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King. My honour's at the stake; which to defeat, I must produce my power: Here, take her hand, Proud scornful boy, unworthy this good gift; That dost in vile misprision shackle up
My love, and her desert; that canst not dream,
Shall weigh thee to the beam: that wilt not know,
We please to have it grow: Check thy contempt:
Loosing upon thee in the name of justice,
Take her by the hand,
that canst not dream,
We, poizing us in her defective scale,
Shall weigh thee to the beam:] That canst not understand, that you and this maiden should be weighed together, and our royal favours should be thrown into her scale, (which you esteem so light,) we should make that in which you should be placed, to strike the beam. MALONE.
* Into the staggers,] One species of the staggers, or the horse's apoplexy, is a raging impatience, which makes the animal dash himself with a destructive violence against posts or walls. To this the allusion, I suppose, is made. JOHNSON.
And tell her, she is thine: to whom I promise
I take her hand.
King. Good fortune, and the favour of the king,
Smile upon this contract; whose ceremony
[Exeunt King, BERTRAM, HELENA, Lords, and Attendants.
Laf. Do you hear, monsieur? a word with you. Par. Your pleasure, sir?
Laf. Your lord and master did well to make his
Par. Recantation?-My lord? my master?
Par. A most harsh one; and not to be understood without bloody succeeding. My master?
Laf. Are you companion to the count Rousillon? Par. To any count; to all counts; to what is
Shall seem expedient on the now-born brief,
And be perform'd to night:] A brief, in ancient language, means any short and summary writing or proceeding. The nowborn brief is another phrase for the contract recently and suddenly made. The ceremony of it (says the king) shall seem to hasten after its short preliminary, and be performed to-night, &c.
The meaning of the present passage, I believe, is: Good fortune, and the king's favour, smile on this short contract; the ceremonial part of which shall immediately pass,—shall follow close on the troth now plighted between the parties, and be performed this night; the solemn feast shall be delayed to a future time.
Laf. To what is count's man; count's master is of another style.
Par. You are too old, sir; let it satisfy you, you are too old.
Laf. I must tell thee, sirrah, I write man; to which title age cannot bring thee.
Par. What I dare too well do, I dare not do. Laf. I did think thee, for two ordinaries," to be a pretty wise fellow; thou didst make tolerable vent of thy travel; it might pass: yet the scarfs, and the bannerets, about thee, did manifoldly dissuade me from believing thee a vessel of too great a burden. I have now found thee; when I lose thee again, I care not: yet art thou good for nothing but taking up; and that thou art scarce worth.
Par. Hadst thou not the privilege of antiquity upon thee,
Laf. Do not plunge thyself too far in anger, lest thou hasten thy trial;-which if-Lord have mercy on thee for a hen! So, my good window of lattice, fare thee well; thy casement I need not open, for I look through thee. Give me thy hand.
Par. My lord, you give me most egregious indignity.
Laf. Ay, with all my heart; and thou art worthy of it.
Par. I have not, my lord, deserved it.
Laf. Yes, good faith, 'every dram of it; and I will not bate thee a scruple.
Par. Well, I shall be wiser.
Laf. E'en as soon as thou canst, for thou hast to pull at a smack o' the contrary. If ever thou be'st bound in thy scarf, and beaten, shou shalt find what
6 for two ordinaries,] Whilst I sat twice with thee at table. JOHNSON.
7 —— taking up;] To take up is to contradict, to call to account; as well as to pick off the ground.
it is to be proud of thy bondage. I have a desire to hold my acquaintance with thee, or rather my knowledge; that I may say, in the default, he is a man I know.
Par. My lord, you do me most insupportable vexation.
Laf. I would it were hell-pains for thy sake, and my poor doing eternal: for doing I am past; as I will by thee, in what motion age will give me leave.9 [Exit. Par. Well, thou hast a son shall take this disgrace off me; scurvy, old, filthy, scurvy lord!Well, I must be patient; there is no fettering of authority. I'll beat him, by my life, if I can meet him with any convenience, an he were double and double a lord. I'll have no more pity of his age, than I would have of-I'll beat him, an if I could but meet him again.
Laf. Sirrah, your lord and master's married, there's news for you; you have a new mistress.
Par. I most unfeignedly beseech your lordship to make some reservation of your wrongs: He is my good lord: whom I serve above, is my master. Laf. Who? God? Par. Ay, sir.
Laf. The devil it is, that's thy master. Why dost thou garter up thy arms o' this fashion? dost make
8 in the default,] That is, at a need.
-for doing I am past; as I will by thee, in what motion age will give me leave.] Mr. Edwards has, I think, given the true meaning of Lafeu's words. "I cannot do much, says Lafeu; doing I am past, as I will by thee in what motion age will give me leave; i. e. as I will pass by thee as fast as I am able:—and he immediately goes out. It is a play on the word past: the conceit indeed is poor, but Shakspeare plainly meant it." MALONE.
hose of thy sleeves? do other servants so? Thou wert best set thy lower part where thy nose stands. By mine honour, if I were but two hours younger, I'd beat thee: methinks, thou art a general offence, and every man should beat thee. I think, thou wast created for men to breathe themselves upon thee.
Par. This is hard and undeserved measure, my lord.
Laf. Go to, sir; you were beaten in Italy for picking a kernel out of a pomegranate; you are a vagabond, and no true traveller: you are more saucy with lords, and honourable personages, than the heraldry of your birth and virtue gives you commission. You are not worth another word, else I'd call you knave. I leave you. [Exit.
Par. Good, very good; it is so then.-Good, very good; let it be concealed a while.
Ber. Undone, and forfeited to cares for ever!
Ber. Although before the solemn priest I have
sworn, I will not bed her.
Par. What? what, sweet heart?
Ber. O my Parolles, they have married me:I'll to the Tuscan wars, and never bed her.
Par. France is a dog-hole, and it no more merits The tread of a man's foot: to the wars!
Ber. There's letters from my mother; what the import is,
I know not yet.
Par. Ay, that would be known: To the wars, my boy, to the wars!
He wears his honour in a box unseen,