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Enter BENEDICK and MARGARET, meeting. Bene. Pray thee, sweet mistress Margaret, deserve well at my hands, by helping me to the speech of Beatrice.
Marg. Will you then write me a sonnet in praise of my beauty ?
Bene. In so high a style, Margaret, that no man living shall come over it; for, in most comely truth, thou deservest it.
Marg. To have no man come over me? why, shall I always keep below stairs * ?
BENE. Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound's mouth, it catches.
" That witnessith both lerned and lewde." Again, ibid. :
“ He spared neither lewde ner clerke.” Steevens. 4 To have no man come over me? why, shall I always keep below stairs ?] I suppose every reader will find the meaning.
Johnson. Lest he should not, the following instance from Sir Aston Cockayne's Poems is at his service:
“ But to prove rather he was not beguild,
“ Her he o'er-came, for he got her with child." And another, more apposite, from Marston's Insatiate Countess, 1613 :
“Alas ! when we are once o'the falling hand,
“ A man may easily come over us.” Collins. Theobald with some probability reads-above stairs ; yet below and above were not likely to be confounded either by the transcriber or compositor. There is danger in any attempt to reform a joke two hundred years old.
The sense, however, for which Mr. Theobald contends, may be restored by supposing the loss of a word; and that our author wrote-Why, shall I always keep men below stairs?' i. e. never suffer them to come up
bed-chamber, for the purposes of love. STEEVENS.
MARG. And your's as blunt as the fencer's foils, which hit, but hurt not.
BENE. A most manly wit, Margaret, it will not hurt a woman; and so, I pray thee, call Beatrice : I give thee the bucklers 5.
Marg. Give us the swords, we have bucklers of
BENE. If you use them, Margaret, you must put in the pikes with a vice; and they are dangerous weapons for maids.
Marg. Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who, I think, hath legs.
[Exit MARGARET. BEVE. And therefore will come. The god of love,
[Singing.] That sits above,
I give thee the bucklers.] I suppose that to give the bucklers is, to yield, or to lay by all thoughts of defence, so clypeum abjicere. The rest deserves no comment. Johnson.
Greene, in his Second Part of Coney-Catching, 1592, uses the same expression : “At this his master laught, and was glad, for further advantage, to yield the bucklers to his prentise.”
Again, in A Woman Never Vex'd, a comedy by Rowley, 1632: "—into whose hands she thrusts the weapons first, let him take up the bucklers.”
Again, in Decker's Satiromastix: “ Charge one of them to take up the bucklers against that hair-monger Horace." Again, in Chapman's May-Day, 1611:
“ And now I lay the bucklers at your feet.” Again, in Every Woman in her Humour, 1609 :
if you lay down the bucklers, you lose the victory.” Again, in P. Holland's translation of Pliny's Natural History, b. x. ch. xxi. : “ —it goeth against his stomach (the cock's) to yeeld the gantlet and give the bucklers." STEEVENS,
6 The god of love, &c.] This was the beginning of an old song, by W. E. (William Elderton) a puritanical parody of which, by one W. Birch, under the title of The Complaint of a Sinner, &c. Imprinted at London, by Alexander Lacy, for Richard Applow, is still extant. The words in this moralised copy are as follows:
“ The God of love, that sits above,
“ How sinful that we be." Ritson. In Bacchus' Bountie, &c. 4to. bl. I. 1593, is a song, beginning
And knows me, and knows me,
How pitiful I deserve, I mean, in singing ; but in loving,-- Leander the good swimmer, Troilus the first employer of pano dars, and a whole book full of these quondam carpet-mongers, whose names yet run smoothly in the even road of a blank verse, why, they were never so truly turned over and over as my poor self, in love: Marry, I cannot show it in rhyme; I have tried ; I can find out no rhyme to lady but baby, an innocent rhyme ; for scorn, horn, a hard rhyme; for school, fool, a babbling rhyme ; very ominous endings: No, I was not born under a rhyming planet, nor I cannot woo in festival terms 7.
Enter BEATRICE. Sweet Beatrice, would'st thou come when I called thee?
Beat. Yea, signior, and depart when you bid me. Bene. O, stay but till then !
Beat. Then, is spoken; fare you well now:and yet, ere I go, let me go with that I came for $, which is, with knowing what hath passed between you and Claudio.
Bens. Only foul words; and thereupon I will kiss thee.
Beat. Foul words is but foul wind, and foul wind is but foul breath, and foul breath is noisome; therefore I will depart unkissed.
BENE. Thou hast frighted the word out of his
“ The gods of love
“Which raigne above." Steevens. 7-in FESTIVAL TERMS.) i. e. in splendid phraseology, such as differs from common language, as holidays from common days. Thus, Hotspur, in King Henry IV. Part I. :
many holiday and lady terms.” Steevens. 8 — with that I came for,] For, which is wanting in the old copy, was inserted by Mr. Rowe. Malone.
right sense, so forcible is thy wit: But, I must tell thee plainly, Claudio undergoes my challenge'; and either I must shortly hear from him, or I will subscribe him a coward. And, I pray thee now, tell me, for which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love with me?
BEAT. For them all together; which maintained so politick a state of evil, that they will not admit any good part to intermingle with them. But for which of my good parts did you first suffer love for
Bene. Suffer love ; a good epithet! I do suffer love, indeed, for I love thee against my will.
Beat. In spite of your heart, I think; alas ! poor heart! If you spite it for my sake, I will spite it for yours; for I will never love that which my friend hates.
BENE. Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.
Beat. It appears not in this confession : there's not one wise man among twenty, that will praise himself.
BENE. An old, an old instance, Beatrice, that lived in the time of good neighbours': if a man do not erect in this age his own tomb ere he dies, he shall live no longer in monument, than the bell rings, and the widow weeps.
BEAT. And how long is that, think you ?
BENE. Question ?-Why, an hour in clamour, and a quarter in rheum?: Therefore it is most ex
9 — UNDERGOES my challenge ;] i. e. is subject to it. So, in Cymbeline, Act III. Sc. V.:“ – undergo those employments, wherein I should have cause to use thee.” STEEVENS.
'- in the time of good neighbours :] i. e. when men were not envious, but every one gave another his due. The reply is extremely humorous. WARBURTON.
? QUESTION ?-Why, an hour, &c.) i. e. What a question's there, or what a foolish question do you ask ? But the Oxford pedient for the wise, (if Don Worm, his conscience, find no impediment to the contrary,) to be the trumpet of his own virtues, as I am to myself: So much for praising myself, (who, I myself will bear witness, is praise-worthy,) and now tell me, How doth your cousin ?
BEAT. Very ill.
Bene. Serve God, love me, and mend: there will I leave you too, for here comes one in haste.
Enter URSULA. URs. Madam, you must come to your uncle; yonder's old coil at home': it is proved, my lady Hero hath been falsely accused, the Prince and Claudio mightily abused ; and Don John is the author of all, who is fled and gone : will you come presently ?
BEAT. Will you go hear this news, signior?
BENE. I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be buried in thy eyes; and, moreover, I will go with thee to thy uncle's.
editor, not understanding this phrase, contracted into a single word, (of which we have many instances in English,) has fairly struck it out. WARBURTON.
The phrase occurs frequently in Shakspeare, and means no more than—you ask a question, or that is the question. Ritson.
OLD coil at home :) So, in King Henry IV. P. II. Act II. Sc. IV.: “ By the mass, here will be old Utis.' See note on this passage. Old, (I know not why,) was anciently a common augmentative in familiar language. Coil is bustle, stir. So, in King John:
“ I am not worth this coil that's made for me.” STEEVENS.