Imatges de pÓgina
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"One, whom the mufick of his own vain tongue
"Doth ravifh, 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 Studies, 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 use him for

my

minstrelfie.

Biron.

2 Aman of complements, whom right and wrong

Have thefe as umpire of their mutiny.] As very bad a Play as this is, it was certainly Shakespear's, as appears by many fine mafter-strokes fcattered up and down. An exceffive complaifance is here admirably painted, in the perfon of one who was willing to make even right and wrong friends: and to perfuade the one to recede from the accustomed ftubbornness of her nature, and wink at the liberties of her oppofite, rather than he would incur the imputation of ill-breeding in keeping up the quarrel. And as our author, and Johnfon his contemporary, are, confeffedly, the two greateft writers in the Drama that our nation could ever boaft of, this may be no improper occafion to take notice of one material difference between Shakespear's worst plays, and the other's. Our author owed all to his prodigious natural genius; and Johnfon moft to his acquired parts and learning. This, if attended to, will explain the difference we speak of. Which is this, that, in Johnson's bad pieces, we do not difcover the least traces of the author of the Fox and Alchemift; but, in the wildest and most extravagant notes of Shakespear, you every now and then encounter ftrains that recognize their divine compofer. And the reafon is this, that Johnfon owing his chief excellence to art, by which he fometimes ftrain'd himself to an uncommon pitch, when he unbent himself, had nothing to fupport him; but fell below all likeness of himself: while Shakespear, indebted more largely to nature than the other to his acquired talents, could never, in his moft negligent hours, so totally diveft himself of his Genius but that it would frequently break out with amazing force and splendour.

In high-born words the worth of many a Knight From tawny Spain, loft in the world's debate.] i. e. he shall relate to us the celebrated ftories recorded in the old romances,

O 2

and

Biron. Armado is a moft illuftrious wight, A man of fire-new words, fashion's own Knight. Long. Coftard the fwain, and he, shall be our sport And, fo to study, three years are but short.

SCENE II.

Enter Dull and Coftard with a letter.

Dull. Which is the King's own person? Biron. This, fellow; what would'st? Dull. I my felf reprehend his own person, for I am his Grace's Tharborough: but I would fee his own person in flesh and blood.

Biron. This is he.

Dull. Signior Arme, Armecommends 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. Biron. How low foever the matter, I hope in God for high words.

Long. A high hope for a low (a) having; God grant us patience!

Biron. To hear, or forbear hearing?

Long. To hear meekly, Sir, to laugh moderately, or to forbear both.

Biron. Well, Sir, be it as the Stile fhall give us caufe to climb in the merriness.

Coft. The matter is to me, Sir, as concerning Jaquenetta.

The

and in their very ftile. Why he fays from tawny Spain is, because these romances being of Spanish original, the Heroes and the Scene were generally of that country. Why he fays, loft in the world's debate is, because the fubject of those romances were the crufades of the European Chriftians against the Saracens of Afia and Africa. So that we see here is meaning in the words.

(a) [ Mr. Theobald, having.-Vulg. heaven. ]

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The manner of it is, I was taken in the manner.
Biron. In what manner?

Coft. In manner and form, following, Sir; all those three. I was feen with her in the Manor-house, fitting with her upon the Form, and taken following her into the Park; which, put together, is, in manner and form following. Now, Sir, for the manner: it is the manner of a man to speak to a woman; for the form, in fome form.

Biron. For the following, Sir?

Coft. As it fhall follow in my correction; and God defend the right!

King. Will you hear the letter with attention?
Biron. As we would hear an oracle.

Coft. Such is the fimplicity of man to hearken after the fleth.

King reads. GREAT deputy, the welkin's vice-gerent,

and fole dominator of my

earth's God, and body's foftring patron.
Coft. Not a word of Coftard yet.
King. So it is

Coft. It may be fo; but if he fay it is fo, he is, in
telling true, (a) but fo, fo.
King. Peace-

Coft. Be to me, and every man that dares not fight!
King. No words-

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Coft. Of other men's fecrets, I beseech you. King. So it is, Befieged with fable-coloured melancholy, I did commend the black oppreffing humour to the most wholesome phyfick of thy health-giving air; and as I am

4 taken WITH the manner.] The following question arifing from these words fhews we fhould read-taken in the manner, And this was the phrase in ufe to fignify, taken in the fact. So Dr. Donne in his letters, But if I melt into melancholy while I write, Ifhall be taken in the manner; and I fit by one, too tender to thefe impreffions.

[(a) but fo, fo.] A quibble reftored by the Oxford Editor.-Vulg. but fo. ]

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a gentleman, betook my felf to walk: The time, when? about the fixth hour, when beafts most graze, birds beft peck, and men fit down to that nourishment which is call'd fupper: fo much for the time, when. Now for the ground, which: which, I mean, I walkt upon; it is ycleped, thy park. Then for the place, where; where, I mean, I did encounter that obfcene and most prepofterous event, that draweth from my fnow-white pen the eboncolour'd ink, which here thou vieweft, beholdeft, furveyeft, or feeft. But to the place, where; It ftandeth northnorth-east and by east from the west corner of thy curiousknotted garden. There did I fee that low-fpirited fwain, that bafe minow of thy mirth, (Coft. Me?) that unletter'd fmall-knowing foul, (Coft. Me?) that shallow vaffal, (Coft. Still me?) which, as I remember, hight Coftard; (Coft. O me!) forted and conforted, contrary to thy established proclaimed edit and continent canon, with, with,O with,·Ō with,—but with this I paffion to Jay wherewith:

Coft. With a wench.

King. With a child of our grandmother Eve, a female; or for thy more understanding, a woman; him, I (as my ever-esteem'd duty pricks me on) have fent to thee, to receive the need of punishment, by thy fweet Grace's officer, Anthony Dull, a man of good repute, carriage, bearing and eftimation.

Dull. Me, an't fhall pleafe you: I am Anthony Dull.

King. For Jaquenetta, (fo is the weaker vessel call'd) which I apprehended with the aforefaid fwain, I keep her as a vaffal of thy law's fury, and fhall at the leaft of thy fweet notice bring her to tryal. Thine in all complements of devoted and heart-burning heat of duty, Don Adriano de Armado.

Biron. This is not fo well as I look'd for, but the best that ever I heard.

King. Ay; the best for the worst. But, firrah, what lay you to this?

Coft. Sir, I confess the wench.

King. Did you hear the proclamation?

Coft. I do confefs much of the hearing it, but little of the marking of it.

King. It was proclaim'd a year's imprisonment to be taken with a wench.

Coft. I was taken with none, Sir, I was taken with a damofel.

King. Well, it was proclaimed damosel.

Coft. This was no damofel neither, Sir, fhe was a virgin.

King. It is fo varied too, for it was proclaim'd virgin.

Coft. If it were, I deny her virginity: I was taken with a maid.

King. This maid will not ferve your turn, Sir.
Coft. This maid will ferve my turn, Sir.

King. Sir, I will pronounce fentence; you shall faft a week with bran and water.

Coft. I had rather pray a month with mutton and porridge.

King. And Don Armado fhall be your keeper. My lord Biron, fee him deliver'd o'er. And go we, lords, to put in practice that, Which each to other hath so strongly sworn.

[Exeunt.

Biron. I'll lay my head to any good man's hat, Thefe oaths and laws will prove an idle scorn. Sirrah, come on.

Coft. I fuffer for the truth, Sir: for true it is, I was taken with Jaquenetta, and Jaenetta is a true girl; and therefore welcome the four cup of profperity: affliction may one day fmile again, and until then, fit thee down, forrow.

[Exeunt.

SCENE

04

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