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He gave it to a commoner o'the camp,
Count. He blushes, and 'tis it:2
Methought, you said, 3 You saw one here in court could witness it,
Dia. I did, my lord, but loth am to produce
Laf. I saw the man to-day, if man he be.
What of him?
She hath that ring of yours. Ber. I think, she has: certain it is, I lik'd her,
'tis it:] The old copy has—’tis hit. The emendation was made by Mr. Steevens. In many of our old chronicles I have found hit printed instead of it. Hence, probably, the mistake here. Mr. Pope reads--and 'tis his. Malone
Or, he blushes, and 'tis fit. Henley. 3 Methought, you said,] The poet has here forgot himself. Diana has said no such thing. Blackstone.
* He's quoted for a most perfidious slave,] Quoted has the same sense as noted, or observed. So, in Hamlet :
“I'm sorry that with better heed and judgment
deboshd;] See a note on The Tempest, Act III, sc. ii. Vol. II, p. 82, n. 2. Steevens.
o Whose nature sickens, but to speak a truth:] Here the modern editors read:
Which nature sickens with:a most licentious corruption of the old reading, in which the punctuation only wants to be corrected. We should read, as here printed:
Whose nature sickens, but to speak a truth: only to speak a truth. Tyrwhitt.
And boarded her i' the wanton way of youth:
I must be patient;
7 all impediments in fancy's course
Are motives of more fancy;] Every thing that obstructs love is an occasion by which love is heightened. And, to conclude, her solicitation concurring with her fashionable appearance, she got the ring.
I am not certain that I have attained the true meaning of the word modern, which, perhaps, signifies rather meanly pretty.
Fohnson. I believe modern means common. The sense will then be this - Her solicitation concurring with her appearance of being common, i.e. with the appearance of her being to be had, as we say at present. Shakspeare uses the word moviern frequently, and always in this sense. So, in King John:
scorns a modern invocation." Again, in As you Like it :
“ Full of wise saws and modern instances."
“ Trifles, such as we present modern friends with.” Again, in the present comedy, p. 211, n. 5: “ - to make modern and familiar things supernatural and causeless."
Mr. M. Mason says, that modern grace means, with a tolerable degree of beauty. He questions also the insufficiency of the instances brought in support of my explanation, but adduces none in defence of his own. Steevens.
Dr. Johnson's last interpretation is certainly the true one. See p. 59, n. 4; and p. 211, n. 5. I think, with Mr. Steevens, that modern here, as almost every where in Shakspeare, means common, ordinary; but do not suppose that Bertram here means to call Diana a common gamester, though he has styled her so in a former passage. Malone.
8 May justly diet me.) May justly loath or be weary of me, as people generally are of a regimen or prescribed diet. Such, I imagine, is the meaning: Mr. Collins thinks she means—“May justly make me fast, by depriving me (as Desdemona says) of the rites for which I love you.” Malone. Mr. Collins's interpretation is just. The allusion may be to
(Since you lack virtue, I will lose a husband)
I have it not.
pray you? Dia.
Sir, much like
King. Know you this ring? this ring was his of late.
King. The story then goes false, you threw it him
I have spoke the truth.
Ay, my lord.
Par. So please your majesty, my master hath been an honourable gentleman; tricks he hath had in him, which gentlemen have.
King. Come, come, to the purpose: Did he love this woman?
Par. 'Faith, sir, he did love her; But how??
the management of hawks, who were half starved till they became tractable. Thus, in Coriolanus:
I'll watch him, “ Till he be dieted to my request.” “ To fast, like one who takes diet,” is a comparison that occurs in The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Steevens.
- he did love her; But how?] But how perhaps belongs to the King's next speech:
But how, how, I pray you ? This suits better with the King's apparent impatience and solicitude for Helena. Malane.
Surely all transfer of these words is needless. Hamlet ad. dresses such another flippant interrogatory to himself: “ The inouse-trap. Marry, how? Tropically." Steevens.
Par. He did love her, sir, as a gentleman loves a woman.
King. How is that?
King. As thou art a knave, and no knave:-
Par. I am a poor man, and at your majesty's command.
Par. Yes, so please your majesty; I did go between them, as I said; but more than that, he loved her,—for, indeed, he was mad for her, and talked of Satan, and of limbo, and of furies, and I know not what: yet I was in that credit with them at that time, that I knew of their going to bed; and of other motions, as promising her marriage, and things that would derive me ill will to speak of, therefore I will not speak what I know.
King. Thou hast spoken all already, unless thou canst say they are married: But thou art too fine in thy evidence;2 therefore stand aside. This ring, you say, was yours? Dia.
Ay, my good lord.
companion - ] i. e. fellow. So, in King Henry VI, P. II:
Why, rude companion, whatsoe'er thou be, "I know thee not." Steevens.
But thou art too fine in thy evidence;] Too fine, too full of finesse; too artful. A French expression-trop fine.
So, in Sir Henry Wotton's celebrated Parallel: “We may rate this one secret, as it was finely carried, at 40001. sterling.
Malone So, in a very scarce book, entitled A Courtlie Controversie of Cupid's Cautels: conteyning fiue Tragicall Histories, &c. Translated out of French, &c. by H. W. (Henry Wotton) 4to. 1578: “ Woulde God, (sayd he) I were to deale with a man, that I might recover my losse by fine force: but sith my controversie is agaynst a woman, it muste be woone by loue and favoure.” Again, p: 277:“- as a butterflie flickering from floure to floure, if it be caught by a childe that finely followeth it,” &c.
It was not lent me, neither.
I found it not.
I never gave it him. Laf. This woman 's an easy glove, my lord; she goes off and on at pleasure.
King. This ring was mine, I gave it his first wife.
King. Take her away, I do not like her now;
I'll never tell you.
I'll put in bail, my liege.
Dia. Because he's guilty, and he is not guilty;
[Pointing to LAF. King. She does abuse our ears; to prison with her. Dia. Good mother, fetch my bail.–Stay, royal sir;
[Erit Wid. The jeweller, that owes the ring, is sent for, And he shall surety me.
But for this lord,
customer -] i.e. a common woman. So, in Othello:
“I marry her!-what?-a customer!” Steevens. 4 He knows himself, &c.] the dialogue is too long, since the audience already knew the whole transaction; nor is there any reason for puzzling the King and playing with his passions; but it was much easier than to make a pathetical interview between Helen and her husband, her mother, and the King. Johnson.