Obrázky stránek


However they have writ the style of gods,
And made a push * at chance and sufferance.

Ant. Y et bend not all the harm upon yourself;
Make those, that do offend you, suffer too.

Leon. There thou speak’st reason: nay, I will

do so:

My soul doth tell me, Hero is belied,
And that shall Claudio know, so shall the prince,
And all of them, that thus dishonour her.

Enter Don Pedro and CLAUDIO.
Ant. Here comes the prince, and Claudio, hastily,
D. Pedro. Good den, good den.

Good day to both of you.
Leon. Hear you, my lords,
D. Pedro. We have some haste, Leonato.
Leon. Some haste, my lord !—well, fare you well,

Are you so hasty now ?-well, all is one.
D. Pedro. Nay, do not quarrel with us, good

old man.
Ant. If he could right himself with quarreling,
Some of us would lie low.

Who wrongs him?
Leon. Marry, thou dost wrong me; thou dissem-

bler, thou;
Nay, never lay thy hand upon thy sword,
I fear thee not.

Claud. Marry, beshrew my hand,
If it should give your age such cause of fear :
In faith, my hand meant nothing to my sword.

Leon. Tush, tush, man, never fleer and jest at me:
I speak not like a dotard, nor a fool;
As, under privilege of age, to brag

4 Push is the reading of the old copy, which Pope altered to pish without any seeming necessity. To make a push at any thing is to contend against it or defy it.

What I have done being young, or what would do,
Were I not old : Know, Claudio, to thy head,
Thou hast so wrong'd mine innocent child and me,
That I am forc'd to lay my reverence by;
And, with grey hairs, and bruise of many days,
Do challenge thee to trial of a man.
I say, thou hast belied mine innocent child;
Thy slander hath gone through and through her heart,
And she lies buried with her ancestors :
O! in a tomb where never scandal slept,
Save this of her's fram'd by thy villany.

Claud. My villany!

Thine, Claudio; thine I say.
D. Pedro. You say not right, old man.

My lord, my lord, I'll prove it on his body, if he dare; Despite his nice fence, and his active practice”, His May of youth, and bloom of lustyhood.

Claud. Away, I will not have to do with you. Leon. Canst thou so daff6 me? Thou hast killd

my child; If thou killst me, boy, thou shalt kill a man.

Ant. He shall kill two of us, and men indeed : But that's no matter; let him kill one first;Win me and wear me,

,- let him answer me,
Come, follow me, boy; come, boy, follow me?:
Sir boy, I'll whip you from your foining 8 fence;
Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will.

Leon. Brother,-
Ant. Content yourself: God knows, I lov'd my


5 Skill in fencing.
6 This is only a corrupt form of doff, to do off or put off.
7 The folio reads :-

-Come, sir boy, come follow me. 8 Thrusting


And she is dead, slander'd to death by villains;
That dare as well answer a man, indeed,
As I dare take a serpent by the tongue;
Boys, apes, braggarts, jacks, milksops !-

Brother Antony,-
Ant. Hold you content; What, man! I know

And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple:
Scambling', out-facing, fashion-mong'ring boys,
That lie, and cog, and flout, deprave and slander,
Go antickly, and show outward hideousness 10,
And speak off half a dozen dangerous words,
How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst,
And this is all.

Leon. But, brother Antony,-

Come, 'tis no matter; Do not you meddle, let me deal in this.

D. Pedro. Gentlemen both, we will not wake 11

your patience.

My heart is sorry for your daughter's death;
But, on my honour, she was charg’d with nothing
But what was true, and very full of proof.

Leon. My lord, my lord, -
D. Pedro.

I will not hear

you. Leon.

No? Come, brother, away :- I will be heard ;Ant.

And shall, Or of will smart for it.

[Exeunt LEONATO and ANTONIO. Scambling appears to have been much the same as scrambling; shifting or shuffling. • Griffe graffe,' says Cotgrave, ‘by hook or by crook, squimble squamble, scamblingly, catch that catch may. We have skimble skamble stuff" in K. Henry IV. Part 1. 10 i. e. what in King Henry V. Act iii. Sc. 6, is called

- a horrid suit of the camp.' 11 i. e. rouse, stir up, convert your patience into anger, by remaining longer in your presence.




Enter BENEDICK. D. Pedro. See, see; here comes the man we went to seek.

Claud. Now, signior! what news ?
Bene. Good day, my lord.

D. Pedro. Welcome, signior: You are almost come to part almost a fray.

Claud. We had like to have had our two noses snapped off with two old men without teeth.

D. Pedro. Leonato and his brother: What think'st thou ? Had we fought, I doubt, we should have been too young for them.

Bene. In a false quarrel there is no true valour. I came to seek


both. Claud. We have been up and down to seek thee; for we are high-proof melancholy, and would fain have it beaten away: Wilt thou use thy wit?

Bene. It is in my scabbard; Shall I draw it? D. Pedro. Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side ? Claud. Never


did so, though very many have been beside their wit.--I will bid thee draw, as we do the minstrels; draw, to pleasure us 12

D. Pedro. As I am an honest man, he looks pale: -Art thou sick, or angry?

Claud. What! courage, man! Whạt though care killed a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.

Bene. Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career, an you charge it against me:- I pray you, choose another subject.

Claud. Nay, then give him another staff; this last was broke cross

D. Pedro. By this light, he changes more and more; I think, he be


indeed. 12 ‘I will bid thee draw thy sword, as we bid the minstrels draw the bows of their fiddles, merely to please us.'

13 The allusion is to tilting. See note, As You Like It, Act jii. Sc. 4.


[ocr errors]

Claud. If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle 14.
Bene. Shall I speak a word in your ear?
Claud. God bless me from a challenge!

Bene. You are a villain ;-I jest not :- I will make
it good how you dare, with what you dare, and when

-Do me right, or I will protest your cowardice. You have killed a sweet lady, and her death shall fall heavy on you: Let me hear from you.

Claud. Well, I will meet you, so I may have good cheer.

D. Pedro. What, a feast? a feast?.

Claud. I'faith, I thank him; he hath bid 15 to a calf's head and a capon; the which if I do not carve most curiously, say, my knife's naught. Shall I not find a woodcock 16 too.


Bene. Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes easily.

D. Pedro. I'll tell thee how Beatrice praised thy wit the other day: I said thou hadst a fine wit: True, says she, a fine little one: No, said I, a great wit; Right, says she, a great gross one : Nay, said I, a good wit; Just ; said she, it hurts nobody: Nay, said I, the gentleman is wise; Certain, said she, a wise gentleman 17: Nay, said I, he hath the tongues;

14 There is a proverbial phrase, ' If he be angry let him turn the buckle of his girdle.' Mr. Holt White says, ' Large belts were worn with the buckle before, but for wrestling the buckle was turned behind, to give the adversary a fairer grasp at the girdle. To turn the buckle behind was therefore a challenge.'

15 Invited.

16 A woodcock, being supposed to have no brains, was a common phrase for a foolish fellow. It means here one caught in a springe or trap, alluding to the plot against Benedick. So, in Hamlet, Sc. ult.

• Why, as a woodcock to my own springe, Osrick.' Sir Wm. Cecil in a letter to Secretary Maitland (penes me) says: 'I went to lay some lime twiggs for certen woodcoks which I have taken.' He alludes to an attempted escape of the French hostages.

17 Wise gentleman was probably used ironically for a silly fellow; as we still say a wise-acre.

« PředchozíPokračovat »