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Dull. What is Dictynna ?
Nath. A title to Phoebe, to Luna, to the moon.
Hol. The moon was a month old, when Adam was

no more ; And raught not to five weeks, when he came to

fivescore. The allusion holds in the exchange.

Dull. 'Tis true indeed; the collusion holds in the exchange.

Hol. God comfort thy capacity! I say, the allusion holds in the exchange.

Dull. And I say the pollution holds in the exchange; for the moon is never but a month old : and I say, beside, that 'twas a pricket that the princess killed.

Hol. Sir Nathaniel, will you hear an extemporal epitaph on the death of the deer? And, to humor the ignorant, I have called the deer the princess killed, a pricket.

Nath. Perge, good master Holofernes, perge; so it shall please you to abrogate scurrility.

Hol. I will something affect the letter ;3 for it argues facility. The praiseful princess pierced and pricked a pretty

pleasing pricket; Some say, a sore; but not a sore, till now made sore

with shooting The dogs did yell! Put I to sore, then sorel jumps

from thicket; Or pricket, sore, or else sorel ; 4 the people fall a

hooting If sore be sore, then L to sore makes fifty sores; 0

sore L!

Of one sore I a hundred make, by adding but one

more L.

1 Reached.

2 i. e. the riddle is as good when I use the name of Adam, as when I use the name of Cain.

3 i. e. I will use or practise alliteration.

4 For the explanation of the terms pricket, sore or soar, and sorel, in this quibbling rhyme, the reader is prepared, by the extract from The Return from Parnassus, in a note at the beginning of the scene.

Nath. A rare talent!

Dull. If á talent be a claw, look how he claws him with a talent.1

Hol. This is a gift that I have, simple, simple; a foolish, extravagant spirit, full of forms, figures, shapes, objects, ideas, apprehensions, motions, revolutions. These are begot in the ventricle of memory, nourished in the womb of pia mater, and delivered upon the mellowing of occasion; but the gift is good in those in whom it is acute, and I am thankful for it.

Nath. Sir, I praise the Lord for you; and so may my parishioners ; for their sons are well tutored by you, and their daughters profit very greatly under you. You are a good member of the commonwealth.

Hol. Mehercle, if their sons be ingenious, they shall want no instruction ; if their daughters be capable, I will put it to them. But, vir sapit, qui pauca loquitur ; a soul feminine saluteth us.


Jaq. God give you good morrow, master person.

Hol. Master person,-quasi pers-on. And if one should be pierced, which is the one ?

Cost. Marry, master schoolmaster, he that is likest to a hogshead.

Hol. Of piercing a hogshead! a good lustre of conceit in a turf of earth ; fire enough for a flint, pearl enough for a swine. 'Tis pretty; it is well.

Jaq. Good master parson, be so good as read me this letter; it was given me by Costard, and sent me from don Armatho. I beseech you, read it. Hol. Fauste, precor gelida quando pecus omne sub

umbra Ruminat,—and so forth. Ah, good old Mantuan ! ?

1 Talon was often written talent in Shakspeare's time. One of the senses of to claw is to flatter.

2 The Eclogues of Mantuanus were translated before the time of Shakspeare, and the Latin printed on the opposite side of the page for the use of schools. In 1567 they were also versified by Tuberville.


I may speak of thee as the traveller doth of Venice:

Vinegia, Vinegia,

Chi non te vede, ei non te pregia. Old Mantuan! old Mantuan! who understandeth thee not, loves thee not.-Ut, re, sol, la, mi, fa.Under pardon, sir, what are the contents ? or, rather, as Horace says in his—What, my soul, verses ?

Nath. Ay, sir, and very learned.

Hol. Let me hear a staff, a stanza, a verse. Lege, domine. Nath. If love make me forsworn, how shall I swear

to love? Ah, never faith could hold, if not to beauty vowed ! Though to myself forsworn, to thee I'll faithful prove; Those thoughts to me were oaks, to thee like osiers

bowed. Study his bias leaves, and makes his book thine eyes: Where all those pleasures live that art would com

prehend; If knowledge be the mark, to know thee shall suffice; Well learned is that tongue, that well can thee

commend. All ignorant that soul, that sees thee without wonder; Which is to me some praise, that I thy parts

admire ;) Thy eye Jove's lightning bears, thy voice his dreadful

thunder, Which, not to anger bent, is music and sweet fire. Celestial, as thou art, ( pardon, love, this wrong, That sings Heaven's praise with such an earthly

tongue ! Hol. You find not the apostrophes, and so miss the accent; let me supervise the canzonet.

Here are only


1 This proverb occurs in Florio's Second Frutes, 1591, where it stands

thus :

“ Venetia, chi non ti vede non ti pretia

Ma chi ti vede, ben gli costa.” 2 These verses are printed, with some variations, in the Passionate Pilgrim, 1599.

numbers ratified; but, for the elegancy, facility, and golden cadence of poesy, caret. Ovidius Naso was the man; and why, indeed, Naso, but for smelling out the odoriferous flowers of fancy, the jerks of invention ? Imitari, is nothing; so doth the hound his master, the ape his keeper, the tired horse his rider. But damosella virgin, was this directed to you?

Jaq. Ay, sir, from one Monsieur Biron, one of the strange queen's lords.

Hol. I will overglance the superscript. To the snow-white hand of the most beauteous lady Rosaline. I will look again on the intellect of the letter, for the nomination of the party writing to the person written unto.

Your ladyship’s in all desired employment, BIRON. Sir Nathaniel, this Biron is one of the votaries with the king; and here he hath framed a letter to a sequent of the stranger queen’s, which, accidentally, or by the way of progression, hath miscarried. Trip and go, my sweet; deliver this paper into the royal hand of the king; it may concern much. Stay not thy compliment; I forgive thy duty; adieu.

Jaq. Good Costard, go with me.-Sir, God save

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your life!

Cost. Have with thee, my girl.

Exeunt Cost. and JAQ. Nath. Sir, you have done this in the fear of God, very religiously; and, as a certain father saith—

Hol. Sir, tell me not of the father; I do fear colorable colors. 3 But to return to the verses-did they please you, sir Nathaniel ?

Nath. Marvellous well for the pen.

Hol. I do dine to-day at the father's of a certain pupil of mine ; where if, before repast, it shall please you to gratify the table with a grace, I will, on my

I i. e. the horse adorned with ribands; Bankes's horse is here probably alluded to.

2 Shakspeare forgot that Jaquenetta knew nothing of Biron, and had said just before that the letter had been " sent to her from Don Armathu, and given to her by Costard.”

That is, specious or fair-seeming appearances.

privilege I have with the parents of the foresaid child or pupil, undertake your ben venuto; where I will prove those verses to be very unlearned, neither savoring of poetry, wit, nor invention. I beseech your society.

Nath. And thank you too; for society (saith the text) is the happiness of life.

Hol. And, certes, the text most infallibly concludes it.—Sir, [To Dull.] I do invite you too; you shall not say me, nay; pauca verba. Away; the gentles are at their game, and we will to our recreation.


SCENE III. Another part of the same.

Enter Biron, with a Paper. Biron. The king he is hunting the deer; I ann coursing myself; they have pitched a toil; I am toiling in a pitch;? pitch that defiles ; defile ! a foul word. Well, set thee down, sorrow! for so, they say, the fool said, and so say I, and I the fool. Well proved, wit! By the lord, this love is as mad as Ajax. It kills sheep; it kills me, I a sheep. Well proved again on my side! I will not love; if I do, hang me; i’faith, I will not. O, but her eye,-by this light, but for her eye, I would not love her; yes, for her two eyes. Well, I do nothing in the world but lie, and lie in my throat. By Heaven, I do love; and it hath taught me to rhyme, and to be melancholy; and here

of my rhyme, and here my melancholy. Well, she hath one o' my sonnets already; the clown bore it, the fool sent it, and the lady hath it; sweet clown, sweeter fool, sweetest lady! By the world, I would not care a pin if the other three were in. Here comes one with a paper; God give him grace to groan!

(Gets up into a tree.

is part

1 Alluding to Rosaline's complexion, who is represented as a black beauty.

2 This is given as a proverb in Fuller's Gnomologia.

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