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Dum. Our letters, madam, show'd much more than jest.
We did not quote them so.
A time, methinks, too short
6 We did not quote them so.] The old copies read-coat. Steevens.
We should read-quote, esteem, reckon; though our old wri. ters spelling by the ear, probably wrote-cote, as it was pronounced. Fohnson.
Cote is only the old spelling of quote. So, again, our poet's Rape of Lucrece, 1594:
“ Yea, the illiterate
“ Will cote my loathed trespass in my looks." Malone. We did not quote 'em so, is, we did not regard them as such. So, in Hamlet :
“I'm sorry that with better heed and judgment
“I had not quoted him.” See Act II, sc. i. Steevens. 7 To make a world-without-end bargain in:] This singular phrase, which Shakspeare borrowed probably from our liturgy, occurs again in his 57th Sonnet:
“ Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour.” Malone. and thin weeds,] i. e. clothing. Malone.
and last love;] I suspect that the compositor caught this word from the preceding line, and that Shakspeare wrote last still. If the present reading be right, it must mean—" if it continue still to deserve the name of love." Malone. Last is a verb. If it last love, means, if it continue to be love.
Then, at the expiration of the year,
To flattér up these powers of mine with rest, 3
Hence ever then my heart is in thy breast. Birón. And what to me, my love? and what to me? Ros. You must be purged too, your sins are rank;*
1 Come challenge, challenge me -] The old copies read (proba. bly by the compositor's eye glancing on a wrong part of the line) Come challenge me, challenge me, &c. Corrected by Sir T. Hanmer. Malone.
2 Neither intitled in the other's heart.) The quarto, 1598, reads - Neither intiled ;—which may be right, neither of us having a dwelling in the heart of the other.
Our author has the same kind of imagery in many other places. Thus, in The Comedy of Errors:
“Shall love in building grow so ruinate?” Again, in his Lover's Complaint:
" Love lack'd a dwelling, and made him her place." Again, in The Trvo Gentlemen of Verona:
“O thou, that dost inhabit in my breast,
“Lest growing ruinous the building fall.” 'Malone. We may certainly speak, in general terms; of building a mansion for Love to dwell in, or, of that mansion when it is become a Ruin, without departure from elegance; but when we descend to such particulars as tiling-in Love, a suspicion will arise, that the technicals of the bricklayer have debased the imagery of the poet. I hope, therefore, that the second t in the word intitled was an undesigned omission in the quarto, 1598, and, consequently, that intilet was not the original reading. Steevens.
3 To flatter up these powers of mine with rest,] Dr. Warburton would read fetter, but flatter or sooth is, in my opinion, more apposite to the king's purpose than fetter. Perhaps we may read:
To flatter on these bours of time with rest; That is, I would not deny to live in the hermitage, to make the year of delay pass in quiet. Johnson. are rank;] The folio and quarto, 1598, read-are rackd.
You are attaint with faults and perjury;
Dum. But what to me, my love? but what to me?
Kath. A wife! A beard, fair health, and honesty ; With three-fold love I wish you all these three.
Dum. O, shall I say, I thank you, gentle wife?
Kath. Not so, my lord ;-a twelvemonth and a day
Dum. I'll serve thee true and faithfully till then.
At the twelvemonth's end, I'll change my black gown for a faithful friend.
Long. I'll stay with patience; but the time is long. Mar. The liker you; few taller are so young.
Biron. Studies my lady? mistress look on me, Behold the window of my heart, mine eye,
- your sins are rack'd;] i. e. extended “to the top of their bent.”' So, in Much Ado about Nothing :
“ Why, then we rack the value.” Mr. Rowe and the subsequent editors read-are rank. Malone.
Rowe's emendation is every way justifiable. Things rank (not those which are racked) need purging. Besides, Shakspeare has used the same epithet on the same occasion in Hamlet :
“O! my offence is rank, it smells to heaven.” Steevens. 5 Biron. And what to me, my love? and what to me?
Ros. You must be purged too, your sins are rank;
But seek the weary beds of people sick.] These six verses both Dr. Thirlby and Mr. Warburton concur to think should be expunged; and therefore I have put them between crotchets: not that they were an interpolation, but as the author's draught, which he afterwards rejected, and executed the same thought a little lower with much more spirit and elegance. Shakspeare is not to answer for the present absurd repetition, but his actoreditors; who, thinking Rosaline's speech too long in the second plan, had abridg'd it to the lines above quoted; but, in publishing the play, stupidly printed both the original speech of Shakspeare, and their own abridgment of it. Theobald.
What humble suit attends thy answer there;
Ros. Oft have I heard of you, my lord Birón,
for a man replete with mocks;
Biron. To move wild laughter in the throat of death?
Ros. Why, that 's the way to choke a gibing spirit, Whose influence is begot of that loose grace, Which shallow laughing hearers give to fools: A jest's prosperity lies in the ear Of him that hears it, never in the tongue Of him that makes it: then, if sickly ears, Deaf'd with the clamours of their own dear groans,? Will hear your idle scorns, continue then, And I will have you, and that fault withal; But, if they will not, throw away that spirit, And I shall find you empty of that fault, Right joyful of your reformation.
Biron. A twelvemonth? well, befal what will befal, I'll jest a twelvemonth in an hospital. 8
fierce endeavour -] Fierce is vehement, rapid. So, in King John:
- fierce extremes of sickness.” Steevens.
dear groans,] Dear should here, as in many other places, be dere, sad, odious. Johnson.
I believe dear in this place, as in many others, means only immediate, consequential. So, already in this scene :
full of dear guiltiness.” Steevens. 8 The characters of Biron and Rosaline suffer much by comparison with those of Benedict and Beatrice. We know that Love's.
Prin. Ay, sweet my lord; and so I take my leave.
[To the King King. No, madam: we will bring you on your way.
Biron. Our wooing doth not end like an old play;
King. Come, sir, it wants a twelvemonth and a day
That's too long for a play.
Arm. I will kiss thy royal finger, and take leave: I am a votary; I have vowed to Jaquenetta to hold the plough for her sweet love three years. But; most és teemed greatness, will you hear the dialogue that the two learned men have compiled, in praise of the owl and the cuckoo? it should have followed in the end of our show.
King. Call them forth quickly, we will do so.
And lady-smocks all silver-white,
Do paint the meadows with delight,
Labour's Lost was the elder performance; and as our author grew more experienced in dramatic writing, he might have seen how much he could improve on his own originals. To this circumstance, perhaps, we are indebted for the more perfect comedy of Much Ado about Nothing Steevens.
9 When daisies pied, &c.] The first lines of this song that were transposed, have been replaced by Mr. Theobald. Johnsôn.
cuckoo-buds - ] Gerard, in his Herbal, 1597, says, that the ftog cuculi cardamine, &c. are called " in English cuckoo-flow