Biron. Things hid and barr'd (you mean) from common fenfe.

King. Ay, that is ftudy's god-like recompence.
Biron. Come on then, I will fwear to ftudy fo,
To know the thing I am forbid to know;
As thus; to study where I well may dine,
When I to feaft exprefly am forbid; (1)
Or study where to meet fome mistress fine,
When miftreffes from common fenfe are hid:
Or, having fworn too hard a keeping oath,
Study to break it, and not break my troth.
If ftudy's gain be this, and this be fo,

Study knows that, which yet it doth not know:
Swear me to this, and I will ne'er say, no.

King. These be the ftops, that hinder ftudy quite;
And train our Intellects to vain delight.


Biron. Why, all delights are vain; but that moft vain, Which, with pain purchas'd, doth inherit pain; As, painfully to pore upon a book,

To feek the light of truth; while truth the while
Doth falfly blind the eye-fight of his look:

Light feeking light, doth light of light beguile;
So, ere you find where light in darkness lies,
Your light grows dark by lofing of your eyes.
Study me how to please the eye indeed,
By fixing it upon a fairer eye;

Who dazling fo, that eye fhall be his heed,
And give him light, that it was blinded by.

Study is like the Heaven's glorious Sun,

That will not be deep fearch'd with fawcy looks;

(1) When I to faft exprefly am forbid.] This is the Reading of all the Copies in general; but I would fain ask our accurate Editors, if Biron studied where to get a good Dinner, at a time when he was forbid to faft, how was this studying to know what he was forbid to know? Common Senfe, and the whole

Tenour of the Context require us to read, either as I have reftor'd; or to make a Change in the laft Word of the Verse, which will bring us to the fame Meaning;

When I to fast exprefly am fore-bid; i. e. when I am enjoin'd beforehand to fast,

H 3


Small have continual plodders ever won,
Save bafe authority from others' books.
Thefe earthly godfathers of heaven's lights,
That give a name to every fixed star,
Have no more profit of their fhining nights,

Than those that walk and wot not what they are. Too much to know, is to know nought but fame; And every godfather can give a name.

King. How well he's read, to reafon against reading! Dum. Proceeded well, to ftop all good proceeding. Long. He weeds the corn, and ftill lets grow the weeding.

Biron. The fpring is near, when green geese are a breeding.

Dum. How follows that?

Biron. Fit in his place and time.
Dum. In reafon nothing.

Biron. Something then in rhime.

Leng. Biron is like an envious fneaping froft,

That bites the firft-born infants of the fpring.

Biron. Well, fay, I am; why should proud fummer boaft,

Before the birds have any cause to fing? Why should I joy in an oba aportive Dir

1ch (2)



Why should I joy in an abortive Birth?

At Chriftmas I no more defire a Rofe,

Than wish a Snow in May's new-fangled Shows: But like of each thing, that in Seafon grows.] As the greatest part of this Scene (both what proceeds and follows;) is strictly in Rhymes, either fucceffive, alternate, or triple; I am perfuaded, the Copyifts have made a flip here. For by making a Triplet of the three laft Lines quoted, Birth in the Clofe of the first Line is quite deftitute of any Rhyme to it. Befides, what a displeasing Identity of Sound recurs in the Middle and Close of this Verse ?

Than wifh a Snow in May's new-fangled Shows, Again; new-fangled Shows feems to have very little Propriety. The Flowers are not new-j v-fangled; but the Earth is new-fangled by the Profufion and Variety of the Flowers, that spring on its Bofom in May. I have therefore ventur'd to fubftitute,


At Chriftmas I no more defire a rose,

Than wish a fnow in May's new fangled Earth:
But like of each thing, that in feafon grows.

So you, to ftudy now it is too late,

Climb o'er the house t' unlock the little gate.

King. Well, fit you out-Go home, Biron: Adieu!!
Biron. No, my good lord, I've fworn to stay with you.'
And though I have for barbarism spoke more,
Than for that angel knowledge you can fay;
Yet confident I'll keep what I have swore,

And 'bide the penance of each three years' day.
Give me the paper, let me read the fame;
And to the ftrict'ft decrees I'll write my name.

King. How well this yielding refcues thee from fhame!

Biron. Item, That no woman fhall come within a mile of my Court.

Hath this been proclaimed ?
Long. Four days ago.

Biron. Let's fee the penalty.
On pain of lofing her tongue :




Who devis'd this penalty?

Long. Marry, that did I.

Biron. Sweet lord, and why?

Long. To fright them hence with that dread penalty.
Biron. A dangerous law against gentility! (3)


Earth, in the clofe of the 3d Line, which restores the alternate Measure. It was very easy for a negligent Transcriber to be deceiv'd by the Rhyme immediately preceding; so mistake the concluding Word in the fequent Line, and corrupt it into One that would chime with the Other.

(3) A dangerous Law against Gentility.]. I have ventur'd to prefix the name of Biron to this Line, it being evident, for two Reasons, that it, by fome Accident or other, flipt out of the printed Books. In the first place, Longaville confeffes, he had devis'd the Penalty: and why he should immediately arraign it as a dangerous Law, feems to be very inconfiftent. In the next place, it is much more natural for Biron to make this Reflexion, who is cavilling at every thing; and then for him to pursue his reading over the remaining Articles.

Item, [reading.] If any man be seen to talk with a woman within the term of three Years, he fhall endure fuch publick shame as the reft of the Court can poffibly


This article, my liege, yourself muft break;

For, well you know, here comes in embaffy
The French King's daughter with yourself to speak,
A maid of grace and compleat majesty,
About furrender up of Aquitain

To her decrepit, fick, and bed-rid father:
Therefore this article is made in vain,

Or vainly comes th' admired Princess hither. King. What fay you, lords? why, this was quite forgot.

Biron. So ftudy evermore is overshot ;

While it doth study to have what it would,
It doth forget to do the thing it should:
And when it hath the thing it hunteth most,
'Tis won, as towns with Fire; fo won, fo loft.
King. We must of force, difpenfe with this decree,
She muft lye here on mere neceffity.

Biron. Neceffity will make us all forfworn

Three thousand times within this three years' space:

For every man with his affects is born:

Not by might mafter'd, but by special grace.
If I break faith, this word shall speak for me;
I am forfworn on meer neceffity.

So to the laws at large I write my name,

And he that breaks them in the least degree, Stands in attainder of eternal shame.

Suggestions are to others, as to me;

But I believe, although I seem so loth,
I am the last that will last keep his oath.

As to the Word Gentility, here, it does not fignify that Rank of People call'd, Gentry; but what the French exprefs by, gentileffes, i. e. elegantia, urbanitas. And then the Meaning is this. Such a Law for banishing Women from the Court, is dangerous, or injurious, to Politeness, Urbanity, and the more refin'd Pleasures of Life. For Men without Women would turn brutal, and favage, in their Natures and Behaviour,


But is there no quick recreation granted?

King. Ay, that there is; our Court, you know, is haunted

With a refined traveller of Spain,

A man in all the world's new fashion planted,
That hath a mint of phrafes in his brain :
One, whom the mufick of his own vain tongue
Doth ravish, like inchanting harmony:
A man of complements, whom right and wrong
Have chofe as umpire of their mutiny.
This child of fancy, that Armado hight,

For interim to our ftudies, fhall relate
In high born words the worth of many a Knight
From tawny Spain, loft in the world's debate.
How you delight, my lords, I know not, I;
But, I proteft, I love to hear him lie:
And I will ufe him for my minstrelfie.
Biron. Armado is a moft illuftrious wight,
A man of fire new words, fafhion's own Knight.
Long. Coftard the swain, and he, shall be our sport;
And, fo to ftudy, three years are but short.

Enter Dull and Coftard with a letter.

Dull. Which is the King's own person? (4)
Biron. This, fellow; what would'st?

Dull. I myself reprehend his own perfon, for I am his Grace's Tharborough: but I would see his own perfon in flesh and blood.

Biron. This is he.

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Dull. Signior Arme, Arme commends you. There's villany abroad; this letter will tell you more. Coft. Sir, the Contempts thereof are as touching me. King. A letter from the magnificent Armado.

(4) Dull. Which is the Duke's own Perfon?] The King of Navarre is in feveral Paffages, thro' all the Copies, call'd the Duke z but as this must have fprung rather from the Inadvertence of the Editors, than a Forgetfulness in the Poet, I have every where, to avoid Confusion, restor❜d King to the Text.

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