Page images
[ocr errors]

the wise, (if Don Worm, his conscience, find no impe-
diment to the contrary) to be the trumpet of his own
virtues, as I am to myself: So much for praising my-
self, (who, I myself will bear witness, is praise-worthy)
and now tell me, How doth your couzin?

Beat. Very ill.
Bene. And how do you?
Beat. Very ill too.

Bene. Serve God, love me, and mend: there will I leave you too, for here comes one in haste.

Enter URSULA. Urs. Madam, you must come to your uncle; yonder 's old coil at home:3 it is proved, my lady Hero hath been falsely accused, the prince and Claudio mightily abused; and Don John is the author of all, who is fled and gone: Will you come presently?

Beat. Will you go hear this news, signior?

Bene. I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be buried in thy eyes; and, moreover, I will go with thee to thy uncle's.


The inside of a Church.
Enter Don PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and Attendants with

musick and tapers.
Claud. Is this the monument of Leonato ?
Atten. It is, my lord.
Claud. [Reads from a scroll]

Done to death by slanderous tongues,

Was the Hero that here lies:
Death, in guerdons of her wrongs,

Gives her fame which never dies:


old coil at home :) So, in King Henry IV, P. II, Act II, sc. iv: “By the mass, here will be old Utis." See note on this passage. Old, (I know not why) was anciently a common augmentative in familiar language. Coil is bustle, stir. So, in King Fohn:'

“ I am not worth this coil that's made for me.” Steevens. 4 Done to death-] This obsolete phrase occurs frequently in our ancient writers. Thus, in Marlowe's Lust's Dominion, 1657:

“ His mother's hand shall stop thy breath,
“Thinking her own son is done to death.Malone.

So the life, that died with shame,
Lives in death with glorious fame.
Hang thou there upon the tomb, [Affixing it.

Praising her when I am dumb.
Now, musick, sound, and sing your solemn hymn.

Pardon, Goddess of the night,
Those that slew thy virgin knight ;6

To do to death is merely an old translation of the French phrase -Faire mourir. Steevens.

5 — in guerdon-] Guerdon is reward, remuneration. See Costard's use of this word in Love's Labour's Lost, Act III, sc. i, The verb, to guerdon, occurs both in King Henry VI, P. II, and in King Henry VIII. Steevens.

6 Those that slew thy virgin knight;] Knight, in its original sig. nification, means follower, or pupil, and in this sense may be feminine. Helena, in All's well that ends well, uses knight in the same signification. Fohnson.

Virgin knight is virgin hero. In the times of chivalry, a virgin knight was one who had as yet achieved no adventure. Hero had as yet achieved no matrimonial one. It may be added, that a virgin knight wore no device on his shield, having no right to any till he had deserved it.

So, in The History of Clyomon, Knight of the Golden Shield, &c. 1599:

" Then as thou seem'st in thy attire a virgin knight to be,

“ Take thou this shield likewise of white,&c. It appears, however, from several passages in Spenser's Faery Queene, B. I, c. vii, that an ideal order of this name was supposed, as a compliment to Queen Elizabeth's virginity:

“Of doughtie knights whom faery land did raise

“ That noble order hight of maidenhed.Again, B. II, c. ji:

“ Order of maidenhed the most renown'd.” Again, B. II, c. ix:

“ And numbred be mongst knights of maidenhed.On the books of the Stationers Company in the year 1594, is entered, “— - Pheander the mayden knight.Steevens.

I do not believe that any allusion was here intended to Hero's having yet achieved “no matrimonial adventure.” Diana's knight or Virgin knight, was the common poetical appellation of virgins, in Shakspeare's time. So, in The Two Noble Kinsmen, 1634: “O sacred, shadowy, cold and constant queen,

who to thy female knights
“ Allow'st no more blood than will make a blush,
- Which is their order's robe,

For the which, with songs of woe,
Round about her tomb they go.

Midnight, assist our moan;
Help us to sigh and groan,

Heavily, Heavily:
Graves, yawn, and yield your dead,
Till death be uttered,

Heavily, heavily.
Claud. Now, unto thy bones good night!

Yearly will I do this rite.
D. Pedro. Good morrow, masters; put your torches

The wolves have prey'd; and look, the gentle day,
Before the wheels of Phæbus, round about

Dapples the drowsy east with spots of grey: Thanks to you all, and leave us; fare you well.

Claud. Good morrow, masters; each his several way.

D. Pedro. Come, let us hence, and put on other weeds; And then to Leonato's we will go.

Claud. And, Hymen, now with luckier issue speed 's, Than this, for whom we render'd up this woe!8 [Exeunt.


I sup

Again, more appositely in Spenser's Faery Queene, B. III, c. xii:

“Soon as that virgin knight he saw in place,

“ His wicked bookes in hast he overthrew." Malone. This last instance will by no means apply; for the virgin knight is the maiden Britomart, who appeared in the accoutrements of a knight, and from that circumstance was so denominated.

Steevens. 7 Till death be uttered,] I do not profess to understand this line, which to me appears both defective in sense and metre. pose two words have been omitted, which perhaps were –


songs of death be uttered, &c. So, in King Richard III:

“Out on you, owls! nothing but songs of death ?Steevens. 8 And, Hymen, now with luckier issue speed 's,

Than this, for whom we render'd up this woe!] The old copy has_speeds. Steevens.

Claudio could not know, without being a prophet, that this new proposed match should have any luckier event than that designed with Hero. Certainly, therefore, this should be a wish in Claudio; and to this end, the poet might have wrote, speed's; i. e. speed us: and so it becomes a prayer to Hymen. Thirlby.

The contraction introduced is so extremely harsh, that I doubt whether it was intended by the author. However I have followed former editors in adopting it. Malone.



URSULA, FRIAR, and HERO. Friar. Did I not tell you she was innocent?

Leon. So are the prince and Claudio, who accus'd her, Upon the error that you heard debated: But Margaret was in some fault for this; Although against her will, as it appears In the true course of all the question.

Ant. Well, I am glad that all things sort so well.

Bene. And so am I, being else by faith enforc’d To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it.

Leon. Well, daughter, and you gentlewomen all,
Withdraw into a chamber by yourselves;
And, when I send for you, come hither mask'd:
The prince and Claudio promis'd by this hour
To visit me: You know your office, brother;
You must be father to your brother's daughter,
And give her to young Claudio. [Exeunt Ladies.

Ant. Which I will do with confirm'd countenance.
Bene. Friar, I must entreat your pains, I think.
Friar. To do what, signior?

Bene. To bind me, or undo me, one of them.-
Signior Leonato, truth it is, good signior,
Your niece regards me with an eye of favour.

Leon. That eye my daughter lent her; 'Tis most true.
Bene. And I do with an eye of love requite her.

Leon. The sight whereof, I think, you had from me, From Claudio, and the prince; But what 's your will?

Bene. Your answer, sir, is enigmatical:
But, for my will, my will is, your good will
May stand with ours, this day to be conjoin'd
In the state of honourable marriage;9-
In which, good friar, I shall desire your help.

Leon. My heart is with your liking.

And my help.

sc. ï :

9 In the state of honourable marriage;] Marriage, in this instance, is used as a trisyllable. So, in The Taming of the Shrew, Act III,

'Twere good, methinks, to steal our marriage.Steevens.

Here comes the prince, and Claudio.

Enter Don Pedro and CLAUDIO, with Attendants.
D. Pedro. Good morrow to this fair assembly.

Leon. Good morrow, prince; good morrow, Claudio;
We here attend you; Are you yet determin'd
Co-day to marry with my brother's daughter?
Claud. I 'll hold my mind, were she an Ethiop.
Leon. Call her forth, brother, here's the friar ready.

[Exit Ant. D. Pedro. Good morrow, Benedick: Why, what 's the

That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm, and cloudiness?

Claud. I think, he thinks upon the savage bull:1-
Tush, fear not, man, we 'll tip thy horns with gold,
And all Europa shall rejoice at thee;2
As once Europa did at lusty Jove,
When he would play the noble beast in love.

Bene. Bull Jove, sir, had an amiable low;
And some such strange bull leap'd your father's cow,
And got a calf in that same noble feat,
Much like to you, for you have just his bleat.

Re-enter ANTONIO, with the Ladies mask'd.
Claud. For this I owe you: here come other reckonings.
Which is the lady I must seize upon?

Ant. This same is she,3 and I do give you her.
Claud. Why, then she's mine: Sweet, let me see


face. Leon. No, that you shall not, till you take her hand Before this friar, and swear to marry her.

1the savage bull:] Still alluding to the passage quoted in a former scene from Kyd's Hieronymo. Steevens.

2 And all Europa shall &c.] I have no doubt but that our author wrote

And all our Europe &c. So, in King Richard II:

“ As were our England in reversion his.” Steevens. 3 Ant. This same &c.] This speech is in the old copies given to Leonato. Mr. Theobald first assigned it to the right owner. Leonato has in a former part of this scene told Antonio,—that he “must be father to his brother's daughter, and give her to young Claudio." Malone.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »