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Enter an old Shepherd. Shep. I would, there were no age between ten and three and èwenty; or that youth would seep out the rest: for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing; fighting.--Hark you now! Would any but these boil'd brains of nineteen, and two-and-twenty, hunt this weather? They have scared away two of my best sheep; which, I fear, the wolf will sooner find, than the master: if any where I have them, 'tis by the sea-side, browzing on ivy. Good luck, an't be thy will! what have we here? [Taking up the child.] Mercy on's, a barne; a very pretty barne! * A boy, or a child, I wonder? A pretty one; á very pretty one: Sure, some scape: though I am not bookish, yet I can read waiting-gentlewoman in the scape. This has been some stair-work, some trunk-work, some behind-door-work: they were warmer that got this, than the poor thing is here. I'll take it up for pity: yet I'll tarry till my son come; he holla'd but even now. Whoa, ho hoa !
1 — if any where I have them, 'tis by the sea-side, browzing on ivy.] This also is from the novel : “ [The Shepherd] fearing either that the wolves or eagles had undone him, (for he was so poore as a sheepe was halfe his fubitance,) wand'red downe towards the fca-cliffes, to see if perchance the freepe was brouzing on che sea-ry, whereon they doe greatly feed." MALONE.
4 — a barne; a very pretty barne !] i. e: child. So, in R. Broome's Northern Las, 1633 : . “ Peace wayward barne! O cease thy moan,
" Thy far more wayward daddy's gone.” It is a North Country word. Barns for borns, things born ; seeming to answer to the Latin natin STEEVENS.
5- Å boy; or a child, I am told, that in some of our inland Counties; a female infant, in contradistinction to a male one, is still termed, among the peasantry,-a child. STEEVENS.
Clown. Hilloa, loa!
Shep. What, art so near? If thou’lt see a thing to talk on when thou art dead and rotten, come hither. What ail'st thou, man?
Clown. I have seen two such fights, by sea, and by land ;-but I am not to say, it is a sea, for it is now the sky; betwixt the firmament and it, you cannot thrust a bodkin's point.
Shep. Why, boy, how is it?
CLO!'N. I would, you did but see how it chafes, how it rages, how it takes up the shore! but that's not to the point: O, the most piteous cry of the poor souls! sometimes to see 'em, and not to see 'em : now the ship boring the moon with her mainmast;} and anon fwallow'd with yest and froth, as you'd thrust a cork into a hogshead. And then for the land service,-To see how the bear tore out his shoulder-bone; how he cried to me for help, and said, his name was Antigonus, a nobleman: But to make an end of the ship :-to see how the sea flap-dragon'd it:4-but, first, how the poor souls roar’d, and the sea mock'd them ;-and how the poor gentleman roar'd, and the bear mock'd him, both roaring louder than the sea, or weather.
Shep. Name of mercy, when was this, boy?
Clown. Now, now; I have not winked since I saw these sights: the men are not yet cold under
3- now the ship boring the moon with her main-maft;] So, in Pericles : “ But sea-room, and the brine and cloudy billow kiss the moon, I care not.” Malone.
4 flap-dragon'd it: 1 i. e. swallowed it, as our ancient topers swallowed flap-dragons. So, in Love's Labour's Loft: “ Thou art easier swallowed than a flap-dragon," See note on K. Henry IV. P. II. Act II. sc. iv. STEBYENS.
water, nor the bear half dined on the gentleman ; he's at it now.
Shep. Would I had been by, to have help'd the old man ! 5
Clown. I would you had been by the ship side, to have help'd her; there your charity would have lack'd footing.
[Aside. Shep. Heavy matters! heavy matters! but look thee here, boy. Now bless thyself; thou met'st with things dying, I with things new born. Here's a fight for thee; look thee, a bearing-cloth“ for a squire's child! Look thee here; take up, take up, boy; open't. So, let's see ;-It was told me, I should be rich by the fairies : this is some changeling: open’t: What's within, boy?
s Shep. Would I had been by, to have help'd the old man. ] Though all the printed copies concur in this reading, I am persuaded, we ought to restore, nobleman. The Shepherd knew nothing of Antigonus's age; besides, the Clown hath just told his father, that he said his name was Antigonus, a nobleman; and no lefs than three times in this short scene, the Clown, speaking of him, calls him the gentleman. THEOBALD.
I suppose the Shepherd infers the age of Antigonus from his inability to defend himself; or perhaps Shakspeare, who was conscious that he himself designed Antigonus for an old man, has inadvertently given this knowledge to the Shepherd who had never seen him. STEEVENS.
Perhaps the word old was inadvertently omitted in the preceding speech: “ — nor the bear half dined on the old gentleman;” Mr. Steevens's second conjecture, however, is, I believe, the true one.
MALONE 6 a hearing-cloth -] A bearing-cloth is the fine mantle or cloth with which a child is usually covered, when it is carried to the church to be baptized. Percy.
1 fame changeling :) i. e. foine child left behind by the fairies, in the room of one which they had ftolen. So, in A Midfummer-Night's Dream :
" A lovely boy, stol’n from an Indian king;
Clown. You're a made old man ;7 if the sins of your youth are forgiven you, you're well to live. Gold! all gold!
Shep. This is fairy gold, boy, and 'twill prove so: up with it, keep it close; home, home, the next way.' We are lucky, boy; and to be so still, requires nothing but secrecy.-Let my sheep go :Come, good boy, the next way home.
Clown. Go you the next way with your find. ings; I'll go see if the bear be gone from the gentleman, and how much he hath eaten: they are never curst, but when they are hungry:9 if there be any of him left, I'll bury it.
SHEP. That's a good deed: If thou may'st discern by that which is left of him, what he is, fetch me to the fight of him.
Clown. Marry, will l; and you shall help to put him i’the ground.
Shep. 'Tis a lucky day, boy; and we'll do good deeds on't.
7 You're a made old man ;] In former copies :-You're a mad old man; if the fins of your youth are forgiven you, you're well to live. Gold! all gold! This the Clown says upon his opening his fardel, and discovering the wealth in it. But this is no reason why he should call his father a mad old man. I have ventured to correct in the text- You're a made old man; i. e. your fortune's made by this adventitious treasure. So our poet, in a number of other palsages. TheoBALD.
Dr. Warburton did not accept this emendation, but it is certainly right. The word is borrowed from the novel : “ The good man desired his wife to be quiet: if the would hold peace, they were made for ever.” FARMER.
8- the next way.] i. e. the nearest way. So, in King Henry IV. P.I: “'Tis the next way to turn tailor, or be redbreait teacher.” Steevens.
9 They are never curst, but when they are hungry :) Curst, figni. fies mischievous. Thus the adage: Curf cows have short horns.
Enter Time, as Chorus.
that make, and unfold error,] This does not, in my opi. nion, take in the poet's thought. Time does not make mistakes, and discover them, at different conjunctures; but the poet means, that Time often for a season covers errors, which he afterwards displays and brings to light. I chuse therefore to read:
- that mask and unfold error, THEOBALD. Theobald's emendation is surely unnecessary. Departed time renders many facts obscure, and in that sense is the cause of error. Time to come brings discoveries with it.
“ These very comments on Shakspeare (fays Mr. M. Mason) prove that time can both make and unfold error.” Steevens. 3- that I fide
O'er fixteen years,] This trespass, in respect of dramatic unity, will appear venial to those who have read the once famous Lyly's Endymion, or (as he himself calls it in the prologue) his Man in the Moon. This author was applauded and very liberally paid by queen Elizabeth. Two acts of his piece comprize the space of forty years, Endymion lying down to sleep at the end of the second, and waking in the first scene of the fifth, after a nap of that unconscionable length. Lyly has likewise been guilty of much greater absurdities than ever Shakspeare committed; for he supposes that Endymion's hair, features, and person, were changed by age during his sleep, while all the other personages of the drama remained without alteration.
George Whetstone, in the epistle dedicatory, before his Promos and Cassandra, 1578, (on the plan of which Measure for Measure is formed) had pointed out many of these absurdities and offences