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Now, by my maiden honour, yet as pure
As the unsullied lily, I protest,
I would not yield to be your house's guest:
Unseen, unvisited, much to our shame. Prin. Not so, my lord; it is not so,
I swear; We have had pastimes here, and pleasant game; A mess of Russians left us but of late.
King. How, madam? Russians ?
Ay, in truth, my lord; Trim gallants, full of courtship, and of state.
Ros. Madam, speak true:- It is not so, my lord; My lady, (to the manner of the days 28), In courtesy, gives undeserving praise. We four, indeed, confronted here with four In Russian habit: here they stay'd an hour, And talk'd apace; and in that hour, my lord, They did not bless us with one happy word. I dare not call them foots; but this I think, When they are thirsty, fools would fain have drink.
Biron. This jest is dry to me.-Fair, gentle sweet, Your wit makes wise things foolish; when we greet With eyes best seeing heaven's fiery eye, By light we lose light: Your capacity Is of that nature, that to your huge store Wise things seem foolish, and rich things but poor.
Ros. This proves you wise and rich; for in my eye,Biron. I am a fool, and full of poverty.
Ros. But that you take what doth to you belong, It were a fault to snatch words from my tongue.
Biron. O, I am yours, and all that I possess.
I cannot give you less. 28 After the fashion of the times.
Ros. Which of the visors was it, that Biron. Where? when ? what visor ? why demand you
this? Ros. There, then, that visor; that superfluous case, That hid the worse, and show'd the better face. King. We are descried: they'll mock us now
downright. Dum. Let us confess, and turn it to a jest. Prin. Amaz'd, my lord? Why looks your high
ness sad ? Ros. Help, hold his brows! he'll swoon! Why.
look you pale ?Sea-sick, I think, coming from Muscovy. Biron. Thus pour the stars down plagues for
perjury. Can any
face of brass hold longer out?, Here stand I, lady; dart thy skill at me;
Bruise me with scorn, confound me with a flout; Thrust thy sharp wit quite through my ignorance;
Cut me to pieces with thy keen conceit; And I will wish thee never more to dance,
Nor never more in Russian habit wait. O! never will I trust to speeches penn’d,
Nor to the motion of a schoolboy's tongue; Nor never come in visor to my friend 29;
Nor woo in rhyme like a blind harper's song; Taffata phrases, silken terms precise,
Three-pil'd 30 hyperboles, spruce affectation, Figures pedantical; these summer-fies
Have blown me full of maggot ostentation: I do forswear them, and I here protest, By this white glove, (how white the hand, God
knows!) Henceforth my wooing mind shall be express’d
In russet yeas, and honest kersey noes : 29 Mistress.
30 A metaphor from the pile of velvet..
pray you 31
And, to begin, wench,--so God help me, la !-
Yet I have a trick Of the old rage:-bear with me, I am sick; I'll leave it by degrees. Soft, let us see;Write, Lord have mercy on us 32, on those three; They are infected, in their hearts it lies, They have the plague, and caught it of your eyes : These lords are visited; you are not free, For the Lord's tokens on you do I see. Prin. No, they are free, that gave these tokens
to us. Biron. Our states are forfeit, seek not to undo us.
Ros. It is not so; For how can this be true,
Biron. Peace; for I will not have to do with you.
gression Some fair excuse. Prin.
The fairest is confession.
King. Madam, I was.
And were you well advis’d?
then were here, What did you whisper in your lady's ear?
31 i. e. without French words, I pray you.
82 This was the inscription put upon the doors of houses infected with the plague. The tokens of the plague were the first spots or discolorations of the skin.
33 That is, how can those be liable to forfeiture that begin the process? The quibble lies in the ambiguity of the word sue, which signifies to proceed to law, and to petition,
King. That more than all the world I did respect
her. Prin. When she shall challenge this, you will
reject her. King. Upon mine honour, no. Prin.
Peace, peace, forbear; Your oath once broke, you force 34 not to forswear.
King. Despise me, when I break this oath of mine. Prin. I will; and therefore keep it:
-Rosaline, What did the Russian whisper in your
ear? Ros. Madam, he swore, that he did hold me dear As precious eye-sight; and did value me Above this world: adding thereto, moreover, That he would wed me, or else die
lover. Prin. God give thee joy of him! the noble lord Most honourably doth uphold his word. King. What mean you, madam? by my life, my
troth, I never swore this lady such an oath.
Ros. By heaven, you did; and to confirm it plain, You gave me this: but take it, sir, again.
King. My faith, and this, the princess I did give; I knew her by this jewel on her sleeve.
Prin. Pardon me, sir, this jewel did she wear; And lord Birón, I thank him, is
dear:Whạt; will you have me, or your pearl again?
Biron. Neither of either; I remit both twain.I see the trick on't:-Here was a consent 35, (Knowing aforehand of our merriment), To dash it like a Christmas comedy: Some carry-tale, some please-man,some slight zany36,
34 i. e. you care not, or do not regard forswearing.
35 An agreement, a conspiracy. See As You Like It, Act ii. Sc. 2.
Some mumble-news, some trencher-knight, some
Dick, That smiles his cheek in jeers 37 ; and knows the trick To make my lady laugh, when she's dispos’d, -Told our intents before: which once disclos’d, The ladies did change favours; and then we, Following the signs, woo'd but the sign of she. Now, to our perjury to add more terror, We are again forsworn; in will and error 38. Much upon this it is - And might not you,
[To BoYET. Forestall our sport, to make us thus untrue ? Do not you know my lady's foot by the squire 39,
And laugh upon the apple of her eye?
Holding a trencher, jesting merrily ?
Full merrily Hath this brave manage, this career, been run. Biron. Lo, he is tilting straight! Peace; I have
Cost. O Lord, sir, they would know,
Biron. What, are there but three?
37 The old copies read yeeres, the emendation is Theobald's. 38 i. e. first in will, and afterwards in error.
39 From esquierre, Fr. rule, or square. The sense is similar to the proverbial saying-he has got the length of her foot.
40 That is, you are an allowed or a licensed fool or jester.