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Another Part of the Forest.
Val. How use doth breed a habit in a man! This shadowy desert, unfrequented woods, I better brook than flourishing peopled towns. Here can I sit alone, unseen of any, And to the nightingale's complaining notes Tune my distresses, and record my woes. O! thou that dost inhabit in my breast, Leave not the mansion so long tenantless, Lest, growing ruinous, the building fall, And leave no memory of what it was ! Repair me with thy presence, Silvia ! Thou gentle nymph, cherish thy forlorn swain ! What halloing, and what stir, is this to-day? These are my mates, that make their wills their law, Have some unhappy passenger in chace. They love me well; yet I have much to do, To keep them from uncivil outrages. Withdraw thee, Valentine: who's this comes here?
Enter PROTEUS, SILVIA, and JULIA.
love. Vouchsafe me, for my meed, but one fair look ;
6 — and RECORD my woes.] To “record” is to sing. In the novel of Apollonius of Tyre,” (on which Shakespeare founded “ Pericles,”) it is said of Tharsia, when she comes to sing before her father, “ Then began she to record in verses, and therewithal to sing so sweetly,” &c. “Shakespeare's Library," vol. i. p. 233.
A smaller boon than this I cannot beg,
Val. How like a dream is this, I see, and hear! Love, lend me patience to forbear awhile. [Withdraws.
Sil. O, miserable ! unhappy that I am !
Pro. Unhappy were you, madam, ere I came; But by my coming I have made you happy.
Sil. By thy approach thou mak'st me most unhappy.
Pro. What dangerous action, stood it next to death,
Sil. When Proteus cannot love, where he's belov'd. Read over Julia's heart, thy first best love, For whose dear sake thou didst then rend thy faith Into a thousand oaths; and all those oaths Descended into perjury to love me. Thou hast no faith left now, unless thou'dst two, And that's far worse than none : better have none Than plural faith, which is too much by one. Thou counterfeit to thy true friend! Pro.
All men but Proteus.
7.- and still APPROV'D,] i. e. proced: a witness in Scotland is still called “an approver.” In Vol. iii. p. 458, and in other places, we have had “ approbation" used for proof.
Pro. Nay, if the gentle spirit of moving words
Sil. O heaven!
I'll force thee yield to my desire.
Val. Ruffian, let go that rude uncivil touch;
Pro. Valentine !
love; (For such is a friend now) treacherous man! Thou hast beguild my hopes: nought but mine eye Could have persuaded me. Now I dare not say, I have one friend alive: thou would'st disprove me. Who should be trusted now, when one's right hand Is perjur'd to the bosom? Proteus, I am sorry I must never trust thee more, But count the world a stranger for thy sake. The private wound is deepest. O time most accurst ! 'Mongst all foes, that a friend should be the worst !
Pro. My shame and guilt confound me.—
Then, I am paid;
& Who should be trusted now, when one's right hand] This is the reading of the folio of 1632 : the folio of 1623 omits “ now.” Nou seems the proper word, (for Valentine is speaking of the degeneracy of friendship at that time) and not own, as inserted by Sir T. Hanmer, without authority, and adopted by Malone, who allowed the passage to stand thus :
“Who should be trusted, when one's own right hand.”
Is nor of heaven, nor earth; for these are pleas’d.
Jul. O me unhappy!
Val. Why, boy! why, wag! how now! what's the matter? look up; speak.
Jul. O good sir! my master charg’d me to deliver a ring to madam Silvia, which, out of my neglect, was never done.
Pro. Where is that ring, boy?
Here 'tis: this is it. [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; And Julia herself hath brought it hither.
Pro. How? Julia !
Jul. Behold her that gave aim to all thy oaths',
9 All that was mine in Silvia I give thee.] Pope thought it “very odd for Valentine to give up his mistress at once, without any reason alleged;" but it may in some degree account for that sudden relinquishment, if we suppose him not to have overheard all that passed between Silvia and Proteus, and to draw a conclusion against her from finding her in the forest with him. There are few stage-directions in the folio, but the word aside has been placed by modern editors after the speech of Valentine, ending,
“ Love, lend me patience to forbear awhile." It is very easy to imagine him to withdraw, in order to get out of the view of Silvia and Proteus, and to return to the scene, when he hears the exclamations of Silvia on the violence offered by Proteus. If he had overheard all that was said by them, he would have re-entered before, and no such attempt could have been made by Proteus. To read withdraws instead of aside, and to mark the re-entrance of Valentine, is all that in this case is required.
1 Behold her that GAVE AIM to all thy oaths,] “ To give aim” is technical in archery, and was equivalent to to direct. See also Vol. vi. p. 361.
O Proteus ! let this habit make thee blush:
were man But constant, he were perfect : that one error Fills him with faults; makes him run through all the
Val. Come, come, a hand from either.
Pro. Bear witness, heaven, I have my wish for ever. Jul. And I mine.
Enter Out-laws, with DUKE and Thurio.
Sir Valentine !
Val. Thurio, give back, or else embrace thy death. Come not within the measure of
wrath : Do not name Silvia thine; if once again, Verona shall not hold thee. Here she stands :
i — if shame live, &c.] That is, if it be any shame to wear a disguise for the purposes of love.
3 Verona shall not hold thee.] Valentine had only seen Thurio, till now, in Milan, and Milan ought, perhaps, to have been the word, and not Verona. However, we may imagine Valentine to be thinking of his native city; and,