Obrázky stránek

D. PEDRO. For my life, to break with him about Beatrice.

CLAUD. 'Tis even so: Hero and Margaret have by this played their parts with Beatrice; and then the two bears will not bite one another, when they


Enter Don JOHN.

D. JOHN. My lord and brother, God save you. D. PEDRO. Good den, brother.

D. JOHN. If your leisure served, 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?

D. JOHN. Means your lordship to be married to-morrow? [To CLAUDIO.

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, cir

cumstances shortened, (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, every man's Hero."

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 tonight, you shall see her chamber-window entered; even the night before her wedding-day: if you love her then, to-morrow wed her; but it would better fit your honour to change your mind. CLAUD. May this be so?

D. PEDRO. I will not think it.


D. JOHN. If you dare not trust that you see, confess not that will follow me, know if you I will show you enough; and when you have seen more, and heard more, proceed accordingly.

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 my witnesses: bear it coldly but till midnight, and let the issue show itself.

D. PEDRO. O day untowardly turned!

7 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 Cleopatra." STEEVENS.

CLAUD. O mischief strangely thwarting!

D. JOHN. O plague right well prevented! So will you say, when you have seen the sequel. [Exeunt.


A Street.


Enter DOGBERRY and VERGES, with the Watch. DOGB. Are you good men and true?

VERG. Yea, or else it were pity but they should suffer salvation, body and soul.

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, neighbour Dogberry.

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


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.


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, 1613: "Come on, my hearts; we are the city's security-I'll give you your charge."


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 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: 'Well, you are to call at all the ale


bills be not stolen:] A bill is still carried by the watchmen at Lichfield. It was the old weapon of English infantry, which, says Temple, gave the most ghastly and deplorable wounds. It may be called securis falcată.



houses, and bid those that are drunk get them to bed.


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: "Well said, neighbours;

"You're chatting wisely o'er your bills and lanthorns, "As becomes watchmen of discretion."

Again, in Arden of Feversham, 1592:

[blocks in formation]

"Are coming tow'rd our house with glaives and bills." The following representation of a watchman, with his bill on his shoulder, is copied from the title-page to Decker's O per se O, &c. 4to. 1612:

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« PředchozíPokračovat »