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Ros. Nor shall not, if I do as I intend.
Biron. Speak for yourselves, my wit is at an end.
King, Teach us, sweet madam, for our rude trans-

gression bome fair excuse.

Prin. The fairest is confession.
Were you not here, but even now, disguis'd ?

King. Madam, I was.
Prin. And were you well advis’d ?)
King. I was, fair madam.

Prin. When you then were here,
What did you whisper in your lady's ear?

King. That more than all the world I did respect her.
Prin. When she shall challenge this, you will reject her.
King. Upon mine honour, no.

Prin. Peace, peace, forbear:
Your oath once broke, you force not to forswear.*

King. Despise me, when I break this oath of mine.

Prin. I will; and therefore keep it :-Rosaline,
What did the Russian whisper in your ear ?

Ros. Madam, he swore, that he did hold me dear
As precious eye-sight ; and did value me
Above this world : adding thereto, moreover,
That he would wed me, or else die my lover.

Prin. God give thee joy of him! the noble lord
Most honourably doth uphold his word.

King. What mean you, madam ? by my life, my troth, I never swore this lady such an oath.

Ros. By heaven, you did ; and to confirm it plain, You gave me this : but take it, sir, again.

King. My faith, and this, the princess I did give; I knew her by this jewel on her sleeve.

Prin. Pardon me, sir, this jewel did she wear; And lord Birón, I thank him, is my dear :

me, or your pearl again ? Biron. Neither of either; I remit both twain. I see the trick on't ;-Here was a consent, (Knowing aforehand of our merriment,) To dash it, like a Christmas comedy : Some carry-tale, some please-man, some slight zany, (3) i. e. acting with sufficient deliberation. 14] You force not, is the same with, you make no difficulty. This is a very just observation. The crime which has been once committed, is committed again with



(5) A zany is a buffoon, a merry Andrew, a gross mimick. STEEVENS.


less reluctance.


Some mumble-news, some trencher-knight, some Dick,

- That smiles his cheek in years; and knows the trick To make my lady laugh, when she's dispos'd, Told our intents before : wnich once disclos’d, The ladies did change favours ; and then we, Following the signs, wood but the sign of she. Now, to our perjury to add more terror, We are again forsworn; in will, and error. Much upon this it is :- And might not you,

[To Boyet. Forestal our sport, to make us thus untrue ? Do not you know my lady's foot by th' squire,

And laugh upon the apple of her eye ?
And stand between her back, sir, and the fire,

Holding a trencher, jesting merrily?
You put our page out: Go, you are allow'd ;8
Die when you will, a smock shall be your

shrowd. You leer upon me, do you ? there's an eye, Wounds like a leaden sword.

Boyet. Full merrily Hath this brave manage, this career, been run. Biron. Lo, he is tilting straight! Peace ; I have done.

Enter CostaRD.
Welcome, pure wit! thou partest a fair fray.

Cost. O Lord, sir, they would know,
Whether the three worthies shall come in, or no.

Biron. What, are there but three ?

Cost. No, sir ; but it is vara fine,
For every one pursents three.

Biron. And three times thrice is nine.
Cost. Not so, sir; under correction, sir ; I hope, it is

not so: You cannot beg us, sir, I can assure you, sir; we know

what we know : I hope, sir, three times thrice, sir,

[6] See a few lines below:

“ And stand between her back, sir, and the fire,

“ Holding a trencher,"-&c. MALONE [7] From esquierre, French, a rule, or square. The sense is nearly the same as that of the proverbial expression in our own language, he hath got the length of her foot; i. e. he hath humoured her so long that he can persuade her to what he pleases. HEATH

(8) i. e. you may say what you will; you are a licensed fool, a common jester. So, in Twelfth-Night:

There is no slander in an allow'd fool." WARBURTON. (9] That is, we are not fools; our next relations cannot beg the wardship of our persons and fortunes. One of the legal tests of a natural is to try whether he can number. JOHNSON



Biron. Is not nine.

Cost. Under correction, sir, we know whereuntil it doth amount.

Biron. By Jove, I always took three threes for nine.

Cost. O Lord, sir, it were a pity you should get your living by reckoning, sir.

Biron. How much is it?
Cost. O Lord, sir, the parties themselves, the actors,

will show whereuntil it doth amount: for my own part, I am, as they say, but to parfect one man,-e'en one poor man ; Pompion the great, sir.

Biron. Art thou one of the worthies ?

Cost. It pleased them, to think me worthy of Pompion the great : for mine own part, I know not the degree of the worthy ; but I am to stand for him.'

Biron. Go, bid them prepare.
Cost. We will turn it finely off, sir ;

we will take some

[Exit Cost. king. Birón, they will shame us, let them not ap

proach. Biron. We are shame-proof, my lord : and 'tis some

policy To have one show worse than the king's and his company.

King. I say, they shall not come. Prin. Nay, my good lord, let me o'er-rule you now; That sport best pleases, that doth least know how : Where zeal strives to content, and the contents Die in the zeal of them which it presents, Their form confounded makes most form in mirih; When great things labouring perish in their birth. Biron. A right description of our sport, my lord.

Enter ARMADO. Arm. Anointed, I implore so much expense of thy royal sweet breath, as will utter a brace of words.

[ARMADO converses with the King, and

delivers him a paper. Prin. Doth this man serve God? Biron. Why ask you ? Prin. He speaks not like a man of God's making.

Arm. That's all one, my fair, sweet, honey monarch : for, I protest, the school-master is exceeding fantastical : too, too vain ; too, too vain. But we will put it, as they say, to fortuna della guerra. I wish you the peace of mind, most royal couplement !

[1] This is a stroke of satire which, to this hour, has lost nothing of its force. Few performers are solicitous about the history of the character they are cu




King. Here is like to be a good presence of worthies :
He presents Hector of Troy; the swain, Pompey the
great; the parish curate, Alexander; Armado's page,
Hercules; the pedant, Judas Machabæus.
And if these four worthies in their first show thrive,
These four will change habits, and present the other five.

Biron. There is five in the first show.
King. You are deceiv'd, 'tis not so.

Biron. The pedant, the braggart, the hedge-priest,
the fool, and the boy :-
Abate a throw at novum ;' and the whole world again,
Cannot prick out five such, take each one in his vein.
King. The ship is under sail, and here she comes amain.

(Seats brought for the King, Princess, &c.

Pageant of the Nine Worthies. Enter CoSTARD arm'd, for


Cost. I Pompey am,
Boyet You lie, you are not he.
Cost. I Pompey am, -
Boyet. With libbard's head on knee.*

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[2] I suppose the meaning is, Except or put the chance of the dice out of the question, and the world cannot produce five such as these. Abate, from the Fr. abatre. MALONE.

[3] In MS. Harl. 2057, p. 31, is “ The order of a showe intended to be made Aug. 1, 1621."

“ First, 2 wood men, &c.
“ St. George fighting with the dragon,

“ The 9 worthies in compleat armour with crownes of gould on their heads, every one having his esquires to beare before him his shield and penon of armes, dressed according as these lords were accustomed to be: 3 Assaralits, 3 Infidels, 3 Christians.

“ After them, a Fame, to declare the rare virtues and noble deedes of the 9 worthye women."

Such a pageant as this, we may suppose it was the design of Shakespeare to ridicule. STEEVENS.

“ This sort of procession was the usual recreation of our ancestors at Christmas and other festive seasons. Such things, being chiefly plotted and composed by ignorant people, were seldom committed to writing, at least with the view of preservation, and are of course rarely discovered in the researches of even the most industrious antiquaries. And it is certain that nothing of the kind (except the speeches in this scene, which were intended to burlesque them) ever appeared in priet." This observation belongs to Mr. Ritson, who has printed a genuine specimeu of the poetry and manner of this rude and ancient drama, from an original manuscript of Edward the Fourth's time. (Tanner's MSS. 407.) REED.

[4] This alludes to the old heroic habits, which on the knees and shoulders had usually by way of ornament, the resemblance of a leopard's or lion's head.


Biron. Well said, old mocker; I must needs be friends with thee.

Cost. I Pompey am, Pompey surnam'd the big, Dum. The great. Cost. It is great, sir ;-Pompey surnam’d the great ; That oft in field, with targe and shield, did make my foe to

sweat : And, travelling along this coast, I here am come by chance, And lay my arms before the legs of this sweet lass of

France. If your ladyship would say, Thanks, Pompey, I had done.

Prin. Great thanks, great Pompey.

Cost. 'Tis not so much worth ; but, I hope, I was perfect: I made a little fault in, great.

Biron. My hat to a halfpenny, Pompey proves the best worthy.

Enter NATHANIEL arm’d, for Alexander. Nath. When in the world I liv’d, I was the world's coin

mander ; By east, west, north, and south, I spread my conquering

might : My'scutcheon plain declares, that I am Alisander. Boyet. Your nose says no, you are not; for it stands

too right. Biron. Your nose smells, no, in this, most tender

smelling knight. Prin. The conqueror is dismay'd : Proceed, good

Alexander. Nath. When in the world I liv’d, I was the world's com

mander ;Boyet. Most true, 'tis right; you were so, Alisander. Biron. Pompey the great,Cost. Your servant, and Costárd. Biron. Take away

take Cost. O, sir, [To Nath.] you have overthrown Alisander the conqueror! You will be scraped out of the painted cloth for this : your lion, that holds his poll-ax sitting on a close-stool, will be given to A-jax :* he will

away Alisander.


[6] It should be remembered, to relish this joke, that the head of Alexander.was placed obliquely on his shoulders.

(7] This alludes to the arms given in the old history of the Nine Worthies, to Alexander, the which did beare geules, a lion, or seiante in a chayer, holding a battle-ax argent.” Leigh's Accidence of Armory, 1597.

18] There is a conceit of Ajas and a jakes.



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