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Ros. It is not so: ask them, how many inches Is in one mile; if they have measur'd many, The measure then of one is easily told.
Boyet. If, to come hither you have measur'd miles,
Biron. Tell her, we measure them by weary steps.
How many weary steps,
Biron. We number nothing that we spend for you; Our duty is so rich, so infinite, That we may do it still without accompt. Vouchsafe to show the sunshine of your face, That we, like savages, may worship it.
Ros. My face is but a moon, and clouded too.
King. Blessed are clouds, to do as such clouds do! Vouchsafe, bright moon, and these thy stars,' to shine (Those clouds remov’d) upon our wat’ry eyne.
Ros. O vain petitioner! beg a greater matter; Thou now request’st but moonshine in the water. King. Then, in our measure do but vouchsafe one
change: Thou bid'st me beg; this begging is not strange. Ro8. Play, musick, then: nay, you must do it soon.
[Musick plays. Not yet ;--no dance :thus change I like the moon.
8 To tread a measure - ] The measures were dances solemn and slow. They were performed at court, and at public entertainments of the societies of law and equity, at their halls, on particular occasions. It was formerly not deemed inconsistent with propriety even for the gravest persons to join in them; and accordingly at the revels which were celebrated at the inns of court, it has not been unusual for the first characters in the law to become performers in treading the measures. See Dugdale's Origines Furidiciales. Reed.
See Beatrice's description of this dance in Much Ado About Nothing. Malone.
9 Vouchsafe, bright moon, and these thy stars,] When Queen Elizabeth asked an embassador, how he liked her ladies, It is hard, said he, to judge of stars in the presence of the sun. Johnson.
King. Will you not dance? How come you thus
estrang'd? Ros. You took the moon at full; but now she's chang'd.
King. Yet still she is the moon, and I the man. 1
Ros. Our ears vouchsafe it.
But your legs should do it.
King. Why take we hands then?
Only to part friends :-
King. More measure of this measure; be not nice.
That can never be.
King. If you deny to dance, let's hold more chat.
I am best pleas'd with that.
[They converse apart. Biron. White-handed mistress, one sweet word with
Biron. Nay then, two treys, (an if you grow so nice)
Seventh sweet, adieu!
Biron. One word in secret.
Let it not be sweet.
Therefore meet. [They converse apart.
1- the man.] I suspect, that a line which rhymed with this, has been lost Malone. 2 Court'sy, sweet hearts;] See Tempest, Vol. II:
“ Court sied when you have, and kiss'd—.” Malone. 9 Since you can cog,] To cog, signifies to falsify the dice, and to falsify a narrative, or to lye. Fohnson.
Dum. Will you vouchsafe with me to change a word ?
Say you so? Fair lord, Take that for your fair lady. Dum.
Please it you, As much in private, and I'll bid adieu.
[They converse apart. Kath. What, was your visor made without a tongue? Long. I know the reason, lady, why you ask. Kath. O, for your reason! quickly, sir; I long.
Long. You have a double tongue within your mask, And would afford my speechless visor half. Kath. Veal, quoth the Dutchman;4
4_Is not veal a calf? Long. A calf, fair lady? Kath.
No, a fair lord calf.
No, I'll not be your half:
mocks! Will you give horns, chaste lady? do not so.
Kath. Then die a calf, before your horns do grow. Long. One word in private with you, ere I die. Kath. Bleat softly then, the butcher hears you cry.
[They converse apart. Boyet. The tongues of mocking wenches are as keen
As is the razor's edge invisible, Cutting a smaller hair than may be seen;
Above the sense of sense: so sensible Seemeth their conference; their conceits have wings, Fleeter than arrows, bullets, wind, thought, swifter
things.5 Ros. Not one word more, my maids; break off, break off. Biron. By heaven, all dry-beaten with pure scoff!
4 Veal, quoth the Dutchman;] I suppose by veal she means well, sounded as foreigners usually pronounce that word; and introduced merely for the sake of the subsequent question. Malone.
5 Fleeter than arrows, bullets, wind, thought, swifter things.] Mr. Ritson observes, that, for the sake of measure, the word bullets should be omitted. Steevens.
King. Farewel, mad wenches; you have simple wits.
[Exeunt King, Lords, Moth, Musick, and Attendants. Prin. Twenty adieus, my frozen Muscovites.Are these the breed of wits so wonder'd at? Boyet. Tapers they are, with your sweet breaths puff’d
out. Ros. Well-liking wits6 they have; gross, gross; fat, fat.
Prin. O poverty in wit, kingly-poor flout! Will they not, think you, hang themselves to night?
Or ever, but in visors, show their faces ? This pert Birón was out of countenance quite.
Ros. O! they were all? in lamentable cases! The king was weeping-ripe for a good word.
Prin. Birón did swear himself out of all suit.
Mar. Dumain was at my service, and his sword: No point, quoth I;8 my servant straight was mute.
Kath. Lord Longaville said, I came o'er his heart; And trow you, what he calld me? Prin,
Qualm, perhaps. Kath. Yes, in good faith. Prin.
Go, sickness as thou art ! Ros. Well, better wits have worn plain statute-caps.
6 Well-liking wits — ) Well-liking is the same as embonpoint. So, in Job, xxxix, 4: “. Their young ones are in good liking.”
Steevens. 70! they were all &c.] 0, which is not found in the first quarto or folio, was added by the editor of the second folio. Malone.
8 No point, quoth 1;] Point in French is an adverb of negation; but, if properly spoken, is not sounded like the point of a sword. A quibble, however, is intended. From this and the
it appears, that either our author was not well acquainted with the pronunciation of the French language, or it was different formerly from what it is at present.
The former supposition appears to me much the more probable of the two.
In The Return from Parnassus, 1606, Philomusus says-Tit, tit, tit, non poynte; non debet fieri,” &c. See also Florio's Italian Dict. 1598, in v. “Punto.-never a whit;—no point, as the Frenchmen say.” Malone.
better wits have worn plain statute-caps.] This line is not universally understood, because every reader does not know that a statute-cap is part of the academical habit. Lady Rosaline declares that her expectation was disappointed by these courtly students, and that better wits might be found in the common places of education. Fohnson.
But will you hear? the king is my love sworn.
Prin. And quick Birón hath plighted faith to me.
Woollen caps were enjoined by act of parliament, in the year 1571, the 13th of Queen Elizabeth. “Besides the bills passed into acts this parliament, there was one which I judge not amiss to be taken notice of-it concerned the Queen's care for employment for her poor sort of subjects. It was for continuance of making and wearing woollen caps, in behalf of the trade of cappers; providing, that all above the age of six years, (except the nobility and some others) should on sabbath days and holy days, wear caps of wool, knit, thicked, and drest in England, upon penalty of ten groats.” Strype's Annals of Queen Elizabeth, Vol. II, p. 74. Grey.
This act may account for the distinguishing mark of Mother Red-cap. I have observed that mention is made of this sign by some of our ancient pamphleteers and playwriters, as far back as the date of the act referred to by Dr. Grey. If that your cap be wool—became a proverbial saying. So, in Hans Beerpot, a comedy, 1618:
“ You shall not Ainch; if that your cap be wool,
“ You shall along.” Steevens. I think my own interpretation of this passage is right.
Johnson. Probably the meaning is_better wits may be found among the citizens, who are not in general remarkable for sallies of imagination. In Marston's Dutch Courtezan, 1605, Mrs. Mulligrub says: “— though my husband be a citizen, and his cap's made of wool, yet I have wit.” Again, in The Family of Love, 1608: ''Tis a law enacted by the common-council of statute-caps." Again, in Newes from Hell, brought by the Devil's Carrier, 1606:
- in a bowling alley in a flat cap like a shop-keeper.” That these sumptuary laws, which dictated the form and materials of caps, the dimensions of ruffs, and the length of swords, were executed with great exactness but little discretion, by a set of people placed at the principal avenues of the city, may be known from the following curious passage in a letter from Lord Talbot to the Earl of Shrewsbury, June, 1580: “ The French Imbasidore, Mounswer Mouiser, [Mauvisiere, or, rather, Mal. voisier] ridinge to take the ayer, in his returne cam thowrowe Smithfield; and ther, at the bars, was steayed by thos officers that sitteth to cut sourds, by reason his raper was longer than the statute: He was in a great feaurie, and dreawe his raper. In the meane season my Lord Henry Seamore cam, and so steayed the matt. Hir Matie is greatlie ofended wth the ofisers, in that they wanted jugement.” See Lodge's Illustrations of British History, Vol. II, p. 228. Steevens.