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Hel. I hope, sir, I have your good will to have mine own good fortunes. 1
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 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 art a knave; that is, before me thou art 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.2 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 by a compell'd restraint;3
- fortunes.] Old copy-fortune. Corrected by Mr. Stee. Malone.
and well fed.] An allusion, perhaps, to the old saying“Better fed than taught;" to which the Clown has himself al. luded in a preceding scene :-" I will show myself highly fed and lowly taught." Ritson.
3 But puts it off by a compelld restraint;] The old copy reads -to a compelld restraint. Steevens.
The editor of the third folio reads--by a compell’d restraint; and the alteration has been adopted by the modern editors; perhaps without necessity. Our poet might have meant, in his usual licentious manner, that Bertram puts off the completion of his wishes to a future day, till which he is compelled to restrain his desires. This, it must be confessed, is very harsh; but our author is often so licentious in his phraseology, that change on that
Whose want, and whose delay, is strewed with sweets,
What's his will else?
What more commands he?
Hel. In every thing I wait upon his will.
I pray you. Come, sirrah. [Ereunt.
ground alone is very dangerous. In King Henry VIII, we have a phraseology not very different:
All-souls day “ Is the determin’d respite of my wrong's.” i. e. the day to which my wrongs are respited. Malone.
4 Whose want, and whose delay, &c.] The sweets with which this want is strewed, I suppose, are compliments and professions of kindness. Johnson.
Johnson seems not to have understood this passage; the meaning of which is merely this:“ That the delay of the joys, and the expectation of them, would make them more delightful when they come.” The curbed time, means the time of restraint. Whose want, means the want of which. So, in The Two Noble Kinsmen, Theseus says:
A day or two
“ The visages of bridegrooms we 'll put on.” M. Mason. The sweets which are distilled, by the restraint said to be imposed on Bertram, from “the want and delay of the great prerogative of love,” are the sweets of expectation. Parolles is here speaking of Bertram's feelings during this “curbed time,” not, as Dr. Johnson seems to have thought, of those of Helena. The following lines, in Troilus and Cressida, may prove the best comment on the present passage:
“I am giddy; expectation whirls me round.
Another Room in the same.
Enter LAFEU and BERTRAM.
Ber. Yes, my lord, and of very valiant approof.
Laf. Then my dial goes 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.
Laf. O, I know him well: Ay, sir; he, sir, is a good workman, a very good tailor.
Ber. Is she gone to the king? [Aside to Par.
Lef. papers se, Th
a bunting.] This bird is mentioned in Lyly's Love's Metamorphosis, 1001: - but foresters think all birds to be buntings." Barrett's Alvearie, or Quadruple Dictionary, 1580, gives this account of it: “ Terraneola et rubetra, avis alaudæ similis, &c. Dicta terraneola quod non in arboribus, sed in terra versetur et nidificet.” The following proverb is in Ray's Collection: “A gosshawk beats not a bunting.' Steevens.
I took this lark for a bunting.] This is a fine discrimination between the possessor of courage, and him that only has the appearance of it.
The bunting is, in feather, size, and form, so like the sky-lark, as to require nice attention to discover the one from the other; it also ascends and sinks in the air nearly in the same manner: but it has little or no song, which gives estimation to the skylark. 7. Johnson.
Ber. I have writ my letters, casketed my treasure,
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 leap'd into the custard;8 and out of it you 'll run again, rather than suffer question for
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.-Farewel, monsieur: I have spoken bet
7 A good traveller is something at the latter end of a dinner; but one that lies three-thirds, &c.] So, in Marlowe's King Edward II, 1598:
“ Gav. What art thou?
Malone. 8 You have made shift to run into 't, boots and spurs and all, like him that leap'd into the custard ;] This odd allusion is not introduced without a view to satire. It was a foolery practised at city entertainments, whilst the jester or zany was in vogue, for him to jump into a large deep custard, set for the purpose, to set on a quantity of barren spectators to laugh, as our poet says in his Hamlet. I do not advance this without some authority; and a quotation from Ben Jonson will very well explain it:
“He may perchance, in tail of a sheriff's dinner,
Skip with a rhime o' th' table, from New-nothing,
Devil's an Ass, Act I, sc.i. Theobalu
ter of you, than you have or will deserveo at my hand; but we must do good against evil.
[Erit. Par. An idle lord, I swear. Ber. I think so. Par. Why, do you not know him?
Ber. Yes, I do know him well; and common speech Gives him a worthy pass. Here comes my clog.
I shall obey his will.
[Giving a letter. 'Twill be two days ere I shall see you; so I leave you to your wisdom. Hel.
Sir, I can nothing say, But that I am your most obedient servant.
Ber; Come, come, no more of that.
And ever shall With true observance seek to eke out that,
than you have or will deserve -] The oldest copy erro. neously reads--have or will to deserve. Steevens.
Something seems to have been omitted; but I know not how to rectify the passage. Perhaps we should read-than you have qualities or will to deserve. The editor of the second folio reads -than
have or will deserve -. Malone. 1. And rather muse, &c.] To muse is to wonder. So, in Mac
“Do not muse at me, my most noble friends." Steevens.