« AnteriorContinuar »
skilful enough to have lived still, if knowledge could be set up against mortality.
Ber. What is it, my good lord, the king languishes of ?
Laf. I would, it were not notorious.-Was this gentlewoman the daughter of Gerard de Narbon ?
Count. His sole child, my lord; and bequeathed to my overlooking. I have those hopes of her good, that her education promises : her dispositions she inherits, which make fair gifts fairer; for where an unclean mind carries virtuous qualities, there commendations go with pity, they are virtues and traitors too ; in her they are the better for their simpleness; she derives her honesty, and achieves her goodness.
Laf. Your commendations, madam, get from her tears.
Count. 'Tis the best brine a maiden can season her praise in. The remembrance of her father never approaches her heart, but the tyranny of her sorrows takes all livelihood from her cheek.-No more of this, Helena, go to, no more ; lest it be rather thought you affect a gorrow, than to have.
Hel. I do affect a sorrow, indeed, but I have it too.'
Laf. Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead, excessive grief the enemy to the living
Count. If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess makes it soon mortal.
(2] By virtuous qualities are meant qualities of good breeding and erudition; on This account it is, she says, that, in an ill mind, these · virtuous qualities are vir: tues and traitors too :' i. e. the advantages of education enable an ill mind to go further in wickedness tban it could have done without them. WARBURTON.
Her virtues are the better for their simpleness,--that is, her excellencies are the better because they are artless and open, without fraud, without design. The learned commentator has well explained virtues, but has not, I think, reached the force of the word traitors, and therefore has not shown the full extent of Shakespeare's masterly observation. Virtues in an unclean mind are virtues and traitors 100. Estimable and useful qualities, joined with an evil disposition, give that evil disposition power over others, who, by admiring the virtue, are betrayed to the malevolence. The Tattler, mentioning the sharpers of his time, observes, that some of them are men of such elegance and knowledge, that a young man who falls into their way is betrayed as much by his judgment as his passions,
JOHNSON [3) Helena ba3, I believe, a meading here, that she does not wish should be understood by the countess. Her affected sorrow was for the death of her father; her real grief for the lowness of her situation, which she feared would for ever be a bar lo ber union with ber beloved Bertram. Her ora words afterwards fully support this interpretation :
-I think not on my father;
-What was he like?
“ I am uodone." MALONE. The line should be particularly attended to, as it tends to explain samc subseguent passages which bare hitherto been misunderstood. JI. MÁSON.
Ber. Madam, I desire your holy wishes.
Count. Be thou blest, Bertram! and succeed thy father
T'is an unseason'd courtier; good my lord,
Laf. He cannot want the best That shall attend his love.
Count. Heaven bless him !--Farewell, Bertram. (Exit.
Ber. [To Hel.] The best wishes that can be forged in your thoughts, be servants to you! Be comfortable to my mother, your mistress, and make much of her.
Laf. Farewell, pretty lady: You must hold the credit of your father.
[Exeunt Ber. and LaF.
(4] Trick is an expression taken from draning, and is so explamed in Join, Act I. sc. i. The present instance explains itself:
His rcbed bros, &c. STEEVENS.
to sit and drato
But now he's gone, and my idolatrous fancy
Hel. Ay. You have some stain of soldier in you ;8 let me ask you a question : Man is enemy to virginity ; how may we barricado it against him?
Par. Keep him out.
Hel. But he assails ; and our virginity, though valiant in the defence, yet is weak: unfold to us some warlike resistance.
Par. There is none ; man, sitting down before you, will undermine you, and blow you up.
Hel. Bless our poor virginity from underminers, and blowers up!-Is there no military policy, how virgins might blow up men ?
Par. Virginity, being blown down, man will quicklier be blown up: marry, in blowing him down again, with the breach yourselves made, you lose your city. It is not politic in the commonwealth of nature, to preserve virginity. Loss of virginity is rational increase ; and there was nev-. er virgin got, till virginity was first lost. That, you were made of, is metal to make virgins. Virginity, by being once lost, may be ten times found : by being ever kept, it is ever lost: 'tis too cold a companion; away with it.
Hel. I will stand for't a little, though therefore I die a virgin.
Par. There's little can be said in't ; 'tis against the (5) Cold for naked; as superfluous for orer-clotbed. This makes the propriety of the antithesis, WARBURTON.
 Stain for colour. Parolles was id red, as appears from his being afterwards Stain rather for what we now bay tincture, come qualities, at least superficial,
called red-tail'd humble-bee.
of a snldier.
rule of nature. To speak on the part of virginity, is to accuse your mothers; which is most infallible disobedi. ence. He, that hangs himself, is a virgin : virginity murders itself;' and should be buried in high ways, out of all sanctified limit, as a desperate offendress against nature. Virginity breeds mites, much like a cheese ; consumes itself to the very paring, and so dies with feeding his own stomach. Besides, virginity is peevish, proud, idle, made of self-love, which is the most inhibited sin in the canon. Keep it not; you cannot choose but lose by't : Out with’t : within ten years it will make itself ten, which is a goodly increase ; and the principal itself not much the worse : Away with't.
Hel. How might one do, sir, to lose it to her own liking ?
Par. Let me see : Marry, ill, to like him that ne'er it likes. "Tis a commodity will lose the gloss with lying ; the longer kept, the less worth : off with’t, while 'tis vendible : answer the time of request. Virginity, like an old courtier, wears her cap out of fashion ; richly suited, but unsuitable : just like the brooch and tooth-pick, which wear not now: Your date is better in your pye and
your porridge, than in your cheek : And your virginity, your old virginity, is like one of our French withered pears; it looks ill, it eats dryly; marry, 'tis a withered pear ;
it was formerly better; marry, yet, 'tis à withered pear : Will you any thing with it?
Hel. Not my virginity yet.
[?] i. e. he that hangs bimself, and a virgin, are in this circumstance alike; they are both self-destroyers. MALONE.
(8) It does not appear that this rapturous effusion of Helena was designed to be intelligible to Parolles. Its obscurity, therefore, may be its merit. It sufficiently explains what is passing in the mind of the speaker, to every one but him to whom Ebe does not mean to explain it. STEEVENS.
(9) Traditoria, a traitress, in the Italian language, is generally used as a terk of endearment. The meaning of Helena is, that she shall prove every thing to pertram.
Our ancient writers delighted in catalogues, and always characterised inre by contrarieties. STEEVENS.
That blinking Cupid gossips. Now shall he
Par. What one, i'faith?
Hel. That wishing well had not a body in't,
Enter a Page.
[Exit Puge. Par. Little Helen, farewell : if I can remember thee, I will think of thee at court.
Hel. Monsieur Parolles, you were born under a charitable star.
Par. Under Mars, I.
Hel. The wars have so kept you under, that you must needs be born under Mars.
Par. When he was predominant.
when fear proposes the safety : But the composition, that your valour and fear makes in you, is a virtue of a good wing, and I like the wear well.
Par. I am so full of businesses, I cannot answer thee acutely: I will return perfect courtier ; in the which, my instruction shall serve to naturalize thee, so thou wilt be capable of a courtier's counsel, and understand what advice shall thrust upon thee ; else thou diest in thine unthankfulness, and thine ignorance makes thee away : farewell. When thou hast leisure, say thy prayers; when thou hast none, remember thy friends : get thee a good husband, and use him as he uses thee : so farewell. [Exit. (1) And show by realities what we now must only think. JOHNSON. 21 The phrase is taken from falconry. STEEVENS. A bird of a good wing, is a bird of swift and strong fight M MASON.