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BENE. Not I, believe me.
Beat. Why, he is the prince's jefter: 'a very duil fool; only his giftis in devising impossible slanders:S none but libertines delight in him; and the commendation is not in his wit, but in his villainy; 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.
Beát. 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 faved, for the fool will eat no fupper 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, BORACHIO, and CLAUDIO.
his gift is in devising impoflible flanders :) We should read impassible, i. e. flanders fo ill invented, that they will pass upon no body. WARBURTON.
Impofhole Danders are, I suppose, such flanders as, from their absurdity and impossibility, bring their own confutation with them.
JOHNSON. Johnson's explanation appears to be right. Ford says, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, that he hall search for Falstaff in “imposible places. The word impoffible is also used in a similar sense in Jonson's Sejanus, where Silius accuses Afer of
66 Malicious and manifold applying,
his villainy; ] By which the means his malice and impiety.. By his impious jeits, the infinuates, he pleased libertines; and by his devising lenders of them, lie angered them. WARBURTON.
D. John. Sure, my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath withdrawn her father to break with him about it: The ladies follow her, and but one visor remains.
Bora. And that is Claudio; I know him by his bearing. 1
D. John. Are not you signior Benedick?
D. John. Signior, you are very near my brother in his love: he is enamoured on Hero; I pray you, dissuade him from her, she is no equal for his birth: you may do the part of an honest man in it.
Claud. How know you he loves her?
BORA. So did I too; and he swore he would marry
[Exeunt Don John and BORACHIO.
his bearing.] .i. e. his carriage, his demeanour. So, in Measure for Measure :
" How I may formally in person bear me." STEEVENS. % Therefore, &c.] Let, which is found in the next line, is underftood here. MALONE.
beauty is a witch, Against · whese charms faithe melteth into blood.] i, c, as wax VOL. VI,
This is an accident of hourly proof,
BENE. Count Claudio?
BENE. Even to the next willow, about your own business, count. What fashion will you wear the garland of?. About your neck, like an usurer's chain ? : or under your arm, like a lieutenant's scarf?
when opposed to the fire kindled by a witch, no longer preserves the figure of the person whom was designed to represent, but flows into a shapeless lump ; so fidelity, when confronted with beauty, dissolves into our ruling pallion, and is lost there like a drop of water in the sea.
That blood fignifies (as Mr. Malone has also observed) amorous heat, will appear from the following paffage in All's well that ends well, Ad III. sc. vii:
" Now his important blood will nought deny
- usurer's chain ?) Chains of gold, of confiderable value, were in our author's time, usually worn by wealthy citizens, and others, in the same manner as they now are, on publick occasions, by the Aldermen of London. See The Puritan, or the Widow of Watling-Street, A& III. sc. iii. Albumazar, A& I. sc. vii. and other pieces. REED.
Usury seems about this time to have been a common topic of inveđive. I have three or four dialogues, pasquils, and discourses on the subject, printed before the year 1600. From every one of these it appears, that the merchants were the chief usurers of the age.
STEEVENS. So, in The Choice of Change, containing the triplicitie of Divinitie, Philofophie, and Poeirie, by S. R. Gent. 4to. 1598. “ Three fortes of people, in respeå of use in neceflitie, may be accounted good: – Merchantes, for they may play the usurers, instead of the Jewes." Again, ibid: “ There is a scarcitie of Jewes, because Christians make an occupation of ufuris.". Malone.
You must wear it one way, for the prince hath got
CLAUD. I wish him joy of her.
BENE, Why, that's spoken like an honest drover; so they fell bullocks. But did you think, the prince would have served
thus? CLAUD, I pray you, leave me.
Bene. Ho! now you strike like the blind man; 'twas the boy that stole your meat, and you'll beat
CLAUD. If it will not be, I'll leave you. [Exit.
BENE. Alas, poor hurt fowl! Now will he creep into fedges. ------ But, that my lady Beatrice should know me, and not know me! The prince's fool!Ha! it may be, I go under that title, because I am merry. --- Yea; but fo; I am apt to do myself wrong: I am not so reputed: it is the base, the bitter disposition of Beatrice, that puts the world into her person, and so gives me out. Well, I'll be revenged
as I may.
you see hiin?
Re-enter Don PEDRO, Hero, and LEONATO.
D. Pedro. Now, fignior, where's the count? Did
BENE. Troth, my lord, I have play'd the part of lady Fame. I found him here as melancholy as a
it is the base, the bitter disposition of Beatrice that puts the world into her perfon,] That is, It is the disposition of Beatrice, who takes upon her to personate the world, and therefore represents the world. as Sazing what jhe only says herfelf.
The old copies read -- bufe, though bitter : but I do not understand how bafe and bitter are inconsistent, or why what is bitter should not be base. I believe, we may safely read, It is the base, the bitter disposition. JOHNSON.
I have adopted Dr. Johnson's emendation, though I once thought it unneceilary. STEEVENS.
lodge in a warren; * I told him, and, I think, I told him true, that your grace had got the good will of this young lady;' and I offered him my company to a willow tree, either to make him a garland, as being forsaken, or to bind him up a rod, as being worthy to be whipped.
D. PEDRO. To be whipped! What's his fault?
Bene. The flat tranfgreflion of a school-boy; who, being overjoy'd with finding a bird's nest, shows it his companion, and he steals it.
D. Pedro. Wilt thou make a trust a transgreffion? The transgression is in the stealer.
BENE. Yet it had not been amiss, the rod had been made, and the garland too; for the garland he might have worn himself; and the rod he might have bestow'd on you, who, as I take it, have stol'n his bird's nest.
D. PEDRO. I will but teach them to sing, and restore them to the owner.
BENE. If their singing answer your saying, by my faith, you say honestly.
as melancholy as a lodge in a warren ; ) A parallel thought occurs in the first chapter of lfaiah, where the prophet, describing the desolation of Judah, says : “ The daughter of Zion is left as à cottage in a vincyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers," &c. I am informed, that near Aleppo, these lonely buildings are still made use of, it being necessary, that the fields where watermelons, cucumbers, &c. are raised, thould be regularly watched. I learn from Tho. Newton's Herball to the Bible, 8vo. 1587. that
so soone as the cucumbers, &c. be gathered, these lodges are abandoned of the watchmen and keepers, and no more frequented.” From these forsaken buildings, it should seem, the prophet takes his comparison. STEEVENS.
of this young lady ;] Benedick speaks of Hero as if he were on the stage. Perhaps, both she and Leonato, were meant to make their entrance with Don Pedro. When Beatrice enters, she is spoken of as coming in with only Claudio. -STEEVENS.
I have regulated the entries accordingly. MALONE.