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Enter a Lady. Lady. The queen, madam, Desires your highness' company. Imo. Those things I bid you do, get them dir
patch'd. I will attend the queen. Pif. Madam, I shall.
S CE N E V.
R O M E.
An apartment in Philario's house.
Enter Pbilario, lacbimo, and a Frenchman'.
lat. Believe it, fir: I have seen him in Britain ; he was then of a crescent note; expected to prove fo worthy, as since he has been allowed the name of: but I could then have look'd on him without the help of admiration; though the catalogue of his endowments had been tabled by his fide, and I to peruse him by items.
Phil. You speak of him when he was less furnish’d, than now he is, with that which makes him both without and within.
I think the old reading may be sufficiently supported by the following passage in the 18th Sonnet of our author:
Rough winds do Jhake the darling buds of May.” Again, in the Taming of a Shrew : “ Confounds thy fame, as whirlwinds shake fair buds."
STEEVENS. !-and a Frenchman.] The old copy reads--a Frenchman, a Dutchman. and a Spaniard. Steevens,
2-makes him--] in the sense in which we say, This will make or mar you. JOHNSON.
French. I have seen him in France: we had very many there, could behold the sun with as firin eyes as he.
lach. This matter of marrying his king's daughter, (wherein he must be weigh'd rather by her value, than his own) ' words him, I doubt not, a great deal from the matter.
French. And then his banishment.
lach. Ay, and the approbation of those, that weep this lamentable divorce, 4 under her colours, are wonderfully to extend him ; be it but to fortify her judgment, which else an easy battery might lay fat, for taking a beggar 5 without more quality. But how comes it, he is to sojourn with you? How creeps acquaintance ?
Phil. His father and I were soldiers togetber; to whom I have been often bound for no less than my life:
Enter Posthumus. Here comes the Briton: Let him be so entertained amongst you, as suits, with gentlemen of your knowing, to a stranger of his quality.--I beseech you all, be better known to this gentleman; whom I commend to you, as a noble friend of mine : How worthy he is, I will leave to appear hereafter, rather than story him in his own hearing.
French. Sir, we have known together in Orleans.
Poft. Since when I have been debtor to you for courtesies, which I will be ever to pay, and yet pay still.
3 --words bima great deal from the matter.) Makes the description of him very distant from the truth. Johnson.
-under her colours,-) Under her banner ; .by her inAuence. JOHNSON.
s- without more quality. The folio reads lefi quality. Mr. Rowe first made the alteration. STEEVENS.
French. Sir, you o'er-rate my poor kindness: I was glad o I did atone, my countryıran and you ; it had been pity, you should have been put together with so mortal a purpose, as then cach bore, upon importance of so slight and trivial a nature.
Poft. By your pardon, sir, I was then a young traveller; ? rather shunn'd to go even with what I heard, than in my every action to be guided by others' experiences : but, upon my mended judgment, (if I offend not to say it is mended) my quarrel was not altogether Night.
French. 'Faith, yes, to be put to the arbitrement of swords; and by such two, that would, by all likelyhood, have confounded one the other, or have fallen both.
Iach. Can we, with manners, ask what was the difference?
French. Safely, I think: 'twas a contention in publick, & which may, without contradiction, suffer the report. It was much like an argument that fell out last night, where each of us fell in praise of our country mistresses : This gentleman at that time vouching, (and upon warrant of bloody affirmation) his to be more fair, vircuous, wise, chaste, constant, qualified, and less attemptible, than any the rarest of our ladies in France.
-I did atone, &c.] To atone fignifies in this place to reconcile. So Ben Jonson, in The Silent Woman :
" There had been some hope to atone you." Again, in Heywood's English Traveller, 1633 :
". The confiable is call'd to atone the broil." See Vol. VII. P. 474. STEVENS.
1-railer Bunn'd to go even with what I becrd, &c.] This is exprefied with a kind of fantastical perplexity. He means, I was then willing to take for my direction the experience of others, more than such intelligence as I had gathered myself.
without contradi&tion, -] Which, undoubtedly, may be publickly told. JOHNSON.
Tach. That lady is not now living; or this gentleman's opinion, by this, worn out.
Pojt. She holds her virtue ftill, and I my mind.
Tach. You must not so far prefer her 'fore ours of Italy.
Post. Being so far provok'd as I was in France, I would abate her nothing; though I profess myself her adorer, not her friend.
lach. As fair, and as good, (a kind of hand-in-hand comparison) had been something too fair, and too good, for any lady in Britany. If she went before
-though I profejs, &c.] Though I have not the common obligations of a lover to his mistress, and regard her not with the fondness of a friend, but the reverence of an adorer.
JOHNSON. -If she went before others I have seen, as that diamond of yours outluftres many I have bebeld, I could not believe the
- What? if she did really excel others, could he not believe she did excel them: Nonsense. We must strike out the negative, and the sense will be this, “ I can easily believe your mistress excels many, tho' she be not the most excellent; just as I see that diamond of yours is of more value than many I have beheld, though I know there are other diamonds of much greater value.” WAR BURTON.
The old reading, I think, may very well stand ; and I have therefore replaced it. “ If (says Iachimo) your mistress went before some others I have seen, only in the laine degree your diamond outluftres many I have likewife seen, I should not ad. mit on that account that she excelled many : but I ought not to make myself the judge of who is the faireft lady, or which is the brightest diamond, till I have beheld the finest of cither kind which nature has hitherto produced.” The paliage is not nonsense. It was the businels of Tachimo to appear on this occafion as an infidel to beauty, in order to fpirit Posthumus to lay the wager, and therefore will not admit of her excellence on any comparison. The author of The Revisal would read : I conld but believe.
STEVENS, I should explain the sentence thus: “ Though your lady ex. celled as much as your diamond, I could not believe the excelled many; that is, I too could yet believe that there are many whom The did not excel.” But I yet think Ir. Warburton right.
others I have seen, as that diamond of yours outlustres many I have beheld, I could not believe the excelled many: but I have not seen the most precious diamond that is, nor you the lady.
Poft. I prais'd her, as I rated her: so do I my ftone.
lach. What do you esteem it at?
Iach. Either your unparagon'd mistress is dead, or she's out-priz'd by a trife.
Poft. You are mistaken : the one may be fold, or given; if there were wealth enough for the purchase, or merit for the gift : the other is not a thing for fale, and only the gift of the gods.
Iach. Which the gods have given you?
lach. You may wear her in title yours : but, you know: strange fowl light upon neighbouring ponds. Your ring may be stolen too : so, of your brace of unprizeable eitimations, the one is but frail, and the
Dr. Warburton's alteration makes perfect sense, but the word net is not likely to have crept into the text without foundation. Printers sometimes omit, and sometimes misrepresent an au
thor's words, but I believe, scarcely ever insert words without · even the semblance of authority from the manuscript before
them; and therefore, in my apprehension, no conjectural regulation of any paffage ought to be admitted, that requires any word of the text to be expunged, without substituting another in its place. Omissions in the old copies of our author, are, I believe, inore frequent than is commonly imagined. In the pre!ent in tance, I fufpect he wrote:
I could not but believe, &c. Thus the reasoning is exact and consequential.--'f the exceeded odber women that I have secr, in the same proportion that your diamond furpaljes others that I have beheld, I could not but acknowledge that jie excelled many; but I have not seen the most valuable diamond, nor you the most beautiful woman; and, therefore, I cannot allow that the excels all.
As the passage now ftands, even with Mr. Steevens's explanation, the latter member of the sentence but I have not jeen, &c. is not sufficiently opposed to the former. MALONE.