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Having vainly fear'd too little.-Away with him;-
If you shall prove
This ring was ever hers, you shall as easy
[Exit BER. guarded.
Enter a Gentleman.
King. I am wrapp'd in dismal thinkings.
Who hath, for four or five removes, come short
King. [reads] Upon his many protestations to marry me, when his wife was dead, I blush to say it, he won me. Now is the count Rousillon a widower; his vows are forfeited to me, and my honour's paid to him. He stole from Florence, taking no leave, and I follow him to his country for justice: Grant it me, O king; in you it best lies: otherwise a seducer flourishes, and a poor maid is undone. DIANA CAPULET. Laf. I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll him: for this, I'll none of him.
A My fore-past proofs, howe'er the matter fall,
Having vainly fear'd too little.] The proofs which I have already had are sufficient to show that my fears were not vain and irrational. I have rather been hitherto more easy than I ought, and have unreasonably had too little fear. Johnson.
5 Who hath, for four or five removes, come short &c.] Who hath missed the opportunity of presenting it in person to your majesty, either at Marseilles, or on the road from thence to Rousillon, in consequence of having been four or five removes behind you. Malone.
Removes are journies or post-stages. Johnson.
6 I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll him: for this, I'll
King. The heavens have thought well on thee, Lafeu, To bring forth this discovery.-Seek these suitors:
none of him.] Thus the second folio. Either reading is capable of explanation.
The first omits-him.
The meaning of the earliest copy seems to be this: I'll buy me a new son-in-law, &c. and toll the bell for this; i. e. look upon him as a dead man. The second reading, as Dr. Percy suggests, may imply: I'll buy me a son-in-law as they buy a horse in a fair; toul him, i. e. enter him on the tout or toll-book, to prove I came honestly by him, and ascertain my title to him. In a play called The famous History of Tho. Stukely, 1605, is an allusion to this
"Gov. I will be answerable to thee for thy horses.
"Stuk. Dost thou keep a tole-booth? zounds, dost thou make a horse-courser of me?"
Again, in Hudibras, P. II, C. i:
"Where, when, by whom, and what y' were sold for "And in the open market toll'd for."
Alluding (as Dr. Grey observes) to the two statutes relating to the sale of horses, 2 and 3 Phil. and Mary, and 31 Eliz. c. 12, and publickly tolling them in fairs, to prevent the sale of such as were stolen, and to preserve the property to the right owner. The previous mention of a fair seems to justify the reading I have adopted from the second folio... Steevens.
The passage should be pointed thus:
I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll;
That is, "I'll buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and pay toll; as for this, I will have none of him." M. Mason.
The meaning, I think, is, "I will purchase a son-in-law at a fair, and get rid of this worthless fellow, by tolling him out of it." To toll a person out of a fair was a phrase of the time. So, in Camden's Remaines, 1605: "At a Bartholomew Faire at London there was an escheator of the same city, that had arrested a clothier that was outlawed, and had seized his goods, which he had brought into the faire, tolling him out of the faire, by a traine."
And toll for this, may, however, mean-and I will sell this fellow in a fair, as I would a horse, publickly entering in the tollbook the particulars of the sale. For the hint of this latter interpretation I am indebted to Dr. Percy. I incline, however, to the former exposition.
The following passage in King Henry IV, P. II, may be ad. duced in support of Mr. Steevens's interpretation of this passage: "Come, thou shalt go to the wars in a gown,-and I will take such order that thy friends shall ring for thee."
Here Falstaff certainly means to speak equivocally; and one of his senses is, "I will take care to have thee knocked in the head, and thy friends shall ring thy funeral knell." Malone.
Go, speedily, and bring again the count.
[Exeunt Gen. and some Attendants.
I am afeard, the life of Helen, lady,
Now, justice on the doers!
Enter BERTRAM, guarded.
King. I wonder, sir, since wives are monsters to you,'
My suit, as I do understand, you know,
Wid. I am her mother, sir, whose age and honour Both suffer under this complaint we bring,
And both shall cease, without your remedy.
King. Come hither, count; Do you know these women? Ber. My lord, I neither can, nor will deny
But that I know them: Do they charge me further? Dia. Why do you look so strange upon your wife? Ber. She's none of mine, my lord.
7 I wonder, sir, since wives &c.] This passage is thus read in the first folio:
I wonder, sir, sir, wives are monsters to you,
And that you fly them, as you swear them lordship,
Which may be corrected thus:
"I wonder, sir, since wives are monsters &c.
The editors have made it-wives are so monstrous to you, and in the next line-swear to them, instead of swear them lordship. Though the latter phrase be a little obscure, it should not have been turned out of the text without notice. I suppose lordship is put for that protection which the husband in the marriage cere. mony, promises to the wife. Tyrwhitt.
As, I believe, here signifies as soon as. I read with Mr. Tyrwhitt, whose emendation I have placed in the text. It may be observed, however, that the second folio reads:
I wonder, sir, wives are such monsters to you
shall cease,] i. e. decease, die. So, in King Lear: "Fall and cease." The word is used in the same sense in p. 297 of the present comedy. Steevens.
If you shall marry,
You give away this hand, and that is mine;
You give away heaven's vows, and those are mine;
That she, which marries you, must marry me,
Laf. Your reputation [to BER.] comes too short for my daughter, you are no husband for her.
Ber. My lord, this is a fond and desperate creature, Whom sometime I have laugh'd with: let your highness Lay a more noble thought upon mine honour, Than for to think that I would sink it here.
King. Sir, for my thoughts, you have them ill to friend, Till your deeds gain them: Fairer prove your honour, Than in my thought it lies!
Good my lord, Ask him upon his oath, if he does think
He had not my virginity.
King. What say'st thou to her?
She 's impudent, my lord;
And was a common gamester to the camp.
Dia. He does me wrong, my lord; if I were so,
a common gamester to the camp.] The following passage, in an ancient MS. tragedy, entitled The Second Maiden's Tragedy, will sufficiently elucidate the idea once affixed to the term-gamester, when applied to a female:
""Tis to me wondrous how you should spare the day
Again, in Pericles, Lysimachus asks Mariana
"Were you a gamester at five or at seven?”
Again, in Troilus and Cressida :
daughters of the game." Steevens.
1 Whose high respect, and rich validity,] Validity means value.
So, in King Lear:
"No less in space, validity, and pleasure."
Again, in Twelfth Night:
"Of what validity and pitch soever." Steevens.
He gave it to a commoner o' the camp,
If I be one.
He blushes, and 'tis it:2
Of six preceding ancestors, that gem
Conferr'd by testament to the sequent issue,
Hath it been ow'd and worn.
That ring 's a thousand proofs.
This is his wife;
Methought, you said,s
What of him?
He's quoted for a most perfidious slave,
She hath that ring of yours. Ber. I think, she has: certain it is, I lik'd her,
'tis it:] The old copy has-'tis hit. The emendation was made by Mr. Steevens. In many of our old chronicles I have found hit printed instead of it. Hence, probably, the mistake here. Mr. Pope reads-and 'tis his. Malone
Or, he blushes, and 'tis fit. Henley.
3 Methought, you said,] The poet has here forgot himself. Diana has said no such thing. Blackstone.
4 He's quoted for a most perfidious slave,] Quoted has the same sense as noted, or observed.
So, in Hamlet:
"I'm sorry that with better heed and judgment
debosh'd;] See a note on The Tempest, Act III, sc. ii. Vol. II, p. 82, n. 2. Steevens.
• Whose nature sickens, but to speak a truth:] Here the modern editors read:
Which nature sickens with:
a most licentious corruption of the old reading, in which the punctuation only wants to be corrected. We should read, as here printed:
Whose nature sickens, but to speak a truth: i. e. only to speak a truth. Tyrwhitt.