarism spoke more,
Than for that angel knowledge you can say ;
paper, let me read the same; And to the strict't decrees I'll write my name.
King. How well this yielding rescues thee from shame!
Biron. Item, That no woman shall come within a mile of my Court.
[reading Hath' this been proclaimed ?
Long. Four days ago.
Biron. Let's see the penalty. On pain of losing her tongue :
[reading: Who devis'd this penalty ?
Long. Marry, that did I.
Earth, in the close of the 3d Line, which restores the alternate Measure. It was very easy for a negligent Transcriber to be deceiv’d by the Rhyme immediately preceding ; so mistake the concluding Word in the sequent Line, and corrupt it into One that would chime with the other.
(3) A dangerous Law against Gentility.]. I have ventur'd to prefix the name of Biron to this Line, it being evident, for two Reasons, that it, by some Accident or other, nipt out of the printed Books. In the first place, Longaville confeffes, he had devis'd the Penalty: and why he should immediately arraign it as a dangerous Law, seems to be very inconsistent. In the next place, it is much more natural for Biron to make this Reflexion, who is cavilling at every thing; and then for him to pursue his reading over the remaining Articles.
Item, [reading.) If any man be seen to talk with a woman within the term of three Years, he shall endure such publick shame as the rest of the Court can poslibly devise.
This article, my liege, yourself must break;
For, well you know, here comes in embassy The French King's daughter with yourse!f to speak,
A maid 'of grace and compleat majesty, About surrender
up of Aquitain To her decrepit, fick, and bed-rid father : Therefore this article is made in vain,
Or vainly comes th'admired Princess hither. King. What say you, lords ? why, this was quite for
got. Biron. So study evermore is overshot ; While it doth stady to have what it would, It doth forget to do the thing it should : And when it hach the thing it hunteth most, 'Tis won, as towns with Fire ; so won, so loft.
King. We must of force, dispense with this decree, She-muft lye here on mere necessity. Biron. Necessity will make us all forsworn
Three thousand times within this three years' space: For every man with his affects is born:
Not by might master'd, but by special grace.
And he that breaks them in the least degree,
Suggestions are to others, as to me; But I believe, although I seem so loth, I am the last that will last keep his oath: As to the Word Gentility, here, it does not signify that Rank of People call’d, Gentry; but what the French express by, gentie leffes, i. e. elegantia, urbanitas. And then the Meaning is this. Such a Law for banishing Women from the Court, is dangerous, or injurious, to Politeness, Urbanity, and the more refinid Pleasures of Life. For Men without Women would turn brutal, and savage, in their Natures and Behaviour,
But is there no quick recreation granted ?
That hath a mint of phrases in his brain :
Doth ravish, like inchanting harmony :
Have chose as umpire of their mutiny.
For interim to our studies, shall relate
From tawny Spain, loft in the world's debate.
minftrelfie. Biron. Armado is a moft illustrious wight, A man of fire new words, fashion's own Knight.
Long. Costard the swain, and he, shall be our sport; And, so to study, three years are but hort.
Enter Dull and Coftard with a letter. Dull. Which is the King's own person? (4) Biron. This, fellow; what would'A? Dull. I myself reprehend his own person, for I am his Grace's Tharborough : but I would see his own person in flesh and blood.
Biron. This is he.
commends you. There's villany abroad; this letter will tell you more.
Coff. Sir, the Contempts thereof are as touching me. King. A letter from the magnificent Armado.
(4) Dull. Wbicb is tbe Duke's own Person?] The King of Nam varre is in several Pafsages, thro' all the Copies, call’d the Duke : but as this must have sprung rather from the Inadvertence of the Editors, than a Forgetfulness in the Poet, I have every where, to avoid Confusion, restor'd King to the Text.