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Enter an old Shepherd. Shep. I would, there were no age between ten and three-and-twenty; or that youth would sleep out the rest: for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting.--Hark you now! Would any but these boiled brains of nineteen, and two-and-twenty, hunt this weather? They have scared away two of my best sheep; which, I fear, the wolf will sooner find, than the master: if any where I have them, 'tis by the sea-side, browzing on ivy. Good luck, an 't be thy will! what have we here? (taking up the child] Mercy on ’s, a barne; a very pretty barne!5 A boy, or a child, 6 I wonder? A pretty one; a very pretty one: Sure, some scape: though I am not bookish, yet I can read waiting-gentlewoman in the scape. This has been some stair-work, some trunk. work, some behind-door-work: they were warmer that got this, than the poor thing is here. I'll take it up for pity: yet I'll tarry till my son come: he hollaed but even now. Whoa, ho hoa!
Shep. What, art so near? if thou 'lt see a thing to talk on when thou art dead and rotten, come hither. What ailest thou, man?
Clo. I have seen two such sights, by sea, and by land;but I am not to say, it is a sea, for it is now the sky; betwixt the firmament and it, you cannot thrust a bodkin's point.
- if any where I have them, 'tis by the sea-side, browzing on ivy.) This also is from the novel: "[The Shepherd] fearing either that the wolves or eagles bad undone him, (for he was so poore as a sheepe was halfe his substance) wand’red downe towards the sea-cliffes, to see if perchance the sheepe was brouzing on the sea-ivy, whereon they doe greatly feed.” . Malone.
a barne; a very pretty barne!] i. e. child. So, in R. Broome's Northern Lass, 1633:
“ Peace wayward barne! O cease thy moan,
Thy far more wayward daddy's gone." It is a North Country word. Barns for borns, things born; seeming to answer to the Latin nati. Steevens.
A boy, or a child,] I am told, that in some of our inland counties, a female infant, in contradistinction to a male one, is still termed, among the peasantry,-a child. Steevens.
Shep. Why, boy, how is it?
Clo. I would, you did but see how it chafes, how it rages, how it takes up the shore! but that's not to the point: O, the most piteous cry of the poor souls! sometimes to see 'em, and not to see 'em : now the ship boring the moon with her main-mast;? and anon swallowed with yest and froth, as you'd thrust a cork into a hogshead. And then for the land service, To see how the bear tore out his shoulder-bone; how he cried to me for help, and said, his name was Antigonus, a nobleman: But to make an end of the ship to see how the sea flap-dragoned it:8_but, first, how the poor souls roared, and the sea mocked them; and how the poor gentleman roared, and the bear mocked him, both roaring louder than the sea, or weather.
Shen. 'Name of mercy, when was this, boy?
Clo. Now, now; I have not winked since I saw these sights: the men are not yet cold under water, nor the bear half dined on the gentleman; he's at it now.
Sher. Would I had been by, to have helped the old man !9
7 - now the ship boring the moon with her main-mast;] So, in Pericles: “But sea-room, and the brine and cloudy billow kiss the moon, I care not.”
Malone. flap-dragoned it:) i. e. swallowed it, as our ancient topers swallowed flap-dragons. So, in Love's Labour's Lost: “ Thou art easier swallowed than a flap-dragon." See note on King Henry IV, P. II, Act II, sc. iv. Steevens.
9 Shep. Would I had been by, to have helped the old man!] Though all the printed copies concur in this reading, I am persuaded, we ought to restore, nobleman. The Shepherd knew nothing of An. tigonus's age; besides, the Clown hath just told his father, that he said his name was Antigonus, a nobleman; and no less than three times in this short scene, the Clown, speaking of him calls him the gentleman. Theobald.
I suppose the Shepherd infers the age of Antigonus from his inability to defend himself; or perhapş Shakspeare, who was conscious that he himself designed Antigonus for an old man, has inadvertently given this knowledge to the Shepherd who had never seen him. Steevens.
Perhaps the word old was inadvertently omitted in the preceding speech: “- nor the bear half dined on the old gentleman;" Mr. Steevens's second conjecture, however, is, I believe, the true
Clo. I would you had been by the ship side, to have helped her; there your charity would have lacked footing.
[Aside. Shep. Heavy matters! heavy matters! but look thee here, boy. Now bless thyself; thou inet'st with things dying, I with things new born. Here 's a sight for thee; look thee, a bearing-cloth" for a squire's child! Look thee here; take up, take up, boy; open 't. So, let's see ;-It was told me, I should be rich by the fairies: this is some changeling::-open 't: What's within, boy?
Clo. You 're a made old man;3 if the sins of your youth are forgiven you, you 're well to live. Gold! all gold!
Shep. This is fairy gold, boy, and 'twill prove so: up with it, keep it close; home, home, the next way. We are lucky, boy; and to be so still, requires nothing but secrecy -Let my sheep goi-Come, good boy, the next
1- a bearing-cloth - ] A bearing-cloth is the fine mantle or cloth with which a child is usually covered, when it is carried to the church to be baptized. Percy.
some changeling :) i. e. some child left behind by the fairies, in the room of one which they had stolen. So, in A Midsuinmer Night's Dream:
“ A lovely boy, stol’n from an Indian king;
“She never had so sweet a changeling.” Steevens. 3 You're a made old man;] In former copies :-You're a mad old man; if the sins of your youth are forgiven you, you're well to live. Gold! all gold!—This the Clown says upon his opening his fardel, and discovering the wealth in it. But this is no reason why he should call his father a mad old man. I have ventured to correct in the text-You're a made old man; i. e. your fortune's made by this adventitious treasure. So our poet, in a number of other passages. Theobald.
Dr. Warburton did not accept this emendation, but it is certainly right. The word is borrowed from the novel: “ The good man desired his wife to be quiet: if she would hold peace, they were made for ever.” Farmer. So, in the ancient ballad of Robin Hood and the Tinker :
“ I have a warrand from the king,
" To take him where I can;
“ I will you make a man.” Steevens.
the next way.) i. e, the nearest way. So, in King Henry IV, P. I: "'Tis the next way to turn tailor, or be redbreast teacher.” Steevens.
Clo. Go you the next way with your findings; I'll go see if the bear be gone from the gentleman, and how much he hath eaten: they are never curst, but when they are hungry:: if there be any of him left, I'll bu
Shep. That's a good deed: If thou may'st discern by that which is left of him, what he is, fetch me to the sight of him.
Clo. Marry, will I; and you shall help to put him i'the ground.
Shep. 'Tis a lucky day, boy; and we'll do good deeds on 't.
Enter Time, as Chorus.
they are never curst, but when they are hungry:) Curst, signifies mischievous. Thus the adage: “Curst cows have short horns.” Henley.
that make, and unfold error,] This does not, in my opinion, take in the poet's thought. Time does not make mis. takes, and discover them, at different conjunctures; but the poet means, that Time often for a season covers errors, which he af. terwards displays and brings to light. I chuse therefore to read:
that mask and unfold error, Theobald. Theobald's emendation is surely unnecessary. Departed time renders many facts obscure, and in that sense is the cause of er
Time to come brings discoveries with it. “ These very comments on Shakspeare (says Mr. M. Mason) prove that time can both make and unfold error.” Steevens.
that I slide O'er sixteen years.] This trespass, in respect of dramatic unity, will appear venial to those who have read the once famous Lyly's Endymion, or (as he himself calls it in the prologue) his Man in the Moon. This author was applauded and very liberally paid by Queen Elizabeth. Two acts of his piece comprize the
Of that wide gap;8 since it is in my power
space of forty years, Endymion lying down to sleep at the end of the second, and waking in the first scene of the fifth, after a nap of that unconscionable length. Lyly has likewise been guilty of much greater absurdities than ever Sbakspeare committed; for he supposes that Endymion's hair, features, and person, were changed by age during his sleep, while all the other personages of the drama remained without alteration.
George Whetstone, in the epistle dedicatory, before his Promos and Cassandra, 1578, (on the plan of which Measure for Measure is formed) had pointed out many of these absurdities and offences against the laws of the Drama. It must be owned, therefore, that Shakspeare has not fallen into them through igno. rance of what they were: “ For at this daye, the Italian is so lascivious in his comedies, that honest hearts are grieved at his actions. The Frenchman and Spaniard follow the Italian's hu
The German is too holy; for he presents on everye common stage, what preachers should pronounce in pulpits. The Englishman in this quallitie, is most vaine, indiscreete, and out of order. He first grounds his worke on impossibilities: then in three houres ronnes he throwe the worlde: marryes, gets chil. dren, makes children men, men to conquer kingdomes, murder monsters, and bringeth goddes from heaven, and fetcheth devils from hell,” &c. This quotation will serve to show that our poet might have enjoyed the benefit of literary laws, but, like Achilles, denied that laws were designed to operate on beings confident of their own powers, and secure of graces beyond the reach of art.
Steevens. In The pleasant Comedie of Patient Grissel, 1603, written by Thomas Decker, Henry Chettle, and William Haughton, Gris. sel is in the first Act married, and soon afterwards brought to bed of twins, a son and a daughter; and the daughter in the fifth Act is produced on the scene as a woman old enough to be married. Malone.
and leave the growth untried Of that wide gap;] Our author attends more to his ideas than to his words. The growth of the wide gap, is somewhat irregular; but he means, the growth, or progression of the time which filled up the gap of the story between Perdita's birth and her sixteenth year. To leave this growth untried, is to leave the passages of the intermediate years unnoted and unexamined. Untried is not, perhaps, the word which he would have chosen, but which his rhyme required. Johnson.
Dr. Johnson's explanation of growth is confirmed by a subsequent passage:
“ I turn my glass; and give my scene such growing,
“ As you had slept between.” Again, in Pericles, Prince of Tyre: