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Long. He weeds the corn, and still lets grow the weeding.

Biron. The spring is near, when green geese are a-breeding.

Dum. How follows that?
Biron.

Fit in his place and time.

Dum. In reason nothing.
Biron.

Something then in rhyme. Long. Birón is like an envious sneaping1 frost, That bites the first-born infants of the spring. Biron. Well, say I am; why should proud summer

boast,

Before the birds have any cause to sing?

Why should I joy in an abortive birth?
At Christmas I no more desire a rose,
Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled shows;'
But like of each thing that in season grows.
So you to study now it is too late—
Climb o'er the house to unlock the little gate.
King. Well, sit you out. Go home, Birón, adieu!
Biron. No, my good lord; I have sworn to stay
with you:

And, though I have for barbarism spoke more,

Than for that angel knowledge you can say, Yet confident I'll keep what I have swore,

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2

And bide the penance of each three years' day.
Give me the paper; let me read the same;
And to the strict'st decrees I'll write my name.

King. How well this yielding rescues thee from shame!

Biron. [Reads.] Item, That no woman shall come within a mile of my court.-Hath this been proclaimed? Long. Four days ago.

Biron. Let's see the penalty. [Reads.] On pain of losing her tongue.-Who devised this penalty? Long. Marry, that did I.

Biron. Sweet lord, and why?

1 i. e. nipping.

2 By these shows the poet means May-games, at which a snow would be very unwelcome and unexpected. It is only a periphrasis for May.

Long. To fright them hence with that dread penalty.

Biron. A dangerous law against gentility.'

[Reads.] Item, If any man be seen to talk with a woman within the term of three years, he shall endure such public shame as the rest of the court can possibly devise.

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This article, my liege, yourself must break.

For, well you know, here comes in embassy The French king's daughter, with yourself to speak, A maid of grace, and complete majesty,— About surrender-up of Aquitain

To her decrepit, sick, and bed-rid father. Therefore this article is made in vain,

Or vainly comes the admired princess hither. King. What say you, lords? Why, this was quite forgot.

Biron. So study evermore is overshot :
While it doth study to have what it would,
It doth forget to do the thing it should;
And when it hath the thing it hunted most,
'Tis won, as towns with fire; so won, so lost.

King. We must, of force, dispense with this decree; She must lie here on mere necessity.

Biron. Necessity will make us all forsworn

Three thousand times within this three years'

space.

For every man with his affects is born;

Not by might mastered, but by special grace.
If I break faith, this word shall speak for me,
I am forsworn on mere necessity.-

So to the laws at large I write my name. [Subscribes. And he that breaks them in the least degree,

Stands in attainder of eternal shame.

3

Suggestions are to others as to me; But, I believe, although I seem so loath,

1 The word gentility here does not signify that rank of people called gentry; but what the French express by gentilesse, i. e. elegantia, urbanitas. 2 That is, reside here. 3 Temptations.

VOL. II.

11

I am the last that will last keep his oath.
But is there no quick recreation granted?

King. Ay, that there is. Our court, you know, is haunted

With a refined traveller of Spain;

A man in all the world's new fashion planted,
That hath a mint of phrases in his brain;
One whom the music of his own vain tongue
Doth ravish, like enchanting harmony;
A man of complements, whom right and wrong
Have chose as umpire of their mutiny.
This child of fancy, that Armado hight,

2

For interim to our studies, shall relate,
In high-born words, the worth of many a knight
From tawny Spain, lost in the world's debate.
How you delight, my lords, I know not, I;
But, I protest, I love to hear him lie,
And I will use him for my minstrelsy.3

Biron. Armado is a most illustrious wight,
A man of fire-new words, fashion's own knight.

Long. Costard the swain, and he, shall be our

sport; And, so to study, three years is but short.

Enter DULL, with a Letter, and COSTARD.
?

Dull. Which is the duke's own person
Biron. This, fellow. What would'st?

4

Dull. I myself reprehend his own person, for I am his grace's tharborough; but I would see his own person in flesh and blood.

Biron. This is he.

Dull. Seignior Arme - Armecommends you. There's villany abroad; this letter will tell you more. Cost. Sir, the contempts thereof are as touching me.

1 Lively, sprightly.

2 Complements is here used in its ancient sense of accomplishments. Vide Note on K. Henry V. Act ii. Sc. 2.

3 I will make use of him instead of a minstrel, whose occupation was to relate fabulous stories.

4 i. e. third-borough, a peace-officer.

King. A letter from the magnificent Armado. Biron. How low soever the matter, I hope in God for high words.

Long. A high hope for a low having! God grant us patience!

Biron. To hear, or forbear hearing?1

Long. To hear meekly, sir, and to laugh moderately; or to forbear both.

2

Biron. Well, sir, be it as the style shall give us cause to climb in the merriness.

Cost. The matter is to me, sir, as concerning Jaquenetta. The manner of it is, I was taken with the manner.3

Biron. In what manner?

Cost. In manner and form following, sir; all those three. I was seen with her in the manor house, sitting with her upon the form, and taken following her into the park; which, put together, is, in manner and form following. Now, sir, for the manner,—it is the manner of a man to speak to a woman; for the form, in some form.

Biron. For the following, sir?

Cost. As it shall follow in my correction; and God defend the right!

King. Will you hear this letter with attention?
Biron. As we would hear an oracle.

Cost. Such is the simplicity of man to hearken after the flesh.

King. [Reads.] Great deputy, the welkin's vicegerent, and sole dominator of Navarre, my soul's earth's God, and body's fostering patron.—

Cost. Not a word of Costard yet.

King. So it is,

Cost. It may be so; but if he say it is so, he is, in telling true, but so, so.

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1 "To hear, or forbear laughing?" is possibly the true reading.

2 A quibble is here intended between a stile and style.

3 That is, in the fact. A thief is said to be taken with the manner (mainour) when he is taken with the thing stolen about him. The thing stolen was called mainour, manour, or meinour, from the French manier— manu tractare.

King. Peace.

Cost. -be to me, and every man that dares not fight! King. No words.

Cost. of other men's secrets, I beseech you.

King. So it is, besieged with sable-colored melancholy, I did commend the black-oppressing humor to the most wholesome physic of thy health-giving air; and, as I am a gentleman, betook myself to walk. The time when? About the sixth hour; when beasts most graze, birds best peck, and men sit down to that nourishment which is called supper. So much for the time when. Now for the ground which; which, I mean, I walked upon; it is ycleped thy park. Then for the place where ; where, I mean, I did encounter that obscene and most preposterous event, that draweth from my snow-white pen the ebon-colored ink, which here thou viewest, beholdest, surveyest, or seest. But to the place where.—It standeth north-north-east and by east from the west corner of thy curious-knotted garden. There did I see that low-spirited swain, that base minnow of thy mirth," Cost. Me.

2

King-that unlettered, small-knowing soul,
Cost. Me.

King. that shallow vassal,

Cost. Still me.

King.—which, as I remember, hight Costard,
Cost. O me!

King.-sorted and consorted, contrary to thy established, proclaimed edict and continent canon, with— with,-O with-but with this I passion to say wherewith,

Cost. With a wench.

King.-with a child of our grandmother Eve, a female; or, for thy more sweet understanding, a woman. Him I (as my ever-esteemed duty pricks me on) have

1 Ancient gardens abounded with knots or figures, of which the lines intersected each other. In the old books of gardening are devices for them.

2 i. e. the contemptible little object that contributes to thy entertainment.

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