« PreviousContinue »
Biror. Things hid and barr'd (you mean) from com
Biron. Come on then, I will swear to study fo,
When I to feast exprefly am forbid; (1)
When mistresses from common senfe are hid:
King. These be the stops, that hinder study quite ;
Biror. Why, all delights are vain; but that most vain,
To seek the light of truch ; while truth the while
Light, seeking light, doth light of light beguile ;
By fixing it upon a fairer eye.;
And give him light, that it was blinded by.
(1) When I to fast exprefly am forbid.) This is the Reading of all the Copies in general ; but I would fain ask our accurate Editors, if Biron studied where to get a good Dinner, at a time when he was forbid to fast, how was this studying to know what he was forbid to know ? Common Sense, and the whole Tenour of the Context re. quire us to read, either as I have restored ; or to make a Change in the last Word of the Verse, which will bring us to the same Meaning;
When I to fast exprefly am fore-bid;
i, e. when I am enjoined beforehand to fast.
Study is like the Heaven's glorious Sun,
That will not be deep search'd with fawcy looks Small have continval plodders ever won,
Save.bafe autiority from others' books.
That give a name to every fixed star,
Than those that walk and wot not what they are.
King. How well he's read, to reason against reading!
That bites the first-born infants of the spring.
Before the birds have any cause to fing?
(2) Wby should I joy in an abortive Birth?
At Christmas I no more desire a Rose,
But like of each Thing, that in Season grows.]. As the greatest part of this Scene (both what precedes and follows ;) is Ari&tly in Rhimes, either successive, alternate, or triple; I am perswaded, the Copyifts have made a fip here. For by making a Triplet of the three last Lines quoted, Birth in the Close of the first Line is quite destitute of any Rhime to it. Besides, what a difplealing Identity of Sound recurs in the Middle and Close of this Verfe?
Tban wild a Snow in May's new-fangled Shows :: Again ; new-fangled Shorus seems to have very little Propriety. The Flowers are not new fangled; but the Earth is new-fangled by the Profufion and Variety of the Flowers, that spring on its Borom in May, I have therefore ventured to substitute, Earıb, in the
At Christmas I no more desire a rose,
King. Well, fit you out-Go home, Biron : Adieu !
Biron. No, my good lord, I've sworn to stay with you.
Than for that angel knowledge you can say ;
And 'bide the penance of each three years' day. }
paper, let me read the same;
King. How well this yielding rescues thee from shame!
Biron. Item, That no woman fball come within a mile of my Court,
[reading. Hath this been proclaimed ?
Long. Four days ago.
Biron. Let's see the penalty.
Close of the 3d Line, which referes the alternate Measure. It was very easy for a negligent Transcriber to be deceived by the Rhime immediately preceding ; fo miftake the concluding Word in the fequent Line, and corrupt it into one that would chime with the other.
(3) A dangerous Law agains. Gentility. I have ventured to prefix the Name of Biron to this Line, it being evident, 'for two Reasons, that it, by some Accident or other, fipt out of the printed Books. In the first Place, Longaville confesses, he had devis’d the Penalty : and why he fould immediately arraign it as a dangerous Law, seems to be very inconfiftent, In the next place, it is much more natural for Biron to make this Reflexion, who is cavilling at every thing; and then for him to pursue his reading over the remaining Articles. As to the H4
Item, (reading] If any man be seen to talk with a woman within the term of three years, he shall endure such publicķ shame as the rest of the Court can pofliby devise.
This article, my liege, yourself must break;
For, well you know, here comes in embaffy The French King's daughter with yourself to speak,
A maid of grace and compleat majesty, About surrender ap of Aquitain
To her decrepit, fick, and bed-rid father :
Or vainly comes th' adnired Princess hither.
Biron. So ftudy evermore is overlot;
King. We muft of force dispense with this decree,
Three thousand times within this three years' space :
Not by might master'd, but by special grace.
And he, that breaks them in the least degree,
Suggestions are to others, as to me; But, I believe, although I seem so loth, I am the last that will last keep his oath.
Word Gentility, here, it does not fignify that Rank of People called Gentry; but what the French express by, gentil de, i.e. elé gantia urbanitas. And then the Meaning is this. Such a law, for banishing Women from the Court, is dangerous, or injurious, to Politeness, Urbanity, and the more refined Pleasures of Life. For Men without Women would turn brutal, and favage, in their Natures and Behaviour.
But is there no quick recreation granted ?
With a refined traveller of Spain,
That hath a mint of phrases in his brain :
Doth ravish, like inchanting harmony :
Have chose as umpire of their mutiny.
For interim to our studies, shall relate
From tawny Spain, lost in the world's debate.
Biron. Armado is a moft illustrious wight,
Long. Coftard the swain, and he, fhall be our sport; And, so to study, three years are but short.
Enter Dull and Coftard with a letter.
Dull. Which is the King's own person? (4)
. I myself reprehend his own person, for I am his Grace's Tharborough: but I would see his own person in flesh and blood. • Biron. This is he. Dull . Signior Arme,
Arme-commends you. There's villany abroad ; this letter will tell you more.
Coft. Sir, the contempts thereof are as touching me. King. A letter from the magnificent Armado.
(4) Dull. Which is the Duke's own Person?] The King of Nas varre is in several Passages, thro' all the Copies, called the Duke: but as this must have sprung rather from the Inadvertence of the Editors, than a Forgetfulness in the Poet, 1 have every where, to avoid Confusion, restored King to the Text.