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Here stand I, lady; dart thy skill at me;
Bruise me with scorn, confound me with a flout; Thrust thy sharp wit quite through my ignorance ;
Cut me to pieces with thy keen conceit; And I will wish thee never more to dance,
Nor never more in Russian habit wait. O! never will I trust to speeches penned,
Nor to the motion of a schoolboy's tongue; Nor never come in visor to my friend ;'
Nor woo in rhyme, like a blind harper's song. Taffeta phrases, silken terms precise,
Three-piled a hyperboles, spruce affectation,
Have blown me full of maggot ostentation.
In russet yeas, and honest kersey noes.
Biron. Yet I have a trick
Prin. No, they are free, that gave these tokens to us.
Ros. It is not so ; for how can this be true, That you stand forfeit, being those that sue? 5 1 Mistress.
? A metaphor from the pile of velvet. 3 i. e. without French words, I pray you.
4 This was the inscription put upon the doors of houses infected with the plague. The tokens of the plague were the first spots or discolorations of the skin.
5 That is, how can those be liable to forfeiture that begin the process? The quibble lies in the ambiguity of the word sue, which signifies to proceed to law, and to petition.
Biron. Peace; for I will not have to do with you.
gression, Some fair excuse. Prin.
The fairest is confession.
King. Madam, I was.
And were you well advised ?
then were here, What did you whisper in your lady's ear?
King. That more than all the world I did respect her. Prin. When she shall challenge this, you will reject
her. King. Upon mine honor, no. Prin.
Peace, peace, forbear , Your oath once broke, you force not to forswear.
King. Despise me when I break this oath of mine. Prin. I will; and therefore keep it.—Rosaline, 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 honorably 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;
Biron. Neither of either; I remit both twain.
1 i. e. you care not, or do not regard forswearing.
I see the trick on't.-Here was a consent?
And laugh upon the apple of her eye?
Holding a trencher, jesting merrily ?
Cost. O Lord, sir, they would know,
Biron. What, are there but three ?
No, sir; but it is vara fine,
And three times thrice is nine.
1 An agreement, a conspiracy. See As You Like It, Act ii. Sc. 2. 2 The old copies res yeares : the emendation is Theobald's. 3 i. e. first in will, and afterwards in error.
4 From esquierre (Fr.), rule, or square. The sense is similar to the proverbial saying-He has got the length of her foot.
5 That is, you are an allowed or a licensed fool or jester.
Cost. Not so, sir; under correction, sir ; I hope it
is not so. 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 actors, sir, will show whereuntil it doth amount. For my own part, I am, as they say, but to parfect one man,-e'en 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.
[Exit CostaRD. King. Birón, they will shame us; let them not ap
proach. Biron. We are shame-proof, my lord; and 'tis some
policy To have one show worse than the king's and his
company King. I say, they shall not come. Prin. Nay, my good lord, let me o’errule you
now; That sport best pleases that doth least know how.
1 In the old common law was a writ de idiota inquirendo, under which if a man was legally proved an idiot, the profits of his lands, and the custody of his person, might be granted by the king to any subject. Such a person, when this grant was asked, was said to be begged for a fool. One of the legal tests appears to have been, to try whether the party could answer a simple arithmetical question.
Where zeal strives to content, and the contents
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. [ARMADO converses 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's all one, my fair, sweet, honey 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 della guerra. I wish you the peace of mind, most royal couplement."
[Exit ARMADO. 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 Machabæus. 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,o'tis not so.
1 The old copies read
“ Dies in the zeal of that which it presents." The emendation in the text is Malone's, and he thus endeavors to give this obscure passage a meaning. The word it, I believe, refers to sport. That sport, says the princess, pleases best, where the actors are least skilful; where zeal strives to please, and the contents, or great things attempted, perish in the very act of being produced, from the ardent zeal of those who present the sportive entertainment. It, however, may refer to contents, and that word may mean the most material part of the exhibition. 2 This word is used again by Shakspeare in his 21st Sonnet:
"Making a couplement of proud compare." VOL. II.