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Bene. The savage bull may; but if ever the sensible Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull's horns, and set them in my forehead: and let me be vilely painted; and in such great letters as they write, Here is good horse to hire, let them signify under my sign,-Here you may see Benedick the married man.
Claud. If this should ever happen, thou wouldst be horn-mad.
D. Pedro. Nay, if Cupid have not spent all his quiver in Venice,2 thou wilt quake for this shortly.
Bene. I look for an earthquake too then.
D. Pedro. Well, you will temporize with the hours. In the mean time, good signior Benedick, repair to Leonato's; commend me to him, and tell him, I will not fail him at supper; for, indeed, he hath made great preparation.
Bene. I have almost matter enough in me for such an embassage; and so I commit you
Claud. To the tuition of God: From my house (if I had it)
D. Pedro. The sixth of July: Your loving friend, Benedick.
Bene. Nay, mock not, mock not: The body of your discourse is sometime guarded with fragments,3 and the guards are but slightly basted on neither: ere you flout old ends any further, examine your conscience; and so I leave you.
The Spanish Tragedy was printed and acted before 1593.
Malone. It may be proved that The Spanish Tragedy had at least been written before 1562. Steevens.
2 if Cupid have not spent all his quiver in Venice,] All modern writers agree in representing Venice in the same light as the ancients did Cyprus. And it is this character of the people that is here alluded to. Warburton.
guarded with fragments,] Guards were ornamental lace or borders. So, in The Merchant of Venice:
give him a livery
"More guarded than his fellows."
Again, in Henry IV, P. I:
·velvet guards, and Sunday citizens." Steevens.
4 — ere you flout old ends &c.] Before you endeavour to distinguish yourself any more by antiquated allusions, examine whether you
Claud. My liege, your highness now may do me good. D. Pedro. My love is thine to teach; teach it but how, And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn
Any hard lesson that may do thee good.
D. Pedro. No child but Hero, she's his only heir:
O my lord,
I look'd upon her with a soldier's eye,
But now I am return'd, and that war-thoughts
can fairly claim them for your own. This, I think, is the meaning; or it may be understood in another sense, examine, if your sarcasms do not touch yourself. Johnson.
The ridicule here is to the formal conclusions of Epistles dedicatory and Letters. Barnaby Googe thus ends his dedication to the first edition of Palingenius, 12mo. 1560: "And thus committyng your Ladiship with all yours to the tuicion of the moste mercifull God, I ende. From Staple Inne at London, the eighte and twenty of March." The practice had however become obsolete in Shakspeare's time. In A Poste with a packet of mad Letters, by Nicholas Breton, 4to. 1607; I find a Letter ending in this manner, entitled, "A letter to laugh at after the old fashion of love to a Maide." Reed.
Dr. Johnson's latter explanation is, I believe, the true one. By old ends the speaker may mean the conclusion of letters commonly used in Shakspeare's time; "From my house this sixth of July," &c. So, in the conclusion of a letter which our author supposes Lucrece to write:
"So I commend me from our house in grief;
My woes are tedious, though my words are brief." See The Rape of Lucrece, p. 547, edit. 1780, and the note there. Old ends, however, may refer to the quotation that D. Pedro had made from The Spanish Tragedy. "Ere you attack me on the subject of love, with fragments of old plays, examine whether you are yourself free from its power." So, King Richard:
"With odd old ends, stol'n forth of holy writ."
This kind of conclusion to letters was not obsolete in our author's time, as has been suggested. Michael Drayton concludes one of his letters to Drummond of Hawthorndep, in 1619, thus: "And so wishing you all happiness, I commend you to God's tuition, and rest your assured friend." So also, Lord Salisbury concludes a letter to Sir Ralph Winwood, April 7th, 1610: “— - And so I commit you to God's protection."
Winwood's Memorials, III, 147. Malone.
Have left their places vacant, in their rooms
D. Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover presently,
And I will break with her, and with her father,
Claud. How sweetly do you minister to love,
D. Pedro. What need the bridge much broader than the flood?
The fairest grant is the necessity: 5
Look, what will serve, is fit: 'tis once, thou lov'st;"
I know, we shall have revelling to-night;
I will assume thy part in some disguise,
And tell fair Hero I am Claudio;
And in her bosom I'll unclasp my heart,
5 The fairest grant is the necessity:] i. e. no one can have a better reason for granting a request than the necessity of its being granted. Warburton.
Mr. Hayley with great acuteness proposes to read,
The fairest grant is to necessity. Steevens.
These words cannot imply the sense that Warburton contends for; but if we suppose that grant means concession, the sense is obvious; and that is no uncommon acceptation of that word.
6 'tis once, thou lov'st;] This phrase, with concomitant obscurity, appears in other dramas of our author, viz. The Merry Wives of Windsor, and K. Henry VIII. In The Comedy of Errors, it stands as follows:
"Once this-Your long experience of her wisdom," &c. Balthasar is speaking to the Ephesian Antipholis.
Once may therefore mean once for all," "" 'tis enough to say
at once." Steevens.
Once has here, I believe, the force of-once for all. So, in Coriolanus: "Once, if he do require our voices, we ought not to deny him." Malone.
And thou sl
Any hard le
When you w
can fairly claim or it may be und casms do not touc The ridicule h catory and Lette
Then, after, to her father will I break;
A Room in LEONATO's House.
Enter LEONATO and ANTONIO.
Leon. How now, brother? Where is my cousin, your son? Hath he provided this musick?
Ant. He is very busy about it. But, brother, I can tell you strange news that you yet dream'd not of. Leon. Are they good?
Ant. As the event stamps them; but they have a good cover, they show well outward. The prince and Count Claudio, walking in a thick-pleached alley in my orchard, were thus much overheard by a man of mine: The prince discovered to Claudio, that he loved my niece and meant to acknowledge it this night found her accordant, he meant to ad howeve
in a dance; and, if ne
Leon. Hath the fellow any wit,
top, and instantly break with
Ant. A good sharp fellow; I will se question him yourself.
nd for him, and
the tru Leon. No, no; we will hold it as a dream etters, till it apis sixter withal, pear itself:-but I will acquaint my daughte auth that she may be the better prepared for an an peradventure this be true. Go you, and tell her [Several persons cross the stage] Cousins, you ki
71 strange news] Thus the quarto, 1600. The fo omits the epithet, which indeed is of little value.
8 — a thick-pleached alley-] Thick-pleached is thickly in terwoven. So afterwards, Act III, sc. i:
bid her steal into the pleached bower."
Again, in King Henry V:
her hedges even-pleach'd." Steevens.
• Cousins, you know--and afterwards,-good cousins,] Cousins were anciently enrolled among the dependants, if not the domesticks, of great families, such as that of Leonato. Petruchio, while intent on the subjection of Katharine, calls out, in terms imperative, for his cousin Ferdinand. Steevens.
her ou ki
what you have to do.-O, I cry you mercy, friend; go you with me, and I will use your skill:-Good cousins, have a care this busy time.
Another Room in LEONATO's House.
Enter Don JOHN and CONRADE.
Con. What the goujere,1 my lord! why are you thus out of measure sad?
D. John. There is no measure in the occasion that breeds it, therefore the sadness is without limit.
Con. You should hear reason.
D. John. And when I have heard it, what blessing bringeth it?
Con. If not a present remedy, yet a patient sufferance. D. John. I wonder, that thou being (as thou say'st thou art) born under Saturn, goest about to apply a moral medicine to a mortifying mischief. I cannot hide what I am:2 I must be sad when I have cause, and smile at no man's jests; eat when I have stomach, and wait for no man's leisure; sleep when I am drowsy, and tend on no man's business; laugh when I am merry, and claw no man in his humour.3
1 What the goujere,] i. e. morbus Gallicus. The old copy corruptly reads, "good-year." The same expression occurs again in K. Lear, Act V, sc. iii:
"The goujeres shall devour them, flesh and fell." See note on this passage. Steevens.
2 I cannot hide what I am:] This is one of our author's natural touches. An envious and unsocial mind, too proud to give pleasure, and too sullen to receive it, always endeavours to hide its malignity from the world and from itself, under the plainness of The fo simple honesty, or the dignity of haughty independence. Johnson. 3 claw no man in his humour.] To claw is to flatter. So ickly in the pope's claw-backs, in Bishop Jewel, are the pope's flatterers. The sense is the same in the proverb, Mulus mulum scabit.
] Couthe doruchio,
So, in Albion's England, 1597, p. 125:
"The overweening of thy wits doth make thy foes to smile, "Thy friends to weepe, and claw-backs thee with soothings to beguile."
Again, in Wylson on Usury, 1571, p. 141: "— therefore I will clawe him, and saye well might he fare, and godds blessing have