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My suit, as I do understand, you know,
Wid. I am her mother, sir, whose age and honour
you know these women ? Ber. My lord, I neither can, nor will deny But that I know them. Do they charge me farther ?
Dia. Why do you look so strange upon your wife?
If you shall marry,
Laf. [To BERTRAM.] Your reputation comes too short for my daughter: you are no husband for her.
Ber. My lord, this is a fond and desperate creature, Whom sometime I have laugh’d with. Let your high
Lay a more noble thought upon mine honour,
Good my lord,
King. What say'st thou to her?
She's impudent, my lord; And was a common gamester to the camp.
Dia. Ile does me wrong, my lord: if I were so, Ile might have bought me at a common price :
Do not believe him. O! behold this ring,
Count. He blushes, and 'tis histo:
Methought, you said, You saw one here in court could witness it.
Dia. I did, my lord, but loth am to produce
Laf. I saw the man to-day, if man he be.
What of him?
She hath that ring of yours. Ber. I think, she has : certain it is, I lik'd her, And boarded her i' the wanton way of youth. She knew her distance, and did angle for me, Madding my eagerness with her restraint, As all impediments in fancy's course Are motives of more fancy; and, in fine, Iler insuit coming with her modern grace', Subdued me to her rate : she got the ring,
10 He blushes, and 'tis his :] The old folios have hit, instead of his. Malone reads, “ He blushes, and 'tis it;" but the error lies in the last not in the first letter of hit, t having been substituted for s. The countess of course means that the ring is the property of Bertram.
1 Her insuit coming with her modern grace,] i.e. Her solicitation joining with her common beauty, or beauty that was common. This sense of modern is frequent in Shakespeare.
And I had that, which any inferior might
I must be patient :
I have it not.
Sir, much like
King. The story then goes false, you threw it him
I have spoke the truth.
Enter PAROLLES 4.
Ber. My lord, I do confess, the ring was hers.
Ay, my lord.
2 And I had that, which any inferior might] This line illustrates the worse than needlessness of the change made by Pope in a line in “Love's Labour's Lost,” Vol. P. 287:—
“Why should I joy in any abortive birth ?” Pope substituted an for any, because only one syllable was required for the tensyllable measure. The fact is, that in both these instances “any” being pronounced in the time of one syllable, the metre is perfect, and such as Shakespeare intended.
3 May justly diet me.) The meaning, according to the explanation of Collins, seems to be, “ You may justly make me fast, by depriving me (as Desdemona says) of the rites for which I love you.” Steevens quotes “to fast like one that takes diet,” from “ The Two Gentlemen of Verona,” A. ij. sc. 1, to show that to fast and to diet were used in some sort synonymously,
4 Enter Parolles.] In the old folios the entrance of Parolles is twice marked, here, and with the Widow and Diana. This is evidently the proper place for him to make his appearance.
King. Tell me, sirrah, but tell me true, I charge
you, Not fearing the displeasure of your master, (Which, on your just proceeding, I'll keep off,) By him, and by this woman here, what know you?
Par. So please your majesty, my master hath been an honourable gentleman : tricks he hath had in him, which gentlemen have.
King. Come, come; to the purpose. Did he love this woman?
Par. 'Faith, sir, he did love her; but how?
King. How is that?
King. As thou art a knave, and no knave.-
Par. I am a poor man, and at your majesty's command.
Laf. He's a good drum, my lord, but a naughty orator.
Dia. Do you know, he promised me marriage ?
Par. Yes, so please your majesty. I did go between them, as I said; but more than that, he loved her,for, indeed, he was mad for her, and talked of Satan, and of limbo, and of furies, and I know not what: yet I was in that credit with them at that time, that I knew of their going to bed, and of other motions, as promising her marriage, and things that would derive me ill will to speak of: therefore, I will not speak what I know. King. Thou hast spoken all already, unless thou
canst Say they are married. But thou art too fine
In thy evidence”; therefore, stand aside.-
Ay, my good lord.
It was not lent me neither. King. Where did you find it then? Dia.
I found it not. K'ing. If it were yours by none of all these ways, How could you give it him? Dia.
I never gave it him. Laf. This woman's an easy glove, my lord: she goes off and on at pleasure.
King. This ring was mine: I gave it his first wife.
King. Take her away: I do not like her now.
I'll never tell you.
I'll put in bail, my liege.
[Pointing to LAFEU.
5 But thou art too fine in thy evidence ;] i.e. Too full of finesse ; too artful. Malone needlessly cites several instances.
6 This ring, you say, was yours?] This speech is clearly metrical, though printed as prose in all the editions, ancient and modern. The King invariably uses blank-verse.