Page images

the poor

Leon. Neighbours, you are tedious.
Dogb. It pleases your worship to say so, but we are

duke's officers;' but, truly, for mine own part, if I were as tedious as a king, I could find in my heart to bestow it all of your worship.

Leon. All thy tediousness on me! ha!

Dogb. Yea, and 'twere a thousand times more than 'tis: for I hear as good exclamation on your worship, as of any man in the city; and though I be but a poor man, I am glad to hear it.

Verg. And so am I.
Leon. I would fain know what you have to say.

Verg. Marry sir, our watch to-night, excepting your worship's presence, have ta’en a couple of as arrant knaves as any in Messina.

Dogb. A good old man, sir; he will be talking; as they say, When the age is in, the wit is out; God help us! it is a world to see! 1_Well said, i' faith, neighbour Verges:-well, God's a good man;2 An two men ride







- we are the poor duke's officers ;] This stroke of pleasantry has already occurred in Measure for Measure, Act II, sc. i, where Elbow says:-“If it please your honour, I am the poor duke's constable." it is a world to see! ] i. e. it is wonderful to see.

So, in All for Money, an old morality, 1594: It is a world to see how greedy they be of money.The same plirase often occurs, with the same meaning, in Holinshed. Steevens.

Again, in a letter from the Earl of Worcester to the Earl of Salisbury, 1609: “While this tragedee was acting yt was a world to heare the reports heare."

Lodge's Illustrations, Vol. III, p. 380 Recd. Rather, it is worth seeing. Barret in his Alvearie, 1580, explains “ It is a world to heare," by it is a thing worthie the hearing. Audire est operæ pretium. Horat.

And in The Myrrour of good manners compyled in latyn by Domynike Maneyn and translate into engl;she by Alexander Bercley prest. Impryntel by Rychard Rynson, bl. I. no date, the line “ Est operæ pretium doctos spectare colonos”-is rendered “ A world it is to se wyse tyllers of the grounde.” H. White.

- well, God's a good man;] So, in the old Morality or Interlude of Lusty Juventus :

“He wyl say, that God is a good Man,
“He can make him no better, and say the best he can."


[blocks in formation]

of a horse, one must ride behind:3-An honest soul, i' faith, sir; by my troth he is, as ever broke bread: but, God is to be worshipp'd: All men are not alike; alas good neighbour!

Leon. Indeed, neighbour, he comes too short of you.
Dogb. Gifts, that God gives.
Leon. I must leave you.

Dogb. One word, sir: our watch, sir, have, indeed, comprehended two aspicious persons, and we would have them this morning examined before your worship.

Leon. Take their examination yourself, and bring it me; I am now in great haste, as it may appear unto you.

Dogb. It shall be suffigance.
Leon. Drink some wine ere you go: fare you well.

Enter a Messenger.
Mess. My lord, they stay for you to give your daugh-
ter to her husband.
Leon. I will wait upon them;. I am ready.

[Exeunt Leon. and Mess. Dogb. Go, good partner, go, get you to Francis Seacoal, bid him bring his pen and inkhorn to the gaol; we are now to examination these men.

Verg. And we must do it wisely.

Dogb. We will spare for no wit, I warrant you; here's that [touching his forehead] shall drive some of them to a non com:4 only get the learned writer to set down our excommunication, and meet me at the gaol..

] Exeunt.


Again, in A mery Geste of Robin Hoode, bl. 1. no date:

“ For God is hold a right wise man,
" And so is his dame,” &c. Steevens.

An two men ride &c.] This is not out of place, or without meaning. Dogberry, in bis vanity of superior parts, apologizing for his neighbour, observes, that of two men on an horse, one must ride behind. The first place of rank or understanding can belong but to one, and that happy one ought not to despise his inferiour. Fohnson.

to a non com:] i. e. to a non compos mentis ; put them out of their wits:-or perhaps he confounds the term with nonplus. Malone.



The inside of a Church.

Enter Don PEDRO, Don John, LEONATO, Friar, Clau


Leon. Come, friar Francis, be brief; only to the plain form of marriage, and you shall recount their particular duties afterwards.

Friar. You come hither, my lord, to marry this lady?
Claud. No.
Leon. To be married to her, friar; you come to marry

her. Friar. Lady, you come hither to be married to this

count? Hero. I do. Friar. If either of you know any inward impediments why you should not be conjoined, I charge you, on your souls, to utter it.

Claud. Know you any, Hero?
Hero. None, my lord.
Friar. Know you any, count?
Leon. I dare make his answer, none.

Claud. O, what men dare do! what men may do! what men daily do! not knowing what they do!

Bene. How now! Interjections? Why, then some be of laughing, as, ha! ha! he!

Claud. Stand thee by, friar:-Father, by your leave; Will you with free and unconstrained soul Give me this maid, your daughter?

Leon. As freely, son, as God did give her me. Claud. And what have I to give you back, whose worth May counterpoise this rich and precious gift?

D. Pedro. Nothing, unless you render her again.


5 If either of you know any inward impediment &c.] This is borrowed from our Marriage Ceremony, which (with a few slight changes in phraseology) is the same as was used in the time of Shakspeare. Douce.

some be of laughing,] This is a quotation from the Accidence. Johnson.


Claud. Sweet prince, you learn me noble thankful


There, Leonato, take her back again;
Give not this rotten orange to your friend;
She's but the sign and semblance of her honour:-
Behold, how like a maid she blushes here:
O, what authority and show of truth
Can cunning sin cover itself withal!
Comes not that blood, as modest evidence,
To witness simple virtue? Would you not swear,
All you that see her, that she were a maid,
By these exterior shows? But she is none:
She knows the heat of a luxurious bed:7
Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty.

Leon. What do you mean, my lord ?

Not to be married, Not knit my soul to an approved wanton.

Leon. Dear my lord, if you, in your own proof
Have vanquish'd the resistance of her youth,
And made defeat of her virginity,-

Claud. I know what you would say; If I have known her,
You 'll say, she did embrace me as a husband,
And so extenuate the 'forehand sin:
No, Leonato,
I never tempted her with word too large;1
But, as a brother to his sister, show'd
Bash ful sincerity and comely love.

Hero. And seem'd I ever otherwise to you?



[ocr errors]

luxurious bed:] That is, lascivious. Luxury is the confessor's term for unlawfiil pleasures of the sex. Johnson. Thus Pistol, in King Henry V, calls Fluellen a

damned and luxurious mountain goat.” Steevens. Again, in The Life and Death of Edward II, p. 129:

Luxurious Queene, this is thy foule desire.Reed. 8 Not knit my soul &c.] The old copies read, injuriously to metre,-Not to knit, &c. I suspect, however, that our author wrote-Nor knit, &c. Steevens.

9 Dear my lord, if you, in your own proof -) In your own proof may signify in your own trial of her. Tyrwhitt.

Dear like door, fire, hour, and many similar words, is here used as a dissyllable. Malone.

- word too large;] So he uses large jests in this play, for licentious, not restrained within due bounds. Johnson.


8 Woons.

Thou pure impiety, and impious purity!
For thee I 'll lock up all the gates of love,
And on my eye-lids shall conjecture1 hang,
To turn all beauty into thoughts of harm,
And never shall it more be gracious.?
Leon. Hath no man's dagger here a point for me? 3

(HER Beat. Why, how now, cousin? wherefore sink you

down? D. John. Come, let us go: these things, come thus to

light, Smother her spirits up.

[Exeunt D. PEDRO, D. John, and CLAUD. Bene. How doth the lady? Beat.

Dead, I think;—Help, uncle; Hero! why, Hero!-Uncle !-Signior Benedick!-friar!

Leon. () fate, take not away thy heavy hand!
Death is the fairest cover for her shame,
That may be wish'd for.

How now, cousin Hero?
Friar. Have comfort, lady.

Dost thou look up?4

Yea; Wherefore should she not? Leon. Wherefore? Why, doth not every earthly thing Cry shame upon her? Could she here deny The story that is printed in her blood ? 5Do not live, Hero; do not ope thine eyes: For did I think thou would'st not quickly dies Thought I thy spirits were stronger than thy shames,


[ocr errors]

conjecture - ] Conjecture is here used for suspicion.

Malone. 2 And never shall it more be gracious.] i. e. lovely, attractive.

Malone. So, in King Fohn:

“ There was not such a gracious creature born.” Steevens. 3 Hath no man's dagger here a point for me?] So, in Venice Presero'd:

“ A thousand daggers, all in honest hands!

“ And have not I a friend to stick one here?" Steevens. 4 Dost thou look up?] The metre is here imperfect. Perhaps our author wrote- Dost thou still look up.? Steevens.

5 The story that is printed in her blood.] That is, the story which her blushes discover to be true. Johnson.

« PreviousContinue »