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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.
OLI. Now, fir! what make you here?
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.
Oli. Marry, fir, be better employ'd, and be naught awhile.
s- what make you here] i. e. what do you here? So, in Hamlet:
“ What make you at Elsinour?” STEEVENS. 6- be better employ'd, and be naught a while.] 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 fentiment in his eye, quoted from Attilius, by the younger Pliny and otbers; fatius est otiofum effe quam 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
Orl. Shall I keep your hogs, and eat husks with them? What prodigal portion have I spent, that I should come to such penury?
while is only a north-country proverbial curse equivalent to, a mischief on you. So, the old poet Skelton:
« Correct first thy felfe, walk and be nought,
" Deeme what thou lift, 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 itand; 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 be. lieve 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 fays to Pistol: “ Nay, if he do nothing but speak nothing, be 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, 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 ftill 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 fay's to Mooncalf: " Leave the bottle behind you, and be curs’d awhile;'' which seems to confirm Warburton's explanation. M. Masox.
Olr. Know you where you are, 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 me, as you ; albeit, I confess, your coming before me is nearer to his reverence,
Oli. What, boy!
Orl. Come, come, elder brother, you are too young in this.
7 Ay, better than he I am 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. STEVENS.
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. 8 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 fome 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; fomething 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,- Alveit 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 eftate. WARBURTON.
This, I apprehend, refers to the courtesy of distinguishing the eldeft son of a knight, by the title of esquire. HENLEY.
Oll. Wilt thou lay hands on me, villain?
Orl. I am no villain:' I am the youngest son of fir 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.
ADAM. Sweet masters, be patient; for your father's remembrance, be at accord.
Oli. Let me go, I say.
Orl. I will not, till I please: you shall hear me. My father charged you in his will to give me good 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 you than becomes me for my good.
Ol1. Get you with him, you old dog.
ADAM. Is old dog my reward? Most true, I have lost my teeth in your service.—God be with my 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 phyfick your rankness, and yet give no thoufand crowns neither. Hola, Dennis !
9 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.
Den. Calls 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.
Cha. Good morrow to your worship.
Oli. Good monsieur Charles !—what's the new news at the new court?
CHA. There's no news at the court, sir, but the old news: that is, the old duke is banished by his younger brother the new duke; and three or four loving lords have put themselves into voluntary exile with him, whose lands and revenues enrich the new duke; therefore he gives them good leave a to wander.
Oli. Can you tell, if Rosalind, the duke's daughter,' be banished with her father.
a — good leave -] As often as this phrase occurs, it means a ready a fént. So, in King John:
• Baft. James Gurney, wilt thou give us leave awhile?
“ Gür. Good leave, good Philip.” STEBVENS. 3 - the duke's daughter,] The words old and new finferted by Sir T. Hanmer seem necessary to the perfpicuity of the dialogue. JOHNSON.