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To die, is to be banish'd from myself;
Enter Protheus and Launce.
Laun. Him we go to find :
Pro. Valentine ?
? I Aly not death, to fly his deadly doom ;] To fly his doom, used for by flying, or in flying, is a galliciím. The sense is, By avoiding the execution of his sentence I shall not escape death. If I stay here, I suffer myself to be destroyed ; if I go away, I destroy myself. JOHNSON.
Pro. Villain, forbear.
Val. Myears are stopp’d, and cannot hear good news;
Pro. Then in dumb silence will I bury mine;
Val. Is Silvia dead ?
Val. No Valentine, indeed, for sacred Silvia !
Pro. No, Valentine.
Val. No Valentine, if Silvia have forsworn me!
l'al. Oh, I have fed upon this woe already, And now excess of it will make me surfeit. Doth Silvia know that I am banished ?
Pro. Ay, ay; and she hath offer'd to the doom,
that Inhake mwoe alrea friend.
Have some malignant power upon my life :
Pro. Čease to lament for that thou canst not help,
Val. I pray thee, Launce, an' if thou feest iny boy, Bid him make hafte, and meet me at the north-gate.
Pro. Go, firrah, find him out. Come, Valentine. Val. O my dear Silvia! hapless Valentine!
[Exeunt Valentine and Protheus. 8 Laun. I am but a fool, look you; and yet I have the wit to think my master is a kind of a knave : but that's all one, if he be but one knave. He lives
: Laun. I am but a fool, look you; and yet I have the wit to think my master is a kind of knave : but that's all one, if he be but one KNAve.] Where is the sense ! or, if you won't allow the speaker that, where is the humour of this speech? Nothing had given the fool occasion to suspect that his matter was become double, like Antipholis in The Comedy of Errors. The laft word is corrupt. We should read
- if he be but one KIND. He thought his master was a kind of knave; however, he keeps himself in countenance with this reHection, that if he was a knave but of one kind, he might pass well enough amongst his neighbours. This is truly humourous. WARBURTON.
not now that knows me to be in love: yet I am in love; but 9 a team of horse shall not pluck that from me; nor who 'tis I love, and yet 'tis a woman : but what woman I will not tell myself, and yet 'tis a milkmaid: yet ’tis not a maid, for she hath had gossips; yet'tis a maid, for she is her master's maid, and serves for wages. She hath more qualities than a waterspaniel, which is much in a bare christian. Here is the cat-log [Pulling out a paper] of her conditions. Imprimis, he can fetch and carry; why, a horse can do no more ; nay, a horse cannot fetch, but only carry; therefore she is better than a jade. Item, the can milk, look you; a sweet virtue in a maid with clean hands.
Speed. Well, your old vice still; mistake the word: what news then in your paper ?
Laun. The blackest news that ever thou heard'st.
This alteration is acute and specious, yet I know not whether, in Shakespeare's language, one knave may not signify a knave on only one occasion, a fingle knave. We still use a double villain for a villain beyond the common rate of guilt.
JOHNSON. 9 a team of horse shall not pluck I fee how Valentine fuffers for telling his love-secrets, therefore I will keep mine close. JOHNSON.
* In former editions it is,
With my mastership? why, it is at sea.] For how does Launce miitake the word ? Speed asks him about his masterthip, and he replies to it literatim. But then how was his masterihip at fea, and on More too? The addition of a letter and a note of apostrophe make Launce both mistake the word, and sets the pun right: it reftores, indeed, but a mean joke; but, without it, there is no sense in the passage. Besides, it is in character with the rest of the scene; and, I dare be confident, the poet's own conceit. THEOBALD.
Laun. Why, as black as ink.
Speed. Thou lyest, I can. · Laun. I will try thee; tell me this, who begot thee? Speed. Marry, the son of my grandfather.
Laun. O illiterate loiterer! it was the fon of thy grandmother : this proves, that thou can'st not read.
Speed. Cone, fool, come; try me in thy paper,
Laun. And therefore comes the proverb, Blessing of your heart, you brecw good ale.
Speed. Item, she can few.
? St. Nicholas be thy speed!] St. Nicholas presided over scholars, who were therefore called St. Nicholas's clerks. Hence, by a quibble between Nicholas and Old Nick, highwaymen, in The First Part of Henry the Fourth, are called Nicholas's clerks.
WARBURTON. That this saint presided over young scholars, may be gathered from Knight's Life of Dean Colet, p. 362. For by the statutes of Paul's school there inserted, the children are required to attend divine service at the cathedral on his anniversary. The reason I take to be, that the legend of this saint makes him to have been a bishop, while he was a boy. At Salisbury cathedral is a monument of a boy bishop; and it is said that a custom formerly prevailed there, of choosing, from among the chorifters, a bishop, who actually performed the pastoral functions, and disposed of such prebends as became vacant during his episcopacy, which lasted but a few days. It is thought that the monument above-mentioned was for some boy who died in office. -See The Pofthumous Works of Mr. John Gregory, 4to. Oxon. HAWKINS.
So Puttenham, in his Art of Poetry, 1589. “ Methinks this · “ fellow speaks like bishop Nicholas ; foron Saint Nicholas' " night commonly the scholars of the country make them, a “ bishop, who, like a foolish boy, goeth about blessing and po preaching with such childish terms, as maketh the people
laugh at his foolish counterfeit speeches." STEEVENS.