« AnteriorContinuar »
your grace had got the good will of this young lady;1 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 school-boy; who, being overjoy'd 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 bestow'd on you, who, as I take it, have stol'n 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 wrong'd by you.
Bene. O, she misused me past the endurance of a block; an oak, but with one green leaf on it, would have answer'd 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,
&c. I am informed, that near Aleppo, these lonely buildings are still made use of, it being necessary, that the fields where water. melons, cucumbers, &c. are raised, should be regularly watched. I learn from Tho. Newton's Herball to the Bible, 8vo. 1587, that “ so soone as the cucumbers, &c. be gathered, these lodges are abandoned of the watchmen and keepers, and no more frequented.” From these forsaken buildings, it should seem, the prophet takes his comparison. Steevens.
1- of this young lady;] Benedick speaks of Hero as if she were on the stage. Perhaps, both she and Leonato were meant to make their entrance with Don Pedro. When Beatrice enters, she is spoken of as coming in with only Claudio: Steevens.
I have regulated the entries accordingly. Malone.
2 — such impossible conveyance,] Dr. Warburton reads impassable: Sir Tho. Hanmer impetuous, and Dr. Johnson importa
with a whole army shooting at me: She speaks poniards, s and every word stabs: if her breath were as terrible as her terminations, there were no living near her, she would infect toʻthe north star. I would not marry her, though she were endowed with all that Adam had left him before he transgress'd: she would have made Hercules have turn'd spit: yea, and have cleft his club to make the fire too. Come, talk not of her; you shall find her the infernal Até in good apparel.4 I would to God, some scholar would conjure her;5 for, certainly,
ble, which, says he, is used by Spenser, in a sense very congruous to this passage, for insupportable, or not to be sustained. Also by the last translators of the Apocrypha ; and therefore such a word as Shakspeare may be supposed to have written. Reed.
Importable is very often used by Lidgate in his Prologue to the translation of The Tragedies gathered by Iohn Bochas, &c. as well as by Holinshed. · Impossible may be licentiously used for unaccountable. Beatrice has already said, that Benedick invents impossible slanders. So, in The Fair Maid of the Inn, by Beaumont and Fletcher:
“ You would look for some most impossible antick." Again, in The Roman Actor, by Massinger:
“ - to lose
“ Ourselves, by building on impossible hopes.” Steevens. Impossible may have been what Shakspeare wrote, and be used in the sense of incredible or inconceivable, both here and in the beginning of the scene, where Beatrice speaks of impossible slan. ders. M. Mason.
I believe the meaning is--with a rapidity equal to that of jugglers, who appear to perform impossibilities. We have the same epithet again in Twelfth Night: “ There is no Christian can ever believe such impossible passages of grossness.” So Ford says in The Merry Wives of Windsor, --" I will examine impossible places." Again, in Julius Cæsar :
" Now bid me run,
“ And get the better of them.” Conveyance was the common term in our author's time for sleight of hand. Malone. 3_ She speaks poniards, So, in Hamlet :
“I'll speak daggers to her — Steevens.
the infernal Até in good apparel.] This is a pleasant allusion to the custom of ancient poets and painters, who represent the Furies in rags. Warburton.
Até is not one of the Furies, but the Goddess of Revenge, or Dis. oord. Steevens.
5 some scholar would conjure her;] As Shakspeare always
while she is here, a man may live as quiet in hell, as in a sanctuary; and people sin upon purpose, because they would go thither: so, indeed, all disquiet, horror, and perturbation follows her.
Re-enter CLAUDIO, and BEATRICE.
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 ;6 do you any embassage to the Pigmies, rather than hold three words' conference with this harpy: You have no employment for me?
D. Pedro. None, but to desire your good company.
Bene. O God, sir, here's a dish I love not; I cannot endure my lady Tongue.?
D. Pedro. Come, lady, come; you have lost the heart of signior Benedick
Beat. Indeed, my lord, he lent it me a while gave him use for it, 8 a double heart for his singi? ner.
attributes to his exorcists the power of raising spirits, he gives his conjurer, in this place, the power of laying them. M. Mason.
6 — bring you the length of Prester John's foot; fetch you a hair off the great Cham's beard; i. e. I will undertake the hardest task, rather than have any conversation with lady Beatrice. Al. luding to the difficulty of access to either of those monarchs, but more particularly to the former.
So Cartwright, in his comedy called The Siege, or Love's Con. vert, 1651: " bid me take the Parthian king by the beard: or draw an eye-tooth from the jaw royal of the Persian monarch.”
Such an achievement, however, Huon of Bourdeaux was sent to perform, and performed it. See chap. 46, edit. 1601: “he opened his mouth, and tooke out his foure great teeth, and then cut off his beard, and tooke thereof as much as pleased him.” Steevens.
« Thou must goe to the citie of Babylon to the Admiral Gaudisse, to bring me thy hand full of the heare of his beard, and foure of his greatest teeth. Alas, my lord, (quoth the Barrons) we see well you desire greatly his death, when you charge him with such a message.” Huon of Bourdeaux, ch. 17. Bowle.
7— my lady Tongue.] Thus the quarto, 1600. The folio reads -this lady Tongue. Steevens.
8 — I gave him use for it,] Use, in our author's time, meant interest of money. Malone.
marry, once before, he won it of me with false dice, therefore your grace may well say I have lost it.
D. Pedro. You have put him down, lady, you have put him down.
Beat. So I would not he should do me, my lord, lest I should prove the mother of fools. I have brought count Claudio, whom you sent me to seek.
D. Pedro. Why, how now, count? wherefore are you sad?
Claud. Not sad, 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. 1
D. Pedro. I' faith, lady, I think your blazon 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! À, Leon. Count, take of me my daughter, and with her 9. fortunes: his grace hath made the match, and all ace say Amen to 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,2 it 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.
9 civil as an orange,] This conceit occurs likewise in Nashe's four letters confuted, 1592: “ For the order of my life, it is as civil as an orange.” Steevens.
1- of that jealous complexion.] Thus the quarto, 1600. The folio reads, of a jealous complexion. Steevens.
2 — poor fool,] This was formerly an expression of tender. ness. See King Lear, last scene: “ And my poor fool is hang'd.”
Beat. Good lord, for alliance !3_Thus goes every one to the world but I, and I am sun-burn'd;* 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 cry'd; but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born. Cousins, God give you joy!
Leon. Niece, will you look to those things I told you of? Beat. I cry you mercy, uncle.-By your grace's par
Exit BEAT. D. Pedro. By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady. Leon. There's little of the melancholy element in her,"
3 Good lord, for alliance!) Claudio has just called Beatrice cousin. I suppose, therefore, the meaning is,--Good Lord, here have I got a new kinsman by marriage. Malone.
I cannot understand these words, unless they imply a wish for the speaker's alliance with a husband. Steevens.
4 Thus goes every one to the world but I, and I am sun-burn'd;} What is it, to go to the world? perhaps, to enter by marriage into a settled state; but why is the unmarried lady sun-burnt I be. lieve we should read,-Thus goes every one to the wood but I, and I am sun-burnt. Thus does every one but I find a shelter, and I am left exposed to wind and sun. The nearest way to the wood, is a phrase for the readiest means to any end, It is said of a woman, who accepts a worse match than those which she had refused, that she has passed through the wood, and at last taken a crooked stick. But conjectural criticism has always something to abate its confidence. Shakspeare, in All 's well that ends well, uses the phrase, to go to the world, for marriage. So that my emendation depends only on the opposition of wood to sun-burnt. Johnson.
I am sun-burnt may mean, I have lost my beauty, and am consequently no longer such an object as can tempt a man to marry.
Steevens. . 6 There 's little of the melancholy element in her,] “ Does not