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Enter Don PEDRO and CLAUDIO, with Attendants.
D. Pedro. Good morrow to this fair assembly.
Claud. I'll hold my mind were she an Ethiop.
[Exit ANTONIO. D. Pedro. Good morrow, Benedick. Why,
what's the matter,
Claud. I think, he thinks upon the savage bull.-
Bene. Bull Jove, sir, had an amiable low;
Re-enter Antonio, with the Ladies, masked.
Leon. This same is she, and I do give you her.
see your face.
Beat. No, truly, but in friendly recompense. Before this friar, and swear to marry her.
Leon. Come, cousin, I am sure you love the genClaud. Give me your hand before this holy friar:
tleman. I am your husband, if you like of me.
Claud. And I'll be swom upon't, that he loves Hero. And when I liv’d, I was your other wife:
(Unmasking. For here's a paper, written in his hand, And when you lov’d, you were my other husband. A halting sonnet of his own pure brain, Claud. Another Hero ?
Fashion'd to Beatrice.
And here's another, One Hero died defil'd; but I do live,
Writ in my cousin's hand, stol'n from her pocket, And, surely as I live, I am a maid.
Containing her affection unto Benedick. D. Pedro. The former Hero! Hero that is dead ! Bene. A miracle! here's our own bands against Leon. She died, my lord, but whiles her slander our hearts.—Come, I will have thee; but, by this liv'd.
light, I take thee for pity. Friar. All this amazement can I qualify;
Beat. I would not deny you ;-but, by this good When after that the holy rites are ended,
day, I yield upon great persuasion, and, partly, to I'll tell you largely of fair Hero's death :
save your life, for I was told you were in a consumpMean time, let wonder seem familiar,
tion. And to the chapel let us presently.
Bene. Peace! I will stop your mouth. Bene. Soft and fair, friar.- Which is Beatrice ? D. Pedro. How dost thou, Benedick, the married Beat. I answer to that name. - [Unmasking.]What is your will ?
Bene. I'll tell thee what, prince; a college of witBene. Do not you love me?
crackers cannot flout me out of my humour. Dost Beat.
Why, no; no more than reason. thou think, I care for a satire, or an epigram? No: Bene. Why, then, your uncle, and the prince, if a man will be beaten with brains, a' shall wear and Claudio,
nothing handsome about him. In brief, since I do Have been deceived: they swore you did.
purpose to marry, I will think nothing to any purpose Beat. Do not you love me?
that the world can say against it; and therefore Bene.
Troth, no; no more than reason. never flout at me for what I have said against it, for Beat. Why, then, my cousin, Margaret, and Ur man is a giddy thing, and this is my conclusion.sula,
For thy part, Claudio, I did think to have beaten Are much deceiv'd; for they did swear, you did. thee; but, in that thou art like to be my kinsman, Bene. They swore that you were almost sick for live unbruised, and love my cousin.
Claud. I had well hoped, thou wouldst have deBeat. They swore that you were well-nigh dead nied Beatrice, that I might have cudgelled thee out
of thy single life, to make thee a double dealer; Bene. 'Tis no such matter.—Then, you do not which, out of question, thou wilt be, if my cousin love me?
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 afterward.
Bene. First, of my word; therefore, play, musie !-Prince, thou art sad; get thee a wife, get thee a wife: there is no staff more reverend than one tipped with horn.
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 devise thee brave punishments for him.-Strike up, pipers.
ACT I.-SCENE I.
in his discourses on Scripture, quoted by Edwards, "— with a Messenger”—The old stage-direction runs speaking
of Adam, says="He whom God had stuffed thus, explaining the relations of the parties to each other, TER's Tale, we have
with so many excellent qualities.” And, in the Wis. there being originally no list of characters :-" Enter
- of stuff'd sufficiency. Leonato, governor of Messina, Imogen his wife, Hero his daughter, and Beatrice his niece, with a messenger.” prudently checks herself in the pursuit of it. A stuffed
Beatrice starts an idea at the words stuffed man, and It is clear, therefore, that the mother of Hero made her
man appears to have been one of the many cant phrases appearance before the audience, although she says
for a cuckold. nothing throughout the comedy. “I know none of that name"—Beatrice asks after
"-four of his five wits”—The five senses, long Benedick by a term of the fencing-school, “Montanto :"
before the time of Shakespeare, were called the “five a term with which Capt. Bobadil has made most readers
wits.” In his time wits became the general name for familiar—" Your punto, your reverso, your stoccato,
the intellectual powers, and these, by analogy to the
senses, “the inlets of ideas," were also supposed to be your montanto," etc. The humour of this the messen
five in number. Shakespeare, in his One hundred and ger does not understand, and answers, “I know none of that name, lady."
forty-first “Sonnet," distinguishes the “five wits" from
the five senses : “He set up his bills"-To “set up bills” was to give
But my five wits, nor my five senses, can public notice of a challenge, by posting placards.
Dissuade one foolish heart from loving thee. “ – challenged Cupid at the flight"_" Flights' “— the fashion of his hat, it ever changes with the were long and light-feathered arrows, that went directly next BLOCK"-" In the perpetual change of fashions to the mark; bird-bolts, short thick arrows, without a
which was imputed to the English in Elizabeth's day, point, and spreading, at the extremity, into a blunt or
the hat underwent every possible transition of form. nobbed head. The meaning of the whole is—Benedick,
We had intended to have illustrated this by exhibiting from a vain conceit of his influence over women, chal
the principal varieties which we find in pictures of that lenged Cupid at the flight-i. e. to shoot at hearts. day; but if our blocks had been as numerous as these The fool, to ridicule this piece of vanity, in his turn
blocks, we should have filled pages with the graceful challenged Benedick at the bird-bolt-an inferior kind or grotesque caprices of the exquisites from whom of archery, used by fools, who, for obvious reasons,
Brummell inherited his belief in the powers of the bat. were not permitted to shoot with pointed arrows :
* Why, Mr. Brummell, does an Englishman always look whence the proverb—A fool's bolt is soon shot.'”.
better dressed than a Frenchman?' The oracular reply DOUCE.
was, ''Tis the hat.' We present, however, the portrait
of one ancient Brummell, with a few hats at his feet to “ – he'll be meet with you”-i. e. He will be even
choose from."-Knight. (See cut, end of scene, p. 44.) with you, or he will be your match-a phrase common in old dramatists, and other writers; and still preserved,
"- the gentleman is not in your books”—“The in colloquial use, in the midland counties of England. meaning of this expression, which we retain to the
present day, is generally understood. He who is in "— STUFFED with all honourable virtues”—“Stuffed,” yonr books'-or, as we sometimes say, in your good in this first instance, has no ridiculous meaning. Mede, books—is he whom you think well of—whom you trust.
It appears obvious that the phrase has a commercial origin; and that, as he who has obtained credit, buys upon trust, is in his creditor's books, so he who has obtained in any way the confidence of another, is said to he in his books. None of the commentators, however, base suggested this explanation. Johnson says it means * to be in one's codicils, or will;' Stevens, that it is to be in one's visiting-book, or in the books of a university, or in the books of the Herald's Office; Farmer, and Douce, that it is to be in the list of a great man's retainers, because the names of such were entered in a book. This is the most received explanation. Our view of the matter is more homely, and for that reason it appears to us more true.”—Knight.
“ — Is there no young SQUARER now"-i. e. Quarreller. To square is the first position for boxing—to dispute, to confront hostilely. So, in A MIDSUMMER XIGHT'S DREAM :
And now they never meet in grove, or green,
But they do square. “ – John”—Most editors call him “ Don John," but in the old quarto and folio copies he is called “ John,” * John the Bastard," and “Sir John," in the stage-directions, and in the assignment of the speeches.
“ – the lady fathers herself"—i. e. Resembles her father. The phrase (Stevens tells us) is still common in some parts of England.
* - Vulcan a rare earpenter"-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?
* — to go in the song”-i. e. To join in the song you are singing.
-- he will wear his cap with suspicion"-The cap alluded to is the nightcap; as Iago says, “I fear Cassio with my nightcap, too."
** Like the old tale, my lord: it is not so, nor 'twas not so; but, indeed, God forbid it should be so."
Mr. Blakeway, in Boswell's edition of SHAKESPEARE, has given an illustration of this passage, in his own recollections of an “old tale," (to which our Poet evidently allades,)“ and which has often froze my young blood, when I was a child, as, I dare say, it had done his before me:"
"Once upon a time there was a young lady, (called Lady Mary in the story,) who had two brothers. One summer they all three went to a country-seat of theirs, which they had not before witnessed. Among the other gentry in the neighbourhood, who came to see them, was a Mr. Fox, a bachelor, with whom they, particularly the young lady, were much pleased. He used often to dine with them, and frequently invited Lady Mary to come and see his house. One day that her brothers were absent elsewhere, and she had nothing better to do, she determined to go thither, and accordingly set out unattended. When she arrived at the house and knocked at the door, no one answered. At length she opened it, and went in. Over the portal of the ball was written, Be bold, be bold, but not too bold.' She advanced-over the staircase, the same inscription. She went up-over the entrance of a gallery, the same. She proceeded-over the door of a chamber, * Be bold, be bold, but not too bold, lest that your heart'sblood should run cold. She opened it-it was full of akeletons, tabs full of blood, etc. She retreated in haste. Coming down stairs, she saw, out of a window, Mr. Fox advancing towards the house, with a drawn sword in one hand, while with the other he dragged along a young lady by her hair. Lady Mary had just time to slip down and hide herself, under the stairs, befure Mr. Fox and his victim arrived at the foot of them. As he pulled the young lady up stairs, she caught hold of one of the bannisters with her hand, on which was
rich bracelet. Mr. Fox cut it off with his sword: the
hand and bracelet fell into Lady Mary's lap, who then contrived to escape unobserved, and got home safe to her brothers' house.
“After a few days Mr. Fox came to dine with them, as usual ; (whether by invitation, or of his own accord, this deponent saith not.) After dinner, when the guests began to amuse each other with extraordinary anecdotes, Lady Mary at length said she would relate to them a remarkable dream she had lately had. “I dreamed,' said she, 'that as you, Mr. Fox, had often invited me to your house, I would go there one morning. When I came to the house, knocked, etc., but no one answered. When opened the door, over the hall was written, ‘Be bold, be bold, but not too bold.' But,' said she, turning to Mr. Fox, and smiling, “it is not so, nor it was not so.' Then she pursues the rest of the story, concluding at every turn with, “It is not so, nor it was not so,' till she comes to the room full of dead bodies, when Mr. Fox took up the burden of the tale, and said,
It is not so, nor it was not so, and God forbid it should be so ;' which he continues to repeat at every subsequent turn of the dreadful story, till she came to the circumstance of his cutting off the young lady's hand; when, upon his saying, as usual, . It is not so, nor it was not so, and God forbid it should be so,' Lady Mary retorts, * But it is so, and it was so, and here the hand I have to show,' at the same time producing the hand and bracelet from her lap:—whereupon, the guests drew their swords, and instantly cut Mr. Fox into a thousand pieces.”
in the force of his will”—Warburton has rightly pointed out the allusion here to the definition of heresy in the scholastic divinity, as consisting not simply in error of opinion, but in a wilful adherence to it against the Church. This whole question had been so much canvassed, in that day of bitter religious animosity and persecution, that such a reference to the familiar topics of controversial theology neither of course implied any profound learning in the author, nor would appear obscure, or pedantic, to the mass of his audience, or readers.
"-ARECHEAT winded in my forehead"-A “recheat" is the species of sound on the bugle by which hounds are called back. Benedick means, he will not wear the horns on his forehead, by which such an operation may be performed. "Shakespeare (says Johnson) had no mercy on the poor cuckold : his horn is an inexhaustible subject of merriment.” The “bugle," etc., contains a similar allusion.
clapped on the shoulder, and called Adam"This passage is supposed to refer to Adam Bell, one of three noted outlaws, (Clym of the Clough, and William of Cloudeslee, being the others,) who were formerly as famous, in the north of England, as Robin Hood and his fellows in the midland counties. (See the “ Outlaws' Ballad,” in Percy's “Reliques of English Poetry.'')
“. In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke'”—This line is from the old tragedy of “Hieronymo,” which was long a favourite subject of ridicule.
“— if Cupid have not spent all his quiver in Venice" - Few of the readers of Byron and Rogers need to be informed that Venice was, in its day of splendour, the capital of pleasure and intrigue; and the allusion would be as readily applied as a similar one to Paris would be in our own day.
" — GUARDED with fragments"-Clothes were said to be “
guarded,” when they were ornamented with lace.
"— flout OLD ENDs any further"-i. e. “Old ends," or conclusions, of letters. It was very common formerly to finish a letter with the words used by Benedick, Claudio, and Don Pedro :-" And so I commit you to the tuition of God: From my house, the sixth of July, your loving friend," etc. There are many such in the *Paston Letters," lately reprinted.
“ The fairest grant is the necessity"—Warburton That young start-up hath all the glory of my conceives the speaker here to mean, that no one can overthrow"— It has already been intimated, (see " Introhave a better reason for granting a request than the ne ductory Remarks,") that, in the character of the chief cessity of its being granted. Hayley (the poet) sug- villain of the drama, the Poet has wholly departed from gests that there is a misprint, and that the true reading the plot of Bandello's tale, which furnished him with is “ to necessity," which has great probability.
the outline of the story. The novelist had ascribed - 'tis once, thou lovest”—The word "once” has the base deception, on which his story turns, to the rehere the sense of at once, or once for all. It is so used
venge of a rejected lover, who, at the catastrophe, in CORIOLANUS, and in the COMEDY OF ERRORS.
makes some amends for his guilt, by remorse and frank confession. Shakespeare has chosen to pourtray a less common and obvious, but unhappily too true character,one of sullen malignity, to whom the happiness or snecess of others is sufficient reason for the bitterness of hatred, and cause enough to prompt to injury and crime. This character has much the appearance of being the original conception and rough sketch of that wayward, dark disposition, which the Poet afterwards painted more elaborately, with some variation of circumstances and temperament, in his “honest Iago."
ACT II.-SCENE I. "- in earnest of the BEAR-WARD"-Spelled berrord in the old copies--a colloquial corruption of bear-toard, and not bear-herd, as many editors have it. Yet, in the “ Induction” to the Taming Of The Shrew, we find bear-heard : that, however, was a corruption of "bear. ward."
"— if the prince be too IMPORTANT”-i. e. Importunate ; as in the COMEDY OF ERRORS.
“ — DANCE out the answer"— The technical meaning of measure, a particular sort of grave measured dance, like the minuet of the last age, is here opposed to its or. dinary sense. (See RoMEO AND JULIET, act i.)
" — BALTHAZAR; John”—The quarto and folio here both read—“ Balthazar, or dumb John.” Reed argues that Shakespeare might have called John“ dumb John," on account of his taciturnity; while others take it, more probably, as a misprint for Don John.
- God defend, the lute should be like the case"i. e. God forbid that your face should be like your mask.
" — within the house is Jove”—The line, which is in the rhythm of Chapman's “ Homer," and Golding's “Ovid,” is an allusion to the story of Baucis and Philemon; and perhaps Shakespeare was thinking of Gold. ing's version of the original. The subsequent speeches of Hero and Don Pedro complete a couplet. The " thatch'd” refers to Ovid's line, as translated by Golding:The roof thereof was thatched all with straw and fennish reede.
“- the Hundred Merry Tales'"-An old jestbook, of which only a fragment remains. Being un. known to the older editors, this was supposed to allude to the “Decameron" until part of the book was foand, and it was reprinted in 1835. It was originally printed by Rastell, between 1517 and 1533. No doubt it was a chap-book well known to the audiences of the Globe.
" — like an usurer's chain"-Chains of gold were at this time worn by persons of wealth, as usurers generally were.
" — it is the base, though bitter disposition"-S0 the quarto and folio. There seems to be no reason whatever for changing “though" into the, as it stands in Malone's SHAKESPEARE, and Singer's useful edition. In the old copies, “though bitter" is in parentheses. Though severe, she is grovelling in mind.
- as melancholy as a lodge in a warren"-I see no reason for supposing, with Stevens, that this image of solitariness was suggested by the “ lodge in a garden of cucumbers” of Isaiah. Shakespeare has another picture of loneliness,—“at the moated grange resides this dejected Marianna:"—(MEASURE FOR MEASURE, act jäi. scene 1.)
SCENE III. “ What the good year”—The commentators say that the original form of this exclamation was the gougerei.e. morbus gallicus—which became obscure, and was corrupted into the “good year:" a very opposite form of expression, and used without any such reference.
“— I cannot hide what I am"-" This is one of Shakespeare's natural touches. An envious and unsocial mind, too proud to give pleasure, and too sullen 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 independence." Jornson.
“I had rather be a CANKER in a hedge"-The allusion is to the canker-rose-i. e. the dog-rose. The speaker means, he would rather live in obscurity than owe dignity, or estimation, to his hated brother, who, Conrade reminds him, had “taken him into his grace."