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Beat. Talk with a man out at a window !--a proper saying!
Bene. Nay, but Beatrice.
Beat. Sweet Hero ! she is wrong'd, she is Nander'd, she is undone.
Bene. Princes and counties ! Surely, a princely testimony, a goodly count.comfect ; a sweet gallant, surely! O that I were a man for his sake! Or that I had any friend would be a man for my fake! But manhood is melted into curtesies, valour into compliment, and men are only turned into tongue, and trim ones too: he is now as valiant as Hercules, that only tells a lye, and swears it : I cannot be a man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving
Bene. Tarry, good Beatrice : By this hand, I love thee.
Beat. Use it for my love some other way than swearing by it.
Bene. Think you in your soul, the count Claudio hath wrong'd Hero?
Beat. Yea, as sure as I have a thought, or a soul.
Bene. Enough, I am engag'd, I will challenge him ; I will kiss your hand, and so leave you : By this hand, Claudio shall render me a dear account: As you hear of me, so think of me. Go comfort your cousin: I must say, she is dead; and so farewell.
[Exeunt. SCENE II.
Changes to a Prijon.
Clerk and Sexton in gowns.
Dogb. O, a stool and a cushion for the sexton!
Dogb. Nay, that's certain ; we have the exhibition to examine.
Sexton. But which are the offenders that are to be examin'd ? let them come before master constable.
To. Cl. Yea, marry, let them come before me. What is your name, friend?
Conr. I am a gentleman, sir, and my name is Conrade.
To. Cl. Write down, master gentleman Conrade. Masters, do you serve God?
Borb. Yea, sir, we hope.
To. Cl. Write down, that they hope they serve God: and write God first : for God defend, but God should
go before such villains !--Masters, it is proved already that you are little better than false knaves, and it will go near to be thought so shortly : How answer you for yourselves ?
Conr. Marry, sir, we say, we are none.
To. Cl. A marvellous witty fellow, I assure you ; but I will go about with him. Come you hither, firrah ; a word in your ear, fir; I say to you, it is thought you are both falle knaves.
Bora. Sir, I say to you, we are none.
+ Both. Yea, fir, we hope.
To. Cl. Write down that they hope they serve God: and write God forf; for God defend, but God should go before such villains !This short paffage, which is truly humourous and in character, Í have added from the old quarto. Besides, it supplies a defect : for, without it, the Town-Clerk aks a question of the prisoners, and goes on without saying for any answer to it. THEOBALD.
both in a tale : Have you writ down, that they are none.
Sexton. Mafter constable, you go not the way to examine ; you must call the watch that are their accusers.
s To. Cl. Yea, marry, that's the deftest way: Let the watch come forth : Masters, I charge you in the prince's name accuse these men.
1 Watch. This man said, fir, that Don John the prince's brother was a villain.
To. Cl. Write down, prince John a villain : Why this is Alat perjury, to call a prince's brother, villain.
Bora. Master constable
To. Cl. Pr’ythee, fellow, peace; I do not like thy look, I promise thee.
Sexton. What heard you him say else?
2 Watch. Marry, that he had receiv'd a thousand ducacs of Don John, for accusing the lady Hero wrongfully.
To. Cl. Flat burglary, as ever was committed.
s To. Cl. Yea, marry, that's the easiest way, let the watch come forth :) This, aficft, is a sophistication of our modern editors, who were at a loss to make out the corrupted reading of the old copies, The quarto in 1600, and the first and second editions in folio all concur in reading; Yea, marry, that's obe efteft way, &c. A letter happened to flip out at press in the first edition ; and 'twas too hard a task for the subsequent editors to put it in, or gaefs at the word under this accidental depravation." There is no doubt but the author wrote, as I have reitor'd the text ; Tea, marry, ibai's ibe deftest way, &c. i. e. the riadiest, most commodicus way. The word is pure Saxon. Deafle, debite, congrue, duely, fitly, Lederthc, opportue, commode, fitly, conveniently, seasonably, in good time, commodiouity, Vid. Spelman's Saxon Gloff. THEOBALD.
1 Warcé. I Watch. And that count Claudio did mean, upon his words, to disgrace Hero before the whole affembly, and not marry her.
10. Cl. O villain! thou wilt be condemn'd into everlasting redemption for this.
Sexton. What else?
Sexton. And this is more, masters, than you can deny. Prince John is this morning secretly stolen away : Hero was in this manner accus'd, and in this very manner refus'd, and upon the grief of this, suddenly dy'd. Master constable, let these men be bound and brought to Leonato's; I will go before, and Thew him their examination.
[Exit. Dogb. Come, let them be opinion'd. Sexton. Let them be in hand. •
Conr. • Sexton. Let them be in the hands of coxcomb.) So the editions. Mr. Theobald gives the words to Conrade, and says, But why the Sexton foould be so pert upon his brother officers, obere seems no reason from any Superior qualifications in him; or any fufpicion be foews of knowing their ignorance. This is strange. The Sexton throughout shews as good sense in their examination as any judge upon the bench could do. And as to his fufpicion of their ignorance, he tells the Town-Clerk That he goes not the way to examine. The meanness of his name hindered our editor from seeing the goodness of his sense. But this Sexton was an ecclefiaftic of one of the inferior orders called the sacriftan, and not a brother officer, as the edifor calls him. I suppose the book from whence the poet took his subject was some old English novel translated from the Italian, where the word fagrist ano was rendered fexton. As in Fairfax's Godfrey of Boulogne ;
Wben Pbæbus next uncles'd bis wakeful eye,
Up rose the Sexton of that place prophane. The passage then in queftion is to be read thus, Sexton. Let them be in band.
(Exit. Conr. Off, coxcomb! Dogberry would have them pinion'd. The Sexton says, it was fuficient if they were kept in safe custody, and then goes out.
Conr. Off, coxcomb.
Dogb. God's my life, where's the sexton ? let him write down the prince's officer, coxcomb. Come, bind them : Thou naughty varlet !
Conr. Away! you are an ass, you are an ass.
Dogb. Dost thou not suspect my place? Dost thou not suspect my years? O that he were here to write me down an ass ! but, masters, remember, that I am an ass ; though it be not written down, yet forget not that I am an ass : No, thou villain, thou art full of piețy, as shall be proved upon thee by good witness. I am a wise fellow, and which is more, an officer; and which is more, an housholder ; and which is more, as pretty a piece of Aeth as any. is in Meflina, and one that knows the law ; go to, and a rich fellow enough; go to, and a fellow that hath had losses, and one that hath two gowns, and every thing handsome about him : Bring him away. O, that I had been writ down an ass, [Exeunt. When one of the watchmen comes up to bind them, Conrade says, Of coxcomb! as he says afterwards to the constable, Away! you are an ass. But the editor adds, The old quarto gave me the forff umbrage for placing it to Conrade. What these words mean I don't know: but I suspect the old quarto divides the passage as I have done. WARBURTON.
Dr. Warburton's affertion, as to dignity of a sexton or facristan, may be supported by the following passage in Stanyhurst's Verfion of the fourth book of the Æneid,
where he calls the Massylian priestess,
in soil Maffyla begotten,
$• Sexten of Hesperides finagog." Steevens. Let them be in band. This must be wrong, for the Sexton has Jeft the stage. Perhaps we should read thus.
Verges. Let them. Bind their bands.
Conr. Of, coxcomb! T. T. There is nothing in the old quarto different in this scene from the common copies, except that the names of two actors, Kempe and Cowley, are placed at the beginning of the speeches, instead ef the proper words. JOHNSON.