Page images
PDF
EPUB

This is the very false gallop of verses ; Why do you infect yourself with them?

Ros. Peace, you dull fool? I found them on a tree.

Touch. Truly, the tree yields bad fruit.

Ros. I'll graff it with you, and then I shall graff it with a medlar : then it will be the earliest fruit in the country: for you'll be rotten e'er you be half ripe, and that's the right virtue of the medlar.

Touch. You have said ; but whether wisely or no, let the forest judge.

Enter Celia, reading a puper.

Ros. Peace!
Here comes my sister, reading; stand aside.

Cel. Why should this desert silent be?

For it is unpeopled ? No;
Tongues I'll hang on every tree,

That shall civil sayings show.?
Some, how brief the life of man

Runs his erring pilgrimage ;
That the stretching of a span

Buckles in his sum of age.
Some, of violated vows

'Twixt the souls of friend and friend : But upon the fairest boughs,

Or at every sentence' end,

- the earliest fruit -] Shakspeare seems to have had kttle knowledge in gardening. The medlar is one of the latest fruits, being uneatable till the end of November. Steevens.

i That shall civil sayings shore.] Civil, I believe, is not designedly opposed to solitary. It means only grave, or solemn.

STEEVENS. VOL. HII

O

Will I Rosalinda write ;

Teaching all that read, to know
The quintessence of every sprite

Heaven would in little show.8
Therefore heaven nature charg'd

That one body should be fill d
With all graces wide enlarg’d:

Nature presently distill'd
Helen's cheek, but not her heart;

Cleopatra's majesty;
Atalanta's better part ;'

Sad Lucretia's modesty.
Thus Rosalind of many parts

By heavenly synod was devis'd,
Of many faces, eyes, and hearts,

To have the touches' dearest priz'd.
Heaven would that she these giftsshould have,

And I to live and die her slave.

Ros. O most gentle Jupiter !-what tedious homily of love have you wearied your parishioners withal, and never cry'd, Have patience, good people!

Cel. How now! back friends ;-Shepherd, go off a little :-Go with him, sirrah.

Touch. Come, shepherd, let us make an honourable retreat; though not with bag and baggage, yet with scrip and scrippage.

[E.reunt Coran and TOUCHSTONE,

:in little show.] The allusion is to a miniature-portrait. The current phrase in our author's time was “painted in little.

MALONE, 9 Atalanta's better part ;] The commentators are not agreed what this lady's better part was: Dr. Johnson inclines to her beauty; Mr. Tollet to her virgin chastity; Dr. Farmer and Mr. Malone to her wit; Mr. Steevens sums up the evidence in these words: “ after all, I believe that Atalanta's better part, means only-the best part about her, such as was most commended."

the touches -] The features ; les traits.

Cel. Didst thou hear these verses?

Ros. O, yes, I heard them all, and more too ; for some of them had in them more feet than the verses would bear.

Cel. That's no matter; the feet might bear the verses.

Ros. Ay, but the feet were lüme, and could not bear themselves without the verse, and therefore stood lamely in the verse.

Cel. But didst thou hear, without wondering how thy name should be hang'd and carved upon these trees?

Ros. I was seven of the nine days out of the wonder, before you came; for look here what I found on a palm-tree:- I was never so be-rhymed since Pythagoras' time, that I was an Irish rat,' which I can hardly remember.

Cel. Trow you, who hath done this?
Ros. Is it a man?

Cel. And a chain, that you once wore, about his neck: Change you colour?

Ros. I prythee, who?:

Cel. O lord, lord ! it is a hard matter for friends to meet;* but mountains may be removed with earthquakes, and so encounter.

Ros. Nay, but who is it?
Cel. Is it possible ?

- a palm-tree:] A palm-tree, in the forest of Arden, is as much out of its place, as the lioness in a subsequent scene.

3 — I was never so be-rhymed since Pythagoras' time, that I was an Irish rat,] Rosalind is a very learned lady. She alludes to the Pythagorean doctrine, which teaches that souls transmigrate from one animal to another, and relates that in his time she was an Irish rat, and by some metrical charm was rhymed to death.

JOHNSON, friends to meet ;] Alluding ironically to the proverb: “ Friepds may meet, but mountains never greet.”

Ros. Nay, I pray thee now, with most petitionary vehemence, tell me who it is.

Cel. O wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful, and yet again wonderful, and after that out of all whooping !

Ros. Good my complexion ! dost thou think, though I am caparison'd like a man, I have a doublet and hose in iny disposition ? One inch of delay more is a South-sea-off discovery." I pr’ythee, teil me, who is it? quickly, and speak apace: I would thou couldst stammer, that thou might'st pour this concealed man out of thy mouth, as wine comes out of a narrow-mouth'd bottle; either too much at once, or none at all. I prythæ take the cork out of thy mouth, that I may drink thy tidings.

Cel. So you may put a man in your belly.

Ros. Is he of God's making ? What manner of man? Is his head worth a hat, or his chin worth à beard ?

Cel. Nay, he hath but a little beard.

Ros. Why, God will send more, if the man will be thankful : let me stay the growth of his beard, if thou delay me not the knowledge of his chin.

Cel. It is young Orlando ; that tripp'd up the wrestler’s heels, and your heart, both in an instant.

Ros. Nay, but the devil take mocking; speak sad brow, and true maid.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

6

out of all whooping !] i. e. out of all measure, or reckoning. This appears to have been a phrase of the same import as another formerly in use, “ out of all cry."

Good my complexion!] A little unmeaning exclamatory address to her beauty; in the nature of a small oath. Ritson.

? One inch of delay more is a South-sea-off discovery.] The old copy reads—is a South-sea of discoverie : which, says Mr. Hen. ley, is the only reading that can preserve the sense of Rosalind. A South-sea of discovery, is not a discovery, as Far OFF, hut as COMPREHENSIVE as the South-sea; which, being the largest in the world, affords the widest scope for exercising curiosity.

speak sad brow, and true maid.) i. e. speak with a grave

Cel. I'faith, coz, 'tis he.
Ros. Orlando?
Cel. Orlando.

Ros. Alas the day! what shall I do with my doublet and hose ?-What did he, when thou saw'st him? What said he? How look'd he? Wherein went he? What makes he here? Did he ask for me? Where remains he ? How parted he with thee? and when shalt thou see him again? Answer me in one word.

Cel. You must borrow me Garagantua's mouth' first : 'tis a word too great for any mouth of this age’s size: To say, ay, and no, to these particulars, is more than to answer in a catechism.

Ros. But doth he know that I am in this forest, and in man's apparel ? Looks he as freshly as he did the day he wrestled ?

Cel. It is as easy to count atomies," as to resolve the propositions of a lover :-but take a taste of my finding him, and relish it with a good observance. I found him under a tree, like a dropp'd acorn.

Ros. It may well be callid Jove's tree, when it drops forth such fruit.

Cel. Give me audience, good madam.
Ros. Proceed.

Cel. There lay he, stretch'd along, like a wounded knight.

countenance, and as truly as thou art a virgin ; speak seriously and honestly.

9 Wherein went he?] In what manner was he clothed? How did he go dressed?

Garagantun's mouth-] Rosalind requires nine questions to be answered in one word. Celia tells her that a word of such magnitude is too big for any mouth but that of Garagantua the giant of Rabelais. Johnson.

to count atomies,] Atomies are those minute particles discernible in a stream of sunshine that breaks into a darkened room. HENLEY.

« PreviousContinue »