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King. A letter from the magnificent Armado.
Biron. How low soever the matter, I hope in God for high words.
Long. A high hope for a low having : God grant us patience!
Biron. To hear? or forbear hearing ?
Long. To hear meekly, sir, and to laugh moderately; or to forbear both.
Biron. Well, sir, be it as the style shall give us cause to climb in the merriness.
Cost. The matter is to me, sir, as concerning Jaquenetta. The manner of it is, I was taken with the manner.
Biron. In what manner?
Cost. In manner and form following, sir; all those three : I was seen with her in the manor house, sitting with her upon the form, and taken following her into the park; which, put together, is, in manner and form following. Now, sir, for the manner,-it is the manner of a man to speak to a woman : for the form,-in some form.
Biron. For the following, sir?
Cost. As it shall follow in my correction; and God defend the right!
King. Will you hear this letter with attention ? Biron. As we would hear an oracle. Cost. Such is the simplicity of man to hearken after the flesh.
King. (Reads. Great deputy, the welkin's vicegerent, and sole dominator of Navarre, my soul's earth's God, and body's fostering patron,
Cost. Not a word of Costard yet.
Cost. It may be so: but if he say it is so, he is, in telling true, but so, so.
- be to me, and every man that dares not fight!
(1) In the fact
King. No words.
King. So it is, besieged with sable-coloured melancholy, I did commend the black-oppressing humour to the most wholesome physicof thy healthgiving air; and, as I am a gentleman, betook myself to walk. The time when? About the sixth hour; when beasts most graze, birds best peck, and men sit down to that nourishment which is called supper. So much for the time when. Now
for the ground which ; which, I mean, I walked upon : it is ycleped thy park. Then for the place where ; where, I mean, I did encounter that obscene and most preposterous event, that draweth from my snow-white pen the ebon-coloured ink, which here thou viewest, beholdest, surveyest, or seest : but to the place, where,- It standeth north-north-east and by east from the west corner of thy curious-knotted garden : there did I see that low-spirited swain, that base minnow of thy mirth,
King. - which, as I remember, hight Costard,
Cost. O me!
King: -- sorted and consorted, contrary to thy established proclaimed edict and continent canon, with-with, -0 with—but with this I passion to say wherewith.
Cost. With a wench.
King: - with a child of our grandmother Eve, a female ; or, for thy more sweet understanding, a woman. Him I (as my ever-esteemed duty pricks me on) have sent to thee, to receive the meed of punishment, by thy sweet grace's officer, Antony Dull; a man of good repute, carriage, bearing, and estimation.
Dull. Me, an't shall please you; I am Antony Dull.
King. For Jaquenetta (so is the weaker vessel called, which I apprehended with the aforesaid swain,) I keep her as a vessel of thy law's fury; and shall, at the least of thy sweet notice, bring her to trial. Thine, in all compliments of devoted and heart-burning heat of duty.
DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO. Biron. This is not so well as I looked for, but the best that ever I heard.
King. Ay, the best for the worst. But, sirrah, what say you to this?
Cost. Sir, I confess the wench.
Cost. I do confess much of the hearing it, but little of the marking of it.
King. It was proclaimed a year's imprisonment, to be taken with a wench.
Cost. I was taken with none, sir, I was taken with a damosel.
King. Well, it was proclaimed damosel.
Cost. This was no damosel neither, sir; she was a virgin.
King. It is so varied too; for it was proclaimed, virgin.
Cost. If it were, I deny her virginity; I was taken with a maid.
King. This maid will not serve your turn, sir. Cost. This maid will serve my turn, sir.
King. Sir, I will pronounce your sentence; You shall fast a week with bran and water.
Cost. I had rather pray a month with mutton and porridge,
King. And Don Armado shall be your keeper.My lord Biron see him deliver'd o'er.And go we, lords, to put in practice that Which each to other hath so strongly sworn.
[Exeunt King, Longaville, and Dumain.
Biron. I'll lay my head to any good man's hat,
These oaths and laws will prove an idle scorn.Sirrah, come on.
Cost. I suffer for the truth, sir : for true it is, I was taken with Jaquenetta, and Jaquenetta is a true girl; and therefore, Welcome the sour cup of prosperity! Afflictiori may one day smile again, and till then, Sit thee down, sorrow! [Exeunt. SCENE II.-Another part of the same. Ar
mado's house. Enter Armado and Moth, Arm. Boy, what sign is it, when a man of great spirit grows melancholy?
Moth. A great sign, sir, that he will look sad.
Arm. Why, sadness is one and the self-same thing, dear imp.
Moth. No, no; O lord, sir, no.
Arm. How canst thou part sadness and melancholy, my tender juvenal ?i
Moth. By a familiar demonstration of the work-
Arm. I spoke it, tender juvenal, as a congruent epitheton, appertaining to thy young days, which we may nominate tender.
Moth. And I, tough senior, as an appertinent title to your old time, which we may name tough.
Arm. Pretty, and apt.
Moth. How mean you, sir? I pretty, and my saying apt? or I apt, and my saying pretty?
Arm. Thou pretty, because little.
(1) A young man.
Moth. That an eel is quick.
Arm. I do say, thou art quick in answers : Thou heatest my blood.
Moth. I am answered, sir.
Moth. He speaks the mere contrary, crosses! love not him.
(Aside. Arm. I have promised to study three years with the duke.
Moth. You may do it in an hour, sir.
Arm. I am ill at reckoning, it fitteth the spirit of a tapster.
Noth. You are a gentleman, and a gamester, sir. Arm. I confess both; they are both the varnish of a complete man.
Moth. Then, I am sure you know how much the gross sum of deuce-ace amounts to.
Arm. It doth amount to one more than two. Moth. Which the base vulgar do call, three. Arm. True. Moth. Why, sir, is this such a piece of study? Now here is three studied, ere you'll thrice wink : and how easy it is to put years to the word three, and study three years in two words, the dancing. horse will tell
you. Arm. A most fine figure ! Moth. To prove you a cypher. [Aside.
Arm. I will hereupon confess, I am in love : and, as it is base for a soldier to love, so am I in love with a base wench. If drawing my sword against the humour of affection would deliver me from the reprobate thought of it, I would take desire prisoner, and ransom him to any French courtier for a new devised courtesy. I think scorn to sigh ; methinks, I should out-swear Cupid. Comfort me, boy: What great men have been in love?
(1) The name of a coin once current.