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With a reed voice; and turn two mincing steps
Why, shall we turn to men?
A Garden. Enter LAUNCELOT and Jessica. Laun. Yes, truly :-for, look you, the sins of the father are to be laid upon the children; therefore, I promise you, I fear you.3 I was always plain with you, and so now I speak my agitation of the matter: Therefore, be of good cheer; for, truly, I think you are damn'd. There is but one hope in it that can do you any good; and that is but a kind of bastard hope neither.
Jes. And what hope is that, I pray thee?
do with all;] For the sense of the word do, in this place, see a note on Measure for Measure. Collins. The old copy reads-withall. Corrected by Mr. Pope. Malone.
therefore, I promise you, I fear you.) I suspect for has been inadvertently omitted; and we should read-I fear for you.
Malone. There is not the slightest need of emendation. The disputed phrase is authorized by a passage in King Richard III:
“ The king is sickly, weak, and melancholy,
Laun. Marry, you may partly hope that your father got you not, that you are not the Jew's daughter.
Jes. That were a kind of bastard hope, indeed; so the sins of my mother should be visited upon me.
Laun. Truly then I fear you are damn'd both by father and mother: thus when I shun Scylla, your father, I fall into Charybdis, your mother:* well, you are gone both ways.
- thus when I shun Scylla, your father, I fall into Charybdis, your mother :) Originally from the Alexandreis of Philippe Gualtier; but several translations of this adage were obvious to Shak. speare. Among other places, it is found in an ancient poem intitled “ A Dialogue between Custom and Veritie, concerning the use and abuse of Dauncing and Minstrelsie," bl. 1. no date:
“ While Silla they do seem to shun,
“ In Charibd they do fall,” &c. Philip Gualtier de Chatillon (afterwards Bishop of Megala) was born towards the latter end of the 12th Century. In the fifth Book of his heroic poem, Darius (who escaping from Alex. ander, fell into the hands of Bessus) is thus apostrophized:
“ Nactus equum Darius, rorantia cæde suorum
“ Proh dolor! in domini conjurant fata clientes." The author of the line in question (who was unknown to Erasmus) was first ascertained by Galeottus Martius, who died in 1476; (See Menagiana, Vol. I, p. 173, edit. 1729,) and we learn from Henricus Gandavensis de Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticis, [i. e. Henry of Gaunt] that the Alexandreis had been a common schoolbook. “In scholis Grammaticorum tantæ fuisse dignitatis, ut præ ipso veterum Poetarum lectio negligeretur.” Barthius also, in his notes on Claudian, has words to the same effect. media barbarie non plane ineptus versificatur Galterus ab Insula (qui tempore Joannis Saresberiensis, ut ex hujus ad eum epistolis discimus, vixit)—Tam autem postea clarus fuit, ut expulsis quibusvis bonis auctoribus, scholas tenuerit.” Freinsheim, how. ever, in his comment on Quintus Curtius, confesses that he had never seen the work of Gualtier.
The corrupt state in which this poem (of which I have not met with the earliest edition) still appears, is perhaps imputable to frequent transcription, and injudicious attempts at emendation. Every pedagogue through whose hands the MS. passed, seems
Jes. I shall be saved by my husband;5 he hath made me a Christian.
Laun. Truly, the more to blame he: we were Christians enough before; e'en as many as could well live, one by another: This making of Christians will raise the price of hogs; if we grow all to be pork-eaters, we shall not shortly have a rasher on the coals for money.
Enter LORENZO. Jes. I'll tell my husband, Launcelot, what you say ; here he comes.
Lor. I shall grow jealous of you shortly, Launcelot, if you thus get my wife into corners.
Jes. Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo; Launcelot and I are out: he tells me flatly, there is no mercy for me in heaven, because I am a Jew's daughter: and he says, you are no good member of the commonwealth; for in converting Jews to Christians, you raise the price of pork.
to have made some ignorant and capricious changes in its text; so that in many places it is as apparently interpolated and corrupted as the ancient copies of Shakspeare. " Galterus (says Hermann in his Conspectus Reipublicæ Literariæ, p. 102) secutus est Curtium, & sæpe ad verbum expressit, unde ejus cum Curtio collatione, nonnulla ex hoc menda tolli possunt; id quod experiendo didici." See also, I. G. Vossius de Poet. Lat. p. 74, and Journal des Sçavans pour Avril, 1760.
Though Nicholas Grimoald (without mention of his original) had translated a long passage of The Alexandreis into blank verse before the year 1557, (See Surrey's Poems and Warton's History of English Poetry, Vol. III, p. 63) it could have been little known in England, as it is not enumerated in Philips's Theatrum, &c. a work understood to be enriched by his uncle Milton's extensive knowledge of modern as well as ancient poetry. Steevens.
Nothing is more frequent than this proverb in our old writers. Thus Ascham, in his Scole-master ::-" If Scylla drowne him not, Charybdis may fortune to swallowe him.” Again, Niccols in his England's Eliza:
“ To shun Charybdis jaws, they helpless fell
“ In Scylla's gulf," &c. I remember it is likewise met with in Lyly's Euphues, Harrington's Ariosto, &c. and Surrey's contemporary in one of his Poems : “ From Scylla to Charybdis clives,
from danger unto death." Farmer. 5 I shall be saved by my husband,] From St. Paul: “ The unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband."
Henley. VOL. IV,
Lor. I shall answer that better to the commonwealth, than you can the getting up of the negro's belly: the Moor is with child by you, Launcelot.
Laun. It is much, that the Moor should be more than reason: but if she be less than an honest woman, she is, indeed, more than I took her for.
Lor. How every fool can play upon the word! I think, the best grace of wit will shortly turn into silence; and discourse grow commendable in none only but parrots. -Go in, sirrah; bid them prepare for dinner.
Laun. That is done, sir; they have all stomachs.
Lor. Goodly lord, what a wit-snapper are you! then bid them prepare dinner.
Laun. That is done too, sir; only, cover is the word.
Lor. Yet more quarrelling with occasion! Wilt thou show the whole wealth of thy wit in an instant? I pray thee, understand a plain man in his plain meaning: go to thy fellows; bid them cover the table, serve in the meat, and we will come in to dinner.
Laun. For the table, sir, it shall be served in; for the meat, sir, it shall be covered; for your coming in to dinner, sir, why, let it be as humours and conceits shall govern.
[Exit Laun. Lor. O dear discretion, how his words are suited !8
6 It is much, that the Moor should be more &c.] This reminds us of the quibbling epigram of Milton, which has the same kind of humour to boast of:
“Galli ex concubitu gravidam te, Pontia, Mori,
“Quis bene moratam, morigeramque neget?” So, in The Fair Maid of the West, 1631:
“ And for you Moors thus much I mean to say,
“I'll see if more I eat the more I may." Steevens. Shakspeare, no doubt, had read or heard of the old epigram on Sir Thomas More:
“When More some years had chancellor been,
“ No more suits did remain;
“ Till More be there again.” Ritson. ? Goodly lord,] Surely this should be corrected Good lord as it is in Theobald's edition. Tyrwhitt. It should be-Good je Lord! Farmer.
how his words are suited!] I believe the meaning is
The fool hath planted in his memory
Jes. Past all expressing: It is very meet,
Even such a husband
Jes. Nay, but ask my opinion too of that.
Lor. No, pray thee, let it serve for table-talk;
Well, I 'll set you forth. [Exeunt.
What a series or suite of words he has independent of meaning; how one word draws on another without relation to the matter.
Fohnson. I cannot think either that the word suited is derived from the word suite, as Johnson supposes, as that, I believe, was introduced into our language long since the time of Shakspeare; or that Launcelot's words were independent of meaning. Lorenzo expresses his surprise that a fool should apply them so properly. So Jaques says to the Duke in As you Like it :
“I met a fool
“ In good set terms."