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O, what a scene of foolery I have seen,
King. Too bitter is thy jest.
Biron. Not you by me, but I betrayed to you.
King. Soft; whither away so fast ?
Enter JAQUENETTA and COSTARD.
What present hast thou there?
What makes treason here?
2 Gnat is the reading of the old copy, and there seems no necessity for changing it to knot or any other word, as some of the editors have been desirous of doing.
3 A bird is said to be pruning himself when he picks and sleeks his feathers.
4 That is What does treason here?”
Cost. Nay, it makes nothing, sir.
If it mar nothing neither, The treason, and you, go in peace away together.
Jaq. I beseech your grace, let this letter be read ; Our parson misdoubts it; 'twas treason, he said.
King. Biron, read it over. [Giving him the letter. Where hadst thou it ?
Jaq. Of Costard.
tear it? Biron. A toy, my liege, a toy; your grace needs
not fear it. Long. It did move him to passion, and therefore
let's hear it. Dum. It is Biron's writing, and here is his name.
[Picks up the pieces. Biron. Ah, you whoreson loggerhead. [To Cos
TARD.) You were born to do me shame.Guilty, my lord, guilty; I confess, I confess.
Dum. Now the number is even.
True, true; we are four.-
Hence, sirs; away. Cost. Walk aside the true folk, and let the traitors stay.
[Exeunt Cost. and JAQ. Biron. Sweet lords, sweet lovers, O let us embrace!
As true we are as flesh and blood can be.
Young blood will not obey an old decree.
1 i. e. at any rate, at all events.
King. What, did these rent lines show some love of
thine? Biron. Did they, quoth you? Who sees the heav
enly Rosaline, That, like a rude and savage man of Inde,
At the first opening of the gorgeous east, Bows not his vassal head ; and, strucken blind,
Kisses the base ground with obedient breast ? What peremptory eagle-sighted eye
Dares look upon the heaven of her brow, That is not blinded by her majesty ?
King. What zeal, what fury hath inspired thee now? My love, her mistress, is a gracious moon;
She, an attending star, scarce seen a light. Biron. My eyes are then no eyes, nor I Birón.
O, but for my love, day would turn to night! Of all complexions the culled sovereignty
Do meet, as at a fair, in her fair cheek; Where several worthies make one dignity;
Where nothing wants; that want itself doth seek. Lend me the flourish of all gentle tongues,
Fie, painted rhetoric ! O, she needs it not. To things of sale a seller's praise belongs;
She passes praise; then praise too short doth blot. A withered hermit, five-score winters worn,
Might shake off fifty, looking in her eye. Beauty doth varnish age, as if new-born,
And gives the crutch the cradle's infancy. 0, 'tis the sun, that maketh all things shine!
King. By Heaven, thy love is black as ebony.
A wife of such wood were felicity.
That I may swear, beauty doth beauty lack,
No face is fair, that is not full so black.
The hue of dungeons, and the scowl of night ;
0, if in black my lady's brows be decked,
It mourns, that painting, and usurping hair, Should ravish doters with a false aspect;
And therefore is she born to make black fair. Her favor turns the fashion of the days;
For native blood is counted painting now;
Paints itself black, to imitate her brow.
bright. King. And Ethiops of their sweet complexion crack. Dum. Dark needs no candles now, for dark is light.
Biron. Your mistresses dare never come in rain, For fear their colors should be washed away. King. 'Twere good yours did ; for, sir, to tell you
plain, I'll find a fairer face not washed to-day. Biron. I'll prove her fair, or talk till doomsday
here. King. No devil will fright thee then so much as she. Dum. I never knew man hold vile stuff so dear. Long. Look, here's thy love ; my foot and her face
[Showing his shoe. Biron. O, if the streets were paved with thine eyes,
Her feet were much too dainty for such tread ! Dum. O vile! Then as she goes, what upward lies
The street should see as she walked overhead. King. But what of this ? Are we not all in love? Biron. O, nothing so sure; and thereby all forsworn. King. Then leave this chat; and, good Birón, now
prove Our loving lawful, and our faith not torn. Dum. Ay, marry, there,—some flattery for this evil.
Long. O, some authority how to proceed;
Dum. Some salve for perjury.
O, 'tis more than need!
1 A quillet is a sly trick or turn in argument, or excuse.
Have at you, then, affection's men at arms!
1 This hemistich is omitted in all the modern editions except that by Mr. Boswell. It is found in the first quarto and first folio.
2 i. e. our true books, from which we derive most information; the eyes of woman.