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Marg. Well, an you be not turn'd Turk,' there's no more sailing by the star.
Beat. What means the fool, trow?1
Marg. Nothing I; but God send every one their heart's desire!
Hero. These gloves the count sent me, they are an excellent perfume.
Beat. I am stuff’d, cousin, I cannot smell.
Marg. A maid, and stuff'd! there 's goodly catching of cold.
Beat. 0, God help me! God help me! how long have you profess'd apprehension?
Marg. Ever since you left it: Doth not my wit become me rarely?
Beat. It is not seen enough, you should wear it in your cap.-By my troth, I am sick.
Marg. Get you some of this distillid Carduus Benedictus,2 and lay it to your heart; it is the only thing for a qualm.
Hero. There thou prick’st her with a thistle.
Beat. Benedictus! why Benedictus? you have some moral3 in this Benedictus.
“ In thine arm, or leg, in any degree;
- turn’d Turk,] i. e. taken captive by love, and turned a renegado to his religion. Warburton.
This interpretation is somewhat far-fetched, yet, perhaps, it is right. Johnson.
Hamlet uses the same expression, and talks of his fortune's turning Turk. To turn Turk, was a common phrase for a change of condition or opinion. So, in The Honest Whore, by Decker, 1616:
“If you turn Turk again,” &c. Steevens. 1 What means the fool, trow?] This obsolete exclamation of inquiry, is corrupted from I trow, or trow you, and occurs again in The Merry Wives of Windsor : “ Who's there, trow?” To trow is to imagine, to conceive. So, in Romeo and Juliet, the Nurse says: «'Twas no need, I trow, to bid me trudge.” Steevens.
2 Carduus Benedictus, ] “ Carduus Benedictus, or blessed thistle (says Cogan in his Haven of Health, 1595) so worthily named for the singular virtues that it hath."-" This herbe may worthily be called Benedictus, or Omnimorbia, that is, a salve for every sore, not knowen to physitians of old time, but lately revealed by the speciall providence of Almighty God.” Steevens.
Marg. Moral? no, by my troth, I have no moral meaning; I meant, plain holy-thistle. You may think, pera chance, that I think you are in love: nay, by 'r lady, I am not such a fool to think what I list; nor I list not to think what I can; nor, indeed, I cannot think, if I would think my heart out of thinking, that you are in love, or that you will be in love, or that you can be in love: yet Benedick was such another, and now is he become a man: he swore he would never marry; and yet now, in despite of his heart, he eats his meat without grudging: 4 and how you may be converted, I know not; but methinks, you look with your eyes as other women do.5
Beat. What pace is this that thy tongue keeps?
- some moral -] That is, some secret meaning, like the moral of a fable. Fohnson.
Dr. Johnson's explanation is certainly the true one, though it has been doubted. In The Rape of Lucrece our author uses the verb to moralize in the same sense:
“Nor could she moralize his wanton sight.” i. e. investigate the latent meaning of his looks.
Again, in The Taming of the Shrew: " and has left me here behind, to expound the meaning or moral of his signs and tokens.” Malone.
Moralizations (for so they were called) are subjoined to many of our ancient Tales, reducing them into Christian or moral lessons. See the Gesta Romanorum, &c. Steevens.
4— he eats his meat without grudging :) I do not see how this is a proof of Benedick's change of mind. It would afford more proof of amorousness, to say, he eats not his meat without grudging; but it is impossible to fix the meaning of proverbial expressions : perhaps, to eat meat without grudging, was the same as, to do as others do, and the meaning is, he is content to live by eating like other mortals, and will be content, notwithstanding his boasts, like other mortals, to have a wife. Johnson.
Johnson considers this passage too literally. The meaning of it is, that Benedick is in love, and takes kindly to it. M. Mason.
The meaning, I think, is, “ and yet now, in spite of his resolution to the contrary, he feeds on love, and likes his food.”
Malone. 5- you look with your eyes as other women do.) i. e. you direct your eyes toward the same object; vizi a husband. Steevens.
Hero. Help to dress me, good coz, good Meg, good Ursula.
[Exeunt. SCENE V. Another Room in LEONATO's House. Enter LEONATO, with DOGBERRY and VERGES. Leon. What would you with me, honest neighbour?
Dogb. Marry, sir, I would have some confidence with you, that decerns you nearly.
Leon. Brief, I pray you; for you see, 'tis a busy time with me.
Dogb. Marry, this it is, sir.
Dogb. Goodman Verges, sir, speaks a little off the matter: an old man, sir, and his wits are not so blunt, as, God help, I would desire they were; but, in faith, honest, as the skin between his brows.6
Verg. Yes, I thank God, I am as honest as any man living, that is an old man, and no honester than I.?
Dogb. Comparisons are odorous: palabras, neighbour Verges.
6 — honest, as the skin between his brows.] This is a proverbial expression. Steevens.
So, in Gammar Gurton's Needle, 1575:
“I am as true, I would thou knew, as skin betwene thy brows." Again, in Cartwright's Ordinary, Act 1, sc. ii:
“I am as honest as the skin that is between thy brows." Reed. 7 I am as honest as any man living, that is an old man, and no honester than I.] There is much humour, and extreme good sense under the covering of this blundering expression. It is a sly insinuation, that length of years, and the being much hacknied in the ways of men, as Shakspeare expresses it, take off the gloss of virtue, and bring much defilement on the manners. For, as a great wit (Swift) says, Youth is the season of virtue: corruptions grow with years, and I believe the oldest rogue in England is the greatest.
Warburton. Much of this is true, but I believe Shakspeare did not intend to bestow all this reflection on the speaker. Johnson.
8 palabras,] So, in The Taming of the Shrew, the Tinker says, pocas pallabras, i. e. few words. A scrap of Spanish, which might once have been current among the vulgar, and had appeared as Mr. Henley observes, in The Spanish Tragedy: “ Pocas pallabras, milde as the lambe.” Steevens.
Leon. Neighbours, you are tedious.
Dogb. It pleases your worship to say so, but we are the poor duke's officers;9 but, truly, for mine own part, if I were as tedious as a king, I could find in my heart to bestow it all of your worship.
Leon. All thy tediousness on me! ha!
Dogb. Yea, and 'twere a thousand times more than 'tis: for I hear as good exclamation on your worship, as of any man in the city; and though I be but a poor man, I am glad to hear it.
Verg. And so am I.
Verg. Marry sir, our watch to-night, excepting your worship's presence, have ta'en a couple of as arrant knaves as any in Messina.
Dogb. A good old, man, sir; he will be talking; as they say, When the age is in, the wit is out; God help us! it is a world to see!?—Well said, i' faith, neighbour Verges:-well, God 's a good man;2 An two men ride
9 we are the poor duke's officers;] This stroke of pleasantry has already occurred in Measure for Measure, Act II, sc. i, where Elbow says:-“ If it please your honour, I am the poor duke's constable.” Steevens.
1- it is a world to sec!] i. e. it is wonderful to see. So, in All for Money, an old morality, 1594 : “ It is a world to see how greedy they be of money.” The same phrase often occurs, with the same meaning, in Holinshed. Steevens.
Again, in a letter from the Earl of Worcester to the Earl of Salisbury, 1609: “ While this tragedee was acting yt was a world to heare the reports heare.”
Lodge's Illustrations, Vol. III, p. 380 Reed. Rather, it is worth seeing. Barret in his Alvearie, 1580, explains “ It is a world to heare,” by it is a thing worthie the hearing. Audire est operæ pretium. Horat.
And in The Myrrour of good manners compyled in latyn by Domynike Mancyn and translate into englyshe by Alexander Bercley prest. Imprynted by Rychard Rynson, bl. I. no date, the line “ Est opere pretium doctos spectare colonos”-is rendered “ A world it is to se wyse tyllers of the grounde.” H. White.
2 —well, God's a good man;] So, in the old Morality or Interlude of Lusty Juventus :
“ He wyl say, that God is a good Man, “ He can make him no better, and say the best be can.” VOL. IV.
of a horse, one must ride behind:3-An honest soul, i' faith, sir; by my t'oth he is, as ever broke bread: but, God is to be worshipp’d: All men are not alike; alas good neighbour!
Leon. Indeed, neighbour, he comes too short of you.
Dogb. One word, sir: our watch, sir, have, indeed, comprehended two aspicious persons, and we would have them this morning examined before your worship.
Leon. Take their examination yourself, and bring it me; I am now in great haste, as it may appear unto you.
Dogb. It shall be suffigance.
Enter a Messenger.
[Exeunt Leon. and Mess. Dogb. Go, good partner, go, get you to Francis Seacoal, bid him bring his pen and inkhorn to the gaol; we are now to examination these men.
Verg. And we must do it wisely.
Dogb. We will spare for no wit, I warrant you; here's that [touching his forehead] shall drive some of them to a non com:4 only get the learned writer to set down our excommunication, and meet me at the gaol.
Again, in A mery Geste of Robin Hoode, bl. 1. no date:
“ For God is hold a right wise man,
“ And so is bis dame,” &c. Steevens. 3 An two men ride &c.] This is not out of place, or without meaning. Dogberry, in his vanity of superior parts, apologizing for his neighbour, observes, that of two men on an horse, one must ride behind. The first place of rank or understanding can belong but to one, and that happy one ought not to despise his inferiour. Johnson.
1_ to a non com:] i. e. to a non compos mentis ; put them out of their wits:--or perhaps he confounds the term with nonplus. Malone.