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Myself would, on the rereward of reproaches,
Strike at thy life. Griev'd I, I had but one?
Chid I for that at frugal nature's frame?6
O, one too much by thee! Why had I one?
Why ever wast thou lovely in my eyes?
Why had I not, with charitable hand,
Took up a beggar's issue at my gates;
Who smirched thus, and mired with infamy,
I might have said, No part of it is mine,
This shame derives itself from unknown loins ?
But mine, and mine I lov'd, and mine I prais'd,
And mine that I was proud on;8 mine so much,



6 Chid I for that at frugal nature's frame?] Frame is contrivance, order, disposition of things. So, in The Death of Robert Earl of Huntington, 1603:

* And therefore seek to set each thing in frame.” Again, in Holinshed's Chronicle, p. 555: ". There was no man that studied to bring the unrulie to frame." Again, in Daniel's Verses on Montaigne :

extracts of men, “ Though in a troubled frame confus’dly set.” Again, in this play:

“Whose spirits toil in frame of villainies.” Steevens. It seems to me, that by frugal nature's frame, Leonato alludes to the particular formation of himself, or of Hero's mother, rather than to the universal system of things. Frame means here framing, as it does where Benedick says of John, that

“ His spirits toil in frame of villainies." Thus Richard says of Prince Edward, that he was

Fram'd in the prodigality of nature.” And, in All’s well that ends well, the King says to Bertram :

“ Frank nature, rather curious than in haste,

“ Hath well compos'd thee.” But Leonato, dissatisfied with his own frame, was wont to com. plain of the frugality of nature. M. Mason.

The meaning, I think, is,-Grieved I at nature's being so frugal as to have framed for me only one child ? Malone.

7 Who smirched thus, &c.] Thus the quarto, 1600. The folio reads—“smeared.” To smirch is to daub, to sully. So, in King Henry V : “Our gayness and our gilt are all besmirch’d,&c.

Steevens. 8 But mine, and mine I lov’d, and mine I prais’d,

And mine that I was proud on;] The sense requires that we should read, as in these three places. The reasoning of the speaker stands thus-Had this been my adopted child, her shame would not have rebounded on me. But this child was mine, as mine I lov'd her, Claud. Out on thy seeming! I will write against it:3 You seem to me as Dian in her orb; As chaste as is the bud“ ere it be blown; But you are more intemperate in your

blood Than Venus, or those pamper'd animals That rage in savage sensuality.

Hero. Is my lord well, that he doth speak so wide ?5
Leon. Sweet prince, why speak not you?
D. Pedro.

What should I speak?
I stand dishonour'd, that have gone about
To link my dear friend to a common stale.

Leon. Are these things spoken? or do I but dream ?6
D. John. Sir, they are spoken, and these things are true.
Bene. This looks not like a nuptial.

True, O God!
Claud. Leonato, stand I here?
Is this the prince? Is this the prince's brother?
Is this face Hero's? Are our eyes our own?

Leon. All this is so; But what of this, my lord?

Claud. Let me but move one question to your daughter; And, by that fatherly and kindly power? That you have in her, bid her answer truly.




thy seeming'] The old copies have thee. The emenda. tion is Mr. Pope's. In the next line Shakspeare probably wrote -seem'd. Malone.

I will write against it:] So, in Cymbeline, Posthumus speaking of women says,

I'll write against them,
“ Detest them, curse them.” Stecvens.

chaste as is the bud —] Before the air has tasted its sweetness. Fohnson.

that he doth speak so wide ?] i. e. so remotely from the present business. So, in Troilus and Cressida :--" No, no; no such matter, you are wide.Again, in The Merry Wives of Windsor: "I never heard a man of his place, gravity, and learning, so wide of his own respect.” Steevens. 6 Are these things spoken? or do I but dream?] So, in Macbeth:

“Were such things here, as we do speak about?

“ Or have we,” &c. Steevens. 7-kindly power -] That is, natural power. Kind is nature.

Fohnson. Thus, in the Introduction to The Taming of the Shrew:

- This do, and do it kindly, gentle sirs.” i. e. naturally. Steevens.

Leon. I charge thee do so, as thou art my child.

Hero. O God defend me! how am I beset! What kind of catechizing call you this?

Claud. To make you answer truly to your name.

Hero. Is it not Hero? Who can blot that name
With any just reproach?

Marry that can Hero;
Hero itself can blot out Hero's virtue.
What man was he talk'd with you yesternight
Out at your window, betwixt twelve and one?
Now, if you are a maid, answer to this.

Hero. I talk'd with no man at that hour, my lord.

D. Pedro. Why, then are you no maiden.-Leonato,
I am sorry you must hear; Upon mine honour,
Myself, my brother, and this grieved count,
Did see her, hear her, at that hour last night,
Talk with a ruffian at her chamber-window;
Who hath, indeed, most like a liberal villain, 8
Confess'd the vile encounters they have had
A thousand times in secret.
D. John.

Fie, fie! they are
Not to be nam’d, my lord, not to be spoke of;
There is not chastity enough in language,
Without offence, to utter them: Thus, pretty lady,
I am sorry for thy much misgovernment.

Claud. O Hero! what a Hero hadst thou been,
If half thy outward graces had been placed
About thy thoughts, and counsels of thy heart!
But, fare thee well, most foul, most fair! farewel,




- liberal villain,] Liberal here, as in many places of these plays, means frank beyond honesty, or decency. Free of tongue. Dr. Warburton unnecessarily reads, illiberal. Fohnson. So, in The Fair Maid of Bristow, 1605:

“But Vallinger, most like a liberal villain

“ Did give her scandalous ignoble terms.” Again, in The Captain, by Beaumont and Fletcher:

“ And give allowance to your liberal jests

“Upon his person.” Steevens. This sense of the word liberal is not peculiar to Shakspeare. John Taylor, in his Suite concerning Players, complains of the

many aspersions very liberally, unmannerly, and ingratefully bestowed upon him.” Farmer.

- what a Hero had'st thou been,] I am afraid here is intend. ed a poor conceit upon the word Hero. Johnson.



That I myself was to myself not mine,
Valuing of her; why, she-0, she is fallen
Into a pit of ink! that the wide sea
Hath drops too few to wash her clean again;o
And salt too little, which may season give
To her foul tainted flesh!1

Sir, sir, be patient:
For my part, I am so attir'd in wonder,
I know not what to say.

Beat. O, on my soul, my cousin is belied!
Bene. Lady, were you her bedfellow last night?

Beat. No, truly, not; although until last night,
I have this twelvemonth been her bedfellow.

Leon. Confirm’d, confirm'd! O, that is stronger made,
Which was before barr'd up with ribs of iron!
Would the two princes lie? and Claudio lie?
Who lov'd her so, that, speaking of her foulness,
Wash'd it with tears? Hence from her; let her die.

Friar. Hear me a little;
For I have only been silent so long,
And given way unto this course of fortune,
By noting of the lady: I have mark'd
A thousand blushing apparitions start
Into her face; a thousand innocent shames
In angel whiteness bear away those blushes;
And in her eye there hath appear'd a fire,
To burn the errors that these princes hold


praised her, was proud of her : consequently, as I claimed the glory, I must needs be subject to the shame, &c. Warburton.

Even of this small alteration there is no need.' The speaker utters his emotion abruptly. But mine, and mine that I lood, &c. by an ellipsis frequent, perhaps too frequent, both in verse and prose. Johnson.

the wide sea Hath drops too few to wash her clean again;] The same thought is repeated in Macbeth:

“Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand ?” Steevens.

which may season give To her foul tainted flesh!] The same metaphor from the kitchen occurs in Twelfth Night:

all this to season " A brother's dead love." Steedens.


Against her maiden truth:-Call me a fool;
Trust not my reading, nor my observations,
Which with experimental seal doth warrant
The tenour of my book;3 trust not my age,
My reverence, calling, nor divinity,
If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here
Under some biting error.

Friar it cannot be:
Thou seest, that all the grace that she hath left,
Is, that she will not add to her damnation
A sin of perjury; she not denies it:
Why seek'st thou then to cover with excuse
That which appears in proper nakedness?

Friar. Lady, what man is he you are accus'd of?“

Hero. They know, that do accuse me; I know none: If I know more of any man alive, Than that which maiden modesty doth warrant, Let all my sins lack mercy-O my father, Prove you that any man with me convers’d At hours unmeet, or that I yesternight Maintain'd the change of words with any creature, Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death.

Friar. There is some strange misprision in the princes. Bene. Two of them have the very bent of honour;5 2 To burn the errors - ] The same idea occurs in Romeo and Juliet:

Transparent hereticks be burnt for liars.” Steevens.

-of my book ;] i. e. of what I have read. Malone. 4 Friar. what man is he you are accus'd of?] The friar had just before boasted his great skill in fishing out the truth. And, indeed, he appears by this question to be no fool. He was by, all the while at the accusation, and heard no name mentioned. Why then should he ask her what man she was accused of? But in this lay the subtilty of his examination. For, had Hero been guilty, it was very probable that in that hurry and confusion of spirits, into which the terrible insult of her lover had thrown her, she would never have observed that the man's name was not mentioned; and so, on this question, have betrayed herself by naming the person she was conscious of an affair with. The Friar observed this, and so concluded that were she guilty, she would probably fall into the trap he laid for her.-I only take notice of this to show how admirably well Shakspeare knew how to sustain his characters. Warburton.

- bent of honour ;] Bent is used by our author for the utmost degree of any passion, or mental quality. In this play be.




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