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Except I be by Silvia in the night,
Enter PROTEUS and LAUNCE.
Laun. Him we go to find : there's not a hair on's head, but 'tis a Valentine.
Pro. Valentine ?
news, So much of bad already hath possess’d them.
& That is, by flying, or in flying. It is a Gallicism.
9 Launce is still grubbling: he is running down the hare he s.arted when he first entered.
Pro. Then in dumb silence will I bury mine, For they are harsh, untuneable, and bad.
Val. Is Silvia dead ?
Val. No Valentine, indeed, for sacred Silvia! Hath she forsworn me?
Pro. No, Valentine.
me!What is your news ? Laun. Sir, there is a proclamation that you are
vanish'd. Pro. That thou art banish'd - O! that is the
news — From hence, from Silvia, and fi om me, thy friend
Val. O! 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 (Which, unrevers’d, stands in effectual force) A sea of melting pearl, which some call tears: Those at her father's churlish feet she tender'd; With them, upon her knees, her humble self; Wringing her hands, whose whiteness so became
them, As if but now they waxed pale for woe : But neither bended knees, pure hands held up, Sad sighs, deep groans, nor silver-shedding tears, Could penetrate her uncompassionate sire ; But Valentine, if he be ta'en, must die. Besides, her intercession chaf 'd him so, When she for thy repeal was suppliant, That to close prison he commanded her, With many bitter threats of 'biding there. Val. No more ; unless the next word that thou
Have some malignant power upon my life:
Pro. Cease to lament for that thou canst not help,
Val. I pray thee, Launce, an if thou seest my boy, Bid him make haste, and meet me at the north gate.
Pro. Go, sirrah, find him out. Come, Valentine.
[Exeunt VAL. and Pro. 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
10 So in Hamlet : « These to her excellent white bosom." To understand this mode of addressing letters, it should be known that women anciently had a pocket in the forepart of their stays, in which they carried not only love letters and love tokens, but even their money. In many parts of England rustic damsels still continue the practice. A very old lady informed Mr. Steevens. that when it was the fashion to wear very prominent stays it was the custom for stratagem or gallantry to drop its literary favours within the front of them.
is But me knave, according wo Dr. Johnson, here means, I w
not now, that knows me to be in love : yet I am in love; but 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 milk-maid : yet 'tis not a maid, for she hath had gossips; " yet 'tis a maid, for she is her master's mail, and serves for wages. She hath more qualities than a water spaniel, — which is inuch in a bare 13 Christian. Here is the cate-log (Pulling out a paper] of her conditions. “Imprimis, She can fetch and carry.” Why, a horse can do no more : nay, a horse cannot fetch, but only carry ; therefore is she better than a jade. “ Item, She can milk ;” look you, a sweet virtue in a maid with clean hands.
Enter SPEED. Speed. How now, signior Launce? what news with your mastership ?
Laun. With my master's ship ? why, it is at sea.
Speed. Well, your old vice still ; mistake the word : What news then in your paper ?
Laun. The blackest news that ever thou heard'st.
Laun. Fie on thee, jolt-head! thou can'st not read. once a knare, as opposed to tuice a knave, or a double knave. But it seems more likely that Launce is simply engaged in his usua. occupation of punning ; his sense being, “if he be but one knave, that's all one.
12 Gossips not only signify those who answer for a child in baptism, but the tattling women who attend lyings-in. "The quibble is evident.
13 Bare has two senses, mere and naked. Launce, quibbling on, uses it in both senses, and opposes the naked person to the water-spaniel thickly covered with hair.
Speed. Thou liest! I can.
Laun. I will try thee. Tell me this: Who be got thee?
Speed. Marry, the son of my grandfather.
Laun. O illiterate loiterer! it was the son of thy grandmother. This proves that thou canst not read.
Speed. Come, fool, come : try me in thy paper.
Laun. And therefore comes the proverb, — Blessing of your heart, you brew good ale.
Speed. “ Item, She can sew.”.
Laun. What need a man care for a stock with a wench, when she can knit him a stock.''
Speed. “Item, She can wash and scour.”
Laun. A special virtue; for then she need not be wash'd and scour'd.
14 St. Nicholas had many weighty cares, but was best known as the patron-saint of scholars, in which office he is here invoked. He is said to have gained this honour by restoring to life three scholars, whom a wicked host had murdered while on their way lo school. By the statutes of St. Paul's School, London, the scholars are required to attend divine service in the cathedral on the anniversary of St. Nicholas. The parish clerks of London, probably because scholars were called clerks, formed themselves into a guild, with this saint for their patron. Ju King Henry IV. thieres are called St. Nicholas' clerks; whether from the similarity of the games Nicholas and Old Nick, or from some similarity of conduct in thieves and scholars in the old days of learned beggary, doth not fully appear. St. Nicholas was also the patronsaint of Holland an 1 Russia; and Mr. Verplanck says, “ he has long been known in Holland and New York as the special friend of children."
15 That is, stocking