Page images


This child of fancy* that Armado hight,

For interim to our studies, shall relate,
In high-born 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. I

Biron. Armado is a most illustrious wight,
A man of fire-newg words, fashion's own knight.

Long. Costard the swain, and he, shall be our sport;
And, so to study; three years is but short.

Enter DULL, with a letter, and COST.ARD. Dull. Which is the duke's own person? Biron. This, fellow; What wouldst ? Dull. I myself reprehend his own person, for I am his grace's tharborough :H but I would see his own person in flesh and blood.

Biron. This is he.

Dull. Signior Arme-Arme-commends you. There's villany abroad; this letter will tell you more.

Cost. Sir, the contempts thereof are as touching me.
King. A letter from the magnificent Armado.

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 hearing?

Long. To hear meekly, Sir, and to laugh moderately; or to forbear both.

Biron. Well, Sir, be it as the style shall give us cause to climb to the merriness.

Cost. The matter is to me, Sir, as concerning Jaquenetta. 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, sitting with her upon the form, and taken following her into the park; which, put together, is, in manner and form following. Now, Sír, 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.

King. [Reads.] Great deputy, the welkin's vicegerent, and sole dominator of Navarre, my soul's earth's God, and body's fostering patron," Cost. Not a word of Costard yet. * I. e. fanciful invention.

+ Is called. # As my minstrel, or story-teller.

$ Bran new. | I.e. Third-borough, a peace-officer.

In the fact.

King. So it is,"

Cost. 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 fight!
King. No words.
Cost. -of other men's secrets, I beseech you.

King. So it is, besieged with sable-coloured melancholy, I did commend the black-oppressing humour to the most wholesome physic of thy health-giving air; and, as I am 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, I 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 corner of thy curious-knotted* garden: There did I see that lowspirited swain, that base minnow of thy mirth,"

Cost. Me. King. “-that unletter'd small-knowing soul," Cost. Me. King. —that shallow vassal," Cost. Still me. King. “ --which, as I remember, hight Costard," Cost. O me! King, “ –sorted and consorted, contrary to thy established proclaimed edict and continent canon, with-with-0 withbut with this I passiont to say wherewith,

Cost. With a wench.

King.“ –with a child of our grandmother Eve, a female : or, for thy more sweet understanding, a woman. Him, I (as my everesteemed duty pricks me on) have sent to thee, to receive the meed of punishment, by thy sweet grace's officer, Antony Dull: a man of good repute, carriage, bearing, and estimation."

Dull. Me, an't shall please you; I am Antony Pull.

King. For Jaquenetta (so is the weaker vessel called, which I 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 heartburning 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.

* Figure-intersected.

+ I am in a passion.

King. It was proclaimed a year's imprisonment, to be taken with a wench.

Cost. I was taken 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 varied too; for it was proclaimed, virgin.

Cost. If it were, I deny her virginity; 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 porridge.

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 prosperity! Affliction may one day smile again, and till then, Sít thee down, sorrow! [Ereunt. 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 imp.
Moth. No, no; O lord, Sir, no.

Arm, How canst thou part sadness and melancholy, my tender juvenal ?t

Moth. By a familiar demonstration of the working, 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 title to your old time, which we may name tough.

Arm. Pretty, and apt.

Moth. How mean you, Sir? I pretty, and my saying 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.
* Damsel, unmarried woman.

+ Juvenile.


Moth. I will praise an eel with the same praise.
Arm. What ? that an eel is ingenious ?
Moth. That an eel is quick.

Arm. 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.

Arm. I have promised to study three years with the duke.
Moth. You may do it in an hour, Sir.
Arm. Impossible.
Moth. How many is one thrice told ?
Arm. I am ill at reckoning, it fitteth the spirit of a tapster.
Moth. You are a gentleman, and a gamester, Sir.
Arm. I confess both; they are both the varnish of a complete
Moth. Then, I am sure, you know how much the gross sum
of deuce-ace amounts to.

Arm. It doth amount to one more than 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 horset will tell you.

Arm. A most fine figure!
Moth. To prove you a cypher.

[Aside. Arm. I will hereupon confess, I am in love: and, as it is base for a soldier to love, so am I in love with a base wench. If drawing my sword against the humour of affection would deliver me from the reprobate thought of it, I would take desire prisoner, 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 men have been in love ?

Moth. Hercules, master.

Arm. Most sweet Hercules ! -More authority, 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 hé carried the town-gates on his back, like a porter: and he was in love.

Arm. O well-knit Samson! strong-jointed Samson! I do excel thee in my rapier, as much as thou didst me in carrying gates. I am in love too,-Who was Samson'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.

* The name of a coin once current.

1. e. the celebrated performing horse Morocco, ex ted by Banks, a vintner in Cheapside.

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 too.

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, master, art masked 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:
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 rhyme, 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 ballad 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 newly writ o'er, that I may example my digressiont by some mighty precedent. Boy, I do love that country girl, that I took in the park with the rational hind Costard ; she 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 wench. Arm. I say, sing: Moth. Forbear till this company be past.

Enter DULL, COSTARD, and 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 : for this damsel, 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?

* Which naturally she owns.
† Transgression.

#Dairy woman.

« PreviousContinue »