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Ros. I would, we could do so; for her benefits are mightily misplaced : and the bountiful blind woman doth most mistake in her gifts to women.
Cel. 'Tis true: for those that she makes fair, she scarce makes honest; and those, that she makes honest, she makes very ill-favour’dly.
Ros. Nay, now thou goest from fortune's office to nature's: fortune reigns in gifts of the world, not in the lineaments of nature.
Cel. No: When nature hath made a fair creature, may she not by fortune fall into the fire ?– Though nature hath given us wit to flout at fortune, hath not fortune sent in this fool to cut off the argument ?
Ros. Indeed, there is fortune too hard for nature; when fortune makes nature's natural the cutter off of nature's wit.
Cel. Peradventure, this is not fortune's work neither, but nature's; who perceiveth our natural wits too dull to reason of such goddesses, and hath sent this natural for our whetstone: for always the dulness of the fool is the whetstone of the wits.m-How now, wit? whither wander
Touch. Mistress, you must come away to your father. Cel. Were you made the messenger ?
Touch. No, by mine honour; but I was bid to come for
you. Ros. Where learned you that oath, fool?
Touch. Of a certain knight, that swore by his honour they were good pancakes, and swore by his honour the mustard was naught: now, I'll stand to it, the pancakes were naught, and the mustard was good : and yet was not the knight forsworn. thread of life, though not indeed with a wheel.-Johnson. I leave Dr. Johnson's note, though I cannot consider it as just. Good housewife seems applied to Fortune merely as a jesting appellation, without any reference to the wheel on which she stood. The wheel of Fortune was an emblem of her mutability; from which Celia and Rosalind proposed to drive her by their wit, that she might ever after cease to be inconstant.
the wits.] This is the reading of the folio; all the modern editions read his wits.
Cel. How prove you that, in the great heap of your knowledge ?
Ros. Ay, marry; now unmuzzle your wisdom.
Touch. Stand you both forth now : stroke your chins, and swear by your beards that I am a knave.
Cel. By our beards, if we had them, thou art.
Touch. By my knavery, if I had it, then I were : but if you swear by that that is not, you are not forsworn: no more was this knight, swearing by his honour, for he never had any; or if he had, he had sworn it
before ever he saw those pancakes or that mustard.
Cel. Pr’ythee, who is't that thou mean'st?
Ros. My father's love is enough to honour him. Enough! speak no more of him : you'll be whip’d for taxation," one of these days.
Touch. The more pity, that fools may not speak wisely, what wise men do foolishly.
Cel. By my troth, thou say’st true : for since the little wit, that fools have, was silenced,o the little foolery, that wise men have, makes a great show. Here comes Monsieur Le Beau.
Enter Le BEAU.
Ros. With his mouth full of news.
Cel. Which he will put on us, as pigeons feed their young
Ros. Then shall we be news-cramm’d.
Cel. All the better; we shall be the more marketable. Bon jour, Monsieur Le Beau: What's the news?
Le Beau. Fair princess, you have lost much good sport.
Ros. As wit and fortune will.
taxation,] i. e. Censure, or satire.--Whipping was the discipline usually inflicted on fools.—DOUCE.
since the little wit, that fools have, was silenced,] Shakspeare probably alludes to the use of fools or jesters, who for some ages had been allowed in all courts an unbridled liberty of censure and mockery, and about this time began to be less tolerated.-Jounson.
Touch. Or as the destinies decree.
Le Beau. You amaze me, 9 ladies : I would have told you of good wrestling, which you have lost the sight of.
Ros. Yet tell us the manner of the wrestling.
Le Beau. I will tell you the beginning, and, if it please your ladyships, you may see the end; for the best is yet to do; and here, where you are, they are coming to perform it.
Cel. Well,—the beginning, that is dead and buried.
Le Beau. There comes an old man, and his three sons,
Cel. I could match this beginning with an old tale.
Le Beau. Three proper young men, of excellent growth and
presence, with bills on their necks.Ros. Be it known unto all men by these presents."
Le Beau. The eldest of the three wrestled with Charles, the duke's wrestler; which Charles in a moment threw him, and broke three of his ribs, and there is little hope of life in him: so he served the second, and so the third : Yonder they lie; the poor old man, their father, making such pitiful dole over them, that all the beholders take his part with weeping:
Touch. But what is the sport, monsieur, that the ladies have lost.
Le Beau. Why, this that I speak of.
- laid on with a trowel.] To lay on with a trowel, is, to do any thing coarsely, and without delicacy. If any man filatters grossly, it is a common expres
that he lays it on with a trowel.-M. Mason. 9 You amaze me,] To amaze, here, is not to astonish or strike with wonder, but to perplex ; to confuse, so as to put out the intended narrative.-Johnson.
r Ros. With bills on their necks, be it known unto 'all men by these presents.] In giving the first clause of this sentence to Le Beau I have followed the emendation of Dr. Farmer, which is so evidently correct that it appears extraordinary it should never have been admitted into the text before. Le Beau says that the young men came with bills on their necks, meaning a weapon, which the passages cited by Dr. Farmer and Mr. Steevens prove to have been frequently carried : Rosalind interrupts him in the middle of his sentence, and apprehending the word in the sense of a label, utters what she supposes to have been the inscription, at the same time playing on the word presence and presents.-FARMER. M. Mason and Johnson.
Touch. Thus men may grow wiser every day! it is the first time that ever I heard, breaking of ribs was sport
Cel. Or I, I promise thee.
Ros. But is there any else longs to see this broken musick in his sides ?. is there yet another dotes upon ribbreaking ?-Shall we see this wrestling, cousin ?
Le Beau. You must if you stay here: for here is the place appointed for the wrestling, and they are ready to perform it.
Cel. Yonder, sure, they are coming : Let us now stay and see it.
Flourish. Enter Duke FREDERICK, Lords, ORLANDO,
CHARLES, and Attendants. Duke F. Come on; since the youth will not be entreated, his own peril on his forwardness. Ros. Is yonder the man? Le Beau. Even he, madam. Cel. Alas, he is too young: yet he looks successfully.
Duke F. How now; daughter, and cousin? are you crept hither to see the wrestling ?
Ros. Ay, my liege: so please you give us leave.
Duke F. You will take little delight in it, I can tell you, there is such odds in the men: In pity of the challenger's youth, I would fain dissuade him, but he will not be entreated : Speak to him, ladies; see if you can move him.
Cel. Call him hither, good Monsieur Le Beau.
Le Beau. Monsieur the challenger, the princess calls for you.
Orl. I attend them, with all respect and duty.
Ros. Young man, have you challenged Charles the wrestler ? Orl. No, fair princess; he is the general challenger ;
I come but in, as others do, to try with him the strength of my youth.
is there any else longs to see this broken musick in his sides?] i. e. To witness the noise which the breaking of ribs would occasion.-DOUCE.
Cel. Young gentleman, your spirits are too bold for your years: You have seen cruel proof of this man's strength : if you saw yourself with your eyes, or knew yourself with your judgment,' the fear of your adventure would counsel you to a more equal enterprise. We pray you, for your own sake, to embrace your own safety, and give over this attempt.
Ros. Do, young sir ; your reputation shall not therefore be misprised : we will make it our suit to the duke, that the wrestling might not go forward.
Orl. I beseech you, punish me not with your hard thoughts: wherein I confess me much guilty, to deny so fair and excellent ladies any thing. But let your fair eyes, and gentle wishes, go with me to my trial: wherein if I be foiled, there is but one shamed that was never gracious; if killed, but one dead that is willing to be so : I shall do my friends no wrong, for I have none to lament me: the world no injury, for in it I have nothing; only in the world I fill up a place, which may be better supplied when I have made it empty.
Ros. The little strength that I have, I would it were
Cel. And mine, to eke out hers.
Cel. Your heart's desires be with you.
Cha. Come, where is this young gallant, that is so desirous to lie with his mother earth?
Orl. Ready, sir; but his will hath in it a more modest working
Duke F. You shall try but one fall.
Cha. No, I warrant your grace; you shall not entreat him to a second, that have so mightily persuaded him from a first.
Orl. You mean to mock me after; you should not have mocked me before; but come your ways.
Ros. Now, Hercules be thy speed, young man!
if you saw yourself with your eyes, or knew yourself with your judgment.] i. e. If you should use your own eyes, to see, or your own judgment to know yourself, the fear of your adventure would counsel you.—Johnson.