Puslapio vaizdai



The Countess of Roufillon's Houfe in France.

Enter Bertram, the Countess of Roufillon, Helena, and Lafeu, all in black.


N delivering my fon from me, I bury a fecond husband.

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Ber. And I in going, Madam, weep father's death anew; but I must attend his Majefty's command, to whom I am now in ward, evermore in fubjection.

▲ IN DELIVERING my fon from me- - To deliver from, in the fenfe of giving up, is not English. Shakespear wrote, in DISSEVERING my fon from me The following Words, too,I bury a fecond bufband-demand this reading. For to diffever implies a violent divorce; and therefore might be compared to the burying a bufband; which delivering does not. WARB.

Of this change I fee no need: the prefent reading is clear, and, perhaps, as proper as that which


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Laf. You fhall find of the King a husband, Madam; you, Sir, a father. He, that fo generally is at all times good, muft of neceffity hold his virtue to you; 3 whofe worthinefs would ftir it up where it wanted, rather than flack it where there is fuch abundance.

Count. What hope is there of his Majefty's amendment?

Laf. He hath abandon'd his physicians, Madam, under whofe practices he hath perfecuted time with hope; and finds no other advantage in the process, but only the lofing of hope by time.

Count. This young gentlewoman had a father, (O, that bad! how fad a paffage 'tis !) whofe fkill was almoft, as great as his honefty; had it ftretch'd fo far, it would have made nature immortal, and death fhould have play'd for lack of work. 'Would, for

3 whfe worthiness would Air it up where it wanted, rather, than lack it where there is fuch abundance.] An Oppofition of Terms is vifibly defign'd in this fentence; tho' the Oppofition is not fo vifible, as the Terms now. ftand. Wanted and Abundance are the Oppofites to one another; but how is lack a Contraft to fir up? The Addition of a fingle Letter gives it, and the very Senfe requires it. Read flack it, WARBURTON.

4 This young gentlewoman had a father (0, that had! how fad a PASSAGE 'tis!] Lafeu was fpeaking of the King's defperate Condition: which makes the Countess recall to mind the deceafed Gerard de Narbor, who, fhe thinks, could have cured him. But in ufing the word bad, which implied his death, fhe flops in the middle of her fentence, and

makes a reflection upon it, which, according to the present reading, is unintelligible. We must therefore believe Shakefear wrote (0 that had! how fad a PRESAGE 'tis) i, e. a Prefage that the King must now expect no cure, fince fo skilful a Perfon was himself forced to fubmit to a malignant diftemper. WARBURTON.

This emendation is ingenious, perhaps preferable to the prefent reading, yet fince palage may be fairly enough explained, I have left it in the text. Paffege is any thing that passes, so we now fay, a palage of an autheur, and we faid about a century ago, the passages of a reign. When the Countess mentions Helena's lofs of a father, she recollects her own lofs of a husband, and flops to obferve how heavily that word kad pafles through her mind.


the King's fake, he were living! I think, it would b the death of the King's disease.

Laf. How call'd you the man you speak of, Madam ?

Count. He was famous, Sir, in his profeffion, and it was his great right to be fo: Gerard de Narbon.

Laf. He was excellent, indeed, Madam; the King very lately spoke of him admiringly, and mourningly: he was skilful enough to have liv'd ftill, if knowledge could have been fet up against mortality.

Ber. What is it, my good lord, the King languifhes of?

Laf. A fiftula, my lord.

Ber. I heard not of it before.

Laf. I would, it were not notorious. Was this gentlewoman the daughter of Gerard de Narbon?

Count. His fole child, my lord, and bequeathed to my overlooking. I have thofe hopes of her good, that her education promifes her; difpofition fhe inherits, which makes fair gifts fairer; for where an unclean

5 where an unclean mind carvies virtuous qualities, there, commendations go with pity; they are Virtues and Traitors too: in her they are the better for THEIR fimpleness; fhe derives her bonefly, and achieves her goodness.] This obfcure encomium is made ftill more obfcure by a flight corruption of the text. Let us explain the paffage as it lies. By virtuous qualities are meant qualities of good breeding and erudition; in the fame fenfe that the Italians fay, qualità virtuofa; and not moral ones. On this account it is, fhe fays, that, in an ill mind, thefe virtuous qualities are virtues and traitors too: i. e. the advan tages of education enable an ill

mind to go further in wickedness than it could have done without them: But, fays the Countess, in her they are the better for THEIR fimpleness. But fimpleness is the fame with what is called honesty, immediately after; which cannot be predicated of the quali ties of education. We must certainly read

HER fimpleness, And then the sentence is properly concluded. The Countess had faid, that virtuous qualities are the worse for an unclean mind, but concludes that Helen's are the better for her fimpleness. i. e. her clean, pure mind. She then fums up the Character, she had before given in detail, in these T4


clean mind carries virtuous qualities, there commendations go with pity, they are virtues and traitors too; 3 in her they are the better for their fimpleness; fhe derives her honesty, and atchieves her goodness.


Laf. Your commendations, Madam, get from her


Count. 'Tis the best brine a maiden can feason her praise in. The remembrance of her father never approaches her heart, but the tyranny of her forrows takes all livelihood from her cheek. No more of this, Helena, go to, no more; left it be rather thought you affect a forrow, than to have it.

Hel. I do affect a forrow, indeed, but I have it too. Laf. Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead, exceflive grief the enemy to the living.

Count. If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess makes it foon mortal.

words, he derives her bonefly, and achieves her goodness, i. e. She derives her bonefly, her fimpleness, her moral Character, from her Father and Ancestors: But fhe atchieves or wins her goodnefs, her virtue, or her qualities of good breeding and erudition, by her own pains and labour.

WARBURTON. This is likewife a plaufible but unneceffary alteration. Her virtues are the better for their fimpleness, that is, her excellencies are the better because they are artless and open, without fraud, without defign. The learned commentator has well explained virtues, but has not, I think, reached the force of the word traitors, and therefore has not fhewn the full extent of Shakespeare's mafterly obfervation. Virtues in an unclean mind are virtues and trai


tors too. Eftimable and ufeful qualities, joined with evil difpofition, give that evil difpofition power over others, who, by admiring the virtue, are betrayed to the malevolence. The Tatler, mentioning the sharpers of his time, obferves, that fome of them are men of fuch elegance and knowledge, that a young man who falls into their way is betrayed as much by his judg ment as his paffions.

6 If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess makes it foon mortal.] This feems very obfcure; but the addition of a Negative perfectly difpels all the mist. If the living be not enemy, &c. exceffive grief is an enemy to the living, fays Lafeu: Yes, replies the Countefs; and if the living be not enemy to the grief, [.. ftrive to conquer it,] the excefs


Ber. Madam, I defire your holy wishes.
Laf. How understand we that?

Count. Be thou bleft, Bertram, and fucceed thy

In manners as in fhape! thy blood and virtue
Contend for empire in thee, and thy goodness
Share with thy birth-right! Love all, trust a few,
Do wrong to none: be able for thine enemy
Rather in power, than ufe; and keep thy friend
Under thy own life's key: be check'd for filence,
But never tax'd for speech. What heav'n more will,
7 That thee may furnish, and my prayers pluck down,
Fall on thy head! Farewel, my Lord;

'Tis an unseason'd courtier, good my Lord,
Advise him.

Laf. He cannot want the best,

That fhall attend his love.

Count. Heav'n blefs him! Farewel, Bertram.


[Exit Countess. Ber. [To Helena.] The best wishes, that can be forg'd in your thoughts, be fervants to you! Be comfortable to my mother, your mistress, and make much of her.

Laf. Farewel, pretty Lady, you must hold the credit of your father. [Exeunt Bertram and Lafeu.

makes it foon mortal.

WARBURTON. This emendation I had once admitted into the text, but readmitted the old reading, because I think it capable of an eafy explication. Lefeu fays, exceffive grif is the enemy of the living the Countess replies, If the lising be an enemy to grief, the excefs foon makes it mortal: that is, if the living do not indulge grief, grief deftroys itself by its own excefs. By the word mortal

I understand that which dies, and Dr. Warburton, that which deftroys. I think that my interpretation gives a sentence more acute and more refined. Let the reader judge.

7 That thee may furnish] That may help thee with more and better qualifications.

8 The best wishes, &c.] That is, may you be mistress of your wishes, and have power to bring them to effect.


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