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King. A letter from the magnificent Armado.
Biron. How low soever the matter, I hope in God for high words.
Long. A high hope for a low having! God grant us patience!
Biron. To hear, or forbear hearing?
Long. To hear meekly, sir, and to laugh moderately; or to .forbear both.
Biron. Well, sir, be it as the style 2 shall give us cause to climb in the merriness.
Cost. The matter is to me, sir, as concerning Jaquenetta. The manner of it is, I was taken with the manner.3
Biron. In what manner?
Cost. In manner and form following, sir ; all those three. I was seen with her in the manor house, sitting with her upon the form, and taken following her into the park; which, put together, is, in manner and form following. Now, sir, for the manner,-it is the manner of a man to speak to a woman; for the form, in some form.
Biron. For the following, sir?
Cost. As it shall follow in my correction; and God defend the right!
you hear this letter with attention ? Biron. As we would hear an oracle.
Cost. Such is the simplicity of man to hearken after the flesh.
King. [Reads.] Great deputy, the welkin's vicegerent, and sole dominator of Navarre, my soul's earth's God, and body's fostering patron.
Cost. Not a word of Costard yet.
Cost. It may be so; but if he say it is so, he is, in telling true, but so, so.
1 “To hear, or forbear laughing ?” is possibly the true reading. 2 A quibble.is here intended between a stile and style.
3 That is, in the fact. A thief is said to be taken with the manner (mainour) when he is taken with the thing stolen about him. The thing stolen was called mainour, manour, or meino’r, from the French manier manu tractare.
where, I mean, I did encounter
King. So it is, besieged with sable-colored melancholy, I did commend the black-oppressing humor to the most wholesome physic of thy health-giving air ; and, as I am a gentleman, betook myself to walk. The time when? About the sixth hour, when beasts most graze, birds best peck, and men sit down to that nourishment which is called supper. So much for the time when. Now for the ground which ; which, I mean, I walked upon; it is ycleped thy park. Then for the place where ; preposterous event, that draweth from my snow-white pen the ebon-colored ink, which here thou viewest, beholdest, surveyest, or seest. But to the place where.--It standeth north-north-east and by east from the west corner of thy curious-knotted garden. There did I see that low-spirited swain, that base minnow of thy mirth,"
King.-sorted and consorted, contrary to thy established, proclaimed edict and continent canon, with with, with—but with this 1 passion to say wherewith,
Cost. With a wench.
King.---with a child of our grandmother Eve, a female ; or, for thy more sweet understanding, a woman. Him I (as my ever-esteemed duty pricks me on) have
1 Ancient gardens abounded with knots or figures, of which the lines intersected each other. In the old books of gardening are devices for them.
2 i. e. the contemptible little object that contributes to thy ertertainment.
sent to thee, to receive the meed of punishment, by thy sweet grace's officer, Antony Dull; a man of good redute, carriage, bearing, and estimation.
Dull. Me, an’t shall please you ; I am Antony Dull.
King.–For Jaquenetta, (so is the weaker vessel called, which I apprehended with the aforesaid swain,) I keep her as a vessel of thy law's fury; and shall, at the least of thy sweet notice, bring her to trial. Thine, in all compliments of devoted and heart-burning heat of duty,
Don ADRIANO DE ARMADO. Biron. This is not so well as I looked for, but the best that ever I heard.
King. Ay, the best for the worst. But, sirrah, what say you to this?
Cost. Sir, I confess the wench.
Cost. I do confess much of the hearing it, but little of the marking of it.
King. It was proclaimed a year's imprisonment, to be taken with a wench.
Cost. I was taken with none, sir. I was taken with a damosel.
King. Well, it was proclaimed damosel.
Cost. This was no damosel neither, sir ; she was a virgin.
King. It is so varied too; for it was proclaimed, virgin.
Cost. If it were, I deny her virginity. I was taken with a maid.
King. This maid will not serve your turn, sir.
King. Sir, I will pronounce your sentence ;
Cost.« I had rather pray a month with mutton and porridge.
King. And Don Armado shall be your keeper.— My lord Birón, see him delivered o’er. And go we, lords, to put in practice that Which each to other hath so strongly sworn.
[Exeunt King, LONGAVILLE, and DUMAIN
Biron. I'll lay my head to any good man's hat,
These oaths and laws will prove an idle scorn.Sirrah, come on.
Cost. I suffer for the truth, sir; for true it is, I was taken with Jaquenetta, and Jaquenetta is a true girl; and therefore, welcome the sour cup of prosperity! Affliction may one day smile again, and till then, sit thee down, sorrow !
SCENE II. Another part of the same.
Enter ARMADO and Moth.
Arm. Boy, what sign is it, when a man of great spirit grows melancholy?
Moth. A great sign, sir, that he will look sad.
Arm. Why, sadness is one and the self-same thing, dear imp.
Moth. No, no; O lord, sir, no.
Arm. How canst thou part sadness and melancholy, my tender juvenal ? ?
Moth. By a familiar demonstration of the working, my tough senior. Arm. Why tough senior? why tough senior ? Moth. Why tender juvenal ? why tender juvenal ?
Arm. I spoke it, tender juvenal, as a congruent cpitheton, appertaining to thy young days, which we may nominate tender.
Moth. And I, tough senior, as an appertinent title to your old time, which we may name tough.
Arm. Pretty, and apt.
Moth. How mean you, sir? I pretty, and my saying apt ? or I apt, and my saying pretty ?
Arm. Thou pretty, because little.
1 Imp literaily means a graft, slip, scion, or sucker; and by metonymy is used for a child or boy. Cromwell, in his last letter to Henry VIII. prays for the imp his son.
2 i. e. youth.
Moth. Little pretty, because little. Wherefore apt?
Arm. 1 do say, thou art quick in answers.
Moth. I am answered, sir.
Moth. He speaks the mere contrary; crosses love not him.
[Aside. Arm. I have promised to study three years with the duke.
Moth. You may do it in an hour, sir.
Arm. I am ill at reckoning; it fitteth the spirit of a tapster
Moth. You are a gentleman, and a gamester, sir.
Arm. I confess both; they are both the varnish of a complete man.
Moth. Then I am sure you know how much the gross sum of deuce-ace amounts to.
Arm. It doth amount to one more than two.
Moth. Why, sir, is this such a piece of study? Now here is three studied, ere you'll thrice wink ; and how easy it is to put years to the word three, and study three years in two words, the dancing horse? will tell you.
Arm. A most fine figure !
1 By crosses he means money. Many coins were anciently marked with a cross on one side.
2 This alludes to the celebrated bay horse Morocco, belonging to one Bankes, who exhibited his docile and sagacious animal through Europe. Many of his remarkable pranks are mentioned by contemporary writers: and he is alluded to by numbers besides Shakspeare.