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WHAT YOU WILL.
ACT I. SCENE I.
An Apartment in the DUKE'S Palace.
Enter DUKE, CURIO, Lords; Musicians attending.
O, spirit of love! how quick and fresh art thou,
like the sweet south,
That breathes upon a bank of violets,] The old copies read "the sweet sound." Fope substituted south, to the manifest improvement of the passage; and as sound for south was an easy misprint, we have continued the alteration, being of opinion, that it is much more likely that the printer should have made an error, than that Shakespeare should have missed so obvious a beauty. As Steevens remarked, there is great similarity of expression in the following passage from Sir P. Sidney's "Arcadia," 4to, 1590:-" her breath is more sweet than a gentle south-west wind, which comes creeping over flowery fields and shadowed waters." There is no doubt that Shakespeare saw this passage. See p. 325, note 4. No "sweet sound" "breathes upon a bank of violets," but "the sweet south" may very properly be said to breathe upon it.
Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there,
Cur. Will you go hunt, my lord?
Duke. Why, so I do, the noblest that I have. O! when mine eyes did see Olivia first, Methought she purg'd the air of pestilence: That instant was I turn'd into a hart,
And my desires, like fell and cruel hounds,
Val. So please my lord, I might not be admitted,
2 Of what VALIDITY—] i. e. ralue. See "All's Well that Ends Well," A. v. sc. 3.
3 And my desires, like fell and cruel hounds,
E'er since pursue me.] Malone quoted the whole of the fifth sonnet of Samuel Daniel, to show that this thought was not new in Shakespeare. Daniel's "Delia," in which it is contained, was twice printed in 1592, 4to, and when coincidences of the kind occur, dates are important: Malone used an edition of 1594. The following are the only applicable lines, as they stand in the first impression the poet is complaining of the disdain of his mistress,
"Which turn'd my sport into a hart's dispaire,
Which still is chac'd, whilst I have any breath,
While Malone was insisting that Shakespeare undoubtedly had Daniel's sonnet in his mind, he himself produced several instances, which prove that various other writers had fallen upon the same thought, in nearly the same words, including Adlington, in his translation of "The Golden Asse (not Ages, as misprinted in Malone's Shakespeare by Boswell) of Apuleius," which came from the press as early as 1566, and of which there were various subsequent impressions.
With eye-offending brine: all this, to season
Duke. O she that hath a heart of that fine frame, To pay this debt of love but to a brother,
How will she love, when the rich golden shaft
Enter VIOLA, Captain, and Sailors.
Vio. What country, friends, is this?
4 Hath kill'd the FLOCK of all affections else] Sir P. Sidney, in his "Arcadia,” 1590, as Steevens observes, has a similar expression,-" the flock of unspeakable virtues," meaning, of course, the assemblage of them. It deserves remark, that this passage occurs in the " Arcadia," just below one already quoted, respecting "the sweet south,”—a confirmation of that reading.
3 (Her sweet perfections)] The passage would run better for the sense, and equally well for the verse, if we were to read,
"when liver, brain, and heart,
These sovereign thrones, her sweet perfections,
In the folio, 1623, there are no marks of parenthesis before or after " her sweet perfections," but they seem necessary to cure the defective collocation in the old text. "Liver, brain, and heart," says Steevens, "are admitted in poetry as the residence of passions, judgment, and sentiments. These are what Shakespeare calls her sweet perfections.'" If we could read "perfections" in the singular, the meaning might be that "one self king," viz. "her sweet perfection," would fill the three sovereign thrones of "liver, brain, and heart."
6 — with one self king.] The second folio reads "with one self same king,"
as if the metre were defective; but "perfections" being read as four syllables, as is constantly the case with words ending in tion and sion, the line is complete.
My brother he is in Elysium.
Perchance, he is not drown'd:—what think you, sailors? Cap. It is perchance that you yourself were sav'd. Vio. O, my poor brother! and so, perchance, may he
Cap. True, madam: and, to comfort you with chance,
(Courage and hope both teaching him the practice)
Cap. Ay, madam, well; for I was bred and born,
A noble duke, in nature
Vio. Who governs here?
As in names.
What is his name?
Vio. Orsino! I have heard my father name him: He was a bachelor then.
Cap. And so is now, or was so very late; For but a month ago I went from hence,
7 When you, and THOSE poor number saved with you,] Shakespeare uses "number" as the plural, and there is no need to alter "those" into that, as was done by Malone, Steevens, &c.
A noble duke, in nature
As in name.] Malone or Boswell silently interpolated his before "name." As the text now stands it is not exactly according to the old copies, where “A noble duke, in nature as in name," is made a line by itself, without regard to "Who governs here?" preceding it, and " What is his name?" following it. It may be doubted which is the better regulation.
And then 'twas fresh in murmur, (as, you know,
Vio. What's she?
Cap. A virtuous maid, the daughter of a count
That were hard to compass,
Vio. There is a fair behaviour in thee, captain,
I will believe, thou hast a mind that suits
9 They say, she hath abjur'd the COMPANY
And SIGHT of men.] In all the old copies the passage stands as follows :-
The alteration, making "sight" and "company change places, was introduced by Sir Thomas Hanmer; and it is unquestionably for the better, both as regards metre and sense. Olivia has abjured not only the "company" but even the 66 sight" of men.