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ALL'S WELL

THAT

ENDS WELL.

ACT I. SCENE I.

Roufillon. A Room in the Countefs's Palace.

Enter BERTRAM, the Countess of Rouillon, HELENA, and LAFEU, in mourning.

COUNT. In delivering my fon from me, I bury a fecond husband.

BER. And I, in going, madam, weep o'er my father's death anew: but I must attend his majesty's command, to whom I am now in ward, evermore in fubjection.

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in ward,] Under his particular care, as my guardian, till I come to age. It is now almoft forgotten in England, that the heirs of great fortunes were the King's wards. Whether the fame practice prevailed in France, it is of no great ufe to enquire, for Shakspeare gives to all nations the manners of England. JOHNSON.

Howell's fifteenth letter acquaints us that the province of Normandy was fubje& to wardfhips, and no other part of France be fides; but the fuppofition of the contrary furnished Shakspeare with a reason why the King compelled Roufillon to marry Helen.

TOLLET.

LAF. You fhall find of the king a husband, madam;—you, fir, a father: He that fo generally is at all times good, muft of neceffity hold his virtue to you; whofe worthinefs would fir it up where it wanted, rather than lack it where there is fuch abundance.

COUNT. What hope is there of his majesty's amendment?

LAF. He hath abandon'd his physicians, madam; under whose practices he hath perfecuted time with hope; and finds no other advantage in the process, but only the lofing of hope by time.

COUNT. This young gentlewoman had a father, (O, that had! how fad a paffage 'tis!) whofe fkill

The prerogative of wardship is a branch of the feudal law, and may as well be fuppofed to be incorporated with the conftitution of France, as it was with that of England, till the reign of Charles II. SIR J. HAWKINS.

3 O, that had! how fad a paffage 'tis !] Imitated from the Heautontimorumenos of Terence, (then tranflated,) where Menedemus fays:

Filium unicum adolefcentulum

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"Shee, while fhe was, (that was a woeful word to faine, ) "For beauties praife and pleasaunce had no peere.

Again, in Wily Beguil'd, 1606,

"She is not mine, I have no daughter now;
"That I fhould fay I had, thence comes my grief."

MALONE.

Paffage is any thing that paffes. So we now fay, a passage of an author, and we faid about a century ago, the paffages of a reign. When the countess mentions Helena's lofs of a father, fhe recolleas her own lofs of a husband, and ftops to obferve how heavily that word had paffes through her mind. JOHNSON.

was almost as great as his honefty; had it ftretch'd fo far, would have made nature immortal, and death should have play for lack of work. 'Would, for the king's fake, he were living! I think, it would be the death of the king's disease.

LAF. How call'd you the man you speak of, madam?

COUNT. He was famous, fir, in his profeffion, and it was his great right to be fo; Gerard de Narbon.

LAF. He was excellent, indeed, madam; the king very lately spoke of him, admiringly, and mourningly he was skilful enough to have liv'd ftill, if knowledge could be set up against mortality.

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BER. What is it, my good lord, the king languishes of?

LAF. A fiftula, my lord."

Thus Shakspeare himself. See The Comedy of Errors, A& III.

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"Now in the ftirring paffage of the day.' So, in The Gamefter, by Shirley, 1637: "I'll not be witnefs of your paffages myself: i. e. of what paffes between you. Again, in A Woman's a Weathercock, 1612:

Again:

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"I knew the paffages 'twixt her and Scudamore." Again, in The Dumb Knight, 1633:

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"Your vile and moft lafcivious paffages."

Again, in The English Intelligencer, a tragi-comedy, 1641: two philofophers that jeer and weep at the paffages of the world."

STEEVENS.

A fiftula, my lord.] The king of France's diforder is specified as follows in Painter's Tranflation from Boccaccio's Novel, on which this play was founded: "She heard by report that the French king had a fwelling upon his breaft, which by reason

BER. I heard not of it before.

LAF. I would, it were notnotorious,Was this gentlewoman the daughter of Gerard de Narbon?

COUNT. His fole child, my lord; and bequeathed to my overlooking. I have thofe hopes of her good, that her education promifes: her difpofitions fhe inherits, which make fair gifts fairer; for where an unclean mind carries virtuous qualities, there commendations go with pity, they are virtues and traitors too, in her they are the better for their fimpleness; fhe derives her honefly, and achieves her goodnefs.

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of ill cure, was grown into a fiftula," &c. STEEVENS.

5 -virtuous qualities,] By virtuous qualities are meant quali ties of good breeding and erudition; in the fame fenfe that the Italians fay, qualità virtuofa; and not moral ones. On this account it is, the fays, that, in an ill mind, these virtuous qualities are virtues and traitors too: i. e. the advantages of education enable an ill mind to go further in wickedness than it could have done without them. WARBURTON.

Virtue, and virtuous, as I am told, ftill keep this fignification in the north, and mean ingenuity and ingenious. Of this fenfe perhaps an inftance occurs in the Eighth Book of Chapman's Version of the Iliad:

"Then will I to Olympus' top our virtuous engine bind,
"And by it every thing fhall hang," &c.

Again, in Marlowe's Tamburlaine, p. 1, 1590:

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If thefe had made one poem's period,
"And all combin'd in beauties worthyneffe,
"Yet fhould there hover in their reftieffe heads
"One thought, one grace, one wonder at the leaft,

، Which into words no vertue can digeft." STEEVENS.

-they are virtues and traitors too; in her they are the better, for their fimpleness; Her virtues are the better for their Jimpleness, that is, her excellencies are the better because they are artless and open, without fraud, without defign. The learned commentator has well explained virtues, but has not, I think, reached the force of the word traitors, and therefore has not shown the full extent

LAF. Your commendations, madam, get from her tears.

COUNT. 'Tis the best brine a maiden can season her praise in. 7 The remembrance of her father never approaches her heart, but the tyranny of her forrows takes all livelihood from her check. No more of this, Helena, go to, no more; left it be rather thought you affect a forrow, than to have.

HEL. I do affect a forrow, indeed, but I have it too. 2

of Shakspeare's mafterly obfervation. Virtues in an unclean mind are virtues and traitors too. Eftimable and useful qualities, joined with an evil difpofition, give that evil difpofition power over others, who, by admiring the virtue, are betrayed to the malevolence. The Tatler, mentioning the fharpers of his time, obferves, that fome of them are men of fuch elegance and knowledge, that a young man who falls into their way, is betrayed as much by his judgement as his paffions. JOHNSON.

In As you Like it, virtues are called traitors on a very different ground

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to fome kind of men

"Their graces ferve them but as enemies:

"No more do yours; your virtues, gentle mafter,
"Are fan&ified and holy traitors to you.

"O what a world is this, when what is comely
Envenoms him that bears it!" MALONE.

7 —— can season her praife in.] To feafon has here a culinary fenfe; to preferve by falting. A paffage in Twelfth Night, will best explain its meaning:

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all this to feafon

"A brother's dead love, which he would keep fresh,

And lafting in her remembrance."

MALONE.

all livelihood] i. e. all appearance of life. STEEVENS. left it be rather thought you affect a forrow, than to have. ] Our author fometimes is guilty of fuch flight inaccuracies; and concludes a fentence as if the former part of it had been conftructed differently. Thus, in the prefent inftance, he feems to be rather thought to affect a forrow, than to

have meanthave. MALONE.

left you

I do affect a forrow, indeed, but I have it too. ] Helena has, I believe, a meaning here, that he does not wifh fhould be under.

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