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Long. Look how you butt yourself in these sharp
mocks! Will you give horns, chaste lady? Do not so.
Käth. Then die a calf, before your horns do grow. Long. One word in private with you, ere I die. Kath. Bleat softly, then; the butcher hears you cry.
[They converse apart. Boyet. The tongues of mocking wenches are as keen
As is the razor's edge invisible, Cutting a smaller hair than may be seen;
Above the sense of sense. So sensible Seemeth their conference; their conceits have wings, Fleeter than arrows, bullets, wind, thought, swifter
things. Ros. Not one word more, my maids; break off,
break off. Biron. By Heaven, all dry-beaten with pure scoff! King. Farewell
, mad wenches; you have simple wits.
[Exeunt King, Lords, Moth,
Music, and Attendants. Prin. Twenty adieus, my frozen Muscovites.Are these the breed of wits so wondered at? Boyet. Tapers they are, with your sweet breaths
puffed out. Ros. Well-liking' wits they have; gross, gross;
fat, fat. Prin. O poverty in wit, kingly-poor flout! Will they not, think you, hang themselves to-night?
Or ever, but in visors, show their faces ? This pert
Birón was out of countenance quite. Ros. O! They were all in lamentable cases ! The king was weeping-ripe for a good word.
Prin. Birón did swear himself out of all suit.
Mar. Dumain was at my service, and his sword. No point, quoth I; my servant straight was mute.
Kath. Lord Longaville said, I came o'er his heart; And trow you what he called me?
1 Well-liking is the same as well-conditioned, fat.
2 No point ; a quibble on the French adverb of negation, as before, Act ii. Sc. 1.
Go, sickness, as thou art ! Ros. Well, better wits have worn plain statute
caps. But will you hear? The king is my love sworn.
Prin. And quick Birón hath plighted faith to me.
Boyet. Madam, and pretty mistresses, give ear.
Prin. Will they return?
They will, they will, God knows;
stood. Boyet. Fair ladies, masked, are roses in their bud. Dismasked, their damask sweet commixture shown, Are angels veiling clouds, or roses blown.
Prin. Avaunt, perplexity! What shall we do,
Ros. Good madam, if by me you'll be advised,
1 An act was passed the 13th of Elizabeth (1571) " for the continuance of making and wearing woollen caps, in behalf of the trade of cappers, providing that all above the age of six years (except the nobility and some others) should, on Sabbath days and holidays, wear caps of wool, knit, thicked, and dressed in England, upon penalty of ten groats.”
2 Features, countenances.
3 Lauies unmasked are like angels veiling clouds, or letting those clouds which obscured their brightness sink before them. VOL. II.
Boyet. Ladies, withdraw; the gallants are at hand. Prin. Whip to our tents, as roes run over land.
[Exeunt Princess, Ros., Kath., and Maria.
Enter the King, Biron, LONGAVILLE, and Dumain, in
their proper habits. King. Fair sir, God save you! Where is the
princess ? Boyet. Gone to her tent. Please it your majesty, Command me any service to her thither? King. That she vouchsafe me audience for one
word. Boyet. I will; and so will she, I know, my lord.
Biron. This fellow pecks up wit, as pigeons peas; And utters it again when Jove doth please. He is wit's pedler, and retails his wares At wakes and wassels, meetings, markets, fairs; And we that sell by gross, the Lord doth know, Have not the grace to grace it with such show. This gallant pins the wenches on his sleeve: Had he been Adam, he had tempted Eve. He can carve too, and lisp. Why this is he That kissed away his hand in courtesy; This is the ape of form, monsieur the nice, That, when he plays at tables, chides the dice In honorable terms; nay, he can sing, A meanmost meanly; and, in ushering, Mend him who can. The ladies call him sweet, The stairs, as he treads on them, kiss his feet. This is the flower that smiles on every one, To show his teeth as white as whalës bone ;3
I Wassels ; festive meetings, drinking-bouts; from the Saxon washæl, be in health, which was the form of drinking a health ; the customary answer to which was drine-hal, I drink your health. The wasselcup, wassel-bowl, wassel-bread, wassel-candle, were all aids or accompaniments to festivity.
2 The tenor in music.
3. Whalës bone; the Saxon genitive case. It is a common comparison in the old poets. This bone was the tooth of the horse-whale, morse, or walrus, now superseded by ivory.
And consciences that will not die in debt,
King. A blister on his sweet tongue, with my heart, , That put Armado's page out of his part !
Enter the Princess, ushered by Boyet; RosALINE,
MARIA, KATHARINE, and Attendants. Biron. See where it comes !--Behavior, what wert
thou, Till this man showed thee? and what art thou now?
King. All hail, sweet madam, and fair time of day!
purpose now To lead you to our court; vouchsafe it then. Prin. This field shall hold me; and so hold your
vow. Nor God, nor I, delight in perjured men. King. Rebuke me not for that which you provoke;
The virtue of your eye must break Prin. You nickname virtue; vice you should have
As the unsullied lily, I protest,
with integrity. King. O, you have lived in desolation here,
Unseen, unvisited, much to our shame. Prin. Not so, my lord; it is not so, I swear;
We have had pastimes here, and pleasant game. A mess of Russians left us but of late.
King. How, madam ? Russians ?
Ay, in truth, my lord; Trim gallants, full of courtship, and of state.
Ros. Madam, speak true. It is not so, my lord ;
My lady, (to the manner of the days,')
Biron. This jest is dry to me.–Fair, gentle sweet,
eye,Biron. I am a fool, and full of poverty.
Ros. But that you take what doth to you belong, It were a fault to snatch words from my tongue.
Biron. O, I am yours, and all that I possess.
I cannot give you less. Ros. Which of the visors was it that you wore? Biron. Where? when? what visor? why demand
Ros. There, then, that visor ; that superfluous case, That hid the worse, and showed the better face. King. We are descried; they'll mock us now down
right. Dum. Let us confess, and turn it to a jest. Prin. Amazed, my lord? Why looks your high
ness sad? Ros. Help, hold his brows! he'll swoon! Why
look you pale ? Sea-sick, I think, coming from Muscovy. Biron. Thus pour the stars down plagues for
any face of brass hold longer out ?-
1 After the fashion of the times.