« PreviousContinue »
I am sorry, I must never trust thee more,
Pro. My shame and guilt confounds me..
Then I am paid;
[Faints. Pro. Look to the boy. Val. Why, boy! wliy, wag! how now? what is the
matter? Look up; speak. Jud.
O good sir, my master chargd me
Pro. Where is that ring, boy?
[Gives a ring Pro. How! let me see: Why this is the ring I gave to Julia,
Jul. O, cry you mercy, sir, I have mistook ; This is the ring you sent to Silvia.
(Shows another ring. Pro. But, how cam'st thou by this ring? at my
depart, I gave this unto Julia.
Jul. And Julia herself did give it me;
Pro. How! Julia !
And entertain'd them deeply in her heart:
were man But constant, he were perfect: that one error Fills him with faults; makes him run through all
Inconstancy falls off, ere it begins:
Val. Come, come, a hand from either:
ever. Jul. And I have mine.
Enter Out-laws, with Duke and Thurio.
A prize, a prize, a prize!
Val. Thurio, give back, or else embrace thy death;
* An allusion to cleaving the piu in archery.
+ Length of my sword. VOL. I.
Thu. Sir Valentine, I care not for her, I;
Duke. The more degenerate and base art thou,
happy. I now beseech you, for your daughter's sake, To grant one boon that I shall ask of you.
Duke. I grant it, for thine own, whate'er it be.
Val. These banish'd men, that I have kept withal, Are men endued with worthy qualities; Forgive them what they have committed here, And let them be recall'd from their exile: They are reformed, civil, full of good, And fit for great employment, worthy lord.
Duke. Thou hast prevaild: I pardon them and
Dispose of them, as thou know'st their deserts.
Val. And, as we walk along, I dare be bold
blushes. Val. I warrant you, my lord; more grace than boy.
1 Masks, revels.
Duke. What mean you by that saying?
Val. Please you, I'll tell you as we pass along,
In this play there is a strange mixture of knowledge and ignorance, of care and negligence. The versifi. cation is often excellent, the allusions are learned and just; but the author conveys his heroes by sea from one inland town to another in the same country; he places the emperor at Milan, and sends his young men to attend him, but never mentions him more; he makes Proteus, after an interview with Silvia, say he has only seen her picture: and, if we may credit the old copies, he has, by mistaking places, left bis scenery inextricable. The reason of all this confusion seems to be, that he took his story from a novel which he sometimes followed, and sometimes for. sook; sometimes remembered, and sometimes forgot.
That this play is rightly attributed to Shakspeare, I have little doubt. If it be taken from him, to whom shall it be given? This question may be asked of all the disputed plays, except Titus Andronicus; and it will be found more credible, that Shakspeare might sometimes sink below his highest fights, than that any other should rise up to his lowest.