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D. Pedro. For my life, to break with him abɔut Beatrice.
Claud. 'Tis even so: Hero and Margaret have by this play'd their parts with Beatrice; and then the two bears will not bite one another, when they meet.
Enter Don John. D. John. My lord and brother, God save you. D. Pedro. Good den, brother. D. John. If your leisure serv'd, I would speak with you. D. Pedro. In private?
D. John. If it please you;-yet count Claudio may hear; for what I would speak of, concerns him.
D. Pedro. What's the matter?
[To CLAUD. D. Pedro. You know, he does. D. John. I know not that, when he knows what I know.
Claud. If there be any impediment, I pray you discover it.
D. John. You may think, I love you not; let that appear hereafter, and aim better at me by that I now will manifest: For my brother, I think, he holds you well; and in dearness of heart hath holp to effect your ensuing marriage: surely, suit ill spent, and labour ill bestowed!
D. Pedro. Why, what 's the matter?
D. John. I came hither to tell you; and, circumstances shorten’d, (for she hath been too long a talking of) the lady is disloyal.
Claud. Who? Hero?
D. John. Even she; Leonato's Hero, your Hero, erery man's Hero.1
Claud. Disloyal ?
D. John. The word is too good to paint out her wickedness; I could say, she were worse; think you of a worse title, and I will fit her to it. Wonder not till further warrant: go but with me to-night, you shall see her chamber-window enter'd; even the night before her wedding
Leonato's Hero, your Hero, every man's Hero.] Dryden has transplanted this sarcasm into his All for Love:
“ Your Cleopatra ; Dolabella's Cleopatra ; every man's Cleo. patra.” Steevens.
day: if you love her then, to-morrow wed her; but it
Claud. May this be so ?
D. John. If you dare not trust that you see, confess
Claud. If I see any thing to-night why I should not marry her to-morrow; in the congregation, where I should wed, there will I shame her.
D. Pedro. And, as I wooed for thee to obtain her, I will join with thee to disgrace her.
D. John. I will disparage her no farther, till you are
D. Pedro. O day untowardly turned!
D. John. O plague right well prevented!
Verg. Yea, or else it were pity but they should suffer
Dogb. Nay that were a punishment too good for them, if they should have any allegiance in them, being chosen for the prince's watch.
Verg. Well, give them their charge, 3 neighbour Dogberry.
Dogberry and Verges,] The first of these worthies had his name from the Dog-berry, i. e. the female cornel, a shrub that grows in the hedges in every county of England.
Verges is only the provincial pronunciation of Verjuice. Steevens.
3 Well, give them their charge,] To charge his fellows, seems to have been a regular part of the duty of the constable of the Watch. So, in A New Trick to cheat the Devil, 1639: “My watch is set-charge given—and all at peace.” Again, in The Insatiate Countess, by Marston, 1603: “Come on, my hearts; we are the city's security-I'll give you your charge." Malone.
Dogb. First, who think you the most desartless man to be constable?
1 Watch. Hugh Oatcake, sir, or George Seacoal; for they can write and read.
Dogb. Come hither, neighbour Seacoal: God hath blessed you with a good name: to be a well-favoured man is the gift of fortune; but to write and read comes by nature.
2 Watch. Both which, master constable,
Dogb. You have; I knew it would be your answer. Well, for your favour, sir, why, give God thanks, and make no boast of it; and for your writing and reading, let that appear when there is no need of such vanity. You are thought here to be the most senseless and fit man for the constable of the watch; therefore bear you the lantern: This is your charge; You shall comprehend all vagrom men; you are to bid any man stand, in the prince's name.
2 Watch. How if he will not stand?
Dogb. Why then, take no note of him, but let him go; and presently call the rest of the watch together, and thank God you are rid of a knave.
Verg. If he will not stand when he is bidden, he is none of the prince's subjects.
Dogb. True, and they are to meddle with none but the prince's subjects:—You shall also make no noise in the streets; for, for the watch to babble and to talk, is most tolerable and not to be endured.
2 Watch. We will rather sleep than talk; we know what belongs to a watch.
Dogb. Why, you speak like an ancient and most quiet watchman; for I cannot see how sleeping should offend: only, have a care that your bills be not stolen:4_Well,
-bills be not stolen:] A bill is still carried by the watchmen at Litchfield. It was the old weapon of English infantry, which, says Temple, gave the most ghastly and deplorable wounds. It may be called securis falcata. Fohnson.
About Shakspeare's time halberds were the weapons borne by the watchmen, as appears from Blount's Voyage to the Levant: “ — certaine Janizaries, who with great staves guard each street, as our night watchmen with holberds in London.” Reed.
The weapons to which the care of Dogberry extends, are mentioned in Glapthorne's Wit in a Constable, 1639:
you are to call at all the ale-houses, and bid those that are drunk5 get them to bed.
2 Watch. How if they will not?
Dogb. Why then, let them alone till they are sober ; if they make you not then the better answer, you may say, they are not the men you took them for.
2 Watch. Well, sir.
Dogb. If you meet a thief, you may suspect him, by virtue of your office, to be no true man: and, for such kind of men, the less you meddle or make with them, why, the more is for your honesty.
2 Watch. If we know him to be a thief, shall we not lay hands on him?
Dogb. Truly, by your office, you may; but, I think, they that touch pitch will be defiled: the most peaceable
you do take a thief, is, to let him show himself what he is, and steal out of your company.
Verg. You have been always called a merciful man, partner.
Dogb. Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will; much more a man who hath any honesty in him.
Verg. If you hear a child cry in the night, you must call to the nurse, and bid her still it.6
Well said, neighbours; “You ’re chatting wisely o'er your bills and lanthorns,
“ As becomes watchmen of discretion.” Again, in Arden of Feversham, 1592:
- the watch “ Are coming tow’rd our house with glaives and bills."
Steevens. - bid those that are drunk – ] Thus the quarto, 1600. The folio, 1623, reads—“bid them that,” &c. Steevens.
6 If you hear a child cry, &c.] It is not impossible but that part of this scene was intended as a burlesque on The Statutes of the Streets, imprinted by Wolfe, in 1595. `Among these I find the following:
22. “No man shall blowe any horne in the night, within this citie, or whistle after the houre of nyne of the clock in the night, under paine of imprisonment.
23. - No man shall use to go with visoures, or disguised by night, under like paine of imprisonment.
24. “Made that night-walkers, and evisdroppers, like punish, ment. 25. “No hammer-man, as a smith, a pewterer, a founder, and
2 Watch. How if the nurse be asleep, and will not hear us?
Dogb. Why then, depart in peace, and let the child wake her with crying; for the ewe that will not hear her lamb when it baes, will never answer a calf when he bleats.
Verg. 'Tis very true.
Dogb. This is the end of the charge. You, constable, are to present the prince's own person; if you meet the prince in the night, you may stay him.
Verg. Nay by 'r lady, that, I think, he cannot.
Dogb. Five shillings to one on 't, with any man that knows the statues," he may stay him: marry, not without the prince be willing: for, indeed, the watch ought to offend no man; and it is an offence to stay a man against his will.
Verg. By 'r lady, I think, it be so.
Dogb. Ha, ha, ha! Well, masters, good night: an there be any matter of weight chances, call up me: keep your fellows' counsels and your own, and good night.Come, neighbour.
all artificers making great sound, shall not worke after the houre of nyne at night, &c.
30. “No man shall, after the houre of nyne at night, keepe any rule, whereby any such suddaine outcry be made in the still of the night, as making any affray, or beating his wyfe, or servant, or singing, or revyling in his house, to the disturbaunce of his neighbours, under payne of iis. ind.” &c. &c.
Ben Jonson, however, appears to have ridiculed this scene in the Induction to his Bartholomew-Fair :
“ And then a substantial watch to have stole in upon 'em, and taken them away with mistaking words, as the fashion is in the stage practice.” Steevens.
Mr. Steevens observes, and I believe justly, that Ben Jonson intended to ridicule this scene in his Induction to BartholomewuFair; yet in his Tale of a Tub, he makes his wise men of Fins. bury speak just in the same style, and blunder in the same man. ner, without any such intention. M. Mason.
the statues,] Thus the folio, 1623. The quarto, 1600, reads—“the statutes.” But whether the blunder was designed by the poet, or created by the printer, must be left to the consi. deration of our readers. Sieevens.
- keep your fellows' counsels and your own,] This is part of the oath of a grand juryman; and is one of many proofs of Shakspeare's having been very conversant, at some period of his life, with legal proceedings and courts of justice. Malone.