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You put our page out: Go, you are allow'd ; :
Welcome, pure wit! thou partest a fair fray,
Cost. O Lord, sir, they would know,
BIRON. What, are there but three?
No, fir; but it is vara fine,
And three times thrice is nine. Cost. Not so, fir; under correction, fir; I hope,
it is not so: You cannot beg us,* fir, I can assure
fir; we know what we know:
Go, you are allow'd ;) i. c. yaụ may say what you will; you are a licensed fool, a common jester. So, in Twelfth Night: “ There is no flander in un allow'd fool,
WARBURTON. 3 Hath this brave manage, ] The old copy has manager:
Correded by Mr. Theobald. MALONE.
4 You cannot beg us, ] That is, we are not fools; our next relațions cannot beg the wardship of our persons and fortunes. One af the legal tests of a natural is to try whether he can number.
JOHNSON. It is the wardship of Lunaticks not Ideots that devolves upon the next relations. Shakspeare, perhaps, as well as Dr. Johnson, was not aware of the diftin&ion. Douce.
It was not the next relation only who begg'd the wardship of an ideot: " A rich fool was begg'd by a lord of the king; and the
I hope, fir, three times thrice, fir,
Is not nine.
nine. Cost. O Lord, fir, it were pity you should get your living by reckoning, fir.
BIRON. How much is it?
Cost. O Lord, fir, the parties themselves, the actors, fir, will show whereuntil it doth amount: for my own part, I am, as they say, but to parfect one man,-e'en one poor man; * Pompion the
BIRON. Art thou one of the worthies?
Cost. It pleased them, to think me worthy of Pompion the great: for mine own part, I know not the degree of the worthy; but I am to stand for him. S
Biron. Go, bid them prepare.
lord coming to another nobleman's house, the fool saw the pi&ure of a fool in the hangiugs, which he cut out; and being chidden for it, answered, you have more cause to love me for it; for if my lord had seen the pi&ure of the fool in the hangings, he would certainly have begg'd them of the king, as he did my lands."
Cabinet of Mirth, 1674.
RITSON. one man, - c'en one poor man;] The old copies read — in one poor man. For the emendation I am apswerable, The famne mistake has happened in several piaces in our author's plays. See my note on All's Well that ends Well, Ad 1. sc. iii. -"You are shal. low, madam," &c. MALONE.
1 I know not the degree of the worthy ; &c.] This is a stroke of satire which, to this hour, has loft nothing of its force. Few performers are solicitous about the history of the chara&er they are to represent. STEEVENS.
Cost. We will turn it finely off, fir; we will take some care.
[Exit Costard. KING. Biron, they will shame us, let them not
approach. Biron. We are shame-proof, my lord: and 'tis
fome policy To have one show worse than the king's and his
company. KING. I say, they shall not come. Prin. Nay, my good lord, let me o'er-rule you
now; That sport best pleases, that doth least know how: Where zeal strives to content, and the contents Die in the zeal of them which it presents, Their form confounded makes moft form in mirth; When great things labouring perish in their birth.”
IÓ That Sport best pleases, which doth least know how:
Where zcal strives to content, and the contents
Their form, &c.] The old copies read of that which it preients. STEEVENS. The third line may be read better thus:
the contents Die in the zeal of him which them presents. This sentiment of the Princess is very natural, but less generous than that of the Amazonian Queen, who says, on a like occafion, in The Midsummer Night's Dream:
“I love not to see wretchedness o'ercharg'd,
“ Nor duty in his service perishing." JOHNSON. This passage, as it stands, is unintelligible. — Johnson's amendment makes it grammatical, but does not make it sense. What does he mean by the contents which die in the zeal of him who presents them ? The word content, when fignifying an affe&ion of the mind, has no plural. Perhaps we should read thus:
Where zeal strives to content, and the content
Lies in the zeal of those which it preseut. A fimilar sentiment, and on a fimilar occasion, occurs in A Midsummer Night's Dream, when Philostrate says of the play they were about to exhibit;
Biron. A right description of our sport, my lord.
It is nothing
To do you service. M. MASON. The quarto, 1598, and the folio, 1623, read of that which it prefenis. The context, I think, clearly shows that them I which, as the passage is unintelligible in its original form, I have ventured to substitute,) was the poet's word. Which for who is common in our author; So, (to give one instance out of many, ) in The Merchant of Venice,
a civil do&or, 16 Which did refuse three thousand ducats of me." and ym and yi were easily coofounded: nor is the false concord introduced by this reading of them who presents it, ) any obje&ion to it; for every page of these plays furnishes us with examples of the same kind. So dies in the present line, for thus the old copy reads; though here, and in almost every other passage where a similar forruption occurs, I have followed the example of my predeceffors, and corređed the error. Where rhymes or metre, however, are concerned, it is impoflible. Thus we must still read in Cymbeline, lies, as in the line before us, prefents:
" And Phæbus gins to rise.
chalic'd flowers that lies.' Again, in the play before us:
" That in this spleen ridiculous appears,
" To check their folly, passion's folemn tears." Again, in The Merchant of Venice :
“ Whole own hard dealings teaches them susped." Dr. Johnson would read
Die in the zeal of hin which them presents. But him was not, I believe, abbreviated in old Mss. and therefore not likely to have been confounded with that.
The word it, I believe, refers to sport. That sport, says the princess, pleases beft, where the actors are lealt jkilful; where zeal strives to please, and the contents, or, (as these exhibitions are immediately afterwards called) great things, great attempts, perish in the very ałt of being produced, from the ardent zeal of those who present the Sportive entertainment, To " prejent a play" is still the phrase of the theatre. It however may refer to conients, and that word may mean the most material part of the exhibition. MALONE,
labouring perish in their birth. ] Labouring hçre means, in the act of parturition. So Roscommon:
Enter ARMÁDO. %
ARM. Anointéd, I implore so much expence of thy royal sweet breath as will utter a brace of words. ( ARMADO converses with the King, and delivers
him a paper. ] PRIN. Doth this man serve God? Biron. Why ask you? Prin. He speaks not like a man of God's mak.
ing ARM. That's all one, my fair, sweet, honey monarch: for, I proteít, the school-master is exceeding fantastical; too, too vain; too, too vain: But we will put it, as they say, to fortuna della guerra. I wish
of mind, most royal couplement!!
[Exit ARMADO. KING. Here is like to be a good presence of worthies: He presents Hector of Troy; the swain, Pompey the great; the parish curate, Alexander; Armado's page, Hercules; the pedant, Judas Macchabæus. And if these four worthies in their first show
thrive, These four will change habits, and present the
16 The mountain labour'd, and a mouse was born.
MALONE. 8 Enter Armado. ] The old copics read - Enter Braggart.
STEEVENS. 9 I wish you the peace of mind, most royal couplement! ] This fingular word is again used by our author in his 2ift Sonnet :
Making a couplement of proud compare MALONE. ? And if these four worthies, &c.] These two lines might have been designed as a ridicule on the conclusion of Selimus, a tragedy, 1594 :