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He had the wit, which I can well obferve
So like a courtier, contempt nor bitterness
5 He had the wit, which I can well obferve
To day in our young Lords: but they may jest,
Till their own scorn return to them; unnoted
Ere they can hide their levity in
honour.] i. e. Ere their titles can cover the levity of their behaviour, and make it pass for defert. The Oxford Editor, not understanding this, alters the line
Ere they can wye their levity with his honour.
WARBURTON. I believe honour is not dignity of birth or rank, but acquired reputation: Your father, fays the King, had the fame airy flights of fatirical wit with the young lords of the prefent time, but they do not what he did, hide their unnoted levity in honour, cover petty faults with great merit.
This is an excellent obfervation. Jocofe follies, and flight offences, are only allowed by mankind in him that overpowers them by great qualities.
• So like a Courtier, no Con-
if they were,
His Equal badawak'd them.-] This paffage is fo very incorrectly pointed, that the Author's Meaning is loft. As the, Text
and Stops are reform'd, these are moft beautiful Lines, and the Senfe is this- "He had no "Contempt or Bitterness; if he had any thing that look'd "like Pride or Sharpness (of "which Qualities Contempt and "Bitterness are the Exceffes,) "his Equal had awak'd them, 66 not his Inferior: to whom he "fcorn'd to discover any thing "that bore the Shadow of Pride "or Sharpness."
The original edition reads the firft line thus,
So like a courtier, contempt nor bitterness.
The fenfe is the fame. Nor was used without reduplication. So in Meafure for Measure,
More nor lefs to others paying, Than by felf-offences weighing. The old text needs to be explained. He was fo like a courtier, that there was in his dignity of manner nothing contemptuous, and in his keenness of awit nothing bitter. If bitterness or contemptuoufnefs ever appeared, they had been arvakened by fome injury, not of a man below him, but of his Equal. This is the complete image of a well-bred man, and fomewhat like this Voltaire has exhibited his hero Lewis XIV.
Clock to itself, knew the true minute when Exceptions bid him fpeak; and at that time 'His tongue obey'd his hand. Who were below him
He us'd as creatures of another place,
And bow'd his eminent top to their low ranks
In their poor praise he humbled: Such a man
Ber. His good remembrance, Sir,
7 His tongue obeyed his hand.] We should read,
His tongue obeyed the hand, That is, the band of his honour's clock, fhewing the true minute when exceptions bad him Speak.
8 He us'd as creatures of ano· ther place.] i. e. He made allowances for their conduct, and bore from them what he would not from one of his own rank. The Oxford Editor, not underftanding the fense, has altered another place, to a Brother-race. WARBURTON. 9 Making them proud of his hu'mility,
In their poor praife, he humbled -] But why were they proud of his Humility? It should be read and pointed thus. -Making them proud; AND bis Humility, In their poor praife, he humbled
i.. by condescending to ftoop to his Inferiors, he exalted them and made them proud; and, in
King. Would, I were with him! he would always
Methinks, I hear him now; his plaufive words
Since I nor wax, nor honey can bring home,
To give some labourers room.
2 Lord. You're loved, Sir;
They, that least lend it you, fhall lack you first.
Ber. Some fix months fince, my Lord.
King. If he were living, I would try him yet;-. Lend me an arm ;- -the reft have worn me out With feveral applications-nature and fickness Debate it at their leifure-Welcome, count, My fon's no dearer.
Ber. Thank your Majesty.
faculties, than to invent new modes of dress.
Changes to the Countess's at Roufillon.
Enter Countess, Steward and Clown 3:
Will now hear; what fay you of this gentlewoman?
Stew. Madam, the care I have had to even your content, I with might be found in the calendar of my past endeavours; for then we wound our modesty, and make foul the clearness of our defervings, when of ourselves we publish them.
Count. What does this knave here? get you gone, Sirrah; the complaints, I have heard of you, I do not all believe; 'tis my flowness that I do not, for, I know, you lack not folly to commit them, and have ability enough to make fuch knaveries yours.
3 Steward and Clown.] A Clown in Shakespeare is commonly taken for a licensed jefter, or domeftick fool. We are not to wonder that we find this character often in his plays, fince fools were, at that time, maintained in all great families, to keep up merriment in the houfe. In the picture of Sir Thomas More's family, by Hans Holbein, the only fervant reprefented is Patifon the fool. This is a proof of the familiarity to which they were admitted, not by the great only, but the wife.
In fome plays, a fervant, or ruftic, of remarkable petulance and freedom af fpeech, is likewife called a Clown.
4 To even your content.] To act up to your defires.
lack not folly to commit them, and have ability enough to make fuch knaveries YOURS; Well, but if he had folly to commit them, he neither wanted knavery, nor any thing else, fure, to make them his own. This nonfenfe fhould be read, To make fuch knaveries YARE; nimble, dextrous, i. e. Tho' you be fool enough to commit knaveries, yet you have quicknefs enough to commit them dextrously for this obfervation was to let us into his character. But now, tho' this be fet right, and, I dare fay, in Shakespeare's own words, yet the former part of the fentence will ftill be inaccurate you lack not folly to commit THEM. Them, what? the fense requires knaveries, but the antecedent
Clo. 'Tis not unknown to you, Madam, I am a poor fellow.
Count. Well, Sir.
Clo. No, Madam, 'tis not fo well that I am poor, tho' many of the rich are damn'd; but, if I have your ladyship's good will to go to the world, bel the woman and I will do as we may.
Count. Wilt thou needs be a beggar ?
Clo. In bel's cafe, and my own; fervice is no heritage, and, I think, I fhall never have the bleffing of God, till I have iffue of my body; for they fay, bearns are bleffings.
Count. Tell me the reafon why thou wilt marry. Clo. My poor body, Madam, requires it. I am driven on by the flesh; and he must needs go, that the devil drives.
Count. Is this all your worship's reafon ?
Clo. Faith, Madam, I have other holy reasons, such as they are.
Count. May the world know them?
Clo. I have been, Madam, a wicked creature, as you and all flesh and blood are; and; indeed, I do marry, that I may repent.
Count. Thy marriage, fooner than thy wickedness. Clo. I am out of friends, Madam, and I hope to have friends for my wife's fake.
Count. Such friends are thine enemies, knave..