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The confirmation of my promis'd gift,
Enter several Lords.
Hel. To each of you one fair and virtuous mistress Fall, when love please !—marry, to each, but one'.
Laf. I'd give bay curtal', and his furniture,
Peruse them well:
Hel. Gentlemen, Heaven hath through me restor’d the king to health.
All. We understand it, and thank heaven for you.
Hel. I am a simple maid; and therein wealthiest, That, I protest, I simply am a maid.Please it your majesty, I have done already: The blushes in my cheeks thus whisper me, “ We blush, that thou should'st choose; but, be refus'd, Let the white death sit on thy cheek for ever: We'll ne'er come there again.” King.
Make choice; and, see, Who shuns thy love, shuns all his love in me.
Hel. Now, Dian, from thy altar do I fly, And to imperial Love', that god most high, 3 — marry, to each, but one.) i.e. I wish a mistress to each of
with one exception. This is Monck Mason's judicious explanation of the passage.
- bay curtal,] i.e. a bay, docked horse. 5 My mouth no more were BROKEN-) A broken mouth is a mouth which has lost some of its teeth.
6 And to imperial Love,] So the first folio, “ Love” being printed without a capital. These words illustrate curiously the progress of error. The second folio has “imperial love,” the l in love having been mistaken for a capital I. The third folio alters “imperial” to impartial ; so that “imperial Love" of the first folio becomes “impartial Jove" in the third.
Do my sighs stream.-Sir, will
Thanks, sir: all the rest is mute?. Laf. I had rather be in this choice, than throw amesace for my life .
Hel. The honour, sir, that flames in your fair eyes, Before I speak, too threateningly replies : Love make your fortunes twenty times above Her that so wishes, and her humble love!
2 Lord. No better, if you please. Hel.
My wish receive, Which great Love grant! and so I take my leave.
Laf. Do all they deny her? An they were sons of mine, I'd have them whipped, or I would send them to the Turk to make eunuchs of. Hel. [To 3 Lord.] Be not afraid that I your hand
should take ; I'll never do you wrong
your own sake: Blessing upon your vows! and in your bed Find fairer fortune, if you ever wed!
Laf. These boys are boys of ice, they'll ñone have her: sure, they are bastards to the English; the French ne'er got them.
Hel. You are too young, too happy, and too good, To make yourself a son out of my blood.
4 Lord. Fair one, I think not so. Laf. There's one grape yet”,—I am sure, thy father
7 Thanks, sir : all the rest is mute.] In other words, “ I have no more to say to you ;” and she therefore proceeds to the second lord.
than throw AMES-ACE for my life.] “ Ames-ace," or both aces, was the lowest throw upon two dice: to throw ames-ace is an expression often met with, indicating ill luck. Lafeu is contrasting it with the happy chance of being the choice of Helena.
9 LAF. There's one grape yet,] In the folios, the whole of this speech is given to Ol. Lord, meaning probably “Old Lafeu," as he is sometimes called in the prefixes. Theobald assigned “ There's one grape yet” to Lafeu, and “ I am sure thy father drank wine” to Parolles, making Lafeu conclude with “ If thou be’st not an ass,” &c. addressed to Parolles. Hanmer and Warburton adopted this distribution, which does not however seem necessary. Lafeu must anticipate Bertram's refusal of Helena, in order to make the latter part of what he says apply to him. VOL. III.
drank wine.—But if thou be'st not an ass, I am a youth of fourteen: I have known thee already. Hel. [To BERTRAM.) I dare not say, I take you; but
I give Me, and my service, ever whilst I live, Into your guiding power.—This is the man. King. Why then, young Bertram, take her; she's thy
wife. Ber. My wife, my liege? I shall beseech your high
Know'st thou not, Bertram,
Yes, my good lord;
King. "Tis only title thou disdain'st in her, the which
1 From lowest place when virtuous things proceed,] The old reading is wh-nce for “when,” a necessary correction, made by Theobald at the suggestion of Thirlby.
2 Where great additions SWELL’s, and virtue none,] So the old copy, which
It is a dropsied honour: good alone
Ber. I cannot love her, nor will strive to do't.
to choose. Hel. That you are well restor'd, my lord, I am glad. Let the rest go.
King. My honour's at the stake, which to defeat®, I must produce my power. Here, take her hand, Proud scornful boy, unworthy this good gift, That dost in vile misprision shackle up My love, and her desert; that canst not dream,
abbreviates suell us into “swell's," to show that the line requires it to be pronounced as a monosyllable. Malone and other modern editors read siell, taking no notice of us.
good alone Is good, without a name; vileness is so :] Malone gives the correct interpretation of this passage :-“Good is good, independent on [of] any worldly distinction or title ; so vileness is vile, in whatever state it may appear.”
* And is not like the sire : honours tlirive,] The editor of the second folio thought this line defective, and therefore read “honours best thrive ;" but the rhythm requires no such addition.
5 Debauch'd on every tomb ;] Old copies debosh'd; but it is only the old form of " debauch’d,” though some lexicographers make it a different word.
which to DEFEAT,] Tyrwhitt suggests that Shakespeare uses the word " defeat” in its etymological sense, from defaire, Fr., to free or disembarrass.
We, poising us in her defective scale,
Ber. Pardon, my gracious lord, for I submit
When I consider
Take her by the hand,
I take her hand.
whose ceremony Shall seem expedient on the NOW BORNE brief,] Malone mistook in stating that any old copy has it nou-born: it is printed in the old folios of 1623 and 1632 now borne,” without a hyphen, and with a final e to“ borne.” The clear meaning is obscurely expressed : if we take now (to which Shakespeare prefixes the definite article) to be used substantively, and if we derive borne from the verb to bear, the king says that the marriage shall not be deferred, “whose ceremony shall seem expedient on the nou, (or on the instant,) to be borne briefly," or concluded without delay.