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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?
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.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 cómplete 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.
While it doth study to have what it would,
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.
Suggestions are to others as to me;
But, I believe, although I seem so loath,
I am the last that will last keep his oath.
But is there no quick recreation granted?
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
A man of complements, whom right and wrong
For interim to our studies, shall relate,
Biron. Armado is a most illustrious wight,
A man of fire-new words, fashion's own knight.
Enter DULL, with a Letter, and COSTARD.
Dull. Which is the duke's own person?
Biron. This, fellow. What would'st?
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-Arme-commends you. There's villany abroad; this letter will tell you more.
Cost. Sir, the contempts thereof are as touching me.
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?
Long. To hear meekly, sir, and to laugh moderately; or to forbear both.
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.
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.
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 yeleped 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 lowspirited swain, that base minnow of my mirth, Cost. Me.
King.that unlettered, small-knowing soul,
King.that shallow vassal,
Cost. Still me.
King. which, as I remember, hight Costard,
King.sorted and consorted, contrary to thy established, proclaimed edict and continent canon, with-with,-0 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 sent to thee,
to receive the meed of punishment, by thy sweet grace's officer, Antony Dull; a man of good repute, carriage, bearing, and estimation.
Dull. Me, an't shall please you; I am Antony Dull. King. For Jaquenetta, (so is the weaker vessel called, which I apprehended with the aforesaid swain,) I keep her as a vessel of thy law's fury; and shall, at the least of thy sweet notice, bring her to trial. Thine, in all compliments of devoted and heart-burning heat of duty,
DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO.
Biron. This is not so well as I looked for, but the best that ever I heard.
King. Ay, the best for the worst. But, sirrah, what say you to this?
Cost. Sir, I confess the wench.
King. Did you hear the proclamation?
Cost. I do confess much of the hearing it, but little of the marking of it.
King. It was proclaimed a year's imprisonment, to be taken with a wench.
Cost. I was taken with none, sir. I was taken with a damosel.
King. Well, it was proclaimed damosel.
Cost. This was no damosel neither, sir; she was a virgin. King. It is so varied too; for it was proclaimed virgin. Cost. If it were, I deny her virginity. I was taken with a maid.
King. This maid will not serve your turn, sir.
You shall fast a week with bran and water.
Cost. I had rather pray a month with mutton and porridge.
King. And Don Armado shall be your keeper.My lord Birón, see him delivered o'er.—
And go we, lords, to put in practice that
Which each to other hath so strongly sworn.
[Exeunt LONGAVILLE and DUMAIN. Biron. I'll lay my head to any good man's hat, These oaths and laws will prove an idle scorn.— Sirrah, come on.
Cost. I suffer for the truth, sir; for true it is, I was taken with Jaquenetta, and Jaquenetta is a true girl; and therefore, welcome the sour cup of prosperity! Affliction may one day smile again, and till then, sit thee down, sorrow!
SCENE II. Another part of the same. Armado's House.
Enter ARMADO and MoTH.
Arm. Boy, what sign is it, when a man of great spirit grows melancholy.
Moth. A great sign, sir, that he will look sad.
Arm. Why, sadness is one and the self-same thing, dear imp.
Moth. No, no; O lord, sir, no.
Arm. How canst thou part sadness and melancholy, my tender juvenal?
Moth. By a familiar demonstration of the working, my tough senior.
Arm. Why tough senior? Why tough senior?
Moth. Why tender juvenal? why tender juvenal?
Arm. I spoke it, tender juvenal, as a congruent epitheton, appertaining to thy young days, which we may nominate tender.
Moth. And I, tough senior, as an appertinent title to your old time, which we may name tough.
Arm. Pretty, and apt.
Moth. How mean you, sir? I pretty, and my saying apt? or I apt, and my saying pretty?
Arm. Thou pretty, because little.
Moth. Little pretty, because little. Wherefore apt? Arm. And therefore apt, because quick.
Moth. Speak you this in my praise, master?
Arm. In thy condign praise.
Moth. I will praise an eel with the same praise.
Arm. What? that an eel is ingenious?
Moth. That an eel is quick.
Arm. I do say thou art quick in answers.
Thou heatest my blood.
Moth. I am answered, sir.
Arm. I love not to be crossed.
Moth. He speaks the mere contrary; crosses love not him.
Arm. I have promised to study three years with the duke, Moth. You may do it in an hour, sir.
Moth. How many is one thrice told?
Arm. I am ill at reckoning; it fitteth the spirit of a tapster.
Moth. You are a gentleman and a gamester, sir.