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and, indeed, such a fellow, to say precisely, were not for the court: but, for me, I have an answer will serve all men.
Count. Marry, that's a bountiful answer, that fits all questions.
Clo. It is like a barber's chair, that fits all buttocks?; the pin-buttock, the quatch-buttock, the brawn buttock, or any buttock.
Count. Will your answer serve fit to all questions?
Clo. As fit as ten groats is for the hand of an attorney, as your French crown for your taffata punk, as Tib's rush for Tom's fore-finger?, as a pancake for Shrove-tuesday, a morris for May-day, as the nail to his hole, the cuckold to his horn, as a scolding quean to a wrangling knave, as the nun's lip to the friar's mouth; nay, as the pudding to his skin.
Count. Have you, I say, an answer of such fitness for all questions?
Clo. From below your duke, to beneath your constable, it will fit any question.
Count. It must be an answer of most monstrous size, that must fit all demands.
Clo. But a trifle neither, in good faith, if the learned should speak truth of it: here it is, and all that belongs to't: Ask me, if I am a courtier; it shall do you no harm to learn.
Count. To be young again, if we could: I will be a fool in question, hoping to be the wiser by your answer. I pray you, sir, are you a courtier ?
1 This is a common proverbial expression.
2 Tom and Tibb were apparently common names for a lad and lass, the rush ring seems to have been a kind of love token, for plighting of troth among rustic lovers. In Green's Menaphon the custom is alluded to, “Well, 'twas a goodly worlde when such simplicitie was used, sayes the olde women of our time, when a ring of rush would tie as much love together as a gimmon (gimmal) of golde. The inuendo here is but too obvious.
Clo. O Lord, sir, There's a simple putting off;—more, more, a hundred of them.
Count. Sir, I am a poor friend of yours, that loves you.
Clo. O Lord, sir,—Thick, thick, spare not me.
Count. I think, sir, you can eat none of this homely meat.
Clo. O Lord, sir,-Nay,put me to't, I warrant you. Count. You were lately whipped, sir, as I think. Clo. O Lord, sir,—Spare not me.
Count. Do you cry, O Lord, sir, at your whipping, and spare not me? Indeed, your 0 Lord, sir, is very sequent* to your whipping; you would answer very well to a whipping, if you were but bound to't.
Clo. I ne'er had worse luck in my life, in myO Lord, sir: I see, things may serve long, but not serve ever.
Count. I play the noble housewife with the time, to entertain it so merrily with a fool.
Clo. O Lord, sir,— Why, there't serves well again.
Clo. Not much commendation to them.
Count. Not much employment for you: You understand me?
Clo. Most fruitfully; I am there before my legs.
3 A ridicule on this silly expletive of speech, then in vogue at court. Thus Clove and Orange, in Every Man in his Humour : • You conceive me, sir ?-0 Lord, sir!' Cleveland in one of his songs makes his Gentleman
• Answer, O Lord, sir! and talk play book oaths.' 4 Properly follows.
SCENE III. Paris.
A Room in the King's Palace. Enter BERTRAM, LAFeu, and PAROLLES. Laf. They say, miracles are past; and we have our philosophical persons, to make modern and familiar things, supernatural and causeless. Hence is it, that we make trifles of terrors; ensconcing. ourselves into seeming knowledge, when we should submit ourselves to an unknown fear 3.
Par. Why, 'tis the rarest argument of wonder, that hath shot out in our latter times.
Ber. And so 'tis.
Par. It is, indeed: if you will have it in showing, you shall read it in— What do you call there?
Laf. A showing of a heavenly effect in an earthly actor.
i Common, ordinary.
2 Sconce being a term in fortification for a chief fortress. To ensconce literally signifies to secure as in a fort. So in The Merry Wives of Windsor :- I will ensconce me behind the arras.' Into is used for in. · 3 Fear means here an object of fear.
4 Authentick is allowed, approved; and seems to have been the proper epithet for a physician regularly bred or licensed. The diploma of a licentiate still has authentice licentiatus,
Par. That's it I would have said; the very same.
Laf. Why, your dolphin5 is not lustier: 'fore me I speak in respect
Par. Nay, 'tis strange, 'tis very strange, that is the brief and the tedious of it; and he is of a most facinorous 6 spirit, that will not acknowledge it to be the
Laf. Very hand of heaven.
Par. And debile minister, great power, great transcendence: which should, indeed, give us a further use to be made, than alone the recovery of the king, as to be?-Laf. Generally thankful.
Enter King, HELENA, and Attendants. Par. I would have said it; you say well: Here comes the king.
Laf. Lusticks, as the Dutchman says: I'll like a maid the better, whilst I have a tooth in my head: Why, he's able to lead her a coranto.
Par. Mort du Vinaigre! Is not this Helen? '
5 The Dauphin was formerly so written, but it is doubtful whether Lafeu means to allude to the Prince or the fish. The old orthography is therefore continued. It should be remembered that lusty in its old acceptation meant sprightly, quick, active, lively, as well as strong. The lustiness of youth' is a common expression in old writers. We have also in Baret the lustiest and most busie time for husbandmen,’i.e. the most active.
7 Dr. Johnson thought this and some preceding speeches in the scene were erroneously given to Parolles instead of to Lafeu. This seems very probable, for the humour of the scene consists in Parolles's pretensions to knowledge and sentiments which he has not.
8 Lustigh is the Dutch for active, pleasant, playful, sportive. VOL. III.
King. Go, call before me all the lords in court.
[Exit an Attendant. Sit, my preserver, by thy patient's side; And with this healthful hand, whose banish'd sense Thou hast repeald, a second time receive The confirmation of my promis'd gift, Which but attends thy naming.
Enter several Lords. Fair maid, send forth thine eye: this youthful parcel Of noble bachelors stand at my bestowing, O’er whom both sovereign power and father's voice I have to use: thy frank election make; Thou hast power to choose, and they none to for
sake. Hel. To each of you one fair and virtuous mistress Fall, when love please!-marry, to each, but one 10!
Laf. I'd give bay Curtal", and his furniture, My mouth no more were broken than these boys', . And writ as little beard. King.
Peruse them well: Not one of those, but had a noble father.
Hel. Gentlemen, Heaven hath, through me, restor’d the king to
health. All. We understand it, and thank heaven for you.
Hel. I am a simple maid; and therein wealthiest, That, I protest, I simply am a maid:-Please it your majesty, I have done already: The blushes in my cheeks thus whisper me, We blush, that thou shouldst choose; but, be refus’d, 9 They were wards as well as subjects. 10 i. e. except one, meaning Bertram : but in the sense of be-out,
" A curtal was the common phrase for a horse; i. e. “I'd give my bay horse, &c. that my age were not greater than these boys;' a broken mouth is a mouth which has lost part of its teeth.