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Cor. Sir, I am a true labourer; I earn that I eat, get that I wear; owe no man hate, envy no man's happiness; glad of other men's good, content with my harm: and the greatest of my pride is, to see my ewes graze, and my lambs suck.
Touch. That is another simple sin in you: to bring the ewes and the rams together, and to offer to get your living by the copulation of cattle: to be bawd to a bell-wether; and to betray a she-lamb of a twelvemonth, to a crooked-pated, old, cuckoldy ram, out of all reasonable match. If thou be'st not damn'd for this, the devil himself will have no shepherds; I cannot see else how thou shouldst ’scape.
Cor. Here comes young master Ganymede, my new mistress's brother.
Enter ROSALIND, readiny a Paper.
No jewel is like Rosalind.
meaning. Mr. Nares says, 'Can it have been a phrase borrowed from surgery ? A quotation from The Times Whistle, or a New Daunce of Seven Satires, MS. made by Dr. Farmer, shows that it was.
"Be stout, my heart; my hand, be firm and steady; Strike, and strike home, the vaine world's vaine is ready: Let ulcer'd limbes and goutye humors quake,
Whilst with my pen I doe incision make. And the following curious passage from Baret's Alvearie proves it: 'those hell houndes which lay violent hands upon other men's goods are like biles and botches in the body of the common-weale: and must be cured either by incysion and letting blood in the necke-vaine, or by searing with a hot yron, or els with a caudle of hempseed chopt halter-wise,' &c. His purpose is to illustrate why a thief is called felon, which also signified a bile. Shakspeare uses incision for opening a vein in Love's Labour's Lost, Act iv. Sc.2: “A fever in your blood, why then incision will let her out in saucers.'
All the pictures, fairest lind 8, "Are but black to Rosalind.
Let no face be kept in mind,
But the fair 9 of Rosalind. Touch. I'll rhyme you so, eight years together; dinners, and suppers, and sleeping hours excepted; it is the right butter-woman's rank 10 to market.
Ros. Out, fool !
If a hart do lack a hind,
Must find love's prick, and Rosalind. This is the very false gallop of veres 11: Why do you infect yourself with them.
Ros. Peace, you dull fool; I found them on a tree. 8 i.e. most fairly delineated. 9 Fair is beauty.
10 «The right butter-woman's rank to market' means the jogtrot rate (as it is vulgarly called) with which butter women uniformly travel one after another in their road to market. In its application to Orlando's poetry, it means a set or string of verses in the same coarse cadence and vulgar uniformity of rythm. So in K. Henry IV. P. 1. speaking of 'mincing poetry.'
"'Tis like the forc'd gait of a shuffling nag.' 11 «The very false gallop of verses.' So in Nashe's Pierce Pennilesse, 1593: "I would trot a false gallop through the rest of his ragged verses, but that if I should retort the rime doggrel aright, I must make my verses (as he doth) run hobbling, like a brewer's cart upon the stones, and observe no measure in their feet.'
Touch. Truly, the tree yields bad fruit.
Ros. I'll graff it with you, and then I shall graff it with a medlar: then it will be the earliest fruit in the country: for you'll be rotten e'er you be half ripe, and that's the right virtue of the medlar..
Touch. You have said; but whether wisely or no, let the forest judge.
Enter CELIA, reading a Paper.
For it is unpeopled? No;
That shall civil 13 sayings show.
Runs his erring pilgrimage;
Buckles in his sum of age.
'Twixt the souls of friend and friend :
Or at every sentence' end,
Teaching all that read, to know
Heaven would in little 14 show. 13 The word silent is not in the old copy. Pope corrected the passage by reading
· Why should this a desert be?' The present reading was proposed by Tyrwhitt, who observes that the hanging of tongues on every tree would not make it less a desert ?
13 • Civil,' says Johnson, 'is here used in the same sense as when we say, civil wisdom and civil life, in opposition to a solitary state. This desert shall not appear unpeopled, for every tree shall teach the maxims or incidents of social life.
14 i.e. in miniature. So in Hamlet:' a hundred ducats apiece for his picture in little.'
Therefore heaven nature chargʻd 15
That one body should be fill'd
Nature presently distill’d
Sad Lucretia's modesty.
By heavenly synod was devis'd;
To have the touches dearest priz'd.
And I to live and die her slave.
Ros. O most gentle Jupiter !—what tedious homily of love have you wearied your parishioners withal, and never cry'd, Have patience, good people!
Cel. How now ! back friends ;-Shepherd, go off a little:-Go with him, sirrah.
Touch. Come, shepherd, let us make an honourable retreat; though not with bag and baggage, yet with scrip and scrippage.
[Exeunt CORIN and TouchSTONE. Cel. Didst thou hear these verses ? Ros. O, yes, I heard them all, and more too;
15 The hint is probably taken from the Picture of Apelles, or the Pandora of the Ancients.
16 There is a great diversity of opinion among the commentators about what is meant by the better part of Atalanta, for which I must refer the reader, who is desirous of seeing this knotty point discussed, to the Variorum editions of Shakspeare. There is a very ingenious disquisition on this passage in Mr. Whiter's Specimen of a Commentary on Shakspeare. Whalley thinks the following old Epitaph may have suggested it:
She who is dead and sleepeth in this tomb
for some of them had in them more feet than the verses would bear.
Cel. That's no matter; the feet might bear the verses.
Ros. Ay, but the feet were lame, and could not bear themselves without the verse, and therefore stood lamely in the verse.
Cel. But didst thou hear, without wondering how thy name should be hang’d and carv'd upon these trees?
Ros. I was seven of the nine days out of the wonder, before you came; for look here what I found on a palm-tree 17: I never was so be-rhymed since Pythagoras' time, that I was an Irish rat 18, which I can hardly remember.
Cel. Trow you, who hath done this?
Cel. And a chain, that you once wore, about his neck: Change you colour?
Ros. I pr’ythee, who?
Cel. O lord, lord ! it is a hard matter for friends to meet; but mountains may be removed with earthquakes, and so encounter 19.
17 A palm tree in the forest of Arden is as much out of its place as the lioness in a subsequent scene.
18 Johnson has called Rosalind a very learned lady for this trite allusion to the Pythagorean doctrine of the transmigration of souls. It was no less common than the other allusion of rhyming rats to death in Ireland. This fanciful idea probably arose from some metrical charm or incantation used there for ridding houses of rats. We find it mentioned by Ben Jonson, Randolph, and Marmion. Thus in the Poetaster:
* Rhime them to death, as they do Irish rats
In drumming tunes.' 19 Alluding ironically to the proverb:
• Friends may meet, but mountains never greet.' In Holland's translation of Pliny, Shakspeare found that “ Two hills (removed by an earthquake) encountered together, charging as it were and with violence assaulting one another, and retyring again with a most mighty noise.'