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To make a world-without-end bargain in.
Change not your offer made in heat of blood;
But that it bear this trial, and last love;
King. If this, or more than this, I would deny,
To flatter up these powers of mine with rest, The sudden hand of death close up mine eye!
Hence ever, then, my heart is in thy breast. Biron. And what to me, my love? and what to
Ros. You must be purged too; your sins are rank;
A twelvemonth shall you spend, and never rest,
Dum. But what to me, my love? but what to me? Kath. A wife!-A beard, fair health, and honesty; With threefold love I wish you all these three.
Dum. O, shall I say, I thank you, gentle wife? Kath. Not so, my lord.-A twelvemonth and a day I'll mark no words that smooth-faced wooers say. Come when the king doth to my lady come; Then, if I have much love, I'll give you some.
Dum. I'll serve thee true and faithfully till then. Kath. Yet swear not, lest you be forsworn again. Long. What says Maria?
Mar. At the twelvemonth's end, I'll change my black gown for a faithful friend. Long. I'll stay with patience; but the time is long. Mar. The liker you; few taller are so young. Biron. Studies my lady? Mistress, look on me; Behold the window of my heart, mine eye, What humble suit attends thy answer there. Impose some service on me for thy love.
Ros. Oft have I heard of you, my lord Birón,
Biron. To move wild laughter in the throat of death?
It cannot be; it is impossible.
Mirth cannot move a soul in agony.
Ros. Why, that's the way to choke a gibing spirit,
Of him that hears it, never in the tongue
Deafed with the clamors of their own dear1
Biron. A twelvemonth?
Well, befall what will
Arm. Sweet majesty, vouchsafe me,—
I'll jest a twelvemonth in an hospital.
King. Come, sir, it wants a twelvemonth and a day,
And then 'twill end.
That's too long for a play.
Dum. The worthy knight of Troy.
Arm. I will kiss thy royal finger and take leave. I am a votary; I have vowed to Jaquenetta to hold the plough for her sweet love three years. But, most esteemed greatness, will you hear the dialogue that the two learned men have compiled, in praise of the owl and the cuckoo? it should have followed in the end of our show.
King. Call them forth quickly; we will do so.
Enter HOLOFERNES, NATHANIEL, MOTH, COSTARD, and others.
This side is Hiems, winter; this Ver, the spring; the one maintained by the owl, the other by the cuckoo. Ver, begin.
1 Dear; used by ancient writers to express pain, solicitude, &c.
Spring. When daisies pied, and violets blue,
And lady-smocks all silver white,
Do paint the meadows with delight,
When shepherds pipe on oaten straws,
And merry larks are ploughmen's clocks,
And maidens bleach their summer smocks,
Cuckoo, cuckoo,-O word of fear,
Winter. When icicles hang by the wall,
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And milk comes frozen home in pail,
1 Gerarde, in his Herbal, 1597, says that the flos cuculi cardamine, &c. are called "in English cuckoo flowers, in Norfolk Canterbury bells, and at Namptwich, in Cheshire, Ladie-smocks."
When all aloud the wind doth blow,
And Marian's nose looks red and raw,
To-whit, to-who, a merry note,
Arm. The words of Mercury are harsh after the songs of Apollo. You, that way; we, this way.
1 This wild English apple, roasted and put into ale, was a very favorite indulgence in old times.
2 To keel, or kele, is to cool.
In this play, which all the editors have concurred to censure, and some have rejected as unworthy of our Poet, it must be confessed that there are many passages mean, childish, and vulgar; and some which ought not to have been exhibited, as we are told they were, to a maiden queen. But there are scattered through the whole many sparks of genius; nor is there any play that has more evident marks of the hand of Shakspeare.