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King. If it were yours by none of all these ways, How could you give it him? Dia.
I never gave it him. Laf. This woman's an easy glove, my lord; she goes off and on at pleasure.
King. This ring was mine; I gave it his first wife.
King. Take her away; I do not like her now;
I'll never tell you.
I'll put in bail, my liege.
[Pointing to LAFEU. King. She does abuse our ears; to prison with her. Dia. Good mother, fetch my bail. --Stay, royal sir ;
[Exit Widow The jeweller that owes ? the ring is sent for, And he shall surety me.
But for this lord,
1 i. e. common woman, with whom any one may be familiar.
Re-enter Widow, with HELENA.
Is there no exorcist
No, my good lord;
Both, both. O, pardon!
here's your letter. This it says, When from my finger you can get
this ring, And are by me with child, &c.—This is done : Will
you be mine, now you are doubly won? Ber. If she, my liege, can make me know this
Hel. If it appear not plain, and prove untrue,
Laf. Mine eyes smell onions; I shall weep anon.
-Good Tom Drum, [To PAROLLES.] lend me a handkerchief. So, I thank thee; wait on me home. I'll make sport with thee. Let thy courtesies alone; they are scurvy ones.
King. Let us from point to point this story know, To make the even truth in pleasure flow.If thou be’st yet a fresh, uncropped flower,
[To DIANA. Choose thou thy husband, and I'll pay thy dower : For I can guess, that, by thy honest aid, Thou kept'st a wife herself, thyself a maid.Of that, and all the progress, more and less, Resolvedly more leisure shall express; All yet seems well; and if it end so meet, The bitter past, more welcome is the sweet.
1 i. e. hear us without interruption, and take our parts, 1. e. support and defend us
This play has many delightful scenes, though not sufficiently probable, and some happy characters, though not new, nor produced by any deep knowledge of human nature. Parolles is a boaster and a coward, such as has always been the sport of the stage, but perhaps never raised more laughter or contempt than in the hands of Shakspeare.
I cannot reconcile my heart to Bertram-a man noble without generosity, and young without truth; who marries Helen as a coward, and leaves her as a profligate; when she is dead by his unkindness, sneaks home to a second marriage, is accused by a woman he has wronged, defends himself by fassenood, and is dismissed to happiness.
The story of Bertram and Diana had been told before of Mariana and Angelo, and, to confess the truth, scarcely merited to be heard a second time.
THERE is an old anonymous play extant, with the same title, first printed in 1596, which (as in the case of King John and Henry V.) Shak speare rewrote, “adopting the order of the scenes, and inserting little more than a few lines which he thought worth preserving, or was in too much haste to alter.” Malone, with great probability, suspects the old play to have been the production of George Peele or Robert Greene.* Pope ascribed it to Shakspeare, and his opinion was current for many years, until a more exact examination of the original piece (which is of extreme rarity) undeceived those who were better versed in the literature of the time of Elizabeth than the poet. It is remarkable that the Induction, as it is called, has not been continued by Shakspeare so as to complete the story of Sly, or at least it has not come down to us; and Pope, therefore, supplied the deficiencies in this play from the elder performance: they have been degraded from their station in the text, as in some places incompatible with the fable and Dramatis Personæ of Shakspeare; the reader will, however, be pleased to find them subjoined to the notes, The origin of this amusing fiction may probably be traced to the sleeper awakened of the Arabian Nights: but similar stories are told of Philip the good Duke of Burgundy, and of the Emperor Charles the Fifth. Marco Polo relates something similar of the Ismaelian Prince Alo-eddin, or chief of the mountainous region, whom he calls, in common
* There was a second edition of the anonymous play in 1607; and the curious reader may consult it, in “Six Old Plays upon which Shakspeare founded,” &c., published by