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Biron. Peace; for I will not have to do with you. Ros. Nor shall not, if I do as I intend.

Biron. Speak for yourselves; my wit is at an end. King. Teach us, sweet madam, for our rude transgression,

Some fair excuse.

Prin.

The fairest is confession.

Were you not here, but even now, disguised?
King. Madam, I was.

Prin.

And were you well advised?

King. I was, fair madam.
Prin.

When you then were here,

What did you whisper in your lady's ear?

King. That more than all the world I did respect her. Prin. When she shall challenge this, you will reject

her.

King. Upon mine honor, no.

Prin. Peace, peace, forbear, Your oath once broke, you force1 not to forswear. King. Despise me when I break this oath of mine. Prin. I will; and therefore keep it.-Rosaline, What did the Russian whisper in your ear?

Ros. Madam, he swore that he did hold me dear
As precious eyesight; and did value me

Above this world; adding thereto, moreover,
That he would wed me, or else die my lover.

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

King. What mean you, madam? By my life, my troth,

I never swore this lady such an oath.

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

King. My faith, and this, the princess I did give;

I knew her by this jewel on her sleeve.

Prin. Pardon me, sir, this jewel did she wear;

And lord Birón, I thank him, is my dear.-
What; will you have me, or your pearl again?
Biron. Neither of either; I remit both twain.-

1 i. e. you care not, or do not regard forswearing.

I see the trick on't.-Here was a consent1
(Knowing aforehand of our merriment)
To dash it like a Christmas comedy.

Some carry-tale, some please-man, some slight zany, Some mumble-news, some trencher-knight, some

Dick,

That smiles his cheek in jeers,2 and knows the trick
To make my lady laugh, when she's disposed,-
Told our intents before; which once disclosed,
The ladies did change favors; and then we,
Following the signs, wooed but the sign of she.
Now, to our perjury to add more terror,
We are again forsworn; in will and error.3
Much upon this it is. And might not you [To BOYET
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 allowed; 5
Die when you will, a smock shall be
You leer upon me, do you?
Wounds like a leaden sword.

Boyet.

your shroud. There's an eye

Full merrily

Hath this brave manege, this career, been run.

Biron. Lo, he is tilting straight! Peace; I have done.

Enter COSTARD.

Welcome, pure wit! Thou partest a fair fray.
Cost. O Lord, sir, they would know,

Whether the three worthies shall come in, or no.
Biron. What, are there but three?

Cost.

No, sir; but it is vara fine,

And three times thrice is nine.

For every one pursents three.
Biron.

1 An agreement, a conspiracy. See As You Like It, Act ii. Sc. 2.

2 The old copies read yeares: the emendation is Theobald's.

3 i. e. first in will, and afterwards in error.

4 From esquierre (Fr.), rule, or square. The sense is similar to the

proverbial saying-He has got the length of her foot.

5 That is, you are an allowed or a licensed fool or jester.

Cost. Not so, sir; under correction, sir; I hope it

is not so.

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You 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 whereuntil it doth amount.

Biron. By Jove, I always took three threes for

nine.

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 actors, 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 [Exit COSTARD.

some care.

King. Birón, they will shame us; let them not ap

proach.

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

policy

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

company.

King. I say, they shall not come.

Prin. Nay, my good lord, let me o'errule you

now;

That sport best pleases that doth least know how.

In the old common law was a writ de idiota inquirendo, under which if a man was legally proved an idiot, the profits of his lands, and the custody of his person, might be granted by the king to any subject. Such a person, when this grant was asked, was said to be begged for a fool. One of the legal tests appears to have been, to try whether the party could answer a simple arithmetical question.

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 laboring perish in their birth.
Biron. A right description of our sport, my lord.

Enter ARMADO.

Arm. Anointed, I implore so much expense of thy royal sweet breath, as will utter a brace of words. [ARMADO converses with the King, and delivers him a paper.]

Prin. Doth this man serve God?
Biron. Why ask you?

Prin. He speaks not like a man of God's making. Arm. That's all one, my fair, sweet, honey monarch; for, I protest, the schoolmaster is exceeding fantastical; too, too vain; too, too vain. But we will put it, as they say, to fortuna della guerra. I wish you the peace of mind, most royal couplement.2

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

five.

Biron. There is five in the first show.

King. You are deceived, 'tis not so.

1 The old copies read

"Dies in the zeal of that which it presents."

The emendation in the text is Malone's, and he thus endeavors to give this obscure passage a meaning. The word it, I believe, refers to sport. That sport, says the princess, pleases best, where the actors are least skilful; where zeal strives to please, and the contents, or great things attempted, perish in the very act of being produced, from the ardent zeal of those who present the sportive entertainment. It, however, may refer to contents, and that word may mean the most material part of the exhibition.

2 This word is used again by Shakspeare in his 21st Sonnet:

VOL. II.

"Making a couplement of proud compare."

20

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

amain.

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

Pageant of the Nine Worthies.

Enter COSTARD armed, for Pompey.

Cost. I Pompey am,—
Boyet.

Cost. 1 Pompey am,—
Boyet.

You lie; you are not he.

With libbard's head on knee.3

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

friends with thee.

Cost. I Pompey am, Pompey, surnamed the Big,Dum. The Great.

Cost. It is Great, sir;-Pompey, surnamed the Great; That oft in field, with targe and shield, did make my foe to sweat;

And travelling along this coast, I here am come by chance,

And lay my arms before the legs of this sweet lass of

France.

If your ladyship would say, Thanks, Pompey, I had

done.

Prin. Great thanks, great Pompey.

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

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

1 A game at dice, properly called novem quinque, from the principal throws being nine and five. The first folio reads "Abate throw," &c. The second folio, which reads "A bare throw," is evidently right.

2 Pick out.

3 This alludes to the old heroic habits, which, on the knees and shoulders, had sometimes, by way of ornament, the resemblance of a leopard's or lion's head. See Cotgrave's Dictionary, in v. Masquine.

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