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With that all laugh’d, and clapp'd him on the shoulder;
Prin. But what, but what, come they to visit us?
Boyet. They do, they do; and are apparel'd thus,
2 — spleen ridiculous -] Is, a ridiculous fit of laughter.
Johnson. The spleen was anciently supposed to be the cause of laughter: So, in some old Latin verses already quoted on another occasion.
“ Splen ridere facit, cogit amare jecur.” Steevens. 3 passion's solemn tears.] So, in A Midsummer Nights Dream :
“Made mine eyes water, but more merry tears
“ The passion of loud laughter never shed.” Malone. 4 Like Muscovites, or Russians; as I guess,] The settling com. merce in Russia was, at that time, a matter that much ingrossed the concern and conversation of the publick. There had been several embassies employed thither on that occasion; and several tracts of the manners and state of that nation written: so that a mask of Muscovites was as good an entertainment to the audi. ence of that time, as a coronation has been since. Warburton.
A mask of Muscovites was no uncommon recreation at court long before our author's time. In the first year of King Henry the Eighth, at a banquet made for the foreign embassadors in the parliament-chamber at Westminster: “came the lorde Henry, Earle of Wiltshire, and the lorde Fitzwater, in twoo long gounes of yellowe satin travarsed with white satin, and in every ben of white was a bend of crimosen satin after the fashion of Russia or Ruslande, with furred hattes of grey on their hedes, either of them havyng an hatchet in their handes, and bootes with pykes turned up.” Hall, Henry VIII, p. 6. This extract may serve to convey an idea of the dress used upon the present occasion by the King and his Lords at the performance of the play. Ritson.
Unto his several mistress; which they 'll know
Prin. And will they so? the gallants shall be task'd :-
Ros. Come on then; wear the favours most in sight.
Prin. The effect of my intent is, to cross theirs:
Ros. But shall we dance, if they desire us to 't?
Prin. No; to the death, we will not move a foot: Nor to their penn'd speech render we no grace; But, while 'tis spoke, each turn away her face.5 Boyet. Why, that contempt will kill the speaker's
heart. And quite divorce his memory from his part.
Prin. Therefore I do it; and, I make no doubt, The rest will ne'er come in, if he be out. There's no such sport, as sport by sport o'erthrown; To make theirs ours, and ours none but our own: So shall we stay, mocking intended game; And they, well mock’d, depart away with shame.
[Trumpets sound within. Boyet. The trumpet sounds; be mask'd, the maskers come.
[The ladies mask.
5— her face.] The first folio, and the quarto, 1598, havehis face. Corrected by the editor of the second folio. Malone.
0— will ne'er come in,] The quarto, 1598, and the folio, 1623, read_will e'er. The correction was made in the second folio.
Enter the King, BIRON, LONGAVILLE, and DUMAIN,
in Russian habits, and masked; Moth, Musicians and
[The ladies turn their backs to him. That ever turn’d their-backs-to mortal views!
Biron. Their eyes, villain, their eyes.
Moth. Out of your favours, heavenly spirits, vouchsafe Not to behold
Biron. Once to behold, rogue. Moth. Once to behold with your sun-beamed eyes, with your sun-beamed eyes —
Boyet. They will not answer to that epithet; You were best call it, daughter-beamed eyes.
Moth. They do not mark me, and that brings me out.
Boyet. What would you with the princess?
King. Say to her, we have measur'd many miles,
Boyet. They say that they have measur'd many a mile, To tread a measures with you on this grass.
7 Beauties no richer than rich taffata.] i. e. the taffata masks they wore to conceal themselves. All the editors concur to give this line to Biron; but, surely, very absurdly: for he's one of the zealous admirers, and hardly would make such an inference. Boyet is sneering at the parade of their address, is in the secret of the ladies' stratagem, and makes himself sport at the absurdity of their proem, in complimenting their beauty, when they were mask’d." It therefore comes from him with the utmost propriety.
Ros. It is not so: ask them, how many inches
Boyet. If, to come hither you have measur'd miles,
Biron. Tell her, we measure them by weary steps. Boyet. She hears herself.
How many weary steps, Of many weary miles you have o'ergone, Are number'd in the travel of one mile?
Biron. We number nothing that we spend for you; Our duty is so rich, so infinite, That we may do it still without accompt. Vouchsafe to show the sunshine of your face, That we, like savages, may worship it.
Ros. My face is but a moon, and clouded too.
King. Blessed are clouds, to do as such clouds do! Vouchsafe, bright moon, and these thy stars,' to shine (Those clouds remov’d) upon our wat’ry eyne.
Ros. O vain petitioner! beg a greater matter; Thou now request'st but moonshine in the water. King. Then, in our measure do but vouchsafe one
change: Thou bid'st me beg; this begging is not strange. Ros. Play, musick, then: nay, you must do it soon.
[Musick plays. Not yet ;-no dance:thus change I like the moon.
8 To tread a measure-] The measures were dances solemn and slow. They were performed at court, and at public entertainments of the societies of law and equity, at their halls, on particular occasions. It was formerly not deemed inconsistent with propriety even for the gravest persons to join in them; and accordingly at the revels which were celebrated at the inns of court, it has not been unusual for the first characters in the law to become performers in treading the measures. See Dugdale's Origines Juridiciales. Reed.
See Beatrice's description of this dance in Much Ado About Nothing. Malone.
9 Vouchsafe, bright moon, and these thy stars,] When Queen Elizabeth asked an embassador, how he liked her ladies, It is hard, said he, to judge of stars in the presence of the sun. Johnson. King.
King. Will you not dance? How come you thus
estrang'd? Ros. You took the moon at full; but now she's chang'd.
King. Yet still she is the moon, and I the man.1
Ros. Our ears vouchsafe it.
But your legs should do it. Ros. Since you are strangers, and come here by chance, We'll not be nice: take hands; we will not dance.
King. Why take we hands then?
Only to part friends:Court'sy, sweet hearts;2 and so the measure ends.
King. More measure of this measure; be not nice.
That can never be.
King. If you deny to dance, let's hold more chat.
I am best pleas'd with that.
[They converse apart. Biron. White-handed mistress, one sweet word with
thee. Prin. Honey, and milk, and sugar; there is three.
Biron. Nay then, two treys, (an if you grow so nice) Metheglin, wort, and malmsey ;-Well run, dice! There's half a dozen sweets. Prin.
Seventh sweet, adieu!
Biron. One word in secret.
Let it not be sweet.
Therefore meet. [They converse apart.
1- the man.] I suspect, that a line which rhymed with this, has been lost. Malone. 2 Court'sy, sweet hearts;] See Tempest, Vol. II:
“ Court'sied when you have, and kiss'd ." Malone. 3 Since you can cog,] To cog, signifies to falsify the dice, and to falsify a narrative, or to lye. Johnson.