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King. Then shall we have a match. I have let
ters sent me, That set him high in fame.
Enter BERTRAM. LAF.
He looks well on't. King. I am not a day of season", For thou may'st see a sun-shine and a hail In me at once: But to the brightest beams Distracted clouds give way; so stand thou forth, The time is fair again. BER.
My high-repented blames , Dear sovereign pardon to me. King.
All is whole; Not one word more of the consumed time. Let's take the instant by the forward top; For we are old, and on our quick’st decrees The inaudible and noiseless foot of time Steals ere we can effect them :: You remember The daughter of this lord ?
1 I am not a day of season,] That is, of uninterrupted rain ; one of those wet days that usually happen about the vernal equinox. A similar expression occurs in The Rape of Lucrece:
“ But I alone, alone must sit and pine,
“ Seasoning the earth with showers. The word is still used in the same sense in Virginia, in which government, and especially on the eastern shore of it, where the descendants of the first settlers have been less mixed with later emigrants, many expressions of Shakspeare's time are still current.
HENLEY. “ A day of season," means a seasonable day ; but a mixture of sunshine and hail, of winter and summer, is unseasonable. The word seasoning, in Mr. Henley's quotation, is used in a different sense, as would have been apparent if he had given the whole of the passage : Seasoning the earth with showers of silver brine.”
MALONE. 2 My high-repented blames,) High-repented blames, are faults repented of to the height, to the utmost. Shakspeare has highfantastical in Twelfth Night. STEEVENS. .
Ber. Admiringly, my liege : at first I stuck my choice upon her, ere my heart Durst make too bold a herald of my tongue: Where the impression of mine eye infixing, Contempt his scornful perspective did lend me, Which warp'd the line of every other favour; Scorn'd a fair colour, or express'd it stoln; Extended or contracted all proportions, To a most hideous object: Thence it came, That she, whom all men prais’d, and whom myself, Since I have lost, have lov’d, was in mine eye The dust that did offend it. KING.
Well excus'd : That thou didst love her, strikes some scores away From the great compt: But love, that comes too
late, Like a remorseful pardon slowly carried, To the great sender turns a sour offence, Crying, That's good that's gone : our rash faults Make trivial price of serious things we have, Not knowing them, until we know their grave : Oft our displeasures, to ourselves unjust, Destroy our friends, and after weep their dust: Our own love waking cries to see what's done, While shameful hate sleeps out the afternoon 4.
3 The inaudible and noiseless foot of time, &c.] This idea seems to have been caught from the third book of Sidney's Arcadia; “ The summons of Time had so creepingly stolne
upon him, that hee had heard scarcely the noise of his feet.”
Steevens. 4 Our own love waking, &c.] These two lines I should be glad to call an interpolation of a player. They are ill connected with the former, and not very clear or proper in themselves. I believe the author made two couplets to the same purpose ; wrote them both down that he might take his choice; and so they happened to be both preserved.
For sleep I think we should read slept. Love cries to see what was done while hatred slept, and suffered mischief to be done. Be this sweet Helen's knell, and now forget her. Send forth your amorous token for fair Maudlin: The main consents are had ; and here we'll stay To see our widower's second marriage-day.
Count. Which better then the first, Odear hea
Or, ere they meet, in me, O nature, cease *5!
Laf. Come on, my son, in whom my house's
Must be digested, give a favour from you,
* First folio, cesse.
Or the meaning may be, that hatred still continues to sleep at ease, while love is weeping ;' and so the present reading may stand. Johnson.
I cannot comprehend this passage as it stands, and have no doubt but we should read
“ Our old love waking,” &c.
Extinctus amabitur idem. “Our own love,” can mean nothing but our self-love, which would not be sense in this place ; but our old love waking,” means, our former affection being revived. M. Mason.
This conjecture appears to me extremely probable ; but waking will not, I think, here admit of Mr. M. Mason's interpretation, being revived ; nor, indeed, is it necessary to his emendation. It is clear, from the subsequent line, that waking is here used in its ordinary sense. Hate sleeps at ease, unmolested by any remembrance of the dead, while old love, reproaching itself for not having been sufficiently kind to a departed friend, “wakes and weeps ;" crying, “ that's good that's gone." MALONE. s Which better than the first, О dear heaven, bless !
Or, ere they meet, in me, 0 nature, cease!] I have ventured against the authorities of the printed copies, to prefix the Countess's name to these two lines. The King appears, indeed, to be a favourer of Bertram ; but if Bertram should make a bad husband the second time, why should it give the King such mortal pangs ? A fond and disappointed mother might reasonably not desire to live to see such a day; and from her the wish of dying, rather than to behold it, comes with propriety.
And every hair that's on't, Helen, that's dead,
Hers it was not.
eye, While I was speaking, oft was fasten'd to it.This ring was mine; and, when I gave it Helen, I bade her, if her fortunes ever stood Necessitied to help, that? by this token I would relieve her: Had you that craft, to reave
her Of what should stead her most? BER.
My gracious sovereign,
Son, on my life,
I am sure, I saw her wear it.
O The last that e'er I took her leave -] The last time that I saw her, when she was leaving the court. Mr. Rowe and the subsequent editors read—“that e'er she took,” &c. Malone.
7 I BADE her, if her fortunes ever stood
Necessitied to help, THAT —] Our author here, as in many other places, seems to have forgotten, in the close of the sentence, how he began to construct it. See
311. The meaning however is clear, and I do not suspect any corruption.
Malone. 8 In Florence was it from a casement thrown me,] Bertram still continues to have too little virtue to deserve Helen. He did not know indeed that it was Helen's ring, but he knew that he had it not from a window. Johnson.
I stood ingag'd ® : but when I had subscrib'd
- noble she was, and thought
I stood INGAG'D:) Thus the old copy.-Dr. Johnson readsengaged. Steevens.
The plain meaning is, when she saw me receive the ring, she thought me engaged to her. Johnson.
Ingag'd may be intended in the same sense with the reading proposed by Mr. Theobald, [ungag'd] i. e. not engaged ; as Shakspeare, in another place, uses gag’d for engaged. Merchant of Venice, Act I. Sc. I. TYRWHITT.
I have no doubt that ingaged (the reading of the folio) is right.
Gaged is used by other writers, as well as by Shakspeare, for engaged. So, in a Pastoral, by Daniel, 1605 :
“ Not that the earth did gage
“ Her voluntary fruits, free without fees." Ingaged, in the sense of unengaged, is a word of exactly the same formation as inhabitable, which is used by Shakspeare and the contemporary writers for uninhabitable. MALONE. 9 Plutus himself,
That knows the Tinct and MULTIPLYING medicine,] Plutus, the grand alchemist, who knows the tincture which confers the properties of gold upon base metals, and the matter by which gold is multiplied, by which a small quantity of gold is made to communicate its qualities to a large mass of base metal.
In the reign of Henry the Fourth a law was made to forbid all men thenceforth to multiply gold, or use any craft of multiplication. Of which law, Mr. Boyle, when he was warm with the hope of transmutation, procured a repeal. Johnson.