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Par. I know not what the success will be, my lord; but the attempt I vow.
Ber. I know, thou art valiant; and, to the possibility of thy soldiership,8 will subscribe for thee. Farewel. Par. I love not many words.
[Exit. 1 Lord. No more than a fish loves water.'-Is not this a strange fellow, my lord, that so confidently seems to undertake this business, which he knows is not to be done; damns himself to do, and dares better be damned than to do 't?
2 Lord. You do not know him, my lord, as we do: certain it is, that he will steal himself into a man's favour, and, for a week, escape a great deal of discoveries; but when you find him out, you have him ever after.
Ber. Why, do you think, he will make no deed at all of this, that so seriously he does address himself unto?
I Lord. None in the world; but return with an invention, and clap upon you two or three probable lies: but we have almost embossed him,' you shall see his fall
possibility of thy soldiership,] I will subscribe (says Ber. tram) to the possibility of your soldiership;
His doubts being now raised, he suppresses that he should not be so willing to vouch for its probability. Steevens.
I believe Bertram means no more than that he is confident Parolles will do all that soldiership can effect. He was not yet certain that he was “a hilding.” Malone. 9 Par. I love not many words.
1 Lord. No more than a fish loves water.] Here we have the origin of this boaster's name; which, without doubt, (as Mr. Steevens has observed) ought, in strict propriety, to be written -Paroles. But our author certainly intended it otherwise, hav. ing made it a trisyllable.
“Rust sword, cool blushes, and Parolles live.” He probably did not know the true pronunciation. Malone.
- we have almost embossed him,] To emboss a deer is to inclose him in a wood. Milton uses the same word:
“ Like that self-begotten bird
“Which no second knows or third.” Johnson. It is probable that Shakspeare was unacquainted with this word, in the sense which Milton affixes to it, viz. from embos. care, Ital. to enclose in a thicket.
When a deer is run hard, and foams at the mouth, in the language of the field, he is said to be embossed. Steevens.
to-night; for, indeed, he is not for your lordship’s respect.
2 Lord. We'll make you some sport with the fox, ere we case him. He was first smoked by the old lord Lafeu: when his disguise and he is parted, tell me what a sprat you shall find him; which you shall see this very night.
i Lord. I must go look my twigs; he shall be caught.
But, you say, she's honest.
Florence. A Room in the Widow's House.
Enter HELENA and Widow.
Hel. If you misdoubt me that I am not she, I know not how I shall assure you further,
“To know when a stag is weary (as Markham's Country Contentments say) you shall see him imbost, that is, foaming and slavering about the mouth with a thick white froth,” &c. Tollet. ere we case him.] That is, before we strip him naked.
Fohnson. I'll leave you.] This line is given in the old copy to the second lord, there called Captain G, who goes out; and the first lord, there called Captain E, remains with Bertram. The whole course of the dialogue shows this to have been a mistake. See p. 248. “i Lord. [i. e. Captain E.) I, with a troop of Florentines,” &c.
Malone. we have i' the wind,] To have one in the wind, is enumer. ated as a proverbial saying by Ray, p. 261. Reed.
But I shall lose the grounds I work upon.s
Wid. Though my estate be fallen, I was well born,
Nor would I wish you.
I should believe you;
Now I see
5 But I shall lose the grounds I work upon.] i.e. by discovering herself to the count. Warburton.
6 — to your sworn counsel —] To your private knowledge, after having required from you an oath of secrecy. Johnson.
7 Now his important blood will nought deny - ) Important here, and elsewhere, is importunate. Johnson. So, Spenser, in The Fairy Queen, B. II, c. vi, st. 29:
" And with important outrage him assailed.” Important, from the French Emportant. Tyrwhitt.
the county wears,] i.e. the count. So, in Romeo and Yuliet, we have “the county Paris.” Steevens.
Hel. You see it lawful then: It is no znore,
I have yielded :
Why then, to-night
after this,] The latter word was added to complete the metre, by the editor of the second folio. Malone. i Is wicked meaning in a lawful deed,
And lawful meaning in a lawful act;] To make this gingling riddle complete in all its parts, we should read the second line thus :
And lawful meaning in a wicked act; The sense of the two lines is this: It is a wicked meaning because the woman's intent is to deceive; but a lawful deed, because the man enjoys his own wife. Again, it is a lawful meaning because done by her to gain her husband's estranged affection, but it is a wicked act because he goes intentionally to commit adultery. The riddle concludes thus: Where both not sin, and yet a sinful fact, i.e. Where neither of them sin, and yet it is a sinful fact on both sides; which conclusion, we see, requires the emendation here made. Warburton. Sir Thomas Hanmer reads in the same sense :
Unlawful meaning in a lawful act. Fohnson. Bertram's meaning is wicked in a lawful deed, and Helen's meaning is lawful in a lawful act; and neither of them sin: yet on his part it was a sinful act, for his meaning was to commit adultery, of which he was innocent, as the lady was his wife.
ACT IV..... SCENE I.
Without the Florentine Camp.
Enter first Lord, with five or six Soldiers in ambush.
1 Lord. He can come no other way but by this hedge' corner: When you sally upon him, speak what terrible language you will; though you understand it not yourselves, no matter: for we must not seem to understand him; unless some one among us, whom we must produce for an interpreter.
1 Sold. Good captain, let me be the interpreter.
1 Lord. Art not acquainted with him? Knows he not thy voice? 1 Sold. No, sir, I warrant you.
i Lord. But what linsy-woolsy hast thou to speak to us again? I Sold. Even such as you speak to me.
i Lord. He must think us some band of strangers i' the adversary's entertainment. Now he hath a smack of all neighbouring languages; therefore we must every one be a man of his own fancy, not to know what we speak one to another; so we seem to know, is to know straight our purpose:3 chough's language, gabble
The first line relates to Bertram. The deed was lawful, as being the duty of marriage, owed by the husband to the wife; but his meaning was wicked, because he intended to commit adultery. The second line relates to Helena; whose meaning was lawful, in as much as she intended to reclaim her husband, and demanded only the rights of a wife. The act or deed was lawful for the reason already given. The subsequent line relates to them both. The fact was sinful, as far as Bertram was concerned, because he intended to commit adultery; yet neither he nor Helena actually sinned: not the wife, because both her intention and action were innocent; not the husband, because he did not accomplish his intention; he did not commit adultery.—This note is partly Mr. Heath's. Malone.
some band of strangers i the adversary's entertainment.] That is, foreign troops in the enemy's pay. Johnson.
3 — 30 we seem to know, is to know &c.] I think the meaning is,-Our seeming to know what we speak one to another, is to make him to know our purpose immediately; to discover our de. sign to him. To know, in the last instance, signifies to mał: