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With that she sighed as she stood,
And gave this sentence then;
There's yet one good in ten.. Count. What, one good in ten? you corrupt the song, sirrah.
Clo. One good woman in ten, madam; which is a purifying o' the song: 'Would God would serve the world so all the year! we'd find no fault with the tythewoman, if I were the parson: One in ten, quoth a'! an we might have a good woman born but every blazing star,? or at an earthquake, 'twould mend the lottery well;' a man may draw his heart out, ere he pluck one.
4 Fond done,] Is foolishly done. So, in King Richard III, Act II1, sc. iji:
Sorrow and grief of heart, “ Makes him speak fondly.” Steevens. 5 With that she sighet as she stood,] At the end of the line of which this is a repetition, we find added in Italick characters the word bis, denoting, I suppose, the necessity of its being repeated. The corresponding line was twice printed, as it is here inserted, from the oldest copy. Steevens. 6 Among nine bad if one be good,
There's yet one good in ten.] This second stanza of the ballad is turned to a joke upon the women: a confession, that there was one good in ten. Whereon the Countess observed, that he corrupted the song; which shows the song said-nine good in ten.
If one be bad amongst nine good,
There's but one bad in ten. This relates to the ten sons of Priam, who all behaved themselves well but Paris. For though he once had fifty, yet, at this unfortunate period of his reign, he had but ten; Agathon, Antiphon, Deiphobus, Dius, Hector, Helenus, Hippothous, Pammon, Paris, and Polites. Warburton.
but every blazing star,] The old copy reads--but ore every blazing star. Steevens.
I suppose o'er was a misprint for or, which was used by our old writers for before. Malone.
- 'twould mend the lottery well;] This surely is a strange kind of phraseology. I have never met with any example of it in any of the contemporary writers; and if there were any proof that in the lotteries of Queen Elizabeth's time wheels were employed, I should be inclined to read-lottery wheel. Malone.
Count. You 'll be gone, sir knave, and do as I command you?
Clo. That man should be at woman's command, and yet no hurt done!- Though honesty be no puritan, yet it will do no hurt; it will wear the surplice of humility over the black gown of a big heart.'—I am going, forsooth: the business is for Helen to come hither.
9 Clo. That man &c.] The Clown's answer is obscure. His lady bids him do as he is commanded. He answers, with the licentious petulance of his character, that if a man does as a woman commands, it is likely he will do amiss; that he does not amiss, being at the command of a woman, he makes the effect, not of his lady's goodness, but of his own honesty, which, though not very nice or puritanical, will do no hurt; and will not only do no hurt, but, unlike the puritans, will comply with the injunctions of superiors, and wear the surplice of humility over the black gown of a big heart; will obey commands, though not much pleased with a state of subjection.
Here is an allusion, violently enough forced in, to satirize the obstinacy with which the puritans refused the use of the ecclesiastical habits, which was, at that time, one principal cause of the breach of the union, and, perhaps, to insinuate, that the modest purity of the surplice was sometimes a cover for pride. Johnson.
The aversion of the puritans to a surplice is alluded to in many of the old comedies. So, in Cupid's Whirligig, 1607:
She loves to act in as clean linen as any gentlewoman of her function about the town; and truly that 's the reason that your sincere puritans cannot abide a surplice, because they say 'tis made of the same thing that your villainous sin is committed in, of your prophane holland.”
Again, in The Match at Midnight, 1633:
~ He has turn'd my stomach for all the world like a puritan's at the sight of a surplice.” Again, in The Hollander, 1640:
A puritan, who, because ḥe saw a surplice in the church, would needs hang himself in the bell-ropes." Steedens.
I cannot help thinking we should read-Though honesty be a puritan Tyrwhitt.
Surely Mr. Tyrwhitt's correction is right. If our author had meant to say--though honesty be no puritan, --why should he add -that it would wear the surplice, &c. or, in other words, that it would be content to assume a covering that puritans in general reprobated? What would there be extraordinary in this? Is it matter of wonder that he who is no puritan, should be free from the scruples and prejudices of one?
The Clown, I think, means to say, “Though honesty be rigid and conscientious as a puritan, yet it will not be obstinate, but
Count. Well, now.
Stew. I know, madam, you love your gentlewoman entirely.
Count. Faith, I do: her father bequeathed her to me; and she herself, without other advantage, may lawfully make title to as much love as she finds: there is more owing her, than is paid; and more shall be paid her, than she 'll demand.
Stew. Madam, I was very late more near her than, I think, she wished me: alone she was, and did communicate to herself, her own words to her own ears; she thought, I dare vow for her, they touched not any stranger sense. Her matter was, she loved your son: Fortune, she said, was no goddess, that had put such difference betwixt their two estates; Love no god, that would not extend his might, only where qualities were level;' Diana, no queen of virgins, that would suffer her poor knight to be surprised, without rescue, in the first assault, or ransome afterward:2 This she delivered
humbly comply with the lawful commands of its superiors, while, at the same time, its proud spirit inwardly revolts against them." I suspect, however, a still farther corruption; and that the compositor caught the words “no hurt” from the preceding line. Our author, perhaps, wrote-“Though honesty be a puritan, yet it will do what is enjoined; it will wear the surplice of humility, over the black gown of a big heart." I will, therefore, obey my mistress, however reluctantly, and go for Helena. Malone.
- only where qualities were level;] The meaning may be, where qualities only, and not fortunes or conditions, were level. Or, perhaps, only is used for except: “ -- that would not extend his might, except where two persons were of equal rank."
Malone. 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 she 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 surprised without rescue, &c.
For, in poetical history, Diana was as well known to preside over chastity, as Cupid over love, or Fortune over the change or resulation of our circumstances.
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; sithence, 3 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 informed 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.
[Exit Stew. 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;
Hel. What is your pleasure, madam?
You know, Helen, I am a mother to you.
sithence,] i.e. since. So, in Spenser's State of Ireland: the beginning of all other evils which sithence have afflicted that land." Chaucer frequently uses sith, and sithen, in the same
Steevens. 4 If we are nature's,] The old copy reads—If ever we are nature's. Steevens.
The emendation was made by Mr. Pope. Malone.
5 By our remembrances -] That is, according to our recollection. So we say, he is old by my reckoning. Fohnson.
6 Such were our faults ; :-or then we thought them none. ] We should read: O! 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 0, 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.
Hel. Mine honourable mistress.
Nay, a mother;
That I am not. Count. I
I am your mother. Hel.
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 mothers,
and choice breeds A native slip to us from foreign seeds :] And our choice furnishes 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. Heath.
What's the matter,
The many-colourd Iris, rounds thine eye?] There is something exquisitely beautiful in this representation of that suffusion of colours which glimmers around the sight when the eye-lashes are wet with tears. The poet hath described the same appear. ance in his Rape of Lucrece:
“And round about her tear-distained eye