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Mar. Name it.
Dum. Fair lady,-
Mar. Say you so? Fair lord,-
Take that for your fair lady.
Dum. Please it you,
As much in private, and I'll bid adieu.
Kath. What, was your visor made without a tongue?
Long. I know the reason, lady, why you ask.
Kath. O, for your reason! quickly, Sir; I long.
Long. You have a double tongue within your mask,
And would afford my speechless visor half.
Kath. Veal, quoth the Dutchman;-Is not veal a calf?
Long. A calf, fair lady?
Kath. No, a fair lord calf.
Long. Let's part the word.
Kath. No, I'll not be your half:
Take all, and wean it; it may prove an ox.
Long. Look, how you butt yourself in these sharp mocks!
Will you give horns, chaste lady? do not so.
Kath. Then die a calf, before your horns do grow.
Long. One word in private with you, ere I die.
Kath. Bleat softly then, the butcher hears you cry.
[They converse apart.
Boyet. The tongues of mocking wenches are as keen
As is the razor's edge invisible,
Cutting a smaller hair than may be seen;
Above the sense of sense: so sensible
Seemeth their conference; their conceits have wings,
Fleeter than arrows, wind, thought, swifter things.
Ros. Not one word more, my maids; break off, break off.
Biron. By heaven, all dry-beaten with pure scoff!
King. Farewell, mad wenches; you have simple wits.
[Exeunt KING, Lords, MOTH, Musicians, and Attendants. Prin. Twenty adieus, my frozen Muscovites.Are these the breed of wits so wondered at?
Boyet. Tapers they are, with your sweat breaths puff'd out. Ros. Well liking wits they have; gross, gross; fat, fat. Prin. O poverty in wit, kingly-poor flout! Will they not, think you, hang themselves to-night? Or ever, but in visors, show their faces ? This pert Birón was out of countenance quite.
Ros. O they were all in lamentable cases!
The king was weeping-ripe for a good word.
Prin. Birón did swear himself out of all suit.
Mar. Dumain was at my service, and his sword:
No point, quoth I; and my servant straight was mute.
Kath. Lord Longaville said, I came o'er his heart;
And trow you what he call'd me?
Prin. Qualm, perhaps.
Kath. Yes, in good faith.
Prin. Go, sickness as thou art!
* A quibble on the French adverb of negation.
Ros. Well, better wits have worn plain statute-caps.*
But will you hear? the king is my love sworn.
Prin. And quick Birón hath plighted faith to me.
Kath. And Longaville was for my service born.
Mar. Dumain is mine, as sure as bark on tree.
Boyet. Madam, and pretty mistresses, give ear:
Immediately they will again be here
In their own shapes; for it can never be,
They will digest this harsh indignity.
Prin. Will they return?
Boyet. They will, they will, God knows;
And leap for joy, though they are lame with blows:
Therefore, change favours; and, when they repair,
Blow like sweet roses in the summer air.
Prin. How blow? how blow? speak to be understood.
Boyet. Fair ladies, mask'd, are roses in their bud:
Dismask'd, their damask sweet conmixture shown,
Are angels vailing clouds, or roses blown.
Prin. Avaunt perplexity! What shall we do,
If they return in their own shapes to woo?
Ros. Good madam, if by me you'll be advised,
Let's mock them still, as well known, as disguised:
Let us complain to them what fools were here,
Disguised like Muscovites, in shapeless § gear;
And wonder what they were; and to what end
Their shallow shows, and prologue vilely penn'd,
And their rough carriage so ridiculous,
Should be presented at our tent to us.
Boyet. Ladies, withdraw; the gallants are at hand.
Prin. Whip to our tents as roes run over land.
[Exeunt PRINCESS, ROSALINE, KATHARINE, and MARIA. Enter the KING, BIRON, LONGAVILLE, and DUMAIN, in their proper habits.
King. Fair Sir, God save you! Where is the princess?
Boyet. Gone to her tent, please it your majesty,
Command me any service to her thither?
King. That she vouchsafe me audience for one word.
Boyet. I will; and so will she, I know, my lord.
Biron. This fellow pecks up wit, as pigeons peas;
And utters it again when God doth please:
He is wit's pedlar; and retails his wares
At wakes, and wassels,|| meetings, markets, fairs,
And we that sell by gross, the Lord doth know,
Have not the grace to grace it with such show.
This gallant pins the wenches on his sleeve;
Had he been Adam, he had tempted Eve:
He can carve too, and lisp: Why, this is he
That kiss'd away his hand in courtesy ;
+ Letting them down.
Rustic merry-meetings. VOL. I.
* Better wits may be found among citizens with their statutory woollen caps. † Features, countenances.
This is the ape of form, monsieur the nice,
That, when he plays at tables, chides the dice
In honourable terms; nay, he can sing
A mean most meanly; and, in ushering,
Mend him who can: the ladies call him, sweet;
The stairs, as he treads on them, kiss his feet:
This is the flower that smiles on every one,
To show his teeth as white as whales' bone:
And consciences, that will not die in debt,
Pay him the due of honey-tongued Boyet.
King. A blister on his sweet tongue, with my heart,
That put Armado's page out of his part!
Enter the PRINCESS, ushered by BOYET; ROSALINE, Maria, KATHARINE, and Attendants.
Biron. See where it comes !-Behaviour, what wert thou,
Till this man show'd thee? and what art thou now?
King. All hail, sweet madam, and fair time of day!
Prin. Fair, in all hail, is foul, as I conceive.
King. Conster my speeches better, if you may.
Prin. Then wish me better, I will give you leave.
King. We came to visit you; and purpose now
To lead you to our court: vouchsafe it then.
Prin. This field shall hold me; and so hold your vow:
Nor God, nor I, delight in perjured men.
King. Rebuke me not for that which you provoke ;
The virtue of your eye must break my oath.
Prin. You nick-name virtue; vice you should have spoke;
For virtue's office never breaks men's troth.
Now, by my maiden honour, yet as pure
As the unsullied lily, I protest,
A world of torments though I should endure,
I would not yield to be your house's guest:
So much I hate a breaking-cause to be
Of heavenly oaths, vow'd with integrity.
King. O, you have lived in desolation here,
Unseen, unvisited, much to our shame.
Prin. Not so, my lord; it is not So,
We have had pastimes here, and pleasant game;
A mess of Russians left us but of late.
King. How, madam ? Russians?
Prin. Ay, in truth, my lord;
Trim gallants, full of courtship, and of state.
Ros. Madam, speak true:-It is not so, my lord;
My lady, (to the manner of the days),†
In courtesy, gives undeservingt praise.
We four, indeed, confronted here with four
In Russian habit: here they stay'd an hour,
And talk'd apace; and in that hour, my lord,
They did not bless us with one happy word.
The tenor in music.
† After the fashion of the time. + Undeserved,
I dare not call them fools; but this I think,
When they are thirsty, fools would fain have drink.
Biron. This jest is dry to me-Fair, gentle sweet,
Your wit makes wise things foolish; when we greet
With eyes best seeing heaven's fiery eye,
By light we lose light: Your capacity
Is of that nature, that to your huge store
Wise things seem foolish, and rich things but poor.
Ros. This proves you wise and rich; for in my eye,—
Biron. I am a fool, and full of poverty.
Ros. But that you take what doth to you belong,
It were a fault to snatch words from my tongue.
Biron. O, I am yours, and all that I possess.
Ros. All the fool mine ?
Biron. I cannot give you less.
Ros. Which of the visors was it, that you wore ?
Biron. Where? when? what vísor? why demand you this?
Ros. There, then, that visor; that superfluous case,
That hid the worse, and show'd the better face.
King. We are descried: they'll mock us now downright.
Dum. Let us confess, and turn it to a jest.
Prin. Amazed, my lord? Why looks your highness sad ?
Ros. Help, hold his brows! he'll swoon! Why look you pale?— Sea-sick, I think, coming from Muscovy?
Biron. Thus pour the stars down plagues for perjury.
Can any face of brass hold longer out ?-
Here stand I, lady; dart thy skill at me;
Bruise me with scorn, confound me with a flout;
Thrust thy sharp wit quite through my ignorance;
Cut me to pieces with thy keen conceit;
And I will wish thee never more to dance,
Nor never more in Russian habit wait.
O! never will I trust to speeches penn❜d,
Nor to the notion of a school-boy's tongue; Nor never come in visor to my friend;
Nor woo in rhyme, like a blind harper's song: Taffata phrases, silken terms precise,
Three-piled hyperboles, spruce affectation, Figures pedantical; these summer-flies
Have blown me full of maggot ostentation: I do forswear them: and I here protest,
By this white glove, (how white the hand, God knows!)
Henceforth my wooing mind shall be express'd
In russet yeas, and honest kersey noes:
And, to begin, wench, so God help me, la!
My love to thee is sound, sans crack or flaw.
Ros. Sans SANS, I pray you.
Biron. Yet I have a trick
Of the old rage:-bear with me, I am sick;
I'll leave it by degrees. Soft, let us see;
Write, Lord, have mercy on us, on those three; †
*As of velvet.
† As on three plague-possessed houses.
They are infected, in their hearts it lies;
They have the plague, and caught it of your eyes:
These lords are visited; you are not free,
For the Lord's tokens on you do I see.
Prin. No, they are free, that gave these tokens to us.
Biron. Our states are forfeit, seek not to undo us.
Ros. It is not so; for how can this be true,
That you stand forfeit, being those that sue?
Biron. Peace; for I will not have to do with you.
Ros. Nor shall not, if I do as I intend.
Biron. Speak for yourselves, my wit is at an end.
King. Teach us, sweet madam, for our rude transgression, Some fair excuse.
Prin. The fairest is confession.
Were you not here, but even now disguised?
King. Madam, I was.
Prin. And were you well advised ?
King. I was, fair madam.
Prin. When you then were here,
What did you whisper in your lady's ear?
King. That more than all the world I did respect her. Prin. When she shall challenge this, you will reject her King. Upon mine honour, no.
Prin. Peace, peace, forbear;
Your oath once broke, you force* not to forswear.
King. Despise me, when I break this oath of mine.
Prin. I will; and therefore keep it :-Rosaline,
What did the Russian whisper in your ear?
Ros. Madam, he swore, that he did hold me dear
As precious eyesight; and did value me
Above this world: adding thereto, moreover,
That he would wed me, or else die my lover.
Prin. God give thee joy of him! the noble lord
Most honourably doth uphold his word.
King. What mean you, madam? by my life, my troth, I never swore this such an oath.
Ros. By heaven, you did; and to confirm it plain, You gave me this: but take it, Sir, again.
King. My faith, and this, the princess I did give; I knew her by this jewel on her sleeve.
Prin. Pardon me, Sir, this jewel did she wear;
And lord Birón, I thank him, is my dear :—
What; will you have me, or your pearl again?
Biron. Neither of either; I remit both twain.
I see the trick on't;-Here was a consent t
(Knowing aforehand of our merriment),
To dash it like a Christmas comedy:
Some carry-tale, some please-man, some slight zany,
Some mumble-news, some trencher-knight, some Dick,-
That smiles his cheek in years; and knows the trick
To make my lady laugh, when she's disposed,-
Told our intents before: which once disclosed,
* Make no difficulty.