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SCENE I 1.'

A Prison.

Enter Dogberry, Verges, and Sexton, in gowns; ?

and the Watch, with ConradE and BORACHIO.

DOGB. Is our whole dissembly appear’d?

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2. Scene II.] The persons, throughout this scene , have been ftrangely confounded in the modern cditions. The first error has been the introduction of a Town-Clerk, who is, indeed, mentioned in the Itage-direction, prefixed to this scene in the old editions, (Enter the Constables, Borachio,, and the Towne-Clerke, in gownes, but no where else; nor is there a single speech'ascribed to him in those editions. The part, which he might reasonably have, been expeded to take upon this occasion, is performed by the Sexton ; who affi Its at, or rather dire&s, the examinations ; sets them down in writing, and reports them to Leonato. It is probable, therefore, I think, that the Sexton has been styled the Town-Clerk, in the stage-dire&ion above-mentioned, from his doing the duty of such an officer.

But the editors, having brought both Sexion and TownClerk' upon the stage, were unwilling, as it seems, that the latter should be a mute personage ; and therefore they have put into his mouth almost all the absurdities which the poet certainly intended for his ignorant constable. To re&ify this confusion, little more is necessary than to go back to the old editions, remembering that the names of Kempe and Cowley, two celebrated adors of the time, arc put in this scene, for the names of the persons represented; viz. Kempe for Dogberry, and Cowley for Verges. TYRWHITT.

I have followed Mr. Tyrwhitt's regulation, which is undoubtedly juft; but have left Mr. Theobald's notes as I found them.

STEEVENS. in gowns; ] It appears from The Black Book, 4to. 1601, that this was the dress of a constable in our author's time: 66 when they mist their constable, and saw the biack gowne of his office lye full in a puddle

The Sexton (as Mr. Tyrwhitt observed) is styled in this stagedirection, in the old copies, the Town-Clerk," probably from his doing the duty of such an officer.". But this error has only hapa pened here'; for throughout the scene' itself he is described by his proper title. By mistake also in the quarto, and the folio, whicla

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VERG: O, a stool and a cushion for the sexton! 3
SEXTON. Which be the malefactors ?
DogB. Marry, that am I and my partner.

VERG Nay, that's certain; we have the exhibition to examine,

SEXTON. But which are the offenders that are to be examined ? let them coine before master conftable.

Dogs. Yea, marry, let them come before me. What is your name, friend?

BORA. Borachio.

Dogb. Pray write down Borachio. — Yours, sirrah?

Con. I am a gentleman, fir, and my name is Conrade.

Dogs. Write down-master gentleman Conrade.

Maliers, do you serve God? Con. Bora. Yea, fir, we hope.

Dogs. Write down that they hope they serve God:--and write God first; for God defend but God should go before such villains! * - Masters, it is

appears to have been printed from it, the name of Kempe (an actor in our author's theatre) throughout this scene is prefixed to the speeches of Dogberry, and that of Cowley to those of Verges, except in iwo or three instances, where either Constable or Andrew are substituted for Kempe. MALONE.

30, a stool and a cushion for the Sexton!] Perhaps a ridicule was here aimed at The Spanish Tragedy :

" Hieron. What, are you ready?
Balth. Bring a chaire and a cushion for the king."

MALONE, 4 Con. Bora. Yea, fir, we hope.

Dogb. Write down that they hope they serve God: and write God first; for God defend but God should go before such villains! } This short paflage, which is truly humorous and in 'chara&er, I have added from the old quarto. Besides, it supplies a defed :

proved already that you are little better than false knaves; and it will go near to be thought so shortly. How answer you for yourselves ?

Con. Marry, sir, we say we are none.

Dogb. A marvellous witty fellow, I assure you; but I will go about with him. -- Come you hither, firrah ; a word in your ear, sir ; I say to you, it is thought you are false knaves.

BORA. Sir, I say to you, we are none.

Dogs. Well, stand aside. -'Fore God, they are both in a tale: ' Have you writ down — that they are none ?

Sexton. Master constable, you go not the way to examine; you must call forth the watch that are their accufers. DOGB. Yea, marry, that's the efteft

way:

6- -Let the watch come forth: — Masters, I charge you, in the prince's nanie, accuse these men.

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for without it, the Town-Clerk asks a question of the prisoners, and goes on without staying for any answer to it. THEOBALD.

The omission of this paffage since the edition of 1600, may be accounted for from the stat. 3 Jac. I. c. 21. the sacred name being jestingly used four times in one line. BLACKSTONE.

{ 'Fore God, they are both in a tale: ] This is an admirable stroke of humour: Dogberry says of the prisoners that they are falfe knaves ; and from that denial of the charge, which one in his wits could not but be supposed to make, he infers a communion of counsels, and records it in the examination as an evidence of their guilt. Sir J. HAWKINS.

If the learned annotator will amend his comment by omitting the word guilt, and inserting the word innocence, it will ' except as to the supposed inference of a communication of counsels, which should likewise be omitted or corrected) be a juft and pertinent remark. RITSON.

Yea, marry, that's the eftest way :) Our modern editors, who were at a loss to make out the corrupted reading of the old copies, read easief. The quarto, in 1600, and the first and second editions in folio,

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