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Impose me to what penance ? your invention
Can lay upon my fin: yet finn'd I not,
But in mistaking

D. PEDRO. By my fool, nor I;
And yet, to satisfy this good old man,
I would bend under any heavy weight
That he'll enjoin me to.

LEON. I cannot bid you bid my daughter live,
That were impossible; but, I pray you both,
Possess the people in Messina here
How innocent she died; and, if
Can labour aught in sad invention,
Hang her an epitaph upon her tomb,
And sing it to her bones; sing it to night:
To-morrow morning come you to my house;
And since

you

could not be my son-in-law,
Be yet my nephew: my brother hath a daughter,
Almost the copy of my child that's dead,
And she alone is heir to both of us;
Give her the right you should have given her cousin,
And so dies my revenge.
CLAUD.

O, noble fir,

your love

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2 Impose me to what penance -] i. c. command me. to undergo wliatever penance, &c. A task or exercise prescribed by way of punishment for a fault committed at the Universities, is yet called (as Mr. Steevens has observed in a former note) an imposition.

MALONE. 3 Possess the people, &c.] To poless, in ancient language, signifies. to inform, to make acquainted with. So, in The Merchant of Venice :

“ Is he yet poßefs'd how much you would ?"
Again, ibid:
" I have poliefs'd your grace of what I purpose."

STEEVENS.
4 And the alone is heir to both of us ;] Shakspeare seems to have
forgot wliat he had made Leonato say, in the fifth scene of the first
*AX to Antonio, " How now, brother ; where is my cousin your
fon? hath he provided the musick ?" ANONYMOUS.

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Your over-kindness doth wring tears from me!
I do embrace your offer; and dispose
For henceforth of poor Claudio.
Leon. To-morrow then I will expect your com-

ing;
To-night I take my leave. — This naughty man
Shall face to face be brought to Margaret,
Who, I believe, was pack'd in all this wrong,
Hir'd to it by your brother.
BORA.

No, by my soul, she was not; Nor knew not what she did, when she spoke to me; But always hath been juft and virtuous, In any thing that I do know by her.

Dogs. Moreover, sir. (which, indeed, is not under white and black.) this plaintiff here, the offender, did call me ass: I beseech you, let it be remembered in his punishment: And also, the watch heard them talk of one Deformed: they say, he wears a key in his ear, and a lock hanging by it; and

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edit. 1740.

5 Who, I believe, was pack'd in all this wrong,] i. e. combiner; an accomplice. So, in Lord Bacon's Works, Vol. IV. p. 269,

" If the issue shall be this, that whatever shall be done for him, shall be thought done for a number of persons that shall be laboured and packed .' MALONE. Só, in King Lear :

suuffs' and packings of the dukes." STEEVINS. Again, in Melvill's Memoirs, p. 90.

he was

a fpecial instrument of helping my Lord of Murray and Secretary Lidington to pack up the first friendship betwixt the two queens," &c.

REED, he wears

a key in his ear, and a lock hanging by it;} There could not be a pleasanter ridicule on the fashion, than the constable's descant on his own blunder. They heard the confpirators satirize the fashion ; whom they took to be a man furnamed Deformed. This the copstable applies with exquisiie humour to the courtiers, in a description of one of the most fantastical fashions of that time, the men's wearing rings in their ears, and indulging a favourite lock of hair which was brought

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borrows money in God's name;' the which he hath used so long, and never paid , that now men grow hard-hearted, and will lend nothing for God's fake: Pray you, examine him upon that point.

LEON. I thank thee for thy care and honest pains.

Dogb. Your worship speaks like a most thankful and reverend youth; and I praise God for you.

before, and tied with ribbons, and called a love-lock. Against this fashion William Prynne wrote his treatise, called, The Unlovelynefs of Love-Locks. To this fantastick mode "Fletcher alludes in his Cupid's Revenge : “ This morning I brought him a new perriwig with a lock at it And yonder's a fellow come has bored a hole in his car." And again, in his Woman-Hater : - If I could endure an car with a hole in it, or a plaited lock," &c.

WARBURTON. Dr. Warburton, I believe, has here (as he frequently does, I refined a little too much. There is no allusion, I conceive, to the fashion of wearing rings in the cars fa fashion which our author himself followed). The pleasantry seems to consist in Dogberry's suppoging that the lock which DEFORMED wore, must have a key to it.

Fynes Moryson in a very particular account that he has given of the dress of Lord Montjoy, (the rival, and afterwards the friend of Robert, Earl of Effex, ) says, that his hair was " thinne on the head, where he wore it short, except a lock under his left care, which he nourished the time of this warre, [the Irish War, in 1599.] and being woven up, hid it in his neck under his ruffe." ITINERARY, P. II. p. 45. When he was on service, he probably wore it in a different fashion.

The portrait of Sir Edward Sackville, Earl of Dorset, painted by Vandyck, (now Knowle,) exhibits this lock with a large knotted ribband at the eud of it. It hangs under the car on the left fide, and reaches as low as where the star is now worn by the knights of the garter. The same fashion is alluded to in an epigram already quoted : " Or what he doth with such a horse-tail-lock," &c.

MALONE. and borrows money in God's name;] i. e. is a common beggar. This alludes, with too much lcvity, to the 17th verse of the xixth chapter of Proverbs : " He that giveth to the poor, fendeth unto the Lord." STEEVENS,

not

at

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Leon. There's for thy pains.
DOGB. God save the foundation !

LEON. Go, I discharge thee of thy prisoner, and I thank thee.

Dogb. I leave an arrant knave with your worship; which, I beseech your worship, to correct yourself, for the example of others. God keep your worship; I wish your worship well; God restore you to health : I humbly give you leave to depart; and if a merry meeting may be wish'd, God prohibit it. Come, neighbour,

[Exeunt DOGBERRY, VERGES, and Watch. LEON. Until to-morrow morning, lords, farewell. Ant. Farewell, my lords; we look for you to

morrow. D. PEDRO. We will not fail. CLAUD.

To-night I'll mourn with Hero.

[Exeunt D. PEDRO and Claudio. Leon. Bring you these fellows on; we'll talk

with Margaret, How her acquaintance grew with this lewd fellow."

[ Exeunt.

9 God Save the foundation !] Such was the customary phrase eme ployed by those who received alms at the gates of religious houses. Dogberry, however, in the present instance, might have designed to say "God save the founder !” STEEVENS.

lewd fellow.] Lewd, in this, and several other instances, has not its common meaning, but merely fignifies idle. So, ir King Richard III. A& I. sc. iii. " But you must trouble him with lewd complaints."

STEEVENS.

SCENE

II.

LEONATO's Garden.

Enter BENEDICK and MARGARET, meeting.

Bene. Pray thee, sweet mistress Margaret, deserve well at my hands, by helping me to the speech of Beatrice. MARG. Will

you then write me a sonnetin praise of my beauty ?

Bene. In so high a style, Margaret, that no man living shall come over it; for, in most comely truth, thou deferveit it.

Marg. To have no man come over me? why, shall I always keep below stairs ? '

BENE. Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound's mouth, it catches.

3. To have no man come over me? why, Mall I always keep below plairs?] I suppose, every reader will find the meaning.

JOHNSON. Left he should not, the following instance from Sir Afton's Cockayne's.' Poems is at his service :

6. But to prove rather he was not beguil'd,

“ Her he o'er-came, for he got her with child.”. And another, more apposite, from Marston's Insatiate Countess, 1613.

“ Alas! when we are once o'the falling hand,

“ A man may easily come over us." COLLINS. Mr. Theobald, to procure an obvious sense, would read -- above fairs. But there is danger in any attempt to reform a joke two hundred years old.

The senfe, however, for which Mr. Theobald contends, may be restored by supposing the loss of a word; and that our author

Why, shall I always keep. men below ttairs ?" i. e. never suffer them to come up into my bed-chamber, for the purposes of love. STEEVENS,

wrote

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