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Cost. Not so, sir; under correction, sir ; I hope it
is not so. You cannot beg us, sir, I can assure you, sir ; we know
what we know. I hope, sir, three times thrice, sir,• Biron.
Is not nine. Cost. Under correction, sir, we know whereuntil it doth amount. Biron. By Jove, I always took three threes for
nine. Cost. O Lord, sir, it were pity you should get your living by reckoning, sir.
Biron. How much is it?
Cost. O Lord, sir, the parties themselves, the actors, sir, will show whereuntil it doth amount. For my own part, I am, as they say, but to parfect one man,-e'en one poor man. Pompion the Great, sir.
Biron. Art thou one of the worthies ?
Cost. It pleased them to think me worthy of Pompion the Great. For mine own part, I know not the degree of the worthy; but I am to stand for him.
Biron. Go, bid them prepare. Cost. We will turn it finely off, sir ; we will take some care.
[Exit COSTARD. King. Birón, they will shame us; let them not ap
proach. Biron. We are shame-proof, my lord ; and 'tis some
policy To have one show worse than the king's and his
company. King. I say, they shall not come. Prin. Nay, my good lord, let me o’errule you
now; That sport best pleases that doth least know how.
1 In the old common law was a writ de idiola inquirendo, under which if a man was legally proved an idiot, the profits of his lands, and the custody of his person, might be granted by the king to any subject. Such a person, when this grant was asked, was said to be begged for a fool. One of the legal tests appears to have been, to try whether the party could answer a simple arithmetical question.
Where zeal strives to content, and the contents
Biron. A right description of our sport, my lord.
Arm. Anointed, I implore so much expense of thy royal sweet breath, as will utter a brace of words. [Armado converses with the King, and delivers
him a paper.] Prin. Doth this man serve God? Biron. Why ask you ? Prin. He speaks not like a man of God's making.
Arm. That's all one, my fair, sweet, honey monarch; for, I protest, the schoolmaster is exceeding fantastical; too, too vain; too, too vain. But we will put it, as they say, to fortuna della guerra. I wish you the peace of mind, most royal couplement. ?
[Exit ARMADO. King. Here is like to be a good presence of worthies. He presents Hector of Troy ; the swain, Pompey the Great; the parish curate, Alexander ; Armado's page, Hercules; the pedant, Judas Machabæus. And if these four worthies in their first show thrive, These four will change habits, and present the other
five. Biron. There is five in the first show. King. You are deceived, 'tis not so.
1 The old copies read
66 Dies in the zeal of that which it presents.” The emendation in the text is Malone's, and he thus endeavors to give this obscure passage a meaning. The word it, I believe, refers to sport. That sport, says the princess, pleases best, where the actors are least skilful, where zeal strives to please, and the contents, or great things attempted, perish in the very act of being produced, from the ardent zeal of those who present the sportive entertainment. It
, however, may refer to contents, and that word may mean the most material part of the exhibition. 2 This word is used again by Shakspeare in his 21st Sonnet:
"Making a couplement of proud compare."
Biron. The pedant, the braggart, the hedge-priest, the fool, and the boy, A bare throw at novum ;? and the whole world again, Cannot pricko out five such, take each one in his vein. King. The ship is under sail, and here she comes
[Seats brought for the King, Princess, fc.
Pageant of the Nine Worthies.
Enter COSTARD armed, for Pompey.
You lie ; you are not he.
With libbard's head on knee.3 Biron. Well said, old mocker; I must needs be
friends with thee. Cost. I Pompey am, Pompey, surnamed the Big, Dum. The Great.
Cost. It is Great, sir ;--Pompey, surnamed the Great; That oft in field, with targe and shield, did make my
foe to sweat; And travelling along this coast, I here am come by
chance, And lay my arms before the legs of this sweet lass of
France. If your ladyship would say, Thanks, Pompey, I had
done. Prin. Great thanks, great Pompey.
Cost. 'Tis not so much worth ; but, I hope, I was perfect. I made a little fault in Great.
Biron. My hat to a halfpenny, Pompey proves the best worthy.
1 A game at dice, properly called novem quinque, from the principal throws being nine and five. The first folio reads “ Abate throw," &c. The second folio, which reads - A bare throw,” is evidently right.
2 Pick out.
3 This alludes to the old heroic habits, which, on the knees and shoulders, had sometimes, by way of ornament, the resemblance of a leopard's or lion's head. See Cotgrave's Dictionary, in v. Masquine.
Enter NATHANIEL armed, for Alexander. Nath. When in the world I lived, I was the world's
commander ; By east, west, north, and south, I spread my conquer
ing might; My ’scutcheon plain declares that I am Alisander. Boyet. Your nose says, no, you are not; for it
stands too right." Biron. Your nose smells, no, in this, most tender
smelling knight. Prin. The conqueror is dismayed. Proceed, good
Alexander. Nath. When in the world I lived, I was the world's
commander Boyet. Most true; 'tis right; you were so, Alisander. Biron. Pompey the Great, Cost.
Your servant, and Costard. Biron. Take away the conqueror; take away Alisander.
Cost. O, sir, [To Nath.] you have overthrown Alisander the conqueror! You will be scraped out of the painted cloth for this. Your lion, that holds his poll-axe sitting on a close-stool, will be given to A-jax: he will be the ninth worthy. A conqueror, and afеard to speak! Run away for shame, Alisander. [NATH. retires.] There, an't shall please you ; a foolish, mild man; an honest man, look you, and soon dashed! He is a marvellous good neighbor, in sooth; and a very good bowler; but, for Alisander, alas! you see how 'tis ;-a little o’erparted.—But there are worthies a coming will speak their mind in some other sort.
Prin. Stand aside, good Pompey.
1 It should be remembered, that the head of Alexander was obliquely placed on his shoulders.
2 “His (Alexander's) body had so sweet a smell of itselfe that all the apparell he wore next unto his body, tooke thereof a passing delightful savour, as if it had been perfumed.” North’s Plutarch.
3 This alludes to the arms given, in the old history of the Nine Worthies, to Alexander, “ the which did bear geules a lion, or, seiante in a chayer, holding a battle-axe argent.”
Enter HOLOFERNES armed, for Judas, and Moth armed,
for Hercules. Hol. Great Hercules is presented by this imp,
Whose club killed Cerberus, that three-headed canus, And, when he was a babe, a child, a shrimp,
Thus did he strangle serpents in his manus.
Hol. Judas I am,-
Hol. Not Iscariot, sir.-
Dum. Judas Machabæus clipped is plain Judas.
Judas ? Hol. Judas I am,Dum. The more shame for Hol. What mean you, sir? Boyet. To make Judas hang himself. Hol. Begin, sir; you are my elder. Biron. Well followed. Judas was hanged on an elder. Hol. I will not be put out of countenance. Biron. Because thou hast no face. Hol. What is this? Boyet. A cittern head. Dum. The head of a bodkin. Biron. A death's face in a ring. Long. The face of an old Roman coin, scarce seen. Boyet. The pommel of Cæsar's falchion. Dum. The carved-bone face on a flask. Biron. St. George's half-cheek in a brooch. Dum. Ay, and in a brooch of lead.
Biron. Ay, and worn in the cap of a tooth-drawer. . And now, forward ; for we have put thee in counte
1 The cittern, a musical instrument like a guitar, had usually a head grotesquely carved at the extremity of the neck and finger-board.