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Claud. Now you talk of a sheet of
talk of a sheet of paper, I remember a pretty jest your daughter told us of.
LEON. 0!- When she had writit, and was reading it over, she found Benedick and Beatrice between the sheet?
Leon. O! she tore the letter into a thousand halfpence;' rail'd at herself, that she should be so immodest to write to one that she knew would flout her: I measure him, says she, by my own Spirit, for I Mould flout him, if he writ to me; yea, though I love him, I should.
Macbeth ; perhaps the passage here quoted was not less grateful to Elizabeth, as it apparently alludes to an extraordinary trait in one of the letters pretended to have been written by the hated Mary to Bothwell :
- I am nakit, and ganging to sleep, and zit I cease not to fcribble all this paper, in so meikle as rest is thairof." That is, I am naked, and going to feep, and yet I cease not to scribble to the end of my paper, much as there remains of it unwritten on.
HENLEY. Mr. Henley's observation must fall to the ground; the word in every edition of Mary's letter which Shakspeare could poffibly have seen, being irkit, not nakit. " I am irkit” means, I am uneasy. So, in As you like it :
" And yet it irks me, the poor dappled fools," &ca Again, in K. Henry VI :
" It irks his heart he cannot be reveag'd." Sl'EEVENS. 9 0! Me tore the letter into a thousand halfpence ; ) i. e. into a thousand pieces of the same bigness. So, in As you Like it : s they were all like one another, as halfpence are." THEOBALD.
A farthing, and perhaps a halfpenny, was used to signify any small particle or division. So, in the chara&er of the Priorefs in Chaucer :
" That in hire cuppe was no ferthing sene
" Of grese, whan she dronken hadde hirc draught." Prol. to the Cant. Tales, Tyrwhitt's edit. v. 135. STEEVENS. See Mortimeriados, by Michael Drayton, 4to. 1596 :
" She now begins to write unto her lover,
Claud. Then down upon her knees she falls, weeps, sobs, beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, curses; — 0 [wcet Benedick! God give me patience!
LEON. She doth indeed; my daughter says so: and the ecstasy' hath so much overborne her, that my daughter is sometime afraid she will do a desperate outrage to herself; It is very true.
D. Pedro. It were good, that Benedick knew of it by some other, if she will not discover it.
Claud. To what end? He would but make a sport of it, and torment the poor lady worse.
D. PEDRO. An he should, it were an alms to hang him: She's an excellent sweet lady; and, out of all suspicion, she is virtuous.
CLAUD. And she is exceeding wise.
D. PEDRO. In every thing, but in loving Benedick.
LEON. O my lord, wisdom and blood? combating in so tender a body, we have ten proofs to one, that blood hath the victory. I am sorry for her, as I have just cause, being her uncle and her guardian.
D. PEDRO. I would, she had bestowed this dotage on me; I would have daff’d * all other respects, and
and the ecstasy ] i. e. alienation of mind. So, in The Tempest, A& III. sc. jii: " Hinder them from what this ecstasy may now provoke them to."
STEEVENS. and blood-] I suppose blood, in this instance, to mean nature, or disposition. So, in The Yorkshire Tragedy : 6. For 'tís our blood to love what we're forbidden."
STEEVENS. Blood is here as in many other places used by our author in the sense of passion, or rather temperament of body. MALONE.
have daff'd ] To daff is the same as to doff, to do of, to put aside. So, in Macbeth :
so want to doff their dire distresses." STEEVENS.
made her half myself: I pray you, tell Benedick of it, and hear what he will say.
Leon. Were it good, think you?'
CLAUD. Hero thinks surely, she will die: for she says, she will die if he love her not; and she will die ere she make her love known; and she will die if he woo her, rather than she will 'bate one breath of her accustom'd croflness.
D. PEDRO. She doth well: if she should make tender of her love, 'tis very possible he'll scorn it; for the man, as you know all, hath a contemptible spirit.
Claud. He is a very proper man.
D. PEDRO. He hath, indeed, a good outward happiness.
Claud. 'Fore God, and in my mind, very wise.
D. Pedro. He doth, indeed, show some sparks that are like wit.
LEON. And I take him to be valiant.
contemptible spirit. ] That is, a temper inclined to scorn and contempt. It has been before remarked, that our author uses his verbal adje&ives with great licence. There is therefore no need of changing the word with Sir Thomas Hanmer to contemptuous.
JOHNSON. In the argument to Darius, a tragedy, by Lord Sterline, 1603, it is said, that Darius wrote to Alexander - in a proud and contemptible manner. In this place contemptible certainly mean contemptuous.
Again, Drayton, in the 24th Song of his Polyolbion, speaking in praise of a hermit, says, that he,
* The'mad tumultuous world contemptibly forsook,
STEEVENS. a very proper man. ] i. c. a very handsome one. So, in Othello :
" This Ludovico is a proper man," STEEVENS,
managing of quarrels, you may say he is wise; for either he avoids them with great discretion, or undertakes them with a most christian-like fear.
LEON. If he do fear God, he must necessarily keep peace; if he break the peace, he ought to enter into a quarrel with fear and trembling.
D. PEDRO. And so will he do; for the man doth fear God, howsoever it seems not in him, by some large jests he will make. Well, I am sorry for your niece: Shall we go seek Benedick, and tell him of her love?
Claud. Never tell him, my lord ;. let her wear it out with good counsel.
Leon. Nay, that's impossible; she may wear her heart out first.
D. PEDRO. Well, we'll hear further of it by your daughter; let it cool the while. I love Benedick well; and I could wish he wauld modestly examine himself, to see how much he is unworthy so good a lady.
LEON. My lord, will you walk? dinner is ready.
Claud. If he do not dote on her upon this, I will never trust my expectation.
[Afde. D. PEDRO. Let there be the same net spread for her; and that must your daughter and her gentlewoman carry
The sport will be, when they hold one an opinion of another's dotage, and no such matter; that's the scene that I would fee, which will be merely a dumb show. Let us fend her to call hiin in to dinner.
[ Afide. [ Exeunt Don PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and LEONATO.
unworthy so good a lady.) Thus the quarto, 1600. The first folio unnecessarily reads so unworthy to have so good a lady."
BENEDICK advances from the Arbour. Bene. This can be no trick: The conference was fadly borne: ' - They have the truth of this from Hero. They seern to pity the lady, it seems, her affections have their full bent. 8 Love me! why, it must be requited. I hear how I am censured: they fay, I will bear myself proudly, if I perceive the love come from her; they say tog, that she will rather die than give any sign of affection. — I did never think to marry: -I must not seem proud;— Happy are they that hear their detractions, and can put them to mending. They say, the lady is fair ; 'tis a truth. I can bear them witness; and virtuous; 'tis fo, I cannot reprove it: and wise, but for loving me:- By my troth, it is no addition to her wit; nor no great argument of her folly, for I will be horribly in love with her. — I may chance have some odd quirks and remnants of wit broken on me, because I have rail'd so long against marriage: But doth not the appetite alter? A man loves the meat in his youth, that he cannot endure in his age: Shall quips, and sentences, and these paper bullets of the brain, awe a man from the career of his humour? No: The world must be peopled. When I said, I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married.--Here comes Beatrice:-By this day, she's a fair lady: I do spy some marks of love in her. was fadly borne: ] i. e. was seriously carried on.
STEEVENS. 8 have their full bent. ] Metaphor from the exercise of the bow. So, in Hamlet :
" And here give up ourselves in the full bent,
6. To lay our service freely at your feet.” The first folio reads "the full bent." I have followed the quarto, 1600. STEEVENS,