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SCENE I. Another part of the same. Enter HOLOFERNES, SIR NATHANIEL, and
Dull. Hol. Satis quod sufficit.
Nath. I praise God for you, sir: your reasons ? at dinner have been sharp and sententious; pleasant without scurrility, witty without affection, audacious without impudency, learned without opinion, and strange without heresy. I did converse this quondam day with a companion of the king's, who is intituled, nominated, or called, Don Adriano de Armado.
Hol. Novi hominem tanquam te: His humour is lofty, his discourse peremptory, his tongue filed S, his eye ambitious, his gait majestical, and his general behaviour vain, ridiculous, and thrasonical 4. He is too picked 5, too spruce, too affected, too odd, as it were, too peregrinate, as I may call it.
1 i. e. enough's as good as a feast.
2 • I know not (says Johnson) what degree of respect Shakpeare intends to obtain for his vicar, but he has here pat into his mouth a finished representation of colloquial excellence. It is
very difficult to add any thing to his character of the schoolmaster's table-talk, and perhaps all the precepts of Castiglione will scarcely be found to comprehend a rule for conversation so justly delineated, so widely dilated, and so nicely limited.'
Reason, here signifies discourse : audacious is used in a good sense for spirited, animated, confident ; affection is affectation ; opinion is obstinacy, opiniâtreté.
3 Filed is polished. 4 Thrasonical is vainglorious, boastful. 5 Picked, piked, or picket, neat, spruce, over nice ; that is, too nice in his dress. The substantive is used by Ben Jonson in his Discoveries : Pickedness for nicety in dress.
Nath. A most singular and choice epithet.
[Takes out his Table-book. Hol. He draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer than the staple of his argument. I abhor such fantastical phantasms, such insociable and pointdevise 6 companions; such rackers of orthography, as to speak, doubt, fine, when he should say, doubt; det, when he should pronounce, debt: d, e, b, t; not d, e, t: he clepeth a calf, cauf; half, hauf; neighbour, vocatur, nebour, neigh, abbreviated, ne: This is abhominable (which he would call abominable), it insinuateth me of insanie; Ne intelligis, domine? to make frantick, lunatick.
Nath. Laus deo, bone intelligo.
Hol. Bone? -bone, for benè: Priscian a little scratch'd; 'twill serve.
Enter ARMADO, Moth, and COSTARD.
Moth. They have been at a great feast of languages, and stolen the scraps. [To COSTARD aside.
Cost. O, they have lived long in the alms-basket? of words! I marvel, thy master hath not eaten thee for a word; for thou art not so long by the
6 A common expression for exact, precise, or finical. So in Twelfth Night, Malvolio says
I will be point-device the very man.' 7 i. e. the refuse of words. The refuse meat of families was put into a basket, and given to the poor, in Shakspeare's time. VOL. II.
10 of wit: snip,
head as honorificabilitudinitatibus 8: thou art easier swallowed than a flap-dragon.
Moth. Peace; the peal begins.
Moth. Yes, yes; he teaches boys the horn-book: What is a, b, spelt backward with a horn on his
head ? Hol. Ba, pueritia, with a horn added.
Moth. Ba, most silly sheep, with a horn :-You hear his learning.
Hol. Quis, quis, thou consonant?
Moth. The third of the five vowels, if you repeat them; or the fifth, if I.
Hol. I will repeat them, a, e, i.-
Arm. Now, by the salt wave of the Mediterraneum, a sweet touch, a quick venew snap, quick and home; it rejoiceth my intellect : true wit.
Moth. Offered by a child to an old man; which is wit-old.
Hol. What is the figure; what is the figure ?
Moth. Lend me your horn to make one, and I will whip about your infamy circùm circà ; A gig of a cuckold's horn!
Cost. An I had but one penny in the world, thou shouldst have it to buy gingerbread: hold, there is the very remuneration I had of thy master, thou half-penny purse of wit, thou pigeon-egg of discre
8 This word, whencesoever it comes, is often mentioned as the longest word known.
9 A flap-dragon was some small combustible body set on fire and put afloat in a glass of liquor. It was an act of dexterity in the toper to swallow it without burning his mouth.
A hit. See Vol. i. p. 195.
tion. O, an the heavens were so pleased, that thou wert but
my bastard! what a joyful father wouldst thou make me! Go to; thou hast it ad dunghill, at the fingers' ends, as they say.
Hol. 0, I smell false Latin ; dunghill for unguem.
Arm. Arts-man, præambula ; we will be singled from the barbarous. Do you not educate youth at the charge-house 11 on the top of the mountain ?
Hol. Or, mons, the hill.
Arm. Sir, it is the king's most sweet pleasure and affection, to congratulate the princess at her pavilion, in the posteriors of this day; which the rude multitude call, the afternoon.
Hol. The posterior of the day, most generous sir, is liable, congruent, and measurable for the afternoon: the word is well culld, chose; sweet and apt, I do assure you, sir, I do assure.
Arm. Sir, the king is a noble gentleman; and my familiar, I do assure you, very good friend :-For what is inward 12 between us, let it pass :—I do beseech thee, remember thy courtesy 13;-I beseech thee, apparel thy head;—and among other importunate and most serious designs,—and of great import indeed, too;—but let that pass :—for I must tell thee, it will please his grace (by the world) sometime to lean upon my poor shoulder; and with his royal finger, thus, dally with my excrement 14,
12 Confidential. 13 By remember thy courtesy, Armado probably means ' remember that all this time thou art standing with thy hat off.'
« The putting off the hat at table is a kind of courtesie or ceremonie rather to be avoided than otherwise.'—Florio's Second Frutes, 1591.
14 The beard is called valour's excrement in the Merchant of Venice.
my mustachio: but, sweet heart, let that pass. By the world, I recount no fable; some certain special honours it pleaseth his greatness to impart to Armado, a soldier, a man of travel, that hath seen the world: but let that pass.-The very all of all is,—but, sweet heart, I do implore secrecy,—that the king would have me present the princess, sweet chuck, with some delightful ostentation, or show, or pageant, or antick, or firework. Now, understanding that the curate and your sweet self, are good at such eruptions, and sudden breaking out of mirth, as it were, I have acquainted you withal, to the end to crave your assistance.
Hol. Sir, you shall present before her the nine worthies.—Sir Nathaniel, as concerning some entertainment of time, some show in the posterior of this day, to be rendered by our assistance, the king's command, and this most gallant, illustrate, and learned gentleman,-before the princess; I say, none so fit as to present the nine worthies.
Nath. Where will you find men worthy enough to present them?
Hol. Joshua, yourself; myself, or this gallant gentleman, Judas Maccabeus; this swain, because of his great limb or joint, shall pass 15 Pompey the great; the
Hercules. Arm. Pardon, sir, error: he is not quantity enough for that worthy's thumb: he is not so big as the end of his club.
Hol. Shall I have audience? He shall present Hercules in minority: his enter and exit shall be strangling a snake; and I will have an apology for
Moth. An excellent device! so, if
of the audience hiss, you may cry: well done, Hercules! now
15 i. e. shall march, or walk in the procession for Pompey.