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Sexton. But which are the offenders that are to be examin'd? let them come before mafter constable.
To. Cl. Yea, marry, let them come before me; what is your name, friend?
To. Cl. Pray, write down, Borachio. Yours, Sirrah? Conr. I am a gentleman, Sir, and my name is Conrade.
To. Cl. Write down, mafter gentleman Conrade; mafters, do you serve God?
Both. Yea, Sir, we hope.
To. Cl. Write down, that they hope they ferve God and write God first: for God defend, but God fhould go before fuch villains. - Masters, it is proved already that you are little better than false knaves, and it will go near to be thought fo fhortly; how anfwer you for yourselves?
Conr. Marry, Sirs, we fay, we are none.
To Cl. "A marvellous witty fellow, I affure you, "but I will go about with him. Come you hither, "firrah, a word in your ear, Sir; I fay to you, it "is thought you are both falfe knaves."
Bora. Sir, I fay to you, we are none.
To. Cl." Well, ftand afide; 'fore God, they are "both in a tale; have you writ down, that they are "none?"
Sexton. Master town-clerk, you go not the way to examine, you must call the watch that are their accufers.
To. Cl. Yea, marry, that's the defteft way, let the Watch come forth; mafters, I charge you in the Prince's name accuse these men.
I Watch. This man faid, Sir, that Don John the Prince's brother was a villain.
To. Cl. Write down, Prince John a villain; why this is flat perjury, to call a Prince's brother villain.
Bora. Mafter town-clerk.
To. Cl. Pray thee, fellow, Peace; I do not like thy look, I promise thee.
Sexton. What heard you him fay elfe?
2 Watch. Marry, that he had receiv'd a thousand ducats of Don John, for accufing the lady Hero wrongfully.
To. Cl. Flat burglary, as ever was committed.
Sexton. What else, fellow?
I Watch. And that Count Claudio did mean, upon his words, to difgrace Hero before the whole affembly, and not marry her.
To. Cl. O villain! thou wilt be condemn'd into everlasting redemption for this.
Sexton. What else?
2 Watch. This is all.
Sexton. And this is more, mafters, than you can deny. Prince John is this morning fecretly ftoll'n away: Hero was in this manner accus'd, and in this very manner refus'd, and upon the grief of this fuddenly dy'd. Mafter Conftable, let these men be bound and brought to Leonato; I will go before, and fhew him their examination.
Dogb. Come, let them be opinion'd.
7 Sexton. Let them be in hand.
Conr. Off, Coxcomb!
Dogb. God's my life, where's the Sexton? let him
7 Sexton. Let them be in the hands of Coxcomb.] So the Editions. Mr. Theobald gives the words to Conrade, and fays, But why the Sexton should be so pert upon his Brother Officers, there seems no reafon from any fuperior qualifications in him; or any fufpicion he fhews of knowing their ignorance. This is ftrange. The Sexton throughout fhews as good fenfe in their Examination as any Judge upon the bench could do. And as to his fufpicion of their ignorance, he tells the Town-clerk That he goes not the way to examine. F 4
write down the Prince's officer Coxcomb: come, bind them, thou naughty varlet.
Conr. Away! you are an afs, you are an ass.
Dogb. Doft thou not fufpect my place? doft thou not fufpect my years? O, that he were here to write me down an afs! but, mafters, remember, that I am an afs; though it be not written down, yet forget not that I am an afs; no, thou villain, thou art full of piety, as fhall be prov'd upon thee by good witnefs;
I am a wife fellow, and which is more, an officer; "and which is more, an houfholder; and which is "more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any in Meina, "and one that knows the law; go to, and a rich "fellow enough; go to, and a fellow that hath had ❝loffes; and one that hath two gowns, and every "thing handfome about him; bring him away; O, "that I had been writ down an afs! [Exeunt.
The meanness of his name hindered our Editor from seeing the Goodness of his Senfe. But this Sexton was an Ecclefiaftic of one of the inferior Orders called the Sacriftan, and not a Brother Of ficer, as the Editor calls him. I fuppofe the book from whence the Poet took his fubject was fome old English novel translated from the Italian, where the word Sagriftano was rendered Sexton. As in Fairfax's Godfrey of Boulogne;
When Phœbus next unclos'd his wakeful eye,
Dogberry would have them pinion'd. The Sexton fays, it was fufficient if they were kept in fafe cuftody, and then goes out. When one of the watchmen comes up to bind them, Conrade fays, Off, Coxcomb! as he fays afterwards to the Conftable, Away! you are an afs. But the Editor adds, The old Quarto gave me the firft umbrage for placing it to Conrade. What these words mean I don't know: But I fufpect the old Quarto divides the paffage as I have done.
Before Leonato's House.
Enter Leonato and Antonio.
IF you go on thus, you will kill yourself;
Leon. I pray thee, cease thy counfel,
But there is no fuch man; for, brother, men,
(a) And Sorrow waive;] Oxf. Editor.-Vulg. And forrow
Charm ach with air, and agony with words.
• To be fo moral, when he fhall 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 blood;
For there was never yet philosopher,
• That could endure the tooth-ach patiently;
Ant. Yet bend not all the harm upon yourself: Make those, that do offend you, fuffer too.
Leon. There thou speak'ft reafon; nay, I will do fo. My foul doth tell me, Hero is bely'd; And that fhall Claudio know, fo fhall the Prince; And all of them, that thus difhonour her.
Enter Don Pedro, and Claudio.
Ant. Here comes the Prince and Claudio haftily.
Claud. Good day to both of you.
Leon. Hear you, my lords?
Pedro. We have fome hafte, Leonato.
Leon. Some hafte, my lord! well, fare you well, my lord.
1 However they have writ the ftyle of Gods,] This alludes to the extravagant titles the Stoics gave their wife man. Sapiens ille eam Diis, ex pari, vivit. Sencc. Ep. 59. Jupiter quo antecedit virum bonum? diutius bonus eft. Sapiens nihilo fe minoris aftimat.-Deus non vincit Sapientem felicitate. Ep. 73.
2 And made a pifh at chance and fufferance.] Alludes to their famous Apathy.