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Please it you,
Dum. Will you vouchsafe with me to change a
Fair lady, -
Say you so ? Fair lord, Take that for your fair lady.
[They converse apart. Kath. What, was your visor made without a tongue? Long. I know the reason, lady, why you ask. Kath. O, for your reason! quickly, sir; I long.
Long. You have a double tongue within your mask, And would afford my speechless visor half. Kath. Veal 18, quoth the Dutchman ;-Is not veal
a calf? Long. A calf, fair lady? Kath.
No, a fair lord calf. Long. Let's part the word. Kath.
No, I'll not be your half: Take all, and wean it; it may prove an ox. Long. Look, how you butt yourself in these sharp
mocks ! Will you give horns, chaste lady? do not so.
Kath. Then die a calf, before your horns do grow. Long. One word in private with you, ere I die. Kath. Bleat softly then, the butcher hears you cry.
[They converse apart. Boyet. The tongues of mocking wenches are as
As is the razor's edge invisible, Cutting a smaller hair than may be seen;
Above the sense of sense: so sensible
18 The same joke occurs in ‘Dr. Dodypoll.' Doct. Hans, my very speciall friend; fait and trot, me be right glad for see you veale. Hans. What do you make a calfe of me, M. Dootor?'
Seemeth their conference; their conceits have wings, Fleeter than arrows, bullets, wind, thought, swifter
things. Ros. Not one word more, my maids; break off,
break off. Biron. By heaven, all dry-beaten with pure scoff! King. Farewell, mad wenches; you have simple wits.
[Exeunt King, Lords, MOTH,
Musick, and Attendants. Prin. Twenty adieus, my frozen Muscovites.Are these the breed of wits so wonder'd at? Boyet. Tapers they are, with
sweet breaths puff’d out. Ros. Well-liking 19 wits they have; gross, gross;
fat, fat. Prin. O poverty in wit, kingly-poor flout! Will they not, think you, hang themselves to-night?
Or ever, but in visors, show their faces ? This pert Birón was out of countenance quite.
Ros. 0! they were all in lamentable cases ! The king was weeping-ripe for a good word.
Prin. Birón did swear himself out of all suit. Mar. Dumain was at my service, and his sword: No point ?o, quoth I; my servant straight was mute,
Kath. Lord Longaville said, I came o'er his heart; And trow you, what he call’d me? Prin.
Qualm, perhaps. Kath. Yes, in good faith. Prin.
Go, sickness, as thou art! Ros. Well, better wits have worn plain statute
19 Well-liking is the same as well-conditioned, fat. So in Job, xxxix. 4. Their young ones are in good-liking.
20 No point. A quibble on the French adverb of negation as before, Act ii. Sc. 1, p. 330,
21 An act was passed the 13th of Elizabeth (1571), · For the continuance of making and wearing woollen caps, in behalf of
But will you hear? the king is my love sworn.
Prin. And quick Birón hath plighted faith to me.
Boyet. Madam, and pretty mistresses, give ear:
Prin. Will they return?
Boyet. They will, they will, God knows; And leap for joy, though they are lame with blows: Therefore, change favours 22; and, when they repair, Blow like sweet roses in this summer air. Prin. How blow? how blow? speak to be un
derstood. Boyet. Fair ladies, mask'd, are roses in their bud : Dismask'd, their damask sweet commixture shown, Are angels vailing clouds 23, or roses bl
Prin. Avaunt, perplexity! What shall we do, If they return in their own shapes to woo?
Ros. Good madam, if by me you'll be advis'd, Let's mock them still, as well known, as disguis'd,
the trade of cappers, providing that all above the age of six years (except the nobility and some others), should on Sabbath days and holidays, wear caps of wool, knit, thicked, and drest in England, upon penalty of ten groats.'
The term flat cap for a citizen will now be familiar to most readers from the use made of it by the author of The Fortunes of Nigel. The meaning of this passage probably is better wits may be found among citizens.' So in the Family of Love, 1608. 'It is a law enacted by the common-council of statute caps.' Again in Newes from Hell brought by the Devil's Carrier, 1606 :
in a bowling alley, in a flat cap, like a shop-keeper.' 22 Features, countenances.
23 Ladies unmask'd are like angels vailing clouds, or letting those clouds which obscured their brightness sink before them. So in The Merchant of Venice, Act i. Sc. 1. • Vailing her high top lower than her ribs.'
Let us complain to them what fools were here,
Boyet. Ladies, withdraw; the gallants are at hand,
[Exeunt Princess, Ros. Kath. and MARIA. Enter the King, BIRON, LONGAVILLE, and
DUMAIN, in their proper habits. King. Fair sir, God save you! Where is the
princess ? Boyet. Gone to her tent: Please it your majesty, Command
service to her thither? King. That she vouchsafe me audience for one
word. Boyet. I will; and so will she, I know, my lord.
[Exit. Biron. This fellow pecks up wit, as pigeons peas; And utters it again when Jove doth please: He is wit's pedler; and retails his wares At wakes and wassels 25, meetings, markets, fairs ; And we that sell by gross, the Lord doth know, Have not the grace to grace it with such show. This gallant pins the wenches on his sleeve; Had he been Adam, he had tempted Eve: He can carve too, and lisp: Why, this is he, That kiss'd away his hand in courtesy;
25 Wassels. Festive meetings, drinking-bouts : from the Saxon was-hæl, be in health, which was the form of drinking a health ; the customary answer to which was drine-hæl, I drink your health. The wassel-cup, wassel-bowl, wassel-bread, wassel-candle, were all aids or accompaniments to festivity.
This is the ape of form, monsieur the nice,
King. A blister on his sweet tongue with my heart,
MARIA, KATHARINE, and Attendants. Biron. See where it comes !—Behaviour, what
wert thou, Till this man show'd thee? and what art thou now?
King. All hail, sweet madam, and fair time of day! Prin. Fair, in all hail, is foul, as I conceive. King. Construe my speeches better, if you may: Prin. Then wish me better, I will give you leave. King. We came to visit
purpose now To lead you to our court: vouchsafe it then. Prin. This field shall hold me; and so hold your
Nor God, nor I, delight in perjur’d men. King. Rebuke me not for that which you provoke;
The virtue of your eye must break my oath. Prin. You nick-name virtue: vice you should
have spoke; For virtue's office never breaks men's troth.
26 The tenor in music.
27 Whalës bone: the Saxon genitive case. It is a common comparison in the old poets. This bone was the tooth of the Horse-whale, morse, or walrus, now superseded by ivory.