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not marry her to-morrow; in the congregation, where I should wed, there will I shame her.
D. Pedro. And, as I wooed for thee to obtain her, I will join with thee to disgrace her.
D. John. I will disparage her no farther, till you are my witnesses : bear it coldly but till midnight, and let the issue show itself.
D. Pedro. O day untowardly turned !
D. John. O plague right well prevented!
Enter DOGBERRY and VERGES," with the Watch. Dogb. Are you good men and true?
Verg. Yea, or else it were pity but they should suffer salvation, body and soul.
Dogb. Nay, that were a punishment too good for them, if they should have any allegiance in them, being chosen for the prince's watch.
Verg. Well, give them their charge, neighbour Dogberry.
Dogb. First, who think you the most desartless man to be constable ? oj Watch. Hugh Oatcake, sir, or George Seacoal; for they can write and read.
Dogb. Come hither, neighbour Seacoal : God hath blessed you with a good name: to be a well
-- Dogberry and Verges,] The first of these worthies had his name from the Dog-berry, i. e. the female cornel, a shrub that grows in the hedges in every county of England. Verges is only the provincial pronunciation of Verjuice.
favoured man is the gift of fortune ; but to write and read comes by nature.
2 Watch. Both which, master constable,
Dogb. You have; I knew it would be your anbwer. Well, for your favour, sir, why, give God thanks, and make no boast of it; and for
your writing and reading, let that appear when there is no need of such vanity. You are thought here to be the most senseless and fit man for the constable of the watch? therefore bear you the lantern: This is your charge; You shall comprehend all vagrom men ; you are to bid any man stand, in the prince's name.
2 Watch. How if he will not stand ?
Dogb. Why then, take no note of him, but let him go; and presently call the rest of the watch together, and thank God you are rid of a knave.
Verg. If he will not stand when he is bidden, he is none of the prince's subjects.
Dogb. True, and they are to meddle with none but the prince's subjects :--You shall also make no noise in the streets; for, for the watch to babble and talk, is most tolerable and not to be endured.
2 Watch. We will rather sleep than talk; we know what belongs to a watch.
Dogb. Why, you speak like an ancient and most quiet watchman; for I cannot see how sleeping should offend: only, have a care that your bills be not stolen :'—Well, you are to call at all the alehouses, and bid those that are drunk get theri bed.
2 Watch. How if they will not? Dogb. Why then, let them alone till they are
bills be not stolen :) A bill is still carried by the watchmen at Lichfield. It was the old weapon of English infantry, which, says Temple, gave the most ghasily and deplorable wounds. It may be called securis falcata. Sohnson.
sober; if they make you not then the better answer, you may say, they are not the men you took them for.
2 Watch. Well, sir.
Dogb. If you meet a thief, you may suspect him, by virtue of your office, to be no true man : and, for such kind of men, the less you meddle or make with them, why, the more is for your honesty.
2 Watch. If we know him to be a thief, shall we not lay hands on him?
Dogb. Truly, by your office, you may; but, I think, they that touch pitch will be defiled: the most peaceable way for you, if you do take a thief, is, to let him show himself what he is, and steal out of your company.
Verg. You have been always called a merciful man, partner.
Dogb. Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will; much more a man who hath any honesty in him.
Verg. If you hear a child cry in the night, you must call to the nurse, and bid her still it.
2 Watch. How if the nurse be asleep, and will not hear us?
Dogb. Why then, depart in peace, and let the child wake her with crying: for the ewe that will not hear her lamb when it baes, will never answer a calf when he bleats.
Verg. "Tis very true.
Dogb. This is the end of the charge. You, constable, are to present the prince's own person ; if you meet the prince in the night, you may stay hiin,
Verg. Nay by’r lady, that, I think, he cannot.
Dogb. Five shillings to one on't, with any man that knows the statues, he may stay him : marry, not without the prince be willing: for, indeed, the
watch ought to offend no man; and it is an offence to stay a man against his will.
Verg. By’r lady, I think, it be so.
Dogb. Ha, ha, ha! Well, masters, good night : an there be any matter of weight chances, call up me: keep your fellows' counsels and your own, and good night.—Come, neighbour.
2 Watch. Well, masters, we hear our charge: let us go sit here upon the church-bench till two, and then all to-bed.
Dogb. One word more, honest neighbours : I pray you, watch about signior Leonato's door ; for the wedding being there to-morrow, there is a great coil to-night: Adieu, be vigitant, I beseech
you. [Exeunt DOGBERRY and VERGES.
Enter BORACHIO and CONRADE.
Bora. What! Conrade,-
[Aside. Bora. Conrade, I say ! Con. Here, man, I am at thy elbow.
Bora. Mass, and my elbow itched; I thought, there would a scab follow.
Con. I will owe thee an answer for that; and now forward with thy tale.
Bora. Stand thee close then under this penthouse, for it drizzles rain ; and I will, like a true drunkard, utter all to thee.
Watch. [Aside.] Some treason, masters; yet stand close.
Bora. Therefore know, I have earned of Don John a thousand ducats.
Con. Is it possible that any villainy should be so dear :
Bora. Thou should'st rather ask, if it were possible any villainy should be so rich; for when rich villains have need of poor ones, poor ones may make what price they will.
Con. I wonder at it.
Bora. That shows, thou art unconfirmed:6 Thou knowest, that the fashion of a doublet, or a hat, or a cloak, is nothing to a man.
Con. Yes, it is apparel.
Bora. Tush! I may as well say, the fool's the fool. But see'st thou not what a deformed thief this fashion is?
Watch. I know that Deformed; he has been a vile thief this seven year; he goes up and down like a gentleman: I remember his name.
Bora. Didst thou not hear somebody?
Bora. Seest thou not, I say, what a deformed thief this fashion is? how giddily he turns about all the hot bloods, between fourteen and five and thirty ? sometime, fashioning them like Pharaoh's soldiers in the reechy painting ;' sometime, like god Bel's priests in the old church window; sometime, like the shaven Hercules in the smirched wormeaten tapestry, where his cod-piece seems as massy as his club?
Con. All this I see; and sce, that the fashion wears out more apparel than the man: But art not thou thyself giddy with the fashion too, that thou hast shifted out of thy tale into telling me of the fashion ?
6—thou art unconfirmed:] i. e. unpractised in the ways of the world. 7 reechy painting ;] Is painting discoloured by smoke.
sometime, like the shaven Hercules, in the smirched, &c.] Hercules when shaved to make him look like a woman, while he remained in the service of Omphale, his Lydian mistress. Smirched is soiled, obscured.