Page images

Enter OLIVer.

OLI. Good-morrow, fair ones: Pray you, know


Where, in the purlieus of this forest, stands
A sheep-cote, fenc'd about with olive-trees?
CEL. West of this place, down in the neighbour


The rank of osiers, by the murmuring stream,
Left on your right hand, brings you to the place:
But at this hour the house doth keep itself,
There's none within.

OLI. If that an eye may profit by a tongue,
Then I should know you by description;
Such garments, and such years: The boy is fair,
Of female favour, and bestows himself
Like a ripe sister': but the woman low 2,
And browner than her brother. Are not you
The owner of the house I did inquire for?

[ocr errors]

if you

PURLIEUS of this forest,] Purlieu, says Manwood's Treatise on the Forest Laws, c. xx. "Is a certaine territorie of ground adjoyning unto the forest, meared and bounded with unmoveable marks, meeres, and boundaries: which territories of ground was also forest, and afterwards disaforested againe by the perambulations made for the severing of the new forest from the old." REED.

Bullokar, in his Expositor, 1616, describes a purlieu as "a place neere joining to a forest, where it is lawful for the owner of the ground to hunt, if he can dispend fortie shillings by the yeere, of freeland." MALONE.

9 LEFT on your right hand.] i. e. passing by the rank of oziers, and leaving them on your right hand, you will reach the place.


BESTOWS himself

Like a ripe sister :] Of this quaint phraseology there is an example in King Henry IV. P. II: "How might we see Falstaff bestow himself to-night in his true colours?" STEEVENS.


-BUT the woman low,] But, which is not in the old copy, was added by the editor of the second folio, to supply the metre. I suspect it is not the word omitted, but have nothing better to propose. MALONE.

CEL. It is no boast, being ask'd, to say, we


OLI. Orlando doth commend him to you both;

And to that youth, he calls his Rosalind,
He sends this bloody napkin3; Are you he?
Ros. I am: What must we understand this ?
OLI. Some of my shame; if you will know of


What man I am, and how, and why, and where
This handkerchief was stain'd.



pray you, tell it. OLI. When last the young Orlando parted from you, He left a promise to return again

Within an hour*; and, pacing through the forest,
Chewing the food of sweet and bitter fancy 5,
Lo, what befel! he threw his eye aside,
And, mark, what object did present itself!

3 -napkin ;] i. e. handkerchief. Ray says, that a pocket handkerchief is so called about Sheffield, in Yorkshire. So, in Greene's Never Too Late, 1616: "I can wet one of my new lockram napkins with weeping."

Napery, indeed, signifies linen in general. So, in Decker's Honest Whore, 1635:

pr'ythee put me into wholesome napery."

Again, in Chapman's May-Day, 1611: "Besides your munition of manchet napery plates." Naperia, Ital. STEEVENS.

Napkin is still a handkerchief in Scotland, and probably in all the northern English counties. BOSWELL.

4 Within AN HOUR ;] We must read-within two hours.


May not within an hour signify within a certain time?



5 of sweet and bitter FANCY,] i. e. love, which is always thus described by our old poets, as composed of contraries. See a note on Romeo and Juliet, Act I. Sc. II. p. 18.

So, in Lodge's Rosalynde, 1590: "I have noted the variable disposition of fancy, a bitter pleasure wrapt in sweet prejudice." MALONE.

2 I


Under an old oak, whose boughs were moss'd with age,

And high top bald with dry antiquity,

A wretched ragged man, o'ergrown with hair,
Lay sleeping on his back: about his neck

A green and gilded snake had wreath'd itself,
Who with her head, nimble in threats, approach'd
The opening of his mouth; but suddenly
Seeing Orlando, it unlink'd itself,
And with indented glides did slip away

6 Under an oak, &c.] The ancient copy reads-" under an old oak;" but as this epithet hurts the measure, without improvement of the sense, (for we are told in the same line that its " boughs were moss'd with age," and afterwards, that its top was "bald with dry antiquity,") I have omitted old, as an unquestionable interpolation. STEEVENS.


Under an oak," &c. The passage stands thus in Lodge's novel: "Saladyne, wearie with wandring up and downe, and hungry with long fasting, finding a little cave by the side of a thicket, eating such fruite as the forrest did affoord, and contenting himself with such drinke as nature had provided, and thirst made delicate, after his repast he fell into a dead sleepe. As thus he lay, a hungry lyon came hunting downe the edge of the grove for pray, and espying Saladyne, began to ceaze upon him: but seeing he lay still without any motion, he left to touch him, for that lyons hate to pray on dead carkasses: and yet desirous to have some foode, the lyon lay downe and watcht to see if he would stirre. While thus Saladyne slept secure, fortune that was careful of her champion, began to smile, and brought it so to passe, that Rosader (having stricken a deere that but lightly hurt fled through the thicket) came pacing downe by the grove with a boare-speare in his hande in great haste, he spyed where a man lay asleepe, and a lyon fast by him: amazed at this sight, as he stood gazing, his nose on the sodaine bledde, which made him conjecture it was some friend of his. Whereupon drawing more nigh, he might easily discerne his visage, and perceived by his phisnomie that it was his brother Saladyne, which drave Rosader into a deepe passion, as a man perplexed, &c.But the present time craved no such doubting ambages: for he must eyther resolve to hazard his life for his reliefe, or else steale away and leave him to the crueltie of the lyon. In which doubt hee thus briefly debated," &c. STEEVENS.

Into a bush: under which bush's shade
A lioness, with udders all drawn dry 7,
Lay couching, head on ground, with catlike watch,
When that the sleeping man should stir; for 'tis
The royal disposition of that beast,

To prey on nothing that doth seem as dead:
This seen, Orlando did approach the man,
And found it was his brother, his elder brother.
CEL. O, I have heard him speak of that same


And he did render him the most unnatural
That liv'd 'mongst men.

OLI. And well he might so do, For well I know he was unnatural.

Ros. But, to Orlando ;-Did he leave him there, . Food to the suck'd and hungry lioness?

OLI. Twice did he turn his back, and purpos'd so:
But kindness, nobler ever than revenge,
And nature, stronger than his just occasion,
Made him give battle to the lioness,

Who quickly fell before him; in which hurtling
From miserable slumber I awak'd.

CEL. Are you his brother?

*First folio, amongst.


7 A lioness, with udders all drawn dry,] So, in Arden of Feversham, 1592:


the starven lioness

"When she is dry-suckt of her eager young." STEEvens. 8 And he did RENDER him—] i. e. describe him. MALONE. So, in Cymbeline:


May drive us to a render where we have liv'd." STEEvens. 9 — in which HURTLING] To hurtle is to move with impetuosity and tumult. So, in Julius Cæsar:

"A noise of battle hurtled in the air."

Again, in Nashe's Lenten Stuff, &c. 1591: "-hearing of the gangs of good fellows that hurtled and bustled thither," &c. Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, b. i. c. iv. :

"All hurtlen forth, and she with princely pace," &c. Again, b. i. c. viii. :

"Came hurtling in full fierce, and forc'd the knight retire." STEEVENS.


Was it you he rescu❜d? CEL. Was't you that did so oft contrive to kill him?

OLI. 'Twas I; but 'tis not I: I do not shame
To tell you what I was, since my conversion
So sweetly tastes, being the thing I am.

Ros. But, for the bloody napkin ?—


By, and by. When from the first to last, betwixt us two, Tears our recountments had most kindly bath'd, As, how I came into that desert place 1;· In brief, he led me to the gentle duke, Who gave me fresh array, and entertainment, Committing me unto my brother's love; Who led me instantly unto his cave,

There stripp'd himself, and here upon his arm
The lioness had torn some flesh away,

Which all this while had bled; and now he fainted,
And cry'd, in fainting, upon Rosalind.
Brief, I recover'd him; bound up his wound;
And, after some small space, being strong at heart,
He sent me hither, stranger as I am,

To tell this story, that you might excuse
His broken promise, and to give this napkin,
Dy'd in this blood 2: unto the shepherd youth

As, how I came into that desert place ;] following this has been lost. MALONE.

As, in this place, signifies-as for instance.
"As, stars with trains of fire," &c.
I suspect no omission. STEEvens.


I believe, a line

So, in Hamlet:

Dy'd in THIS blood;] Thus the old copy. The editor of the second folio changed" this blood" unnecessarily to-his blood. Oliver points to the handkerchief, when he presents it; and Rosalind could not doubt whose blood it was after the account that had been before given. Malone.

Perhaps the change of this into his, is compositor, who casually omitted the t. serve; and certainly that of the second because it prevents the disgusting repetion of the pronoun this, with which the present speech is infested. STEEVENS.

imputable only to the Either reading may folio is not the worst,

« PreviousContinue »