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Par. Nay, 'tis ftrange, 'tis very strange, that is the brief and the tedious of it; and he's of a most facinerious fpirit, that will not acknowledge it to be the Laf. Very hand of Heav'n, Par. Ay, fo I fay.
Laf. In a moft weak
Par. And debile minifter, great power, great tranfcendence; which should, indeed, give us a further use to be made than alone the recov'ry of the King; as to be
Laf. Generally thankful.
Enter King, Helena, and attendants.
Par. I would have faid it, you faid well: here comes the King.
Laf. Luftick, as the Dutchman fays: I'll like a Maid the better, while I have a tooth in my head: why, he's able to lead her a Corranto.
Par. Mort du Vinaigre, is not this Helen?
Laf. 'Fore God, I think fo.
King. Go, call before me all the Lords in Court.
And with this healthful hand, whose banish'd sense
speaking of, the Poet might have wrote,
i. e. the King is as hale and hearty as the Prince his Son. And that the King in this Play is fuppofed to have a Son, is plain from what he fays to Bertram in the first Act.
My Son's no dearer. Befides, Dauphin in the old Impreffions is conftantly fpelt as the Fifh, Dolphin. But then confidering on the other hand, As found as a Roach, As whole as a Fifh, are proverbial Expreffions: and confidering too that our Author elsewhere makes the Dolphin an Instance or Emblem of Lustihood and Activity,
Were Dolphin-like, they fhew'd his Back above
Anto. and Cleop. I have not thought proper to disturb the Text. Nor would, indeed, the Senfe of the Pallage be affected by any Alteration.
Enter three or four Lords.
Fair Maid, fend forth thine eye; this youthful parcel
Thou haft power to chufe, and they none to forfake.
King. Perufe them well:
Not one of those, but had a noble Father.
[She addreffes her felf to a Lord. Hel. Gentlemen, Heaven hath, through me, reftor'd The King to health.
All. We understand it, and thank Heav'n for you. Hel. I am a fimple Maid, and therein wealthieft, That, I proteft, I fimply am a Maid. Please it your Majefty, I have done already : The Blushes in my cheeks thus whifper me, "We blufh that thou fhould'ft chufe, but be refus'd; "Let the white death fit on thy cheek for ever, "We'll ne'er come there again.
King. Make Choice, and fee,
Who fhuns thy love, fhuns all his love in me.
1 Lord. And grant it.
(17) Thanks, Sir; all the reft are mute.] All the reft are mute? She had spoke to but One yet. This is a nonfenfical Alteration of Mr. Pope's from the old Copies, in which, I doubt not, but he thought him felf very wife and fagacious. The genuine Reading is, as I have reftor'd in the Text;
All the reft is mute.
fi. e. as in Hamlet, The reft is Silence) and the Meaning, this. Helena finding a favourable Aníwer from the first Gallant fhe addrefs'd to,
Laf. I had rather be in this choice, than throw Ames-ace for my life.
Hel. The honour, Sir, that flames in your fair eyes, Before I fpeak, too threatningly replies: Love make your fortunes twenty times above Her that fo wishes, and her humble love! 2 Lord. No better, if you please. Hel. My wifh receive,
Which great Love grant! and fo I take my leave. Laf. Do all they deny her? if they were Sons of mine, I'd have them whip'd, or I would fend them to the Turk to make eunuchs of.
Hel. Be not afraid that I your hand fhould take,
Laf. These boys are boys of ice, they'll none of her fure, they are baftards to the English, the French ne'er got 'em.
Hel. You are too young, too happy, and too good, To make your felf a Son out of my blood.
4 Lord. (18) Fair one, I think not so. Laf. There's one grape yet,
Par. I am fure, thy Father drunk Wine.Laf. But if Thou be'eft not an Afs, I am a Youth of fourteen. I have known thee already. Hel. I dare not fay, I take you; but I give Me and my service, ever whilft I live,
but not defigning to fix her Choice there, civilly fays, I thank you, Sir; That is All I have to advance. I am oblig'd to You for your Complyance; but my Eye and Heart have another Aim.
(18) 4 Lord. Fair One, I think not fo.
Laf. There's one Grape yet, I am fure my Father drunk Wine; but if Thou be'eft not an Afs, I am a Youth of fourteen: I have known thee already.] Surely, This is moft incongruent Stuff. Lafeu is angry with the other Noblemen, for giving Helena the Repulife: and is He angry too, and thinks the fourth Nobleman an Afs, because he's for embracing the Match? The Whole, certainly, can't be the Speech of one Mouth. As I have divided the Speech, I think, Clearnefs and Humour are reftor'd. And if Parolles were not a little pert and impertinent here to Lafeu, why fhould he fay, he had found him out already? Or, why should he quarrel with him in the very next Scene?
Into your guiding power: this is the Man.
[To Bertram. King. Why then, young Bertram, take her; fhe's thy Wife.
Ber. My Wife, my Liege? I shall beseech your Highnefs,
In fuch a bufiness give me leave to use
King Know'st thou not, Bertram,
Ber. Yes, my good Lord,
But never hope to know why I should marry her.
Ber. But follows it, my Lord, to bring me down
King. 'Tis only title thou difdain'st in her, the which
All that is virtuous, (fave what thou diflik'ft,
(19) From lowest Place when virtuous things proceed,
Is good without a name. Vilenefs is fo:
(19) From lowest Place, whence virtuous Things proceed,
The Place is dignified by th' Doers Deed] 'Tis ftrange, that None of the Editors could perceive, that both the Sentiment and Grammar are defective here. The eafy Correction, which I have given, was prescribed to me by the ingenious Dr. Thirlby.
And these breed honour: That is honour's scorn,
Is her own dow'r; honour and wealth from me.
Hel. That you are well reftor'd, my Lord, I'm glad: Let the reft go.
King. (22) My honour's at the ftake; which to defend, I must produce my Power. Here, take her hand,
Honours beft thrive,
When rather from our A&s we them derive
Than our Foregoers.] How nearly does this Sentiment of our Author's resemble the following Paffage of Juvenal!
Ergò ut miremur Te, non tua, primùm aliquid da
Sat. VIII. ver. 68.
and as oft is dumb,
Where Duft and damn'd Oblivion is the Tomb.
Of honour'd Bones, indeed, what should be faid?] This is fuck pretty Stuff, indeed, as is only worthy of its accurate Editors! The Tranfpofition of an innocent Stop, or two, is a Task above their Diligence: efpecially, if common Senfe is to be the Result of it. The Regulation, I have given, must strike every Reader so at first Glance, that it needs not a Word in Confirmation.
My Honour's at the Stake; which to defeat,
(22) My Honour's at the Stake; which to defeat
I must produce my Pow'r.] The poor King of France is again made a Man of Gotham, by our unmerciful Editors: What they make him fay, is mere mock-reafoning. The Paffage must either be reftor'd, as I have conjecturally corrected; or elfe the King must be fuppos'd to break off abruptly from What he was going to fay, and determine that he will interpofe his Authority. As thus ;