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Than seek a dispensation for his oath,
[The Ladies mask.
Enter KING, LONGAVILLE, DUMAIN, BIRON,
and Attendants. King. Fair princess, welcome to the court of
Navarre. Prin. Fair, I give you back again : and, welcome I have not yet: the roof of this court is too high to be yours; and welcome to the wild fields too base to be mine.
King. You shall be welcome, madam, to my court. Prin. I will be welcome then; conduct me thither. King. Hear me, dear lady; I have sworn an oath. Prin. Our lady help my lord! he'll be forsworn. King. Not for the world, fair madam, by my will. Prin. Why, will shall break it; will, and nothing
else. King. Your ladyship is ignorant what it is.
Prin. Were my lord so, his ignorance were wise, Where now his knowledge must prove ignorance. I hear your grace
hath sworn-out house-keeping: 'Tis deadly sin to keep that oath, my lord, And sin to break it: But pardon me, I am too sudden-bold; To teach a teacher ill beseemeth me. Vouchsafe to read the purpose of my coming, And suddenly resolve me in my suit.
[Gives a Paper. King. Madam, I will, if suddenly I may.
Prin. You will the sooner, that I were away; For you'll prove perjur’d, if you make me stay. 6 Where is here used for whereas. So in Pericles, Act i. Sc. 1.
•Where now you're both a father and a son.' See also K. Henry VI. Part II. passim.
Biron. Did not I dance with you in Brabant once?
How needless was it then To ask the question! Biron.
You must not be so quick. Ros. 'Tis 'long of you that spur me with such
King. Madam, your father here doth intimate
say, that he, or we (as neither have),
Which we much rather had depart? withal,
well satisfied to France again. Prin. You do the king my father too much
wrong, And wrong
the reputation of your name,
King. I do protest, I never heard of it;
word:Boyet, you can produce acquittances, For such a sum,
from special officers Of Charles his father. King.
Satisfy me so. Boyet. So please your grace, the packet is not
come, Where that and other specialties are bound; To-morrow you shall have a sight of them.
King. It shall suffice me: at which interview, All liberal reason I will yield unto. Mean time, receive such welcome at my hand,
7 To depart and to part were anciently synonymous.
8 This phrase appears to us unseemly to a princess, but it was a common metaphorical expression then much used. Perhaps it was no more considered offensive than it would be now to talk of the castrations of Holinshed. It was not peculiar to Shakspeare. In the Return from Parnassus, Act iii. Sc. 1, we find :
• He hath a proper gelded parsonage.' And Bishop Hall in the second Satire of Book iv.
plod it at a patron's tail, To get some gelded chapel's cheaper sale.' It appears to have been synonymous with curtailed.
As honour, without breach of honour, may
shall be so receiv'd, As you shall deem yourself lodg'd in my heart, Though so denied fair harbour in my house.
our own good thoughts excuse me, and farewell: To-morrow shall we visit you again. Prin. Sweet health and fair desires consort your
grace! King. Thy own wish wish I thee in every place!
[Esceunt King and his Train. Biron. Lady, I will commend you to my own
Biron. I would, you heard it groan.
same? Boyet. The heir of Alençon, Rosaline her name. 9 The old spelling of the affirmative particle ay is here retained for the sake of the rhyme.
10 Point, in French, is an adverb of negation, but, if properly spoken, is not sounded like the point of a knife. A quibble was however intended. Perhaps Shakspeare was not well acquainted with the pronunciation of French. Florio in his Italian Dictionary, in v. Punto: explains it by 'never a whit;—no point, as the Frenchman says.' See Act v. Sc. 2. p. 388.
Dum. A gallant lady! Monsieur, fare you well.
[Exit. Long. I beseech you a word; What is she in the
white ? Boyet. A woman sometimes, an you saw her in
the light. Long. Perchance, light in the light: I desire her
in the cap?
Boyet. She hath but one for herself; to desire
that, were a shame.
Boyet. Good sir, be not offended :
Long. Nay, my choler is ended.
[Exit Biron.—Ladies unmask. Mar. That last is Biron, the merry mad-cap lord; Not a word with him but a jest. Boyet.
And every jest but a word. Prin. It was well done of you to take him at his
word. Boyet. I was as willing to grapple, as he was to
board. Mar. Two hot sheeps, marry! Boyet.
And wherefore not ships ? No sheep, sweet lamb, unless we feed on your lips.