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Boyet. I am bound to serve,—
This letter is mistook, it importeth none here;
Pri\. We will read it, I swear:
Break the neck of the wax, and every one give ear.
By heaven, that thou art fair is most infallible; true, that thou art beauteous; truth itself, that thou art lovely: More fairer than fair, beautiful than beauteous, truer than truth itself, have commiseration on thy heroical vassal I The magnanimous and most illustrate king Cophetua set eye upon the pernicious and indubitate beggar Zenelophon ; * and he it was that might rightly say veni, vidi, viei; which to annothanize, in the vulgar, (O base and obscure vulgar /) videlicet, he came, saw, and overcame: he came, one; saiv, two; overcame, three. Who camel the kings why did he come? to see; why did he see? to overcome: to whom came he 1 to the beggar; what saw he 1 the beggar; who overcame he 1 the beggar: the conclusion is victory; on whose side ? the king's: the captive Li enrich'd; On whose side 1 the beggar's: the catastrophe is a nuptial; on whose side? the king's?—no, an both in one, or one in both. I am the king; for so stands the comparison: thou the beggar; for so witnesseth thy lowliness. Shall I command thy love? I may: shall I enforce thy love? I could: shdl I entreat thy love? I will: what shalt thou exchange for rags? robes: for tittles, titles: for thyself, me. Thus, expecting thy reply, I profane 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 Be Armado. Thus dost thou hear the Nemean lion roar
'Gainst thee, thou lamb, 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? Foo<l for his rage, repasturefor his den.
Prin. What plume of feathers is he that indited this letter? What vane ? * what weathercock? did you ever hear better?
Boyet. I am much deceived, but I remember the style.
(*) First folio, veine. the same metaphor, calling a love-letter, una poJIicetta amorisa. To break up, Percy says, was a peculiar phrase in carving. Undoubtedly,
"We carve a hare, or else bretike up a hen."
Florio'b Montaigne, p. 166, 1603. But Shakespeare is not singular in applying it to the opening of a letter. In Ben Jonson's " Every Man Out of His Humour." Act I. So. 1. Carlo BurTone recommends Sogliardo to have letters brought to him when dining or supping out,—"And there, while you intend circumstances of news, or inquiry of their health, or so, one of your familiars, whom you must carry about you still, breaks it up, as 'twere in a jest, and reads it publicly at the table."
Prin. Else your memory is bad, going o'er it
erewhile. Boyet. This Armado is a Spaniard, that keeps here in court; A phantasm, a Monarcho/1) and one that makes
sport To the prince, and his book-mates.
Prin. Thou, fellow, a word:
Who gave thee this letter?
Cost. I told you; my lord.
Prin. To whom shouldst thou give it?
Prin. 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, away, Here, sweet, put up this; 't will be thine another day. [Exeunt Princess and train.
Boyet. Who is the suitor? who is the suitor ?b
Finely put off!
Boyet. My lady goes to kill horns; but, if thou marry, Hang me by the neck, if horns that year miscarry. Finely put on!
Ros. Well, then, I am the shooter.
Ros. If we choose by the horns, yourself: come not near. Finely put on, indeed !—
Mar. You still wrangle with her, Boyet, and
she strikes at the brow. Boyet. But she herself is hit lower: have
I hit her now? Ros. Shall I come upon thee with an old saying, that was a man when king Pepin 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. [Singing.']
Thou canst not hit it," hit it, hit it,
» Zenelophon ;] In the old ballad of " A Song of a Beggar and a King," 1612, the name is JPenetophon, but the misspelling may have been intentional.
b Who is the suitor f] The jest lies in pronouncing suitor, as it is spelt in the old copies, shooter; which, indeed, appears to have been the ancient pronunciation.
c Thou canst not hit it,—] Alluding to a song, or dance, mentioned in S. Gosson's "Pleasant Quippes for Upstart Newfangled Gentlewomen," 1596:—
"Can I/ok hit it ? is oft their daunce, Deuce-ace fals stil to be their chance." And in " Wily Beguiled," 1606:—
"And then dance, Canst thou not hit it?"
An I cannot, cannot, cannot,
[Exeunt Ros. and Kath.
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 may be. Mar. Wide o' the bow hand! I' faith your
hand is out. Cost. Indeed, a' must shoot nearer, or he '11
ne'er hit the clout. Borrr. 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;
challenge 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 1 most incony vulgar
wit! When it comes so smoothly off, so obscenely, as it
were, so fit. Armado o' the one side,*—O, B 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 pathetical nit! Sola, sola!
Shouting within* Exit Costard, running.
SCENE II.—The same. Enter Holofernes, Sir Nathaniel, and Dull.
Nath. Very reverend sport, truly; and done in the testimony of a good conscience.
Hol. The deer was, as you know, sanguis,— in blood ;c ripe as a pomewater, who now hangeth like a jewel in the ear of cce/o,—the sky, the welkin, the heaven; and anon falleth like a crab, on the face of terra,—the soil, the land, the earth. Nath. Truly, master Holofernes, the epithets are sweetly varied, like a scholar at the least; but, sir, I assure ye, it was a buck of the first head. Hol. Sir Nathaniel, haud credo. Dull. 'T was not a haud credo; 'twas a pricket. (2)
Hol. Most barbarous intimation! yet a kind of insinuation' as it were in vid, in way, of explication ; facere, as it were, replication, or, rather, ostentare, to show, as it were, his inclination,— after his undressed, unpolished, uneducated, unpruned, untrained, or rather unlettered, or, ratherest, unconfirmed fashion,—to insert again my haud credo for a deer.
Dull. I said the deer was not a haud credo; 't was a pricket.
Hol. Twice sod simplicity, bis coctvs !— O, thou monster, Ignorance, how deformed dost thou look! Nath. Sir, he hath never fed of the dainties that are bred in a book. He hath not eat paper, as it were; he hath not drunk ink: his intellect is not replenished; he is' only an animal, only sensible in the duller parts; And such barren plants are set before us, that we
(*) Old copiel, $hook within.
» By clearing the pin.] The quarto, 1598, and the folio, 1623, rea£. by mistake, u in. To a cave the pin is explained in Act V. It. 4. of •' The Two Gentlemen of Verona," p. 39.
h Jrmado o' the one side, —] C the one side, is a modern corlecrJaD: the quarto, 1598, reads, ath toothen tide; and the folio, 1S23. ath to the side. Nor are these, I believe, the only misdeeds a connexion with this particular passage for which the old copies an amenable. The reference to Armado and the Page is so utterly irrelevant to anything in the scene, that every one must be struck with its incongruity. I have more than a suspicion that the vnele passage, from
"O' my troth, most sweet jests! most incony vulgar wit!" or, at least, from
"Armado o' the one side," &c, down to.
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 him in
a school: But, omne bene, say I; being of an old father's
mind, Many can brook the weather, that love not the wind.
"Ah, heavens, it is a most pathetical nit!" belongs to the previous Act, and in the original MS. followed Costard's panegyric on the Page,—
"My sweet ounce of man's flesh! my incony Jew!" It is evidently out of place in the present scene, and quite appropriate in the one indicated.
c In blood;] To be in blood, a phrase of the chase, has been explained, to be lit for killing; but it appears also to have meant an animal with its blood up—ready to turn and attack its pursuers; like a stag at bay. See the passage in " Henry VI, Part 1." Act IV. Sc. 2, beginning—
"If we be English deer, be then in blood; Not rascal like," &c. 4 Which m of take—] The preposition of is not found in the old copies. It was inserted bv Tyrwhitt.
Dull. You two are book-men: can you tell by your wit,
What was a month old at Cain's birth, that's not five weeks old as yet? Hol. Dictynna,* goodman Dull; Dictynnn,
goodman Dull. Dull. What is Dictynna? Nath. A title to Phoebe, to Luna, to the moon. Hol. The moon was a month old, when Adam was no more; And raught not to five weeks, when he came to
five-score. The allusion holds in the exchange.
Dull. 'T is true indeed; the collusion holds in
the exchange. Hol. God comfort thy capacity! I say, the allusion holds in the exchange.
Dull. And I say the collusion holds in the exchange; for the moon is never but a month
» Dictynna, gondman Dull; Dictynna,—] The old copies have Dictiaiima and Dictitua. Rowe made the corrections.
old: and I say, beside, that 'twas a pricket that the princess killed.
Hol. Sir Nathaniel, will you hear an extern poral epitaph on the death of the deer? and. to humour the ignorant, I have b called the deer the princess killed, a pricket.
Nath. Perge, good Master Holofernes, penje; so it shall please you to abrogate scurrility.
Hol. I will something affect the letter; for it argues facility.
The preyful princess piere'd and prick'd a pretty pleasing pricket; Some say a sore; but not a sore, till now made sore with shooting. The dogs did yell; put I to sore, then sorel jumps from th icket; Or pricket, sore, or else sorel; the people fall a hooting.
h I have called the deer—] I have, not in the ancient copies, was inserted by Rovre.
If tore be tore, then L to store makes fifty sores; 0 tore L /
Of one store I an hundred make, by adding but one more L.
Nath. A rare talent!
Dull. If a talent be a claw, look how he claws him with a talent/
Hol. This is a gift that I have, simple, simple; a foolish extravagant spirit, full of forms, figures, shapes, objects, ideas, apprehensions, motions, revolutions: these are begot in the ventricle of memory, nourished in the womb of pia mater,* and delivered upon the mellowing of occasion: but the gift is good in those in whom it is acute, and I am thankful 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.
Hol. Mehercle! if their sons be ingenious, they shall want no instruction: if their daughters be capable, I will put it to them: but, vir sapU qui pauca loquitur. A soul feminine saluteth us.
EnUr Jaquknetta and Costabd.
Jao.. God give you good morrow, master person.b
Hol. Master person,—quasi person. And if one should be pierced, which is the one?
Cost. Marry, master schoolmaster, 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 » flint, pearl enough for a swine: 'tis pretty; it is well.
Jao.. 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.
Hol. Fawte, precor gelidd quando pecus omni tub umbrd Ruminat,'—and so forth. Ah, good old Mantnan! I may speak of thee as the traveller doth of Venice:
Chi non te vede, ei non te pregia^)
(•) Old copiei. primater.
* If a talent be a elder, flee.—] Goodman Pull's small pun lg founded on talon of a bird or beast being often of old spelt talent, and on clatr, in one sense, meaning to flatter, to fawn upon.
b Master person.] Parson was formerly very often pronounced and spelt person; which, indeed, is more correct than parson, as the word comes from persona eeclesia:. "Though we write Parson cifferently, yet 'tis but Person; that is, the individual Person set apart for the service of the Church, and 'tis in Latin Persona, and Personatus is a Personage:'—Sklden's Table Talk, Art. "Parson."
e Fauste, precor gelidd—] In the old copies this passage is assigned to Nathaniel. There can be no doubt of its belonging to Holofernes, who probably reads it, or recites it from memory, • bile the curate is intent upon the letter. Like all quotations
Old Mantuan! old Mantuan! who understandcth thee not, loves thee not.*—TJt, 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. Hol. Let me hear a staff, a stanza, a verse; Lege, domine. Nath.
If love make me forsworn, how shall I swear to love 1
Ah, never faith could hold, if not to beauty vow'd 1
Though to myself forsworn, to thee I'll faithful prove;
Those thoughts to me were oaks, to thee like osiers bow'd.
Study his bias leaves, and makes his book thine eyes,
Where all those pleasures live that art would
comprehend: If knowledge be the mark, to know thee shall suffice; Well learned is that tongue that well can thee
All ignorant that soul that sees thee without wonder;
(Which it 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 music, and sweet fire. Celestial as thou art, oh, pardon, love, this
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 arc only numbers ratified ;d but, for the elegancy, facility, and golden cadence of poesy, caret. Ovidius 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' horse his rider. But, damosclla virgin, was this directed to you?
(*) First folio omits loves thee not. from a foreign language, the Latin here, and the Italian proverb which follows, are printed most vilely in both quarto and folio. The "good old Mantuan" was Baptista Spagnohis, a writer of poems, who nourished late in the fifteenth century, and was called Mantuanus, from the place of his birth.
« Here are only numbers ratified ;] In the old copies Sir Nathaniel is now made to proceed with this speech ; so to other passages in the present scene, which clearly belong to Holofernes, Nath. has been mistakenly prefixed.
• Imitari is nothing:] The quarto and folio, 1G2.1, read invention imitarie. Theobald made the obvious correction.
f The tired horse— ] Banks' horse is thought to be here again alluded to; but perhaps by tired horse (in the original tyred) any horse adorned with ribbons or trappings may be meant.
Jaq. Ay, sir, from one monsieur Biron, one of the strange queen's lords..
Iiol. I will overglanco 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,
Sir Nathaniel, this Biron is one of the votaries with the king; and here he hath framed a letter to a sequent of the stranger queen's, which, accidentally, or by way of progression, hath miscarried.—Trip and go, my sweet; deliver this paper into the royal + hand of the king; it may concern
(*) Old copies, written. (f) First folio omits royal.
■ Monsieur Biron, one of the strange queen's lords.] Unless Jaquenetta is intended to blunder or prevaricate, the poet has committed an oversight here. As Mason remarks, "Jaquenetta
I 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 colourable colours. But, to return to the verses: did they please you, sir Nathaniel? Nath. Marvellous well for the pen. Hol. I do dine to-day at the father's of a certain pupil of mine; where if, before* repast, it shall please you to gratify the table with a grace,
(•) First folio, being. knew nothing of Biron, and had said just before that the letter had been sent to her from Don Armatho, and given to her by Costard."