Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

Bora. So did I too; and he swore he would into her person, and so gives me out. Well, I'll marry her to-night.

D. John. Come, let us to the banquet.

[Exeunt DON JOHN and BORACHIO. Claud. Thus answer I in name of Benedick, But hear these ill news with the ears of Claudio. 'Tis certain so;-the prince woos for himself. Friendship is constant in all other things, Save in the office and affairs of love: Therefore, all hearts in love use their own tongues;21 Let every eye negotiate for itself,

And trust no agent; for beauty is a witch, Against whose charms faith melteth into blood.22 This is an accident of hourly proof,

Which I mistrusted not. Farewell, therefore,


Re-enter BENEDICK.

Bene. Count Claudio?

Claud. Yea, the same.

Bene. Come, will you go with me?
Claud. Whither?

Bene. Even to the next willow, about your own business, count. What fashion will you wear the garland of? About your neck, like a usurer's chain 23 or under your arm, like a lieutenant's scarf? You must wear it one way, for the prince hath got your Hero.

Claud. I wish him joy of her.

Bene. Why, that's spoken like an honest drover: so they sell bullocks. But did you think the prince would have served you thus ?

Claud. I pray you, leave me.

Bene. Ho! now you strike like the blind man : 'twas the boy that stole your meat, and you'll beat the post.

Claud. If it will not be, I'll leave you. [Exit. Bene. Alas! poor, hurt fowl; now will he creep into sedges. But, that my Lady Beatrice should know me, and not know me! The prince's fool! -Ha! it may be I go under that title, because 1 am merry.-Yea, but so I am apt to do myself wrong; I am not so reputed: it is the base, though bitter disposition 24 of Beatrice, that puts the world

21. Therefore, all hearts in love, &c. The word "let" in the following line, is understood here before "all."

22. Blood. Here used, as elsewhere, by Shakespeare, for impulsive affection, passionate love.

23. A usurer's chain. A chain of gold frequently formed part of the dress of wealthy citizens; who, moreover, practised usury so notoriously as to incur the satire of the writers of that period. 24. The base, though bitter disposition. This has been altered to "the base, the bitter disposition" by some who find the original phrase difficult of comprehension; but we take it to signify 'the mean though insolent disposition of Beatrice, which pretends that the world nicknames me as she does, and thus proclaims me.' "Base" seems to stand for 'cowardly and lying,' "bitter" for 'audaciously satirical.'

25. Played the part of Lady Fame. By spreading an ill report, or making bad news fly.

26. As melancholy as a lodge in a warren. A "lodge"

be revenged as I


Re-enter DON PEDRO.

D. Pedro. Now, signior, where's the count? did you see him?

Bene. Troth, my lord, I have played the part of Lady Fame.25 I found him here as melancholy as a lodge in a warren: 26 I told him, and I think I told him true, that your grace had got the goodwill of this young lady; and I offered him my company to a willow-tree, either to make him a garland, as being forsaken, or to bind him up a rod, as being worthy to be whipped.

D. Pedro. To be whipped! What's his fault? Bene. The flat transgression of a schoolboy, who, being overjoyed with finding a bird's nest, shows it his companion, and he steals it.

D. Pedro. Wilt thou make a trust a transgression? The transgression is in the stealer.

Bene. Yet it had not been amiss the rod had been made, and the garland too; for the garland he might have worn himself, and the rod he might have bestowed on you, who, as I take it, have stolen his bird's nest.

D. Pedro. I will but teach them to sing, and restore them to the owner.

Bene. If their singing answer your saying, by my faith, you say honestly.

D. Pedro. The Lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you: the gentleman that danced with her, told her she is much wronged by you.

Bene. Oh, she misused me past the endurance of a block! an oak, but with one green leaf on it, would have answered her; my very visor began to assume life, and scold with her. She told me,—not thinking I had been myself,—that I was the prince's jester; that I was duller than a great thaw; huddling jest upon jest, with such impossible conveyance, upon me, that I stood like a man at a mark, with a whole army shooting at me. She speaks poniards, and every word stabs: if her breath were as terrible as her terminations, there were no living near her; she would infect to the north star.

was a small building or shed, erected in rabbit-warrens or fields that required watching during the season, and was abandoned afterwards; so that a "lodge" early became a type of dreari ness and desolation.


I will but teach them, &c. Here "them" gives an instance of Shakespeare's use of a pronoun in referring to an implied particular. We point out these instances as affording a guide to the comprehension of Shakespeare's peculiar style, which is full of such ellipses; and they give great conciseness to the effect of rapid colloquy.

28. Impossible conveyance. For "impossible" see Note 15, Act ii. "Conveyance" was a word of the time for jugglery, sleight of hand, dexterity, adroitness.

29. Terminations. "Terminations" here seems to be used for more than 'terms;' it appears to us to include a hit at the sharp retorts with which Beatrice ends; the venom she puts into 'the last word,' which, woman-like, she will have.


D. Pedro. You have put him down, lady; you have put him down.

Beat. So I would not he should do me, my lord. -I have brought Count Claudio, whom you sent me to seek.

I would not marry her, though she were endowed with false dice, therefore your grace may well say 1 with all that Adam had left him before he trans- have lost it. gressed: she would have made Hercules have turned spit, yea, and have cleft his club to make the fire Come, talk not of her: you shall find her the infernal Até" in good apparel. I would to Heaven some scholar would conjure her; for certainly, while she is here, a man may live as quiet in the lower pit as in a sanctuary; and people sin upon purpose, because they would go thither; so, indeed, all disquiet, horror, and perturbation follows her.

[blocks in formation]

Bene. Will your grace command me any service to the world's end? I will go on the slightest errand now to the Antipodes that you can devise to send me on; I will fetch you a toothpicker now from the farthest inch of Asia; bring you the length of Prester John's foot; fetch you a hair off the great Cham's beard; 33 do you any embassage to the Pigmies; rather than hold three words' conference with this harpy.3 You have no employment for me?

D. Pedro. None, but to desire your good company.

Bene. Oh, lord, sir, here's a dish I love not: I cannot endure my Lady Tongue.


Enter CLAUDIO, BEATRICE, HERO, and LEONATO.36 D. Pedro. Come, lady, come; you have lost the heart of Signior Benedick.

Beat. Indeed, my lord, he lent it me awhile; and I gave him use" for it,- -a double heart for his single one: marry, once before he won it of me

30. Ate. The goddess of discord and of all evil. "In good apparel" here seems to be equivalent to in the dress of a lady.'

31. While she is here, a man, &c. It has been objected that this passage is very ambiguous.' But we take it to mean that so long as Beatrice is in the place where the speaker is, the place of punishment is without her, and therefore comparatively quiet; so that people desire to go thither to escape from her.

32. Prester John. The priest John.' A name given to a Christian Asiatic potentate. The difficulty of gaining access to him is recorded in these lines:

'While like the mighty Prester John,
Whose person none dares look upon,
But is preserv'd in close disguise
From being cheap to vulgar eyes.'

Butler's Hudibras.

33 The great Cham's beard. "The great Cham" is the title of the sovereign prince of Tartary.

34. The Pigmies. A diminutive nation, fabled to be devoured by cranes.

D. Pedro. Why, how now, count! wherefore are you sad?

Claud. Not sad, my lord.

D. Pedro. How then? sick?
Claud. Neither, my lord.


Beat. The count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor well; but civil, count,-civil as an orange, and something of that jealous complexion. D. Pedro. I'faith, lady, I think your blazon 39 to be true; though, I'll be sworn, if he be so, his conceit is false.-Here, Claudio, I have wooed in thy name, and fair Hero is won: I have broke with her father, and, his good will obtained, name the day of marriage, and God give thee joy!

Leon. Count, take of me my daughter, and with her my fortunes: his grace hath made the match, and all grace say Amen to it!

35. Harpy. Thus described by Ralegh:-"The harpies were a kind of birds which had the faces of women, and foul, long claws-very filthy creatures; which, when the table was furnished for Phineus [King of Thrace] came flying in, and devouring or carrying away the greater part of the victuals, did so defile the rest that they could not be endured." This description shows how classically appropriate is Shakespeare's introduction of Ariel as a "harpy," "Tempest," Act iii., sc. 3, when causing the banquet to vanish from before King Alonso; and it

Beat. Speak, count, 'tis your cue.“

Claud. Silence is the perfectest herald of joy: I were but little happy, if I could say how much.Lady, as you are mine, I am yours: I give away myself for you, and dote upon the exchange.

Beat. Speak, cousin; or, if you cannot, stop his mouth with a kiss, and let not him speak neither. D. Pedro. In faith, lady, you have a merry heart.

Beat. Yea, my lord; I thank it, poor fool," it

also manifests the feeling of Benedick for Beatrice's beautiful face combined with her objectionable attributes.

36. Enter Claudio, Beatrice, &c. The Folio, and the majority of editions, mark the entrance of these characters before Benedick's speech, beginning, "Will your grace command," &c. but it was often the habit to mark stage-entrances earlier than the actual moment for them; and it is not likely that Benedick would utter all this in the presence of Beatrice, or that she would hear it without retort.

37. Use. Interest, usurious advantage.

38. Civil, count,-civil as an orange. A quibble on "civil" and 'Seville;' whence large numbers of oranges were imported. Those oranges known especially as 'Seville oranges' are peculiarly bitter; and Mr. Staunton well suggests that possibly "civil" (as a corruption of Seville) passed into use as a word meaning 'sour and bitter,' like this fruit. Probably, here, Beatrice, in mockery of Claudio's manner, uses the word "civil" with reference to its varied meanings of sour and bitter' like an orange; 'courteous and polite;' 'meek and mild;' 'sober and grave;' in which latter senses Shakespeare elsewhere employs the word.

39. Blazon. The art of explaining coats of arms and heraldic colours.

40. Conceit. Jealous conception or surmise.

41. Cue. A theatrical technicality for the concluding words of a speech, which gives warning to the next speaker that his turn is come to speak.

42. Poor fool. Used as a kindly expression. See Note 31, Act iv., "Two Gentlemen of Verona."

keeps on the windy side of care.—My cousin tells him in his ear, that he is in her heart.

Claud. And so she doth, cousin. Beat. Good lord, for alliance!"-Thus goes every one to the world but I, and I am sun-burned: 45 I may sit in a corner, and cry heigh-ho for a husband! D. Pedro. Lady Beatrice, I will get you one. Beat. I would rather have one of your father's getting. Hath your grace ne'er a brother like you? Your father got excellent husbands, if a maid could come by them.

D. Pedro. Will you have me, lady?

Beat. No, my lord, unless I might have another for working-days: your grace is too costly to wear every day. But, I beseech your grace, pardon me : I was born to speak all mirth, and no matter.

D. Pedro. Your silence most offends me, and to be merry best becomes you; for, out of question, you were born in a merry hour.

Beat. No, sure, my lord, my mother cried; but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born.-Cousins, God give you joy!

a breathing: but, I warrant thee, Claudio, the
time shall not go dully by us. I will, in the interim,
undertake one of Hercules' labours; which is, to
bring Signior Benedick and the Lady Beatrice
into a mountain of affection," the one with the
other. I would fain have it a match; and I doubt
not but to fashion it, if you three will but minister
such assistance as I shall give you direction.
Leon. My lord, I am for you, though it cost me
ten nights' watchings.

Claud. And I, my lord.

D. Pedro. And you too, gentle Hero? Hero. I will do any modest office, my lord, to help my cousin to a good husband.


D. Pedro. And Benedick is not the unhopefullest husband that I know. Thus far can I praise him; he is of a noble strain, of approved valour, and confirmed honesty. I will teach you how to humour your cousin, that she shall fall in love with Benedick ;-and I, with your two helps, will so practise on Benedick, that, in despite of his quick wit and his queasy 49 stomach, he shall fall in

Leon. Niece, will you look to those things I toid love with Beatrice. If we can do this, Cupid is no you of?

Beat. I cry you mercy, uncle.—By your grace's pardon. [Exit. D. Pedro. By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady. Leon. There's little of the melancholy element in her, my lord: she is never sad, but when she sleeps; and not ever sad then; for I have heard my daughter say, she hath often dreamed of unhappiness, and waked herself with laughing.

D. Pedro. She cannot endure to hear tell of a husband.

Leon. Oh, by no means: she mocks all her

wooers out of suit.

longer an archer: his glory shall be ours, for we
are the only love-gods. Go in with me, and I will
tell you my drift..

SCENE II. Another room in LEONATO's house.

D. John. It is so; the Count Claudio shall marry the daughter of Leonato.

Bora. Yea, my lord; but I can cross it. D. John. Any bar, any cross, any impediment D. Pedro. She were an excellent wife for Be- will be medicinable to me: I am sick in disnedick. pleasure to him; and whatsoever comes athwart

Leon. Oh lord, my lord, if they were but a week his affection, ranges evenly with mine. How canst married, they would talk themselves mad!

D. Pedro. Count Claudio, when mean you to go to church?

Claud. To-morrow, my lord: time goes on crutches till love have all his rites.

Leon. Not till Monday, my dear son, which is hence a just seven-night; and a time too brief, too, to have all things answer my mind.

D. Pedro. Come, you shake the head at so long

43. On the windy side. Shakespeare uses this expression for the side sheltered from the wind; protected from buffets, troubles, or perils.

44. Good lord, for alliance! This is said to have been an exclamation equivalent to Heaven send me a husband!' But Beatrice also uses it in reference to Claudio's calling her "cousin;" as if she would say, 'This is how relationships spread!'

45. Thus goes every one to the world, &c. 'To go to the world' was a familiar phrase for getting married. "Sun-burned" is used by Shakespeare to express unattractive; the complexion

thou cross this marriage?

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

night, appoint her to look out at her lady's chamberwindow.

D. John. What life is in that, to be the death of this marriage?

Bora. The poison of that lies in you to temper. Go you to the prince your brother; spare not to tell him, that he hath wronged his honour in marrying the renowned Claudio (whose estimation do you mightily hold up) to a contaminated stale,50 such a one as Hero.

D. John. What proof shall I make of that? Bora. Proof enough to misuse the prince, to vex Claudio, to undo Hero, and kill Leonato. Look you for other issue? any

Boy. Signior?

Enter a Boy.

Bene. In my chamber-window lies a book: bring it hither to me in the orchard.53 Boy. I am here already, sir.

Bene. I know that; but I would have thee hence, and here again. [Exit Boy.]-I do much wonder that one man, seeing how much another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviours to love, will, after he hath laughed at such shallow follies in others, become the argument of his own scorn by falling in love: and such a man is Claudio. I have known, when there was no music with him but the drum and the fife; and now had

D. John. Only to despite them, I will endeavour he rather hear the tabor and the pipe: I have anything.

Bora. Go, then; find me a meet hour to draw Don Pedro and the Count Claudio alone: tell them that you know that Hero loves me; intend a kind of zeal both to the prince and Claudio, as,— in love of your brother's honour, who hath made this match, and his friend's reputation, who is thus like to be cozened with the semblance of a maid,— that you have discovered thus. They will scarcely believe this without trial offer them instances; which shall bear no less likelihood than to see me at her chamber-window; hear me call Margaret, Hero; hear Margaret term me Claudio; 52 and bring them to see this the very night before the intended wedding;-for in the meantime I will so fashion the matter that Hero shall be absent;-and there shall appear such seeming truth of Hero's disloyalty, that jealousy shall be called assurance, and all the preparation overthrown.

D. John. Grow this to what adverse issue it can, I will put it in practice. Be cunning in the working this, and thy fee is a thousand ducats.

Bora. Be you constant in the accusation, and my cunning shall not shame me.

D. John. I will presently go learn their day of marriage. [Exeunt.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

51. Intend. Sometimes, as here, used for 'pretend.' 52. Term me Claudio. Theobald proposed that ' Borachio should here be substituted for Claudio:" and the proposition | seems plausible. But if we bear in mind that Borachio can induce Margaret to dress up in her lady's clothes, and let him call her "Hero," it is not unlikely that she might term him Claudio," as carrying out their assumption of the affianced lovers' parts for a joke; while, at the same time, Borachio could so conduct the conversation between them as to mislead the

[ocr errors]

known, when he would have walked ten mile a-foot to see a good armour; and now will he lie ten nights awake, carving the fashion of a new doublet. He was wont to speak plain, and to the purpose, like an honest man, and a soldier; and now is he turned orthographer; his words are a very fantastical banquet, — just so many strange dishes. May I be so converted, and see with these eyes? I cannot tell; I think not: I will not be sworn but love may transform me to an oyster; but I'll take my oath on it, till he have made an oyster of me, he shall never make me such a fool. One "woman is fair,—yet I am well: another is wise,— yet I am well; another virtuous,—yet I am well : but till all graces be in one woman, one woman shall not come in my grace. Rich she shall be, that's certain; wise, or I'll none; virtuous, or I'll never cheapen her; fair, or I'll never look on her; mild, or come not near me; noble, or not I for an angel; of good discourse, an excellent musician, and her hair shall be of what colour it please Heaven." Ha! the prince and Monsieur Love! I will hide me in the arbour. [Withdraws.

Enter DON PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and LEONATO, followed by BALTHAZAR and Musicians.

D. Pedro. Come, shall we hear this music? Claud. Yea, my good lord.-How still the evening is,

As hush'd on purpose to grace harmony!
D. Pedro. [Aside to CLAUDIO.] See you where
Benedick hath hid himself?

hidden spectators into the belief that he lady she personated knew him to be himself. In Act iii., sc. 3, he says-" Chiefly by my villainy, which did confirm any slander that Don John had made."

53. Orchard. Often used for garden. See Note 49, Act i. Originally spelt 'hortyard :' Latin, hortus, a garden.

54. Her hair shall be of what colour it please Heaven. This may be a hit at the fashion of wearing false hair, and of dyeing the hair, as evidenced by a passage in this very play, Act iii., sc. 4, where we find-"I like the new tire within excellently, if the hair were a thought browner." But we feel it to



« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »