Page images
PDF
EPUB

Par. France is a dog-hole, and it no more merits The tread of a man's foot. To the wars! Ber. There's letters from my mother: what the

import is, I know not yet. Par. Ay, that would be known. To the wars, my

boy! to the wars !
He wears his honour in a box, unseen,
That hugs his kicky-wicky here at home,
Spending his manly marrow in her arms,
Which should sustain the bound and high curvet
Of Mars's fiery steed. To other regions !
France is a stable; we, that dwell in't, jades ;
Therefore, to the war!

Ber. It shall be so: I'll send her to my house,
Acquaint my mother with my hate to her,
And wherefore I am fled; write to the king
That which I durst not speak. His present gift
Shall furnish me to those Italian fields,
Where noble fellows strike. War is no strife
To the dark house, and the detested wife

Par. Will this capriccio hold in thee, art sure ?

Ber. Go with me to my chamber, and advise me. I'll send her straight away : to-morrow I'll to the wars, she to her single sorrow. Par. Why, these balls bound; there's noise in it;

'tis hard. A young man married is a man that's marr'd :

3 That hugs his KICKY-WICKY here at home,] So the old copies, and why it has been altered to kicksy-wicksy nobody has explained. What Parolles means by the word is very clear: not so the origin of the term. Possibly it was a mere invention for the occasion, and as Sir T. Hanmer says, used“ in disdain of a wife.” If we change the word at all, we ought to make it kicksy-winsy, which, as Grey remarks, was a term employed by Taylor, the water-poet, in the title of an attack upon persons who were in his debt and would not pay him. “Kicky-wicky” is quite as intelligible as kicksy-wicksy, which is found in Malone's and some other modern editions.

and the DETESTED wife.] The old copies havedetected wife," which Rowe altered to detested, no doubt, the word Shakespeare wrote. In Act iii. sc. 5, Bertram is called Helena's “detesting lord.”

Therefore away, and leave her: bravely go;
The king has done you wrong; but, hush ! 'tis so.

[Exeunt.

SCENE IV.

The Same. Another Room in the Same.

Enter HELENA and Clown.

Hel. My mother greets me kindly: is she well?

Clo. She is not well; but yet she has her health : she's very merry; but yet she is not well : but thanks be given, she's very well, and wants nothing i the world; but yet she is not well.

Hel. If she be very well, what does she ail, that she's not very well ?

Clo. Truly, she's very well indeed, but for two things.

Hel. What two things?

Clo. One, that she's not in heaven, whither God send her quickly! the other, that she's in earth, from whence God send her quickly!

Enter PAROLLES.

Par. Bless you, my fortunate lady!

Hel. I hope, sir, I have your good will to have mine own good fortunes5.

Par. You had my prayers to lead them on; and to keep them on, have them still.—0, my knave! How does my old lady?

Clo. So that you had her wrinkles, and I her money, I would she did as you say.

Par. Why, I say nothing.

Clo. Marry, you are the wiser man ; for many a man's tongue shakes out his master's undoing. To say

5

mine own good FORTUNES.] Fortune in the old copies; but the answer of Parolles shows that it ought to be in the plural.

nothing, to do nothing, to know nothing, and to have nothing, is to be a great part of your title, which is within a very little of nothing.

Par. Away! thou’rt a knave.

Clo. You should have said, sir, before a knave thou’rt a knave; that is, before me thou’rt a knave: this had been truth, sir.

Par. Go to, thou art a witty fool: I have found thee.

Clo. Did you find me in yourself, sir, or were you taught to find me? The search, sir, was profitable ; and much fool may you find in you, even to the world's pleasure, and the increase of laughter .

Par. A good knave, i' faith, and well fed. Madam, my lord will go away to-night; A very serious business calls on him. The great prerogative and rite of love, Which as your due time claims, he does acknowledge, But puts it off to a compellid restraint”; Whose want, and whose delay, is strewed with sweets, Which they distil now in the curbed time 8 To make the coming hour o'erflow with joy, And pleasure drown the brim. Hel.

What's his will else? Par. That you will take your instant leave o' the

king,
And make this haste as your own good proceeding,
Strengthen'd with what apology you think
May make it probable need'.

and the increase of laughter.] This is clearly the end of the Clown's speech, which is made in the old copies to finish at“ or were you taught to find me," and to begin again at “ The search, sir, was profitable.” Thus the Clown is made in the folios to speak twice running : perhaps Parolles interposed something, which has been lost ; but it was not wanted for the congruity of the dialogue.

7 But puts it off to a compelled restraint;] i.e. Postpones it owing to a compulsory restraint.

the cuRBED time,] The time to which the “compell’d restraint” applies. May make it probable need.] i.e. May give it the appearance of necessity.

8

Hel.

What more commands he? Par. That having this obtain'd, you presently Attend his further pleasure.

Hel. In every thing I wait upon his will.
Par. I shall report it so.
Hel.

I pray you.—Come, sirrah.

[Exeunt.

SCENE V.

Another Room in the Same.

Enter LAFEU and BERTRAM. Laf. But, I hope, your lordship thinks not him a soldier.

Ber. Yes, my lord, and of very valiant approof.
Laf. You have it from his own deliverance.
Ber. And by other warranted testimony.
Laf. Then my dial goes not true.

not true. I took this lark for a bunting

Ber. I do assure you, my lord, he is very great in knowledge, and accordingly valiant.

Laf. I have then sinned against his experience, and transgressed against his valour; and my state that way is dangerous, since I cannot yet find in my heart to repent. Here he comes. I pray you, make us friends: I will pursue the amity.

Enter PAROLLES. Par. [To BERTRAM.] These things shall be done, sir.

Laf. Pray you, sir, who's his tailor ?
Par. Sir ?

Laf. O! I know him well. Ay, sir ; he, sir, is a good workman, a very good tailor.

Ber. [Aside to PAROLLES.] Is she gone to the king ? Par. She is.

Ber. Will she away to-night?
Par. As you'll have her.

Ber. I have writ my letters, casketed my treasure,
Given order for our horses; and to-night,
When I should take possession of the bride,
End, ere I do begin'.

Laf. A good traveller is something at the latter end of a dinner; but one that lies three-thirds, and uses a known truth to pass a thousand nothings with, should be once heard, and thrice beaten. — God save you, captain.

Ber. Is there any unkindness between my lord and you, monsieur ?

Par. I know not how I have deserved to run into my lord's displeasure.

Laf. You have made shift to run into't, boots and spurs and all, like him that leaped into the custard”; and out of it you'll run again, rather than suffer question for your residence.

Ber. It may be, you have mistaken him, my lord.

Laf. And shall do so ever, though I took him at his prayers. Fare you well, my lord ; and believe this of me, there can be no kernel in this light nut; the soul of this man is his clothes: trust him not in matter of heavy consequence; I have kept of them tame, and know their natures. — Farewell, monsieur: I have

1 End ere I do begin.) All the copies, ancient and modern, read, “And ere I do begin” as if it were a broken sentence ; but the true reading has been pointed out by the MS. corrector of Lord F. Egerton's first folio, where End is substituted for And, or rather E for A, by the insertion of the former letter in the margin. This is a very happy suggestion, and gives the full meaning of Bertram, that he will end his matrimonial rite ere he begins it.

like him that leaped into the custard;] Theobald makes the following apposite quotation from Ben Jonson's “Devil is an Ass," A. i. sc. 1, upon this passage :

He may perchance, in tail of a sheriff's dinner,
Skip with a rhyme on the table, from New-nothing,
And take his Almain-leap into a custard,
Shall make my lady mayoress, and her sisters,

Laugh all their hoods over their shoulders.”
See also Gifford's note on this passage, Ben Jonson’s Works, vol. v. p. 14.

« PreviousContinue »