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Ort. Why, how now, Adam ! no greater heart in thee ? Live a little ; comfort a little ; cheer thyself a little : If this uncouth forest yield any thing savage, I will either be food for it, or bring it for food to thee. Thy conceit is nearer death than thy powers. For my sake, be comfortable ; hold death awhile at the arm's end : I will here be with thee presently; and if I bring thee not something to eat, I'll give thee leave to die: but if thou diest before I come, thou art a mocker of my labour. Well said ! thou look’st cheerily : and I'll be with thee quickly.—Yet thou liest in the bleak air : Come, I will bear thee to some shelter : and thou shalt not die for lack of a dinner, if there live any thing in this desert. Cheerly, good Adam ! [E.xeunt.
A Table set out. Enter Duke senior, AMIENS,
Lords, and others. DUKE S. I think he be transform'd into a beast; For I can no where find him like a man.
1 LORD. My lord, he is but even now gone hence; Here was he merry, hearing of a song.
DUKE S. If he, compact of jars *, grow musical, We shall have shortly discord in the spheres: Go, seek him ; tell him, I would speak with him.
compact of jars,] i. e. made up of discords. In The Comedy of Errors, we have "compact of credit,” for made up of credulity. Again, in Woman is a Weathercock, 1612:
- like gilded tombs “ Compacted of jet pillars." The same expression occurs also in Tamburlane, 1590 :
" Compact of rapine, piracy, and spoil." STEEVENS.
Enter JAQUES. 1 Lord. He saves my labour by his own ap
proach. DUKE S. Why, how now, monsieur ! what a life
is this, That your poor friends must woo your company ? What, you look merrily.
JAQ. A fool, a fool I met a fool i' the forest, A motley fool ;-a miserable world 5!As I do live by food, I met a fool; Who laid him down and bask'd him in the sun, And raild on lady Fortune in good terms, In good set terms,--and yet a motley fool. Good-morrow, fool, quoth I: No, sir, quoth he, Call me not fool, till heaven hath sent me for
5 A motley fool ;-a miserable world !] What, because he met a motley fool, was it therefore a miserable world? This is sadly blundered; we should read :
a miserable varlet.” His head is altogether running on this fool, both before and after these words, and here he calls him a miserable varlet, notwithstanding he railed on lady Fortune in good terms, &c. Nor is the change we may make, so great as appears at first sight.
WARBURTON. I see no need of changing world to varlet, nor, if a change were necessary, can I guess how it should certainly be known that varlet is the true word. A miserable world is a parenthetical exclamation, frequent among melancholy men, and natural to Jaques at the sight of a fool, or at the hearing of reflections on the fragility of life. Johnson.
6 Call me not fool, till heaven hath sent me fortune :] Alluding to the common saying, that fools are Fortune's favourites. Malone.
Fortuna fayet fatuis, is, as Mr. Upton observes, the saying here alluded to; or, as in Publius Syrus :
Fortuna, nimium quem fovet, stultum facit. So, in the Prologue to the Alchemist :
• Fortune, that favours fooles, these two short houres
“We wish away."
“ Sog. Why, who am I, sir?
“ Car. The periphrasis of a foole.” Reed.
And then he drew a dial from his poke;
DUKE S. What fool is this?
7 Motley's the only wear.] It would have been unnecessary to repeat that a motley, or party-coloured coat, was anciently the dress of a fool, had not the editor of Ben Jonson's works been mistaken in his comment on the 53d Epigram :
where, out of motly,'s, he “ Could save that line to dedicate to thee?" Motly, says Mr. Whalley, is the man who out of any odd mixture, or old scraps, could save, &c. whereas it means only, Who but a fool, i. e. one in a suit of motley, &c.
See Fig. XII, in the plate at the end of The First Part of King Henry IV. with Mr. Tollet's explanation.
The observation-Motley's the only wear, might have been suggested to Shakspeare by the following line in the 4th Satire of Donne:
“ Your only wearing is your grogaram.” Steevens. 8 -- dry as the remainder biscuit,] So, in Ben Jonson's Every Man out of his Humour :
“ And now and then breaks a dry biscuit jest,
After a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd
DUKE S. Thou shalt have one.
It is my only suit';
9 — only suit;] Suit means petition, I believe, not dress.
Johnson. The poet means a quibble. So, Act V.: “Not out of your apparel, but out of your suit.” Steevens. - as large a charter as the wind,] So, in King Henry V.:
“ The wind, that charter'd libertine, is still.” Malone. 2 Not to seem senseless of the bob :] The old copies read only-Seem senseless, &c. Not to were supplied by Mr. Theobald. See the following note. Steevens.
Besides that the third verse is defective one whole foot in measure, the tenour of what Jaques continues to say, and the reasoning of the passage, show it no less defective in the sense. There is no doubt but the two little monosyllables, which I have supplied, were either by accident wanting in the manuscript, or by inadvertence were left out. TheoBALD.
Mr. Whiter ingeniously defends the old reading : “ I read and point the passage thus :
“ He that a fool doth very wisely hit,
“ Seem senseless of the bob ; if not, &c," “ That is, a wise man whose feeling should chance to be well rallied by a simple unmeaning jester, even though he should be
The wise man's folly is anatomiz'd
Duke S. Most mischievous foul sin, in chiding sin: For thou thyself hast been a libertine, As sensual as the brutish sting itself;
weak enough really to be hurt by so foolish an attack, appears always insensible of the stroke." BosweLL.
if not, &c.] Unless men have the prudence not to appear touched with the sarcasms of a jester, they subject themselves to his power; and the wise man will have his folly anatomised, that is, dissected and laid open, by the squandering glances or random shots of a fool. Johnson.
3 Cleanse' the foul body of the infected world,] So, in Macbeth : “ Cleanse the stuff d bosom of that perilous stuff."
Douce. -for a counter,] Dr. Farmer observes to me, that about the time when this play was written, the French counters (i. e. pieces of false money used as a means of reckoning) were brought into use in England. They are again mentioned in Troilus and Cressida :
will you with counters sum “ The past proportion of his infinite ?” Steevens. 5 As sensual as the BRUTISH Sting --] Though the brutish sting is capable of a sense not inconvenient in this passage, yet as it is a harsh and unusual mode of speech, I should read the brutish sty. Johnson.
I believe the old reading is the true one. So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, b. i. c. viii.:
“ A herd of bulls whom kindly rage doth sting." Again, b. ii. c. xii.:
“ As if that hunger's point, or Venus' sting,
“ Had them enrag d.” Again, in Othello :
our carnal stings, our unbitted lusts.” Steevens.