Imatges de pÓgina

BIRON. A dangerous law against gentility".


Item, If any man be seen to talk with a woman within the term of three years, he shall endure such public shame as the rest of the court shall possibly devise.—

This article, my liege, yourself must break;

For, well you know, here comes in embassy

The French king's daughter, with yourself to speak,

A maid of grace, and complete majesty,

About surrender-up of Aquitain

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

Or vainly comes th' admired princess hither.
KING. What say you, lords? why, this was quite forgot.
BIRON. So study evermore is over-shot;

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; so won, so lost.
KING. We must, of force, dispense with this decree;
She must lie here on mere necessity.


BIRON. Necessity will make us all forsworn

Three thousand times within this three years' space : For every man with his affects is born;

Not by might master'd, but by special grace. If I break faith, this word shall speak for me, I am forsworn on mere necessity.

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.
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 phrases in his brain:


In the early editions this line is given to Longaville. It seems more properly to belong to Biron, and we therefore receive Theobald's correction, especially as Biron is reading the paper, and the early copies do not mark this when they give the line of comment upon the previous item to Longaville.

To lie-to reside. We have the sense in Wotton's punning definition of an ambassador—“an honest man sent to lie abroad for the good of his country."

The folio reads break.


One who the music of his own vain tongue

Doth ravish, like enchanting harmony;
A man of complements b, whom right and wrong
Have chose as umpire of their mutiny:
This child of fancy, that Armado hight,

For interim to our studies, shall relate,
In high-born words, the worth of many a knight
From tawny Spain, lost in the world's debate'.
How you delight, my lords, I know not, I;
But, I protest, I love to hear him lie,
And I will use him for my minstrelsy.
BIRON. Armado is a most illustrious wight,

A man of fire-new words, fashion's own knight.
LONG. Costard the swain, and he, shall be our sport;
And, so to study, three years is but short.

Enter DULL, with a letter, and Costard.

DULL. Which is the duke's own person?

BIRON. This, fellow. What wouldst ?

DULL. I myself reprehend his own person, for I am his grace's tharborough d: but I would see his own person in flesh and blood.

BIRON. This is he.

DULL. Signior Arme-Arme-commends you. There's villainy abroad; this letter will tell you more.

COST. Sir, the contempts thereof are as touching me.

KING. A letter from the magnificent Armado.

BIRON. How low soever the matter, I hope in God for high words.

LONG. A high hope for a low heaven: God grant us patience!

BIRON. To hear? or forbear hearing?

LONG. To hear meekly, sir, and to laugh moderately; or to forbear both.

BIRON. Well, sir, be it as the style shall give us cause to climb in the merriness f

Who. So the old copies. The more correct whom of the modern editions is a deviation from the idiom of Shakspere's time.

b Complements-a man versed in ceremonial distinctions-in punctilios-a man who brings forms to decide the mutiny between right and wrong. Compliment and complement were originally written without distinction; and though the first may be taken to mean ceremonies, and the second accomplishments, both the one and the other have the same origin-they each make that perfect which was wanting. In this passage we have the meaning of ceremonies; but in Act III., where Moth says, "these are complements," we have the meaning of accomplishments.

• Fire-new and bran-new,-that is, brand new,-new off the irons,-have each the same origin. Tharborough-thirdborough-a peace-officer.

• Heaven. This is the reading of the early copies; but it was changed by Theobald to having. Biron has somewhat profanely said, "I hope in God for high words;" and Longaville reproves him by saying, your hope is expressed in strong terms for a very paltry gratification-" A high hope for a low heaven."

Climb in the merriness. It has been proposed to read chime. The meaning is surely clear

COST. The matter is to me, sir, as concerniug Jaquenetta. The manner of it is, I was taken with the mannera.

BIRON. In what manner?

COST. In manner and form following, sir; all those three: I was seen with her in the manor house, sitting 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 some form.

BIRON. For the following, sir?

COST. As it shall follow in my correction: And God defend the right!

KING. Will you hear this letter with attention?

BIRON. As we would hear an oracle.

COST. Such is the simplicity of man to hearken after the flesh.

KING. [Reads.]

"Great deputy, the welkin's vicegerent, and sole dominator of Navarre, my soul's earth's God, and body's fostering patron,—

COST. Not a word of Costard yet.


"So it is,

COST. It may be so: but if he say it is so, he is, in telling true, but so.

KING. Peace!

COST. -be to me, and every man that dares not fight!

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"So it is, besieged with sable-coloured melancholy, I did commend the blackoppressing humour to the most wholesome physic of thy health-giving air; and, as I am a gentleman, betook myself to walk. The time when? About the sixth hour; when beasts most graze, birds best peck, and men sit down to that nourishment which is called supper. So much for the time when: Now for the ground which; which, I mean, I walked upon: it is yclept thy park. Then for the place where; where, I mean, I did encounter that obscene and most preposterous event, that draweth from my snow-white pen the ebon-coloured ink, which here thou viewest, beholdest, surveyest, or seest: But to the place where,—It standeth north-north-east and by east from the west corner of thy curious-knotted garden'. There did I see that lowspirited swain, that base minnow of thy mirth,



-"that unletter'd small-knowing soul,

enough, without seeking for a change. If the style of the letter is sufficiently absurd, we shall laugh immoderately-our merriment will ascend. The style will make us climb-a poetical fancy, or a pun, as the reader accepts it.

⚫ Manner. Costard here talks law-French. A thief was taken with the mainour when he was taken with the thing stolen-hond-habend, having in the hand.



-"that shallow vassal,

Cost. Still me?


-" which, as I remember, hight Costard,

COST. O me!


-"sorted, and consorted, contrary to thy established proclaimed edict and continent canon, with—with,—O with—but with this I passion to say wherewith, COST. With a wench.


—“with a child of our grandmother Eve, a female; or, for thy more sweet understanding, a woman. Him I (as my ever-esteemed duty pricks me on) have sent to thee, to receive the meed of punishment, by thy sweet grace's officer, Antony Dull; man of good repute, carriage, bearing, and estimation.

DULL. Me, an 't shall please you; I am Antony Dull.


"For Jaquenetta, (so is the weaker vessel called, which I apprehended with the aforesaid swain,) I keep her as a vessel of thy law's fury; and shall, at the least of thy sweet notice, bring her to trial. Thine in all compliments of devoted and heartburning heat of duty,


BIRON. This is not so well as I looked for, but the best that ever I heard.
KING. Ay, the best for the worst. But, sirrah, what say you to this?
COST. Sir, I confess the wench.

KING. Did you hear the proclamation?

Cost. I do confess much of the hearing it, but little of the marking of it.
KING. It was proclaimed a year's imprisonment, to be taken with a wench.
COST. I was taken with none, sir; I was taken with a damosel.

KING. Well, it was proclaimed damosel.

COST. This was no damosel, neither, sir; she was a virgin.

KING. It is so varied too; for it was proclaimed virgin.

COST. If it were, I deny her virginity; I was taken with a maid.

KING. This maid will not serve your turn, sir.

COST. This maid will serve my turn, sir.

KING. Sir, I will pronounce your sentence: You shall fast a week with bran and


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

KING. And Don Armado shall be your keeper.

My lord Biron, see him deliver'd o'er.—

The early copies read "which with."

And go we, lords, to put in practice that
Which each to other hath so strongly sworn.-


BIRON. I'll lay my head to any good man's hat,

These oaths and laws will prove an idle scorn.— Sirrah, come on.

COST. I suffer for the truth, sir: for true it is, I was taken with Jaquenetta, and Jaquenetta is a true girl; and therefore, Welcome the sour cup of prosperity! Affliction may one day smile again, and until then, Sit thee down, sorrow a!

SCENE II.-Another part of the same.-Armado's House.

Enter ARMADO and MOTH.


ARM. Boy, what sign is it, when a man of great spirit grows melancholy?
MOTH. A great sign, sir, that he will look sad.

ARM. Why, sadness is one and the self-same thing, dear impo.

MOTH. No, no; O lord, sir, no.

ARM. How canst thou part sadness and melancholy, my tender juvenal ?
MOTH. By a familiar demonstration of the working, my tough senior.

ARM. Why tough senior? why tough senior?

MOTH. Why tender juvenal? why tender juvenal?

ARM. I spoke it, tender juvenal, as a congruent epitheton, appertaining to thy young days, which we may nominate tender.

MоTH. And I, tough senior, as an appertinent title to your old time, which we

may name tough.

ARM. Pretty, and apt.

MOTH. How mean you, sir; I pretty, and my saying apt? or I apt, and my say

ing pretty?

ARM. Thou pretty, because little.

MOTH. Little pretty, because little: Wherefore apt?

ARM. And therefore apt, because quick.

MOTH. Speak you this in my praise, master?

ARM. In thy condign praise.

MOTH. I will praise an eel with the same praise.

ARM. What? that an eel is ingenious d?

MOTH. That an eel is quick.

ARM. I do say, thou art quick in answers: Thou heat'st my blood.

MOTH. I am answered, sir.

ARM. I love not to be crossed.

Sit thee down, sorrow. A proverbial expression, which Biron repeats in the fourth Act, with

the addition, “for so, they say, the fool said."

In the folio of 1623, Armado is called Braggart through the scene, after his first words.
Imp, in our old language, is a graft, a shoot;-and thence applied to a child.

The first folio, ingenuous. The words were often confounded.

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