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· Touch. Amen. A man may, if he were of a fearful heart, stagger in this attempt; for here we have no temple but the wood, no assembly but horn-beasts. But what though? 8 Courage! As horns are odious, they are necessary. It is said, Many a man knows no end of his goods: right; many a man has good horns, and knows no end of them. Well, that is the dowry of his wife; 'tis none of his own getting. Horns? Even fo:Poor men alone?- No, no; the noblest deer hath them as huge as the rascal. Is the single man therefore blessed ? No: as a wall’d town is more worthier than a village, so is the forehead of a married man more honourable than the bare brow of a bachelor: and by how much defence' is better than no skill, by so much is a horn more precious than to want.
Enter Sir Oliver Mar-text.
Here comes fir Oliver:2—Sir Oliver Mar-text, you are well met: Will you despatch us here under this tree, or shall we go with you to your chapel?
8 - what though?] What then? Johnson.
9 -defence ] Defence, as here opposed to " no skill," signifies the art of fencing. Thus, in Hamlet: “ and gave you such a masterly report, for arts and exercise in your defence.” Steevens. a f ir Oliver:] He that has taken his first degree at the university, is in the academical style called Dominus, and in common language was heretofore termed Sir. This was not always a word of contempt; the graduates assumed it in their own writings; so Trevisa the historian writes himself Syr John de Trevisa.
JOHNSON. We find the same title bestowed on many divines in our old comedies. So, in Wily Beguiled:
“ — Sir John cannot tend to it at evening prayer; for there comes a company of players to town on Sunday in the afternoon, and Sir John is so good a fellow, that I know he'll scarce leave their company, to say evening prayer."
• Sir Oli. Is there none here to give the woman?
Touch. I will not take her on gift of any man.
Sir Oli. Truly, she must be given, or the marriage is not lawful.
JAQ. [Discovering himself.] Proceed, proceed; I'll give her.
Touch. Good even, good master What ye call't: How do you, sir? You are very well met: God'ild you? for your last company: I am very glad to see you :-Even a toy in hand here, fir:-Nay; pray, be cover'd.
JAQ. Will you be married, motley?
Touch. As the ox hath his bow, 4 fir, the horse his curb, and the faulcon her bells, so man hath his desires; and as pigeons bill, so wedlock would be nibbling.
JAQ. And will you, being a man of your breeding, be married under a bush, like a beggar? Get you to church, and have a good priest that can tell you what marriage is: this fellow will but join you
Again, “ We'll all go to church together, and so save Sir John a labour.” See notes on The Merry Wives of Windsor, AA I. sc. i.
STEVENS. Degrees were at this time considered as the highest dignities; and it may not be improper to observe, that a clergyman, who hath not been educated at the Universities, is still distinguished in some parts of North Wales, by the appellation of Sir John, Sir William, &c. Hence the Sir Hugh Evans of Shakspeare is not a Welsh knight who hath taken orders, but only a Welsh clergyman without any regular degree from either of the Universities. See Barrington's History of the Guedir Family. Nichols.
3 — God'ild you -] i. e. God yield you, God reward you. So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
“ And the gods yield you for't!" See notes on Macbeth, Act I. sc. vi. Steevens.
4 his bow,] i. e. his yoke. The ancient roke in form resembled a bow. See note on The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act V. Vol. III. p. 493.. STEEVENS.
together as they join wainscot; then one of you will prove a shrunk pannel, and, like green timber, warp, warp.
Touch. I am not in the mind but I were better to be married of him than of another: for he is not like to marry me well; and not being well married, it will be a good excuse for me hereafter to leave my wife.
[Aside. JAQ. Go thou with me, and let me counsel thee.
Touch. Come, sweet Audrey;
O brave Oliver,
Begone, I say, I will not to wedding wi’ thee. [Exeunt Jaques, Touchstone, and Audrey. SIR OLI. 'Tis no matter; ne'er a fantastical knave of them all shall flout me out of my calling. [Exit. » Not- fweet Oliver, O brave, &c.] Some words of an old ballad.
WARBURTON. Of this speech as it now appears, I can make nothing, and think nothing can be made. In the same breath he calls his mistress to be married, and sends away the man that should marry them. Dr. Warburton has very happily observed, that O fweet Oliver is a quotation from an old song; I believe there are two quotations put in opposition to each other. For wind I read wend, the old word for go. Perhaps the whole passage may be regulated thus:
Clo. I am not in the mind, but it were better for me to be married of him than of another, for he is not like to marry me well, and not being well married, it will be a good excuse for me hereafter to leave my wife.-Come, Sweet Audrey; we mufi be married, or we muff titve in bawdry.
Ros. Never talk to me, I will weep.
Cel. Do, I proythee; but yet have the grace to consider, that tears do not become a man.
Jaq. Go thou with me, and let me counsel thee. [They whisper.
Clo. Farewel, good for Oliver, not O sweet Oliver, O brave Oliver, leave me not behind thee, but
Begone, I say, I will not to wedding with thee to-day. Of this conjecture the reader may take as much as shall appear necessary to the sense, or conducive to the humour. I have received all but the additional words. The song feems to be complete without them. Johnson.
The Clown dismisses fir Oliver only because Jaques had alarmed his pride, and raised his doubts, concerning the validity of a marriage solemnized by one who appears only in the character of an itinerant preacher. He intends afterwards to have recourse to fome other of more dignity in the same profession. Dr. Johnson's opinion, that the latter part of the Clown's speech is only a repetition from some other ballad, or perhaps a different part of the fame, is, I believe, juft.
O brave Oliver, leave me not behind you, is a quotation at the beginning of one of N. Breton's Letters, in his Packet, &c. 1600.
STEEVENS. That Touchstone is influenced by the counsel of Jaques, may be inferred from the subsequent dialogue between the former and Audrey, A&t V. sc. i:
Touch. We shall find a time, Audrey ; patience, gentle Audrey.
Aud. 'Faith, the priest was good enough, for all the old gentleman's faying. MaloNE.
Of weet Oliver. The epithet of freet seems to have been peculiarly appropriated to Oliver, for which perhaps he was originally obliged to the old fong before us. No more of it, however, than
Ros. But have I not cause to weep?
Cel. As good cause as one would desire; therefore weep.
Ros. His very hair is of the dissembling colour.
Cel. Something browner than Judas's: “ marry, his kisses are Judas's own children.
these two lines has as yet been produced. See Ben Jonson's Underwood :
“ All the mad Rolands and sweet Olivers." And, in Every man in his Humour, p. 88, is the same allusion :
“ Do not stink, sweet Oliver." TYRWHITT. In the books of the Stationers' Company, Aug. 6, 1584, was entered by Richard Jones, the ballad of,
"' o fweete Olyver
« Leave me not behinde thee.” Again, “ 'The answere of O sweete Olyver.” Again, in 1586: “ O fweete Olyver altered to the Scriptures.”
STEEVENS. I often find a part of this song applied to Cromwell. In a paper, called, A Man in the Moon, discovering a World of Knavery under the Sun,“ the junkto will go near to give us the bagge, if o brave Oliver come not suddenly to relieve them.” The same allusion is met with in Cleaveland. Wind away, and wind off are still used provincially: and, I believe, nothing but the provincial pronunciation is wanting to join the parts together. I read :
Not-o fweet Oliver!
O brave Oliver!
But wind away,
Begone, I say, I will not to wedding wi' thee. FARMER. To produce the necessary rhyme, and conform to the pronunciation of Shakspeare's native county, I have followed Dr. Farmer's direction. Wind is used for wend in Cafar and Pompey, 1607: “ Winde we then, Antony, with this royal queen.”
Steevens. 6 Something browner than Judas's :] See Mr. Tollet's note and mine, on a passage in the fourth scene of the first Act of The Merry Wives of Windsor, from both which it appears that Judas was con