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but I, his brother, gain nothing under him but growth; for the which his animals on his dunghills are as much bound to him as I. Besides this nothing that he so plentifully gives me, the some. thing that nature gave me, his countenance seems to take from me: 3 he lets me feed with his hinds, bars me the place of a brother, and, as much as in him lies, mines my gentility with my education. This is it, Adam, that grieves me ; and the spirit of my father, which I think is within me, begins to mutiny against this servitude: I will no longer endure it, though yet I know no wise remedy how to avoid it.
ADAM. Yonder comes my master, your brother.
ORL. Go apart, Adam, and thou shalt hear how he will shake me up.
OLI. Now, sir! what make you here? 4
ORL. Nothing: I am not taught to make any thing
OLI. What mar you then, sir? Orl. Marry, sir, I am helping you to mar that which God made, a poor unworthy brother of yours, with idleness.
his countenance seems to take from me:] We should certainly read his discountenance. WARBURTON.
There is no need of change; a countenance is either good or bad. JOHNSON. - what make you here?] i. e. what do you
here? So, in Hamlet :
“ What make you at Elsinour?" STEEVENS.
Oli. Marry, sir, be better employ'd, and be naught awhile.
be better employ'd, and be naught awhile.] Mr. Theobald has here a very critical note; which, though his modesty suffered him to withdraw it from his second edition, deserves to be perpetuated, i. e. (says he) be better employed, in my opinion, in being and doing nothing. Your idleness, as you call it, may be an exercise by which you make a figure, and endear yourself to the world: and I had rather you were a contemptible cypher.
The poet seems to me to have that trite proverbial sentiment in his eye, quoted from Attilius, by the younger Pliny and others: satius est otiosum esse quain nihil agere. But Oliver, in the perverseness of his disposition, would reverse the doctrine of the proverb. Does the reader know what all this means ? But 'tis no matter. I will assure him—be nought a while is only a north-country proverbial curse equivalent to, a mischief on you. So, the old poet Skelton :
“ Correct first thy selfe, walk and be nought,
“ Deeme what thou list, thou knowest not my thought." But what the Oxford editor could not explain, he would amend, and reads:
- and do aught a while. WARBURTON. If be nought awhile has the signification here given it, the reading may certainly stand; but till I learned its meaning from this note, I read:
Be better employed, and be naught a while. In the same sense as we say-It is better to do mischief, than to do nothing. Johnson,
Notwithstanding Dr. Warburton's far-fetched explanation, I believe that the words be naught awhile, mean no more than this:“ Be content to be a cypher, till I shall think fit to elevate you into consequence.”
This was certainly a proverbial saying. I find it in The Storie of King Darius, an interlude, 1565:
“ Come away, and be nought a whyle,
“ Or surely I will you both defyle." Again, in King Henry IV. P. II. Falstaff says to Pistol : Nay, if he do nothing but speak nothing, ke shall be nothing here."
STEEVENS. Naught and nought are frequently confounded in old English books. I once thought that the latter was here intended, in the sense affixed to it by Mr. Steevens: “ Be content to be a cypher,
ORL. Shall I keep your hogs, and eat husks with them? What prodigal portion have I spent, that I should come to such penury? Oli. Know
you are, sir? ORL. O, sir, very well: here in your
orchard. Oli. Know
before whom, sir? ORL. Ay, better than he I am before knows me. I know, you are my eldest brother; and, in the gentle condition of blood, you should so know me: The courtesy of nations allows you my better, in that you are the first-born; but the same tradition takes not away my blood, were there twenty brothers betwixt us: I have as much of my father in
till I shall elevate you into consequence." But the following passage in Swetnam, a comedy, 1620, induces me to think that the reading of the old copy (naught) and Dr. Johnson's explanation are right:
get you both in, and be naught a while." The speaker is a chamber-maid, and she addresses herself to her mistress and her lover. MALONE.
Malone says that nought (meaning nothing) was formerly spelled with an a, naught, which is clearly the manner in which it ought still to be spelled, as the word aught, (any thing,) from whence it is derived, is spelled so.
A similar expression occurs in Bartholomew Fair, where Ursula says to Mooncalf : “ Leave the bottle behind you, and be curs'd awhile ;” which seems to confirm Warburton's explanation. M. Mason.
Ay, better than he 1 an before knows me.] The first folio reads_better than him But, little respect is due to the anomalies of the play-house editors; and of this comedy there is no quarto edition. · STEÉVENS.
Mr. Pope and the subsequent editors read-he I am before; more correctly, but without authority. Our author is equally irregular in The Winter's Tale :
“ I am appointed him to murder you." MALONE. Of The Winter's Tale also there is none but the play-house copy. STEEVENS.
me, as you; albeit, I confess, your coming before
OLI. What, boy!
young in this.
OLI. Wilt thou lay hands on me, villain?
Orl. I am no villain :' I am the youngest son of sir Rowland de Bois; he was my father; and he is thrice a villain, that says, such a father begot villains: Wert thou not my brother, I would not take this hand from thy throat, till this other had pulled out thy tongue for saying so; thou hast railed on thyself
say. ORL. I will not, till I please: you shall hear me, . My father charged you in his will to give me good
albeit, I confess, your coming before me is nearer to his reverence.] This is sense indeed, and may be thus understood.—The reverence due to my father is, in some degree, derived to you, as the first-born. But I am persuaded that Orlando did not here mean to compliment his brother, or condemn himself; something of both which there is in that sense. I rather think he intended a satirical reflection on his brother, who by letting him feed with his hinds, treated him as one not so nearly related to old Sir Rowland as himself was. I imagine therefore Shakspeare might write- Albeit your coming before me is nearer his revenue, i. e. though you are no nearer in blood, yet it must be owned, indeed, you are nearer in estate. WARBURTON.
This, I apprehend, refers to the courtesy of distinguishing the eldest son of a knight, by the title of esquire. HENLEY.
& I am no villain:] The word villain is used by the elder brother, in its present meaning, for a worthless, wicked, or bloody man; by Orlando, in its original signification, for a fellow of base extraction. JOHNSON.
education: you have trained me like a peasant, obscuring and hiding from me all gentleman-like qualities: the spirit of my father grows strong in me, and I will no longer endure it: therefore allow me such exercises as may become a gentleman, or give me the poor allottery my father left me by. testament; with that I will go buy my fortunes.
Oli. And what wilt thou do? beg, when that is spent? Well, sir, get you in: I will not long be troubled with you: you shall have some part of your will : I pray you, leave me. ORL. I will no further offend
than becomes me for my good. Oli. Get
with him, you old dog. Adam. Is old dog my reward? Most true, I have lost my teeth in your service.-God be with
old master! he would not have spoke such a word.
[Exeunt ORLANDO and ADAM. Oli. Is it even so ? begin you to grow upon me? I will physick your rankness, and yet give no thousand crowns neither. Hola, Dennis !
your worship? OLI. Was not Charles, the Duke's wrestler, here to speak with me?
Den. So please you, he is here at the door, and importunes access to you.
Oli. Call him in. [Exit DENNIS.]—'Twill be a good way; and to-morrow the wrestling is.