Page images

know: if you will follow me, 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.

Pedro. And, as I wooed for thee to obtain her, I will join with thee to disgrace her.

John. I will disparage her no farther, 'till you are my witnesses; bear it coldly but 'till night, and let the issue show itself.

Pedro. O day untowardly turned !
Claud. O mischief strangely thwarting !

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

[blocks in formation]


Enter Dogberry, ånd Verges, with the Watch.
Dogo. A Verg. Yea, or else it were pity but they should

RE you good men and true? 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 disartless man to be constable?

1 Watch. Hugh Oatecake, sir, or George Seacole ; for they can write and read.

Dogb. Come hither, neighbour Seacole : god hath bless’d you with a good name: to be a well-favour’d 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 lanthorn: this is your charge : you shall comprehend all vagrom men; you are to bid any man stand in the prince's

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 endur'd.

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


bills be not stolen: well, you are to call at all the ale-houses, and bid them that are drunk get them to bed.

2 Watch. How if they will not?

Dogb. Why, then let them alone 'till they are sober; if they make you not then the better answer, you may say, they are not the men you took them for.

2 Watch. Well, sir.

Dogb. If you meet a thief, you may suspect him by virtue of your office to be no true man; and, for such kind of men, the less you

meddle or make with them, why, the more is for your honesty.

2 Watch. If we know him to be a thief, shall we not lay hands on him ?

Dogb. Truly, by your office you may; but, I think, they that touch pitch will be defild: the most peaceable way

for you,

if you do take a thief, is, to let him show himself what he is, and steal out of your company.

care that


Verg. You have been always call’d a merciful man, partner.

Dogb. Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will; much more a man who hath any honesty in him. Verg. If

hear a child

cry in the night, you must call to the nurse, and bid her still it.

2 Watch. How if the nurse be asleep, and will not hear us?

Dogb. Why, then depart in peace, and let the child wake her with crying: for the ewe that will not hear her lamb when it baes, will never answer a calf when he bleats.

Verg. 'Tis very true.

Dogb. This is the end of the charge : you, constable, are to present the prince's own person; if you meet the prince in the night, you may stay him.

Verg. Nay, birlady, that, I think, he cannot.

Dogb. Five shillings to one on’t, with any man that knows the statues, he may stay him; marry, not without the prince be willing: for, indeed, the watch ought to offend no man; and it is an offence to stay a man against his will.

Verg. Birlady, I think, it be fo.

Dogb. Ha, ha, ha! well, masters, good night: an there be matter of weight chances, call up me:

me: keep your fellows' counsel, and your own, and good night. Come, neighbour.

2 Watch. Well, masters, we hear our charge; let us go fit here upon

the church-bench 'till two, and then all to bed. Dogb One word more, honeft neighbours: I pray you, watch about fignior Leonato's door; for the wedding being there tomorrow, there is a great coil to-night: adieu; be vigilant, I

[Exeunt Dogb. and Verg.


beseech you.


Enter Borachio, and Conrade,
Bora, What, Conrade !
Watch. Peace, stir not.
Bora. Conrade, I say.
Conr. Here, man, I am at thy elbow.



Bora. Mass, and my elbow itch’d; I thought, there would a scab follow,

Conr. I will owe thee an answer for that, and now forward with thy tale.

Bora. Stand thee close then under this pent-house, for it drizles rain, and I will, like a true drunkard, utter all to thee.

Vatch. Some treason, masters; yet stand close.

Bora. Therefore know, I have earned of don John a thousand ducats.

Conr. Is it possible that any villany should be so dear?

Bora. Thou should'st rather ask if it were possible any villany should be so rich? for when rich villains have need of poor ones, poor ones may make what price they will.

Conr. I wonder at it.

Bora. That shows thou art unconfirm'd; thou knowest that the fashion of a doublet, or a hat, or a cloak is nothing to a man.

Conr. Yes, it is apparel.
Bora. I mean the fashion.
Conr. Yes, the fashion is the fashion.

Bora. Tush, I may as well say the fool's the fool; but seeft thou not what a deformed thief this fashion is ?

Watch. I know that Deformed; he has been a vile thief this seven years;


goes up and down like a gentleman: I remember his name.

Bora. Didst thou not hear some body?
Conr. No, 'twas the vane on the house.

Bora. Seest thou not, I say, what a deformed thief this fashion is, how giddily he turns about all the hot-bloods between fourteen and five and thirty ? sometimes, fashioning them like Pharao's soldiers in the reechy painting, sometimes, like the god Bel's priests in the old church-window, sometimes, like the shaven Hercules a in the smirch'd worm-eaten tapestry, where his codpiece seems as maffy as his club?

Conr. All this I fee, and see that the fashion wears out more apparel than the man; but art not thou thyself giddy with the Meaning Sampson.


[ocr errors]

fashion, that thou hast shifted out of thy tale into telling me of the fashion ?

Bora. Not so neither ; but know that I have to-night wooed Margaret, the lady Hero's gentlewoman, by the name of Hero; she leans me out at her mistress's chamber-window, bids me a thousand times good night - I tell this tale vilely — I should first tell thee, how the prince, Claudio, and my master, planted and plac'd, and posseffed by my master don John, saw far off in the orchard this amiable encounter.

Conr. And thought thy Margaret was Hero?

Bora. Two of them did, the prince and Claudio, but the devil my master knew she was Margaret; and partly by his oaths, which first possess’d them, partly by the dark night, which did deceive them, but chiefly by my villany, which did confirm any fander that don John had made, away went Claudio enraged; swore he would meet her as he was appointed next morning at the temple, and there, before the whole congregation, shame her with what he saw o'er night, and send her home again without a husband.

I Watch. We charge you in the prince's name stand.

2 Watch. Call up the right master constable; we have here recovered the most dangerous piece of lechery that ever was known in the common-wealth.

I Watch. And one Deformed is one of them; I know him, he wears a lock.

Conr. Masters, masters,

2 Watch. You'll be made bring Deformed forth, I warrant you.

Conr. Masters,
I Watch. Never speak, we charge you, let us obey you to go

Bora. We are like to prove a goodly commodity, being taken
up of these mens bills.
Conr. A commodity in question, I warrant you: come, we'll


with us.

obey you.


« PreviousContinue »