網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

Beat. It is so, indeed ; he is no less than a stuffed man : but for the stuffing, --Well, we are all mortal.

Leon. You must not, sir, mistake my niece : there is a kind of merry war betwixt signior Benedick and her : they never meet, but there is a skirmish of wit between them.

Beat. Alas, he gets nothing by that. In our last conflict, four of his five wits6 went halting off, and now is the whole man governed with one : so that if he have wit enough to keep himself warm, let him bear it for a difference between himself and his horse ; for it is all the wealth that he hath left, to be known a reasonable creature.--Who is his companion now ? He hath every month a new sworn brother.7

Mess. Is it possible ? -Beat. Very easily possible : he wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat, it ever changes with the next block.

Mess. I see, lady, the gentleman is not in your books.?

Beat. No: an he were, I would burn my study. But, I pray you, who is his companion ? Is there no young squarer now,9 that will make a voyage with him to the deyil ?

Mess. He is most in the company of the right noble Claudio.

Beat. O lord ! he will hang upon him like a disease : he is sooner caught than the pestilence, and the taker runs presently mad. God help the noble Claudio ! if he have caught the Benedick, it will cost him a thousand pound ere he be cured.

Mess. I will hold friends with you, lady.
Beat. Do, good friend.

says, “ -he whom God had stuff:d with so many excellent qualities." Un homne bien et ffa, signifies, in French, a man in good circumstances. STEE.

(6] In our author's time wit was the general term for intellectral powers.

The wits seem to have been reckoned five, by analogy to the five senses, or the five inlets to ideas. JOHNSON.

(7) i. e. one with whom he hath sworn (as was anciently the custom among adventurers) to share fortunes. STEEVENS.

[8] To be in a man's books, originally meant to be in the list of his retainers. Sir John Man leville tells us, "alle the mynstrelles that comen before the great Chin ben witholden with him, as of his houshold, and entred in his bookes, as for his own men." FARMER

A serva rt and a lover were in Cupil's Vocabulary, synonymous. Hence perhaps tie phrase-to be in a person's broks--was applied equally to the lover and the menial attendant. MALONE.

.9] A squirer I take to be a cholerick, qurrrelsome fellow, for in this sense Shakspeare ases the word to squire. JOHNSON

24 VOL. II.

Leon. You will never run mad, niece.
Beat. No, not till a hot January.

Me88. Don Pedro is approached.
Enter Don PedRO, attended by BALTHAZAR and others, Don

JOHN, CLAUDIO, and Benedick. D.Pedro. Good signior Leonato, you are come to meet your trouble : the fashion of the world is to avoid cost, and you encounter it.

Leon. Never came trouble to my house in the likeness of your grace : for trouble being gone, comfort should remain ; but, when you depart from me, sorrow abides, and happiness takes his leave.

D.Pedro. You embrace your charges too willingly:I think, this is your daughter.

Leon. Her mother hath many times told me so.
Bene. Were you in doubt, sir, that you asked her ?
Leon. Signior Benedick, no; for then were you a child.

D.Pedro. You have it full, Benedick : we may guess by this what you are, being a man. Truly, the lady fathers herself :-Be happy, lady ! for you are like an honourable father.

Bene. If signior Leonato be her father, she would not have his head on her shoulders, for all Messina, as like him as she is.

Beat. I wonder, that you will still be talking, signior Benedick ; no body marks you.

Bene. What, my dear lady Disdain! are you yet living?

Beat. Is it possible, disdain should die, while she hath such meet food to feed it, as signior Benedick ? Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you come in her presence.

Bene. Then is courtesy a turn-coat :-But it is certain, I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted : and I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart ; for, truly, I love none.

Beat. A dear happiness to women ; they would else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I thank God, and my cold blood, I am of your humour for that; I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow, than a man swear he loves me.

[1] Charge does not mean, as Dr. Johnson explains it, burden, incumbrance, but as the person committed to your care." So it is used in the relationship between guardian and ward. DOUCE.

you of old.

Bene. God keep your ladyship still in that mind ! so some gentleman or other shall 'scape a predestinate scratched face.

Beat. Scratching could not make it worse, an 'twere such a face as yours were.

Bene. Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher.

Beat. A bird of my tongue, 'is better than a beast of yours.

Bene. I would, my horse had the speed of your tongue; and so good a continuer : But keep your way, o'God's name; I have done.

Beat. You always end with a jade's trick ; I know D.Pedro. This is the sum of all: Leonato,-signior Claudio, and signior Benedick,-my dear friend Leonato hath invited you all. I tell him, we shall stay here at the least a month ; and he heartily prays, some occasion may detain us longer : I dare swear he is no hypocrite, but prays from his heart.

Leon. If you swear, my lord, you shall not be forsworn.-Let me bid you welcome, my lord : being reconciled to the prince your brother, I owe you all duty.

D.John. I thank you : I am not of many words, but I thank you.

Leon. Please it your grace lead on?
D.Pedro. Your hand, Leonato ; we will go together.

[Exeunt all but BENEDICK and CLAUD10. Claud. Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of signior Leonato Bene. I noted her not; but I looked on her, Claud. Is she not a modest young lady?

Bene. Do you question me, as an honest man should do, for my simple true judgment ? or would you have me speak after my custom, as being a professed tyrant to their sex ?

Clau. Ne, I pray thee, speak in sober judgment.

Bene. Why, i'faith, methinks she is too low for a high praise, too brown for a fair praise, and too little for a great praise : only this commendation I can afford her; that were she other than she is, she were unhandsome ; and being no other but as she is, I do not like her.

[2] The poet has judiciously marked the gloominess of Don John's charac. ter, by making him averse to the common forms of civility:

Sir J. HAWKINS.

Go to,

Claud. Thou thinkest, I am in sport ; I pray thee, tell me truly how thou likest her !

Bene. Would you buy her, that you inquire after her! Claud. Can the world buy such a jewel ?

Bene. Yea, and a case to put it into. But speak you this with a sad brow? or do you play the flouting Jack; to tell us Cupid is a good hare-finder, and Vulcan a rare carpenter 13 Come, in what key shall a man take you, to go in the song?

Claud. In mine eye, she is the sweetest lady that I ever looked on.

Bene. I can see yet without spectacles, and I see no such matter ; there's her cousin, an she were not possessed with a fury, exceeds her as much in beauty, as the first of May doth the last of December. But I hope, you have no intent to turn husband ; have you?

Claud. I would scarce trust myself, though I had sworn the contrary, if Hero would be my wife.

Bene. is it come to this, i' faith ? Hath not the world one man, but he will wear his cap with suspicion ? 4 Shall I never see a bachelor of three-score again? i'faith ; an thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it, and sigh away Sundays. Look, Don Pedro is returned to seek you.

Re-enter Don PEDRO. D.Pedro. What secret hath held you here, that you followed not to Leonato's ? Bene. I would, your grace would constrain me to tell. D.Pedro. I charge thee on thy allegiance.

Bene. You hear, count Claudio : I can be secret as a dumb man, I would have you think so ; but on my allegiance,--mark you this, on my allegiance :-He is in love. With who ?-now that is your grace's part.Mark, how short his answer is :- With Hero, Leonato's short daughter.

(3) Do you mean to tell us that love is not bind, and that fire will not consume what is combustible?" for both these propositions are implied in making Cupid a good hare-finder, and Vulcan (the god of fire) a good carpenter.

STEEV. I explain the passage thus : Do you scoff and mock in telling us that Cupid, who is blind, is a good hare-finder, which requires a quick eye-sight ; und that Vulcan, a blacksmith, is a rare carpenter ? TOLLET

After such attem at decent illustration, I am afraid that he who wishes to know why Cupid is a good hareafinder, must discover it by the assis! ance of many quibbling allusions of the same sort, about hair and hoar, in Mercu, tio's song in the second Act of Romeo and Juliet. [4] That is, subject his head to the disquiet of jealousy. JOHNSON.

COLLINS.

Claud. If this were so, so were it uttered.

Bene. Like the old tale, my lord : it is not so, nor 't was not so ; but, indeed, God forbid it should be so.

Claud. If my passion change not shortly, God forbid it should be otherwise.

D.Pedro. Amen, if you love her ; for the lady is very well worthy.

Claud. You speak this to fetch me in, my lord.
D.Pedro. By my troth, I speak my thought.
Claud. And, in faith, ny lord, I spoke mine.

Bene. And, by my two faiths and troths, my lord, I spoke mine.

Claud. That I love her, I feel.
D.Pedro. That she is worthy, I know.

Bene. That I neither feel how she should be loved, nor know how she should be worthy, is the opinion that fire cannot melt out of me ; I will die in it at the stake.

D.Pedro. Thou wast ever an obstinate heretic in the despight of beauty.

Claud. And never could maintain his part, but in the force of his will.

Bene. That a woman conceived me, I thank her ; that she brought me up, I likewise give her most humble thanks ; but that I will have a recheat winded in my forehead, 5 or hang my bugle in an invisible baldrick, all wcmen shall pardon me: Because I will not do them the wrong to mistrust any, I will do myself the right to trust none; and the fine is, (for the which I may go the finer,) I will live a bachelor.

D.Pedro. I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with love.

Bene. With anger, with sickness, or with hunger, my lord ; not with love : prove, that ever I lose more blood with love, than I will get again with drinking, pick out. mine eyes with a ballad-maker's pen, and hang me up at the door of a brothel-house, for the sign of blind Cupid.

D.Pedro. Well, if ever thou dost fall from this faith,. thou wilt prove a notable argument.

Bene. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat, 6 and shoot

[5] A recheate is a particular lesson upon the horn, to call dogs back from the scent: from the old French word recet, which was used in the same sense · as retraite. HANMER.

[6] As to the cat and bottle, I can procure no better information than the fol. lowing: In some counties in England, a cat was formerly closed up with a quan.. tity of soot in a wooden bottle, (such as that in which shepherds carry iteit

24* VOL. II.

« 上一頁繼續 »