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Laun. That makes amends for her sour breath.
Laun. It's no matter for that, so she sleep not in her talk.
Speed. Item, She is slow in words.
Laun. O villain! that set this down among her vices ! To be slow in words is a woman's only virtue: I pray thee, out with ’t; and place it for her chief virtue.
Speed. Item, She is proud.
Laun. Out with that too; it was Eve's legacy, and cannot be ta'en from her.
Speed. Item, She hath no teeth.
Laun. If her liquor be good, she shall : if she will not,
Speed. Item, She is too liberal.3
Laun. Of her tongue she cannot; for that's writ down she is slow of: of her purse she shall not; for that I'll keep shut: now, of another thing she may; and that I cannot help. Well, proceed.
Speed. Item, She hath more hair than wit; and more faults than hairs, and more wealth than faults.
Laun. Stop there; I'll have her: she was mine, and not mine, twice or thrice in that last article. Rehearse that once more.
So, in Measure for Measure :
Steevens. praise her liquor.] That is, shew how well she likes it, by drinking often. Fohnson.
She is too liberal.] Liberal, is licentious and gross in language. So, in Othello: “Is he not a prophane and very liberal counsellor?” Johnson. Again, in The Fair Maid of Bristow, 1605, bl. 1:
“ But Vallenger, most like a liberal villain,
“ Did give her scandalous ignoble terms.”
“ Next that the fame
Speed. Item, She hath more hair than wit,
Laun. More hair than wit—it may be; I'll prove it: The cover of the salt hides the salt, and therefore it is more than the salt: the hair that covers the wit, is more than the wit; for the greater hides the less. What's next?
Speed. — And more faults than hairs, Laun. That 's monstrous: O that that were out! Speed. And more wealth than faults. Laun. Why, that word makes the faults gracious:5 Well, I 'll have her: And if it be a match, as nothing is impossible,
Speed. What then?
Laun. Why, then I will tell thee,--that thy master stays for thee at the north gate.
Speed. For me?
Laun. For thee? ay; who art thou? he hath staid for a better man than thee.
Speed. And must I go to him?
Laun. Thou must run to him; for thou hast staid so long, that going will scarce serve the turn.
She hath more hair than wit,] An old English proverb. See Ray's collection:
“ Bush natural, more hair than wit.” Again, in Decker's Satiromastix:
“ Hair! 'tis the basest stubble; in scorn of it
“ This proverb sprung,—He has more hair than wit.” Again, in Rhodon and Iris, 1631 :
“ Now is the old proverb really perform’d;
“ More hair than wit.” Steevens. 5 - makes the faults gracious:] Gracious, in old language, means graceful. So, in K. John:
<< There was not such a gracious creature born.” Again, in Albion's Triumph, 1631:
“ On which (the frieze) were festoons of several fruits in their natural colours, on which, in gracious postures lay children sleeping." Again, in The Malcontent, 1604:
“ The most exquisite, &c. that ever made an old lady gracious by torch-light.” Steevens.
Mr. Steevens's interpretation of the word gracious has been controverted, but it is right. We have the same sentiment in The Merry Wives of Windsor :
“ O what a world of vile ill-favour'd faults
Speed. Why didst not tell me sooner? 'pox of your love-letters!
[Exit. Laun. Now will he be swinged for reading my letter: An unmannerly slave, that will thrust himself into secrets!—I'll after, to rejoice in the boy's correction. [Exit.
The same. A room in the Duke's Palace.
Enter Duke and Thurio; PROTEUS behind.
Thu. Since his exíle she hath despis’d me most,
Duke. This weak impress of love is as a figure
Pro. Gone, my good lord.
Duke. So I believe; but Thurio thinks not so.-
Pro. Longer than I prove loyal to your grace,
Duke. Thou know'st how willingly I would effect The match between sir Thurio and my daughter.
Pro. I do, my lord.
Duke. And also, I think, thou art not ignorant
Pro. She did, my lord, when Valentine was here.
o Trenched in ice;] Cut, carve:in ice. Trancher, to cut, French. Johnson. So, in Arden of Feversham, 1592:
“ Is deeply trenched in my blushing brow.” Steevens.
What might we do, to make the girl forget
Pro. The best way is to slander Valentine
Duke. Ay, but she 'll think that it is spoke in hate.
Pro. Ay, if his enemy deliver it:
Duke. Then you must undertake to slander him.
Pro. And that, my lord, I shall be loth to do: 'Tis an ill office for a gentleman; Especially, against his very friend. 8
Duke. Where your good word cannot advantage him,
Pro. You have prevail'd, my lord: if I can do it,
Thu. Therefore, as you unwind her love from him,
Duke. And, Proteus, we dare trust you in this kind; Because we know, on Valentine's report,
with circumstance,] With the addition of such incidental particulars, as may induce belief. Johnson.
his very friend.] Very is immediate. So, in Macbeth: “ And the very ports they blow.” Steevens.
as you unwind her love -] As you wind off her love from him, make me the bottoin on which you wind it. The housewife's term for a ball of thread, wound upon a central body, is a bottom of thread. Fohnson.
So, in Grange's Garden, 1557 : “ in answer to a letter written unto him by a Curtyzan:”
“ A bottome for your silke it seems
My letters are become,
“ Are wasted whole and some.” Steevens.
You are already love's firm votary,
Pro. As much as I can do, I will effect:-
Duke. Ay, much the force of heaven-bred poesy.
Pro. Say, that upon the altar of her beauty
discover such integrity:3.
- you may temper her,] Mould her, like wax, to whatever shape you please. So, in King Henry IV, P. II: “ I have him already tempering between my finger and my thumb; and shortly will I seal with him.” Malone.
- lime,] That is, birdlime. Johnson.
such integrity:] Such integrity may mean such ardour and sincerity, as would be manifested by practising the directions, given in the four preceding lines. Steevens.
I suspect that a line, following this, has been lost; the import of which perhaps was
“ As her obdurate heart may penetrate.” Malone. 4 For Orpheus' lute was strung with poets' sinews;] This shews Shakspeare's knowledge of antiquity. He here assigns Orpheus his true character of legislator. For, under that of a poet only, or lover, the quality given to his lute is unintelligible. But, considered as a lawgiver, the thought is noble, and the imagery exquisitely beautiful. For, by his lute, is to be understood his system of laws; and by the poets' sinews, the power of numbers, which Orpheus actually employed in those laws, to make them received by a fierce and barbarous people. Warburton.
Proteus is describing to Thurio the powers of poetry; and gives no quality to the lute of Orpheus, but those usually and vulgarly ascribed to it. It would be strange indeed, if, in order to prevail upon the ignorant and stupid Thurio to write a sonnet to his mistress, he should enlarge upon the legislative powers of