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In heavy satisfaction, and would never
Receive the ring again.

Plutus himself,
That knows the tinct and multiplying medicine, 2
Hath not in nature's mystery more science,
Than I have in this ring: 'twas mine, 'twas Helen's,
Whoever gave it you: Then, if you know
That you are well acquainted with yourself,
Confess 'twas hers, 3 and by what rough enforcement
You got it from her: she calls the saints to surety,
That she would never put it from her finger,
Unless she gave it to yourself in bed,
(Where you have never come) or sent it us
Upon her great disaster.

She never saw it. King. Thou speak'st it falsely, as I love mine honour; And mak’st conjectural fears to come into me, Which I would fain shut out: If it should prove That thou art so inhuman,—'twill not prove so; And yet I know not:- Thou didst hate her deadly, And she is dead; which nothing, but to close Her eyes myself, could win me to believe, More than to see this ring.–Take him away.

[Guards seize BER. My fore-past proofs, howe'er the matter fall, Shall tax my fears of little vanity,

2 Plutus himself

That knows the tinct and multiplying medicine,] Plutus the grand alchemist, who knows the tincture which confers the properties of gold upon base metals, and the matter by which gold is multiplied, by which a small quantity of gold is made to communicate its qualities to a large mass of base metal.

In the reign of Henry the Fourth a law was made to forbid all men thenceforth to multiply gold, or use any craft of multiplication. Of which law, Mr. Boyle, when he was warm with the hope of transmutation, procured a repeal. Johnson.

Then, if you know
That you are well acquainted with yourself,

Confess 'twas hers,] i. e. confess the ring was hers, for you know it as well as you know that you are yourself. Edwards.

The true meaning of this expression, is, if you know that your faculties are so sound, as that you have the proper consciousness of your own actions, and are able to recollect and relate what you have done, tell me, &c. Johnson.


Having vainly fear’d too little.'— Away with him ;-
We 'll sift this matter further.


shall prove
This ring was ever hers, you shall as easy
Prove that I husbanded her bed in Florence,
Where yet she never was. [Exit Ber. guarded.

Enter a Gentleman.
King. I am wrapp'd in dismal thinkings.

Gracious sovereign,
Whether I have been to blame, or no, I know not:
Here's a petition from a Florentine,
Who hath, for four or five removes, come short
To tender it herself.5 I undertook it,
Vanquish'd thereto by the fair grace and speech
Of the poor suppliant, who by this, I know,
Is here attending: her business looks in her
With an importing visage; and she told me,
In a sweet verbal brief, it did concern
Your highness with herself.

King. [reads] Upon his many protestations to marry me, when his wife was dead, I blush to say it, he won me. Now is the count Rousillon a widower; his vows are forfeited to me, and my honour 's paid to him. He stole from Florence, taking no leave, and I follow him to his country for justice: Grant it me, o king; in you it best lies: otherwise a seducer Aourishes, and a poor maid is undone.

DIANA CAPULET. Laf. I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll him: for this, I'll none of him.6

4 My fore-past proofs, howe'er the matter fall,

Shall tax my fears of little vanity,

Having vainly fear'd too little.] The proofs which I have already had are sufficient to show that my fears were not vain and irra. tional. I have rather been hitherto more easy than I ought, and have unreasonably had too little fear. Johnson.

5 Who hath, for four or five removes, come short &c.] Who hath missed the opportunity of presenting it in person to your majesty, either at Marseilles, or on the road from thence to Rou. sillon, in consequence of having been four or five removes behind you. Malone.

Removes are journies or post-stages. Johnson. 6 I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll him: for this, I'll

King. The heavens have thought well on thee, Lafeu, To bring forth this discovery. Seek these suitors:

look upon

custom :

none of him.] Thus the second folio. The first omits-him. Either reading is capable of explanation.

The meaning of the earliest copy seems to be this: I'll buy me a new son-in-law, &c. and toll the bell for this; i.e. him as a dead man. The second reading, as Dr. Percy suggests, may imply: I'll buy me a son-in-law as they buy a horse in a fair ; toul him, i. e. enter him on the toul or toll-book, to prove I came honestly by him, and ascertain my title to him. In a play called The famous History of Tho. Stukely, 1605, is an allusion to this

Goo. I will be answerable to thee for thy horses.

Stuk. Dost thou keep a tole-booth? zounds, dost thou make a horse-courser of me?" Again, in Hudibras, P. II, C. i:

- a roan gelding " Where, when, by whom, and what y were sold for

“ And in the open market toll’d for." Alluding (as Dr. Grey observes) to the two statutes relating to the sale of horses, 2 and 3 Phil. and Mary, and 31 Eliz. c. 12, and publickly tolling them in fairs, to prevent the sale of such as were stolen, and to preserve the property to the right owner.

The previous mention of a fair seems to justify the reading I have adopted from the second folio. Steevens. The passage should be pointed thus :

I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll;

For this, I'll none of him. That is, “I'll buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and pay toll; as for this, I will have none of him.” M. Mason.

The meaning, I think, is, “I will purchase a son-in-law at a fair, and get rid of this worthless fellow, by tolling him out of it." To toll a person out of a fair was a phrase of the time. So, in Camden's Remaines, 1605: “ At a Bartholomew Faire at London there was an escheator of the same city, that had arrested a clothier that was outlawed, and had seized his goods, which he bad brought into the faire, tolling him out of the faire, by a traine.”

And toll for this, may, however, mean- and I will sell this fel. low in a fair, as I would a horse, publickly entering in the tollbook the particulars of the sale. For the hint of this latter interpretation I am indebted to Dr. Percy. I incline, however, to the former exposition.

The following passage in King Henry IV, P. II, may be adduced in support of Mr. Steevens's interpretation of this passage: “Come, thou shalt go to the wars in a gown, and I will take such order that thy friends shall ring for thee.

Here Falstaff certainly means to speak equivocally, and one of his senses is, “ I will take care to have thee knocked in the head, and thy friends shall ring thy funeral knell.” Malone.

Go, speedily, and bring again the count.

[Exeunt Gen. and some Attendants. I am afeard, the life of Helen, lady, Was foully snatch'd. Count.

Now, justice on the doers!

Enter BERTRAM, guarded.
King. I wonder, sir, since wives are monsters to you,?
And that you fly them as you swear them lordship,
Yet you desire to marry.- What woman 's that?

Re-enter Gentleman, with Widow, and DIANA.
Dia. I am, my lord, a wretched Florentine,
Derived from the ancient Capulet;
My suit, as I do understand, you know,
And therefore know how far I may be pitied.

Wid. I am her mother, sir, whose age and honour
Both suffer under this complaint we bring,
And both shall cease, 8 without your remedy.

King. Come hither, count; Do you know these women?

Ber. My lord, I neither can, nor will deny But that I know them: Do they charge me further?

Dia. Why do you look so strange upon your wife? Ber. She's none of mine, my lord.

7 I wonder, sir, since wives &c.] This passage is thus read in the first folio:

I wonder, sir, sir, wives are monsters to you,
And that you fly them, as you swear them lordship,

Yet you desire to marry.-
Which may be corrected thus :

" I wonder, sir, since wives are monsters &c. The editors have made it-wives are so monstrous to you, and in the next line-swear to them, instead of-swear them lordship.

Though the latter phrase be a little obscure, it should not have been turned out of the text without notice. I suppose lordship is put for that protection which the husband in the marriage ceremony, promises to the wife. Tyrwhitt.

Aš, I believe, here signifies as soon as. Malone.

I read with Mr. Tyrwhitt, whose emendation I have placed in the text. It may be observed, however, that the second folio reads : I wonder, sir, wives are such monsters to you

Steevens. shall cease,] i.e. decease, die. So, in King Lear : “ Fall

The word is used in the same sense in p. 297 of the present comedy. Steedens.

8 and cease.

you shall



marry, You give away this hand, and that is mine; You give away heaven's vows, and those are mine; You give away myself, which is known mine; For I by vow am so embodied yours, That she, which marries you, must marry me, Either both, or none.

Luf. Your reputation [to Ber.] comes too short for my daughter, you are no husband for her.

Ber. My lord, this is a fond and desperate creature, Whom sometime I have laugh’d with: let your highness Lay a more noble thought upon mine honour, Than for to think that I would sink it here.

King. Sir, for my thoughts, you have them ill to friend,
Till your deeds gain them: 'Fairer prove your honour,
Than in my thought it lies!

Good my lord,
Ask him upon his oath, if he does think
He had not my virginity.

King. What say'st thou to her?

She 's impudent, my lord; And was a common gamester to the camp. 9

Dia. He does me wrong, my lord; if I were so,
He might have bought me at a common price:
Do not believe him: O, behold this ring,
Whose high respect, and rich validity,'
Did lack a parallel; yet, for all that,


a, common gamester to the camp.] The following passage, in an ancient MS. tragedy, entitled The Second Maiden's Tragedy, will sufficiently elucidate the idea once affixed to the term-gamester, when applied to a female:

«r 'Tis to me wondrous how you should spare the day
“From amorous clips, much less the general season

“When all the world's a gamester." Again, in Pericles, Lysimachus asks Mariana

"Were you a gamester at five or at seven ?" Again, in Troilus and Cressida:

daughters of the game.Steevens. 1 Whose high respect, and rich validity,] Validity means value. So, in King Lear:

“No less in space, validity, and pleasure." Again, in Twelfth Night:

Of what validity and pitch soever.” Steevens.

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