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Lsqox Library 















.V C AND C. WlimiNOllAM. 










M$Mnt$ tot MtMntt. 


Sharspeare took the fable of this play from the Promos and 
Cassaodra of George WbetstoDe, published in 1678, of which this 
is ' The Arg^nment' 

' In the city of Jnlio (sometimes nnder the dominion of Corrinus 
King of Hungary and Bohemia), there was a law, that what man 
soever committed adultery should lose his head, and the woman 
offender should wear some disguisjed apparel, during her life, to 
make her infamously noted. This seyere law, by the favour of 
some merciful magistrate, became little regarded, until the time 
of Lord Promos's authority ; who convicting a young gentleman 
named Andrugio of iocontinency, condemned both him and his 
minion to the execution of this statute. Andrugio had a very vir- 
tuous and beautiful gentlewoman to his sister, named Cassandra. 
Cassandra, to enlarge her brother's life, submitted an humble 
petition to the Lord Promos. Promos regarding her good beha- 
viour, and fantasying her great beauty, was much delighted with 
the sweet order of her talk ; and doing good, that evil might oome 
thereof, for a time he reprieved her brother : but wicked man, 
turning his liking into unlawful lust, he set domi the spoil of her 
honour, ransom for her brother's life : chaste Cassandra, abhorring 
both him and his suit, by no persuasion would yield to this ran- 
som. Qut in fine, won by the importunity of her brother (plead- 
ing for life), upon these conditions she agreed to Promos : First, 
that he should pardon her brother, and after marry her. Promos, 
as fearless in promise, as careless in performance, with solemn 
vow signed her conditions ; but worse than any infidel, his will 
satisfied, he performed neither the one nor the other : for to keep 
his authority unspotted with favour, and to prevent Cassandra's 
clamours, he commanded the jailer secretly to present Cassandra 
with her brother's head. The jailer [touched] with the outcries 

VOt. II. B 


of Androgio (abhorring Promos's lewdness), by the proTidenoe of 
God provided thas for his safety. He presented Cassandra with 
a felon's head newly executed ; who knew it not, being mangled, 
from her brother's (who was set at liberty by the jailer). [She] 
was so aggrieved at this treachery, that, at the point to kill her- 
self, she spared that stroke to be avenged of Promos : and devising 
a way, she concluded, to make her fortunes known to the king. 
She, executing this resolution, was so highly favoured of the king, 
that forthwith he hasted to do justice on Promos : whose judg- 
ment was to marry Cassandra, to repair her erased honour; which 
done, for his heinous ofience, he should lose his head. This mar- 
riage solemnized, Cassandra tied in the greatest bonds of affec- 
tion to her husband, became an earnest suitor for his life : the 
king tendering the general benefit of the commonweal before her 
special case, although he favoured her much, would not grant her 
suit. Andrugio (disguised among the company), sorrowing the 
grief of his sister, bewrayed his safety, and craved pardon. The 
king to renown the virtues of Cassandra, pardoned both him and 
Promos. The circumstances of this rare history, in action lively 

Whetstone, however, has not afforded a very correct analysis 
of his play, which contains a mixture of comic scenes, between a 
bawd, a pimp, felons, &c. together with some serious situations 
which are not described. A hint, like a seed, is more or less pro- 
lific, according to the qualities of the soil on which it is thrown. 
This story, which in the hands of Whetstone produced little more 
than barren insipidity, under the culture of Shakspeare became 
fertile of entertainment. The curious reader may see the old play 
of Promos and Cassandra among ' Six old plays on which Shak- 
speare founded, &c.' published by Mr. Steevens, printed for 
S. Leaoroft, Charing Cross. The piece exhibits an almost com- 
plete embryo of Measure for Measure ; yet the hints on which it 
is formed are so slight, that it is nearly as impossible to detect 
them, as it is to point out in the acorn the future ramifications of 
the oak. The story originally came from the ' Hecatommithi' of 
Cinthio. Decad 8, novel 5, and is repeated in the Tragic His- 
tories of Belleforest. 

" This play," says Mr. Hazlitt, " is as full of genius as it is of 
wisdom. Yet there is an original sin in the nature of the subject, 
which prevents us from taking a cordial interest in it. ' The 
height of moral, argument,' which the author has maintained in 


the intervals of passion, or blended with the more powerful ii 
poises of nature, is hardly surpassed in any of his plays. But 
there is a general want of passion; the affections are at a stand; 
oar sympathies are repulsed and defeated in all directions." 

Isabella is a loyely example of female parity and Tirtue ; with 
mental energies of a very superior kind, she is placed in a sitaati<m 
to make trial of them all, and the firmness with which her rirtae 
resists the appeal of nataral affection has something in it heroically 
sublime. The passages in which she enooorages her brother to 
meet death with firmness rather than dishonour, his burst of in- 
dignant passion on learning the price at which his life might be 
redeemed, and his subsequent clinging to life, and desire that she 
would make ihe sacrifice required, are among the finest dramatic 
passages of Shakspeare. What heightens the effect is that this 
scene follows the fine exhol^tion of the Duke in the character of 
the Friar about the little Talue of life which had almost made 
Claadio ' resolyed to die.' The comic parts of the play are lively 
and amusing, and the reckless Bamardine, ' fearless of what's 
past, present, and to come,' is in fine contrast to the sentimentality 
of the other characters. Shakspeare " was a moralist in the same 
sense in which nature is one. He taught what he had learnt from 
her. He showed the greatest knowledge df humanity with the 
greatest fellow feeling for it*." 

Malone supposes this play to have been written abont the close 
of the year 1603. 

* Characters of Shakspeare's Plays, 2d ed. London, 1818, 
p. 120. 


ViNCENno, Duke qf Vienna. 

Angelo, Lord Deputy in the Duke's absence, 

EscALUSy an ancient Lord, joined with Angelo in the 

Clacdio, a young Gentleman, 
Lucio, a Fantastick, 
Two other like Gentlemen. 
Varrius, a Gentlenum, Servant to the Duke, 

A Justice. 

Elbow, a simpie ConstcMe, 
Froth, a foolish Gentleman, 
Clown, Servant to Mrs. Over-done. 
Abhorson, an Executioner. 
Barnardine, a dissolute Prisoner. 

Isabella, Sister to Clandio. 
Mariana, betrothed to Angelo. 
JuuET, beloved by Claudio. 
Francisca, a Nun, 
Mistress Over-done, a Bawd, 

Lords, Gentletnen, Guards, Officers, and other 


SCENE, Vienna. 



SCENE I. An Apartment in the Duke's Palace. 
Enter Duke, Escalus, Lords, and Attendants, 


£sCALUS, — 

Escal. My lord. 

Duke. Of government the properties to unfold, 
Woikld seem in me to affect speech and discourse ; 
Since I am put to know ^, that your own science 
Exceeds, in that, the lists ^ of all advice 
My strength can give you : Then no more remains 
But that to your sufficiency^, as your worth is able, 
And let them work. The nature of our people, 
Our city's institutions, and the terms 
For common justice, you are as pregnant^ in, 

* i. e. since I am «o placed as to know. Mr. Stevens sajs it 
may mean, / am compelled to acknowledge. And instances from 
Henry VI. Pt. ii. Sc. 1. 

' had I first been put to speak my mind.' 

^ Lists are bounds. 

^ Some words seem to be lost here. The sense of whieh may 
have been 

■ Then no more remains 

Bat that to yoar sufficiency you join 
A zeal as unUing, as yoor worth is able. 
And let them work. 
Sufidency is shiU in govemment; ability to execute his office. 

* i. e. ready in. 


As art and practice hath enriched any 

That we remember: There is our commission. 

From which we would not have you warp. — Call 

I say, bid come before us Angelo,— 

[Exit an Attendant. 
What figure of us think you he will bear? 
For you must know, we have with special soul 
Elected him our absence to supply; 
Lent him our terror, drest him with our love ; 
And given his deputation all the organs 
Of our own power : What think you of it? 

EscaL If any in Vienna be of worth 
To undergo such ample grace and honour, 
It is lord Angelo. 

Enter Angelo. 

Duke. Look, where he comes.' 

Ang. Always obedient to your grace's will, 
I come to know your pleasure. 

Duke. Angelo, 

There is a kind of character in thy life. 
That, to the observer doth thy history 
Fully unfold : Thyself and thy belongings 
Are not thine own so proper^, as to waste 
Thyself upon thy virtues, them on the^. 
Heaven doth with us, as we with torches do ; 
Not light them for themselves : for if our virtues 
Did not go forth of us, 'twere all alike 
As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touch'd. 
But to fine issues^: nor nature never lends ^ 
The smallest scruple of her excellence, 

^ So much thy own property. ' i. e. high purposes. 

'' Two negatives, not employed to make an affirmative, are com- 
mon in Shakspeare's writings, so in /olios Ctesar: 

' Nor ixi no Roman else.' 


But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines 

Herself the glory of a creditor, 

Both thanks and use ^. But I do bend my speech 

To one that can my part in him advertise ^; 

Hold therefore. — Angelo ; 

In our remove, be thou at full ourself ; 

Mortality and Mercy in Vienna 

Live in thy tongue and heart ^^: Old Escalus, 

Though first in question, is thy secondary : 

Take thy conmiission. 

Ang. Now, good my lord. 

Let there be some more test made of my metal. 
Before so noble and so great a figure 
Be stamp'd upon it. 

Duke, "No more evasion : 

We have with a leavenM^^ and prepared choice 
Proceeded to you ; therefore take your honours. 
Our haste from hence is of so quick condition. 
That it prefers itself, and leaves unquestion'd 
Matters of needful value. We shall write to you. 
As time and our concemings shall imp6rtune. 
How it goes with us ; and do look to know 
What doth befall you here. So, fare you well : 
To the hopeful execution do I leave you 
Of your commissions. 

Ang. Yet, give leave, my lord. 

That we may bring you something on the way. 

® i.e. Nature requires and aUois to herself ihe same adTantages 
that creditors asnalljr enjoy — thimks for the endowments she has 
hestowed, and extraordinary exertions in those whom she has fa- 
voured ; by way of use (i. e. interest) for what she has lent. 

' i. e. to one who is already sufficiently conversant with the 
nature and duties of my office ; — of that office which I have now 
delegated to him, 

^^ i. e. I delegate to thy tongue the power of pronouncing sen- 
tence of death, and to thy heart the privilege of exercising mercy. 

** A choice mature, concocted, fermented; i. e. not hasty, but 


Duke, My haste may not admit it; 
Nor need you on mine honom* have to do 
With any scruple : your scope ^ is as mine own; 
So to enforce or qualify the laws, 
As to your soul seems good. Give me your hand; 
I'll privily away : I love the people, 
But do not like to stage me to their eyes : 
Though it do well, I do not relish well 
Their loud applause, and aves^^ vehement; 
Nor do I think the man of safe discretion. 
That does affect it. Once more, fare you well. 

Ang, The heavens give safety to your purposes ! 

Escah Lead forth, and bring you back in hap- 

Duke. I thank you : Fare you well. [Exit. 

Escah I shall desire you, sir, to give me leave 
To have free speech with you ; and it concerns me 
To look into the bottom of iny place : 
A power I have ; but of what strength and nature 
I am not yet instructed. 

Ang, Tis so with me : — Let us withdraw together, 
And we may soon our satisfaction have 
Touching that point 

EscaL I'll wait upon your honour. 


SCENE II. A Street. 

Enter Lucio and two Gentlemen. 

Lucio, If the duke, with the other dukes, come 
not to composition with the king of Hungary, why, 
then all the dukes fall upon the king. 

1 Gent, Heaven grant us its peace, but not the 
king of Hungary's ! 

2 Gent, Amen. 

Lucio, Thou concludest like the sanctimonious 

*^ Scape is extent of power. *^ Aves are bailings. 


pirate, that went to sea with the ten command- 
ments, but scraped one out of the table. 

2 Gent. Thou shalt not steal ? . 

Ludo. Ay, that he razed. 

1 Gent, Why, 'twas a commandment to command 
the captain and ail the rest from their functions; 
they put forth to steal : There's not a soldier of us 
all, that, in the thanksgiving before meat, doth re- 
lish the petition well that prays for peace. 

2 Gent, I never heard any soldier dislike it. 
Ludo. I believe thee; for, I think, thou never 

wast where grace was said. 

2 Gent, No ? a dozen times at least. 

1 Gent, What? in metre? 

Ludo. In any proportion^, or in any language. 

1 Gent, I think, or in any religion. 

Ludo. Ay! why not? Grace is grace, despite of 
all controversy : As for example ; Thou thyself art 
a wicked villain, despite of all grace. 

1 Gent, Well, there went but a pair of shears 
between us*. 

Ludo. I grant; as there may between the lists 
and the velvet : Thou art the list. 

1 Gent. And thou the velvet : thou art good vel- 
vet ; thou art a three-pil'd piece, I warrant thee : I 
had as lief be a list of an English kersey, as be pil'd, 
as thou art pil'd, for a French velvet^. Do I speak 
feelingly now ? ^ 

Ludo. I think thou dost ; and, indeed, with most 
painful feeling of thy speech: I will, out of thine 

* i. e. measure. ' We are both of the same piece. 

' * Pitd, for a French velvet.* — Velvet was esteemed accord- 
ing to the richness of the pt/e; three-pil'd was the richest. Bat 
PiPd also means hald. The jest allades to the loss of hair in the 
French disease. Lncio, finding the Gentleman understands the 
distemper so well, and mentions it ao feelingly, promises to remem- 
ber to drink his health, hat to forget to drink after him. lii oVd. 
tiraef the cap of an Infected person was thought to be oonta^oraA* 


own coBfessioYi, learn to. begin thy health; but, 
whilst I live, forget to drink after thee. 

1 Gent. I think, I have done myself wrong ; have 
I not? 

2 Gent. Yes, that thou hast ; whether thou art 
tainted, or free. 

Lucio. Behold, behold, where madam Mitigation 
comes ! I have purchased as many diseases under 
her roof, as come to— 

2 Gent. To what, I pray ? 

1 Gent. Judge. 

2 Gent. To three thousand dollars a-year. 
1 Gent-, Ay, and more. 

Lncio. A French crown more. 

1 Gent. Thou art always figuring diseases in me : 
but thou art full of error ; I am sound. 

Lucio. Nay, not as one would say, healthy ; but 
so sound, as things that are hollow; thy bones are 
hollow : impiety has made a feast of thee. 

Enter Bawd. 

1 Gent, How now ? Which of your hips has the 
most profound sciatica? 

Bawd. Well, well ; there's one yonder arrested, 
and carried to prison, was worth five thousand of 
you all. 

1 Gent. Who's that, I pray thee? 

Bawd. Marry, sir, that's Claudio, signior Claudio. 

1 Gent. Claudio to prison ! 'tis not so. 

Bawd. Nay, but I know, 'tis so ; I saw him ar- 
rested ; saw him carried away ; and which is more, 
within these three days his head's to be chopped off. 

Lucio. But, after all this fooling, I would not 
have it so : Art thou sure of this ? 

Bawd. I am too sure of it : and it is for getting 
madam Julietta with child. 

Lucio. Believe me, thb may be : he promised to 


meet me two hours since ; and he was ever precise 
in promise-keeping. 

2 Gent. Besides, you know, it draws something 
near to the speech we had to such a purpose. 

1 Gent, But most of all, agreeing with Ihe pro- 

Ltuno. Away ; let's go learn the truth of it. 

[Exeunt Lucio and Gentlemen. 

Bawd. Thus, what with the war, what with the 
sweat*, what with the gallows, and what with po- 
verty, I am custom-shrunk. How now ? what's the 
news with you ? 

Enter Clown. 

Clo. Yonder man is carried to prison. 

Bawd. Well ; what has he done ? 

Clo. A woman. 

Bawd. But what's his offence ? 

Clo. Groping for trouts in a peculiar river. 

Bawd. What is there a maid with child by him ? 

Clo, No ; but there's a woman with maid by 
him : You have not heard of the proclamation, have 

Bawd. What proclamation, man ? 

Clo. All houses in the suburbs of Vienna mtist 
be pluck'd down. 

Bawd. And what shall become of those in the 

Clo. They shall stand for seed: they had gone 
down too, but that a wise burgher put in for them. 

Bawd. But shall all our houses of resort in the 
suburbs be puU'd down*? 

Clo. To the ground, mistress. 

* The sweat ; the conseqaences of the carative process then 
used for a certain disease. 

^ In one of the Scotch Laws of James it is ordered, ' that com- 
num women be pat at the utmost endes of townes, qneire leaat 


Bawd, Why, here's a change, indeed, in the com- 
monwealth ! What shall become of me ? 

Clo, Come, fear not you ; good counsellors lack 
no clients : though you change your place, you need 
not change your trade; I'll be your tapster still. 
Courage ; there will be pity taken on you : you that 
have worn your eyes almost out in the service, you 
will be considered. 

Bawd. What's to do here, Thomas Tapster? 
Let's withdraw. 

Clo, Here comes signior Claudio, led by the pro- 
vost to prison : and there's madam Juliet. [Exeunt, 

SCENE III. The same. 

Enter Provost^, Claudio, Juliet, and Officers; 
Lucio, and two Gentlemen. 

Claud, Fellow, why dost thou show me thus to 
the world? 
Bear me to prison where I am committed. 

Prov, I do it not in evil disposition, 
But from lord Angelo by special charge. 

Claud, Thus can the demi-god, Authority, 
Make us pay down for our offence by weight.-^ 
The words of heaven ; — on whom it will, it will ; 
On whom it will not, so; yet still 'tis just^. 

Lucio, Why, how now, Claudio ? whence comes 
this restraint? 

peril of fire is.' — It is remarkable that the licensed houses of re- 
sort at Vienna, are at this time all in the suburbs, under the per- 
mission of the Committee of Chastity. 

^ i. e. gaoler. 

^ Authority being absolute in Angelo, is finely styled 1)y Clau- 
dio, the demigod, whose decrees are as little to be questidned as 
the words of heaven. The poet alludes to a passage in St. Paul's 
Epist. to the Romans, ch. ix. v. 15 — 18 : ' I will have mercy on 
whom I will have mercy.' 


Claud, From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty ; 
As surfeit is the father of much fast. 
So every scope by the immoderate use 
Tunis to restraint : Our natures do pursue, 
(lake rats that ravin ^ down their proper bane) 
A thirsty evil; and when we drink, we die^. 

Lucio, If I could speak so wisely under an arrest, 
I would send for certain of my creditors : And yet, 
to say the truth, I had as lief have the foppery of ^ 
freedom, as the morality of imprisonment. — What's 
thy offence, Claudio ? 

Ckmd. What, but to speak of would offend again. 

Lucio. What is it? murder? 

Claud, No. 

Lucio, Lechery? 

Claud, Call it so. 

Prov, Away, sir; you must go. 

Claud, One word, good friend: — Lucio, a word 
with you. [Takes him aside, 

Lucio, A hundred if they'll do you any good. — 
Is lechery so look'd after? 

Ckmd, Thus stands it with me: — Upon a true 
I got possession of Julietta's bed^; 
You know the lady ; she is fast my wife. 
Save that we do the denunciation lack 
Of outward order : this we came not to, 

^ To ravin is to voraciouslj doTOur. 

^ So, in Chapman's Revenge for Honour : 

' Like poison'd rats, which, when they've swallowed 
The pleasing bane, rest not until they drink. 
And can rest then much less, until they burst. 

^ This speech is sarely too indelicate to be spoken concerning 
Juliet before her face. Claudio may therefore be supposed to 
speak to Laoio apart. 



Only for propagation ^ of a dower 

Remaining in the coffer of her friends ; 

From whom we thought it meet to hide our love. 

Till time had made them for us. But it chances, 

The stealth of our most mutual entertainment. 

With character too gross, is writ on Juliet. 

Lucio. With child, perhaps ? 

Claud. Unhappily, even so. 
And the new deputy now for the duke, — 
Whether it be the fault and glimpse of newness ; 
Or whether that the body public be 
A horse whereon the governor doth ride. 
Who, newly in the seat, that it may know 
He can command, lets it straight feel the spur : 
Whether the tyranny be in his place. 
Or in his eminence that fills it up, 
I stagger in : — But this new governor 
Awakes me all the enrolled penalties. 
Which have, like unscour'd armour, hung by the wall 
So long, that nineteen zodiacks*^ have gone round. 
And none of them been worn ; and, for a name. 
Now puts the drowsy and neglected act 
Freshly on me : — 'tis surely, for a name. 

Lucio. I warrant, it is : and thy head stands so 
tickle^ on thy shoulders, that a milk-maid, if she 

' Hiis singnlur mode of expression has not been satisfactorilj 
explained. The old sense of the word is ' promoting, inlarging, 
increasing, spreading.' It appears that Clandio would say : ' for 
the sake of promoting snch a dower as her friends might hereafter 
bestow on her, when time had reconciled them to her clandestine 
marriage.' The verb is as obsoorelj used bj Chapman in the 
Sixteenth book of the Odyssey : 

* to try if we 

Alone may propagate to yictory 

Onr bold encounters.' 


Shakspeare uses ' To propagate their states/ for to improve or 
promote their conditions, in Timon of Athens, Act i. Sc. 1. 

^ Zodiacs, yearly circles. ^ Tickle, for ticklish. 


be in love, may sigh it off. Send after the duke, 
and appeal to him. 

Claud. I have done so, but he's not to be found. 
I pr'ythee, Lucio, do me this kind service : 
This day my sister should the cloister enter, 
And there receive her approbation^: 
Acquaint her with the danger of my state ; 
Implore her, in my voice, that she make friends 
To the strict deputy; bid herself assay him; 
I have great hope in that : for in her youth 
There is a prone ^^ and speechless dialect, 
Such as moves men; besides, she hath prosperous art 
When she will play with reason and discourse. 
And well she can persuade. 

Lucio. I pray, she may: as well for the encou- 
ragement of the like, which else would stand under 
grievous imposition ; as for the enjoying of thy life, 
who I would be sorry should be Uius foolishly lost 
at a game of tick-tack ^^ I'll to her. 

Claud. I thank you, good friend Lucio. 

Ludo. Within two hours, 

Claud, Come, officer, away. [Exeunt. 

SCENE IV. A Manastenf. 

Enter Duke and Friar Thomas. 

Duke. No ; holy Father; throw away that thought ; 
Believe not that the dribbling dart of love 
Can pierce a c6mplete bosom ^ : why I desire thee 
To give me secret harbour, hath a purpose 
More grave and wrinkled than the aims and ends 
Of burning youth. 

Fri. May your grace speak of it? 

^ i. e. enter on ber noviciate or probaium, 

^^ Prone, is prompt or ready, 

** Jouer au trie trac is used in French in a wanton sense. 

' ' A c6mplete bosom' is a bosom completely armed. 


Duke, My holy sir, none better knows than you 
How I have ever lov'd the life removed*; 
And held in idle price to haunt assemblies. 
Where youth, and cost, and witless bravery keeps ^. 
I have delivered to lord Angelo 
(A man of stricture^ and firm abstinence), 
My absolute power and place here in Vienna, 
And he supposes me travell'd to Poland ; 
For so I have strew'd it in the common ear, 
And so it is received: Now, pious sir. 
You will demand of me, why I do this ? 

Fri, Gladly, my lord. 

Duke, We have strict statutes and most biting laws, 
(The needful bits and curbs for headstrong steeds). 
Which for these fourteen years we have let sleep ; 
Even like an o'ergrown Uon in a cave. 
That goes not out to prey : Now, as fond fathers. 
Having bound up the threaf ning twigs of birch. 
Only to stick it in their children's sight. 
For terror, not to use ; in time the rod 
Becomes more mock'd than fear'd : so our decrees. 
Dead to infliction, to themselves are dead; 
And liberty plucks justice by the nose ; 
The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart 
Goes all decorum. 

Fri, It rested in your grace 

To unloose this tied-up justice, when you pleas'd : 
And it in you more dreadful would have seem'd. 
Than in Lord Angelo. 

Duke, I do fear, too dreadful : 

Sith 'twas my fault to give the people scope, 
'Twould be my tyranny to strike, and gall them 
For what I bid them do: For we bid this be done. 
When evil deeds have their permissive pass, 

^ i. e. retired. 

^ Bravery is showy dress. Kwpi, i. e. resides. 
^ Stricture', strictness. 


And not the punishment Therefore, indeed, my 

I have on Angelo imposed the office ; 
Who may, in the ambush of my name, strike home. 
And yet my nature never in the sight. 
To do it slander : And to behold his sway, 
I will, as 'twere a brother of your order, 
Visit both prince and people: therefore, I pr'ythee. 
Supply me with the habit, and instruct me 
How I may formally in person bear me 
Like a true friar. More reasons for this action. 
At our more leisure shall I render you; 
Only, this one : — Lord Angelo is precise ; 
Stands at a guard ^ with envy; scarce confesses 
That his blood flows, or that his appetite 
Is more to bread than stone : Hence shall we see. 
If power change purpose, what our seemers be. 


SCENE V. A Nunnery. 

Enter Isabella and Francisca. 

IscA, And have you nuns no further privileges ? 

Fran. Are not these large enough? 

hob. Yes, truly : I speak: not as desiring more ; 
But rather wishing a more strict restraint 
Upon the sisterhood, the votarists of Saint Clare. 

Lucion Ho! Peace be in this place? [IFtMtit.] 

Isab. Who's that which calls? 

Fran, It is a man's voice : Gentle Isabella, 
Turn you the key, and know his business of him; 
You may, I may not; you are yet unsworn : 
When you have vow'd, you must not speak with men. 
But in the presence of the prioress : 
Then, if you speak, you must not show your face ; 

^ /. e. 00 bis defence. 



Or, if you show your face, you must not speak. 
He calls again ; I pray you, answer him. 

[Exit Francisca. 
Isab, Peace and prosperity ! Who is 't that calls? 

Enter Lucio. 

Ludo, Hail, virgin, if you be; as those cheek-roses 
Proclaim you are no less 1 Can you so stead me. 
As bring me to the sight of Isabella, 
A novice of this place, and the fair sbter 
To her unhappy brother Claudio ? 

Isab. Why her unhappy brother? let me ask; 
The rather, for I now must make you know 
I am that Isabella, and his sister. 

Lucio. Gentle and fair, your brother kindly greets 
you : 
Not to be weary with you, he's in prison. 

Isab. Woe me ! For what ? 

Lucio. For that, which, if myself might be his judge. 
He should receive his punishment in thanks : 
He hath got his friend with child. 

/«a6. Sir, mock me not: — your story*. 

Lucio, Tis true, I would not, — though 'tis my 
familiar sin 
With maids to seem the lapwing^, and to jest. 
Tongue far from heart, — ^play with all virgins so : 
I hold you as a thing ensky'd, and sainted ; 
By your renouncement, an immortal spirit; 

' The old copy reads : 

' Sir, tnake me not jour story.' 
The emendation is Mr. Maione's. 

' This bird is said to draw pnrsaers from her nest by crying in 
other places. This was formerly the subject of a proverb, ' The 
lapwing cries most, farthest from her nest/ i. e. tongue far from 
heart: So, in The Comedy of Errors : 

' Adr, Far from her nest the lapwing cries away ; 
My heart prays for him, though my tongue do curse.' 


And to be talked with in sincerity. 
As with a saint. 

Imh. You do blaspheme the good, in mocking me. 

Lucio. Do not believe it. Fewness and truth ^, 
'tis thus : 
Your brother and his lover ^ have embrac'd: 
As those that feed grow full; as blossoming time, 
That from the seedness the bare fallow brings 
To teeming foison ^ ; even so her plenteous womb 
Expresseth his full tilth^ and husbandry. 

Isab, Some one with child by him? — My cousin 
Juliet ? 

Lucio. Is she your cousin ? 

Isab. AdoptedUy; as school-maids change their 
By vain though apt affection. 

Lucio, She it is. 

Isab. O let him marry her ! 

Lucio. Tliis is the point. 

The duke is very strangely gone from hence ; 
Bore many gentlemen, myself being one. 
In hand, and hope of action : but we do learn 
By those that know the very nerves of state, 
His givings out were of an infinite distance 
From his true-meant design. Upon his place. 
And with full line^ of his authority. 
Governs Lord Angelo; a man, whose blood 
Is very snow-broth; one who never feels 
The wanton stings and motions of the sense ; 

^ Fewness and truth, in few and trae words. 

^ L e. his mistress. 

^ Teeming foison is abundant prodnce. 

^ TiUh is tillage. So in Shakspeare's third Sonnet : 

' For who is she so fair, whose nnrear'd iooi»6 
Disdains the tUltye of thy husbandry 2* 

7 Full line, extent 



But doth rebate^ and blunt his natural edge 
With profits of the mind, study and fast. 
He (to give fear to use ^ and liberty, 
Which have, for long, run by the hideous law. 
As mice by lions), hath pick'd out an act. 
Under whose heavy sense your brother*s life 
Falls into forfeit: he arrests him on it; 
And follows close the rigour of the statute. 
To make him an example : all hope is gone. 
Unless you have the grace ^® by your fair prayer 
To soften Angelo : And that's my pith 
Of business 'twixt you and your poor brother. 

Isab, Doth he so seek his life ? 

Ludo, Has censur'd^^ him 

Already ; and, as I hear, the provost hath 
A warrant for lus execution. 

Isah, Alas ! what poor ability's in me 
To do him good ? 

Lucio, Assay the power you have. 

Isab. My power ! Alas ! I doubt, — 

Lucio, Our doubts are traitors. 

And make us lose the good we oft might win. 
By fearing to attempt : Go to Lord Angelo, 
And let him learn to know, when maidens sue. 
Men give like gods; but when they weep and kneel. 
All their petitions are as freely theirs 
As they themselves would owe^^ them. 

® To rebate is to make dull: Aciem ferri hebetare. — Buret. 

^ L e. to intimidate use, or practices long conntenanced by 

^^ i. e. power of gaining favoar. 

'^ To censure is to judge. This is the poet's general meaning 
for the word, but the editors have given him several others. Here 
they interpret it censured, sentenced. We have it again in the next 

' When I that censure him do so offend. 
Let mine own judgment pattern ont my death.' 
^^ To owe is to haoe, to possess. 


luib, I'll see what I can do. 

Lucio. But speedily. 

hab, I will about it straight; 
No longer staying but to give the mother^' 
Notice of my affiur. I humbly thank you : 
Commend me to my brother: soon at night 
I'll send him certain word of my success. 

Lucio. I take my leave of you. 

iki6. Good sir, adieu. 



SCENE I. A Hall in Angelo's House. 

Enter Angelo, Escalus, a Justice, Provost^, 
Officers, aiid other Attendants. 

Aug. We must not make a scare-crow of the law. 
Setting it up to fear ^ the birds of prey. 
And let it keep one shape, till custom make it 
Their perch, and not their terror. 

Escal. Ay, but yet 

Let us be keen, and rather cut a little. 
Than fall', and bruise to death : Alas ! this gentleman. 
Whom I would save, had a most noble father. 
Let but your honour know *, 
(Whom I believe to be most strait in virtue), 
That, in the working of your own affections. 
Had time coher'd^ with place, or place with wishing. 
Or that the resolute acting of your blood 

'^ i. e. the abbess, 

^ A kiod of sheriff or jailer, so called in foreign coantriei. 

> To/ear is to affright 

' i. e. throw down; to fall a tree is still nsed for to/«B 

* i. e. examine. ^ i. e. soited. 


Could have attain'd the effect of your own purpose, 
Whether you had not sometune in your life 
Err'd in this point which now you censure him^. 
And puU'd the law upon you. 

Ang, Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus, 
Another thing to fall. I not deny, 
The jury, passing on the prisoner's life. 
May, in the sworn twelve, have a thief or two 
GuUtier than him they try : What's open made to 

That justice seizes. What know the laws. 
That thieves do pass "^ on thieves ? 'Tis very pregnant^. 
The jewel that we find, we stoop and take it. 
Because we see it ; but what we do not see. 
We tread upon, and never think of it. 
You may not so extenuate his offence, 
Por^ I have had such faults ; but rather tell me. 
When I, that censure him, do so offend. 
Let mine own judgment pattern out my death. 
And nothing come in partial. Sir, he must die. 

EscaL Be it as your wisdom will. 

Ang. Where is the provost? 

Prov, Here, if it like your honour. 

Ang. See that Claudio 

Be executed by nine to-morrow morning : 
Bring him his confessor, let him be prepared ; 
For tiiat's the utmost of his pilgrimage. 

[Exit Provost. 

Escal. Well,heaven forgive him ; and forgive us all ! 

^ To complete the sense of this line for seems to be required :-~ 
' which now jon censnre him for.* Bat Shakspeare freqaently 
uses eliptical expressions. 

"^ An old forensic term, signifying to pass judgment, or sentence. 

* FuU of force or convictiony or fuU of proof in itself. So, in 
Othello, Act ii. So. 1, ' As it is a most pregnant and unforc'd 

^ J. e. cause I have had snch faults. 


Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall^^: 
Some run from brakes ^^ of yice, and answer none ; 
And some condemned for a fault alone. 

Enter Elbow, Froth, Clown, OflScers, Sfc. 

EJb, Come, bring them away : if these be good 
people in a common-weal, that do nothing but use 
their abuses in common houses, I know no law; 
bring them away. 

Ang, How now, sir! What's your name? and 
what's the matter? 

EJh, If it please your honour, I am the poor duke's 
constable, and my name is Elbow ; I do lean upon 
justice, sir, and do bring in here before your good 
honour two notorious benefactors. 

Ang, Benefactors! Well; what benefactors are 
they? are they not malefactors? 

Elb. If it please your honour, I know not well 
what they are : but precise villains they are, that I 
am sure of; and void of all profanation in the world, 
that good christians ought to have. 

Egcal. This comes off well ^^ ; here's a wise officer. 

1^ This line is printed in Italics as a quotation in the first folio. 

^^ The first folio here reads — ' Some ran from brakes of ice. 
The correction was made bj Rowe. Brakes most probably here 
signify thamy perplexities ; but a brake was also ased to signify a 
trap or snare, Thns in Skelton's ElUnoor Rununin : 

' It was a stale to take—the devil in a brake,' 
And in Holland's Leaguer, a Comedy, by Sh. Marmion — 

« her I'll make 

A stale to catch this courtier in a brake,* 

There can be no allasion to the instrament of tortnre mentioned 
by Steerens. A brake seems to have signified an engine or in- 
ttmmeot in general. 

^' i. e. M well told. The meaning of this phrase, when se* 
rioosly applied to speech, is * This is well delivered,' ' this story 
is well told.' Bat in the present instance it b used ironically. 


Arig, Go to : What quality are they of? Elbow 
is your name? Why dost thou not speak, Elbow? 

Clo. He cannot, sir ; he's out at elbow. 

Ang, What are you, sir? 

EA. He, sir? a tapster, sir; parcel-bawd; one 
that serves a bad woman ; whose house, sir, was, as 
the^say, plucked down in the suburbs; and now 
she professes ^^ a hot-house, which, I think, is a 
very ill house too. 

JEscaL How know you that ? 

Elb. My wife, sir, whom I detest^* before hea- 
ven and your honour, — 

Escdl. How! thy wife? 

Elb, Ay,- sir; whom, I thank heaven, is an ho- 
nest woman, — 

EscaL Dost thou detest her therefore ? 

Elb, ' I say, sir, I will detest myself also, as well 
as she, that this house, if it be not a bawd's house, 
it is pity of her life, for it is a naughty house. 

EscaL How dost thou know that, constable ? 

Elb. Marry, sir, by my wife ; who, if she had been 
a woman cardinally given, might have been accused 
in fornication, adultery, and all uncleanliness there. 

EscaL By the woman's means? 

Elb, Ay, sir, by mistress Over-done's means : but 
as she spit in his face, so she defied him. 

Clo, Sir, if it please your honour, this is not so. 

Elb, Prove it before these varlets here, thou ho- 
nourable man, prove it. 

EscaL Do you hear how he misplaces ? 

[To Angelo. 

Clo. Sir, she came in great with child ; and long- 
ing (saving your honour's reverence), for stew'd 

^^ Professes a hot house, i. e. keeps a bagnio. 
^* Detest, for protest, or attest. 


prunes ^^: sir, we had but two in the house, which 
at that very distant time stood, as it were, in a fruit- 
dish, a dish of some three pence ; your honours have 
seen such dishes; they are not China dishes, but 
very good dishes. 

JEscaL Go to, go to: no matter for the dish, sir. 

Clo. No, indeed, sir, not of a pin ; you are therein 
in the right : But, to the point : As I say, this mis- 
tress Elbow, being, as I say, with child, and being 
great belly 'd, and longing, as I said, for prunes; 
and having but two in the dish, as I said, master 
Proth here, Hiis very man having eaten the rest, as 
I said, and, as I say, paying for them very honestly ; 
— ^for, as you know, master Froth, I cou'd not give 
you three pence again. 

Froth. No, indeed. 

Clo, Very well : you being then, if you be remem- 
ber'd, cracking the stones of the aforesaid prunes. 

Froth. Ay, so I did, indeed. 

Clo. Why, very well : I telling you then, if you 
be remember'd, that such a, one, and such a one, 
were past cure of the thing you wot of, unless they 
kept very good diet, as I told you. 

Froth. All this is true. 

Clo. Why, very well then. 

JEscal. Come, you are a tedious fool: to the pur- 
pose, — What was done to Elbow's wife, that he 
hath cause to complain of? Come me to what was 
done to her. 

Clo. Sir, your honour cannot come to that yet. 

Escal. No, sir, nor I mean it not. 

Clo. Sir, but you shall come to it, by your ho- 
nour's leave : And, I beseech you, look into master 
Froth here, ^ir; a HUin of fourscore pound a year; 

'^ A favoarite dish, anciently common in brothels. 
VOL. 11. D 


whose father died at Hallowmas: — ^Was't not at 
Hallowmas, master Froth? 

Froth. All-hoUond*^ eve. 

Clo. Why, very well; I hope here be truths: 
He, sir, sitting, as I say, in a lower ^"^ chair, sir; — 
^twas in the Btmeh of Grapes, where, indeed, you 
have a delight to sit: Have you not? 

Froth. I have so; because it is an open room, 
and good for winter. 

Clo. "Why, very well then : — I hope here be truths. 

Ang, This will last out a night in Russia, 
When nights are longest there : I'll take my leave, 
And leave you to the hearing of the cause ; 
Hoping, you'll find good cause to whip them all. 

EicaL I think no less; Good morrow to your 
lordship. [Exit An geld. 

Now, sir, come on: What was done to £lbow*s 
wife, once more? 

Clo. Once, sir ? there was nothing done to her once. 

EUf. I beseech you, sir, ask him what this man 
did to my wife. 

Ch. I beseech your honour, ask me. 

EscaL Well, sir : What did this gentleman to her 7 

Clo. I beseech you, sir, look in this gentleman's 
face: — Good master Froth, look upon his honour; 
'tis for a good purpose : Dolh your honour mark his 

Escal. Ay, sir, very well. 

Clo. Nay, I beseech you, mark it well. 

Escal. Well, I do so. 

Clo. Doth your honour see any harm in his face? 

Escal. Why, no. 

1^ All hoUond Eve^ the Eve of All Saints' day. 

^"^ Every hoase had formerly what was called a low chair, de- 
signed for the ease of sick people, and occasionally occupied by 
lazy ones. 


Clo. Ill be supposed upon a book, his face is the 
worst thing about him : Good then ; if his face be 
the worst thing about him, how could master Froth 
do the constable's wife any harm? I would know 
that of your honour. 

EscaL He's in the ri^t: Constable, what say 
you to it? 

Elb. First, an it Uke you, the house is a respected 
house: next, this is a respected fellow; and his 
mistress is a respected woman. 

C%>. By this hand, sir, his wife is a more respected 
person than any of us all. 

EW, Varlet, thou liest; thou liest, wicked varlet : 
the time b yet to come, that she was eyer respected 
with man, woman, or child. * 

Clo, Sir, she was respected with him before he 
married with her. 

EscaL Which is the wiser here ? Justice, or Ini- 
quity ^^? Is this true? 

Elb. O thou caitiff! O thou varlet ! O thou wicked 
Hannibal! I respected with her, before I was mar- 
ried to her? If ever I was respected with her, or she 
with me, let not your worship think me the poor 
duke's officer : — Prove this, thou wicked Hannibal, 
or 111 have mine action of battery on thee. 

EscaL If he took you a box o' th' ear, you might 
have your action of slander too. 

Elb, Marry, I thank your good worship for it : 
What is't your worship's pleasure I should do with 
this wicked caitiff? 

EscaL Truly, officer, because he has some of- 
fences in him, that thou wouldst discover if thou 
couldst, let him continue in his courses till thou 
know'st what they are. 

Elb. Marry, I thank your worship for it : — ^Thou 

^^ i. e. constable or clown. 


see'st, thou wicked varlet now, what's come upon 
thee; thou art to continue now, thou varlet; thou 
art t^ continue. 

Escal, Where were you born, friend? 

[To Froth. 

Froth. Here in Vienna, sir. 

EscaL Are you of fourscore pounds a year ? 

Froth, Yes, and't please you, sir. 

Escal, So. — What trade are you of, sir? 

[ To the Clown. 

CU). A tapster; a poor widow's tapster. 

EscaL Your mistress's name ? 

Ch. Mistress Over-done. 

EscaL Hath she had any more than one husband? 

CJb. Nine, sir ; Over-done by the last. 

EscaL Nine ! — Come hither to me, master Froth. 
Master Froth, I would not have you acquainted 
with tapsters; they will draw you, master Froth, 
and you will hang them : Get you gone, and let me 
hear no more of you. 

Froth, I thank your worship : for mine own part, 
I never come into any room in a taphouse, but I ain 
drawn in. 

EscaL Well; no more of it, master Froth: fare- 
well. [Exit Froth.] — Come you hitherto me,master 
tapster ; what's your name, master tapster ? 

Ch, Pompey. 

EscaL What else ? 

Cfo. Bum, sir. 

EscaL Troth, and your bum is the greatest thing 
about you : so that, in the beastliest sense, you are 
Pompey the great. Pompey, you are partly a bawd, 
Pompey, howsoever you colour it in being a tapster. 
Are you not? come, tell me true; it shall be tiie 
better for you. 

Clo, Truly, sir, I am a poor fellow, that would 


EscaL How would you live, Pompey ? by being 
a bawd ? What do yon think of the trade, Pompey ? 
ii^ it a lawful traded 

Clo. If the law would allow it, sir ? 

EscaL But the law will not allow it, Pompey ; 
nor it shall not be allowed in Vienna. 

Ch. Does your worship mean to geld and spay 
all the youth in the city ? 

EscaL No, Pompey. 

Ch, Truly, sir, in my poor opinion, they will to't 
then : If your worship will take order ^^ for the drabs 
and the knaves, you need not to fear the bawds. 

EscaL There are pretty orders beginning, I can 
tell you : It is but heading and hanging. 

Ob. If you head and hang all that offend that 
way but for ten year together, you'll be glad to give 
out a conmiission for more heads. If* this law hold 
in Vienna ten year, I'll rent the fairest house in it, 
after three pence a bay^^: if you live to see this 
come to pass, say, Pompey told you so. 

EscaL Thank you, good Pompey: and, in re- 
quital of your prophecy, hark you, — I advise you, 
let me not find you before me again upon any com- 
plaint whatsoever, no, not for dwelling where you 
do; if I do, Pompey, I shall beat you to your tent, 
and prove a shrewd Caesar to yon; in plain dealing, 
Pompey, I shall have you wlupt: so for this time, 
Pompey, fare you well. 

Cio, I thank your worship for your good counsel : 
but I shall follow it as the flesh and fortune shall 
better determine. 

'^ To talce order is to take measures, or precantions. 

^ A bay is a principal division in building, as a bam of three 
bays is a barn twice crossed by beams. Coles in his Latin Dic- 
tionary defines * a bay of bnilding, mensura 24 pedum** Houses 
appear to bare been estimated by the namber of bays. 



Whip me? No, no; let carman whip his jade; 
The valiant heart's not whipt out of his trade. 

Escal, Come hither to me, master Elbow ; come 
hither, master Constable. How long have you been 
in this place of constable? 

Elb, Seven year and a half, sir. 

JEscal. I thought, by your resuiiness in the oflSce, 
you had continued in it some time : You say, seven 
years together? 

EW. And a half, sir. 

EscaL Alas ! it hath been great pains to you ! 
They do you wrong to put you so oft upon't: Are 
there not men in your ward sufficient to serve it ? 

Elh. Faith, sir, few of any wit in such matters : 
as they are chosen, they are glad to choose me for 
them; I do it for some piece of money, and go 
through with all. 

EscaL Look you, bring me in the names of some 
six or seven, the most sufficient of your parish. 

Elb, To your worship's house, sir? 

EscaL To my house : Fare you well. [Exit £l^ 
BOW.] What's o'clock, think you ? 

Just. Eleven, sir. 

EscaL . I pray you home to dinner with me. 

Just. I humbly thank you. 

EscaL It grieves me for the death of Claudio ; 
But there's no remedy. 

Just. Lord Angelo is severe. 

EscaL It is but needful: 

Mercy is not itself that oft looks so ; 
Pardon is still the nurse of second woe : 
But yet, — Poor Claudio! — ^There's no remedy. 
Come, sir. « [Exeunt^ 


SCENE II. Another Room in the same. 

Enter Provost and a Servant. 

Serv, He's hearing of a cause ; he will come straight, 
111 tell him of you. 

Prov. Pray you, do. [Exit Servant.] Ill know 
His pleasure : may be, he will relent : Alas, 
He hath but as offended in a dream ! 
All sects, all ages smack of this vice ; and he 
To die for it! — 

Enter Angelo. 

Ang» Now, what's the matter, provost ? 

Prov. Is it your will Claudio shall die to-morrow? 

Ang. Did I not tell thee, y ea ? hadst thou not order? 
Why dost thou ask again? 

Prou. Lest I might be too rash: 

Under your good correction, I have seen. 
When, after execution, judgment hath 
Repented o'er his doom. 

Afig. Go to; let that be mine : 

Do you your oflSce, or give up your place. 
And you shall well be spar'd. 

Prov, I crave your honour's pardon. — 

What shall be done, sir, with the groaning Juliet? 
She's very near her hour. 

Ang, Dispose of her 

To some more fitter place; and that with speed. 

Re-enter Servant. 

Serv. Here is the sister of the man condemn 'd. 
Desires access to you. 

Ang. Hath he a sister? 

Prov. Ay, my good lord; a very virtuous maid^ 
And to be shortly of a sisterhood, 
If not already. 


Ang. Well^ let; her be admitted. 

[Exit Servant 
See you, the fornicatress be remoy'd ; 
Let her have needful, but not lavish, means ; 
There shall be order for it. 

Enter Lucio and IIsabella. 

Prov. Save your honour! [Offering to retire. 

Ang. Stay a little while. — [To Isab.] You are 
welcome: What's your will? 

Isab. I am a woful suitor to your honour. 
Please but your honour hear me. 

Ang. Well; what's your suit? 

Isab. There is a vice, that most I do abhor. 
And most desire should meet the blow of justice; 
For which I would not plead, but that I must; 
For which I must not plead, but that I am 
At war, 'twixt will, and will not. 

Ang. Well; the matter? 

Isab. I have a brother is condemn'd to die : 
I do beseech you, let it be his fault. 
And not my brother^. 

Prov. Heaven give thee moving graces ! 

Ajig. Condemn the fault, and not the actor of it ! 
Why, every fault's condemn'd, ere it be done : 
Mine were the very cipher of a function. 
To fine^ the faults, whose fine stands in record. 
And let go by the actor. 

Isab. O just, but severe law ! 

I had a brother then. — Heaven keep your honour ! 


Lucio. [To Isab.] Give't not o'er so: to him 
again, intreat him : 

* i. e. let mj brother's fault die or be extirpated, but let not 
him sajOTer. 

^ i. e. ' to pronounce the fine or sentence of the law upon the 
crime, and let the delinquent escape.' 


Kneel down before bim, hang upon bis gown ; 
You are too cold : if you should need a pin, 
You could not with more tame a tongue desire it : 
To him, I say. 

hah. Must he needs die ? 

Ang. Maiden, no remedy. 

Isab. Yes; I do think that you might pardon him. 
And neither heaven, nor man, grieve at the mercy. 

Ang. I will not do't. 

Imh, But can you, if you would ? 

Ang. Look, what I will not, liiat I cannot do. 

Isab. But might you do't, and do the world no 
If so your heart were touch'd with that remorse 
As mine is to him ? 

Ang, He's sentenc'd ; 'tis too late. 

Liudo. You are too cold, [To Isabella. 

Isab, Too late? why, no ; I, that do speak a word, 
May call it back again : Well, believe ^ this, 
No ceremony that to great ones 'longs, 
Not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword. 
The marshal's truncheon, nor the judge's robe. 
Become them with one half so good a grace. 
As mercy does. If he had been as you. 
And you as he, you would have slipt like him ; 
But he, like you, would not have been so stem. 

Ang, Pray you, begone. 

Isab. I would to heaven I had your potency, 
And you were Isabel! should it then be thus? 
No; I would tell what 'twere to be a judge. 
And what a prisoner. 

Lucio, Ay, touch him : there's the vein. [Aside, 

Ang. Your brother is a forfeit of the law, 
And you but waste your words. 

Isab. Alas! alas! 

' i. e, be assnredofit. 


Why, all the souls that were, were forfeit once; 
And He that might the vantage best have took, 
Found out the remedy : How would you be. 
If he, which is the top of judgment, should 
But judge you as you are? O, think on that; 
And mercy then will breathe within your lips. 
Like man new made \ 

Ang. Be you content, fair maid; 

It is the law, not I, condemns your brother : 
Were he my kinsman, brother, or my son. 
It should be thus with him ; — he must die to-morrow. 

Isab. To-morrow ? O, that's sudden ! Spare him, 
spare him : 
He's not prepar'd for death ! Even for our kitchens 
We kill the fowl of season^ : shall we serve heaven 
With less respect than we do minister 
To our gross selves ? Good, good my lord, bethink 

you : 
Who is it that hath died for this offence ? 
There's many have committed it. 

Ludo. Ay, well said. 

Ang, The law hath not been dead, though it hath 
slept ^: 
Those many had not dar'd to do that evil. 
If the first man that did the edict infringe 
Had answer'd for his deed : now, 'tis awake ; 
Takes note of what is done; and, like a prophet. 
Looks in a glass ^, that shows what future evils, 
(Either now, or by remissness new-conceiv'd, 
And so in progress to be hatch'd and bom), 

^ ' Yoa will then be as tender hearted and merciful as the first 
man was in his days of innocence.' 

^ i. e. when in season. 

^ * Dortniunt tdiquando leges, moriurUur nvnquam,* is a maxim 
of our law. 

'' This alludes to the deceptions of the fortune-tellers, who pre- 
tended to see future events in a heryl, or crystal glass. 


Are now to have no s^ccessiye degrees^ 
But, where they live, to end. 

hab. Yet show some pity. 

Ang. I show it most of all, when I show justice; 
For then I pity those I do not know^. 
Which a dismiss'd ofience would after gall; 
And do him right, that, answering one foul wrong. 
Lives not to act another. Be satisfied; 
Your brother dies to-morrow : be content. 

bob. So you must be the first, that gives this sen- 
tence : 
And he, that suffers : O, it is excellent 
To have a giant's strength ; but it is tyrannous 
To use it like a giant. 

Ludo, . That's well said. 

Isab, Could great men thunder 
As Jove himself does, Jove would ne'er be quiet. 
For every pelting 9, petty officer, 
Would use his heaven for thunder; nothing but 


Merciful heaven ! 

Thou rather, with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt, 

Split'st tbe unwedgeable and gnarled ^^ oak. 

Than the soft myrtle ^^ : — But man, proud man ! 

Drest in a little brief authority : 

Most ignorant of what he's most assur'd. 

His glassy essence, — like an angry ape. 

Plays such fantastick tricks before high heaven, 

^ One of Jadge Hale's * Memorials' is of the same tendency :-r- 
* When I find myself swayed to mercy, let me remember that 
there is a mercy likewise dae to the country.' 

^ Pelting for paltry. ^® Gnarled, knotted* 

^^ Mr. Donee has remarked the close affinity between this pas- 
sage and one in the second satire of Persins. Yet we have no 
translation of that poet of Shakspeare's age. 

' Ignovisse patas, quia, com tonat, ocyns ilex 
Snlfiure disoatitnr sacro, qaam tuque domusquet' 



As make the angels weep ; who, with our spleens, 
Would all themselves laugh mortal ^. 

Lucio. O, to him, to him, wench: he wiU relent; 
He's coming, I perceive 't. 

Prov. Pray heaven, she win him ! 

Isab^ We cannot weigh our brother with ourself : 
Great men may jest with saints : 'tis wit in them ; 
But, in the less, foul profanation. 

Lucio. Thou'rt in the right, girl ; more o' that. 

Isab. That in the captain's but a cholerick word. 
Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy. 

Zucio. Art advis'd o' that? more on't. . 

Ang. Why do you put these sayings upon me? 

Isab, Because authority, though it err like others, 
Hath yet a kind of medicine in itself. 
That skins the vice o' the top ^^ : Go to your bosom; 
Knock there, and ask your heart, what it doth know 
That's like my brother's fault : if it confess 
A natural guiltiness, such as is his. 
Let it not sound a thought upon your tongue 
Against my brother's life. 

Ang, She speaks, and 'tis 

Such sQUse, that my sense breeds with it^*. Fare 

you well. 

Isab, Gentle my lord, turn back. 
Ang, I will bethink me:— ^ Come again to-morrow. 
Isah. Hark, how I'll bribe you : Good my lord, 
turn back. 

^' The notion of angels weeping for the sins of men is rabbini- 
cal. By spUen9 Shakspeare meant that peculiar turn of the human 
mind, that always inclines it to a spitefnl and unseasonable mirth. 
Had the angels that, they would laugh themselves out of their im- 
mortality, by indulging a passion unworthy of that prerogative. 

^' Shakspeare has used this indelicate metaphor again in Ham- 
let : — ' It will but skin and film the ulcerous place.' 

^* i. e. Such sense as breeds or produces a consequence in his 
mind. Malone thought that sense here meant sensual desire. 


Ang. How! bribe me? 

Isab. Ay, with such gifts, that heaven shall share 
with you. 

Lucio. You had marr'd all else. 

Imb. Not with fond^^ shekels of the tested ^^ gold, 
Or stones, whose rates are either rich, or poor. 
As fancy values them : but with true prayers, 
Hiat shall be up at heaven, and enter there, 
Ere sun-rise; prayers from preserved ^^ souls. 
From fasting maids, whose minds are dedicate 
To nothing temporal. 

Ang. Well : come to me 


Lucio. Go to ; it is well away. [Atide to Isabel. 

Isab. Heaven keep your honour safe ! 

Ang. Amen^®: 

For I am that way going to temptation, [Ande. 
Where prayers cross ^^. 

Isab. At what hour to-morrow 

Shall I attend your lordship ? 

Ang. At any time 'fore noon. 

Isab. Save your honour ! 

[Exeunt Lucio> Isabella, and Provost. 

Ang. From thee; even from thy virtue. — 

What's this ? what's this ? Is this her fault, or mine ? 

'^ Fondy in its old signification sometimes meant foolish. In 
its modern sense it evidenttj implied a doting or extrayagant af- 
fection ; here it signifies overvalued or prised by folly. 

** i. e. tried, refined, 

*^ Preserved from the oormption of the world. 

^* Isabella prays that his hononr maj be safe, meiming onlj to 
give him his title : his imagination is caaght by the word honour, 
he feels that it is in danger, and therefore says amen to her bene- 

^ The petition of the Lord's Prayer, * Lead ns not into tempta- 
tion,* — is here considered as crossing or intercepting the way in 
which Angelo was going : he was exposing himself to temptation 
by the appointment for the morrow's meeting. 



The tempter, or the tempted, who sins most? Ha! 

Not she ; nor doth she tempt : but it is I, 

That lying by the yiolet, in the sun. 

Do, as the carrion does, not as the flower. 

Corrupt with virtuous season. Can it be. 

That modesty may more betray our sense ^^ 

Than woman's lightness? Haying waste ground 

Shall we desire to raze the sanctuary. 
And pitch our evils there ^^ ? O, fy, fy, fy ! 
What dost thou ? or, what art thou, Angelo ? 
Dost thou desire her foully, for those things 
That make her good? O, let her brother live : 
Thieves for their robbery have authority, . 
When judges steal themselves. What ? do I love her. 
That I desire to hear her speak again. 
And feast upon her eyes? What is't I dream on? 
O cunning enemy, that, to catch a saint, 
With saints dost bait thy hook ! Most dangerous 
Is that temptation, that doth goad us on 
To sin in loving virtue : never could the strumpet. 
With all her double vigour, art and nature. 
Once stir my temper; but this virtuous maid 
Subdues me quite ; — Ever, till now. 
When men were fond, I smil'd, and wonder'd how ! ^ 


^ Sense for sensaa] appetite. 

^^ No language coald more forcibly express the aggravated pro- 
fligacy of Angelo's passion, which the parity of Isabella bat served 
the more to inflame. The desecration of edifices devoted to reli- 
gion, by convertilig them to the most abject purposes of nature, 
was an eastern method of expressing contempt. See 2 Kings, x. 

^ Dr. Johnson thinks the second act should end here. 


SCENE III. A Room im a Priwn. 

Enter Duke, habited like a Friar, and Provost. 

Duke. Hail to you, Provost ! so, I think you are. 

Prov. I am the provost: What's your will, good 

Duke. Bound by my charity, and my bless'd order, 
I come to visit the afflicted spirits 
Here in the prison : do me the common right 
To let me see them ; and to make me know 
The nature of their crimes, that I may minister 
To them accordingly. 

Prov. I would do more than that, if more were 

Enter Juliet. 

Look, here comes one ; a gentlewoman of mine, 
Who falling in the flames ^ of her own youth. 
Hath blister'd her report : She is with child : 
And he that got it, sentenc'd : a young man 
More fit to do another such ofi^ence. 
Than die for this. 

Duke. When must he die ? 

Prov. As I do think, to-morrow. — 
I have provided for you ; stay a while, [ To Juliet. 
And you shall be conducted. 

Duke. Repent you, fair one, of the sin you carry 7 

Juliet. I do ; and bear the shame most patiently. 

Duke. I'll teach you how you shall arraign your 
And try your penitence, if it be sound. 
Or hollowly put on. 

Juliet. I'll gladly learn. 

Duke. Love you the man that wrong'd you ? 

Juliet. Yes, as I love the woman that wron^'dhim. 

' The (olio reads Jlaw€9» 


Duke. So then, it seems, your most offencefiil act 
Was mutually committed? 

Juliet. Mutually. 

Ihd^. Then was your sin of heavier kind than his. 

JuUet. I do confess it, and repent it, father, 

Duke. Tis meet so, daughter : But lest you do 
As that the sin hath brought you to this shame, — 
Which sorrow is always towards ourselves, not hea- 
Showing, we'd not spare ^ heaven as we love it. 
But as we stand in fear,^^ 

Juliet. I do repent me, as it is an evil ; 
And take the shame with joy. 

Duke. There rest*. 

Your partner, as I hear, must die to-morrow. 
And I am going with instruction to him. — 
Grace go with you! Benedicite! [Exit. 

Juliet. Must die to-morrow ! O, injurious love ^, 
That respites me a life, whose very comfort 
Is still a dying horror I 

Prov. Tis pity of him. [Exeunt. 

SCENE IV. A Roam in Angelo's House. 

Enter Angelo. 

Ang.When I would pray and think, I think and pray 
To several subjects : heaven hath my empty words; 
Whilst my invention ^, hearing not my tongue, 

* i. e. not spare to offend heaven. 

' L e. keep yourself in this Frame of mind. 

* * O iojarious hve.* Sir Thomas Hanmer proposed to read 
low instead of love. 

' Invention for imagination. So, in Shakspeare's 103d Sonnet : 

* — a face, 

That overgoes mj blant invention quite.' 
And in K. Henrj V. 

' O for a mnse of fire, that woald ascend 
The brightest heaven of invention^ 


Anchors on Isabel : Heaven in my mouth. 

As if I did but only chew his name ; 

And in my heart, the strong and swelling evil 

Of my conception : The state, whereon I studied. 

Is like a good thing, being often read. 

Grown fear'd and tedious; yea, my gravity, ^ 

Wherein (let no man hear me) I tsike pride. 

Could I, with boot % change for an idle plume. 

Which the air beats for vain. O place ! O form I 

How often dost thou with thy case^, thy habit. 

Wrench awe from fools, and tie the wiser souls 

To thy false seeming^? Blood, thou still art blood I 

Lef 8 write good angel on the devil's horn, 

Tis not the devil's crest ^. 

Enter Servant 

How now, who's there ? 

Serv. One Isabel, a sister. 

Desires access to you. 

Ang. Teach her the way. [Exit Serv. 

O heavens ! 

Why does my blood thus muster to my heart; 
Making both it unable for itself. 
And dispossessing all the other parts 
Of necessary fitness ? 
So play the fooUsh throngs with one that swoons ; 

^ Boot is profit. ' i. e. oatoide. 

* Shakspeare jodiciously distinguishes the different operations 
of high place upon different mind^s. Fools are frighted and wise 
men allured. Those who cannot judge bat bj the eje are easily 
awed by splendour ; those who consider men as well as conditions, 
are easily persuaded to love the appearance of yirtne dignified 
with power. 

^ ' Though we should write good ang^l on the Devil's horn, it 
will not change his nature, so as to give him a right to wear that 
CTM^' This explanation of Malone's is confirmed by a passage 
in Lylys Midas, * Melancholy ! is melancholy a word for barber's 
mouth ? Thou shooldst say heavy, dull, and doltish ; melancholy 
is the ere^ of courtiers.' 

£ 2 


Come all to help him, and so stop the air 

By which he should revive : and even so 

The general^, subject to a well-wish'd king. 

Quit their own pcut, and in obsequious fondness 

Crowd to his presence, where their untaught love 

Must needs appear offence. 


Enter Isabella. 

How now, fair maid ? 

/sa6. I am come to know your pleasure. 

Aug. That you might know it, would much better 
please me. 
Than to demand what 'tis. Your brother cannot 

hob. Even so? — Heaven keep your honour! 


Ang. Yet may he live awhile ; and it may be. 
As long as you, or I : Yet he must die. 

Imb, Under your sentence ? 

Ang. Yea. 

Isab. When, I beseech you ? that in his reprieve, 
Longer, or shorter, he may be so fitted, 
That his soul sicken not. 

Ang. Ha ! Fye, these filthy vices ! It were as 
To pardpn him, that hath from nature stolen 
A man already made^, as to remit 
Their saucy sweetness^, that do coin heaven's image 

^ i. e. the people or mi^tUude sabjeot to a king. So, in Ham- 
let : 'the plaj pleased not the million ; 'twas cayiare to the ge- 
neraV It is supposed that Shakspeare, in this passage, and in 
one before (Act i. So. 2), intended to flatter the onkinglj weak- 
ness of James I. which made him so impatient of the crowds which 
flocked to see him, at his first coming, that he restrained them hj 
a proclamation. 

7 i. e. that hath killed a man. 

' Sweetness has here prpbablj the sense of liekerwhness. 


In stamps that are forbid : 'tis all as easy 
Falsely to take away a life true made, - 
As to put mettle in restrained means, 
To make a false one^. 

Isab. Tis set down so in heayen, but not in earth. 

Ang, Say you so ? then I shall pose you quickly. 
Which had you rather, That the most just law 
Now took your brother's life ; or, to redeem him, 
Giye up your body to such sweet uncleanness. 
As she ^t he hath stain'd? 
^liob. Sir, believe this, 

I had rather give my body than my souP^. 

Ang, I talk not of your soul : Our compell'd sins 
Stand more for number than accompt^^. 

Isab, How say you ? 

Ang. Nay, I'll not warrant that; for I can speak 
Against the thing I say. Answer to this ; — . 
I, now the voice of the recorded law, 
Pronoimce a sentence on your brother's life : 
Might there not be a charity in sin. 
To save tins brother's life ? 

Jsab. Please you to do't, 

I'll take it as a peril to my soul. 
It is no sin at all, but charity. 

Aug, Pleas'd you to do't, at peril of your soul, 
Were equal poise of sin and charity. 

Isab, That I do beg his life, if it be sin, 
Heaven, let me bear it! you granting of my suit, 

' The thought is simply, that murder is as easy as fornication ; 
and the inferenpe which Angelo would draw is, that it is as im- 
proper to pardon the latter as the former. 

'^ Isabel appears to use the words ' give mj body/ in a dif- 
ferent sense to Angelo. Her meaning appears to be, 'I had rather 
die than forfeit my eternal happiness by the prostitution of my 

*^ i. e. actions that we are compelled to, however numerous, 
are not imputed to us by heaven as crimes. 


If that b^ sill, I'll make it my mom prayer 
To have it added to the faults of mine. 
And nothing of your answer. 

Ang, Nay, but hear me : 

Your sense pursues not mine: either you are ig- 
Or seem so, craftily ; and that's not good. 

Jsab, Let me be ignorant, and in nothing good, 
But graciously to know I am no better. 

Afig. Thus wisdom washes to appear most bright, 
When it doth tax itself: as these black masks ^ 
Proclaim an enshield^^ beauty ten times louder 
Than beauty could displayed. — But mark me ; 
To be received plain, I'll speak more gross : 
Your brother is to die. 

IscUf. So. 

Ang, And his offence is so, as it appears 
Accountant to the law upon that pain ^\ 

Isab, True. 

Ang. Admit no other way to save his life, 
(As I subscribe ^^ not that, nor any other. 
But in the loss of question ^^), that you, his sister. 
Finding yourself desir'd of such a person. 
Whose credit with the judge, or own great place. 
Could fetch your brother from the manacles 
Of the all-binding law ; and that there were 
No earthly mean to save him, but that either 

*' The masks worn bj female spectators of the play are here 
probably meant ; however improperly, a compliment to them is 
pat into the mouth of Angelo : unless the demonstrative pronoun 
is put for the prepositive article ? At the beginning of Romeo 
and Juliet, we have a passage of similar import : 

< These happy masks that kiss fair ladies' brows. 
Being black, put us in mind they hide the fair.* 

'^ i. e. enshielded, covered. 

^* Pain, penalty. *^ SiAscribe, agree to. 

*® i. e. conversation that tends to nothing. 


You must lay down the treasures of your body 
To this supposed, or else to let him suffer; 
What would you do ? 

IscA, As much for my poor brother, as myself: 
That is. Were I under the terms of death, 
The impression of keen whips I'd wear as rubies. 
And strip myself to death, as to a bed 
That longing I have been sick for, ere I'd yield 
My body up to shatee. 

Ang. Then must your brother die. 

Isab. And 'twere the cheaper way : 
Better it were, a brother died at once, • 

Than that a sister, by redeeming him. 
Should die for ever. 

Ang. Were not you then as cruel as the sentence 
That you have slander'd so ? 

hci. Ignomy ^^ in ransom, and free pardon. 
Are of two houses : lawful mercy is 
Nothing akin to foul redemption. 

An^, You seem'd of late to make the law a tyrant; 
And rather proy'd the sliding of your brother 
A merriment than a vice. 

I8ah. O pardon me, my lord ; it oft falls out. 
To have what we'd have, we speak not what we 

mean : 
I something do excuse the thing I hate. 
For his advantage that I dearly love. 

Aiig, We are all frail. 

Isab, Else let my brother die. 

If not a feodary, but only he. 
Owe, and succeed by weakness ^°. 

''' Ignomy, ignominj. 

'^ I adopt Mr. Nares' explanation of this difficalt passage as 
the most satisfactory yet offered : — * If he is the only/eodary, i. e. 
sabject who holds bj the common tenare of haman frailty.* Otoes, 
i.e. possesses and succeeds by, holds his right of succession bj it. 


Ang. Nay, women are frail too. 

Isab. Ay, as the glasses where they view them- 
selves ; 
Which are as easy broke as they make forms. 
Women ! — Help heaven ! men their creation mar 
In profiting by them ^^. Nay, call us ten times frail ; 
For we are soft as our complexions are, 
And credulous to false prints^. 

Ang. I think it well : 

And from this testimony of your own sex, 
(Since, I suppose, we are made to be no stronger 
Than faults may shake our frames) let me be bold; — 
I do arrest your words ; Be that you are. 
That is, a woman ; if you be more, you're none ; 
If you be one (as you are well express'd 
By all external warrants), show it now, 
By putting on the destin'd livery. 

Isab. I have no tongue but one : gentle my lord, 
Let me entreat you speak the former language. 

Ang, Plainly conceive, I love you. 

Isab. My brother did love Juliet; and you tell me. 
That he shall die for it. 

Ang, He shall not, Isabel, if you give me love. 

Isab, I know, your virtue hath a licence in't. 
Which seems a little fouler than it is. 
To pluck on others ^^. 

Ang, Believe me, on mine honour. 

My words express my purpose. 

Warburton says that ' the alliision is so fine that it deserves to 
be explained. — The comparing mankind lying nnder the weight of 
original sin, to a feodary who owes suit and service to his lord, is 
not ill imagined.' 

^^ The meaning appears to be, that ' men debase their natures 
by taking advantage of women's weakness.' She therefore calls 
on Heaven to assist them. 

^ i. e. impressions. 

^ i. e. ' your virtue assumes an air of licentiousness, which is^ 
not natural to you, on purpose to try me.' 


Isah* Ha ! little honour to be much believ'd, 
And most pernicious purpose ! — Seeming, seem- 

ing^! — 
I will proclaim thee, Angelo ; look for't : 
Sign me a present pardon for my brother. 
Or, with an oiitstretch'd throat, I'll tell the world 
Aloud, what man thou art. 

Ang. Who will believe thee, Isabel? 

My unsoil'd name, the austereness of my life. 
My Youch^ against you, and my place i'the state. 
Will so your accusation overweigh. 
That you shall stifle in your own report. 
And smell of calumny^. I have begun ; 
And now I give my sensual race the rein : 
Fit thy consent to my sharp appetite ; 
Lay by all nicety, and prolixious blushes^. 
That banish what they sue for; redeem thy brother 
By yielding up thy body to my will ; 
Or else he must not only die the death ^^, 
But thy unkindness shall his death draw out 
To lingering sufferance : answer me to-morrow. 
Or, by the affection that now guides me most, 
111 prove a tyrant to him : As for you. 
Say what you can, my false o'erweighs your true. 


Isab, To whom shall I complain ? Did I tell this, 
Who would betieve me ? O perilous mouths. 
That bear in them one and the selfsame tongue, 
£ither of condemnation or approof ! 

^ Seeming is hjpocrisy. ^ Voucht assertion. 

^ A metaphor from a lamp or candle extinguished in its own 

^ Prolixious blushes mean what Milton has elegantly called— • 
' Sweet reluctant delay,' 

^ The death. This phrase seems originally to have bees a 
Ikiistaken tnmslation of the French La tnort, Chaucer uses it 
frequently, and it is common to all writers of Shakspeare's i^e. 


Bidding the law make court'sy to their will ; 

Hooking both right and wrong to the appetite^ 

To follow as it draws ! I'll to my brother : 

Though he hath fallen by prompture^ of the blood, 

Yet hath he in him such a mind of honour, 

That had he twenty heads to tender down 

On twenty bloody blocks, he'd yield them up. 

Before his sister should her body stoop 

To such abhorr'd pollution. 

Then Isabel, live chaste, and, brother, die ; 

More than our brother is our chastity. 

Ill tell him yet of Angelo's request. 

And fit his mind to death, for his soul's rest. 



SCENE I. A Room in the Prison. 

Enter Duke, Claudio, and Provost. 

Duke. So, then you hope of pardon from lord An- 
gelo ? 

CUmd, The miserable have no other medicine. 
But only hope : 
I have hope to live, and am prepar'd to die. 

Duke, Be absolute ^ for death ; either death or life, 
Shall thereby be the sweeter. Beason thus with 

If I do lose, thee, I do lose a thing 
That none but fools would keep^: a breath thou art, 
(Servile to all. the skiey influences), 

^ i. e. temptation, instigation. ' i. e. determined. 

^ Ktep here means care for , a common acceptation of the word 
in Chancer and later writers. 


That dost this habitation, where thou keep'st'. 
Hourly afflict : merely, thou art death*s fool ; 
For him thou labour'st by thy flight to shun. 
And yet runn'st toward him still : Thou art not noble ; 
For sdl the accommodations that thou bear'st, 
Are nurs'd by baseness ^ : Thou art by no means 

For thou dost fear the soft and tender fork 
Of a poor worm^: Thy best of rest is sleep. 
And that thou oft provok'st; yet grossly fear'st 
Thy death, which is no more. Thou art not thyself; 
Per thou exist'st on many a thousand grains 
That issue out of dust: Happy thou art not; 
Per what thou hast not, still thou striv'st to get; 
And what thou hast, forget*st : Thou art not certain ; 
For thy complexion shifts to strange affects ^, 
After the moon : If thou artTich, thou art poor; 
For, like an ass, whose back with ingots bows. 
Thou bear'st thy heavy riches but a journey. 
And death unloads thee: Friend, hast thou none; 
For thine own bowels, which do call thee sire. 
The mere effusion of thy proper loins, 

' i. e. dwellest. So, in Henrj IV. Part i : 

* 'Twas where the madcap dake his ancle hept* 

^ Shakspeare here meant to ohserve, that a minate analysis of 
life at once destroys that splendour which dazzles the imagina- 
tion. Whatever grandeur can display, or laxory enjoy, is pro- 
oared by haatneaa, by offices of which the mind shrinks from the 
contemplation. AH the delicacies of the table may be traced 
back to the shambles, and the danghill, all magnificence of build- 
ing was hewn from the quarry, and all the pomp of ornament from 
among the damps and darkness of the mine. 

^ Wwrm is put for any creeping thing or awpenU Shakspeare 
adopts the Tulgar error, that a serpent wounds with his tongue, 
and that his tongue is forked. In old tapestriea and paintings the 
tongues of serpents and dragons always appear barbed like the 
point of an arrow. 

' The old copy reads effects. We should read affecta, i.e. af-^ 
fections, passions of the mind^ See Hamlet, uu Sq« 4. 

VOL. J I. Y 


Do curse the gout, serpigo^, and the rheum. 

For ending thee no sooner : Thou hast nor youth, 

nor age ; 
But, as it were, an after-dinner's sleep. 
Dreaming on both^ ; for all thy blessed youth 
Becomes as aged, and doth beg the alms 
Of palsied eld ^ ; and when thou art old, and rich, 
Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty. 
To make thy riches pleasant. What's yet in this 
That bears the name of life ? Yet in this life 
Lie hid more thousand deaths ; yet death we fear. 
That makes these odds all even. 

Claud. I humbly thank you. 

To sue to live, I find, I seek to die : 
And seeking death, find life : Let it come on. 

Enter Isabella. 

Isab. What, ho ! Peace here ; grace and good 

company ! 
Prov. Who's there ? come in ; the wish deserves 

a welcome. 
Duke. Dear sir, ere long I'll visit you again. 

^ Serpigo, is a leprous ernptlon. 

® This is exquisitely imagined. When we are young, we busy 
ourselves in forming schemes for succeeding time, and miss the 
gratifications that are before us ; when we are old, we amuse the 
languor of age with the recollection of youthful pleasures or per- 
formances ; so that our life, of which no part is filled with the 
business of the present time, resembles our dreams after dinner, 
when the erents of the morning are mingled with the designs of 
the evening. 

^ Old age. In youth, which is or ought to be the happiest time, 
man commonly wants means to obtain what iie could enjoy, he is 
dependent on palsied eld; must beg alms from the coffers of hoary 
avarice; and being very niggardly supplied, becomes as aged,^ 
looks like an old man on happiness beyond his reach. And when 
he is old and rich, when he has wealth enough for the purchase of 
all that formerly excited his desires, he has no longer the powers 
of enjoyment. 


CUmd. Most holy «r, I thaok you. 

Iiab. My busineBS is a woM or two with Claudio. 

Prov. And very welcome. Look, signior, here's 
your sister. 

DuJte. ProTost, a word wi(h you. 

Prov. As many as you please. 

DiJte. Bring me to hear them speak, where I 
may be conceal'd **, 
Yet hear Uiem. [Eicetmt Duke and Provost. 

Claud. Now, sister, wbaf s the comfort ? 

hab. Why, as all comforts are, most good indeed : 
Lord Angelo, having aSiurs to heaven. 
Intends you for his swift embassador. 
Where you shall be an everlasting leiger'^ : 
Therefore your best appointment** make with speed ; 
T[>-morr(Av you set on. 

Claud. Is there no remedy ? 

bob. None, but such remedy, as to save a head, 
To cleave a heart in twain. 

Claud. But is there any ? 

Aab. Yes, brother, you may live; 
Tliere is a devilish mercy in the judge, 
If you1l implore it, that will free your life. 
But fetter you till death. 

Claud. Perpetual durance ? 

hab. Ay, just, perpetual durance; a restraint. 
Though all the world's vastidity*^ you had. 
To a determined scope **. 

Claud. But in what nature ? 

■° He jirit folio reidi, ' biiag Ihem to hear me ap*^, &«.' ttie 
ueond folio ««!», • bring Iham to ip««k.' The emendition is bj 

■' A leigir ii t, miient. " i. e. prepirttioti. 

" ' To ■ determin'd scope.' A eonfinemenl of yonr mind to 
one painfoi idea: to igaominj, of whicb th* Temembranoe on 
Deitbet be sof^reswd nor eioaped. 


Imb, In such a one as (you consenting to't) 
Would bark your honour from that trunk you bear. 
And leave you naked ^. 

Claud, Let me know the point. 

hah. O, I do fear thee, Claudio ; and I quake. 
Lest thoii a feverous life should'st entertain, 
And six or seven winters more respect 
Than a perpetual honour. Dar'st thou die ? 
The sense of death is most in apprehension ; 
And the poor beetle, that we tread upon. 
In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great 
As when a giant dies ^^. 

Ckmd, Why give you me this shame? 

Think you I can a resolution fetch 
From flowery tenderness? If I must die, 
I will encounter darkness as a bride. 
And hug it in mine arms. 

Imh. There spake my brother; there my father's 
Did utter forth a voice ! Yes, thou must die : 
Thou art too noble to conserve a life 
In base appliances. This outward-rsainted deputy, — 
Whose settled visage and deliberate word 
Nips youth i' the head, and follies doth enmew ^"^^ 
As falcon doth the fowl, — is yet a devil; 

'^ A metaphor, from stripping trees of their hark* 

'^ ' And the poor beetle that we tread upon 
In corpond sufferance finds a pang as great 
As when a giant dies/ 

This beautiful passage is in all our minds and memories, but it 
most frequently stands in quotation detached from the antecedent 
line : — * The sense of death is most in apprehension/ without 
which it is liable to an opposite construction. The meaning is : — 
' fear is the principal sensation in death, which has no pain ; and 
the giant when he dies feels no greater pain than the beetle?' 

^7 * In whose presence the follies of youth are afraid to show 
tbemselyes, as the fowl is afraid to flutter while the falcon hovers 
over it.' To enrntw is a term in Falconry, signifying to restrain, 
to keep m a mew or cage either by force or terror. 


His filtii within being cast, he would appear 
A pond as deep as hell. 

Claud, The princely 4-ngelo ? 

Isab. O, 'tis the cunning livery of hell, 
The damned'st body to invest and cover 
In princely guards ^^! Dost thou think, Claudio, 
If I would yield him my virginity. 
Thou might'st be freed ? 

Claud. O, heavens ! it cannot be. 

hob. Yes, he would give it thee, from this rank 
So to offend him still ^^ : This night's the time 
That I should do what I abhor to name. 
Or else thou diest to-morrow. 

Claud, Thou shalt not do*t. 

Ltab. O, were it but my life, 
Fd throw it down for your deliverance 
As frankly ^ as a pin. 

Claud. Thanks, dear Isabel. 

/<a6. Be ready, Claudio, for your death to-morrow. 

Claud. Yes. — Has he affections in him. 
That thus can make him bite tlie law by the nose. 
When he would force it^^ ? Sure it is no sin ; 
Or of the deadly seven it is the least. 

Isab. Which is the least ? 

Claud. If it were damnable, he, being so wise. 
Why, would he for the momentary trick. 
Be perdurably fin'd? — O Isabel! 

'® Guards were trimmings, facings, or other ornaments applied 
npoo a dress. It here stands, by synecdoche, for drus. 

1^ i. e. ' From the time of my committing this offence, yoa 
might persist in sinning with safety.' 

** Frankly, freely. 

'^ ' Has hs passions that impel him to transgress the law at the 
rery moment that he is enforcing it against others ? Sorely then 
it cannot be a sin so very heinoas, since Angelo, who is so wise, 
will venture it? Shakspeare shows his knowledge o( ^ramviVA''' 
tore in the condaot of ClaudiOm 

F 2 


Isah, What says my brother? 

Claud, Death is a fearful thing. 

Imb, And shamed life a hateful. 

Claud. Ay, but to die, and go we know not where ; 
To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot : 
This sensible warm motion to become 
A kneaded clod; and the delighted^ spirit 
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside 
In thrilling regions of thick-ribbed ice^; 
To be imprisoned in the viewless^ winds. 
And blown with restless violence round about 
The pendent world ; or to be worse than worst 
Of those, that lawless and incertain thoughts 
Imagine howling ! — 'tis too horrible ! 
The wei^riest and most loathed worldly life. 
That age, ach, penury, and imprisonment 
Can lay on nature, is a paradise * 

To what we fear of deatii. 

Isah, Alas ! alas ! 

Claud, Sweet sister, let me live : 

What sin you do to save a brother's life, 
Nature dispenses with the deed so far, 
That it becomes a virtue. 
' Isab, O, you beast ! 

O, faithless coward! O, dishonest wretch ! 

^ Delighted, is oocasionallj used bj Shakspeare for delightful, 
or causing delight ; delighted in. So, in Othello, Act ii. So. 3 : 

' If virtue no delighted beauty lack.' 
And Cjmbeline, Act ▼. Sc. 4 : 

* Whom best I love, I cross, to make mj gift 
The more delayed, delighted, 

^ Jonson, in his Cataline, Act ii. Sc. 4, has a similar expres- 
sion : — ' We're spirits bound in ribs of ice J Shakspeare returns 
to the vaxions destinations of the disembodied Spirit, in that pa- 
thetic speech of Othello in the fifth Act. Milton seems to have 
had Shakspeare before him when he wrote the second book of 
Paradise Lost, ▼. 595— 603. 

^ Viewless, iovisible, unseen. 


Wilt thou be made a man out of my ytce ? 

Ts't not a kind of incest, to take life 

From thine own sister's shame ? What should I think ? 

Heaven shield, my mother play'd my father fair ! 

For such a warped slip of wilderness ^ 

Ne'er issu'd from his blood. Take my defiance^: 

Die ; perish ! might but my bending down 

Reprieve thee from thy fate, it should proceed : 

I'll pray a thousand prayers for thy death, 

No word to save thee. 

Claud. Nay, hear me, Isabel. 

Isab. O, fye, fye, fye ! 

Thy sin's not accidental, but a trade ^ : 
Mercy to thee would prove itself a bawd : 
Tis best that thou diest quickly. [Going. 

Claud, O hear me, Isabella. 

Re-enter Duke. 

Duke. Vouchsafe a word, young sister, but one 

Isab. What is your will ? 

Duke. Might you dispense with your leisure, I 
would by and by have some speech with you : the 
satisfaction I would require, is likewise your own 

Isab. I have no superfluous leisure; my stay must 
be stolen out of other affairs ; but I will attend you 
a while. 

Duke. [To Claudio, aside.] Son, I have over- 
heard what hath past between you and your sister. 
Angelo had never the purpose to corrupt her ; only 
he hath made an essay of her virtue, to practise his 
judgment with the disposition of natures: she, hav- 
ing the truth of honour in her, hath made him that 
gracious denial which he is most glad to receive : I 

^ Wiidermess, for wildness, * i. e. my refMsaU 

^ TraOf, aa established bMt, a casiom, a pracUce« 


am confessor to Angelo, and I know this to be true; 
therefore prepare yourself to death : Do not satisfy 
your resolution^ with hopes that are fallible: to- 
morrow you must die; go to your knees, and make 

Claud. Let me ask my sister pardon. I am so 
out of love with life, that I will sue to be rid of it. 

Duke. Hold^ you there : Farewell. 

[Exit Claudio. 

Re-enter Provost. 

Provost, a word with you. 

Prov. What's your will, father ? 

Duke. That now you are come, you will be gone : 
Leave me awhile with the maid; my mind promises 
with my habit, no loss shall touch her by my com- 

Prov. In good time*^. [Exit Provost. 

Duke. The hand that hath made you fair, hath 
made you good: the goodness, that is cheap in 
beauty, makes beauty brief in goodness ; but grace, 
being the soul of your complexion, should keep the 
body of it ever fair. The assault that Angelo hath 
made to you, fortune hath convey'd to my under- 
standing ; and, but that frailty hath examples for his 
falling, I should wonder at Angelo. How would 
you do to content this substitute, and to save your 

Isab. I am now going to resolve him : I had ra- 

^ Do not satisfy your resolution, appears to signify do nt^ 
qv€nch or extinguish your resolution with fallible hopes. Satisfy 
was nsed by old writers in the sense of to stay, stop, quench, or 
stint : as in the phrase * Sorrow is satisfied with tears : Dolor 
expletur lachrymis. — To satisfy or stint hunger : Famem explere. 
To quewih or satisfy thirst : Sitim explere !* A conjecture of the 
Hon. Charles Yorke's on this passage will be found in Warbar- 
ton's heiiers, p. 500, 8to. ed. 

^ Hold you there: conUnue in l\&«\.Te&o\xi\\Qik« 

^^ i.e. a la bonne heurt, so be it, 'vei^ 'W^\\. 


ther my brother die by the law, than my son should 
be mnlawfully bom. But O, how much is the good 
duke deceived in Angelo ! If ever he return, and I 
can speak to him, I will open my lips in vain, or 
discover his government. 

Duke. That shall not be much amiss: Yet, as 
the matter now stands, he will avoid your accusa- 
tion ; he made trial of you only. — ^Therefore, fasten 
your ear on my advisings ; to the love I have in do- 
ing good, a remedy presents itself. I do make my- 
self believe, that you may most uprighteously do a 
poor wronged lady a merited benefit; redeem your 
brother from the angry law; do no stain to your 
own gracious person ; and much please the absent 
duke, if, peradventure, he shall ever return to have 
hearing of this business. 

Isab. Let me hear you speak further ; I have spirit 
to do any thing that appears not foul in the truth of 
my spirit. 

Duke. Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful. 
Have you not heard speak of Mariana the sister of 
Frederick, the great soldier, who miscarried at sea? 

Isab. I have heard of the lady, and good words 
went with her name. 

Duke. Her should this Angelo have married ; was 
affianced to her by oath, and the nuptial appointed : 
between which time of the contract, and limit ^^ of 
the solemnity, her brother Frederick was wrecked 
at sea, having in that perish'd vessel the dowry of 
his sister. But mark, how heavily this befell to the 
poor gentlewoman: there she lost a noble and re- 
nowned brother, in his love toward her ever most 
kind and natural; with him the portion and sinew 
of her fortune, her marriage dowry ; with both, her 
combinate^^ husband, this well-seeming Angelo. 

'* i. e. mppointed time. ^ i. e« YteltoiheA* 


hab. Can this be so ? Did Angelo so leave her? 

Duke. Left her in her tears, and dry'd not one of 
them with his comfort; swallowed his vows whole, 
pretendinfj^, in her, discoyeries of dishonour : in few, 
bestowed^ her on her own lamentation, which she 
yet wears for his sake ; and he, a marble to her 
tears, is washed with them, but relents not. 

hab. What a merit were it in death, to take diis 
poor maid firom the world ! What corruption in tliis 
life, that it will let this man live ! — But how out of 
this can she avail ? 

Duke. It is a rupture that you may easily heal : 
and the cure of it not only saves your brother, but 
keeps you from dishonour in doing it 

hab. Show me how, good father. 

Duke. This forenamed maid hath yet in her the 
continuance of her first affection ; his unjust unkind- 
ness, that in all reason should have quenched her 
love, hath, like an impediment in the current, made 
it more violent and unruly. Go you to Angelo: 
answer his requiring with a plausible obedience; 
agree with his demands to the point: only refer'* 
yourself to this advantage, — ^first, that your stay 
with him may not be long ; that the time may have 
all shadow and silence in it ; and the place answer 
to convenience : this being granted in course, now 
follows all. We shall advise this wi'onged maid 
to stead up your appointment, go in your place ; if 
the encounter acknowledge itself hereafter, it may 
compel him to her recompense : and here, by this, 
is your brother saved, your honour untainted, the 
poor Mariana advantaged, and the corrupt deputy 

^ Bestowed her on her own lamentation, gave her up to her 

^ Refer yourself, have recourse to. 


scaled^. The maid will I firame^ and make fit for 
bis attempt. If you think well to carry this as 
you may, the doubleness of the benefit defends the 
deceit from reproof* What think you of it? 

Isab, The image of it gives me content. already; 
and, I trusty it will grow to a most prosperous per- 

Duke* It lies much in your holding up : Haste 
you speedily to Angelo ; if for this night he entreat 
you to his bed, give him promise of satisfaction. 
I will presently to St. Luke's ; there, at the moated 
grange^, resides this dejected Mariana: At that 
place call upon me; and despatch with Angelo, 
that it may be quickly. 

Isah. I thank you for this comfort: Fare you 
well, good father. [ExemU severaUy. 

SCENE II. The Street before the Prism. 

Enter Duke, as a Friar; to him Elbow, Clown, 

and Officers. 

EUf. Nay, if there be no remedy for it, but that 
you will needs buy and sell men and women like 
beasts, we shall have all the world drink brown and 
white bastard^. 

Duke. O, heavens! what stuff is here? 

C/o. Twas never merry world, since, of two 
usuries, the merriest was put down, and the worser 
allow'd, by order of law, a furr'd gown to keep him 

^ i. e. stripped of his ooyering or disguise, his affectation of 
▼irtae ; desquamahu. A metaphor of a similar nature has before 
ooomred in this play, taken from the harking, peeling, or strip- 
ping of trees. I cannot conyince myself that it means weighed, 
onless we ooald imagrine that eomUerpoised was intended. 

* Grange, a solitary farm-honse. 

* Bustard, A sweet wide, Raisin wine, acoord^ig to Minshew. 


warm; and fiirr'd with fox and lamb-skins^ too, to 
signify, that craft, being richer than innocency, stands 
for the facing. 

EUf. Come your way, sir : — Bless you, good fa- 
ther friar. - 

Duke, And you, good brother father^: What 
offence hath this man made you, sir? 

EUf. Marry, sir, he hath offended the law ; and, 
sir, we take him to be a thief too, sir; for we have 
found upon him, sir, a strange pick-lock^, which we 
have sent to the deputy. 

Duke. Fye, simdi; a bawd, a wicked bawd ! 
The evil that thou causest to be done. 
That is thy means to live : Do thou but think 
What 'tis to cram a maw, or clothe a back. 
From such a filthy vice : say to thyself, — 
From their abominable and beastly touches 
I drink, I eat, array myself, and live. 
Canst thou believe thy living is a life. 
So stinkingly depending? Go, mend, go, mend. 

Clo. Indeed, it does stink in some sort, sir; but 
yet, sir, I would prove 

Duke. Nay, if the devil have given thee proofs 
for sin. 
Thou wilt prove his. Take him to prison, officer ; 
Correction and instruction must both work. 
Ere this rude beast will profit. 

' It is probable we should read ' fox on lambskins/ otherwise 
craft will not stand for the facing. Fox-skins and lamb-skins 
were both used as facings according to the statute of apparel, 
24 Hen. 8, c. 13. So, in Characterismi, or Lenton's Leasnres, 
&o. 1631 : — * An usurer is an old fox clad in lamb-skin.' 

3 The Duke humoronsl j calls him brother fathw, because he 
had called him father friar, which is equivalent to father brother, 
friar being derived from yrere. Fr. 

^ It is not necessary to take honest Pompej for a house- 
breaker, the locks he had occasion to pick were Spanish pad- 
locks. In Jonson*s, Volpone Corvino threatens to mike his wife 
wear one of these strange contrivances. 


Elb. He must before the deputy^ sir ; he has given 
him warning: the deputy cannot abide a whore- 
master : if he be a whoremonger, and comes before 
him, he were as good go a mile on his errand. 

Duke. That we were all , as some would seem to be. 
Free from our faults, as faults from seeming, free^ ! 

Enter Lucio. 

Elb. His neck will come to your waist, a cord^, 

Clo. I spy comfort; I cry, bail: Here's a gentle- 
man, and a friend of mine. 

Lueio. How now, noble Pompey? What, at the 
heels of Caesar? Art thou led in triumph? What, 
is there none of Pygmalion's images, newly made 
woman ^, to be had now, for putting the hand in the 
pocket and extractingitclutch'd? What reply? Ha? 
What say'st thou to this tune, matter, and method? 
Is't not drown'd i'tbe last rain? Ha? What say'st 
thou, trot? Is the world as it was, man? Which is 
the way? Is it sad, and few words? Or how? The 
trick of it? 

Duke, Still thus, and thus ! still worse ! 

Ludo. How doth my dear morsel, thy mistress ? 
Procures she still ? Ha ? 

Clo, Troth, sir, she hath eaten up all her beef, 
and she is herself in the tub®. 


* L e. 'As faults are free from or destitute of all comeliness or 

* His neck will be tied, like jour waist, with a cord. The 
friar wore a rope for a girdle. 

^ L e. Haye yon no new courtesans to recommend to jour cus- 

* The method of cure for a certain disease was grosslj called 
the powdering tub. See the notes on the tub fast and the diet, in 
Timon of Athens, Act it. in the Variorum Shakspeare. 




Lucio. Why, 'tis good; it is the right of it; it 
must be so : Ever your fresh whore, and your pow- 
der'dbawd: An unshunn'd^ consequence; it must 
be so : Art going to prison, Fompey ? 

Clo. Yes, faith, sir. 

Lucio. Why, 'tis not amiss, Pompey: Farewell: 
Go; say, I sent thee thither. For debt, Pompey? 
Or how ? 

^Ib. For being a bawd, for being a bawd. 

Lucio. Well, then imprison him: If imprisonment 
be the due of a bawd, why, 'tis his right : Bawd is 
he, doubtless, and of antiquity too; bawd-boni. 
Farewell, good Pompey : Commend me to the pri- 
son, Pompey; You will turn good husband now, 
Pompey; you will keep the house ^^. 

Ch. I hope, sir, your good worship will be my bail. 

Ludo. No, itfdeed, will I not, Fompey; it is not 
the wear ^^. I will pray, Pompey, to increase your 
bondage : if you take it not patiently, why your mettle 
is the more: Adieu, trusty Pompey. — Bless you, 

Duke. And you. 

Lucio. Does Bridget paint still, Pompey? Ha? 

EW, Come your ways, sir ; come. 

Clo. You will not bail me then, sir? 

Ludo. Then, Pompey? nor now. — ^What news 
abroad, friar? What news ? 

Elb. Come your ways, sir ; come. 

Lucio. Go, — to kennel, Pompey, go : 

[Exeunt Elbow, Clown, and Officers. 
What news, friar, of the duke? 

Duke. I know none: Can you tell me of any? 

^ i. e. ineyitable. 

^° i. e. stay at home, alluding to the etymology of kushimd. 

*^ i. e. fashion. 


Imdo. Some say, he is with the empercnr of Russia; 
other some, he is in Rome : But where is he, think 

Duke. I know not where: But wheresoever, I 
wish him well. 

Lttcio, It was a mad fantastical trick of him, to 
steal from the state, and usurp the beggary he was 
never bom to. Lord Angelo dukes it well in his 
absence ; he puts transgression to 't. 

Duke, He does well in't. 

Lucio, A little more lenity to lechery would do 
no harm in him : something too crabbed that way, 

Duke. It is too general a vice, and severity must 
cure it. 

Imcw. Yes, in good sooth, the vice is of a great 
kindred; it is well ally'd: but it is impossible to 
extirp it quite, friar, till eating and drinking be put 
down. They say, this Angelo was not made by 
man and woman, after the downright way of crea- 
tion : Is it true, think you? 

Duke. How should he be made then ? 

Ludo. Some report a sea-maid spawn'd him : — 
Some that he was begot between two stock-fishes : 
— But it is certain, that when he makes water, his 
urine is congeal'd ice; that I know to be true: and 
he is a motion ^^ ungenerative, that's infallible. 

Duke, You are pleasant, sir; and speak apace. 

Lucio. Why, what a ruthless thing is this in him, 
for the rebellion of a cod-piece, to take away the 
life of a man? Would the duke, that is absent, have 
done this ? Ere he would have hang'd a man for the 
getting a hundred bastards, he would have paid for 
Uie nursing of a thousand : He had some feeling of 

*^ i. e. a puppet, or moving body, without the poYiei ol %<»&&- 


the sport; he knew the service', and that instructed 
him to mercy. 

Duke, I never heard the absent duke much de- 
tected ^^ for women; he was not inclined that way. 

Ludo. O, sir, you are deceived. 

Duke. Tis not possible. 

Ludo, Who? not the duke? yes, your beggar of 
fifty ; — and his use was, to put a ducat in her clack- 
dish^^: the duke had crotchets in him: He would 
be drunk too; that let me inform you. 

Duke. You do him wrong, surely. 

Ludo, Sir, I was an inward ^^ of his : A shy fellow 
was the duke : and, I believe, I know the cause of 
his withdrawing. 

Duke, What, I pr'ythee, might be the cause ? 

Ludo. No, — pardon; — *tisa secret must belock'd 
within the teeth and the lips : but this I can let you 
understand, — ^The greater file ^^ of the subject held 
the duke to be wise. 

Duke, Wise ? why, no question but he was. 

Ludo, A very superficial, ignorant, unweighing^^ 

Duke. Either this is envy in you, folly, or mis- 
taking; the very stream of his life, and the business 
he hath helmed ^^, must, upon a warranted need, 
give him a better proclamation. Let him be but 

*' Detected {or suspected. SeeMerryWive8ofWindsor,p.254. 

'^ A wooden dish with a moveable cover, formerly carried bj 
beggars, which they clacked and clattered to show that it was 
empty. In this they received the alms. It was one mode of at- 
tracting attention. Lepers and other panpers deemed infections, 
originally nsed it, that the sound might give warning not to ap- 
proach too near, and alms be given without touching the object. 
The custom of clacking at Easter is not yet qaite disused in gome 
counties. Lucio's meaning is too evident, to want explanation. 

'^ i. e. intimate. 

^< * The greater file,* the majority of his subjects. 

^7 i. e. inconsiderate. 
'^ Gaided, steered thToagJh, a me\wg\\OT Cxom u«.^'i^ailon. 


testimonied in his own bringings forth, and he shall 
appear to the envious, a scholar, a statesman, and a 
soldier: Therefore, you speak unskilfully; or, if 
your knowledge be more, it is much darkened in 
your malice. 

Lucio, Sir, I know him, and I love him. 

Duke, hove talks with better knowledge, and 
knowledge with dearer love. 

Lucio. Come, sir, I know what I know. 

Duke. I can hardly believe that, since you know 
not what you speak. But, if ever the duke return 
(as our prayers are he may), let me desire you to 
make your answer before him: If it be honest you 
haye spoke, you have courage to maintain it : I am 
bound to csdl upon you; and, I pray you, your 

Lucio. Sir, my name is Lucio; well known to the 

Duke. He shall know you better, sir, if I may 
live to report you. 

Lucio. I fear you not. 

Duke. O, you hope the duke will return no more; 
or you imagine me too unhurtful an opposite ^9. But, 
indeed, I can do you little harm; youll forswear 
this again. 

Lucio. I'll be hang'd first: thou art deceived in 
me, friar. But no more of this : Canst thou tell if 
Claudio die to-morrow, or no? 

Duke. Why should he die, sir? 

Ludo. Why? for filling a bottle with a tun-dish. 
I would, the duke, we talk of, were retum'd again : 
this ungenitur'd^ agent will unpeople the province 

*' Opponte, opponent. 

^ Ungenkwr^i, This word seenu to be foimed from gtmitoirs, 
a word which occars several times in Holland's Pliny, voU u» 
p. 321, 660, 589, Aod eomea £rom the French ptnitoiret. 



with contineiicy ; sparrows must not build in his 
house-eaves, because they are lecherous. The duke 
yet would have dark deeds darkly answered; he 
would never bring them to light: would he were 
return'd ! Marry, this Claudio is condemn'd for un- 
trussing. Farewell, good friar; 1 pr'ythee, pray for 
me. The duke, 1 say to thee again, would eat mut- 
ton ^^ on Fridays. He's now past it ; yet, and I say 
to thee, he would mouth with a beggar, though she 
smelt^^ brown bread and garlick : say, that I said 
so. Farewell. [Exit: 

Duke. No might nor greatness in mortality 
Can censure 'scape ; back-wounding calumny 
The whitest virtue strikes : What king so strong. 
Can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue? 
But who comes here ? 

Enter Esc ALU s. Provost, Bawd, and Officers. 

EscaL Go, away with her to prison. 

Bawd. Good my lord, be good to me ; your ho- 
nour is accounted a merciful man : good my lord. 

Escal. Double and treble admonition, and still 
forfeit^' in the same kind? This would make mercy 
swear, and play the tyrant. 

Prov. A bawd of eleven years continuance, may 
it please your honour. 

Bawd. My lord, this is one Lucio's information 
against me: mistress Kate Keep-down was with 
child by him in the duke's time, he promised her 
marriage; his child is a year and a quarter old, 
come Philip and Jacob : I have kept it myself; and 
see how he goes about to abuse me. 

^^ A wench was called a laced mutton. In Doctor Faastos, 
1604, Lechery says, ' I am one that lores an inch of raw mutfon 
better than an ell of stock-fish.' See vol. i. p. 102, note 8. 

^ Smelt, for smelt of. 

^ Forfeit, transgress, offend, iiornXwrfaire, Fr» 


Eteal, That fellow is a fellow of much licence : — 
let him be called before us. — Away with her to 
prison: Goto; no more words. [Exeunt Bfiwd and 
Officers..] Provost, my brother Angelo wUl not be 
alter'd, Claudio must die to-morrow : let him be 
furnished with divines, and have all charitable pre- 
paration : ' if my brother wrought by my pity, it 
should not be so with him. 

Prov. So please you, this friar hath been with him, 
and advised him for the entertainment of death. 

JEacaL Good even, good father. 

Duke, Bliss and goodness on you ! 

Escal. Of whence are you? 

Duke. Not of this country, though my chance is 
To use it for my time : I am a brother 
Of gracious order, late come from the see, 
In special business firom his holiness. 

Escal, What news abroad i' the world ? 

Duke, None, but that there is so great a fever on 
goodness, that the dissolution of it must cure it: 
novelty is only in request; and it is as dangerous to 
be aged in any kind of course, as it is virtuous to 
be constant in any undertaking. There is scarce 
truth enough alive, to make societies secure; but 
security enough, to make fellowships accurs'd^: 
much upon this riddle runs the wisdom of the world. 
This news is old enough, yet it is every day's news. 
I pray you, sir, of what disposition was the duke? 

EscaL One, that, above all other strifes, con- 
tended especially to know himself. 

Duke. What pleasure was he given to? 

EscaL Rather rejoicing to see another merry, than 

^ The allusion is to those legal »BewriliM into which fellowship 
leads men to enter for each other. For this quibble Shaks^ace 
has high autborit/, 'He that hateth nuretviikip is sure.^ /^to^^ 
xJ. 15. 


merry at any thing which professed to make him re- 
joice: a gentleman of all temperance. But leave 
we him to hb events, with a prayer they may prove 
prosperous ; and let me desire to know how you find 
Claudio prepared. I am made to understand, that 
you have lent him visitatibn. 

Duke. He professes to have received no sinister 
measure from his judge, but most willingly humbles 
himself to the determination of justice : yet had he 
framed to himself, by the instrtiction of his frailty, 
many deceiving pronuses of life; which I, by my 
good leisure, have discredited to him, and now is 
he resolved^ to die. 

Escal, You have paid the heavens your function, 
and the prisoner the very debt of your calling. I 
have labour'd for the poor gentleman, to the ex- 
tremest shore of my modesty; but my brother jus* 
tice have I found so severe, that he hath forced me 
to tell him, he is indeed — justice ^^. 

Dvke, If his own life answer the straltness of his 
pioceeding, it shall become him well; wherein, if 
he chance to fail, he hath sentenced himself. 

JEscal. I am going to visit the prisoner : Fare you 

Duke, Peace be with you ! 

[Exeunt Escalus and Provost 
He, who the sword of heaven will bear. 
Should be as holy as severe; 
Pattern in himself to know, 
Grace to stand, and virtue go^; 

^ i. e. satisfied ; probably because conTiotion leads to deoiston 
or resolation. 

^ Summumju3, sumtna injuria. 

^ This passage is very obscnre, nor can it be cleared without 

a more licentious paraphrase than the reader may be v^illing to 

allow. 'He that bears the sword of heaven should be not less 

holy than severe ; sboold be able to discover in himself a pattern 

ofsaoh gTMoe as can avoid temptation, and «\icb viTtns as may go 

abroad into the world witbout danger oi aeducVvoxv" 


More Aor less to others payings 

Than by self-offences weighing. 

Shame to him, whose cruel striking 

Kills for faults of his own tiking! 

Twice treble shame on Angelo, 

To weed my vice^, and let his grow! 

O, what may man within him hide, 

Thoufi^h ansel on the outward side ! 

HowWfikeness. made in crimes. 

Mocking^, practice on the times. 

To draw with idle spiders' strings 

Most pond'rous and substantial things ! 

Craft against vice I must apply : 

With Angelo to-night shall lie 

His old betrothed, but despised; 

So disguise shall, by the disguis'd. 

Pay with falsehood false exacting, 

And perform an old contracting. [Exit. 

^ The doke^s vice mny be explained by what he says himself. 
Act i. Sc. 4. 

' 'twas my fault to give the people scope.' 

Angelo's vice requires no explanation. 

^ ' How may likeness, made in crimes. 
Mocking f practice on tl^e times.' 
The old copies read making. The emendation is Mr. Malone's, 
The sense of this obsoare passage appears to be :• — ' How may 
persons assoming the likeness or semblance of yirtne, while tliey 
are in fact guilty of the grossest crimes, impose witii this coun- 
terfeit sanctity upon the world, in order to draw to themselves by 
the flimsiest pretensions the most solid advantages ; such as plea- 
sure, honoar, reputation, &c.' Moeke and make in old MSS. are 
easily confounded, and the words have frequently been thus mis- 
printed in the old editions of these plays ; in this very play we 
have before make instead of mock. [See p. 18, note 1.] Malone 
is generally sufficiently scrupulous in adhering to the old read* 
ings where it is possible to elucidate them. On the present 
occasion I think his emendation just and necessary. It is well 
supported by the frequent use the poet makes of the word mocA;. 
Thus in Macbeth : — 

' Away and mock the time with fairest show/ 

Made m crimes, is traiDed in iiuqnity and perfeol Vn Vt. Llkenen 
Js sifeminffm 



SCENE I. A Room in Mariana's House. 
Mariana ducovered sitting; a Boy singing, 


Tahe^ oh take those lips away, 

That 80 sweetly were forsworn ; 
And those eyes, the break of day. 

Lights that do mislead the mom: 
But my kisses bring again, 

bring again, 
Seals of love, but seaVd in vain, 

seaVd in vain* 

Mari. Break off thy song^ and haste thee quick 
away ; 
Here comes a man of comfort^ whose advice 
Hath often still'd my brawling discontent. — 

[Exit Boy. 
Enter Duke. 

I cry you mercy, sir; and well could wish 
You had not found me here so musical : 

^ It does not appear certain to whom this beantifal little song 
rightl J belongs. It is foond with an additional stanza in Fletcher's 
Bloody Brother. Mr. Malone prints it as Sbakspeare's, Mr. Bos- 
well thinks Fletcher has the best claim to it, Mr. Weber that 
Shakspeare may have written the first stanza, and Fletcher the 
second. It may indeed be the property of some unknown or for- 
gotten aathor. Be this as it may, the reader will be pleased to 
haye the second stanza. 

' Hide, oh bide those hills of snow 
Which thy frozen bosom bears, 
On whose tops the pinks that glow 

Are of those that April wears. 
Bnt first set my poor heart free, 
Boand in those icy chains by thee.' 


Let me excuse me, and believe me so^ — 

My mirth it much displeas'd, but pleas'd my woe^, 

Duke. Tis good : diough musick oft hath such a 
To make bad, good, and good provoke to harm. 
I pray you. tell me, hath any body inquired for me 
here to-day? much upon this time have I promis'd 
here to meet. 

Mori. You have not been inquired after: I have 
sat here all day. 

Enter Isabella. 

Duke. I do constantly believe you: — ^The time 
is come^ even now. I shall crave your forbearance 
a little; may be, I will call upon you anon, for some 
advantage to yourself. 

Mari. I am always bound to you. [Exit. 

Duke. Very well met, and welcome. 
What is the news fnnn this good deputy? 

Isab, He hath a garden circummur'd^ with brick. 
Whose western side is with a vineyard back'd ; 
And to that vineyard is a planched^ gate. 
That makes his opening with this bigger key : 
This other doth command a little door. 
Which from the vineyard to the garden leads; 
There have I made my promise to call on him. 
Upon the heavy middle of the night. 

Duke. But shall you on your knowledge find this 

Igab. I have ta'en a due and wary note upon't; 
With whispering and most guilty diligence. 
In action ail of precept, he did show me 
The way twice o'er. 

' Though the nrasic sootiied mj sorrows, it had no tendency to 
produce light merriment. 

' Cireummur*d, walled round. * PlancKidy p\«Dke^,'^QK)AAS&% 


Duke. Are there no other tokens 

Between you 'greed, concerning her observance? 

Isab, No» none, but only a repair i'the dark; 
And that I have possess'd^ him, my most stay 
Can be but brief: for I have made him know^ 
I have a servant comes with me along. 
That stays ^ upon me ; whose persuasion is, 
I come about my brother. 

Duke, Tis well borne up. 

I have not yet made known to Mariana 
A word of this: — What, ho! within! come forth! 

Re-enter Mariana. 

I pray you, be acquainted with this maid ; 
She comes to do you good. 

Isab, I do desire the like. 

Duke. Do you persuade yourself that I respect you ? 

Mari. Good friar, I know you do ; and have found it 

Duke. Take then this your companion by the hand, 
"Who hath a story ready for your ear : 
I shall attend your leisure; but make haste; 
The vaporous night approaches. 

Mari. Will 't please you walk aside ? 

[Exeunt Marjana and Isabella. 

Duke. O place and greatness, millions of false eyes 
Are stuck upon thee ! volumes of report 
Hun with these false and most contrarious quests^ 
Upon thy doings? thousand 'scapes^ of wit 
Make thee the father of their idle dream. 
And rack thee in their fancies i-^-^Welcome ! How 

* i. e. inforfned. Thus Sbjlock says — 

' I hare possessed jonr grace of what I purpose/ 

* Stays, waits. ^ Quests, inqaisitions, ioqniri^s. 

* 'Scopes, sallies, sportiye wiles. 


Re-enter Mariana and Isabella. 

Isctb, She'll take the. enterprise upon her, father. 
If you advise it 

Duke, It is not my consent. 

But my entreaty too. 

Isab. Little haye you to say, 

^When you depart from him, but, soft and low. 
Remember now my brother. 

Mori. Fear me not. 

Duke. Nor, gentle daughter, fear you not at all : 
He is your husband on a pre-colitrdct: 
To bring you thus together, 'tis no sin ; 
Sith that the justice of your title to him 
Doth flourish ^ the deceit. Come, let us go ; 
Our corn's to reap, for yet our tilth 's ^® to sow. 


SCENE II. A Room in tke Prison. 

Enter Provost and Clown, 

Prov. Come hither, surah : Can you cut off a 
man's head? 

Clo. If the man be a bachelor, sir, I can : but if 
he be a. married man, he is his wife's head, and I 
can never cut off a woman's head. 

Prov. Come, sir, leave me your snatches, and 
yield me a direct answer. To-morrow morning are 
to die Claudio and Bamardine : Here is in our pri- 
son a conmion executioner, who in his office lacks 
a helper: if you will take it on you to assist him, it 
shall redeem you from your gyves ^; if not, -you 

^ i. e. ornament, embellish an action that would otherwise seem 

^^ Ttlih here means land prepared for sowing. The old copj 
reads tithe; the emendation is Warbarton's, v. p. 19. note 6. an^e, 
' i. e. fetters. 


shall have your full time of imprisonment, and your 
deliverance with an unpitied^ whipping; for you 
have been a notorious bawd. 

Clo, Sir, I have been an unlawful bawd, time out 
of mind ; but yet I will be content to be a lawful 
hangman. I would be glad to receive some instruc- 
tion from my fellow partner. 

Prov. What ho, Abhorson ! Where's Abhorson, 

j^^er Abhorson. 

Abhor. Do you call, sir? 

Prov, Sirrah, here's a fellow will help you to- 
morrow in your execution: If you think it meet, 
compound with him by the year, and let him abide 
here with you ; if not, use him for the present, and 
dismiss him : He cannot plead his estimation with 
you; he hath been a bawd. 

Abhor, A bawd, sir ? Fye upon him, he will dis- 
credit our mystery. 

Prov. Go to, sir; you weigh equally; a feather 
will turn the scale. [Exit. 

Clo. Pray, sir, by your good favour (for, surely^ 
sir, a good favour ^ you have, but that you have a 
hanging look), do you oall, sir, your occupation a 
mystery ? 

Abhor. Ay, sir ; a mystery. 

Clo. Painting, sir, I have heard say, is a mystery; 
and your whores, sir, being members of my occupa- 
tion, using painting, do prove my occupation a mys- 
tery : but what .mystery there should be in hanging, 
if I should be hang'd, I cannot imagine. 

Abhor. Sir, it is a mystery. 

Clo. Proof. 

Abhor. Every true* man's apparel fits your thief: 

* i. e. a whipping tViax none shall pity. 

' Favour is oountenance. ^ \. «,\iQn»»X« 


If it be too little for your thief, your true man thinks 
it big enough ; if it be too big for your thief, your 
thief thinks it little enough : so every true man's ap- 
parel fits your thief ^. 

Re-enter Provost. 


Prov. Are you agreed ? 

Clo. Sir, I will serve him; for I do find, your 
hangman is a more penitent trade than your bawd ; 
he doth oftener ask forgiveness. 

Prov, You, sirrah, provide your block and your 
axe, to-morrow four o'clock. 

Abhor. Come on, bawd; I will instruct thee in 
my trade ; follow. 

Clo. I do desire to learn, sir; and, I hope, if you 
have occasion to use me for your own turn, you shall 
find me yare^; for, truly, sir, for your kindness, I 
owe you a good turn. 

Prov. Call hither Bamardine and Claudio : 

[Exeunt Clown afid Abhorson. 
One has my pity ; not a jot the other. 
Being a murderer, though he were my brother. 

Enter Claudio. 

Look, here's the warrant, Claudio, for thy death: 
Tis now dead midnight, and by eight to-morrow 
Thou must be made inmiortal. Where's Bamardine ? 

' WarbnrtoD says, ' this proyes the thief 9 trade a mystery, not 
the haDgman's/ and therefore, supposes that a speech in which the 
hangman proved his trade a mystery is lost, part of this last speech 
being in the old editions given to the clown. Bat Heath observes, 
' The argument of the hangman is exactly similar to that of the 
clown. As the latter puts in his claim to the whores as members 
of his occupation, and in virtue of their painting would enroll his 
own fraternity in the mystery of painters ; so the former equally 
lays claim to the thieves as members of his occupation, and in their 
right endeavours to rank bis brethren the hangmen under th« nx^%- 
terv of fitters of appateJ, or tailors** 

* /. e, ready. 


Claud. As fast lock'd up in sleep, as guiltless 
When it lies starkly ^ in the traveller's bones : 
He will not wake. 

Prov, Who can do good on him? 

Well, go, prepare yourself. But hark, what noise? 

[Knocking within. 
Heaven give your spirits comfort ! [Exit Claudio. 

By and by : — 
I hope it is some pardon, or reprieve, 
For the most gentle Claudio. — ^Welcome, father. 

Enter Diike. 

Duke. The best and wholesomest spirits of the 
Envelope you, good Provost ! Who call'd here of 

Prov. None, since the curfew rung. 

Duke. Not Isabel? 

Prov. No. 

Duke. They will then, ere't be long. 

Prov. What comfort is for Claudio? 

Duke. There's some in hope. 

Prov. It is a bitter deputy. 

Duke. Not so, not so ; his life is parallel'ii 
Even with the stroke^ and line of his great justice; 
He doth with holy abstinence subdue 
That in himself, which he spurs on his power 
To qualify 9 in others : were he meal'd ^® 
With that which he corrects, then were he tyrannous; 
But this being so, he's just. — Now are they come. — 
[Knocking toitkin. — Provost goes out. 

' i. e. strongly. 

^ Stroke is here pat for the stroke of a pen» or a line. 

^ To qualify is to temper, to moderate. 

^^ MeaVd appears to mean here sprinkled, o'erdnsted, defiled ; 
I cannot think that in Utixh insluioe iIIoa way relation to the verb 
to meii, meddle or xmn initii. 


This is a gentle provost: Seldom when *^ 

The steeled gaoler is the friend of men. — 

How now ? What noise ? That spirit's possess'd with 

That wounds the unsisting^^ postem with these 


Provost returns, speaking to one at the door, 

Prov. There he must stay, until the officer 
Arise to let him in ; he is caU'd up. 

Duke. Have you no countermand for Claudia yet. 
But he must die to-morrow ? 

Prov, None, sir, none. 

Duke, As near the dawning. Provost, as it is. 
You shall hear more ere morning. 

Prov, Happily ^', 

You something know ; yet, I believe, there comes 
No countermand ; no such example have we : 
Besides, upon the very siege ^^ of justice. 
Lord Angelo hath to the publick ear 
Profess'd the contrary. 

Enter a Messenger. 

Duke. This is his lordship's man. 
Prov, And here comes' Claudio's pardon. 
Mess, My lord hath sent you this note ; and by 
me this further charge, that you swerve not from 

** This is absardly printed Seldom, when, &c. in all the late 
editions. ' SeMomrtohen (i. e. rarely, not often) is the steeled 
gaoler the friend of men.' Thus in old phraseology we have 
seldom-time, any-when, &c. The comma between seldom and 
when is not in the old copy, bat an arbitrary addition of some 

• ^3 The old copies read thus. — Monck Mason proposed, tm- 
listing, i* e. nnheeding, which is intelligible. Bat I prefer Sir 
W. Blackstone's suggestion, that unsisting may signify * never 
at rest,' always opening. 

^3 HapUy, haply, perhaps the old orthography of the word. 

^* i. e. seat 


the smallest article of it, neither in time, matter, or 
other circumstance. Good-morrow; for, as I take 
it, it is almost day. 

Prov. I shall obey him. [Exit Messenger. 

Du^e. This is his pardon; purchas'd by such sin. 

For which the pardoner himself is in : 
Hence hath offenqe his quick celerity. 
When it is borne in high authority : 
When vic^ maHes mercy, mercy's so extended. 
That for the fault's love, is the offender friended. — 
Now, sir, what news ? 

Prov. i told you : Lord ^ngelo, be-like, think- 
ing me remiss in mine office, awakens me with this 
unwonted putting on^^: methinks, strangely; for he 
hath not used it before. 

Duke. Pray you, let's hear, 

Prov, [Reads.] Whatsoever you may hear to the 
contrary, let Claudio be executeahy four of the clock; 
and, in the afternoon, Bamardine: for my better sa- 
tisfaction, let me have Claudio^s head sent me by five. 
Let this be duly performed; with a thought, that 
more depends on it than we must yet deliver. Thus 
fail not to do your office, as you will answer it at 
your peril. 
What say you to this, sir ? 

Duke. What is that Bamardine, who is to be exe- 
cuted in the aftei*Qoon? 

Prov. A Bohemian born ; byt here nursed up and 
bred: one that is a prisoner nine years old^^. 

Duke. How came it that the absent duke had not 
either deUver'd him to his liberty, or executed him? 
I have heard, it was ever his manner to do so. 

Prov. His friends still wrought reprieves for him: 

^^ Putting on is spnr, incitement. 
*^ i. e. nine ^eais Vn i^tv&oii. 


Andy indeed, his fact, till now in die goverament of 
Lord Angelo, came not to an undoubtful proof. 

Duke. Is it now apparent? 

Prov. Most manifest, and not denied by himself. 

Duke. Hath he borne himself penitently in prison? 
How seems he to be touch'd ? 

Prov. A man that apprehends death no more 
dreadfully, but as a drunken sleep : careless, reck- 
less, and fearless of what's past, present, or to come ; 
insensible of mortality, and desperately mortal ^7. 

Duke. He wants advice. 

Prov. He will hear none : he hath evermore had 
the liberty of the prison; give him leave to escape 
hence, he would not : drunk many times a day, if 
not many days entirely drunk. We have very often 
iiwaked him, as if to carry him to execution, and 
show'd him a seeming warrant for it: it hath not 
moved him at all. 

Duke. More of him anon. There is written in 
your brow. Provost, honesty and constancy : if I 
read it not truly, my ancient skill beguiles me ; but 
in the boldness of my cunning ^^, I will lay myself 
in hazard. Claudio, whom here you have a war- 
rant to execute, is no greater forfeit to the law than 
Angelo who hath sentenced him : To make you un-^ 
derstand this in a manifested effect, I crave but four 
days respite ; for the which you are to do me both a 
present and a dangerous courtesy. 

Prov. Pray, sir, in what? 

Duke. In the delaying death. 

Prov. Alack ! how may I do it? having the hour 
limited t and an express conmiand, under penalty, 
to deliver his head in the view of Angelo ? I niay 

^ Perhaps we should read mortally desperate. As we have har- 
nonioas cbarmingly for charmingly harmonioas, in the Tem^st. 
^' i. e, in cimfid^Ke of my sagacity. 


make my case as Claudio*8> to cross this in the 

Duke. By the vow of mine order, I warrant you, 
if my instructions may be your guide. Let this 
Bamardine be this morning executed, and his head 
borne to Angelo. 

Prov. Angelo hath seen them both, and will dis- 
cover the favour *9. 

Duke, O, death's a great disguiser : and you may 
add to it. Shave the head, and tie the beard ; and 
say, it was the desire of the penitent to be so bared 
before his death: You know, the course is com- 
mon ^^. If any thing fall to you upon this, more 
than thanks and good fortune, by the saint whom I 
profess, I will plead against it with my life. 

Prov, Pardon me, good father ; it is against my 

• Duke, Were you sworn to the duke, or to the 
deputy ? 

Prov, To him, and to his substitutes. 

Duke, You will think you have made no offence, 
if the duke avouch the justice of your dealing ? 

Prov, But what likelihood is in that? 
. Duke, Not a resemblance, but a certainty. Yet 
since I see you fearful, that neither my coat, in- 
tegrity, nor my persuasion, can with ease attempt 
you, I will go further than I meant, to pluck sill 
fears out of you. Look you, sir, here is the hand 
and seal of the duke. You know the character, I 
doubt not; and the signet is not strange to you. 

Prov. I know them both. 

Duke, The contents of this is the retmn of the 

*^ Coontenance. 

^ ' Shave the head and tie the beard — the coarse is common.' 
This probably alludes to a practice among Roman Catholics of de-> 
siring to receiye the tonsure of l\ie mQuV& \k«C<&i«> they died. 


duke ; you shall anon overread it at your pleasure ; 
where you shall find, within these twa days he will 
be here. This is a thing that Angelo knows not: 
for he this very day receives letters of strange tenor ; 
perchance, of the duke's death ; perchance, entering 
into some monastery; but, by chance, nothing of 
what is writ^^^ Look, the unfolding star calls up 
the shepherd ^^. Put not yourself into amazement, 
how these things should be : all difficulties are but 
easy when they are known. Call your executioner, 
and off with Bamardine's head : I will give him a 
present shrift, and advise him for a better place. 
Yet you are am£|,zed ; but this shall absolutely re-^ 
solve ^^ you. Come away; it is almost clear dawn. 


SCENE III. Another Room in the same. 

Enter Clown. 

Clo. I am as well acquainted here, as I was in 
our house of profession : one would think it were 
mistress Overdone's own house, for here be many 
of her old customers. First, here's young master 
Rash^; he's in for a commodity of brown paper 
and old ginger, ninescore and seventeen pounds ; of 

'* 'What is writ ;* we shonldread *here writj* the Dake point- 
ing to the letter in his hand. 

^ So Milton in Comas: — 

* The star that bids the shepherd fold 

Now the top of heaven doth hold.' 
" i. e. convince you, 

' This enameration of the inhabitants of the prison afibrds a 
Yery striking view of the practices predominant in Shakspeare's 
age. Beside? those whose follies are common to all times, we 
have four 6ghting men and a traveller. It is not unlikely that the 
originals of the pictures were then known. Rash was a silken 
staff formerly worn in coats : all the names are characteristic. 


which he made five marks, ready money ^ : marry, 
then, ginger was not much in request, for the old 
women were all dead. Then is there here one mas- 
ter Caper, at the suit of master Three-pile the mer- 
cer, for some four suits of peach-colour'd satin, 
which now peaches him a beggar. Then hare we 
here young Dizy, and young master Deep-vow, and 
master Copper-spur, and master Starve-lackey the 
rapier and dagger man, and young Drop-heir that 
kiird lusty Pudding, and master Forthright the tilter, 
and brave master Shoe-tie the great traveller, and 
wild Half-can that stabb'd Pots, and, I think, forty 
more'; all great doers in our trade, and are now for 
the Lord's sake^. 

^ It was the practice of money lenders in Shakspeare*8 time, 
as well as more recently, to make advances partly in goods and 
partly in cash. The goods were to be resold generally at an enor- 
mous loss upon the cost price, and of these commodities it appears 
that brown paper and ginger often formed a part. This custom is 
illustrated by numerous extracts from cotemporary writers, in the 
Variorum Shakspeare. In Green's Defence of Coney-catching, 
1692 ; Mf he borrow a hundred pound, he shall have forty in sil- 
ver, and threescore in wares ; as lute strings, hobby-horses, or 
brown p^per,* &c. * Which when the poor gentleman came to sell 
again, he could not make threescore and ten in the hundred beside 
the usury.' — Q«>p for an upstart Courtier, 1620. 

^ It appears from Davies's Epigrams, 1611, that this was the 
language in which prisoners who were confined for debt addressed 
passengers : — 

' Grood gentle writers, for the Lord's sake, for the Lord's sake. 
Like Ludgate prisoners, lo, I, begging, make 
My mone.' 

And in Nashe's Peirce Pennilesse, 1593, ' At that time that thy 
joys were in the fleeting, and thus crying /or the Lords sake out 
of an iron window.' A very curious passage in confirmation of 
this has occurred to me in Baret's Alvearie, 1573, under the word 
' Interest, or the borrowing of usurie money wherewith to pay my 
debt.' — * And therefore methinke it is prettily sayd in Grammar 
that Interest will be joyned with Mea, Tua, Sua, Nostra, Vestra, 
and Cuia, only in the ablative case, because they are pronounes 
possessives. For how great so ever his possessions, goodes^ or 


Enter Abhorson. 

Abhor. Sirrah, bring Bamardine hither. 

Clo, Master Bamardine ! you must rise and be 
hang'dy master Bamardine ! 

Abhor. What, ho, Bamardine ! 

Bamar. [ Within.l A pox o' your throats ! Who 
makes that noise there^ What are you? 

Clo. Your friends, sir; the hangman: You must 
be so good, sir, to rise and be put to death. 

Bamar. [Within.'] Away, you rogue, away; I 
am sleepy. 

Abhor. Tell him, he must awake, and that quickly 

Clo. Pray, master Bamardine, awake till you are 
executed, and sleep afterwards. 

Abhor. Go in to him, and fetch him out. 

Clo. He is coming, sir, he is coming; I hear his 
straw rustle. 

Enter Barnardine. 

Abhor. Is the axe upon the block, sirrah? 

Clo. Very ready, sir. 

Bamar. How now, Abhorson? what's the news 
with you? 

Abhor. Tmly, sir, I would desire you to clap into 
your prayers; for, look you, the warrant's come. 

Bamar. You rogue, I have been drinking all night, 
I am not fitted for't. 

lands be that hannteth the company of this impersonal], if now 
perchance he be able to kepe three persons, at length he shall not 
be able to kepe one : yea he himselfe shall shortly become such an 
impersonally that he shall be counted as nobody, without any coun- 
tenance, credit, person, or estimation among men. And when he 
hath thus filched, and fleeced his possessive so long till he hath 
made him as rich as a new shorn sheepe, then will he turn him to 
commons into Ludgate : where for his ablative case he shall have 
a dative £age, craving and crying at the grate, your worships* 
cbaritie FOR THE Lord's sake.' 


do. O, the better, sir; for he that drinks all night, 
and is hanged betimes in the morning, may sleep the 
sounder all the next day. 

Enter Duke. 

Abhor. Look you, sir, here comes your ghostly 
father; Do we jest now, think you ? 

IhJie. Sir, induced by my charity, and hearing 
how hastily you are to depart, I am come to advise 
you, comfort you, and pray with you. 

Bamar. Friar, not I ; I have been drinking hard 
all night, and I will have more time to prepare me, 
or they shall beat out my brains with billets : I will 
not consent to die this day, that's certain. 

Duke. O, sir, you must : and therefore, I beseech 
Look forward on the journey you shall go. 

Bamar, 1 swear, I will not die to-day for any 
man's persuasion. 

Duke. But hear you. 

Bamar. Not a word; if you have any thing to 
say to me, come to my ward; for thence will not I 
to-day. [Exit. 

Enter Provost. 

Duke. Unfit to live, or die: O, gravel heart! — 
After him, fellows ; bring him to the block. 

[Exeunt Abhorson ancZ. Clown. 

Prov. Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner? 

Duke. A creature unprepar'd, unmeet for death; 
And, to transport^ him in the mind he is, 
Were damnable. 

Prov. Here in the prison, father. 

There died this morning of a cruel fever 

^ i. e. to remove him from one world to another. The French 
tr^as affords a kindred sense. 


One Ragozine, a most notorious pirate, 

A man of Claudio's years ; his beard and head, 

Just of his colour : What if we do omit 

This reprobate, till he were well inclined ^ 

And satisfy the deputy with the visage 

Of Ragozine, more like to Claudio ? 

Duke, O, 'tis an accident that heaven provides ! 
-Despatch it presently ; the hour draws on 
Prefix'd by Angelo ; See, this be done. 
And sent according to command ; whiles I 
Persuade this rude wretch willingly to die. 

Prov. This shall be done, good father, presendy. 
But Bamardine must die this afternoon : 
And how shall we continue Claudio, 
To save me from the danger that might come. 
If he were known alive ? 

Duke. Let this be done : — ^Put them in secret holds. 
Both Barnardine and Claudio : Ere twice 
The sun hath made his journal greeting to 
The under generation^, you shall find 
Your safety manifested. 

Prov. I am your free dependant. 

Duke. Quick, despatch, 

And send the head to Angelo. [Eocit Provost. 

Now will I write letters to Angelo, — 
The provost, he shall bear them, — whose contents 
Shall witness to him, I am near at homei 
And that, by great injunctions, I am bound 
To enter publickly : him I'll desire 
To meet me at the consecrated fount, 
A league below the city; and from thence, 
By cold gradation and weal-balanced form. 
We shall proceed with Angelo. 

^ The under generation, the antipodes. 



Re-enter Provost. 

Prov, Here is the head ; I'll carry it myself. 

Duke, CoQTenient is it : Make a swift return ; 
For I would commune with you of such things^ 
That want no ear but yours. 

Prov* I'll make all speed. 


Imb. [ Within.] Peace, ho, be here ! 

Duke, The tongue of Isabel : — She's come to know, 
If yet her brother's pardon be come hither : 
But I will keep her ignorant of her good. 
To make her heavenly comforts of despair. 
When it is least expected. 

Enter Isabella. 

Isab, Ho, by your leave. 

Duke, Good morning to you, fair and gracious 

Isab. The better, given me by so holy a man. 
Hath yet the deputy sent my brother's pardon ? 

Duke. He hath releas'd him, Isabel,from the world ; 
His head is off, and sent to Angelo. 

Isab, Nay, but it is not so. 

Duke, It is no other : 

Show your wisdom, daughter, in your close patience. 

Isab. O, I will to him, and pluck out his eyes. . 

Duke. You shall not be admitted to his sight 

Isab. Unhappy Claudio ! Wretched Isabel ! 
Injurious world! Most damned Angelo ! 

Duke, This nor hurts him, nor profits you a jot: 
Forbear it therefore; give your cause to heaven. 
Mark what I say, which you shall find 
By every syllable a faithful verity : 
The duke comes home to-morrow ; — nay, dry your 


One of our convent, and his confessor, 

GiTes me this instance : Already he hath carried 

Notice to Escalns and Angelo ; 

Who do prepare to meet him at the gates. 

There to give up their power. If you can pace your 

In that good path that I would wish it go ; 
And you shall have your bosom ^ on this wretch, 
Grace of the duke, revenges to your heart. 
And general honour. 

Isab. I am directed by you. 

Duke. This letter then to friar Peter give ; 
Tis that he sent me of the duke's return : 
Say, by this token, I desire his company 
At Mariana's house to-night. Her cause, and yours, 
I'll perfect him withal ; and he shall bring you 
Before the duke ; and to the head of Angelo 
Accuse him home, and home. For my poor self, 
I am combined^ by a sacred vow. 
And shall be absent. Wend^ you with this letter; 
Command these fretting waters from your eyes 
With a light heart; trust not my holy order. 
If I pervert your course. — Who's here ? 

Enter Lucio. 

Ludo. Good even ! 

Friar, where is the Provost? 

Dtike. Not \rithin, sir. 

Lucio. O, pretty Isabella, I am pale at mine heart, 
to see thine eyes so red : thou must be patient : I 
am fain to dine and sup with water and bran ; I dare 

• Yoar bosom, is yonr heart's desire, your wish. 

^ Shakspeare uses combine for to bind by a pact or agreement ; 
so he calls Angelo the eombinate hasband of Mariana. 

* i. e. Go. 


not for my head fill my belly ; one fruitful meal would 
set me to't: But they say the duke will be here to- 
morrow. By my troth, Isabel, I lov'dthy brother: 
if the old fantastical duke of dark corners had been 
at home, he had lived. [Exit Isabella. 

Duke, Sir, the duke is marvellous little beholden 
to your reports ; but the best is, he lives not in them^. 

Lucio, Friar, thou knowest not the duke so well 
as I do : he's a better woodman ^^ than thou takest 
him for. 

Duke. Well, you'll answer this one day. Fare 
ye well. 

Lucio. Nay, tarry; I'll go along with thee; I 
can tell thee pretty tales of the duke. 

Duke. You have told me too many of him already, 
sir, if they be true; if not true, none were enough. 

Lucio. I was once before him for getting a wench 
with child. 

Duke. Did you such a thing? 

Lucio. Yes, marry, did I; but was fain to for- 
swear it ; they would else have married me to the 
rotten medlar. 

Duke. Sir, your company is fairer than honest : 
Rest you well. 

Lucio. By my troth, I'll go with thee to the lane's 
end : If bawdy talk offend you, we'll have very little 
of it : Nay, friar, I am a kind of burr, I shall stick. 


' i. 6. he depends not on them. 

^® A woodman was an attendant on the Forester ; his great em-, 
plojment was hunting. It is here used in a wanton sense for a 
hnnter of a different sort of game. So, Falstaff asks his mistresses 
in the Merry Wives of Windsor : — 

* Am I a woodman ? Ha !' 


SCENE IV. A Roam in Angelo's Hmse. 

Enter Angelo and Escalus. 

JEscaL Every letter he hath writ hath disvouch'd^ 

Ang, In most uneven and distracted manner. His 
actions show much like to madness : pray heaven, 
his wisdom be not tainted ! And why meet him at 
the gates, and re-deliver our authorities there ? 

JEscaL I guess not. 

Ang, And why should we proclaim it in an hour 
before his entering, that, if any crave redress of in- 
justice, they should exhibit their petitions in the 
street ? 

EscaL He shows his reason for that : to Jiave a 
despatch of complaints ; and to deliver us from de- 
vices hereafter, which shall then have no power to 
stand against us. 

Ang, Well, I beseech you, let it be proclaim'd: 
Betimes i' the mom, I'll call you at your house : 
Give notice to such men of sort and suit^. 
As are to meet him. 

Escal, I shall, sir : fare you well. 


Ang, Goodnight. — 
This deed unshapes me quite, makes me unpregnant^. 
And dull to all proceeding. A deflower'd maid ! 
And by an eminent body, that enforced 
The law against it ! — But that her tender shame 
Will not proclaim against her maiden loss, 

' Disvouched is contradicted. ^ Fi^re and rank. 

'' Unready, unprepared ; the contrary to pregnant in its sense 
of ready, apprehensiye* 

I 2 


How might she tongue me? Yet reason dares ^ 

her? — no: 
For my authority bears a credent^ bulk, 
That no particular^ scandal once can touch. 
But it confounds the breather^. He should have liv'd, 
Save that his riotous youth, with dangerous sense, 
Might, in the times to come, have ta'en revenge. 
By so receiving a dishonour'd life. 
With ransom of such shame. 'Would yet he had 

liv'd ! 
Alack, when once our grace we have forgot, 
Nothing goes right; we would, and we would not. 

* To dart bas two significations ; to terrify, as in The Maid's 
Tragedy : — 

* those mad mischiefs 

* Would dare a woman.* 

And to ehaUenge or eaU forth, as in K. Henry IV. p. 1. 

^ Unless a brother should a brother dare 
To gentle exercise/ &c. 

This passage will therefore bear two interpretations, between 
which the reader mast choose. In the old copy it stands ; — 

* -^— Yet reason dares her no, 
which may be explained, ' Yet reason dares or overawes her from 
doing it, and cries no to her wheneyer she finds herself prompted 
to tongue Angelo.' Dare is often used in this sense by Sbakspeare ; 
and the word lut is used in a similar way in the Chances : — 

* I wear a sword to satisfy the world no. 
And in A Wife for a Month : — 

' I'm sure he did not, for I charged him no* 
The interpretation of the passage as pointed in the text b * Yet 
does not reason challenge or incite her to accuse me? — no, (an- 
swers the speaker), for my authority bears off,' &c. 

' Credent, creditable, not questionable. 

' Particular is private: a French sense df the word. 

7 i. e. utterer. 

^ Dr. Johnson thought the fourth Act should end here, ' for here 
b properly a cessation of action, a night intervenes, and the place 
is changed between the passages of this scene and those of the 
next. The fifth Act, beginning with the following scene, would 
proceed irithoat any InterTaptioiL of time or place.' 


SCENE V. Fields without the Toum. 

Enter Duke in his own habit, and Friar Peter. 

Duke. These letters at fit time deliver me. 

[Giving letters. 
The proTost knows our purpose, and our plot. 
The matter being afoot, keep your instruction, 
And hold you ever to our special drift; 
Though sometimes you do blench^ from this to that. 
As cause doth minister. Go, call at Flavins' house. 
And tell him where I stay : give the like notice 
To Valentinus, Rowland, and to Crassus, 
And bid them bring the trumpets to the gate ; 
But send me Flavius first. 

F. Peter. It shall be speeded well. 

[Exit Friar. 
Enter Varrius. 

Duke. I thank thee, Varrius; thou hast made 
good haste :. 
Come, we will walk : There's other of our friends 
Will greet us here anon, my gentle Varrius « 


SCENE VI. Street near the City Gate. 

Enter Isabella and Mariana. 

Tsab. To speak so indirectly, I am loath ; 
I would say the truth ; but to accuse him so, 
That is your part: Yet I'm advis'd to do it; 
He says, to 'vailfulF purpose. 

Mari. Be rul'd by him. 

Isab. Besides, he tells me, that, if peradventure 
He speak against me on the adverse side, 

1 To blench, to start off, to fl^ off. ^ X^vlVtuV. 


I should not think it strange ; for 'tis a physick, 
That's bitter to sweet end. 

Mari. I would, friar Peter — 

Isab. O, Peace ; the friar is come. 

Enter Friar Peter ^. 

F. Peter. Come, I have found you out a stand 
most fit. 
Where you may have such vantage on the duke. 
He shall not pass you ; Twice have the trumpets 

The generous * and gravest citizens 
Have hent^ the gates, and very near upon 
The duke is ent'ring ; therefore hence, away. 



SCENE I. A jmblick Place near the pity Gate, 

Mariana (veiVd), Isabella, and Peter, at a 
distance. Enter at opposite doors, Duke, Var- 
rius. Lords; Angelo, Escalus, Lucio, Pro- 
vost, Officers, and Citizens. 

Duke. My very worthy cousin, fairly met: — 
Our old and faithful friend, we are glad to see you. 

Ang. and Escal. Happy return be to your royal 

Duke. Many and hearty thankings to you both. 
We have made inquiry of you; and we hear 
Such goodness of your justice, that our soul 

^ He is called friar Thotnas in the first Act. 

* Generoust for most noble, or those of rank. Generosi, Lat. 

^ i. e» seized, laid hold on, fiom Ih^ Saxon hentao. 


Cannot but yield you forth to publick thanks. 
Forerunning more requital. 

Ang. You make my bonds still greater. 

Duke, O, your desert speaks loud; and I should 
i¥rong it, 
To lock it in the wards of covert bosom, 
When it deserves with characters of brass 
A forted residence, /gainst the tooth of time. 
And razure of oblivion : Give me your hand. 
And let the subject see, to make them know 
That outward courtesies would fain proclaim 
Favours that keep Mdthin. — Come, Escalus ; 
You must walk by us on our other hand; — 
And good supporters are you. 

Peter and Isabella come forward. 

F* Peter, Now is your time; speak loud, and 
kneel before him. 

Isah, Justice, O royal duke ! Vail ^ your regard 
Upon a wrong'd, I'd fain have said, a maid! 
O worthy prince, dishonour not your eye 
By throwing it on any other object, 
Till you have heard me in my true complaint. 
And given me, justice, justice, justice, justice ! 

Duke. Relate your wrongs: In what? By whom? 
Be brief: 
Here is Lord Angelo shall giv^ you justice ! 
Reveal yourself to him. 

Isah, O, worthy duke, 

You bid me seek redemption of the devil : 
Hear me yourself; for that which I must speak 
Mu^t either punish me, not being believ'd, 
Or wring redress from you; hear me, O, hear me, 

A'ng, My lord, her wits, I fear me, are not firm : 

^ To vail 18 io lower, to letfaU, 16 ca&t do^nn. 


She hath been a suitor to me for her brother^ 
Cut off by course of justice. 

Isab. By course of justice! 

Ang, And she will speak most bitterly, and strange. 

Isah, Most strange, but yet most truly, will I speak : 
That Angelo's forsworn; is it not strange? 
That Angelo's a murderer; is't not strange? 
That Angelo is an adulterous thief, 
An hypocrite, a virgin-violator; 
Is it not strange, and strange ? 

Duke, Nay, ten times strange. 

Isah, It is not truer he is Angelo, 
Than this is all as true as it is strange: 
Nay, it is ten times true; for truth is truth 
To the end of reckoning. 

Buhe, Away with her: — Poor soul, 

She speaks this in the infirmity of sense. 

hah, O prince, I c6njure thee, as thou believ'st 
There is another comfort than this world. 
That thou neglect me not, with that opinion 
That I am touch'd with madness : make not impos^ 

That which but seems unlike : 'tis not impossible. 
But one, the wicked'st caitiff on the ground. 
May seem as shy, as grave, as just, as absolute. 
As Angelo; even so may Angelo, 
In all his dressings^, characts^, titles, forms. 
Be an arch-villain : believe it, royal prince, 
If he be less, he's nothing ; but he's more. 
Had I more name for badness. 

Duke, By mine honesty, 

' i. e. habiliments of office. 

^ Characts are distinctive maris or characters. A statute of 
Edward VI. directs the seals of office of every bishop to have 
' certain characts ander the king's arms for the knowledge of the 
dioceas,* ' 


If she be Biad (as I believe no other), 
Her madness hath the oddest frame of sense. 
Such a dependency of thmg on things 
As e'er I heard in madness. 

Isab, O, gracious duke. 

Harp not on that; nor do not banish reason 
For inequality^ : but let your reason serve 
To make the truth appear, where it seems hid ; 
And hide the false^ seems true^. 

Duhe, Many that are not mad. 

Have, sure, more lack of reason. — ^What would you 

hob. I am the sister of one Claudio, 
Condemned upon the act of fornication 
To lose his head ; condemn'd by Angelo : 
I, in probation of a sisterhood. 
Was sent to by my brother: One Lucio 
As then the messenger; — 

Lucio. That's I, an't like your grace : 

I came to her from Claudio, and desir'd her 
To try her gracious fortune with Lord Angelo, 
For her poor brother's pardon. 

Isab. That's he, indeed. 

Duke. You were not bid to speak. 

Lucio. No, my good lord ; 

Nor wish'd to hold my peace. 

Duke. I wish you now then; 

Pray you, take note of it: and when you have 
A business for yovirself, pray heaven you then 
Be perfect. 

Lucio. I warrant your honour. 

* The meaning appears to be ' do not suppose me mad because 
I speak inconsistently or unequailyJ 

^ I must say with Mr. Steeyens that * I do not profess to un- 
derstand these words.' Mr. Phelps proposes to read * And hidt 
the false seems troe.' i. e. ' The truth being hid, not discovered 
or made known, what is false seems true.' 


Duke, The warrant's for yourself ; take heed to it 

Isab, This gentleman told somewhat of my tale. 

Lucio. Right. 

Duke, It may be right; but you are in the wrong 
To speak before your time. — Proceed. 

Isab, I went 

To this pernicious caitiff deputy. 

Duke, That's somewhat madly spoken. 

Isab. Pardon it: 

The phrase is to the matter^. 

Duke. JViended again: the matter; — Proceed. 

Isab, In brief, — to set the needless process by. 
How I persuaded, how I pray'd, and kneel'd. 
How he refell'd^ me, and how I reply 'd; 
(For this was of much length), the vile conclusion 
I now begin with grief and shame to utter: 
He would not, but by gift of my chaste body 
To his concupiscible intemperate lust, 
Release my brother ; and, after much debatement, 
My sisterly remorse® confutes mine honour. 
And I did yield to him. But the next morn betimes. 
His purpose surfeiting, he sends a warrant 
For my poor brotlier's head. 

Duke, This is most likely! 

Isab, O, that it were as like as it is true^! 

Duke, By heaven, fond^^ wretch, thou know'st 
not what thou speak'st ; 
Or else thou art subom'd against his honour. 
In hateful practice ^^ : First, his integrity 

^ i. e. suited to the matter ; as in Hamlet : ' the phrase would 
be more german to the matter.' 

7 RefeWd is refuted. * Remorse is pity. 

^ The meaniog appears to be ' O, that it had as much of the 
likeness or appearance, as it has of the reality of truth.' 

*® i.e. foolish. 

^1 Practice was used by the old writers for any insidious stra- 
iagem or treachery. 


Stands witbovt Uemish : — next, it imports no reason. 
That with such vdiemency he should pursue 
Faults prop^ to himself: if he had so offended. 
He would have weigfa'd tfay brother by himself. 
And not have cut him off : Some one hath set you on; 
Confess the truth, and say by whose advice 
Thou cam'st here to complam. 

hab. And is tiiis all? 

Then, oh, you blessed minist^s above. 
Keep me in patience; and, with ripen'd time. 
Unfold the evil which is here wrapt up 
In countenance ^ ! — Heaven shield your grace from 

As I, thus wrong'd, hence unbelieved go ! 

Jhike, I know, you'd feun be gone : — An officer ! 
To prison vrith her : — Shall we thus permit 
A blasting and a scandalous breath to fiedl 
On him so near us? This needs must be a practice. 
— Who knew of your intent, and coming hither? 

Isab» One that I would were here, friar Lodowick. 

Duke.- A ghostly fother, belike : — ^Who knows 
that Lodowick? 

Lucio. My lord, I know him ; 'tis a meddling friar ; 
I do not like the man : had he been lay, my lord. 
For certain' words he spake against your grace 
In your retirement, I had swing'd him soundly. 

Duke. Words against me? This a good friar be- 
And to set on this wretched woman here 
Against our substitute ! — Let this friar be found. 

Lucio, But yesternight, my lord, she and that firiar 
I saw them at the prison : a saucy friar, 
A very scurvy fellow. 

F^ Peter. Blessed be your royal grace ! 

I have stood by, my lord, and I have heard 

*' i. e. false appearance. 
VOL, H. K 


Your royal ear abus'd : First, hath this woman, 
Most wrongfully accus'd your substitute; 
Who is as free from touch or soil with her. 
As she from one ungot. 

Duke, We did believe no less. 

Know you that friar Lodowick that she speaks of! 

F. Peter, I know him for a man divine and holy; 
Not scurvy nor a temporary medler ^^, 
As he's reported by this gentleman : 
And, on my trust, a man that never yet 
Did, as he vouches, misreport your grace. 

'Lucio, My. lord, most villanously ; believe it. 

F. Peter, Well, he in time may come to clear 
But at this instant he is sick, my lord. 
Of a strange fever : Upon hb mere^^ request 
(Being come to knowledge that there was complaint 
Intended 'gainst lord Angelo) came I hither. 
To speak, as from his mouth, what he doth know 
Is true, and false ; and what he with his oath. 
And all probation, will make up full clear. 
Whensoever he's convented ^*. Firsts for this wo- 
(To justify this worthy nobleman. 
So vulgarly ^^ and personally accused) ; 
Her shall you hear disproved to her eyes, 
Till she herself confess it. 

Duke. Good friar, let's hear it. 

[Isabella is carried off, ffuarded; and 
Mariana comes forward. 
Bo you not smile at this, lord Angelo I — 
O heaven ! the vanity of wretched fools ! — 

" It is bard to know what is meant bj a temporary medUr, 
perhaps it wa« intended to signify ' one who introduced himself as 
often as he coald find opportanitj into other*s mens concerns,* 

^* Mere here means absolute, 

^ Convented, cited» sttmmoned. ^^ i. e. publlolj. 


Give us some seats. — Come, cousin Angelo ; 
In this 111 be impartial ^^ ; be you judge 
Of your own cause. — Is this the witness, firiar? 
First, let her show her face ; and, after, speak. 

Mori. Pardon, my lord; I will not show my face 
Until my husband bid me. 

Duke. What, are you mairied? 

Mari. No, my lord. 

Duke, Are you a maid ? 

Mari. No, my lord. 

Duke. A widow then ? 

Mari. Neither, my lord? 

Duke. Why, you 

Are nothing then : — ^Neither maid, widow, nor wife? 

Ludo. My lord, she may be a punk; for many 
of them are neither maid, widow, nor wife. 

Duke. Silence that fellow ; I would he had some 
To pratde for himself. 

Ludo. Well, my lord. 

Mari. My lord, I do confess I ne'er was married ; 
And, I confess, besides, I am no maid : 
I have known my husband ; yet my husband knows 

That ever he knew me. 

Ludo. He was drunk then, my lord; it can be 
no better. 

Duke. For the benefit of silence, 'would thou wert 
so too. 

1'^ ImparHal was used sometimes in the sense pf partial; and 
that appears to be the sense here. In the language of the time, 
im was freqaentlj used as an intensive or angmentative particle. 
IZnpartia] was sometimes ased in the modem sense of impartial. 
Yet Shakspeare uses the word in its proper sense in Richard II. 
Act i. Sc. 2. 

' Mowbray, inqtartial are oar eyes and ears/ &c. 

( * * * * 

Sboald nothing privilege him nor porttolise.^ 


Ludo, Well, my lord. 

Duke. This is no witness for lord Angelo. 

Mart. Now I come to't, my lord : 
She, that accuses him of fornication, 
In eelfsame manner doth accuse my husband ; 
And charges him, my lord, with such a time,. 
When I'll depose I had him in mine arms. 
With all the effect of love. 

Ang. Charges she more than me? 

Mori, Not that I know. 

Duke. No ? you say, your husband. 

Mart. Why, just, my lord, and that is Angelo, 
Who thinks, he knows, that he ne'er knew my 

But knows, he thinks, that he knew Isabel's. 

Atig. This is a strange abuse ^^: — Let's see thy 

Mari. My husband bids me ; now I will unmask. 

[ Unveiling, 
This is that face, thou cruel Angelo, 
Which, once thou swor'st, was worth the looking on: 
This is the hand, which, with a vow'd contract,. 
Was fast belock'd in thine : this is the body 
That took away the match from Isabel, 
And did supply thee at thy garden-house ^^, 
In her imagin'd person. 

Duke. Know you this woman ? 

Lucio: Carnally, she says. 

IB Abuse stands in this place for deception or puzzle. So in 
Macbeth : 

' My strange and self abuse,* 

means this strange deception of mjself. 

^^ Garden houses were formerly much in fashion, and often 
nsed as places of clandestine meeting and intrigue. They were 
chiefly such buildings as we should now call summer houses, 
standing in a walled or enclosed garden in the suburbs of Lon- 
don, See 8tabb's Anatomie of A.W%«%, ^. 57. 4lo. 1697, or 
Meed's Old Plays, Vol. V. p. 84. 


Duke, Sirrah, no more. 

Lucio. Enough, my lord. 

Ang. My lord, I must confess, I know this woman; 
And, five years since, there was some speech of 

Betwixt myself and her; which was broke off. 
Partly, for that her promised proportions 
Came short of composition^^; but, in chief. 
For that her reputation was disvalued 
In levity : since which time of five years, 
I never spake with her, saw her, nor heard from her. 
Upon my faith and honour. 

Mari. Noble prince. 

As there comes light from heaven, and words from 

As there is sense in truth, and truth in virtue, 
I am affianc'd this man's wife, as strongly 
As words could make up vows : and, my good lord. 
But Tuesday night last gone, in his garden-house. 
He knew me as a wife : As this is true 
Let me in safety raise me from my knees ; 
Or else for ever be confixed here, 
A marble monument ! 

Afig. I did but smile till now ; 

Now, good my lord, give me the scope of justice ; 
My patience here is touch'd : I do perceive. 
These poor informal ^^ women are no more 
But instruments of some more mightier member, 

^ Her fortune which was promised proportionaie to mine fell 
short of the composition, i. e. contract or bargain. 

^* Informal signifies out of their senses. So in the Comedy of 
Errors, Act v. Sc. 1. 

' To make of him a formal man again.' 

The speaker had just before said that she would keep Anti- 
pholis of Syracuse, who is behaving like a madman, 'till she 
had brought him to his right wits again. 



That sets them on : Let me have way, my lord, 
To find this practice out. 

Duke. Ay, with my heart; 

And punish them unto your height of pleasure. — 
Thou foolish friar; and thou pernicious woman, 
Compact with her that's gone! think'st thou, thy 

Though they would swear down each particular saint, 
Were testimonies against his worth and credit. 
That's seal'd in approbation^^? — You, lord Escalus, 
Sit with my cousin ; lend him your kind pains 
To find out this abuse, whence 'tis deriv'd. — 
There is another friar that set them on ; 
Let him be sent for. 

F, Peter, Would he were here, my lord ; for he, 
Hath set the women on to this complaint : 
.Your provost knows the place where he abides. 
And he may fetch him. 

Duke. Go, do it instantly. — [Exit Provost 
And you, my noble and well-wan-anted cousin. 
Whom it concerns to hear this matter forth ^^, 
Do with your injuries as seems you best. 
In any chastisement : I for a while 
Will leave you; but stir not you, till you have well 
Determined upon these slanderers. 

Escal. My lord, we'll do it thoroughly. — [ExU 
Duke.] Signior Lucio, did not you say, you knew 
that friar Lodowick to be a dishonest person ? 

Lucio. Cucvllus mm facit monachum : honest in 
nothing, but in his clothes ; and one that hath spoke 
most villanous speeches of the duke. 

Escal. We shall entreat you to abide here till he 

.^ Stamped or setded^ as tried and approved. 
^ i. e. out, to the end. 


come, and enforce Ibem against him : we shall find 
this friar a notable fellow. 

Lucio. As any in Vienna, on my word. 

Esccd. Call that same Isabel here once again; 
[To an Attendant, 1 I would speak with her : Pray 
you, my lord, give me leave to question ; you shall 
see how 111 handle her. 

Lucio, Not better than he, by her own report. 

Escal. Say you ? 

Lucio. Marry, sir, I think, if you handled her 
privately,, she would sooner confess; perchance, 
publickly,, she'll be ashamed. 

Re-entcf Officers, with Isabella, the Duke, in the 
Friar^s habit, and Provost. 

Escal. I will go darkly to work with her. 

Lucio. That's the way; for woioen are light ^^ at 

Escal. Come on, mistress ; [To Isabella.] here's 
a gentlewoman denies all that you have said. 

Lucio. My lord, here comes the rascal I spoke 
of; here with the provost. 

Escal. In very good time : — speak not you to him, 
till we call upon you. 

Lucio. Mum. 

Escal. Come, sir : Did you set these wome^ on 
to slander lord Angelo? they have confessed you did. 

Duke. Tis fake. 

Escal. How ! know you where you are ? 

Duke. Kespect to your great place ! and l^t th^ 
Be sometimes honoured for his burning throne :-^ 
Where is the duke ? 'tis he should hear me speak. 

^ Th|s is one of the i;v:ords on which Shakspeare delights to 
quibble. Thus Portia, in the Merchant of Venice, 

' Let me give liffhi, but let me not he light. 


Etoal. The duke'g in us; and he will hear you 
speak ; 
Look, you speak justly. 

Duke. Boldly, at least : — But, O, poor souls, 
Gome you to seek the lamb here of the fox ? 
Good night to your redress. Is the duke gone ? 
Then is your cause gone too. The duke's unjust, 
Thus to retort^ your manifest appeal, 
And put your trial in the villain's mouth. 
Which here you come to accuse. 

Lucio. This is the rascal : this is he I spoke of. 

Escal. Why, thou unreyerend and unhallow'd 
friar ! 
Is't not enough, thou hast subom'd these women 
To accuse this worthy man ; but, in foul mouth. 
And in the witness of his proper ear. 
To call him villain ? 

And then to glance from him to the duke himself; 
To tax him with injustice? — ^Take him hence; 
To the rack with him : — We'll touze you joint by 

But we will know this purpose : — What! unjust? 

Duke, Be not so hot ; the duke 
Dare no more stretch this finger of mine, than he 
Dare rack his own ; his subject am I not. 
Nor here provincial ^^: My business in this state 
Made me a looker-on here in Vienna, 
Where I have seen corruption boil and bubble. 
Till it o'emm the stew : laws, for all faults ; 
But faults so countenanc'd, that the strong statutes 

" To retort is to refer back. 

* * His subject am I not ; nor here provinciai? Provmeiai is 
pertaining to a province ; most nsnallj taken for the circuit of 
an ecclesiastical jurisdiction. The chief or head of any reli- 
gious order in such a proyince was called the provincial, to 
whom alone the members oi l\ial ot^«t y<Ckt« «iQoountable. 


Stand like the forfeits in a barber's, shop, 
As much in mock as, mark?. 

JEscaL. Blander to the state! Away with him to 

Ang. What can you vouch against him, signipr 
Lucio ? ' 

Is this the man that you did tell us of ? 

Lucio, Tis he, my lord.. Come hither, good-, 
man bald-pate : . Do you know me ? 

Duke. I remember you,. sir, by the sound of your 
voice :. I. met you bX the prison in the absence of the 

Lucio. O, did you so? And. do you remember 
what you said of the duke ? 

Duke. Most notedly, sir. 

Iflicio,, Do you so, sir? And was the duke a 
flesh-monger, a fool, and a coward, as you then re- 
ported him to be ? 

Duke.. You must,, sir, change persons with me, 
ere you make that my report: you, indeed, spoke 
so of him ; and much more, much worse. 

Ltwio. O thou damnable fellow ! Did not I pluck 
thee by the nose, for thy speeches ? 

Duke. I protest, I love the duke, as I love my- 

Ang. Hark! how the villain would close now, 
after his treasonable abuses. 

Escal. Such a fellow is not to be talk'd withal : — 
Away with him to prison : — Where is the provost ? 
— Away with him to prison ; lay bolts enough upon 

^ Barbers' shops were anciently places of great resort for 
passing awaj time in an idle manner. By way of enforcing 
some kind of regularity, and perhaps, at least as much to promotp 
drinking, certain laws were usually hung up, the transgression of 
which was to be punished by specific forfeits; which were as 
much in moch as mark, because the barber had no authority of 
himself to enforce them, and also because ibey ^%tq qI q^.W- 
djcroas aature. 


him : — Let -him speak no more : — ^Away with those 
giglots^ too, and with the other confederate com- 
panion. [The Provost lays hands on the Duke, 

Duke, Stay, sir ; stay a while. 

Ang, What ! resists he ? Help him, Lucio. 

Lucio. Come, sir; come, sir; come> sir; foh, sir; 
Why, you bald-pated, lying rascal! you must be 
hooded, must you ? Show your knave's visage, with 
a pox to you ! show your sheep-biting face, and be 
hang'd an hour*^! Wilt not oflf ? 

[Pulls off the Friar's hood, and discovers 
the Duke. 

Duke. Thou art the first knave that e'er made a 


First, Provost, let me ball these gentle three : 

Sneak not away, sir; [To Lucio.] for the friar and 

Must have a word anon : — lay hold on him. 
Lacio, This may prove worse than hanging. 
Duke. What you have spoke, I pardon ; sit you 

down. [To Esc ALUS. 

We'll borrow place of him: — Sir, by your leave: 

[To Angelo. 
Hast thou or word, or wit, or impudence. 
That yet can do thee office^? If thou hast, 

* Giglots are wantons. — 

' young Talbot was not bom 

To be the pillage of a g^lot wench.' 

K. Henry VI. P. i. 

^ Dr. Johnson goes serionsly to work to prove that he did 
not understand this piece of vulgar humour ; and Henley thinks 
the coUistrigium, or original pillory, was alluded to ! ' What 
Piper ho ! be hanged awhile,' is a line in an old madrigal. And 
in Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair, we have 

' Leave the bottle behind you, and be curst awhile,' 

In short, they are petty and familiar maledictions rightly ex- 
plained ' a plague or a miscViUf oii 30U.,* 

^ i. e. do thee service. 


Rely upon it till my tale be heard. 
And hold no longer out. 

Ang. O my dread lord, 

I should be guiltier than my guiltiness. 
To think I can be undiseemible, 
When I perceive, your grace, Uke power divine. 
Hath lo(^'dupon my passes ^^: Then, good prince, 
No longer session hold upon my shame. 
But let my trial be mine own confession ; 
Immediate sentence then, and sequent death. 
Is all the grace I beg. 

Dnke. Come hither, Mariana; — 

Say, wast thou e'er contracted to this woman ? 

Ang, I was, my lord. 

Duke. Go take her hence, and marry her in- 
stantly. — 
Do you the office, friar; which consummate. 
Return him here again :< — Go with him. Provost. 
[Exeunt Angelo, Mariana, Peter, 
and Provost. 

Escal, My lord, I am more amaz'd at his dis- 
Than at the strangeness of it. 

Duke. Come hither, Isabel : 

Your friar is now your prince : As I was then 
Advertising, and holy ^^ to your business. 
Not changing heart with habit, I am still 
Attomey'd at your service. 

hah, O, give me pardon. 

That I, your vassal, have employed and pain'd 
Your unknown sovereignty. 

^^ Passes probably put for trespasses ; or it may mean courses 
from passtest Fr. Les pass6es iVun cer/is the track or passages 
of a atngt his courses. I cannot think the word has any rela- 
tion to the forced explanation of artfid dmttces, deeek^l eontri^ 
vance. From ' Tours de passe pass6e.' 

^ Advertising and hobf, attentive and fatthfol. 


Duke. You are pardon'dy Isabel: 

And now, dear maid, be you as free^^ to us. 
Your brother's death, I Imow, sits at your heart; 
And you may marvel, why I obscured myself, 
Labouring to save his life; and would not rather 
Make rash remonstrance of my hidden power ^, 
Than let him so be lost: O, most kind maid. 
It was the swift celerity of his death. 
Which I did think with slower foot canie on. 
That brain'd my purpose ^^ : But, peace be with him ! 
That life is better life, past fearing deatii, 
Than that which hves to fear : make it your comfort, 
So happy is your brother. 

Re-enter Angelo, Mariana, Peter, and 


Isab, I do, my lord. 

Jhihe, For this new-married man, approaching 
Whose salt imagination yet hath wrong'd 
Your well-defended honour, you must pardon 
For Mariana's sake : but as he adjudg'd your brother 
(Being criminal, in double violation 
•Of sacred chastity, and of promise-breach ^, 
Thereon dependent for your brother'^ life). 
The very mercy of the law cries out 
Most audible, even from his proper^ tongue, 
An Angelo for Claudio, death for death. 
Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure ; 

^ i. e. generous; — pardon u» as we have pardoned yoH* 

^ Rash remonstrance; that is, * a premature display of it, per- 
haps we should read demons trance ; but the word may be formed 
from remonstrer, French — to show again, 

^ That brain'd my purpose. We still use in conyersation a 
like phrase — ' that knocked my desi^ on th« head/ 

^ Promise-breach, It should hepromisei breach is superfluous. 

^ i. e. Angelo's own tongue. 


like doth quit like, and Measure still far Measure ^ ? 
Then, Angelo, thy fault's thus manifested ; 
Which though thou would'st deny, denies thee van- 
We do condemn thee to the very block 
Where Claudio stoop'd to death, and with like 

Away with him. 

Mart. O, my most gracious lord, 

I hope you will not mock me with a husband ! 

Ufuke. It is your husband mock'd you with a 
husband : 
Consenting to the safeguard of your honour, 
I thought your marriage fit ; else imputation, 
For that he knew you, might reproach your life. 
And choke your good to come : for his possessions, 
Although by confiscation they are oursi 
We do instate and widow you withal. 
To buy you a better husband. 

Mart. O, my dear lord, 

I crave no other, nor no better man. 

Duke, N^yer crave him ; we are definitive. 

Mari, Gentle, my liege, — [Kneeling, 

Duke. You do but lose your labour; 

Away with him to death. — Now, sir, [To Lucio.] 
to you. 

Mari. O, my good lord ! — Sweet Isabel, take my 
Lend me your knees, and, all my life to come, 
I'll lend you all my life to do you service. 

^ Measure still for measure. This appears to hare been a 
carrent expression for retributive justice. Equivalent to Uie 
for like. So, in the 3d part of Henry VI. 

' Measure for measure must be answered.' 

* i. e. ' to deny which will avail thee nothing.' 


Duhe. Against all sense ^ you do imp6rtnne her: 
Should she kneel down, in mercy of this fact. 
Her brother's ghost his paved bed would break. 
And take her hence in horror. 

Mart, Isabel, 

Sweet Isabel, do yet but kneel by me ; 
Hold up your hands, say nothing, I'll speak all. 
They say, best men are moulded out of faults ; 
And, for the most, become much more the better 
For being a little bad : so may my husband. 
O, Isabel ! will you not lend a knee ? 

Duhe. He dies for Claudio's death. 

Isah, Most bounteous sir, 

Look, if it please you, on this man condenm'd. 
As if my brother Uy'd : I partly think, 
A due sincerity govem'd his deeds. 
Till he did look on me : since it is so. 
Let him not die : My brother had but justice. 
In that he did the thing for which he died : 
For Angelo, 

His act did not o'ertake his bad intent ? 
And must be buried but as an intent 
That perish'd by the way ^^ : thoughts are no subjects ; 
Intents but merely thoughts. 

Mari, Merely, my lord. 

Duke. Your suit's unprofitable ; stand up, I say. — 
I have bethought me of another fault : — 
Provost, how came it Claudio was beheaded 
At an unusual hour ? 

Prov, It was commanded so. 

^ i. e. against reason and affection. 

*^ i. e. like the traveller, who dies on his journey, is obscnrelj 
interred, and thought of no more : 

* Illnm expirantem 

ObUti ignoto campomm in polvere linqunnt.' 


Duke. Had you a special warrant for the deed? 

Prov. No, my good lord ; it was by private mes- 

Duke. For which X do discharge you of your office : 
Give up your keys. 

Prov. Pardon me, noble lord : 

I thought it was a fault, but knew it not ; 
Yet did repent me, after more advice ^^ : 
For testimony whereof, one in the prison 
That should by private order else have died, 
I have reserv'd alive. 

Duke. What's he ? 

Prov. His name is Bamardine. 

Duke. I would thou had'st done so by Claudio. — 
Go, fetch him hither ; let me look upon him. 

[Exit Provost. 

JEscal. I am sorry, one so learned and so wise 
As you, lord Angelo^ have still appeared, 
Should slip so grossly, both in the heat of blood, 
And lack of temper'd judgment afterward. 

Ang^. I am sorry, that such sorrow I procure : 
And so deep sticks it in my penitent heart. 
That I crave death more wilHngly than mercy ; 
Hlis my deserving, and I do entreat it. 

Re-enter Provost, Barnardine, Claudio, and 


Duke. Which is that Bamardine ? 

Prov. This, my lord. 

Duke. There was a friar told me of this man : — 
Sirrah, thou art said to have a stubborn soul. 
That apprehends no further than this world. 
And squar'st thy life according. Thou'rt condemn'd; 
But, for those earthly^ faults, I quit them all; 

^ i. e. httter constderation. K. Henrj V. Act ii. Sc. 2. 
^ i. e. 80 far a» thej are ponishable on earth. 


And pray thee, t^ke this mercy to provide 

For better times to come : Friar, advise him ; 

I leave him to your hand. — What muffled fellow's 

Prov. This is another prisoner, that I sav'd, 
That should have died when Claudio lost his head; 
As like almost to Claudio, as himself. 

[Unmuffles Claudio. 
Duhe. If he be like your brother, [To Isabella.] 

for his sake 
Is he pardoned ; And, for your lovely sake. 
Give me your hand, and say you will be mine. 
He is my brother too : But fitter time for that. 
By this, lord Angelo perceives he's safe ; 
Methinks, I see a quick'ning in his eye :-^ 
Well, Angelo, your evil quits** you well: 
Look that you love your wife; her worth, worth 

yours *^. — 
I find an apt remission in myself: 
And yet here's one in place I cannot pardon ; — 
You, sirrah, [To Lucio.] that knew me for a fool, 

a coward. 
One all of luxury*^, an ass, a madman; 
Wherein have I so deserved of you. 
That you extol me thus ? 

Lucio. 'Faith, my lord, I spoke it but according 
to the trick *7 : If you will hang me for it, you may, 
but I had rather it would please you, I might be 

Duke, Whipp'd first, sir, and hang'd after. — 
Proclaim it, provost, round about the city ; 
If any woman's wrong'd by this lewd fellow, 

^ Requites. 

^ * Her worth worth yours ;' that is, ' her value is equal to 
yours, the match is not unworthy of you.' 
^ Incontinence. ^ Thoughtless practice. 


(As I have heard him swear himself^ there's one 
Whom he begot with child), let her appear. 
And he shall marry her : the nuptial finished. 
Let him be whipp'd and hang'd. 

Lucio. I beseech your highness, do not marry me 
to a whore ! Your highness said even now, I made 
you a duke ; good my lord, do not recompense me 
in making me a cuckold. 

Duke. Upon mine honour thou shalt marry her. 
Thy slanders I forgive : and therewithal 
Remit thy other forfeits'*®: — ^Take him to prison : 
And see our pleasure herein executed. 

Lucio. Marrying a punk, my lord, is pressing to 
death, whipping, and hanging. 

Duke. Sland'ring a prince deserves it. — 
She, Claudio, that you wrong'd, look you restore. — 
Joy to you, Mariana ! — love her, Angelo ; 
I have confess'd her, and I know her virtue. — 
Thanks, good friend Escalus, for thy much good- 
ness : 
There's more behind, that is more gratulate ^, 
Thanks, Provost, for thy care and secrecy ; 
We shall employ thee in a worthier place : — 
Forgive him, Angelo, that brought you home 

^ ' Remit thy other forfeits.* Dr. Johnson sajs, forfeits 
mean punishmentSf but is it not more likely to signify misdoings, 
transgressions, from the French /or/at^ ? Steeyens's Note affords 
instances of the word in this sense. 

^ i. e. more to be rejoiced in. As Steeyens rightly explained 
it. Dr. Johnson's proposed arrangement of the text is yery plau- 
sible ; for it is eyident, from the context, that this gratuiation 
which is yet behind relates to Isabel, and not to Escalus, as Ma- 
son had imagined. In the Dedication to * Lambarde's Archeion/ 
which is dated 1591, the word occurs in this sense : ' to gratu- 
late unto yon that honourable place whereunto you are right 
worthily adyanced. Reward must be a yery unusual meaning 
of the word, for gratulatio is explained in Hutton's Dictionary, 
1583, ' Rejoysing in ones behalfe : gratuiation^ ikwkxi'i^ %^V\a%^ 



The head of Kagozine for Claudio's ; 
The offence pardons itself. — Dear Isabel, 
I have a motion much imports your good ; 
Whereto if you'll a willing ear incline, 
What's mine is yours, and what is yours is mine : — 
So, bring us to our palace ; where we'll show 
What's yet behind, Uiat's meet you all should know. 


THf. novel of Giraldi CInthio, from which Shakspeare is sup- 
posed to have borrowed this fable, may be read in Shakspeare 
JUustratedf elegantly translated, wHh remarks, which will assist 
the inquirer to discover how much absurdity Shakspeare has 
admitted or avoided. 

I cannot but suspect that some other had new-modelled the 
novel of Cinthio, or written a story which in some particulars 
resembled it, and that Cinthio was not the author whom Shakr 
speare immediately followed. The Emperor in Cinthio is named 
M aximine : the Duke, in Shakspeare's enumeration of the per- 
sons of the drama, is called Yincentio. This appears a very 
slight remark ; but ^incj^ the Duke has no name in the play, nor 
is ever mentioned but by his title, why should he be called 
Yincentio among the persons, bat because the name was copied 
from the story, and placed superfluously at the head of the list 
by the mere habit of transcription ? It is therefore likely that 
there was then a story of Yincentio, Duke of Yienna, different 
from that of Maximine, Emperor of the Romans. 

Of this play, the light or comiok part is very natural and 
pleasing, but the grave scenes, if a few passages be excepted, 
have more labour than elegance. The plot is rather intricate 
than artful. Tlie time of the action is indefinite; some time, 
we know not how much, must have elapsed between the recess 
of the Duke and the imprisonment of Claudio ; for he must have 
learned the story of Mariana in his disguise, or he delegated his 
power to a man already known to be corrupted.* The unities 
of action and place are sufficiently preserved. Johnson. 

* The Duke probably had learnt the story of Mariana in some 
of hi^ former retirements, ' having ever loved the life removed.' 
And be had a suspicion that Aogelo was bat a seemer, and there- 
fore stays to watch him. Blackstone. 



Mutff mo aliout Botbim^ 


It is said that the main plot of this play is derived from the 
story of Ariodante and Ginevra, in the fifth book of Ariosto's 
Orlando Farioso. Something similar may also be found in the 
foorUi canto of the second book of Spenser's Faerie Qaeene ; but 
a novel of Bandello's, copied by Belleforest in his Tragical His- 
tories, seems to have furnished Shakspeare with the fable. It 
approaches nearer to the play in all particulars than any other 
performance hitherto discovered. No translation of it into Eng- 
lish has, however, yet been met with. 

The incidents of this play produce a striking effect on the 
stage, where it has ever been one of the most popular of Shak- 
speare's Comedies. The sprightly wit-encounters between Be- 
nedick and Beatrice, and the blundering simplicity of those 
inimitable men in office Dogberry and Verges relieve the serious 
parts of the play, which might otherwise have seemed too serious 
for comedy. There is a deep and touching interest excited for 
the innocent and /much injured Hero, ' whose justification is 
brought about by one of those temporary consignments to the 
grave, of which Shakspeare appears to have been fond.' In an- 
swer to Steevens's objection to the same artifice being made use 
of to entrap both the lovers, Schlegel observes that ' the drollery 
lies in the very symmetry of the deception. Their friends attri- 
bute the whole effect to themselves; but the exclusive direction 
of their raillery against each ot|ier is a proof of their growing 

This play is supposed to have been written in 1600, io which 
year it was first published. 


Don Pedro, Prince qfArragon, 

Don John, his bastard Brother, 

Claudio, a young Lord of Florence, fawmrite to 

Don Pedro. 
Benedick, a young, Lord qf Padua, fmjourite likewise 

qf Don Pedro. 
Leonato, Governor qf Messina. 
Antonio, his Brother, 
Balthazar, Servant to Don Pedro. 

CO^E? \ PO^^^^^ ^ ^"^'^ J<>»^°- 

Verg^'''} ^"^^''^^^^'^ ^-^^*- 
A Sexton. 
A Friar. 
A Boy. 

Hero, Daughter to Leonato. 
Beatrice, Niece to Leonato. 

U^^*^' \ ^^'^"'^^'"^ aUemUng on Hero. 
Messengers, Watch, and Attendants. 
SCENE, Messina. 



SCENE I. Before Leonato's House. 

Enter LeoNATo, Hero, Beatrice, and others, 

with a Messenger. 


I learn in this letter, that Don Pedro ^ of Arragon 
comes this night to Messina. 

Mess, He is very near by this; he was not three 
leagues off when I left him. 

Leon. How many gentlemen have you lost in this 
action ? 

Mess. But few of any sort, and none of name. 

Leon. A victory is twice itself, when the achiever 
brings home full numbers. I find here, that Don 
Pedro hath bestowed much honour on a young Flo- 
rentine, called Claudio. 

Mess. Much deserved t)n his part, and equally 
remembered by Don Pedro : He hath borne himself 
beyond the promise of his age ; doing, in the figure 
of a lamb, the feats of a lion : he hath, indeed, bet- 
ter bettered expectation, than you must expect of 
me to tell you how. 

Leon. He hath an uncle here in Messina will be 
very much glad of it. 

Mess. I have already delivered him letters, and 
* The old copies read Don Pettr. 


there appears much joy in him ; even so much, tihat 
joy could not show itself modest enough, without a 
badge of bitterness '^. 

Leon, Did he break out into tears ? 

Mess, In great measure ^. 

Leon, A kind overflow of kindness : There are 
no faces truer than those that are so washed. How 
much better it is to weep at joy, than to joy at 
weeping ! 

Beat, I pray you, is signior Montanto^ returned 
from the wars, or no ? 

Mess, I know none of that name, lady: there was 

Leon, What is he that you ask for, niece ? 

Hero, My cousin means signior Benedick of Padua. 

Mess, O, he is returned ; and as pleasant as ever 
he was. 

Beat, He set up hb bills ^ here in Messina, and 

^ Of all the transports of joy, that which is attended by tears 
is least offensive ; because, carrying with it this mark of pain, 
it allays the envy that usually attends another's happiness. This 
is finely called a mo<2esf joy, such a one as did not insult the 
observer by an indication of happiness unmixed with pain. In 
Chapman's version of the 10th Odyssey, a somewhat similar ex- 
pression occurs : 

our eyes wore 

The same wet badge of weak humanity.' 
This is an idea which Shakspeare fieems to have delighted to 
introduce. It occurs again in Macbeth : 

* my plenteous joys. 

Wanton in fulness, seek to hide themselves 
In drops of sorrow.' 
^ i. e. in abundance. 

* Montanto was one of the ancient terms of the fencing school ; 
a title humorously given to one whom she would represent as 
a bravado. ^ Rank. 

* This phrase was in common use for affixing a printed notice 
in some public place, long before Shakspeare's time, and lon^ 
after. It is amply illustrated by Mr. Douce, in his ' Illustra- 
tiem 9f Shakspeare.* 


challenged Cupid at the flight*^: and my uncle's 
fool, reading the challenge, subscribed for Cupid, 
and challenged him at the bird-bolt. — I pray you, 
how many hath he killed and eaten in these wars ? 
But how many hath he killed? for, indeed, I pro- 
mised to eat all of his killing. 

Leon, Paith, niece, you tax signior Benedick too 
much; but he'll be meet^ with you, I doubt it not. 

Mess. He hath 4one good service, lady, in these 

Beat. You had musty victual, and he hath holp 
to eat it : he is a very valiant trencher-man, he hath 
an excellent stomach. 

Mess, And a good soldier too, lady. 

Beat, And a good soldier to a lady ; — But what 
is he to a lord ? 

Mess, A lord to a lord, a man to a man ; stuffed^ 
with all honourable virtues. 

Beat, It is so, indeed ; he is no less than a stuffed 
man : but for the stuffing, — Well, we are all mortal. 

Le&n, You must not, sir, mistake my niece : there 

^ Flights f were long and light feathered arrows, that went 
directly to the mark ; bird-boltSy shott thick arrows without a 
point, and spreading at the extremity into a blunt nobbed head. 
See Vol. I. p. 312, note 6. The meaning of the whole is : — 
Benedick, from a vain conceit of his influence over women, chal- 
lenged Cupid at the flight (i. e. to shoot at hearts). The fool, 
to ridicule this piece of vanity, in his turn challenged Benedick 
at the' bird-bolt, an inferior kind of archery used by fools, who, 
for obvious reasons, were not permitted to shoot with pointed 
arrows : whence the proverb — ' A fool's bolt is soon shot.' 

» Even. 

' Stuffed, in this first instance, has no ridiculous meaning. 
Mede, in his discourses on Scripture, quoted by Edwards, speak- 
ing of Adam, says, ' he whom Grod had stuffed with so many ex- 
cellent qualities.' And in the Winter's Tale : 

' Of stuffed sufficiency.' 
Beatrice starts an idea at the words stuffed man, and prudently 
checks herself in the pursuit of it. A stuffed man appears to 
have been one of the many cant phrases for a cuckold. 


is a kind of merry tvar betwixt signior Benedick and 
her : they never meet, but there is a skirmish of wit 
between them. 

Beat, Alas, he gets nothing by that. In our last 
conflict, four of his five wits ^^ went halting off, and 
now is the whole man governed with one : so that if 
he have wit enough to keep himself warm, let him 
bear it for a difference ^^ between himself and his 
horse : for it is all the wealth that he hath left, to 
be known a reasonable creature. — Who is his com- 
panion now? He hath every month a new sworn 

Mess. Is it possible ? 

Beat. Very easily possible: he wears his faith 
but as the fashion of his hat, it ever changes with 
the next block ^^. 

Mess. I see, lady, the gentleman is not in your 
books ^'. 

Beat. No : an he were, I would bum my study. 
But, I pray you, who is his companion ? Is there 
no young squarer ^* now, that will . make a voyage 
with him to the devil? 

^° In Shakspeare's time wit was the general term for intel- 
lectual power. The toits seem to have been reckoned five by 
analogy to the five senses. So in Lear, Act iii. So. 4 : ' Bless 
thy five wits.' 

** This is an heraldic term. So, in Hamlet, Ophelia says, 
* You may wear your rue with a difference* 

13 The mould on which a hat is formed. It is here used for 
shape or fashion. See note on Lear, Act iv. Sc. 6. 

1^ The origin of this phrase, which is still in common use, has 
not been clearly explained, though the sense of it is pretty ge- 
nerally understood. The most probable account derives it from 
the circumstance of servants and retainers being entered in the 
books of those to whom they were attached. To be in one*s 
books was to be ih favour. That this was the ancient sense of 
the phrase, and its origin, appears from Florio, in V. — ' Casso, 
Cashier'd, crossed, cancelled, or put out of booke and eheckei 

'* Quarrellen 


Mess, He is most in the company of the right no- 
ble Claudio. 

Beat, O Lord! he will hang upon him like a dis- 
ease: he is sooner caught than the pestilence, and 
the taker runs presently mad. God help the noble 
Claudio ! if he have caught the Benedick, it will 
cost him a thousand pound ere he be cured. 

Mess, I will hold friends with you, lady. 

Beat, Do, good friend. 

Leon, You will never run mad, niece. 

Beat, No, not till a hot January. 

Mess, Don Pedro is approached. 

Enter Don Pedro, attended by Balthazar and 
others, Don John, Claudio, and Benedick. 

D, Pedro, Good signior Leonato, you are come . 
to meet your trouble : the fashion of the world is to 
avoid cost, and you encounter it. 

Leon, Never came trouble to my house in the 
likeness of your grace : for trouble being gone, com- 
fort should remain ; but, when you depart from me, 
sorrow abides, and happiness takes his leave. 

D, Pedro, You embrace your charge ^^ too wil- 
lingly. — I think, this is your daughter. 

Leon, Her mother hath many times told me so. 

Bene, Were you in doubt, sir, that you asked her? 

Leon, Signior Benedick, no; for then were you a 

D, P^dro, You have it full. Benedick : we may 
guess by this what you are, being a man. Truly, 
the lady fathers herself ^^: — Be happy, lady! for 
you are like an honourable father. 

'^ Barthen, incambrance. 

'^ This phrase is common in Dorsetshire. * Jack father's 
himself/ is like his father. 



. Bene. If si^ior Leonato i>e her father, she would 
not have his head on her shoulders, for all Messina, 
as like him as she is. 

Beat. I wonder, that you will still be talking, 
signior Benedick ; no body marks you. 

Bene. What, my dear lady Disdain ! are you yet 

Beat. Is it possible disdain should die, while she 
hath such ^leet food to feed it, as signior Benedick? 
Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you come 
in her presence. 

Bene. Then is courtesy a turn-coat : — But it is 
certain, I am lov'd of all ladies, only you excepted : 
and I would I could find in my heart that I had not 
a hard heart ; for, truly, I love none. 

Beat. A dear happiness to women ; they would 
else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I 
thank God, and my cold blood, I am of your humour 
for that ; I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow, 
than a man swear he loves me. 

Bene. God keep your ladyship still in that mind ! 
so some gentleman or other shall 'scape a predesti- 
nate scratched face. 

Beat. Scratching could not make it worse, an 
'twere such a face as yours were. 

Bene. Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher. 

Beat. A bird of my tongue is better than a beast 
of yours. 

Bene. I would, my horse had the speed of your 
tongue; and so good a continuer: But keep your 
way o'God's name ; I have done. 

Beat. You always end with a jade's trick; I know 
you of old. 

D. Pedro. This is the sum of all : Leonato, — sig- 
nior Claudio, and signior Benedick, — my dear friend 


LeoDatOy hath inyited you all. I tell hun, we shall 
stay here at the least a month ; and he heartily prays, 
some occasion may detain us longer : I dare swear 
he is no hypocrite, but prays from his heart. 

Xeon. If you swear, my lord, you shall not be 
forswom.^-Let me bid you welcome, my lord, being 
reconciled to the pri&ce your brother, I owe you all 

D. John, I thank you : I am not of many words, 
but I thank you. 

Xeon. Please it your grace lead on ? 

D. Pedro. Your hand, Leonato ; we will go toge- 
ther. [Exeunt all but Benedick and Claudio. 

Claud, Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of 
signior Leonato? 

JBene, I noted her not ; but I looked on her. 

Claud, Is she not a modest young lady ? 

Bene. Do you question me, as an honest man 
should do, for my simple true judgment; or would 
you have me speak after my custom, as being a 
professed tyrant to their sex ? 

Claud, No, I pray thee, speak in sober judgment. 

Bene, Why, i'faith, methinks she is too low for a 
high praise, too brown for a fair praise, and too lit- 
tle for a great praise : only this commendation I can 
afford her ; that were she other than she is, she were 
unhandsome ; and being no other but as she is, I do 
not like her. 

Claud, Thouthinkest, I am in sport; I pray thee, 
tell me truly how thou likest her. 

Bene, Would you buy her, that you inquire after 

Claud, Can the world buy such a jewel ? 

Bene, Yea, and a case to put it into. But speak 
you this with a sad brow ? or do you play the flout- 


ing Jack ; to tell us Cupid is a good hare-finder, and 
Vulcan a rare carpenter ^^ ? Come, in what key shall 
a man take you to go in the song ^^ ? 

CUmd, In mine eye, she is the sweetest lady that 
ever I looked on. 

Bene, I can see yet without spectacles, and I 
see no such matter : there's her cousin, an she were 
not possessed with a fury, exceeds her us much in 
beauty, as the first of May doth the last of Decem- 
ber. But I hope, you have no intent to turn hus- 
band ; have you ? 

Clavd, I would scarce trust myself, though I had 
sworn the contrary, if Hero would be my wife. 

Bene, Is it come to this, i'faith? I^ath not the 
world one man, but he will wear his cap with sus^ 
picion ^^ ? Shall I never see a bachelor of threescore 
again ? Go to, i'faith ; an thou wilt needs thrust thy 
neck into a yoke, wear the print of it, and sigh 
away Sundays^®. Look, Don Pedro is returned to 
seek you. 

Re-enter Don Pedro. 

D, Pedro. What secret hath held you here, that 
you followed not to Leonato's ? 

Bene, I would, your grace would constrain me to 
' 1>. Pedro. I charge thee on thy allegiance. 

Bene. You hear. Count Claudio : I can be secret 

' ^"^ Do you scoff and mock in telling us that Cupid, who is 
blind, is a good hare-finder ; and that Vulcan, a blacksmith, is a 
good carpenter? Do you mean to amuse us with improbable 
stories ? 

*^ i. e. to join in the song. 

'^ i. e. subject his head to the disquiet of jealousy. 

^ i. e. become sad and serious. Alluding to the manner in 
which the Puritans usually spent the Sabbath, with sighs and 
gruntings, and ot|ier hypocritical marks of devotion. 


as a dumb man, I would have you think so ; but on 
my allegiance, — ^mark you this, on my allegiance: 
— He is in love. With who? — now that is your 
grace's part. — Mark, how short his answer is: — 
With Hero, Leonato's short daughter. 

Clavd. If this were so, so were it uttered. 

Bene. like the old tale, my lord : it is not so, 
nor ^twas not so ; but, indeed, God forbid it should 
be so *^. 

Claud. If my passion change not shortly, God for- 
bid it should be otherwise. 

D, Pedro. Amen, if you love her ; for the lady 
is very weU worthy. 

Claud. You speak this to fetch me in, my lord. 

D. Pedro. By my troth, I speak my thought. 

Claud. And, in faith, my lord, I spoke mine. 

Bene. And, by my two faiths and troths, my lord, 
I spoke mine. 

Claud. That I love her, I feel. 

!>>. Pedro. That she is worthy, I know. 

Bene. That I neither fe^l how she should be loved, 
nor know how she should be worthy, is the opinion 
that fire cs^nnot melt out of me ; I will die in it at 
the stake. 

B. Pedro. Thou wast ever an obstinate heretick 
in the despite of beauty. 

Claud. And never could maintain his part, but in 
the force of his will^. 

Bene. That a woman conceived me, I thank her; 
that she brought me up, I likewise give her most 

^' The old tale, of which this is the hurthen, has been tradi- 
tionally preserved and recovered by Mr. Blakeway, and is |>er- 
haps one of the most happy illustrations of Shakspeare that has 
ever appeared. It is to be found at the end of the play in the 
late edition of Shakspeare by Mr. Boswell. I regret that its 
length precludes me from printing it. 

^ AlladJD^ to the deSmtion of a heretic in live «q\io<^&. 



hnmble thanks: but tint I will hawe a recheat^ 
winded in my forehead, or han^ mj bn^~^ in an 
invisible baldrick^, all women shall pardon me: 
Because I will not do tlmn the wrong to mistnist 
any, I will do myself the right to trust none ; and 
the fine^ is (for the which I may go the 6ner), I 
will liye a bachelor. 

D. Pedro. I shall see thee, ere I die, loc^ pale 
with loye. 

Bene. With anger, with sickness, or widi hon- 
ger, my lord ; not with love : prove, tiiat erer I lose 
more blood with love, dian I will g^ again with 
drinking, pick out mine eyes with a ballad-maker's 
pen, and hang me up at the door of a brothel-house, 
for the sign of blind Cupid. 

D. Pedro. Well, if ever thou dost fall from this 
faith, thou wilt prove a notable argument^. 

Bene, If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat^, 
and shoot at me; and he that hits me, let him be 
clapped on the shoulder, and called Adam^. 

^ That is, wear a horn on my forehead, which the huntsman 
may blow. A recheat is tlie sound bj whicli the dogs are called 

^ i. e. bugle-horn. 

^ A belt, Tlie meaning seems to be — ' or that I should be 
eoropelled to carry a horn on mj forehead where there is nothing 
visible to support iW 

* The fine is the conclusion. ^ A capital subject for satire. 

^ It seems to hare been one of the inhuman sports of the 
time, to enclose a cat in a wooden tub or bottle suspended aloft 
to be shot at. The practice was, not many years since, kept up at 
Kelso in Scotland, according to Ebenezer Lazarus, a silly me- 
thodist, who has described the whole ceremony in his account of 
Kelso. He, however, justly stigmatizes it, saying : 

* The cat in the barrel exhibits such a farce. 
That he who can relish it is worse than an ass.' 
^ i. e. Adam Bell, ' a passing good archer,' who, with Clym 
pf the Cloughe and William of Cloudeslie, were outlaws as fa- 
mous in the north of England, as, Robin Hood and his fellows 
were in the midland counties. 


D, Pedro. Well, as time shall try : 
In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke^. 

Bene, The savage bull may ; but if eyer the sen- 
sible Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull's horns, 
and set them in my forehead : and let me be vilely 
painted; and in such great letters as they write. 
Here is good horse to hire, let them signify under my 
sign — Here you may see Benedick the married man, 

Claud. If this should ever happen, thou would'st 
be horn-mad. 

D. Pedro. Nay, if Cupid have not spent all his 
quiver in Venice'^, thou wilt quake for this shortly. 

Bene. I look for an earthquake too then. 

D, Pedro. Well, you will temporize with the 
hours. In the mean time, good signior Benedick, 
repair to Leonato's ; commend me to him, and tell 
him, I will not fail him at supper; for, indeed, he 
hath made great preparation. 

Bene, I have almost matter enough in me for 
such an embassage : and so I commit you — 

Claud. To the tuition of God : Prom my house, 
(if I had it)— 

D, Pedro, The sixth of July : Your loving friend, 

Bene. Nay, mock not, mock not : The body of 
your discourse is sometime guarded ^^ with fragments, 
and the guards are but slightly basted on neither : 
ere you flout old ends any further, examine your 
conscience ^^, and so I leave you. 

[Exit Benedick. 

^ This line is from The Spanish Tragedy, or Hieronimo, &c. ; 
and occurs, with a slight variation, in Watson's Sonnets, 1581. 

'^ Venice is represented in the same light as Cjpms among 
the ancients, and it is this character of the people Uiat is here 
alluded to. 

^ Trimmed, ornamented. 

^ ' Examine if your sarcasms do not touch yourself.' Old 
4nds probably means the conclusions of letters, vi\uc\i "wet^ ^«r 
qnently couched in <Ae quaint forms used above. 



Claud. My liege, your highness now may do me 

D. Pedro. My love is thine to teach; teach it 
but howy 
And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn 
Any hard lesson that may do thee good. 

CUmd. Hath I^onato any son, my lord ! 

D. Pedro. No child but Hero, she's his only 
Dost thou affect her, Claudio? 

Claud. O my lord. 

When you went onward on this ended action, 
I look'd upon her with a soldier's eye. 
That lik'd, but had a rougher task in hand 
Than to drive liking to the name of love : 
But now I am retum'd, and that war-thoughts 
Have left their places vacant, in their rooms 
Come thronging soft and delicate desires. 
All prompting me how fair young Hero is. 
Saying, I lik'd her ere I went to wars. 

D. Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover presently. 
And tire the hearer with a book of words : 
If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it ; 
And I will break with her, and with her father, 
And thou shalt have her : Was't not to this end. 
That thou began'st to twist so fine a story ? 

Claud. How sweetly do you minister to love. 
That know love's grief by his complexion ! 
But lest my liking might too sudden seem, 
I would have salv'd it with a longer treatise. 

D. Pedro. What need the bridge much broader 
than the flood ? 
The fairest grant is the necessity^: 

** Mr. Hajley, with great acateness, proposed to read, * The 
fairest grant is to necessity ;' i. e. necessitas quod cogU defendUJ 
The meaning may howeYeT \>e — ^ T\ve i«^x<i%\. qx Tiv»«»i «<\uitabl0 
coBcessiofi is that, which is neediiiiV OTA'S. 


Look, what will serve, is fit: 'tis once^, thou loy'st; 

And I will fit thee with the remedy. 

I know we shall have revelling to-night; 

I will assume thy part in some disguise, 

And tell fair Hero I am Claudio ; 

And in her bosom I'll unclasp my heart, 

And take her hearing prisoner with the force 

And strong encounter of my amorous tale : 

Then, after, to her father will I break ; 

And, the conclusion is, she shall be thine : 

In practice let us put it presently. [Exeunt, 

SCENE II. A Room in Leonato's House, 

Enter Leonato and Antonio. 

Leon, How now, brother? Where is my cousin, 
your son ? Hath he provided this musick ? 

Ant. He is very busy about it. But, brother, I 
can tell you strange news that you yet dreamed 
not of. 

Leon, Are they good ? 

Ant, As the event stamps them ; but they hdve 
a good cover, they show well outward. The prince 
and Count Claudio, walking in a thick-pleached^ 
alley in my orchard, were thus much overheard by 
a man of mine : The prince discovered to Claudio, 
that he loved my niece your daughter, and meant 
to acknowledge it this night in a dance; and, if he 
found her accordant, he meant to take the present 
time by the top, and instantly break with you of it. 

Leon, Hath the fellow any wit, that told you this? 

Ant, A good sharp fellow : I will send for him, 
and question him yourself. 

^ i. e. once for all. So, in Coriolanus : * Once if he do re- 
quire oar Toices, we ought not to deny him.' See Comedy of 
Errors, Act iii. Sc. 1. 

* Thickly interwoven. 


Leon. No, no ; we will hold it as a dream, till it 
appear itself: — but I will acquaint my daughter 
withal, that she may be the better prepared for an 
answer, if peradventure this be true. Go you, and 
tell her of it. [Several persons cross the stage.'] Cou- 
sins^, you know what you have to do. — O, I cry 
you mercy, friend ; you go with me, and I will use 
your skill:— Good cousins, have a care this busy 
time. [ExewKt. 

SCENE III. Another Room in Leonato's House, 

Enter Don John and Conrade. 

Con. What the good year ^, my lord ! why are you 
thus out of measure sad ? 

2). John, There is no measure in the occasion 
that breeds it, therefore the sadness is without limit. 

Con. You should hear reason. 

D. John. And when I have h^ard it, what blessing 
bringeth it? 

Con. If not a present remedy, yet a patient suf- 

2). John. I wonder, that thou being (as diou say'st 
thou art) bom under Saturn, goest about to apply 
a moral medicine to a mortifying mischief. I can- 
not hide what I am^: I must be sad when I have 

^ Cousins were formerly enrolled among the dependants, if 
not the domestics of great families, such as that of Leonato. — 
Petruchio, while intent on the subjection of Katharine, caJQs oat 
in terms imperative for his cousin Ferdinand. 

' The commentators say, that the original form of this excla- 
mation was the gougere, i. e. morbus gallicus; which ultimately 
became obscure, and was corrupted into the good yeax, a yery 
opposite form of expression. 

^ This is one of Shakspeare's natural touches. An enTions 
and unsocial mind, too proud to give pleasure, and too »ullen to 
receive it, always endeavours to hide its malignity from the 
world and from itself, under the plainness of simple honesty, or 
the dignity of haughty independeace. 


cause, and smile at no man's jests ; eat when I have 
stomach, and wait for no man's leisure ; sleep when 
I am drowsy, and tend to no man's business ; laugh 
when I am merry, and claw^ no man in his humour. 

Can. Yea, but you must not make the full show 
of this, till you may do it without controlment. You 
have of late stood out against your brother, and he 
hath ta'en you newly into his grace ; where it is im- 
possible you should take true root, but by the fair 
weather that you make yourself: it is needful that 
you frame the season for your own harvest. 

D. John. I had rather be a canker^ in a hedge, 
than a rose in his grace ; and it better fits my blood 
to be disdained of all, than to feishion a carriage to 
rob love from any ; in this, though I cannot be said 
to be a flattering honest man, it must not be denied 
that I am a plain-dealing villain. I am trusted with 
a muzzle, and enfranchised with a clog ; therefore 
I have decreed not to sing in my cage : If I had 
my mouth, I would bite; if I had my liberty, I 
would do my liking : in the mean time, let me be 
that I am, and seek not to alter me. 

Con, Can you make no use of your discontent? 

D. John. I make all use of it, for I use it only^. 
Whcrcomes here? What news, Borachio? ^ 

Ikter Borachio. 

Bora. I came yonder from a great supper; the 
prince, your brother, is royally entertained by Leo- 
nato ; and I can give you intelligence of an intended 

« Flatter. 

^ A canker is the canker-rose, or dog-rose. ' I had rather be 
a neglected dog-rose in a hedge, than a garden-rose if it profited 
by his culture.' 

^ i. e. ' for I make netfaing else mj counseUoi,' 


2>. John, Will it serve for any model ^ to build 
mischief on? What is he for a fool, that betroths 
himself to unquietness? 

Bora, Marry, it is your brother's right hand. 

2>. John. Who? the most exquisite Claudio? 

Bora, Even he. 

2>. John, A proper squire! And who, and who? 
which way looks he ? 

Bora, Marry, on Hero, the daughter and heir of 

D, John, A very forward March chick I How 
came you to this? 

Bora. Being entertained for a perfumer, as I was 
smoking a musty room^, comes me the prince and 
Claudio, hand in hand, in sad^ conference: I whipt 
me behind the arras ; and there heard it agreed upon, 
that the prince should woo Hero for himself, and 
having obtained her, give her to count Claudio. 

D, John, Come, come, let us thither; this may 
prove food to my displeasure : that young start-up 
hath all the glory of my overthrow ; if I can cross 
him any way, I bless myself every way : You are 
both sure^, and will assist me? 

Con. To the death, my lord. 

D, John, Let us to the great supper ; their cheer 
is the greater, that I am subdued : 'Would the cook 
were of my mind ! — Shall we go prove what's to be 

Bora, We'll wait upon your lordship. [Exeunt. 

' Model is here used in an unusual sense, but Bnllokar ex- 
plains it, * Model, the plaiforme, or form of any thing.' 

"^ The neglect of cleanliness among oar ancestors rendered 
such precautions too often necessary. In Burton's Anatomy of 
Melancholy : * the smoke of juniper is in great request with us 
at Oxford to stoeeten our chambers.' See also K. Henry IV. P. 
2. Act V. Sc.4, 

^ iSerions. ^ i. e. to be depended on. 



SCENE I. A Hall in Leonato's House. 

Enter Leonato, Antonio, Hero, Beatrice, 

and others. 

Leon. Was not count John here at supper? 

Ant. I saw him not. 

Beat. How tartly that gentleman looks ! I never 
can see him, but I am heart-burned an hour after. 

Hero. He is of a very melancholy disposition. 

Beat. He were an excellent man, that were made 
just in the mid-way between him and Benedick : the 
one is too like an image, and says nothing ; and the 
other, too like my lady's eldest son, evermore tattling. 

Leon. Then half signior Benedick's tongue in 
count John's mouth, and half count John's melan- 
choly in signior Benedick's face, — 

Beat. With a good leg, and a good foot, uncle, 
and money enough in his purse, such a man would 
win any woman in the world,— if he could get her 
good will. 

Leon. By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee 
a husband, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue. 

Ant. In faith, she is too curst. 

Beat. Too curst is more than curst : I shall lessen 
God's sending that way : for it is said, God sends a 
eurst cow short horns; but to a cow too curst he 
sends none. 

Leon. So, by being too curst, God will send you 
no horns. 

Beat. Just, if he send me no husband : for the 
which blessing, I am at him upon my knees every 
morning and evening : Lord ! I could not ewdxae ^ 

VOL. //. N 


husband with a beard on his face ; I had rather lie 
in the woollen. 

Leon, You may light upon a husband, that hath 
no beard. 

Beat. What should I do with him? dress him in 
my apparel, and make him my waiting gentlewoman? 
He that hath a beard, is more than a youth ; and he 
that hath no beard, is less than a man : and he that 
is more than a youth, is not for me ; and he that is 
less than a man, I am not for him. Therefore I will 
even take sixpence in earnest of the bear-herd, and 
lead his apes into hell. 

Leon. Well then, go you into hell ? 

Beat. No; but to the gate; and there will the 
devil meet me, like an old cuckold, with horns on 
his head, and say. Get you to heaven, Beatrice, get 
you to heaven ; hert^s no place for you maids: so de- 
liver I up my apes, and away to Saint Peter for the 
heavens ; he shows me where the bachelors sit, and 
there live we as merry as the day is long. 

Ant. Well, niece, [To Hero.] I trust, you will 
be ruled by your father. 

Beat. Yes, faith ; it is my cousin's duty to make 
courtesy, and say. Father, as it please you: — but 
yet for all that, cousin, let him be a handsome fel- 
low, or else make another courtesy, and say. Father, 
as it please me. 

Leon. ^el\, niece, I hope to see you one day 
fitted with a husband. 

Beat. Not till God make men of some other metal 
than earth. Woyld it not grieve a woman to be 
over-mastered with a piece of vaUant dust? to make 
an account of her life to a clod of wa3rward marl ? 
No, uncle, I'll none : Adam's sons are my brethren ; 
and truly, I hold it a sin to match in my kindred. 

Zeon. Daughter, Temembet what I told you : if 


the prince do solicit you in that kind, you know 
your answer. 

Beat, The fault will be in the musick, cousin, if 
you be not woo'd in good time : if the prince be too 
important^, tell him, there is measure^ in every thing, 
and so dance out the answer. For hear me. Hero ; 
Wooing, wedding, and repenting, is as a Scotch jig, 
a measure, and a cinque-pace : the first suit is hot 
and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as fantastical ; 
the wedding, mannerly-modest, as a measure full of 
state and ancientry; and then comes repentance, 
and, with his bad legs, falls into the cinque-pace 
faster and faster, till he sink into his grave. 

Leon, Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly. 

Beat, I have a good eye, uncle; I can see a 
church by day-light. 

Leon, The revellers are entering; brother, make 
good room. 

Enter Don Pedro, Claudio, Benedick, Bal- 
thazar; Don John, Borachio, Marga- 
ret, Ursula, and others, masked, 

D, Pedro, Lady, >vill you walk about with your 
friend ' ? 

Hero, So you walk softly, and look sweetly, and 
say nothing, I am yours for the walk; and, espe- 
cially, when I walk away. 

1>. Pedro, With me in your company ? 

^ Importanate. 

^ A measure in old langnage, besides its ordinary meaning, 
signified also a dance. So, in Richard II. 

' My legs can keep no meature in delight. 
When my poor heart no measure keeps in grief.' 
The measures were grave solemn dances with slow and measured 
steps like the minuet ; and therefore described as * full of state 
and ancientry.' 
' Lover. 


Hero. I may say so, when I please. 

2>. Pedro. And when please you to say so? 

Hero. When I like your favour ; for God defend, 
the lute should be like the case^! 

D. Pedro. My visor is Philemon's roof; within 
the house is Jove^. 

J3m>. Why, then your visor should be thatch'd. 

D. Pedro, Speak low, if you speak love. 

[ Takes her aside. 

Bene. Well, I would you did like me. 

Marg. So would not I, for your own sake ; for 
I have many ill qualities. 

Bene, Which is one? 

Marg, I say my prayers aloud. 

Bene. I love you the better; the hearers may 
cry. Amen. 

Marg. God match me with a good dancer ! 

Balth. Amen. 

Marg. And God keep him out of my sight, when 
the dance is done ! — Answer, clerk. 

Balth. No more words ; the clerk is answered. 

Urs. I know you well enough; you are signipr 

Ant. At a word, I am not. 

Urs. I know you by the waggling of your head. 

Ant. To tell you true, I counterfeit him. 

^ That is, ' Godiforhid that your face should be as homely and 
coarse as your mask.' 

^ Alluding to the fable of Baucis and Philemon in Ovid, who 
describes the old couple as living in a thatched cottage : 

* Stiptdis et cannd tecta palustri/ 

which Golding renders : 

* The roofe thereof was thcUched all with straw and fennish 

Jacques, in As You Like, It, again alludes to it : 

' O knowledge ill-inhabited, worse than Jove in a ihatched- 


Urs. You could never do him so ill-well, unless 
you were the very man: Here's his dry hand up 
and down; you are he, you are he. 

Ant, At a word, I am not. 

Urs. Come, come ; do you think I do not know 
you by your excellent wit? Can virtue hide itself? 
Go to, mum, you are he: graces will appear, and 
there's an end. 

Beat. Will you not tell me who told you so? 

Bene. No, you shall pardoti me. 

Beat, Nor will you not tell me who you are? 

Bejie. Not now. 

Beat. That I was disdainful, — and that I had 
my good wit out of the Hundred merry Tales ^: — 
Well, this was signior Benedick that said so. 

Bene. What's he ? 

Beat. I am sure, you know him well enough. 

Bene. Not I, believe me. 

Beat. Did he never make you laugh ? 

Bene. I pray you, what is he ? 

Beat. Why, he is the prince's jester; a very dull 
fool; only his gift is in devising impossible^ slan- 
ders: none but libertines delight in him; and the 

^ This was the term for & jest-book in Shakspeare's time, from 
a popular collection of that name, ahout which the commentators 
were mach puzzled, until a large fragment was discoTered in 
1815, by my late lamented friend the Rev. J. Conybeare, Pro- 
fessor of Poetry in Oxford. I had the gratification of printing 
a few copies at the Chiswick press, under the title of * Shak- 
speare's Jest Book.' It was printed by Rastell, and therefore 
must have been published previous to 1533. Another collection 
of the same kind, called ' Tales and Qoicke Answeres/ printed 
by Berthelette, and of nearly equal antiquity, was also reprinted 
at the same time ; and it is remarkable that this collection is 
cited by Sir John Harrington under the title of ' the hundred 
merry tales.' It continued for a long period to be the popular 
name for collections of this sort, for in the London Chaunticlere, 
1659, it is mentioned as being cried for sale by a ballad man. 

^ Incredible, or inconceivable. 



commendation is not in his wit, but in his villany; 
for he both pleaseth men, and angers them, and then 
they laugh at him, and beat him : I am sure, he is 
in the fleet: I would^he had boarded^ me. 

Bene, When I know the gentleman, I'll tell him 
what you say. 

Beat, Do, do : he'll but break a comparison or 
two on me; which, peradventure, not marked, or 
not laughed at, strikes him into melancholy; and 
then there's a partridge' wing saved, for the fool 
will eat no supper that night. [Mustek within^ 

We must follow the leaders. 

Bene, In every good thing. 

Beat, Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave 
them at the next turning. 

[Dance, Then exeunt all hut Don John, 
BoRACHio, and Claudio. 

D, John, Sure, my brother is amorous on Hero, 
and hath withdrawn her father to break with him 
about it : The ladies follow her, and but one visor 

Bora, And that is Claudio : I know him by his 
bearing 9. 

2>. John. Are not you signior Benedick? 

Clavd, You know me well; I am he. 

D, John. Signior, you are very near my brother 
in his love: he is enamoured on Hero; I pray you, 
dissuade him from her, she is no equal for his birth : 
you may do the part of an honest man in it. 

Claud. How know you he loves her? 

D. John, I heard him swear his affection. 

Bora, So did I too; and he swore he would 
marry her to-night. 

? Boarded, besides its usual meaning, signified accosted, 
^ Carriage, demeanour. 


D, John, Come, let us to the banquet. 

[Exeunt Don John and Borachio. 

Claud, Thus answer I in name of Benedick, 
But hear these ill news with the ears of Claudio. — 
Tis certain so ; — the prince woos for himself. 
Friendship is constant in all other things. 
Save in the office and affairs of love : 
Therefore ^^, all hearts in love use their own tongues ; 
Let every eye negotiate for itself, 
And trust no agent : for beauty is a witch. 
Against whose charms faith melteth into blood ^^. 
This is an accident of hourly proof. 
Which I mistrusted not : Farewell therefore, Hero ! 

Re-enter Benedick* 

Bene. Count Claudio ? 

Claud. Yea, the same. 

Bene. Come, will you go with me ? 

Claud. Whither? 

Bene. Even to the next willow, about your own 
business, count. What fashion will you wear the 
garland of? About your neck, like an usurer's 
chain ^^? or under your arm, like a lieutenant's 
scarf? You must wear it one way, for the prince 
hath got your Hero. 

*° Letf which is found in the next line, is understood here. 

1* Blood signifies amorous heat or passion. So, in All's Well 
that Ends Well, Act iii. Sc. 7 : 

' Now his important blood will nonght depj, 
That she'll demand.' 

13 Chains of gold of considerable valof were, in Shakspeare's 
time, worn by wealthy citizens, and others, in the same manner 
as they are now on public occasions by the aldermen of London. 
Usury was then a common topic of invective. Sp, in ' The 
Choice of Change,' 1698, ' Three sortes of people, in respect of 
necessity, may be accounted good : — Merchants f for they may 
play the usurers, instead of the Jews, &c.' Again, * There is a 
scarcity of Jews, because Christians mak« m ooouv^\ifi^ <i^ 



140 MUCH ADO ACT 11. 

Claud. I wish him joy of her. 

Bene. Why, that's spoken like an honest drover; 
so they sell bullocks. But did you think the prince 
would have served you thus? 

Claud, I pray you, leave me. 

Bene. Ho! now you strike like the blind man; 
'twas the boy that stole your meat, and you'll beat 
the post. 

Claud. If it will not be, I'll leave you. [Exit. 

Bene. Alas, poor hurt fowl ! Now will he creep 

into sedges. But, that my lady Beatrice should 

know me, and not know me I The Prince's fool ! — 
Ha ! it may be, I go under that title, because I am 
merry. — Yea; but so ; I am apt to do myself wrong: 
I am not so reputed : it is the base, the bitter dispo- 
sition of Beatrice, that puts Uie world into her per- 
son, and so gives me out^^. TV ell, I'll be revenged 
as I may. 

Re-enter Don Pedro. 

D. Pedro. Now, signior, where's the count; 
Did you see him ? 

Bene. Troth, my lord, I have play'd the part of 
lady Fame. I found him here as melancholy as a 
lodge in a warren^*; I told him, and, I think, I told 
him true, that your grace had got the good will of 
this young lady; and I offered him my company 
to a willow tree, either to make him a garland, as 

*' * It is the disposition of Beatrice, who takes upon herself to 
personate the world, and therefore represents the world as say- 
ing what she only says herself.' 

** A parallel thought occurs in Isaiah, c. i. where the prophet, 
in describing the desolation of Jndah, says : ' The daughter of 
Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of 
cucumbers,' &c. It appears that these lonely buildings were 
necessary, as the cucumbers, &c. were obliged to be constantly 
watched and watered, and that as soon as the crop was gathered 
they wereforsakm. 


being forsaken, or to bind him up a rod, as being 
worthy to be whipped. 

D. Pedro. To be whipped! Whafs his fault? 

Bene. Theflattransgressionof a schoolboy; who, 
being overjoyed with finding a bird's nest, shows it 
his companion, and he steals it. 

D. Pedro. Wilt thou make a trust a transgression ? 
The transgression is in the stealer. 

Bene. Yet it had not been amiss, the rod had 
been made, and the garland too ; for the garland he 
might have worn himself; and the rod he might have 
bestowed on you, who, as I take it, have stol'n his 
bird's nest. 

2). Pedro. I will but teach them to sing, and rer 
store them to the owner. 

Bene, If their singing answer your saying, by my 
faith, you say honestly. 

I), Pedro. The lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to 
you; the gentleman, that danced with he;:, told her, 
she is much wronged by you. 

Bene. O, she misused me past the endurance of 
a block; an oak, but with one green leaf on it, 
would have answered her; my very visor began to 
assume life, and scold with her^^: She told me, not 
thinking I had been myself, that I was the prince's 
jester : that I was duller than a great thaw ; huddling 
jest upon jest, with such impossible ^^ conveyance, 
upon me, that I stood like a man at a mark, with a 

'^ It is singular that a similar thonght should Be found in the 
tenth Thebaid of Statins, t. 658. 

* ■ ipsa insanire videtnr 
Sphynx galeae cnstos.' 

*' i. e. 'with a rapidity equal to that of jugglers/ whose con- 
veyance§ or tricks appear impossibilities. Impossible may, howv-^ 
ever, be used in the sense of incredible or inconceivablef both 
here and in the beginning of the scene, where Beatrice speak | 
of * in^ssible slanders.' 


whole army shooting at me: She speaks poniards, 
and every word stabs : if her breath were as terrible 
as her terminations, there ^ere no Uving near her, 
she would infect to the north star. I would not 
marry her, though she were endowed with all that 
Adam had left him before he transgressed; she 
would have made Hercules have turned spit; yea, 
and have cleft his club to make the fire too. Come, 
talk not of her; you shall find her the infernal At^^^ 
in good apparel. I would to God, some scholar 
would conjure her ; for, certainly, while she is here, 
a man may live as quiet in hell, as in a sanctuary; 
and people sin upon purpose, because they would 
go thither: so, indeed, all disquiet, horror, and per- 
turbation follow her. 

Re-enter Claudio, Beatrice, Hero, and 


2>. Pedro, Look, here she comes. 

Bene. Will your grace command me any service 
to the world's end? I will go on the slightest errand 
now to the Antipodes, that you can devise to send 
me on; I will fetch you a toothpicker now from the 
farthest inch of Asia ; bring you the length of Prester 
John's foot ; fetch you a hair off the great Cham's 
beard : do you any embassage to the Pigmies, rather 
than hold tiiree words' conference with this harpy : 
You have no employment for me ? 

D, Pedro. None, but to desire your good com- 

Bene, O God, sir, here's a dish I love not; I 
cannot endure my lady Tongue. [Exit. 

D. Pedro. Come, lady, come; you have lost die 
heart of signior Benedick. 

Beat. Indeed, my lord, he lent it me a while; 

^^ The goddess of discord. 


and I give him use^® for it, a double heart for his 
single one: marry, once before, he won it of me 
with false dice, therefore your grace may well say, 
I have lost it. 

D. Pedro, You have put him down, lady, you 
have put him down. 

Beat, So I would not he should do me, my lord, 
lest I should prove the mother of fools. I have 
brought count Claudio, whom you sent me to seek. 

D, Pedro, Why, how now, count ? wherefore are 
you sad? 

Claud, Not sad, my lord. 

B. Pedro, How then? Sick? 

Claud, Neither, my lord. 

Beat, The count is neither sad, nor sick, nor 
merry, nor well : but civil, count ; civil as an orange, 
and something of that jealous complexion. 

D, Pedro, I'faith, lady, I think your bla:2;on to be 
true ; though, I'll be sworn, if he be so, his conceit 
b false. Here, Claudio, I have wooed in thy name, 
and fair Hero is won ; I have broke with her father, 
and his good will obtained : name the day of mar- 
riage, and God give thee joy ! 

Leon, Count, take of me my daughter, and with 
her my fortunes : his grace hath made die match, 
and all grace say Amen to it ^ 

Beat, Speak, count, 'tis your cue ^9. 

Claud, Silence is the perfectest herald of joy : I 
were but little happy, if I could say how much. — 
Lady, as you are mine, I am yours : I give away 
myself for you, and dote upon the exchange. 

Beat, Speak, cousin ; or, if you cannot, stop his 
mouth with a kiss, and let him not speak neither. 

" Interest. 

*• i. e. jour par* or turn; a phrase among the players. V, Note 
on Hamlet, Act ii. So. 2. 


D. Pedro. In faith, lady, you have a merry heart. 

Beat. Yea, my lord : I thank it, poor fool/ it 
keeps on the windy side of care : — My cousin tells 
him in his ear, that he is in her heart. 

Claud. And so she doth, cousin. 

Beat. Good lord, for alliance ! — ^Thus goes every 
one to the world but I^^, and I am sun-burned; I 
may sit in a corner, and cry, heigh ho ! for a husband. 

D. Pedro. Lady Beatrice, 1 will get you one. ' 

Beat. I would rather have one of your father's 
getting : Hath your grace ne'er a brother like you? 
Your father got excellent husbands, if a maid could 
come by them. 

D. Pedro. Will you have me, lady? 

Beat. No, my lord, unless I tnight have another 
for working-days ; your grace is too costly to wear 
every day : — But, I beseech your grace, pardon me : 
I was born to speak all mirth, and no matter. 

D. Pedro. Your silence most offends me, and to 
be merry best becomes you; for, out of question^ 
you were bom in a merry hour. 

Beat. No, sure, my lord, my mother cry'd ; but 
then there was a star danced, and under that was I 
born.— Cousins, God give you joy ! 

Leon. Niece, will you look to those things I told 
you of? 

Beat. I cry you mercy, uncle. — By your grace's 
pardon. [Exit Beatrice. 

D. Pedro. By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady. 

Leon. Thete's little of the melancholy element in 
her, my lord : she is never sad, but when she sleeps ; 
and not ever sad then; for I have heard my daugh- 

^ i. e. good lord, how many alliances are forming ! Every 008* 
is likely to be married but I. I am sun-burned means * I have 
lost my beauty; and am conseqaently no longer an object to 
tempt a man to marry.' 


ter say, she hath often dreamed of unhappmess^, 
and waked herself with laughing. 

D. Pedro. She cannot endure to hear tell of a 

Xeoft. O, by no means ; she mocks all her wooers 
out of suit. 

D. Pedro, She were an excellent wife for Benedick. 

Leon. O lord, my lord, if they were but a week 
married, they would talk themselves mad. 

D. Pedro. Count Claudio, when mean you to go 
to church? 

Claud. To-morrow, my lord: Time goes on 
crutches, till love have all his rites. 

Leon. Not till Monday, my dear son, which is 
hence a just seven-night : and a time too brief too, 
to have all things answer my mind. 

D. Pedro. Come, you shake the head at so long 
a breathing ; but, I warrant thee, Claudio, the time 
shall not go dully by us ; I will, in the interim, un- 
dertake one of Hercules' labours ; which is, to bring 
signior Benedick and the lady Beatrice into a moun- 
tain of affection ^^, the one wi^h the other. I would 
fain have it a match ; and I doubt not but to fashion 

^^ i. e. mischief. Unhappy was often ased for misehiewmSf as 
we now say an unlucky boj for a mischievous hoy. So, in All's 
Well that Ends Well, Act iv. So. 5 : 

* A shrewd knave and an unhappy,^ 

^ * A mountain of affection with one another' is, as Johnson 
observes, a strange expression ; yet all that is meant appears to 
be ' a great deal of affection.' In the Renegado, by Massinger, 
we have : 

* 'tis but parting with 

A mountain of vexation.' 

Thus also in Hamlet, * a sea of troubles ;' and in Henry VIII. 
' a seu of glory.' In the Comedy of Errors : ' the mountain of 
mad flesh that claims marriage of me.* And in other places, ' a 
storm of fortune,' ' the vtUe of years,' * a tempest of provocation.' 



it, if you three will but minister such assistance as 
I shall give you direction. 

Lecn, My lord, I am for you, though it cost me 
ten nights' watchings. 

Claud. And I, my lord. 

D. Pedro. And you too, gentle Hero? 

Hero. I will do any modest office, my lord, to 
help my cousin to a good husband. 

D. Pedro. And Benedick is not the unhopefullest 
husband that I know: thus far can I praise him; 
he is of a noble strain^, of approved valour, and 
confirmed honesty. I will teach you how to hu- 
mour your cousin, that she shall fall in love with 
Benedick: — and I, with your two helps, will so 
practice on Benedick, that, in despite of his quick 
wit and his queasy ^^ stomach, he shall fall in love 
with Beatrice. If we can do this, Cupid is no 
longer an archer; his glory shall be ours, for we are 
the only love-gods. Go in with me, and I will tell 
you my drift. [Exeunt 

SCENE II. Another Room in Leonato's House. 

Enter Don John and Borachio. 

D. John, It is so : the count Claudio shall marry 
the daughter of Leonato. 

Bora. Yea, my lord ; but I can cross it. 

D. John. Any bar, any cross, any impediment 
will be medicinable to me : I am sick in displeasure 
to him ; and whatsoever comes athwart his affection, 
ranges evenly with mine. How canst thou cross 
this marriage? 

Bora. Not honestly, my lord; but so covertly 
that no dishonesty shall appear in me. 

D. John. Show me briefly how. 

^ The same as strene, descent, lineage. ^ Squeamish. 


Bcnra. I think, I told your lordship, a year since, 
how much I am in the favour of Margaret, the 
waiting-gentlewoman to Hero. 

D. John. I remember. 

Bora. I can, at anv unseasonable instant of the 
night, appoint her to look out at her lady's chamber- 

D. John, What life is in that to be the death of 
this marriage? 

Bora. The poison of that lies in you to temper. 
Go you to the prince your brother ; spare not to tell 
him, that he hath wronged his honour in marrying 
the renowned Claudio (whose estimation do you 
mightily hold up) to a contaminated stale ^, such a 
one as Hero. 

D. John. What proof shall I make of that? 

Bora. Proof enough to misuse the prince, to vex 
Claudio, to undo Hero, and kill Leonato : Look 
you for any other issue ? 

D. John. Only to despite them, I will endeavour 
any thing. 

Bora. Go then, find me a meet hour to draw Don 
Pedro and the count Claudio alone : tell them, that 
you know that Hero loves me; intend^ a kind of 
zeal bodi to the prince and Claudio, as — in love of 
your brother's honour, who hath made, this match; 
and his friend's reputation, who is thus like to be 
cozened with the semblance of a maid, — that you 
have discovered thus. They will scarcely believe 
this without trial : offer them instances ; which shall 
bear no less likelihood, than to see me at her cham- 
ber-window; hear me call Margaret, Hero; hear 

' Shakspeare uses stale here, and in a snbseqnent scene, for 
an abandoned woman, A stale also meant a decoy or /urs, but 
the two words had difTerent origins. It is obyions why the 
term was applied to prostitutes. 

3 Pretend, 


Margaret term me Claudio'; and bring them to 
see this, the very night before the intended wedding; 
for, in the mean time I will so fashion the matter, 
that Hero shall be absent ; and there shall appear 
such seeming truth of Hero's disloyalty, that jea- 
lousy shall be call'd assurance, and all tiie prepara- 
tion overthrown. 

D. John. Grow this to what adverse issue it can, 
I will put it in practice : Be cunning in the working 
this, and thy fee is a thousand ducats. 

Bora, Be you constant in the accusation, and my 
cunning shall not shame me. 

D. John. I will presently go learn their day of 
marriage. [ExewiU. 

SCENE III. Leonato's Garden. 

Enter Benedick and a Boy. 

Bene. Boy, — 

Boy. Siguier. 

Bene. In my chamber-window lies a book ; bring 
it hither to me in the orchard ^. 

Boy. I am here, already, sir. 

Bene. I know that ; — but I would have thee hence, 
and here again. [Exit Boy.] — I do much wonder, 

^ The old copies read Claudio here. Theobald altered it to 
Borachio; yet if Claudio be wrongs it is most probably the poet's 
oyersight. Claadio might conceive that the supposed Hero, 
called Borachio by the name of Claudio in consequence of a se- 
cret agreement between them, as a cover in case she were over- 
heard ; and he would know without a possibility of error that it 
was not Claudio with whom in fact she conversed. For the 
other arguments |7ro and con we must refer to the variorum 

' Orchard in Shakspeare's time signified a garden. So, in 
Romeo and Juliet : 

' The orchard walls are high and hard to climb.' 
This word was first written hort'-yard, then by corruption hort- 
chard, and hence orchard. 


that oDe man, seeing how much another man is a 
fool when he dedicates his behaviours to love, will, 
after he hath laughed at such shallow follies in others, 
become the argument of his own scorn, by falling in 
love : And such a man is Claudio. I have known, 
when there was no musick with him but the drum 
and fife; and now had he rather hear the tabor and 
the pipe : I have known, when he would have walked 
ten mile afoot, to see a good armour ; and now will 
he lie ten nights awake, carving the fashion of a new 
doublet^. He was wont to speak plain, and to the 
purpose, like an honest man, and a soldier ; and now 
is he tum*d orthographer ; his words are a very fan- 
tastical banquet, just so many strange dishes. May 
I be so converted, and see with these eyes ? I can* 
not tell ; I think not : I will not be sworn, but love 
may transform me to an oyster; but I'll take my 
oath on it, till he have made an oyster of me, he 
shall never make me such a fool. One woman is 
fair ; yet I am well : another is wise ; yet I am well : 
another virtuous; yet I am well: but till all graces 
be in one woman, one woman shall not come in my 
grace. Rich she shall be, that's certain ; wise, or 
I'll none; virtuous, or I'll never cheapen her; fair, 
or I'll never look on her ; mild, or come not near me ; 

^ This folly is the theme of all comie satire. In Andrew 
Borde's ' Introduction to Knowledge/ the English gentleman is 
represented nakedf with a pair of shears in one hand and a piece 
of cloth on his arm, with the following verses : 

* I am an Englishman, and naked I stand here, 
Musing in mj mynde what raiment I shal were, 
For now I will ware this, and now I will were that. 
And now I will were I cannot tell what.' 
In Bamahe Riche's * Faults and nothing but Faults,' 1606, 
' The fashionmonger that spends his time in the contemplation of 
suites,' is said to have * a sad and heavj countenance,' because 
his tailor ' hath cut his new sute after the olde stampe of some 
stale fashion that is at the least of a whole fortnight's standuiip* 

O 3 


noble, or not I for an angel ; of good discourse, an 
excellent musician, and ber bair sball be of what 
colour it please God^. Ha! tbe prince and mon- 
sieur Love ! I will bide me in tbe arbour. 

[ Withdram. 

Enter Don Pedro, Leonato, and Claudio. 

D. Pedro, Come, sball we bear tbis musick? 
Claud, Yea, my good lord : — How still tbe evening 
As busb'd on purpose to grace barmony ! 

IX Pedro, See you wbere Benedick batbbid him- 
Claud, O, very well, my lord : tbe musick ended, 
We'll fit tbe kid-fox* with a penny-wortb. 

Enter Balthazar, with musick, 

D, Pedro. Come, Balthazar, we'll bear that song 

Balth. O good my lord, tax not so bad a voice 
To slander musick any more than once. 

D. Pedro, It is the witness still of excellency, 
To put a strange face on his own perfection : — 
I pray thee, sing, and let me woo no more. 

Balth, Because you talk of wooing, I will sing: 
Since many a wooer dotb commence bis suit 
To ber be thinks not worthy ; yet he woos ; 
Yet will be swear, be loves. 

^ Benedick may allade to the fashion of dyeing the hair, very 

' common in Shakspeare's time. Or to that of wearing false hair, 

which also then prevailed. So, in a subsequent scene : " I like 

the new tire within excellently, if the hair were a thought 


^ Kid-fox has been supposed to mean discovered or detected 
fox; Kid certainly meant known or discovered in Chaucer^s 
time. It may have been a technical term in the game of hide- 
fox; old terms are sometimes longer preserved in jocular sports 
than in common usage. Some e^vloT%\k».N« \it\w\&d it hid-fbx; 
and others explained it young ox cub-Jo«. 


D. Pedro. Nay, pray thee, come : 

Or, if thou wilt hold longer argument. 
Do it in notes. 

Balth, Note this before my notes. 

There's not a note of mine that's worth the noting. 

D, Pedro, Why these are very crotchets that he 
speaks ; 
Note, notes, forsooth, and noting ! [Musick, 

Bene, l^oyr. Divine air! now is his soul ravished! 
— Is it not strange, that sheep's guts should hale 
souls out of men's bodies? — Well, a horn for my 
money, when all's done. 

^Palthazar sings. 


Balth. Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more, 
Men were deceivers ever ; 
One foot in sea, and one on shore; 
To one thing constant never: 
Then sigh not so. 
But let them go. 
And he you blithe and bonny ; 
Converting all your sounds of woe 
Into, Hey nanny, nontty. 


Sing no more ditties, sing no ma 
Of dumps so dull and heavy ; 

The fraud of men was ever so. 
Since summer first was leavy : 
Then sigh not so, Sfc. 

D. Pedro. By my troth, a good song. 
Balth. And an ill singer, my lord. 
D. Pedro. Ha? no; no, faith; thou singest well 
enough for a shift. 


Bene, [Aside.] An he had been a dog, that should 
have howled thus^ they would have hanged him: 
and, I pray God, his bad voice bode no mischief! 
I had as lief have heard the night-raven^, come 
what plague could have come after it. 

D. Pedro. Yea, marry p [To Claudio.] — Dost 
thou hear, Balthazar? I pray thee, get us some ex- 
cellent musick ; for to-morrow night we would have 
it at the lady Hero's chamber window. 

Balth. The best I can, my lord. 

D. Pedro. Do so : farewell. [Exeunt Baltha- 
zar arid musick.'] Come hither, Leonato: What 
was it you told me of to-day ? that your niece Bea- 
trice was in love with signior Benedick ? 

Claud. O, ay: — Stalk on, stalk on; the fowl 
sits^ [Aside to Pedro.] I did never think that 
lady would have loved any man. 

Lean. No, nor I neither; but most wonderful, 
that she should so dote on signior Benedick, whom 
she hath in all outward behaviours seemed ever to 

Bene. Is't possible ? Sits the wind in that comer? 


Leon. By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to 
think of it ; but that she loves him with an enraged 
affection, — ^it is past the infinite of thought^. « 

D. Pedro. May be, she doth but counterfeit. 

Claud. Faith, hke enough. 

Leon. O God! counterfeit! There never was 

* i. e. the owl ; vvKTucopa^. So, in Henry VI. P. iii. : * The 
night-crow cried, aboding luckless time/ Thus also Milton, in 
L' Allegro : — * And the night-^aven sings.' 

' This is an allusion to the stalking-horse ; a horse either real 
or factitioas, by which the fowler anciently skreened himself 
from the sight of the game. 

"^ i. e. ' bat with what an enraged affection she loves him, it 
18 beyond the infinite powet oC tiiou^Vxl lo conceive.' 


counterfeit of passion came so near the life of pas- 
sion, as she discovers it. 

D. PedroJWhj, what effects of passion shows she ? 

Claud. Bait the hook well ; this fish will bite. 


Leon, What effects, my lord ! She will sit you, — 
You heard my daughter tell you how. 

Claud. She did, indeed. 

D. Pedro. How, how, I pray you ? You amaze 
me : I would have thought her spirit had been in- 
vincible against all assaults of affection. 

Leon. I would have sworn it had, my lord ; es- 
pecially against Benedick. 

Bene. [Aside.] I should think this a gull, but 
tiiat the white-bearded fellow speaks it : knavery 
cannot, sure, hide itself in such reverence. 

Claud. He hadi ta'en the infection ; hold it up. 


D. Pedro. Hath she made her affection known to 

Leon. No; and swears she never wilt: that's her 

Claud. Tis true, indeed ; so your daughter says : 
SkaU /, says she, that have so oft encountered him 
with scorn f write to him that I lave him I 

Leon. This says she now when she is beginning 
to write to him : for she'll be up twenty times a 
night : and there will she sit in her smock, till i^he 
have writ a sheet of paper : — my daughter tells us 

Claud. Now you talk of a sheet of paper, I re- 
member a pretty jest your daughter told us of. 

Leon. O ! — When she had writ it, and was read- 
ing it over, she found Benedick and Beatrice be- 
tween the sheet I — 

Claud. That. 

Zeam. O! she tore the letter into a tlioua«ttA.)a»\i* 



pence ^; railed at herself, that she should be so im- 
modest to write to one that she knew would flout 
her: I measure him, says she, by my own spirit : for 
I shofuMjUmt him, if he writ to me; yea, though I 
love him, I should. 

Claud, Then down upon her knees she falls, 
weeps, sobs, beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, 
curses : — O sweet Benedick ! God give ane patience ! 

Leon. She doth indeed; my daughter says so: 
and the ecstasy ^ hath so much overborne her, that 
my daughter is sometime afraid she will do a des- 
perate outrage to herself: It is very true. 

D. Pedro. It were good, that Benedick knew of 
it by some other, if she will not discover it. 

Claud. To what end ? He would but make a sport 
of it, and torment the poor lady worse. 

D. Pedro. An he should, it were an alms to hang 
him : She*s an excellent sweet lady; and, out of all 
suspicion, she is virtuous. 

Claud. And she is exceeding wise. 

2>. Pedro. In every thing but in loving Benedick. 

Leon. O my lord, wisdom and blood ^^ combating 
in so tender a body, we have ten proofs to one, 
that blood hath the victory. I am sorry for her, as 
I have just cause, being her uncle and her guardian. 

D. Pedro. I would, she had bestow'd this dotage 
on me; I would have daflT'd^^ all other respects, 
and made her half myself: I pray you, tell Bene- 
dick of it, and hear what he will say. 

Leon. Were it good,«think you ? 

Claud. Hero thinks surely, she will die : for she 
says, she will die if he love her not ; and she will 

* i. e. into a thoasand smaU pieces; it shoald be remembered 
that the silver halfpence, which were then current, were verj 
minate pieces. 

^ See the Tempest, Act iii. Sc. 1, p. 67, note 12. 

"^ i. e. passion. 

" To dajf is the same a* to do of, Vq dof A^ V^^.^^^^» 


die ere she makes her love known ; and she will die 
if he woo her, rather than she will 1)ate one breath 
of her accustomed crossness. 

D* Pedro. She doth well: if she should make 
tender of her love, 'tis very possible he'll scorn it; 
for the man, as you know all, hath a contemptible^^ 

Clavd. He is a very proper ^^ man. 

D. Pedro. He hath, indeed, a good outward hap- 

Clavd. 'Fore God, and in my mind, very wise. 

D. Pedro. He doth, indeed, show some sparks 
that are like wit. 

Leon. And I take him to be valiant. 

D. Pedro. As Hector, I assure you : and in the 
managing of quarrels you may say he is wise ; for 
either he avoids them with great discretion, or un- 
dertakes them with a most christian-like fear. 

Leon. If he do fear God, he must necessarily keep 
peace; if he break the peace, he ought to enter into 
a quarrel with fear and trembling. 

D. Pedro. And so will he do ; for the man doth 
fear God, howsoever it seems not in him by some 
large jests he will make. Well, I am sorry for your 
niece : Shall we go see Benedick, and tell him of 
her love? 

Claud. Never tell him, my lord ; let her wear it 
out with good counsel. 

Leon. Nay, that's impossible ; she may wear her 
heart out first. 

D. Pedro. Well, we'll hear further of it by your 
daughter; let it cool the while. I love Benedick 
well ; and I could wish he would modestly examine 

*' That is, a spirit inclined to scorn and contempt. It should 
be contemptuous. Oar ancestors were not very exact in the ap- 
plication of verbal adjectives. See Tooke's very acate observa- 
tions on these abbreviations, in The Diversions of PuTVeyt^^.^^^ 
c. yiii. ^3 Handsome. 

156 MUCH ADO ACT 11. 

himself, to see how much he is unworthy to have so 
good a lady. 

Leon. My lord, will you walk? dimier is ready. 

Claud. If he do not dote on her upon this, I mil 
never trust my expectation. [Agide. 

D. Pedro. Let diere be the same net spread for 
her; and that must your daughter and her gentle- 
woman carry. The sport will be, when they hold 
one an opinion of another's dotage, and no such 
matter; that's the scene that I would see, which 
will be merely a dumb show. Let us send her to 
call him in to dinner. [Aside. 

[Exeunt Don Pedro, Claudio, and Leonato. 

Benedick advances from the arbour. 

Bene. This can be no trick : The conference was 
sadly borne**. — They have the truth of this from 
Hero. They seem to pity the lady; it seems, her 
affections have their full bent*^. Love me! why, 
it must be requited. I hear how I am censured: 
they say, I will bear myself proudly, if I perceive 
the love come from her ; they say too, that she will 
rather die than give any sign of affection. — I did 
never think to marry : — I must not seem proud : — 
Happy are they that hear their detractions, and can 
put them to mending. They say, die lady is fair; 

^* Seriously carried on. 

^' Steeyens and Malone assert that this is a metaphor from 
archery, saying that the full bent is the utmost extremity of ex- 
ertion. Sorely there is no groand for the assertion ! It was 
one of the most common forms of expression in the language for 
inclination, tendency ; and was used where it is impossible there 
could have been any allusion to the bending of a bow, as in 
these phrases from a writer of Elizabeth's age : ' The day in- 
^ dining or bending to the evening/ — ' Bending to a yellow colour.' 
Mr. Pye has jusdy observed, that ' the technical terms of archery 
were then too well known to be misapplied ; to bend the bow is 
^o fasten the string to the horns that it may be ready for draw- 
infff aod the more ibe \>OYr 'wai^bent \\i«\«ti»<!>'<iiiQ^A^\\&«uer^y be.' 


'tis a truth, I can bear them witness : and virtuous ; 
— 'tis so, I cannot reprove it; and wise, but for 
loving me : — By my troth, it is no addition to her 
wit ; — nor no great argument of her folly, for I will 
be horribly in love with her. I may chance have 
some odd quirks and remnants of wit broken on me, 
because I have railed so long against marriage : — 
But doth not the appetite alter ? A man loves the 
meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age : 
Shall quips, and sentences, and these paper bullets 
of the brain, awe a man from the career of his hu- 
mour ; No : The world must be peopled. When I 
said, I would die a bachelor, I did not think I 
should live till I were married. — Here comes Bea- 
trice : By this day, she's a fair lady : I do spy some 
marks of love in her. 

Enter Beatrice. 

Beat. Against my will I am sent to bid you come 
in to dinner. 

Bene. Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains. 

Beat. I took no more pains for those thanks than 
you take pains to thank me ; if it had been painful, 
I would not have come. 

Bene. You take pleasure then in the message ? 

Beat. Yea, just so much as you may take upon 
a knife's point, and choke a daw withal : — You 
have no stomach, signior; fare you well. [Exit. 

Bene. Ha ! Against my will I am sent to bid ymi 
come to dinner — there's a double meaning in that. 
/ took no more pains for those thanks than you took 
pains to thank me — that's as much as to say. Any 
pains that I take for you is as easy as thanks : — If 
I do not take pity of her, I am a villain ; if I do not 
love her, I am a Jew : I will go get her picture. 

vol. II. p 




SCENE I. Leonato'« Garden. 

Enter Hero, Margaret, and Ursula. j 

Hero. Good Margaret, run thee into the parlour; 
There shalt thou find my cousin Beatrice 
Proposing^ with the Prince and Claudio : 
Whisper her ear, and tell her, I and Ursula 
Walk in the orchard, and our whole discourse 
Is all of her ; say, that thou overheard'st us ; 
And bid her stesd into the pleached bower. 
Where honey-suckles, ripen'd by the sun. 
Forbid the sun to enter ; — like favourites. 
Made proud by princes, that advance their pride 
Against that power that bred it : — there will she 

hide her. 
To listen our propose ^ : This is thy ofiBce, 
Bear thee well in it, and leave us alone. 

Marg. I'll make her come, I warrant you, pre- 
sently. \Exit» 

Hero. Now, Ursula, when Beatrice doth come, 
As we do trace this alley up and down. 
Our talk must only be of Benedick : 
When I do name him, let it be thy part 
To praise him more than ever man did merit : 
My talk to thee must be, how Benedick 
Is sick in love with Beatrice : Of this matter 
Is little Cupid's crafty arrow made. 
That only wounds by hearsay. Now begin ; 

^ Prqposing is conversing, from the French Propos, discourse, 

^ The folio reads purpose. The quarto propose, which appears 
to be right. See Uie preceding note. Though Mr. Reed has 
sbowD that purpose yras ftome\.\me% u«e^\\x>^«^ «»xoa sense. 


Enter Beatrice, behind. 

For look where Beatrice, like a lapwing, runs 
Close by the ground, to hear our conference. 

Urs. The pleasant'st angling is to see the fish 
Cut with their golden oars the silver stream. 
And greedily devour the treacherous bait : 
So angle we for Beatrice ; who even now 
Is couched in the woodbine coverture : 
Fear you not my part of the dialogue. 

Hero. Then go we near her, that her ear lose 
Of the false sweet bait, that we lay for it.— - 

[They advance to the bower. 
No, truly, Ursula, she is too disdainful ; 
I know her spirits are as coy and wild 
As haggards of the rock^. 

Urs. But are you sure. 

That Benedick loves Beatrice so entirely ? 

Hero. So says the prince, and my new-trothed lord. 

Urs. And did they bid you tell her of it, madam ? 

Hero. They did entreat me to acquaint her of it; 
But I persuaded them, if they lov'd Benedick, 
To wish him^ wrestle with affection. 
And never to let Beatrice know of it. 

Urs. Why did you so? Doth not the gentleman 

' A hawk not manned, or trained to obedience ; a wild hawk. 
Hagard, Fr. Latham, in his Book of Faloonr j, sajs : ' Snch is 
the greatness of her spirit, she will not oAnit of any nociety ontil 
such a time as natare worketh/ &c. So, in The Tragical His- 
torj of Didaco and Violenta, 1576 : 

' Perchance she's not of haggard's kind. 
Nor heart so hard to bend,' &c. 
* Wish him, that is, recommend or desire him. So, in The 
Honest Whore, 1604 : 

' Go wish the surgeon to have great respect,' &c. 

160 MUCH ADO a(:t III. 

Deserve as full^, as fortunate a bed, 
As ever Beatrice shall couch upon? 

Hero, O God of love ! I know, he doth desenre 
As much as may be yielded to a man : 
But nature never fram'd a woman's heart 
Of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice : 
Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes, 
Misprising^ what they look on ; and her wit 
Values itself so highly, that to her 
All matter else seems weak : she cannot love. 
Nor take no shape nor project of affection. 
She is so self-endeared. 

Urs, Sure, I think so ; 

And therefore, certainly, it were not good 
She knew his love, lest she make sport at it. 

Hero. Why, you speak truth: I never yet saw 
How wise, how noble, young, how rarely featured. 
But she would spell him backward^: if fair-faced, 
She'd swear the gentleman should be her sister ; 
If black, why, nature, drawing of an antick. 
Made a foul blot° : if tall, a lance ill-headed; 
If low, an agate very vilely cut^ : 

< So, in Othello : 

' What a/utt fortane does the thick lips owe.' 

What Ursula means to say is, * that he is as deserving of com- 
plete happiness as Beatrice herself.' 

^ Undervalning. 

^ AUnding to the practice of witches in attering prayers, i. e. 
misinterpret them. Several passages, containing a similar train 
of thought, are cited by Mr. Steevens from Lily's Eaphnes : 

^ A hlaclc man here means a man with a dark or thick beard, 
which is the blot in nature's drawing. 

^ An agate is often used metaphorically for a very diminutive 
person, in allusion to the figures cut in agate for rings, &c. 
Queen Mab is described, ' In shape no bigger than an agate 
stone on the forefinger of an alderman.' 3ee note on K. Henry 
IV. Part II. 


If speaking, why a vane blown with all winds : 
If silent, why a block moved with none. 
So turns she every man the wrong side out; 
And never gives to truth and virtue that 
Which simpleness and merit purchaseth. 

Ur9. Sure, sure, such carping is not commendable. 

Hero, No : not to be so odd, and from all fashions. 
As Beatrice is, cannot be commendable : 
But who dare tell het so? If I should speak. 
She'd mock me into air; O, she would laugh me 
Out of myself, press me to death with wit^^. 
Therefore let Benedick, like cover'd fire. 
Consume away in sighs, waste inwardly : 
It were a better death than die with mocks ; 
Which is as bad as die with tickling ^^. 

Urs. Yet tell her of it ; hear what she will say. 

Hero. No ; rather I will go to Benedick, 
And counsel him to fight against his passion : 
And, truly, I'll devise some honest slanders 
To stain my cousin with : One doth not know. 
How much an ill word may empoison liking. 

Urs, O, do not do your cousin such a wrong. 
She cannot be so much without true judgment, 
(Having so swift ^* and excellent a wit, 
As she is priz'd to have), as to refuse 
So rare a gendeman as signior Benedick. 

Hero. He is the only man of Italy, 
Always excepted my dear Claudio. 

Urs. I pray you, be not angry with me, madam. 
Speaking my fancy ; signior Benedick, 

'^ The allaslon is to an ancient ponishment inflicted on those 
who refused to plead to an indictment. If thej continued silent, 
thej were pressed to death by heavy weights laid on their sto- 
mach. This species of tortnre is now abolished. 

" This word is intended to be pronounced as a trisyllable, it 
was sometimes written tickeling. 

" Quick, ready. 




For shape, for bearing, argument ^^, and valour, 
Goes foremost in report through Italy. 

Hero. Indeed, he hath an excellent good name. 

Urs. His excellence did earn it, ere he had it— 
When are you married, madam ? 

Hero.Why, every day ; — to-morrow : Come, go in; 
I'll show thee some attires ; and have thy counsel, 
Which is the best to furnish me to-morrow. 

Urs. She's lim'd^* I warrant you ; we have caught 
her, madam. 

Hero. If it prove so, then loving goes by haps : 
Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps. 

[Exeunt Hero and Ursuia. 

Beatrice advances. 

Beat. What fire is in mine ears ^^ ? Can this be 

Stand I condemned for pride and scorn so much? 
Contempt, farewell! and maiden pride, adieu! 

No glory lives behind the back of such. 
And, Benedick, love on, I will requite thee ; 

Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand^^; 
If thou dost love, my kindness shall incite thee 

To bind our loves up in a holy band : / 

For others say, thou dost deserve ; and I . 
Believe it better than reportingly. [Exit 

" CoDTersation. ' 

'^ i. e. ensnared and entangled, as a sparrow with bird lime. 

*' Allnding to the proverbial saying, which is as old as Pliny's 
time : * That when our ears do glow and tingle, some there be 
that in onr absence do talke of ns.' Holland's Translation, B. 
.xxxiii. p. 297. 

*^ This image is taken from Falconry. She has been charged 
with being as wild as haggards of the rock ; she therefore says, 
that wild as her heart is, she will tame it to the hand. 


SCENE II. A Room in Leonato's House. 

Enter Don Pedro, Claudio, Benedick, and 


D. Pedro. I do but stay till your marriage be 
consummate, and then I go toward Arragon. 

Claud. Ill bring you thither, my lord, if you'll 
vouchsafe me. 

D. Pedro. Nay, that would be as great a soil in 
the new gloss of your marriage, as to show a child 
his new coat, and forbid him to wear it. I will only 
be bold with Benedick for his company : for, from 
the crown of his head to the sole of his foot, he is 
all mirth ; he hath tvnce or thrice cut Cupid's bow- 
string, and the little hangman^ dare not shoot at 
him: he hath a heart as sound as a bell, and his 
tongue is the clapper; for what hb heart thinks^ his 
tongue speaks^. 

Bene. Gallants, I am not as I have been.' 

Leon. So say I; methinks you are sadder. 

Claud. I hope, he be in love. 

D. Pedro. Hang him, truant; there's no true drop 
of blood in him, to be truly touch'd with love : if he 
be sad, he wants money. 

Bene. I have the tooth-ach^. 

* Dr. Farmer has illastrated this term by citing a passage 
from Sidney's Arcadia, B. II. C. xiv. ; but it seems probable 
that no more is meant bj hangman than exeaUioneTf slayer of 

^ A covert allnsion to the old proverb : 

* As the fool thinketh 
The bell clinketh.' 

3 So, in The False One, by Beaumont and Fletcher : 
* O this sounds mangily, 
Poorly and scurvily in a soldier's mouth ; 
You had best be troubled with the toothach too. 
For lovers ever are.* 


D, Pedro. Draw it. 

Bene, Hang it ! 

Claud. You must hang it first, and draw it after- 

D, Pedro. What, sigh for the tooth-ach ? 

Leon. Where is but a humour, or a worm ? 

Bene. Well, every one can master a grief, but he 
that has it. 

Clatid. Yet say I, he is in love. 

D. Pedro. There is no appearance of fancy* in 
him, unless it be a fancy that he hath to strange dis- 
guises; as, to be a Dutchman to-day; a French- 
man to-morrow ; or in the shape of two countries at 
once ^ ; as, a German from the waist downward, all 
slops ^; and a Spaniard from the hip upward, no 
doublet : Unless he have a fancy to this foolery, as 
it appears he hath, he is no fool for fancy, as you 
would have it appear he is. 

Claud. If he be not in love with some woman, 
there is no believing old signs ; he brushes his hat 
o' mornings ; What should that bode ? 

D. Pedro. Hath any man seen him at the bar- 
ber's ? 

Claud. No, but the barber's man hath been seen 

* A plaj upon the word fancy, which Shakspeare uses for 
love, as well as for humour, caprice, or affectation. 

^ So, in The Seven deadly Sinnes of London, bj Decker, 1606, 
' For an Englishman's suie is like a traitor's bodj that hath 
beene hanged, drawne, and quartered, and is set up in several 
places : his codpiece, in Denmarke ; the collar of his dnblet and 
the belly, in France ; the wing and narrow sleeve, in Italy ; the 
short waste hangs over a botcher's stall in Utrich ; his huge 
sloppes speaks Spanish ; Polonia gives him the bootes, &c. — and 
thus we mocke everie nation for keeping one fashion, yet steale 
patches from everie of them to piece out our pride ; and are 
now laughing-stocks to them, because their cut so scurvily be- 
comes us.' 

^ Large loose breeches or trowsers. Hence a slop-seller for 
one who famishes seamen, &c. with clothes. 


with him ; and the old ornament of his cheek hath 
ahready stuffed tennis-balls. 

Leon. Indeed, he looks younger than he did, by 
the loss of a beard. 

D, Pedro. Nay, he rubs himself with civet : Can 
you smell him out by that? 

Claud. That's as much as to say. The sweet youth's 
in love. 

D. Pedro. The greatest note of it is his melan- 

Claud. And when was he wont to wash his face ? 

D. Pedro. Yea, or to paint himself? for the which, 
I hear what they say of him. 

Clatid. Nay, but his jesting spirit ; which is now 
crept into a lutestring ^ and now governed by stops. 

D. Pedro. Indeed, that tells a heavy tale for him : 
Conclude, conclude, he is in love. 

Clatid. Nay, but I know who loves him. 

D. J^edro. That would I know top ; I warrant, 
one that knows him not. 

Claud. Yes, and his ill conditions ; and, in despite 
of all, dies for him. 

D. Pedro. She shall be buried with her face up- 
wards ®. 

Bene. Yet is this no charm for the tooth-ach. — 
Old signior, walk aside with me : I have studied 
eight or nine wise words to speak to you, which 
these hobby-horses must not hear. 

[Exeunt Benedick and Leonato. 

^ Love-songs, in Shakspeare's time, were sang to the late. 
So, in Henry VI. Part I. 

' As melancholy as an old lion or a hvsr's htte,* 

* i. e. ' in her lover's arms.' So in The Winter's Tale : 

' Fh, What ? like a corse ? 
Per. No, like a bank for love to lie and play on ; 
Not like a corse: — or if, — not to be buried. 
Bat qaick and in my arms.' 


D. Pedro. For my life, to break with him about 

Ckmd. Tis even so: Hero and Margaret have 
by this played their parts with Beatrice ; and then 
the two bears will not bite one another when they 

Enter Doi^ John. 

D. John. My lord and brother, God save you. 

D. Pedro. Good den, brother. 

D. John. If your leisure served, I would speak 
with you. ' 

D. Pedro. In private ? 

D. John. If it please you : — yet Count Claudio 
may hear; for what I would speak of concerns him. 

D. Pedro. What's the matter? 

D. John. Means your lordship to be married to- 
morrow ? [To Claudio. 

D. Pedro. You know, he does. 

D. John. I know not that, when he knows what 
I know. 

Claud. If there be any impediment, I pray you, 
discover it. 

D. John. You may think, I love you not; let that 
appear hereafter, and aim better at me by that I 
now will manifest : For my brother, I think, he holds 
you well; and in deame3s of heart hath holp to 
effect your ensuing marriage : surely, suit ill spent, 
and labour ill bestowed ! 

D. Pedro. Why, what's the matter? 

D. John. I came hither to tell you ; and, circum- 
stances shortened, (for she hath been too long a 
talking of,) the lady is disloyal. 

Claud. Who? Hero? 

D. John. Even she ; Leonato's Hero, yourHero, 
every man's Hero. 


Claud. Disloyal? 

D. John. The word is too good to paint out her 
wickedness; I. could say, she were worse; think 
you of a worse title, and I will fit her to it. Won- 
der not till further warrant : go but with me to-night, 
you shall see her chamber-window entered ; even 
the night before her wedding-day : if you love her 
then, to-morrow wed her: but it would better fit 
your honour to change your mind. 

Claud. May this be so ? 

D. Pedro. I will not think it. 

D, John. If you dare not trust that you see, con- 
fess not that you know : if you will follow me, I will 
show you enough ; and when you have seen more, 
and heard more, proceed accordingly. 

Claud. If I see any thing to-night why I should 
not marry her to-morrow ; in the congregation, where 
I should wed, there will I shame her. 

D. Pedro. And as I wooed for thee to obtain her, 
I will join with thee to disgrace her. 

D. John. I will disparage her no farther, till you 
are my witnesses : bear it coldly but till midnight, 
and let the issue show itself. 

D. Pedro. O day untowardly turned ! 

Claud. O mischief strangely thwarting ! 

D. John. O plague right well prevented ! 
So will you say, when you have seen the sequel. 


SCENE III. A Street. 

Enter Dogberry and Verqes S with the Watch. 

Dogh. Are you good men and true ? 
Verg. Yea, or else it were pity but they should 
suffer salvation, body and soul. 

' The first of these worthies is named from the Dog-berry or 
female cornel, a shmb thai grows in e?ery ooimly Vn 'En^vodi. 
Ferffes ia only the proviaoiaJ prooonciation of verjuice. 


Dogb. Nay, that were a punishment too good for 
them, if they should have any allegiance in diem, 
being chosen for the prince's watch. 

Verg, Well, give them their charge^, neighbour 

Dogb. First, who think you the most desartless 
man to be constable ? 

1 Watch. Hugh Oatcake, sir, or George Seacoal; 
for they can write and read. 

Dogb. Come hither, neighbour Seacoal. God hath 
blessed you with a good name : to be a well favour- 
ed man is the gift of fortune ; but to write and read 
comes by nature. 

2 Watch. Both which, master constable,— 
Dogb. You have ; I knew it would be your an- 
swer. Well, for your favour, sir, why, give God 
thanks, and make no boast of it ; and for your writ- 
ing and reading, let that appear when there is no 
need of such vanity. You are thought here to be 
the most senseless and fit man for the constable of 
the watch ; therefore bear you the lantern : This is 
your charge: You shall comprehend all vagrom 
men : you are to bid any man stand, in the prince's 

2 Watch. How if he will not stand ? 

Dogb. Why then, take no note of him, but let him 
go ; and presently call the rest of the watch toge- 
ther, and thank God you are rid of a knave. 

Verg. If he will not stand when he is bidden, he 
is none of the prince's subjects. 

Dogb. True, and they are to meddle with none 
but the prince's subjects : — You shall also make no 
noise in the streets ; for, for the watch to babble and 
talk, is most tolerable and not to be endured. 

' To charge his fellows seems to hare been a regular part of 
ibe duty of the consia\Ae. ^o \\x k l^ew Ttlck. to cheat the 
Devil, 1639, • My waicVi \a ael— charge gwen— «xA^ ^V^v^^^*. 


2 Watch. We will rather sleep than talk ; we know 
what belongs to a watch. 

Dogb. Why, you speak Uke an ancient and most 
quiet watchman ; for I cannot see how sleeping 
should offend; only, have a care that your bills' be 
not stolen: — Well, you are to call at all the ale- 
houses, and bid those that are drunk get them to 

2 Watch. How if they will not? 

Dogb. Why (hen, let them alone till they are so- 
ber ; if they make you not then the better answer, 
you may say, they are not the men you look them 

2 Watch. Well, sir. 

Dogb. If you meet a thief, you may suspect him, 
by virtue of your office, to be no true man: and, for 
such kind of men, the less you meddle or make with 
them, why, the more is for your honesty. 
. 2 Watch. If we know him to be a thief, shall we 
not lay bands on him 7 

Dogb. Truly, by your office, you may; but I 
think, they that touch pitch will be defiled: the 
most peaceable way for you, if you do take a thief, 
is, to let him show himself what he is, and steal out 
of your company. 

) This repreaentatianofawalchmtn 
«itb hi> m (a sort of faalberd) aa hia 
ihonlder, ia copied from (be (ille-page 
to Deck«r'i U per ae O. IDIS. 


Verg. You have been always called a meroiful 
man, partner. 

Dogb. Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will; 
much more a man, who hath any honesty in him. 

Verg. If you hear a child cry in the night, you 
must call to the nurse, and bid her still it^. 

2 Watch. How if the nurse be asleep, and will 
not hear us. 

Dogb. Why then, depart in peace, and let the 
child wake her with crying : fpr the ewe that will 
pot hear her lamb when it baas, will never answer a 
calf when he bleats. 

Verg. Tis very true. 

Dogb. This is the end of the charge. You, con- 
stable, are to present the prince's own person ; if you 
meet the prince in the night, you may stay him. 

Verg. Nay, by'r lady, that, I think, he cannot. 

Dogb. Five shillings to one on't, with any man 
that knows the statues, he may stay him : marry, 
not without the prince be willing; for, indeed, the 
watch ought to offend no man ; and it is an offence 
to stay a man against his will. 

Verg. By'r lady, I think, it be so. 

Dogb. Ha, ha, ha! Well, masters, good night: 
an there be any matter of weight chances, call up 
me: keep your fellows' counsels and your own^ 
and good night.— Come, neighbour. 

2 Watch. Well, masters, we hear our charge : let 
us go sit here upon the church-bench till two, and 
then all to-bed. 

* It is not impossible bnt that a part of this scene was intended 
as a barlesqne npon * The Statutes of the Streets, imprinted bj 
Wolfe in 1596/ 

* This is part of the oath of a grand jarjman, and is one of 
many proofs of Sbakspeare's haying been very conversant with 
legal proceedings and courts of justice at some period of his life. 


Dogh, One word more, honest neighbours : I pray 
you, watch about signior Leonato's door; for the 
wedding being there to-morrow, there is a great coil 
to-night : Adieu, be vigitant, I beseech you. 

[Exeunt Dogberry and Verges. 

Enter Borachio and Conrade. 

Bora. What! Conrade, — 

Watch. Peace, stir not. [Aside. 

Bora. Conrade, I say ! 

Con. Here, man, I am at thy elbow. 

Bora. MasS; and my elbow itched; I thought, 
there would a scab follow. 

Con. I will owe thee an answer for that ; and now 
forward with thy tale. 

Bora. Stand thee close then under this pent-house, 
for it diizzles rain ; and I will, like a true drunkard, 
utter all to thee. 

Watch. [Aside.l Some treason, masters ; yet stand 

Bora. Therefore know, I have earned of Don John 
a thousand ducats. 

Con. Is it possible that any yillany should be so 

Bora. Thou shouldst rather ask, if it were pos- 
sible any yillany should be so rich ; for when rich 
villains have need of poor ones, poor ones may make 
what price they will. 

Con. I wonder at it. 

Bora. That shows thou art unconfirmed^: Thou 
knowest, that the fashion of a doublet, or a hat, or 
a cloak, is nothing to a man. 

Con. Yes, it is apparel. 

Bora. I mean, the fashion. 

Con. Yes, the fashion is the fashion. 

^ Unpractised in the ways of the world. 


Bcra. Tush ! I may as well say, the fool's the 
fool. But seest thou not what a deformed thief this 
fashion is ? 

Watch. I know that Deformed ; he has been a 
vile thief this seven year; he goes up and down like 
a gentleman : I remember his name. 

Bora. Didst thou not hear somebody ? 

Con. No ; *twas the vane on the house. 

Bora. Seest thou not, I say, what a deformed 
thief this fashion is ? how giddily he turns about all 
the hot bloods, between fourteen and five and thirty ? 
sometime, fashioning them like Pharaoh's soldiers 
in the reechy^ painting; sometime, like god Bel's 
priests in the old church window; sometime, like 
the shaven Hercules in the smirched^ worm-eaten 
tapestry, where his cod-piece seems as massy as his 

Con. All this I see; and see, that the fashion 
wears out more apparel than the man : But art not 
thou thyself giddy with the fashion too, that thou 
hast shifted out of thy tale into telling me of the 

Bora. Not so neither : but know, that I have to- 
night wooed Margaret, the lady Hero's gentlewo- 
man, by the name of Hero; she leans me out at her 
mistress' chamber-window, bids me a thousand times 
good night, — I tell this tale vilely : — I should first 
tell thee, how the Prince, Claudio, and my master, 
planted, and placed, and possessed by my master 
Don John, saw afar off in the orchard this amiable 

Con. And thought they, Margaret was Hero ? 

Bora. Two of them did, the Prince and Claudio ; 
but the devil my master knew she was Margaret ; 

^ i. e. discoloured bj smoke, reeky. From recan, Saxon. 
^ Soiled, snllied. Probably only another form of swuUcked. 
The word is pecoUar to Shakspeare. 


and partly by his oaths, which first possessed ih&n, 
partly by the dark night, which did deceive them, 
but chiefly by my villany, which did confirm any 
slander that Don John had made, away went Claudio 
enraged ; ^wore he would meet her as he was ap- 
pointed, next morning at the temple, and there, be- 
fore the whole congregation, shame her with what 
he saw over-night, and send her home again without 
a husband. 

1 Watch. We charge you in the prince's name, 

2 Watch, Call up the right master constable : We 
have here recovered the most dangerous piece of 

* lechery that ever was known in the commonwealth. 

1 Watch, And one Deformed is one of them ; I 
know him, he wears a lock. 

Con. Masters, masters. 

2 Watch* You'll be made bring Deformed forth, 
I warrant you. 

Con. Masters, — 

1 Watch. Never speak; we charge you, let us 
obey you to go with us. 

Bora. We are like to prove a goodly commodity, 
being taken up of these men's bills ^. 

Con. A commodity in, question^®, I warrant you. 
Come, we'll obey you. [Exeunt. 

SCENE IV. A Room in Leonato's House. 

Enter Hero, Margaret, and Ursula. 

Hero, Good Ursula, wake my cousin Beatrice, 
and desire her to rise. 
Urs. I will, lady. 

^ We have the same conceit in K. Henry VI. Part ll. * My 
lord, when shall we go to Cheapside, and take, up commodities 
upon our bills /* 

'^ i. e. in examinatioa or trial. 



Hero, And bid her come hither. 

Urs. Well. [Exit Ursula. 

Marg. Troth, I think, your other rabato^ were 

Hero. No, pray thee, good Meg, I'll wear this. 

Marg, By my troth, it's not so good; and I war- 
rant, your cousin will say so. 

Hero, My cousin's a fool, and thou art another; 
I'll wear none but this. 

Marg. I like the new tire^ within excellently, if 
the hair were a thought browner : and your gown's 
a most rare fashion, i'faith. I saw the duchess of 
Milan's gown, that they praise so. 

Hero, O, that exceeds, they say. 

Marg, By my troth it's but a night-gown in re- 
spect of yours : Cloth of gold, and cuts, and laced 
with silver; set with pearls, down-sleeves, side- 
sleeves ^, and skirts round, underbome with a blueisfa 
tinsel : but for a fine, quaint, graceful, and excellent 
fashion, yours is worth ten on't. 

Hero, God give me joy to wear it, for my heart 
is exceeding heavy ! 

Marg, Twill be heavier soon by the weight of 
a man. 
. Hero, Fye upon thee ! f^rt not ashamed ? 

Marg, Of what, lady? of speaking honourably? 
Is not marriage honourable in a beggar? Is not your 
lord honourable without marriage? I think, you 
would have me say, saving your reverence, — a hus- 
band: an bad thinking do not wrest true speaking, 
I'll offend nobody : Is there any harm in — the heavier 

^ A kind of mff. Rabat, Fr. Menage says it comes from 
rabaitre, to put back, being at first nothing but the collar of the 
shirt tamed back toward the shoulders. 

' Head-dress. 

^ i. e. long sleeves. Side or syde in North Britain is used for 
long when applied to tVie ^aTioeiiV. \\.\i«& ^^ «»si&%\^nifioation 
in ABglo-Saxon aud DanVsVi. 


far a hushaand? None, I think, an it be the right hus- 
band, and the right wife ; otherwise 'tis light, and 
not heavy: Ask my lady Beatrice else, here she 
comes. , 

Enter Beatrice. 

Hero. Good morrow, coz. 

Beat. Good morrow, sweet Hero. 

Hero. Why, how now ! do you speak in the sick 
tune ? 

Beat. I am out of all other tune, methinks. 

Marg, Clap us into — Light o' love; that goes 
without burden; do you sing it, and I'll dance it. 

Beat, Yea, Light o' fore*, with your heels? — 
then if your husband have stables enough, youll 
see he shall lack no bams^. 

Marg. O illegitimate construction! I scorn that 
with my heels. 

Beat. Tis almost five o'clock, cousin ; 'tis time 
you were ready. By my troth I am exceeding ill : 
— hey ho ! 

Marg. For a hawk, a horse, or a husband? 

Beat. For the letter that begins them all, H^. 

^ The name of a popular old dance tune mentioned again in 
the Two Gentlemen of Verona, and in several of our old dramas. 
The notes are given in the Variorum Shakspeare. 

^ A qnibble between hams repositories for corn, and bairns 
children, formerly pronounced barns. So, in The Winter's Tale : 
* Mercy on us, a barn! a very pretty barn!* 

^ That is for an aeh or pain, pronounced aitch. See note on 
Tempest, Act i. Sc. 2, p. 28. Heywood has an epigram which 
best elucidates this: 

* H is worst among letters in the cross-row. 

For if thou find him either in thine elbow. 

In thine arm or leg, in any degree ; 

In thine head, or teeth, or toe, or knee ; 

Into what place soever H may pike him. 

Wherever thou find him ache thou shall nolWVeVimv. 


Marg. Well, an you be not turned Turk, there's 
no more sailing by the star. 

Beat, What means Uie fool, trow^? 

Marg. Nothing I ; but God send every one their 
heart's desire ! 

Hero. These gloves the count sent me, they are 
an excellent perfume. 

Beat. I am stuffed, cousin, I cannot smell. 

Marg. A maid, and stuffed ! there's goodly catch- 
ing of cold. 

Beat. O, God help me ! God help me! how long 
have you profess'd apprehension ? 

Marg. Ever since you left it: doth not my wit 
become me rarely? 

Beat. It is not seen enough, you should wear it 
in your cap. — By my troth, I am sick. 

Marg. Get you some of this distilled Carduus 
Benedictus^, and lay it to your heart; it is the only 
thing for a qualm. 

Hero. There thou prick'st her with a thistle. 

Beat. Benedictus! why Benedictus? you have 
some moral ^ in this Benedictus. 

Marg. Moral? no, by my troth, I have no moral 

7 So ia The Merry Wives of Windsor :— * Who's there, trowV 
This obsolete exclamation ofinqniry is a contraction of trow yet 
think jon? believe jon? Steevens was mistaken in saying, that 
To trow is to imagine, to conceive. See Tooke's EIIEA IITE- 
POENTA, vol. ii. p. 403. 

* * Carduus BenedictuSf or blessed thistle (says Cogan in his 
Haven of Health, 1595), so worthily named for the singular vir- 
tues that it hath.' — ' This herbe may worthily be called Bene- 
dictuSf or Omnitnorbia, that it is a salve for every sore, not known 
to physitians of old time, but lately revealed by the speciall pro- 
vidence of Almighty God.' 

' ' You have some mortd in this Benedictus,' i. e. some hidden 
meaning, like the moral of a fable. Thus in the Rape of Lucrece : 

* Nor could she moralize his wanton sight.' 
And in the Taming of the Shrew, ' to expound the meaning or 
moral of his signs and io\Len&,^ 


meaning; I meant, plain holy-thistle. You may 
think, perchance, that I think you are in love : nay, 
hy'r lady, I am not such a fool to think what I list; 
nor I list not to think what I can ; nor, indeed, I 
cannot think, if I would think my heart out of think- 
ing, that you are in love, or that you will be in love, 
or that you can be in love : yet Benedick was such 
another, and now is he become a man : he swore he 
would never marry ; and yet now, in despite of his 
heart, he eats his meat without grudging ^^ : and how 
you may be converted, I know not; but methinks, 
you look with your eyes as other women do. 

Beat., What pace is this that thy tongue keeps ? 

Marg. Not a false gallop. 

Re-enter Ursula. 

Vrs. Madam, withdraw; the prince, Uie count, 
signior Benedick, Don John, and all the gallants of 
Uie town, are come to fetch you to church. 

Hero. Help to dress me, good coz, good Meg> 
good Ursula. [Exeunt. 

SCENE V. Another Room in Leonato's House. 

Enter Leonato, wit\ Dogberry and Verges. 

Leon. What would you with me, honest neighbour ? 

Dogh. Marry, sir, I would have some confidence 
with youj that decerns you nearly. 

Leon. Brief, I pray you ; for you see, 'tis a busy 
time with me. 

Dogh. Marry, this it is, sir. 

Verg. Yes, in truth it is, sir. ^ , 

Leon. What is it, my good friends ? 

Dogh. Goodman Verges, sir, speaks a little off 
the matter: an old man, sir, and his wits are not so 

*® i. e. *feed» on lovnf and likes his food.' 


blunt, as, God help, I would desire they were ; bat, 
in faith, honest as the skin between his brows. 

Verg. Yes, I thank God, I am as honest as any 
man liying, that is an old man, and no honester than I. 

Dogb, Comparisons are odorous : palabras^, neigh- 
bour Verges. 

Leon. Neighbours, you are tedious. 

Dogb, It pleases your worship to say «o, but we 
are the poor^ 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. AH 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^ ! — ^Well said, 

' i. e. words, in Spanish. It seems to have been cnrrent here 
for a time, even among the vulgar; it was probably introdaced 
by our sailors, as well as the corrupted form pala'ver. We hare 
it again in the month of Sly the Tinker, * Therefore paucas pal- 
labris: let the world slide, Sessa.' 

* This stroke of pleasantry, arising from the transposition of 
the epithet poor, has already occnrred in Measure for Measure. 
Elbow says : * If it please your honour, I am the poor duke's con- 

^ ^ This was a common apostrophe of admiration equivalent to 
* it is wonderftd,* or * it is admirable.' Baret in his Alvearie, 
1580, explains, * It is a world to heare,* by * It is a thing worthie 
the hearing, audire est operas pretium* In Cavendish's Life of 
Wolsey we have, * Is it not a world to consider V 


i'faithy neighbour Verges: — well, God's a good 
man ; an two men ride of a horse, one must ride 
behind: — An honest squI, i'faith, sir: by my troth 
he is, as ever broke biie'ad : but, God is to be wor- 
shipped: All men are not alike ; alas! good neigh- 
bour ! 

Leon. Indeed, neighbour, he comes too short of 

Dogh, Gifts, that God gives. 

Leon, I must leave you. 

Dogh. One word, sir : our watch, sir, have, in- 
deed, comprehended two aspicious persons, and we 
would have them this morning examined before your 

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

Dogh. It shall be suffigance. 

Lean. Drink some wine ere you go ; fare you well. 

Enter a Messenger. 

Mess. My lord, they stay for you to give your 
daughter to her husband. 

Leon. I will wait upon them; I am ready. 

[Exeunt Leonato and Messenger. 

Dogh. Go, good partner, go, get you to Francis 
Seacoal, bid him bring his pen and inkhom to the 
gaol ; we are now to examination these men. 

Verg. And we must do it wisely. 

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



SCENE I. ne Innde of a Church. 

Enter Don Pedro, Don John, Leon ato. Friar, 
Claudio, Benedick, Hero, aiuf Beatrice, 

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

Friar. You come hither, my lord, to marry this 

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 impedi- 
ment 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 ? 

Lean. I dare make his answer, none. 

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

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

Claud. Stand thee by, friar: — Father, by your 
leave ! 

' This is borrowed from our marriage ceremoDj, which (with 
a few changes in phraseologj) is the same as was nsed in Shak- 
speare's time. 


Will you with free and unconstrained soul 
Give me this maid, your daughter? 

Lecn, As freely, son, as God did give her me. 

Claud. And what have I to give you back, whose 
May counterpoise this rich and precious gift? 

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

Claud. Sweet prince, you learn me noble thank- 
fulness. — 
There, Leonato, take her back again ; 
Give not this rotten orange to your fricid ; 
She's but the sign and semblance of her honour: — 
Behold, how like a maid she blushes here : 
0, 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 : 
Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty. 

Leon. What do you mean, my lord? 

Claud. Not to be married. 

Not to knit my soul to an approved wanton. 

Xeon. Dear my lord, if you, in your own proof' 
Have vanquished 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 ^; 
But, as a brother to his sister, show'd 
Bashful sincerity, and comely love. 

' Lasciyioas. ' i. e. ' if in your own trial.' * liceuUo^. 


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

Claud, Out on thy seeming ! I will write against it : 
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. 

JJero. Is my lord well, thathe doth speak so wide^ ? 

Leon. Sweet prince, why speak not you? 

D. Pedro. What should I speak? 

I stand dishonour'dy that have gone abput 
To link my dear friend to a common stale. 

Leon. Are these things spoken ? or do I but dream? 

D. John. Sir, they are spoken, and these things 
are true. 

Bene.. This looks not like a nuptial. 

Hero. True/ O God! 

Claud. LeonatOy stand I here 1 
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 
And, by that fatherly and kindly power ^ 
That you have in her, bid her answer truly. 

Lem. 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? 

• i. e. * So remotely from the present bosiDess.' * You are 
widt of the matter/ is a familiar phrase still in use. 

* i. e. ' natural power.' Kind is used for nature. $o in The 
Induction to The Taming of the Shrew — 

' This do, and do it kindli/f gentle sirs.' 
which here also signifies naturally. 


Claud, Marry, that can Hero ; 

Hero itself can blot out Hero's virtue. 
What man was be 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.-— Leo- 
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, 
Confess'd the vile encounters they have had 
A thousand times in secret. 

D, John. Fye> fye ! 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 misgovemment. 

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 ! farewell. 
Thou pure impiety, and impious purity ! 
For thee I'll lock up all the gates of love. 
And on my eyelids shall conjecture 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? 


7 Liberal here, as in many places of these plays, means Uctn' 
tious beyond honesty or decency. This sense of the word is not 
peculiar to Shakspeare. 

^ i. e. graced, favoured, countenanced. See vol. i. p. 148» 
note 22, and As You Like It, Act i. So. 2. 


Beat. Why, how now, cousin t wherefore smk 
you down ? 

D. John. Come, let us go: these things, come 
thus to light, 
Smother her spirits up. 

[Exeunt Don Pedro, Don John, and 


Bene. How doth the lady ? 

Beat. Dead, I think ; — ^help, uncle ; — 

Hero ! why, Hero ! — Uncle ! — Siguier Benedick ! — 

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

Beat. How now, cousin Hero? 

Friar. Have comfort, lady. 

Leon. Dost thou look up? 

Friar. Yea ; Wherefore should she not? 

Leon. Wherefore? Why, doth not every earthly 
Cry shame upon her? Could she here deny 
The story that is printed in her blood ^?-^ 
Do not live. Hero ; do not ope thine eyes : 
For did I think thou wouldst not quickly die. 
Thought I thy spirits were stronger than thy shames, 
Myself would, on the rearward of reproaches. 
Strike at thy life. Grieved I, I had but one ? 
Chid I for tiiat at frugal nature's frame ^^? 
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, 

' That 18, * which her Uuahw discovered to be troe.' 
'^ Prame is order, contrivance, disposition of things. 
*' See note 8, p. 172, ante. 


I might have said. No pqrt is mine. 
This shame derives itself from imhnowu Unns? 
But mine, and mine I lov'd, and mine I prais'd. 
And mine that I was proud on ; mine so much. 
That I myself was to myself not mine, 
Valuing of her : why, she — O, she is fallen 
Into a pit of ink ! that the wide sea 
Hath drops too few to wash her clean again ^^; 
And salt top little, which may season give 
To her foul tainted flesh ! 

Bene, 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 
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 bum the errors that these princes hold 
Against her maiden truth : — Call me a fool; 

'^ The same thoaght is repealed in Macbeth : 

' Will all great Neptune's ocMn wash this blood 
Clean from mj band.' 



Trast not my reading, nor my observations, ^ 

Which virith experimental seal doth warrant B 

The tenour of my book ; trust not my age, ^ 

My reverence, calling, nor divinity, t 

If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here 
Under some biting error. 

Leon. 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 kuow more of aiiy 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, 
Kefuse me, hate me, torture me to death. 

Friar. There is some strange misprision ^^ in the 

Bene. Two of them have the very bent ^* of honour ; 
And if their wisdoms be misled in this. 
The practice of it lives in John the bastard, 
Whose spirits toil in frame of villanies. 

Lean. I know not; If they speak but truth of her, 
These hands shall tear her ; if they wrong her honour, 
The proudest of them shall well hear of it. 
Time hath not yet so dried this blood of mine. 
Nor age so eat up my invention, 
Nor fortune made such havock of my means, 
Nor my bad life reft me so much of friends, 

'^ Misconception. 

^* Bent is here used fot lYie u\.maa\. ^«i^ft^ ^^, at \&\id<&\xfi^ to 
lionourable conduct. See p. \5^, ttf>Ve \^. 



But they shall find, awak'd in such a kind, 
Both strength of limb, and policy of mind. 
Ability in means, and choice of friends. 
To quit me of them throughly. 

Friar. Pause a while. 

And let my counsel sway you in this case. 
Your daughter here the princes left for dead ; 
Let her awhile be secretly kept in. 
And publish it, that she is dead indeed : 
Maintain a mourning ostentation^^; 
And on your family's old monument 
Hang mournful epitaphs, and do all rites 
That appertain unto a burial. 

Leon. What shall become of this? What wiU 

Friar. Marry, this well carried, shall on her behalf 
Change slander to remorse ; that is some good : 
But not for that, dream I on this strange course. 
But on this travail look for greater birth. 
She dying, as it must be so maintain'd. 
Upon the instant that she was accus'd. 
Shall be lamented, pitied and excus'd. 
Of every hearer : For it so falls out. 
That what we have we prize not to the worth. 
Whiles we enjoy it; but being lack'd and lost. 
Why, then we rack^® the value; then we find 
The virtue, that possession would not show us 
Whiles it was ours : — So will it fare with Claudio : 
When he shall hear she died upon^^ his words. 
The idea of her life shall sweetly creep 
Into his study of imagination ; 
And every lovely organ of her life 
Shall come apparell'd in more precious habit. 
More moving-deUcate, and full of life, 

'^ Show, appearance. *^ i. e. raise to the hi^hesi )^\l<&li. 
" Vpon the occasion ot hia words she died ; iVs yjoi^* -vetfe 
the caase ofber death. 


Into the eye and prospect of his soul, 

Than when she liv'd indeed: — then shall he monni) 

(If ever love had interest in his liver ^^), 

And wish he had not so ^censed her; 

No, though he thought his accusation true. 

Let this be so, and doubt not but success 

Will fashion tibe event in better shape 

Than I can lay it down in likelihood. 

But if all aim but this be levell'd false. 

The supposition of the lady's death 

Will quench the wonder of her infamy : 

And, if it sort not well, you may conceal her 

(As best befits her wounded reputation). 

In 0ome reclusive and religious life. 

Out of all eyes, tongues, minds, and injuries. 

Bene. Siguier Leonato, let the friar advise you : 
And though, you know, my inwardness ^^ and love 
Is very much unto the prince and Claudio, 
Yet, by mine honour, I will deal in this 
As secretly, and justly, as your soul 
Should witii your body. 

Lean. Being that I flow in grief. 

The smallest twine may lead me^. 

Friar. Tis well consented ; presently away ; 
For to strange sores they strangely strain the 
cure. — 
Come, lady, die to live : this wedding day. 

Perhaps, is but prolong'd ; have patience, and 

[Exeunt Friar, Hero, and Leonato. 

Bene. Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while ? 

'^ The liyer was anciently supposed to be the seat of love. 

^' Intimacy. 

^ This is one of Shakspeare's subtle obsenrations npttn life. 
Men, overpowered with distress, eagerly listen to the first offers 
of relief, close with every scheme, and believe every promise. 
He that has 90 longer any confidence in himself is glad to repose 
his trust in any other that will undertake to ipoide him*. 


Beat. Yea, and I will weep a while longer. 

Bene. I will not desire that. 

Beat. You have no reason, I do it freely. 

Bene. Surely, I do believe your fair cousin is 

Beat. Ah, how much might the man deserve of 
me, that would right her ! 

Bene. Is there any way to show such friendship? 

Beat. A very even way, but no such friend. 

Bene. May a man do it? 

Beat. It is a man's office, but not yours. 

Bene. I do love nothing in the world so well as 
you; Is not that strange? 

Beat. As strange as the thing I know not: It' 
were as possible for me to say, I loved nothing so 
well as you : but believe me not ; and yet I lie not ; 
I confess nothing, noi; I deny nothing : — I am sorry 
for m^ cousin. 

Bene. By my sword, Beatrice, thou lovest me. 

Beat. Do not swear by it, and eat it. 

Bene. I will swear by it, that you love me; and 
I will make him eat it, tiiat says, I love not you. 

Beat. Will you not eat your word ? 

Bene. With no sauce that can be devised to it : 
I protest, I love thee. 

Beat. Why then, God forgive me ! 

Bene. What offence, sweet Beatrice ? 

Beat. You have staid me in a happy hour; I 
was about to protest, I loved you. 

Bene. And do it with all thy heart. 

Beat. I love you with so much of my heart, that 
none is left to protest. 

Bene. Come, bid me do any thing for thee. 

Beat. Kill Claudio. 

Bene. Ha ! not for the wide world. 

Beat. You kill me to deny it : Farewell. 



Bene. Tarry, sweet Beatrice. 

Beat. I am gone, though I am here-^ : — ^There is 
no love in you : — Nay, I pray you, let me go. 

Bene. Beatrice, — 

Beat. In faith, I will go. 

Bene. We'll be friends first. 

Beat. You dare easier be friends with me, than 
fight with mine enemy. 

Bene, Is Glaudio thine enemy ? 

Beat. Is he not approved in the height a villain^, 
that hath slandered, scorned, dishonoured my kins- 
woman?— rO, that I were a man! — What! bear 
her in hand^^ until they come to take hands ; and 
then with pubUc accusation, uncovered slander, un- 
mitigated rancour, — O God, that I were a man ! I 
would eat his heart in the market place. 

Bene. Hear me, Beatrice; — 

Beat. Talk with a man out at a window?— a 
proper saying ! 

Ben£. Nay but, Beatrice; — 

Beat. Sweet Hero ! — she is wronged, she is 
slandered, she is undone. 

Bene. Beat — 

Beat. Princes, and counties^* ! Surely, a princely 
testimony, a goodly count-confect^; a sweet gal- 
lant, surely ! O that I were a man for his sake ! or 
that I had any friend would be a man for my sake ! 
But manhood is melted into courtesies ^^, valour into 
compliment, and men are only turned into tongue, 

^* i. e. * I am in reality absent, for my heart is gone from jfotf, 
I remain in person before yon.' 

22 So, in K. Henry VIII. : « He's a traitor to the height: U 
pracipiti vitium stetit. — ^Juv. i. 149. 

^ Delude her with false expectations. 

^ Countie was the ancient term for a count or earl, 

^ A specious nobleman made out of sugar. 

» CeremoDie«. 

SC. I. ABOtT NdTHlNG. 191 

and trim ones too^: he is now as valiant as Her- 
cules, that only tells a lie, and swears it : — I can- 
not be a man with wishing, therefore I will die a 
woman with grieving. 

Bene. Tarry, good Beatrice : By this hand, I 
love thee. 

Beat, Use it for my love some other way than 
swearing by it. 

Bene, Think you in your soul the count Claudio 
hath wronged Hero ? 

Beat, Yea, as sure as I have a thought, or a soul. 

Bene, Enough, I am engaged, I will challenge 
him ; I will kiss your hand, and so leave you : By 
this hand, Claudio shall render me a dear account : 
As you hear of me, so think of me. Go, comfort 
your cousin ; I must say, she is dead ; and so, fare- 
well. [Exeunt, 

SCENE II. A Prison, 

Enter Dogberry, Verges^, and Sexton, in 
goums; and the Watch, with Conrade and 


JDogb, Is our whole dissembly appeared ? 
Verg, O, a stool and a cushion for the sexton ! 
Sexton, Which be the malefactors ? 
JDogb, Marry, that am I and my partner. 
Verg, Nay, that's certain; we have the exhibi- 
tion to examine^. 

^ Trim seems here to signify apt, fair spoken. Tongue ased 
in the singular, and trim ones in the plural, is a mode of con- 
struction not uncommon in Shakspeare. 

* Throughout this scene the names of Kempe and Cowley, two 
celebrated actors of the time, are put for Dogberry and Verges 
in the old editions. ' 

^ This is a blunder of the constables, for ' examination to ex,' 
hibit/ In the last scene of the third act Leonato says : * Take 
their examination yourself and bring it me.' 


Sexton. But which are the offenders that are to be 
examined?, let them come before master constable. 

Dogb. Yea, marry, let them come before me. — 
What is your ndme, friend ? 

Bora. Borachio^ 

Dogb. Pray write down — Bofachio. Yours, 


Con. I am a gentleman, sir, and my name is 

Dogb. Write down — master gentleman Comrade. 
— Masters, do you serve God ? 

Con, Bora. Yea, sir, we hope. 

Dogb. Write down — that they hope they serve 
God: — ^and vnrite God first; for God defend but 
God should go before such villains! — Masters, it 
is proved already that you are little better than false 
knaves ; and it will go near to be thought so shortly. 
How answer you for yourselves. 

Con. Marry, sir, we say we are none. 

Dogb. A marvellous witty fellow, I assure you; 
but I will go about with bun. — Come you hither, 
sirrah; a word in your ear, sir; I say to you, it 
is thought you are false knaves. 

Bora. Sir, I say to you, we are none. 

Dogb. Well, stand aside. — Tore God, they are 
both in a tale: Have you writ down — that they 
are none ? 

Sextdn. Master constable, you go not the way to 
examine; you must call fortii the watch that are 
their accusers. 

Dogb. Yea, marry, that's the eftest^ way : — Let 
the watch come forth : — Masters, I charge you, in 
the prince's name, accuse these men. 

1 Watch. This man said, sir, that Don John, the 
prince's brother, was a villain. 

3 i. e. the qwtcibes^ way. 


Dogh. Write down — ^prince John a villain : — 
Why this is flat perjury, to call: a prince's brother 
— Yillain. 

Bora. Master constable, — 

Dogh, Pray thee, fellow, peace; I do not like 
thy look, I promise thee. 

Sexton. What heard you him say else? 

2 Watch, Marry, that he had received a thousand 
ducats of Don John, for accusing the lady Hero 

Dogh, Flat burglary, as ever was committed. 

Verg, Yea, by the mass, that it is. 

Sexton, What else, fellow ? 

1 Watch. And that count Claudio did mean, upon 
his words, to disgrace Hero before the whole assem- 
bly, and not marry her. 

Dogh, O villain ! thou wilt be condemned into 
everlasting redemption for this. 
Sexton, What else ? 

2 Watch, This is all. 

Sexton, And this is more, masters, than you can 
deny. Prince John is this morning secretly stolen 
away; Hero was in this manner accused, in this 
very manner refused, and upon the grief of this 
suddenly died. — Master constable, let these men 
be bound, and brought to Leonato's; I will go be- 
fore, and show him their examination. [Exit. 

Dogh, Come, let them be opinioned. 

Verg, Let them be in the bands ^ — 

Con. Off, coxcomb ! 

Dogh. God's my life! where's the sexton? let 

* In the old copy this passage stands thus : ' Sexton, Let them 
be in the hands of Coxcomb.' Mr. Steeyens proposed to read, 
' Let them be in band.' That the speech should be thus divided 
and given to "Verges and Conrad is evident. I believe it was so 
arranged at the suggestion of Mr. Tyrwhitt. 

VOL. If. S 


him write down — the prince's officer, coxcomb. — 
Come, bind them : Thou naughty variet ! 

Con. Away ! you are an ass, you are an ass. 

Dogh. Dost thou not suspect my place? Dost 
thou not suspect my years ? — O that he were here 
to write me down — an ass ! — but, masters, remem- 
ber, that I am an ass; though it be not vmtten 
down, yet forget not that I am an ass : — No, thou 
villain, thou art full of piety, as shall be proved 
upon thee by good witness. I am a wise fellow ; 
and, which is more, an officer; and, which is more, 
a householder : and, which is more, as pretty a piece 
of flesh as any is in Messina ; and one that knows 
the law, go to ; and a rich fellow enough, go to ; 
and a fellow that hath had losses; and one that 
hath two gowns, and every thing handsome about 
him : — Bring him away. O, that I had been writ 
down — an ass. [Exeunt. 


SCENE I. Before Leonato's House. 

Enter Leonato and Antonio. 

Ant. If you go on thus, you will kill yourself; 
And 'tis not wisdom, thus to second grief 
Against yourself. 

Leon. I pray thee, cease thy counsel. 

Which falls into mine ears as profitless 
As water in a sieve : give not me counsel ; 
Nor let no comforter delight mine ear. 
But such a one who^e wrongs do suit with mine. 
Bring me a father, that so lov'd his child. 
Whose joy of her is overwhelm'd like mine. 
And bid him speak of patience ; 
Measure his woe the length and breadth of mine. 


And let it answer every strain for strain;. 
As thus for thus, and such a grief for such. 
In every lineament, branch, shape, and form : 
If such a one will smile, and stroke his beard : 
Cry — sorrow, wag! and hem, when he should 

groan ^; 
Patch grief with proverbs ; make misfortune drunk 
With candle-wasters^; bring him yet to me. 
And I of him will gather patience. 
But ther^ is no such man : For, brother, men 
Can counsel, find speak comfort to that grief 
Which they themselves not feel ; but, tasting it. 
Their counsel turns to passion, which before 
Would give preceptial medicine to rage. 
Fetter strong madness in a silken thread. 
Charm ach with air, and agony with words : 
No, no ; 'tis all men's office to speak patience 
To those that wring under the load of sorrow : 
But no man's virtue, nor sufficiency. 
To be so moral, when he shall endure 
The like himself: therefore give me no counsel: 
My griefs cry louder than advertisement^. 
Ant. Therein do men from children nothing differ^ 
Leon. I pray thee, peace: I will be flesh and 
For there was never yet philosopher. 
That could endure the tooth-ach patiently ; 

' The folio reads, 'And sorrow, wagge, cry hem/ &c. The 
emendation and arrangement of this line is by Dr. Johnson, who 
thus explains the passage. * If he will smile, and cry sorrow be 
gone ! and hem instead of groaning.' Steevens proposed to read, 
' And, sorry wag, cry hem,' &c. which is very plausible, bat he 
abandoned his own reading in favoar of Johnson's. 

' Candle wasters, A contemptaous term for booh-worms or hard 
students, used by Ben Jonson in Cjmthia's Revels, and others. 
The meaning here appears to be — ^If such a one will patch 
(i. e. mend or remedy; grief with proverbs, — make misfortone 
drank (i. e. insensibie) with the producUons oC iVie \am^^ ^» 

' That is, ' than admonilion, than moral instructukn.^ 


However they have writ the style of gods, 
And made a push ^ at chance and sufferance.' 

Ant. Yet bend not all the harm upon yourself; 
Make those, that do offend you, suffer too. 

Letm. There thouspeak'st reason: nay, I will 
do so: 
My soul doth tell me. Hero is belied. 
And that shall Claudio know, so shall the prince, . 
And all of them, that thus dishonour her. 

Enter Don Pedro and Claudio. 

Ant. Here comes the prince, and Claudio, hastily, 

D, Pedro. Good den, good den. 

Claud. Good day to both of you. 

Leon. Hear you, my lords, — 

D. Pedro, We have some haste, Leonato.' 

Leon. Some haste, my lord ! — ^well, fare you well, 
my lord : — 
Are you so hasty now ? — well, all is one. 

D. Pedro. Nay, do not quarrel with us, good 
old man. 

Ant. If he could right himself with quarreling, 
Spme of us would lie low. 

Claud. Who wrongs him ? 

Leon. Marry, thou dost wrong me ; thou dissem- 
bler, thou; — 
Nay, never lay thy hand upon thy sword, 
I fear thee not. 

Claud. Marry, beshrew niy hand. 

If it should give your age such cause of fear : 
In faith, my hand meant nothing to my sword. 

Leon. Tush, tush, man, never fleer and jest at nie: 
I speak not like a dotard, nor a fool ; 
As, under privilege of age, to brag 

* Push is the reading of the old copy, which Pope altered to 
pish withoat any seeming necessity. To make a push at any 
thing is to contend ftgainst it or defy it 


What I have done being young, or what would do, 

Were I not old : Know, Claudio, to thy head. 

Thou hast so wrong'd mine innocent child and me, . 

That I am forc'd to lay my reverence by ; 

And, .with grey hairs, and bruise of many days, . 

Do challenge thee to trial of a man. 

I say, thou hast belied mine innocent child ; 

Thy slander hath gone through and through her heart. 

And she lies buried with her ancestors : 

O ! in a tomb where never scandal slept. 

Save this of her's fram'd by thy villany. 

Claud. My villany ! 

Lean. Thine, Claudio ; thine I say« 

D. Pedro. You say not right, old man. 

Leon. My lord, my lord, 

I'll prove it on his body, if he dare ; 
Despite his nice fence, and his active practice^. 
His May of youth, and bloom of lustyhood. 

Claud. Away, I will not have to do with you. 

Leon. Canst thou so daff ^ me ? Thou hast kilFd 
my child ; 
If thou kill'st me, boy, thou shalt kill a man. 

Ant. He shall kill two of us, and men indeed : 
But that's no matter; let him kill one first; — 
Win me and wear me, — let him answer me, — 
Come, follow me, boy; come, boy, follow me^: 
Sir boy ,^ I'll whip you from your foining® fence ; 
Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will. 

Leon, Brother, — 

Ant. Content yourself; God knows, I lov'd my 

^ Skill in fencing. 

^ This is only a corrapt form of doffy to do off or put off. 

7 The folio reads :— 

Come, sir boy, come follow me. 

» Thrusting. 


And she is dead, slander'd to death by villains ; 
That dare as well answer a man, indeed. 
As I dare take a serpent by the tongue ; 
Boys, apes, braggarts, jacks, milksops !- 

Leon, Brother Antony, — 

Ant. Hold you content; What, man! I know 
them, yea. 
And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple: 
Scambling^, out-fiocing, fashion-mong'ring boys. 
That lie, and cog, and flout, deprave and slander, 
Go antickly, and show outward hideousness ^^, 
And speak off half a dozen dangerous words. 
How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst. 
And this is all. 

Leon. But, brother Antony, — 

AnU Come, 'tis no matter; 

Do not you meddle, let me deal in this. 

2>. Pedro. Gentlemen both, we will not wake" 
your patience. 
My heart is sorry for your daughter's death ; 
But, on my honour, she was charg'd with nothing 
But what was true, and very full of proof. 

Leon. My lord, my lord, — 

D. Pedro. I will not hear you. 

Leon. No ? 

Come, brother, away : — I will be heard ; — 

Ant. And shall, 

Or some of us will smart for it. 

[Exeunt Leonato an^ Antonio. 

' Seamhlmg appears to have been mach the same as scrambling ; 
shiftiog or shuffling. * Griffe graffe/ sajs Cotgrave, ' bj hook 
or by crook, sqaimble sqnamble, seamhUngly, catch that catch 
may.' We have * tkimble shamble stnflf in K. Henry IV. Part I. 

'® i. e. what in King Henry V. Act iii. Sc. 6, is called — 
* a horrid suit of the camp.' 

** i. e. rouse, stir up, convert your patience into anger, by re- 
mainiDg longer in your pieseuce. 


Enter Benedick. 

D.Pedro. See, see; here comes the man we 
went to seek. 

Claud. Nowy signior ! what news ? 

Bene. Good day, my lord. 

D. Pedro. Welcome, signior: You are almost 
come to part almost a fray. 

Claud. We had Uke to have had our two noses 
snapped off with two old men without teeth. 

D. Pedro. Leonato and his brother : What think'st 
thou ? Had we fought, I doubt, we should have 
been too young for them. 

Bene. In a false quarrel there is no true valour. 
I came to seek you both. 

Claud. We have been up and down to seek thee; 
for we are high-proof melancholy, and would fain 
have it beaten away : Wilt thou use thy wit? 

Bene. It is in my scabbard; Shall I draw it? 

D. Pedro. Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side ? 

Claud. Never any did so, though very many have 
been beside their wit. — I will bid thee draw, as we 
do the minstrels; draw, to pleasure us^^. 

D. Pedro. As I am an honest man, he looks pale : 
— Art thou sick, or angry ? 

Claud. What ! courage, man ! What though care 
killed a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care. 

Bene. Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career, 
an you charge it against me : — I pray you, choose 
another subject. 

Claud. Nay, then give him another staff; this 
last was broke cross ^^. 

D. Pedro, By this light, he changes more and 
more ; I think, he be angry indeed. 

^^ ' I will bid thee draw thy sword, as we bid the minstrels draw 
the bows of their fiddles, merely to please us.' 

*3 The alluaioa is to tUiing, See note, AlS You \i^« IV, KbN. 
/jjL Sc, 4, 



CUmd. If he be. he knows how to turn his gurdle^^. 

Bene. Shall I speak a word in your ear? 

Claud, God bless me from a challenge ! 

Bene, You are a villain ; — I jest not : — I will make 
it good how you dare, with what you dare, and when 
you dare : — Do me right, or I will protest your cow- 
ardice. You have killed a sweet IsLdy, and her death 
shall fall -heavy on you : Let me hear from you. 

Clavd, Well, I will meet you, so I may have 
good cheer. 

D, Pedro, What, a feast? a feast? . 

Claud, rfaith, I thank \^m; he hath bid*^ me 
to a calf's head and a capon ; the which if I do not 
carve most curiously, say, my knife's naught. — 
Shall I not find a woodcock ^^ too. 

Bene, Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes easily. 

D, Pedro, I'll tell thee how Beatrice' praised thy 
wit the other day : I said thou hadst a fine wit : 
True, says she, ajine little one: No, said I, a great 
toit; Right, says she, a great gross one: Nay, said 
I, a good wit; Just; said she, it hurts nobody: Nay^ 
said I, the gentleman is wise; Certain, said she, a 
wise gentleman^'' : Nay, said I, he hath the tongues; 

^* There is a proverbial phrase, * If he be angry let him tun 
the buckle of his girdle.' Mr. Holt White says, * Large belts 
were worn with the buckle before, but for wrestling the buckle 
was turned behind, to give the adversary a fairer grasp at the 
girdle. To turn the buckle behind was therefore a challenge.' 

'* Invited. 

'* A woodcock, being supposed to have no brains, was a com- 
mon phrase for a foolish fellow. It means here one caught in a 
springe or trap, alluding to the plot against Benedick. So, in 
Hamlet, Sc. ult. 

' Why, as a woodcock to iCy own springe, Oarick.* 
Sir Wm. Cecil in a letter to Secretary Maitland (penes me) says : 
' I went to lay some lime twiggs for certen woodcoke which I 
have taken.' He alludes to an attempted escape of the French 

'^ Wise gentleman was probably used ironically for a silly 
fellow j as we still say a wiee-acre. 


That I beUeoe, said she, for he tteore a tktKg to me 
o* Monday night, which he forswore on Tuetday 
mommy ; tkere'g a dotthle tongue ; there') two tonguet. 
Thus, did she, an hour tog;ether, transsbape thy par- 
ticular virtues ; yet, at last, she concluded wiA a 
sigh, thou wast the properest man in Italy. 

Claud. For the which she wept heartily, and 
said, she cared not, 

D. Pedro. Yea, that she did; but yet, for all 
that, an if ^e did not hate him deadly, she would 
lore him deaily : the old man's daughter told us all. 

Claud. At), all; and moreover, God »au> Atn 
toAen he was hid m the garden. 

B. Pedro. But when shall we set the savage 
bull's horns on the sensiUe Benedick's head ? 

Claud. Yea, and text underneath. Here dwell* 
Benedick the married man? 

Bene. Fare you well, boy; you know my mind; 
I will leave you now to your gossip-like humour : 
you break jests as bra^arts do their blades, which, 
God be thanked, hurt not. — 'My lord, for your many 
courtesies I thank you : I must discontinue your 
company: your brother, the bastard, is Aed from 
Messina : you have, among you, killed a sweet and 
innocent lady : For my l(»d Lack-beard, there, he 
uid I shall meet ; and till then, peace be with him. 
[Exit Benedick. 

J). Pedro. He is in earnest . 

Claud. In most jmifound earnest ; And,- III war- 
rant you, for the love of Beatrice. 

D. Pedro. And hatfa challenged thee? 

Claud. Most sincerely. 

D. Pedro. What a pretty thing man is, when he 
goes in his doublet and hose, and leaves off his 


Claud. He is then a giant to an ape : but then is 
an ape a doctor to such a man. 

D. Pedro. But, soft you, let be^^; pluck up my 
heart, and be sad^! Did he not say, my brother 
was fled? 

Enter Dogberry, Verges, and the Watch, with 
CoNRADE and Borachio. 

Dogb. Gome, you, sir; if justice cannot tame 
you, she shall ne'er weigh more reasons in her ba^ 
lance: nay, an you be a cursing hypocrite once^S 
you must be looked to. 

D. Pedro. How now, two of my brother's men 
bound ! Borachio, one ! 

Claud, Hearken after their offence, my lord ! 

D. Pedro, Officers, what offence have these men 

Dogb. Many, sir, they have committed false re- 
port; moreover, they have spoken untruths; second- 
arily, they are slanders : sixth and lastly, they have 
beUed a lady; thirdly, they have verified unjust 
things : and, to conclude, they are lying knaves. 

2>. Pedro. First, I ask thee what they have done; 
thirdly, I ask thee what's their offence ; sixth and 
lastly, why they are committed ; and, to conclude, 
what you lay to their charge ? 

Claud. Rightly reasoned, and in his own divi- 
sion; and, by my troth, there's one meaning well 
suited ^^. 

D. Pedro. Whom have you offended, masters, 

*^ The old copies read ' let m« be,' the emendation is Malone's. 
Let be appears here to signify hold, rest there. It has the same 
signification in Saint Matthew, ch. xxyii. t. 49. 

^ i. e. ' roase thyself my heart and be prepared for serious 

^^ See before in this play, p. 129, note 35. 

^ That is, one meaning put into manx| d\f «Tent dresses ; the 
Prince having asked the awoDie «via.ea\As«i\xi ^wm \xtf^^-&^^ v^ra^. 


that you are thus bound to your answer? this learned 
constable is too cunning to be understood : What's 
your offence ? 

. Bora, Sweet prince, let me go no further to mine 
answer ; do you hear me, and let this count kill me. 
I have deceived even your very eyes : what your 
wisdoms could not discover, these shallow fools 
have brought to light; who, in the night, overheard 
me confessing to this man, how Don John, your 
brother, incensed^ me to slander the lady Hero; 
how you were brought into the orchard, and saw 
me court Margaret in Hero's garment; how you 
disgraced her, when you should marry her : my vil- 
lany they have upon record; which I had rather 
seal with my death, than repeat over to my shame : 
the lady is dead upon mine and my master's false 
accusation; and, briefly, I desire nothing but the 
reward of a villain. 

D. Pedro, Kuns not this speech like iron through 
your blood? 

Claud. I have drunk poison, whiles he utter'd it. 

2>. Pedro, But did my brother set thee on to this ? 

Bora, Yea, and paid me richly for the practice 
of it. 

D. Pedro. He is compos'd and fram'd of trea^ 
chery : — 
And fled he is upon this villany. 

Claud. Sweet Hero ! now thy image doth appear 
In the rare semblance that I loved it first. 

Dogb. Come, bring away the plaintiffs; by this 
time our Sexton hath reformed signior Leonato of 
the matter : And masters, do not forget to specify, 
when time and place shall serve, that I am an ass. 

Verg. Here, here comes master signior Leonato, 
and the Sexton too. 

^ Incited, instigated. 


Re-enter Leon ATO and Antonio, with the Sexton. 

Lean, Which is the yillain ? Let me see his eyes ; 
That when I note another man like him, 
I may avoid him : Which of these is he ? 

Bora, If you would know your wronger, look ob 

Leon. Art thou the slave, that with thy breatL 
hast kUl'd 
Mine innocent child ? 

Bora. Yea, even I alone. 

Leon, No, not so, villain; thou bely'st thyself; 
Here stand a pair of honourable men, 
A third is fled, that had a hand in it : — 
I thank you, princes, for my daughter's death ; 
Kecord it with your high and worthy deeds ; 
'Twas bravely done, if you bethink you of it. 

Ckmd. I know not how to pray your patience, 
Ifet I must speak : Choose your revenge yourself 
Impose ^^ me to what penance your invention 
Can lay upion my sin : yet sinn'd I not. 
But in mistaking. 

D, Pedro, By my soul, nor I ; 

And yet, to satisfy this good old man, 
I would bend under any heavy weight 
That he'll enjoin me to. 

Leon, I cannot bid you bid my daughter live. 
That were impossible ; but, I pray you both. 
Possess^ the people in Messina here 
How innocent she died : and, if your love 
Can labour aught in sad invention, 

^^ i. e. * inflict upon me whatever penance, &c.' See yoI. 
p. 160, note 1. 

^ To possess anciently signified to inform, to male acquaintt 
with. So in The Merchant of Venice : 

' I have possessed your grace of what I purpose.' 


Hang her an epitalph upon her tomb ^, 

Atid sing it to her bones ; sing it to-night : — > 

To-morrow morning <iome you to my house ; 

And since you could not be my son-in-law, 

Be yet my nephew : my brother hath a daughter. 

Almost the copy of my child that's dead, 

And she alone is heir to both of us ^ ; 

Give her the right you should have given her cousin. 

And so dies my revenge. 

Claud. O, noble sir, 

Your over-kindness doth wring tears from me ! 
I do embrace your offer; and dispose 
For henceforth of poor Claudio. 

Leon. To-morrow then I will expect your coming; 
To-night I take my leave. — This naughty man 
Shall face to face be bro.ught to Margaret, 
Who, I beheve, was pack'd^ in all this wrong, 
Hir'd to it by your brother. 

Bora. No, by my soul, she was not; 

Nor knew not what she did, when she spoke to me ; 
But always hath been just and virtuous, 
In any thing that I do know by her. 

Dogb. Moreover, sir (which, indeed, is not under 
white and black), this plaintiff here, the offender, 
did call me ass: I beseech you, let it be remem- 
bered in his punishment : And also, the watch heard 
them talk of one Deformed : they say, he wears a 
key in his ear, and a lock hanging by it^; and 

^ It was the castom among Catholics to attach, upon or near 
the tomb of celebrated persons, a written inscription either in 
prose or verse generally in prais^ of the deceased. See Bayle, 
in Aretin (Pierre), note H. ed. 1720. 

^ Yet Shakspeare makes Leonato say to Antonio, Act i. Sc. 6, 
' How now, brother ; where is mj cousin jour son,' &c. 

^ i. e. combined ; an accomplice. 

^ It was one of the fantastic fashions of Sbakspeare's time to 
wear a long banging lock of hair dangling by the ear ; it is often 
mentioned by cotemporary writers, and may be o\>&eTve^\i\%Qinvei 
ancient portraits. The humour of this passage \s \u Do^^tx^^ ^ 



borrows money in God's name ; the which he hath 
used so long, and never paid, <hat now men groW 
hard-hearted, and will lend nothing for God's sake: 
Pray you, examine him upon that point. 

Leon. I thank thee for Uiy care and honest pains. 

Dogh. Your worship speaks like a most thankful 
and reverend youth; and I praise God for you. 

Leon. There's for thy pains. 

Dogh. God save the foundation ^. 

Leon. Go, I discharge thee of thy prisoner, and 
I thank thee. 

Dogh. I leave an errant knave with your wor- 
ship; which, I beseech your worship, to correct 
yourself, for the example of others. God keep your 
worship; I wish your worship well; God restore 
you to health: I humbly give you leave to depart; 
and if a merry meeting may be wished, God pro- 
hibit it — Come, neighbour. 

[Exeunt Dogberry, Verges, and Watch. 

Leon. Until to-morrow morning, lords, farewell. 

Ant. Farewell, my lords; we look for you to- 

D. Pedro. We will not fail. 

Claud. To-night I'll mourn with Hero. 

[Exeunt Don Pedro and Claudio. 

Leon. Bring you these fellows on ; we'll talk with 
How her acquaintance grew with this lewd ^^ fellow. 


supposing the lock to have a key to it. See HalFs Satires, Edi- 
tion, 1824. Book iii. Satire 7. 

^ A phrase used by those who received alms at the gates of 
religions houses. Dogberry probably designed to say, ' God 
save the founder.' 

^* Here lewd has not the common meaning ; nor do I think it 
can be used in the more uncommon sense of ignorant ; but rather 
means inavishf ungracious^ naughty, which are the synonymes 
used with it in explamln^ \]bj& LoiUupravtM id dictionaries of the 
sixteenth century. 


SCENE II. Leonato's Garden. 

Enter Benedick and Margaret, meeting. 

Bene. Pray thee, sweet mistress Margaret, de- 
serve well at my hands, by helping me to the speech 
of Beatrice. 

Marg. Will you then write me a sonnet in praise 
of my beauty ? 

Bene. In so high a style, Margaret, that no man 
living shall come over it; for, in most comely truth, 
tiiou deservest it. 

Marg. To have no man come over me? why, 
shall I always keep below stairs ^ ? 

Bene. Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound's 
mouth, it catches. 

Marg. And your's as blunt as the fencer's foils, 
which hit, but hurt not. 

Bene. A most manly wit, Margaret, it will not 
hurt a woman ; and so, I pray thee, call Beatrice : 
I give thee the bucklers^. 

Marg, Give us the swords, we have bucklers of 
our own. 

Bene. If you use them, Margaret, you must put 
in the pikes with a vice; and they are dangerous 
weapons for maids. 

Marg. Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who, I 
think, hath legs. [Exit Margaret. 

' Theobald proposed to read, above stairs ; and the sense of 
the passage seems to require some such alteration : perhaps a 
word has been lost, and we may read * why, shall I always keep 
them below stairs?' Of this passage Dr. Johnson says, ' 1 sap- 
pose every reader wUl find the meaning.' It was certainly not 
worth while to illustrate it as the pseudo-CoWins has done. 

2 i. e. * I yield.* So in Holland's Translation of Pliny's Na- 
tural History, b. x. c. xxi. ' It goeth against the stomach to yeeld 
the gauntlet and gim the buekkre.* He is spealdn^ oi \)^^ cf^O«L. 


Bene, And therefore will come. 

The god of love, [Singing. 

I^t iiis above, 
And knows me, and knows me. 
How pitiful I deserve. — 

I mean, in singing; but in loving, — Leander the 
good swimmer, Troilus the first employer of pan- 
ders, and a whole book full of these quondam car- 
pet-mongers, whose names yet run smoothly in the 
even road of a blank verse, why, they were never 
so truly turned over and over as my poor self, in 
love : Marry, I cannot show it in rhyme ; I have 
tried ; I can find out no rhyme to lady but baby, an 
innocent rhyme ; for scorn, horn, a hard rhyme ; for 
school, fool, a babbling rhyme; 'very ominous end- 
ings : No, I was not bom under a rhyming planet, 
nor I cannot woo in festival terms '. — 

Enter Beatrice. 

Sweet Beatrice, would'st thou come when. I called 

Beat. Yea, signior, and depart when you bid me. 

Bene. O, stay but till then ! 

Beat. Then, is spoken; fare you well now: — 
and yet, ere I go, let me go with that I came for, 
which is, with knowing what hath passed between 
you and Claudio. 

Bene. Only foul words; and thereupon I will 
kiss thee. 

Beat. Foul words is but foul wind, and foul wind 

' i. e. ' in choice phrawology.* So mine Host in Merry Wives 
of Windsor sajs of Fenton, ' He speaks hoUday* And Hotspur, 
in K. Henry IV. Part I. 

* ' With pany holiday and lady terms.' 


is but foul breath, and foul breath is noisome; there- 
fore I will depart unkissed. 

Bme. Thou hast frighted the word out of his 
right sense, so forcible is thy wit : But, I must tell 
thee plainly, Claudio undergoes ^ my challenge; 
and either I must shortly hear from him, or I will 
subscribe him a coward. And, I pray thee now, 
tell me, for which of my bad parts didst thou first 
fall in love with me ? 

Beat, For them all together; which maintained 
so politick a state of evil, that they will not admit 
any good part to intermingle with them. But for 
which of my good parts did you first suffer love for 

Bene. Suffer love; a good epithet! I do suffer 
love, indeed, for I love thee against my will. 

Beat. In spite of your heart, I think ; alas ! poor 
heart ! If you spite it for my sake, I will spite it 
for yours; for I will never love that which my 
friend hates. 

BeTie. Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably. 

Beat It appears not in this confession : there's 
not one wise man among twenty that will praise 

Bene. An old, an old instance, Beatrice, that 
lived in the time of good neighbours ^ : if a man do 
not erect in this age his own tomb ere he dies, he 
shall live no longer in monument, than the bell rings, 
and the widow weeps. 

Beat. And how long is that, think you ? 

Bene. Question^! — ^Why, an hour in clamour, 

* Is under challenge, or now stands challenged, by me. 

' i.e.' when men were not envioos, bat every one gave another 
his dae.' 

° This phrase appears to be eqniyalent to — ' Yoo ask a ques- 
tion indeed!*— or ' that is the question T 



and a quarter in rheum : Therefore it is most expe- 
dient for the wise (if Don Worm, his conscience, 
find no impediment to the contrary), to be the trum- 
pet of his otum virtues, as I am to myself: So much 
for praising myself (who, I myself will bear witness, 
is praise-worthy), and now tell me. How doth your 
cousin ? 

Beat. Very ill. 

Bene. And how do you ? 

Beat. Very ill too. 

Bene. Serve God, love me, and mend : there will 
I leave you too, for here comes one in haste. 

Enter Ursula, 

Ut9. Madam, you must come to your uncle; 
yonder's old coiF at home: it is proved, my lady 
Hero hath been falsely accused, the Prince and 
Claudio mightily abused ; and Don John is the 
author of all, who is fled and gone : will you come 
presently ? 

Beat. Will you go hear this news, signior? 

Bene. I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and 
be buried in thy eyes; and moreover, I will go with 
thee to thy uncle's. [ExemU. 

SCENE III. The Inside of a Church. 

jE^n/er Don Pedro, Claudio, and Attendants, 
with Musick and Tapers. 

Clavd. Is this the monument of Leonato ? 
Atten. It is, my lord. 

^ Old coil is great or abundant bustle. Old was a common 

an^entatiye in ancient familiar language. So in K. Henry IV. 

Part II. Act ii. ' By the mass, here will be old atis.' And in 

Solijnan and Perseda, 1699, < I shall have old laughing.' It is 

said to be still in u&e in \\i« noiVHivexii <3K)»xiiQL\&ft«. 


Clottdf [Heads from a scro//.] 

D&ne to death ^ by slanderous tongues 

Was the Hero that here lies: 
Death, in guerdon^ of her torongs 

Gives her fame which never dies: 
So the life, that died with shame. 
Lives in death with glorious fame. 

Hang thou there upon the tomb, [affixing it. 
Praising her when I am dumb. — 

Now, musick, sound, and sing your solemn hymn. 


Pardon, Goddess of the night. 
Those that slew thy virgin knight^; 
For the which, with songs of woe. 
Round about her tomb they go. 

Midnight, assist our moan ; 

Help vs to sigh and groan. 
Heavily, heavily : 

Graves, yawn, and yield your dead, 

Till death be uttered^. 
Heavily, heavily. 

Claud. Now, unto tfay bones good night ! 
Yearly will I do this rite. 

^ This phrase occurs freqaently in writers- of Sbakspeare's 
time, it appears to be derived from the French phrase, faire 
nuntrir. See note on K. Henry VI. Part III. Act ii. Sc. I. 
' Rewlird. 

' DiaimCs knight, or virgin knight, was the common poetical 
appellation of virgins in Shakspeare's time. So in The Two 
Noble Kinsmen, 1634. 

' O sacred, shadowy, cold, and constant queen, 
who to thy female inigkts,* &c. 

* i. e. ' tUl death be spoken of.* 


D. Pedro. Good morrow, masters ; put your 

torches out : 
The wolves have prey'd ; and look, the gentle day. 
Before the wheels of Phoebus, round about 

Dapples the drowsy east with spots of gray : 
Thanks to you all, and leave us ; fare you well. 
Claud. Good morrow, masters ; each his several 

D. Pedro, Come, let us hence, and put on other 
And then to Leonato's we will go. 

Claud. And, Hymen, now with luckier issue 
.Than this, for whom we rendered up this woe ! 


SCENE IV. A Room in Lecmato's Hoiue. 

Enter Leonato, Antonio, Benedtck, Bea- 
trice, XJrsulAj,^ Friar, and Hero. 

Friar. Did I not tell you she was innocent? 

Leon. So are the prince and Claudio, who accus'd 
Upon the en A that you heard debated : 
But Margaret was in some fault for this ; 
Although against her will, as it appears 
In the true course of all the question. 

Ant. Well, I am glad that all things sort so well. 

Bene. And so am I, being else by faith enforced 
To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it. 

Leon. Well, daughter, and you gentlewomen all. 
Withdraw into a chamber by yourselves ; 
And, when I send for yon, come hither mask'd: 
The prince and Claudio promised by this hour 
To visit me : — ^Vou know your office, brother; 


You must be fa&er to your brother's daughter. 
And give her to young Claudio. [Exeunt Ladies, 

Ant. Which I will do with confirmed countenance. 

Bene. Friar, I must entreat your pains, I think. 

Friar. To do what, signior? 

Bene. To bind me^ or undo me, one of them. — 
Signior Leonato, truth it is, good signior, 
Your niece regards me witii an eye of favour. 

Leon. That eye my daughter lent her ; 'Tis most 

BeTie. And I do with an eye of love requite her. 

Lean. The sight whereof^ I think, you had from me. 
From Claudio, and the prince : But what's your 

Bene. Your answer, sir, is enigmatical :, 
But, for my will, my will is, your good will 
May stand with ours, this day to b^ conjoin'd 
In tiie estate of honourable marriage ; — 
In which, good friar, I shall desire your help. 

Leon. My heart is with your liking. 

Friar. And my help. 

Here comes the prince, and Claudio. 

Enter Don Pedro aiu2 Claudio, imVA Attendants. 

D. Pedro. Good morrow to this fair assembly. 
Leon. Good morrow, prince; good morrow, 
We here attend you ; are you yet determined 
To-day to marry with my brother's daughter ? 
Claud. I'll hold my mind, were she an Ethiope. 
Leon. Call her forth, brother, here's the friar 
ready. [Exit Antonio. 

D. Pedro. Good morrow. Benedick: Why, what'a 
the matter. 
That you have such a February face. 
So full of frost, of storm, and cloudiness? 


Claud. I think, he thmks upon the savage bull ^ :— 
Tush» fear not, man, well tip thy horas with gold, 
And all Europa shall rejoice at thee ; 
As once Europa did at lusty Jove, 
When he would play the noble beast in love. 

Bene. Bull Jove, sir, had an amiable low : 
And some such strange bull leap'd your father's cow, 
And got a calf in that same noble feat. 
Much like to you, for you have just his bleat 

Re-enter Antonio, with the Ladies masked. 

Claud. For this I owe you: here comes other 
Which is the lady I must seize upon ? 

Ant. This same is she, and I do give you her. 
Claud. Why, then she*s mine : Sweet, let me see 

your faoe. 
Leon. No, that you shall not, till you take her 
Before this friar, and swear to marry her. 

Claud. Give me your hand before this holy friar; 
I am your husband, if you like of me. 

Hero. And when I lived, I was your other wife : 

And when you loved, you were my other husband. 
Claud. Another Hero ! 
Hero. Nothing certainer: 

One Hero died defil'd ; but I do live. 
And, surely as I live, I am a maid. 

D. Pedro. The former Hero ! Hero that is 

Leon. She died, my lord, but whiles her slander 

* Still alluding to the passage quoted from Hieronymo, or the 
Spanish Tragedy, in the firat scene of the v^ay. 


Friar. All this amazement can I qualify; 
When, after that the holy rites are ended, 
I'll tell you largely of fair Hero's death : 
Mean time, let wonder seem familiar, 
And to the chapel let us presently. 

Bene, Soft and fair, friar. — ^Which is Beatrice ? 

Beat. I answer to liiat name ; [ Unmasking, '\ What 
is your will ? 

Bene. Do not you lore me? 

Beat. Why, no, no more than reason. 

Bene. Why, then your uncle, and the prince, and 
Have been deceived ; for they swore you did. 

Beat. Do not you love me ? 

Bene. Troth, no, no more than reason. 

Beat. Why, then my cousin, Margaret, and Ursula, 
Are much deceived ; for they did swear you did. 

Bene. They swore that you were almost sick for 

Beat. They swore that you were well-nigh dead 
for me. 

Bene. Tis no such matter: — Then, you do not 
love me ? 

Beat. No, truly, but in friendly recompense. 

Leon. Gome, cousin, I am sure you love the gen- 

Claud. And 111 be sworn upon't, that he loves 
For here's a paper, written in his hand, 
A halting sonnet of his own pure brain, 
Fashion'd to Beatrice. 

Hero. And here's another. 

Writ in my cousin's hand, stolen from her pocket. 
Containing her affection unto Benedick. 

Bene. A miracle ! here's our own hands against 


bur hearts ! — Come, I will have thee ; but, by this , 
light, I take thee for pity. |, 

Beat, I would not deny you ; but, by this good 
day, I yield upon great persuasion ; and, partly, to 
save your life, for I was told you were in a con- 

Bene. Peace^ I will stop your mouth. 

[Kissing her, 

D. Pedro. How dost thou. Benedick the married 

Bene. I'll tell thee what, prince; a college of 
wit-crackers cannot flout me out of my humour: 
Dost thou think, I care for a satire, or an epigram? 
No : if a man will be beaten with brains, he shall 
wear nothing handsome about him : In brief, since 
I do propose to marry, I will think nothing to any 
puipose Uiat the world can say against it; and there- 
fore never flout at me for what I have said against 
it; for man is a giddy thing, and this is my con- 
clusion. — For thy part, Claudio, I did think to have 
beaten thee ; but in that ^ thou art like to be my 
kinsman, live unbruised, and love my cousin. 

Claud. I had well hoped, thou wouldst have de- 
nied Beatrice, that I might have cudgelled thee out 
of thy single life, to make thee a double dealer; 
which, out of question, thou wilt be, if my cousin 
do not look exceeding narrowly to thee. 

Bene. Come, come, we are friends : — let's have 
a dance ere we are married, that we may lighten 
our own hearts, and our wives' heels. 

Leon. We'll have dancing afterwards. 

Bene. First, o'my word; therefore play, musick.— 
Prince, thou art sad; get thee a wife, get thee a 

* Because. 


wife : there is no staff more reverend than one tipped 
with hom^. 

Enter a Messenger. 

Mess, My lord, your brother John is ta'en in flight, 
And brought with armed men back to Messina. 

Bene, Think not on him till to-morrow, I'll de- 
vise thee brave punishments for him. — Strike up, 
pipers. [Dance, Exeunt, 

' Steeyens, Malone, and Reed, conceiye that there is an allo- 
sion here to the staff used in the ancient trial by wager of battle ; 
bat Mr. Douce thinks it is more probable the walking stick or 
staff of elderly persons was intended, such sticks were often 
tipped or headed with hornt sometimes crosswise f in imitation of 
the cmtched sticks or potences of the friars, which were bor- 
rowed from the celebrated tau of St. Anthony. Chancer's Somp- 
nour describes one of his friars as baring a ' scrippe and tipped 
staff,* and he adds that 

' His felaw had a staf t^itped with horn.* 

To these the epithet reverend would be much more appropriate 
than to the staff used by a felon in wager of battle. 

VOL, If. \) 

This play maj be justly said to contain two of the most sprightly 
characters that Shakspeare ever drew. The wit, the humourist, 
the gentleman, and the soldier are combined in Benedick. It 
is to be lamented, indeed, that the first and most splendid of 
these distinctions is disgraced by unnecessary profaneness ; for 
the goodness of his heart is hardly sufficient to atone for the li- 
cence of his tongue. The too sarcastic levity, which flashes oat 
in the conversation of Beatrice, may be excused on account of the 
steadiness and friendship so apparent in her behaviour, when she 
urges her lover to risk his life by a challenge to CI audio. In 
the conduct of the fable, however, there is an imperfection simi- 
lar to that which Dr. Johnson has pointed out in The Merry 
Wives of Windsor: — the second contrivance is less ingenious 
than the first :— or, to speak more plainly, the same incident is 
become stale by repetition. I wish some other method had been 
found to entrap Beatrice, than that very one which before had 
been successfully practised on Benedick *. 

Much Ado cd>out Nothing, (as I understand from one of 
Mr. Vertue's MSS.) formerly passed under the title of Benedick 
and Beatrix. Heming the player received, on the 20th of May, 
1613, the sum of forty pounds, and twenty pounds more as bis 
Majesty's gratuity, for exhibiting six plays at Hampton Court, 
among which was this comedy. Steevens. 

• Mr. Pye thus answers the objection of Steevens. * The 
intention of the poet was to show that persons of either sex 
might be made in love with each other by supposing themselves 
beloved, though they were before enemies ; and how be coald 
have done this by any other means I do not know. He wanted 
to show the sexes were alike in this case, and to have employed 
different motives would have counteracted his own design.* 





We may presnme the plot of this play to have been the inyen- 
tion of Shakspeare, as the diligence of his commentatoi^ has 
failed to trace the sources from whence it is deriyed. Steeyens 
says that the hi])t for it was probably receiyed from Chaucer's 
Knight's Tale. 

' In the Midsummer Night's Dream/ says Schlegel, ' there 
flows a luxuriant yein of the boldest and most fantastical inyen- 
tion ; the most extraordinary combination of the most dissimilar 
ingredients seems to haye arisen without effort by some ingenious 
and lucky accident, and the colours are of such clear transpa- 
rency that we think that the whole of the yariegated fabric may 
be blown away with a breath. The fairy world here described 
resembles those elegant pieces of Arabesque, where little Grenii, 
with butterfly wings, rise half embodied aboye the flower cups. 
Twilight, moonshine, dew, and spring-perfumes are the element 
pf these tender spirits ; they assist nature in embroidering her 
carpet with green leaves, many coloured flowers, and dazzling 
insects ; in the human world they merely sport in a childish and 
wayward manner with their beneficent or noxious influences. 
Their most yiolentrage dissolves in good-natured raillery; their 
passions, stripped of all earthly matter, are merely an ideal dream. 
To correspond with this, the loyes of mortals are painted as a 
poetical enchantment, which, by a contrary enchantment, may 
be immediately suspended, and then renewed again. The dif- 
ferent parts of the plot; the wedding of Theseus, the disagree- 
ment of Oberon and Titania, the flight of the two pair of loyers, 
and the theatrical operations of the mechanics, are so lightly and 
happily interwoyen, that they seem necessary to each other for 
the formation of a whole. Oberon is desirous of relieying the 
loyers from their perplexities, and greatly adds to them through 
the misapprehension of his servant, till he at last comes to the 
aid of their fruitless amorous pain, their inconstancy and jealousy, 
and restores fidelity to its old rights. The extremes of fanciful 
and vulgar are united when the enchanted Titania awakes and 
falls in love with a coarse mechanic with an ass's head, who re- 
presents, or rather disfigures the part of a tragical lover. The 
droll wonder of the transmutation of Bottom is merely the trans- 
lation of a metaphor in its literal sense ; but, in his behaviour 
during the tender homage of the Fairy Queen, we have a most 
amusing proof how much the consciousness of such a head-dress 
heightens the effect of hik usual folly. Theseus and Hippolita 
are, as it were, a splendid frame for the picture ; they take no 
part in the action^ but appear with a stately ]^m^. TVi^ <^w 
course of the hero and bis Amazon, as ibey coTurae \kcoxk^ NXs^,^ 


forest with their noisy hanting train, works upon the imaginatic 
like the firesh breath of morning, before which the shapes i 
night disappear*.' 

This is a prodaction of the joathfol and Tigorons imaginatio 
of the poet. Malone places the date of its composition in 159^ 
There are two qaarto editions, both printed in 1600 : one b 
Thomas Fisher, the other by James Roberts. 


' > in love with Hermia. 

Theseus, Duke qf Athens. 

Egeus, Father to Hermia. 



Philostrate, Master of the Revels to Theseus. 

Quince, the Carpenter, 

Snug, the Joiner, 

Bottom, the Weaver, 

Flute, the BeUows-mender. 

Snout, the Tinker, 

Staryeung, the Taikr, 

HiPPOLYTA, Queen qf the Amazons, betrothed to 

Hermia, Daughter qf Egeus, in love with Lysander. 
Helena, in love wUh Demetrius. 

Oberon, King qf the Fairies, 
TiTANiA, Queen of the Fames, 
Puck, or Robin-goodfellow, a Fairy, 







-•™. w. 



Wall ' ' f Characters in the Interlude per- 

Moon'shine, ( ^""^ ^ *** ^'"^- 
Lion, J 

Other Fairies attending their King and Queen, 
Attendants on Theseus and Hippolyta. 

SCENE, Athens, and a Wood not far front it, 
* Lectures on DtaanaXic \A\«t%\Aaft,N<^.\\.^,\:i^, 


SCENE I. Athens. 

A Room m the Palace of Thesem. 

EtUer Theseds, Hipfolyta, Fhilostsate, 
and Attendants. 

N^ow, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour 
Draws on apace; four happy days bring; in 
Another moon : hut, oh, methinks how slow 
This old moon wanes! she lingers my desires, 
like to a slep-dame, or a dowager. 
Long withering out a young man's rerenue. 

Hip. Four days wUl quickly steep 
Font nights will quickly dream away thn timp 
And then the moon, like to a silver bow 
New bent in heaveo, shall behold the night 
Of our solemnities. 

2Se. Go, Philostrate, 

Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments; 
Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth; 
Turn melancholy for^ to funerds, 
The pale companion is not for our pomp. — ' 
[ExU Phi 1.0 


222 midsummer-night's act I. 

Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword. 
And won thy love, doing thee injuries ; 
But I will wed thee in another key, 
With pomp, with triumph ^ and with revelling. 

Enter Egeus, Hermia, Lysander, and 


Ege, Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke^! 

The. Thanks, good Egeus : What's the news 
with thee. 

Ege. Full of vexation come I, with complaint 
Against my child, my daughter Hermia — 
Stand forth, Demetrius ; — My noble lord. 
This man hath my consent to marry her : — 
Stand forth, Lysander; — and, my gracious duke. 
This hath bewitch'd^ the bosom of my child : 
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes, 
And interchang'd love tokens with my child : 
Thou hast by moon-light at her window sung. 
With feigning voice, verses of feigning love; 
And stol'n the impression of her fantasy 
With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds*, conceits, 
Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweet-meats ; messengers 
Of strong prevailment in unharden'd youth : 
With cunning hast thou filch'd my daughter's heart; 

' A triwuj^h was a pablic show, such as a mask, pageant, pro- 
cession, &c. In * The Dake of Anjou's Entertainment at Ant- 
werp,' 1581 : ' Yet notwithstanding, their triumphes [i. e. those 
of the Romans] hare so borne the bell above all the rest, that the 
word triumphing, which cometh thereof, hath beene aj^lied to aU 
high, great, and atatelie dooingsJ 

^ Duke, in our old language, was used for a leader or chief, 
as the Latin Dux. 

' The old copies read, * This man hath bewitched.' The al- 
teration was made in the second folio for the sake of the metre ; 
but a redundant syllable at the commencement of a verse per^ 
petually occurs in our old dramas. 

* Baubles, toys, iriftes. 

SC. I. DREAM. ^23 

Turn'd her obedience, which is dueio me. 

To stubborn harshness : — And, my gracious duke. 

Be it so she will not' here before your grace 

Consent to marry with Demetrius, 

I beg the ancient privilege of Athens ; 

As she is mine, I may dispose of her : 

Which shall be either to this gentleman. 

Or to her death ; according to our law. 

Immediately provided in that case^. 

T%e, What say you, Hermia? be advis'd, fair 
To you your father should be as a god ; 
One that compos'd your beauties ; yea, and one 
To whom you are but as a form in wax. 
By him imprinted, and within his power 
To leave the figure, or disfigure it . 
Demetrius is a worthy gentleman. 

Her, So is Lysander. 

The, In himself he is : 

But, in this kind, wanting your father's voice^ 
The other must be held the worthier. 

Her, I would my father look'd but with my eyes. 

The, Rather your eyes must with his judgment 

Her, I do entreat your grace to pardon me. 
I know not by what power I am made bold ; 
Nor how it may concern my modesty, 
In such a presence here, to plead my thoughts : 
But I beseech your grace that I may know 
The worst that may befall me in this case. 
If I refuse to wed Demetrius. 

The, Either to die the death, or to abjure 
For ever the society of men. 

' This line has a smack of legal common place. Shakspeare 
is sopposed to have been placed while a boy in an attorney's 
office ; at least he often displays that be ¥ra& ¥rc\\ «k&Q^^vii\.«\ 
with tie phraseology of lawyers. 

234 midsummbr-nioht's act i. 

Therefore, fair Hermia, questkni your desires, 
Know of yoar youth, examine well your blood, 
Whethor, if you yield not to your fatiier's choice. 
You can endure the Uyery of a nun; 
For aye^ to be in shady cloister mew'd. 
To live a barrel sister all your life. 
Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon. 
Thrice blessed they, that master so their blood. 
To undergo such maiden pilgrimage : 
But earthlier happy "^ is the rose distiU'd, 
Than that, which, withering on the virgin thorn. 
Grows, lives, and dies, in single blessedness. 

Her, So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord, 
£re I will yield my virgin patent up 
Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke 
My soul consents not to give sovereignty. 

The, Take time to pause : and, by the next new 
(The seaiing-day betwixt my love and me. 
For everlasting bond of fellowship). 
Upon that day either prepare to die. 
For disobedience to your father's will; 
Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would : 
Or on Diana's altar to protest. 
For aye, austerity and single life. 

Dem. Relent, sweet Hermia; — ^And, Lysander, 
Thy crazed title to my certain right. 

Lys, Yon have her father's love, Demetrius ; 
Let me have Hermia's : do you marry him. 

Ege. Scornful Lysander ! true, he hath my love, 
And what is mine my love shall render him ; 
And she is mine ; and all my right of her 
I do estate unto Demetrius. 

• Ever. 

^ EartkUer.htqtpy for earthly happier, which Capel proposed to 

SC. I. DRBAM. 2201 

L}f9. I am, my lord, as well derived as he. 
As well possess'd; my love is more thaa his; 
My fortunes every way as fairly rank'd, 
If not with vantage, as Demetrius' ; 
And, which is more than all these boasts can be^ 
I am belov'd of beauteous Hermia : 
Why should not I then prosecute my right? 
Demetrius, I'll avouch it to his head. 
Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena, 
And won her soul ; and she, sweet lady, dotes,. 
Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry, 
Upon this spotted^ and inconstant man. 

The. I must confess, that I have heard so much. 
And with Demetrius thought to have spoke thereof; 
But, being over-full of self-affairs. 
My mind did lose it But, Demetrius, come ; 
And come, Egeus ; you shall go with me, 
I have some private schooling for you both. — 
For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself 
To fit your fancies to your father's will; 
Or else the law of Athens yields you up 
(Which by no means we may extenuate) 
To death, or to a vow of single life. — • 
Come, my Hippolyta; What cheer, my love?— ^ 
Demetrius, and Egeus, go along : 
I must employ you in some business 
Against our nuptial ; and confer with you 
Of something nearly that concerns yourselves. 

Ege. With duty and desire we follow you. 

[Exeunt Theseus, Hippolyta, Egeus, 
Demetrius, and Train. 

® As tpotUss is innocent, so spotted is wicked. So in Cavett- 
dish's Metrical Visions : 

' The spotted queen causer of all this strife.' 
and again: 

* Spotted with pride, viciousnes, and cruelly .' 



L^s, How nowy my bye? Why is your cheek 
so pale? 
How chance the roses there do fade so fast ? 

Her, Belike, for want of rain ; which I could well 
Beteem^ them from the tempest of mine eyes. 

Lys. Ah me ! for aught that ever I could read. 
Could ever hear by tale or history. 
The course of true love never did run smooth : 
But, either it was different in blood; 

Her. O cross ! too hi^ to be enthralled to low! 

Lys. Or else misgraffed, in respect of years; 

Her. O spite ! too old to be engaged to young ! 

Ly^ Or else it stood upon the choice of friends : 
. Her, O hell ! to choose love by another's eye ! 

Lys. Or, if there were a sympathy in choice. 
War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it; 
Making it momentany^^ as a sound. 
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream ; 
Brief as the lightning in the cdUied^^ night. 
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth. 
And ere a man hath power to say, — Behold ! 
The jaws of darkness do devour it up; 
So quick bright things come to confusion. 

Her, If then true lovers have been ever cross'd. 
It stands as an edict in destiny : 
Then let us teach our trial patience, 
Because it is a customary cross ; 

' Bestow, give, aford, or deign to attow. The word is vsed 
by Spenser : 

' So wonld I, said the Enchanter, glad and fain 
Bet4Bm to you his sword, yon to defend.' 

Thus also in Hamlet, Act i. So, 2 : 

' That he might not beteeme the winds of hearen 
Visit her face too roughly.' 
*® Momentary. 

" Blackened, as with smut, coal, &c. ; figuratively, daikened. 
See Othello, Act ii. Sc. 3. 

SC. I. BBEAitf. 227 

As due to love, as thoughts, and dreams, and sighs, 
Wishes, and tears, poor fancy's ^^ followers. 

Lys. A good persuasion; therefore, hear me, 
I have a widow aunt, a dowager 
Of great revenue, and she hati^ no child : 
From Athens is her house remote seven leagues ; 
And she respects me as her only son. 
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee; 
And to that place tiie sharp Athenian law 
Cannot pursue us : If thou lov'st me then. 
Steal forth thy father's house to-morrow night; 
And in the wood, a league without the town. 
Where I did meet thee once with Helena, 
To do observance to a mom of May, 
There will I stay for thee. 

Her. My good Lysander ! 

I swear to tiiee, by Cupid's strongest bow; 
By his best arrow with the golden head ; 
By the simplicity of Venus' doves ; 
By that wMch knitteth souls, and prospers loves ; 
And by that fire which bum'd the Carthage queen ^^, 
When the fedse Trojan under sail was seen ; 
By all the vows that ever men have broke. 
In number more than ever women spoke; — 
In that same place thou hast appointed me, 
To-morrow truly will I meet witfi thee. 

Lys. Keep promise, love: Look, here comes, 

Eater Helena. 

Her. God speed fair Helena! Whither away ? 
Hel. Call you me fair? that fair again unsay. 

'^ Fancy is love. So afterwards in this play : 
' Fair Helena in fancy following me.' 
And again in the celebrated passage applied to Q. Elizabeth : 
' In maiden meditation fancy-free,* 
'® Shakspeare forgot thatTheseas performed Vi\8 e^^\o\V^\i«i^«t^ 
the Trojan war, aad consequently long before lYie deoiWi o^ \^\^o« 

228 midsummer-night's act I. 

Demetrius loves your fair ^^ : O happy fair ! 

Your eyes are lode-stars^; and your tongue's 

sweet air 
More tuneable than lark to shepherd's ear> 
When wheat is green^ when hawthorn buds appear. 
Sickness is catching; O, were ^eivour^^ so ! 
Yours would I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go ; 
My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye. 
My tongue should catch your tongue's sweet me- 
Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated. 
The rest 111 ^ve to be to you translated ^"^^ 
O, teach me how you look ; and with what art 
You sway the motion of Demetrius' heart. 

Her, I frown upon him, yet he loves me still. 

HeL O, that your frowns would teach my smiles 
such skill ! 

Her. I give him curses, yet he gives me love. 

HeL O, that my prayers could such affection 

Her. The more I hate, the more he follows me# 

Hel. The more I love, the more he hateth me. 

Her, His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine. 

HeL None, but your beauty ; 'Would that fault 
were mine ! 

Her, Take comfort; he no more shall see my 
face ; 
Lysander and myself will fly this place. — 
Before the time I did Lysander see, 
Seem'd Athens as a paradise to me : 

^* Fair for fairness, beaaty. Verj common in writers of 
Shakspeare's age. 

^' The lode-8tar is the leading or gniding star, that is the 
polar star. The magnet is for the same reason called the /ode- 
stone. The reader will remember Milton's beanty : 
' The cynosure of neighboring eyes. 

'^ Countenance, feature. ** i. e. changed, transformed. 

8C. I. dream; 22d 

O then, what graces in my love clo dwelt, 
That he hath tura'd a heaven unto hell ! 

L^s, Helen, to you our minds we will unfold : 
To-morrow night when Phoebe doth behold 
Her silver visage in the wat'ry glass. 
Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass 
(A time that lovers' flights doth still conceal), 
Through Athens' gates have we devis'd to steal. 

JJer. And in the wood, where often you and I 
Upon faint primrose beds were wont to lie. 
Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet. 
There my Lysander and myself shall meet : 
And thence, from Athens, turn away our eyes. 
To seek new friends and stranger companies. 
Farewell, sweet playfellow ; pray thou for us. 
And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius ! 
Keep word, Lysander : we must starve our sight 
From lovers' food, till morrow deep midnight. 

\Exit Herm. 

Lyi. I will, my Hermia. — Helena, adieu : 
As you on him, Demetrius dote on you ! 

[Bxii Lysander; 

Hd, How happy some, o'er other some can be \ 
Through Athens I am thought as fair as she; 
But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so; 
He will not know what all but he do know. 
And as he errs, doting on Hermia's eyes. 
So I, admiring of his qualities. 
Things base and vile, holding no quantity, 
Love can transpose to form and dignity. 
Love looks not with the eyes, bu^ with the mind ; 
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind ; 
Nor hath love's mind of any judgment taste ; 
Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste : 
And therefore is love said to be a child, 
Because in choice he is so oft beguil'd. | 

yoL. I J, X 1 

no midsummer-night's act u 

As waggiA boys in game^ themsdTes forwear. 
So the boy love is perjur'd every where : 
For ere Demetrius looked on H^rmia's eyne^^. 
He hail'd down oaths, that he was only mine : 
And when this hail some heat from Hennia felt. 
So he dissolr'd, and showers of oaths did melt. 
I will go tell him of fair Hermia's flight; 
Then to the wood will he, to-morrow night. 
Pursue her; and for this intelligence 
If I have thanks, it b a dear expense : 
But herein mean I to enrich my pain. 
To have his sight thither and back again. [Exit. 

SC£NE II. The same. A Eoam in a Cottage. 

Enter Snug, Bottom, Flute, Snout, Quince, 

and Starveling \ 

Qiftn. Is all our company here ? 
. Bat. You were best to call them generally, man 
by man, according to the scrip. 

Qutn. Here is the scroll of every man's name, 
which is thought fit, through all Athens, to play in 
our interlude before the duke and duchess, on his 
wedding-day at ni^t. 

Bot. First, good Peter Quince, say what the 
play treats on; then read the names of the actors; 
and so grow to a point. 

Q^%n. Marry, our play is — ^The most lamentable 

" Sport. " Eyes. 

^ In this scene Shakspeare takes advantage of his knowledge 
of the theatre, to ridicule the prejadices and competitions of the 
players. Bottom, who is generally acknowledged the principal 
actor, declares his inclination to be for a tyrant, for a part of 
fary, tomolt, and noise, snch as erery yoong man pants to per- 
form when he fitst appears upon the stage. The same Bottom, 
who seems bred in a tiring-room, has another histrionical pas- 
sion. He is lor engrossing every part, and would exclude his 
inferiors from all possibility of distinction. He is therefore de- 
sirous to play Pyramus, Thisbe, and the Lion, at the same time. 

SC. II. DRBAM. 231 

comedy, and most cruel death of PyramBS and 

Bot, A very good piece of work, I assure you, 
and a merry. — Now, good Peter Quince, call forth 
your actors by the scroll: Masters, spread your- 

Quin. Answer, as I call you.— «Nick Bottom, 
the weaver. 

Bot Ready : Name what part I am for, and 

Quin. You, Nick Bottom, are set down f<^ 
Bot. What is Pyramus ? a lover, or a tyrant ? 
Quin. A lover,, that kills himsielf most gallantly 
for love. 

Bot. That will a^k some tears in the true per- 
forming of it : If I do it, let the audience look to 
their eyes ; I will move storms, I will condole in 
some measure. To the rest:— Yet my chief hu- 
mour is for a tyrant : I could play Ercles rarely, of 
a part to tear a cat in, to make all split. 
** The raging rocks. 
With sMvering shocks. 
Shall break the locks 

Of prison gates : 
And Phibbtts* car 
Shall shine from far. 
And make and mar 
The foolish fates." 
This was lofty ! — ^Now name the rest of the players; 
— ^This is Ercles* vein, a tyrant's vein ; a lover^ is 
more condoling. 

* Probably a burlesque upon the titles of some of our old 
Dramas : thus — ' A lamentable Tragedie, mixed full of pleasant 
mirth, containing the Life of Cambises, king of Peroia/ &c. by 
Thomas Preston, bl. 1. no date. So, Skelton's Ma^oififieuA^ v% 
called ' a goodlj interlade and a mery.' 

239 midsummer-night's act r. 

Quill. Francis Flute, the bellowB-mender. 

Fhi. Here, Peter Quince. 

Qum, You must take Thisby on you. 

Flu, What is Thisby ? a wandering knight? 

Quin. It is the lady that Pyramus must love. 

Flu, Nay, faith, let me not play a woman; I 
have a beard coming. 

Q^in. Thaf s all one ; you shall play it m a mask^^ 
fmd you may speak as small as you will^ 

BoU An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby 
^p : I'll speak in a monstrous little voice ; — T^isne, 
Thime — AA, PyramuSf my lover dear; thy TkMy 
dear! and lady dear! 

Qtctfi. No, no; you must play Pyramus; and. 
Flute, you Thisby. 

Bat. Well, proceed. 

Qtttfi. Robin Starveling, the tailor. 

Star, Here, Peter Quince. 

Quin, Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby's 
mother. — ^Tom Snout, the tinker. 

Snout. Here, Peter Quince. 

Quin, You, Pyramus's father; myself, Thisby's 
father; — Snug, the joiner, you,» the lion's part: — 
and, I hope, here is a play fitted. 

Snug, Have you the lion's part written? pray 
you, if it be, give it me, for I am slow of study. 

Quin, You may do it extempore, for it is nothing 
but roaring. 

' This passage shows how the want of women on the old stage 
was supplied. If they had not a young man who could peifoim 
the part with' a face that might pass for feminine, the character 
was acted in a mask, which was at that time a partof a lady's dress, 
and so much in use that it did not give any unusual appearance 
to the scene ; and he that could modulate his voice to a female 
tone might play the woman very successfully. Downes, in his 
Roseius Anglicanus, celebrates Kynaston's excellence in female 
characters. Some of n the catastrophes of the old Comedies, 
which make lovers marry the wrong women, are, by recollection 
of the common use of masks, brought nearer to probability. 

ac. II. DREAM. 

. Boi. Let me plmy the lion too : I will rear, that 
I will do anj man's heart good to hear me; I will 
roar, Ihat I will make the duke say, Lei Ami roar 
offom. Lei him roar agam, 

Qmn, An you should do it too terribly, you would 
fright the duchess and the ladies, that ibiej would 
shriek; and that were enough to hang us aiL 

AU, That would hang us every mother's son. 

Boi. I grant you, friends, if that you should 
fright the ladies out of their wits, they would have 
no more discretion but to hang us : but I will aggra^ 
vate my voice so, that I will roar you as gently as 
any sucking dove; I will roar you an^ 'twere any 

Qtctft. You can play no part but Pyramns : for 
Pyramus is a sweet-faced man ; a proper man, as 
one shall see in a summer's day; a most lovely, 
gentleman-Uke man ; therefore you must needs play 

Boi. Well, I will undertake it. What beard 
were I best to play it in? 

Qtttn, Why, what you will. 

Boi, I will discharge it in either your straw-co- 
loured beard, your orange-tawny beard, your pur- 
ple-in-grain beard, or your French-crown-colour 
beard, your perfect yellow *. 

Qidn. Some of your French crowns have no hair 

* As if. 

' It seems to have been a custom to stain or dye the beard. 
So in the old comedy of Ram Alley, 1611 : 

' What coloured beard comes next by the window ? 

A black man's, I think ; 

I think, a red: for that is most in fashion.' 

Again, in The Silent Woman : ' I have fitted my diyine and 
canonist, dyed their beards and all.' And, in The Alchemist : 
' he has dy*d his beard and all.' 


034 midsummer-night's act I. 


at all, and then you will play bare-faced^. — But, 
masters, here are your parts : and I am to entreat 
you, request you, and desire you, to con them by 
to-morrow night; and meet me in the palace wood, 
a mile without the town, by moon-light; there will 
we rehearse : for if we meet in the city, we shall be 
dogg'd with company, and our devices known. In 
the mean time I will draw a bill of properties^, such 
as our play wants. I pray you, fail me not. 

Boi, We will meet; and there we may rehearse 
more obscenely, and courageously. Tike pains; 
be perfect, adieu. 

Qutii. At the duke's oak we meef. 

Bat, Enough; Hold, or cut bow-strings^. 



SC£N£ I. A Wood near Athens. 
Enter a Fairy at one door, and Puck at another. 

Puck. How now, spirit! whither wander you? 
FaL Over hill, over dale, 

Thorough bush, thorough briar ^, 
Over park, over pale. 

Thorough flood, thorough fire. 
I do wander every where. 
Swifter than the moones sphere ; 

* This allasion to the Corona Voneris, or baldness attendant 
upon a particular stage of, what was then termed, the French 
disease, is too freqnent in Shakspeare, and is here explained 
once for all. 

^ Articles required in performing a play. 

* To meet whether bowstrimga hold or are cut is to meet in all 
events. But the origin of the phrase has not been satisfactorily 

' So Drayton, in his Nymphidia, or Court of Fairy : 
' Thorough brake, thorough briar, 
Thorough muck, thorough mire, 
Thorough water, thorough fire. 

SC. I. DREAM. 235 

And I serve the fairy queen, 

To dew her orbs^ upon the green : 

The cowslips tall her pensioners^ be; 

In their gold coats spots you see; 

Those be rubies, fairy favours, 

In those freckles live their savours r 
I must go seek some dewdrops here^ 
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear^. 
Farewell, thou lob^ of spirits, I'll be gone; 
Our queen and all her elves come here anon. 

Puck. The king doth keep his revels here to- 
Take heed the queen come not within his sight* 
For Oberon is passing fell and wrath, 
Because that she, as her attendant, hath 
A lovely boy, stol'n from an Indian king; 
She never had so sweet a changeling ^ : 
And jealous Oberon would have tl^e child 
Knight of his train, to trace the forest wild : 

* The orbs here mentioned are those circles in the herbage 
commonly called fairy-rings, the canse of which is not yet cer* 
taioly known. Thns, also, Drayton: 

' They in courses make that round, 
In meadows and in marshes found. 
Of them so called fairy ground.' 
Olaus Magnus says that these dancers parched up the grass ; and 
therefore it is properly made the office of the fairy to refresh it. 

^ The allusion is to Elizabeth's band of gentlemen pensioners, 
who were chosen from among the handsomest and tallest young 
men of family and fortune ; they were dressed in habits richly 
garnished with gold lace. See vol. i. p. 218, note 9. 

* In the old comedy of Doctor Dodypoll, 1600, an enchanter says, 

' Twas I that led you through the painted meads 
Where the light fairies danc'd upon the flowers. 
Hanging on every leaf an orient pearV 
^ Lubber or clown. Lob, lobcock, looby, and lubber, all de- 
note inactivity of body and dulness of mind. The reader will 
remember Milton in L' Allegro : 

' Then lays him down the ItUfber fiend.' 
^ A changeling was a child changed by a fairy *, \1 \i«i« 'i&,«»Xk,«. 
one stolen or got in exchange. 


But she, perforce, withholds the kyred boy» 
Crowns him with flowerSi and mjakes him all her joy : 
And now they never meet in grove, or green. 
By fountain clear, or spangled star-light she«i^» 
But they do square^; diat all their elves, for fear. 
Creep into acorn cups, and hide them there. 

Fai. Eitherlmistakeyourshapeandmakingquite^ 
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite, 
Call'd Robin Good-fellow : are you not he. 
That fright the maidens of the vUlagery : 
Skim milk; and sometimes labour in the quern ^, 
And bootliess make the breathless housew^e chum; 
And sometime make the drink to bear no barm^^; 
Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at their harm? 
Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck, 
You do their work ^^ ; and they shall have good luck : 
Are not you he? 

Puck. Thou speak'st aright; 

I am that merry wanderer of the night. 
I jest to Oberon, and make him smile. 
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile, 

^ Shining^. 

^ Qaarrel. For the probable cause of the use of square for 
quarrelf see Mr. Donee's Illustrations, vol. i. p. 182. 

' A quern was a handmill. 

'® ' And if that the bowle of curds and creame were not duly 
set out for Robin Croodfellow, the frier, and Sisse the dairy-maid, 
why then either the pottage was burnt next day in the pqt, or 
the cheeses would not curdle, or the butter would not come, or 
the ale in the fat never would have good head. But if a Peeter- 
penny, or an housle-egg were behind, or a patch of tythe unpaid, 
— then ware of bull-beggars, spirits,' &c. Harsnet's Declaration, 
&c. ch. XX. p. 134. So also, Reginald Scot, in his Discovery of 
Witchcraft, 1684, 4to. p. 66. * Your grandames' maids were 
wont to set a bowl of milk for him, for his pains in grinding 
malt and mustard, and sweeping the house at midnight ; — this 
white bread and milk was his standing fee.' 

" Milton refers to these traditions in L' Allegro. And Dray- 
ton, in his Nymphidia, gives a like account of Puck. Drayton 
followed Shakspeare; the Nymphidia was one of his latest 
poems, and was published for the first time in 1619. - 

SC. I. DREAM. 237 

Neighing in likeness of a filly foal : 

And sometime lurk I in a gossip's bowl. 

In very likeness of a roasted crab^^; 

And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob^ 

And on her wither'd dew-lap pour the ale. 

The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale. 

Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me ; 

Then slip I from her bum, down topples she. 

And tailor cries ^^, and falls into a cough; 

And then the whole quire hold their hips, and loffe ; 

And yexen^^ in their mirth, and neeze, and swear 

A merrier hour was never wasted there. — 

But room. Faery, here comes Oberon. 

Fau And here my mistress : — ^' Would that h^ 
were gone ! 


Enter Oberon, ai one door, with his Train, and 
TiTANiA, at another, with hers, 

Obe, 111 met by moon-light, proud Titania. 
Tita. What, jealous Oberon? Fairy, skip hence; 
I have forsworn his bed and company. 

Obe. Tarry, rash wiemton : Am not I thy lord? 
Tita. Then I must be thy lady : But I know 

w Wild apple. 

'^ Dr. Johnson thought he remembered to have heard this 
ladicroas exclamation apon a person's seat slipping from under 
him. He that slips from his chair falls as a tailor squats upon 
his board. Hanmer thought the passage corrupt, and proposed 
to read ' raUs or cries.' 

^* The old copy reads : ' And waxen in their mirth, &c.' 
Though a glimmering of sense may be extracted from this pas- 
sage as it stands in the old copy, it seems most probable that 
we should read, as Dr. Farmer proposed, yexen. To yex is to 
hiccup, and is so explained in all the old dictionaries. The 
meaning of the passage will then be, that the objects of Puck's 
waggery laughed till their laughter ended in a yex or hiccup. 
Puck is speaiLing with an affectation of ancient pbi%a^lQ%^« 

238 midsummer»ni6Ht's act il 

When thou hast stol'n away fronf fairy land. 
And in the shape of Corin sat all day. 
Playing on pipes of com^; and versing love 
To amorous PhilHda. Why aft thou here. 
Come from the farthest steep of India ? 
But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon, 
Your buskinM mistress, and your wiorrior love. 
To Theseus must be wedded ; and you come 
To give their bed joy and prosperity. 

Obe, How, canst thou thus, for shame, Titania, 
Glance at my credit with Hippolyta, 
Knowing I know thy love to Theseus? 
Didst thou not lead him through the glimmering night 
From Perigenia, whom he ravished? 
And make him with fair Mg\^ break his faith. 
With Ariadne, and Antiopa^? 

Tita. These are the' forgeries of jealousy : 
And never, since the middle summer's spring'. 
Met we on hill, in dale, forest, or mead, 
By paved fountain, or by rushy brook. 
Or on the beached margent of the sea. 
To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind. 
But with thy brawls thou hast disturb'd our sport 
Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain. 
As in revenge, have suck'd up from the sea 
Contagious fogs ; which falling in die land. 
Have every pelting^ river made so proud, 

' The shepherd boys of Chaucer's time had 
' Manj a floite and litiing home 
And p^^s made of gren6 come,* 

' See the Life of Theseas in North's Translation of Plutarch. 
M^^f Ariadne, and Antiopa were all at different times mis- 
tresses to Theseas. The name of Perigune is translated by 
North Perigouna. 

^ Spring seems to be here nsed for beginning. The apring 
of day is used for the dawn of day in K. Henry IV. Part ll. 

* A very common epithet with our old writers, to signify 
paltrjf paUing appeaia to W-v^ \^«vl vi& ori^al Orthography. 

3^. JI. DREAM. 239 

That they have overborne their continents^: 
The o^ hath therefore stretch'd his yoke in yain, 
The ploughman lost his sweat; and the green com 
Hath rotted, ere his youth attain'd a beard : 
The fold stands empty in the drowned field, 
And crows are fatted with the murrain flock ; 
The nine men's morris^ is fill'd up with mud; 
And the quaint mazes in the wantpn green, 
For lack of trefid, are undistinguishable : 
The human mortals'^ want their winter here^; 
No. night is now with hymn or carol blest : 
Therefore the moon, the governess of floods, 
Pale in her. anger, washes all the air. 
That rheum9,tic diseases do abound : 
And thorough this distemperature, we see 
The seasons alter : hoary-headed frosts 
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose ; 
And on old Hyems' chin, and icy crown ^, 
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds 
Is, as in mockery, set : The spring, the summer, 

* i. e. borne down the banks which contain them. 

> A rural game, plajed by making holes in the ground in the 
angles and sides of a square, and placing stones or other things 
upon them, according to certain rules. These figures are called 
nine men's morris, or merrUs, because each party playing has 
nine men ; they were generally cut upon turf, and were conse- 
quently choked up with mud in rainy seasons. 

7 Human mortals is a mere pleonasm ; and is neither put in 
opposition to fairy morttds nor to human immortals, according to 
Steeyens and Ritson. It is simply the language of a fairy speak- 
ing of men. See Mr. Deuce's Illustrations, yoI. i. p. 185. 

* Theobald proposed to read * their winter cheer,' 

^ This singidar image was probably suggested to the poet by 
Golding's translation of Ovid, B. ii. : 

' And lastly quaking for the colde, stoode Winter all forjorne. 
With rugged head as white as dove, and garments all to-torne, 
Forladen with the isycles, that dangled up and downe, 
Upon his gray and hoarie heard, and snowie /ro'^en crowne' 

Or, by Virgil's fourth .^eid, through Surrey's Translation*. 


The childing autumn ^^, angry winter, change ^^ 

Their wonted liveries ; and tibe 'mazed world. 

By their increase ^^, now knows not which is which : 

And this same progeny of evils comes 

From our debate, from our dissension ; 

We are their parents and original. 

Obe. Do you amend it then ; it lies in you : 
Why should Titania cross her Oberon? 
I do but beg a little changeling boy. 
To be my henchman ^K 

Tita, Set your heart at rest. 

The fairy land buys not the child of me. 
His mother was a vot'ress of my order : 
And, in the spiced Indian air, by night. 
Full often hatii she gossip'd by my side ; 
And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands. 

tarn flumina menio 

Precipitant senis, et glacie riget horrida barba.' 
Unless we suppose the passage corrupt, and that we shoald read 
thin, i. e. thin-haired. So Cordelia, speaking of Lear : 

* — to watch poor perdu ! 
With this Mill helm.' 
And again, in Richard II. : 

' White beards haye arm'd their thin and hairless scalps.' 
'® Autumn producing flowers unseasonably upon those of Sum- 

" The confusion of seasons here described is no more than a 
poetical account of the weather which happened in England 
about the time when the Midsummer-Night's Dream was written. 
The date of the piece may be determined by Churchyard's de- 
scription of the same kind of weather in his * Charitie/ 1695. 
Shakspeare fancifully ascribes this distemperature of seasons to 
a quarrel between the playful rulers of the fairy world ; Church- 
yard, broken down by age and misfortunes, is seriously disposed 
to represent it as a judgment from the Almighty on the ofi'ences 
of mankind. 

^' Produce. So in Shakspeare's 97th Sonnet : 

' The teeming Autunm, big with rich tncreascy 
Bearing the wanton burthen of the prime.' 

'^ Page of honour. 

SC. II. BREAM. 24i 

Marking the embarked traders on the J9ood; 
When we have laugh'd to see the sails conceive. 
And grow big-bellied, with the wanton wind; 
Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait 
Following (her womb, then rich with my young 

Would imitate ; and sail upon the land. 
To fetch me trifles^ and return again. 
As from a voyage, rich with merchandise. 
But she, being mortal, of that boy did die; 
And, for her sake, I do rear up her boy : 
And, for her sake, I will not part with him. 

Obe. How long within this wood intend you stay ? 

Tita. Perchance, till after Theseus' wedding-day; 
If you will patiently dance in our round. 
And see our moon-light revels, go with us ; 
If not, shun me, and I will spare your haunts. 

Obe, Give me that boy, and I will go with thee. 

THta, Not for thy fairy kingdom. — Fairies, away t 
We shall chide down-right, if I longer stay. 

[Exeunt Titania, and her Train. 

Obe. Well, go thy way : thou shalt not from this 
Till I torment thee for this injury. — 
My gentle Puck, come hither : Thou remember'st 
Since once I sat upon a promontory, 
And heard a mermaid, on a dolphin's back, 
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath. 
That the rude sea grew civil at her song ; 
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres. 
To hear the sea-maid's musick. 

Puck. I remember. 

Obe. That very time I saw (but thou could'st not). 
Flying between the cold moon and the earthy 
Cupid all arm'd : a certain aim he took A 


242 midsummcr-night's act ii. 

At a fair Teatal^^ throned by the west; 

And loosed hb love-shaft smartly from his bow, 

As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts : 

But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft 

Quench'd in the chaste beams of the wat'ry moon ; 

And the imperial vot'ress passed on. 

In maiden meditation, fancy-free ^^. 

Yet mark'd I where the bolt of Cupid fell : 

It fell upon a little western J9ower, — 

Before, milk-white ; now purple with love's wound — 

And maidens call it, love-in-idleness ^^. 

Fetch me that flower : the herb I show'd thee once : 

The juice of it on sleeping eye-lids laid. 

Will make or man or woman madly dote 

Upon the next live creature that it sees. 

Fetch me this herb : and be thou h^re again. 

Ere the leviathan can swim a league. 

Puck. I'll put a girdle round about the earth 
In forty minutes. [Exit Puck. 

Obe. Having once this juice, 

I'll watch Titania when she is asleep, 
And drop the liquor of it in her eyes : 
The next thing then she waking looks upon 
(Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull. 
On meddling monkey, or on busy ape), 

^* It is well known that a compliment to Qaeen Elizabeth 
was intended in this very beantifal passage. Warbnrton has 
attempted to show, that by the mermaid in the preceding lines, 
Mary Queen of Scots was intended. It is argned with his osnal 
fancifol ingenuity, but will not bear the test of examination, and 
has been satisfactorily controverted. It appears to have been no 
uncommon practice to introduce a compliment to Elizabeth in 
the body of a play. 

** Exempt from the power of love. 

*^ The tricolored violet, commonly called pansies, or hearts- 
ease, is here meant ; one or two of its petals are of a purple 
colour. It has other fanciful and expressive names, such as — 
Caddie me to you*, TViiee («k<^«% uxidet a hood \ Herb trinity, &c. 

SC, II. DREAM. 24d 

She shall pursue it with the soul of love. 
And ere 1 take this charm off from her sight 
(As I can take it with another herb), 
I'll make her ^-ender up her page to me. 
But who comes here ? I am invisible ; 
And I will overhear their conference. 

JEnter Demetrius, H^EhEif a following kinL ' 

Dem. I love thee not, therefore pursue me not. . 
Where is Ly sander, and fair Hermia ? 
The one I'll slay, the other slayeth me. 
Thou told'st me they were stoFn into this wood. 
And here am I, and wood ^"^ within this wood. 
Because I cannot meet with Hermia. 
Hence, get thee gone, and follow me no more. 

Hel. You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant^"; 
But yet you draw not iron, for my heart 
Is true as steel ; Leave you your power to draw. 
And I shall have no power to follow you. 

Dem. Do I entice you? Do I speak you fair? 
Or, rather, do I not in plainest truth 
Tell you — I do not, nor I cannot love you ? 

Hel. And even for that do I love you the more. 
I am your spaniel ; and, Demetrius, 
The more you beat me, I will fawn on you : 
Use me but as your spaniel, spurn me, strike me. 
Neglect me, lose me ; only give me leave. 
Unworthy as I am, to follow you. 
What worser place can I beg in your love, 

^ Mad, raving. 

'^ ' There is now a dayes a kind of adamant which draweth 
unto it fleshe, and the same so strotagly, that it bath power to 
knit and tie together two monthes of contrary persons, and 
drawe the heart of a man oat of his bodie without offending any 
part of him/ Certaine Secrete Wondere of Nature, hy Edmard 
Fenton, 1569. 

^M4 midsummer-night's act ir. 

(And yet a place of high respect with me). 
Than to be used as you do use your dog ? 

Dem. Tempt not too much the hatred of my 
For I am sick, when I do look on thee. 

HeL And I am sick, when I look not on you. 

Dem. You do impeach ^^ your modesty too much 
To leave the city, and commit yourself 
Into the hands of one that loves you not; 
To trust the opportunity of night. 
And the ill counsel of a desert place^ 
With the rich worth of your virginity. 

Sel. Your virtue is my privilege for that* 
It is not night, when I do see your face. 
Therefore I think I am not in the night : 
^or doth this wood lack worlds of company ; 
For you, in my respect, are all the world : 
Then how can it be said, I am alone. 
When all the world is here to look on me ? 

Dem, I'll run from thee, and hide me in the brakes, 
And leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts. 

HeL The wildest hath not such a heart as you. 
Run when you will, the story shall be chang'd ; 
Apollo flies, and Daphne holds the chase ; 
The dove pursues the griffin ; the mild hind 
Makes speed to catch the tiger: Bootless speed! 
When cowardice pursues, and valour flies. 

Dem. I will not stay thy questions ; let me go : 
Or, if thou follow me, do not believe 
But I shall do thee mischief in the wood. 

Hel. Ay, in the temple, in the town, the field. 
You do me mischief. Fye, Demetrius ! 
Your wrongs do set a scandal on my sex : 
We cannot fight for love, as men may do ; 
We should be woo'd, and were not made to woo. 

SC. II. DREAM. 245 

I'll follow thee, and make a heaven of hell. 
To die upon^ the hand I love so well. 

[Exeunt Dem. and Hel. 
Obe. Fare thee well, nymph : ere he do leave this 
Thou shalt fly him, and he shall seek thy love. 

Re-enter Puck. 

Hast thou the flower there ? Welcome, wanderer. 

Puck. Ay, there it is, 

06e; I pray thee, give it me. 

I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows. 
Where ox-lips ^^ and the nodding violet grows; 
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine. 
With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine : 
There sleeps Titania, some time of the night, 
LuU'd in these flowers with dances and deUght; 
And there the snake throws her enameFd skin. 
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in : 
And with the juice of this I'll streak her eyes. 
And make her full of hateful fantasies. 
Take thou some of it, and seek through this grove : 
A sweet Athenian lady is in love 
With a disdainful youth : anoint his e^es; 
But do it, when the next thing he espies 
May be the lady : Thou shalt know the man 
By the Athenian garments he hath on^. 

^ To die upon, &c. appears to have been used for * io die by 
the hand.' So in The Two Gentlemen of Verona : 

' I'll die on him that says so, bat yonrself.' 

** The ^eater cowslip. 

^ Steevens thinks this rhyme of man and on a sufficient proof 
that the broad Scotch pronunciation once prevailed in England. 
Bat oar ancient poets were not particular in making their rhymes 
correspond in sound, and I very much doubt a conclusion made 
upon such slender grounds. 

U& midsummer-night's act II. 

Effect it with some care, that he may prove 
More fond on her, than she upon her love : 
And look thou meet me ere the first cock crow. 
Puck. Fear not, my lord, your servant shall do so. 


SCENE III. Another part of the Wood. 

Enter Titania, with her train. 

Tita. Come, now a roundeP, and a fairy song; 
Then, for the third part of a minute, hence ; 
Some, to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds ; 
Some, war with rear-mice ^ for their leathern wings, 
To make my small elves coats ; and some, keep back 
The clamorous owl, that nightly hoots, and wonders 
At our quaint spirits^: Sing me now asleep; 
Then to your offices, and let me rest. 


1 Fai. You spotted snakes, with double tongue^ 
Thorny hedge-hogs, be not seen; 
Newts^y and blindworms^, do no wrong; 
Come not near our fairy queen: 

Chorus. Philomel, with melody. 

Sing in our sweet lullaby; 
Lulla, lulla, lullaby; lulla, luUa, lullaby: 
Never harm, nor spell nor charm. 
Come our lovely lady nigh ; 
So, good night, with lullaby. 

^ The roundel, or round, as its name implies, was a dance of a 
circdar kind. Ben Jonson, in the Tale of a Tab, seems to call 
the rings which sach fairj dances are supposed to make in the 
grass, rondels: 

* I'll have no rondels, 1, in the queen's paths.' 

« Bats. 

® Sports. Dr. Farmer has shown that spirit was nsed for sport' 
in Decker's play. If It be Not Good, the Devil is in It: — ' Now, 
Shalcan, some new spirit? — Rujf. A thousand wenches stark 
naked, to play at \eap-feo%. — OtwnAs. <5 x^x^ iv^N.'^! 

* Efts. * ^Xo-w-Nqwraa, 

SC. III. DREAM. 247 


2 Fai. Weaving spiders^ come not here; 

Hence, you long-legg'd spinners, hence: 
Beetles black, approach not near; 
Worm, nor snail, do no offence. 

Chorus. Philomel, with melody, Sfc. 

1 Fai. Hence^ away ; now all is well : 
One, aloof, stand sentinel. 

[Exeunt Fairies. TiTANiA sleeps. 

Enter Oberon. 

Obe, What thou seest, when thou dost wake, 

[Squeezes the flower on Titania's eyelids. 
Do it for thy true loye take ; 
Love, and languish for his sake : 
Be it ounce ^, or cat, or bear, 
Pard, or boar with bristled hair. 
In thy eye that shall appear 
When thou wak'st, it is thy dear ; 
Wake, when some vile thing is near. [Exit, 

Enter Lysander and Hermia. 

Lys. Fair love, you faint with wandering in the 
And to speak troth, I have forgot our way ; 
We'll rest us, Hermia, if you think it good, 

And tarry for the comfort of the day. 

Her, Be it so, Lysander : find you out a bed. 
For I upon this bank will rest my head. 

Lys^ One turf shall serve as pillow for us both ; 
One heart, one bed, two bosoms, and one troth. 

Her, Nay, good Lysander ; for my sake, my dear> 
Lie further off yet,, do not lie so near. 


The small tiger, or tiger-cal. 

248 midsummer-night's act II. 

Lys. O, take the sense, sweet, of my innocence^; 
Love takes the meanings in love's conference. 
I mean, that my heart unto yours is knit ; 
So that but one heart we can make of it : 
Two bosoms interchained with an oath ; 
So then, two bosoms, and a single troth. 
Then, by your side no bed-room me deny ; 
For, lying so, Hermia, I do not lie. 

Her, Lysander riddles very prettily : — 
Now much beshrew^ my manners and my pride, 
If Hermia meant to say, Lysander lied. 
But, gentle friend, for We and courtesy 
Lie further off; in humau modesty 
Such separation, as, may well be said. 
Becomes a virtuous bachelor and a maid. 
So far be distant; and good night, sweet friend : 
Thy love ne'er alter, till thy sweet life end ! 

Lys, Amen, amen, to that fair prayer, say I ; 
And then end life, when I end loyalty ! 
Here is my bed : Sleep give thee all his rest ! 
' Her, With half that wish the wisher's eyes be 
press'd ! [ They sleep. 

Enter Puck. 

Ptuck. Through the forest have I gone. 
But Athenian found I none, 

7 i. e. ' understand the meaning of my innocence, or mj innocent 
meaning. Let no suspicion of ill enter thy mind.' In the con- 
versation of those who are assured of each other's kindness, not 
suspicion bat love takes the meaning, 

^ This word implies a sinister wish, and here means the same 
as if she had said, * now iU befall mj manners/ &c. Chancer uses 
To shrew for to curse ; a shreto'd woman and a curst woman 
were the same. Tooke thinks it is the Saxon imperatiye of 
Be-ryjiepian, Be thou rypepe, or vexed. Florio gives the fol- 
lowing old erroneous origin of this expression : * Museragno, 
A kinde of mouse called a shrew, which is deadly to other beasts 
if he but bite them, and laming all if he but touch them, of 
whome came that ordiYiai^ cxn%«, I h^sVew) \}qu^ «& mnch as to 
Bay, I wish you death.' 

SG. III. DREAM. £4d 

On whose eyes I might approve 

This flower's force in stirring love. 

Night and silence! who is here? 

Weeds of Athens he doth wear : 

This is he, my master said. 

Despised the Athenian maid ; 

And here the maiden, sleeping sound, 

On the dank and dirty ground. 

Pretty soul ! she durst not lie 

Near this lack-lore, this kill-courtesy» 

Churl, upon thy eyes I throw 

All the4K)wer this charm doth owe^ : 

When thou wak'st, let love forbid 

Sleep his seat on thy eye-lid ^^. 

So awake, when I am gone ; 

For I must now to Oberon. [Exit» 

Enter Demetrius atid Helena, running. 

Hel. Stay, though thou kill me, sweet Demetrius. 

Dem. I charge thee, hence, and do not haunt me 

HeL O, wilt thou darkling leave me? do not so. 

Dem. Stay, on thy peril ; I alone will go. 

[Exit Demetrius* 

HeL O, I am out of breath in this fond chase ! 
The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace ^^. 
Happy is Hermia, wheresoe'er she lies ; 
For she hath blessed and attractive eyes. 
How came her eyes so bright? Not with salt tears : 
If so, my eyes are oftener wash'd than hers. 
N^o, no, I am as ugly as a bear; 
For beasts that meet me, run away for fear : 

• Possess. 

10 So in Macbeth : 

' Sleep shall neither night nor day 
Hang upon his pent-house lid.' 

11 i. e. the leMer my acceptableness, iVie {woMlt \ c^^av Ml^^i^*^ 


250 midsummer-night's act II. 

Therefore, no marvel, though Demetrius 
Do, as a monster, fly my presence thus. 
What wicked and dissembling glass of mine 
Made me compare with Hermia's sphery eyne ? 
But who is here ? — Lysander ! on the ground f 
Dead ? or asleep ? I see no blood, no wound : — 
Lysander, if you liye, good sir, awake. 

Lys, And run through fire I will, for thy sweet 
sake. [Waking, 

Transparent Helena; Nature shows her art^^. 
That dirough thy bosom makes m^ see thy heart 
Where is Demetrius? O, how fit a wcrd 
Is that yile name to perish on my sword ! 

HeL Do not say so, Lysander; say not so: 
What though he love your Hermia? Lord, what 

Yet Hermia still loves you : then be content. 

Lys, Content with Hermia? No: I do repent 
The tedious minutes I with her have spent 
Not Hermia, but Helena I love : 
Who will not change a raven for a dove ? 
The will of man is by his reason sway'd ; 
And reason says you are the worthier maid. 
Things growing are not ripe until their season : 
So I, being young, till now ripe^^ not to reason; 
And touching now the point of human skill. 
Reason becomes the marshal to my will. 
And leads me to your eyes; where I overlook 
Love's stories written in love's richest book. 

*^ The quartos have only — 'Nature shews art.' The first 
folio — ' Nature her shews art/ The second folio changes her 
to here, Malone thought we should read, ' Nature shews her 
art.' Steevens explains the passage thus : Here means in the 
present instance. On this occasion, says Lysander, the work of 
Nature resembles that of art, viz, (as our author expresses it in 
his LoTcr's Complaint) an object ' glazed with crystal.' I have 
adopted Malone's emendation. 

'•* i. 6. do not ripen to it. 

SC. III. DREAM. 251 

HeL Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born? 
When, at your hands, did I deserve this scorn ? 
Is't not enough, is't not enough, young man. 
That I did never, no, nor never can. 
Deserve a sweet look from Demetrius' eye, 
But you must flout my insufficiency ? 
Good troth, you do me wrong, good sooth, you do, 
In such disdainful manner me to woo. 
But fare you well : perforce I must confess, 
I thought you lord of more true gentleness. 
O, that a lady, of one man refus'd. 
Should, of another, therefore be abus'd ! [Exit, 

Lys, She sees not Hermia !— ^Hermia, sleep thou 
And never mayst thou come Lysander near! 
For, as a surfeit of the sweetest things 
The deepest loathing to the stomach |brings ; 
Or, as the heresies, that men do leave. 
Are hated most of those they did deceive ; 
So thou, my surfeit, and my heresy. 
Of all be hated ; but^the most of me ! 
And all my powers, address your love and might. 
To honour Helen, and to be her knight ! . [Exit. 

Her. [starting.] Help me, Lysander, help me! 
do thy best. 
To pluck this crawling serpent from my breast ! 
Ah me, for pity ! — ^what a dream was here ? 
Lysander, look, how I do quake with fear : 
Methought a serpent eat my heart away. 
And you sat smiling at his cruel prey : — 
Lysander! what, remov'd? Lysander! lord! 
What, out of hearing? gone? no sound, no word? 
Alack, where are you? speak, an if you hear; 
Speak, of all loves ^^ ; I swoon almost with fear. 
No ? — then I well perceive you are not nigh : 
Either death, or you, I'll find immediately. [Exit. 

^* By all that is dear. See vol. i. p. 219, note 12. 


^2 midsummer-night's 


Jlie same. The Queen of Fairies lying asleep. 

Enter Quince, Snug, Bottom, Flute, Snout, ] 

and Starveung. 

Bot. Are we all met? 

Quin. Pat, pat; and here's a marvellous conve- 
nient place for our rehearsal : This green plot shall 
be our stage, this hawthorn brake our tyring house; 
and we will do it in action, as we will do it before 
the duke. 

Bot, Peter Quince,-— 

Quin, What say'st thou, bully Bottom ? 

Bot, There are things in this comedy of Pyramus 
and Thisby, that will never please. First, Pyramus 
must draw a sword to kill himself; which the ladies 
cannot abide. How answer you that ? 

Snout, By'rlakin^, a parlous^ fear. 

Star, I believe, we must leave the killing out, 
when all is done. 

Bot, Not a whit ; I have a device to make all well. 
Write me a prologue : and let the prologue seem to 
say, we will do no harm with our swords ; and that 
Pyramus is not killed indeed : and, for the more 
better assurance, tell them, that I Pyramus am not 
Pyramus, but Bottom the weaver: This will put 
them out of fear. 

Quin, Well, we will have such a prologue ; and 
it shall be written in eight and six'. 

' i. e. by our ladykin or little lady, as ifakins, is a corraption 
of by my faith, 
^ Corrupted from pcT\Vo\!L& *, \i\3A. \jL«.«id for alanmngf amazing, 
* That is in alieruale \eTa^% o^ e\^\. wA ^vk %^>\-«^«&« 

SC. I. DREAM. 253 

Bot. No, make it two more ; let it be written in 
eight and eight. 

Snout. Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion ? 

Star. I fear it, I promise you. 

Bot. Masters, you ought to consider with your- 
selves : to bring in, God shield us ! a lion among 
ladies, is a most dreadful thing ; for there is not a 
more fearful^ wild-fowl than your lion, hying ; and 
we ought to look to it. 

Snout. Therefore, another prologue must tell^ he 
is not a lion. 

Bot. Nay; you must name his name, and half 
his face must be seen through the lion's neck ; and 
he himself must speak through, saying thus, or to 
the same defect, — Ladies, or fair ladies, I would 
wish you, or, I would request you, or, I would en- 
treat you, not to fear, not to tremble : my life for 
yours. If you think I come hither as a lion, it were 
pity of myjife: No, I am no such thing; I am a 
man as other men are : — and there, indeed, let him 
name his name; and tell them plainly he is Snug 
the joiner^. 

Quin. Well, it shall be so. But there is two 
hard things; that is, to bring the inoon-light into 
a chamber: for you know, Pyramus and Thisby 
meet by moon-light. 

* Terrible. 

^ Shakspeare may here allude to an incident said to have oc- 
cnrred in big time, whicb is recorded in a collection of anec- 
dotes, stories, &c. entitled ' Merj Passages and Jeasts/ MS. 
Harl. 6395. : * Tbere was a spectacle presented to Qneen Eliza- 
beth upon the water, and among others Harry Goldingham was 
to represent Arion upon the Dolphin's backe; but finding his 
Toice to be verye hoarse and unpleasant when he came to perform 
it, he tears off his disguise, and swears he was none of Arion, 
not he, but even honest Harry Goldingham ; which blunt disco- 
verie pleased the queen better than if he had gone through in 
the right way : — yet he could order his voice to an instrument 
exceeding well.' 


254 midsummer-night's act III. 

Snug. Doth the moon shine that night we play 
our play ? 

Bot. A calendar, a calendar ! look in the alma- 
nack ; find out moon-shine, find out moon-shine. 

Quin, Yes, it doth shine that night. 

Bot. Why, then you may leave a casement of 
the great chamber window, where we play, open; 
and the moon ma^ shine in at the casement. 

Quin. Ay ; or else one must come in with a 
bush of thorns and a lanthom, and say, he comes 
to disfigure, or to present, the person of moon-shine. 
Then, there is another thing : we must have a wall 
in the great chamber ; for Pyramus and Thisby, says 
the story, did talk through the chink of a wall. 

Snug. You never can bring in a wall. — What say 
you. Bottom? 

Bot. Some man or other must present wall : and 
let him have some plaster, or some loam, or some 
rough-cast about him, to signify wall ; or let him 
hold his fingers thus, and through that cranny shall 
Pyramus and Thisby whisper. 

Quin. If that may be, then all is well. Come, 
sit down, every mother's son, and rehearse your 
parts. Pyramus, you begin : when you have spoken 
your speech, enter into that brake ^ and so every one 
according to his cue. 

Enter Puck behind. 

Puck. What hempen home-spuns have we swag- 
gering here. 
So near the cradle of the fairy queen ? 
What, a play toward? I'll be an auditor; • 
An actor, too, perhaps, if I see cause. 

Quin, Speak, Pyramus : — ^Thisby, stand forth. 

Pyr. Thisby, the flowers of odious savours sweet, — 

Quin. Odouia, odoxKs, 

SC. I. DREAM. 255 

Pyr. odours savours sweet: 

So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisby dear. — * 
But, hark, a voice! stay thou but here a while. 

And by and by I will to thee appear. [Exit. 

Puck. A stranger Pyramus than e'er play'd here ! 

[Aside. — Exit. 

This. Must I speak now? 

Quin. Ay, marry, must you : for you must under- 
stand, he goes but to see a noise that he heard, and 
is to come again. 

This. Most radiant Pyramus, most lily-white of hue. 

Of colour like the red rose on triumphant brier, 
Most brisky JuvenaV, and eke most lovely Jew, 

As true as truest horse, that yet would never tire, 
ni meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny^s tomb. 

Quin. Ninus' tomb, man: Why you must not 
speak that yet; that you answer to Pyramus: you 
speak all your part at once, cues^ and all. — Pyra- 
mus, enter; your cue is past; it is, never tire. 

He-enter Puck, and Bottom vnth an ass^s head. 

This, O, — As true as truest horse, that yet would 

never tire. 
Pyr. If T were fair, Thisby, I were only thine.— ^ 
Quin. O monstrous ! O strange ! we are haunted. 
Pray, masters ! fly, masters! help! [Exeunt Clowns. 
Puck. I'll follow you, I'll lead you about a round. 
Through bog, through bush, through brake, through 
Sometime a horse I'll be, sometime a hound, 

A hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire ; 
And neigh, and bark, and grunt, and roar, and bum. 
Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn. 


7 Young man. 

^ The cues were the last words of the preceding speech, which 
serve as a hint to him who was to speak. xityX\ vxA ^f^Xi^x^^ 
writtea oat with thati which was to be learnt \>^ toVe. 

256 midsummer-night's act III. 

Bat. Why do they run away ? this is a knavery 
of them, to make me afeard. 

Re-enter Snout. 

Snout. O Bottom, thou art changed ! what do I 
see on thee? 

Bot. What do you see ? you see an ass's head of 
your own ; Do you? 

Re-enter Quince. 

Quin. Bleds thee. Bottom ! bless thee ! thou art 
translated. [Exit. 

Bot, I see their knavery ! this is to make an ass 
of me ; to fright me, if they could. But I will not 
stir from this place, do what they can : I will wdk 
up and down here, and I will sing, that they shall 
hear I am not afraid. [Sings. 

The ousel-cock, so black of hue. 

With orange-taumey bill. 
The throstle with his note so true. 

The wren with little quill. 

Tita. What angel wakes me from my flowery 
bed? [Waking. 

Bot. The finch, the sparrow, and the lark. 
The plain-song cuckoo^ gray. 
Whose note full many a man doth mark. 
And dares not answer, nay; — 

for, indeed, who would set his wit to so foolish a 
bird ? who would give a bird the lie, though he cry, 
cuckoo, never so ? 

Tita. I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again ; 
Mine ear is much enamour'd of thy note. 
So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape ; 

^ The cQckoo, haying no yarietj of note, sings in plain song 
(piano cantu)t by which expression the nniform modolation or 
simplicity of the cKaunt v(«k& «AcA«fvV)L3 ^\%>jak:^^\%hed in opposi- 
tion to prick-song i or -wotialed mu«ifi wai"^\v3 \»A». 

SC. I. DREAM. 257 

And thy fair virtue's force perforce doth move me. 
On the first view, to say, to swear, I love thee. 

Bot. Methinks, mistress, you should have little 
reason for that : And yet, to say the truth, reason 
and love keep little company together nowadays : 
The more the pity, that some honest neighbours will 
not make them friends. Nay, I can gleek ^^ upon 

Tita, Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful. 

Bot. Not so, neither : but if I had wit enough to 
get out of this wood, I have enough to serve mine 
own turn. 

Tita. Out of this wood do not desire to go ; 
Thou shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no. 
I am a spirit of no common rate ; 
The summer still doth tend upon my state. 
And I do love thee : therefore, go with me ; 
I'll give thee fairies to attend on thee ; 
And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep : 
And sing, while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep : 
And I will purge thy mortal grossness so 
That thou shalt like an airy spirit go. — 
Peas-blossom ! Cobweb ! Moth ! and Mustard-seed ! 

Enter four Fairies. 

1 FaL Ready. 

2 Fai. And I. 

3 Fai. And I. 

4 FaL And I. 
AIL Where shall we go? 

Tita. Be kind and courteous to this gentleman ; 
Hop in his walks, and gambol in his eyes ; 
Feed him with apricocks and dewberries ^S 

'^ i. e. jest or scoff, from ;;h;^, Saxon. 

'* The fruit of a bramble called Rvbus casius: M^m^^AtEA% 
called aJso the bhte-berry. 

258 midsummer-night's act III. 

With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries ; 
The honey bags steal from the humble-bees. 
And, for night tapers, crop their waxen thighs. 
And light them at the fiery glow-worm's eyes. 
To have my love to bed, and to arise ; 
And pluck the wings from painted butterflies. 
To fan the moonbeams from his sleeping eyes : 
Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies. 

1 FaL Hail, mortal ! 

2 Fat. Hail! 

3 Fai. Hail ! 
4Fai. Hail! 

Bot, I cry your worship's mercy, heartily. — I 
beseech, your worship's name ? 

Cob, Cobweb. 

Bot. I shall desire you of more acquaintance^^, 
good master Cobweb : If I cut my finger, I shall 
make bold with you. — Your name, honest gentle- 

Peas, Peas-blossom. 

Bot, I pray you, commend me to mistress 
Squash ^^, your mother, and to master Peascod, 
your father. Good master Peas-blossom, I shall 
desire you of more acquaintance too. — Your name, 
I beseech you, sir ? 

Mu8, Mustard-seed. 

Bot. Good master Mustard-seed,* I know your 

'^ * I shall desire you of more acqaaintance/ This kind of 
phraseology was not uncommon. In Lasty Javentns, a morality, 
we have : 

* I shall desire you of better acqaaintance.' 
And in A Humorous Day's Mirth, 1599 : 

* I do desire you of more acquaintance.' 
So in Spenser's Faerie Queene, b. \i. c. 9 : 

' If it be I, of pardon J you pray,* 
'^ A jgifosK i^ an ixomatoxe ^eascod. So in Twelfth Night, 
Act i. Sc. 5 : 

• As a squasH V% ^iel«^ ' >a% ^ ^"acww^^^ 

8C. I. DREAM. 259 

patience ^'^ well : that same' cowardly, giant-like ox- 
beef hath devoured many a gentleman of your house : 
I promise you, your kindred hath made my eyes 
water ere now. I desire you more acquaintance, 
good master Mustard-seed. 

Tita, Come, wait upon him; lead him to my 

The moon, methinks, looks with a watery eye ; 
And when she weeps, weeps every little flower. 

Lamenting some enforced chastity. 

Tie up my lover's tongue, bring him silently. 


SCENE II. Another part of the Wood. 

Enter Oberon. 

Obe. I wonder, if Titania be awak'd ; 
Then, what it was that next came in her eye. 
Which she must dote on in extremity. 

Enter Puck. 

Here comes my messenger. — How now, mad spirit? 
What night-rule ^ now about this haunted grove ? 
Puck. My mistress with a monster is in love. 
Near to her close and consecrated bower, 
While she was in her dull and sleeping hour, 
A crew of patches ^, rude mechanicals, 
That work for bread upon Athenian stalls, 

^* Muon proposes to read ' passing well/ which is plausible 
if change be necessary. The words are spoken ironically, ai it 
was the prevailing opinion in Shakspeare's time, that mostard 
excited choler. 

* Revelry. 

' A patch sometimes means a fool, or nmpleton ; but it was a 
common contemptaoas term, and may be either a corrnption of 
the Italian paxzo, or derived from the patched clothes sometimeii 
worn by persons of low condition. Tooke gives a diflTerent 
origin from the Saxoo verb piecan, to deceive \>^ f«\«ci «^^^- 

260 midsummer-night's act hi. 

Were met together to rehearse a play. 

Intended for great Theseus' nuptial day. 

The shallowest thick-skin of that baiTen sort'. 

Who Pyramus presented, in their sport 

Forsook his scene, and entered in a brake : 

When I did him at this advantage take. 

An ass's nowH I fixed on his head ; 

Anon, his Thisbe must be answered, 

And forth my mimick^ comes: When they him 

As wild geese that the creeping fowler eye. 
Or russet-pated choughs^, many in sort 7, 
Rising and cawing at the gun's report. 
Sever themselves, and madly sweep the sky ; 
So, at his sight, away his fellows fly : 
And, at our stamp, here o'er and o'er one falls ; 
He murder cries, and help from Athens calls. 
Their sense, thus weak, lost with their fears, thus 

Made senseless things begin to do them wrong : 
For briars and thorns at their apparel snatch ; "* 
Some, sleeves ; some, hats ; from yielders all things 

I led them on in this distracted fear. 
And left sweet Pyramus translated there : 
When in that moment (so it came to pass), 
Titania wak'd, and straightway lov'd an ass. 

^ Barren is dull, unpregnant. Sort is company. 

* A head. The metamorphosis of Bottom might have been 
suggested by a similar trick played by Dr. Faustus. See his 
History, c. ^iii. The receipt for the process occurs in Albertus 
Magnus de Secretis : * Si vis quod caput hominis assimiletur 
capiti a^inif sume de segimine aselli, et unge hominem in capite, 
et sic apparebit.' The book was translated in Shakspeare's 

^ Actor. ^ TVi« cKou^K U a bird of the daw kind. 

^ Sort is company, fli& a)QONe, 

SC. II. DREAM. 201 

Ohe. This falls out better than I could devise. 
But hast thou yet latch'd® the Athenian's eyes 
With the love-juice, as I did bid thee do? 

Puck, I took him sleeping, — that isfinish'dtoo,-^- 
And the Athenian woman by his side ; 
That, when he wak'd, of force she must be ey'd. 

Enter Demetrius and Hermia. 

Obe. Stand close ; this is the same Athenian. 

Puck, This is the woman, but not this the man. 

Dem. O, why rebuke you him that loves you so ? 
Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe. 

Her. Now I but chide, but I should use thee worse ; 
For thou, I fear, hast given me cause to curse. 
If thou hast slain Lysander in his sleep. 
Being o'er shoes in blood, plunge in the deep, 
And kill me too. 

The sun was not so true unto the day. 
As he to me : Would he have stolen away 
From sleeping Hermia ? I'll believe as soon. 
This whole earth may be bor'd ; and that the mooii' 
May through the centre creep, and so displease 
Her brother's noon-tide with the Antipodes. 
. It cannot be, but thou hast murder'd him ; 
So should a murderer look ; so dead, so grim. 

Dem, So should the murder'd look ; and so should I, 
Pierc'd through the heart with your stem cruelty : 
Yet you, the murderer, look as bright, as clear, 
As yonder Venus in her gHmmering sphere. 

Her. What's this to my Lysander? Where is he? 
Ah, good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me ? 

Dem. I had rather give his carcass to my hounds. 

Her. Out, dog ! out, cur ! thou driv'st me past the 

® Latch'd or ktch*d, licked or smeared over. Lecher, Fr. 
Steevens says that, in the North, it signifieft to inject* 


Of maiden's patience. Hast thou slaii^ him then? 
Henceforth be never number'd among men ! 
O ! once tell true, tell true, even for my sake ; 
Durst thou have look'd upon him, being awake. 
And hast thou kill'd him sleeping? O brave touch^! 
Could not a worm, an 'adder, do so much ? 
An adder did it; for with doubler tongue 
Than thine, thou serpent, never adder stung. 

Dem. You spend your passion on a mispns'd^^ 
I am not guilty of Lysander's blood ; 
Nor is he dead, for aught that I can tell. 

Her. I pray thee, tell me then that he is well. 

Dem. An if I could, what should I get therefore? 

Her. A privilege, never to see me more. — 
And from thy hated presence part I so : 
See me no more, whether he be dead or no. [Exit. 

Dem. There is no following her in this fierce vein : 
Here, therefore, for a while I will remain. 
So sorrow's heaviness doth heavier grow 
For debt that bankrupt sleep doth sorrow owe ; 
Which now, in some slight measure it will pay. 
If for his tender here I make some stay. 

[Lies down. 

Ohe. What hast thou done? thou hast mistaken 
And laid the love-juice on some true-love's sight: 
Of thy misprision must perforce ensue 
Some true-love turn'd, and not a false tum'd true. 

Puck. Then fate o'er-rules ; that, one man hold- 
ing troth, 
A million fail, confounding oath on oath. 

' A touch ancient! J signified a trick, Ascham has * the shrewd 
touches of many curst hoys.' And in the old story of Howleglas, 
* for at all times he did some mad touch* 

*® * On a mispris'd mood/ i. e. in a mistaken manner. On was 
sometimes used liceuXiowaV^ Ioy \u. 

SC. II. BREAM. 263 

Obe. About the wood go swifter than the wind. 
And Helena of Athens look thou find : 
All fancy-sick ^^ she is> and pale of cheer ^^ 
With sighs of love, that cost the fresh blood dear^^ : 
By some illusion see thou bring her here ; 
I'll charm his eyes, against she do appear. 

Puck, I go, I go ; look, how I go : 
Swifter than arrow from the Tartar's bow. [Exit. 
Obe. Flower of this purple die. 

Hit with Cupid's archery. 

Sink in apple of his eye ! 

When his love he doth espy. 

Let her shine as gloriously 

As the Venus of the sky. — 

When thou wak'st, if she be by. 

Beg of her for remedy. 

Re-enter Puck. 

Puck. Captcdn of our fairy band, 
Helena is here at hand; 
And the youth, mistook by me. 
Pleading for a lover's fee ; 
Shall we their fond pageant see ? 
Lord, what fools these mortals be ! 

Obe. Stand aside : the noise they make. 
Will cause Demetrius to awake. 

Puck. Then will two at once woo one ; 
That must needs be sport alone ; 
And those things do best please me. 
That befall preposterously. 

'* Love-sick. 

^' Cheer here signifies countenance, from c^a, Ital. signify- 
ing ' the face, visage, sight, or countenance, look or cheere of a 
man or woman.' The old French chere had the same meaning. 

'^ So in K. Henry VI. we have * blood-consuming/ * blood- 
drinking,' and 'blood-sacking sighs.' All alluding to the an- 
cient supposition, that every sigh was indulged at the expense 
of a drop of blood. 


264 midsummer-night's act III. 

Enter Lysander and Helena. 

Lys, Why should you think, that I should woo 
in scorn? 

Scorn and derision never come in tears : 
Look, when I vow, I weep ; and vows so bom 

In their nativity all truth appears. 
How can these things in me seem scorn to you, 
Bearing the badge of faith, to prove them true ? 

HeL You do advance your cunning more and 

When truth kills truth, O devilish holy fray ! 
These vows are Hermia's; Willyou give her o'er? 

Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing weigh : 
Your vows, to her and me, put in two scales. 
Will even weigh ; and both as light as tales. 

Lys, I had no judgment when to her I swore. 

HeL Nor none, in my mind, now you give her o'er. 

Lys. Demetrius loves her, and he loves not you. 

Dem. [awaking.] O Helen, goddess, nymph, per- 
fect divine ! 
To what, my love, shall I compare thine eyne ? 
Crystal is muddy. O, how ripe in show 
Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow ! 
That pure congealed white, high Taurus's snow, 
Pann'd with the eastern wind, turns to a crow. 
When thou hold'st up thy hand : O let me kiss 
This princess of pure white, this seal^^ of bUss! 

Hel. O spite ! O hell ! I see you all are bent 
To set against me, for your merriment. 
If you were civil, and knew courtesy. 
You would not do me thus much injury. 

^* So in Antony and Cleopatra : 

*. My playfellow, your hand; this kingly seal, 
And pligViieT o? \i\^\x VxewcV.*,' 

SC. II. DREAM. 265 

Can you not hate me, as I know you do, 

But you must join, in souls ^^^ to mock me too? 

If you were men, as men you are in show, 

You would not use a gentle lady so ; 

To Yow, and swear, and superpraise my parts. 

When, I am sure, you hate me with your hearts. 

You both are rivals, and love Hermia ; 

And now both rivals, to mock Helena : 

A trim exploit, a manly enterprise. 

To conjure tears up in a poor maid*s eyes. 

With your derision ! none of noble sort ^® 

Would so offend a virgin; and extort 

A poor soul's patience, all to make you sport. 

Lys. You are unkind, Demetrius ; be not so ; 
For you love Hermia : this, you know, I know : 
And here, with all good will, with all my heart. 
In Hermia's love I yield you up my part ; 
And yours of Helena to me bequeath. 
Whom I do love, and will do to my death. 

HeL Never did mockers waste more idle breath. 

Dem. Lysander, keep thy Hermia ; I will none : 
If e'er I lov'd her, all that love is gone. 
My heart with her but, as guest-wise, sojoum'd ; 
And now to Helen is it home r^tum'd. 
There to remain. 

Ly9, Helen, it is not so. 

Dem, Disparage not the faith thou dost not know. 
Lest, to thy peril, thou abide it dear ^7. — 
Look, where thy love comes; yonder is thy dear. 

Enter Hermia. 

Her, Dark night, that from the eye his function 
The ear more quick of apprehension makes ; 

'* i. e. join heartily, unite in the same mind. 
'•Degree, or quality. '^ Pay dearly for \V, rwe \\, - 

VOL, //. A A 

266 midsummer-night's act III. 

Wherein it doth impair the. seeing sense. 
It pays the hearing double recompense : — 
Thou art not by mine eye, Lysander, found; 
Mine ear, I thank it, brought me to thy sound. 
But why unkindly didst thou leave me so ? 

Lys. Why should he stay, whom love doth press 
to go? 

jBer. What love could press Lysander from my side? 

Lys. Lysander's love, that would not let him bide. 
Fair Helena, who more engilds the night 
Than all yon fiery oes ^® and eyes of light. 
Why seek'st thou me? could not this make thee 

The hate I bare thee made me leave thee so. 

Her, You speak not as you think ; it cannot be. 

HeU Lo, she is one of this confederacy ! 
Now I perceive they have conjoin'd all three. 
To fashion this false sport in spite of me. 
Injurious Hermia ! most ungrateful maid ! 
Have you conspir'd, have you with these contriy'd 
To bait me with this foul derision ? 
Is all the counsel that we two have shar'd^^. 
The sisters' vows, the hours that we have spent. 
When we have chid the hasty-footed time 
For parting us, — O, and is all forgot? 
All school-days' friendship, childhood innocence? 
We, Hermia, like two artificial ^*^ gods. 
Have with our neelds *^ created both one flower, 
Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion, 

*^ i. e. circles. 

^^ * Is all the counsel that we two have shared/ &c. 

' Gregory of Nazianzen's ^ poem on his own life contains 
some beautiful lines (resembling these) which burst from the 
heart and speak the pangs of injured and lost friendship. Shak- 
speare had neyer read the poems of Gvegorj ; he was ignorant 
of the Greek language ; but his mother tongue, the language of 
nature, is the same in Cappadocia as in Britain/ — Gibbon's Hist. 
Tol, V. p. 17, ftvo. e^. 

* i. e. ingenious, wrUuX, AirV\^c\ose,'W\., ^^ \, ^x\«s^h&x 

sen.. DREAM. 267 

Both warbling of one song, both in one key ; 
As if our hands, our sides, voices, and minds. 
Had been incorporate. So we 'grew together. 
Like to a double cheny, seeming parted ; 
But yet a union in partition. 
Two lovely berries moulded on one stem: 
So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart; 
Two of the first ^, like coats in heraldry, 
Due but to one, and crowned with one crest. 
And will you rent our ancient love asunder. 
To join with men in scorning your poor friend? 
It is not friendly, 'tis not maidenly : 
Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it; 
Though I alone do feel the injury. 

Her. I am amazed at your passionate words : 
I scorn you not; it seems that you scorn me. 

Hel, Have you not set Lysander, as in scorn. 
To follow me, and praise my eyes and face ? 
And made your other love, Demetrius 
(Who even but now did spurn me with his foot). 
To call me goddess, nymph, divine, and rare. 
Precious, celestial ? Wherefore speaks he this 
To her he hates? and wherefore doth Lysander 
Deny your love, so rich within his soul. 
And tender me, forsooth, affection ; 
But by your setting on, by your consent ? 
What though I be not so in grace as you. 
So hung upon with love, so fortunate; 
But miserable most, to love unlov'd ? 
This you should pity, rather than despise. 

^ Mr. DoQce thus explains this passage : Helen says, ' we 
h^ two seeming bodies, bat only one heart.' She then exem- 
plifies the position by a simile — 'we had two of the firsts i.e. hodHes^ 
like the doable coats in heraldry that belong to man and wife 
aatme persorif bat which like oar single hearty have bat one crest.* 
Malone explains the heraldic allusion differently, bat not «>^ 
clearly nor satisfactorily. 

268 midsummer-night's act III. 

Her, I understand not what you mean by this. \ 

HeL Ay, do, pers^ver, counterfeit sad looks, 
Make mows^ upon me when I turn my back; 
Wink at each other; hold the sweet jest up: 
This sport, well carried, shall be chronicled. 
If you have any pity, grace, or manners. 
You would not make me such an argument^. 
But, fare ye well : 'tis partly mine own fault; 
Which death, or absence, soon shall ren^edy. 

Lys. Stay, gentle Helena; hear my excuse; 
My love, my life, my soul, fair Helena ! 

HeL O excellent! 

Her. Sweet, do not scorn her so. 

Dem. If she cannot entreat, I can compel. 

Lys. Thou canst compel no more than she en- 
Thy threats have no more strength, than her weak 

prayers. — 
Helen, I love thee ; -by my life I do : 
I swear by that which I will lose for thee. 
To prove him false, that says I love thee not. 

Dem. I say, I love thee more than he can do. 

Lys. If thou say so, withdraw, and prove it too. 

Dem. Quick, come, — 

Her. Lysander, whereto tends all this ? 

Lys. Away, you Ethiop ! 

Dem. No, no, he'll — Sir^, 

Seem to break loose ; take on, as you would follow; 
But yet come not : You are a tame man, go! 

^ Make months. See vol. i. p. 46, note 1. 

^ i. e. such a subject of light merriment. 

^ This arrangement of the text is Malone's, who thns ex- 
plains it. The words he^U are not in the folio, and air is not in 
the qnarto. Demetrins I suppose would saj, no, no, he*U not 
have the resolution to disengage himself from Hermia. Bat 
turning to Lysander, he addresses him ironicallj : ' Sir, seem to 
break loose *,* Sue. 

SC. II. DREAM. 209 

Lys, Hang off, thou cat, tbou burr: vile tluDg, 
let loose ; 
Or I will shake thee from me like a serpent. 

Her. Why are you grown so rude ? what change 
is this, 
Sweet love ? 

Lys, Thy love ! out, tawny Tartar, out ! 

Out, loathed medicine ! hated potion, hence ! 

Her. Do you not jest? 

Hel, Yes, 'sooth: and so do you; 

Lys, Demetrius, I will keep my word with thee. 

Dem. I would, I had your bond; for, I perceive, 
A weak bond holds you; I'll not trust your word. 

Lys. What, should I hiut her, strike her, kill her 
Although I hate her, I'll not harm her so. 

Her. What, can you do me greater harm than 
Hate me! wherefore? O me! what n^ws, my love? 
Am not I Hermia? Are not you Lysander? 
I am as fair now as I was erewhile. 
Since night you lov'd me ; yet since night you left 

Why, then you left me, — O, the gods forbid ! — 
In earnest shall I say ? 

Lys. Ay, by my life ; 

And never did desire to see thee more. 
Therefore, be out of hope, of question, doubt, 
Be certaip nothing truer ; 'tis no jest. 
That I do hate thee, and love Helena. 

Her. O me, you juggler! you canker-blossom^^! 
You thief of love ! what, have you come by night. 
And stol'n my love's heart from him ? 

* A worm that preys on the leaves or buds of flowers, always 
beginning in the middle. So before in this play : 

< Some to kill cankers in the mii8k.-T0«Q \)u<i«.^ 

270 midsummer-Night's act in. 

Hel Fine, i'faith \ 

Have you no modesty, no maiden shame. 
No touch of bashfulness ? What, will you tear 
Impatient answers from my gentle tongue ? 
Fie, fie ! you counterfeit, you puppet you ! 

Her, Puppet ! why so ? Ay , that way goes the game. i 
Now I perceive that she hath made compare * 

Between our statures, she hath urg'd her height; 
And with her personage, her tall personage, 
Her height, forsooth, she hath prevail'd with him. — 
And are you grown so high in his esteem. 
Because I am so dwarfish, and so low? 
How low am I, thou painted maypole ? speak ; 
How low am I ? I am not yet so low. 
But that my nails can reach unto thine eyes. 

Hel. I pray you, tKough you mock me, gentlemen ^ 
Let her not hurt me : I was never curst ^ ; 
I have no gift at all in shrewishness ; 
I am a right maid for my cowardice ; 
Let her not strike me : You, perhaps, may think. 
Because she's something lower than myself. 
That I can match her. 

Her, Lower! hark, again. 

Hel, Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me. 
I evermore did love you, Hermia, 
Did ever keep your counsels, never wrong'd you ; 
Save that, in love unto Demetrius, 
I told him of your stealth unto this wood : 
He follow'd you ; for love, I foUow'd him. 
But he hath chid me hence : and threaten'd me 
To strike me, spurn me, nay, to kill me too : 
And now, so you will let me quiet go. 
To Athens will I bear my folly back. 
And follow you no further : Let me go: 
You see how simple and how fond^ I am, 

^ i, e. froviard, CTO&a,VXV-<io\i^\NAo\«i^^at'^-«^^^^, 
» Foolish. 

SC. II- BREAM, 271 

Her, Why^ get you gone : Who is't that hinders 

HeL A foolish heart that I leave here behind. 

JBer. What! with Lysander? 

HeL With Demetrius. 

Lys. Be not afraid : she shall not harm thee,Helentu 

Dem, No>sir; she shall not, though you take her 

HeL O, when she's angry, she is keen and shrewd: 
She was a vixen, whien she went to school ; 
And, though she be but little, she is fierce. 

Her, Little again ? nothing but low and little?-— 
Why will you suffer her to flout me thus ? 
Let me come to her. 

Lys, Get you gone, you dwarf; 

Vou minimus of hind'ring knot-grass ^ made ; 
You bead, you acorn. 

Dem, You are too officious^ 

In her behalf that scorns your services : 
Let her alone; speak not of Helena; 
Take not her part: for if thou dost intend^ 
Never so Uttle show of love to her, 
ThoMshaltaby it^^ 

Lys, Now she holds me not; 

Now follow if thou dar'st, to try whose right 
Or thine or mine, is most in Helena. 

Dem, Follow? nay, I'll go with thee cheek by 
jole. [Exeunt Lys. and Dem. 

Her, You, mistress, all this coil is 'long of you : 
^^y* go i^ot back. 

HeL I will not trust you, I; 

Nor longer stay in your curst company^ 

^ Anciently knot-grass was believed to prevent the growth 
of children. 
» Pretend. 
^' Ahp it, for abide it, i. e. paj dearly for it) tuq vV.« 


Your hands, than mme, are quicker for a firay ; 
My legs are longer though, to run away. [Exit. 

Her. I am amaz'd, and know not what to say. 

[Exit, pursuing Helena. 

Obe. This is thy negligence : still thou mistak'st, 
Or else committ'st thy knayeries wilfully. 

Puck. Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook. 
Did not you tell me, I should know the man 
By the Athenian garments he had on? 
And so far hlameless proves my enterprise. 
That I have 'nointed an Athenian's eyes : 
And so far am I glad it so did sort^^. 
As this their jangling I esteem a sport. 

Obe. Thou seest, these lovers seek a place to fight; 
Hie, therefore, E;obin, overcast the night ; 
The starry welkin cover thou anon 
With drooping fog, as black as Acheron ; 
And lead these testy rivals so astray. 
As one come not within another's way. 
Like to Lysander sometime frame thy tongue. 
Then stir Demetrius up with bitter wrong; 
And sometime rail thou like Demetrius : 
And from each other look thou lead them thus. 
Till o'er their brows dea&^counterfeiting sleep 
With leaden legs and batty wings doth creep : 
Then crush this herb into Lysander's eye : 
Whose liquor hath this virtuous property. 
To take from thence all error with his might. 
And make his eye-balls roll with wonted sight 
When they next wake, all this derision 
Shall seem a dream, and fruitless vision ; 
And back to Athens shall the lovers wend^ 
With league whose date till death shall never end. 
Whiles I in this afFsiir do thee employ, 
I'll to my queen, and beg her Indian boy ; 
^ Chance, fali out, iiom sotI^'^StwbsSii, ^ Go. 


And then I will her charmed eye release 

From monster's view, and all things shall be peace. 

. Puck. My fairy lord, this must be done with haste ; 

For night's swift dragons^ cut the clouds full fast. 

And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger ; 

At whose approach, ghosts, wandering here and there. 

Troop home to church-yards: damned spirits all. 

That in cross-ways and floods have burial^. 

Already to their wormy beds^ are gone; 

For fear lest day should look their shames upon. 

They wilfully themselves exile from light. 

And must for aye consort with black-brow'd night. 

Obe, But we are spirits of another sort: 
I with the Morning's love^^ have oft made sport; 
And, like a forester, the groves may tread, 
Even till the eastern gate, all fiery red. 
Opening on Neptune with fair blessed beams. 
Turns into yellow gold his salt-green streams^. 
But, notwithstanding, haste ; make no delay : 
We may effect this business yet ere day. 

[Exit OBERON4 
Puck. Up and down, up and down, 

I will lead them up and down : 

I am fear'd in field and town ; 

Goblin, lead them up and down. 
Here comes one. 

^ So in Cjmbeline, Act ii. Sc. 11 : 

* Swift, swift, ye dragons of the night.' 
See note on that passage. 

** The ghosts of self-murderers, who are buried in cross- 
roads ; and of those who being drowned were condemned (ac- 
cording to the opinion of the ancients) to wander for a hundred 
years, as the rites of sepulture had never been regularly be- 
stowed on their bodies. 

^ Or that thy beauties lie in wormy bed.* — Milton's Ode on 
the Death of a fair Infant. 

^ Cephalus, the mighty hunter, and paramour of Aurora, wa» 
here probably meant. 

» OheroD here boasts that he was not coinqpe\\e^,V\V.^ xaa^afi^ 
spirits, to raniab at the Brsi dawn. 


Enter Lysander. 

Z^* Where art thou, praud Demetrius? speak 

thou now. 
Puck. Here, villain ; drawn and read j. Where 

art thou? 
Z^. I will be with thee straight. 
Puck. Follow me then 

To plainer ground. [Exit Lys. asfoUamng thevokt. 

Enter Demetrius. 

Dem. Lysander ! speak again. 

Thou runaway, thou* coward, art thou fled? 
Speak. In some bush? Where dost thou hide thy 
Pujck. Thou coward, art thou bragging to the starS) 
Telling the bushes that thou look'st for wars. 
And wilt not come ? Come, recreant ; come, thou 

I'll whip thee with a rod : He is defiPd, 
That draws a sword on thee. 

Dem. Yea; art thou there? 

Puck. Follow my voice ; we'll try no manhood 

here. [Exeunt. 

Re-enter Lysander. 

Lys. He goes before me, and still dares me on; 
When I come where he calls, then he is gone. 
The villain is much lighter heel'd than I : 
I follow'd fast, but faster he did fly ; 
That fallen am I in dark uneven way. 
And here will rest me. Come, thou gentle day ! 

[Lies down. 
For if but once thou show me thy gray light, 
T'U find Demetrius, and revenge this spite. [Sleeps. 

SC. II. DBEAM. 275 

Re-enier.VvcK and Demetrius. 

Puck. Ho, ho ! ho, ho ^ ! Coward, why com'st 

thou not? 
Dem. Abide me, if thou dar'st; for well I wot. 
Thou runn'st before me, shifting every place ; 
And daf^st not stand, nor look me in the face. 
Where art thou? 
Puck, Come hither; I am here. * 

Dem, Nay, then thou mock'st me. Thou shalt 
buy this dear*^. 
If ever I Uiy facjB by day-light see : 
Now, go thy way. Faintness consti-aineth me 
To measure out my length on this cold bed. — . 
.By day's approach look to be visited. 

[Ides down and sleeps. 

Enter Helena. 

Hel. O weary night, O long and tedious night, 
Abate thy hours : shine, comforts from the east; 
That I may back to Athens by day-light, 

From these that my poor company detest: — 
And, sleep, that sometimes shuts up sorrow's eye. 
Steal me awhile from mine own company. [Sleeps, 
Puck. Yet but three ? Come one more ; 
Two of both kinds makes up four. 
Here she comes, curst and sad : — 
Cupid is a knavish lad. 
Thus to make poor females mad. 

^ This exclamation woald have been uttered with more pro- 
priety by Pack, if he were not now playing an assumed .cha- 
racter, which he seems to forget. In the old song printed by 
Percy, in which all his gambols are related, he conclndes every 
stanza with ho ! ho ! ho ! It was also the established dramatic 
exclamation given to the devil whenever he appeared on the 
stage, and attributed to him whenever he appeared in reality. 

^ Johnson says, the poet perhaps wrote, ' then sbalt by this 
dear;' as in another place, ' thon shalt ahy it.' 

276 midsummer-night's act tii. 

Enter Hermia. 

Her. Never so weary, never so in woe. 

Bedabbled with the dew, and torn with briers; 
I can no further crawl, no further go ; 

My legs can keep no pace with my desires. 
Here will I rest me, till the break of day. 
Heaven shield Lysander, if they mean a fray ! 

[Lies down. 
Puck. On the ground 
Sleep sound : 
rU apply 
To your eye. 
Gentle lover, remedy. 
[Squeezing the juice on Lysander's eye. 
When thou wak'st, 
Thou tak'st 
True delight 
In the sight 
Of thy former lady's eye : 
And the country proverb knovm. 
That every man should take his own, 
In your waking shall be shown : 
Jack shall have Jill ; 
Nought shall go ill ; 
The man shall have his mare again, and all shall be 

[Exit Puck. — Dem. Hel. Sfc. sleep. 

*^ These three last lines are to be found in Hejwood's Epi- 
grams, or Three Hundred Proverbs. Steevens thinks we shoald 
read stil^ instead of weU, for the sake of the rhyme. 

DRBAM. 277 


SCENE I. The same. 

Enter Titania and Bottom, Fairies attending; 
Oberon behind unseen. 

Tita. Come, sit thee down upon this flowery bed. 
While I thy amiable cheeks do coy ^, 
And stick musk-roses in Hiy sleek smooth head. 
And kiss thy fair large ears, my gentle joy. 

Bot. Where's Peas-blossom ? 

Peas. Keady. 

Bot. Scratch my head. Peas-blossom. — ^Where's 
monsieur Cobweb? 

Cob. Keady. 

Bot. Monsieur Cobweb ; good monsieur, get your 
weapons in your hand, and kill me a red-hipped 
humble-bee on the top of a thistle ; and, good mon- 
sieur, bring me the honey-bag. Do not fret yourself 
too much in the action, monsieur ; and, good mon- 
sieur, have a care the honey-bag break not; I would 
be loath to have you overflown with a honey-bag, 
signior. — Where's monsieur Mustard-seed? 

Must. Heady. 

Bot. Give me your neif ^, monsieur Mustard-seed. 
Pray you, leave your courtesy, good monsieur. 

Must. What's your will? 
, Bot. Nothing, good monsieur, but to help ca- 
valero Cobweb to scratch. I must to the barber's, 
monsieur; for, methinks, I am marvellous hairy 

' To coy, is to stroke or sooth with the hand. The behaTionr 
of Titania on this occasion seems copied from that of the lady 
in Apnleins, lib. viii. 

> That is fist. So in K. Henry IV. Part II. Pistol sajs : < Sweet 
knight, I kiss thy neif.* 

VOL. 77. B B 

278 midsummer-ni&ht's act iv. 

about the face : and I am such a tender ass, if my 
hair do but tickle me, I must scratch. 

Tita. What, wilt thou hear some musick, my 
sweet love ? 

Bot. I have a reasonable good ear in musick : let 
us have the tongs and the bones \ 

Tita. Or say, sweet love, what thou desir'st to eat. 

Bot, Truly, a peck of provender; I could munch 
your good dry oats. Methinks, I have a great de- 
sire to a bottle of hay : good hay, sweet hay, hath 
no fellow. 

Tita, I have a venturous fairy that shall seek 
The squirrel's hoard, and fetch thee new nuts. 

Bot, I had rather have a handful, or two, of dried 
peas. But, I pray you, let none of your people stir 
me ; I have an exposition of sleep come upon me. 

Tita, Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms. 
Fairies, be gone, and be all ways away. 
So doth the woodbine, the sweet honeysuckle. 
Gently entwist, — the female ivy so 
Enrings the barky fingers of the elm^. 
O, how I love thee ! how I dote on thee ! 

[They sleep, 

OBEROii advances. Enter 'Puck. 

Obe. Welcome, good Robin. See'st thou this 
sweet sight? 


^ The old roagh rustic music of the tongs. The folio has this 
stage direction : ' Mnsicke Tongs, Rarall Music' 

* Steevens says, what Shakspeare seems to mean is this — 
So the woodbine, i. e. the sweet honeysuckle doth gently entwist 
the barky fingers of the elm, and so doth the female ivy enring 
the same fingers. Mr. Grifford observes that these lines may be 
illustrated by a passage in Ben Jonson's Vision of Delight : 

* Behold 

How the blue bind-toeed doth itself infold 
With honeysuckle V 

* The woodbine of Shakspeare (he remarks) is the blue bind-tpeed 
of Jonson. In many oi ont c;wi\v\Sft% V\\«i woodbine is still the 
name of the great cotwoVnxjXxx^" 

SC. I. DREAM. 279 

Her dotage now I do begin to pity. 
For meeting her of late behind the wood^ 
Seeking sweet savours for this hateful fooU 
I did upbraid her, and fall out with her : 
For she his hairy temples then had rounded 
With coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers ; 
And that same dew, which sometime on the buds 
Was wont to swell, like round and orient pearls. 
Stood now within the pretty flourets' eyes, 
Like tears, that did their own disgrace bewail. 
When I had, at my pleasure, taunted her. 
And she, in mild terms, begg'd my patience, 
I then did ask of her her changeling child ; 
Which straight she gave me, and her fairy sent 
To bear him to my bower in fairy land. 
And now I have the boy, I will undo 
This hateful imperfection of her eyes. 
And, gentle Puck, take this transformed scalp 
From off the head of this Athenian swain; 
That he awaking when the other ^ do. 
May all to Athens back again repair ; 
And think no more of this night's accidents. 
But as the fierce vexation of a dream. 
But first I will release the fkiry queen. 

Be, as thou wast wont to be. 

[Touching her eyes with an herb. 

See, as thou wast wont to see : 

Dian's bud^ o'er Cupid's flower 

Hath such force and blessed power. 
Now, my Titania; wake you, my sweet queen. 

^ This was the phraseology of the time. So in K. Henry IV. 
Part I. — ' and unbound the rest, and then came in the other.* 

^ Dianas bud is the bad of the Agmu Castus, or Chaste Tree. 
' The yertae of this hearbe is, that he will kepe man and woman 
chaste.* Macer's Herbal, by Lynacre, b. I. no date. Gapid's 
flower is the Viola tricolor, or Love in /(ttentss. 

280 midsummer-night's act IV. 

Tita. My Oberon! what visions have I seen! 
Methought I was enamour'd of an ass. 
Obe, There lies your love. 
Tita. How came these things to pass? 

O, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now ! 

Obe. Silence, awhile. — Robin, take off this head. — 
Titania, musick call; and strike more dead 
Than common sleep, of all these five the sense. \ 

Tita. Musick, ho! musick: such as charmeth 

Pttck. Now, when thou wak'st, with thine own 

fool's eyes peep. 
Obe. Sound, musick. [Still musick.'] Come, my 
queen, take hands with me. 
And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be. 
Now thou and I are new in amity; 
And will, to-morrow midnight, solemnly. 
Dance in Duke Theseus' house triumphantly. 
And bless it to all fair posterity : 
There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be 
Wedded, with Theseus, all in jollity. 

Puck. Fairy king, attend and mark ; 
I do hear the morning lark. 

Obe. Then, my queen, in silence sadT, 
Trip we after the night's shade : 
We the globe can compass soon. 
Swifter than the wand'ring moon. 

Tita. Come, my lord ; and in our flight. 
Tell me how it came this night. 
That I sleeping here was found. 
With these mortals on the ground. [Exeunt. 

[Hams sound within. 

^ Sad here sigHifies only grave, serious. 

SC. I. DREAM. 281 

Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, Egeus, and train* 

The, Go, one of you, find out the forester; — 
For now our observation is perform'd ^ : 
And since we have the vaward ^ of tl^ day, 
My love shall hear the musick of my hounds. — 
Uncouple in the western valley; go: 
Despatch, I say, and find the forester. — 
We will, fair queen, up to the mountain's top, ^ 
And mark the musical confusion 
Of hounds and echo in conjunction. 

Hip. I was with Hercules, and Cadmus, once. 
When in a wood of Crete they bay'd the bear 
With hounds of Sparta : never did I hear 
Such gallant chiding ^^; for, besides the groves. 
The skies, the fountains, every region near 
Seem'd all one mutual cry : I never heard 
So musical a discord, such sweet thunder. 

The. My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind. 
So flew'd ^^, so sanded ^^ ; and their heads are hung 
With ears that sweep away the morning dew ; 
Crook-knee'd, and dew-lapp'd Uke Thessalian bulls ; 
Slow in pursuit, but matched in mouth like bells. 
Each under each. A cry more tuneable 
Was never hoUa'd to, nor cheer'd with horn, 

^ i. e. the honours due to the morning of May. So in a for- 
mer scene — ' to do observance to a morn of May.' 
• Forepart. 

^^ Chiding means here the cry of hounds. To chide is nsed 
sometimes for to sound, or make a noise without any reference 
to scolding. So in K. Henry YIII. : 

' As doth a rock against the chiding flood.* 
And in the 22d Book of Drayton's Polyolbion : 

' ' drums and trumpets chide.* 

>' The flews are the large chaps of a deep-mouthed hound. 
'^ Sanded means of a sandy colour, which is one of the true 
denotements of a blood-hound. 

282 midsummer-night's act I v. 

In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly : 
Judge, when you hear. — But, soft; what nymphi^ 
are these? 

Ege. My lord, this is my daughter here asleep : 
And this, Lysander; this Demetrius is; 
This Helena, old Nedar's Helena : 
I wonder of their being here together. 

7%€. No doubt, they rose up early, to observe 
The rite of May ; and, hearing our intent, 
Came here in grace of our solemnity. — 
But, speak, Egeus ; is not this the day 
That Hermia should give answer of her choice? 

Ege. It is, my lord. 

7%€. Go, bid the huntsmen wake them vrith their 

Horns, and skout within. Demetrius, Lysander, 
Hermia, and Helena, wake and start up. 

The, Good-morrow, friends. Saint Valeiitine is 
Begin these wood-birds but to couple now ? 

Lys. Pardon, my lord. 

[He and the rest kneel to Theseus. 

The, I pray you all, stand up. 

I know you are two rival enemies ; 
How comes this gentle concord in the world. 
That hatred is so far from jealousy. 
To sleep by hate, and fear no enmity? 

Lys, My lord; I shall reply amazedly. 
Half 'sleep, half waking: But as yet, I swear, 
I cannot truly say how I came here : 
But, as I think, (for truly would I speak, — 
And now I do bethink me, so it is) ; 
I came with Hermia hither : our intent 
Was to be gone from Athens, where we might be 
Without the peii\ o^ \)[v% MasjCkVNBi law. 

SC. I. DREAM. 28a 

I beg th^ law, the law, upon his head. — 

They would have stol'n away, they would, Demetrius, 

Thereby to have defeated you and me : 

You, of your wife ; and me, of my consent ; 

Of my consent that she should be your wife. 

Dent. My lord, fair Helen told me of their stealth. 
Of this their purpose hither, to this wood ; 
And I in fury hither followed them; 
Fair Helena in fancy ^^ following me. 
But, my good lord, I wot not by what power 
(But by some power it is), my love to Hermia, 
Melted as doth the snow, seems to me now 
As the remembrance of an idle gawd^^. 
Which in my childhood I did dote upon : 
And all the faith, the virtue of my hearty 
The object, and the pleasure of mine eye,. 
Is only Helena. To her, my lord> 
Was I betroth'd ere I saw Hermia : 
But, like in sickness, did I loathe this food : 
But, as in health, come to my natural taste, 
Now do I wish it, love it, long for it. 
And will for evermore be true to it. 

The. Fair lovers, you are fortunately met : 
Of this discourse we more will hear anon.— 
Egeus, I will overbear your will ; 
For in the temple, by and by with us. 
These couples shall eternally be knit. 
And, for the morning now is something worn. 
Our purpos'd hunting shall be set aside. — 
Away, with us, to Athens : Three and three. 
Well hold a feast in great solemnity.^ — 
Come, Hippolyta. 

[Exeunt The. Hip. Ege. and train. 

'^ Fancy is here love or affection, and is opposed to fury. So 
in Shakspeare's Venus, and Adonis : 

* A martial man to be soft fancy's slave.* 
Some noir call that which a man takes particxiVw ^^Yv^N. vb.,V\'9» 
fancy i ^* To^s, 

284 midsummer-night's act IV. 

Dem. These things seem small and undistinguish- 
Like far-off mountains turned into clouds. 

Her* Meihinks, I see these things with parted eye, 
When eyery thing seems double. 

HeL So methinks : 

And I have found Demetrius like a jewel. 
Mine own, and not mine own ^^. 

Deift. Are you sure 

That we are awake ? It seems to me, ^ 
That yet we sleep, we dream. — Do not you think, 
The duke was here, and bid us follow hun ? 

Her. Yea ; and my father. 

HeL And Hippolyta. 

Lys. And he did bid us follow to the temple. 

Dem. Why then, we are awake : let's follow him; 
And, by the way, let us recount our dreams. 


As they go out, Bottom awakes. 

Bot. When my cue comes, call me, and I will 
answer : — ^my next is. Most fair Pyramus. — Hey, 
ho! — ^Peter Quince! Flute, the bellows-mender! 
Snout, the tinker! Starveling! God's my life! stolen 
hence, and left me asleep ! I have had a most rare 
vision. I have had a dream, — past the wit of man 
to say what dream it was : Man is but an ass, if he 
go about to expound this dream. Methought 1 was 
— there is no man can tell what. Methought I was, 
and methought I had, — But man is but a patched 
fool, if he will offer to say what methought I had. 

^^ Helena, perhaps, means to say, that having found Deme' 
trins unexpecUdlyy she considered her property in him as inse- 
cure as that which a person has in a jewel that he has found by 
accident, which he knows not whether he shall retain, and which 
therefore may properly euoti^h be called his own and not his own. 
Warbnrton proposed io read gemeU/\. e. ^fs\i\^^\ «svV\\.\sasi ^«q 
been proposed to read gimmal, vi\v\^\v «\^\a^^% ^ ^^\iW«k xvsss^* 

SC. I. DREAM. 285 

The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath 
not seen; man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue 
to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream 
was. I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of 
this dream : it shall be called Bottom's Dream, be- 
cause it hath no bottom ; and I will sing it in the 
latter end of a play, before the duke : Peradyenture, 
to make it the more gracious, I shall sing it at her 
death ^^. [Exit. 

SCENE II. Athens. A Room in Quince's House, 

Enter Quince, Flute, Snout, and Starve- 

Quin. Have you sent to Bottom's house ? is he 
come home yet? 

Star. He cannot be heard of. Out of doubt, he 
is transported. 

Flu. If he come not, then the play is marred; 
It goes not forward, doth it ? 

Quin. It is not possible : you have not a man in 
all Athens able to discharge Pyramus, but he. 

Flu. No; he hath simply the best wit of any 
handicraft man in Athens. 

Quin. Yea, and the best person to: and he is a 
very paramour, for a sweet voice. 

Flu. You must say, paragon : a paramour is, 
God bless us, a thmg of nought. 

Enter Snug. 

Snug. Masters, the duke is coining from the temple, 
and there is two or three lords and ladies more mar- 

'^ Theobald conjectured, happily eooagh, that we should read 
' after death/ As Pyramus is killed upon the scene, he might 
promise to rise again and give the duke his dream by way of 
gong. The corruption, he supposes, may haye arisen from the 
vulgar pronunciation of the word, a^ter. BoltAm mw^ ^V^wt^-n^ts 
mean ike death of Thisbe, which hiA bead w«» \)iieTi Iv^ ^1. 

286 midsummer-night's act IV. 

lied : if our sport had gone forward, we had all been 
made men. 

Flu. O sweet boUy Bottom ! Thus h^th he lost 
sixpepce a-day during his life; he could not have 
'scaped sixpence a-day : an the duke had not given 
him sixpence a-day for playing Pyramus^ 111 be^ 
hang'd ; he would have deserved it : sixpence a-day, 
in PyramuSy or nothing^. 

Enter Bottom. 

Bot, Where are these lads ? where are these hearts ? 

Quin. Bottom! — O most courageous day ! O most 
happy hour ! 

Bot Masters, I am to discourse wonders : but 
ask me not what; for, if I tell you, I am no true 
Athenian. I will tell you every thing, right as it 
fell out. 

Quin. Let us hear, sweet Bottom. 

Bot. Not a word of me. AH that I will tell you, 
is, that the duke hath dined : Get your apparel to- 
gether; good strings to your beards, new ribbons to 
your pumps ; meet presently at the palace ; every 
man look o'er his part; for, the short and the long 
is, our play is preferred. In any case, let Tliisby 
have clean linen; and let not him, that plays the 
lion, pare his nails, for they shall hang out for the 
lion's claws. And, most dear actors, eat no onions, 
nor garlick, for we are to utter sweet breath ; and I 
do not doubt, but to hear them say, it is a sweet 
comedy. No more words; away; go, away. 


' SteeveDs sajs that Preston the actor and author of Cambjses 
was meant to be ridiculed here. The queen having bestowed a 
pension on him of twenty pounds a year for the pleasure she re- 
ceived from his acting in the play of Dido, at Cambridge, in 

DREAM. 287 


SCENE I. The same. 

An Apartment in the Palace of Theseus. 

J&n/er Theseus, Hippolyta, Philostrate, 
Lords, and Attendants. 

Hip. Tis strange, my Theseus, that these lovers 
speak of. 

The. More strange than true. I never may believe 
These antique fables, nor these fairy toys. 
Lovers, and madmen, have such seething brains ^, 
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend 
More than cool reason ever comprehends. 
The lunatick, the lover, and the poet. 
Are of imagination all compact^ : 
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold ; 
That is, the madman : the lover, all as frantic}c. 
Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt : 
The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling. 
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to 

heaven ; 
And, as imagination bodies forth 
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen 
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy notliing 

' So in the Tempest : 

* thy brains, 

Now useless, boiVd within thj skull/ 
And in The Winter's Tale : * Would any hut these boiCd brains 
of three and twenty hunt this weather V Drayton, in bis Epistle 
to Reynolds on poets and poetry, seems to have had this in his 
mind, when, speaking of Marlowe, he says : 

' That fine madness still he did retain. 
Which rightly should possess a poet's brain/ 
^ i. e. are made of mere imagination. 

288 midsummer-night's act v. 

A local habitation, and a name. 
Such tricks hath strong imagination; 
That, if it would but apprehend some joy. 
It comprehends some bringer of that joy; 
Or, in the night, imagining some fear. 
How easy is a bush suppos'd a bear? 

Hip. But all the story of the night told over. 
And all their minds transfigur'd so together. 
More witnesseth than fancy's images. 
And grows to something of great constancy ^ ; 
But, howsoever, strange and admirable. 

Enter Lysander, Demetrius, Hermia, and 


The, Here come the lovers, full of joy and 
mirth. — 
Joy, gentle friends ! joy, and fresh days of love^ 
Accompany your hearts ! 

Lys, More than to us 

Wait on your royaV walks, your board, your bed ! 

7%e. Come now ; what masks, what dances shall 
we have, 
To wear away this long age of three hours. 
Between our after-supper, and bed time ? 
Where is our usual manager of mirth ? 
What revels are in hand ? Is there no play, 
To ease the anguish of a torturing hour ? 
Call Philostrate. 

Philost. Here, mighty Theseus. 

The. Say, what abridgment^ have you for this 
evening ? 

^ i. e. consistency, stability, certainty. 

* Steevens thonght, that by abridgment was meant a dramatic 
performance which crowds the events of years into a few hours. 
Sorely the context seems to require a different explanation ; an 
abridgment appears to mean some pastime to shorten the tedious 

SC. I. DREAM. 289 

What mask ? what musick ? How shall we beguile 
The lazy tune, if not with some delight? 

Phihst. There is a brief ^, how many sports are 
Make choice of which your highness will see first. 

[Giving a paper. 

The. [ReadsJ\ The battle with the Centaurs, to 
be sung 

By an Athenian eunuch to the harp. 
We'll none of that : that have I told my love, 
In glory of my kinsman Hercules. 

The riot of the tipsy Bacchanals, 

Tearing the Thracian singer in their rage. 
That is an old device ; and it was play*d 
When I from Thebes came last a conqueror. 

The thrice three Muses mourning for the death 

Of learning, late deceased in beggary ^. 
That is some satire^ keen, and critical, 
Not sorting with a nuptial ceremony. 

A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus, 

And his love Thisbe: very tragical mirth. 
Merry and tragical ! Tedious and brief ! 
That is, hot ice, and wonderous strange snow. 
How shall we find the concord of this discord ? 

Phihst. A play there is, my lord, some ten words 
Which is as brief as I have known a play ; 
But by ten words, my lord, it is too long ; 
Which makes it tedious : for in all the play 
There is not one word apt, one player fitted. 
And tragical, my noble lord, it is ; 
For Pyramus therein doth kill himself. 

^ Short account. 

^ This may be an allusion to Spenser's poem : * The Tears of 
the Muses on the Neglect and Contempt of Learnia^*,' %t%\. 
printed in 1591. 

VOL, I J. C C 

no midsummer-night's act v. 

Which, when I saw rehears'd, I must confess. 
Made mine eyes water ; but more merry tears 
The passion of loud laughter never shed. 

The. What are they that do play it ? 

Philost. Hard-handed men, that work in Athens 
Which never laboured in their minds till now ; 
And now have toil'd their unbreath'd® memories 
With this same play, against your nuptial. 

The, And we will hear it. 

Philost. No, my noble lord, 

It is not for you : I have heard it over. 
And it is nothing, nothing in the world : 
Unless you can find sport in their intents^. 
Extremely stretch'd, and conn'd with cruel pain, 
To do you service. 

The* I will hear that play ; 

For never any thing can be amiss. 
When simpleness and duty tender it. 
Go, bring them in ; — and take your places, ladies. 

[Exit Philostrate. 

Hip. I love not to see wretchedness o'erchars'd, 
And duty in his service perishmg. 

The. Why, gentle sweet, you shall see no such 

Hip. He says they can do nothing in this kind. 

The. The kinder we, to give them thanks for no- 
Our sport shall be, to take what they mistake : 

"^ It is thought that Shakspeare alludes here to ' certain good 
hearted men of Coventry / who petitioned * that they monght re- 
new their old storial shew' before the Queen at Kenil worth: 
where the poet himself may have been present, as he was then 
twelve years old. 

® i. e. unexereised, unpractised. 

^ Intent$ mAj be put for the object of their aitentiotu To 
intend and to attend viwfe wacvwifli.^ vsxtfsaycaaxLa. 

SC. I. DREAM. "" 291 

And what poor duty cannot do, 

Noble respect takes it in might, not merit ^^. 

Where I have come, great clerks have purposed 

To greet me with premeditated welcomes ; 

Where I have seen them shiver and look pale, 

Make periods in the midst of sentences, 

Throttle their practis'd accent in their fears. 

And, in conclusion, dumbly have broke off. 

Not paying me a welcome : Trust me, sweet,* 

Out of this silence, yet, I pick'd a welcome ; ' 

And in the modesty of fearful duty 

I read as much, as from the rattling tongue 

Of sawcy and audacious eloquence. 

Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity, 

In least speak most, to my capacity. 

Enter Philostrate. 

Philost, So please your grace, the prologue is 

The. Let him approach. [Flourish of trumpets^*. 

Enter Prologue. 

Prol. If we offend, it is with our good will. 

That you should think we come not to offend. 
But with good-wilL To shew our simple skilly 

That is the true beginning of onir end. 
Consider then, we come but in despite. 

We do not come as minding to content you, 
Our true intent is. All for your delight. 

We are not here. That you should here repent you. 

'^ The sense of this passage appears to be : — ' What datifnl- 
ness tries to perform without ability, regardful generositj re- 
ceives with complacency ; estimating it, not by the actual merit, 
but according to the power or might of the humble but zealous 

» Ready. 

'^ Anciently the prologue entered after the third sounding of 
the trumpets, or, as we should now say, after the ibitd. tblW.^*. 

992 midsummer-night's act v. 

The actors are at hand; and, by their shew. 
You shall know all, that you are like to know. 

The, This fellow doth not stand upon points. 

Lys. He hath rid his prologue, like a rough colt, 
he knows not the stop. A good moral, my lord: It 
is' not enough to speak, but to speak true. 

Hip. Indeed he hath played on this prologue 
like a child on a recorder ^^; a sound, but not in 

The, His speech was like a tangled chain ; nothing 
impaired, but all disordered. Who is next? 

Enter Pyramus and Thisbb, Wall, Moonshine, 
and Lion, as in dumb show, 

ProL " Geptles, perchance, you wonder at this 

" But wonder on, till truth make all things plain, 
j" This man is Pyramus, if you would know ; 

" This beauteous lady Thisby is, certain. 
^' This man, with lime and rough-cast doth present 

"Wall, that vile wall which did these lovers sunder : 
'^ And through wall's chink, poor souls, they are 

" To whisper; at the which let no man wonder. 
" This man, with lantern, dog, and bush of thorn, 

*' Presenteth moon-shine ; for, if you will know, 
*^ By moon-shine did these lovers think no scorn 

" To meet at Ninus' tomb, there, there to woo. 

'3 A kind of flageolet. To record anciently signified to mo- 
dulate; perhaps the name arose from birds being tangbt to 
jrecord by it. In modern cant the recorders of corporations ar^ 
called Rifles : an ancient jest, the meaning of which is perhaps 
unknown to tbose who use it. 

^* i. e. not regularly, according to the time. So Hamlet, 
speaking of a recorder — 'govern these ventages with your finger 
and thumb ; give it breath with your mouth ; and it will dis- 
eeurse most eloquent music' 

SC. I. DREAM. 293 

** This grisly beast, which by name lion hight^^, 
*' The trusty Thisby, coming first by night, 
^' Did scare away, or rather did afiright : 
** And, as she fied, her mantle she did fall; 

'* Which lion vile with bloody mouth did stain : 
*^ Anon comes Pyramus, sweet youth, and tall, 

** And finds his trusty Thisby 's mantle slain : 
*' Whereat with blade, with bloody blameful blade, 

** He bravely broach'd his boiling bloody breast; 
** And, Thisby, tarrying in mulberry shade, 

*' His dagger drew, and died. For all the rest, 
^* Let lion, moon-shine, wall, and lovers twain, 
^* At large discourse, while here they do remain." 
[Exeunt Prbl. Thisbe, Lion, and Moonshine. 

TTie. I wonder, if the lion be to speak. 

Dem. No wonder, my lord : one lion may, when 
many asses do. 

WalL ** In this same interlude, it doth befall. 

That I, one Snout by name, present a wall : 

And such a wall, as I would have you think, 
** That had in it a cranny'd hole, or chink. 

Through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisby, 

Did whisper often very secretly. 

This loam,this rough-cast, and this stone, doth show 
** That I am that same wall ; the truth is so : 
** And this the cranny is, right and sinister, 
** Through which the fearful lovers are to whisper." 

JTie. Would you desire Ume and hair to speak 

Dem. It is the wittiest partition that ever I heard 
discourse, my lord. 

The, Pyramus draws near the wall : silence ! 

" Called. 

c Ci 

c294 midsummer-night's act v. 

jE»/cr Pyramus. 

Pyr, ** O grim-look'd night ! O night with hue so 
black ; 

** O night, which ever art, when day is not ! 
** O night, O night, alack, alack, alack, 

*' I fear my Thisby's promise is forgot ! — 
'* And thou, O wall, O sweet, O lovely wall, 

*' That stand'st between her father's ground and 
mine ; 
*,* Thou wall, O wall, O sweet, and lovely wall, 

'* Show me thy chink, to blink through with mine 
eyne. [Wall holds up his Fmgen. 

*' Thanks, courteous wall : Jove shield thee well for 

** But what see I ? No Thisby do I see. 
'' O wicked wall, through whom I see no bliss : 

*^ Curst be thy stones for thus deceiving me !" 

The. The wall, methinks, being sensible, should 
cur^e again. 

PtfT. No, in truth, sir, he should not. Deceiving 
fne, is Thisby's cue : she is to enter now, and I am 
to spy her through the wall. You shall see, it will 
fall pat as I told you : — Yonder she comes. 

Enter Thisbe. 

This. *f wall, full often hast thou heard my 

*' For parting my fair Pyramus and me : 

** My cherry lips have often kiss'd thy stones : 
" Thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee." 
Pyr. '* I see a voice : now will I to the chink, 
" To spy an I can hear my Thisby's face. 


This. " My love ! thou art my love, I think." 

5C. I. DREAM.. ^5 

Pyr. ** Think what thou wilt, I am thy lover's 
** And like Limander ^^ am I trusty stUl,'' 

Thu. '< And I like Helen, till the fates me kill.'' 

Pyr. " Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true." 

This. *' As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you." 

Pyr. '^ O, kiss me through the hole of this Tile 

lliis. '* I kiss the wall's hole, not your lips at all." 

Pyr. " Wilt thou at Ninny's tomb meet me 

J%is. ** Tide life, tide death, I come without 

Wall. ''Thus have I, wall, my part discharged so; 
*' And, being done, thus wall away doth go." 

[Exeunt Wall, Pyramus, and Thisbe. 

The. Now is the mural down between the two 

Dem. No remedy, my lord, when walls are so 
wilful to hear without warning ^'^. 

Hip. This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard. 

The. The best in this kind are but shadows : and 
the worst are no worse, if imagination amend them. 

Hip. It must be your imagination then, and not 

The. If we imagine no worse of them, than they 
•of themselves, they may pass for excellent men. 
Here come two noble beasts in, a moon^^ and i^ 

^^ Limander and Hehn, blunderingly for Leander and Hero, 
as Shafalus and Procrus for Cephalas and Procris. 

'^ This allades to the proverb, * Walls have ears.' A waU 
between almost any two neighbours would soon be cfoton, were it 
to exercise this facalty without previous warning. 

'^ The old copies read, a mant &c. The emendation is b/ 

206 midsummer-night's act v. 

Enter Lion and Moonshiae. 

Lion, ** You, ladies,you,whose gentle hearts do fear 

** The smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on 
** May now, perchance, both quake and tremble here, 

" When lion rough in wildest rage doth roar. 
*' Then know, that I, one Snug the joiner, am 
** No lion fell, nor else no lion's dam : 
** For if I should as lion come in strife 
" Into this place, 'twere pity on my life." 

7^. A very gentle beast, and of a good con- 

Dem. The very best at a beast, my lord, that e'er 
I saw. 

Lys. This lion is a very fox for his valour. 

The, True ; and a goose for his discretion. 

Dem, Not so, my lord: for his valour cannot 
carry his discretion ; and the fox carries the goose. 

ITie. His discretion, I am sure, cannot carry his 
valour; for the goose carries not the fox. It is 
well : leave it to his discretion, and let us listen to 
the moon. 

Moon, ** This lantern doth the homed moon pre- 
sent :" 

Dem, He should have worn the horns on his head. 

The, He is no crescent, and his horns are invi- 
sible within the circumference. 

Moon, ^' This lantern doth the homed moon present : 
" Myself the man i'the'moon do seem to be.*' 

The, This is the greatest error of all the rest : the 
man should be put into the lantem : How is it else 
the man i*the moon ? 

Dem. He dares not come there for the candle; 
for, you see, it is already in snuff ^^. 

'^ An equivoque. Snuff signifies both the einder of a candle 
siid hasty anger. 

SC. I, DREAM. 2i)7 

Hip, I am a weary of this moon : TYouId he 
would change ! 

7^. It appears, by his small light of discretion, 
that he is in the wane : but yet, in courtesy, in all 
reason, we must stay the time. 

Lys. Proceed, moon. 

Moon, All that I have to say, is, to tell you, that 
the lantern is the moon; I, the man in the moon; 
this thorn bush, my thorn bush ; and this dog my 

Dem, Why, all these should be in the lantern; 
for they are in the moon. But silence ; here comes 

Enter Thisbe. 

This, " This is old Ninny's tomb : Where is my 

Lion. "Oh—." 

[The Lion roars, — Thisbe runs off, 
Dem. Well roared, lion. 
The. WeH run, Thisbe. 

Hip, Well shone, moon. — Truly, the moon shines 
with a good grace. 

The, Well moused^, lion. 

[The Lion tears Tkisb^^s Mantle, and exit, 
Dem. And so comes Pyramus. 
Lys, And then the moon vanishes. 

Enter Pyramus. 

Pyr. ** Sweet moon, I thank thee for thy sunny 

beams : 
" I thank thee, moon, for shining now so bright. 
'^ For, by thy gracious, golden, glittering streams, 
'' I trust to taste of truest Thisby's sight. 

^ To mousBf according to Malone, signified to mammock, to 
tear in piece*, as a cat tears a mouse. 

298 midsummer-night's act v. 

" But stay ; — O spite ! 
** But mark; — Poor knight, 
'^ What dreadful dole is here ? 
" Eyes, do you see ? 
*' How can it be ? 
'' O dainty duck ! O dear ! 
" Thy mantle good, 
" What, stain'd with blood? 
** Approach, ye furies fell ! 
" O fates! come, come.^^; 
" Cut thread and thrum ^ ; 
** Quail, crush, conclude, and quell ^!" 
The, This passion, and the death of a dear friend, 
would go near to make a man look sad. 

Hip. Beshrew my heart, but I pity the man. 
Pyr. " O, wherefore, nature, didst thou lions 

'^ Since lion yile hath here deflour'd my dear : 
** Which is — no, no — which was the fairest dame, 
" That liv'd, that lov'd, that lik'd, that look'd 
with cheer ^. 
'* Come, tears, confound : 
** Out, sword, and wound 
" The pap of Pyramus : 
** Ay, that left pap, 
** Where heart doth hop : 
** Thus die I, thus, thus, thus. 

'^ Dr. Farmer thoaght this was written in ridicule of a pas- 
sage in Damon and Pythias, by Richard Edwards, 1582 : 
* Ye furies, all at once 
On me your torments tire. 
Gripe me, yon greedy griefs 

And present pangnes of death ; 
You sisters three, with cruel hands. 
With speed corne stop my breath* 
^ Thrum is the end or extremity of a weaver's warp. It is 
used for any collection,i)r taft of short thread. 
^ Destroy. ** Coantenance. 

SC. I. DREAM. 298 

" Now am I dead, 
" Now am I fled ; 
'^ My soul is in the sky : 
" Tongue, lose thy light! 
'* Moon take thy flight! 
" Now die, die, die, die, die." 

[Dies. — Exit Moonshine. 
Deni, No die, but an ace, for him ; for he is but 

Lys. Less than an ace, man ; for he is dead ; he 
is nothing. 

The. With the help of a surgeon, he might yet 
recover, and prove an ass^. 

JB^. How chance moonshine is gone, before 
Thisbe comes back and finds her lover? 

The, She will find him by star-light. — Here she 
comes"; and her passion ends the play. 

' Enter Thisbe. 

Hip, Methinks, she should not use a long one, 
for such a Py ramus : I hope, she will be brief. 

Dem, A mote will turn the balance, which Py- 
ramus, which Thisbe, is the better. 

Lys, She hath spied him already with those sweet 

Dem, And thus she moans ^, videlicet, 

This, " Asleep, my love? 
" What, dead, my dove? 

^ The character of Thesens throughout this plaj is more ex- 
alted in its humanity than in its greatness. Though some sensible 
observations on life and animated descriptions fall from him, as 
It is said of lago, ' You shall taste him more as a soldier than 
88 a wit ;' which is a distinction he is here striying to deserve, 
though with little success ; as in support of his pretensions he 
mfiver rises higher than a pun, and frequently sinks as low as a 

^ The old copies read means, which had anciently the same 
signiAcation as moans, Theobald made the alteT&tion. 



aoa midsummbr-night's act v. 

** O Pyramus, arise, 

** Speak, speak. Quite dumb ? 
''Dead, dead? A tomb 
Must coyer thy sweet eyes. 
" These lily brows ^, 
" This cherry nose, 
These yellow cowslip cheeks, 
** Are gone, are gone : 
'' Lovers, make moan ! 
"His eyes were green as leeks. 
** O sisters three, 
<< Come, come, to me, 
'' With hands as pale as milk ; 
" Lay them in gore, 
" Since you have shore 
'' With shears his thread of silk. 
*' Tongue, not a word : — 
" Come, trusty sword ; 
'' Come, blade, my breast imbrue : 
** And farewell, friends ;-^ 
" Thus Thisby ends : 
*' Adieu, adieu, adieu." [Dies, 

The, Moonshine and lion are left to bury the dead. 
Dem. Ay, and wall too. 

Bot. No, I assure you; the wall is down that 
parted their fetthers. Will it please you to see the 
epilogue, or to hear a Burgomask dance ^, between 
two of our company ? 

2%c. No epilogue, I pray you: for your play 
needs no excuse. Never excuse; for when the 

^ The old copies read lips instead of hrows. The alteratim 
was made for the sake of the rhyme by Theobald. 

^ A mstio dance framed in imitation of the people of Bergtl' 
maaco (a province in the state of Venice), who are ridiculed as 
being more clownish in their manners and dialect than any other 
people of Italy. The lingua rustica of the buffoons, in the old 
Italian comedies, i» an UEd\&Uo\i of their jargon. 

SC. I. I>R£AM. dOl' 

players are all dead, there need none to be blamed. 
Marry, if he that writ it, had played Pyramus, and 
hanged himself in Thisbe's garter, it would have 
been a fine tragedy : and so it is, truly ; and very 
notably discharged. But come, your Bergomask : 
let your epilogue alone. [Here a dance of Clowns. 
The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve : — 
Lovers, to bed ; 'tis almost fairy time. 
I fear we shall outsleep the coming morn. 
As much as we this night have overwatched. 
This palpable-gross play hath well beguil'd 
The heavy gait ^ of night. — Sweet friends, to bed. — 
A fortnight hold we this solemnity 
In nightly revels, and new jollity. [Exeunt. 


Enter Puck. 

Puck. Now the hungry lion roars. 

And the wolf behowls the moon ; 
Whilst the heavy ploughman snores. 

All with weary task fordone ^ 
Now the wasted brands do glow. 

Whilst the scritch-owl, scritching loud. 
Puts the wretch that lies in woe, 

In remembrance of a shroud. 
Now it is the time of night. 

That the graves all gaping wide, 
Every one lets forth his sprite. 

In the church-way paths to glide : 
And we fairies, that do run. 

By the triple Hecat's team, 
From the presence of the sun. 

Following darkness like a dream, 

* i. e. slow passage, progress. ^ 0\«t^i««vfe, 

VOL. 11. U "D 

302 midsummer-night's act t. 

Now are frolic ; not a mouse 
Shall disturb this hallow'd house : 
I am sent, with broom, before. 
To sweep the dust behind the door^. 

Enter Oberon and Titania, toith their Train. 

Obe, Through this house give glimmering light % 

By the dead and drowsy fire : 
Every elf, and fairy sprite, 

Hop as light as bird from brier; 
And Uiis ditty after me. 
Sing and dance it trippingly. 

Tita. First, rehearse this song by rote : 
To each word a warbling note. 
Hand in hand, with fairy grace. 
Will we sing, and bless this place. 


Obe. Now, until the break of day. 
Through this house each fairy stray. 
To the best bride-bed will we, 
Which by us shall blessed be * ; 

^ Cleanliness is always necessary to invite the residence or 
fayoor bf the Fairies. So Drayton, in his Nymphidia : 
' These make oar girls their slattery me. 
By pinching them both black and blae, 
And put a penny in their shoe 
The house for cleanly sweeping.' 
To sweep the dust behind the door is a common expression, for to 
sweep the dust from behind the door, a necessary monition in 
large old houses, where the doors of halls and galleries are thrown 
backward and seldom shut. 

' Milton perhaps had this picture in his thoughts : 
' And glowing embers through the room 
Teach night to counterfeit a gloom.* 
*' This ceremony was in old times used at all marriages. Mr. 
Douce has given the formula from the Manual for the use of 
Salisbury. We may observe on this strange ceremony, that the 
purity of ihodeTU Aime« ftXAMA ivoX. Vsv -fi«^^ <sil \Sda;,%« holy asper- 
sions to lull the sense* waA. d\s«o?^V* ^%*^\i%wo*^\ ^^\«<^, 

SC. II. DRBAM. 903 

And the issue, there create, 

Ever shall be fortunate. 

So shall all the couples three 

Ever true in loving be : 

And the blots of nature's hand 

Shall not in their issue stand ; 

Never mole, hare-lip, nor scar. 

Nor mark prodigious^, such as are 

Despised in nativity. 

Shall upon their children be. — 

With this field-dew consecrate. 

Every fairy take his gate^; 

And each several chamber bless ^, 

Through this palace with sweet peace : 

E'er shall it in safety rest. 

And the owner of it blest. 

Trip away; 

Make no stay ; 
Meet me all by break of day. 

[Exeunt Oberon, Titania, and Train. 

The married couple would no doubt rejoice when the benedic- 
tion was ended. In the French romance of Melusine, the Bishop 
who marries her to Raymondin blesses the nuptial bed. The 
ceremony is there represented in a very ancient cut. The good 
prelate is sprinkling the parties with holy water. Sometimes, 
daring the benediction, the married couple only sat on the bed ; 
bnt they generally received a portion of the consecrated bread 
and wine. It is recorded in France, that, on frequent occasions, 
the priest was improperly detained till midnight, whilst the 
wedding guests rioted in the Inxuries of the table, and made 
use of language that was extremely offensive to the clergy, and 
injurious to me salvation of the parties. It was therefore or- 
dained, in the year 1577, that the ceremony of blessing the nup- 
tial bed should for the future be performed in the day-time, or 
at least before suppery and in the presence of the bride and 
bridegroom, and of their nearest relations only. 

• Portentous. ® Way, course. 

7 The same superstitious kind of benediction occurs in Chau- 
cer's Millere's Tale, vol. i. p. 105, 1. 22. Whittingham's Edit^ 

304 midsummer-night's dream, act V, 

Puck. Ifvoe shadows have offended^ 

Iliinh but this (and all is mended). 

That you have but slumbered here. 

While these visions did appear. 

And this weak and uUe theme. 

No more yielding but a dream. 

Gentles, do not reprehend: 

If you pardon, we will mend. 

And, as Fm an honest Puck, 

If we have unearned luck^ 

Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue ^,^ 

We will make amends, ere long: 

Else the Puck a liar call. 

So, good night unto you all. 

Give me your hands^^, if we befriends. 

And Robin shall restore amends. [Exit. 

^ i. e. if we have better fortune than we have deserred. 

^ i. e. hisses. *® Clap your hands, give us jour applause. 

Wild and fantastical as this play is, all the parts in their yari- 
Aus modes are well written, and g^ve the kind of pleasure which 
the author designed. Fairies in his time were much in fashion ; 
common tradition had made them familiar, and Spenser's poem 
had made them great. . Johnson. 

Johnson's concluding observations on this play are not con- 
ceived with his usual judgment. There is no analogy or resem- 
blance between the Fairies of Spenser and those of Shakspeare. 
The Fairies of Spenser, as appears from his description of them 
in the second book of the Faerie Queene, canto x. were a race of 
mortals created by Prometheus, of the human size, shape, and 
affections, and subject to death. But those of Shakspeare and 
of common tradition, as Johnson calls them, were a diminutive 
race of sportful beings, endowed with immortality and super- 
natural powers, totally different from those of Spenser. 

M. Mason, 


Molk. A woDder, mular ; hera'i ■ Costud brokea ill a itiiD. 


iLoll^^0 JUlKiur^^ %0»U 


HThe novel upon which this oomedj was founded has hitherto 
eluded the research of the commentators. Mr. Douce thinks it 
will prove to be of French extraction. ' The Dramatis Personae 
in a great measure demonstrate this, as well as a palpable Gal- 
licism in Act iv. Sc. 1 : viz. the terming a letter a capon,* 

This is one of Shakspeare's early plays, and the author's youth 
is certainly perceivable, not only in the style and manner of the 
versification, but in the lavish superfluity displayed in the exe- 
cution: the uninterrupted succession of quibbles, equivoques, 
and sallies of every description. * The sparks of wit fly about 
in such profusion that they form complete fireworks, and the 
dialogue for the most part resembles the bustling collision and 
banter of passing masks at a carnival *.' The scene in which 
the king and his companions detect each other's breach of their 
mutual vow, is capitally contrived. The discovery of Biron's 
love letter while rallying his friends, and the manner in which 
he extricates himself, by ridiculing the folly of the vow, are 

The grotesque characters, Don Adrian de Armado, Nathaniel 
the curate, and Holofemes that prince of pedants, with the 
humours of Costard the clown, are well contrasted with the 
sprightly wit of the principal characters in the play. It has 
been observed that ' Biron and Rosaline suffer much in com- 
parison with Benedick and Beatrice,' and it must be confessed 
that there is some justice in the observation. Yet Biron, ' that 
merry mad-cap Lord,' is not overrated in Rosaline's admirable 
character of him — 

* A merrier man, 

Within the limit of becoming mirth, 
I never spent an hour's talk withal : 
His eye begets occasion for his wit ; 
For every object that the one doth catch 
The other turns to a mirth-moving jest ;-* 
So sweet and voluble is his discourse.' 

Shakspeare has only shown the inexhaustible powers of his 
mind in improving on the admirable originals of his own creation 
in a more mature age. 

Malone placed the composition of this play first in 1691, after- 
wards in 1594. Dr. Drake thinks we may safely assign it to the 
earlier period. The first edition was printed in 1598. 

* Schlege\. 


Ferdinand, King qf Navarre. 

BlRON *, "J 

LoNGAViLLB, yLordSy attending on the King, 


^ ' > Lords, attending on the Princess qf France. 

Don Adriano de Armado, a fantastical Spaniard, 

Sir Nathaniel, a Curate, 

HoLOFERNES, a Sckoolmoster, 

Dull, a Constable, 

Costard, a Clown. 

Moth, Page to Armado. 

A Forester. 

Princess of France. 


MARL4, y Ladies, attending on the Princess, 

Katharine, j 

Jaquenetta, a country Wench, 

Officers and others, attendants on the King and 


SCENE, Navarre. 
This enameration of Persons was made bj Rowe. 

* Berowne in all the old editions. 




SCENE I. Navarre. A Park with a Palace in it. 
^nter the King, BiRON, Longaville, and 



Let fame, that all hunt aft^r in their lives, 

Live register'd upon our brazen tombs. 

And then grace us in the disgrace of death ; 

When, spite of cormorant devouring time. 

The endeavour of this present breath may buy 

rhat honour, which shall bate his scythe's keen edge» 

And make us heirs of all eternity. 

rher^fore, brave conquerors! — for so you are, 

rhat war against your own affections, 

And the huge army of the world's desires, — 

Our late edict shall strongly stand in force : 

Navarre shall be the wonder of the world ; 

Our court shall be a little Academe, 

$till and contemplative in living art, 

YovL three, Bir6n, Dumain, and Longaville, 

Elave sworn for three years' term to live with me> 

^y fellow-scholars, and to keep those statutes^ 

rhat are recorded in this schedule here : 

S^our oathi^ are past, and now subscribe your names ; 

rhat his own hand may strike his honour doww> 

rhat violates the smallest branch Ykeiem.*. 

308 love's act I. 

If you are ann'd to do, as sworn to do. 
Subscribe to your deep oath/ and keep it too. 

Long. I am resoly'd: 'tis but a three years' fast; 
The mind shall banquet, though the body pine : 
Fat paunches have lean pates ; and dainty bits 
Make rich the ribs, but bank'rout quite the wits. 

Dum, My loving lord, Dumain is mortified ; 
The grosser manner of these world's delights 
He throws upon the gross world's baser slaves : 
To love, to wealth, to pomp, I pine and die ; 
With all these ^ living in philosophy. 

Biron, I can but say their protestation over. 
So much, dear liege, I have already sworn. 
That is. To live and study here three years. 
But there are other strict observances : 
As, not to see a woman in that term ; 
Which, I hope well, is not enrolled there : 
And, one day in a week to touch no food^ 
And but one meal on every day beside ; 
The which, I hope, is not enrolled there : 
And then, to sleep but three hours in the night. 
And not be seen to wink of all the day ; 
(When I was wont to think no harm all night. 
And make a dark night too of half the day ;) 
Which, I hope well, is not enrolled there : 
O, these are barren tasks, too hard to keep; 
Not to see ladies — study — ^fast — not sleep. 

King, Your oath is pass'd to pass away from these. 

Biron. Let me say no, my liege, an if you please; 
I only swore, to study with your grace. 
And stay here in your court for three years' space. 

Long. You swore to that, Biron, and to the rest 

Biron. By yea and nay, sir, then I swore in jest — 
What is the end of study? let me know. 

' i. e. with all tY\e&e com^«x£k.QCL%. ^% tMiy be supposed to 
point to the king, Bitoh, kc. 

sc. I. labour's lost. 309 

King. Why, that to know, which else we should 
not know. 

Biron. Things hid and barr'dy you mean, from 
common sense? 

King,^ Ay, that ia study's god-like recompense. 

Biron, Come pn then, I will swear to study so. 
To know the thing I am forbid to know : 
^s thus — To study where I well may dine, 

When I to feast expressly am forbid ; 
Or, study where to meet some mistress fine, 
. When. mistresses from common sense are hid : 
Or, haying sworn too hard-a-keeping oath, . 
Study to break it, aad not break my troth. 
If study's gain be thus, and this be so. 
Study knows that, which yet it doth not know : 
Swear me to this, and I will ne'er say, no. 

King, These be the stops that hinder study quite. 
And train our intellects to vain delight. 
. Biron, Why, all delights are vain; but that most 

Which, with pain purchased, doth inherit pain : 
As^ painfully to pore upon a book, 

To seek the light of truth : while truth the while 
Doth falsely^ blind the eyesight of his look : 

Light, seeking light, doth light of Ught beguile : 
So, ere you find where light in darkness lies, 
Your light grows dark by losing of your eyes ^. 
Study me how to please the eye indeed, 

, By fixing it upon a fairer eye ; 
Who dazzling so, that eye shall be his heed. 

And give him light that it was blinded by ^. 

^ Dishonestly, treacheroaslj. 

^ The whole sense of this gingling declamation is only this, 
that a man by too close study may read himself blind. 

* The meaning is ; that when he dazzles, that is, has his eyo 
made weak, by fixing his eye upon a fairer eye, that fairer eye 
chal] be bis heed or^oide, his lode-star y and. ^\^e\i\m\\^V^^ 
fyiu blinded hj it 

310 LOV£'8 ACT I. 

Study is like the heaven's glorious sun. 

That will not be deep-search'd with saucy looks; 
Small have continual plodders ever won. 

Save base authority from others' books. 
These earthly godfathers of heaven's lights. 

That give a name to every fixed star. 
Have no more profit of their shining nights. 

Than those that vralk, and wot not what they are, 
Too much to know, is, to know nought but fame; 
And every godfather can give a name^. 

King. How well he's read, to reason against 
reading ! 

Dum, Proceeded well, to stop all good proceeding! 

Long. He weeds the com, and still lets grow the 

Biron. The spring is near, when green geese are 
a breeding. 

Dum. How follows that? 

Biron. Fit in his place and time. 

Dum. In reason nothing. 

Biron. Something then in rhyme. 

Long. Bir6n is like an envious sneaping^ frost, 
That bites the first-born infants of the spring. 

Biron. "Well, say I am ; why should proud sum^ 
mer boast. 
Before the birds have any cause to sing? 
Why should I joy in an abortive birth? 
At Christmas I no more desire a rose 
Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled shows ^; 
But like of each thing that in season grows. 

^ That is, too much knowledge gives no real solution of doubts, 
but merely /aiiM, or a name, a thing which every godfather can 

^ i. e. nipping. In The Winter's Tale, Act i. St. 1. we have 
sneaping winds. To sneap is also to eliecle, to rebuke. See Note 
on King Henry lY. Part il. Act ii. Sc. 1. 

^ By these ahows the poet means May-games, at which a stunt 
would be very Ymwe\com« veA xvTi«:(?^«cXft,^, \.l l« only a peri' 
phrasis for May. 

sc. I. labour's lost. 811 

So you, to study now it is too late. 

Climb o'er the house to unlock the little gate. 

King. Well, sit you out : go home, Bir6n ; adieu ! 

Biron. No, my good lord ; I have sworn to stay 
with you : 
And, though I have for barbarism spoke more. 

Than for that angel knowledge you can say. 
Yet confident I'll keep what I have swore, 

And bide the penance of each three years' day. 
Give me the paper, let me read the same ; 
And to the strict'st decrees I'll write my name. 

King. How well this yielding rescues thee from 
shame ! 

Biron. [Reads.'] Item, That no woman shall come 
within a mile of my court. — Hath this been pro- 
claim'd ? 

Long. Four days ago. 

Biron. Let's see the penalty. [Reads.'] On pain 
of losing her tongue. — Who devis'd this penalty ? 

Long. Marry, that did I. 

Biron. Sweet lord, and why ? 

Long. ■ To fright them hence with that dread 

Biron. A dangerous law against gentility^. 

[Reads.] Item, If any man he seen to talk with a 
woman within the term of three years, he shall endure 
such public shame as the rest of the court can possi- 
bly 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 c6mplete majesty, — 

^ The word gentility here does not signify that rank of people 
called gentry ; bnt what the French express by gentUesie, i, e. 
elegaiUta, urbanitas. 

812 love's act I. 

About surrender-up of Aquitain 

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

Or vainly comes the admired princess hither. 
King, What say you, lords ? why, this was quite 

Sinm, So study evermore is overshot ; 
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 decreer 
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 bom ; 

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 : [Sidfscribes, 
And he, that breaks them in the least degree. 
Stands in attainder of eternal shame ; 

Suggestions^^ are to others, as to me;. 
But, I beUeve, although I seem so loath,. 
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 
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 r 

' That is, reside here. So in Sir Henry Wotton*s equivocal 
definition : ' An Ambassador is an honest man sent to /te (i. e. 
reside) abroad for the good of his coontry.' , 

'® Temptations. ^^ Ia-v^I^, sprightly. 

sc. I. labouk's lost. 313 

One, whom the musick of his own vain tongue.- 

Doth ravish, Uke enchanting harmony ; 
A man of complements ^^, 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-bom 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 ^K 

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 spoit ; 
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 would'st ? 

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

Biron. This is he. 

Bull. Signior Arme — Arme — commends you. 
There's villany abroad ; this letter will tell you more. 

Cost. Sir, ^e contempts thereof are as' touching 

King. A letter from the magnificent Armado. 

'3 Complements is here used in its ancient sense of Accoatplisk- 
ments. Vide Note on K. Henry V. Act ii. Sc. 2. 

'^ i. e. who is called Armado. 

^* I will make use of him instead of a minstrel, whose occu- 
pation was to relate fabnloas stories. 

** i. e. new from the forge ; we have still retained a similar 
jnode of speech in the colloqnial phrase brand-new. 

*® i. e. third-borough, a peace-officer. 

VOL. II. E.1, 


314 LOV£'S ACT 1. 

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

Long, A high hope for a low having: God grant 
us patience ! 

Biron, To hear? or forbear bearing ^^ ? 
Long. To hear meekly, sir, and to laugb mode- 
rately ; or to forbear both. 

Biran. Well, sir, be it as the style ^® shall give us 
cause to climb in the merriness. 

Cost. The matter is to me, sir, as concerning Ja- 
quenetta. The manner of it is, I was taken with 
the manner ^^. 

Biron. In what manner ? 

Cost. In manner and form following, sir; all those 
three : I was seen with her in the manor house, sitr 
ting 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. 

fiang. [Reads."] Great deputy^ the toelkiiCs tnce- 
gerentf and sole dotninator of Navarre^ my souts 
eartKs God, and body^s fostering patron. — 

Cost. Not a Word of Costard yet. 

^^ ' To hear? or forbear laughing T is possibly the true readbg. 

*^ A qnibble is here intended between a stile and stj^. 

'' That is, in the fact. A thief is said to be taken with the 
manner (mai$iour) when he is taken with the thing stolen about 
him* The thing stolen was called nutinour, nutnour, or meinMar, 
from the French mamer, mvoxv \x^^\»i«. 

^c, u. labour's lost. %\^ 

King. So it is, — 

Co9t. It may be so : but if he say it is so, he is, 
in telling true, but so, so. 

King, Peace. 

Cost, — ^be to me, and every man that dares not 

King, No words. 

Cast, —of other men's secrets, I beseech you. 

King. So it is, besieged with sahle-coUmred me- 
lancholy, I did commend the black-oppressing humour 
to the most wholesome physick of thy health-giving 
air; and, as lam 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, /walked upon: it is ycleped 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 comer of thy curious-knotted 
garden^: There did I see that low-spirited swain, 
that base minnow of thy mirth^^. 

Cost, Me. 

King. — that unlettered small-knowing soul. 

Cost, Me. 

King. — that shallow vassal. 

Cost. Still me. 

King. — which, as I remember, hight Costard, 

^ Ancient gardens abounded with hnots or figures, of which 
the lines intersected each other. In the old books of gardening 
are devices for them. 

^' i. e. the contemptible little object that contributes to thy 
entertainment. So in Coriolanus : — 

' This Triton of tbe Minno\«&: 

316 love's act I. 

Cost O me ! 

King. — sorted and consorted, contrary to thy esta- 
blished proclaimed edict and continent canon, with — ■ 
with, — with — hut with this I passion to say where- 

Cost, With a wench. 

King. — icith a child of our grandmother Eoe, a 
female; or, for thy more sweet understanding, a wo- 
man. Him I (as my ever-esteemed duty pricks me 
on) have sent to thee, to receive the meed of punish- 
ment, by thy sweet graces officer, Antony Dull; a num 
of good repute, carriage, bearing, and estimation. 

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

King. For Jaquenetta, (so is the weaker vessel 
called, which /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 heart-burning heat 
of duty, Don Adriano de Armado. 

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 tak^n 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 \me^\ao'; ^w it was proclaimed, 

sc. I. labour's lost. 317 

Cost. If it were, I deny her yirginity ; 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 water. 

Cost. I had rather pray a month with mutton and 

King. And Don Armado shall be your keeper. 
— My lord Biron, see him deliver'd o'er. — 
And go we, lords, to put in practice that 

Which each to other hath so strongly sworn. — 
[Exeunt King, Longaville, and Dumain. 

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 pros- 
perity ! Affliction may one day smile again, and till 
then. Sit thee down, sorrow ! [Exeunt. 

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 unp'. 

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

' Imp literally means a graft, slip, scion, or sucker : and by 
metonymy is used for a child or boy. Cromwell, in his last let- 
ter to Henry VIII. prays for tht imp his son. It was then per- 
japs growing obsolete. It is now used only to signify younff 
fUnds; as the Devil and his in^. 

918 love's act I. 

Arm, How canst thou part sadness and melan- 
choly, my tender juvenal ^ ? 

Jlioth, By a familiar demonstration of the work- 
ing, 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. 

Moth. And I, tough senior, as an appertinent tide 
to your old time, which we may name tough. 

Arm, Pretty, and apt. 

Moth. How mean you, sir? I pretty, and my 
sftying apt? or I apt, and my saying 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? 

Moth. That an eel is quick. 

Arm. I do say, thou art quick in answers : 
Thou heatest my blood. 

Moth. I am answered, sir. 

Arm. I love not to be crossed. 

Moth. He speaks the mere contrary, crosses' 
love not him. [Aside. 

Arm. I have promised to study three years with 
the duke. 

Moth. You may do it in an hour, sir. 

Arm. Impossible. 

^ i.e. youth. 

^ By crosses he means money. So in As Yon Like It : the 
Clown says to Celia ' If I should hear you, I should bear no cross^* 
Many coins were ancveiiU^ marked, with a Cross on. one. side* 

SC. II. labour's LOST. 319. 

Pfoth. How many is one thrice told ? 

Arm. I ani ill at reckoning, it fitteth the spirit of 
a tapster. 

}ioth» You are a gentleman, and a gamester, sir.. 

Arm, 1 confess botli ; they are both the varnish 
of a complete man. 

Moth, Then, I am sure, you know how much the 
gross sum of deuce-ace amounts to. 

Arm, It doth amount to one more thkn two. 

Moth, Which the base vulgar do call three. 

Arm, True. 
• Moth, Why, sir, is this such a piece of study? 
Now here is three studied, ere you'll thrice wink:, 
and how easy it is to put years to the word three, 
and study three years in two words, the dancing 
horse ^ will tell you. 

Arm, A most fine figure ! . 

Moth, To prove you a cipher. [Ande^ 

Arm, I will hereupon confess, I am in lov^ : and, 
as it is base for a soldier to love, so aiP''^ in love 
with a base wench. If drawing my sword against 
the humour of affection would deliver me from thQ* 
reprobate thought of it, I would take desire ppsoner, 
and ransom him to any French courtier for a new 
devised courtesy. I think scorn to sigh ; methinks, 
I should out-swear Cupid. Comfort me, boy : What 
great pien have been in love ? 

Moth, Hercules, master. 

Arm, Most sweet Hercules! — More authority, 

^ This alludes to the celebrated bay horse Morocco, belonging 
to one Bankes, who exhibited his docile and sagacious animid 
through Europe. M auj of his remarkable pranks are mentioned 
bj cotemporarjT writers, and he is alluded to bj numbers be- 
sides Shakspeare. The fate of man and horse is not known with 
certainty, but it has been asserted that they were both burnt at 
Rome, as magicians, by order of the Pope. The best account of 
Bankes and his horse is to be found in the notes to a French 
translation of Apu^eius'a Golden Ass, by 3e«LTv ^<^ ^Q\ii\^'«x^^ 

320 love's act I. 

dear boy, name more; and, sweet my child, let 
them be men of good repute and carriage. 

Moth. Samson, master : he was a man of good 
carriage, great carriage! for he carried the town- 
gates on his back, like a porter : and he was in love. 

Arm, O well-knit Samson ! strong-jointed Sam- 
son ! I do excel thee in my rapier, as much as thou 
didst me in carrying gates. I am in love too, — • 
Vfho was S&nson's love, my dear Moth ? 

Moth, A woman, master. 

Arm, Of what complexion? 

Moth, Of all the four, or the three, or the two; 
or one of the four. 

Arm, Tell me precisely of what complexion ? 

Moth, Of the sea-water green, sir. 

Arm, Is that one of the four complexions ? 

Moth, As I have read, sir ; and the best of them 

Arm, Green, indeed, is the colour of lovers^: but 
to have a love of that colour, methinks, Samson 
had small reason for it. He, surely, affected her 
for her wit. 

Moth, It was so, sir ; . for she had a green wit 

Arm, My love is most immaculate white and red. 

Moth, Most maculate thoughts, mastj^r, are mask: 
ed under such colours. 

Arm, Define, define, well-educated infant. 

Moth, My father's wit, and my mother's tongue^ 
assist me ! 

Arm, Sweet invocation of a child ; most pretty, 
and pathetical ! 

Moth, If she be made of white and red. 
Her faults will ne'er be known ; 
For blushing cheeks by faults are bred. 
And fears by pale-white shown : 

' The allusion ^o\)tt\A^ \% \a >^^ mOoifl^ the supposed otjot 
nient of ansuccessfu\\o\et&. 

sc. u* labour's lost. 921 

Then, if she fear, or be to blame. 

By this you shall not know; 
For still her cheeks possess the same. 
Which native she doth owe^. 
A dangerous rbyme, master, against the reason of 
white and red. 

Arm. Is there, not a ballad, boy, of the King and 
the Beggar'^? 

Moth. The world was very guilty of such a bal- 
lad some three ages since : but, I think, now 'tis not 
to be found; or, if it were, it would neither serve 
for the writing, nor the tune. 

Arm. I will have the subject wewly writ o'er, 
that I may example my digression^ by some mighty 
precedent. Boy» I do love that country girl, that 
I took in the park with the rational hind ^ Costard : 
$he deserves well. 

Moth. To be whipped ; and yet a better love than 
my master. [Aside. 

Arm. Sing, boy ; my spirit grows heavy in love. 

Moth. And that's great marvel, loving a light 

Arm. I say, sing. 

Moth. Forbear till this company be past. 

JEntei- Dull, Costard, afid Jaquenetta. 

Dull. Sir, the duke's pleasure is, that you keep 
Costard safe ; and you must let him take no delight, 
nor no penance ; but a' must fast three days a- week : 

' Of which she is naturally possessed. 

^ See Percy's Reliques of Antient Poetry, fourth edit. vol. u 
p. 198. 

^ Digression is here used for the act of going out of the right 
way, transgression. So in Shakspeare's Rape of Lucrece— 

' " my digression is so vile, so base, 

That it will live engraven on my face.* 

' Armado applies this epithet ironically to Co^Uxd. 

322 love's act i. 

For this damseli I must keep her at the park; she | 
is allowed for the day-woman ^®. Fare you well. 

Arm. I do betray myself with blushing. — Maid. 

Jaq, Man. 

Arm, I will visit thee at the lodge. 

Jaq. That's hereby ^^. 

Arm. I know where it is situate. 

Jaq. Lord, how wise you are ! 

Arm. I will tell thee wonders. 

Jaq. With that face ^? 

Arm. I love thee. 

Jaq. So I heard you say. 

Arm. And so farewell. 

Jaq. Fair weather after you ! 

DM. Come, Jaquenetta, away. 

[Exeunt Dull and Jaquenetta. 

Arm. Villain, thou shalt fast for thy offences, 
ere thou be pardoned. 

Cost. Well, sir, I hope, when I do it, I shall do 
it on a full stomach. 

Arm. Thou shalt be heavily punished. 

Cost. I am more bound to you, than your fellows, 
for they are but Ughtly rewarded. 

Arm. Take away this villain; shut him up. 

Moth. Come, you transgressing slave ; away. 

Cost. Let me not be pent up, sir; I will fast, 
being loose. 

'^ Taberfut Casearia is interpreted in the old Dictionaries a 
daye house, where cheese is made. A day-woman is therefore a 
dairy-woman. Johnson says day is an old word for milk. A 
dairj-maid is still called a dey or day in the northern parts of 

*' Jaquenetta and Armado are at cross-purposes. Hereby is 
Hsed by her (as among the common people of some counties), in 
the sense of as it may happen. He takes it in the sense of just by. 

^^ This odd phrase was still in use in Fielding's time, who, 
putting it into the mouth of Beau Didapper, thinks it necessary 
to apologize (in a note) for its want of sense, by adding that it 
yvas taken verbatim itom -vet^ ip«^\\^ ci<sKH«t«»>as»OL. 

sc. II. labour's lost. 323 

Moth. No, sir; that were fast and loose: thou 
shalt to prison. 

Cost. Well, if ever I do see the merry days of 
desolation that I have seen, some shall see — 

Moth. What shall some see ? 

Cost. Nay, nothing, master Moth, but what they 
look upon. It is not for prisoners to be too silent 
in their words ; and, therefore, I will say nothing : 
.1 thank God, I have as little patience as another 
man ; and, therefore, I can be quiet. 

[Exeunt Moth and Costard. 

Arm. I do affect ^^ the very ground, which is 
base, where her shoe, which is baser, guided by her 
foot, which is basest, doth tread. I shall be for^ 
sworn (which is a great argument of falsehood), if 
I love : And how can that be true love, which is 
falsely attempted ? Love is a familiar : love is a devil: 
there is no evil angel but love. Yet Samson was so 
tempted : and he had an excellent strength : yet was 
Solomon so seduced ; and he had a very good wit. 
Cupid's butt-shaft ^^ is too hard for Hercules' club, 
and llierefore too much odds for a Spaniard's rapier. 
The^rst and second cause will not serve my turn^^; 
the passado he respects not, the duello he regards 
not : his disgrace is to be called boy ; but his glory 
is to subdue men. Adieu, valour ! rust, rapier ! be 
still, drum ! for your manager is in love ; yea, he 
loveth. Assist me, some extemporal god of rhyme, 
for, I am sure, I shall turn sonneteer. Devise, wit; 
write, pen ; for I am for whole volumes in folio. 


'' Love. 

^* A kind of arrow used for shooting at butts with. The (nfl 
was the place on which the mark to be shot at was placed* 
^ See Notes on the last Act of As Yon Like It 


1124 love's 


SCENE I. Another part of the same, A Pavi- 
Iwn, and Tents at a distance. 

Enter ^Ae Princess o/* France, Rosaline, Maria, 
Katharine, Boyet, Lords, and other Atten- 

Boyet. Now, madam, summon up your dearest^ 
spirits : 
Consider who the king your father sends ; 
To whom he sends ; and what's his embassy : 
Yourself, held precious in the world's esteem ; 
To parley with the sole inheritor 
Of all perfections that a man may owe. 
Matchless Navarre ; the plea of no less weight 
Than Aquitain ; a dowry for a queen. 
Be now as prodigal of all dear grace. 
As nature was in making graces dear. 
When she did starve the general world beside, 
And prodigally gave them all to you. 

Prin, Good lord Boyet, my beauty, though but 
Needs not the painted flourish of your praise ; 
Beauty is bought by judgment of the eye, 
Not utter'd by base sale of chapmen's tongues ; 
I am leds proud to hear you tell my worth. 
Than you much willing to be counted wise 
In spending your wit in the praise of mine. 
But now to task the tasker, — Good Boyet, 
You are not ignorant, all-telling fame 
Doth noise abroad, Navanre hath made a tow, 
Till painful study shall out- wear three years. 

sc. I. labour's lost. 325 

No woman may approach his silent court : 

Therefore to us seemeth it a needful course. 

Before we enter his forbidden gates, 

To know his pleasure ; and in that behalf, 

Bold^ of your worthiness, we single you 

As our best-moving fair solicitor : 

Tell him, the daughter of the king of France, 

On serious business, craving quick despatch, 

Imp6rtunes personal conference with his grace. 

Haste, signify so much ; while we attend. 

Like humbly-visag'd suitors, his high will. 

Boy, Proud of employment, willingly I go. [Exit, 

Prin, All pride is willing pride, and yours is so, — 
Who are the votaries, my loving lords. 
That are vow-fellows with this virtuous duke ? 

1 Lord, Longaville is one. 

Prin, Know you the man ? 

Mar, I know him, madam; at a marriage feast, 
Between lord Perigort and the beauteous heir 
Of Jaques Falconbridge, solemnized 
In Normandy, saw I this Longaville : 
A man of sovereign parts he is esteem'd; 
Well fitted^ in the arts, glorious in arms : 
Nothing becomes him ill, that he would well. 
The only soil of his fair virtue's gloss 
(If virtue's gloss will stain with any soil). 
Is a sharp wit match'd with too blunt a will ; 
Whose edge hath power to cut, whose will still wills 
It should none spare that come within his power. 

Prin, Some merry mocking lord, belike ; is't so ? 

Mar, They say so most, that most his humours 

Prin, Such short-liv'd wits do wither as they 
Who are the rest? 

^ i. e. confidma of it. ' Well Jitted \« well q«a\^SMdL. 

VOL. II. Y ¥ 

826 love's act II. 

Kath, The young Dumaioy a weU-^accomjrfisli^d 
Of all that virtue love for virtue lov'd ; 
Most power to do most harm, least knowing ill; 
Tor he hath wit to make an ill shape good. 
And shape to win grace though he had no wit 
I saw him at the duke Alen^on's once ; 
And much too little of that good I saw^ 
Is my report, to his great worthiness. 

Ro8. Another of these students at that time 
Was there with him : if I have beard a truth, 
Bir6n they call him ; but a merrier man^ 
Within the limit of becoming mirth, 
I never spent an hour's talk withal : 
His eye begets occasion for his wit; 
For every object that the one doth catch. 
The other turns to a mirth-moving jest; 
Which his fair tongue (conceit's expositor). 
Delivers in such apt and gracious words^ 
That aged ears play truant at his tales. 
And younger hearings are quite ravished : | 

So sweet and voluble is his discourse. 

Prin, God bless my ladies ; are they all in love; 
That every one her own hath gamish'd 
With such bedecking ornaments of praise? 

Mar, Here comes Boyet. 

Re-enter Boyet. 

Prin, Now, what admittance, lord? 

Boyet, Navarre had notice of your fair approach; 
And he, and his competitors ^ in oath. 
Were all address'd^ to meet you, gentle lady. 
Before I came. Marry, thus much I have leant, 
He rather means to lodge you in the field 
(Like one that comes here to besiege his court), 

* Con^e^ewX-ei*. * Prepared. 

sc. I. labour's lost. 327 

Than seek a dispensation for his oath» 
To let you enter his unpeopled house. 
Here comes Navarre. [The Ladies mask. 

Enter King, Longaville, Dumain, Biron, 

and Attendants. 

King, Fair princess, welcome to the court of 

Prin. Fair, I give you back again : and, welcome 
I have not yet : the roof of this court is too high to 
be yours ; and welcome to the wild fields too base 
to be mine. 

King, You shall be welcome, madam, to my court. 
• Prin, I will be welcome then ; conduct me thither. 

King, Hear me, dear lady ; 1 have sworn an oath. 

Prin, Our lady help my lord! he'll be forsworn. 

King, Not for the world, fair madam, by my will. 

Prin, Why, will shall break it; wiU, and nothing 

King, Your ladyship is ignorant what it is. 

Prin, Were my lord so, his ignorance were wise. 
Where ^ now his knowledge must prove ignorance. 
I hear your grace hath sworn-out house-keeping : 
'Tis deadly sin to keep that oath, my lord. 
And sin to break it : 
But pardon me, I am too sudden-bold; 
To teach a teacher ill beseemeth me. 
Vouchsafe to read the purpose of my coming. 
And suddenly resolve me in my suit. 

[Gives a Paper, 

King, Madam, I will, if suddenly I may. 

Prin. You will the sooner, that I were away ; 
For you'll prove perjur'd, if you make me stay. 

^ Where is here used for whereas. So in Pericles, Act i. Sc. 1. 
' Where now you're both a father and a son.' 
See also K. Henrj VI. Part li. posctm. 

828 love's act II. 

Binm. Did not I dance with you in Brabant once! 

Ros. Did not I dance with you in Brabant once? 

Biron, I know you did. 

Ros. How needless was it then 

To ask the question ! 

Biran. You must not be so quick. 

Ras. Tis long of you that spur me with such 

Biron. Your wit's too hot, it speeds too fast/twill 

Ros. Not till it leave the rider in the mire. 

Biran. What time o' day ? 

Ros. The hour that foob should ask. 

Biron. Now fair befall your mask ! 

Ros. Fair fall the face it covers ! 

Biron. And send you many lovers J 

Ros. Amen, so you be none. 

Biron. Nay, then will I be gone. 

King. Madam, your father here doth intimate 
The payment of a hundred thousand crowns ; 
Being but the one half of an entire sum. 
Disbursed by my father in his wars. 
But say, that he, or we (as neither have), 
Beceiy'd that sum ; yet there remains unpaid 
A hundred thousand more; in surety of the which. 
One part of Aquitain is bound to us. 
Although not valued to the money's worth. 
If then the king your father will restore 
But that one half which is unsatisfied. 
We will give up our right in Aquitain, 
And hold fair friendship with his majesty. 
But that, it seems, he little purposeth. 
For here he doth demand to have repaid 
A hundred thousand crowns ; and not demands. 
On payment of a hundred thousand crowns. 
To have his title live in Aquitain ; 

sc. I. labour's lost. 329 

Which we much rather had depart^ withal. 

And have the money by our father lent, 

Than Aquitain so gelded ^ as it is. 

Dear princess, were not his requests so far ' 

From reason's yielding, your fair self should make 

A yielding 'gainst some reason, in my breast. 

And go well satisfied to France again. 

Prin, You do the king my father too much 
And wrong the reputation of your name. 
In so unseeming to confess receipt 
Of that which hath so faithfully been paid. 

King. I do protest, I never heard of it; 
And, if you prove it, I'll repay it back. 
Or yield up Aquitain. 

Prin, We arrest your word : — 

Boyet, you can produce acquittances. 
For such a sum, from special officers 
Of Charles his father. 

King, Satisfy me so. 

Boyet. So please^your grace, the packet is not 
Where that and other specialties are bound; 
To-morrow you shall have a sight of them. 

King. It shall suffice me : at which interview, 
All liberal reason I will yield unto. 
Mean time, receive such welcome at my hand. 

7 To depart and to part were anciently synonymoiu. 
* This phrase appears to us unseemly to a,princess, but it was 
a common metaphorical expression then much used. Perhaps 
it was no more considered offensive than it would be now to talk 
of the caatratiotu of Holinshed. It was not peculiar to Shak- 
speare. In the Return from Parnassus, Act iii. Sc. 1, we find : 

' He hath a proper gelded parsonage.' 
And Bishop Hall in the second Satire of Book iv. 

' plod it at a patron's tail, 

To get some gelded chapel's cheaper sale.' 

It appears to have been synooymous witb curtailed. 

330 love's act II. 

As honour, without breach of honour, may 
Make tender of to thy true worthiness : 
You may not come, fair princess, in my gates ; 
But here without you shall be so receiv'd. 
As you shall deem yourself lodg'd in my heart. 
Though so denied fair harbour in my house. 
Your own good thoughts excuse me, and farewell: 
To-morrow shall we visit you again. 

Prin, Sweet health and fair desires consort your 

King. Thy own wish wish I thee in every place! 

[Exeunt King and his Train. 

Biran. Lady, I will commend you to my own 

Ro». 'Pray you, do my commendations ; I would 
be glad to see it 

Biran. I would, you heard it groan. 

Ros. Is the fool sick? 

Biron. Sick at heart. 

Ros. Alack, let it blood. 

Biron. Would that do it good ? 

Ros. My Physick says, I^. 

Biron. Will you prick't with your eye ? 

Ros. No point ^^f with my knife. 

Biron. Now, God save ^y life ! 

Ros. And yours from long living ! 

Biron, I cannot stay thanksgiving. [Retiring. 

Dum. Sir, I pray you, a word : What lady is that 

Boyet. The heir of Alen9on, Rosaline her name. 

^ The old spelling of the affirmative particle ay is here re- 
tained for the sake of the rhjme. 

*® Pointt in French, is an adverb of negation, bnt, if properly 
spoken, is not sounded like the point of a knife. A quibble was 
however intended. Perhaps Shakspeare was not well acquainted 
with the pronunciation of French. Florio in his Italian Dic- 
tionary, in V. PunTO : en^lains it by * never a whit j — no pouU, 
as the FrencVimaii ftay&.^ ^ee KsA.N.^'i.l. ^^^'^^ 

sc. I. labour's lost. 391- 

Dum, A gallant lady ! Monsieur, fare you well. 

Long. I beseech you a word ; What is she in the 

Boyet, A woman sometimes^ an you saw her in 

the light. 
Long. Perchance, light in the light : I desire her 

Boyet. She hath but one for herself; to desire 

that, were a shame. 
Long, Pray you, sir, whose daughter ? 
Boyet, Her mother's, I have heard. 
Long, God's blessing on your beard ! 
Boyet, Good sir, be not offended : 
She is an heir of Falconbridge. 

Long. Nay, my choler is ended. 
She is a most sweet lady. 

Boyet, Not unlike, sir; that may be. 

[Exit Long. 
Biron, What's her name, in the cap ? 
Boyet, Katharine, by good hap. 
Biron, Is she wedded, or no ? 
Boyet: To her will, sir, or so. 
Biron, You are welcome, sir ; adieu ! 
Boyet, Farewell to me, sir, and welcome to you. 

[Exit BiROX. — Ladies unmask. 
Mar, That last is Biron, the merry mad-cap lord ; 
Not a word with him but a jest. 

Boyet, And every jest but a word. 

Prin, It was well done of you to take him at his 

Boyet, I was as willing to gi-apple, as he was to 

Mar, Two hot sheeps, marry ! 
Boyet, And wherefore not ships ? 

No sheep, sweet lamb, unless we feed on ^q>\\ Vv^^« 

982 lovb's act II. 

Mmr. You aheep> and I pasture ; Shall that finish ( 

ibe jest? 
Bayei. So you grant pasture for me. 

[Offering to kiss her. 
Mar. Not so, gentle beast; 

My lips are no common, though several ^^ they be. 
jBoyet. Belonging to whom? 
Mar, To my fortunes and me. 

Prtit. Good wits will be jang^g; but, gentles, 
The civil war of wits were much better used 
On Navarre and his book-men; for here 'tis abused. 
Bayei. If my observation (which very seldom 
By the heart's still rhetorick, disclosed with eyes^, 
Deceive me not now. Navarre b infected. 
Pnn. With what ? 

Bayet, With that which we lovers entitle, affected. 
Prtn. Your reason ? 

Boyet. Why, all his behaviours did make their 
To the court of his eye, peeping thorough desire : 
His heart, like an agate, with your print impressed. 
Proud with his form, in his eye pride expressed : 

'* A qnibble is here intended upon the word several, which 
besides its ordinary signification of separate, distinct, signified 
also an enclosed pasture as opposed to an open field or common. 
Bacon and others used it in this sense. Dr. James has given a 
different explanation of the term, which maj be its local signifi- 
oatien, but the above is the general sense in old writers. One 
example maj suffice. ' There was a lord that was leane of visage, 
but immediately after his marriage he grew fat. One said to 
him ** Your Lordship doth contrary to other married men ; for 
they first wax lean, and yon wax fat.'' Sir Walter Raleigh stood 
by, and said " Why there is no beast, that if you take him from 
the commouy and put him into the several, but he will wax fat" * 
— Bacon*s Apothegms, 1625, p. 296. 

*' So in CNaniel's Complaint of Rosamond, 1694 : 

* Sweet silent rh«tortc of yersnading eyes 
Dumb eloquence.^ 

sc. I. labour's lost. 333 

His tongue, all impatient to speak and not see ^^, 
Did stumble with haste in his eye-sight to be ; 
All senses to that sense did make their repair. 
To feel only looking on fairest of fair; 
Methought, all his senses were lock'd in his eye. 
As jewels in crygftal for some prince to buy ; 
Who, tend'ring tlieir ovm worth, from where they 

were glass'd. 
Did point you to buy them, along as you pass'd. 
His face's own margent^^ did quote such amazes. 
That all eyes saw his eyes enchanted with gazes ; 
111 give you Aquitain, and all that is his. 
An you give him for my sake but one loving kiss. 

Prin. Come, to our pavilion : Boyet is disposed — 

Boyet, But to speak that in words, which his eye 
hath disclos'd : 
I only have made a mouth of his eye. 
By adding a tongue which I know will not lie. 

Ras, Thou art an old love-monger, and speak'st 

Mar. He is Cupid's grandfather, and learns news 
of him. 

Ros, Then was Venus like her mother; for her 
father is but grim. 

Boyet. Do you hear, my mad wenches ? 

Mar. No. 

Boyet. What then, do you see ? 

jRo8. Ay, our way to be gone. 

Boyet. You are too hard for me. 


*' Although the expression in the text is extremely odd, yet 
the sense appears to he, that his tongue envied the quickness of 
his eyes, and strove to he as rapid in its utterance, as they in 
their perception. 

^* In Shalcspeare's time notes, quotations, &c. were usually 
printed in the exterior margin of hooks. 

834 love's 


SCENE I. Another pari of the same. 
Enter Armado and Moth. 


Arm, Warble, child, make passionate my sense 
of hearing. 

Moth. ConcoHnel^ [;S^ji^tii^. 

Arm, Sweet air! — Go, tenderness of years ; take 
this key, give enlargement to the swain, bring him 
festinately^ hither; I must employ him in a letter to 
my love. 

Moth. Master, will you win your love wiA a 
French brawF? 

Arm, How mean'st thou? brawling in French? 

Moth. No, my complete master: but to jig off a 
tune at the tongue's end, canary^ to it with your feet, 
humour it with turning up your eye-lids ; sigh a note, 
and sing a note; sometune through the throat, a$ if 
you swallowed love with singmg love; sometime 
through the nose, as if you snu£Sed up love by smell- 
ing love ; with your hat penthouselike o'er Uie shop 

* A song is apparently lost here. In old comedies the son^ 
are frequently omitted. On this occasion the stag^e direction is 
generally Here they sing — or Cantant, 

^ i. e. hastily. So in Lear: * Advise the Duke where yoRsre 
going to a most festinate preparation.' 

3 A kind of dance ; spelt bransU by some authors : being the 
French name for the same dance. There is the fignre of it set 
down in Marston's Malcontent. It appears that several persons 
united hands in a circle, and gave each other continual shakes, 
the steps changing with the tune. It usually consisted of three 
pits, and a pied-joint to the time of four strokes of the bow ; which 
being repeated, was termed a double brawl. 

^ Canary was the name of a sprightly dance, sometimes accom- 
panied by the castanets. 

sc. I. labour's lost. 836 

of your eyes; with yovr arms crossed on your thin 
beUy-doublet, like a rabbit on a spit ; or your hands 
in your pocket, like a man after the old painting; 
and keep not too long in one tune, but a snip and 
away : These are complements^, these are humours ; 
these betray nice wenches — ^that would be betrayed 
without these ; and make them men of note, (do you 
note, men^?) that most are affected to these. 

Arm, How hast thou purchased this experience? 

Moth. By my penny of observation 7. 

Arm. But O, — but O,-— 

Moth. — ^the hobby-horse is forgot. 

Arm. Callest thbu my love, hobby-horse^? 

Moth. No, master; the hobby-horse is but a colt, 
and your love perhaps a hackney. But have you 
forgot your love ? 

Arm. Almost I had. 

Moth. Negligent student ! learn her by heart. 

Arm. By heart, and in'heart, boy. 

Moth. And out of heart, master : all those three 
I will prove. 

Arm. What wilt thou prove ? 

Moth. A man, if I live; and this, by, in, and 

' i.e. accomplishments. 

^ One of the modern editors, with great plaasibility, proposes 
to read ' do joa note me V 

7 The allusion is probably to the old popular pamphlet ' A 
Pennyworth of Wit/ 

^ The Hobby-horse was a personage belonging to the ancient 
Morris dance, when complete. It was the fignre of a horse fas- 
tened round the waist of a man, his own legs going through the 
body of the horse, and enabling him to walk, but concealed by a 
long footcloth ; while false legs appeared where those of the man 
should be at the sides of the horse. Latterly the Hobby-horse 
was frequently omitted, which appears to hare occasioned a po- 
pular ballad, in which was this line, or burden. It had become 
almost a proverbial^ expression, and occurs again in Hamlet, Act 
iii. Sc. 2. 

336 love's act III. 

without, upon^ihe instant : By heart you love her, 
because your heart cannot come by her : in heart 
you love her, because your heart is in love with her; 
and out of heart you love her, being out of heart that 
you cannot enjoy her. 

Arm, I am all these three. t 

Moth. And three times as much more, and yet 
nothing at all. 

Arm, Fetch hither the swain ; he must carry me 
a letter. 

Moth. A message well sympathised; a horse to 
be embassador for an lass ! 

Arm. Ha, ha ! what sayest thou ? 

Moth. Marry, sir, you must send the ass upon the 
horse, for he is very slow-gaited : But I go. 

Arm. The way is but short; away. 

Moth. As swift as lead, sir. 

Arm. Thy meaning, pretty ingenious ? 
Is not lead a metal heavy, dull, and slow ? 

Moth. Minimi, honest master ; or rather, master, no. 

Arm. I say, lead is slow. 

Moth. You are too swift ^, sir, to say so: 

Is that lead slow which is fir'd from a gun ? 

Arm. Sweet smoke of rhetorick! 
He reputes me a cannon ; and the bullet, that's he : — 
I shoot thee at the swain. 

Moth. Thump then, and I flee. 


Arm. A most acute juvenal : voluble and free of 
grace I 
By thy favour, sweet welkin, I must sigh in thy face : 
Most rude melancholy, valour gives thee place. 
My herald is retum'd. 

' Quick, ready. 

sc. I. labour's lost. 337 

Re-enter Moth and Costard. 

Moth. A wonder, master; here's a Costard ^^ 

broken in a shin. 
Arm. Some enigma, some riddle ;— come,— thy 

Venvoy ^^ ; — begin. 
Cost, No egma, no riddle, no V envoy: no salve in 
the maiF^, sir : O, sir, plantain, a plain plantain; no 
Venvoy, no Venvoy, no salve, sir, but a plantain ! 

Arm. By virtue, thou enforcest laughter; thy 
silly thought, my spleen ; the heaving of my lungs 
provokes me to ridiculous smiling ; O, pardon me, 
my stars! Doth the inconsiderate take salve for 
Venvoy y and the word, V envoy y for a salve ? 

Moth. Do the wise think them other? is not 
Venvoy a salve ? 

Arm. No, page; it is an epilogue or discourse, 
to make plain 
Some obscure precedence that hath tofore been sain. 
I will example it: 

The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee. 
Were still at odds, being but three. 
There's the moral : Now the Venvoy. 

Moth. I will add the Venvoy : Say the moral again. 
Arm. The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee. 
Were still at odds, being but three : 

'^ i. e. a head ; a name adopted from an apple shaped like a 
man's head. It mast have been a common sort of apple, as it 
gaye a name to the dealers in apples, who were called costar- 

" An old French term for conclading verses, which served 
either to convey the moral, or to address the poem to some person. 

*^ A mail or nude was a badget, wallet, or portmanteaa. Cos- 
tard, mistaking enigmOf riddkf and Venvoy for names of salves, 
objects to the application of any salve in the budget, and cries 
oat for a pUmtain leaf. There is a qnibble upon salve and saM, 
a word with which it was not unusual to conclude epistles, &c. 
and which therefore was a kind of P envoy, 


3i8 love's act III. 

Moth. TJntil the goose came out of door. 
And stay'd the odds by adding four. 
Now will I begin your moral, and do you follow 
with my Venivoy, 

The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee, 
Were still at odds, being but three : 
Arm. Until the goose came out of door. 

Staying the odds by adding four. 
Moth. A good Penvoyt ending in the goose. 
Would you desire more ? 

CW. The boy hath sold him a bargain, a goose; 
thaf s flat :— 
Sir, your pennyworth is good, an your goose be 

To sell a bargain well, is as cunning as fast and loose : 
Let me see a fat Venwnf; ay, that's a fat goose. 
Arm. Come hither, come hither: How did this 

argument begin? 
ilfolA. By saying that a Costard was broken in 
a slun. 
Then call'd you for the Venvoy. 

Cost. True, and I for a plantain ; Thus came your 
argument in ; 
Then the boy's fat Venvoy , the goose that you bought ; 
And he ended the market ^^. 

Arm. But tell me; how was there a Costard ^^ 
broken in a shin ? 

Moth. I will tell you sensibly. 
Cost. Thou hast no feeling of it. Moth; I will 
speak that Venvoy: 

I, Costard, running out, that was safely within, 
Fell over the threshold, and broke my shin. 
Arm. We will talk no more of this matter. 

^' Alluding to the proverb, ' Three women and a goose make ft 

** Seep.^^T,iiolel<). 

3C. !• labour's lost. 839 

Cogt. Till there be more matter in the shin* 

Arm. Sirrah Costard^ I will enfranchise thee. 

Cost. O, marry me to one Frances: — I smell 
some Venvoy, some goose^ in this. 

Arm. By my sWeet soul, I mean, setting thee at 
liberty, enfreedoming thy person; thou wevt im- 
mured, restrained, captivated, bound. 

Cost, True, true; and now you will be my pur* 
gation, and let me loose. 

Arm. I give thee thy liberty, set thee from du- 
rance ; and, in lieu thereof, impose on thee nothing 
but this ; Bear this significant ^ to the country maid 
Jaquenetta: there is remuneration; [CHvmg him 
money.'] for the best ward of mine honour, is, re- 
warding my dependents. Moth, follow. [ExiU 

Moth. Like the sequel, I. — Signior Costard, adieu. 

Cost. My sweet ounce of man's flesh! my in* 
cony ^^ Jew ! — [Exit Moth. 

Now will I look to his remuneration. B.emuBera- 
tion! O, that's the Latin word for three farthings : 
three farthings — ^remuneration. — Wha^s the price of 
this inkle? a penny : — No, FU give you a remvneror- 
tion: why, it carries it. — Remuneration! — ^why, it 
is a fairer name than French crown. I will never 
buy and sell out of this word. 

Enter BiROX. 

Biron. O, my good knave Costard ! exceedingly 
well met. 

^ Annado fostaioB his character well ; he will not giye aaj 
thing it« Yolgar name, he calls the letter he would send to Jaque* 
netta a significant, 

*^ Inamy, The meaning and etymology of this phrase is not 
clearly de&ied, though numerous instances of its use are adduced. 
Sweet t pretty, delicate seem to be some of its acceptations ; and 
the best derivation seems to be from the northern word canity or 
cotmy, meaning pretty, the tit will be intensiye and equlYalent tA 

340 love's act III. 

Cost. Pray you, sir, how much camation ribhon 
may a man buy for a remuneration ? 

Biron. What b a remuneration ? 

Cost. Marry, sir, half-penny farthing. 

JBiron. O, why then, three-farthings- worth of silk. 

Cast. I thank your worship: God be with you! 

Biron. O, stay, slave; I must employ thee: 
As thou wilt win my favour, good my knave. 
Do one thing for me that I shall entreat. 

Cost. When would you have it done, sir? 

Biron. O, this afternoon. 

Cost. Well, I will do it, sir : Fare you well. 

Biron, O, thou knowest not what it is. 

Cost. I shall know, sir, when I have done it. 

Biron. Why, villain, thou must know first. 

Cost. I will come to your worship to-morrow 

Biron. It must be done this afternoon. Hark, 
slave, it is but this ; — 

The princess comes to hunt here in the park. 
And in her train there is a gentle lady ; 
When tongues speak sweetly, then they name her 

And Rosaline they call her : ask for her ; 
And to her white hand see thou do commend 
This seal'd-up counsel. There's thy guerdon ^'^; 
go. [Gives him money. 

Cost. Guerdon, — O sweet guerdon ! better than 
remuneration; eleven-pence farthing better: Most 
sweet guerdon! — I will do it, sir, in print ^^. — • 
Guerdon — remuneration. [Exit. 

*'' Guerdon, Fr. is reward. Mr. Steevens prints a story of simi- 
lar import from an old tract entitled ' A Health to the gentle- 
manly Profession of Serving-man ; or, The Serving-man's Com- 
fort/ 1578; which, if the date be correct, furnished Shakspeare 
with Costard's pleasantry about Guerdon and Remuneration. 

*® "With the uimosliA^^Vj* 

sc. I. labour's lost. 341 

Biron. 0\ — And I, forsooth^ in love! I, that 
have been love's whip; 
A very beadle to a humorous sigh; 
A critick; nay^ a night-watch constable; 
A domineering pedant o'er the boy^ 
Than whom no mortal so magnificent^^! 
This wimpled^, whining, purblind, wayward boy; 
This senior-junior, giant-dwarf, Dan Cupid; 
Regent of love-rhymes, lord of folded arms. 
The anointed sovereign of sighs and groans, 
Liege of all loiterers and malcontents. 
Dread prince of plackets ^, king of codpieces. 
Sole imperator, and great general 
O^trotting paritors^— O my little heart !«^ 
And I to be a corporal of his field ^^, 
And wear his colours^ like a tumbler's hoop! 
What? I { I love ! I sue ! I seek a wife ! 
A woman, that is like a German clock ^, 
Still a repairing; ever out of frame; 

1' Magnificent here meant glorying, boasting. 

^ To toimple is to veil, from gtUmple, Fr. which Cotgrave ex- 
plains ' The crepine of a French hood/ i. e. the cloth going from 
the hood round the neck. Kersey explains it, ' The muffler or 
plaited linen cloth which luins wear aboat their neck.' Shak- 
speare means no more than that Capid was hoodr^dnked, 

^^ Plackets were stomachers. See Note on Winter's Tale, 
Act iv. Sc. 3. 

^ The officers of the spiritual courts who serve citations. 

® It appears from Lord Stafford's Letters, toI. ii. p. 199, that 
a atrporal of the field was employed, as an aid-de-camp is now, * in 
taking and carrying to and fro the directions of the general, or 
other higher officers of the field.' 

^ It was once a mark of gallantry to wear a lady's colours. 
So in Cynthia's Revels by Jonson, ' dispatches his lacquey to 
her chamber early, to know what her colours are for the day.' 
It appears that a tumblei^s hoop was usually dressed out with 
coloured ribands. 

^ Clocks, which were usually imported from Germany at this 
time, were intricate and clumsy pieces of mechanism, soon de- 
ranged, and frequently * out of frame*' 

342 love's act III. 

And never going aright, being a watch. 
But being watch'd that it may still go right? 
Nay, to be perjur'd, which is worst of all ; 
And, among three, to love the worst of all ; 
A whitely wanton with a velvet brow. 
With two pitch balls stuck in her face for eyes ; 
Ay, and, by heaven, one that will do the deed, 
Though Argus were her eunuch and her guard : 
And I to sigh for her ! to watch for her ! 
To pray for her ! Go to ; it is a plague 
That Cupid will impose for my neglect 
Of his almighty dreadful little might. 
Well, I will love, write, sigh, pray, sue, and groan; 
Some men must love my lady, and some Joan. * 



SCENE I. Another part of the same. 

Enter the Princess, Rosaline, Maria, Ka- 
tharine, Bo YET, Lords, Attendants, and a 

Prin. Was that the king, that spurr'd his horse 
so hard 
Against the steep uprising of the hill ? 

Boyet. I know not; but, I think, it was not he. 

Prin. Whoe'er he was, he show'd a mounting mind. 
Well, lords, to-day we shall have our despatch ; 
On Saturday we will return to France. — 
Then, forester, my friend, where is the bush. 
That we must stand and play the murderer in ? 

For. Here by, upon the edge of yonder coppice; 
A stand, where you may make the fairest shoot. 

Prin, I thank my beauty, I am fair that shoot. 
And thereupoiv iVvow ^^^^W^l^ th& fairest shoot. 

For, Pardon me> xaaAawv^ W\ \skfeax!^. ^^rK. ^'^i. 

sc. I. labour's lost. 343 

Prin. What, what? first praise me, and again 
say, no ? 
O short-liv'd pride ! Not fair? alack for woe ! 

For. Yes, madam, fair. 

Prin, Nay, never paint me now ; 

Where fair is not, praise cannot mend the brow. 
Here, good my glass ^, take this for telling true ; 

[Giving him money. 
Fair payment for foul words is more than due. 

For. Nothing but fair is that which you inherit. 

Prin. See, see, my beauty will be sav'd by merit. 
O heresy in fair, fit for these days ! 
A giving hand, though foul, shall have fair praise. — 
But come, the bow: — Now mercy goes to kill. 
And shooting well is then accounted ill. 
Thus will I save my credit in the shoot : 
Not wounding, pity would not let me do't ; 
If wounding, then it was to shew my skill. 
That more for praise, than purpose, meant to kill. 
And, out of question, so it is sometimes ; 
Glory grows guilty of detested crimes ; 
When, for fame's sake, for praise, an outward part. 
We bend to that the working of the heart : 
As I, for praise alone, now seek to spill 
The poor deer's blood, that my heart means no ill. 

Boyet. Do not curst wives hold that self- sove- 
Only for praise' sake, when thiey strive to be 
Lords o'er their lords? 

Prin. Only for praise : and praise we may afford 
To any lady that subdues a lord. 

* Here Drs. Johnson and Farmer have each a -note too long 
and too absurd to quote, to show it was the fashion for ladies to 
wear mirrors at their girdles. Steevens sajs justly (though he 
qualifies his assertion yiiih perhaps) that Dr. Johnson is mistaken, 
and that the forester is the mirror. It is impossible for common, 
sense to suppose otherwise. — Pj/e. 

944 love's act IV. 

Enter Costard. 

Here comes a member of the commonwealth^. 

Ck)st. God dig-you-den' all \ Pray you, which is 
the head lady? 

JPrtn. Thou shalt know her, fellow, by the rest 
that have no heads. 

CW. Which is the greatest lady, the highest? 

Prin, The thickest, and the tallest. 

Omt, The thickest^ and the tallest! it is so; truth 

is truth. 

An your waist, mistress, were as slender as my wit. 

One of these maids' girdleai(M:your waist should befit 

Are not you the chief woman ? you are the thickest 

here. ' 

Prin, What's your will, sir? what's your will? 

Cast. I have a letter from monsieur Biron, to one 
lady Rosaline. 

Prin, O, thy letter, thy letter; he's a good friend 
of mine : 
Stand aside, good bearer. — Boyet, you can canre; 
Break up this capon ^. . 

Boyet, I am bound to serve. — 

This letter is mistook, it importeth none h^e ; 
It is writ to Jaquenetta. 

Prin, We will read it, I swear : 

Break the neck of the wax, and every one give ear. 

Boyet. [Reads.] By heaven, that thou art fairy ts 
most infallible; true, that thou art beauteous; truth 

^ The princess calls Costard a member of the commomveaUh, 
becaase he is one of the attendants on the king and his associates 
in their new modelled society. 

^ A cormptioii of God give you good even. See Borneo and 
Juliet, Act ii. 8c. 4. 

^ i. e. open this letter. The poet usea this metafuhor as the 
French do their fouUt ; which signifies both a jonng fowl and a 
love letter. To break up "«««& «. \^>a«»Kk Vst \a unraA, 


sc. I. labour's lost. 345 

itself, that thou art lovely: More fairer than fair, 
beautiful than beauteous ; truer than truth itself have 
commiseration on thy heroical vassal I The mugnani^ 
mous and most illustrate^ hing Cophetua^ set eye 
upon the pernicious and induhitate beggar Zenelo- 
phon ; and he it was that might rightly say, yeni, 
yidi, vici ; which to anatomize in the vulgar ,(0 base 
and obscure , vulgar ! ) videlicet, he came, saw, and 
overcame: he came, one; saw, two; overcame, three. 
Who came? the hing; Why did he come? to see; 
Why did he see? to overcome; To whom came he? 
to the beggar; What saw he? the beggar; Who over- 
came he ? the beggar : The conclusion is victory ; On 
whose side? the hinges: the captive is enriched; On 
whose side? the beggar's; The catastrophe is a nup- 
tial; On whose side? the hinges? — no, on both in one, 
or one in both. I am the hing ; for so stands the 
comparison: thou the beggar; for so witnesseth thy 
lowliness, S/iall I command thy love ? I may : ^lall 
I enforce thy love? I could: Shall I entreat thy love? 
I will. What shalt thou exchange for rags? robes; 
For tittles, titles ; For thyself me. Thus, expecting 
thy reply, Iprofane my lips on thy foot, my eyes on 
thy picture, and my heart on thy every part. 

Thine, in the dearest design of industry, 
Don Adriano de Armado. 

Thus dost thou hear the Nemean lion roar 

'Gainst thee, thou lamh, that standest as his prey; 

Submissive fall his princely feet before. 
And he from forage will incline to play : 

But if thou strive, poor soul, what art thou then ? 

Food for his rage, repasture for his den. 

^ Illastrations. 

^ The ballad of King Cophetna and the Beggar Maid may be 
seen in the Reliques of Ancient Poetry, vol. i. The beggar's 
name was Penelcphon. Shakspear^ aUud!&& \ft Viaft \i^^ ^'sgwa. 
in Romeo and Juliet', Henry IV. Pait \\.\ ^xAKvL^^^vtWS,^ 

940 love's act iv. 

Prm» What plume of feathers is he, that indited 

this letter? 

What yane? what wealkercock? did you ever hear 


Boyet,l am mudi deceivedybiit I remember the style. 

Prm* Else your memory is bad, going o'er it 

BayeU This Armado is a Spaniard, tibat keeps 
here in court; 
A phantasm, a Monarcho^, and one that makes spoit 
To the prince, and his book-mates. 

Prin. Thou, fellow, a word: 

Who gaye thee this letter? 

Cost. I told you ; my lord. 

Prtft. To whom shouldst thou give it? 
Cost. From my lord to my lady. 

JPrta. From which lord, to which lady ? 
Cost. From my lord Biron, a good master of mine. 
To a lady of France, that he call'd Rosaline. 
Prin. Thou hast mistaken his letter. Come, lords, 
Here, sweet, put up this ; 'twill be thine another day. 

[Exit Princess and Train. 
Bcyet. Who is the suitor? who is Ihe suitor d? 

7 i. e. latelj. 

' I who ermchik the happy garden sung/ 

Milton, Par. Reg. 
A pun is intended upon the word stik. 

^ The allusion is to a fantastical character of the time. * Po- 
pular applause (sajs Meres in Wit's Treasarie, p, 178), doth 
nourish some, neither do thej gape after any other thing bat vaine 
praise and glorie, — as in our age Peter Shakerlje of Paules, and 
Monarcho that lived about the court' He is called an liaHam 
by Nashe, and Churchyard has written some lines which he calls 
his * Epitaphe.' By another writer it appears that he was a 
* Bergamasco.' 

' An equiToque was here intended ; it should appear that the 
words slkooter and suUor fiot^ ^tQuvsstfii*;^ ^\kft in. Shakspeare's 

sc. I. labour's lost. d47 

i2of» Shall I teach you to know? 

Boyet Ay^ my continent of beauty* 
Ros, Why^ she that bears the bow. 

Pinely put off! 

Bayet. My lady ^oes to kill horns ; but, if thou 
Hang me by the neck, if horns that year miscarry. 
Finely put on ! 
Ro8, Well then, I am the shooter. 
Boyet. And who is your deer? 

Ros. If we choose by the horns, yourself: come 
Finely put on, indeed ! 

Mar. You still wrangle with her, Boyet, and she 

strikes at the brow. 
Boyet. But she herself is hit lower: Hare I hit 

her now ? 
Rds. Shall I come upon thee with an old saying, 
that was a man when kmg Pepn of France was a 
little boy, as touching the hit it? 

Boyet. So I may answer thee with one as old, 
that was a woman when queen Guinever of Britain 
was a little wench, as touching the hit it 

Ros. J%ou canst rwt hit it, hit it, kit it, [Singing. 

J%ou canst not hit it, my good num. ' 
Boyet. An I cannot, cannot, cannot. 
An I cannot, another can. 

[Exeunt Ros. and Kath. 

Cost. By my troth, most pleasant ! how both did 

fit it! 
Mar. A mark marvellous well shot ; for they both 

did hit it. 
Boyet. A mark! O, mark but that mark; A' 

mark, says my lady! 
Let the mark have a prick in't, to mete at, if it ma."^ W* 

548 love's act IV. 

Mar. Wide o'the bow hand^^ ! I'faith your hand 

is out. 
CW. Indeed, a' must shoot nearer, or hell ne'er 

hit the clout. 
Boyet, An if my hand be out, then, belike your 

hand is in. 
Cost, Then will she get the upshot by cleaving 

the pin. 
Mar, Come, come, you talk greasily ^^, your lips 

grow foul. 
Cost. She's too hard for you at pricks, sir ; chal- 
lenge her to bowl. 
Boyet. I fear too much rubbing ^^ ; Good night, my 
good owl. [Exeunt Boyet and Maria. 
Cost. By my soul, a swain ! a most simple clown! 
Lord, lord ! how the ladies and I have put him down ! 
O' my troth, most sweet jests ! most incony yulgar 

When it comes so smoothly off, so obscenely, as it 

were, so fit. 
Armatho o' the one side, — O, a most dainty man! 
To see him walk before a lady, and to bear her fan ! 
To see him kiss his hand ! and how most sweetly 

a' will swear ! — 
And his page o' t' other side, that handful of wit! 
Ah, heavens, it is a most patheticaP^ nit! 
Sola, sola ! [Shouting within. Exit Cost, running. 

^^ This is a term in archery still in use, signifying ' a good 
deal to the left of the mark/ Of the other expressions the clout 
was the white mark at which archers took aim. The pin was 
the wooden nail in the centre of it. 

" i. e. grossly. This scene, as Dr. Johnson justly remarks, 

* deserves no care.* 

*^ To rub is a term at bowls. 

• ^^ Pathetictd sometimes meant passumatef and sometimes pas- 
sion-moving, in our old writers ; but is here used by Costard as 
an idle expletive, as Rosalind's *pathetical break-promise/ in As 
You Lik^ It. 

labour's lost. 349 

SCENE II. I The same. 

£nferHoLOFERNEs,SiR Nathaniel, anc^DuLL. 

Nath. Very reverent sport, truly; and done in 
the testimony of a good conscience. 

HoL The deer was, as you know, in sanguis, — 
blood ; ripe as a pomewater ^, who now hangeth like 
a jewel in the ear of ccelo, — the sky, the welkin, the 
heayen ; and anon falletli like a crab, on the face of 
terraf — the soil, the land, the earth ^. 

Nath. Truly, master Holofemes, the epithets are 
- sweetly varied, like a scholar at the least ; But, sir, 
I assure ye, it was a buck of the first head^. 

Hoi. Sir Nathaniel, hand credo. 

Dull. Twas not a haud credo, 'twas a pricket. 

Hoi. Most barbarous intimation ! yet a kind of 
insinuation, as it were, in via, in way, of explication ; 
Jacere, as it were, replication, or, rather, ostentare, 
to show, as it were, his inclination, — after his un- 

* PomewateTf a species of apple. 

' Warbarton's conjecture that Florio, the author of the Italian 
Dictionary, was ridiculed under the name of Holofemes would 
derive some strength from the following definition : ' eielo, heaven^ 
the »kie, firmament or welkin. Terra, the element called earth, 
anie ground, earth, countrie, hmd, wile,* But Florio*s Dictionary 
was not published until 1598 ; and this play appears to have been 
written in 1694, though not printed until 1698. 

' In The Return from Parnassus, 1606, is the following ac- 
count of the different appellations of deer at their different ages. 
' Amoretto. I caused the keeper to sever the rascal deer from the 
huch$ of the first head. Now, sir, a buck is the first year, a fawn ; 
the seamd year, a pricket; the third year, a sorrel; the fourth 
year, a soare; die fifth, a buck of the first head; the sixth year, 
a complete buck. Likewise your hart, is the first year, a calfe ; 
the second year, a brocket ; the third year, a spade ; the fourth 
year, a stag; the sixth year, -a hart, A roe-bifck is the first year, 
a kid; the second year, a gird; the third year, a hemuse; and 
these are your special beasts for chase.' 


960 love's act IV, 

dressed, unpolished, uneducated, unpruned, un- 
trained, or rather unlettered, or, raliierest, uncon- 
firmed fashion, — to insert again my hand credo for 
a deer. 

Duii* I said, the deer was not a haud credo; 
'twas a pricket. 

Hd. Twice sod simplicity^ big codmsi — O thou 
monster, ignorance, how deformed dost thou look ! 
Naih» Sir, he hath neyer fed of the dainties that 
are hred in a book ; he hath not eat paper, as it 
were; he hath not drunk ink: \ai& intellect is not 
replenished; he is only an ammal, only sientible in 
the duller parts; 
And such barren plants are set before us, that we 

thankful should be 
(Which we of taste and feeling are) for those parts 

that do fructify in us more than he^. 
For as it would ill become me to be vain, indiscreet, 

or a fool, 
So^ were there a patch set on learning, to see liifli 

in a school^: 
But, omne bene, say I; being of an old father's mind, 
Many can brook the tveather that love not the wind. 
DuU, You two are book-men : Can you teD by 
your wit, 
What was a month old at Cain's birth, that's not 
fiye weeks old as yet? 
Boh Dictynna, good man Dull; Dictynna^, good 
man DuU« 

^ The length of these liae* was bo novelty on tho English stage. 
The Moralities afford whole scenes of the like measure. 

' The meaning is, to be in a sehool would as ill become a 
foteht or low fellow, as fbll j wonld beciMBe me. 

* Shakspeare might have found this uncommon title for Diana 
in the second book of Golding's translation of Oiid's Metamor* 

so. II. labour's tOST. 861 

JhtU. What is Dictynna? 

Nath. A title to Phoebe, to Luna, to the moon. 

MoL The moon was a month old, when Adam 
was no more; 
Afld raught^ not to five weeks, when he came to 

The allusion holds in the exchange^. 

DuU. Tia true indeed ; the collusion hc^s in the 

HoL God comfort thy capacity ! I say, the allu- 
sion holds in the exchange. 

Dull. And I say the pollution hdds in the ex- 
change; for the moon is never but a month old: 
land I say beside, that 'twas a pricket that the 
princess kiU'd. 

HoL Sir Nathaniel, will you hear an extemporal 
epitaph on the death of the deer? and, to humour 
the ignorant, I have called the deer the princess 
kill'd, a pricket, 

Nath. Perge, good master Holofemes, perge ; 
so it shall please you to abrogate scurrility. 

SoL I will something affect the letter^; for it 
argues facility. 

^ Reached. 

^ i. e. the liddle h as good when I use tSio name of Adam, as 
when J use the name of Cain. 

^ i. e. I will use or practise alliteration. To effect is thas nsed 
by Ben Jonson in his Discoyeries : ' Spenser, in affecting the an- 
cients, writ no language ; yet I would have him read for his 
matter, but as Virgil read Ennia9.' In Baret's Alrearie, 1673, 
we haTe ' mnch affected, farre fette/ for Dictum accersitum, &c. 
The ridioole in this passage is directed against the Tery preva- 
lent piece of folly, of which the following is an apt illustration 
from Ulpian FulwelFs poem in Commemoration of Qneene Anne 
Bayne, which makes part of a collection called The Flower of 
Fame, 1575 : 

' Whose princely praise has pearst the pricke 
And price of endless fame,' &c. 

352 love's act iv. 

The praiiefid princess pierc'd and pricked a pntttj 
pleasing pricket ; 

Same say, a sore; hut not a sore, tiU now vm^ 
sore with shooting, 
TKe dogs did yell! put I to sore, then sorel jumpi 
from thicket: 

Or pricket, sore, or else sorel^^; the people fall a 
If sore be sore, then L to sore makes fifty sores; 

sore L! 
Of one sore I a hundred make, by adding but om 
more L, 

Nath, A rare talent ! 

Dull, If a talent be a claw, look how he claws 
him with a talent ^^. 

Hoi, This is a gift that I have, simple, simple; 
a foolish extravagant spirit, full pf forms, figures, 
shapes, objects, ideas, apprehensions, motions, re- 
volutions: these are begot in the ventricle of me- 
mory, nourished in the womb of /na mater; and de- 
livered upon the mellowing of occasion : But the gift 
is good in those in whom it is acute, and I am thank- 
fiil for it. 

Nath. Sir, I praise the Lord for you ; and so may 
my parishioners ; for their sons are well tutor'd by 
you, and their daughters profit very greatly under 
you : you are a good member of the commonwealth. 

Hoi. Meherck, if their sons be ingenious, they 
shall want no instruction : if their daughters be ca- 
pable, I will put it to them : But, rt> sapit, qui 
pauca loquitur: a soul feminine saluteth us. 

^^ For the explanation of the terms pricket, sore or soar, and 
sorell in this quibbling rhjme the reader is prepared, by the ex- 
tract from The Return from Parnassus, in a note at the beginning 
of the scene. 

" tTalon was often written talent in Shakspeare's time. Honest 
Dullmuibbles. One Qi VNi^ %«Q&«k% ^l\s> clow la to jUUter, 

sc. II. laboub's lost. 853 

Enter Jaquenetta and Costard. 

Jaq. Qod give you good morrow, master person. 

Hoi. Master person, — giMui pers-on. And if one 
should be pierced, which is the one? 

Cost Marry, master schooknaster, he that is likest 
to a hogshead. 

HoL Of piercing a hogshead! a good lustre of 
conceit in a turf of earth; fire enough for a flint, 
pearl enough for a swine: 'tis pretty; it is weU. 

Jaq. Good master parson, be so good as read me 
this letter; it was given me by Costard, and sent 
me from Don Armatho : I beseech you, read it. 

Hoi. Fauste, precor gelidd quando pecus omne mb 
Ruminat, — and so forth. Ah, good old Mantuan ^^ ! 
I may speak of thee as the traveller doth of Venice : 

Vinegia, Vinegia, 

Chi noH te vede, ei non te pregia^^. 
Old Mantuan ! old Mantuan ! Who understandeth 
thee not, loves thee not. — Vt, re, sol, la, mi,fa^\ — 
Under pardon, sir, what are the contents? or, rather, 
as Horace says in his — ^What, my soul, verses ? 

Nath. Ay, sir, and very learned. 

13 The Eclognes of Mantaanns were translated before the time 
of Shakspeare, and the Latin printed on the opposite side of the 
page for the use of schools. In 1567 thej were also Tersified 
by Tnrberyille. La Monnoye, in a note on Les Contes ds Des 
Periers, observes that Farnaby had pleasantly remarked in hif 
Preface to Martial, that pedants made no difficnlty of prefening 
the Eclogues of Mantaanns to the Eneid of Virgil. The first 
Eclogue of Mantuanus begins Fauste, precor gelida, &c. 

13 This proverb occurs in Florio's Second Frutes, 1591, where 
it stands thus : 

' Venetia, chi non ti vede non ti pretia 
Ma chi ti vede, ben gli costa.* 

1^ He hums the notes of the gamut as Edmund does in King 
Lear, Act i. Sc. 2. 

364 love's act IV. 

HoL Let me hear a staffs a stanza, a verse: 
Lege, domine. 

Nath. If love make me forsworn, how shall I 

swear to love ? 
Ah, never faith could hold, if not to beauty vowed ! 
Though to myself forsworn, to thee I'll faithful prove ; 
Those thoughts to me were oaks, to thee like osiers 

Study his bias leaves, and makes his book thine 
eyes ; 
Where all those pleasures live that art would 
If knowledge be the mark, to know thee shall 
suffice ; 
Well learned is that tongue, that well can thee 
commend : 
All ignorant that soul, that sees thee without 
wonder ; 
(Which is to me some praise, that I thy parts 
admire ;) 
Thy eye Jove's lightning bears, thy voice his 
dreadful thunder. 
Which, not to anger bent, is musick and sweet 
Celestial, as thou art, oh pardon, love, this wrong, 
That sings heaven's praise with such an earthly 

tongue ^* ! 
HoL You find not the apostrophes, and so miss 
the accent; let me supervise the canzonet. Here 
are only numbers ratified; but, for the elegancy, 
facility, and golden cadence of poesy, caret, Ovi- 
dius Naso was the man: and why, indeed, !Naso; 
but for smelling out the odoriferous flowers of fancy, 
the jerks of invention ? Imitari, is nothing : so doth 
the hound his master, the ape his keeper, the tired 

'*' These ^etaea «tfe ^Tva\A^»^\kL %Qme variations, in The Pas- 
sionate Pilgrim, \5^. 

sc. II. labour's lost. 355 

horse ^^ his rider. But damosella virgin, was this 
directed to you? 

Jaq. Ay, sir, from one Monsieur Biron^^, one of 
the strange queen's lords. 

HoL I will oyerglance the superscript. To the 
snow-white hand of the most beauteous lady Rosaline. 
I will look again on the intellect of the letter, for 
the nomination of the party writing to the person 
written unto : 

Your ladyship's in all desired employment, BiRON. 
Sir Nathaniel, this Biron is one of the Totaries with 
the king; and here he hath framed a letter to a se- 
quent of the stranger queen's, which, accidentally, 
or by the way of progression, hath miscarried. — ^Trip 
and go, my sweet ; deliver this paper into the royal 
hand of the king ; it may concern much : Stay not 
thy compliment ; I forgive thy duty ; adieu. 

Jaq. Good Costard, go with me. — Sir, God save 
your life ! 

Cost. Have with thee, my girl. 

[Exeunt Cost, and Jaq. 

Nath. Sir, you have done this in the fear of God, 
very religiously ; and, as a certain father saith 

HoL Sir, tell not me of the father, I do fear co- 
lourable colours ^^. But to return to the verses; 
Did they please you, sir Nathaniel? 

Nath. Marvellous well for the pen. 

Hoi. I do dine to-day at the father's of a certain 

*^ i. e. The horse adorned with rihands ; Bankes's horse is 
here probably alluded to. Lyly, in his Mother Bombie, brings 
in a hackneyman and Mr. Halfpenny at cross-pnrposes with this 
word : * Why didst thou bore the horse throi|gh the ears ?*— 
* It was for tiring J — ' He would never tire,* replies the other. 

^"^ Shakspeare forgot that Jaquenetta knew nothing of Biron, 
and had said just before that the letter had been ' sent to her 
from Don ArtnathOf and given to her by Costard.' 

'^ That is, specious or fair seeming appearances. 

356 love's act IV. 

pupil of mine ; whereif, before repast, it shall {dease 
you to gratify the table with a grace, I will, on my 
privilege I have with the parents of the foresaid 
child or pupil, undertake your ben vemUo ; where I 
will prove those verses to be very unlearaed, neither 
savouring of poetry, wit, nor invention : I beseech 
your society. 

Nath. And thank you too : for society, (saith the 
text), is the happiness of life. 

HoL And, certes^^, the text most infallibly cod- 
cludes it. — Sir, [To DuLi^.] I do invite you too; 
you shall not say me, nay : patica verba. Away; 
the gentles are at their game, and we will to our re* 
creation. [ExemU* 

SCENE III. Another part of the same. 
Enter BiRON, with a Paper, 

Biron. The king he is hunting the deer; I am 
coursing myself: they have pitch'd a toil; I am 
toiling in a pitch ^ ; pitch that defiles ; defile ! a foul 
word. Well, set thee down, sorrow ! for so, they 
say, the fool said, and so say I, and I the fool. 
Well proved, wit ! by the lord, this love is as mad 
as Ajax: it kills sheep; it kills me^, la sheep: 
Well proved again on my side ! I will not love : if 
I do, hang me; i'faith, I will not. O, but her eye, — 
by this light, but for her eye, I would not love her; 
yes, for her two eyes. Well, I do nothing in the 
world but lie, and lie in my throat. By heaven, I 
do love : and it hath taught me to rhyme, and to be 
melancholy ; and here is part of my rhyme, and here 
my melancholy. Well, she hath one o' my sonnets 

*^ Certainly, in trath. 

* Alluding to Rosaline's complexion, who is represented as a 
black beantj. 

^ This is given as a proverb in Fuller's Gnomologia. 

sc. III. labour's lost. 3^7 

already ; the clown bore it, the fool sent it, and the 
lady hath it: sweet clown, sweeter fool, sweetest 
lady! By the world, I would not care a pin if the 
other three were in : Here comes one with a paper ; 
God give him grace to groan ! [Gets up into a Tree. 

Enter the King, with a Paper. 

King. Ah me! 

Biron. [Aside,] Shot, by heaven ! — Proceed, 
sweet Cupid.; thou hast thump'd him with thy bird- 
bolt under the left pap : — I'faith secrets. — ^ 

King. [Reads.] So sweet a kiss the golden sun 
gives not 

To those fresh morning drops upon the rose. 
As thy eye-beams f when their fresh rays have smote 

The night of dew that on my cheeks down flows: 
Nor shines the silver moon one half so bright 

ThrofU/gh the transparent bosom of the deep, 
As doth thy face through tears of mine give light; 

Thou shin'st in every tear that Ida weep: 
No drop but as a coach doth carry thee. 

So ridest thou triitmphing in my woe ; 
Do hut behold the tears that swell in me. 

And they thy glory through thy grief vnll show: 
But do not love thyself: t/ten thou wilt keep 
My tears for glasses, and still make me weep. 
O queen of queens, how far dost thou excel! 
No thought can think, nor tongue of mortal te/Z.— - 

How shall she know my griefs ? I'll drop the paper; 
Sweet leaves, shade folly. Who is he comes here ? 


Enter Longaville, with a Paper. 

What, Longaville ! and reading ! listen, ear. 

Biron. Now, in thy likeness, one inore fool, ap- 
pear ! [Aside. 


056 love's act IV. 

Long. Ah me ! I am forswoni. 
BiroB. Why, he comes in like a perjure ^, wear- 
ing papers. [Aside, 
King. In love, I hope ; Sweet fellowship in shame! 

Biron. One drunkard loves another of the name. 

Lmg. Am I the first that have been perjur*d so? 
Bkrfm. [Ancfe.] I could put thee in comfort; not 
by two, that I know : 
Thou mak'st the triumviry , the corner-cap of society, 
The shape of love's Tyburn^ that hangs up simpli- 
Xof^. I fear, these stubborn lines lack power to 
O sweet Maria, empress of my love ! 
These numbers will I tear, and write in prose. 
Birm. [Aside,] O, rhymes are guards on wanton 
Cupid's hose : 
Disfigure not his slop^. 
Long. This same shall go. — 

[He reads the Somiet 
Bid not the heavenly rhetorick of thine eye 

C Gainst whom the world cannot hold argument), 
Persuade my heart to this false perjury? 

Vows, for thee broke , deserve not punishment. 
A woman I forswore; but, I will prove, 

Thou being a goddess, I forswore not thee : 
My vow was earthly, thou a heavenly love; 

Thy grace being gain'd, cures all disgrace in me. 

^ The ancient ponishment of a perjured person was to wear 
on the breast a paper expressing the crime. 

* By triumviry and the shape of love's Tyburn Shakspeare 
alludes to the gallows of the time» which was oooa^onallj tri- 

^ Slt^ were wide kneed breeches, the garb in fashion in 
Shakspeare' s Ume. 

sc. III. labour's lost. d5& 

Vows are but breath, and breath a vapour is: 
Then thou, fair sun, which on my earth dost shine, 

ExhaVst this vapour vow; in thee it is: 
If broken then, it is no fault of mine; 

Jfby me broke. What fool is not so wise. 

To lose an oath to win a paradise? 
Biron, [Aside,] This is the liver vein^, which 
makes flesh a deity ; 

A green goose, a goddess : pure, pure idolatry. 

God amend us, God amend! we are much out o' 
the way. 

Enter Dumain, with a Paper. 

Long. By whom shall I send this ? — Company ! 
stay. [Stepping aside, 

Biron, [AsideJ] All hid, all hid, an old infant play : 
Like a demi-god here sit I in the sky. 
And wretched fools' secrets heedfuUy o'er-eye. 
More sacks to the mill ! O heavens, I have my wish ; 
Dumain transformed : four woodcocks^ in a dish! 
Jhan. O most divine Kate ! 
Biron. O most profane coxcomb ! 

Dum. By heaven, the wonder of a mortal eye ! 
Biron. By earth she is but corporal ; there you 
lie. [Aside. 

Dum. Her amber hairs for foul have amber coted^. 
Biron. An amber-colour'd raven was well noted. 


^ It hftfl been already remari^ that the Uoer was anciently 
supposed to be the seat of loye. So in Mnch Ado abont No- 

* If ever love had interest in his Ueer* 

7 A woodcock means a foolish fellow ; that bird being supposed 
to have no brains. 

* Coted signifies maried or noted. The word is from the coter 
to quote. The constraction of this passage will therefore be, 
* her amber hairs have marked or sho^ii \&«L\.Te«\ ««^«t\% Vs^ 
MO comparison with themselres.* 


SeO love's act IV. 

Dum, As upright as the cedar. 
Biron. Stoop, I say; 

Her shoulder is with child. [Aside. 

Dum, As fair as day. 

Biron. Ay, as some days ; but then no sun must 
shine. [Asidit. 

Dum, O that I had my wish ! 
Long. And I had mine! | 


King. And I mine too, good Lord ! [Aside, 

Biron. Amen, so I had mine : Is not that a good 

word ? [Aside. 

Dum. I would forget her ; but a fever she I 

Reigns in my blood, and will remember'd be. \ 

Biron. A fever in your blood, why, then incision 
Would let her out in saucers ; Sweet misprision ! 

Dum. Once more I'll read the ode that I ha?e 

Biron. Once move I'll mark how love can vary I 

wit. [Aside 

Dum. On a dayy (alack the day!) 

Love, whose month is ever May, 
Spied a blossom, passing fair. 
Playing in the wanton air: 
Tlirough the velvet leaves the wind. 
All unseen, 'gan passage find; 
That the lover, sick to death, 
WisKd himself the heaven^ s breath. 
Air, quoth he, thy cheeks may blow ; 
Air, would I might triumph so I 
But alack, my hand is sworn, 
Ne^er to pluck thee from thy thorn : 
Vow, alack, for youth unmeet; 
Youth so apt to pluck a sweet. 
Do not call it sin in me. 
That I am Jotsicoitv Jw tKe^i \ — 

SC. III. labour's LOST. 361 

Thee-^fot whom Joce would swear ^, 
Juno but an Ethiop were; 
And deny himself for Jove, 
Turning mortal for thy love, — 

This will I send : and something else more plain , 
That shall express my true love's fasting ^^ pain. 
Oy would the King, Bir6n, and Longavilley 
Were lovers too ! Ill, to example ill. 
Would from my forehead wipe a perjur'd note ; 
For none offend, where all alike do dote. 

Long. Dumain, \advan>cing,'\ thy love is far from 

That in love's grief desir'st society : 
You may look pale, but I should blush, I know^ 
To l^ o'erheard, and taken napping so. 

King. Come, sir, [advancing,] you blush ; as his 

your case is such ; 
You chide at him, offending twice as much : 
You do not love Maria ; Longaville 
Did never sonnet for her sake compile ; 

* * Thee — for whom Jove woald swear, 
Juno bat an Ethiop were.* 

The old copy reads — 

* Thou for whom Jove would swear.* 
Pope thoaght this line defective, and altered it to-^ 

' Thoa for whom even Jove would swear.* 

This sonnet is printed in England's Helicon, 1614, and in Jag-> 
gard's Collection, 1599, where the coaplet preceding — 

' Do not call it sin in me 

That 1 am forsworn by thee,' 
is omitted. Pope's emendation is not necessary, for the second 
line of the coaplet has six syllables only, and it was common to 
intersperse sach lines in similar verses, as Mr. Boswell has 
shown in his Essay on the Metre of Shakspeare. The sabstita-' 
lion of Thee for Thou which I have ventured npon, throws the 
emphasis on that word thus reduplicated, giving the line its pro* 
per cadence. 

'^ Fasting is longing, hungry, wanting. 


3^2 love's act IV. 

Nor never lay his wreathed arms athwart 
His loving bosom, to keep down his heart. 
I have been closely shrouded in this bush. 
And mark'd you both, and for you both did blush. 
I heard your guilty rhymes, observed your fashion; 
Saw sighs reek from you, noted well your passion: 
Ah me ! says one ; O Jove ! the other cries ; 
One, her hairs were gold, crystal the other's eyes : 
You would for paradise break faith and troth ; 

[To Long. 
And Jove, for your love, would infringe an oath. 

What will Bir6n say, when that he shall hear 
Faith infringed, which such zeal did swear ? 
How will he scorn ? how will he spend his wit ? 
How will he triumph, leap, and laugh at it ? 
For all the wealth that ever I did see, 
I would not have him know so much by me. 

Biron» Now step I forth to whip hypocrisy. — 
Ah, good my liege, I pray thee pardon me : 

[Desomds Jrom the Tree* 
Good heart, what grace hast thou, thus to reprove 
These worms for loving, that art most in love ? 
Your eyes do make no coaches ^^; in your tears. 
There is no certain princess that appears : 
You'll not be perjur'd, 'tis a hateful thing; 
Tush, none but minstrels like of sonneting. 
But are you not asham'd ? nay, are you not. 
All three of you, to be thus much o'ershot ? 
You found his mote; the king your mote did see; 
But I a beam do find in each of three. 
O, what a scene of foolery T have seen, 
Of sighs, of groans, of sorrow, and of teen ^^ ! 

" Allading to a passage in the King's Sonnet : 

' No droy bat as a coach doth carry thee.' 
" Gfiet. 

SG. III. labour's lost. 363 

me, with what strict patience have I sat. 
To see a king transformed to a gnat^^ ! 

To see great Hercules whipping a gigg. 
And profound Solomon to tune a jigg. 
And Nestor play at push-pin with the boys. 
And critick^^Timon laugh at idle toys? 
Where lies thy grief, O tell me, good Dumain? 
And gentle Longaville, where lies thy pain ? 
And where my liege's? all about the breast: — 
A caudle, ho ! 

Kmg. Too bitter is thy jest. 

Are we betray'd thus to thy over-view ? 

Biron. Not you by me, but I betray'd to you ; 
I, that am honest : I, that hold it sin 
To break the vow I am engaged in ; 

1 am betray'd, by keeping company 

With moon-like men, of strange inconstancy. 
When shall you see me write a thing in rhyme ? 
Or groan for Joan ? or spend a minute's time 
In pruning ^^ me? When shall you hear that I 
Will praise a hand, a foot, a face, an eye, 
A gait, a state, a brow, a breast, a waist, 
A leg, a limb? — 

King. Soft; Whither away so fast? 

A true man, or a thief, that gallops so ? 

Biron. I post from love ; good lover, let me go. 

'3 QncA is the reading of the old copy, and there seems no 
necessity for changing it to hnot or any other word, as some of the 
editors haye been desirous of doing. Neither do I think there 
is any allnsion to the singing of the gnat, as others have supposed; 
but it is merely put as an insignificant insect, just as he calls 
the others worms aboye. 

»* Cynic. 

'^ A bird is said to be pruning himself when he picks and 
sleeks his feathers. . So in K. Henry IV. Part I. 

' Which makes him prune himself, and bristle up 
The crest of youth.' 

364 love's act iv. 

Enter Jaquenetta and Costard. 

Jaq. God bless the king! 

King. What present hast thou there? 

Cost. Some certain treason. 

King. What makes treason here ^^? 

Cost. Nay^ it makes nothing, sir. 

King. If it mar nothing neither, 

The treason, and you, go in peace away together. 

Jaq. I beseech your grace, let this letter be read; 
Our parson misdoubts it; 'twas treason, he said. 

Biron. Biron, read it over. [Giving him the letter. 
Where hadst thou it? 

Jaq. Of Costard. 

King. Where hadst thou it? 

Cost. Of Dun Adramadio, Dun Adramadio. 

King. How now ! what is in you ? why dost thou 
tear it? 

Biron. A toy, my liege, a toy ; your grace needs 
not fear it. 

Long. It did move him to passion, and therefore 
let's hear it. 

Bum. It is Biron's writing, and here is his name. 

[Picks up the pieces. 

Biron. Ah, you whoreson loggerhead, [ To Cos- 
tard.] you were bom to do me shame. — 
Guilty, my lord, guilty; I confess, I confess. 

King. What? 

Biron. That you three fools lack'd me fool to 
make up the mess : 
He, he, and you, my liege, and I, 
Are pick-purses in love, and we deserve to die. 

'* That is—' what does treason here V What makest thoa 
there ? or, what hast thoa there to do ? Qnid istic tibi negotii 
est? — BaareU Shakspeare plays on this phrase in the same man- 
ner in As You Like It, Act i. Sc. 1. and in King Richard III . 
Act i. Sc. %. 

sc. III. labour's lost. 965 

O, dismiss this audience, and I shall tell you more. 
Dum. Now the number is even. 
Biron. True, true ; we are four :^ 

Will these turtles be gone ? 

King, Hence, sirs; away. 

Cost. Walk aside the true folk, and let the trai- 
tors stay* [Exeunt Cost. <md Jaq. 
Biron. Sweet lords, sweet lovers, O let us em- 
As true we are, as flesh and blood can be : 
The sea will ebb and flow, heaven show his face ; 

Young blood will not obey an old decree : 
We cannot cross the cause why w^ were bom ; 
Therefore, of all hands ^^ must we be forsworn. 
King, What, did these rent lines show some love 

of thine? 
Biron. Did they, quoth you ? Who sees the hea- 
venly Rosaline, 
That like a rude and savage man of Inde, 

At the first opening of the gorgeous east^^. 
Bows not his vassal head ; and, strucken blind. 

Kisses the base ground with obedient breast? 
What peremptory eagle-sighted eye 

Dares look upon the heaven of her brow. 
That is not blinded by her majesty ? 

King. What zeal, what fury hath inspir'd thee 
My love, her mistress, is a gracious moon ; 
She, an attending star, scarce seen a light. 
Biron, My eyes are then no eyes, nor I Bir6n^^: 
O, but for my love, day would turn to night ! 

'7 i. e. at any rate, at all eyents. 

^^ Milton haa transplanted this into the third line of the se- 
cond book of Paradise Lost : 

* Or where the gorgeous east,* 

^ Here, and indeed thronghout the play, the name of Bir6a 
is accented on the second syllable. In t\ie ^TaV IqV\o «xA q;qax\» 


3G6 love's act IV. 

Of all complexions the cuU*d sovereignty 

Do meet, as at a fair, in her fair cheek ; 
Where several worthies make one dignity ; 

Where nothing wants; that want itself doth 
Lend me the flourish pf all gentle tongues, — 

Fye, painted rhetorick! O, she needs it not: 
To things of sale a seller's praise belongs ; 

She passes praise ; then praise too short doth 
A withered hermit, five-score winters worn. 

Might shake off fifty, looking in her eye : 
Beauty doth vafnish age, as if new-bom. 

And gives the crutch the cradle's infancy. 
O, 'tis the sun, that maketh all things shine ! 
King. By heaven, thy love is black as ebony* 
Bircn. Is ebony like her? O wood divine! 
A wife of such wood were felicity. 
O, who can give an oath? where is a book? 

That I may swear, beauty doth beauty lack, 
If that she learn not of her eye t<i look : 

No face is fair, that is not full so black. 
King. O paradox ! Black is the badge of hell, 
The hue of dungeons, and the scowl of night; 
And beauty's crest becomes the heavens well^^. 

copies it is spelled Beroume, From the line before as it appears 
that it was pronoanced Biroon, Mr. Boswell has remarked that 
this was the mode in which all French words of this terminatiop 
were pronounced in English. Mr. Fox alwajs said Touloon when 
speaking of Toulon in the Honse of Commons. 

^ Crest is here properly opposed to badge. Black, sajs the 
King, is the badge ^ hell, bqt that which graces heaven is the 
crest of beauty. Black darkens hell, and is therefore hateful : 
white adorns heaven, and is therefore lovely. Crest, is the very 
top, the height of beanty or utmost degree of fairness. So in 
K> John : 

* this is the very top 

The height, the crest^ or crest unto the cresi 

sc. in« labour's lost. 367 

Biron. Devils soonest tempt, resemUing spirits of 
O, if in black my lady's brows be deckt. 

It mourns, that painting, and usurping hair^^. 
Should ravish doters with a false aspect : 

And therefore is she bom to make black fair. 
Her favour turns the fashion of the days; 

For native blood is counted painting now; 
And therefore red, that would avoid dispraise. 
Paints itself bUck, to imitate her brow. 
Dum. To look like her, are chimney-sweepers 

Long. And since her time, are colliers counted 

King, And Ethiops of their ^sweet comjdexion 

Dum. Dark needs no candles now, for dark is light. 
Biron. Your mistresses dare never come in rain. 
For fear their colours should be wash'd away. 
King. Twere good, yours did; for, sir, to tell 
you plain, 
I'll find a fairer face not wash'd to-day. 
Biron. I'll prove her fair, or talk till doomsday 


King. No devil will fright thee then so much as she. 

Dum. I never knew man hold vile stuff so dear. 

Long. Look, here's thy love: my foot and her 

face see. [Shewing his Shoe. 

Biron. O, if the streets were pavedwith thine eyes. 

Her feet were much too dainty for such tread ! 

Dum, O vile ! then as she goes, what upward lies 

The street should see as she walk'd over head. 

^ This alludes to the fashion preyalent among ladies in Sfaak- 
speare's time, of wearing false hair, or periwigs as thej were the 
called, before that covering for the head had been adopted ' 

3d8 love's act IV. 

King. But what of this ? Are we not all in love ? 

Biron. O, nothing so sure ; and thereby all for- 

King. Then leave this chat; and, good Bir6n, 
now prove 
Our loving lawful, and our faith not torn. 

Dum, Ay, marry, there; — some flattery for this 

Long. O, some authority how to proceed ; 
Some tricks, some quillets^, how to cheat the devil. 

Dum. Some salve for perjury. 

Biron. O, 'tis more than need ! — 

Have at you then, affection's men at arms : 
Consider what you first did swear unto ;— * 
To fast, — to study, — and to see no woman ; — 
Flat treason 'gainst the kingly state of youth. 
Say, can you fast? your stomachs are too young; 
And abstinence engenders maladies. 
And where that you have vow'd to study, lords. 
In that each of you hath forsworn his book : 
Can you still dream, and pore, and thereon look ? 
For when would you, my lord, or you, or you. 
Have found the ground of study's excellence. 
Without the beauty of a woman's face? 
From women's eyes this doctrine I derive ? 
They are the ground, the books, the academes, 
From whence doth spring the true Promethean fire. 
Why, universal plodding prisons up 
The nimble spirits in the arteries; 
As motion, and long during action, tires 
The sinewy vigour of the traveller. 
Now, for not looking on a woman's face. 
You have in that forsworn the use of eyes ; 

^ A quiUet is a slj trick or turn in argpunent, or excuse. N. 
Bailej derives it, with much probability, from quibblet, as a di- 
minutive of guibble. 

sc. iii^ labour's lost. 369 

And study too, the causer of your vow r 
For where is any author in the world. 
Teaches such beauty as a woman's eye ? 
Learning is but an adjunct to ourself. 
And where we are, our learning likewise is. 
Then, when ourselves we see in ladies' eyes^ 
With ourselves ^^, 

Do we not likewise see our learning there? 
O, we have made a vow to study, lords : 
And in that vow we have forsworn our books ^*; 
For when would you, my liege, or you, or you. 
In leaden^ contemplation, have found out 
Such fiery numbers, as the prompting eyes 
Of beauteous tutors have enrioh'd you with ? 
Other slow arts entirely keep the brain ; 
And therefore finding barren practisers, 
Scarce show a harvest of their heavy toil : 
But love, first learned in a lady's eyes. 
Lives not alone immured in the brain; 
But, with the motion of all elements, 
Courses as swift as thought in every power; 
And gives to every power a double power. 
Above their functions and their offices. 
It adds a precious seeing to the eye ; 
A lover's eyes will gaze an eagle blind ; 
A lover's ear will hear the lowest sound. 
When the suspicious head of theft is stopp'd ; 
Love's feeling is more soft, and sensible, 

^ This hemistich is omitted in all the modern editions except 
that by Mr. Boswell. It is found in the first qaarto and first 

^ i. e. our true booiSf from which we derive most information^ 
the eyes of women. 

^ So in Milton's II Penseroso : 

* With a sad leaden, downward cast.' 
<And in Gray's Hymn to Adversity : 

' With leaden eye that lo\«s Hcke ^Q^axA« 

370 love's act IV. 

Than are the tender horns of cockled snails ; 
Love's tongue proves dainty Bacchus gross in taste : 
For valour, is not love a Hercules, 
Still climbing trees in the Hesperides^? 
Subtle as sphinx ; as sweet, and musical. 
As bright Apollo's lute, strung with his hair; 
And, when love speaks, the voice of all the gods 
Make heaven drowsy with the harmony ^. 
Never durst poet touch a pen to write. 
Until his ink were temper'd with love's sighs ; 
O, then his lines would ravish savage ears. 
And plant in tyrants mild humility. 
From women's eyes this doctrine I derive : 
They sparkle still the right Promethean fire ; 
They are the books, the arts, the academes. 
That show, contain, and nourish all the world ; 
Else, none at all in aught proves excellent : 
Then fools you were these women to forswear ; 
Or, keeping what is sworn, you will prove fools. 
For wisdom's sake, a word that all men love ; 
Or for love's sake, a word that loves all men^; 
Or for men's sake, the authors of these women; 
Or women's sake, by whom we men are men ; 

* Shakspeare had read of ' the gardens of the Hesperides,* and 
thoaght the latter word was the name of the garden. Some of 
his contemporaries haye made the same mistake. So Robert 
Green in his Friar Bacon and Friar Bangay, 1698 : 
' Shew the tree, leay'd with refined gold. 
Whereon the fearfal dragon held his seat 
That watch'd the garden calTd Hesperides* 
^ Few passages haye been more discassed than this. The 
most plausible interpretation of it is, * Wheneyer loye speaks, 
all the gods join their yoices in harmonious concert.' The power 
of harmonious sounds to make the hearers drowsy has been al- 
luded to by poets in all ages. The old copies read mdbe. Shak- 
speare often falls into a similar error. 

^ i. e. that is pleasing to all men. So in the language of the 
time : — it Wees me weU, for it pleases me. Shakspeare uses the 
word licentiously fox O&e «ai!ib& ot V^« %sl\\nSqa%\.%. 

sc. III. labour's lost. 371 

Let us once lose our oaths to find ourselves, 
Or else we lose ourselves to keep our oaths :- 
It is religion to be thus forsworn : 
For charity itself fulfils the law ; 
And who can sever love from charity ? 

Kin^. Saint Cupid, then ! and, soldiers, to the field ! 

Biron, Advance your standards, and upon them, 
lords ; 
Pell-mell, down with them ! but be first advis'd. 
In conflict that you get the sun of them^. 

Long. Now to plain-dealing ; lay these glozes by ; 
Shall we resolve to woo these girls of France ? 

King. And win them too : therefore let us devise 
Some entertainment for them in their tents. 

Biren. First, from the park let us conduct th«n 
thither ; 
Then, homeward, every man attach the hand 
Of his fair mistress : in the aftemooa 
We will with some strange pastime solace them. 
Such as the shortness of the time can shape ; 
For revels, dances, masks, and merry hours. 
Fore-run fair Love ^, strewing her way with flowers. 

King. Away, away ! no time shall be omitted. 
That will be time, and may by us be fitted. 

Biron. Allans ! AUons ! — Sow'd cockle reap'd no 
And justice always whirls in equal measure : 
Light wenches may prove plagues to men forsworn ; 
If so, our copper buys no better treasure. 


^ lo the days of archery, it ^^as of consequence to have the son 
at the back of the bowmen, and in the face of the enemy. Thi» 
circumstance was of great advantage to our Henry V. at the 
Battle of Aginconrt. Shakspeare had, perhaps, an equivoque in 
his thoughts. 

^ Fair love is Venus. So in Antony and Cleopatra : 

' Now for the love of bve, and her %o^\.\vwn%Z 

37^ |-ovE*s 


SCENE I. Another part of the same* 

Enter Holofernes, Sir Nathaniel, and 


Hoi. Satis quod sujfftdt^, 

Nath. I praise God for you, sir : your reasons ^ at 
dinner have been sharp and sententious; pleasant 
without scurrility, witty without affection, audacious 
without impudency, learned without opinion, and 
strange without heresy. I did converse this quon-* 
dam day with a companion of the king's, who is 
intituled, nominated, or called, Don Adriano de 

Hoi. Novi hominem tanquam te: His humour is 
lofty, his discourse peremptory, his tongue filed ^, his 
eye ambitious, his gait majestical, and his general 
behaviour vain, ridiculous, and thrasonical \ He is 
too picked^, too spruce, too affected, too odd, as it 
were, too peregrinate, as I may call it. 

' i. e. enongh's as good as a feast. 

^ ' I know Dot (says Jobnson) what degree of respect Shak- 
peare intends to obtain for his yicar, but he has here pat into 
his month a finished representation of colloquial excellence. It 
is very diflScnlt to add any thing to his character of the school-^ 
master's table-talk, and perhaps all the precepts of Castiglione 
will scarcely be fonnd to comprehend a role for conversation so 
lastly delineated, so widely dilated, and so nicely limited.' 

Reason, here signifies discourse : ttudacious is used in a good 
sense for spirited, animated, confident ; affection is affectation ; opi- 
nion is obstinacy, opim&tret6» 

^ Filed is polished. 

^ Thrasonical is vainglorioas, boastful. 

' Picked, piked, or picket, neat, spruce, over nice ; that is, too 
nice in his dress. The substantive is used by Ben Jonson in his 
Discoyeries : Pickedn«s$ iox xoka^ \a drft&sv 

sc. I. labour's lost, 9T^ 

Kath. A most singular and choice epithet* 

[Takes out his Table-book, 

HoL He draweth out the thread of his verbosity 
finer than the staple of his argument. I abhor such 
fantastical phantasms, such insociable and point- 
devise^ companions; such rackers of orthography, 
as to speak, doubt, fine, when he should say, doubt; 
det, when he should pronounce, debt : d, e, b, t ; 
not d, e, t: he clepeth a calf, cauf; half, hauf; 
neighbour, vocatur, nebour, neigh, abbreviated, net 
This b abhominable (which he would call abomin- 
able), it insinuateth me of insanie; Ne intelligis, 
domine? to make frantick, lunatick. 

Nath. Laiis deo, bone intelligo. 

Hoi. Bone? bone, for ben^: Priscian a little 

scratched ; 'twill serve. 

Enter Armado, Moth, and Costard. 

Nath, Videsne quis venit? 

Hoi. Video, et gavdeo. 

Arm. Chirra! [To MoTH. 

Hoi. Quare Chirra, not sirrah ? 

Arm, Men of peace, well encountered. 

HoL Most military sir, salutation. 

Moth. They have been at a great feast of lan- 
guages, and stolen the scraps. [To Costard aside. 

Cost. O, they have lived long in the alms-bas- 
Tcet^ of words ! I marvel, thy master hath not eaten 
thee for a word; for thou art not so long by the 

^ A common expression for exactf precise, or finical. So in 
Twelfth Night, Malvolio says — 

' I will be point-device the very man.' 

^ i. e. the refuse of words. The refuse meat of families war 
put into a basket, and given to the poor, in Shakspeare's time. 


374 love's act v. 

head as homarijicabiliiudinitaiilnu^ : thou art easier 
swallowed than a flap-dragon ^. 

Moth. Peace ; the peal begins. 

Arm. Aonsieur, [To Hol.] are you not letter'd? 

Moth, Yes, yes ; he teaches boys the horn-book : 
What is 9,9 h, spelt backward with a bom on his 

Hol. Ba, pueritia, with a horn added. 

Moth. Ba, most silly sheep, with a horn : — ^You 
hear his learning. 

Hol. Qui$, quis, thou consonant? 

Moth. The third of the five vowels, if you repeat 
them ; or the fifth, if I. 

Hol. I will repeat them, a, e, i. — 

Moth. The sheep : the other two concludes it; o, u. 

Arm. Now, by the salt wave of the Mediterrs' 
neum, a sweet touch, a quick venew ^^ of wit : snip, 
snap, quick and home; it rejoiceth my intellect: 
true wit. 

Moth. Offered by a child to an old man ; which 
is wit-old. 

Hol. What is the figure ; what is the figure ? 

Moth. Horns. 

Hol. Thou disputest like an infant : go, whip thy gig. 

Moth. Lend me your horn to make one^ and I 
will whip about your infamy circiim circd ; A g^g of 
a cuckold's horn ! 

Cost. An I had but one penny in the world, thou 
shouldst have it to buy gingerbread : hold, there is 
the very remuneration I had of thy master, tliou 
half-penny purse of wit, thou pigeon-egg of discre- 

^ This word, whencesoeFer it comes, is often mentioned as the 
longest word known. 

' A fiap-dragon was some small combustible body set on fire 
and put afloat in a glass of liqaor. It was an act of dexterity in 
the toper to swallow it withoat burning his month. 

»<> A bit. aee\o\.\.i^.Vi^. 

sc. I. laboitr's lost. 375t 

tion. O, an the heavens were so pleased, that thou 
wert but my bastard ! what a joyful father wouldst 
thou make me ! Go to ; thou hast it ad dunghiU, at 
the fingers' ends, as they say. 

HoL Oy I smell false Latin ; dunghill for wnguem. 

Arm, Arts-man, pnBambula; we will be singled 
from the barbarous. Do you not educate youth at 
the charge«house^^ on the top of the mountain ? 

HoL Or, mons, the hill. 

Arm. At your sweet pleasure, for the mountain. 

HoL I do, sans question. 

Arm, Sir, it is the king's most sweet pleasure and 
affection, to congratulate the princess at her pavilion, 
in the posteriors of this day ; whieh the rude multi- 
tude call, the afternoon. 

HoL The posterior of the day, most generous sir, 
is liable, congruent, and measurable for the after- 
noon : the word is well cuU'd, chose ; sweet and 
apt, I do assure you, sir, I do assure. 

Arm, Sir, the king is a noble gentleman ; and fny 
familiar, I do assure you, very good friend :— For 
what is inward ^^ between us, let it pass :— I do be- 
seech thee, remember thy courtesy ^^; — I beseech 
thee, apparel thy head; — and among other impor- 
tunate and most serious designs, — and of great im- 
port indeed, too ; — but let that pass : — ^for I must 
tell thee, it will please his grace (by the world) 
sometime to lean upon my poor shoulder; and with 
his royal finger, thus, dally with my excrement ^^, 

'' Free-sohool. '^ Confidential. 

13 By remember thy courtesy , Armado probably means * remem- 
ber that all this time thou art standing with thy hat off.' * The 
patting off the hat at table is a kind of courtesie or ceremonie 
rather to be ayoided than otherwise.' — Florio's Second Frutes, 

^* The beard is called yaloar's excrement in the Merchant of 

37A love's act v. 

with my mustachio : but, sweet heart, let that pass* 
By the world, I recount no fable ; some certain spe- 
cial honours it pleaseth his greatness to impart to 
Armado, a soldier, a man of travel, that hath seen 
the world : but let that pass. — ^The very all of all 
is, — ^but, sweet heart, I do implore secrecy, — that 
the king would have me present the princess, sweet 
chuck, with some delightful ostentation, or show, or 
pageant, or antick, or firework. Now, understand- 
ing that the curate and your sweet self, are good at 
such eruptions, and sudden breaking out of mirth, 
as it were, I have acquainted you withal, to the end 
to crave your assistance. 

HoL Sir, you shall present before her the nine 
worthies. — Sir Nathaniel, as concerning some enter- 
tainment of time, some show in the posterior of this 
day, to be rendered by our assistance, — ^the king's 
command, and this most gallant, illustrate^ and 
learned gentleman, — before the princess; I say, 
none so fit as to present the nine worthies. 

Nath, Where will you find men worthy enough 
to present them ? 

HoL Joshua, yourself: myself, or this gallant 
gentleman, Judas Maccabeus ; this swain, because 
of his great limb or joint, shall pass ^^ Pompey the 
great; the page, Hercules. 

Arm, Pardon, sir, eiTor: he is not quantity enough 
for that worthy's thumb : he is not so big as the 
end of his club. 

HoL Shall I have audience? He shall present 
Hercules in minority : his enter and exit shall be 
strangling a snake ; and I will have an apology for 
that purpose. 

Moth, An excellent device ! so, if any of the au- 
dience hiss, you may cry : well done, Hercules! now 

^^ i. e. shall marcK, ot vi^V vcl \k<& '^^^^e.^^ioa for Pompey. 

sc. I. labour's lost. 877 

tJum ermhest the make! that is the way to make an 
offence gracious ^^; though few have the grace to 
do it. 

Arm, For the rest of the worthies ? — 

HoL I will play three myself. 

Moth. Thrice worthy gentleman ! 

Arm, Shall I tell you a thing? 

HoL We attend. 

Arm. We will have, if this fadge^^ not, an antick. 
I beseech you, follow. 

Hoi. Via ^^, goodman Dull ! thou hast spoken no 
word all this while. 

DvU, Nor understood none neither, sir. 

Hoi. Aliens f we will employ thee. 

DtdL I'll make one in a dance, or so ; or I will 
play on the tabor to the worthies, and let them dance 
the hay. 

HoL Most dull, honest Dull, to our sport, away. 


SCENE II. Another part of the same. 
Before the Princess's Pavilion. 

JEnter the Princess, Katharine, Rosaline, and 


^ Prin. Sweet hearts, we shall be rich ere we depart, 
Jf fairings thus come plentifully in : 
A Istdy wall'd about with diamonds ! — 
JLook you, what I have from the loving king. 

Ros, Madam> came nothing else along with that ? 

Prin. Nothing but this ? yes, as much love in 

'* That is, convert oar offence against yoorselyes into a dra- 
matic propriety, 

*7 i. e. suit not, go not. 

*^ An Italian exclamation signifying Coarage ! Come on ! Sc 
Vol. i. p 221. 

376 love's act v. 

As would be crammed up in a sheet of paper. 
Writ on both sides the leaf, margent and all ; 
That he was fain to seal on Cupid's name. 

Ros, That was the way to make his god-head 
Por he hath been five thousand years a boy. 

Kath. Ay, and a shrewd unhappy gallows too. 

Ros. You'll ne'er be friends with him ; he kill'd 
your' sister. 

Kath, He made her melancholy, sad, and heavy; 
And so she died : had she been light, like you, 
Of such a merry, nimble, stirring spirit. 
She might have been a grandam ere she died: 
And so may you ; for a light heart lives long. 

Ros, What's your dark meaning, mouse ^, of this 
light word ? 

Kath, A light condition in a beauty dark. 

Ros, We need more light to find your meaning out. 

Kath, You'll mar the light, by taking it in snuff ^; 
Therefore, I'll darkly end the argument. 

Ros, [iOok, what you do, you do it still i' the 

Kath, So do not you ; for you are a light wench. 

Ros, Indeed, I weigh not you ; and therefore light 

Kath, You weigh me not, — O, that's you care not 
for me. 

Ros, Great reason ; for, Past cure is still past care. 

Prin, Well bandied both; a set* of wit weH 
But Rosaline, you have a favour too : 
Who sent it? and what is it? 

* Grow. 

^ This was a term of endearment formerly. So in Hamlet : 

' Pinch wanton on your cheek ; call yon his mouse,* 
^ Snuff is here used equivocally for anger, and the snuff of a 
candk. See King Henry IV. Act i. Sc. 3. 

* A set is a leim aV Veiun.^ W a ^owie. 

sc. II. labour's lost. 370 

Bos. I would^ you knew : 

And if my face were but as fair as yours, • 
My favour were as great : be witness this. 
Nay, I have verses too, I thank Bir6n : 
The numbers true ; and, were the numbering too, 
I were the fairest goddess on the ground : 
I am compared to twenty thousand fairs, 
O, he hath dravm my ^cture in his letter ! 

Prin, Any thing like ? 

Mos. Much, in the letters ; nothing in the praise, 

Prin. Beauteous as ink; a good conclusion. 

Kath. Fair as a text B in a copy-book. 

Ros. 'Ware pencils ^ ! How ! let me not die your 
My red dominical, my golden letter : 
O, that your face were not so full of O'sl 

Kath. A pox ^ of that jest ! and beshrew all 
43hrows ! 

Prin. But what was sent to you from fair Pu- 

Kath. Madam, this glove. 

Prin. Did he not send you twain. 

Kath. Yes, madam ; and moreover, 
Some thousand verses of a faithful lover : 
A huge translation of hypocrisy. 
Vilely compiled, profound simplicity. 

Mar. This, and these pearls, to me sent Longaville ; 
The letter is too long by half a mile. 

^ She advises Katharine to beware of drawing likenessea, lest she 
should retaliate. 

^ Theobald is scandalized at this language from a princess. 
But Dr. Fanner obsenres ' there need no darm — the smail-pox 
only is alluded to ; with which it seems Katharine was pitted ; 
or as it is quaintly expressed " her face was full of 0*s/' Davison 
bas a canzonet " on his lady's sicknesse of the poxe ;** and Dr. 
Donne vrrites to his sister, ** At my return from Kent, I found 
Fegge had the poxe," * Such a plague was the smaU-pox formerl*' 
that its name might well be used as an imprecation. 

880 love's act v. 

Prin, I think no less : Dost thou not wish in heart, 
The chain were longer, and the letter short ? 

Mar. Ay, or I would these hands might never part 

Prin. We are wise girls, to mock our lovers so. 

Roi. They are worse fools to purchase mocking so. 
That same Bir6n 111 torture ere I go. 
O, that I knew he were but in by the week^ ! 
How I would make him fawn, and beg, and seek ; 
And wait the season, and observe the times. 
And spend his prodigal wits in bootless rhymes ; 
And shape his service wholly to my behests ; 
And make him proud to make me proud that jests ^! 
So potent-like^ would I o'ersway his state. 
That he should be my fool, and I his fate. 

Prin, None are so surely caught, when they are 
As wit tum'd fool : folly, in wisdom hatch'd. 
Hath wisdom's warrant, and the help of school; 
And wit's own grace to grace a learned fool *^. 

Ro8. The blood of youth bums not with such 
As gravity's revolt to wantonness. 

Mar, Folly in fools bears not so strong a notCj) 
As foolery in the wise, when wit doth dote ; 
Since all the power thereof it doth apply. 
To prove, by wit, worth in simplicity. 

7 This is an expression taken from the hiring^ of servants} 
meaning ' I wish I knew that he was in love with me, or mj mt- 
Danif* as the phrase is. 

^ The meaning of this obscure line seems to be,—- 1 wonl^ 
make him prond to flatter me, who make a mock of bis flattery. 

' The old copies read pertauni-like. The modem editions read 
with Sir T. Hanmer, portent-Hke : of which Warbarton has g^iven 
an ingenious but unfounded explanation. The reading I have 
adopted may be explained tyrant-like. Patents is used for pota^ 
totes in K. John, Act ii. Sc. 2. 

'^ Johnson Tem«ck« UlblI ' these are observations worthy of a 
man who has stirve'je^ VTunAn, ii»Xqx« -m^ ^« ^^^w^ '«NX»Q&3k!v\.* 

sc. iia labour's lost. 381 

Enter Boyet. 

Prin. Here comes Boyet, and mirth is in his face. 

Boyet. O, I am stabb'd with laughter ! Where's 
her grace ? 

Prin, Thy news, Boyet? 

Boyet. Prepare, madam, prepare ! — 

Arm, wenches, arm ! encounters mounted are 
Against your peace : Love doth approach disguis'd. 
Armed in arguments; you'U be surprised: 
Muster your wits ; stand in your own defence ; 
Or hide your heads like cowards, and fly hence. 

Prin, Saint Dennis to saint Cupid ! What are they. 
That charge their breath against us ? say, scout, say. 

Boyet, Under the cool shade of a sycamore, 
I thqught to close mine eyes some half an hour : 
When lo ! to interrupt my purpos'd rest. 
Toward that shade I might behold addrest 
The king and his companions : warily 
I stole into a neighbour thicket by. 
And overheard what you shall overhear ; 
That, by and by, disguis'd they will be here. 
Their herald is a pretty knavish page. 
That well by heart hath conn'd his -embassage; 
Action, and accent, did they teach him there ; 
Thus must thou speak f and thus thy body bear; 
And ever and anon they made a doubt. 
Presence majestical would put him out; 
For, quoth the king, an angel shalt thou see ; 
Yet fear not thou, but speak audaciously. 
The boy reply'd. An angel is not evil; 
J should have feared her, had she been a devil. 
With that all laugh'd , and clapp'd him on the shoulder ; 
Making the bold wag by their praises bolder. 
One rubb'd his elbow, thus ; and fleer'd, and swore, 
A better speech was never spoke befox^v 

382 love's act v. 

Another, with his finger and his thumbs 
Cry'd» Via^^I toe mil do't, come what will come: 
The third he caper'd, and cried. All goes well: 
The fourth tum'd on the toe, and down he fell. 
With that they all did tumble on the ground. 
With such a zealous laughter, so profound. 
That in the spleen ridiculous ^^ appears. 
To check their folly, passion's solemn tears. 

Pfin^ But what, but what, come they to visit us? 

Boyet. They do, they do ; and are appareFd thus, — 
Like Muscovites, or Russians ^^: as I guess. 
The purpose is, to parle, to court, and dance : 
And every one his love-feat will advance 
Unto his several mistress ; which they'll know 
By favours several, which they did bestow. 

Prin. And will they so ? the giallants shall be task'd i 
For, ladies, we will every one be mask'd; 
And not a man of them shall have the grace. 
Despite of suit, to see a lady's face. — 
Hold, Rosaline, this favour thou shalt wear ; 
And then the king will court thee for his dear % 
Hold, take thou this, my sweet, and give me thine; 
So shall Bir6n take me for Rosaline. — 

" Via, See Vol. i. p. 221. 

'^ Spleen ridiculous is a ridicnlons fit of laughter. The spleen 
was anciently supposed to be the cause of laughter. So the old 
Latin verse quoted on another occasion : 

' Splen ridere facit, oogit amare jecnr.' 

'' In the first year of K. Henry VIII. at a banquet made for 
the foreign ambassadors in the parliament chamber at Westmin- 
ster, ' came the Lorde Henry Earle of Wiltshire and the Lorde 
Fitzwater, in two long gownes of yellow satin traversed with 
white satin, and in every bend of white was a bend of crimosen 
sattin after the fashion of Russia or Ruslande, with furred hattes 
of grey on their hedes, either of them havyng an hatchet in their 
handes, and bootes with pykes turned up.* — HaU, Henry VIIL 
p. 6. This extract may serve to show that a mask of Muscovites 
was a court recreation, and at the same time convey an idea of 
the dress tised on tVke \^i«««ii\. qqqqaSatv. 

3C. ii» labour's lost. 883 

And change you favours too ; so shall your loves 
Woo contrary, deceiv'd by these removes. 

Ro8, Come on then ; wear the favours most in sight. 

Kath. But, in this changing, what is your intent? 

Prin, The effect of my intent is, to cross theirs : 
They do it but in mocking merriment; 
And mock for mock is only my intent. 
Their several counsels they unbosom shall 
To loves mistook ; and so be mock'd withal. 
Upon the next occasion that we meet. 
With vbages displayed, to talk, and greet. 

Ros. But shall we dance, if they desire us to't? 

Prin. No ; to the death, we will not move a foot : 
Nor to their penn'd speech render we no grace ; 
But, while 'tis spoke, each turn away her face. 

Boyet, Why, that contempt will kill the speaker's 
And quite divorce his memory from his part. 

Prin. Therefore I do it; and, I make no doubt. 
The rest will ne'er come in, if he be out. 
There's no such sport, as sport by sport o'erthrown ; 
To make theirs ours, and ours none butH>ur own : 
So shall we stay, knocking intended game ; 
And they, well mock'd, depart away with shame. 

[Trumpets sound within. 

Boyet. The trumpet sounds; be mask'd, the 
maskers come. [The Ladies mask. 

Enter the King, BiRON, Longaville, ajid Du- 
MAIN, in Russian habits ^ and mashed; Moth, 
Musicians and Attendants. 

Moth. All hail, the richest beauties on the earth ! 
Boyet. Beauties no richer than rich taffata ^'*. 
Moth. A holy parcel of the fairest dames, 

[The ladies turn their backs to him. 
That ever turned their — backs — to mortal inev3« I 
'* L e, the taffata masks Vlae-j vioxe. 

384 love's act v. 

Biron. Jlieir eyes, villain, their eyes. 

Moth. That ever turned their eyes to mortal views! 

Boyet. True ; out, indeed. 

Moth. Out of your favours, heavenly spirits, vouch- 
Not to behold — 

Biron. Once to behold, rogue. 

Moth. Once to behold with your sun-beamed eyes, 
with your sun-beamed eyes — 

Boyet, They will not answer to that epithet ; 
You were best call it, daughter-beamed eyes. 

Moth. They do not mark me, and that brings me out. 

Biron. Is this your perfectness ? be gone, you rogue. 

JRos. What would these strangers? know their 
minds, Boyet: 
If they do speak our language, 'tis our will 
That some plain man recount their purposes : 
Know what they would. 

Boyet. What would you with the princess ? 

Biron. Nothing but peace, and gentle visitation. 

Ros. What would they, say they ? 

Boyet. Nothing but peace, and gentle visitation. 

JRos. Why, that they have ; and bid them so be gone. 

Boyet, She says, you have it, and you may be gone. 

King. Say to her we have measur'd many miles, 
To tread a measure with her on this grass. 

Boyet. They say that they have measur'd many 
a mile, 
TTo tread a measure ^^ with you on this grass. 

Ros. It is not so : ask them, how many inches 
Is in one mile : if they have measurM many, 

** A grave solemn dance, with slow and measared steps, like 
the minuet. As it was of so solemn a natnre, it was performed 
at public entertainments in the Inns of- Court ; and it was not 
unusqal, nor thought inconsistent, for the first characters in the 
Jaw to bear a part in treadwcj a measure. ^\x ^VxV&Vft^bar Hatton 
was famous fot il. 

sc. Hi. labour's lost. d8& 

The measure then of one is easily told. 

Boyet. If, to come hither you have measui^d miles. 
And many miles ; the princess bids you telly 
How many inches do fill up one mile. 

Bircn, Tell her, we measure them by weary steps. 
Boyet, She hears herself. 

Emm. How many weary steps. 

Of many weary miles you have o'ergone. 
Are number'd in the travel of one mile ? 

Biron. We number nothing that we spend for you ; 
Our duty is so rich, so infinite, 
That we may do it still without accompt 
Vouchsafe to show the sunshine of your face. 
That we, like savages, may worship it 

JRos. My face is but a moon, and clouded too. 
King, Blessed are clouds, to do as such clouds do f 
Vouchsafe, bright moon, and these thy stars, to 

shine ^® 
(Those clouds remov'd) upon our waf ry eyne. 

Ros. O vain petitioner! beg a greater matter; 
Thou now request'st but moonshine in the water. 
King. Then, in our measure vouchsafe but one 
change : 
Thou bid'st me beg ; this begging is not strange. 
Ros. Play, musick, then: nay, you must do it 
soon. [Music plays. 

Not yet; — no dance : — thus change I like the moon. 
King. Will you not dance ? How come you thus 

estranged ? 
Ros. You took the moon at full; but now she's 

King. Yet still she is the moon, and I the man. 
The musick plays ; vouchsafe some motion to it. 

*^ When Queen Elizabeth asked an ambassador how he liked 
her ladies? — ' It is hard/ said he, ' to judge of stars in the pre- 
sence of the sun.* 


380 LOVB^S ACT V. 

Roi» Our ears Youehsftfe it, 

King> But your legs should do it 

Ras. Since you are Btraugers, and come here by 
We'll not be nice : take hands ; — ^we will not dance. 

King, Why take we hands then ? 

Ro8, Only to part friends :-- 

Courf sy, sweet hearts ; and so the measure ends^ 

King* More measure of this measure ; be not nice, 

Ho$. We can afford no more at such a price. 

Ki$ig. Prize you yourselves; What buys your 
company ? 

JRos. Your absence only. 

King. That can never be. 

JRoi. Then cannot we be bought: and so adieu; 
Twice to your visor, and h^f once to you ! 

King. If you deny to dance, leVs hold more chat 

Ros. In private then. 

King. I am best pleas'd with that 

[Tliey converse apart. 

Biron. White-handed mistress, one sweet word 
with thee. 

Prin, Honey, and milk, and sugar ; there is three. 

Biron. Nay then, two treys (an if you grow so 
Metheglin, wort, and malmsey ; — ^Well run, dice ! 
There's half a dozen sweets. 

Prin. Seventh sweet, adieu ! 

Since you can cog^^, I'll play no more with you. 

Biron. One word in secret. 

Prin. Let it not be sweet. 

Biron. Thou griev'st my gall. 

Pnn. Gall? bitter. 

Biron. Therefore meet. 

[They converse apart. 

^T Xo cod \s \x> We ot ^%«X« '^«QKi>« \a co^ the dice. 

sc. II. labour'^ lost. 807 

Dum. Will you vouchsafe with me to change a 

Mar. Name it. 
Dum. Fait lady,— 

Mar, Say you so? Fair lord, — 

Take that for your fair lady. 

Bum. Please it you. 

As much in priyate, and I'll bid adieu. 

[They converse apart, 
JTafA. What, was your visor made without a tongue? 
X/mg, I know the reason, lady, why you ask. 
Kath, O, for your reason ! quickly, sir; I long. 
I/mg. You have a double tongue within your mask. 
And would afford my speechless visor half. 

Kath, Veal ^^, quoth the Dutchman ; — Is not veal 

a calf? 
Ifi/ng, A calf, fair lady? 
Kath, No, a &ir lord calf, 

Long, Let's part the word. 
Kath, No, 111 not he your half: 

Take all, and wean it; it may prove an ox. 

Long, Look, how you butt yourself in these sharp 
mocks ! 
Will you give homs> chaste lady? do not so. 
Kath, Then die a calf, before your horns do grow. 
I/mg, One word in private with you, ere I die. 
Kath, Bleat softly then, the butcher hears you 
cry. [Thejf converse tqfart. 

B&get, The tongues of mocking wenches are as 
As is the razor's edge invisible. 
Cutting a smaller hair than may be seen } 
Above the sense of sense : so sensible 

. *^ The same joke oconrs in ' Dr. Dodjpoll/ ' l>ocf. Hans, 
my yerj speoiall friend ; fait and trot, me be rig^ht glad for see 
yovL veaU, Batu^ What, do you make a calfe of me, M. Dootorf 

888 love's act v. 

Seemeth their oonference ; their conceits have wings, 
Fleeter than arrows, bullets, wind, thought, swifter 
Ras. Not one word more, my maids ; break off, 

break off. 
Biron. By heaven, all dry-beaten with pure scoff} 
King. Farewell, mad wenches ; you have simple 
wits. [Exeunt King, Lords, Moth^ 

Musick, and Attendants. 
Prin. Twenty adieus, my frozen Muscovites. — 
Are these the breed of wits so wonder'd at? 
Boyet. Tapers they are, with your sweet breaths 

puff'd out. 
Ros, Well-liking ^ wits they have; gross, gross; 

fat, fat. 
Prin. O poverty in wit, kingly-poor flout ! 
Will they, not, think you, hang themselves to-nigbt? 

Or ever, but in visors, show their faces ? 
This pert Bir6n was out of countenance quite. 
Ros, O ! they were all in lamentable cases ! 
The king was weeping-ripe for a good word. 
Prin, Bir6n did swear himself out of all suit. 
Mar, Dumain was at my service, and his sword : 
No poitU^^y quoth I ; my servant straight was mute. 
Kath, Lord Longaville said, I came o'er his heart ; 
And trow you, what he call'd me ? 

Prin* Qualm^ perhaps. 

Kath^ Yes, in good faith. 
Prin. Go, sickness, as thou jurt! 

Ros, Well, better wits have worn plain statute- 
caps ^^ 

*• Well-liHng is the same as weU-conditioned, fat. So in Job, 
xxxix. 4. Their young ones are in good-ltking. 

No point, A quibble on the French adverb of negation as 
before, Act ji. Sc. 1, p. 330. 

'\ An act was passed the 13th of Elizabeth (1571), * For the 
continuance of m«kVii^ «.\i^v<^^\:v(i^^v»AV«n^ <^«.^s>in behalf of 

8C. II. labour's lost. 889 

But will you hear? the king is my loye «wom« 

Prin. And quick Bir6n hath plighted faith to me. 

Kathi And Longaville was for my service bom. 

Mar. Dumain is mine, as sure as bark on tree. 

BoyeU Madam^ and pretty mistresses, give ear; 
Immediately they will again be here 
In tiieir own shapes ; for it can never be. 
They will digest this harsh indignity. 

Prin, Will they return? 

Boyet. They will, they will, God knows ; 

And leap for joy, though they are lame with blows : 
Therefore, change favours ^^ ; and, when they repair. 
Blow like sweet roses in this summer air. 

Prin, How blow? how blow? speak to be un* 

Boyet. Fair ladies, mask'd, are roses in their bud ! 
Dismask'd) their damask sweet commixture shown. 
Are angels vailing clouds^, or roses blown. 

Prim, Avaunt, perplexity ! What shall we do. 
If they return in their own shapes to woo? 

Ros, Gfrood madam, if by me youll be advis'd. 
Let's mock them still, as well known, as disguisM, 

the trade of cappers, proTiding that all abore the age of six 
years (except the nobility and some others), should on Sabbath 
days and holidays, wear caps of wool, knit, thicked, and drest 
in England, upon penalty of ten groats.' 

The term fiat cap for a citizen will now be familiar to most 
readers from the nse made of it by tiie author of The Fortunes 
of Nigel. The meaning of this passage probably is ' better wUs 
may he found among cititens,* So in the Family of Loto, 1008. * It 
is a law enacted by the common-council of ttatute caps* Again 
in Newes from Hell brought by the Devil's Carrier, 1000 : 

' in a bowling alley, in Kfiat cap, like a shop-keeper,' 

^ Features, countenances. 

^ Ladies unnuuVd are like angels vailing clouds, or letting those 
clouds which obscured their brightness mib before them. So in 
The Merchant of Venice, Act i. Sc. 1. 

' Vailing her high top lower than her ribs.' 

L l2 

.390 love's act y. 

Let us complain to them what fools were here, 
Disguis'd like Muscovites, in shapeless ^^ gear; 
And wonder, what they were ; and to what end 
Their shallow shows, and prologue vilely penn'd, 
And their rough carriage so ridiculous. 
Should be presented at our tent to us. 

Boyet, Ladies, withdraw ; the gallants are at hand, 
Prin, Whip to our tents, as roes run over land. 
[Exeunt Princess, Ros. Rath, and Maria. 

Enter the King, Biron^ Longaville^ and 
DuMAiN, in their proper habits. 

King, Fair sir, God save you! Where is the 
princess ? 

Boyet, Gone to her tent : Please it your majesty, 
Command me any service to her thither? 

King. That ^he vouchsafe jne audience for odq 
word. • 

Boyet. I will ; and so will she, I know^ my lord. 


Biron, This fellow pecks up wit, as pigeons peas ; 
And utters it again when Jove doth please : 
He is wit's pedler ; and retails his wares 
At wakes and wassels^, meetings, markets, fairs; 
And we that sell by gross, the Lord doth know, 
Have not the grace to grace it with such show. 
This gallant pins the wenches on his sleeve ; 
Had he been Adam, he had tempted Eve : 
He can carve too, and lisp : Why, this is he, 
That kiss'd away his hand in courtesy ; 

^ Uncouth. 

^ Wassels, Festive meetings, drinking-bonts : from the Saxon 
waS'hiElf be in health, which was the form of drinking a health ; 
the customary answer to which was drine-hal, I drink your health. 
The wasselncupt wasselnbowl, toassel-breadf loasselrcandle, were all 
aids or accompaniments to festivity. 

;sc. II. labour's lost. .^1 

This is the ape of form, monsieur the nice, 
That, when he plays at tables, chides the dice 
In honourable terms ; nay, he can sing 
A mean^ most meanly ; and, in ushering, 
Mend him who can : the ladies call him, sweet ; 
The stairs, as he treads on them, kiss his feet : 
This is the flower that smiles on every one. 
To show his teeth as white as whales bone^: 
And consciences, that will not die in debt, 
Pay him the due of honey-tongued Boyet. 

King. A blister on his sweet tongue with my heart. 
That put Armado's page out of his part ! 

Enter the Princess, ushered by Boyet ; Rosaline, 
Maria, Katharine, and Attendants. 

Biron. See where it comes! — Behaviour, what 
wert thou, 
Till this man show'd thee? and what art thou now? 
King. All hail, sweet madam, and fair time of day L 
Prin. Fair, in all hail, is foul, as I conceive. 
King. Construe my speeches better, if you may; 
Prin, Then wish me better, I will give you leave. 
King. We came to visit you ; and purpose now 

To lead you to our court: vouchsafe it then. 
Prin. This field shall hold me ; and so hold your 
Nor God, nor I, delight in perjur'd men. 
King. Rebuke me not for that which you provoke ; 

The virtue of your eye must break my oath. 
Pnn. You nick-name virtue: vice you should 
have spoke; 
For virtue's office never breaks men's trpth. 

* The tenor in music. 

^ Whal'ts bone : the Saxon genitive case. It is a common 
comparison in the old poets. This bone was the tooth of the 
Horse-whakt morse, or walrasj now su]^er&eded b^ vh^\^« 


892 love's act V, 

Now, by my maiden honour, yet as pure 

As the unsullied lily, I protest, 
A world of torments though I should endure, 

I would not yield to be your house's guest: 
So much I hate a breaking-cd,use to be 
Of heavenly oaths, vow'd with integrity. 

King, O, you have liv'd in desolation here> 
Unseen, unvisited, much to our shame. 

Prin. Not so, my lord; it is not so, I swear; 
We have had pastimes here, and pleasant game ; 
A mess of Russians left us but of late. 

King, How, madam? Russians? 

Prin, Ay, in truth, my lord; 

Trim gallants, full of courtship, and of state. 

JRos, Madam, speak true :-^It is not so, my lord ; 
My lady, (to the manner of the days^). 
In courtesy, gives undeserving praise. 
We four, indeed, confronted here with four 
In Russian habit : here they stay'd an hour^ 
And talk'd apace ; and in tiiat hour, my lord. 
They did not bless us with one happy word. 
I dare not call them fools ; but this I think^i 
When they are thirsty, fools would fain have drink. 

Biron. This jest is dry to me, — Fair, gentle sweet. 
Your wit makes wise things foolish ; when we greet 
With eyes best seeing heaven's fiery eye. 
By light we lose light : Your capacity 
Is of that nature, that to your huge store 
Wise things seem foolish, and rich things but poor. 

Ros, This proves you wise and rich ; for in my eye, — 

Biron. I am a fool, and full of poverty. 

Ros. But that you take what dodi to you belong. 
It were a fault to snatch words from my tongue. 

Biron. O, I am yours, and all that I possess. 

JRos. All the fool mine ? 

BiTon^ \ QAaskot ^ve you less. 

SG. II. labour's lost. 899 

Ros, Which of the visors was it^ that you wore ? 
Biron. Where? when? what visor? why demand 

you this ? 
Ro8. There, then, that visor; that superfluous case. 
That hid the worse^ and show'd the better face. 
King. We are descried : they'll, mock us now 

Jhim. Let us confess,, and turn it to a jest. 
JPrm. Amaz'd, my lord? Why look^ your high- 
ness sad? 
Ros. Help, hold his brows ! hell swoon ! T^hy 
look you pale ? — 
Sea-sick, I think, coming from Muscovy. 

Biron. Thus pour the stars do^vn plague? for 
Can any face of brass hold longer out?r~7 
Here stand I, lady ; dart thy skill at me ; 

Bruise me with scorn, confound me with a flout ; 
Thrust thy sharp wit quite through my ignorance ; 

Cut me to pieces with thy keen conceit; 
And I will wish thee never more to dance. 
Nor never more in Russian habit wait. 
O ! never will I trust to speeches penn'd. 

Nor to the motion of a schoolboy's tongue ; 
Nor never come in visor to my friend^; 

Nor woo in rhyme like a blind harper's song ; 
Taffata phrases, silken terms precise, 

Three-pil'd^ hyperboles, spruce affectation, 
Figures pedantfcal ; these summer-flies 

Have blown me full of maggot ostentation : 
I do fofswear them, and I here protest, 

By this white glove, (how white the hand, God 
knows !) 
Henceforth my wooing mind shall be express'd 
In russet yeas, and honest kersey noes : 

^ Mistress. ^ A metaphor from the pile of velvety 

894 love's AdT V. 

And, to be^n, wench, — so God help me, la f — - 
My lore to thee is sound, sans crack or flaw. 

Ros. Sans sans, I pray you^^. 

Biron. Yet I have a trick 

Of the old rage : — ^bear with me, I am sick ; 
in leave it by degrees. Soft, let us see ;-^ 
Write, Lord have mercy on us^^, on those three; 
They are infected, in their hearts it lies. 
They have the plague, and caught it of your eyes : 
These lords are visited ^ you are not free. 
For the Lord's tokens on you do I see. 

Prill. No, they are free, that gave these tokens 
to us. 

Siron. Our states are forfeit, seek not to undo us. 

Ros, It is not so ; For how can this be true. 
That you stand forfeit, being those that sue ^ ? 

Biron. Peace ; for I will not have to do with you. 

Ros. Nor shall dot, if I do as I intend. 

Biron. Speak for yourselireis, my wit is at an end. 

King. Teach us, sweet madam, for our rude trans- 
Some 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 yoij^hen were here. 

What did you whisper in your lady? ear? 

** i. e. without French words, I pray you. 

^ This was the inscription put upon the doors of houses infected 
with the plague. The tokens of the plague were the first spots 
or discolorations of the skin. 

^ That is, how can those be liable to forfeiture that begin the 
process ? The quibble lies in the ambiguity of the word sue, 
which sigm&es to proceed to lewo, «xA to '^\^»^nu« 

sc. II. labour's lost. 895 

King* That more than all th^ world I did respect 

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. 

Prinf I wUl; and therefore keep it: — Rosaline, 
What did the Russian whisper in your ear? 

Kos, Madam, he swore, that he did hold me dear 
As precious eye-sight ; and did valiie 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 
I never swore this lady such an oath. 

Ro8. By heaven, you did ; and to confirm it plain, 
You gave me this : but take it, sir, again. 

Kifig. 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 Bir6n, I thank him, is my dear: — 
WhjEit ; will you have 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^, 

^ i. e. jovL care not, or do not regard forswearibg. 
^ An agreement, a conspiracy. See As Yon Like It, Act ii. 
Sc. 2. 

^ Buffoon. 

506 love's act v. 

Some mumble-news, some trencher-knight, some 

That smiles his cheek in jeers ^ ; and knows the trick 
To make my lady laugh, when she's dispos'd, — 
Told our intents before : which once disclos'd. 
The ladies did change favours ; and then we. 
Following the signs, woo'd 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, 


Forestall our sport, to make us thus untrue ? 
Do not you know my lady's foot by the 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*^; 
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 

Enter Costard. 

Welcome, pure wit I thou partest a fair fray. 

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

Biron. What, are there but three ? 

" The old copies read yeereSf the emendation is Theobald's. 
^ i. e. first in will, and afterwards in error. 
* From esquierre, Fr. rwfc, or square. The sense is similar to 
the proverbial saying— Ae hiis got the length of her foot. 
^ That is, you are an alloiced or a licensed fool or jester. 

sc. II. labour's lost. 397 

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 : 
Ifou cannot beg us'*^, sir, I can assure you, sir; we 

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

Biron. Is not nine. 

Cost. Under correction^ sir, we know where- 
until it doth amount. 

Biron. By Jove, I always took three threes for 

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

Biron. How much is it? 

Cost. O Lord, sir, the parties themselves, the ac- 
tors, sir, 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 care. [Exit Costard. 

King. Bir6n, they will shame us, let them not ap- 

^^ In the old common law was a writ deidtoto inqmrendot under 
which if a man was legally proved an idiot, the profits of his 
lands, and the custody of his person might he granted by the 
king to any snbject. Sach a person, when this grant was asked, 
was said to he begged for a fool. See Blackstone, b. 1. c. 8. § 18. 
One of the legal tests appears to have been to try whether the 
party could answer a simple arithmetical question. 

VOL. II. M ^ 

398 lovb's act t. 

Bimn. We are shame-proofy my lord: and 'tis 
some policy 
To have one show worse than the king's and his 

King. I say, they shall not come. 

Prtfi. Nay, my good lord, let me o'emile 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 mirth; 
When great things labouring^ perish in their birth. 

Biron. A right description of our sport, my lord. 

Enter Abmado, 

Arm. Anointed, I implore so much expense of thy 
royal sweet breath, as will utter a brace of words. 
[Arm ADO converges with the King, and delivers 

him a paper.] 
Prin. Doth this man serve God ? 
Biron. Why ask you ? 

Prin. He speaks not hke a man of God's making. 
Arm, Thaf s all one> my fair, sweet, honey mo- 

** The old copies read — 

* Dies in the zeal of that which it presents.' 
The emendation in the text is Malone's, and he thus endeayonrs 
to give this obscure passage a meaning. * The word it, I believe, 
refers to sport. That sporty says the princess, pleases best, where 
the actors are least skilfol ; where zeal strives to pletfse, and the 
contents, or great things attempted, perish in the Yerj act of 
being produced, from the ardent zeal of those who present the 
sportive entertainment. It, however, may refer to cotUentSf and 
that word may mean the most material part of the exhibition.' 
Mason proposed to read : 

* Where zeal strives to content, and the ooiBteot 
Ides in the zeal of those wiiich it present.' 

*'^ Labouring here means in the act of parturition. So Ro»- 
common : 

* The moan\aan& labour* d, ^w\ ^xcvc^VkSA was born.' 


narch : for, I protest, the schoolmaster is exceeding 
fantastical; too, too vain; too, too vain: But we 
will put it, as they say, tofortuna delta guerra. I 
wish you the peace of mind, most royal couple- 
ment'**. [Exit Armado. 

King. Here is like to be a good presence of wor- 
thies: He presents Hector of Troy; the swain, 
Pompey the great ; the parish curate, Alexander ; 
Armado's page, Hercules ; the pedant, Judas Ma- 

And if these four worthies in their first show thrive. 
These four will change habits, and present the other 

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 :-^ 

A bare 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 
[Settts brtmghtfcr the King, Princess, 8fc. 

Pageant of the Nine Worthies. 

Enter Costard amCdyfor Pompey* 

Cost. / Pompey am, 

Boyet. You lie, you are not he, 

** This word is used again by Shakspeare in his 2l8t Sonnet : 
* Making a emblement of proad compare.* 

^ A game at dice, properly ealled novem quinque, from the prin- 
cipal throws being nif»e and five. The first folio reads ' Abate 
throw/ &c. The second folio, which reads * A bare throw/ is 
eyidently tight. The meaning is obrioos, though Mr. Malone 
found the passage unintelligible; and proposed reading * Abate 
a throw ;' the meaning of which is by no means clear. 

^ Pick out. 

400 love's act v. 

Cost. / Pompey am,- 

Boyet. With libbard's head on knee^^. 

Biron, Well said, old mocker ; I must needs be 

friends with thee. 
Cost. I Pompey am, Pompey, mmanCd the big, — 
Dtcm. The great. 

Cwt. It is great, sir ; — Pompey mraaitCd the great ; 
That oft infield, with targe and shield, did make my 

foe to sweat : 
And travelling along this coast, I here am come by 

And lay my arms before the legs of this sweet lass of 

If your ladyship would say, Thanhs, Pompey, I had 
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 amCd,foT Alexander. 

Nath. TF%en in the world Iliv^d, I was the worWs 
commander ; 
By east, west, north, and south, I spread my con- 
quering might: 
My 'scutcheon plain declares that lam Alisander. 
Boyet. Your nose says, no, you are not; for it 
stands too right^. 

*^ This alludes to the old heroic habits, which, on the knees 
and shoulders, had sometimes by way of ornament the resem- 
blance of a leopard's or lion's head. See Cotgraye's Dictionary, 
in V. Masquine, 

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

sc. II. labour's lost. 401 

Biron, Your nose smells, no, in this, most tender- 
smelling knight^. 

Prin, The conqueror is dismay'd : Proceed, good 

Natl^. WJten in the world Ilw^d, I was the world's 

Boyet, Most true, 'tis right; you were so, Ali- 

Biron. Pompey the great, 

Cost. Your servant, and Costard. 

Biron. Take away the conqueror, take away 

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 be the ninth worthy. A con- 
queror, and afeard to speak ! run away for shame, 
Alisander. [Nath. retires.] There, an't shall please 
you ; a foolish mild man ; an honest man, look you, 
and soon dash'd ! He is a marvellous good neigh- 
bour, in sooth ; and a very good bowler : but, for 
Alisander, alas, you see how 'tis; — a little o'er- 
parted : — But there are worthies £v coming will speak 
their mind in some other sort. 

Prin. Stand aside, good Pompey. 

^® * His (Alexander's) bodj had so sweet a smell of itselfe 
that all the ttpparell he wore next anto his bodj, tooke thereof 
a passing delightful savoar, as if it had been perfumed.' North^s 

^ This alliides to the arms given, in the old history of the 
Nine Worthies, to Alexander, * the which did bear geoles a lion 
or, seiante in a chajer, holding a battle-axe argent.' There is a 
conceit of Ajax and a jokes, by no means uncommon at the time ; 
when Sir John Harington published his witty performance, 
* A new Discourse of a Stale Subject, called The Metamorphosis 
of Ajax,' 1696, giving a humorous account of his inrention of 
a water-closet. 

402 love's act v. 

Enter Holofernes arm%for Judas, and Moth 

arm^dffor Hercules. 

Hoi. Great Hercules is presented by this imp, 

Whose cbUf kUFd Cerberus, that three-headedc9JiVi&i 
And, when he was a babe, a child, a shrimp^ 

Jlvus did he strangle serpents in his manus : 
Quoniam, he seemeth in minority; 
Ergo, / come unth this apology, — 
Keep some state in thy exit, and vanish. 

[Exit Moth. 

Hoi. Judas I am, — 

Dum, A Judas ! 

Hoi. Not Iscariot, sir. — 
Judas I am, ycleped Machabceus. 

Dum. Judas Machabaeus dipt, is plain Judas. 

Biron. A kissing traitor : — How art thou prov'd 
Judas ? 

Hoi. Judas lam, — 

Dum. The more shame for you, Judas. 

Hoi. What mean you, sir ? 

Boyet. To make Judas hang himself. 

Hoi. Begin, sir ; you are my elder. 

^ir(m. Wellfollow*d : Judas was hang'd on aa elder. 

Hoi. I will not be put out of countenance. 

Biron. Because thou hast no face. 

Hoi. What is this ? 

Boyet. A cittern head^^. 

Dum. The head of a bodkin. 

Biron. A death's face in a ring. 

Xon^. The face of an old Koman coin, scarce seen. 

Boyet. The pummel of Caesar's faulchion. 

Dum. The carv'd-bone face on a flask ^. 

^^ The atterfty a musical instnunent like a guitar, had usuallj 
a head grotesquely carved at the extremity of. the neok and 
tiDger-board : hence these jests. 

^^ i. e. a soldier^ &^ON«^«t-Viot\i. 

sc. II. labour's lost. 403 

Biron. St. George's half-cheek in a brooch ^. 
Dum. Ay, and in a brooch of lead. 
Biron. Ay, and worn in the cap of a tooth-drawer : 
And now, forward ; for we haye put thee in coun-' 
Hoi. You have put me out of countenance. 
Biron. False ; we have given thee faces. 
Hoi, But you haye out-fac'd them all. 
Biron. An thou wert a lion, we would do so. 
BoyeU Therefore, as he is, an ass, let him go. 
And so adieu, sweet Jude ! nay, why dost thou stay ? 
Dum. For the latter end of his name. 
Biron. For the ass to the Jude ; give it him : — 

Jud-as, away. 
Hoi. This is not generous, not gentle, not humble. 
Boyet, A light for monsieur Judas : it grows dark, 

he may stumble. ' 

Prin. Alas, poor Machabaeus, how hath he been 

Enter Arm ado arm^d,for Hector. 

Biron. Hide thy head, Achilles; here comes 
Hector in arms. 

Dum. Though my mocks come home by me, I 
will now be merry. 

King. Hector was butaTrojan^ in respect of this. 

Boyet. But is this Hector? 

Dum. I think. Hector was not so clean-timber'd^ 

Long. His leg is too big for Hector. 

Dum. More calf, certain. 

Boyet. No ; he is best indued in the small. 

Biron. This cannot be Hector. 

^ A brooch was an ornamental clasp for fastening hat-bands, 
girdles, mantles, &c. a brooch of lead, Lecanse of his pale and 
-wan complexion, his leaden hue. 

^ Trojan is supposed to have been a cant term for a thie€« 
It was, however, a familiar i^ame for an^ e<^i\. ox voictv^x. 

404 lovb's act v. 

Dum, He's a god or a paiater ; for he makes faces. 

Arm. Hie amUpateiU Mars, of lances^ the al- 
Oave Hector a gift, — 

Dum, A gilt nutmeg. 

Biron. A lemon. 

Long. Stuck with ckivei. 

Dum. No, cloren* 

Arm. Peace. 
7%e armipotent Mars, of lances the almighty. 

Gave Hector a gift, the heir of Ilion; 
A man so breathed, that certain he womld fight, yea 

From mom tUl night, out of his pavilion, 
I am that flower, — 

Dum. That mint. 

Long. That columbine. 

Arm. Sweet lord LongayiUe, rein thy tongue. 

Long. I must rather giye it the rein; for it runs 
against Hector. 

Dum. Ay, and Hector's a greyhound. 

Arm. The sweet war-man is dead and rotten; 
sweet chucks, beat not the bones of the buried : 
when he breath'd, he was a man — But I will for- 
ward with my device : Sweet royalty, [to the Prin- 
cess.] bestow on me the sense of hearing. 

[BiRON whispers Costard. 

Prin. Speak, braye Hector; we are much de- 

Arm. I do adore thy sweet grace's slipper. 

Boyet. Loves her by the foot. 

Dum, He may not by the yard. 

Arm. This Hector far surmounted Hannibal, — 

Cost. The party is gone, fellow Hector, she is 
gone ; she is two months on her way. 

Arm. What meanest thou ? 

sc. II. labour's lost. 405 

Cost. Faith, unless you play the honest Trojan, 
the poor wench is cast away : she's quick ; the child 
brags in her belly already; 'tis yours. 

Arm. Dost thou infamonize me among potentates ? 
thou shalt die. 

Cost. Then shall Hector be whipp'd, for Jaque- 
netta that is quick by him ; and hang'd, for Pom- 
pey that is dead by lum. 

Dum. Most rare Pompey ! 

Boyet. Kenowned Pompey ! 

Biron. Greater than great, great, great, great 
Pompey ! Pompey the huge ! 

Dum. Hector trembles. 

Biron. Pompey is moved: — More Ates^, more 
Ates ; stir them on ! stir them on ! 

Dum. Hector will challenge him. 

Biron. Ay, if he have no more man's blood in's 
belly than will sup a flea. 

Arm. By the north pole, I do challenge thee. 

Cost. I will not fight with a pole, like a northern 
man^; I'll slash ; I'll do it by the sword : — I pray 
you, let me borrow my arms again. 

Dum. Koom for the incensed worthies. 

Cost. I'll do it in my shirt. 

Dum. Most resolute Pompey ! 

Moth. Master, let me take you a buttonhole lower. 
Do you not see, Pompey is uncasing for the combat? 
What mean you? you will lose your reputation. 

Arm. Gentlemen, and soldiers, pardon me ; I will 
not combat in my shirt. 

Dum. Youmay notdeny it; Pompey hath made 
the challenge. 

'^ i. e. more instigation. At6 wu the goddess of discord. 

^ Vir Borealu, a down. See <An Optiok Glasse of Ha- 
moars, by T. W. 1663.' The reference may be, howcTer to th« 
particular use of the qaarter staff in l\ie uoiVVieni CkVo.^\%%« 

406 LOVE S ACT V. 

Arm. Sweet bloods, I both may and wMl. 

Birom, What reasons have you for't? 

Arm. The naked truth of it is, I have no shirt; 
I go woolward^ for penance. 

Boyet. True, and it was enjoin'd him in Kome for 
want of linen : since when, I'll be sworn, he wore 
none, but a dish-clout of Jaquenetta's ; and that 'a 
wears next his heart for a favour. 

Enter a Messenger Monsieur Mercade. 

Mer. Grod save you, madam^ 

Prm, Welcome, Mercade; 
But that thou interrupt'st our merriment. 

Mer. I am sorry, madam ; for the news I bring. 
Is heavy in my tongue. The king your father — 

Prift. Dead, for my life. 

Mer. Even so ; my tale is told. 

Biron. Worthies, away ; the scene begins to cloud. 

Arm. For mine own part, I breathe free breath : 
I have seen the day of wrong through the little hole 
of discretion^, and I will right myself like a soldien 

[Exeunt Worthies. 

King. HoW fares your majesty ? 

Prin. Boyet, prepare; I will away to-night. 

King. Madam, not so ; I do beseech you^ stay. 

Prin. Prepare, I say.— I thank you, gracious 
For all your fair endeavours ; and entreat, 
Out of a new-sad soul, that you vouchsafe 

*^ That is clothed ia wool, and sot in linen. A penance often 
enjoined in times of superstition. In Lodge's Incarnate Devils 
of this Age, 1596, we have the character of a twash^mckkr : 
* His common coarse is to go always nntmst, except when his 
shirt is a washing, and then he goes wgoksardJ 

^ Armado probably means to say in his affected style that 
' he had discovered he was wronged.* * One may see day at a 
little hole' is a pToveib. 


In your rich wisdoai, to excuse, or hide. 
The liberal^ opposition of our spirits : 
If over-boldly we have borne ourselves 
In the converse of breath, your gentleness 
Was guilty of it.-"Farewell, worthy lord ! 
A heavy heart bears not an humble ^^ tongue : 
Excuse me so, coming so short of thanks 
For my great suit so easily obtain'd. 

King, The extreme parts of time extremely form 
All causes to the purpose of his speed; 
And often, at his very loose ^, decides 
That which long process could not arbitrate : - 
And though the mourning brow of progeny 
Forbid the smiling courtesy of love. 
The holy suit which fain it would convince^; 
Yet, since love's argum^it was first on foot. 
Let not the cloud of sorrow justle it 
From what it purpos'd ; since, to wail Mends lost. 
Is not by much so wholesome, profitable. 
As to rejoice at friends but newly found. 

Prin» I understand you not; my griefs are double. 

Biran. Honest plain words best pierce the ear of 
And by these badges understand the king. 
For your fair sakes have we neglected time, 
Play'd foul play with our oaths; your beauty, ladies. 
Hath much deform'd us, fashioning our humours 
Even to the opposed end of our intents ; 
And whsU; in us hath seem'd ridiculous, — 
As love is full of unbefitting strains ; 
All wanton as a child, skipping, and vain ; 

^ Free to excess. 

^ By humbis is here Hieaiit obteqtdmuh thmilcfuL 
^ Ixmse may mean .at the moment of his parting, i. e. of his 
getting loose or away from as. 

^ i. e. which it fain woold sneceed in obtaining. 


408 love's act v. 

Fomi'd by the eye, and therefore, like the eye. 
Full of strange shapes, of habits, and of forms. 
Varying in subjects as the eye doth roll 
To every varied object in his glance : 
Which party-coated presence of loose love 
Put on by us, if, in your heavenly eyes. 
Have misbecom'd our oaths and gravities. 
Those heavenly eyes, that look into these faults. 
Suggested^ us to make: Therefore, ladies. 
Our love being yours, the error that love makes 
Is likewise yours : we to ourselves prove false. 
By being once false for ever to be farue 
To those that make us both, — fair ladies, you : 
And even that falsehood, in itself a sin. 
Thus purifies itself, and turns to grace. 

Prin. We have receiv'd your letters, full of love; 
Your favours, the embassadors of love ; 
And, in our maiden council, rated them 
At courtship, pleasant jest, and courtesy, 
As bombast^, and as lining to the time : 
But more devout than this, in our respects. 
Have we not been ; and therefore met your loves 
In their own fashion, like a merriment. 

JDum. Our letters, madam, show'd much more 
than jest. 

Long. So did our looks. 

•* Tempted. 

^ Thas in Decker's Satiromastix : ' Yoa shall swear not to 
bomhtut oat a new play with the old linmgs of jests.' 

Bombast was the staffing or wadding of doublets. Stubbs, in 
his Anatomie of Abases, speaks of their being * staffed with foar, 
fire, or six poands of hombast at least.' The word originally 
signified cotton, from the Lat. bombtu, this material being prin- 
cipally ased for wadding or staffing. The metaphorical sense is 
tumid, inflated. The Princess says that this courtship was c<»i- 
sidered as. bat bombast, as someUiing to fill out life, which not 
being closely anited with it, might he thrown away at pleaMve. 

sjc. II. labour's lost/ 409 

Ros. We did not quote ^ them so. 

King, Now, at the latest minute of the hour, 
Grant us your loves. 

Prin, A time, methinks, too short . 

To make a world-without-end bargain in : . 
No, no, my lord, your grace is perjur'd much. 
Full of dear guiltiness; and, therefore this, — 
If for my love (as there is no such cause) 
You will do aught, this shall you do for me : 
Your oath I will not trust; but go with speed 
To some forlorn and naked hermitage, 
Remote from all the pleasures of the world ; 
There stay, until the twelve celestial signs 
Have brought about their annual reckoning : 
If this austere insociable life 
Change not your offer made in heat of blood ; 
/If frosts, and fasts, hard lodging, and thin weeds ^, 
Nip not the gaudy blossoms of your love. 
But that it bear this trial, and last love ; 
Then, at the expiration of the year. 
Come challenge, challenge me by these deserts. 
And, by this virgin palm, now kissing thine, 
I will be thine ; and, till that instant, shut 
My woful self up in a mourning house ; 
Raining the tears of lamentation. 
For the remembrance of my father's death. 
If this thou do deny, let our hands part; 
Neither intitled in ihe other's heart. 

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 me ? 

Ros. You must be purged too, your sins are rank; 

.« Regard. ^ Clothing. 

VOL. II. IJI '^ 

410 love's act v. 

You are attaint with faults and perjury ; 
Therefore, if you my favour mean to get, 
A twelvemonth shall you spend, and never rest. 
But seek the weary beds of people sick. 

Bum. But what to me, my love ? but what to me? 

Kaih. A wife ! — ^A beard, fair health, and honesty; 
With three-fold love I wish you all these three. 

Bum, O, shall I say, I tb&nk you, gentle wife? 

Kath. Not so, my lord ;---a twelvemonth and a day 
I'll mark no words that smooth*fac'd 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 fieuthfully till then. 

Kath. Yet swear not, lest you be forsworn again. 

Long. What says Maria? 

Max. At the twelvemonth's end, 

111 change my black gown ftnr a faithful friend. 

Long, I'll stay with patience; but the time is long. 

Mdr, The liker you ; few tall^ 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, 

Ro8. Oft have I heard of you, my lord Bir6n, 
Before I saw you : and the world's large tongue 
Proclaims you for a man replete with mocks ; 
Full of comparisons and wounding flouts; 
Which you on all estates will execute. 
That lie within the mercy of your wit : 
To weed this wormwood from your fruitful brain ; 
And, therewithal, to win me, if you please 
(Without the which I am mrt to be won). 
You shall this twelvemonth term from day to day 
Visit the speechless sick, and still converse 
With groaning wretches ; and your task shall be. 

sc. II. labour's lost. 411 

With all the fierce^ endeaToor of your wit, 
To enforce the pained impotent to smile. 

Bir<m.Ti) more wild laughter in the throat of death? 
It cannot be; it is impossible : 
Mirth cannot move a soul in agony. 

JRo9. Why, that's the way to choke a gibing spirit. 
Whose influence is begot of that loose grace. 
Which shallow laughing hearers give to fools : 
A jesfs prosperity lies in the ear 
Of him that hears it, never in the tongue 
Of him that makes it : then; if sickly ears, 
Deaf d with the clamours of their own dear^ groans^ 
Will hear your idle scorns, continue then. 
And I will hare you, and that fault withal ; 
But, if they will not, throw away that spirit. 
And I shall find you empty of that fault, 
Kight joyful of your reformation. 

Biran. A twelvemonth ? well,befall what will befall, 
I'll jest a twelvemonth in an hospital. 

Prin. Ay, sweet my lord ; and so I take my leave. 

[To the Kin^. 

King. No, madam ; we will bring you on your way. 

Biran. Our wooing doth not end like an old play ; 
Jack hath not Jill : these ladies' courtesy 
Might well have made our sport a comedy. 

King. Come, sir, it wants a twelvemonth and a day. 
And then ^twill end. 

Biron. That's too long for a play. 

Enter Arm ado. 

Arm. Sweet majesty. Vouchsafe me, — 
Prin. Was not that Hector? 
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 

** Vebemeot. , 

• J?ear. See note on TwcUiVi l^i^ViV, KtXN.^^.V,^*^^^- 

412 love's act v. 

the plough for hier 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. 

Arm. Holla! approach. 

Enter Holofernes, Nathaniel, Moth, 
Costard, and othen. 

This side b Hiems, winter ; this Ver, the spring ; the 
one maintained by the owl, the other by the cuckoo* 
Ver, begm. 



Spring. When daisies pied, and violets blue. 
And lady-sttwcks all silver-white, 
And cuckoo-buds'^^ of yellow hue, 

Do paint the meadows with delight. 
The cuckoo then, on every tree. 
Mocks married men, for thus sings he. 

Cuckoo, cuckoo, — O word of fear, 
Unpleasing to a married ear! 


When shepherds pipe on oaten straws. 
And merry larks are pUmghmevUs clocks. 

When turtles tread, and rooks, and daws. 
And maidens bleach their summer smocks, 

^ Gerarde in his Herbal, 1697, says, that the fios cucuU car- 
daminef &c. are called * in English cuckoo flowers^ in Norfolk 
Canterbury bells, and at Namptwich, in Cheshire, LadUsmocks,* 
In Lyte's Herbal, 1678, it is remarked, that cowslips are, in 
French, of some called coquu prime Tere, and brayes de co^tw. 
Herbe a coqu was one of the old French names for the cowslip, 

which it seems probaXAe \& VVi« ^o'vi^t \kst« \fi«jVD\.. %««^ Xj&«r^ 

Act i. Sc. 4. 

sc. II. labour's lost. 413 

Hie cuckoo, then, on every tree. 
Mocks married men, for thus sings he, 

Cuckoo, cuckoo, — O word of fear, 
Unpleasing to a married ear! 


Winter. When icicles hang by the wall. 

And Dick the shepherd blows his nail. 
And Tom bears logs into the haU, 

And milk comes frozen home in pail, 
When blood is nipped, and ways befoul. 
Then nightly sings the staring owl, 

To-whit, to-who, a merry note. 
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot. 


When all aloud the unnd doth blow. 

And coughing drowns the parson^s saw. 
And birds sit brooding in the snow. 

And Marian's nose looks red and raw. 
When roasted crabs'^^ hiss in the bowl. 
Then nightly sings the staring owl, 

To-who : 
To-whit, to-who, a merry note. 
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot'^^, 

^^ This wild English apple, roasted before the fire, and pnt 
into ale, was a very favourite indulgence in old times. 

^^ To keel, or kekf is to coolf from Gelan, Anglo Saxon. Lat- 
terly it seems to have been applied particularly to the cooUng of 
boiling liquor. To keel the pot is to cool it by stirring the pot- 
tage with the ladle to prevent the boiling over. Tooke was un- 
aware of the following ancient example, or he would have been 
less severe upon the commentators : 

' And lered men a ladel bygge, with a long stele 
That cast for to kele a crokke, and save the fatte above.' 

P. PlouKman, i^,^'^. ^A.^MS3k' 

414 lovb's labour's lost. act v. 

Arm. The words of Mercury are harsh ttfter the 
8ong;s of ApoUo. You« that vray ; we, this way. 


In this play, which all the editors have concorred to censure, 
and some have rejected as onworthj of oar poet, it must be con- 
fessed that there are many passages mean, childish, and vulgar; 
and some which ought not to hare been exhibited, as wo are told 
they were, to a maiiden queen. But there are scattered through 
the whole many sparks of genius ; nor is there any play that has 
more erident marks of the hand of Shakspeare. Johnson. 

END OF VOL. 11. 


C. and C. >NUsftQt>iaLtn,eo\Vfti%^<(»aR,Ctaft^ick. 

MAR 11 1253