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KING. How well he's read, to reason against

reading! Dum. Proceeded well, to stop all good proceed


Long. He weeds the corn, and still lets grow the

weeding Biron. The spring is near, when green geese arç

a breeding DUM. How follows that? PIRON.

Fit in his place and time DUM. In reason nothing. BIRON

Something then in rhime, LONG. Biron is like an envious sneaping frost, 2

That bites the first-born infants of the spring. Biron. Well, say I am ; why should proud suma

mer boast,
Before the birds have any cause to fing?
Why should I joy in an abortive birth ?
At Christmas I no more delire a rose,
Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled shows;
But like of each thing, that in season grows.


Biron, of too much knowledge, is not any real solution of doubts, but mere empty. reputation. That is, too much knowledge gives only fame, a name which every godfather can give likewise. JOHNSON.

9 Proceeded well, to stop all good proceeding! ] To procere is an academical term, meaning, to take a degree, as he proceeded bachelor in physick. The sense is, he has taken his degrees in the art of hindering the degrees of others. JOHNSON.

I don't susped that Shakspeare had any academical term in con. templation, when he wrote this line. He has proceeded well, means only, he has gone on well. M. MASON.

sneaping frojt, ] So sneaping winds in The Winter's Tale: To sneap is to check, to rebuke. Thus also, Falstaff, in K. Henry IV. P. II: " I will not undergo this (neap, without reply:" STEVENS. 3 Why Should I joy in an abortive birth?

At Christmas I no more desire a rose,
Than wish a snow. in May's new-fangled shows;
But like of cach thing, that in season grows. ] As the greatest part

So you, to sudy now it is too late,
Climb o'er the house * to unlock the little gate.

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of this scene (both what precedes and follows) is ftri&ly in rhimes, either fuccrfjive, alternate, or triple, I am persuaded,, that the copyists have made a flip 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 displeasing identity of sound recurs in the middle and close of this verse ?

Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled shows: Again; new fangled shows seems to have very little propriety. The flowers are not new.fangled; but the earth is new-fangled by the profusion and variety of the flowers, that spring on its bosom in May. I have therefore ventured to substitute carih, in the 'cluse of the third line, which reftores the alternate measure. It was very easy for a negligent transcriber to be deceived by the Thime immediately preceding; fo mistake the concluding word in the sequent line, and corrupt it into one that would chime with the other. THEOBALD.

I rather susped a line to have been lost after an abortive birth." For an in that line the old copies have any. Correded by Mr. Pope. MALONE.

By these shows the poet means Maygames, at which a snow would be very unwelcome and unexpe&ed. It is only a periphrasis for May. T. WARTON. I have no doubt that the more obvious interpretation is the true

So, in Chaucer's Knightes Tale:

- And fresher than May with floures new. So also, in our poet's K. Richard 11:

” She came adorned hither, like sweet May." i. c. as the ground is in that month enamelled by the gay diversity of flowers which the spring produces.

Again, in The Destruction of Trog, 1619: “ At the entry of the month of May, when the carth is attired and adorned with diverse flowers," &c. MALONE.

I concur with Mr. Warton: for with what propriety can the flowers which every year produces with the same identical shape and colours, be called newafangléd? The sports of May might be annually diversified, but its natural produđions would be invariably the same.

STEEVENS. 4 Climb o'er the house, &c.] This is the reading of the quarto, 1598, and much preferable to that of the folio “ That were to climb o'er tbc house to unlock the gate."




King. Well, fit you out:' go home, Biron; adieu! Biron. No, my good lord; I have sworn to stay

with you:

And, though I have for barbarism spoke more,

Than for that angel knowledge you can say, Yet confident I'll keep what I have swore,

And bide the penance of each three years' day. Give me the paper, let me read the same; And to the stria'st decrees I'll write my name. King. How well this yielding rescues thee from

shame! Biron. [Reads. ] Item, That no woman hall come within a mile of my court. — And hath this been proclaim'd ? LONG.

Four days ago Biron. Let's see the penalty. [Reads. ]-On pain of losing her tongue.

Who devis'd this?
Long. Marry, that did I.
Biron. Sweet lord, and why?
LONG, To fright them hence with that dread pe-

BIRON. A dangerous law against gentility!'

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sit you out :) This may mean, hold you out, continue re. frazlory. But suspe&, we should read set you out,

MALONE. To fit out, is a term 'fron the card-table, · Thus Bishop Sanderson: 66 They are glad, rather than sit out, to play very small game.

The person who cuts out at' a rubber of whist, is still said to sit out; i. e. to be no longer engaged in the party, STEEVENS.

6 Who devis'd this? ] The old copies read - this penalty. I have omitted this needless repetition of the word penalty, because it destroys the measure. STEEVENS.

? A dangerous law against 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, Dipt out of the printed books. In the first place, Longavillc confesses, he had devised the penalty :

[ Reads. ] Item, If any man be seen to talk with a woman within the term of three years, he Mall endure Such publick shame as the rest of the court can possibly d'evise.This article, my liege, yourself must break;

l'or, well you know, here comes in embassy The French king's daughter, with yourself to

speak,A maid of grace, and complete majesty, About surrender-up of Aquitain

To her decrepit, fick, and bed-rid father: Therefore this article is made in vain,

Or vainly comes the admired princess hither. King. What say you, lords ? why, this was quite

forgot. Biron. So ftudy evermore is overshot; While it doth study to have what it would, It doth forget to do the thing it should: And when it hath the thing it hunteth most, 'Tis won, as towns with fire ; fo won, fo loft. King. We must, of force, dispense with this de

cree ; She must lie here? on mere necessity.

and why he should 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 word gentility, here, it does not signify that rank of people called, gentry; but what the Freneh express by, gentillesse, i. c. elegantia, urbanitas. And then the meaning is this: Such a law for banishing women from the court, is dangerous, or injuri. ous, to politeness, urbanity, and the more refined pleasures of life. For men without women would turn brutal, and savage, in their natures and behaviour. THEOBALD.

7 - lie here - ] Means refide here, in the same sense as an ambassador is said to lie leiger. See Beaumont and Fletcher's Love's Gure, or the Martial Maid, A& II. fc. ii:


Biron. Necessity will make us all forsworn
Three thousand times within this three years'

space :
For every man with his affects is born;

Not by might master'd; but by special grace: If I break faith, this word shall speak for me, I am forsworn on mere necessity.So to the laws at large I write my name: [Subscribes.

And he, that breaks them in the least degree, Stands in attainder of eternal shame :

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. But is there no quick recreation · granted ? KING. Ay, that there is : our court, you know,

is haunted With a refined traveller of Spain ; A man in all the world's new fashion planted,

That hath a mint of phrases in his brain :

66 Or did the cold Muscovite beget thee,

" That lay here leiger, in the last great frost?" Again, in Sir Henry Wotton's Definition: " An ambassador is an honest man sent to lie (i. e. reside) abroad for the good of his country. REED.

8 Not by might master'd, but ly special grace:] Biron, amidst his extravagances, speaks with great juftness again it the folly of vows. They are made without sufficient regard to the variations of life, and are therefore broken by some unforeseen necessity. They proceed commonly from a presumptuous confidence, and a false cstimate of human power. JOHNSON.

9 Suggestions - - ] Temptations. JOHNSON,
So, in K. Henry IV. P. I:

" And these led on by your suggestion." STEEVENS.
-quick recreation - ] Lively sport, spritely diversion.

JOHNSON. So, in Antony and Cleopatra :

the quick comedians
• Extemporally will stage us. STEEYENS,


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