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When shall you see me write a thing in rhyme?

groan for Joan? or spend a minute's time
In pruning me?6 When shall you hear that I
Will praise a hand, a foot, a face, an eye,
A gait, a state, a brow, a breast, a waist,
A leg, a limb?--

Soft; Whither away so fast?
A true man, or a thief, that gallops so?
Biron. I post from love; good lover, let me go.

Enter JAQUENETTA and CostaRD.
Jaq. God bless the king!

What present hast thou there?
Cost. Some certain treason.

What makes treason here?
Cost. Nay, it makes nothing, sir.

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in that copy were manifestly arbitrary, and are generally injudi. cious. Malone.

Slight as the authority of the second folio is here represented to be, who will venture to displace strange, and put any other word in its place? Steevens.

I agree with the editors in considering this passage as erroneous, but not in the amendment proposed. That which I would suggest is, to read moon-like, instead of men-like, which is a more poetical expression, and nearer to the old reading than vane-like.

M. Mason. I have not scrupled to place this happy emendation in the text; remarking at the same time that a vane is no where styled inconstant, although our author bestows that epithet on the moon in Romeo and Juliet:

- the inconstant moon
“ That monthly changes —."
Again, in Antony and Cleopatra:

now from head to foot
“ I am marble-constant, now the fleeting moon

“No planet is of mine.” Steevens.
Again, more appositely, in As you like it: “_ being but a
moonish youth, changeable,”—inconstant, &c. Malone.

6 In pruning me?] A bird is said to prune himself when he picks and sleeks his feathers. So, in King Henry IV, P.I:

“ Which makes him prune himself, and bristle up

“ The crest of youth —.” Steevens. 7-a gait, a state,] State, I believe, in the present instance, is opposed to gait (i. e. motion) and signifies the act of standing. So, in Antony and Cleopatra:

“Her motion and her station are as one.” Steevens.


If it mar nothing neither, The treason, and you, go in peace away together.

Jaq. I beseech your grace, let this letter be read; Our parson8 misdoubts it; 'twas treason he said.

King. Biron, read it over. [Giving him the letter. Where hadst thou it?

Jaq. Of Costard.
King. Where hadst thou it?
Cost. Of Dun Adramadio, Dun Adramadio.
King. How now! what is in you? why dost thou tear it?
Biron. A toy, my liege, a toy; your grace needs not

fear it. Long. It did move him to passion, and therefore let's

hear it. Dum. It is Biron's writing, and here is his name.

[Picks up the pieces. Biron. Ah, you whoreson loggerhead, you [To Cost.

were born to do me shame.
Guilty, my lord, guilty; I confess, I confess.

King. What?
Biron. That you three fools lack'd me fool to make up

the mess:
He, he, and you, my liege, and I,
Are pick-purses in love, and we deserve to die.
O, dismiss this audience, and I shall tell you more.

Dum. Now the number is even.

True true; we are four:
Will these turtles be gone?

Hence, sirs; away. Cost. Walk aside the true folk, and let the traitors stay.

[Exeunt Cost. and Jaq. Biron. Sweet lords, sweet lovers, O let us embrace!

As true we are, as flesh and blood can be: The sea will ebb and flow, heaven show his face;

Young blood will not obey an old decree: We cannot cross the cause why we were born; Therefore, of all hands must we be forsworn.

8 Our parson-] Here, as in a former instance, in the authen. tick copies of this play, this word is spelt person; but there being no reason for adhering here to the old spelling, the modern is preferred. Malone.

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King. What, did these rent lines show some love of

Biron. Did they, quoth you? Who sees the heavenly

That, like a rude and savage man of Inde,

At the first opening of the gorgeous east,
Bows not his vassal head; and, strucken blind,

Kisses the base ground with obedient breast?
What peremptory eagle-sighted eye

Dares look upon the heaven of her brow,
That is not blinded by her majesty?

King. What zeal, what fury hath inspir'd thee now?
My love, her mistress, is a gracious moon;

She, an attending star,' scarce seen a light.
Biron. My eyes are then no eyes, nor I Birón:

O, but for my love, day would turn to night!
Of all complexions the cull'd sovereignty

Do meet, as at a fair, in her fair cheek;
Where several worthies make one dignity;

Where nothing wants, that want itself doth seek.
Lend me the flourish of all gentle tongues,

Fye, painted rhetorick! O, she needs it not:
To things of sale a seller's praise belongs;8

She passes praise; then praise too short doth blot.

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- the gorgeous east,] Milton has transplanted this into the third line of the second Book of Paradise Lost :

“Or where the gorgeous east —” Steevens. She, an attending star,] Something like this is a stanza of Sir Henry Wotton, of which the poetical reader will forgive the insertion:

“ You meaner beauties of the night,

“ That poorly satisfy our eyes,
“ More by your number than your light,

“ You common people of the skies,
“What are you when the sun shall rise?” Johnson.
"__Micat inter omnes

Julium șidus, velut inter ignes

“ Luna minores." Hor. Malone. 2 My eyes are then no eyes, nor I Birón:] Here, and indeed throughout this play, the name of Birón is accented on the se. cond syllable. In the first quarto, 1598, and the folio, 1623, he is always called Berowne. From the line before us it appears, that in our author's time the name was pronounced Biroon.


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A wither’d hermit, five-score winters worn,

Might shake off fifty, looking in her eye: Beauty doth varnish age, as if new-born,

And gives the crutch the cradle's infancy.
O, 'tis the sun, that maketh all things shine!

King. By heaven, thy love is black as ebony.
Biron. Is ebony like her? O wood divine !*

A wife of such wood were felicity.
O, who can give an oath? where is a book?

That I may swear, beauty doth beauty lack,
If that she learn not of her eye to look:

No face is fair, that is not full so black.5 King. O paradox! Black is the badge of hell,

The hue of dungeons, and the scowl of night;6 And beauty's crest becomes the heavens well.?

Biron. Devils soonest tempt, resembling spirits of light.


3 To things of sale a seller's praise belongs;] So, in our author's 21st Sonnet:

“ I will not praise, that purpose not to sell.Malone. 4 Is ebony like her? O wood divine!'] Word is the reading of all the editions that I have seen: but both Dr. Thirlby and Mr. Warburton concurr'd in reading: (as I had likewise conjectured)

O wood divine! Theobald.
beauty doth beauty lack,
If that she learn not of her eye to look:

No face is fair, that is not full so black.] So, in our poet's 132d Sonnet:

those two mourning eyes become thy face:-
“O, let it then as well beseem thy heart
56 To mourn for me ;-
so Then will I swear, beauty herself is black,

And all they foul, that thy complexion lack.See also his 127th Sonnet Malone.

Black is the badge of hell, The hue of dungeons, and the scowl of night;] In former editions :

the school of night. Black being the school of night, is a piece of mystery above my comprehension. I had guessed, it should be :

- the stole of night: but I have preferred the conjecture of my friend Mr. Warburton, who reads:

-the scowl of night, as it comes nearer in pronunciation to the corrupted reading, as well as agrees better with the other images. Theobald. In our author's 148th Sonnet we have

“Who art as black as hell, as dark as night. Malone.


O, if in black my lady's brows be deckt,

It mourns, that painting, and usurping hair, Should ravish doters with a false aspéct;

And therefore is she born to make black fair. Her favour turns the fashion of the days;

For native blood is counted painting now; And therefore red, that would avoid dispraise,

Paints itself black, to imitate her brow. Dum. To look like her, are chimney-sweepers black. Long. And, since her time, are colliers counted bright. King. And Ethiops of their sweet complexion crack. Dum. Dark needs no candles now, for dark is light. Biron. Your mistresses dare never come in rain,

For fear their colours should be wash'd away. King. 'Twere good, yours did; for, sir, to tell you

plain, I'll find a fairer face not wash'd to day. Biron. I'll prove her fair, or talk till dooms-day here. King. No devil will fright thee then so much as she. Dum. I never knew man hold vile stuff so dear. Long. Look, here 's thy love: my foot and her face see.

[Showing his shoe. ? And beauty's crest becomes the heavens well.] Crest is here properly opposed to badge. Black, says the king, is the badge of hell, but that which graces the heaven is the crest of beauty. Black darkens hell, and is therefore hateful: white adorns hea. ven, and is therefore lovely. Johnson.

And beauty's crest becomes the heavens well, i. e. the very top the height of beauty, or the utmost degree of fairness, becomes the heavens. So the word crest is explained by the poet himself in King John:

this is the very top
“ The height, the crest, or crest unto the crest

“Of murder's arms. In heraldry, a crest is a device placed above a coat of arms. Shakspeare therefore assumes the liberty to use it in a sense equivalent to top or utmost height, as he has used spire in Corio. lanus :

to the spire and top of praises vouch'd.” Tollet.

and usurping hair,] And, which is wanting in the old copies, was supplied by the editor of the second folio. Usurping hair alludes to the fashion, which prevailed among ladies in our author's time, of wearing false hair, or periwigs, as they were then called, before that kind of covering for the head was worn by men. The sentiments here uttered by Biron, may be found, in nearly the same words, in our author's 127th Sonnet. Malone.



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