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none: Adam's sons are my brethren; and truly, I hold it a sin to match in
kindred. Leon. Daughter, remember what I told you: if the prince do solicit you in that kind, you know your answer.
Beat. The fault will be in the musick, cousin, if you be not woo'd in good time: if the prince be too important, tell him, there is measure in every thing, 3 and so dance out the answer. For hear me, Hero; Wooing, wedding, and repenting, is as a Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinque-pace: the first suit is hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as fantastical; the wedding, mannerly-modest, as a measure full of state and ancientry; and then comes repentance, and, with his bad legs, falls into the cinque-pace faster and faster, till he sink into
Leon. Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly.
Beat. I have a good eye, uncle; I can see a church by day-light.
Leon. The revellers are entering; brother, make good
Enter Don PEDRO, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK, BALTHAZAR;*
Don JOHN, BORACHIO, MARGARET, URSULA, and others, mask'd. D. Pedro. Lady, will you walk about with your friend?5
if the prince be too important,] Important here, and in
Steevens. - there is measure in every thing,] A measure in old lan. guage, beside its ordinary meaning, signified also a dance.
“My legs can keep no measure in delight,
Steevens. Here is another proof that when the first copies of our author's plays were prepared for the press, the transcript was made out by the ear. If the MS. had lain before the transcriber, it is very unlikely that he should have mistaken Don for dumb: but, by an
Hero. So you walk softly, and look sweetly, and say nothing, I am yours for the walk; and, especially, when
I walk away
D. Pedro. With me in your company?
Hero. When I like your favour; for God defend, the lute should be like the case ! 6
. D. Pedro. My visor is Philemon's roof; within the house is Jove.7
inarticulate speaker, or inattentive hearer, they might easily be confounded. Malone.
Don John's taciturnity has been already noticed. It seems therefore not improbable that the author himself might have occasionally applied the epithet dumb to him. Reed.
your friend?] Friend, in our author's time, was the common term for a lover. So also, in French and Italian. Malone.
Mr. Malone might have added, that this term was equally applicable to both sexes ; for, in Measure for Measure, Lucio tells Isabella that her brother had “ got his friend with child.”
Steevens. the lute should be like the case!] i. e. that your face should be as homely and coarse as your mask. Theobald,
? My visor is Philemon's roof, within the house is Jove.] The first folio has-Lode; the quarto, 1600-love; so that here Mr. Theobald might have found the very reading which, in the following note he represents as a conjecture of his own. Steevens.
'Tis plain, the poet alludes to the story of Baucis and Philemon from Ovid: and this old couple, as the Roman poet describes it, lived in a thatch'd cottage:
stipulis & canna tecta palustri.”. But why, within this house is love ? Though this old pair lived in a cottage, this cottage received two straggling gods, (Jupiter and Mercury) under its roof. So, Don Pedro is a prince; and though his visor is but ordinary, he would insinuate to Hero, that he has something godlike within: alluding either to his dignity or the qualities of his mind and person. By these circumstances, I am sure, the thought is mended: as, I think verily, the text is too, by the addition of a single letter-within the house is Jove. Nor is this emendation a little confirmed by another passage in our author, in which he plainly alludes to the same story. As you
“ Jaques. O, knowledge ill inhabited, worse than Jove in a thatched house!” Theobald.
The line of Ovid above quoted is thus translated by Golding, 1587 : “ The roofe thereof was thatched all with straw and fennish
Hero. Why then, your visor should be thatch'd.
[Takes her aside. Bene. Well, I would you did like me.
Marg. So would not I, for your own sake; for I have many ill qualities.
Bene. Which is one?
Marg. God match me with a good dancer!
Marg. And God keep him out of my sight, when the dance is done!-Answer, clerk.
Balth. No more words; the clerk is answer'd.
Urs. You could never do him so ill-well,8 unless you were the very man: Here's his dry hando- up and down; you are he, you are he.
Ant. At a word, I am not.
Urs. Come, come; do you think I do not know you by your excellent wit? Can virtue hide itself? Go to, mum, you are he: graces will appear, and there 's an end.
Beat. Will you not tell me who told you so?
Beat. That I was disdainful,and that I had my good wit out of the Hundred merry Tales;_Well, this was signior Benedick that said so.
& You could never do him so ill-well,] A similar phrase occurs in The Merchant of Venice:
“ He hath a better bad habit of frowning, than the Count Palatine.” Steedens.
his dry hand. -] A dry hand was anciently regarded as the sign of a cold constitution. To this, Maria, in Twelfth Night, alludes, Act I, sc. iii. Steevens.
| Hundred merry Tales ;] The book, to which Shakspeare alludes, might be an old translation of Les cent Nouvelles Nouvelles.
Bene. What's he?
Beat. Why, he is the prince's jester: a very dull fool; only his gift is in devising impossible slanders: none
The original was published at Paris, in the black letter, before the year 1500, and is said to have been written by some of the royal family of France. Ames mentions a translation of it prior to the time of Shakspeare.
In The London Chaunticleres, 1659, this work, among others, is cried for sale by a ballad-man. “ The Seven Wise Men of Goth. am; a Hundred merry Tales; Scoggin's Jests,” &c. Again, in The Nice Valour, &c. by Beaumont and Fletcher:
-the Alrnacs, “ The Hundred Novels, and the Books of Cookery.” Of this collection there are frequent entries in the register of the Stationers' Company. The first I met with was in Jan. 1581.
Steevens. This book was certainly printed before the year 1575, and in much repute, as appears from the mention of it in Lanebam's Letter concerning the entertainment at Kenelworth-Castle. Again, in The English Courtier and the Cuntrey Gentleman, bl. 1. 1586, sig. H 4: “wee want not alno pleasant mad headed knaves that bee properly learned and well reade in diverse pleasant bookes and good authors. As Sir Guy of Warwicke, the Foure Sonnes of Aymon, the Ship of Fooles, the Budget of Demaundes, the Hundredth merry Tales, the Booke of Ryddles, and many other excellent writers both witty and pleasaunt.” It has been suggested to me that there is no other reason than the word hundred suppose
this book a translation of the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles. I have now but little doubt that Boccace's Decameron was the book here alluded to. It contains just one hundred Novels. So, in Guazzo's Civile Conversation, 1586, p. 158: “we do but give them occasion to turne over the Hundred Novelles of Boccace, and to write amorous and lascivious letters.” Reed.
The Hundred merry Tales can never have been a translation of Les cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, many of which are very tragical relations, and none of them calculated to furnish a lady with good wit. It should seem rather to have been a sort of jest-book.
Ritson. his gift is in devising impossible slanders:) We should read impassible, i. e. slanders so ill invented, that they will pass upon no body. Warburton.
Impossible slanders are, I suppose, such slanders as, from their absurdity and impossibility, bring their own confutation with them. Fohnson.
but libertines delight in him; and the commendation is not in his wit, but in his villainy;3 for he both pleaseth men, and angers them, and then they laugh at him, and beat him: I am sure he is in the fleet: I would he had boarded me.
Bene. When I know the gentleman, I 'll tell him what you say
Beat. Do, do: he 'll but break a comparison or two on me; which, peradventure, not mark'd, or not laugh’d at, strikes him into melancholy; and then there 's a partridge' wing saved, for the fool will eat no supper that night. [Musick within] We must follow the leaders.
Bene. In every good thing.
Beat. Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at the next turning [Dance. Then exeunt all but Don
John, Bora. and CLAUD.
Bora. And that is Claudio: I know him by his bearing."
I am he.
Claud. How know you he loves her?
Bora. So did I too; and he swore he would marry her to-night.
Johnson's explanation appears to be right. Ford says, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, that he shall search for Falstaff in “im. possible places.” The word impossible is also used in a similar sense in Jonson's Sejanus, where Silius accuses Afer of
“ Malicious and manifold applying,
his villainy;] By which she means his malice and impiety. By his impious jests, she insinuates, he pleased libertines; and by his devising slanders of them, he angered them.
Warburton. his bearing.) i. e. his carriage, his demeanour. So, in Measure for Measure:
“How I may formally in person bear me.” Steevens.