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Pet. And I'll second
My nephew's suit, with importunity.
Ros. You are, my lord Fernando, late return'd From travels; pray instruct me:-since the voice Of most supreme authority commands
My absence, I determine to bestow
Some time in learning languages abroad;
In Spain you lose experience; 'tis a climate
Than do a stranger grace: if you intend
To traffic like a merchant, 'twere a place
Ros. What for France?
5 Fernando's character of the Spanish nation is somewhat tinctured with severity; yet not unjust in the main. James had, with much political foresight, and some success, strove to cultivate the friendship of Spain; but the culpable capriciousness of Charles, aggravated by the ruffian insolence of Buckingham, abruptly checked his endeavours, and by rendering the Spanish party unpopular, as well as unfashionable at court, occasioned a fatal re-action in politics, which in no long process of time threw that country and its resources into the arms of France, to be constantly directed against us. Ford seems to be indebted to Howell for a part of his description.
Fern. France I more praise and love." You are,
Yourself for horsemanship much famed; and there,
Ros. Yet, methought,
I heard you and the duchess, two nights since,
• France I more praise and love, &c.] Here again we have the prevailing language of the day; though it must be admitted, that Ford (with some assistance from Massinger) has selected his traits of character with impartiality and judgment. The excellence of the French in horsemanship is noticed by most of our old writers. Thus, the King in Hamlet—
"I have seen myself, and serv'd against the French,
And in the White Devil
"He told me of a restive Barbarie horse
Which he would feign have brought to the careere,
I have a rare French rider."
There is more of this in the same play; but enough on so trite a subject. It seems, indeed, that about this period, the English were surpassed by most nations in this noble art; nor was it till James I. wisely encouraged horse-races, that we thought of improving the old heavy, short-winded breed of horses, by the introduction of Barbary and other stallions, and that the consequent improvement in managing them took place, which long since rendered us the most skilful and daring riders of Europe.
Discoursing of an island thereabouts,
Call'd-let me think-'twas
Ros. That pray sir
You have been there, methought I heard you praise it.
Fern. I'll tell you what I found there; men as
As courtly as the French, but in condition
Ros. My lord, you have much eased me; I re-
Fern. And whither are you bent?
Ros. My lord, for travel;
To speed for England.
Quite opposite, &c.] i. e. in disposition. We have the word in the same sense in the next page, where Petruchio says of the Duchess that she is
8 In short, their fair abundance, manhood, beauty.] The old copy reads, their fare abundance; a slighter change would be to place a comma after fare; but the text, as it now stands, seems to me, more in the author's manner.
Fern. No, my lord, you must not;
I have yet some private conference
To impart unto you for your good; at night
Till then, be secret.
Ros. Dares my cousin trust me??
Pet. Dare I, my lord!
yes, 'less your
Than a bold woman's spleen.
Ros. The duke's at hand,
And I must hence; my service to your lordships.
[Exit. Pet. Now, nephew, as I told you, since the
Hath held the reins of state in his own hand,
Much altered from the man he was before,
(As if he were transformed in his mind,')
Dares my cousin trust me] It does not appear what plan Fernando had formed to serve Roseilli, who, like his friend, seems already to have forgotten that he was ordered to leave the court that morning.
'Here, or rather, perhaps, after the preceding verse, a line or more has dropt out at the press. The purport of the lost passage is easily collected from the context. The duke, since his accession, has drawn round him a set of profligate parasites, who, &c. It is scarcely necessary to observe that no part of the duke's conduct justifies the reproach here laid upon him; he is rather a wellmeaning dotard, a better Bassanes, than a follower of debauched society but Ford seems to have lost his way through a great part of this drama.
And he (with grief I speak it) hath, I fear,
Whose mediation wrought the marriage
Betwixt the duke and duchess, who was agent? Pet. His roving eye and her enchanting face, The only dower nature had ordained
T' advance her to her bride-bed. She was daugh
Unto a gentleman of Milàn—no better
Preferr'd to serve i' th' Duke of Milan's court;
The abbot, Fortune (queen to such blind matches)
As he pursues the deer: in short, my lord,
He saw her, lov'd her, woo'd her, won her, match'd her;'
No counsel could divert him.
Fern. She is fair.
2 In short, my lord,
He saw her, lov'd her, &c.] The duke is " a thriving wooer." In this rapid abstract of his success, the poet seems to have had another bold and fortunate adventurer in view.
Mars videt hanc, visamque cupit, potiturque cupita.