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I pray thee, out with’t, and place it for her chief virtue.
Speed. Item,“ She is proud.”
Launce. Out with that too: it was Eve's legacy, and cannot be ta’en from her.
Speed. Item, “ She hath no teeth.”
Launce. I care not for that neither, because I love crusts.
Speed. Item, “She is curst.”
Launce. If her liquor be good, she shall: if she will not, I will; for good things should be praised.
Speed. Item, “She is too liberal.”
Launce. Of her tongue she cannot, for that's writ down she is slow of: of her purse she shall not, for that I'll keep shut: now, of another thing she may, and that cannot I help. Well, proceed.
Speed. Item, “She hath more hair than wit, and more faults than hairs, and more wealth than faults.”
Launce. Stop there; I'll have her : she was mine, and not mine, twice or thrice in that last article. Rehearse that once more.
Speed. Item, “She hath more hair than wit,”—
Launce. More hair than wit,—it may be; I'll prove it: the cover of the salt hides the salt?, and therefore it is more than the salt: the hair, that covers the wit, is more than the wit, for the greater hides the less. What's next?
Speed. —“And more faults than hairs,” —
— praise her liquor.] i, e, by often taking occasion to taste it. 3 - the cover of the salt hides the salt,] Malone observes, “ The ancient English salt cellar was very different from the modern, being a large piece of plate generally much ornamented, with a cover, to keep the salt clean. There was but one salt cellar on the dinner table, which was placed near the top of the table; and those who sat below the salt were, for the most part, of an inferior condition to those who sat above it."
III. Speed. —“And more wealth than faults.”
Launce. Why, that word makes the faults gracious. Well, I'll have her; and if it be a match, as nothing is impossible,
Speed. What then?
Launce. Why, then will I tell thee,—that thy master stays for thee at the north-gate.
Speed. For me?
Launce. For thee? ay; who art thou? he hath stay'd for a better man than thee.
Speed. And must I go to him?
Launce. Thou must run to him, for thou hast stay'd so long, that going will scarce serve the turn.
Speed. Why didst not tell me sooner? pox of your love-letters!
[Exit. Launce. Now will he be swing’d for reading my letter. An unmannerly slave, that will thrust himself into secrets.—I'll after, to rejoice in the boy's correction.
The same. An apartment in the Duke's Palace.
Enter Duke and Thurio; Proteus behind.
Duke. Sir Thurio, fear not but that she will love
Thu. Since his exile she hath despis'd me most;
Duke. This weak impress of love is as a figure
How now, sir Proteus! Is your countryman,
Pro. Gone, my good lord.
Duke. So I believe; but Thurio thinks not so.
Pro. Longer than I prove loyal to your grace,
Duke. Thou know'st how willingly I would effect The match between sir Thurio and my daughter.
Pro. I do, my lord.
Duke. And also, I think, thou art not ignorant How she opposes her against my will.
Pro. She did, my lord, when Valentine was here.
Duke. Ay, and perversely she persevers so*. What might we do to make the girl forget The love of Valentine, and love sir Thurio ?
Pro. The best way is, to slander Valentine With falsehood, cowardice, and poor descent; Three things that women highly hold in hate.
Duke. Ay, but she'll think that it is spoke in hate.
Pro. Ay, if his enemy deliver it:
Duke. Then you must undertake to slander him.
Pro. And that, my lord, I shall be loth to do: 'Tis an ill office for a gentleman, Especially, against his very friend.
Duke. Where your good word cannot advantage him, Your slander never can endamage him : Therefore, the office is indifferent,
4 – she PERSEVERS 80.] This was the old mode of accenting the word, as many instances might be produced to establish. Milton was one of the first to write, and to pronounce it, persedere.
Being entreated to it by your friend.
Pro. You have prevail'd, my lord. If I can do it, By aught that I can speak in his dispraise, She shall not long continue love to him. But say, this weed her love from Valentine, It follows not that she will love sir Thurio.
Thu. Therefore, as you unwind her love from him, Lest it should ravel and be good to none, You must provide to bottom it on me; Which must be done, by praising me as much As you in worth dispraise sir Valentine.
Duke. And, Proteus, we dare trust you in this kind,
Pro. As much as I can do I will effect.
Duke. Ay, much is the force of heaven-bred poesy.
Pro. Say, that upon the altar of her beauty
5 – lime,] i. e. birdlime. See Vol. viii. p. 418, for the verb.
6 That may discover such integrity:] Malone “suspected” that a line following the above had been accidentally omitted ; but any addition seems needless. Valentine alludes to the “integrity” of sir Thurio's passion_“such integrity," as he may be supposed to have expressed in his sonnets,
Whose golden touch could soften steel and stones,
Duke. This discipline shows thou hast been in love.
Thu. And thy advice this night I'll put in practice. Therefore, sweet Proteus, my direction-giver, Let us into the city presently, To sort some gentlemen well skill'd in music'. I have a sonnet that will serve the turn To give the onset to thy good advice.
Duke. About it, gentlemen.
Pro. We'll wait upon your grace till after supper, And afterward determine our proceedings. Duke. Even now about it: I will pardon you'.
7 With some sweet Consort:) Malone remarks, that he "once thought consort might have meant, in our author's time, a band or company of musicians.” There can be no doubt that it did, and the substitution of concert is a modern corruption of the text. In Ecclesiasticus, ch. xxxii. v. 5. we meet with the expression, “consort of music," and many proofs might be added to show that “consort” meant both the players and the music they performed.
& Tune a deploring DUMP;] A "dump” was a melancholy poem or piece of music. See Vol. vi. p. 478, and Vol. viii. p. 447.
To sort some gentlemen well skill'd in music.) To “sort," is to choose out or select. See Vol. v. p. 335. When“ sorted” they would form a “consort.”
1- I will pardon you.] i. e. I will pardon, or excuse, your attendance, as I wish you to set about it immediately.