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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 honourably 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 Biron, I thank him, is my dear.
What, will you have me, or your pearl again?

Biron. Neither of either; I remit both twain.
I see the trick on 't: here was a consent,
Knowing aforehand of our merriment,
To dash it like a Christmas comedy:

Some carry-tale, some please-man, some slight

Some mumble-news, some trencher-knight, some Dick,

That smiles his cheek in years and knows the trick To make my lady laugh when she's disposed,

officious

zany,

463. please-man, parasite.

463. zany, buffoon; strictly one who made fun by mimicking the clown.

464. trencher-knight, serving

450

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man attending at table; with an allusion to Boyet's prowess in 'carving.'

465. smiles his cheek in years, smiles it into wrinkles.

Told our intents before; which once disclosed,
The ladies did change favours: and then we,
Following the signs, woo'd but the sign of she.
Now, to our perjury to add more terror,
We are again forsworn, in will and error.
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 squier,
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 allow'd;
Die when you will, a smock shall be your shroud.
You leer upon me, do you? there's an eye
Wounds like a leaden sword.

Boyet.

Full merrily Hath this brave manage, 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,

For every one pursents three.

Biron.

And three times thrice is nine. Cost. Not so, sir; under correction, sir; I hope it is not so.

474. squier, square. 'Do you not know her moods to a nicety?'

475. upon the apple of her eye, at her beck.

478. you are allow'd, you

470

480

have the fool's privilege.

482. manage, handling or management of a horse.

482. career, tilt at full speed (a technical term of the tournament).

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 500 actors, sir, will show whereuntil it doth amount: for mine own part, I am, as they say, but to parfect one man in 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 some care.
[Exit.
King. Biron, they will shame us: let them
not approach.

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

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

490. you cannot beg us, i.e. we are not idiots. The wardship of an idiot or lunatic, with

company.

King. I say they shall not come.

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

490

510

the control of his property, was a profitable office, much in request.

That sport best pleases that doth least know how:
Where zeal strives to content, and the contents
Dies in the zeal of that which it presents:

Their form confounded makes most form in mirth, 520
When great things labouring 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.

[Converses apart 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 is all one, my fair, sweet, honey 530 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 de la guerra. I wish you the peace of mind, most royal couplement ! [Exit.

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 Maccabæus :

518 f. Where players take exceeding pains to please, they overdo their parts, and thus spoil the play as a piece of acting, but compensate for the matter they spoil by the mirth they provoke.-Much needless

540

difficulty has been made over this passage. Contents is the subjectmatter of the play, used with a singular verb (dies) and referred to by it, the object of presents, that being the player.'

·

535. couplement, couple.

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.

Biron. The pedant, the braggart, the hedgepriest, the fool and the boy :Abate throw at novum, and the whole world again

Cannot pick out five such, take each one in his vein.

King. The ship is under sail, and here she comes amain.

Enter COSTARD, for Pompey.

Cost. I Pompey am,-
Boyet.

With libbard's head on knee.

Cost. I Pompey am,-
Boyet.
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 :

You lie, you are not he.

545. hedge-priest, priest of the lowest order.

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Pompey surnamed the Great ; That oft in field, with targe and shield, did

make my foe to sweat :

547. Abate throw at novum, except in a throw at novum; this was a game of dice, in which the chief throws were nine and five, hence called 'novem quinque.'

550

548. prick, mark for selection, choose. This is more specific than pick, which is found only in Qı

551. libbard's, leopard's. Pompey's armour has a cat. leopard's head at the knee.

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