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Dog. First, who think you the most defartless man to be constable ?

1. Watch. Hugh Oatcake, fir, or George Seacoal ; for they can write and read.

Dog. Come hither, neighbour Seacoal: God hath blessed you with a good name : to be a well-favoured man is the gift of fortune ; but to write and read comes by nature,

2. Watch. Both which, master constable,

Dog. You have; I knew it would be your answer. Well, for your favour, fir, 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 lanthorn : 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 ?

Dog. 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.

Ver. If he will not stand when he is bidden, he is none of the prince's subjects.

Dog. True, and they are to meddle with none but the prince's subjects :-You shall also make no noise in the Itreets; for, for the watch to babble and to talk, is most tolerable and not to be endured.

2. Watch. We will rather sleep than talk; we know what belongs to a watch.

Dog. 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 ale-houses, and bid them that are drunk get them to bed.

2. Watch. How if they will not?



bills be not stolen :) A bill is still carried by the watchmen at Litchfield. It was the old weapon of the English infantry; which, fays Temple, gave i be mofi gbaftly and deplorable wounds. It may be called fecuris falcala. JOHNSON. Yoi, Il.




MUCH ADO Dog. Why then, let them alone till they are fober; if they make you not then the better answer, you may lay, they are not the men you took them for.

2. Watch. Well, sir,

Dog. 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 ?

Dog. Truly, by your office you may ; but, I think, they that touch pitch will be defiled; the most peaceable

The following are examples of ancient bills.



way for you, if you do take a thief, is, to let him thew himself what he is, and steal out of your company.

Ver. You have been always called a merciful man, partner.

Dog. Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will; much more a man who hath any honeity in him.

Ver. 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?

Dog. 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.

Ver. 'Tis very true.

Dog. This is the end of the charge. You, conftable, are to present the prince's own person ; if you meet the prince in the night, you may stay him.

Ver. Nay, by'r-lady, that, I think, he cannot.

Dog. 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

3 If you bear a ebild cry &c.] It is not imposible but that part of this scene was intended as a burlesque on The Statutes of the Streets, imprinted by Wolfe, in 1595. Among these I find the following:

22. “ No man shall blowe any horne in the night, within this cittie, or whistle after the houre of nyne of the clock in the night, under paine of imprisonment.

23. “ No man thall use to goe with visoures, or disguised by night, under like paine of imprisonment.

24. “ Made that night-walkers, and evisdroppers, like punishment.

25. “ No hammar-man, as a smith, a pewterer, a founder, and all arti&cers making great found, shall not worke after the houre of nyne at the night, &c."

30. - Noman shall, after the houre of nyne at night, keepe any rule, whereby any fuch fuddaine out-cry be made in the still of the night, as making any affray, or beating his wyte, or servant, or singing, or revyling in his house, to the disturbaunce of his neighbours, under payne of iii $. iliid. &c. &c."

Ben Jonson, appears to have ridiculed this scene in Induction to his Baribolomew-Faire: " And then a substantial watch to have stole in upon 'em, and taken them away with mistaking wordi, as the fathion is in the Rage practice," STEEVENS.

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offend no man ; and it is an offence to stay a man against his will.

Ver. By'r-lady, I think, it be so.

Dog. Ha, ha, ha! Well, mafters, 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.

Dog. One word more, honeft 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,2. Watch. Peace, ftir not.

[ Afides Bora. Conrade, I say ! Con. Here, man, I am at thy elbow.

Bora. Mars, and my elbow itch'd; 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 pent-house, for it drizzles rain; and I will, like a true drunkard, utter all to thee.

2. Watch. (afide.] 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'ft 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. * – keep your fellows' counsels and your own,] This is part of the oath of a grand juryman; and is one of many proofs of Shakspeare's having been very conversant, at some period of his life, with legal proceedings and courts of justice. MALONE,


Bora. That thews, thou art unconfirm’dt: Thou knowef, that the fashion of a doublet, or a hat, or a cloak, is nothing to a man.

Con. Yes, it is apparel.
Bora. I mean, the fashion.
Con. Yes, the fashion is the fashion.

Bora. Tush! I may as well say, the fool's the fool. But see't thou not, what a deformed thief this fashion is?

1. Warch, 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 some body?
Cor. No ; 'twas the vane on the house.

Bora. Seeft 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 : fometime, like the shaven Hercules in the ? (mirch'd worm-eaten tapestry, where his cod-piece seems as maffy as his club?

Con. All this I fee; and see, that the fashion wears out more apparel than the man: But art not thou thyself giddy with the fashion too, that thou haft shifted out of thy tale into telling me of the fashion?

Boro. Not so neither : but know, that I have to-night wooed Margaret, the lady Hero's gentlewoman, by the name of Hero; she leans me out at her mistress' chamber-window, bids me a thousand times good night,- I tell this tale vilely :-) should first tell thee, how the prince, 4 --unconfirm'd:] i.e. unpractised in the ways of the world. WARB.

S-reechy painting ;] is painting stain'd by smoke; from Recan, Anglo-Saxon, to reek, fumare. STEEVENS.

Sometime, like obe shaven Hercules &c.] I believe that Shak. peare by tbe spaven Hercules meant only Hercules when haved to make bim lock like a woman, while he remained in the service of Omphale, his Lydian mistress. Had obe snaven Hercules been meant to represent Samson, ( as Dr. Warburton supposed,] he would probably have been equipped with a jaw-bone instead of a club. STEEVINS. 1-Smircb'd] Smircb'd is foiled, obscured. So, in As you Like it : « And with a kind of umber smirob my face." ŠTEEVINS.


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