Page images
PDF
EPUB

[Descends from the tree.

BIRON. Now step I forth to whip hypocrisy.

Ah, good my liege, I pray thee, pardon me:
Good heart, what grace bast thou, thus to reprove
These worms for loving, that art most in love?
Your eyes do make no coaches; in your tears
There is no certain princess that appears :
You 'll not be perjur'd, 't is a hateful thing;
Tush, none but minstrels like of sonneting.
But are you not asham'd ? nay, are you not,
All three of you, to be thus much o'ershot ?
You found his mote; the king your motea did see;
But I a beam do find in each of three.
0, what a scene of foolery have I seen,
Of sighs, of groans, of sorrow, and of teen!
O me, with what strict patience have I sat,
To see a king transformed to a gnat!
To see great Hercules whipping a gig,
And profound Solomon tuning a jig,
And Nestor play at push-pin with the boys,
And critic Timon laugh at idle toys!
Where lies thy grief, O tell me, good Dumain ?
And, gentle Longaville, where lies thy pain ?
And where my liege's? all about the breast :-

A caudle, ho!
KING.

Too bitter is thy jest.
Are we betray'd thus to thy over-view?
BIRON. Not you by me, but I betray'd to you:

I, that am honest; I that hold it sin
To break the vow I am engaged in;
I am betray'd, by keeping company
With men like men b, of strange inconstancy.
When shall you see me write a thing in rhyme ?
Or groan for Joan? or spend a minute's time

* Mote. The quarto and folio have each the synonymous word moth.

6 Men like men. So the old copies. The modern reading is moon-like men ;-Warburton would read vane-like men. Biron appears to us to say—I keep company with men alike in inconstancymen like men-men having the general inconstancy of humanity. The epithet strange was added in the second folio. The first folio has

“With men, like men of inconstancy." Tieck suggests such instead of strange. · As if to prevent any doubt of this being the correct word, the folio has

“Or grone for Ioane." Not Ione, as in other passages. Biron has made the rhyme before—(end of Act III.). Mr. Collier gives the text, “groan for love." One quarto copy, he says, has lone; another, (of the same date,) Love, and he adds "the correction must have been made while the sheet was passing through the press." But who can tell which reading was the "correction" and which the“ misprint," asks Mr. Barron Field.

In pruninga me? When shall you hear that I
Will praise a hand, a foot, a face, an eye,
A gait, a state, a brow, a breast, a waist,

A leg, a limb?-
KING.

Soft; Whither away so fast ?
A true man, or a thief, that gallops so ?
BIRON. I post from love; good lover, let me go.

Enter JAQUENETTA and COSTARD.

JAQ. God bless the king !
King,

What present hast thou there?
Cost. Some certain treason.
Kirg.

What makes treason here?
Cost. Nay, it makes nothing, sir.
Kixg.

If it mar nothing neither,
The treason, and you, go in peace away together.
JAQ. I beseech your grace, let this letter be read;

Our parson misdoubts it; it was treason, he said.
King. Biron, read it over.

[Giving him the letter. Where hadst thou it? | JAQ. Of Costard. | King. Where badst thou it ?

Cost. Of Dun Adramadio, Dun Adramadio.
Kixg. How now! what is in you? why dost thou tear it ?
BIRON. A toy, my liege, a toy; your grace needs not fear it.
Long. It did move him to passion, and therefore let 's hear it.
Dum. It is Biron's writing, and here is his name.

[Picks up the pieces. BIRON. Ah, you whoreson loggerhead (to COSTARD), you were born to do me

shame.-
Guilty, my lord, guilty; I confess, I confess.
King. What ?
Biron. That you three fools lack'd me fool to make up the mess;

He, he, and you ; and you, my liege, and I b,
Are pick-purses in love, and we deserve to die.

0, dismiss this audience, and I shall tell you more.
Dum. Now the number is even.
Birox.

True, true; we are four :-
Will these turtles be gone?

1

Pruning-preening;-trimming himself up as a bird trims his feathers. * The quarto reads,

"He, he, and you, my liege, and I.” The folio has the line as we print it. The variorum editors follow the quarto, not seeing the stroitness of the change in the folio. Biron, by this reading, couples two delinquents with the king; and again couples the king with himself.

KING.

Hence, sirs; away.
Cost. Walk aside the true folk, and let the traitors stay. (Exeunt Cost. and JAQ.
BIRON. Sweet lords, sweet lovers, O let us embrace !

As.true we are, as flesh and blood can be:
The sea will ebb and flow, heaven a show his face ;

Young blood doth not obey an old decree:
We cannot cross the cause why we are born;

Therefore, of all hands must we be forsworn.
King. What, did these rent lines show some love of thine?
BIRON. Did they, quoth you? Who sees the heavenly Rosaline,
That, like a rude and savage man of Inde 22,

At the first opening of the gorgeous east,
Bows not his vassal head; and, strucken blind,

Kisses the base ground with obedient breast?
What peremptory eagle-sighted eye
Dares look

upon

the heaven of her brow,
That is not blinded by her majesty?
King. What zeal, what fury hath inspir'd thee now?
My love, her mistress, is a gracious moon;

She, an attending star, scarce seen a light.
Biron. My eyes are then no eyes, nor I Biron :

O, but for my love, day would turn to night! Of all complexions, the cull'd sovereignty

Do meet as at a fair, in her fair cheek ; Where several worthies make one dignity;

Where nothing wants, that want itself doth seek. Lend me the flourish of all gentle tongues,

Fie, painted rhetoric! O, she needs it not: To things of sale a seller's praise belongs ;

She passes praise : then praise too short doth blot. A wither'd hermit, five-score winters worn,

Might shake off fifty, looking in her eye: Beauty doth varnish age, as if new-born,

And gives the crutch the cradle's infancy.
O, 't is the sun, that maketh all things shine !
KING. By heaven thy love is black as ebony.
BIRON. Is ebony like her? O wood b divine !

A wife of such wood were felicity.
O, who can give an oath? where is a book ?

That I may swear, beauty doth beauty lack,
If that she learn not of her eye to look :

No face is fair, that is not full so black.

• The folio has “heaven will."

The old copies, word.

[ocr errors]

King. O paradox! Black is. the badge of hell,

The hue of dungeons, and the scowl of night;
And beauty's crest becomes the heavens well.
Biron. Devils soonest tempt, resembling spirits of light.
0, if in black my lady's brows be deck'd,

It mourns, that painting, and usurping hair,
Should ravish doters with a false aspect;

And therefore is she born to make black fair.
Her favour turns the fashion of the days;

For native blood is counted painting now;
And therefore red, that would avoid dispraise,

Paints itself black to imitate her brow.
Dum. To look like her, are chimney-sweepers black.
Long. And, since her time, are colliers counted bright.
King. And Ethiops of their sweet complexion crack.
Dum. Dark needs no candles now, for dark is light.
Biron. Your mistresses dare never come in rain,

For fear their colours should be wash'd away.
Kixg. 'T were good, yours did ; for, sir, to tell you plain,

I'll find a fairer face not wash'd to-day.
Biron. I 'll prove her fair, or talk to doomsday here.
King. No devil will fright thee then so much as she.
Dow. I never knew man hold vile 'stuff so dear,
Long. Look, here's thy love: my foot and her face see.
Birox. O, if the streets were paved with thine eyes,

Her feet were much too dainty for such tread !
Dum. O vile! then as she goes, what upward lies

The street should see as she walk'd over head.
King. But what of this ? Are we not all in love?
Biron. O, nothing so sure; and thereby all forsworn.
King. Then leave this chat; and, good Biron, now prove

Our loving lawful, and our faith not torn.
Dum. Ay, marry, there; -some flattery for this evil.
Long. O, some authority how to proceed;

Some tricks, some quillets b, how to cheat the devil.

[Showing his shoe.

• The original copies have school of night. This reading is supported by Tieck, upon the construction that "black" is "the hue of dungeons and of the school of night "-school giving the notion of something dark, wearisome, and comfortless. Scowl—which is Theobald's correction—is not happy; but we have little doubt that the original reading is corrupt; and we do not approve of Tieck's construction. We have “the badge of hell,”—“the hue of dungeons,"_and we want korne corresponding association with “ night.” Theobald guessed stole (robe)—which we believe is the right word. Mr. Dyce inclines to soil, giving a passage from Chapman :

" the soil of night

Sticks still upon the bosom of the air." Quillet and quodlibet each signify a fallacious subtilty-what you please—an argument without foundation. Milton says " let not human quillets keep back divine authority.”

VOL. I.

N

Dum. Some salve for perjury.
BIRON.

0, 't is more than need !-
Have at you then, affection's men at arms :
Consider, what you first did swear unto ;-
To fast,—to study,--and to see no woman:-
Flat treason against the kingly state of youth.
Say, can you fast? your stomachs are too young;
And abstinence engenders maladies.
And where that you have vow'd to study, lords,
In that each of you hath forsworn his book :
Can you still dream, and pore, and thereon look ?
For when would you, my lord, or you, or you,
Have found the ground of study's excellence,
Without the beauty of a woman's face?
From woman's eyes this doctrine I derive:
They are the ground, the books, the academes,
From whence doth spring the true Promethean fire.
Why, universal plodding prisonsa up
The nimble spirits in the arteries ;
As motion, and long-during action, tires
The sinewy vigour of the traveller.
Now, for not looking on a woman's face,
You have in that forsworn the use of eyes;
And study too, the causer of your vow:
For where is any author in the world,
Teaches such beauty as a woman's eye?
Learning is but an adjunct to ourself,
And where we are, our learning likewise is.
Then, when ourselves we see in ladies' eyes,
With ourselves,
Do we not likewise see our learning there?
0, we have made a vow to study, lords ;
And in that vow we have forsworn our books ;
For when would you, my liege, or you, or you”,
In leaden contemplation, have found out
Such fiery numbers, as the prompting eyes
Of beauty's tutors have enrich'd you with ?
Other slow arts entirely keep the brain;
And therefore finding barren practisers,
Scarce show a harvest of their heavy toil:
But love, first learned in a lady's eyes,
Lives not alone immured in the brain;
But with the motion of all elements,

* Prisons. The original copies have poisons.

« PreviousContinue »