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You put our page out: Go, you are allow'd;"
Wounds like a leaden fword.
Hath this brave manage,' this career, been run. BIRON. Lo, he is tilting ftraight! Peace; I have
Welcome, pure wit! thou parteft a fair fray.
For every one pursents
No, fir; but it is vara fine,
And three times thrice is nine.
COST. Not fo, fir; under correction, fir; I hope,
it is not fo:
You cannot beg us,* fir, I can affure you, fir; we
know what we know:
Go, you are allow'd;] i. e. you may fay what you will; you are a licensed fool, a common jefter. So, in Twelfth Night: "There is no flander in an allow'd fool, WARBURTON.
3 Hath this brave manage, ] The old copy has manager. Correded by Mr. Theobald. MALONE.
4 You cannot beg us, ] That is, we are not fools; our next relations cannot beg the wardship of our perfons and fortunes. One of the legal tefts of a natural is to try whether he can number.
It is the wardship of Lunaticks not Ideots that devolves upon the next relations. Shakspeare, perhaps, as well as Dr. Johnfon, was not aware of the diftin&ion. DOUCE.
It was not the next relation only who begg'd the wardship of an ideot. "A rich fool was begg'd by a lord of the king, and the
I hope, fir, three times thrice, fir,
BIRON. Is not nine. COST. Under correction, fir, we know where until it doth amount.
BIRON. By Jove, I always took three threes for
Cost. O Lord, fir, it were pity you should get your living by reckoning, fir.
BIRON. How much is it?
COST. O Lord, fir, the parties themselves, the actors, fir, will fhow where until it doth amount: for my own part, I am, as they fay, but to parfect one man,-e'en one poor man; Pompion the great, fir.
BIRON. Art thou one of the worthies?
COST. It pleased them, to think me worthy of Pompion the great: for mine own part, I know not the degree of the worthy; but I am to ftand for him.
BIRON. Go, bid them prepare.
lord coming to another nobleman's house, the fool faw the picture of a fool in the hangings, which he cut out; and being chidden for it, answered, you have more caufe to love me for it; for if my lord had feen the picture of the fool in the hangings, he would certainly have begged them of the king, as he did my lands."
one man, c'en one poor man ;]
Cabinet of Mirth, 1674.
The old copies read — in one poor man. For the emendation I am anfwerable, The fame mistake has happened in several piaces in our author's plays. note on All's Well that ends Well, A& I. fc. iii.. low, madam," &c. MALONE.
See my "You are fhal
I know not the degree of the worthy; &c.] This is a ftroke of fatire which, to this hour, has loft nothing of its force. formers are folicitous about the hiftory of the chara&er they are to reprefent. STEEVENS.
COST. We will turn it finely off, fir; we will take [Exit COSTARD. KING. Birón, they will fhame us, let them not
BIRON. We are fhame-proof, my lord: and 'tis fome policy
To have one fhow worse than the king's and his
KING. I fay, they fhall not come.
PRIN. Nay, my good lord, let me o'er-rule you
That fport best pleases, that doth leaft know how: Where zeal ftrives to content, and the contents Die in the zeal of them which it presents,
Their form confounded makes moft form in mirth; When great things labouring perish in their birth."
That Sport best pleases, which doth leaft know how:
The third line may be read better thus:
of that which it pre
Die in the zeal of him which them prefents.
This fentiment of the Princess is very natural, but lefs generous than that of the Amazonian Queen, who fays, on a like occafion, in The Midfummer-Night's Dream:
"I love not to fee wretchedness o'ercharg'd,
"Nor duty in his fervice perifhing." JOHNSON.
This paffage, as it ftands, is unintelligible.
ment makes it grammatical, but does not make it sense. does he mean by the contents which die in the zeal of him who presents them? The word content, when fignifying an affection of the mind, has no plural. Perhaps we should read thus: Where zeal ftrives to content, and the content Lies in the zeal of thofe which it present
A fimilar fentiment, and on a fimilar occafion, occurs in A Midfummer Night's Dream, when Philoftrate fays of the play they were about to exhibit:
BIRON. A right defcription of our fport, my lord.
The quarto, 1598, and the folio, 1623, read-of that which it prefenis. The context, I think, clearly fhows that them which, as the paffage is unintelligible in its original form, I have ventured to fubftitute,) was the poet's word. Which for who is common in our author; So, to give one inftance out of many,) in The Merchant of Venice,
a civil do&or,
"Which did refufe three thoufand ducats of me.
and ym and y were easily confounded: nor is the falfe concord introduced by this reading of them who prefents it, ] any objection to it; for every page of thefe plays furnifhes us with examples of the fame kind. So dies in the prefent line, for thus the old copy reads; though here, and in almost every other paffage where a fimilar forruption occurs, I have followed the example of my predeceffors, and correâed the error. Where rhymes or metre, how
ever, are concerned, it is impoffible. Thus we muft ftill read in Cymbeline, lies, as in the line before us, prefents;
"And Phoebus gins to rife.
"His feeds to water at thofe springs
On chalic'd flowers that lies.
Again, in the play before us:
"That in this fpleen ridiculous appears,
"To check their folly, paffion's folemn tears.
Again, in The Merchant of Venice:
"Whose own hard dealings teaches them fufpe&."
Dr. Johnfon would read
Die in the zeal of him which them prefents.
But him was not, I believe, abbreviated in old Mfs. and therefore not likely to have been confounded with that.
The word it, I believe, refers to sport. That Sport, fays the princess, pleases beft, where the actors are leaft skilful; where zeal Strives to pleafe, and the contents, or, (as thefe exhibitions are immediately afterwards called) great things, great attempts, perish in the very act of being produced, from the ardent zeal of those who present the Sportive entertainment. To " prejent a play is till the phrase of the theatre. It however may refer to contents, and that word may mean the moft material part of the exhibition. MALONE. labouring perish in their birth.] Labouring here means, in the act of parturition. So Rofcommon:
ARM. Anointed, I implore fo much expence of thy royal fwect breath as will utter a brace of words.
[ARMADO converfes with the KING, and delivers
PRIN. Doth this man ferve God?
PRIN. He fpeaks not like a man of God's making.
ARM. That's all one, my fair, fweet, honey monarch: for, I proteft, the school-master is exceeding fantaftical; too, too vain; too, too vain: But we will put it, as they say, to fortuna della guerra. I with you the peace of mind, moft royal couplement!9 [Exit ARMADO.
KING. Here is like to be a good prefence of worthies: He prefents Hector of Troy; the fwain, Pompey the great; the parish curate, Alexander; Armado's page, Hercules; the pedant, Judas Macchabæus.
And if thefe four worthies in their firft fhow
These four will change habits, and present the
The mountain labour'd, and a moufe was born."
8 Enter Armado.] The old copies read
- Enter Braggart.
I wish you the peace of mind, most royal couplement!] This fingular word is again used by our author in his 21ft Sonnet: Making a couplement of proud compare
2 And if these four worthies, &c.] Thefe two lines might have been defigned as a ridicule on the conclufion of Selimus, a tragedy, 1594: