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no queen of virgins, that would suffer her poor knight to be surprised, without rescue, in the first assault, or ransom afterward:9 This she deliver'd in the most bitter touch of sorrow, that e'er I heard virgin exclaim in: which I held my duty, speedily to acquaint you withal; fithence,” in the loss that may happen, it concerns you something to know it.
Count. You have discharged this honestly; keep it to yourself: many likelihoods inform’d me of this before, which hung so tottering in the balance, that I could neither believe, nor misdoubt: Pray you, leave me: stall this in your bosom, and I thank you for your honest care: I will speak with you further anon.
Enter Helena. Count. Even so it was with me, when I was
young: If we are nature's, these are ours; this thorn Doth to our rose of youth rightly belong;
Our blood to us, this to our blood is born;
9 - Love, no god, &c. Diana, no queen of virgins, &c.] This passage stands thus in the old copies:
Love, no god, that would not extend his might only where qualities were level; queen of virgins, that would suffer her poor knight, &c.
'Tis evident to every sensible reader that something must have slipt out here, by which the meaning of the context is rendered defective. The steward is speaking in the very words he overheard of the young lady; fortune was no goddess, she said, for one reason; love, no god, for another;—what could the then more naturally subjoin, than as I have amended in the text.
Diana, no queen of virgins, that would suffer her poor knight to be furprised without rescue, &c.
For in poetical history Diana was as well known to preside over chality, as Cupid over love, or Fortune over the change or regulation of our circumstances. THEOBALD. a f hence,] i. e. fince. So, in Spenser's State of Ireland: “ the beginning of all other evils which fathence have af
It is the show and seal of nature's truth,
Hel. What is your pleasure, madam?
You know, Helen, I am a mother to you.
Hel. Mine honourable mistress.
Nay, a mother ;
ficted that land." Chaucer frequently uses fith, and fithen, in the same sense. Steevens.
3 If we are nature's,] The old copy reads-If ever we are nature's. Steevens.
The emendation was made by Mr. Pope. Malone.
4 By our remembrances -] That is, according to our recollection, So we say, he is old by my reckoning. Johnson.
Such were our faults ;-or then we thought them none. We should read : - 0! then we thought them none. A motive for pity and pardon, agreeable to fact, and the indulgent character of the speaker. This was sent to the Oxford editor, and he altered O, to though. WARBURTON.
Such were the faulty weaknesses of which I was guilty in my youth, or such at least were then my feelings, though perhaps at that period of my life I did not think they deserved the name of faults. Dr. Warburton, without necessity, as it seems to me, reads—"0! then we thought them none;"--and the subsequent editors adopted the alteration. MALONE.
and choice breeds A native Nip to us from foreign feeds :] And our choice furnishes
You ne'er oppress'd me with a mother's groan,
That I am not. Count. I say, I am your mother.
Pardon, madam; The count Rousillon cannot be my brother: I am from humble, he from honour'd name; No note upon my parents, his all noble: My master, my dear lord he is; and I His servant live, and will his vassal die: He must not be my brother. COUNT.
Nor I your mother? Hel. You are my mother, madam; 'Would you
were (So that my lord, your son, were not my brother,) Indeed, my mother!-or were you both our mo
thers, I care no more for, than I do for heaven,
us with a slip propagated to us from foreign seeds, which we educate and treat, as if it were native to us, and sprung from ourselves.
The many-colour'd Iris, rounds chine eye?] There is something exquisitely beautiful in this representation of that suffusion of colours which glimmers around the fight when the eye-lashes are wet with tears. The poet hath described the same appearance in his Rape of Lucrece :
“ And round about her tear-distained eye.
So I were not his sister : 8 Can't no other,
- - or were you both our mothers,
So I were not his fifter:] There is a designed ambiguity: 1 care no more for, is, I care as much for. I wish it equally...
' FARMER. In Troilus and Crefda we find — I care not to be the louse of a lazar, so I were not Menelaus." There the words certainly mean, I should not be sorry or unwilling to be, &c. According to this, then, the meaning of the passage before us should be, “ If you were mother to us both, it would not give me more solicitude than heaven gives me,-so I were not his fifter.” But Helena certainly would not confess an indifference about her future state, However, she may mean, as Dr. Farmer has suggested, “ I should not care more than, but equally as, I care for future happiness; I should be as content, and solicit it as much, as I pray for the bliss of heaven.” MALONE. 9 - Can't no other,
But, I your daughter, he must be my brother?] The meaning is obscured by the elliptical diction. Can it be no other way, but if I be your daughter, he must be my brother? JOHNSON.
- Arive-] To strive is to contend. So, in Cymbeline :
STEEVEN. The mystery of her loveliness is beyond my comprehension: the old Countess is saying nothing ironical, nothing taunting, or in reproach, that this word should find a place here; which it could not, unless sarcastically employed, and with some spleen. I dare
You love my son; invention is asham’d,
Good madam, pardon me!
Your pardon, noble mistress!
Do not you love him, madam? Count. Go not about; my love hath in't a bond, Whereof the world takes note: come, come, dis
warrant the poet meant his old lady should say no more than this : * I now find the mystery of your creeping into corners, and weeping, and pining in secret." For this reason I have amended the text, loneliness. The Steward, in the foregoing scene, where he gives the Countess intelligence of Helena's behaviour, says
“ Alone she was, and did comunicate to herself, her own words to her own ears." THEOBALD.
The late Mr. Hall had corrected this, I believe, rightly,your Lowliness. Tyrwhitt.
I think Theobald's correction as plausible. To choose folitude is a mark of love. STEEVENS,
Your salt tears' head.] The source, the fountain of your tears, the cause of your grief. Johnson,
4- in their kind-] i, e, in their language, according to their nature. STEEVENS.