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Patch grief with proverbs; make misfortune drunk
“Why should we grieve or pine at that?
“ Hang sorrow! care will kill a cat." Sorrow go by! is also (as I am assured) a common exclamation of hilarity even at this time, in Scotland. Sorrow wag! might have been just such another. The verb, to wag, is several times used by our author in the sense of to go, or pack off.
The Prince, in the First Part of K. Henry IV, Act II, sc. iv, says_“ They cry hem! and bid you play it off. And Mr. M. Mason observes, that this expression also occurs in As you Like it, where Rosalind says-" These burs are in my heart;" and Celia replies." Hem them away." The foregoing examples sufficiently prove the exclamation hem, to have been of a comic turn. Steevens. 3 — make misfortune drunk
With candle-wasters;] This may mean, either wash away his sorrow among those who sit up all night to drink, and in that sense may be styled wasters of candles; or overpower his misfortunes by swallowing flap-dragons in his glass, which are described by Falstaff as made of candles' ends. Steevens.
This is a very difficult passage, and hath not, I think, been satisfactorily cleared up. The explanation I shall offer, will give, I believe, as little satisfaction; but I will, however, venture it. Candle-wasters is a term of contempt for scholars: thus Jonson, in Cynthia's Revels, Act III, sc. ii: “ spoiled by a whoreson book-worm, a candle-waster.” In The Antiquary, Act III, is a like term of ridicule: “ He should more catch your delicate court-ear, than all your head-scratchers, thumb-biters, lampwasters of them all.” The sense then, which I would assign to Shakspeare, is this: “If such a one will patch grief with proverbs,-case or cover the wounds of his grief with proverbial sayings; make misfortune drunk with candle-wasters, --stupify misfortune, or render himself insensible to the strokes of it, by the conversation or lucubrations of scholars; the production of the lamp, but not fitted to human nature." Patch in the sense of mending a defect or breach, occurs in Hamlet, Act V, sc. i:
“O, that that earth, which kept the world in awe,
Ant. Therein do men from children nothing differ.
Leon. I pray thee, peače; I will be flesh and blood; For there was never yet philosopher, That could endure the tooth-ach patiently; However they have writ the style of gods,5 And made a pish at chance and sufferance.6
Ant. Yet bend not all the harm upon yourself; Make those, that do offend you, suffer too.
Leon. There thou speak’st reason: nay, I will do so: My soul doth tell me, Hero is bely'd; And that shall Claudio know, so shall the prince, And all of them, that thus dishonour her.
Enter Don PEDRO and CLAUDIO. Ant. Here comes the prince, and Claudio, hastily. D. Pedro. Good den, good den. Claud.
Good day to both of you. Leon. Hear you, my lords,D. Pedro.
We have some haste; Leonato. Leon. Some haste, my lord!-well, fare you well, my
4- than advertisement.] That is, than admonition, than moral instruction. Fohnson.
5 However they have writ the style of gods, 7. This alludes to the extravagant titles the Stoics gave their wise men. Sapiens ille cum Diis, ex pari vivit. Senec. Ep. 59. Yupiter quo antecedit virum bonum? diutius bonus est. Sapiens nihilo se minoris æstimat.—Deus non vincit sapientem felicitate. Ep. 73. Warburton.
Shakspeare might have used this expression, without any acquaintance with the hyperboles of stoicism. By the style of gods, he meant an exalted language; such as we may suppose would be written by beings superior to human calamities, and therefore regarding them with neglect and coldness.
Beaumont and Fletcher have the same expression in the first of their Four Plays in One :
“ Athens doth make women philosophers,
"And sure their children chat the talk of gods.” Steevens. 6 And made a pish at chance and sufferance.] Alludes to their famous apathy. "Warburton.
The old copies read-push. Corrected by Mr. Pope. Malone.
Are you so hasty now?-well, all is one.
D. Pedro. Nay, do not quarrel with us, good old man.
Ant. If he could right himself with quarreling,
Who wrongs him?
Claud. Marry, beshrew my hand,
Leon. Tush, tush, man, never fleer and jest at me:
Claud. My villainy!
Thine, Claudio; thine, I say.
My lord, my lord,
Claud. Away, I will not have to do with you.
7 Thou, thou - ] I have repeated the word—thou, for the sake of measure. Steevens.
8 Despite his nice fence,] i.e. defence, or skill in the science of fencing, or defence. Douce.
9 Can'st thou so daff me?] This is a country word, Mr. Pope tells us, signifying, daunt. It may be so; but that is not the exposition here: To daff and doft are synonymous terms, that VOL. IV.
If thou kill'st me, boy, thou shalt kill a man.
Ant. He shall kill two of us, and men indeed:1
Ant. Content yourself: God knows, I lov'd my niece; And she is dead, slander'd to death by villains; That dare as well answer a man, indeed, As I dare take a serpent by the tongue: Boys, apes, braggarts, Jacks, milksops! Leon.
mean to put off: which is the very sense required here, and what Leonato would reply, upon Claudio's saying, he would have nothing to do with him. Theobald.
Theobald has well interpreted the word. Shakspeare uses it more than once. Thus, in King Henry IV, P.I:
“ The nimble-footed mad-cap Prince of Wales,
“ And his comrades, that daff'd the world aside." Again, in the comedy before us:
“I would have daff'd all other respects,” &c. Again, in The Lover's Complaint:
" There my white stole of chastity I daff’d.” It is perhaps of Scottish origin, as I find it in Ane verie excellent and delectabill Treatise intitulit Pullotus, &c. Edinburgh, 1603:
“ Their dafing does us so undo.” Steevens. i Ant. He shall kill two of us, &c.] This brother Antony is the truest picture imaginable of human nature. He had assumed the character of a sage to co:nfort his brother, overwhelmed with grief for his only daughter's affront and dishonour; and had se. verely reproved him for not commanding his passion better on so trying an occasion. Yet, immediately after this, no sooner does he begin to suspect that his age and valour are slighted, but he falls into the most intemperate fit of rage himself: and all he can do or say is not of power to pacify him. This is copying nature with a penetration and exactness of judgment peculiar to Shakspeare. As to the expression, too, of his passion, nothing can be more highly painted. Warburton.
2 — come, boy, follow me:] Here the old copies destroy the measure by reading
" come, sir boy, come, follow me :" I have omitted the unnecessary words. Steevens.
3- foining fence;] Foining is a term in fencing, and means thrusting. Douce.
Ant. Hold you content; What, man! I know them, yea,
Leon. But, brother Antony,
Come, 'tis no matter;
patience.6 My heart is sorry for your daughter's death; But, on my honour, she was charg'd with nothing
4 Scambling,] i. e. scrambling. The word is more than once used by Shakspeare. See Dr. Percy's note on the first speech of the play of K. Henry V, and likewise the Scots proverb, * It is well kend your father's son was never a scambler.” A scambler in its literal sense, is one who goes about among his friends to get a dinner, by the Irish called a cosherer.” Steevens.
5- show outward hideousness,] i. e. what in King Henry V, Act III, sc. vi, is called
"L a horrid suit of the camp.” Steevens. 6 — we will not wake your patience. This conveys a sentiment that the speaker would by no means have implied,That the patience of the two old men was not exercised, but asleep, which upbraids them for insensibility under their wrong. Shakspeare must have wrote:
we will not wrack i. e. destroy your patience by tantalizing you. Warburton.
This emendation is very specious, and perhaps is right; yet the present reading may admit a congruous meaning with less difficulty than many other of Shakspeare's expressions.
The old men have been both very angry and outrageous; the prince tells them that he and Claudio will not wake their patience ; will not any longer force them to endure the presence of those whom, though they look on them as enemies, they cannot resist.
Johnson. Wake, I believe, is the original word. The ferocity of wild beasts is overcome by not suffering them to sleep. We will not wake your patience, therefore means, we will forbear any further provocation. Henley. The same phrase occurs in Othello:
“Thou hadst been better have been born a dog,