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King. O, you have liv'd in desolation here,
We have had pastimes here, and pleasant game; A mess of Russians left us but of late.
King. How, madam? Russians ?
Ay, in truth, my lord; Trim gallants, full of courtship, and of state.
Ros. Madam, speak true: It is not so my lord;
Biron. This jest is dry to me.-Fair, gentle sweet, 3
2 My lady, (to the manner of the days)
In courtesy, gives undeserving praise.] To the manner of the days, means according to the manner of the times.-Gives undeserving praise, means praise to what does not deserve it.
M. Mason. 3 Fair, gentle sweet,] The word fair, which is wanting in the two elder copies, was restored by the second folio. Mr. Malone reads_"My gentle sweet.”
“My fair, sweet honey monarch” occurs in this very scene, p. 137. Steevens.
Sweet is generally used as a substantive by our author, in his addresses to ladies. So, in The Winter's Tale:
When you speak, sweet, “I'd have you do it ever.” Again, in The Merchant of Venice:
“ And now, good sweet, say thy opinion." Again, in Othello :
O, my sweet, “I prattle out of tune." The editor of the second folio, with less probability, (as it appears to me) reads--fair, gentle sweet. Malone.
- when we greet &c.] This is a very lofty and elegant compliment. Johnson.
Ros. This proves you wise and rich; for in my eye,-
Ros. But that you take what doth to you belong,
Biron. O, I am yours, and all that I possess.
I cannot give you less.
you pale? -
Can any face of brass hold longer out?Here stand I, lady; dart thy skill at me;
Bruise me with scorn, confound me with a flout; Thrust thy sharp wit quite through my ignorance;
Cut me to pieces with thy keen conceit; And I will wish thee never more to dance,
Nor never more in Russian habit wait, O! never will I trust to speeches penn'd,
Nor to the motion of a school-boy's tongue; Nor never come in visor to my friend;5
Nor woo in rhyme, like a blind harper's song: Taffata phrases, silken terms precise,
Three-pild hyperboles,6 spruce affectation,? Figures pedantical; these summer-flies
Have blown me full of maggot ostentation :
- my friend;] i. e. mistress. So, in Measure for Measure :
- he hath got his friend with child.” Steevens.
“ I have worn three-pile.” Steevens.
I do forswear them: and I here protest,
In russet yeas, and honest kersey noes :
Ros. Sans sans, I pray you. 8.
Yet I have a trick
The modem editors read-affectation. There is no need of change. already in this play have had affection for affectation;"
witty without affection.". The word was used by our author and his contemporaries, as a quadrisyllable; and the rhyme such as they thought sufficient. Malone.
In The Merry Wives of Windsor the word affectation occurs, and was most certainly designed to occur again in the present instance. No ear can be satisfied with such rhymes as affection and ostentation. Steevens. 8
Sans sans, I pray you.] It is scarce worth remarking, that the conceit 'here is obscured by the punctuation. It should be written Sans SANS, i.e. without sans'; without French words: an affectation of which Biron had been guilty in the last line of his speech, though just before he had forsworn all affectation in phrases, terms, &c. Tyrwhitt.
9 Write, Lord have mercy on us,] This was the inscription put upon the door of the houses infected with the plague, to which Biron compares the love of himself and his companions; and pursuing the metaphor finds the tokens likewise on the ladies. The tokens of the plague are the first spots or discolorations, by which the infection is known to be received. Johnson.
So, in Histriomastix, 1610:
“ It is as dangerous to read his name on a play-door, as a printed bill on a plague-door." Again, in The Whore of Babylon, 1607 :
“ Have tokens stamp'd on them to make them known,
“ More dreadful than the bills that preach the plague." Again, in More Fools Yet, a collection of Epigrams, by R. Š. 1610:
“ To declare the infection for his sin,
« A crosse is set without, there's none within.” Steevens. So, in Sir Thomas Overbury's Characters, 1632:
“ Lord have mercy on us may well stand over their doors, for debt is a most dangerous city pestilence.!! Malone.
These lords are visited; you are not free, 1
Prin. No, they are free, that gave these tokens to us,
Ros. It is not so; For how can this be true;
Biron. Peace; for I will not have to do with you.
gression Some fair excuse. Prin.
The fairest is confession.
King. Madam, I was.
And were you well advis'd ??
When you then were here, What did you whisper in your lady's ear?
King. That more than all the world I did respect her.
Peace, peace, forbear; Your oath once broke, you force not to forswear. 3
King. Despise me, when I break this oath of mine.. · Prin. I will: and therefore keep it:-Rosaline; What did the Russian whisper in your ear?i
Ros. Madam, he swore, that he did hold me dear As precious eye-sight; and did value me
how can this be true, That you stand forfeit, being those that sue?) That is, how can those be liable to forfeiture that begin the process. The jest lies in the ambiguity of sue, which signifies to prosecute by law, or to offer a petition. Johnson.
well advis'd?] i. e. acting with sufficient deliberation. So, in The Comedy of Errorsi.
“My liege I am advis'd in what I say.” Steevens. you force not to forswear.] 'You force not is the same with you make no difficulty. This is a very just observation. The crime which has been once committéd, is committed again with less reluctance. Johnson. So, in Warner's Albion's England, B. X, ch: 59: -be forced not to hide how he did err:
Above this world: adding thereto, moreover,
Prin. God give thee joy of him! the noble lord
King. What mean you, madam? by my life, my troth, I never swore this lady such an oath.
Ros. By heaven, you did; and to confirm it plain, You gave me this; but take it, sir, again.
King. My faith, and this, the princess I did give;
Prin. Pardon me, sir, this jewel did she wear;
Biron. Neither of either;* I'remit both twain.
* Neither of either;] This seems to have been a common ex-
– zany,] A zany is a buffoon, a merry Andrew, a gross mimick. So, in Marston's Insatiate Countess, 1613:
“ Laughs them to scorn, as man doth busy apes,
“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come?! See the note on that line. But the Oxford editor was in th: same case, and so alters it to fleers. Warburton.