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Hel. •" And, hearing your h'gh Majesty is touch'd 

With that msHignant cause wherein the honour 
Of my dear father's gift stands chief in power, 
I come to tender It, and my appliance," 

All's Wei I That Ends Well. Act 2, Scene 1. 

Page 40. 








Rev. henry N. HUDSON, LL.D. 


Vol. IV. 




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1880, by 

Henry N. Hudson, 
in the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 


FIRST published in the foHo of 1623, and among the worst- 
printed plays in that volume. In many places the text, as 
there given, is in a most unsatisfactor}- state, and in not a few I 
fear it must be pronounced incurably at fault. A vast deal of 
study and labour has been spent in trjing to rectify the numerous 
errors : nearly all the editors and commentators, from Rowe 
downwards, have strained their faculties upon the work: many 
instances of corruption have indeed yielded to critical ingenuity 
and perseverance, and it is to be hoped that still others may ; 
yet there are several passages that seem too hard for any legiti- 
mate efforts of corrective sagacity and skill. The matter need 
not be dwelt upon here, as it is set forth in detail in the Critical 
Notes. Of course, in a case of such extreme textual corruption, 
something more of scope than usual must, in all reason, be 
allowed to conjectural emendation. 

No direct and certain contemporary notice of AlPs Well that 
Ends Well has come down to us. But the often-quoted list of 
Shakespeare's plays set forth by Francis Meres in his Palladis 
Tainia, 1598, includes a play called Love's Labours Won, — a 
title nowhere else given to any of the Poet's pieces. Dr. Farmer, 
in his Essay on the Learning of Shakespeare, 1767, first gave out 
the conjecture, that the two titles belonged to one and the same 
play ; and this opinion has since been concurred or acquiesced in 
by so many competent critics, that it might well be allowed to 
pass without further argument. There is no other of the Poet's 
dramas to which that title applies so well, while, on the other 
hand, it certainly fits this play quite as well as the one it now 
bears. The whole play is emphatically /i?^'^'^ labours: its main 
interest throughout turns on the unwearied and finally-successful 


4 all's well that ends well. 

struggles of affection against the most stubborn and disheartening 
obstacles. It may indeed be urged that the play entitled Love's 
Labours Won has been lost ; but this, it being considered what 
esteem the Poet's works were held in, both in his time and ever 
since, is so very improbable as to be hardly worth dwelling 
upon. There was far more likelihood that other men's dross 
would be fathered upon him than that any of his gold would be 
lost. And, in fact, contemporary publishers were so eager to 
make profit of his reputation, that they forged his name to vari- 
ous plays which most certainly had no touch of his hand. 

There is, then, no reasonable doubt that this play was origi- 
nally written before 1598. For myself, I have no doubt that the 
original writing was several years before that date ; as early, per- 
haps, as 1592 or 1593. Coleridge, in his Literary Remains, 
holds the play to have been " originally intended as the counter- 
part of Love''s Labours Lost " ; and a comparison of the two 
naturally leads to that conclusion without any help from the title. 
This inward relation of the plays strongly infers them both to 
have been written about the same time, or in pretty near succes- 
sion. Now Love''s Labours Lost was printed in 1598, and in the 
title-page is said to have been " newly corrected and augmented " ; 
and its diversities of style naturally infer a considerable interval 
of time between the original writing and the revisal. 

It is abundantly certain, from internal evidence, that the play 
now in hand also underwent revisal, and this too after a much 
longer interval than in the case of Love's Labours Lost. Here 
the diversities of style are much more strongly marked than in 
that play. Accordingly it was Coleridge's decided opinion, first 
given out in his lectures in 1813, and again in 1818, though not 
found in his Literary Remains, that '' AlVs Well that Ends Well 
was written at two different and rather distant periods of the 
Poet's life." This we learn from Collier, who heard those lec- 
tures, and. who adds that Coleridge "pointed out very clearly 
two distinct styles, not only of thought, but of expression." The 
same judgment has since been enforced by Tieck and other able 
critics ; and the grounds of it are so manifest in the play itself, 
that no observant reader will be apt to question it. Verplanck 
tells us he had formed the same opinion before he learned through. 

all's well that ends well. 5 

Collier what Coleridge thought on the subject ; and his judgment 
of the matter is given as follows : " The contrast of two different 
modes of thought and manners of expression, here mixed in the 
same piece, must be evident to all who have made the shades and 
gradations of Shakespeare's varying and progressive taste and 
mind at all a subject of study." 

Some of the more recent Shakespearians are for dividing the 
Poet's time of authorship into four or five distinct periods : but I 
am still content with the threefold division of early, middle, and 
later periods ; as these seem to me enough for all practical pur- 
poses. In Airs Well, we have no help, outside of the play itself, 
towards determining at what time the revisal was made, or how 
long a period intervened between this and the original writino-. 
To my taste, the better parts of the workmanship relish strongly 
of his later st>le, — perhaps I should say quite as strongly as the 
poorer do of his early style. This would bring the revisal down 
to as late a time as 1603 or 1604. I place the finished Hamlet at 
or near the close of the Poet's middle period ; and I am tolerably 
clear that in All's Well he discovers a hand somewhat more prac- 
tised in sinewy sternness than in the finished Hamlet. I will 
quote two passages by way of illustrating the Poet's different 
st>-les as seen in this play. The first is fi-om the dialogue of 
Helena and the King, in Act ii, scene i, where she persuades him 
to make trial of her remedy : 

The great'st Grace lending grace. 
Ere twice the horses of the Sun shall bring 
Their fiery torcher his diurnal ring ; 
Eire twice in murk and occidental damp 
Moist Hesperus hath quench'd his sleepy lamp ; 
Or four-and-twenty times the pilot's glass 
Hath told the thievish minutes how they pass ; 
What is infirm from your sound parts shall fly. 
Health shall live free, and sickness freely die. 

Here we have the special traits of Shakespeare's youthful style, 
— an air of artifice and studied finerv', a certain self-conscious 
elaborateness and imitative rivalry-, — which totally disappear in, 
for instance, the blessing the Countess gives her son as he is 
leaving for the Court : 


Be thou blest, Bertram ! and succeed thy father 
In manners, as in shape ! thy blood and virtue 
Contend for empire in thee, and thy goodness 
Share with thy birthright ! Love all, trust, a few, 
Do wrong to none : be able for thine enemy 
Rather in power than use ; and keep thy friend 
Under thy own life's key : be check'd for silence, 
But never tax'd for speech. What Heaven more will. 
That thee may furnish, and my prayers pluck down. 
Fall on thy head ! 

I the rather quote this latter, because of its marked resemblance 
to the advice Polonius gives his son in Hamlet. Mr, Grant 
White justly observes that " either the latter is an expansion of 
the former, or the former a reminiscence of the latter " ; and I 
fully concur with him that the second part of the alternative is 
the more probable. For a broader and bulkier illustration of the 
point in hand, the student probably cannot do better than by 
comparing in full the dialogue from which the first of the fore- 
cited passages is taken with the whole of the second scene in 
Act i. These seem to me at least as apt and telling examples as 
any, of the Poet's rawest and ripest styles so strangely mixed in 
this play ; and the difference is here so clearly pronounced, that 
one must be dull indeed not to perceive it. 

It has indeed been urged, and truly, that the play twice be- 
speaks its present title ; but both instances occur in just those 
parts which relish most of the Poet's later style. And the line in 
the epilogue — '■'■All is well ended, if this suit be won'''' — may be 
fairly understood as intimating some connection between the 
two titles which the play is supposed to have borne. 

The only known source from which the Poet could have bor- 
rowed any part of this play is a story in Boccaccio, entitled Giletta 
di N'erbona. In 1566 William Paynter published an English 
version of this tale in his Palace of Pleasure. Here it was, no 
doubt, that Shakespeare got his borrowed matter ; and the fol- 
lowing outline will show the nature and extent of his obligations. 

Isnardo, Count of Rousillon, being sickly, kept in. his house a 
physician named Gerardo of Nerbona. The count had a son 
named Beltramo, and the physician a daughter named Giletta, 


who were brought up together. The Count dying, his son was 
left in the care of the King and sent to Paris. The physician 
also dying some whUe after, his daughter, who had loved the 
young Count so long that she knew not when her love began, 
sought occasion of going to Paris, that she might see him ; but, 
being diligently looked to by her kinsfolk, because she was rich 
and had manj- suitors, she could not see her way clear. Now the 
King had a swelling on his breast, which through ill treatment 
was grown to a fistula ; and, having tried all the best physicians 
and being only rendered worse by their efforts, he resolved to 
take no further counsel or help. Giletta, hearing of this, was 
very glad, as it suggested an apt reason for visiting Paris, and 
offered a chance of compassing her secret and cherished wish. 
Arming herself with such knowledge in the healing art as she had 
gathered from her father, she rode to Paris and repaired to the 
King, praying him to show her his disease. He consenting, as 
soon as she saw it she told him that, if he pleased, she would 
within eight days make him whole. He asked how it was possi- 
ble for her, being a young woman, to do that which the best 
physicians in the world could not; and, thanking her for her 
good-will, said he was resolved to try no more remedies. She 
begged him not to despise her knowledge because she was a 
young woman, assuring him that she ministered physic by the 
help of God, and with the cunning of Master Gerardo of Nerbona, 
who was her father. The King, hearing this, and thinking that 
peradventure she was sent of God, asked what might follow, if 
she caused him to break his resolution, and did not heal him. 
She said, " Let me be kept in what guard you list, and if I do 
not heal you let me be burnt; but, if I do, what recompense 
shall I have?" He answered that, since she was a maiden, he 
would bestow her in marriage upon a gentleman of right good 
worship and estimation. To this she agreed, on condition that 
she might have such a husband as herself should ask, without 
presumption to any member of his family ; which he readily 
granted. This done, she set about her task, and before the 
eight days were passed he ^vas entirely well : whereupon he told 
her she deser\'ed such a husband as herself should choose, and 
she declared her choice of Beltramo, saying she had loved him 


from her childhood. The King was very loth to grant him to 
her; but, because he would not break his promise, he had him 
called forth, and told him what had been done. The Count, 
thinking her stock unsuitable to his nobility, disdainfully said, 
"Will you, then, sir, give me a physician to wife.'"' The King 
pressing him to comply, he answered, " Sire, you may take from 
me all that I have, and give my person to whom you please, be- 
cause I am your subject ; but I assure you I shall never be con- 
tented with that marriage." To which he replied, "Well, you 
shall have her, for the maiden is fair and wise, and loveth you 
entirely ; and verily you shall lead a more joyful life with her 
than with a lady of a greater House " ; whereupon the Count held 
his peace. The marriage over, the Count asked leave to go 
home, having settled beforehand what he would do. Knowing 
that the Florentines and the Senois were at war, he was no 
sooner on horseback than he stole off to Tuscany, meaning to 
side with the Florentines ; by whom being honourably received 
and made a captain, he continued a long time in their service. 

His wife, hoping by her well-doing to win his heart, returned 
home, where, finding all things spoiled and disordered by reason 
of his absence, she like a sage lady carefully put them in order, 
making all his people very glad of her presence and loving to her 
person. Having done this, she sent word thereof to the Count by 
two knights, adding that, if she were the cause of his forsaking 
home, he had but to let her know it, and she, to do him pleasure, 
would depart thence. Now he had a ring which he greatly 
loved, and kept very carefully, and never took off his finger, for a 
certain virtue which he knew it had. When the knights came, 
he said to them churlishly, " Let her do what she list; for I pur- 
pose to dwell with her when she shall have this ring on her fin- 
ger, and a son of mine in her arms." The knights, after trying 
in vain to change his purpose, returned to the lady, and told his 
answer ; at which she was very sorrowful, and bethought herself 
a good while how she might accomplish those two things. She 
then called together the noblest of the country, and told them 
what she had done to win her husband's love ; that she was loth 
he should dwell in perpetual exile on her account ; and therefore 
would spend the rest of her life in pilgrimages and devotion ; 


prapng them to let him know she had left, with a purpose never 
to return. Then, taking with her a maid and one of her kinsmen, 
she set out in the habit of a pilgrim, well furnished with silver and 
jewels, told no one whjther she was going, and rested not until 
she came to Florence. She put up at the house of a p>oor widow : 
and the next day, seeing her husband pass by on horseback, she 
asked who he was. The widow told her this, and also that he 
was marvellously in love with a neighbour of hers, a gentlewoman 
who was poor, but of right honest life and report, and dwelt with 
her mother, a wise and honest lady. After hearing this, she was 
not long in deciding what to do. Going secretly to the house, 
and getting a private interview \vith the mother, she told her 
whole stor)-, and how she hoped to thrive in her undertaking, if 
the mother and daughter would lend their aid. In recomj)ense 
she proposed to give the daughter a handsome marriage-portion : 
and the mother replied, " Madam, tell me wherein I may do \ou 
ser\'ice ; if it be honest, I will gladly p>erform it ; and, that being 
done, do as it shall please you." So an arrangement was made, 
that the daughter should encourage the Count, and signify her 
readiness to grant his wish, provided he would first send her the 
ring he prized so highly, as a token of his love. Proceeding with 
great subtiety as she was instructed, the daughter soon got the 
ring ; and at the time fixed for the meeting the Countess supplied 
her place : the result of which was, that she became the mother 
of two fine boys, and so was prepared to claim her dues as a wife 
upon the seemingly-impossible terms which the Count himself 
had prescribed. 

Meanwhile her husband, hearing of her departure, had returned 
to his countr)-. In due time the Countess also took her journey 
homeward, and arrived at Montf>ellier, where, hearing that the 
Count was about to have a great partj- at his house, she deter- 
mined to go thither in her pilgrim's weeds. Just as they were 
on the point of sitting down to the table, she came to the place 
where her husband was, and fell at his feet weeping, and said, 
" My lord, I am thy poor unfortunate wife, who, that thou 
mightest return and dwell in thy house, have been a great while 
begging about the world. Therefore I now beseech thee to ob- 
serve the conditions which the two knights that 1 sent to thee 


did command me to do ; for behold, here in my arms, not only 
one son of thine, but twain, and likewise the ring: it is now 
time, if thou keep promise, that I should be received as thy 
wife." The Count knew the ring, and the children also, they 
were so like him, and desired her to rehearse in order how all 
these things came about. When she had told her story, he knew 
it to be true ; and, perceiving her constant mind and good wit, 
and the two fair young boys, to keep his promise, and to please 
his people, and the ladies that made suit to him, he caused her 
to rise up, and embraced and kissed her, and from that day forth 
loved and honoured her as his wife. 

From this sketch it will be seen that the Poet anglicized Bel- 
tramo into Bertram, changed Giletta to Helena, and closely fol- 
lowed Boccaccio in the main features of the plot so far as regards 
these persons and the widow and her daughter. Beyond this, 
the novel yields no hints towards the play, while the latter has 
several judicious departures from the matter of the former. 
Giletta is rich, and has a fine establishment of her own ; which 
so far reduces the social inequality between her and the Count : 
Helena is poor and dependent, so that she has nothing to stand 
upon but her nobility of nature and merit. Baltramo, again, has 
no thought of going to Florence till after his compelled marriage ; 
so that his going to the war is not from any free stirring of virtue 
in him, but purely to escape the presence of a wife that has been 
forced upon him. With Bertram, the unwelcome marriage 
comes in only as an additional spur to the execution of a purpose 
already formed. 

But the crowning innovation upon the matter of the tale lies in 
the characters of Lafeu, the Countess, the Clown, and ParoUes, 
and in the comic proceedings ; all which, so far as is known, are 
entirely of the Poet's invention. And it is quite remarkable what 
an original cast is given to his development of the borrowed 
characters by the presence of these ; and how in the light of 
their mutual interaction the conduct of all becomes, not indeed 
right or just, but consistent and clear. 



King of France. 

Duke of Florence. 

Bertram, Count of Rousillon. 

La FEU, an old Lord. 

Parolles, a Follower of Bertram. 

Several young French Lords who 
serve with Bertram in the Floren- 
tine War. 

Steward, ) Servants to the Countess 

Clown, i of Rousillon. 

A Page. 

Countess of Rousillon, Mother to 

Helena, a Gentlewoman protected 

by the Countess. 
A Widow of Florence. 
Diana, her Daughter. 
ViOLENTA, } Neighbors and Friends 
Mariana, ) to the Widow. 

Lords attending on the King ; Officers, Soldiers, &c., French and Florentine. 
Scene. — Partly in Prance, and partly in Tuscany. 


Scene I. — Rousillon. A Hall in the House of the Countess. 

Enter Bertram, the Countess of Rousillon, Helena, 
a?id Lafeu, all in black. 

Count. In delivering my son from me, I bury a second 

Ber. And I, in going, madam, weep o'er my father's 
death anew : but I must attend his Majesty's command, to 
whom I am now in ward,^ evermore in subjection. 

1 From the feudal ages down to a comparatively recent period, the heirs 
of great estates were, both in England and in parts of France, under the 
wardship of the Sovereign, who had the disposal of them even in marriage. 
See vol. i., page 138, note 8. 


Lqf. You shall find of the King a husband, madam ; — 
you, sir, a father : he that so generally is at all times good 
must of necessity hold his virtue to you ; whose worthiness 
would stir it up where it wanted,^ rather than slack it where 
there is such abundance. 

Count. What hope is there of his Majesty's amend- 

Laf. He hath abandon'd his physicians, madam; under 
whose practices he hath persecuted ^ time with hope ; and 
finds no other advantage in the process but only the losing 
of hope by time. 

Count. This young gentlewoman had a father, — O, that 
had! how sad a passage "* 'tis ! — whose skill was almost as 
great as his honesty ; had it stretch'd so far, 'twould have 
made nature immortal, and death should have play for lack 
of work. Would, for the King's sake, he were living ! I 
think it would be the death of the King's disease. 

Laf. How call'd you the man you speak of, madam ? 

Coimt. He was famous, sir, in his profession, and it was 
his great right to be so, — Gerard de Narbon. 

Laf. He was excellent indeed, madam : the King very 
lately spoke of him admiringly and mourningly : he was skil- 
ful enough to have lived still, if knowledge could be set up 
against mortality. 

Ber. What is it, my good lord, the King languishes of ? 

Laf. A fistula, my lord. 

Ber. I heard not of it before. 

Laf. I would it were not notorious. — Was this gentle- 
woman the daughter of Gerard de Narbon ? 

2 That is, Nvould awaken or call forth virtue where virtue was wanting, or 
had not yet appeared. Slack for slacken. Many verbs ending in -en are used 
by the Poet without that ending ; such as to dark, to deaf, to length, to mad, 
to sharp, to short, &c. 

3 Persecuted in its classical sense of pursue ox follow up perseveringly. 
* Passage is occurrence, any thing that happens or passes. 

SCENE I. all's well that ends well. 13 

Count. His sole child, my lord ; and bequeathed to my 
overlooking. I have those hopes of her good that her edu- 
cation promises : her disposition ^ she inherits, which makes 
fair gifts fairer ; for where an unclean mind carries virtuous 
qualities, there commendations go with pity, — they are vir- 
tues and traitors too : ^ in her they are the better for their 
sirapleness : '^ she derives her honesty, and achieves her 

Laf. Your commendations, madam, get from her tears. 

Count. 'Tis the best brine a maiden can season^ her 
praise in. The remembrance of her father never approaches 
her heart but the t)Tanny of her sorrows takes all livelihood "* 
from her cheek. — No more of this, Helena, — go to, no 

5 Disposition here means ncUive aptness or tendency; what we sometimes 
call moral temperament. Shakespeare has, I think, no other instance of the 
word used just so. Perhaps the text is corrupt. See Critical Notes. 

* They, that is, virtuous qualities, are traitors as well as' virtues, because 
they adorn or " sugar o'er " the unclean mind, and thus give it power to tempt 
and betray. 

" Meaning, apparently, that in her the virtues or virtuous qualities are the 
better for being unmixed with any innate viciousness or what is here called 
" an unclean mind " ; a good, though uncommon, use of simpleness. 

8 Bacon has much the same thought in his thirteenth Elssay : " Goodness 
I called the habit, and goodness of nature the inclination." Shakespeare 
often uses honest for chaste, and honesty for chastity ; and such may well be 
the meaning here. Perhaps, however, honesty here means a certain ingen- 
erate rectitude or harmony of nature, which instinctively finds its joy in the 
right, and so is held to the right by the mere sweetness of it. Such a natural 
aptness does indeed beautify the virtues which make up goodness, and which 
have to be achieved, or, in Bacon's sense, are matter of habit, not of nature. 
Wordsworth's Ode to Duty has some lines which may be not unfitly quoted 

Serene will be our days and bright. 
And happy will our nature be, 
When love is an unerring light, 
And joy its own security. 

9 Season here means preserve or keep sweet. 

1" Livelihood for liveliness, or animation. So in Venus and Adonis: 
" With this, she seizes on his palm, the precedent of pith and livelikoiKW 


more ; lest it be rather thought you affect a sorrow than to 
have it. 

He/. I do affect a sorrow, indeed ; but I have it too.^^ 

La/. Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead ; ex- 
cessive grief the enemy to the living. 

He/. If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess makes 
it soon mortal. 

Za/. How understand we that ? ^^ 

Ber. \^Knee/ing.'] Madam, I desire your holy wishes. 

Coimt. Be thou blest, Bertram ! and succeed thy father 
In manners, as in shape ! thy blood and virtue 
Contend for empire in thee, and thy goodness 
Share with thy birthright ! Love all, trust a few, 
Do wrong to none : be able for thine enemy 
Rather in power than use ; and keep thy friend 
Under thy own hfe's key : be check'd for silence. 
But never tax'd for speech. What Heaven more will. 
That thee may furnish, ^^ and my prayers pluck down, 
Fall on thy head ! — \_To Lafeu.] Farewell, my lord : 'tis an 
Unseason'd courtier ; good my lord, advise him. 

Laf. He cannot want the best that shall attend 
His love. 

Count. Heaven bless him ! — Farewell, Bertram. \^Exit 

Be?: \To Helena.] The best wishes that can be forged 

11 Helena's sorrow seems or is taken to be for the loss of her father ; in 
that sense it is affected; but it is really for the departure of Bertram. 

12 Helena's speech is purposely equivocal and enigmatical ; and the sa- 
gacious old lord at once perceives that her words mean something more 
than meets the ear. Mortal v/a.s used in two senses, — iox deadly, or that 
which kills, and for perishable, or that which dies. Helena uses it in both 
senses at the same time ; and her chief meaning seems to be, that the grief 
of her unrequited love for Bertram makes mortal, that is, kills the grief that 
she felt for her father's death. 

13 That is, m&y fit thee out, or accomplish thee, with noble qualities. So in 
King Henry VIII., i. 2 : " His training such, that he may furtiish and in- 
struct great teachers, and never seek aid out of himsel£" 

SCENE I. all's well that ends well. 15 

in your thoughts be servants to you ! '^ Be comfortable '^ to 
my mother, your mistress, and make much of her. 

Lqf. Farewell, pretty lady : you must hold the credit of 
your father. \^Exeunt Bertram and Lafeu. 

Hel. O, were that all ! I think not on my father ; 
And these great tears grace his remembrance more 
Than those I shed for him.^^ ^Vhat was he like ? 
I have forgot him : my imagination 
Carries no favour in it but Bertram's. 
I am undone : there is no hving, none. 
If Bertram be away. It were all one. 
That I should love a bright particular star. 
And think to wed it, he is so above me : 
In his bright radiance and collateral light 
Must I be comforted, not in his sphere. 
Th' ambition in my love thus plagues itself: 
The hind that would be mated by the lion 
Must die for love. 'Twas pretty, though a plague, 
To see him ever}' hoiu" ; to sit and draw 
His arched brows, his hawkin§ eye, his curls. 
In our heart's table,^" — heart too capable 

1* " May you be mistress of your wishes, and have power to bring them 
to efiFect" One of the Poet's significant droppings : Bertram, without mean- 
ing it, prays for the success which Helena finally achieves in winning him to 

15 Comfortable in the active sense of comforting or giving comfort. The 
Poet has it repeatedly so ; also various other like words, as aisputabU for 
disputatious, and nudicinabU for medicinal. Bacon, in his essay Of De- 
formity, uses deceivable in the same way for deceptive : " It is good to con- 
sider of deformity, not as a sign which is more deceivable, but as a cause 
which seldom iaileth of the efiFect" 

1* " These tears of mine, which others impute to sorrow for the death of 
my fether, but which really spring from grief at the departure of Bertram, 
do more honour to the memory of my father than those I actually shed for 

1' Table for that on which a picture is jjainted. So in King John, L 2: 
" I beheld mj-self drawn in the flanering table of her eye." 

i6 all's well that ends well. act I. 

Of every line and trick of his sweet favour : ^^ 

But now he's gone, and my idolatrous fancy 

Must sanctify his relics. Who comes here ? 

One that goes with him : I love him for his sake ; 

And yet I know him a notorious liar, 

Think him a great way fool, solely a coward ; ^^ 

Yet these fix'd evils sit so fit in him, 

That they take place,^" when virtue's steely bones ^^ 

Look bleak i' the wind : withal, full oft we see 

Cold wisdom waiting on superfluous folly.^^ 

Elite r Parolles. 
Par. Save you, fair queen ! 
Hel. And you, monarch ! ^^ 
Par. No. 
Hel. And no. 
Par. Are you meditating on virginity? 

18 Every line and trait, or peculiarity, of his countenance. So in King 
yohn, i. I : " He hath a trick of Coeur-de-Lion's face." Also in King Lear, 
iv. 6 : " The trick of that voice I do well remember." — Capable is susceptible, 
or apt to receive. * 

19 Altogether a coward, or an unmifigable coward. 

20 Are invited or allowed to sit by the fire, or are received into a place 
where comfort dwells. Evils is here used for vices. 

21 Shakespeare seems to have been rather fond of the idea, that virtue 
has so much support and comfort in itself, in the strength and toughness of 
its bones, that it does not mind roughnesses of climate and usage, and even 
delights in steeling or hardening itself against them. So in Cymbeline, iii. 6: 
" Plenty and peace breeds cowards ; hardness ever of hardiness is tnother" 
See Critical Notes. 

-2 Cold in the sense of chilled, and because comparatively naked or bare. 
Also superfluous in the antithetic sense of overclolhed. So in King Lear, 
ii. 4 : " Our basest beggars are in the poorest thing superfluous" ; where the 
context ascertains superfluous to mean overclothed. See Critical Notes. 

23 Monarch is probably used here merely as a sportive rejoinder to 
queen. See vol. iii., page 163, note 15. Some, however, take it as alluding to 
a crazy roll of Italian bombast, much noted in London, who imagined him- 
self to be " sole monarch of the universal Earth." See voL ii., page 46, 
note 9. 


He I. Ay. You have some stain -'' of soldier in you : let 
me ask you a question. Man is enemy to virginity; how 
may we barricado it against him? 

Par. Keep him out. 

Hel. But he assails ; and our virginity, though vahant in 
the defence, yet is weak : unfold to us some warlike resist- 

Par. There is none : man, sitting down before you, will 
undermine you, and blow you up. 

Hel. Bless our poor virginity from underminers and blow- 
ers-up ! Is there no miUtary policy, how virgins might blow 
up men ? 

Par. Virginity being blown down, man will quicklier be 
blowTi up : man)', in blowing him down again, with the breach 
yourselves made, you lose your city. It is not politic in the 
commonwealth of Nature to preserve virginity. Loss of vir- 
ginity is rational increase ; and there was never virgin got 
till virginity was first lost. That you were made of, is metal 
to make virgins. Virginity, by being once lost, may be ten 
times found ; by being ever kept, it is ever lost : 'tis too cold 
a companion ; away with't ! 

Hel. I will stand for't a little, though therefore I die a 

Par. There's little can be said in't ; 'tis against the rule 
of Nature. To speak on the part of virginity, is to accuse 
your mothers ; which is most infallible disobedience. He 
that hangs himself is a virgin : ^5 virginity murders itself ; and 
should be buried in highways, out of all sanctified limit,26 as 

2* Stain for tincture, colour, or, as we should say, smack. 

25 Meaning, he that hangs himself is like a virgin, — like in this, that both 
are self-destroyers. 

26 By an ancient law of the Church, suicides were in fact excluded from 
consecrated ground, and condemned to be buried in the highways. Of 
course this was with a view to prevent self-miurder. It is said that the Ro- 
man women, in the good days of the Republic, were at one time so pos- 

1 8 all's well that ends well. act I. 

a desperate offendress against Nature. Virginity breeds mites, 
much like a cheese ; consumes itself to the very paring, and 
so dies with feeding his own stomach. Besides, virginity is 
peevish, proud, idle, made of self-love, which is the most in- 
hibited ^'^ sin in the canon. Keep it not ; you cannot choose 
but lose by't : out with't ! ^^ within one year it will make it- 
self two, which is a goodly increase ; and the principal itself 
not much the worse : away with't? 

Hel. How might one do, sir, to lose it to her own liking ? 

Par. Let me see : Marry, ill, to like him that ne'er 
likes it.2^ 'Tis a commodity will lose the gloss with lying ; the 
longer kept, the less worth : off with't while 'tis vendible ; 
answer the time of request. Virginity, like an old courtier, 
wears her cap out of fashion ; richly suited, but unsuitable : 
just like the brooch and the toothpick, which wear not now,^ 
Your date is better in your pie and your porridge than in your 
cheek : ^^ and your virginity, your old virginity, is like one of 
our French wither'd pears, — it looks ill, it eats dryly ; marry, 
'tis a wither'd pear; it was formerly better; marry, yet^^ tis 
a wither'd pear : will you any thing with it ? 

sessed with an epidemic of suicide, that the Senate took the matter up, and 
passed an order that in case any woman killed herself, her body should be 
exposed, naked, in public. The alarming evil was stopped at once. 
2" Inhibited is the same as> prohibited, forbidden. 

28 There is an equivoque in " out with't," which is used in the two senses 
of get rid of it and put it out at interest. 

29 Parolles plays on liking : she would do ill to lose her virginity in liking 
him who would destroy it, and so likes it not. 

3i> A rather singular use of wear ; but meaning " which are not 'worn now," 
or not in fashion now. I have often heard the phrase, " Such is not the wear 
now," used, in the same sense. 

^^ A quibble on date, which meant both age and a well-known candied 
fruit then used in pies, as raisins are now. 

82 To make it harmonize with what precedes, yet must here be taken in 
the sense of now. And such is sometimes its meaning. Helen uses it, just 
after, in the ordinary sense. — This long strain of foulness and stupidity is 
undoubtedly an interpolation. Helen's next speech ought to follow directly 

SCENE I. all's well that ends well. 19 

Hel. Not my virginity yet. — You're for the Court : 
There shall your master have a thousand loves, 
A mauther,^^ and a mistress, and a ftiend, 
A phoenix, captain, and an enemy, 
A guide, a goddess, and a sovereign, 
A counsellor, a traitress, and a dear ; 
His humble ambition, proud humility. 
His jarring concord, and his discord dulcet. 
His faith, his sweet#disaster ; with a world 
Of pretty, fond-adoptious Christendoms, 
That blinking Cupid gossips.^'' Now shall he — 
I know not what he shall : God send him well ! 
The Court's a learning-place ; and he is one — 

Par. What one, i'faith? 

Hel. — that I wish well. 'Tis pity — 

Par. "WTiat's pity? 

Hel. — That wishing well had not a body in't. 
Which might be felt ; that we, the poorer bom. 
Whose baser stars do shut us up in wishes. 
Might wi' th' 2^ effects of them follow our friends, 

after, " Are you meditating on virginity ? " and the opening ought to be 
" Not on virginity yet." See Critical Notes. 

33 Mauther is an old provincial word for a young girl or maid ; said to 
be from the Danish moer. So, in Ben Jonson's play. The AlcJicmist, iv. 4, 
Kastrill, speaking to Face, his sister, says, "Away! you talk like a foolish 
mauther^ See Critical Notes. 

3* That is, many fanciful and fondly-adopted appellations or Christian 
names, to which blind Cupid stands godfather. The verb to gossip is 
formed from God and sib, and properly means kindred in God: hence 
sp>onsors in baptism were termed gossips. See vol. i., page 147, note 22. — 
Christendom was often used for christening. So in Bishop Corbet's verses 
to Lord Mordaunt : 

One, were be well examin'd, and made looke 
His name in his own parish and church booke, 
Could hardly prove his chrisiendome. 

35 The Poet often has a double elision of with and the, to make the two 
coalesce into one syllable. 


And show what we alone must think ; which never 
Returns us thanks. 

Enter a Page. 

Page. Monsieur Parolles, my lord calls for you. \^Exii. 

Par. Little Helen, farewell : if I can remember thee, I 
will think of thee at Court. 

Hel. Monsieur Parolles, you were born under a charitable 

Par. Under Mars, I. 

Hel. I especially think, under Mars. 

Par. Why under Mars? 

Hel. The wars have so kept you under, that you must 
needs be born under Mars. 

Par. When he was predominant. 

Hel. When he was retrograde, I think, rather. 

Par. Why think you so? 

Hel. You go so much backward when you fight. 

Par. That's for advantage. 

Hel. So is running away, when fear proposes the safety : 
but the composition, that your valour and fear make in you, 
is a virtue of a good wing,-^** and I like the wear well. 

Par. I am so full of businesses, I cannot answer thee 
acutely. I will return perfect courtier ; in the which my in- 
struction shall serve to naturalize thee, so thou wilt be capable 
of a courtier's counsel, and understand what advice shall thrust 
upon thee ; else thou diest in thine unthankfulness, and thine 
ignorance makes thee away : farewell. When thou hast lei- 
sure, say thy prayers ; when thou hast money, remember thy 
friends : get thee a good husband, and use him as he uses 
thee : so, farewell. \_Exit. 

Hel. Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie, 

36 A term in falconry. "A bird of good wing " was a bird of swift and 
strong fiight. — "I like the wear well " is said with a dash of irony. 


Which we ascribe to Heaven : the fated sky 

Gives us free scope ; ^' only doth backward pull 

Our slow designs when we ourselves are dull. 

WTiat power is it which mounts my love so high ; 

That makes me see, and cannot feed mine eye ? 

The mightiest space in fortune Nature brings 

To join like likes, and kiss like native things.^ 

Impossible be strange attempts to those 

That weigh their pains in sense ; ^9 and do suppose 

What hath not been can't be. WTio ever strove 

To show her merit, that did miss her love ? 

The Kling's disease, — my project may deceive me, 

Rut my intents are fix'd, and will not leave me. [^£xtf. 

Scene II. — Paris. A Room in the King's Palace. 

Flourish of comets. Enter the King of France witii letters; 
Lords and ot/iers attending. 

King. The Florentines and Senoys ^ are by th' ears ; 
Have fought with equal fortune, and continue 
A braving war.- 

I Lord. So 'tis reported, sir. 

^ That is, the decrees of Providence give us free scojje. Fated iox fateful 
ox fating ; the passive form with the active sense. 

** " The mightiest space in fortune " is used, rather boldly, for persons the 
ferthest separated in fortune. So, in Cymieline, \. 3, we have, " the diminu- 
tion of space" meaning the seeming diminution caused by distance. Likes is 
used for equals, and " native things " for things of the same nativity or birth. 
So that tlie meaning of the whole seems to be, " Nature brings those who 
are farthest asunder in fortune to join like equals, and causes them to meet 
as things bred out of the same stock." 

3^ Extraordinary attempts seem imp>ossible to tliose who weigh their 
labours in the scales of common sense, or who measure exceptional cases 
by ordinary exp)erience. 

1 Tlie Siennese are called Senoys in the novel on which this play was partly 
founded. Sienna was the name of one of the small Italian States. 

- Braving is defiant, or using bravado. 


King. Nay, 'tis most credible ; we here receive it 
A certainty, vouch'd from our cousin Austria, 
With caution, that the Florentine will move us 
For speedy aid ; wherein our dearest friend 
Prejudicates the business, and would seem 
To have us make denial. 

1 Lord. His love and wisdom, 
Approved so to your Majesty, may plead 

For amplest credence. 

King. He hath arm'd our answer. 

And Florence is denied before he comes : 
Yet, for our gentlemen that mean to see 
The Tuscan service, freely have they leave 
To stand on either part. 

2 Lord. It well may serve 
A nursery to our gentry, who are sick 

For breathing ^ and exploit. 

King. What's he comes here? 

Enter Bertram, Lafeu, and Parolles. 

I Lord. It is the Count Rousillon, my good lord, 
Young Bertram. 

King. Youth, thou bear'st thy father's face ; 

Frank Nature, rather curious ^ than in haste. 
Hath well composed thee. Thy father's moral parts 
Mayst thou inherit too ! Welcome to Paris. 

Ber. My thanks and duty are your Majesty's. 

King. I would I had that corporal soundness now 
As when thy father and myself in friendship 
First tried our soldiership ! He did look far 
Into the service of the time, and was 

3 Breathing is exercise or action. So in ii. 3 : " Thou wast created for 
men to breathe themselves upon thee." See vol. iii., page 79, note 8. 

•* Curious for careful, exact, or pains-taking. See vol. ii., page 223, note 5. 


SCENE 11. all's well that ends well. 23 

Discipled of the bravest : ^ he lasted long ; 

But on us both did haggish age steal on,^ 

And wore us out of act. It much repairs "^ me 

To talk of your good father. In his youth 

He had the wit, which I can well observe 

To-day in our young lords ; but they may jest, 

Till their own scorn return to them unnoted. 

Ere they can hide their levity in humour 

So like a courtier : contempt nor bitterness 

Were in his pride, or sharpness ; ® if they were, 

His equal had awaked them ; and his honour. 

Clock to itself, knew the true minute when 

Exception bid him speak, and at this time 

His tongue obey'd his hand : ^ who were below him 

He used as creatures of a nobler place ; 

And bow'd his eminent top to their low ranks. 

Making them proud, as his nobility 

In their poor praise he humbled. Such a man 

Might be a copy to these younger times ; 

Which, follow'd well, would demonstrate them now 

But goers backward. 

Ber. His good remembrance, sir, 

Lies richer in your thoughts than on his tomb ; 
So in approof '** lives not his epitaph 
As in your royal speech. 

5 Tra'nud or instructed by the bravest 

6 This doubling of the preposition, on — on, occurs repeatedly. 
" Ifepairs is renovates or rejuvenates. 

* The meaning is, neither contempt nor bitterness nor sharpness were in 
his pride. So arranged for metre's sake. 

* "His hand," for its hand, its not being then an accepted word. The fig- 
ure of a clock is kept up. The tongue of the clock speaks the hour to which 
the hand points on the dial. 

1" Approof for approval or approbation. A common usage. The mean- 
ing seems to be, " His worth is not so highly expressed in the record of his 
actions as in your royal praise." 


King. Would I were with him ! He would always say, — 
Methinks I hear him now ; his plausive ' • words 
He scatter'd not in ears, but grafted them, 
To grow there, and to bear, — Let me not live, — 
Thus his good melancholy oft began, 
On the catastrophe and heel of pastime, 
When it was out,'"^ — Let me not live, quoth he, 
After 77iy flame lacks oil, to be the snuff 
Of younger spirits, whose apprehensive senses 
All but new things disdain; whose judgments are 
Mere fathers of their garments ; ^^ whose constancies 
Expire before their fashions. This he wish'd : 
I, after him, do after him wish too, 
Since I nor wax nor honey can bring home, 
I quickly were dissolved from my hive. 
To give some labourer room. 

2 Lord. You're loved, sir ; 

They that least lend it you shall lack you first. 

King. I fill a place, I know't. — How long is't, count, 
Since the physician at your father's died ? 
He was much famed. 

Ber. Some six months since, my lord. 

King. If he were living, I would try him yet ; — 
Lend me an arm ; — the rest have worn me out 
With several applications : nature and sickness 
Debate it at their leisure. Welcome, count ; 
My son's no dearer. 

Ber. Thank your Majesty. \_Exeunt. Flourish. 

11 Plausive is evidently used here in a passive sense for approvable, or 
that which is or ought to be applauded. So in Hamlet i. 4 : " Or by some 
habit, that too much o'er-leavens the form ol plausive manners." 

12 This, if it be the right text, must mean when the pastime was over or 
at an end. See Critical Notes. 

13 " Who exercise their minds or faculties in nothing but devising new 
modes or styles of dress." 

SCENE III. all's well that ends well. 25 

Scene III. — Rousillon. 4 Room in the House of the 

Enter 0ie Countess, Steward, and Clown.' 

Count. I will now hear : what say you of this gentlewo- 

Stew. Madam, the care I have had to even your content,^ 
I wish might be found in the calendar of my past endeav- 
ours : for then we wound our modesty, and make foul the 
clearness of our deservings, when of ourselves we publish 

Count. What does this knave here ? — Get you gone, 
sirrah : the complaints I have heard of you I do not all be- 
heve : 'tis my slowness that I do not ; for I know you lack 
not folly to commit them, and have ability enough to make 
such knaveries yours. 

Clo. 'Tis not unknown to you, madam, I am a poor 

Count. Well, sir. 

Clo. No, madam, 'tis not so well that I am poor ; though 
many of the rich are damn'd : but, if I may have your lady- 
ship's good-will to go to the world,^ Isbel your woman and I 
will do as we may. 

Count. Wilt thou needs be a beggar? 

Clo. I do beg your good-will in this case. 

1 The Clown in this play is an " allowed Fool," or jester of the same sort 
as Touchstone in As You Like It. In Shakespeare's time, and for ages be- 
fore, such Fools were kept in great Houses, to promote merriment. They 
were privileged to crack jokes with and upon all ranks of persons. 

2 To even one's content is to equal his desires, or to do what will content 
him. So in Cymbeline : " We'll even all that good time will give us." 

3 " Going to the world " is an old phrase lor getting married, in contra- 
diction to adopting a religious life, or going to the Church, which implied 
a vow of celibacy. So in Much Ado, ii. i : " Thus goes every one to the 
world but I ; 1 may sit in a comer, and cry Heigh-ho for a husband." 

26 all's well that ends well. act I. 

Count. In what case ? 

Clo. In Isbel's case and mine own. Service is no heri- 
tage : and I think I shall never have the blessing of God till 
I have issue o' my body \ for they say barns '^ are blessings. 

Count. Tell me thy reason why thou wilt marry. 

Clo. My poor body, madam, requires it : I am driven on 
by the flesh ; and he must needs go that the Devil drives. 

Count. Is this all your Worship's reason? 

Clo. Faith, madam, I have other holy reasons, such as 
they are. 

Count. May the world know them ? 

Clo. I have been, madam, a wicked creature, as you and 
all flesh and blood are ; and, indeed, I do marry that I may 

Count. Thy marriage, — sooner than thy wickedness. 

Clo. I am out o' friends, madam ; and I hope to have 
friends for my wife's sake. 

Count. Such friends are thine enemies, knave. 

Clo. You're shallow, madam ; e'en great friends ; for the 
knaves come to do that for me which I am a-weary of. He 
that ears ^ my land spares my team, and gives me leave to 
inn the crop ; if I be his cuckold, he's my drudge. He that 
comforts my wife is the cherisher of my flesh and blood ; he 
that cherishes my flesh and blood loves my flesh and blood ; 
he that loves my flesh and blood is my friend : ergo, he that 
kisses my wife is my friend. If men could be contented to 
be what they are, there were no fear in marriage ; for young 
Chairbonne the Puritan and old Poisson the Papist,*^ how- 

* Barns is a corruption, or another form, of the Scottish word bairns, 
children. The saying referred to probably grew from the passage in the 
127th Psalm : " Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them." 

5 To ear is to plough or to till. Much used in the Poet's time, and oc- 
curring repeatedly in the English Bible; as in i Samuel, viii. 12: "And will 
set them to ear his grounds, and to reap his harvest." 

^Poisson and Chairbonne are French words here turned into proper 

SCENE III. all's well that ends well. 27 

some'er their hearts are sever'd in religion, their heads are 
both one ; they may joll horns together, like any deer i' the 

Count. Wilt thou ever be a foul-mouth'd and calumnious 
knave ? 

Clo. A prophet I, madam ; and I speak the truth the next 


For I the ballad will repeat. 

Which men full true shall find; 

Your marriage comes by destiny. 

Your cuckoo sings by kind^ 

Count. Get you gone, sir ; I'll talk with you more anon. 

Stew. May it please you, madam, that he bid Helen come 
to you : of her I am to speak. 

Count. Sirrah, tell my gentlewoman I would speak with 
her ; Helen I mean. 

Clo. Was this fair face, quoth she, the cause 
Why th^ Grecians sac kid Troy ? 
Fond done^ done fond, good sooth, it was. 
Was this 'King Priam's joy. 

names; the former xa^acKm% fasting ox fish-eating ; the \Msx, fast-denying qx 
rich-feeding, from chair bonne or bonne chair. Shakesp>eare had in mind, 
no doubt, the old French proverb, " Young flesh and old fish are the dain- 
tiest." So that the Clown's meaning is, that all men, the best and the worst 
together, be their religion what it may, share the same fate ; all are destined 
alike to have their heads trimmed with the ideal horns. See voL ii., page 47, 
note II. 

" " The tiext way " is the nearest •'fraLy. — The Qown implies a quibble on 
his title oi Fool; and, in calling himself a /rc>^A^/, refers to the ancient belief 
that natural fools have something of prophetic inspiration in them, on which 
account they were held sacred. 

8 Kind for nature, the old meaning of the word. See voL iii., page 131, 
note 15. — The Clown here gives a new version of an old proverb. In 
Grange's Garden, 1577, it runs thus : 

Contente youiseUe as well as I, let teason rule your minde; 
As cuckoldes come by destinie, so cuckowes sing by kinde. 

' Fond {oT fondly, and in the sense oi foolishly; as the word is commonly 

zS all's well that ends well. act \ 

With that she sighed as she stood. 
With that she sighed as she stood, 

And gave this sentence then : . 
Among nine bad if one be good. 
Among nine bad if one be good, 
There^s yet one good in ten. 

Count. What one good in ten? you corrupt the song,'" 

Clo. One good woman in ten, madam ; which is a purify- 
ing o' the song. Would God would serve the world so all the 
year ! we'd find no fault with the tithe-woman, if I were the 
parson : one in ten, quoth 'a ! an we might have a good 
woman bom but for every blazing star, or at an earth- 
quake, 'twould mend the lottery well : a man may draw his 
heart out, ere 'a pluck one. 

Count. You'll be gone, sir knave, and do as I command 

Clo. That man should be at woman's command, and yet 
no hurt done ! Though honesty be no Puritan, yet it will 
do one's part ; ' Mt will wear the surplice of humility over the 

used by Shakespeare. — Good sooth is equivalent to good faith or in truth. 
— The verb was is repeated in accordance with a usage very frequent in old 
ballads. — The Clown here recites, and probably corrupts, or alters, a frag- 
ment of a ballad on the fall of Troy, meaning, perhaps, to intimate that he 
has some inkling of the purposed conversation about Helena. 

1" The lines which the Clown is charged with corrupting were conject- 
ured by Warburton to have run something thus : 

If one be bad amongst nine good. 
There's but one bad in ten. 

11 The meaning probably is, " Though honesty be no Puritan, yet it will 
act as the Puritans do ; it will comply with the law outwardly in token of its 
humility," &c. The allusion is to the controversy touching such things as 
kneeling at the Communion, the ring in marriage, and especially the use of 
the surplice as an official vestment in the public services of the Church. This 
controversy was running very high in the Poet's time ; all were interested in 
it: so that the allusion would be generally understood. The Puritans 



black gown of a big heart. I am going, forsooth : the busi- 
ness is for Helen to come hither. [^£xi/. 

Count. Well, now. 

Stew. I know, madam, you love your gentlewoman en- 

Count. Faith, I do : her father bequeath'd her to me ; 
and she herself, without other advantage, may lawfully make 
title to as much love as she finds : there is more owing her 
than is paid ; and more shall be paid her than she'll demand. 

Stew. Madam, I was very late more near her than I think 
she wish'd me : alone she was, and did communicate to her- 
self her own words to her own ears ; she thought, I dare vow 
for her, they touch'd not any stranger sense. Her matter 
was, she loved your son : Fortune, she said, was no goddess, 
that had put such difference betwixt their two estates ; Love 
no god, that would not extend his might, only where quali- 
ties were level ; Diana no queen of virgins, that would suffer 
her poor knight surprised, '^ Avithout rescue in the first as- 
sault, or ransom afterward. This she deliver'd in the most 
bitter touch of sorrow that e'er I heard virgin exclaim in : 
which I held my dut)- speedily to acquaint you withal ; sith- 
ence,i3 in the loss that may happen, it concerns you some- 
thing to know it. 

abominated the surplice as a rag of iniquity, and were great sticklers for the 
black gown, ^\\v^ was to them the symbol of Calvinism. Some of them, 
however, yielded so far as to wear the surplice over the gown, because 
their consciences would not suffer them to officiate without the latter, nor 
the law of the Church without the former. 

12 Meaning, of course, " to be surprised." The words to be were often left 
understood in such cases, whether in prose or verse. So in Greene's Pe- 
tulope's Web, 1601, quoted by Dyce : " Least we should be spotted with the 
staine of ingratitude in suffering the princcsse injury unrevenged." And in 
Drayton's Harmonie of the Church, 1591 : "And suffer not their mouthes 
shut up, oh Lord ! " — " Diana's knights " was a common poetical appellation 
of virgins. 

13 Sithence is the old unabridged form of since. It occurs continually in 
Hooker. Shakespeare has it again in Coriolanus, iii. 3. 


Count You have discharged this honesdy ; keep it to 
yourself : many Hkelihoods inform'd me of this before, which 
hung so tottering in the balance, that I could neither believe 
nor misdoubt. Pray you, leave me : stall this in your bosom ; 
and I thank you for your honest care : I will speak with you 
further anon. — \_Exit Steward. 

Even so it was with me when I was young ; 

If we are Nature's, these are ours ; this thorn 

Doth to our rose of youth rightly belong ; 

Our blood to us, this to our blood is bom. 

It is the show and seal of Nature's truth. 

Where love's strong passion is irapress'd in youth : 

By our remembrances of days foregone, 

Such were not faults,i^ or then we thought them none. 

Enter Helena. 

Her eye is sick on't : I observe her now. 

Hel. What is your pleasure, madam ? 

Count. You know, Helen, I am a mother to you. 

Hel. Mine honourable mistress. 

Count. Nay, a mother : 

Why not a mother? When I said a mother, 
Methought you saw a serpent : what's in mother, 
That you start at it ? I say, I am your mother ; 
And put you in the catalogue of those 
That were enwombed mine : 'tis often seen 
Adoption strives with nature ; and choice breeds 
A native slip to us from foreign seeds : 
You ne'er oppress'd me with a mother's groan, 

i* That is, such things as those referred to just before. — The Countess, 
so benignantly recalling and revering the dreams of her youth, is a good 
illustration of Wordsworth's well-known hues, 

The Child is father of the Man ; 

And I could wish my days to be 

Bound each to each by natural piety. 



Yet I express to you a mother's care : 
God's mercy, maiden ! does it curd thy blood. 
To say, I am thy motlier ? What's the matter, 
That this distemper'd messenger of wet, 
The many-colour'd Iris, roimds thine eye ? 
Why, — that you are my daughter? 

-f^^^- That I am not. 

Count. I say, I am your mother. 

Hel. Pardon, madam ; 

The Count Rousillon cannot be my brother : 
I am from humble, he fronj honour'd name ; 
No note upon my parents, his all noble : 
My master, my dear lord he is ; and I 
His ser\'ant live, and will his vassal die : 
He must not be my brother. 

Count. Nor I your mother? 

Hel. You are my mother, madam ; would you were — 
So that my lord your son were not my brother — 
Indeed my mother ! or were you both oiu" mothers, ^^ 
I care no more for than I do for Heaven, 
So I were not his sister. Can't no other. 
But, I your daughter, he must be my brother? 

Count. Yes, Helen, you might be my daughter-in-law ; 
God shield, you mean it not ! daughter and mother 
So strive upon your pulse. What, pale again ? 
My fear hath catch 'd your fondness : now I see 
The mystery of your loneliness, and find 
Your salt tears' head : '^ now to all sense 'tis gross 
You love my son ; invention is ashamed. 
Against the proclamation of thy passion, 

15 " Both our mothers " for mother of us both. — "I care no more for than " 
is purposely ambiguous ; but she means " I care as much for aj." — " Can't 
no other " means is there, or can there be, no other vxtyf 

16 Head for spring, source, or cause. 


To say thou dost not : therefore tell me true ; 

But tell me then, 'tis so ; for, look, thy cheeks 

Confess it, th' one to th' other ; and thine eyes 

See it so grossly shown in thy behaviours, 

That in their kind they speak it : ^^ only sin 

And hellish obstinacy tie thy tongue. 

That truth should be suspected. Speak, is't so? 

If it be so, you've wound a goodly clew ; 

If it be not, forswear't : howe'er, I charge thee, 

As Heaven shall work in me for thine avail. 

To tell me truly. 

Hel. Good madam, pardon me ! 

Count. Do you love my son ? 

Hel. Your pardon, noble mistress ! 

Count. Love you my son ? 

Hel. Do not you love him, madam? 

Count. Go not about ; my love hath in't a bond, 
Whereof the world takes note : come, come, disclose 
The state of your affection ; for your passions 
Have to the full appeach'd.'^ 

Hel. Then I confess. 

Here on my knee, before high Heaven and yoa. 
That before you, and next unto high Heaven, 
I love your son. 

My friends were poor, but honest ; so's my love : 
Be not offended ; for it hurts not him, 
That he is loved of me : I follow him not 
By any token of presumptuous suit ; 
Nor would I have him till I do deserve him ; 
Yet never know how that desert should be. 

1'' " In their kind" is in their way, their lang^uage, or as it is their nature 
to speak. See page 27, note 8. 

18 Appeach'd is informed, accused, or given evidence. The verb to peach 
or appeach was used for what we call " turning State's evidence." 


I know I love in vain, strive against hope ; 

Yet in this captious and intenible '^ sieve 

I still pour in the waters of my love, 

And lack not to lose still : ^ thus, Indian-like, 

Religious in mine error, I adore 

The Sun, that looks upon his worshipper, 

But knows of him no more. My dearest madam, 

Let not your hate encounter with my love, 

For loving where you do : but, if yourself. 

Whose aged honour cites a virtuous youth. 

Did ever, in so true a flame of liking, 

Wish chastely, and love dearly, that your Dian 

Was both herself and Love ; ^^ O, then give pity 

To her, whose state is such, that cannot choose 

But lend and give, where she is sure to lose ; 

That seeks not to find that her search implies. 

But, riddle-like, lives sweetly where she dies ! 

Count. Had you not lately an intent — speak truly — 
To go to Paris ? 

HeL Madam, I had. 

Count. Wherefore ? tell true. 

19 Intenible for unretentive, unholding ; another instance of the passive 
form with the active sense. See page 15, note 15. — Captious is explained 
by some as a shortened form of capacious, meaning receptive. Singer 
thinks, and rightly, I suspect, that it is used in the sense of the Latin cap- 
tiosus for deceptive, fallacious. " The allusion," says he, " is to Bertram, 
upon whom Helen pours out the stream of her affections, and who certainly 
does not receive the love she bestows upon him." And he thinks the Poet 
had in his mind the story of the Danaides, which has been thus moralized : 
" These Virgins, who in the fiower of their age pour water into pierced ves- 
sels which they can never fill, what is it but to be always bestowing our love 
on the ungrateful ? " 

20 That is, lack not a supply to lose still. 

21 " A flame so true, that the Goddess of Chastity, whom you worshipped, 
and the Goddess of Love, were to you one and the same." A very noble 
thought ; as, indeed, every thing in the mind and heart of this heroine is 


Hel. I will tell truth ; by grace itself, I swear. 
You know my father left me some prescriptions 
Of rare and proved effects, such as his reading 
And manifold experience had collected 
For general sovereignty ; and that he will'd me 
In heedfull'st reservation to bestow them, 
As notes, whose faculties inclusive were 
More than they were in note : ^^ amongst the rest, 
There is a remedy, approved, set down. 
To cure the desperate languishings whereof 
The King is render'd^^ lost. 

Count. This was your motive 

For Paris, was it? speak. 

Hel. My lord your son made me to think of this ; 
Else Paris, and the medicine, and the King, 
Had from the conversation of my thoughts 
Haply been absent then. 

Count. But think you, Helen, 

If you should tender your supposed aid. 
He would receive it? he and his physicians 
Are of a mind ; he, that they cannot help him ; 
They, that they cannot help : how shall they credit 
A poor unlearned virgin, when the schools, 
Embowell'd of their doctrine,24 have left off 
The danger to itself? 

22 The meaning probably is, that their included and actual virtues and 
efficacies were greater than they plainly expressed; so that an unpractised 
or an unlearned eye would not take note how much they contained. Of 
course there is something of verbal play in notes and note. But the Poet 
repeatedly uses note for knowledge. So in King Lear, iii. i : " Sir, I do 
know you ; and dare, upon the warrant of my note, commend a dear thing 
to you." 

23 Is reported or represented to be lost. So in As You Like It, iv. iii : "And 
he did render him the most unnatural that lived 'mongsf men." 

24 " Embowell'd oiXheiT doctrine" is exhausted o{ Xhen learning. 


Hel. There's something hints, 

More than my father's skill, which was the greatest 
Of his profession, that his good receipt 
Shall, for my legacy, be sanctified 

By th' ^^ luckiest stars in heaven : and, would your Honour 
But give me leave to try success,^ I'd venture 
This well-lost life of mine on's Grace's cure 
By such a day and hour. 

Count. Dost thou believe't? 

Hel. Ay, madam, knowingly. 

Count. Why, Helen, thou shalt have my leave and love, 
Means and attendants, and my loving greetings 
To those of mine in Court : I'll stay at home. 
And pray God's blessing unto thy attempt : 
Be gone to-morrow ; and be sure of this. 
What I can help thee to, thou shalt not miss. \Exeunt. 

Scene I. — Paris. A Room in the King's Palace. 

Flourish. Enter the King, with divers young Lords taking 
leave for the Florentine war ; Bertram, Parolles, atid 

King. Farewell, young lord ; these warlike principles 
Do not throw from you : — and you, my lord, farewell : — 
Share the advice betwixt you ; if both gain all, 
The gift doth stretch itself as 'tis received. 
And is enough for both. 

I Lord. It is our hope, sir, 

25 The Poet often thus elides the, so as to make it coalesce with the pre- 
ceding word. So we have/)/- th',from. ih' , to th\ -why th' , and others. 

26 That is, try the sequence, issue, or result. So the Poet often uses 

36 all's well that ends well. act II. 

After well-enter'd soldiers,' to return 
And find your Grace in health. 

King. No, no, it cannot be ; and yet my heart 
Will not confess he owes the malady 
That doth my life besiege.^ Farewell, young lords , 
Whether I live or die, be you the sons 
Of worthy Frenchmen : let higher Italy — 
Those 'bated 3 that inherit but the fall 
Of the last monarchy — see that you come 
Not to woo honour, but to wed it ; when 
The bravest questant shrinks, find what you seek, 
That fame may cry you loud : I say, farewell. 

2 Lord. Health, at your bidding, serve your Majesty ! 

King. Those girls of Italy, take heed of them : 
They say, our French lack language to deny, 
If they demand : beware of being captives, 
Before you serve. 

Both Lords. Our hearts receive your warnings. 

King. Farewell. — Come hither to me. 

\_Exit, led out by Attendants. 

1 Lord. O my sweet lord, that you will stay behind us ! 
Par. 'Tis not his fault, the spark. 

2 Lord. O, 'tis brave wars ! 
Par. Most admirable : I have seen those wars. 

1 That is, after being well initiated as soldiers. 

2 The King means, apparently, that he is still heart-whole ; that his spirits 
do not quail under the conviction that he must soon die. Owes for owns or 
has ; as continually in these plays. 

3 Abated or 'bated, if the text be right, is probably to be taken in the sense 
of cast down or humbled. The verb to abate was often used thus. So, in 
Coriolanus, iii. 3, we have, " most abated captives " ; and in The Warres of 
Cyrus, 1594 : " Those markes of pride shall be abated downe." So that the 
meaning of the passage seems to be, " Let upper Italy, where you are going 
to act, see that you come to gain honour ; those being subdued that inherit 
but the ruins of their former State." The last monarchy probably refers to 
the Roman Empire. 

SCENE I. all's well that ends well. 37 

Ber. I am commanded here, and kept a coil with,^ — 
Too young, and the next year, and 7/V too early. 

Par. An thy mind stand to't, boy, steal away bravely. 

Ber. I shall stay here the forehorse to a smock,^ 
Creaking my shoes on the plain masonry, 
Till honour be bought up, and no sword worn 
But one to dance with ! ^ By Heaven, I'll steal away. 

1 Lord. There's honour in the theft. 

Par. Commit it, count. 

2 Lord. I am your accessary ; and so, farewell. 

Ber. I grow to you, and our parting is as a tortured body. 

1 Lord. Farewell, captain. 

2 Lord. Sweet Monsieur ParoUes ! 

Par. Noble heroes, my sword and yours are kin. Good 
sparks and lustrous, a word, good metals : You shall find in 
the regiment of the Spinii one Captain Spurio," with his cica- 
trice, an emblem of war, here on his sinister cheek ; it was 
this very sword entrench'd it : say to him, I live ; and observe 
his reports for me. 

2 Lord. We shall, noble captain. 

Par. Mars dote on you for his novices ! \Exeunt Lords.] 
— What will ye do ? 

Ber. Stay; the King. 

* Coil is ado, bustle, or fuss. To be kept a coil with probably means to 
he pestered with fussing care and attention. See vol. i., page 171, note 12. 

° The forehorse of a team was wont to be gaily tricked out with tufts and 
ribands and bells. Bertram spurns the idea of being pranked up like such 
a beast, to squire ladies at the Court 

6 In Shakespeare's time, gentlemen danced with swords at their side ; and, 
as the manly weapon of that ilk was apt to be in their way, fancy swords, 
short and light, were made for the purpose. 

• Spurio is a Spanish word ; and, taking it in its proper meaning, we shall 
make Captain Spurio about the same as Captain Sham or Captain Humbug, 
and so own brother to Captain ParoUes. It appears that such bescarfed 
and bespangled and betitled counterfeits sometimes wore a velvet patch on 
the face in order to hide the place where they had not been hurt, and thus 
make a way for their braggardism. 

38 all's well that ends well. act II. 

Re-enter the King, led back to his chair by Attendants. 

Par. Use a more spacious ceremony to the noble lords : 
you have restrain'd yourself within the list of too cold an 
adieu : be more expressive to them : for they wear them- 
selves in the cap of the time •,'^ there do muster true gait, eat, 
speak, and move under the influence of the most received 
star ; and, though the Devil lead the measure,^ such are to 
be followed : after them, and take a more dilated farewell. 

Ber. And I will do so. 

Par. Worthy fellows ; and like to prove most sinewy 
sword-men. \_Exeunt Bertram and Parolles. 

Enter Lafeu. 

Laf. '[^Kneeling.'] Pardon, my lord, for me and for my 

King. I'll fee thee to stand up. 

Laf. \_Rising.'] Then here 's a man stands that has bought 
his pardon. 
Would you had kneel'd, my lord, to ask me mercy ; i° 
And at my bidding you could so stand up. 

King. I would I had ; so I had broke thy pate, 
And ask'd thee mercy for't. 

Laf. Good faith, across. '^ But, my good lord, 'tis thus : 
Will you be cured of your infirmity ? 

King. No. 

Laf. O, will you eat no grapes, my royal fox? 

8 " Wear themselves in the cap of the time," is a Parollian phrase for 
leading or selling Ihe fashion ; and it is part of the trade of such to invent 
new affectations in walking, eating, and speaking. 

9 Measure here means a certain dance. See vol. ii., page 83, note 21. 

1" Mercy and pardon were often used thus as equivalents ; and to ask 
mercy or cry mercy was a common phrase for begging pardon. 

11 Across, as here used, is from the language of the tilt-yard, and was ap)- 
plied in reproach or derision when a tilter broke his lance across the body 
of his opponent, and not by a push of the point. Hence it came to be used 
figuratively, as here, for a miscarriage in a pass of -wit. 


/es, but you will my noble grapes, an if 

My royal fox could reach them : I've seen a medicine ^^ 

That 's able to breathe life into a stone. 

Quicken a rock, and make you dance canary ^^ 

With sprightly fire and motion ; whose simple touch 

Is powerful to araise King Pepin, nay, 

And give great Charlemain a pen in's hand, 

To vvTite to her a love-line, i"* 

King. What her is this ? 

La/. Why, Doctor She. My lord, there's one arrived. 
If you will see her : now, by my faith and honour. 
If seriously I may convey my thoughts 
In this my light deliverance, I have spoke 
With one that, in her sex, her years, profession, 
Wisdom, and constancy, hath amazed me more 
Than I dare blame my weakness : '^ will you see her. 
For that is her demand, — and know her business? 
That done, laugh well at me. 

King. Now, good Lafeu, 

Bring in the admiration ; that we with thee 
May spend our wonder too, or take off thine 
By wondering how thou took'st it. 

Laf. Nay, I'll fit you, 

And not be all day neither. [^Exit. 

King. Thus he his special nothing ever prologues. 

Re-enter Lafeu, with Helena. 

Laf. Nay, come your ways. 

Kit^. This haste hath wings indeed. 

^ Medicine for medicimr, that is, a ptiyncian. 

13 Cattary was the name of a very lively dance. See vol. iL, page 34, 
note 4. 

!■* It is said that Charlemain late in life vainly attempted learning to write. 

1* That is, " hath amazed me so much, that I dare not impute the amaze 
ment wholly to my weakness." 

40 all's well that ends well. act II. 

Laf. Nay, come your ways ; 
This is his Majesty, say your mind to him : 
A traitor you do look like ; but such traitors 
His Majesty seldom fears : I'm Cressid's uncle, 
That dare leave two together ; fare you well. 

King. Now, fair one, does your business follow us ? 

Hel. Ay, my good lord. 
Gerard de Narbon was my father ; one, 
In what he did profess, well found. '^ 

King. I knew him. 

Hel. The rather will I spare my praises towards him ; 
Knowing him is enough. On's bed of death 
Many receipts he gave me ; chiefly one. 
Which, as the dearest issue of his practice. 
And of his old experience th' only darling. 
He bade me store up, as a triple ^^ eye, 
Safer than mine own two, more dear : I have so : 
And, hearing your high Majesty is touch'd 
With that malignant cause wherein the honour 
Of my dear father's gift stands chief in power, 
I come to tender it, and my appliance. 
With all bound humbleness. 

King. We thank you, maiden ; 

But may not be so credulous of cure. 
When our most learned doctors leave us, and 
The congregated college have concluded 
That labouring art can never ransom nature 
From her inaidable estate ; ^^ — I say we must not 
So stain our judgment, or corrupt our hope, 

16 Well-found \% well-skilled or well-learned; the same as well-seen. See 
vol. ii., page 167, note 19. 

IT Triple for third ; an odd use of the word, but the Poet has it several 
times in that sense. 

IS Estate for state ; the two being used interchangeably. 

SCENE I. all's well that ends well. 41 

To prostitute '^ our past-cure malady 

To Empirics ; or to dissever so 

Our great self and our credit, to esteem 

A senseless help, when help past sense we deem.^^ 

Hel. My duty, then, shall pay rae for my pains : 
I will no more enforce mine office on you ; 
Humbly entreating from your royal thoughts 
A modest one, to bear me back again. 

Kitig. I cannot give thee less, to be call'd grateful : 
Thou thought'st to help me ; and such thanks I give 
As one near death to those that wish him live : 
But, what at full I know, thou know'st no part ; 
I knowing all my peril, thou no art. 

Hel. What I can do can do no hurt to try, 
Since you set up your rest ^^ 'gainst remedy. 
He that of greatest works is finisher, 
Oft does them by the weakest minister : 
So holy \vrit in babes hath judgment shown. 
When judges have been babes ; ^^ great floods have flown 

19 Where the correlatives so and as are rightly in place, the Poet, often in 
verse, and sometimes in prose, omits as. Here the full expression would 
be, " so stain our judgment, as to prostitute." And again, a little after : " St 
dissever, as to esteem." 

20 The language is obscure, though the general meaning may not be so 
Perhaps the words will come intelligible something thus : " I must not so 
disjoin my great office, or my high-seated person, from the reputation of 
wisdom that rightly belongs to it, as to respect or put faith in an ignorant 
offer of help, when I hold my case to be beyond the reach of the most in- 
telligent effort." 

21 To set up one's rest was a common phrase for making up one's mind. 
See vol. iii., page 141, note 16. 

22 Referring, perhaps, to St. Matthew, xi. 25 : "I thank thee, O Father, 
because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast re- 
vealed them unto babes." Staunton, however, thinks it probable that the 
particular allusion is to the four youths, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and 
Azariah, who were appointed to be brought up for the King's service ; as 
related in Daniel, i. 17 and 20 : "As for these four children, God gave them 
Knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom. And in all matters of wis- 


From simple sources ; ^3 and great seas have dried, 
When miracles have by the greatest been denied.^^ 
Oft expectation fails, and most oft there • 
Where most it promises ; and oft it hits 
Where hope is coldest, and despair most fits. 

King. I must not hear thee ; fare thee well, kind maid ; 
Thy pains, not used, must by thyself be paid : 
Proffers not took reap thanks for their reward. 

Hel. Inspired merit so by breath is barr'd : 
It is not so with Him that all things knows, 
As 'tis with us that square our guess by shows ; 
But most it is presumption in us when 
The help of Heaven we count the act of men. 
Dear sir, to my endeavours give consent ; 
Of Heaven, not me, make an experiment. 
I am not an impostor, that proclaim 
Myself against the level of mine aim ; ^^ 
But know I think, and think I know most sure, 
My art is not past power, nor you past cure. 

Xing. Art thou so confident? within what space 
Hopest thou my cure ? 

He/, The great'st Grace lending grace, 

dom and understanding the King inquired of them ; and he found them ten 
times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his 

23 Alluding, perhaps, to the smiting of the rock in Horeb by Moses. 

^'i This must refer, apparently, to the Israelites passing the Red Sea, when 
miracles had been denied by Pharaoh. 

25 To proclaim one's self against the level of one's aim, is, I take it, to set 
up one's profit or self-interest against or above that which he professes to 
aim at ; which is the right virtue of a quack or impostor. Level, here, is 
drift, course, or direction. Perhaps Heath's explanation is better : " The 
level of the impostor's aim must be supposed to be reward in case of suc- 
cess. Whenever, therefore, he vaunts his skill and ability, at the same time 
that he is conscious of his own deficiency in those respects, and that he 
must miscarry when they are put to the trial, he may be properly said to 
proclaim himself the level of liis aim." 


all's well that ends well. 


Ere twice the horses of the Sun shall bring 
Their fiery torcher his diurnal ring ; 
Ere twice in murk and occidental damp 
Moist Hesperus hath quench'd his sleepy lamp ; 
Or four-and-twenty times the pilot's glass 
Hath told the thievish minutes how they pass ; 
\\Tiat is infirm fi-om youi- sound parts shall fly. 
Health shall live firee and sickness ft^eely die. 

King. Upon thy certainty and confidence 
What darest thou venture ? 

Hel. Tax of impudence ; 

A strumpet's boldness, a divulged shame ; 
Traduced by odious ballads ; my maid's name 
Sear'd otherwise ; nay, worse of worst extended,^ 
With vilest torture let my life be ended. 

King. Methinks in thee some blessed spirit doth speak, 
His powerful sound within an organ weak : 
And what impossibility ^^ would slay 
In common sense, sense saves another way. 
Thy life is dear ; for all that life can rate 
Worth name of life in thee hath estimate,^^ — 
Youth, beauty, wisdom, courage, virtue, all 

26 " Worse of worst extended " is, I presume, exactly equivalent to the 
phrase in common use, " Let worse come to worst," or, " If worse come to 
worst." The proper order of the words would seem to be, " nay, worst o! 
wane extended " ; which gives the sense of worse driven or pushed on to 
worst. But perhaps the order in the text was meant to give the sense 
of that which is worst of all being strained up to something still worse. — 
Sear'd is scorched, or blasted. 

2' Impossibility for incredibility. The Poet has impossible repeatedly in 
the same sense. So in Much Ado, ii. i : " Only his gift is in devising impos- 
sible slanders." Also in Twelfth Night, iii. 2 : " There is no Christian, that 
means to be saved by believing rightly, can ever believe such impossible 
passages of grossness." 

28 That is, " may be reckoned or estimated among the felicities that wait 
i^Ktn thee. 


That happiness and prime ^9 can happy call : 
Thou this to hazard, needs must intimate 
Skill infinite or monstrous desperate. 
Sweet practiser, thy physic I will try, 
That ministers thine own death, if I die. 

Hel. If I break time, or flinch in property 
Of what I spoke, unpitied let me die ; 
And well deserved : not helping, death's my fee ; 
But, if I help, what do you promise me ? 

King. Make thy demand. 

Hel. But will you make it even? 

King. Ay, by my sceptre and my hopes of Heaven. 

Hel. Then shalt thou give me with thy kingly hand 
What husband in thy power I v/ill command : 
Exempted be from me the arrogance 
To choose from forth the royal blood of France, 
My low and humble name to propagate 
With any branch or image of the state ; 
But such a one, thy vassal, who I know 
Is free for me to ask, thee to bestow. 

King. Here is my hand ; the premises observed, 
Thy will by my performance shall be served : 
So make the choice of thy own time ; for I, 
Thy resolved patient, on thee still rely. 
More siiould I question thee, and more I must, — 
Though more to know could not be more to trust, — 
From whence thou camest, how tended on : but rest 
Unquestion'd welcome, and undoubted blest. — 
Give me some help here, ho ! — If thou proceed 
As high as word, my deed shall match thy deed. 

\_Flourish. Exeunt. 

29 Prime is youth, the spring-time of life. Prime was not unfrequently 
used for Spring. So in the Poet's 97th Sonnet : " The teeming Autumn, 
big with rich increase, bearing the wanton burden of the prime." 

SCENE II. all's well that ends well. 45 

ScE>rE II. — Rousillon. A Room in th£ House of0ie Countess. 
Enter the Countess and Clown. 

Count. Come on, sir ; I shall now put you to the height 
of your breeding. 

Clo. I will show m)'self highly fed and lowly taught : I 
know ray business is but to the Court. 

Count. But to the Court! why, what place make you spe- 
cial, when you put off that with such contempt ? But to the 

Clo. Truly, madam, if God have lent a man any manners, 
he may easily put it off at Court : he that cannot make a leg,i 
put off's cap, kiss his hand, and say nothing, has neither leg, 
hands, lip, nor cap ; and, indeed, such a fellow, to say pre- 
cisely, were not for the Court : but, for me, I have an answer 
will serve all men. 

Count. Marry, that's a bountiful answer that fits all ques- 

Clo. It is like a barber's chair, that fits all buttocks, — the 
pin-buttock, the quatch-buttock, the brawn-buttock,"^ or any 

Count. Will your axiswer serve fit to all questions ? 

Clo. As fit as ten groats is for the hand of an attorney, as 
your French crown for yovir taffeta punk,^ as Tib's rush for 
Tom's forefinger,^ as a pancake for Shrove-Tuesday, a morris 

1 Making a Ug is an old phrase for bending the itue. curtsying, or doing 
an obeisance. 

' A pin-buttock is a pointed or sharp buttock. Quatck is Jlat or squat. 
Brawn \s plump ox protuberant : used especially of any muscular protuber- 

' A French cro9m, as the words are here used, is a crown made bald by 
what was called the French disease. Taffeta is a rich silken fabric, with 
wavy lustre; sometimes called i«i/irr-j</i6. Punk \s ai prostitute. 

* Tib and Tom were usually joined in ^miliar poetry, meaning much the 
same, app>arently, as lass and lad. The rush-ring seems to have been a 

46 all's well that ends well. act II. 

for May-day,^ as the nail to his hole, the cuckold to his horn, 
as a scolding quean to a wrangling knave, as the nun's lip to 
the friar's mouth, nay, as the pudding to his skin. 

Count Have you, I say, an answer of such fitness for all 
questions ? 

Clo. From below your duke to beneath your constable, it 
will fit any question. 

Count. It must be an answer of most monstrous size that 
must fit all demands. 

Clo. But a trifle neither, in good faith, if the learned 
should speak truth of it : here it is, and all that belongs to't. 
Ask me if I am a courtier : it shall do you no harm to learn. 

Count. To be young again, if we could : I will be a fool 
in question, hoping to be the wiser by your answer. I pray 
you, sir, are you a courtier? 

Clo. O Lord, sir f^'' There's a simple putting off. More, 
more, a hundred of them. 

Count. Sir, I am a poor friend of yours that loves you. 

Clo. O Lord, sir f Thick, thick, spare not me. 

kind of love-token for plighting troth among rustic lovers. Nares says it 
was used in jocular marriages, and quotes from Davenant's Rivals : " I'll 
crown thee with a garland of straw, then, and I'll marry thee with a rtts/i- 

5 The morris was a May-day frolic, with dancing and a hobby-horse per- 
formance : originally called Aforisco, and said to be derived from the Moors 
through Spain, where it is still popular under the name oi fandango. I 
quote a part of Stubbes' description in his Anatomy of Abuses, 1595: "They 
bedeck themselves with scarfs, ribbons, and laces, hanged all over with gold 
rings, precious stones, and other jewels : this done, they tie about either leg 
twenty or forty bells ; with rich handkerchiefs in their hands, and sometimes 
laid across over their shoulders and necks, borrowed for the most part from 
their pretty Mopsies and loving Bessies, for bussing them in the dark. Thus 
all things set in order, then have they their hobby-horses, their dragons, and 
other antics, together with their bawdy pipers and thundering drummers, to 
Strike up the Devil's Dance withal." 

6 A satire on this silly expletive, then much in vogue at Court and among 
the sprigs of aristocracy. Ben Jonson ridicules it to repletion in some of 
bis plays. 

SCENE III. all's well that ends well. 47 

Count. I think, sir, you can eat none of this homely meat. 

Clo. O Lord, sir .' Nay, put me to't, I warrant you. 

Count. You were lately whipp'd, sir, as I think. 

Clo. O Lord, sir ! Spare not me. 

Count. Do you cry, O Lord, sir / at your whipping, and 
Spare not me ? Indeed, your O Lord, sir I is very sequent 
to your whipping : you would answer very well to a whip- 
ping, if you were but bound to't. 

Clo. I ne'er had worse luck in my life in my O Lord, sir ! 
I see things may serve long, but not serve ever. 

Count. I play the noble housewife with the time, 
To entertain't so merrily with a Fool. 

Clo. O Lord, sir I Why, there't serves well again. 

Count. An end, sir : to your business. Give Helen this. 
And urge her to a present answer back : 
Commend me to my kinsmen and my son. 
This is not much. 

Clo. Not much commendation to them. 

Count. Not much employment for you : you understand me? 

Clo. Most fruitfully : I am there before my legs. 

Count. Haste you again. [Exeunt severally. 

Scene HI. — Paris. A Room in the King's Palace. 

Enter Lafeu and Parolles. 

Laf. They say miracles are past ; and we have our philo- 
sophical persons, to make modem ^ and familiar, things super- 
natural and causeless.'- Hence is it that we make trifles of 

1 MotUm, here, is trite, commonplace, or ordinary. So the Poet often 
uses modem. The usage was common. 

2 Shakespeare, inspired, as might seem, with all knowledge, here uses 
the word causeless in its strict philosophical sense ; cause being truly pre- 
dicable only oi phenomena, that is, things natural, not oinoumata, or things 
supernatural. — COLKIUDGS. 

48 all's well that ends well. act II. 

terrors ; ensconcing ourselves into seeming knowledgej^ when 
we should submit ourselves to an unknown fear."* Why, 'tis 
the rarest argument of wonder that hath shot out in our latter 

Par. And so 'tis. 

Laf. To be relinquish'd of the artists, — 

Par. So I say. 

Laf. — both of Galen and Paracelsus, of all the learned 
and authentic ^ fellows, — 

Par. Right ; so I say. 

Laf. — that gave him out incurable, — 

Par. Why, there 'tis ; so say I too. 

Laf — not to be help'd, — 

Par. Right j as 'twere, a man assured of a — 

Laf. Uncertain life, and sure death. « 

Par. Just, you say well ; so would I have said. 

Laf. I may truly say, it is a novelty to the world. 

Par. It is, indeed : if you will have it in showing, you 
shall read it in What do ye call there — 

Laf. A showing of a heavenly effect in an earthly actor. 

Par. That's it I would have said ; the very same. 

Laf. Why, your dolphin *' is not lustier : 'fore me, I speak 
in respect — 

3 To ensconce is to secure as in a fort ; a sconce being a fortress, or the 
chief part of one. — Into and in were often used indiscriminately. 

* That is, "should humble ourselves under a fear, the true grounds or 
reasons of which are unknown to us." 

5 Authentic is allowed or approved ; used, apparently, of those physicians 
whose science was authenticated by regular diploma. 

6 Your is here indefinite : " a dolphin," is the meaning. The Poet has 
a great many instances of personal pronouns thus used indefinitely. So in 
Hamlet, iii. 7: " Your worm is your ox\\y emperor for diet." — " Your fat 
king and your lean beggar is but variable service." Also in v. 1 : " And 
your water is a sore decayer of your whoreson dead body." And in i. 5 : 
" There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of 
in your philosophy." 


Par. Nay, 'tis strange, 'tis very strange, that is the brief 
and the tedious of it ; and he's of a most facinorous spirit 
that will not acknowledge it to be the — 

Laf. Very hand of Heaven — 

Par. Ay, so I say. 

Laf. In a most weak — 

Par. — and debile minister great power, great transcend- 
ence : which should, indeed, give us a fvuther use to be 
made than alone the recovery of the King ; as to be — 

Laf. Generally thankfiil. 

Par. I would have said it ; you say well.' Here comes 
the King. 

Enter tiu King, Helena, and Attendants. 

Laf. Lustic,^ as the Dutchman says : I'll like a maid the 
better whilst I have a tooth in my head : why, he's able to 
lead her a coranto.^ 

Par. Mort du vinaigre / is not this Helen ? 

Laf 'Fore God, I think so. 

King. Go, call before me all the lords in Court. — 

\Exit an Attendant, 
Sit, my preserver, by thy patient's side ; 
And with this healthful hand, whose banish 'd sense 
Thou hast ref)eal'd, a second time receive 
The confirmation of my promised gift. 
Which but attends thy naming. 

Enter several Lords and Bertram. 

Fair maid, send forth thine eye : this youthftil parcel 

' It is hardly needful to remark that the humour of the forgoing dialogue 
lies in the pretensions of ParoUes to knowledge and sentiments which he is 
quite innocent of. The penetrating old lord delights in tapping the bedizened 
wind-bag, and letting out his emptiness. 

8 Lustic, the Dutch lustigh anglicised, is lusty, healthful, vigorous. 

9 Coranto was the name of a brisk, sprightly dance. 


Of noble baclielors stand at my bestowing, 

O'er whom both sovereign's power and father's voice 

I have to use : thy frank election make ; 

Thou'st power to choose, and they none to forsake. 

Hel. To each of you one fair and virtuous mistress 
Fall, when Love please ! marry, to each, but one ! "^ 

Laf. I'd give bay curtaP' and his furniture, 
My mouth no more were broken than these boys', 
And writ as little beard. 

King. Peruse them well : 

Not one of those but had a noble father. 

Hel. Gentlemen, 
Heaven hath, through me, restored the King to health. 

All. We understand it, and thank Heaven for you. 

Hel. I am a simple maid ; and therein wealthiest, 
That I protest I simply am a maid. — 
Please it your Majesty, Pve done already : 
The blushes in my cheeks thus whisper me, 
We blush that thou shouldst choose ; btit, be refused}^ 
Let the white death sit on thy cheek for ever ; 
JVe'll ne'er come there again. 

King. Make choice ; and, see. 

Who shuns thy love shuns all his love in me. 

Hel. Now, Dian, from thy altar do I fly ; 
And to imperial Love, that god most high. 
Do my sighs stream. — \_To\ Lord.] Sir, will you hear my suit ? 

I Lord. And grant it. 

Hel. Thanks, sir ; all the rest is mute. 

1" The exceptive but, as it is called ; formed from be oiit, and bearing that 
sense. Helen excepts Bertram, as she wishes herself io him. — Marry is in- 
deed, truly. See vol. i., page 103, note 3. 

11 Curtal was a common term for a docked or curtailed horse. 

12 Be re/used here carries the sense of if thou be refused. — The white 
death means ih^ paleness of death. 



Laf. I had rather be in this choice than throw ames-ace 
for my life.'^ 

Hel. \_To 2 Lord.] The honour, sir, that flames in your 
fair eyes, 
Before I speak, too threateningly replies : 
Love make your -fortunes twenty times above 
Her that so wishes and her humble love ! 

2 Lord. No better, if you please. 

Hel. My wish receive, 

^Vhich great Love grant ! and so, I take my leave. 

Laf. Do all they deny her ? An they were sons of mine, 
I'd have them whipp'd ; or I would send them to the Turk, 
to make eunuchs of. 

Hel. [7i? 3 Lord.] Be not afraid that I your hand should 
take ; 
I'll never do you wrong for your own sake : 
Blessing upon your vows ! and in your bed 
Find fairer fortune, if you ever wed ! 

Laf. These boys are boys of ice, they'll none of her : ^^ sure, 
they are bastards to the English ; the French ne'er got 'em. 

Hel. \_To 4 Lord.] You are too young, too happy, and 
too good. 
To make yourself a son out of my blood. 

4 Lord. Fair one, I think not so. 

Laf. There's one grape yet, — I am sure thy father drunk 
wine. — But, if thou be'st not an ass, I am a youth of four- 
teen ; I have known thee already.^^ 

1' Ames-ace is both aces, the lowest throw upon the dice. So that throw- 
ing ames-ace was ill luck : but Lafeu contrasts it with the happy fortune of 
being Helen's choice. 

1* It is to be understood that, during this part of the scene, Lafeu and 
Parolles are standing apart and at some distance from the rest, so that they 
see what is done, but do not hear what is said : hence Lafeu sp>eaks as if 
Helen were the refiised, not the refiiser. 

1^* Johnson's explanation of this is perhaps right : " Old Lafeu having, 

52 all's well that ends well. act II. 

Hel. \To Bert.] I dare not say 1 take you; but I give 
Me and my service, ever whilst I live, 
Into your guiding power. — This is the man. 

King. Why, then, young Bertram, take her ; she's thy wife. 

Ber. My wife, my -liege ! I shall beseech your Highness, 
In such a business give me leave to use 
The help of mine own eyes. 

King. Know'st thou not, Bertram, 

What she has done for me ? 

Ber. Yes, my good lord ; 

But never hope to know why I should marry her. 

King. Thou knowest she has raised me from my sickly 

Ber. But follows it, my lord, to bring me down 
Must answer for your raising ? I know her well : 
She had her breeding at my father's charge. 
A poor physician's daughter my wife ! Disdain 
Rather corrupt me ever ! 

King. 'Tis only title thou disdain'st in her,!^ the which 
I can build up. Strange is it that our bloods. 
Of colour, weight, and heat, pour'd all together. 
Would quite confound distinction, yet stand off 
In differences so mighty. If she be 
All that is virtuous, — save what thou dislikest, 
A poor physician's daughter, — thou dislikest 
Of virtue for the name : but do not so : 
From lowest place when virtuous things proceed, 
The place is dignified by th' doer's deed : 

upon the supposition that the lady was refused, reproached the young lords 
as boys of ice, throwing his eyes on Bertram, who remains, cries out, ' There 
is one yet, into whom his father put some good blood ; — but 1 have known 
thee long enough to know thee for an ass.' " I suspect, however, that the 
latter part of the speech refers not to Bertram, but to Parolles. 

16 Title must here be taken as equivalent to want of title. The Poet has 
repeated instances of such elliptical language. 

SCENE III. all's well that ends well. 53 

Where great additions swell's,^' and virtue none. 

It is a dropsied honour : good alone 

Is good without a name ; Wleness is so : ^® 

The propert)- by what it is should go, 

Not by the title. She is young, wise, fair ; 

In these to Nature she's immediate heir ; 

And these breed honour : that is honour's scorn. 

Which challenges itself as honour's bom, 

And is not hke the sire : '^ honours thrive, 

When rather from our acts we them derive 

Than our foregoers : the mere word's a slave, 

Debauch'd on every tomb, on every grave 

A lying trophy ; and as oft is dumb 

Where dust and damn'd oblivion is the tomb 

Of honour'd bones indeed. What should be said? 

If thou canst like this creature as a maid, 

I can create the rest : virtue and she 

Is her own dower ; honour and wealth from me. 

Ber. I cannot love her, nor will strive to do'L 

King. Thou wrong'st thyself, if thou shouldst strive to 

Hel. That you are well restored, my lord, I'm glad : 
Let the rest go. 

King. My honour's at the stake ; which to defend, 
I must produce my power. — Here, take her hand. 
Proud scornful boy, unworthy this good gift ; 
That dost in vile misprision ^^^ shackle up 

1" Here, as often, additions is titles, or titular honours. — Such contrac- 
tions as that of swell's for szoell us are quite frequent. 

18 That is, vileness is also vile, whether it be named so or not 

t9 Sire is here a dissyllable, in the same way as Jlre, hour, &c., often are. 
— The meaning of what precedes is, " Which proclaims itself as the offspring 
of honour." To challenge is, in one of its senses, to assert, or to claim as a 

V Misprision is misprising, prising amiss; that is, undervaluing. 


My love and her desert ; that canst not dream, 

We, poising us in her defective scale, 

Shall weigh thee to the beam ; that wilt not know, 

It is in us to plant thine honour where 

We please to have it grow. Check thy contempt : 

Obey our will, which travails in thy good : 

Believe not thy di-sdain, but presently 

Do thine own fortunes that obedient right ^^ 

Which both thy duty owes and our power claims ; 

Or I will throw thee from my care for ever 

Into the staggers and the cureless lapse 

Of youth and ignorance ; 22 both my revenge and hate 

Loosing upon thee, in the name of justice. 

Without all terms of pity. Speak ; thine answer. 

Ber. Pardon, my gracious lord ; for I submit 
My fancy to your eyes : when I consider 
What great creation and what dole of honour 
Flies where you bid it, I find that she, which late 
Was in my nobler thoughts most base, is now 
The praised of the King ; who, so ennobled, 
Is, as 'twere, born so. 

King. Take her by the hand, 

And tell her she is thine : to whom I promise 
A counterpoise ; if not to thy estate, 
A balance more replete. 

Ber. I take her hand. 

King. Good fortune and the favour of the Heavens 
Smile upon this contract ! whose ceremony 

21 Obedient right means right of obedience. " Deal justly or rightly with 
your fortunes by submitting to them." 

22 Lapse is fall. The King is warning Bertram to obey, else he will let 
him go his own headstrong way to irreparable ruin. The staggers is the 
reeling and plunging course of one going to the dogs, like a drunken man. 
Loosing is letting loose. Without is out of ox beyond " all terms of pity." 

SCENE III. all's well that ends well. 55 

Shall come expedient on the now-born brief,^ 
And be perform 'd to-night : the solemn feast 
Shall more attend upon the coming space. 
Expecting absent friends.^^ As thou lovest her, 
Thy love's to me religious ; else, does err. 

\^Exeunt the King, Ber., Hel., Lords, and Attendants. 

Laf. Do you hear, monsieur? a word mth you. 

Par. Your pleasure, sir? 

Laf. Your lord and master did well to make his recan- 

Par. Recantation ! My lord ! my master ! 

Laf. Ay ; is it not a language I speak ? 

Par. A most harsh one, and not to be understood without 
bloody succeeding.^ My master ! 

La/. Are you companion to the Count Rousillon ? 

Par. To any count, to all counts, to what is man. 

Laf. To what is count's man : count's master is of another 

Par. You are too old, sir ; le^rsatisfy you, you are too old. 

Laf. I must tell thee, sirrah, I wTite man ; to which title 
age cannot bring thee. 

Par. ^Vhat I dare too well do, I dare not do. 

L^f. I did think thee, for two ordinaries,=^ to be a pretty 

*> Expedient here means quickly or expeditiously, and brie/is used in the 
sense of a short note. So that the meaning of the jjassage is, " The marriage 
ceremony shall proceed immediately upon the troth now briefiy plighted." 

2* That is, " the customary feast shall be put off to a future time, -waiting 
for absent friends." The Poet often uses solemn thus in its classical sense 
of regular, usual, or customary. See vol. ii., page 195, note 15. He also 
has expect ref>eatedly in the old sense of to wait for. So in The Merchant, 
V. I : " Sweet soul, let's in, and there expect their coming." The same usage 
is common in the Bible. 

25 Succeeding for sequel, consequence, or issue. See page 35, note 26. 

26 That is, during the time of tvs'O meals or dinners. So in Antony and 
Cleopatra, ii, 2 : " And for his ordinary pays his heart for what his eyes eat 

56 all's well that ends well. act II, 

wise fellow ; thou didst make tolerable vent of thy travel ; it 
might pass : yet the scarfs and the bannerets about thee did 
manifoldly dissuade me from believing thee a vessel of too 
great a burden. I have now found thee ; when I lose thee 
again, I care not : yet art thou good for nothing but taking 
up ; ^"^ and that thou'rt scarce worth. 

Flar. Hadst thou not the privilege of antiquity upon 
thee, — 

La/. Do not plunge thyself too far in anger, lest thou 
hasten thy trial ; which if — Lord have mercy on thee for 
a hen ! So, my good window of lattice,^^ fare thee well : thy 
casement I need not open, for I look through thee. Give 
me thy hand. 

L'ar. My lord, you give me most egregious indignity. 

La/. Ay, with all my heart ; and thou art worthy of it. 

Par. I have not, my lord, deserved it. 

La/ Yes, good faith, every dram of it; and I will not 
bate thee a scruple. 

Far. Well, I shall be wiler — 

Lqf. E'en as soon as thou canst, for thou hast to pull at a 
smack o' the contrary. If ever thou be'st bound in thy scarf 
and beaten, thou shalt find what it is to be proud of thy 
bondage. I have a desire to hold my acquaintance with 
thee, or rather my knowledge, that I may say, in thy de- 
fault,29 he is a man I know. 

2" I am not clear as to the meaning of take up here. The Poet uses it 
several times, punningly, in the sense of taking goods or merchandise on 
credit. And so Nares understands it here. He says also, " When Lafeu 
adds, 'and that thou'rt scarce worth,' the intention is to play upon another 
sense of the words, that of taking from the ground." But the phrase now 
sometimes rneans, to contradict, or call to account ; and such, I am apt to 
think, may be the meaning of Lafeu. 

■■28 A latticed window is a window not so thickly blinded but that it can 
be seen through. 

29 " In thy default " probably means in thy absence. Or it may mean in 
case of thy being tried for a fault or a delinquency. 

SCENE III. all's well that ends well. 57 

Par. My lord, you do me most insupportable vexation. 

Laf. I would it were hell-pains for thy sake, and my pooi 
doing eternal : for doing I am past ; as I will by thee,30 in 
what motion age will give me leave. \Exit. 

Par. Well, thou hast a son shall take this disgrace off me ; 

scurvy, old, filthy, scurvy lord ! — Well, I must be patient; 

there is no fettering of authority. I'll beat him, by my life, 

if I can meet him with any convenience, an he were double 

and double a lord. I'll have no more pity of his age than I 

would have of — I'll beat him, an if I could but meet him 


Re-enter Lafeu. 

Laf. Sirrah, your lord and master's married ; there's news 
for you : you have a new mistress. 

Par. I most unfeignedly beseech your lordship to make 
some reservation of your wrongs : he is my good lord ; whom 
I serve above is my master. 

Laf. Who? God? 

Par. Ay, sir. 

Laf. The Devil it is that's thy master. ^Vhy dost thou 
garter up thy arms o' this fashion ? dost make hose of thy 
sleeves ? do other sen'ants so ? Thou wert best set thy lower 
part where thy nose stands. By mine honour, if I were but 
two hours younger, I'd beat thee : methinks thou art a gen- 
eral offence, and every man should beat thee : I think thou 
wast created for men to breathe themselves ^^ upon thee. 

Par. This is hard and undeserved measure, my lord. 

Laf. Go to, sir ; you were beaten in Italy for picking a 
kernel out of a pomegranate ; you are a vagabond, and no 
true traveller : you are more saucy with lords and honour- 
able personages than the heraldry of your birth and virtue 

3* Meaning " as I will pass by thee." A rather poor quibble on pass. 
31 To exercise themselves upon. See page 22, note 3. 

58 all's well that ends well. act II. 

gives you commission. You are not worth another word, 
else IVi call you knave. I leave you. \^Exit. 

Far. Good, very good ; it is so then : good, very good ; 
let it be conceal'd awhile. 

Re-enter Bertram. 

Ber. Undone, and forfeited to cares for ever ! 

Far. What's the matter, sweet-heart? 

Ber. Although before the solemn priest I've sworn, 
I will not bed her. 

Far. What, what, sweet-heart? 

Ber. O, my Parolles, they have married me ! 
I'll to the Tuscan wars, and never bed her. 

Far. France is a dog-hole, and it no more merits the 
tread of a man's foot : to th' wars ! 

Ber. There's letters from my mother : what the import is, 
I know not yet. 

Far. Ay, 
That would ^^ be known. To th' wars, my boy, to th' wars ! 
He wears his honour in a box unseen, 
That hugs his kicky-wicky ^"^ here at home, 
Spending his manly marrow in her arms. 
Which should sustain the bound and high curvet 
Of Mars's fiery steed. To other regions ! 
France is a stable ; we that dwell in't jades ; 
Therefore, to th' wars ! 

Ber. It shall be so : I'll send her to my house, 
Acquaint my mother with my hate to her. 
And wherefore I am fled ; write to the King 

32 lYould for should. The Poet has a great many instances of could, 
should, and would, as also of shall and will, used indiscriminately. The 
usage was common. 

33 Kicky-wicky, or kicksy-wicksy, says Nares, is " a ludicrous word, of no 
definite meaning, except, perhaps, to imply restlessness ; from kick and 
wince, in allusion to a restive horse." 

SCENE IV. all's well that ends W'ELL. 59 

That which I durst not speak : his present gift 
Shall furnish me to those Italian fields 
Where noble fellows strike : war is no strife 
To the dark house ^^ and the detested wife. 

Par. Will this capriccio hold in thee, art sure ? 

Ber. Go with me to my chamber, and advise me. 
I'll send her straight away : to-morrow 
I'll to the wars, she to her single sorrow. 

Par. Why, these balls bound ; there's noise in it, 'Tis 
hard : 
A young man married is a man that's marr'd : ^^ 
Therefore, away, and leave her ; bravely go : 
The King has done you wrong ; but, hush, 'tis so. \^Exeunt. 

Scene IV. — The Same. Another Room in the Palace. 
Enter Helena and the Glown. 

Hel. My mother greets me kindly : is she well ? 

Clo. She is not well ; but yet she has her health : she's 
very merry ; but yet she is not well : but, thanks be given, 
she's very well, and wants nothing i' the world ; but yet she 
is not well. 

Hel. If she be very well, what does she ail, that she's not 
very well ? 

Clo. Truly, she's very well indeed, but for two things. 

Hel. What two things ? 

Clo. One, that she's not in Heaven, whither God send 
her quickly ! the other, that she's in Earth, from whence God 
send her quickly ! 

3* The house made gloomy by discontent. Here, as often, to has the 
force of compared to, or in comparison with. 

^ This jingling play on marred and married occurs in old Puttenham : 
" The maid that soon married is, soon marred is." 

6o all's well that ends well. act II. 

Enter Parolles. 

Par. Bless you, my fortunate lady ! 

Hel. I hope, sir, I have your good will to have mine own 
good fortunes. 

Par. You had my prayers to lead them on ; and, to keep 
them on, have them still. — O, my knave ! how does my old 

Clo. So that you had her wrinkles, and I her money, I 
. would she did as you say. 

Par. Why, I say nothing. 

Clo. Marry, you are the wiser man ; for many a man's 
tongue shakes out his master's undoing : to say nothing, to 
do nothing, to know nothing, and to have nothing, is to be 
a great part of your title ; which is within a very little of 

Par. Away ! thou'rt a knave. 

Clo. You should have said, sir, before a knave thou'rt a 
knave ; that's, before me thou'rt a knave : this had been 
truth, sir. 

Par. Go to, thou art a witty Fool ; I have found thee. 

Clo. Did you find me in yourself, sir? or were you taught 
to find me ? The search, sir, was profitable ; and much fool 
may you find in you, even to the world's pleasure, and the 
increase of laughter. 

Par. A good knave, i' faith, and well fed.' — 
Madam, my lord will go away to-night ; 
A very serious business calls on him. 
The great prerogative and rite of love. 
Which, as your due, time claims, he does acknowledge ; 
But puts it off to a compell'd ^ restraint ; 

1 Alluding, perhaps, to the old saying, " Better fed than taught." In ii. 
2, the Clown says, " I will show myseXi highly fed and lowly taught." 

2 Here to has the force of in submission to. — Compell'd for compelling ; 
an instance of the indiscriminate use of active and passive forms. 

SCENE V. all's well that ends well. 6 1 

Whose want, and whose delay, is strew'd with sweets, 
Which they distil now in the curbed time, 
To make the coming hour o'erflow with joy,^ 
And pleasure drown the brim. 

Hel. What's his will else ? 

Par. That you will take your instant leave o' the King, 
And make this haste as your own good proceeding, 
Strengthen 'd with what apology you think 
May make it probable need."* 

Hel. What more commands he ? 

Par. That, having this obtain'd, you presently 
Attend his further pleasure. 

Hel. In every thing I wait upon his will. 

Par. I shall report it so. 

Hel. I pray you. \Exit Par.] — Come, sirrah. 


Scene V. — Another Room in the Palace. 

Enter Lafeu and Bertram. 

Laf. But I hope your lordship thinks not him a soldier. 
Ber. Yes, my lord, and of very valiant approof.^ 
Laf. You have it from his own dehverance. 
Ber. And by other warranted testimony. 
Laf. Then my dial goes not true : I took this lark for a 

' Meaning, apparently, that the delay of the joys, and the expectation of 
them, will make them the more plenteous when they come. " The curbed 
time " is the time of restraint!' " Whose want " is the want of which, refer- 
ring to prerogative and rite. 

■* May give a specious or plausible appearance of necessity. 

1 Valiant approofmezns approved valour. See page 54, note: 21. 

2 The bunting has the sky-lark's outside, but nothing of the sky-lark's 
soul or song. Yarrell tells us that the bird is provincially called the bunting 
lark, from the general resemblance to the skyrlark in the colour of its 

62 all's well that ends well. act II. 

Ber. I do assure you, my lord, he is very great in knowl- 
edge, and accordingly valiant. 

Laf. I have, then, sinn'd against his experience, and trans- 
gress'd against his valour ; and my state that way is danger- 
ous, since I cannot yet find in my heart to repent. Here 
he comes : I pray you, make us ft^iends ; I will pursue the 

^* Enter Parolles. 

Par. \_To Bertram.] These things shall be done, sir. 

Laf. Pray you, sir, who's his tailor? 

Par. Sir? 

Laf. O, I know him well, I, sir ; he, sir, 's a good work- 
man, a very good tailor. 

Ber. \_Aside to Par.] Is she gone to the King? 

Par. \_Asid6 to Ber.] She is. 

Ber. \_Aside to Par.] Will she away to-night? 

Par. \_Aside to Ber.] As you'll have her. 

Ber. \_Aside to Par.] I've writ my letters, casketed my 
Given order for our horses ; and to-night. 
When I should take possession of the bride. 
End ere I do begin. 

Laf A good traveller is something at the latter end of a 
dinner ; but one that lies three-thirds, and uses a known truth 
to pass a thousand nothings with, should be once heard, and 
thrice beaten. — God save you, captain. 

Ber. Is there any unkindness between my lord and you, 

Par. I know not how I have deserved to run into my 
lord's displeasure. 

Laf. You have made shift to run into't, boots and spurs 
and all, like him that leap'd into the custard ; ^ and out of it 

3 At great civic festivals, when allowed B'ools were in vogue, the Lord 
Mayor's or the Sherifl's Fool was wont to spring upon the table, and, aftef 

SCENE V. all's well that ends well. 63 

you'll run again, rather than suffer question for your resi- 

Ber. It may be you have mistaken him, my lord. 

Lqf. And shall do so ever, though I took him at's prayers. 
Fare you well, my lord ; and believe this of me, there can be 
no kernel in this light nut ; the soul of this man is his clothes : 
trust him not in matter of heavy consequence ; I have kept of 
them tame, and know their natures. — Farewell, monsieur : I 
have spoken better of you than you have wit or will to deserve 
at my hand ; but we must do good against evil. \Exit. 

Par. An idle lord,^ I swear. 

Ber. I think not so. 

Par. ^Vhy, do you know him ? 

Ber. Yes, I do know him well ; and common speech 
Gives him a worthy pass. Here comes my clog. 

Enter Helena. 

Hel. I have, sir, as I was commanded from you, 
Spoke with the King, and have procured his leave 
For present parting ; ^ only, he desires 
Some private speech with you. 

Ber. I shall obey his will. 

You must not marvel, Helen, at my course. 
Which holds not colovu- with the time, nor does 
The ministration and required office 
On my particular. Prepared I was not 
For such a business ; therefore am I found 
So much unsettled : this drives me to entreat you, 

spouting some doggerel verses, leap boldly into a huge custard prepared for 
the purpose. Ben Jonson, in The Devil is an Ass, L I, has the following : 
" He may perchance, in tail of a sheriffs dinner, skip with a rhyme o' the 
table, from New-nothing, and take his Almain leap into a custard" 

■* Idle, here, means trifling; foolish, or worthless. 

* Parting for departing: the two being tised interchangeably. 

64 all's well that ends well. act II. 

That presently you take your way for home, 
And rather muse ^ than ask why I entreat you ; 
For my respects ^ are better than they seem, 
And my appointments have in them a need 
Greater than shows itself, at the first view, 
To you that know them not. This to my mother : 

[ Giving a letter. 
'Twill be two days ere I shall see you ; so, 
I leave you to your wisdom. 

Hel. Sir, I can nothing say, 

But that I am your most obedient servant. 

Ber. Come, come, no more of that. 

Hel. And ever shall 

With true observance seek to eke out that 
Wherein toward me my homely stars have fail'd 
To equal my great fortune. 

Ber. Let that go : 

My haste is very great : farewell ; hie home. 

Hel. Pray, sir, your pardon. 

Ber. Well, what would you say? 

Hel. I am not worthy of the wealth I owe ; ^ 
Nor dare I say 'tis mine, — and yet it is ; 
But, like a timorous thief, most fain would steal 
What law does vouch mine own. 

Ber. What would you have ? 

Hel. Something ; and scarce so much : nothing, indeed. 
I would not tell you what I would, my lord : — 
Faith, yes : 
Strangers and foes do sunder, and not kiss. 

Ber. i pray you, stay not, but in haste to horse. 

Hel. I shall not break your bidding, good my lord. 

6 In old English, to muse commonly has the sense of to wonder. 
■^ Respects for reasons, considerations, or motives. Often so. 
8 Owe, again, as usual, for own ox possess. See page 36, note 2. 

SCENE I. all's well that ends well. 65 

Ber. Where are my other men, monsieur ? — Farewell : 

\_Exit Helena. 
Go thou toward home ; where I will never come, 
Whilst I can shake my sword, or hear the drum. — 
Away, and for our flight. 

Par. Bravely, coragio ! \Exeunt. 


Scene I. — Florence. A Room in the Duke's Palace. 

Flourish. Enter the Duke of Florence, attended ; two French 
Lords and Soldiers. 

Duke. So that, from point to point, now have you heard 

The fundamental reasons of this war ; 

Whose great decision hath much blood let forth, 

And more thirsts after. 

I Lord. Holy seems the quarrel 

Upon your Grace's party ; ^ black and fearful 
On the opposer's. 

Duke. Therefore we marvel much our cousin France 
Would, in so just a business, shut his bosom 
Against our borrowing prayers. 

I Lord. Good my lord. 

The reasons of our State I cannot yield. 
But like a common and an outward man,^ 
That the great figure of a council frames 

1 Party lox part. The Poet has it so elsewhere, as ako part for party. 

2 " An outward man " is a man not in the secret of affairs. Shakespeare 
uses inward repeatedly in just the opposite sense. 

^ all's well that ends well. act III. 

By self-unable notion : ^ therefore dare not 
Say what I think of it, since I have found 
Myself in my incertain grounds to fail 
As often as I guess'd. 

Duke. Be it his pleasure. 

2 Lord. But I am sure the younger of our nation, 
That surfeit on their ease, will day by day 

Come here for physic. 

Duke. Welcome shall they be ; 

And all the honours that can fly from us 
Shall on them settle. You know your places well ; 
When better fall, for your avails they fall : 
To-morrow to the field. \Flourish. Exeunt. 

Scene II. — Rousillon. A Room in the House of the Countess. 
Enter the Countess and Clown. 

Count. It hath happen'd all as I would have had it, save 
that he comes not along with her. 

Clo. By my troth, I take my young lord to be a very 
melancholy man. 

Count. By what observance, I pray you ? 

Clo. Why, he will look upon his boot, and sing ; mend 
the ruff,^ and sing ; ask questions, and sing ; pick his teeth, 
and sing. I knew a man that had this trick of melancholy 
sold a goodly manor for a song. 

Count. Let me see what he writes, and when he means to 
come. [ Opening a letter. 

3 " That conceives the great scheme or policy of a State council with a 
mind unequal of itself to so large a subject." The Poet several times has 
notion for mind, judgment, or conception. So in King Lear, i. 4 : " Either 
lais notion weakens, or his discernings are lethargied." 

1 The ruff is the ruffle of the boot ; that is, the top of the boot, which 
turned over and hung loosely ; sometimes fringed with lace, ornamentally. 

SCENE II. all's well that exds well. 67 

Clo. I have no mind to Isbel, since I was at Court : our 

oldlings^ and our Isbels o' the country are nothing like your 
oldlings and your Isbels o' the Court : the brains of my 
Cupid's knock'd out ; and I begin to love, as an old man 
loves money, with no stomach. 

Count. What have we here ? 

Clo. E'en that you have there. \Exit. 

Count. [Reads.] I have sent you a daughter-in-law : she 
hath recovered the King, and undone me. I have wedded her, 
not bedded her ; and sworn to make the not eternal. You shall 
hear I atn run away : know it before the report come. If 
there be breadth enough in the world, I will hold a long distance. 
My duty to you. Your unfortunate son, Bertram. 

This is not well, rash and unbridled boy. 
To fly the favours of so good a King ; 
To pluck his indignation on thy head 
By the misprising of a maid too virtuous 
For the contempt of empire. 

Re-enter the Clown. 

Clo. O madam, yonder is heavy news within between two 
soldiers and my young lady ! 

Count. What is the matter? 

Clo. Nay, there is some comfort in the news, some com- 
fort; your son will not be kill'd so soon as I thought he 

Count. ^Vhy should he be kill'd? 

Clo. So say I, madam, if he run away, as I hear he does : 
the danger is in standing to't ; that's the loss of men, though it 
be the getting of children. Here they come will tell you more : 
for my part, I only heard your son was run away. {Exit. 

2 The termination -ling is used here, I take it, just as in various other 
w ords, such as foundling, §rottnMing, sapling, worldling, youngling, &c. See 
Critical Notes. 

68 all's well that ends well, act III. 

Enter Helena and two Gentlemen. 

1 Gent. Save you, good madam, 

Hel. Madam, my lord is gone, for ever gone. 

2 Gent. Do not say so. 

Count. Think upon patience. — Pray you, gentlemen, — 
I've felt so many quirks^ of joy and grief. 
That the first face of neither, on the start, 
Can woman me unto't :^ — where is my son, I pray you? 

2 Gent. Madam, he's gone to serve the Duke of Florence : 
We met him thitherward ; for thence we came. 
And, after some dispatch in hand at Court, 
Thither we bend again. 

Hel. Look on his letter, madam ; here's my passport. 

[Reads.] When thou canst get the ring upon my finger 
which never shall come off, and show me a child begotten oj 
thy body that I am father to, then call me husband : but in 
such a then / write a never. 

This is a dreadful sentence. 

. Count Brought you this letter gentlemen ? 

1 Gent Ay, madam ; 
And, for the contents' sake, are sorry for our pains. 

Count. I pr'ythee, lady, have a better cheer ; 
If thou engrossest all the griefs as thine, 
Thou robb'st me of a moiety : he was my son ; 
But I do wash his name out of my blood, 
And thou art all my child. — Towards Florence is he ? 

2 Gent Ay, madam. 

Count. And to be a soldier? 

2 Gent. Such is his noble purpose : and, believe 't, 

8 Quirks, as the word is here used, are sudden turns, or paroxysms. 
* " That neither joy nor grief can, on the instant, move or affect me as ^ 
woman should be moved, or as women usually are." 

SCENE II. all's well that ends well. 69 

The Duke will lay upon him all the honour 
That good convenience claims. 

Count. Return you thither ? 

/ Gent. Ay, madam, with the swiftest wing of speed. 

Hel. [Reads.] Till I have no wife, I have nothing in 
Tis bitter. 

Count. Find you that there ? 

Hel. Ay, madam. 

I Gent. 'Tis but the boldness of his hand, which, 
His heart was not consenting to. 

Count. Nothing in France, until he have no wife ! 
There's nothing here that is too good for him. 
But only she ; and she deserves a lord. 
That twenty such rude boys might tend upon, 
And call her hourly mistress. — Who was with him ? 

I Gent. A servant only, and a gentleman 
Which I have some time known. 

Count. ParoUes, was't not ? 

/ Gent. Ay, my good lady, he. 

Count. A very tainted fellow, and full of wickedness. 
My son corrupts a well-derived nature 
With his inducement. 

1 Gent. Indeed, good lady, 
The fellow has a deal of that too much, 
Which hurts him much to have. 

Count. Ye 're welcome, gentlemen. 
I will entreat you, when you see my son, 
To tell him that his sword can never win 
The honour that he loses : more I'll entreat you 
Written to bear along. 

2 Gent. We serve you, madam. 
In that and all your worthiest affairs. 


Count. Not so, but as we change ^ our courtesies. 
Will you draw near? \_Exeunt Countess and Gentlemen. 

Hel. Till I have no wife, I have nothing in France. 
Nothing in France, until he has no wife ! — 
Thou shalt have none, Rousillon, none in France ; 
Then hast thou all again. Poor lord ! is't I 
That chase thee from thy country, and expose 
Those tender limbs of thine to the event 
Of the none-sparing war ? and is it I 
That drive thee from the sportive Court, where thou 
Wast shot at with fair eyes, to be the mark 
Of smoky muskets ? O you leaden messengers, 
That ride upon the violent speed of fire. 
Fly with false aim ; pierce the still- moving air,^ 
That sings with piercing ; do not touch my lord ! 
Whoever shoots at him, I set him there ; 
Whoever charges on his forward breast, 
I am the caitiff that do hold him to't ; 
And, though I kill him not, I am the cause 
His death was so effected : better 'twere 
I met the ravin '' lion when he roar'd 
With sharp constraint of hunger ; better 'twere 
That all the miseries which nature owes 
Were mine at once. — No, come thou home, Rousillon, 
Whence '^ honour but of danger wins a scar, 

6 Change for exchange, or interchange. The Gentleman having said, 
" We serve you," the Countess replies, " Not otherwise than as we recipro- 
cate your kind offices." So in Hainlet, \. 2: "Sir, my good friend; I'll 
change that name with you." 

<> Still-moving is always-m.o\\x\%. So the poets very often use still. Lett- 
som illustrates the text by an apt passage from Cicero's De Natura Deorum : 
" Post Anaxamines aera deum statuit, eumque gigni, esseque immensum et 
infinitum, et semper in motu." 

"^ Ravin for ravenous or ravening. So in Macbeth, iv. I : " Maw and gulf 
of the ravin salt-sea shark." 

8 Whence must here mezxifrom the place where. A bold ellipsis ! 

SCENE III. all's well that ends well. 71 

As oft it loses all : I will be gone ; 

My being here it is that holds thee hence : 

Shall I stay here to do't ? no, no, although 

The air of paradise did fan the house, 

And angels officed all : ^ I will be gone, 

That pitiful rumour may report my flight. 

To consolate thine ear. Come, night ; end, day ! 

For with the dark, poor thief, I'll steal away. \_Exit 

Scene III. — Florence. Before the Duke's Palace. 

Flourish. Enter the Duke of Florence, Bertraai, Parolles, 
Lords, Officers, Soldiers, and others. 

Duke. The general of our horse thou art ; and we, 
Great in our hope, lay our best love and credence 
Upon thy promising fortune. 

Ber. Sir, it is 

A charge too heavy for my strength ; but yet 
We'll strive to bear it, for your worthy sake, 
To th' extreme edge of hazard. 

Duke. Then go thou forth ; 

And Fortune play upon thy prosperous helm, 
As thy auspicious mistress ! 

Ber. This very day. 

Great Mars, I put myself into thy file : 
Make me but like my thoughts, and I shall prove 
A lover of thy drum, hater of love. \_Exeunt. 

9 That is, filled or discharged all the offices. Offices was much used for 
ihe various branches of service or duty in a large domestic establishment 


Scene IV. — Rousillon. A Room in the House of the 

Enter the Countess and Steward. 

Count. Alas ! and would you take the letter of her ? 
Might you not know she'd do as she has done, 
By sending me a letter ? Read it again. 

Stew. [Reads.] 

I am Saint Jaques* pilgrim} thither gone : 
Ambitious love hath so in me offended, 

That barefoot plod I the cold ground upon, 

With sainted vow my faults to have amended. 

Write, write, that from the bloody course of war 

My dearest master, your dear son, may hie : 

Bless hif?i at home in peace, whilst I from far 

His name with zealous fervour sanctify : 

His taken labours bid him me forgive ; 

I, his despiteful Juno ^ sent him forth 

From courtly friends , with camping foes to live, 

Where death and danger dog the heels of worth : 
He is too good and fair for death and me ; 

WJiom I myself embrace, to set him free. 

Count. Ah, what sharp stings are in her mildest words ! — 
Rinaldo, you did never lack advice ^ so much, 
As letting her pass so : had I spoke with her, 
I could have well diverted her intents, 
Which thus she hath prevented. 

1 At Orleans was a church dedicated to Saint Jaques, where a part of the 
" true cross " was believed to be preserved. Hence many pilgrimages were 
made to the shrine. 

2 Alluding to the tough trials which Juno's spite caused Hercules to 
undergo. She hated him as the son of her husband, Jupiter. 

3 Advice for consideration ox judgment. Often so. 

SCENE V. all's well that ends well. 73 

Stew. Pardon me, madam : 

If I had given you this at over-night, 
She might have been o'erta'en ; and yet she writes, 
Pursuit would be but vain.^ 

Count. What angel shall 

Bless this unworthy husband ? he cannot thrive, 
Unless her prayers, whom ^ Heaven delights to hear. 
And loves to grant, reprieve him from the wrath 
Of greatest justice. — Write, write, Rinaldo, • 

To this unworthy husband of his wife ; ^ 
Let every word weigh heav^- of her worth. 
That he does weigh too light : my greatest grief. 
Though little he do feel it, set down sharply. 
Dispatch the most convenient messenger. — 
When haply he shall hear that she is gone, 
He will return ; and hope I may that she. 
Hearing so much, will speed her foot again. 
Led hither by pure love. Which of them both 
Is dearest to me, I've no skiU in sense 
To make distinction. — Provide this messenger. — 
My heart is heavy and mine age is weak : 
Grief would have tears, and sorrow bids me speak. 


Scene V. — Without Oie Walls of Florence. 

Enter an oldWx^Ofi of Florence, Dlvna, Violenta, Mariana, 
and other Citizens. 

Wid. Nay, come ; for, if they do approach the city, we 
shall lose all the sight. 

* Lettsom remarks that " this is not borne out by Helen's letter." 

* Whom for which, referring to prayers. The two were often used indis- 

* " This husband unworthy of his wife " is the prose order. 

74 • all's well that ends well. act III. 

Dia. They say the French count has done most honour- 
able service. • 

Wid. It is reported that he has taken their greatest 
commander ; and that with his own hand he slew the Duke's 
brother. \_A tucket afar offl\ We have lost our labour ; they 
are gone a contrary way : hark ! you may know by their 

Mar. Come, let's return again, and suffice ourselves with 
the report of it. Well, Diana, take heed of this French earl ; 
the honour of a maid is her name ; and no legacy is so rich 
as honesty, 

Wid. I have told my neighbour how you have been soli- 
cited by a gentleman his companion. 

Mar. I know that knave ; hang him ! one Parolles : a filthy 
officer he is in those suggestions ^ for the young earl. — Beware 
of them, Diana ; their promises, enticements, oaths, tokens, 
and all these engines of lust, "are but the things they go 
under : ~ many a maid hath been seduced by them ; and the 
misery is, example, that so terrible shows in the wreck of 
maidenhood, cannot for all that dissuade succession,^ but that 
they are limed with the twigs that threaten them. I hope I 
need not to advise you further ; but I hope your own grace 
will keep you where you are, though there were no further 
danger known but the modesty which is so lost. 

Dia. You shall not need to fear me. 

Wid. I hope so. — Look, here comes a pilgrim : I know 

1 Suggestions for temptations; the more usual meaning of the word in 
Shakespeare. So in The Tempest, ii. i : " For all the rest, they'll take sug- 
gestion as a cat laps milk." See, also, vol. i., page 195, note i. 

2 That is, the men's promises, &c., are only the pretexts and false colours 
under which they beguile and seduce their victims. 

8 Succession in the sense of a following after ; very much as success and 
succeeding before. See page 35, note 26, and page 55, note 25. — Limed, in 
the next clause, is ensnared as with bird-lime, an old word that came to sig- 
nify any sort of trap or snare. 

SCENE V. all's well that knds well. 75 

she will lie at my house ; thither they send one another : I'll 
question her. — • 

Enter Helena, in the dress of a Pilgrim. 

God save you, pilgrim ! whither are you bound ? 

Hel. To Saint Jaques le Grand. 
Where do the palmers'* lodge, I do beseech you? 

Wid. At the Saint Francis here, beside the port. 

Hel. Is this the way ? 

Wid. Ay, marry, is't. — Hark you ! they come this way. — 

\A march afar off. 
If you will tarry, holy pilgrim, 
But till the troops come by, 
I will conduct you where you shall be lodged ; 
The rather, for I think I know your hostess 
As ample as myself. 

Hel, Is it yourself? 

Wid. If you shall please so, pilgrim. 

Hel. I thank you, and will stay upon your leisure. 

Wid. You came, I think, from France? 

Hel I did so. 

Wid. Here you shall see a countrjinan of yours 
That has done worthy service. 

Hel. His name, I pray you. 

Dia. The Count Rousillon : know you such a one ? 

Hel. But by the ear, that hears most nobly of him : 
His face I know not.^ 

Dia. Whatsoe'er he is, 

< Pilgrims were caHed palmers, from the staff or branch of palm which 
they were wont to carry as a kind of badge. 

5 Shall we say here that Shakespeare has unnecessarily made his loveliest 
character utter a lie ? Or shall we dare think that, where to deceive was 
necessary, he thought a verbal verity a double crime, equally with the other 
a lie to the hearer, and at the same time an attempt to lie to one's own con- 
science? — Coleridge. 

7^ all's well that ends well. act III. 

He's bravely taken here. He stole from France, 
As 'tis reported, for the King had married him 
Against his liking : think you it is so ? 

Hel. Ay, surely, mere the truth : ^ I know his lady. 

Dia. There is a gentleman that serves the count 
Reports but coarsely of her. 

Hel. What's his name ? 

Dia. Monsieur ParoUes. 

Hel. O, I believe with him, 

In argument of praise, or to the worth 
Of the great count himself, she is too mean 
To have her name repeated : all her deserving 
Is a reserved honesty, and that 
I have not heard examined.''' 

Dia. Alas, poor lady ! 

'Tis a hard bondage to become the wife 
Of a detesting lord. 

Wid. Ay, right ! ^ — good creature, wheresoe'er she is, 
Her heart weighs sadly : this young maid might do her 
A shrewd turn,^ if she pleased. 

Hel. How do you mean? 

Nlay be the amorous count solicits her 
In the unlawful purpose. 

Wid. He does indeed ; 

6 " Mere the truth " is the absolute truth. Shakespeare has many instances 
of both mere and merely used in this sense. So in Henry VIII., iii. 2 : " To 
the mere undoing of all the kingdom." See, also, vol. iii., page 179, note 37. 

" This is merely a modest way of saying, " I have not heard it doubted 
or called in question." Here, as often, honesty for chastity. 

8 Ay, right ! refers, of course, to what Diana has just said. 

9 Shrewd is, properly, sharp, biting, cutting, and is here used in a bad 
sense, — injurious or mischievous. So, in King Henry VIII., v. 3, the King, 
referring to Cranmer, quotes as a common saying, " Do my Lord of Can- 
terbury a shrewd turn, and he is your friend for ever." Here shrewd turn 
is an injury or wrong; and the King approves the saying as implying the 
highest commendation, — that of repaying personal enmity with kindness. 

SCENE T. all's well that ends well. 77 

And brakes '° with all that can in such a suit 
Corrupt the tender honoiu- of a maid : 
But she is arm'd for him, and keeps her guard 
In honestest defence. 

Mar. The gods forbid else ! 

Wid. So, now they come : — 

Enter Bertram, Parolles, and the Florentine Army tuith 
drum and colours. 

That is Antonio, the Duke's eldest son ; 
That, Escalus. v 

Hel. Which is the Frenchman ? 

Dia. He ; 

That with the plume : 'tis a most gallant fellow. 
I would he loved his wife : if he were honester, 
He were much goodher : is't not a handsome gentleman ? 

Hel. I Uke him well. 

Dia. Tis pity he's not honest : yond's that same 
That leads him to these pranks : were I his lady, 
I'd poison that vile rascal. 

Hel. Which is he? 

Dia. That jack-an-apes with scarfs : why is he melan- 
choly ? 

Hel. Perchance he's hurt i' the battle. 

Par. Lose our drum ! well. 

Mar. He's shrewdly vex'd at something : look, he has 
spied us. 

Wid. Marry, hang you ! 

Mar. And your courtesy, for a ring-carrier ! 

\_Exeunt Bertram, Parolles, arc. 

1* To broke is, properly, to act the pander, pimp, or go-between ; here it 
means to have dealings >*ith such persons. The Poet often xises to broke 
and its cognates in this sense. See voL i., f>age i68, note 4. 

78 all's well that ends well. act III. 

IVi'd. The troop is past. Come, pilgrim, I will bring 
Where you shall host : ^^ of enjoin'd penitents 
There's four or five, to Great Saint Jaques bound, 
Already at my house. 

me/. I humbly thank you : 

Please it this matron and this gentle maid 
To eat with us to-night, the charge and thanking 
Shall be for me ; and, to requite you further, 
I will bestow some precepts of ^^ this virgin 
Worthy the note. 

Bo/k. We'll take your offer kindly. \_Exeunt. 

Scene VI. — Camp before Florence. 
Enter Bertram and the two French Lords. 

1 Lord. Nay, good my lord, put him to't ; let him have 
his way. 

2 Lord. If your lordship find him not a hilding,^ hold 
me no more in your respect. 

I Lord. On my life, my lord, a bubble. 

Ber. Do you think I am so far deceived in him ? 

I Lord. Believe it, my lord, in mine own direct knowledge, 
without any malice, but to speak of him as my kinsman, he's 

II To host is to lodge ; as a hostel or hotel is a lodging-place. See vol. i., 
page 85, note 2. — " Enjoin'd penitents " are persons enjoined or required to 
do penance, by making pilgrimages or otherwise. 

12 The Poet, as I have before noted, often uses of where our present 
idiom requires on. The usage was common. See vol. iii., page 141, 
note 15. 

1 Hilding was much used as a general term of contempt ; but here its 
proper sense is highly intensified. The radical meaning of the word is thrall 
or slave ; so applied to both sexes. A very learned writer in The Edin- 
burgh Review, July, 1869, says that, " when applied to men, it usually empha- 
sizes the sordid characteristics and degrading associations connected with 
the servile state." See vol. ii.; page 173, note i. 

SCENE VI. all's well that ends well. 79 

a most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly 
promise-breaker, the owner of no one good quality worthy 
your lordship's entertainment. 

2 Lord. It were fit you knew him ; lest, reposing too far 
in his virtue, which he hath not, he might at some great and 
trusty business, in a main danger, fail you. 

Ber. I would I knew in what particular action to try him. 

2 Lord. None better than to let him fetch off his drum, 
which you hear him so confidently undertake to do. 

1 Lord. I, with a troop of Florentines, will suddenly sur- 
prise him ; such I will have, whom, I am sure, he knows not 
from the enemy : we will bind and hoodwink him so, that he 
shall suppose no other but that he is carried into the leaguer ^ 
of the adversaries, when we bring him to our own tents. 
Be but your lordship present at his examination : if he do 
not, for the promise of his life, and in the highest compulsion 
of base fear, ofier to betray you, and deliver all the intelligence 
in his power against you, and that with the divine forfeit of 
his soul upon oath, never trust my judgment in any thing. 

2 Lord. O, for the love of laughter, let him fetch off his 
drum ; he says he has a stratagem for't : when your lord- 
ship sees the bottom of his success in't, and to what metal this 

■ counterfeit lump of ore -^ will be melted, if you give him not 
John Drum's entertainment,^ your inclining cannot be re- 
moved. Here he comes. 

2 Leaguer was an outlandish word for camp. So in Sir John Smythe's 
Discourses, 1590 : " They will not vouchsafe in their sjieaches or writings to 
use our ancient termes belonging to matters of warre, but doo call a camjje 
by the Dutch name of Legar." 

' Ore is evidently used here in a sense very different from the one it now 
bears : probably iox gold. So in Hamlet, iv. i : " O'er whom his very mad- 
ness, like fine ore among a mineral of metals base, shows itself pure." Bul- 
lokar and Blount, also, both define "or or ore, gold; of a golden colour." 
His lordship means, no doubt, that ^his lump oisham gold will turn out lead 
or something worse. 

^ This was a proverbial phrase for some such practical joking as is now 

80 all's well that ends well. act III. 

/ Lord. O, for the love of laughter, hinder not the hu- 
mour of his design : let him fetch off his drum in any hand.* 

Enter Parolles. 

Ber. How now, monsieur ! this drum sticks sorely in your 

2 Lord. A pox on't, let it go ; 'tis but a drum. 

Par. But a drum ! is't but a drum ? A drum so lost ! 
There was excellent command, — to charge in with our Horse 
upon our wings, and to rend our own soldiers ! 

2 Lord. That was not to be blamed in the command of 
the service : it was a disaster of war that Caesar himself could 
not have prevented, if he had been there to command. 

Ber. Well, we cannot greatly condemn our success : some 
dishonour we had in the loss of that drum ; but it is not to 
be recovered. 

Par. It might have been recovered. 

Ber. It might ; but it is not now. 

Par. It is to be recovered : but that the merit of service 
is seldom attributed to the true and exact performer, I would 
have that drum or another, or hicjacet.^ 

Ber. Why, if you have a stomach to't, monsieur, if you 
think your mystery in stratagem can bring this instrument of 
honour again into his native quarter, be magnanimous in the 
enterprise, and go on ; 1 will grace the attempt for a worthy 
exploit : if you speed well in it, the Duke shall both speak of 

called drumming out. Master Drum had various names, Tom, Jack, and 
John. Holinshed thus describes the thing : " Tom Drum his entertainment, 
which is to hale a man by the head, and thrust him out by both the shoul- 
ders." There is also an old play entitled Jack Drum's Entertainment, 1601, 
in which the hero passes through a series of inverted exploits not unlike this 
of Parolles. 

6 In or at any hand was a phrase for at any rate, or at all events. See 
vol. ii., page 170, note 24. 

6 Epitaphs commonly began with Hie jacet. The poltroon means that 
he will either get back the drum or die in the attempt. 

SCENE VI. all's well that ends well. 8 1 

it, and extend to you what further becomes his greatness, even 
to the utmost syllable of your worthiness. 

Par. By the hand of a soldier, I will undertake it. 

Ber. But you must not now slumber in it. 

Par. I'll about it this evening : and I will presently pen 
down my dilemmas,' encourage myself in my certainty, put 
myself into my mortal preparation ; and, by midnight, look to 
hear further from me. 

Ber. May I be bold to acquaint his Grace you are gone 
about it? 

Par. I know not what the success will be, my lord ; but 
the attempt I vow. 

Ber. I know thou'rt valiant ; and, to the possibiUty of thy 
soldiership, will subscribe for thee. Farewell. 

Par. I love not many words. \^Exit. 

1 Lord. No more than a fish loves water. — Is not this 
a strange fellow, my lord, that so confidently seems to under- 
take this business, which he knows is not to be done ? damns 
himself to do, and dares better be damn'd than to do't ? 

2 Lord. You do not know him, my lord, as we do : cer- 
tain it is, that he will steal himself into a man's favour, and 
for a week escape a great deal of discovery ; but when you 
find him once, you have him ever after. 

Ber. ^^^ly, do you think he will make no deed at all of 
this, that so seriously he does address himself unto ? 

I L^rd. None in the world : but return with an invention, 
and clap uf)on you two or three probable ^ lies : but we have 
almost emboss'd him,^ — you shall see his fall to-night; for 
indeed he is not for yoiu* lordship's respect. 

' By dilemmas he means the diCBcuIties of the undertaking, and his plans 
for overcoming them ; the strategic alternatives he will make use of, 
8 Probable for specious ox platisible. See fjage 6i, note 4. 

3 That is, almost run him down. An emboss'd stag was oce so hard 
chased as \o foam at the mouth. 

82 all's well that ends well. act III. 

2 Lord. We'll make you some sport with the fox, ere we 
case him.^° He was first smoked by the old Lord Lafeu : 
when his disguise and he is parted, tell rtie what a sprat you 
shall find him ; which you shall see this very night. 

I Lord. I must go look my twigs :^^ he shall be caught. 

Ber. Your brother, he shall go along with me. 

1 Lord. As't please your lordship : I'll leave you. \_Exit. 
Ber. Now will I lead you to the house, and show you 

The lass I spoke of. 

2 Lord. But you say she's honest. 

Ber. That's all the fault : I spoke with her but once, 
And found her wondrous cold ; but I sent to her, 
By this same coxcomb that we have i' the wind,^^ 
Tokens and letters which she did re-send ; 
And this is all I've done. She's a fair creature : 
Will you go see her? 

2 Lord. With all my heart, my lord. [^Exeunt. 

Scene VII. — Florence. A Room in the Widow's House. 

Enter Helena and the Widow. 

Hel. If you misdoubt me that I am not she, 
I know not how I shall assure you further. 
But I shall lose the grounds I work upon.^ 

1" To case is a hunting-term for to skin. Here it means strip or unmask. 
— To smoke a fox is to oust him from his hole, so that the hunters may get 
him in chase. This was done by filling the hole with smoke. 

1^ To look is repeatedly used by the Poet with a transitive force. In 
scene S, of this Act, we have " they are limed with the twigs that threaten 
them." To lime is to catch or ensnare, and twigs was a common term for 
any kind of trap or snare, whether made with twigs or thoughts. 

12 To have in the wind is another term of the chase. Thus explained by 
Cotgrave, in its transferred and proverbial sense : " To get the wind, advan- 
tage, upper hand of; to have a man under his lee." 

1 She would lose this ground, if she should discover herself to Bertram 
or Parolles, or call them in to identify her. — " But I shall lose " is equiva- 

SCENE VII. all's well that ENDS WELL. 83 

IVtW. Though my estate be fall'n, I was well bom. 
Nothing acquainted with these businesses ; 
And would not put my reputation now 
In any staining act. 

He/. Nor would I wish you. 

First, give me trust, the county is my husband, 
And what to your sworn cotmsel^ I have spoken 
Is so from word to word ; and then you cannot, 
By the good aid that I of you shall borrow. 
Err in bestowing it. 

U^tf. I should believe you ; 

For you have show'd me that which well approves 
You're great in fortune. 

J/e/. Take this purse of gold, 

And let me buy your friendly help thus far, 
\Miich I will over-pay and pay again, 
When I have found it. The county wooes your daughter. 
Lays down his wanton siege before her beauty. 
Resolved to carr)' her : let her, in fine, consent. 
As we'll direct her how 'tis best to bear it. 
Now his important 3 blood will nought deny 
That she'll demand : a ring the county wears, 
That downward hath succeeded in his House 
From son to son, some four or five descents 
Since the first father wore it : this ring he holds 
In most rich choice ; yet, in his idle fire. 
To buy his will, it would not seem too dear, 
Howe'er repented after. 

IVid. Now I see 

lent to -wUhout losing; A frequent usage. So in Hamlet, i. 3 : " Do not 
sleep but let me hear from you." That is, without Utting. 

2 Your sworn counsel is your plighted secresy, or pledge of concealment 
The Poet has counsel rejjeatedly so. 

' Important for importunate. Repeatedly so. See vol. i., page 138, note 8. 

84 all's well that ends well. act III. 

The bottom of your purpose. 

Hel. You see it lawful, then : it is no more, 
But that your daughter, ere she seems as won, 
Desires this ring ; appoints him an encounter ; 
In fine, delivers me to fill the time. 
Herself most chastely absent : after this, 
To marry her, I'll add three thousand crowns 
To what is past already. 

Wid. I have yielded : 

Instruct my daughter how she shall pers^ver, 
That time and place with this deceit so lawful 
May prove coherent. Every night he comes 
With music of all sorts, and songs composed 
To her unworthiness : it nothing steads us 
To chide him from our eaves ; for he persists, 
As if his life lay on't. 

Hel. Why, then to-night 

Let us assay our plot ; which, if it speed. 
Is wicked meaning in a lawful deed. 
And lawful meaning in a wicked act ; ^ 
Where both not sin, and yet a sinful fact : 
But let's about it. {^Exeunt. 

4 Helen's intent was lawful, for it was to meet her husband ; but her act 
is spoken of as wicked, inasmuch as she was to deceive her husband by pre- 
tending to act a crime. 

all's well that ends well. 85 


Scene I. — Without the Florentine Camp. 

Enter i French Lord, with five or six Soldiers in ambush. 

I Lord. He can come no other way but by this hedge- 
comer. When you sally upon him, speak what terrible lan- 
guage you will, — though you understand it not yourselves, 
no matter ; for we must not seem to understand him, unless 
some one among us, whom we must produce for an interpreter. 

I Sold. Good captain, let me be the interpreter. 

I Lord. Art not acquainted with him ? knows he not thy 
voice ? 

J Sold. No, sir, I warrant you. 

I Lord. But what linsey-woolsey hast thou to speak to us 

I Sold. E'en such as you speak to me. 

I Lord. He must think us some band of strangers i' the 
adversary's entertainment.^ Now, he hath a smack of all 
neighbouring languages ; therefore we must every one be a 
man of his own fancy, not to know what we speak one to 
another ; so we seem to know, is to know straight our pur- 
pose : choughs' 2 language, gabble enough, and good enough. 
As for you, interpreter, you must seem very politic. But 
couch, ho ! here he comes, — to beguile two hours in a sleep, 
and then to return and swear the lies he forges. 

Enter Parolles. 

Par. Ten o'clock : \vithin these three hours 't\vill be time 
enough to go home. What shall I say I have done ? It must 

1 Some band of foreign troops in the enemy's pay. 

2 The chough is a bird of the jackdaw kind. 

86 all's well that ends well. act IV. 

be a very plausive ^ invention that carries it : they begin to 
smoke me ; and disgraces have of late knock'd too often at 
my door. I find my tongue is too foolhardy ; but my heart 
hath the fear of Mars before it, and of his creatures, not daring 
the reports of my tongue. 

/ Lord. \Asider\ This is the first truth that e'er thine 
own tongue was guilty of. 

Par. What the Devil should move me to undertake the 
recovery of this drum, being not ignorant of the impossibility, 
and knowing I had no such purpose ? I must give myself 
some hurts, and say I got them in exploit : yet slight ones 
will not carry it ; they will say. Came you offwitli so little ? and 
great ones I dare not give. Wherefore, what's the instance ?"* 
Tongue, I must put you into a butter-woman's mouth, and 
buy myself another of Bajazet's mute,^ if you prattle me into 
these perils. 

I Lord. \_Aside.^ Is it possible he should know what he 
is, and be that he is ? 

Par. I would the cutting of my garments would serve the 
turn, or the breaking of my Spanish sword ; — 

I Lord. \_Aside.'] We cannot afford you so. 

Par. — or the baring of my beard ; ^ and to say it was in 
stratagem ; — 

/ Lord. \_Aside.'] 'Twould not do. 

Par. — or to drown my clothes, and say I was stripp'd ; — 

3 Plausive here must mean plausible or specious : the only instance, I 
think, of the word so used in Shakespeare. See page 24, note 11. 

* That is, " vfhsLt proof sha.]] I produce? " or, " in what shall I instance, to 
bear out my pretence? " The Poet has instance repeatedly so. See vol. i., 
page 82, note 9. 

5 The matter of this allusion, for such it seems to be, has not been traced. 
Eastern monarchs were well known to have attendants so called. 

6 To dare the beard was to shave. So in Measure for Measure, iv. 2 : 
" Shave the head, and trim the beard ; and say it was the desire of the peni- 
tent to be so bared before his death." 

SCENE I. all's well that ends well. 87 

I Lord. \^Aside^ Hardly serve. 

Par. — though I swore I leap'd from the window of the 
citadel, — 

I Lord. \Aside^ How deep ? 

Par. — thirty fathom. 

/ Lord. \_Aside?^ Three great oaths would scarce make 
that be beUeved. 

Par. I would I had any drum of the enemy's : I would 
swear I recover'd it. 

/ Lord. \Aside^ You shall hear one anon. 

\_Alarum within. 

Par. A drum now of the enemy's ! 

I Lord. TTiroca movousus, cargo, cargo, cargo. 

All. Cargo, cargo, cargo, villianda par corbo, cargo. 

Par. O, ransom, ransom ! do not hide mine eyes. 

\They seize and blindfold him. 

I Sold. Boskos thromiildo boskos. 

Par. I know you are the Muskos' regiment ; 
And I shall lose my life for want of language : 
If there be here German, or Dane, low Dutch, 
French, or Italian, let him speak to me ; 
I will discover that which shall undo 
The Florentine. 

I Sold. Boskos vauvado : — 

I understand thee, and can speak thy tongue : — 
Kerelybonto : —^ sir. 

Betake thee to thy faith, for seventeen poniards 
Are at thy bosom. 

Par. O ! 

I Sold. O, pray, pray, pray ! — 

Manka reiiania dulche. 

I Lord. Oscorbi dulchos volivorco. 

I Sold. The general is content to spare thee yet j 
And, hoodwink'd as thou art, will lead thee on 


To gather from thee : haply thou mayst inform 
Something to save thy life. 

Par. O, let me live ! 

And all the secrets of our camp I'll show, 
Their force, their purposes ; nay, I'll speak that 
Which you will wonder at. 

/ Sold. But wilt thou faithfully ? 

Par. If I do not, damn me. 

I Sold. Acordo linta : — 

Come on ; thou art granted space. 

\_£xU, with Parolles guarded. A 
short alarum zvithin. 

1 Lord. Go, tell the Count Rousillon, and my brother, 
We've caught the woodcock, and will keep him muffled 
Till we do hear from them. 

2 Sold. Captain, I will. 

1 Lord. 'A will betray us all unto ourselves : 
Inform 'em that. 

2 Sold. So I will, sir. 

/ Lord. Till then I'll keep him dark and safely lock'd. 


Scene II. — Florence. A Room in the Widow's House. 
Enter Bertram and Diana. 

Ber. They told me that your name was Fontibell. 

Dia. No, my good lord, Diana. 

Ber. Titled goddess ; 

And worth it, with addition ! But, fair soul, 
In your fine frame hath love no quality ? 
If the quick fire of youth hght not your mind, 
You are no maiden, but a monument : 
When you are dead, you should be such a one 
As you are now, for you are cold and stern ; 

SCENE II. all's well that ends well. 89 

And now you should be as your mother was 
When your sweet self was got. 

Dia. She then was honest. 

Ber. So should* you be. 

Dia. No : 

My mother did but duty ; such, my lord, 
As you owe to your wife. 

Ber. No more o' that ; 

I pr'ythee, do not strive against my vows : ^ 
I was compell'd to her ; but I love thee 
By Love's own sweet constraint, and wiU for ever 
Do thee all rights of service. 

Dia. Ay, so you serve us 

Till we serve you ; but, when you have our roses, 
You barely leave our thorns to prick ourselves, 
And mock us with our bareness. 

Ber. How have I sworn ! 

Dia. 'Tis not the many oaths that make the truth. 
But the plain single vow that is vow'd true. 
What is not holy, that we swear not by. 
But take the High'st to witness : then, pray you, tell me. 
If I should swear by God's great attributes, 
I loved you dearly, would you believe my oaths, 
When I did love you ill?^ this has no holding,^ 

1 Should for would, as, before, would for should. See page 58, note 32. 

2 Meaning the vows he has made not to treat Helen as his wife. 

3 Bertram has been swearing love to Diana ; and he wants her, in the 
strength of that oath, to do that which would ruin her. This she justly calls 
loving her ill, because it is a love that would injure her. And her argu- 
ment is, that oaths in such a suit are but an adding of jjerjury to lust The 
Poet's I52d Sonnet yields an apt comment on the passage : 

But why of two oaths' breach do I accuse thee. 
When I break twenty ? I am perjured most ; 
For all my vows are oaths but to misuse thee. 
And all my honest faith in thee is lost. 

* That is, this has no consistency, will not hold together. — In what fol- 


To swear by Him, when I protest to love 
That I will work against. Therefore your oaths 
Are words and poor conditions, best unseal'd,^ — 
At least in my opinion. 

Ber. Change it, change it ; 

Be not so holy-cruel : my love is holy ; 
And my integrity ne'er knew the crafts 
That you do charge men with. Stand no more off, 
But give thyself unto my sick desires. 
Who then recover : say thou'rt mine, and ever 
My love as it begins shall so pers^ver. 

Dia. I see that men make ropes in such a snare, 
That we'll forsake ourselves.^ Give me that ring. 

Ber. I'll lend it thee, my dear ; but have no power 
To give it from me. 

Dia. Will you not, my lord? 

Ber. It is an honour 'longing to our House, 
Bequeathed down from many ancestors ; 

lows, That is equivalent to what, or that which, meaning, of course, the per- 
son whom, or the thing which, she is supposing herself to be working against. 
A very common use oi that in all the old writers. 

5 To seal an oath or condition is to give it the finishing stroke ; that is, 
to ratify it, and, poetically, to put it in execution. Diana means that Ber- 
tram's oaths are sworn for a criminal purpose, and therefore are best kept 
by being left unexecuted. 

6 As before noted, /;/ and into were often used indiscriminately; and 
Shakespeare has many instances of in where present usage requires into. 
See vol. ii., page 95, note 50. Such is probably the case here. Perhaps 
there is also some reference implied to what the Poet elsewhere calls ropery 
and rope-tricks, that is, rogueries. See vol. ii., page 166, note 14. Nares 
says that " sometimes a person guilty of such tricks is called a roper'' See, 
also, Romeo and yuliet, ii. 4, note on " full of his ropery." So that Diana's 
meaning appears to be, " I see that men frame or weave ropes, or rope-tricks, 
so artfully, or into such a snare, as to make us forsake our proper selves, and 
yield up our maiden honour to them." She then proceeds, accordingly, to 
/eign compliance with Bertram's soHcitations, as if she were really ensnared 
and caught by them. See Critical Notes. 

SCENE IL all's well that ENDS WELL. 9 1 

Which were the greatest obloquy i' the world 
In me to lose. 

Dia. Mine honour's such a ring : 

My chastity's the jewel of our House, 
Bequeathed down from many ancestors ; 
Which were the greatest obloquy i' the w^orld 
In me to lose : thus your own proper wisdom 
Brings in the champion honour on my part, 
Against your vain assault. 

Ber. Here, take my ring : 

My House, mine honour, yea, my life, be thine. 
And I'll be bid by thee. 

Dia. WHien midnight comes, knock at my chamber- window: 
I'll order take my mother shall not hear. 
Now will I charge you in the band" of truth. 
When you have conquer'd my yet-maiden bed. 
Remain there but an hour, nor sp>eak to me : 
My reasons are most strong ; and you shall know them 
When back again this ring shall be deUver'd : 
And on your finger, in the night, I'll put 
Another ring, that what in time proceeds 
May token to the future our past deeds. 
Adieu, tiU then ; then fail not. You have won 
A wfe of me, though there my hope be done. 

Ber. A Heaven on Earth I've won by wooing thee. 


Dia. For which live long to thank both Heaven and me ! 
You may so in the end. — 
My mother told me just how he would woo. 
As if she sat in's heart ; she sa)"S aU men 
Have the like oaths : he has sworn to marry me 
When his wife's dead ; therefore I'll he with him 

T Band is the same as bond ; that which binds or obliges. 


When I am buried. Since Frenchmen are so braid,^ 

Marry that will, I live and die a maid : 

Only, in this disguise, I think't no sin 

To cozen him that would unjustly win. \_Exit. 

Scene III. — The Florentine Camp. 
Enter the two French Lords and two or three Soldiers. 

/ Lord. You have not given him his mother's letter? 

2 Lord. I have deliver'd it an hour since : there is some- 
thing in't that stings his nature ; for, on the reading it, he 
changed almost into another man. 

1 Lord. He has much worthy blame laid upon him for 
shaking off so good a wife and so sweet a lady. 

2 Lord. Especially he hath incurred the everlasting dis- 
pleasure of the King, who had even tuned his bounty to sing 
happiness to him. I will tell you a thing, but you shall let it 
dwell darkly with you. 

1 Lord. When you have spoken it, 'tis dead, and I am the 
grave of it. 

2 Lord. He hath perverted a young gentlewoman here in 
Florence, of a most chaste renown ; and this night he fleshes 
his will in the spoil of her honour : he hath given her his 
monumental ring, and thinks himself made in the unchaste 

J Lord. Now, God delay • our rebellion ! as we are our- 
selves, what things are we ! 

8 It has been amply shown that braid was sometimes used for crafty, 
deceitful. Nares derives it from the Saxon bred, cunning ; and Hearne, in 
his Glossary, sets down deceit, guile, among its meanings. Greene, also, in 
his Never too Late, uses it as a substantive for deceits : 

Dian rose with all her maids, 
Blushing thus at Love his braids. 

1 Delay, if it be the right word, is here used for assuage, mitigate, or allay. 
The meaning is clearly the same as in Henry VIII., i. i : " If with the sap 


2 Lord. Merely 2 our own traitors. And as, in the com- 
mon course of all treasons, we still see them reveal them- 
selves, till they attain to their abhorr'd ends ; "^ so he that in this 
action contrives against his own nobility, in his proper stream 
o'erflows himself. ■* 

1 Lord. Is it not most damnable in us, to be trumpeters 
of our unla\vful intents ? We shall not, then, have his com- 
pany to-night ? 

2 Lord. Not till after midnight ; for he is dieted to his 

1 Lord. That approaches apace : I would gladly have him 
see his company anatomized, that he might take a measure 
of his own judgment, wherein so curiously he had set this 

^ Lord. We will not meddle with him till he come ; for 
his presence must be the whip of the other. 

/ Lord. In the mean time, what hear you of these wars ? 

2 Lord. I hear there is an overture of peace. 

1 Lord. Nay, I assure you, a peace concluded. 

of reason you would quench, or but allay, the fire of passion'' Shakesjieare 
nowhere else has delay in this sense ; but Spenser has it repeatedly thus. 
So in The F<zrie Queene, ii. 6, 40 : " The hasty heat of his avowd revenge 
delayd." And in iii. 12, 42 : " Those dreadfuU flames she also found de- 
layd and quenched quite." Also in his 30th Sonnet : " That my exceeding 
heat is not delayd by her hart-frosen cold." 

2 Here, as often, merely is altogether, entirely, or absolutely. So in 
Hamlet, i. 2 : " Things rank and gross in nature possess it merely'' See, 
also, page 76, note 6. 

3 Abhorr'd ends is ignominious punishments ; the horrible ends to which 
their treason brings them. With ere instead of till, the sense would be, " let 
out their own secrets before they have accomplished their wicked purpose." 

■* That is, blabs out his own secrets ; and does this merely from his native 
incontinence of tongue, or of character. 

5 Counterfeit, besides its usual meaning, also meant picture ; and the 
word set shows it to be used in both senses here. — In what precedes, com- 
pany is put for companion, a sense not peculiar to this place. See voL iii., 
page x6, note 26. — Anatomized is thoroughly exposed or shown up. See 
voL ii., page 45, note 6. 

94 all's well that ends well. act IV. 

2 Lord. What will Count Rousillon do then? will he 
travel higher, or return again into France ? 

1 Lord. I perceive, by this demand, you are not altogether 
of his council. 

2 Lord. Let it be forbid, sir ! so should I be a great deal 
of his act. 

1 Lord. Sir, his wife, some two months since, fled from 
his house ; her pretence a pilgrimage to Saint Jaques le 
Grand ; which holy undertaking, with most austere sancti- 
mony, she accomplish 'd ; and, there residing, the tenderness 
of her nature became as a prey to her grief; in fine, made a 
groan of her last breath ; and now she sings in Heaven. 

2 Lord. How is this justified? 

1 Lord. The stranger part of it by her own letters, which 
make her story true, even to the point of her death : her 
death itself, which could not be her office to say was come, 
is faithfully confirm'd by the rector of the place. 

2 Lord. Hath the count all this intelligence ? 

1 Lord. Ay, and the particular confirmations, point from 
point, to the full arming of the verity. 

2 Lord. I am heartily sorry that he'll be glad of this. 

1 Lord. How mightily sometimes we make us comforts of 
our losses ! 

2 Lord. And how mightily some other times we drown our 
gain in tears ! The great dignity that his valour hath here 
acquired for him shall at home be encounter'd with a shame 
as ample. 

I Lord. The web of our life is of a mingled yam, good 
and ill together : our virtues would be proud, if our faults 
whipp'd them not ; and our crimes would despair, if they 
were not cherish'd by our virtues. — 

Enter a Servant. 

How now ! where's your master? 

SCENE III. all's well that ends well. 95 

Serv. He met the Duke in the street, sir, of whom he 
hath taken a solemn leave : his lordship will next morning 
for France. The Duke hath offered him letters of commen- 
dations to the King. \Exit. 

2 Lord. They shall be no more than needful there, if they 
were more than they can commend. 

1 Lord. They cannot be too sweet for the King's tartness. 
Here's his lordship now. — 

Enter Bertram. 

How now, my lord ! is't not after midnight ? 

Ber. I have to-night dispatch'd sixteen businesses, a 
month's length a-piece, by an abstract of success : I have 
conge 'd with the Duke, done my adieu with his nearest ; 
buried a wife, moimi'd for her; writ to my lady mother I 
am returning ; entertain'd my convoy ; and, between these 
main parcels of dispatch, effected many nicer rieeds : the last 
was the greatest, but that I have not ended yet. 

2 Lord. If the business be of any difficulty, and this morn- 
ing your departure hence, it requires haste of your lordship. 

Ber, I mean, the business is not ended, as fearing to hear 
of it hereafter. But shall we have this dialogue between the 
fool and the soldier? Come, bring forth this counterfeit 
model : ^ 'has deceived me, like a double-meaning prophesier. 

2 L^rd. Bring him forth : \^Exeunt Soldiers.] — 'has sat 
i' the stocks all night, poor gallant knave. 

Ber. No matter ; his heels have deserved it, in usurping 
his spurs so long. How does he cany^ himself? 

2 Lord. I have told your lordship already, — the stocks 
carry him. But, to answer you as you would be understood ; 
he weeps like a wench that had shed her milk : he hath con- 
fess'd himself to Morgan, whom he supposes to be a friar, 

' That is, this counterfeit representation or image of a soldier. 

Q/S all's well that ends well. act IV. 

from the time of his remembrance to this very instant disaster 
of his setting i' the stocks : and what think you he hath con- 

Ber. Nothing of me, has 'a ? 

2 Lord. His confession is taken, and it shall be read to 
his face : if your lordship be in't, as I believe you are, you 
must have the patience to hear it. 

Re-enter Soldiers, with Parolles muffled. 

Ber. A plague upon him ! muffled ! he can say nothing 
of me. 

I Lord. Hush, hush ! Hoodman''' comes! — Porto tarta- 

I Sold. He calls for the tortures : what will you say with- 
out 'em? 

Far. I will confess what I know without constraint : if ye 
pinch me like a pasty, I can say no more. 

I Sold. Bosko chiniurcho. 

I Lord. Boblibindo chicurmurco. 

I Sold. You are a merciful general. — Our general bids 
you answer to what I shall ask you out of a note. 

Par. And truly, as I hope to live. 

I Sold. [Reads.] First demand of him how many Horse 
the Duke is strong. What say you to that ? 

Far. Five or six thousand ; but very weak and unservice- 
able : the troops are all scattered, and the commanders very 
poor rogues, upon my reputation and credit, and as I hope 
to live. 

/ Sold. Shall I set down your answer so ? 

Par. Do : I'll take the sacrament on't, how and which 
way you will. 

Ber. All's one to him. What a past-saving slave is this ! 

■^ Alluding to the play of blind-man's buff, formerly called hoodman- 
blind, because the blinded player had his hood turned round over his eyes. 

SCENE m. all's well that ends well. 97 

I Lord. You're deceived, my lord : this is Monsieur 
Parolles, the gallant militarist, — that was his own phrase, — 
that had the whole theoric of war in the knot of his scarf, and 
ihe practice in the chape ^ of his dagger. 

Ber. I will never trust a man again for keeping his sword 
clean ; nor believe he can have every thing in him by wear- 
ing his apparel neady. 

I Sold. Well, that's set down. 

Par. Five or six thousand Horse, I said, — I will say true, 
— or thereabouts, set down, — for I'll speak truth. 

I Lord. He's very near the truth in this. 

Ber. But I con him no thanks for't, in the nature he 
delivers it.^ 

Par. Poor rogues, I pray you, say. 

/ Sold. Well, that's set down. 

Par. I humbly thank you, sir, 

I Lord. A truth's a truth, — the rogues are marvellous poor. 

I Sold. [Reads.] Demand of him, of what strength they 
are afoot. What say you to that ? 

Par. By my troth, sir, if I were to die this present hour, 
I will tell true. Let me see : Spurio, a hundred and fifty ; 
Sebastian, so many ; Corambus, so many ; Jaques, so many ; 
Julian, Cosmo, Lodowick, and Gratii, two himdred fifty 
each ; mine own company, Chitopher, Vaumond, Bentii, two 
hundred fifty each : so that the muster-file, rotten and sound, 
upon my life, amounts not to fifteen thousand poll ; half of 
the which dare not shake the snow firom off their cassocks, 
lest they shake themselves to pieces. 

Ber. What shall be done to him ? 

8 The chape is the metallic part of the sheath, covering the point of the 
sword or dagger. See vol. ii., page 193, note 3. 

9 That is, no thanks for telling the truth, comideriTig the purpose for 
which he does it. To con thanks is to be obliged, or to acknowledge cm ob- 
ligation, or, simply, to giue thanks. 

98 all's well that ends well. act IV. 

J Lord. Nothing, but let him have thanks. — Demand of 
him my condition,!" and what credit I have with the Duke. 

I Sold. Well, that's set down. — [Reads.] You shall de- 
mand of him, whether one Captam Dumain be V the camp, a 
Frenchman; what his reputation is 7vith the Duke ; what his 
valour, -honesty, and expertness in wars ; or whether he thinks 
it were not possible, with well-weighing sums of gold, to corrupt 
him to a revolt. What say you to this ? what do you know 
of it? 

Par. I beseech you, let me answer to the particular of the 
inter'gatories : demand them singly. 

I Sold. Do you know this Captain Dumain ? 

Par. I know him : 'a was a botcher's 'prentice in Paris, 
from whence he was whipp'd for getting the shrieve's fool'^ 
with child, — a dumb innocent, that could not say him nay. 
[i Lord lifts up his hand in anger. 

Ber. Nay, by your leave, hold your hands ; though I know 
his brains are forfeit to the next tile that falls. ^^ 

J Sold. Well, is this captain in the Duke of Florence's 

Par. Upon my knowledge, he is, and lousy. 

I Lord. Nay, look not so upon me ; we shall hear of your 
lordship anon. 

I Sold. What is his reputation with the Duke ? 

Par. The Duke knows him for no other but a poor officer 
of mine ; and writ to me this other day to turn him out o' the 
band : I think I have his letter in my pocket. 

I Sold. Marry, we'll search. 

1** Condition, here, is character : generally, in Shakespeare, it means dis- 
position or temper, which is not far from the same. 

11 A natural fool, or idiot, probably committed to the Sheriff's care. 

12 In Whitney's Emblems a story is told of three women who threw dice 
to ascertain which of them was to die first. She who lost affected to laugh 
at the result, when a tile suddenly falling killed her. 


Par. In good sadness/-^ I do not know ; either it is there, 
or it is upon a file, with the Duke's other letters, in my tent. 

I Sold. Here 'tis ; here's a paper : shall I read it to you ? 

Par. I do not know if it be it or no. 

Ber. Our interpreter does it well. 

I Lord. Excellently, 

I Sold. [Reads.] Dian, the counts afool, andfullofgold, — 

Par. That is not the Duke's letter, sir ; that is an adver- 
tisement ^"^ to a proper maid in Florence, one Diana, to take 
heed of the allurement of one Count Rousillon, a foolish idle 
boy, but, for all that, very ruttish : I pray you, sir, put it up 

I Sold. Nay, I'll read it first, by your favour. 

Par. My meaning in't, I protest, was very honest in the 
behalf of the maid ; for I knew the young count to be a dan- 
gerous and lascivious boy, who is a whale to virginity,^^ and 
devours up all the fry it finds. 

Ber. Damnable, both-sides rogue ! 

I Sold. [Reads.] 

Wlien he swears oaths, bid him drop gold, and take it; 

After he scores, he never pays the score : 
Half won is match well made ; match, and well make it; 

He ne^er pays after-debts, take it before ; 
And say a soldier, Dian, told thee this. 
Men are to mell ^^ with, boys are but to kiss : 
For count of this, the counfs afool, I know it. 
Who pays before, but not when he does owe it. 

Thine, as he vowed to thee in thine ear, 


1* " In good sadness " is in good earnest. So the Poet often uses sad. 
1* Advertisement for information or warning. 

15 Alluding, perhaps, to the story of Andromeda, in old prints, where the 
monster is often represented as a whale. 

16 To mell is to meddle, mix, or have to do with. 


Ber. He shall be whipp'd through the army, with this 
rhyme in's forehead, 

2 Lord. This is your devoted friend, • sir, the manifold 
linguist, and the armipotent soldier. 

Ber. I could endure any thing before but a cat, and now 
he's a cat to me. 

I Sold. I perceive, sir, by our general's looks, we shall be 
fain to hang you. 

Par. My hfe, sir, in any case : not that I am afraid to die ; 
but that, my offences being many, I would repent out the 
remainder of nature : let me live, sir, in a dungeon, i' the 
stocks, or anywhere, so I may live. 

I Sold. We'll see what may be done, so you confess freely ; 
therefore, once more to this Captain Dumain : you have an- 
swer'd to his reputation with the Duke, and to his valour : 
what is his honesty? 

Par. He will steal, sir, an egg out of a cloister •.^'^ for rapes 
and ravishments he parallels Nessus : "^ he professes not keep- 
ing of oaths ; in breaking 'em he is stronger than Hercules : 
he will lie, sir, with such volubility, that you would think truth 
were a fool : drunkenness is his best virtue, for he will be 
swine-drunk ; and in his sleep he does little harm, save to his 
bed-clothes about him ; but they know his conditions,!^ and 
lay him in straw. I have but little more to say, sir, of his 
honesty : he has every thing that an honest man should not 
have ; what an honest man should have, he has nothing. 

I Lord. I begin to love him for this. 

IT Perhaps meaning, as Johnson says, " He will steal any thing, however 
trifling, from any place, however holy." Staunton thinks that, " if an egg be 
not a misprint, it may have been used metaphorically for a young girl." 
And he aptly notes that Macduff's little boy is called egg and young fry by 
the murderer, in Macbeth, iv. 2. 

18 The Centaur killed by Hercules for his attempt on Mrs, Hercules. 

19 That is, temper or disposition. See note 10. 

SCENE III. all's well that ends well, lOl 

Ber. For this description of thine honesty? A pox upon 
him for me, he's more and more a cat. 

I Sold. What say you to his expertness in war? 

Par. Faith, sir, 'has led the drum before the English tra- 
gedians,^ — to belie him, I will not, — and more of his sol- 
diership I know not ; except, in that country he had the hon- 
our to be the officer at a place there called Mile-end,^^ to in- 
struct for the doubling of files : I would do the man what 
honour I can, but of this I am not certain. 

I Lord. He hath out-villain'd villainy so far, that the rarity 
redeems him. 

Ber. A pox on him, he's a cat still.^ 

I Sold. His qualities being at this p)Oor price, I need not 
to ask you if gold will corrupt him to revolt. 

Par. Sir, for a cardecu^ he will sell the fee-simple 
of his salvation,-"' the inheritance of it ; and cut the entail 
from all remainders, and a perpetual succession for it per- 

1 Sold. What's his brother, the other Captain Dumain ? 

2 Lord. \VTiy does he ask him of me ? 
I Sold. \\'hat'she? 

Par. E'en a crow o' the same nest ; not altogether so 
great as the first in goodness, but greater a great deal in e\-il : 
he excels his brother for a coward, yet his brother is reputed 

» In Shakespeare's tune, bands of players often went about the country 
preceded by a drum, to give notice of their arrival at any tovm where they 
wished to perform. See vol. ii., p>age 144, note 18. 

*i MiU-end was the spot where the Londoners conunonly held their mar- 
tial sports and exercises. 

22 Meaning " He is all cat, and never can be any thing- else." 

23 A French coin, quart d'ecu, the fourth part of the smaller French 
crown, and equal to about sixteen cents of our money. 

2* Fee-simple is an old l^al term for possession in absolute and unquali- 
fied right ; the strongest tenure known in English law. What follows in the 
speech seems to be little more than l^al surplusage, added for the piupose 
of emphasis, or, perhaps, as suited to the character Monsieur Words. 


one of the best that is : in a retreat he outruns any lacquey ; 
marry, in coming on he has the cramp. 

I Sold. If your life be saved, will you undertake to betray 
the Florentine? 

Par. Ay, and the captain of his Horse, Count Rousillon. 

I Sold. I'll whisper with the general, and know his pleasure. 

Far. \_Astde.'\ I'll no more drumming ; a plague of all 
drums ! Only to seem to deserve well, and to beguile the 
supposition of that lascivious young boy the count, have I 
run into this danger : yet who would have suspected an am- 
bush where I was taken ? 

I Sold. There is no remedy, sir, but you must die : the 
general says, you that have so traitorously discover'd the 
secrets of your army, and made such pestiferous reports of 
men very nobly held, can serve the world for no honest use ; 
therefore you must die. — Come, headsman, off with his head. 

Far. O Lord, sir, let me live, or let me see my death ! 

1 Sold. That shall you, and take your leave of all your 
friends. \Unmuffling him. 
So, look about you : know you any here? 

Ber. Good morrow, noble captain. 

2 Lord. God bless you. Captain Parolles. 

1 Lord. God save you, noble captain. 

2 Lord. Captain, what greeting will you to my Lord 
Lafeu ? I am for France. 

I Lord. Good captain, will you give me a copy of the 
sonnet you writ to Diana in behalf of the Count Rousillon ? 
an I were not a very coward, I'd compel it of you : but fare 
you well. \_Exeiint Bertram arid Lords. 

I Sold. You are undone, captain ; all but your scarf, that 
has a knot on't yet. 

Par. Who cannot be crush'd with a plot? 

I Sold. If you could find out a country where but women 
were that had received so much shame, you might begin an 


impudent nation. Fare ye well, sir ; I am for France too : 
we shall speak of you there. \^Exit with Soldiers. 

Par. Yet am I thankful : if my heart were great, 
'Twould burst at this. Captain I'll be no more ; 
But I will eat and drink, and sleep as soft 
As captain shall : simply the thing I am 
Shall make me live. ^Vho knows himself a braggart, 
Let him fear this ; for it will come to pass. 
That every braggart shall be found an ass. 
Rust, sword ! cool, blushes ! and, Parolles, live 
Safest in shame ! being fool'd, by foolery thrive ! 
There's place and means for every man alive. 
I'll after them. {Exit 

Scene TV. — Florence. A Room in the Widow's House. 

Enter Helena, the Widow, and Diana. 

Hel. That you may well perceive I have not wrong'd you. 
One of the greatest in the Christian world 
Shall be my surety ; 'fore whose throne 'tis needful. 
Ere I can perfect mine intents, to kneel : 
Time was, I did him a desired office. 
Dear almost as his life ; which gratitude 
Through flinty Tartar's bosom would peep forth. 
And answer, thanks : I duly am inform'd 
His Grace is at Marseilles ; 1 to which place 
We have convenient convoy. You must know, 
I am supposed dead : the army breaking. 
My husband hies him home ; where, Heaven aiding, 
And by the leave of my good lord the King, 
We'll be before our welcome. • 

1 Here, as, I think, always in Shakespeare, Marseilles is a trisyllable. — 
Convenient convoy is fitting or suitable attendance or escort. 


JVi'd. Gentle madam, 

You never had a servant to whose trust 
Your business was more welcome. 

He/. Nor you, mistress, 

Ever a friend whose thoughts more truly labour 
To recompense your love : doubt not but Heaven 
Hath brought me up to be your daughter's dower,^ 
As it hath fated her to be my motive 
And helper to a husband. But, O strange men ! 
That can such sweet use make of what they hate. 
When saucy 3 trusting of the cozen'd thoughts 
Defiles the pitchy night ! so lust doth play 
With what it loathes, for that which is away : 
But more of this hereafter. — You, Diana, 
Under my poor instructions yet must suffer 
Something in my behalf. 

Dia. Let death and honesty 

Go with your impositions,'* I am yours 
Upon your will to suffer. 

He/. Yet I pay you 

But with the word : ^ the time will bring on Summer, 
When briers shall have leaves as well as thorns, 
And be as sweet as sharp. We must away ; 
Our wagon is prepared, and time invites us : 

2 Dower for dowerer, as, in the next line, motive for mover. So the Poet 
\\2L%fife loxfifer, revolts for revolters, wrongs for wrongers, &c. 

3 Saucy, here, is wanton, prurient, or voluptuous. So in Measure for 
Measure, ii. 4 : " Their saucy sweetness that do coin Heaven's image in 
stamps that are forbid." Sometimes, however, the word means impudent, 
defiant, or over-bold ; and such, I think, may well be the meaning here. 

* Impositions for things imposed or enjoined. 

s Here, again, j^r/ is used, apparently, in the sense of now, still, or ay yet : 
" As yet I am paying you merely with the word of promise ; but the time is 
soon coming for another sort of payment." This explanation is, in sub- 
stance, Staunton's. See page 18, note 32. 


AiTs well that ends well: still the fine's the crown ; ^ 
Whate'er the course, the end is the renown. \Exeunt. 

Scene V. — Rousillon. A Room in the House of the Countess. 
Enter tiie Countess, Lafeu, and the Clown. 

Laf. No, no, no, your son was misled with a snipt-taffeta 
fellow there, whose villainous saffron would have made all the 
unbaked and doughy youth of a nation in his colour : * your 
daughter-in-law had been alive at this hour, and your son 
here at home, more advanced by the King than by that 
red-tail'd humble-bee ^ I speak of. 

Count. I would he had not know him ! it was the death 
of the most virtuous gentlewoman that ever Nature had 
praise for creating : if she had partaken of my flesh, and cost 
me the dearest groans of a mother, I could not have owed her 
a more rooted love. 

Laf. *Twas a good lady, 'twas a good lady : we may pick 
a thousand salads ere we light on such another herb. 

Clo. Indeed, sir, she was the sweet-marjoram of the salad, 
or rather, the herb of grace. 

Laf. They are not salad-herbs, you knave ; they are nose- 

' Fine is here used in its proper classical sense, for end; as in the old 
proverbial sajang, " Finis coronat opus." 

1 It app>ears that in the Poet's time saffron was used for colouring jjastry. 
The phrase " unbaked and doughy youth" shows that this custom is alluded 
to here. Reference is also had to the coxcombical finery, " the scarfs and 
the bannerets," which this strutting vacuum cuts his dashes in. Yellow was 
the prevailing colour in the dress of such as Parolles. So Sir Philip Sidney 
speaks of " a ja^r«?«-coloured coat," and Jonson, of " ribands, bells, and 
saffrond lynnen." 

2 This seems to identify red as the colour of the dressy braggart's hose ; 
but perhaps the reference is to his scarfs. — It scarce need be said that hum- 
ble-bee is what we call bumble-bee ; humble being the adjective of hum. 

3 Nose-herbs are herbs to be smelt of, not herbs to be eaten. The Clown's 
herb of grace is rue. 

I06 all's well that ends well. act IV. 

Clo. I am no great Nebuchadnezzar, sir; I have not 
much skill in grass,"* 

Laf. Whether dost thou profess thyself, — a knave or a 

Clo. A fool, sir, at a woman's service, and a knave at a 

Laf. Your distinction? 

Clo. I would cozen the man of his wife, and do his service. 

Laf. So you were a knave at his service, indeed. 

Clo. And I would give his wife my bauble,^ sir, to do her 

Laf. I will subscribe for thee, thou art both knave and 

Clo. At your service. 

Laf. No, no, no, 

Clo. Why, sir, if I cannot serve you, I can serve as great 
a prince as you are. 

Laf. Who's that? a Frenchmen? 

Clo. Faith, sir, 'a has an English name ; but his phisnomy 
is more hotter in France^ than there. 

Laf. What prince is that? 

Clo. The Black Prince, sir ; alias, the Prince of Darkness ; 
alias, the Devil. 

Laf. Hold thee, there's my purse : I give thee not this to 
suggest '' thee from thy master thou talkest of ; serve him still. 

Clo. I am a woodland fellow, sir, that always loved a 

* This pun looks as \{ grace and grass were sounded alike. 

5 The Fool's bauble was a stick, with the figure of a fool's head at the end, 
or sometimes with a doll or puppet. An inflated bladder, also, was often 
attached to it ; probably that the owner might strike without hurting. 

6 The allusion is obviously double ; and the presence of Edward the 
Black Prince was indeed rather hot in France. — Such double comparatives 
as more hotter were common in Shakespeare's time. Also the use of 'a as 
a colloquial substitute for he or she. 

■? Suggest for tempt, as usual. See page 74, note i. 

SCENE V. all's well that ends well. 107 

great fire ; and the master I speak of ever keeps a good fire. 
But, since he is the prince of the world, let his nobility re- 
main in's Court. I am for the house \vith the narrow gate, 
which I take to be too little for pomp to enter : some that 
humble themselves may ; but the many will be too chill and 
tender, and they'll be for the flowery way that leads to the 
broad gate and the great fire. 

Laf. Go thy ways, I begin to be a-weary of thee ; and I 
tell thee so before, because I would not fall out with thee. 
Go thy wa)rs : let my horses be well look'd to, Avithout any 

Clo. If I put any tricks upon 'em, sir, they shall be jades' 
tricks ; which are their own right by the law of Nature. 


Laf. A shrewd knave and an unhappy.^ 

Count. So he is. My lord that's gone made himself much 
sport out of him : by his authority he remains here, which he 
thinks is a patent for his sauciness ; and, indeed, he has no 
place, but runs where he will. 

Laf. I like him well ; 'tis not amiss. And I was about 
to tell you, since I heard of the good lady's death, and that 
my lord your son was upon his return home, I moved the 
King my master to speak in the behalf of my daughter ; which, 
in the minority of them both, his Majesty, out of a self-gra- 
cious remembrance, did first propose : his Highness hath 
promised me to do it ; and, to stop up the displeasure he hath 
conceived against your son, there is no fitter matter. How 
does yx>ur ladyship like it ? 

Count. With very much content, my lord ; and I wish it 
happily effected. 

Laf. His Highness comes post from Marseilles, of as able 
body as when he number'd thirt}' : he \vill be here to-morrow, 

8 Unhappy for mischievous, or causer of ill hap. Rep»eatedly so. See 
vol. i., page 132, note 9. 

I08 all's well that ends well, act IV. 

or I am deceived by him that in such intelHgence hath seldom 

Count. It rejoices me, that I hope I shall see him ere 1 
die. I have letters that my son will be here to-night : I 
shall beseech your lordship to remain with me till they meet 

Laf. Madam, I was thinking with what manners I might 
safely be admitted. 

Count. You need but plead your honourable privilege. 

Laf. Lady, of that I have made a bold charter ; but, I 
thank my God, it holds yet. 

Re-enter the Clown, 

Clo. O madam, yonder's my lord your son with a patch 
of velvet on's face : whether there be a scar under't or no, 
the velvet knows ; but 'tis a goodly patch of velvet : his left 
cheek is a cheek of two pile and a half,^ but his right cheek 
is worn bare. 

Count. A scar nobly got, or a noble scar, is a good livery 
of honour ; so belike is that. 

Clo. But it is your carbonado'd face,!'' 

Laf. Let us go see your son, I pray you : I long to talk 
with the young noble soldier. 

Clo. Faith, there's a dozen of 'em, with delicate fine hats, 
and most courteous feathers, which bow the head and nod at 
every man. \_Exeunt. 

9 Referring to the pile of the velvet patch. Pile was used of velvet very 
much as it is now of carpets ; three-pile being the richest. See vol. ii., page 
92, note 41. 

1" Carbanado' d is slashed with stripes or scotched like a piece of meat foi 
the gridiron. 



Scene I. — Marseilles. A Street. 

Enter Helena, the Widow, and Diana, with two Attendants. 

Hel. But this exceeding posting day and night 
Must wear your spirits low ; we cannot help it : 
But, since you've made the days and nights as one. 
To wear your gentle limbs in my affairs, 
Be bold ' you do so grow in my requital 
As nothing can unroot you. — In happy time ; 

Enter a Gentleman. 

This man may help me to his Majesty's ear. 

If he would spend his power. — God save you, sir. 

Gent. And you. 

Hel. Sir, I have seen you in the Court of France. 

Gent. I have been sometimes there. 

Hel. I do presume, sir, that you are not fall'n 
From the report that goes upon your goodness ; 
And therefore, goaded with most sharp occasions, 
Which lay nice manners by, I put you to 
The use of your own virtues ; for the which 
I shall continue thankful. 

Gent. What's your will? 

Hel. That it will please you 
To give this poor petition to the King ; 
And aid me with that store of power you have 
To come into his presence. 

Gent. The King's not here. 

1 Be bold, here, is be confident, be assured. 


Hel. Not here, sir ! 

Gent. Not, indeed : 

He hence removed last night, and with niore haste 
Than is his use. 

Wid. Lord, how we lose our pains ! 

Hel. Airs well that ends well yet, 
Though time seem so adverse and means unfit. 
I do beseech you, whither is he gone ? 

Gent. Marry, as I take it, to Rousillon ; 
Whither I am going. 

Hel. I do beseech you, sir, 

Since you are like to see the King before me, 
Commend the paper to his gracious hand ; 
Which, I presume, shall render you no blame, 
But rather make you thank your pains for it. 
I will come after you with what good speed 
Our means will make us means. 

Gent. This I'll do for you. 

Hel. And you shall find yourself to be well thank'd, 
Whate'er falls more. — We must to horse again : — 
Go, go, provide. \Exeunt 

Scene H. — Rousillon. The inner Court of the House 
of the Countess. 

Enter the Clown and Parolles. 

Par. Good Monsieur Lavache, give my Lord Lafeu this 
letter : I have ere now, sir, been better known to you, when 
I have held familiarity with fresher clothes ; but I am now, 
sir, mudded in Fortune's mood,^ and smell somewhat strong 
of her strong displeasure. 

Clo. Truly, Fortune's displeasure is but sluttish, if it smell 

2 A quibble between mood and mud, which appear to have been sounded 
much alike. One sense of mood is caprice. 


SO Strongly as thou speakest of: I will henceforth eat no fish 
of Fortune's buttering. Pr'ythee, allow the wind. 

Par. Nay, you need not to stop your nose, sir ; I spake 
but by a metaphor. 

Clo. Indeed, sir, if your metaphor stink, I will stop my 
nose ; or against any man's metaphor. Pr'ythee, get thee 

Par. Pray you, sir, deliver me this paper. 

Clo. Foh, pr'ythee, stand away : a paper fi-om Fortune's 
close-stool to give to a nobleman ! Look, here he comes 
himself. — 

Enter Lafeu. 

Here is a pur of Fortune's, sir, or of Fortune's cat,3 — but 
not a musk-cat, — that has fallen into the unclean fishpond 
of her displeasure, and, as he says, is mudded withal : pray 
you, sir, use the carp as you may ; for he looks like a poor, 
decayed, ingenious, foolish, rascally knave. I do pity his 
distress in my similes of comfort, and leave him to your lord- 
ship. {^Exit. 

Par. My lord, I am a man whom Fortime hath cruelly 

Laf. And what would you have me to do ? 'tis too late to 
pare her nails now. Wherein have you played the knave with 
Fortune, that she should scratch you, who of herself is a good 
lady, and would not have knaves thrive long under her? 
There's a cardecu for you : let the justices make you and 
Fortune friends ; I am for other business. 

Par. I beseech your Honour to hear me one single 

8 Is " Monsieur Lavache " playing upon the first syllable of Parolles' 
name, as if it were spelt Purrolles f Hardly, I think. Yet, otherwise, I do 
not well see how to take his fur. As Nares remarks, " the pur of a cat is 
well known ; but how Parolles could be a/«r, it is not easy to say, or what 
is a /«r of fortune." See Critical Notes. 


Laf. You beg a single penny more : come, you shall ha't ; 
save your word. 

Par. My name, my good lord, is Parolles. 

Laf. You beg more than one word, then.^ Cox' my pas- 
sion ! give me your hand : how does your drum ? 

Par. O my good lord, you were the first that found me ! 

Laf. Was I, in sooth ? and I was the first that lost thee. 

Par. It lies in you, my lord, to bring me in some grace, 
for you did bring me out. 

Laf. Out upon thee, knave ! dost thou put upon me at 
once both the ofiice of God and the Devil? one brings thee 
in grace, and the other brings thee out. \Trumpets sound.'] 
The King's coming ; I know by his trumpets. Sirrah, in- 
quire further after me ; I had talk of you last night : though 
you are a fool and a knave, you shall eat ; go to, follow. 

Par. I praise God for you. \_Exeunt. 

Scene III. — The Same. A Room in the House of the 

Flourish. Enter the King, Countess, Lafeu, Lords, Gentle- 
men, Guards, &c. 

King. We lost a jewel of her ; and our esteem 
Was made much poorer by it : ^ but your son, 
As mad in folly, lack'd the sense to know 
Her estimation home.^ 

Count. 'Tis past, my liege j 

* The literal meaning of parolles is words, plural or " more than one." 
The quibble is obvious enough. 

1 Our esteem here means, apparently, " the sum of what we hold esti- 
mable." In losing Helen, the King has lost much of this, because she 
formed a large portion of it. 

2 To know a thing home is to know it thoroughly, to appreciate it. So the 
Poet has many such phrases as "trusted home," "revenged home," and 
" pay him home." 

SCENE III. all's well that ends well. 113 

And I beseech your Majesty to make it ^ 
Natural rebellion, done i' the blaze of youth ; 
When oil and fire, too strong for reason's force, 
O'erbear it, and bum on. 

King. My honour'd lady, 

I have forgiven and forgotten all ; 
Though my revenges were high-bent upon him. 
And watch'd the time to shoot. 

Laf. This I must say, — 

But first I beg my pardon, — the young lord 
Did to his Majesty, his mother, and his lady, 
Offence of mighty note ; but to himself 
The greatest wrong of all : he lost a wife, 
Whose beaut)' did astonish the survey 
Of richest eyes ; '' whose words all ears took captive ; 
Whose dear perfection hearts that scom'd to serve 
Humbly call'd mistress. 

King. Praising what is lost 

Makes the remembrance dear. — Well, call him hither ; 
We're reconciled, and the first view shall kill 
All repetition. Let him not ask our pardon ; 
The nature of his great offence is dead. 
And deeper than oblivion we do bury 
Th' incensing relics of it : let him approach, 
A stranger, no offender ; and inform him 
So 'tis our wUl he should. 

I Gent. I shall, my liege. \Exit. 

King. What says he to your daughter ? have you spoke ? 

Laf. All that he is hath reference to your Highness.^ 

King. Then shall we have a match. I've letters sent me 

3 Make it for hold or consider it. To make was used in many ways that 
are now out of date altogether. 

■* " Richest eyes " are eyes most enriched with the treasures of observation 
5 That is, " he refers himself entirely to your Majesty's disposal." 


That set him high in fame. 

Enter Bertram, with i Gentleman. 

Laf. He looks well on't. 

King. I am not a day of season,'' 
For thou mayst see a sunshine and a hail 
In me at once : but to the brightest beams 
Distracted clouds give way \ so stand thou forth, 
The time is fair again. 

Ber. My high-repented blames, 

Dear sovereign, pardon to me. 

King. All is whole ; 

Not one word more of the comsumed time. 
Let's take the instant by the forward top ; 
For we are old, and on our quick'st decrees 
Th' inaudible and noiseless foot of Time 
Steals ere we can effect them. You remember 
The daughter of this lord? 

Ber. Admiringly, my liege : at first 
I stuck my choice upon her, ere my heart 
Durst make too bold a herald of my tongue : 
Where the impression of mine eye infixing, 
Contempt his scornful perspective did lend me, 
Which warp'd the line of every other favour ; 
Scorn'd a fair colour, or express'd it stol'n ;''' 
Extended or contracted all proportions 
To a most hideous object : thence it came 
That she whom all men praised, and whom myself, 
Since I have lost, have loved, was in mine eye 
The dust that did offend it. 

6 " A day of season " here means a seasonable day ; and the King is not 
that, inasmuch as he is a mixture of sunshine and hail. 

"^ There were various kinds oi perspective glasses ; and one kind distorted 
the object, and expressed it, that is, made it look, altogether different from 
its proper self. See note on perspectives in King Richard II., ii. 2. 


Kir^. Well excused : 

That thou didst love her, strikes some scores away 
From the great compt : but love that comes too late, 
Like a remorseful pardon slowly carried. 
To the great sender turns a sore offence. 
Crying, Thafs good thafs gotte. Our rasher faults 
Make trivial price of serious things we have. 
Not knowing them until we know their grave : 
Oft our displeasures, to ourselves unjust. 
Destroy our friends, and after weep their dust : 
Our old love waking cries to see what's done, 
WTiile shameful hate sleeps out the afternoon.** 
Be this sweet Helen's knell, and now forget her. 
Send forth your amorous token for fair Maudlin : 
The main consents are had ; and here we'll stay 
To see our widower's second marriage-day. 

Count. \Miich better than the first, O dear Heaven, 
bless ! 
Or, ere they meet, in me, O nature, cesse !^ 

Laf. Come on, my son, in whom my House's name 
Must be digested,^" give a favour from you. 
To sparkle in the spirits of my daughter. 
That she may quickly come. — [ Bertram ^'trj a ring to Lafeu. 

By my old beard. 
And every hair that's on't, Helen, that's dead, 
Was a sweet creature : such a ring as this. 

8 The meaning seems to be, " Our former love, awaking to the worth of 
its lost treasure, weeps too late ; the time of remedy having been wasted in 
shamefiil hate." 

s Ctsse is an old form of cease ; used here for the rhyme. 

1' Digested here probably means arranged, ordered, or set forth. The 
Poet has it repeatedly in that sense. So in the Prologue to Troilus and 
Cressida : " To what may be digested in a play." And in Hamlet, n. 2 : 
" An excellent play ; well digested in the scenes." Also in Antony and Cleo- 
patra, ii. 2 : " We have cause to be glad that matters are so well digested:' 

ii6 all's well that ends well. act V, 

The last eve, ere she took her leave at Court, 
I saw upon her finger. 

Ber. Hers it was not. 

King. Now, pray you, let me see it ; for mine eye, 
' While I was speaking, oft was fasten'd to't. — 
This ring was mine ; and, when I gave it Helen, 
I bade her, if her fortunes ever stood 
Necessitied to help, that by this token 
I would relieve her. Had you that craft, to reave her 
Of what should stead her most ? 

Ber. My gracious sovereign, 

Howe'er it pleases you to take it so. 
The ring was never hers. 

Count. Son, on my life, 

I've seen her wear it ; and she reckon'd it 
At her life's rate. 

Laf. I'm sure I saw her wear it. 

Ber. You are deceived, my lord ; she never saw it : 
In Florence was it from a casement thrown me, 
Wrapp'd in a paper, which contain'd the name 
Of her that threw it : noble she was, and thought 
I stood engaged : but when I had subscribed 
To mine own fortune, i^ and inform'd her fully 
I could not answer in that course of honour 
As she had made the overture, she ceased 
In heavy satisfaction, ^^ and would never 
Receive the ring again. 

King. Plutus himself, 

11 Subscribed in the sense oi submitted ; " had signed my consent to what 

fortune had written down for me " ; referring to his marriage with Helen. — 
In the preceding clause, " I stood engaged," the meaning seems to be, 
" She thought I stood engaged to her, because she had made proposals to 
me, and had mistaken my silence for consent : but when," iScc. 

12 That is, heavy or depressed, because she was satisfied or fully assured 
that he could not marry her. How the man lies ! 

SCENE III. all's well that ENDS WELL. 11/ 

That knows the tinct and multiplying medicine, ^^ 
Hath not in Nature's mystery more science 
Than I have in this ring : 'twas mine, 'twas Helen's, 
Whoever gave it you. Then, if you know 
That you are well acquainted with yourself, 
Confess 'twas hers, and by what rough enforcement 
You got it from her : she call'd the saints to surety 
That she would never put it from her finger. 
Unless she gave it to yourself in bed, — 
\\Tiere you have never come, — or sent it us 
Upon her great disaster. 

Ber. She never saw it. 

King. Thou speak'st it falsely, as I love mine honour ; 
And makest conjectural fears to come into me, 
\\Tiich I would fain shut out. If it should prove 
That thou art so inhuman, — 'twill not prove so ; — 
And yet I know not : — thou didst hate her deadly. 
And she is dead ; which nothing, but to close 
Her eyes myself, could win me to believe, 
More than to see this ring. — Take him away. — 

[Guards seize Bertraai. 
My fore-past proofs, howe'er the matter fall. 
Shall tax my fears of little vanity, 
Having vainly fear'd too Uttle.!"* — Away with him ! — 
We'll sift this matter further. 

Ber. If you shall prove 

This ring was ever hers, you shall as easy 

1' Thui for tincture, and used here as an alchemical term, meaning " the 
grand elixir " or " philosopher's stone," which, by its touch, was expected to 
work such marvels in nature ; also called " multiplying medicine," because 
it was thought able to multiply the stock of gold by transmutation from lead 
and other base metals. Of course Plutus, the god of wealth, knew the whole 
secret of the thing fjerfectly. 

1* " The proofe I have already had are enough to acquit my fears of 
being vain and irrational : I have unreasonably feared too little " 

ii8 all's well that ends well. act v. 

Prove that I husbanded her bed in Florence, 
Where yet she never was. \_Extt, guarded. 

King. I'm wrapp'd in dismal thinkings. . 

Enter a Gentleman. 

Genf. Gracious sovereign, 

Whether I've been to blame or no, I know not : 
Here's a petition from a Florentine, 
Who had for four or five removes ^^ come short 
To tender it herself. I undertook it, 
Vanquish'd thereto by the fair grace and speech 
Of the poor suppliant, who by this, I know. 
Is here attending : her business looks in her 
With an importing visage ; and she told me, 
In a sweet verbal brief, it did concern 
Your Highness with herself. 

King. [Reads.] Upoji his many protestations to marry me 
when his wife was dead, I blush to say it, he won me. Now 
is the Count Rousillon a widower : his vows are forfeited to 
me, and my honour's paid to him. He stole from Florence, 
taking no leave, and I follow him to his coufitry for justice : 
grant it me, O King I in you it best lies ; otherwise a seducer 
flourishes, and a poor maid is undone. Diana Capulet. 

Laf. I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll him : '*• 
for this, I'll none of him. 

Kitig. The Heavens have thought well on thee, Lafeu, 
To bring forth this discovery. — Seek these suitors : — 
Go speedily and bring again the count. — 

[^Exeunt Gentleman and some Attendants. 

15 Removes for stages ; a stage being the space of a day's travel. She 
had not been able to overtake the King on the road. 

16 This is well explained by Dr. Percy, as quoted by Dyce : " I'll buy me 
a son-in-law as they buy a horse in a fair ; toul him, that is, enter him on 
the toul or /o//-book, to prove I came honestly by him, and ascertain my 
title to him." 


I am afeard the life of Helen, lady. 
Was foully snatch'd. 

Count. Now, justice on the doers ! 

Re-enter Bertram, guarded. 

King. I wonder, sir, sith wives are monsters to you, 
And that you fly them as you swear them lordship," 
Yet you desire to marry. — 

Re-enter the Gentleman, with the Widow and Diana. 

What woman's that? 

Dia. I am, my lord, a wretched Florentine, 
Derived from the ancient Capulet : 
My suit, as I do imderstand, you know, 
And therefore know how far I may be pitied. 

Wid. I am her mother, sir, whose age and honour 
Both suffer under this complaint we bring ; 
And both shall cease, '^ without your remedy. 

King. Come hither, county : do you know these women ? 

Ber. My lord, I neither can nor will deny 
But that I know them : do they charge me further ? 

Dia. Why do you look so strange upon your mfe ? 

Ber. She's none of mine, my lord. 

Dia. If you shall marry. 

You give away this hand, and that is mine ; 
You give away Heaven's vows, and those are mine ; 
You give away myself, which is known mine ; 
For I by vow am so embodied yoms. 
That she which marries you must marry me, — 
Either both or none. 

IT Lordship, here, is fossession or ownership. This is sworn in the act of 
marriage : " With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and 
■unth all my worldly goods I thee endow : In the Name of the Father," &c. — 
In the text, as is equivalent to as soon as. 

18 Cease for decease, die. — Your remedy is your power of remedy. 


Laf. \To Bertram.] Your reputation comes too short for 
my daughter ; you are no husband for her. 

Ber. My lord, this is a fond and desperate creature, 
Whom sometime I have laugh'd with : let your Highness 
Lay a more noble thought upon mine honour 
Than for to think that I would sink it here. 

King. Sir, for my thoughts, you have them ill to friend 
Till your deeds gain them : fairer prove your honour 
Than in my thought it lies ! 

Dia. Good my lord, 

Ask him upon his oath, if he does think 
He had not my virginity. 

King. What say'st thou to her ? 

Ber. She's impudent, my lord, 

And was a common gamester to the camp. 

Dia. He does me wrong, my lord ; if I were so. 
He might have bought me at a common price : 
Do not believe him : O, behold this ring. 
Whose high respect and rich validity ^^ 
Did lack a parallel ; yet, for all that. 
He gave it to a commoner o' the camp. 
If I be one. 

Count. He blushes, and 'tis his : 
Of six preceding ancestors, that gem, 
Conferr'd by testament to th' sequent issue. 
Hath it been owed and worn. This is his wife ; 
That ring's a thousand proofs. 

King. Methought you said 

You saw one here in Court could witness it.^^ 

Dia. I did, my lord, but loth am to produce 
So bad an instrument : his name's ParoUes. 

1* Validity for value. The Poet has it elsewhere in the same sense. 

2' If Diana has said this to the King, Shakespeare has failed to report it. 


Laf. I saw the man to-day, if man he be. 

King. Find him, and bring him hither. 

\^Exit an Attendant. 

Ber. What of him? 

He's quoted-* for a most f)erfidious slave, 
With all the spots o' the world tax'd — and debauch 'd ; 
Whose nature sickens but to speak a truth. 
Am I or that or this for what he'll utter. 
That will speak any thing? 

King. She hath that ring of yours. 

Ber. I think she has : certain it is I liked her. 
And boarded her i' the wanton way of youth : 
She knew her distance, and did angle for me. 
Madding my eagerness with her restraint. 
As all impediments in fancy's course 
.\re motives of more fancy ; '^ and, in fine. 
Her infinite cunning, with her modest grace. 
Subdued me to her rate : she got the ring ; 
And I had that which an inferior might 
At market-price have bought. 

Dia. I must be patient : 

You, that tum'd off a first so noble wife. 
May justly diet me.-"* I pray you yet, — 
Since you lack virtue, I will lose a husband, — 
Send for your ring, I will return it home. 
And give me mine again. 

Ber. I have it not. 

King. What ring was yours, I pray you ? 

21 Quoted is marked or noted. Repeatedly so. 

2"' Tax'd is accused, charged, or censured. So the substantive in ii i, of 
this play: " Tax of impuJence." Also in As You Like It, ii. 7: "Why, 
who cries out on pride, that can therein tax any private party ? " 

2* Fancy for Ume ; often so. — Motive, as before, for mover or moving- 
power. See page 104, note 2. 

2< That is, compel me to fast from the comforts due to a wife. 


Dia. Sir, much like 

The same upon your finger. 

King. Know you this ring ? this ring was his of late. 

Dia. And this was it I gave him, being a-bed. 

King. The story, then, goes false, you threw it him 
Out of a casement. 

Dia. I have spoke the truth. 

Ber. My lord, I do confess the ring was hers. 

King. You boggle shrewdly, every feather starts you. — 

Enter Parolles, with an Attendant. 

Is this the man you speak of? 

Dia. Ay, my lord. 

King. Tell me, — but, sirrah, tell me true, I charge you, 
Not fearing the displeasure of your master, 
Which, on your just proceeding, I'll keep off, — 
By him and by^^ this woman here what know you? 

Par. So please your Majesty, my master hath been an 
honourable gentlemen : tricks he hath had in him, which 
gentlemen have. 

King. Come, come, to th' purpose : did he love this woman ? 

Par. Faith, sir, he did love her ; but how ? 

King. How, I pray you ? 

Par. He did love her, sir, as a gentleman loves a woman. 

King. How is that? 

Par. He loved her, sir, and loved her not. 

King. As thou art a knave, and no knave. — What an 
equivocal companion ^^ is this ! 

Par. I am a poor man, and at your Majesty's command. 

Laf. He's a good drum, my lord, but a naughty orator. 

Dia. Do you know he promised me marriage ? 

25 By was often thus used where we should use of. See vol. iii., page 
r6o, note 2. 

26 Companion a.nd fellow were used interchangeably. 


Par. Faith, I know more than I'll speak. 

King. But wilt thou not speak all thou know'st? 

Par. Yes, so please your Majesty. I did go between them, 
as I said ; but more than that, he loved her, — for, indeed, 
he was mad for her, and talk'd of Satan, and of Limbo, and 
of Furies, and I know not what : yet I was in that credit 
with them at that time, that I knew of their going to bed ; 
and of other motions, as promising her marriage, and things 
which would derive me ill will to speak of; therefore I will 
not speak what I know. 

King. Thou hast spoken all already, unless thou canst say 
they are married : but thou art too fine ^^ in thy evidence ; 
therefore stand aside. — 
This ring, you say, was yours ? 

Dia. Ay, my good lord. 

King. Where did you buy it ? or who gave it you ? 

Dia. It was not given me, nor I did not buy it. 

King. Who lent it you ? 

Dia. It was not lent me neither. 

King. Where did you find it, then ? 

Dia. I found it not. 

King. If it were yours by none of all these ways. 
How could you give it him ? 

Dia. I never gave't him. 

Laf. This woman's an easy glove, my lord ; she goes off 
and on at pleasure. 

King. This ring was mine ; I gave it his first wife. 

Dia. It might be yours or hers, for aught I know. 

King. Take her away ; I do not like her now ; 
To prison with her : and away with him. — 
Unless thou tell'st me where thou hadst this ring. 
Thou diest within this hour. 

Dia. I'll never tell you. 

27 Too fine here is too artful, loo full of finesse. 


King. Take her away. 

Dia. I'll put in bail, my liege. 

King. I think thee now some common customer. 

Dia. By Jove, if ever I knew man, 'twas you.^^ 

King. Wherefore hast thou accused him all this while? 

Dia. Because he's guilty, and he is not guilty : 
He knows I am no maid, and he'll swear to't ; 
I'll swear I am a maid, and he knows not. 
Great King, I am no strumpet, by my life ; 
I'm either maid, or else this old man's wife. 

\Pointing to Lafeu. 

King. She does abuse our ears : to prison with her. 

Dia. Good mother, fetch my bail. — Stay, royal sir : 

\^Exit Widow. 
The jeweller that owes the ring is sent for. 
And he shall surety me. But, for this lord. 
Who hath abused me, as he knows himself. 
Though yet he never harm'd me, here I quit ^^ him : 
He knows himself my bed he hath defiled ; 
And at that time he got his wife with child : 
Dead though she be, she feels her young one kick : 
So there's my riddle, — one that's dead is quick : 
And now behold the meaning. 

Re-enter the Widow, with Helena. 

King. Is there no Exorcist ^^ 

Beguiles the truer office of mine eyes ? 
Is't real that I see ? 

Hel. No, my good lord ; 

28 This is probably addressed to Lafeu ; in accordance with the close of 
her next speech. 

29 Quit for acquit. Often so. See vol. iii., page 205, note 45. 

80 Exorcist was sometimes used, like conjurer, for one who calls up 
spirits. Its proper meaning is one who expels them, or drives them away. 


Tis but the shadow of a wife you see, 
The name, and not the thing. 

Ber. Both, both : O, pardon ! 

HeL O my good lord, when I was like this maid, 
I found you wondrous kind. There is your ring ; 
And, look you, here's your letter ; this it says : 
When from my finger you can get this ring. 
And are by me with child, — And this is done : , 

Will you be mine, now you are doubly won ? 

Ber. If she, my Kege, can make me know this clearly, 
I'll love her dearly, ever, ever dearly. 

Hel. If it appear not plain, and prove imtrue. 
Deadly divorce step bet%veen me and you ! — 
O ray dear mother, do I see you living ? 

Laf. Mine eyes smell onions ; I shall weep anon : — 
\To P.\ROLLES.] Good Tom Drum, lend me a handkercher : 
so, I thank thee : wait on me home, I'll make sport with 
thee : let thy courtesies alone, they are scurvy ones. 

King. Let us from point to point this story know. 
To make the even truth in pleasure flow. — 
\To Dl\na.] If thou be'st yet a fresh uncropped flower. 
Choose thou thy husband, and I'll pay thy dower ; 
For I can guess that, by thy honest aid. 
Thou kept'st a wife herself, thyself a maid. — 
Of that, and aU the progress, more and less, 
Resolvedly ^^ more leisure shall express : 
All yet seems well ; and if it end so meet, 
The bitter past, more welcome is the sweet. — [Flourish. 

The King's a beggar, now the play is done : 
All is well ended, if this suit be won, 

31 Resolve and its derivarives were often used in the sense of to assure or 
to satisfy. So in Measure for Measure, iii. I : " I am going to resolve him," 
And again in iv. 2 : " TTiJs shall absolutely resolve you." 

126 all's well that ends well. act v. 

That you express content ; which we will pay, 

With strife to please you, day exceeding day : ^^ 

Ours be your patience then, and yours our parts ; ^^ 

Your gentle hands lend us, and take our hearts. \_Exeunt. 

32 " Day exceeding day " is more and more every day. 

33 Our parts is our abilities, fnental -paxis. — "Your hands lend us" is 
" give us your applause " ; by clapping hands, of course. 


Act I., Scene i. 

Page 12. Wkose worthiness would stir it up where it wanted, rather 
than slack it where there is stuh abundance. — So Warburton and Theo- 
bald. The original has lack instead of slack. Possibly a fitting sense 
may be wrung from lack, but hardly. See foot-note 2. 

P. 12. Had it stretched so far, 'twould Aat/<f made nature immortal. 

— The original has would instead of ^twould, thus leaving the verb 
without a subject. 

P. 13. Her disposition she inherits, which \a3kes fair gifis fairer. — 
The old text has " her dispositions, — which makes'^ Corrected by 
Rowe. Staunton notes upon the text as follows : " There is scarcely a 
passage of importance in the earlier scenes of this comedy, the meaning 
of which is not destroyed or impaired by some scandalous textual error. 
In the present instance some expression implying chaste or pure, before 
dispositions, appears to have been omitted. Perhaps we should read 
' the honesty of her dispositions she inherits ' ; — honesty being under- 
stood in the sense of chastity, as in the last clause of the passage, 
* she derives her honesty, and achieves her goodness.' " See foot-notes 
5 and 8. 

P. 14. Lest it be rather thought you affect a sorrow than to have it. 

— Instead of it after have, the original sets a long dash, as if the sen- 
tence, were broken off. But it is evident that no broken sentence was 
intended. Probably, as Dyce remarks, the Poet's manuscript was 
" here slightly imperfect or illegible." — It would seem that to ought 
either to be inserted before affect or omitted before have. But such 
changes of construction are not uncommon in the old writers. So in 
Bacon's Advancement of Learning : "The pimishment was, that they 
should be put out of commons, and not to be admitted to the table of 
the gods." And in As You Like It, iii. 2 : " Heaven would that she 


128 all's well that ends well. 

these gifts should have, and I to live and die her slave." Also in the 
Poet's 58th Sonnet : " That God forbid," I should in thought control 
your times of pleasure, or at your hand th' account of hours to crave." 

P. 14. Hel. If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess makes it 
soon mortal. 

Laf. How understand we that ? 

Ber. [Kneeling.] Madam, I desire your holy wishes. 

Count. Be thou blest, Bertram, &c. — In the old copies, the 
first of these speeches is assigned to the Countess, and the order of the 
next two speeches is transposed. Tieck thought that the first belonged 
to Helena, and is followed by Staunton and Dyce. Lettsom informs 
us that Walker was for transposing the other two ; and I do not well 
see how the propriety of doing so can be questioned. 

P. 15. My imagination 

Carries no favour in it but Bertram'' s. — The original reads 
" no favour in't but " ; and Walker thinks the " line is quite complete 
as it stands, Bertram's being here a trisyllable." But I do not see it 
so: the name is nowhere else used as a trisyllable; while the Poet 
sometimes varies the accent in names, as well as in words, to suit his 
verse. Collier's second folio reads " Carries no favour in't but only 
Bertram's " ; which I am apt to think may be right. 

P. 16. Yet these fix' d evils sit so fit in him. 

That they take place when virtue's steely bones 
Look bleak i' the wind : withal, /?<// oft we see 
Cold 7uisdom waiting on superfluous folly. — The epithet steely 
of course means made of steel, or of something like steel in hardness 
and toughness. Hence both Dr. Badham, in Cambridge Essays for 
1856, and Mr. Williams, in The Parthenon, Sept. 6, 1862, would sub- 
stitute seely, which is an old form of silly, and formerly meant simple, 
guileless, innocent. Mr. Williams obsei-ves, " Helena, speaking in pity- 
ing terms of the exposure of virtue's bones to the cold wind, would 
hardly characterize them as endowed with the very qualities best fitting 
them to endure the infliction." This is at least plausible ; and I was 
at one time minded to adopt the change ; but Mr. Joseph Crosby 
made out so strong an argument for the old reading, that I felt con- 
strained to keep it. See foot-note 21. — In the third line, the old text 
has " Look bleak i' the cold wind." Here it is to be noted that cold 


defeats the metre, and also makes an ugly repetition with " Cold wis. 
dom." Walker says, " one of the colds must be wrong " ; and he at 
the same time asks, " what can be made of withal? " He would strike 
the word out, and print " Look bleak in the cold wind : full oft we 
see," as Pope reads. He also thinks the second cold ought to be re- 
placed by some word signifying hungry or half-starved, as he takes 
superfluous to mean over-fed or full to excess. But that word, I think, 
may just as well be taken in the sense of overclothed. See foot-note 22. 
For my part, I have little doubt that the two lines ought to stand 

thus : 

Look bleak in the cold wind: full oft we see 
Bare wisdom waiting on superfluous folly. 

P. 17. Loss of virginity is rational increase. — Hanmer printed 
" national increase," as Theobald also once proposed. Rightly, I have 
very little doubt. 

P. 18. Out with'' a within one year it will make itself two, which 
is a goodly increase ; and the principal itself not much the worse. — 
The original has " within ten yeare it will make itselfe two " ; which 
has puzzled the editors a good deal. Various changes have been made 
or proposed ; but all the rest, I think, ought to be ruled off at once by 
that in the text, which leaves nothing to be desired. White is the 
author of it. 

P. 18. Marry, ill, to like him that ne^er likes it. — The original 
reads " that ne'er it likes " ,• which, it seems to me, gives a wrong 
sense. Corrected by Walker. 

P. 18. Marry, yet Uis a wither" d pear : will you any thing with it? 
Hel. Not my virginity yet. — You're for the Court : 
There shall your master have, &c. — The original text of this 
play is so shockingly mangled and mutilated, as to try an editor's 
patience and judgment to the uttermost. Here, as all admit, we have 
a bad gap in the text ; and the editors are not agreed as to how it 
should be filled : some of them indeed leave it unfilled. The words. 
You're for the Court, were supplied by Hanmer ; and something of the 
sort is plainly necessary to the sense. Staunton thinks, " the deficiency 
is more probably in Parolles' speech, where the words, we are for the 
Court, may have been omitted by the compositor." But why is this 
more probable ? I cannot see it so. The words added by Hanmer 


make the connection in Helena's speech at least full as apt and clear ; 
this too without leaving the first line of it incomplete. — Dr. Badham 
thinks that the preceding dialogue, after ParoUes' question, " Are you 
meditating on virginity ?" formed no part of the play as written by 
Shakespeare, and that it was foisted in by some other hand. " I do 
not hesitate," says he, " to declare my belief that the preceding 
speeches of ParoUes are the mere ribaldry of the players. Not only is 
the wit utterly unworthy of Shakespeare, but there is nothing of 
ParoUes about it, — none of the extravagant attempts at euphuism in 
which that red-tailed humble-bee delights. Helena's reverie naturally 
prompts ParoUes to ask if she is meditating on life in a convent ; to 
which Helena answers that she is not thinking of such a state for her- 
self at present." I fully concur in this judgment, and would gladly be 
rid of the whole passage in question, which has long seemed to me a 
foul blot in the play, and a scandalous wrong done to the heroine ; 
but, unfortunately, there it is, and there, for aught I see, it must stand. 
Observe how much more apt and natural the connection would be 
without that passage : 

Par. Are you meditating on virginity? 

Hel. Not on virginity yet. — You're for the Court : &c. 

P. 19. There shall your master have a thousand loves, 

A mauther, and a mistress, and a friend, &c. — Instead of 
mauther, the old text has mother, which seems strangely out of place. 
For A mother Rowe substituted Another ; but that does not fit the 
place any better. Mauther is an old word used by Jonson and other 
writers of the time, and signifying girl or maid. Nares says " the 
word is still used in Norfolk and Suffolk." It was sometimes written 
modder, and, in one instance at least, it appears to have been corrupted 
into mother ; as Brome has it, with an evident quibble : " Where maids 
are mothers, and 77iothers are maids." 

P. 19. His jarring concord, and his discord dulcet, 

His faith, his sweet disaster. — Hanmer printed " His faithless 
sweet disaster '.' ; which I more than suspect to be right. 

P. 20. When thou hast leisure, say thy prayers ; when thou hast 
money, remember thy friends. — The old text reads " when thou hast 
none, remember thy friends." Here none must be understood as re- 
ferring to leisure : but why should ParoUes tell Helena to remember 



her friends when she has no leisure ? The reading, " when thou hast 
money;' was proposed by Mr. W. W. WiUiams in The Parthenon, Nov. 
I, 1862. It gives at least an intelligible and fitting sense to the pas- 
sage. And monie, as the word was often spelt, might easily get mis- 
printed none. 

P. 21. Impossible be strange attempts to those 

That weigh their pains in sense ; and do suppose 
IVhat hath not been can't be. — So Hanmer and Walker. The 
original reads " What hath beene, cannot be " ; which evidently ex- 
presses just the reverse of the speaker's thought. 

Act I., Scene 2. 

^•23- Bui they may jest. 

Till their own scorn return to them unnoted. 
Ere they can hide their lexnty in humour 

So like a courtier. — The old text has "hide their levitie in 
honour." In order to make any fitting sense out of that reading, 
honour has to be taken in a sense very different from the one it bears 
in the third line below. On the other hand, a genial and pleasant 
humour may be aptly said to hide the jests of the speaker, inasmuch as 
it takes the sting and venom out of them. Dyce suggests the correc- 
tion. We have many instances of humour and honour confounded. 
If honour be the right word, the meaning probably is, " Ere they can 
cause their levity to be overlooked or lost sight of in their nobleness of 
character, or the honour in which they are held." 

P- 23. Who were below him 

He used as creatures of a noh\ex place ; 

And bow'dhis eminent top to their low ranks. 

Making them proud, as his nobility 

In their poor praise he humbled. — The original reads " crea- 
tures of another place," and " proud of his humility." Hanmer changed 
another place into a brother race ; which I quote merely as showing 
that he saw the unfitness of another. " A nobler place " was proposed 
■by Williams in The Parthenon, Nov. I, 1862. How easily a nobler 
might be misprinted another, is obvious enough. — As to the last two 
Unes of the passage, I can make no sense at all out of them as they 
stand in the old text. How could the men be said to be proud of 
his humility ? "VVarburton (changes " proud of his " to " proud, and 
his " ; juid so Wilhains wo.uU read ; who also proposes to make the 


last line " In their poor praise the humbler.^' This gives the sense of 
" making his humility the humbler in the praise of those below him, 
or poorer than he." But why "make his humility the humbler'" ? 
Surely, the sense is not enough bettered to pay for the changes of he 
to the, and of humbled to humbler. I have no doubt that of got mis- 
printed for as. How apt s, when written long, was to be mistaken for 
f, Walker has abundantly shown ; and no one familiar with the old 
copies needs to be told that a and were very often confounded. As 
for nobility, I must leave it to stand on its own fitness of sense ; merely 
remarking that the occurrence of hum just beneath nob might account 
for the error, supposing it to be an error. 

P. 24. Thus his good melancholy oft began. 

On the catastrophe and heel of pastime, ■ 

When it was out. — In the first of these lines, the old text has 
This instead of Thus. An obvious error, — corrected by Pope. In 
the third line, Staunton plausibly proposes to substitute wit for it. See 
foot-note 12. 

P. 24. To give some labourer rootn. — In the old copies, labourers. 
Corrected by Warburton and Walker. 

Act I., Scene 3. 

P. 25. If I may have your ladyshif s good-will to go to the world, Isbel 
your woman and I will do as we may. — The original has " Isbell the 
woman and wP The change of the to your is Dr. Badham's, who 
justly supposed the old contraction oi your to have been mistaken for 
that of the. The other correction was made in the second folio. 

P. 26. YouWe shalloiv, madam; e'en great friends. — The old text 
has in instead of e''en. Corrected by Hanmer. 

P. 26. T'or youttg Chaixhorme. the Pu7-itan and oA/Poisson the Papist. 
— The old text has the names Charbon and Poysam. The correction 
is from a correspondent of Notes and Queries, August, 1863, who 
writes as follows : " The characters being French, it was long ago 
acutely surmised by Malone that Poysam was a misprint for Poisson, — 
i and long s having been taken for y ; — but, unfortunately, his further 
supposition, that Charbon was meant to indicate the fiery zeal of the 
Puritans, was unsatisfactory, and gave no support to the larevious con^ 


jecture. As, however, Poisson is significant of the fasting and self- 
denying Papist, so I think Charbon, Chairbon, or Chairbonne, was 
given authentically to the fast-denying or sleek Puritan as derivable 
from chair bonne or bonne chair. The antithesis and the appropriate- 
ness of the allusions prove the truth of these emendations and inter- 
pretations." See foot-note 6. 

P. 27. Was this fair face, quoth she, the cause 

Why th' Grecians sacked Troy ? > 

Fond done, done fond, good sooth, it was. 

Was this King Priam's joy. — So Collier's second folio. 
The old texts inverts the last half of the first hne, thus, " Was this 
fair face the cause, quoth she," and in the third lacks " good sooth, it 
was " altogether. The gap thus left in the verse was filled by Warbur- 
ton with the words, y2)r Paris he. It seems not unUkely that, as White 
suggests, the old ballad, from which the Clown is quoting, was known 
to the author of those corrections. At all events, the words supplied 
by him are much better than those of Warburton. The original has 
the song worse printed even than the generality of the play. 

P. 28. An we might have a good woman born but for every blazing 
star. — Instead ol for the old text has ore. The correction was made 
by Mr. Harness. Staunton changes ore to fore, which may be equally 
fitting ; but, if fore then why not ere ? 

P. 28. That man should be at woman^s command, and yet no hurt 
done ! Though honesty be no Puritan, yet it will do one's part ; it will 

wear the surplice of humility over the black gown of a big heart. 

Instead of "do one's part," the original has " do no hurt." With this 
reading, the passage is impenetrably obscure, if indeed any sense 
whatever can be made of it. The usual remedy has been to read 
"Though honesty be a Puritan," &c. Mr. Samuel Bailey thus pro- 
poses to substitute a for no, and then to read "yet it will do its part'' ; 
but Shakespeare is so chary of using the word its, that I should be slow 
to adopt that reading. I suspect, with Mr. Bailey, that no hurt slipped 
in by mistake from the preceding line. See foot-note 11. 

P. 29. Love no god, that would not extend his might, only where 
qualities were level. — So the original, except that it has "would not 
extend his might onelie, where qualities," &c. The natural sense of 


the text is obviously just the reverse of what the occasion requires. 
This sense vi'ould come either by omitting not or by inserting save or 
some equivalent word : "would not extend his might save only where," 
&c. It would be strictly in the Poet's usual manner to have written 
" would but extend his might only where," &c. ; and the misprinting of 
but and not for each other is very frequent. But, as a fitting sense may 
be got from the passage by supposing it elliptical, I leave it unchanged. 

' P. 29. Diana no queen of virgins, that would suffer her poor knight 
surprised. — The words, Diana no, wanting in the old copies, were 
supplied by Theobald, and have been universally received. See foot- 
note 12. 

P. 30. If we are Nature's these are ours. — The original has " If ever 
we are nature's " ; where ever just spoils the metre to no purpose. 
Probably, as Lettsom thinks, it was derived from even in the line above. 

P. 30. By our remetnbrances of days foregone. 

Such were xio\. fatilts, or then we thought them none. — The old 
text has " Such were our faults." This reading can nowise be made to 
cohere, either logically or in sentiment, with the context ; one of the 
many old readings which only a kind of blear-eyed ingenuity can ex- 
plain ; for this will explain you any thing. Hanmer substituted though 
for or, and has been followed by several editors. This, to be sure, 
makes the two parts of the line logically coherent ; but then it sets the 
whole line quite at odds with what precedes : for the whole drift of the 
three preceding couplets is, that the Countess does not regard the 
things in question as faults at all. The substitution of 7iot for our gives 
to the whole eight lines a sense entirely fitting and harmonious. And 
the change merely supposes our to have been repeated by mistake from 
the line above. Misprints so originating are very frequent. And, 
surely, the word none points out not as the right correction. 

P. 34. Such as his reading 

And manifold experience had collected. — So Walker and Col- 
lier's second folio. The old copies have manifest instead of manifold. 

P. 35. There'' s something hints, 

More than my father's skill, &c. — Instead of hints, the original 
has in't. Corrected by Warburton. 


P. 35. rd venture 

This well-lost life of mine on's Grace^s cure. — So Hanmer and 
Walker. The original has The instead of This. 

Act II., Scene i. 

P. 35. Farewell, young \oxA; these warlike principles 

Do not thro^a from you : — and you, my \orA, fare^vell. — In- 
stead of lord, the original has Lords here in both places ; but the use 
of both in what follows shows that lord is probably right. Hanmer 
made the correction. 

P- 37- I grorw to you, and our parting is as a tortured body. — The 
original omits as in this speech. Walker supplies it, in order to make 
verse ; it seems to me quite as needful in order to make sense. 

P. 37. You shall find in the regiment of the Spinii one Captain 
Spurio, with his cicatrice, an emblem of war, here on his sinister cheek. 
— The original reads "one Captaine Spurio his sicatrice, with an 
Embleme of warre," &c. Corrected by Theobald. 

P. 38. Laf. [Kneeling.] Pardon, my lord, for me and for my 
King, ril fee thee to stand up. 

Laf. [Rising.] Then here's a man stands that has bought 
his pardon. 
Would you Jiad kneeFd, my lord, to ask me mercy ; 
And at my bidding you could so stand up. — The original 
has, in the second of these lines, see instead of fee, and, in the third, 
brought instead of bought. The corrections are Theobald's. In the 
fourth line, also, the old text reads " / would you had kneel'd " ; and, 
in the fifth, " And that at my bidding," &c. In these cases / and that 
ser\-e no purpose but to defeat the rhythm of the lines. 

P. 39. Whose simple touch 

Is powerful to araise King Pepin, nay, 

hoA. give great Charlemain a pen in's hand. 

To write to her a love-line. — So Capell, and, as it seems to 
me, with evident propriety. The old copies transpose And and To at 
the beginning of the last two lines. 

136 all's well that ends well. 

p. 40. Gerard de Narhon was my father ; one, 

In what he did profess, well found. — So Walker. One is lack- 
ing in the old copies. 

P. 42. And oft it hits 

Where hope is coldest, and despair most fits. — So Theobald 
and Collier's second folio. The old copies have shifts instead olfits. 

P. 43. Traduced by odious ballads ; my maid's name 
Searhi otherwise ; nay, worse of worst extended. 
With vilest torture let my life be ended. — In the first of these 
lines, the original has " my maidens name." Corrected by Walker; 
who justly observes that " the extra syllable in the body of the line is 
out of place in rhyme." — In the second line, the original has " ne 
worse of worst extended." White and Dyce read " the worst of worst 
extended." I agree with Singer that nay is the better substitute for 
the unmeaning ne, as it naturally gives emphasis to what follows. See 
foot-note 26. 

P, 43. Youth, beauty, wisdom, courage, virtue, all 

That happiness and prime can happy call. — So Theobald and 
Warburton. The old text lacks virtue. As the whole speech is in 
rhyme, an octo-syllabic line is decidedly out of place here. 

P. 44. Ay, by my sceptre and my hopes of Heaven. — The original 
has helpe. Corrected by Thirlby. 

Act II., Scene 2. 

P. 45. Clo. I know my business is but to the Court. 

Coun. But to the Court ! why, what place make you spe- 
cial, when you put that off with such contempt ? — So Theobald, and 
rightly, beyond question. The original omits But at the beginning of 
the second speech. 

Act II., Scene 3. 

P. 48. Why, 'tis the rarest argument of wonder that hath shot out in 

our latter times. 

Par. And so it is. — What is here given as the closing part 

of Lafeu's first speech, the old copies assign to ParoUes ; and what is 

here assigned to ParoUes, they assign to Bertram, who evidently ought 


not to appear on the stage till the other lords come in, when the King 
sends to summon " all the lords in Court." In this, I follow the order 
and arrangement of Walker, not being able to see how it can well be 

P. 48. fVAy, your dolphin is not lustier. — In the old copies of 
Shakespeare, Dauphin is everywhere, I think, printed Dolphin. Hence 
some think, Walker among them, that it ought to be Dauphin here. 
But it seems nowise likely that an old courtier like Lafeu would have 
spoken thus of the King's oldest son. On the other hand, the dolphin, 
being a sportive, lively fish, was an apt and natural object for the com- 

P. 50. O'er whom both sovereign's power and father's voice 

I have to use. — So Collier's second folio. The original has 
"both sovereign power.", 

P. 5 1. These boys are boys of ice, they'll none of her. — The originxd 
reads " they'll none have her." The correction is Rowe's, and a right 
happy one it is too ; though most of recent editors reject it. 

P. 52. From lowest place when znrtuous things proceed. 

The place is dignified by tK doer's deed. — The old copies have 
whence instead of when. Hardly worth noting, perhaps. 

P. 53. My honour's at the stake ; which to defend, 

/ must produce my power. — So Theobald and Collier's second 
folio. The original has defeate instead of defend. 

P. 54. Or I will throw thee from my care for ever 
Into the stagers and the cureless lapse 

Of youth and ignorance. — Instead of cureless, the old text has 
careless, probably caught from care in the line before. Walker sug- 
gested cureless, which is strongly approved by Williams, and adopted 
by Dyce, So in The Merchant, iv. i : " Repair thy wit, good youth, or 
it will fall to cureless ruin." 

P. 54. Good fortune and the favour of the Heavens 
Smile upon this contrdct ! whose ceremony 
Shall come expedient on this now-born brief. 
And be performed to-night. — In the tirst of these lines, the 

138 all's well that ends well. 

original has King instead of Heavens. Yet the speaker evidently 
means an invocation or benediction on the match he has just made. 
Walker, in his long list of " Substituted Words," notes King as a 
probable instance. In the preceding scene we haVe an unquestioned 
error of helpe for Heaven. — In the third line, again, the old text reads 
" Shall seetiie expedient." The Poet sometimes uses to seem in a man- 
ner that is rather strange to us ; but I think he nowhere else uses it in 
a sense at all suitable to this place. 

P. 55.' Laf. Are you companion to the Count Rousillon? 

Par. To any count, — to all counts, — to what is man. 

Laf. To what is counfs man : count's master is of another 
style. — I am very much in the dark as to the meaning or the fitness of 
master here. Parolles is claiming to be Bertram's companion, not his 
master ; and Lafeu has just spoken of Bertram as Parolles's master. 
The only fitting explanation I can start of "count's master " is, that it 
may mean a man whom a count would address by the title of Master ; 
which title was then applied to gentlemen, not to servants. I suspect 
some textual corruption in master ; the explanation seeming too far- 

P. 56. That I may say, in thy default, he is a man I know. — The 
old text has "in the default." Johnson explains this "At a need," — 
a sense that has no apparent kindred with the words. The correction 
is Mr. P. A. Daniel's. 

P. 57. Scurvy, old, filthy, scurvy lord. — Dyce notes the second 
scurvy as " an accidental repetition." Perhaps so ; but more likely, I 
think, a misprint for mangy or lousy ; for Parolles is piling up scur- 
rilous terms that have no fitness but to vent his impotent vexation. 

P. 57. You are more saucy with lords and honourable personages 
than the heraldry of your birth and virtue gives you commission. — So 
Hanmer. In the original heraldry and commission change places with 
each other. 

P. 59. War is no strife 

To the dark house and the detested wife. — ^^ Detected wife " in 
the old copies. Corrected by Rowe. 


Act ii., Scene 5. 

P. 62. And to-night, 

IVhen T should take possession of the bride. 
End ere I do begin. — The original has And instead of End. 
Corrected in Collier's second folio and in Lord Ellesmere's first folio. 

P. 63. / have spoken better of you than you have wit or will to 
deserve. — So Singer. The old text lacks wit ; but the language shows 
that some word must have dropped out after have. Malone would 
insert qualities ; Letlsom, power. 

P. 63. Par. An idle lord, I swear. 

Ber. / think not so. 

Par. Why, do you know him? — So Walker and Singer. 
The original omits not in Bertram's speech, and inserts it the second 
speech of ParoUes, " Why do you not know him ? " The context 
shows both the omission and the insertion to be wrong. 

P. 64. This drives me to entreat you. 

That presently you take your way for home. 
And rather muse than ask why I entreat you. — Walker says, 
" Read ' why I dismiss you,' or an equivalent word." 

P. 64. Ber. I pray you, stay not, but in haste to horse. 

Hel. / shall not break your bidding, good my lord. 

Ber. Where are my other men, monsieur ? — Farewell : 

[Exit Helena. 
Go thou toward home ; where I will never come, &c. — Here 
the original makes the first line of Bertram's second speech a part of 
Helena's speech ; — an arrangement clearly at odds with the situation, 
as none of Helena's attendants are on the stage in the original. The 
arrangement given in the text is Theobald's, who makes the following 
just remarks upon it: " What other men is Helen here inquiring after? 
Or who is she supposed to ask for them ? The old Countess, 'tis cer- 
tain, did not send her to the Court without some attendants ; but 
neither the Clown nor any of her retinue are now upon the stage. 
Bertram, observing Helen to linger fondly, and wanting to shift her 
ofi, puts on a show of haste, asks Parolles for his servants, and then 
gives his wife an abrupt dismission." 


Act III., Scene i. 

P. 65. I Lord. Holy seems the quarrel 

Upon your Grace'' s party ; black and fearful 
On the opposer's. — The original has part instead of party, 
and opposer instead of opposer^s. The latter error almost corrects itself: 
in regard to the former, Walker says, " Read party, with the same 
meaning, ut scEpeP See foot-note i. — This speech evidently belongs 
to the same person as the second one after ; yet the latter has, in the 
original, th§ prefix French E. ; as also the speech here assigned to the 
second Lord there has the prefix French G. There is indeed great 
confusion of prefixes in other scenes where the French Lords take 
part. Malone thought, and with good reason, that E. and G. stood 
for the names of the actors who performed the parts in question. In 
the list of actors prefixed to the first folio we have the names William 
Ecclestone, Samuel Gilburne, and Robert Goughe. And, in point of 
fact, the old copies have a great many instances of actors' names 
printed as prefixes ; doubtless by transfer from the prompter's books. 

P. 65. That the great figure of a council frames 

By self unable notion. — So Warburton and Capell. The old 
text has " self-unable motion" out of which I can make no sense at all. 
See foot-note 3. 

P. 66. But I am sure the younger of our nation. — The old text has 
nature. Corrected by Rowe. 

Act III., Scene 2. 

P. 66. / knew a man that had this trick of melancholy sold a goodly 
manor for a song. — The original has know instead of htezv, and hold 
instead of sold. The latter error was corrected in the third folio. 

P. 67. Our oldlings atid our Isbels o' the country are nothing like 
your oldlings and your Isbels 0' the Court. — Here the original has the 
strange reading, " Our old Lings and our Isbels a'th Country are noth- 
ing like your old Ling and your Isbels a'th Court." This is commonly 
printed " our old ling — your old ling." But what in the world can 
ling mean here ? I can get no meaning out of it. Walker " suspects 
that old ling is a corruption of some other word or words." No won- 
der. But we all know what the words oldling, youngling, hireling. 


stripling, underling, &c., mean. — Oldlings, in the text, is probably to 
be taken as an indirect allusion to the Countess under the notion of old 
country-folks in general : " Our old folks and our sweethearts of the 
country are nothing like your old folks and your sweethearts of the 
Court." I must add Lettsom's query : " Is not old ling, in the second 
place, a corruption iox youngling ? " — Since writing the above, I have 
received the following note from Mr. Joseph Crosby : 

In the North of England, County of Westmoreland, the peasantry have a very com- 
mon word to coddle ; not a slang word, but a regular provincialism in daily use, and 
having been so for years. This word exactly corresponds with our American term to 
spark, and implies to hug, to kUs, to court. If John is paying his attentions to — 
courting — Isbel, he is said to coddle, or to be coddling, her. And this word cod- 
dling ■mezx^s both the action and the object of it. John is coddling Isbel, that is, 
sparking her ; and Isbel is John's coddling, that is, his doxy or sweetheart. Now 
this terra would exactly fit the Clown's tongue : " Our country coddlings or sparkings 
are nothing like your coddling at Court : my Isbel down here is a greenhorn at the 
business compared with the Isbels I found up there; whose more seductive manners, 
city style, and closer embraces have knocked the brains out of my country Cupid ; 
and I begin to love, as an old man loves money, with no stomach." This would do 
first-rate, if we were only certain that Shakespeare was familiar with this provin- 
cialism. The word does not occur in his works, except once, and then has a totally 
difierent meaning, namely, a young, immature apple. {Twelfth Night, i. 5.) 

P. 67. E'en that you have there. — Here, again, the original has In 
instead of E'en. See note on " e'en great friends," page 132. 

P. 68. If thou engrossest all the griefs as thine, 

Thou robb'st me of a moiety. — The original has " all the griefs 
are thine." Corrected by Rowe and in Collier's second folio. 

P. 69. ' Tis but the boldness of his hand, which, haply, 

His heart was not consenting to. — So Dyce. The old text 
reads " his hand haply, whichP 

P. 69. The fellow has a deal of that too much. 

Which hurts him much to have. — The original reads " Which 
holds him much to have." Hanmer printed " Which 'hoves him not 
much to have " ; and Collier's second folio has " Which ^ hoves him 
much to leave." My thought at one time was, that we ought to read 
" Which ^hoves him much to have," on the ground that it behoved Pa- 
roUes to have a good deal of impudence, inasmuch he had nothing else. 
But this is probably drawing it too fine. On the other hand, hurts 
might easily get misprinted holds, and I can make no sense with the 


latter here. The correction was proposed by Keightley, but occurred to 
me independently. 

P. 70. O you leaden messengers. 

That ride upon the violent speed of fire. 
Fly with false aim ; pierce the still-moving air, 
That sings with piercing. — The original reads " move the still- 
peering aire," and the second folio changes peering to piercing. The 
more common reading is " move the %'a}i\.- piercing air." The reading 
in the text is Hanmer's, repeated by Capell. I much prefer it to any 
other that has been offered. See foot-note 6. 

Act III., Scene 5. 

P. 74. Their promises, enticements, oaths, tokens, and all these en- 
gines of lust, are but the things they go under. — So Hanmer. The 
original reads " are not the things." This makes the pronoun they 
refer to promises, &c.; and the meaning is, that those promises, &c., 
are not the things they pretend to be, or would pass for. Rather tame, 
I think. With the reading in the text, they refers to the same ante- 
cedent as their, that is, the persons whom Mariana is speaking of. 
Hanmer's correction has the high approval of Heath ; and perhaps no 
two words are oftener confounded than but and not. See foot-note 2. 

P. 76. Ay, right ! — good creature, wheresoe'er she is. 

Her heart weighs sadly. — The original reads "/ write good 
creature," &c. The second folio changes write to right. The affirma- 
tive particle ay is commonly printed // and the present is doubtless 
one of the many instances where the wrong word got into the text from 
sameness or similarity of sound. The reading here given is Capell's, 
and is quite satisfactory, I think. Of course the words Ay, right I are 
spoken in assent to what Diana has just said. 

P. 77. ' Tis pity he's not honest : yond^s that same knave 

That leads him to these pranks. — Instead of pranks the old 
text has places. As nothing has been said of any places, Theobald 
substituted paces, meaning irregular steps or courses. Lettsom pro- 
posed passes, which Dyce adopts. Heath proposed pranks, which, I 
think, gives a fitter sense, and is certainly better for the verse. 


Act III., Scene 6. 

P. 79. O, for the love of laughter, let him fetch off his drum. — So 
Collier's second folio. The original is without off. See second speech 

P. 79. When your lordship sees the bottom of his success itt't, and to 
what metal this counterfeit lump of ore will be melted. — The original 
has " of this successe," and ours instead of ore. Corrected, the first by 
Rowe, the other by Theobald. 

P. 80. Hinder not the humour of his design. — So Theobald. The 
old text has honor instead of humour. I suspect we ought to read 
" the humour of this design," as Lettsom proposes. 

P. 81. And for a week escape a great deal of discovery. — The old 
text has discoveries ; at which Walker asks, as he well may, " Is this 
good EngUsh ? " 

P. 81. But when you find him onzc, you have him ever after. — The 
old text has out instead of once. The correction is Mr. P. A. Daniel's. 

Act III., Scene 7 

P. 83. First, give me trust, the county is my husband. — Here the 
original has " the Count he is." Also, in the second speech after, 
"The Count he woos." Yet in the same speech the original has "A 
ring the County wears." Walker says, " Read ' the County is,' &C., 
' the County wooes,' &c." 

P. 83. Lays do7on his wanton siege before her beauty. 

Resolved to carry her. — Instead of Resolved, the first folio has 
Resolve, which is changed to Resolves in the second. 

P. 84. Herself most chastely absent: after this. 

To marry her, &c. — The original lacks this, which was added 
in the second folio. 

P. 84. With music of all sorts. — The original has Musickes. 


P. 84. Is wicked meaning in a lawful deed. 

And lawful meaning in a wicked act. — So Warburton. In- 
stead of the second wicked, the original repeats lawful ; which Walker 
pronounces " certainly wrong "; and Lettsom says, " Read wicked with 
Warburton." See foot-note 4. 

Act IV., Scene i. 

P. 86. Tongue, I mtist put you into a butter-woman' s mouth, and 
buy myself another of Bajazet's mute. — The original has Bajazeths 
Mule. Corrected by Warburton. 

P. 87. If there be here German, or Dane, low Dutch, 

French, or Italian, let him speak to 7tie. — The original reads 
" Italian, or French." Transposed for the metre. 

P. 88. Inform 'em that. — The old text is " Inform on that." Cor- 
rected by Rowe. 

Act IV., Scene 2. 

P. 89. If I should swear by God's great attributes, &c. — The origi- 
nal has yoves instead of God^s ; doubtless, as the Cambridge Editors 
note, " in obedience to the statute against profanity." 

P. 90. This has no holding, 

To swear by Him, when I protest to love 

That I will tvork against. Therefore, &c. — This passage has 
been a standing puzzle to the editors, and has called forth a great deal 
of comment. The original reads " To sweare by him whom I protest 
to love " ; and upon this the difficulty has mainly turned. Out of that 
reading I do not see how any consistent or intelligible meaning can be 
drawn. Dyce, following Johnson, prints " To swear to him whom I 
protest to love " ; but this, it seems to me, does not help the matter at 
all. The reading when is Singer's ; and it is the only one that I have 
been able to find my way in. The original also has him after against ; 
which not only hurts the metre, but seems to me to upset the whole 
sense of the passage. Probably the transcriber or compositor did not 
understand the meaning of That here, and so sophisticated the lan- 
guage into disorder, substituting whom for when, and inserting him, 
as the objects of to love and of against. See foot-notes 3 and 4. 


P. 90. Therefore your oaths 

Are words and poor conditions, best unseaVd, — 
At least in my opinion. — Here, again, we are indebted to Mr. 

Williams for what seems to me a very valuable correction. The old 

text has but instead of best. See foot-note 5. 

P. 90. Be not so holy-cruel : my hrve is holy ; 

And my integrity ne'er knew the crafts 

That you do charge men with. — The original lacks my in the 
first of these lines. Staunton suggests that it ought to be inserted ; 
and I think the occurrence of my in the next line shows it to be 

P. 90. / see that men make ropes in such a snare. 

That we'll forsake ourselves. — This is commonly regarded as 
one of the most troublesome passages in Shakespeare. The original 
reads " I see that men make rope's in such a scarre." All the modern 
editors, so far as I know, from Rowe downwards, have given up ropes, 
or rope's, as an unquestionable corruption ; and most of them have 
substituted hopes. Rowe reads " make hopes, in such affairs,^' ; Ma- 
lone, "hopes, in such a scene," ; Collier's second folio, " hopes, in such 
a suit,"; Staunton, " hopes, in such a snare," ; Dyce, " hopes, in such 
a case," ; and Singer, " hopes, in such a scarre" ; explaining that " a 
scarre here signifies any surprise or alarm ; what we should now write 
a scare " / which, I must say, appears to me well-nigh absurd. White 
rejects all the forecited changes, and prints just as in the original ; but 
without offering any explanation. Perhaps I ought to add, that Lett- 
som would read " hopes, in such a 'scape," ; while Mr. Williams pro- 
posed " I see that men tnay cope's in such a sort," ; and supported this 
bold reading with great ingenuity and fertility of argument. Neverthe- 
less I have scarce any doubt that ropes is the right lection. And if we 
understand make in the sense of to frame or to weave, and in as hav- 
ing the force of into, I suspect much of the difficulty will vanish. That 
in and into were often used indiscriminately, is well known to all stu- 
dents of our older literature. Dyce points out many examples of in 
for into in Shakespeare. I will add two more. In King Henry VIII., 
L 2 : " I'm sorry that the Duke of Buckingham is run in your displeas- 
ure." And in Coriolanus, i. 2 : " So, your opinion is, Aufidius, that 
they of Rome are enter'd in our counsels." It may not be amiss to 
add, that the words in question are spoken by Diana in pursuance of 

146 all's well that ends well. 

an arrangement made beforehand with Helen, for the purpose of en- 
trapping Bertram into a meeting with the latter as his wife. By that 
arrangement, Diana, after enough of resistance to blind the eyes of her 
wooer, is to make believe that she accepts his vows. And those words 
are intended, apparently, as her first step in the process of seeming to 
yield. She means to have Bertram think that his art and ardour have 
prevailed. This sense is plainly defeated by hopes. With ropes, 
whether taken in the sense of cords or of tricks, or of both, the last 
clause of the speech depends on such, as, I think, it should. See foot- 
note 6. — In regard to the other word, for which, following Staunton, 
I have substituted snare, it appears that both scarre and scar are else- 
where misprinted for scorse, an old word much used in the Poet's time, 
and meaning equivalent, offset, exchange, barter, or bargain. So, in 
Troilus and Cressida, i. i, the folio has " Let Paris bleed, 'tis but a 
scar to scorne, Paris is gor'd with Menelaus home." Also in Cyinbe- 
line, v. 5 : " This man hath more of thee merited, then a Band of 
Clotens had eVer scarre for." The folio has scar or scarre some 
twenty-five times, but in much the larger number of cases the word is 
printed scarre, and this too when it has the sense of cicatrice. In the 
two passages just quoted, for scar and scarre we want some word 
meaning equivalent or offset. Mr. A. E. Brae holds it "preposterous" 
to substitute scorse in those places, though he admits that the sense of 
this word is there required : he would retain the old letters, and ex- 
plain them to that sense, — a sense which they do not bear in any 
other writer, and which they would not have conveyed to any readers 
or hearers at that time. This seems to me the extreme dotage of literal 
tenacity ; and I hold it preposterous to suppose that Shakespeare would 
have thus coined a new word, when he had one at hand, already well 
known, and precisely suited to his use ; a new word, too, that would 
have been taken in a sense altogether different from that which he evi- 
dently meant to convey. Mr. Brae, however, has done good service in 
calling attention to the old word scorse. He points out several apt 
instances of it. It occurs in Drayton's Ideas, 52 : " Let us scorse. And 
for a piece of thine my whole heart take." Also in The Faerie Queene, 
ii. 9, 55 : " And recompenst them with a better scorse." And in Har- 
rington's Orlando Furioso, xx. 78 : " This done, she makes the stately 
dame to light, And with the aged woman clothes to scorse." In the 
passage of Shakespeare before us, Mr. Brae thinks Diana's meaning to 
be, " Men expect that in such a bargain we'll throw ourselves away 
without equivalent." In this, however, he supposes "make hopes" to 


be the true reading. Mr. H. H. Fumess, in a letter to me, thinks that 
ropes coheres with scarre, in the sense explained above, just as well as 
hopes : " Men play tricks in such a bargain, to make us lose sight of 
our own interest" But I do not quite see it so : I rather agree with 
Mr. Joseph Crosby, who writes me that, " if we accept Mr. Brae's in- 
terpretation of scarre, we shall be compelled to adopt hopes, the com- 
mon reading." Such being, or at least seeming to be, the case, I con- 
fess I am something in doubt whether to give up ropes or scorse ; and 
heartily wish I could see the way clear for retaining them both. 

Act IV., Scene 3. 

P. 93. Is it not most damnable in us, to be the trumpeters of our un- 
lawful intents ? — So Hanmer. The original reads " Is it not meant 
damnable." Walker says, " most, of course." 

P. 93. That he might take a measure of his aion judgment, wherein 
so curiously he had set this counterfeit. — The old text has judgements. 
The instances of singulars there misprinted plurals are almost endless. 

P. 94. Sir, his wife, some two months since, fled from his house ; her 
pretence a pilgrimage, &c. — The original reads " her pretence is a 

P. 94. The stranger part of it by her man letters. — So Collier's sec- 
ond foho. The original has " The stronger part." 

P. 94. Her death itself, which could not be her office to say was come, 
is faithfully confirmed by the rector of the place. — In the original, was 
and is change places with each other. Lettsom proposed the trans- 

P. 96. I Lord. Hush, hush! Hoodman comes I — The original 
makes Hush, hush ! a part of the preceding speech. Corrected by 

P. 96. Ber. All's one to him. What a past-saving slave is tliis ! — • 
So Capell. In the original the first clause of this speech concludes the 
preceding. A very palpable error. 

148 all's well that ends well. 

p. 97. Ber. / will never trust a man again for keeping his sword 
clean ; &c. — The original assigns this speech to " Cap. E." which is 
there the prefix to the speeches of the second Lord. It belongs to 
Bertram, surely, as Walker suggests. The second Lord has not trusted 

P. 97. I Lord. A trutKs a truth, — the rogues are marvellous poor. 
— This is given to Parolles in the old text. Walker observes that "the 
words belong to one of the Lords : so, just before, the first Lord says, 
' He's very near the truth in this.' " 

P. 97. By my troth, sir, if I were to die this present hour, I will tell 
true. — The original has li%>e instead of die. Corrected by Walker. 
A little further on in the same speech, Julian is Walker's correction 
for Guiltian. 

P. 99. Men are to mell with, boys are but to kiss. — So Theobald. 
The old text has not instead of but. 

P. 100. I perceive, sir, by owx generaVs looks, &c. — The original has 
your instead of our. Corrected by Capell. 

Act IV., Scene 4. 

P. 104. F<?/ / pay jj/ow 

But with the word : the time will bring on Summer, &c. — 
The original reads " Yet I pray you : But with the word," &c. The 
passage has long been a theme of controversy. Blackstone proposed 
"Yet \ fray you But with the word" ; which has been adopted by 
some editors. That reading seems to me entirely at fault, however 
" elegant " it may be. The reading in the text was proposed by Staun- 
ton. See foot-note 5. 

P. 104. Our wagon is prepared, and time invites us. — The original 
has " time revives us." Hanmer changed revives to reviles, which is 
also found in Collier's second folio. Invites is Johnson's correction ; 
and, as White remarks, is supported by what Polonius says to his son, 
in Hamlet, i. 3 : " The time invites you ; go, your servants tend." 
Lettsom thinks that revives is right, and that the fault is in time, which 
may have got repeated from the third line above, and displaced some 
other word, perhaps hope. That may indeed be. 


Act IV., Scene 5. 

P. 105. I would he had not known him. — Instead of he, the origi- 
inal repeats // which is clearly wrong. Corrected by Hanmer as pro- 
posed by Theobald. 

P. 105. They are not %2\2A-herbs, you knave. — The original lacks 
salad, which was inserted by Rowe. The context fully approves the 
insertion. Collier's second folio \\as pot-herbs. 

P. 107. But, since he is the prince of the world, let his nobility remain 
in's Court. — The old text has sure instead of since. Corrected by 

P. 107. Indeed, he has no place, btU runs where he wiU. — So Han- 
mer. The original reads " no pace." 

P. 108. Count. A scar nobly got, &c. — So the second folio. The 
first has the prefix Laf. to this speech. As, in this scene, the original 
has Lady, Lad., and La., prefixed to the speeches of the Countess, 
such a misprint might easily occur. And Dyce agrees with Malone, 
that the Countess would be more likely than Lafeu to speak thus of 

Act v.. Scene i. 

P. 109. Enter a Gentleman. — The original has " Enter a gentle 
Astringer"; which means nobody can tell exactly what. In the third 
scene, the same person appears again, and is there called simply " a 

Act v.. Scene 2. 

P. III. Here is a pur 0/ fortune's, sir, or of Fortune's cat. — Mason 
thought we ought to read " a puss of Fortune's." I have hardly any 
doubt that he was right. See foot-note 3. 

P. 1 1 1 . r do pity his distress in my similes of comfort. — The original 
has " smiles of comfort." Corrected by Warburton. Walker says, 
" Of course, similes." 

150 all's' WELL THAT ENDS WELL. 

Act v., Scene 3. 
P. 113. Natural rebellion, done V the blaze of youth. — So Warbur- 
ton and Collier's second folio ; also proposed by Theobald. The 
original has " the blade of youth." 

P. 115. To the great sender turns a sore offence, 

Cryhtg, That's good that's gone. Our rasher faults 
Make trivial price of serious things we have. — In the first of 
these lines, the original has sour instead of sore, which is from Collier's 
second folio ; and, in the second line, " Our rash faults." The latter 
correction is Lettsom's. 

P. 115. Our old love waking cries to see whales done. — So Mason 
and Collier's second folio. The original has owne instead of old. 

P. 115. Count. Which better than the first, &c. — The original 
prints this line and the next as part of the King's preceding speech. 

P. 116. Such a ring as this. 

The last eve, ere she took her leave at Court, 
I saiu upon her finger. — The original reads " The last that ere 
/ took her leave." The correction of / to she is found in Rowe and 
Hanmer, and in Collier's second folio. The latter also substitutes time 
for that, as Hanmer also does. The correction of that to eve is Lett- 
som's ; who remarks upon the passage as follows : " That is certainly 
an intruder ; the word occurs three times a little above ; but time does 
not seem a fit substitute. / has in the like manner crept in from the 
line below, no doubt, displacing she. I would therefore read, ' The last 
eve, ere she took her leave at Court,' that is, the last eve that we met, 
just before she, &c. The last evening on which Lafeu and Helen 
could have seen each other, was the evening on which Helen was mar- 
ried, had her final audience of the King, and departed from the Court." 

P. 118. I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll him : for this, 
ril none of him. — So the second folio. The first has " I will buy me 
a Sonne in Law in a faire, and toule for this. He none of him." See 
foot-note 16. 

P. 119. I wonder, sir, sith wives are monsters to you. — Instead of 
sith, the original repeats sir; a very easy misprint. Corrected by 


P. 1 20. He blushes, and ^ its his. — The original has "and 'tis hii." 
Pope's correction. 

P. 121. Her inhnite cunning, TvUh her modest grace. 

Subdued me to her rate : she got the ring; 

And I had that -which an inferior might 

At market-price have bought. — The original has " Her insuite 
camming" ; which was a great puzzle to the editors, till Walker pro- 
posed "Her infinite cunning" A first-class correction. — The old 
text has modern also instead of modest, which was proposed by Mr. 
Williams in The Parthenon, Nov. i, 1862. Modern was indeed often 
used for common, ordinary, or trite, and so it has occurred in this play. 
See page 47, note i. But Mr. Williams justly urges that such a mean- 
ing is quite unsuited to the occasion and to the speaker's ev-ident pur- 
pose. He writes as follows : " Could Bertram wish it to be believed 
that he had been betrayed by a woman of but commonplace attrac- 
tions ? — a fact which would increase, rather than diminish, his culpa- 
bility in the eyes of the King. Nor does he speak of beauty ; for 
Diana is present to give more pertinent evidence in that particular. It 
was to her plausible and hypocritical demeanour that Bertram would 
pretend that he fell a victim." — The old text also has " which any in- 
ferior." Walker says, " I believe we should read an, or perhaps my, 
for any" 

P. 121. You, that turned off a first so noble wife. — The original 
reads " that have turn'd off." 

P. 122. Tell me, — but, sirrah, tell me true, I charge you. — The 
original reads " Tell me sirrah, but tell me true." Corrected by 

P. 125. And are by me with child, — And this is done .■ 

Will you be mine, now you are doubly won ? — The old text 
reads " And is by me with childe, &c. This is done." The correction 
of is to are was made by Rowe. The other correction is Mr. P. A. 
Daniel's. The two lines being a rhyming couplet, there should evi- 
dently be no halting in the metre. 


ENTERED at the Stationers' in August, 1600, and published 
in quarto the same year, with the words,' " As it hath been 
sundrj- times publicly acted," in the title-page ; which would 
naturally infer the piece to have been written in 1599. All the 
internal marks of st}'le bear in favour of the same date ; the play 
being in this respect hardly distinguishable from As V<m Like It. 
After the one quarto of 1600, the play is not met with again till 
it reappeared in the folio of 1623. As the text of the folio difiers 
but in a ver)- few slight particulars from that of the quarto, the 
probabihty is that the later was reprinted from the earlier copy. 
And perhaps none of the Poet's plays has reached us in a more 
satisfactory state : the printing being such as to leave little room 
for doubt as to the true text. 

As with many of the author's plaj-s, the plot and storj' of 
Much Ado About Nothing were partly borrowed. But the same 
matter had been so often borrowed before, and run into so many 
variations, that we cannot affirm with certainty- from what source 
the Poet directly drew. So much of the stor}- as relates to Hero, 
Claudio, and Don John, bears a strong resemblance to the tale 
of Ariodante and Ginevra in the fifth and sixth books of Ariosto's 
Orlando Fnrioso. Still there is Httle if any likelihood that the 
Poet took his borrowed matter from that source. A connection 
between the play and one of BandeUo's novels is much more dis- 
tinctly traceable from the similarity of names and incidents. In 
the novel, Fenicia, the daughter of Lionato, a gentleman of 
Messina, is betrothed to Timbreo de Cardona, a friend of Piero 
d'Arragona. Girondo, a disappointed lover of the lady, goes to 
work to prevent the marriage. He insinuates to Timbreo that 
she is disloyal, and then to make good the charge arranges to 
have his own hired servant in the dress of a gentleman ascend by 



a ladder of ropes and enter the house of Lionato at night, Tim- 
breo being placed so as to witness the proceeding. The next 
morning Timbreo accuses the lady to her father, and rejects the 
alliance. Fenicia sinks down in a swoon.; a dangerous illness 
follows ; and, to prevent the shame of her alleged trespass, Lio- 
nato has it given out that she is dead, and a public funeral is 
held in confirmation of that report. Thereupon Girondo becomes 
so harrowed with remorse, that he confesses his villany to Tim- 
breo, and they both throw themselves on the mercy of the lady's 
family. Timbreo is easily forgiven, and the reconciliation is 
soon followed by the discovery that the lady is still alive, and by 
the marriage of the parties. 

This brief statement marks the nature and extent of Shake- 
speare's obligation to Bandello. The parts of Benedick and 
Beatrice, of Dogberry and Verges, and of several other persons, 
are altogether original with him ; at least no traces of them have 
been found in any other book or writing : so that he stands re- 
sponsible for all the wit and humour, and for nearly all the char- 
acter, of the play. As no translation of Bandello has been dis- 
covered of so early a date as the play, it does not well appear 
how the Poet could have become* acquainted with the novel ex- 
cept in the original. But the Italian was then the most generally 
studied language in Europe ; educated Englishmen were probably 
quite as apt to be familiar with it as they are with the French in 
our day ; Shakespeare, at the time of writing this play, was thirty- 
five years old ; and we have other indications of his having known 
enough of Italian to be able to read such a story as Bandello's in 
that language. Dyce, however, whose judgment is apt to be 
right in such cases, remarks on the subject as follows : " There 
is a French version of Bandello's tale in the third volume of 
Belleforest's Histoires Tragiques, &c. : but some English trans- 
lation of it, which is no longer to be found, was in all probability 
what Shakespeare used." 

Bene. " Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains." 

Beat. " I took no more pains for those thanks than you take pains to 
thank me : if it had been painful, I would not have come." 

Much Ado About Nothing. Act 2, Scene 3. 

Page 195. 



Don Pedro, Prince of Arragon. 
John, his bastard Brother. 
Claudio, a young Lord of Florence. 
Benedick, a young Gentleman of 

Leonato, Governor of Messina. 
Antonio, his Brother. 
Balthazar, Servant to Don Pedro 



o, ) 

\ Followers of John. 

Two Officers. 

Francis, a Friar. 
A Sexton. 
A Boy. 

Hero, Daughter to Leonato. 
Beatrice, Niece to Leonato. 
Margaret, ) Gentlewomen attend 
Ursula, j ing on Hero. 

Messengers, Watchmen, and Attendants. 
Scene, Messina. 


Scene I. — Before the House of Leonato. 
Enter Leonato, Hero, and Beatrice, with a Messenger. 

Leon. I leam in this letter that Don Pedro of Arragon 
comes this night to Messina. 

Mess. He is very near by this : he was not three leagues 
off when I left him. 

Leon. How many gentlemen have you lost in this action? 

Mess. But few of any sort, and none of name. 

Leon. A victory is twice itself when the achiever brings 
home full numbers. I find here that Don Pedro hath be- 
stowed much honour on. a young Florentine called Claudio. 



Mess. Much deserved on his part, and equally remembered 
by Don Pedro. He hath borne himself beyond the promise 
of his age ; doing, in the figure of a lamb, the feats of a lion : 
he hath, indeed, better better'd ^ expectation than you must 
expect of me to tell you how. 

Leon. He hath an uncle here in Messina will be very much 
glad of it. 

Mess. I have already delivered him letters, and there 
appears much joy in him ; even so much, that joy could 
not show itself modest enough without a badge of bitter- 

Leon. Did he break out into tears ? 

Mess. In great measure. 

Leon. A kind overflow of kindness: there are no faces 
truer than those that are so wash'd. How much better is it 
to weep at joy than to joy at weeping ! 

Beat. I pray you, is Signior Montanto^ return'd from the 
wars or no ? 

Mess. I know none of that name, lady : there was none 
such in the army of any sort.'* 

Leon. What is he that you ask for, niece ? 

Hero. My cousin means Signior Benedick of Padua. 

Mess. O, he's return'd ; and as pleasant as ever he was. 

Beat. He set up his bills ^ here in Messina, and challenged 

1 The Poet repeatedly uses to better thus in the sense of to surpass. So 
in The Winter's Tale, iv. 3 : " What you do still betters what is done." 

2 An idea which the Poet introduces more than once. So in Macbeth, i. 4 : 
" My plenteous joys, wanton in fulness, seek to hide themselves in drops of 

3 Montanto js an old term of the fencing-school, humorously or sarcasti- 
cally applied here in the sense of a bravado. 

■* Sort for rank. So in A Midsutntner-Night' s Dream, iii. 2 : " None of 
nobler sort would so offend a virgin ; " and in Measure for Measure, iv. 4 : 
" Give notice to such men oi sort and suit as are to meet him." 

5 This phrase was in common use for affixing a printed or written 
notice in some public place, long before Shak'espeare's time, and long after. 


Cupid at the flight ; ^ and my uncle's Fool, reading the chal- 
lenge, subscribed for Cupid, and challenged him at the bird- 
bolt. I pray you, how many hath he kill'd and eaten in these 
wars ? But how many hath he kill'd ? for, indeed, I promised 
to eat all of his killing. 

Leon. Faith, niece, you tax Signior Benedick too much ; 
but he'll be meet with you," I doubt it not. 

Mess. He hath done good service, lady, in these wars. 

Beat. You had musty victual, and he hath holp to eat it : 
he's a very valiant trencher-man ; he hath an excellent stom- 

Mess. And a good soldier too, lady. 

Beat. And a good soldier to a lady : but what is he to a 

Mess. A lord to a lord, a man to a man ; stuff d with all 
honourable virtues. 

Beat. It is so, indeed ; he is no less than a stuff d man : 
but for the stuffing,^ — well, we are all mortal. 

Leon. You must not, sir, mistake my niece. There is a 
kind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick and her : they 
never meet but there's a skirmish of wit between them. 

Beat. Alas, he gets nothing by that ! In our last conflict 
four of his five wits^ went halting off", and now is the whole 
man govem'd with one : so that if he have wit enough to 

6 The flight was a long, slender, sharp arrow, such as Cupid shot with; 
so called because used for flying long distances, and to distinguish it from 
the bird-bolt, a short, thick, blunt arrow, used in a lower kind of archery, and 
permitted to fools. " A fool's bolt is soon shot," is an old proverb. 

^ He'll be even with you ; or, as we should say, he'll be up with you. 

8 Mede, in his Discourses on Scripture, Sf)eaking of Adam, says, " He 
whom God had stuffed with so many excellent qualities." Beatrice starts an 
idea at the words stuffed man, and prudently checks herself in the pursuit of 
it, as leading to an indelicate allusion. 

9 In Shakespeare's time, the five wits was used to denote both the five 
senses, and the intellectual powers, which were thought to corresf)ond with 
the senses in number. Here it means the latter. 


keep himself warm, let him bear it for a difference i" between 
himself and his horse ; for it is all the wealth that he hath left, 
to be known a reasonable creature. — Who is his companion 
now ? He hath every month a new sworn brother. 

Mess. Is't possible ? 

Beat. Very easily possible : he wears his faith but as 
the fashion of his hat ; it ever changes with the next 
block. 11 

Mess. I see, lady, the gentleman is not in your books.^^ 

Beat. No ; an he were, I would burn my study. But, 
I pray you, who is his companion? Is there no young 
squarer ^^ now that will make a voyage with him to the 

Mess. He is most in the company of the right-noble 

Beat. O Lord, he will hang upon him like a disease : he 
is sooner caught than the pestilence, and the taker runs 
presently mad. God help the noble Claudio ! if he have 
caught the Benedick, it will cost him a thousand pound ere 
he be cured. 

Mess. I will hold friends with you, lady. 

Beat. Do, good friend. 

Leon. You will never run mad, niece. 

Beat. No, not till a hot January. 

Mess. Don Pedro is approach'd. 

i" An heraldic term. So, in Hamlet, iv. 2, Ophelia says, " O, you must 
wear your rue with a difference." Difference is distinction, in these cases. 
See, also, vol. ii., page 182, note 11. 

11 The mould on which a hat is formed. Here shape or fashion. 

12 A phrase from the custom of servants and retainers being entered in 
the books of those to whom they were attached. To be in one's books was 
to be in favour. That this was the sense of the phrase appears from Florio . 
" Casso. Cashier'd, crossed, cancelled, or put out of booke and checke 

13 That is quarreller. To square was to take a posture of defiance or of 
resistance. See vol. iii., page 24, note 6. 


Enter Don Pedro, Don John, Claudio, Benedick, and 

D. Pedro. Good Signior Leonato, you are come to meet 
your trouble : the fashion of the world is to avoid cost, and 
you encounter it. 

Leoti. Never came trouble to my house in the likeness of 
your Grace : for, trouble being gone, comfort should remain ; 
but, when you depart from me, sorrow abides, and happiness 
takes his leave. 

D. Pedro. You embrace your charge too willingly. I 
think this is your daughter. 

Leon. Her mother hath many times told me so. 

Bene. Were you in doubt, sir, that you ask'd her? 

Leon. Signior Benedick, no ; for then you were a child. 

D. Pedro. You have it full, Benedick : we may guess by 
this what you are, being a man. Truly, the lady fathers her- 
self.''* — Be happy, lady; for you are like an honourable 

Bene. If Signior Leonato be her father, she would not 
have his head on her shoulders for all Messina, as like him 
as she is. 

Beat. I wonder that you will still be talking, Signior Bene- 
dick : nobody marks you. 

Bene. What, my dear Lady Disdain ! are you yet living? 

Beat. Is it possible disdain should die while she hath such 
meet food to feed on as Signior Benedick ? Courtesy itself 
must convert to disdain, if you come in her presence. 

Bene. Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain I 
am loved of all ladies, only you excepted : and I would I 
could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart ; for, truly, 
I love none. 

1* This phrase is said to be common in Dorsetshire : " Jack fathers him- 
self; " that is, points out or identifies his father by his resemblance to him. 


Beat. A dear happiness to women : they would else have 
been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I thank God and my 
cold blood, I am of your humour for that :. I had rather hear- 
my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me. 

Bene. God keep your ladyship still in that mind ! so some 
gentleman or other shall 'scape a predestinate scratch'd face. 

Beat. Scratching could not make it worse, an 'twere such 
a face as yours. 

Bene. Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher. 

Beat. A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of 

Bene. I would my horse had the speed of your tongue, 
and so good a continuer. But keep your way, o' God's 
name ; I have done. 

Beat. You always end with a jade's trick : ^^ I know you 
of old. 

D. Pedro. This is the sum of all : Leonato, — Signior 
Claudio and Signior Benedick, — my dear friend Leonato 
hath invited you all. I tell him we shall stay here at the 
least a month ; and he heartily prays some occasion may de- 
tain us longer : I dare swear he is no hypocrite, but prays 
from his heart. 

Leon. If you swear, my lord, you shall not be forsworn. — 
Let me bid you welcome, my lord : being reconciled to the 
Prince your brother, I owe you all duty. 

D.John. I thank you: I am not of many words, but I 
thank you. 

Leon. Please it your Grace lead on? 

D. Pedro. Your hand, Leonato ; we will go together. 

\_Exeimt all but Benedick and Claudio. 

Claud. Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of Signior 
Leonato ? 

15 Jade was used of an unreliable or balky horse. See vol. ii., page 171, 
note 25. 


Bene. I noted her not ; *^ but I look'd on her. 

Claud. Is she not a modest young lady ? 

Bene. Do you question me, as an honest man should do, 
for my simple true judgment ; or would you have me speak 
after my custom, as being a professed tyrant to their sex ? 

Claud. No ; I pray thee speak in sober judgment. 

Bene. Why, i'faith, raethinks she's too low for a high 
praise, too brown for a fair praise, and too little for a great 
praise : only this commendation I can afford her, — that, were 
she other than she is, she were unhandsome ; and, being no 
other but as she is, I do not like her. 

Claud. Thou think'st I am in sport : I pray thee tell me 
truly how thou likest her. 

Betie. Would you buy her, that you inquire after her? 

Claud. Can the world buy such a jewel ? 

Bene. Yea, and a case to put it into. But speak you this 
with a sad brow?'^ or do you play the flouting Jack, to tell us 
Cupid is a good hare-finder, and Vulcan a rare carpenter ? ^^ 
Come, in what key shall a man take you, to go in the song ? '^ 

Claud. In mine eye she is the sweetest lady that ever I 
look'd on. 

Bene. I can see yet without spectacles, and I see no such 
matter : there's her cousin, an she were not possess'd with a 
fury, exceeds her as much in beauty as the first of May doth 
the last of December. But I hope you have no intent to 
turn husband, have you? 

Claud. I would scarce trust myself, though I had sworn 
the contrary, if Hero would be my wife. 

Bene. Is't come to this, in faith? Hath not the world 

16 A play upon noU, wbich was used, as it still is, of musical sounds. 

17 " With a sad brow " means with a serious purpose, or in earnest. 

18 " Do you scoff and mock in telling us that blind Cupid has the sight of 
a greyhound, and that Vulcan, a blacksmith, is a good carpenter ? " 

13 To join you, go along with you, in singing. 


one man but he will wear his cap with suspicion P^o Shall I 
never see a bachelor of threescore again ? Go to, i'faith ; an 
thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a yoke, wear the print 
of it, and sigh away Sundays.^' Look ; Don Pedro is returned 
to seek you. 

Re-enter Don Pedro. 

D. Pedro. What secret hath held you here, that you fol- 
lowed not to Leonato's ? 

Bejie. I would your Grace would constrain me to tell. 

D. Pedro. I charge thee on thy allegiance. 

Bene. You hear, Count Claudio : I can be secret as a 
dumb man, I would have you think so ; but on my alle- 
giance, — mark you this, on my allegiance. — He is in love. 
With whom? now that is your Grace's part. Mark how 
short his answer is ; — With Hero, Leonato's short daughter. 

D. Pedro. If this were so, so were it utter'd. 

Bene. Like the old tale, my lord : // is not so, nor ^iwas 
not so ; but, mdeed, God forbid it should be so?^ 

2" Subject his head to the disquiet of jealousy. 

21 Alluding to the manner in which the Puritans usually spent Sunday, 
with sighs and groanings, and other emphatic marks of devotion. 

22 This is the burden of an old tale, related by Mr. Blakeway, as follows : 
Mr. Fox, a bachelor, made it his business to decoy or force young women to 
his house, that he might have their skeletons to adorn his chambers with. 
Near by dwelt a family, the lady Mary and her two brothers, whom Mr. Fox 
often visited. One day, the lady thought to amuse herself by calling upon 
Mr. Fox, as he had often invited her to do. Knocking some time, but find- 
ing no one at home, she at length opened and went in. Over the portal was 
written. Be bold, be bold, but 7iot too bold. Going forward, she saw the same 
over the stairway, and again over the door of the chamber at the head of the 
stairs. Opening this door, she saw at once what sort of work was carried 
on there. Retreating hastily, she saw out of the window Mr. Fox coming, 
holding a sword in one hand, and with the other dragging a young lady by 
the hair. She had just time to hide herself under the stairs before he en- 
tered. As he was going up stairs the young lady caught hold of the banister 
with her hand, whereon was a rich bracelet ; he then cut off her hand, and 
it fell, bracelet and all, into Mary's lap, who took it, and, as soon as she 


Claud. If my passion change not shortly, God forbid it 
should be otherwise. 

D. Pedro. Amen, if you love her ; for the lady is very 
well worthy. 

Claud. You speak this to fetch me in, my lord. 

D. Pedro. By my troth, I speak my thought- 

Claud. And, in faith, my lord, I spoke mine. 

Bene. And, by my two faiths and troths, my lord, I spoke 

Claud. That I love her, I feel. 

D. Pedro. That she is worthy, I know. 

Bene. That I neither feel how she should be loved, nor 
know how she should be worthy, is the opinion that fire can- 
not melt out of me : I will die in it at the stake. 

D. Pedro. Thou wast ever an obstinate heretic in the 
despite of beauty. 

Claud. And never could maintain his part but in the force 
of his will.23 

Bene. That a woman conceived me, I thank her ; that she 
brought me up, I likewise give her most humble thanks : but 
that I will have a recheat winded in my forehead, or hang my 

could, hastened home. A few days after, Mr. Fox came to dine with her 
and her brothers. As they were entertaining each other wth stories, she said 
she would tell them a strange dream she had lately had. She said, I 
dreamed, Mr. Fox, that as you had often inWted me to your house, I went 
there one morning. When I came, I knocked, but no one answered ; when 
I opened the door, over the hall was written. Be bold, be bold, but not too 
bold. But, said she, turning to Mr. Fox and smiling, // is not so, nor it was 
not so. Then she went on with the story, repeating this at every turn, till she 
came to the room ftill of dead bodies, when Mr. Fox took up the burden of 
the tale, saying, // is not so, nor it was not so, and God forbid it should be so; 
which he kept repeating at every turn of the story, till she came to his cut- 
ting off" the lady's hand; then, upon his saying the same words, she replied. 
But it is so, and it was so, and here the hand I have to show, at the same time 
producing the hand and bracelet from her lap ; whereupon the men drew 
their swords, and killed Mr. Fox. 

*2 Alluding to the definition of a heretic in the schools. 


bugle in an invisible baldrick,^^ all women shall pardon me. 
Because I will not do them the wrong to mistrust any, I will 
do myself the right to trust none ; and the .fine -^ is, (for the 
which I may go the finer,) I will live a bachelor. 

D. Pedro. I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with love. 

Bene. With anger, with sickness, or with hunger, my lord ; 
not with love : prove that ever I lose more blood with love 
than I will get again with drinking, pick out mine eyes with 
a ballad-maker's pen, and hang me up at the door of a bro- 
thel-house for the sign of blind Cupid. 

D. Pedro. Well, if ever thou dost fall from this faith, thou 
wilt prove a notable argument.^s 

Bene. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat, and shoot at 
me ; ^7 ^nd he that hits me, let him be clapped on the shoul- 
der, and called Adam.^s 

D. Pedro. Well, as time shall try : 
In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke.^^ 

Bene. The savage bull may ; but if ever the sensible Bene- 
dick bear it, pluck off the bull's horns, and set them in my 
forehead : and let me be vilely painted ; and in such great 
letters as they write. Here is good horse to hire, let them sig- 

24 Quibblings, rather swift and subtile, between the different senses of 
horn ; the speaker meaning that he would not render himself liable to have 
such an ornament in his forehead. A recheat was a peculiar sound of the 
bugle-horn, whereby the hounds were called back from the chase. Baldrick 
is the belt whereby the huntsman's horn is slung. It is here called invisible, 
in reference to the old ideal horn, which, though never seen, is sometimes 
felt. See vol. ii., page 47, note 11. 

25 TXi&fine is the conclusion. — " Go the finer " means, probably, have the 
more money to spend in dress or in finery. 

2C A capital theme for satire and jest. 

2" It seems to have been one of the cruel sports of the time to enclose a 
cat in a wooden tub or bottle suspended aloft to be shot at. 

28 Alluding to Adam Bell, " a passing good archer," who, with Clym of 
the Clough and William of Cloudesly, were outlaws as famous in the North 
of England as Robin Hood and his fellows were in the midland counties. 

29 This line is from Kyd's Spanish Tragedy, 1599. 


nify under my sign. Here you may see Benedick the married 

Claud. If this should ever happen, thou wouldst be horn- 

D. Pedro. Nay, if Cupid have not spent all his quiver in 
Venice,^" thou wilt quake for this shortly. 

Bene. I look for an earthquake too, then. 

D. Pedro. Well, you will temporize with the hours. In 
the mean time, good Signior Benedick, repair to Leonato's : 
commend me to him, and tell him I will not fail him at sup- 
per ; for indeed he hath made great preparation. 

Bene. I have almost matter enough in me for such an 
embassage ; and so I commit you — 

Claud. To the tuition of God : From my house (if I had 

D. Pedro. The sixth of July : Your loving friend. Bene- 

Bene. Nay, mock not, mock not. The body of your dis- 
course is sometime guarded with fragments, and the guards 3' 
are but slightly basted on neither : ere you flout old ends ^ 
any ftirther, examine your conscience : and so I leave you. 


Claud. My liege, your Highness now may do me good. 

D. Pedro. My love is thine to teach : teach it but how. 
And thou shalt see how apt it is to leam 
Any hard lesson that may do thee good. 

Claud. Hath Leonato any son, my lord ? 

• 30 Venice bore much the same character in Shakespeare's time as Paris 
does in ours ; being celebrated as the great metropolis of profligate intrigue 
and pleasure. 

31 Guards is trimmings of the dress, or facings. See voL iii, page 143, 
note 27. — Sometime and sometimes were used indifferently. See vol. iii., 
page 24, note 7. 

^- Old ends probably means the formal or ordinary conclusions of letters, 
which were often couched in the quaint language used a little before. 


D. Pedro. No child but Hero ; she's his only heir. 
Dost thou affect her, Claudio ? 

Claud. O, my lord, 

When you went onward on this ended action, 
I look'd upon her with a soldier's eye, 
That liked, but had a rougher task in hand 
Than to drive liking to the name of love : 
But, now I am return'd, and that war-tlioughts 
Have left their places vacant, in their rooms 
Come thronging soft and delicate desires. 
All prompting me how fair young Hero is. 
Saying, I liked her ere I went to wars. 

D. Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover presently, 
And tire the hearer with a book of words. 
If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it ; 
And I will break with her ^^ and with her father, 
And thou shalt have her. Was't not to this end 
That thou begann'st to twist so fine a story ? 

Claud. How sweetly do you minister to love, 
That know love's grief by his complexion ! 
But, lest my liking might too sudden seem, 
I would have salved it with a longer treatise.^^ 

D. Pedro. What need the bridge much broader than the 
The fairest grant is to necessity. 
Look, what will serve is fit : 'tis once,*'^ thou lovest ; 

33 In old language, to break with any one is to open or broach a matter to 
him. The phrase now means to /all out, quarrel, or break friendship, with 
any one. See vol. i., page 174, ncite 3. 

3* Treatise for talk, tale, or discourse. — To salve a thing is to temper, to 
assuage, to mitigate, or palliate it. Repeatedly so. 

35 This use of once has been something of a puzzle to the editors. It is 
pretty clear that the word was occasionally used in the sense of enoiigh ; and 
such is the aptest meaning here. The Poet has it thus repeatedly. See vol. 
i., page 107, note 15. 


And I will fit thee with the remedy. 

I know we shall have revelling to-night : 

I will assume thy part in some disguise. 

And tell fair Hero I am Claudio ; 

And in her bosom I'll unclasp my heart, 

And take her hearing prisoner with the force 

And strong encounter of my amorous tale : 

Then, after, to her father will I break ; 

And the conclusion is, she shall be thine. 

In practice let us put it presently. \^Excunt. 

Scene II. — A Room in Leonato's House. 
Enter, severally, Leonato and Antonio. 

Leon. How now, brother ! ^^^lere is my cousin, your 
son ? hath he provided this music ? 

Ant. He is very busy about it. But, brother, I can tell 
you strange news, that you yet dreamt not of. 

Leon. Are they good ? 

Ant. As the event stamps them : but they have a good 
cover; they show well outward. The Prince and Count 
Claudio, walking in a thick-pleached alley in my orchard, ^ 
were thus much overheard by a man of mine : The Prince 
discovered to Claudio that he loved my niece your daughter, 
and meant to acknowledge it this night in a dance ; and, if he 
found her accordant, he meant to take the present time by 
the top, and instantly break with you of it. 

Leon. Hath the fellow any wit that told you this? 

Ant. A good sharp fellow : I will send for him \ and 
question him yourself. 

1 PUachedSs, the same 2&pUcUed or plaited; that \s, folded or interwoven. 
— Orchard was used for garden ; from hort-yard. 


Leon. No, no ; we will hold it as a dream till it appear ^ 
itself: but I will acquaint my daughter withal, that she may 
be the better prepared for an answer, if peradventure this be 
true. Go you and tell her of it. — \^Exit Antonio. — Several 
persons cross the stage. '\ Cousin,^ you know what you have 
to do. — O, I cry you mercy,'* friend ; go you with me, and I 
will use your skill. — Good cousin, have a care this busy time. 


Scene III. — Another Room in Leonato's House. 
Enter Don John and Conrade. 

Con. What the good-year,' my lord ! why are you thus 
out of measure sad ? 

D. John. There is no measure in the occasion that breeds 
it j therefore the sadness is without limit. 

Con. You should hear reason. 

D.John. And when I have heard it, what blessing bring- 
eth it? 

Con. If not a present remedy, yet a patient sufferance. 

D.John. I wonder that thou, being (as thou say'st thou 

2 Appear is used repeatedly by the Poet as a transitive verb, and in the 
sense of to show, to manifest, to make apparetit. So in Cymbeline, iv. 2 : 
" This youth, howe'er distress'd, appears he hath had good ancestors." Also 
in Coriolanus, iv. 3, in the passive voice : " Your -favour is well appeared by 
your tongue." And in Troilus and Cressida, iii. 3 : " Appear it to your mind 
that, through the sight I bear in things to come," &c. — This use of the word 
was pointed out to Yne by Mr. Joseph Crosby. 

y Leonato sees his brother's son crossing the stage among the other per- 
sons, and stops him. Cousin was constantly used for nephetv, niece, or, more 
generally still, for kinsman. 

4 " I cry you mercy " is I ask your pardon. Used constantly so by the 
Poet. See vol. iii., page 46, note 14. 

1 Good-year is best explained as a corruption of the French goujeer, the 
old name of what was known far and wide as the morbus Gallicus. If that 
explanation be right, which some doubt, it presents a strange instance of the 
transmogrification of words into the reverse of their original sensss. 


art) bom under Satum,^ goest about to apply a moral medi- 
cine to a mortifj-ing mischief. I cannot hide what I am : ^ I 
must be sad when I have cause, and smile at no man's jests ; 
eat when I have stomach, and wait for no man's leisure ; 
sleep when I am drowsy, and tend on no man's business ; 
laugh when I am merr)-, and claw'* no man in his humour. 

Co/i. Yea, but you must not make the full show of this 
till you may do it without controlment. You have of late 
stood out against your brother, and he hath ta'en you newly 
into his grace ; ^ where it is impossible you should take true 
root but by the fair weather that you make yourself: it is 
needful that you frame the season for your own har\'est. 

£>. John. I had rather be a canker in a hedge than a rose 
in his grace ; ^ and it better fits my blood to be disdain'd of 
all than to fashion a carraige to rob love from any : in this, 
though I cannot be said to be a flattering honest man, it must 
not be denied but I am a plain-dealing villain. I am trusted 
Avith a muzzle, and enfranchised with a clog; therefore I 
have decreed not to sing in my cage. If I had my mouth, I 
would bite ; if I had my liberty, I would do my liking : in 
the mean time let me be that I am, and seek not to alter 

Con. Can you make no use of your discontent ? 

2 In old astrological language, to be " bom under Saturn " was to have a 
" Saturnine complexion," as it was called ; that is, to be of a moping, mel- 
ancholy, or misanthropic temper. 

3 An envious and unsocial mind, too proud to give pleasure and too sullen 
to receive it, often endeavours to hide its malignity firom the world, and from 
itself, under the plainness of simple honesty or the dignity of haughty inde- 

■* To claw, in the sense of to scratch, and to ease by scratching, was some- 
times used for to soothe, Jlatter, or curry favour. See vol. ii., page 52, note 11. 

5 TTiis use oi£Tace in the sense oi favour was very common. 

6 The meaning is, " I would rather be a wild dog-rose in a hedge than a 
garden rose of his cherishing." Richardson says that in Devonshire the dog- 
rose is called canker-rose. 



D.John. I make all use of it, for I use it only J — Who 
comes here ? — 

Enter Borachio. 

What news, Borachio ? 

Bora. I came yonder from a great supper : the Prince 
your brother is royally entertained by Leonato ; and I can 
give you intelligence of an intended marriage. 

D.John. Will it serve for any model ^ to build mischief 
on ? What is he for a fool that betroths himself to unquiet- 

Bora. Marry, it is your brother's right hand. 

D.John. Who, the most exquisite Claudio? 

Bora. Even he. 

D. John. A proper squire ! And who, and who ? which 
way looks he ? 

Bora. Marry, on Hero, the daughter and heir of Leonato. 

D. John. A very forward March-chick ! ^ How came you 
to this ? 

Bora. Being entertained for a perfumer, as I was smoking 
a musty room,i^ comes me the Prince and Claudio, hand in 
hand, in sad ^^ conference : I whipt me behind the arras ; '^ 
and there heard it agreed upon, that the Prince should woo 
Hero for himself, and having obtain'd her, give her to Count 

■? I use nothing else ; have no other counsellor. 

8 Model is here used in an unusual sense ; but Bullokar explains it, 
"Model, iYiQ plat/or me, or form of any thing." 

9 A presumptuous or aspiring youngster ; thinking to marry much above 
his rank. Claudio is regarded as a pushing upstart. 

10 Such a perfuming of rooms was often resorted to as a substitute for 
cleanliness. So in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy : " The smoke of juniper 
is in great request with us at Oxford, to sweeten our chambers." 

11 Sad, again, for serious, earnest, grave. See page i6i, note 17. 

^- Arras were the tapestries with which rooms were lined before plaster- 
ing grew into use ; so named from a town in France where they were made, 


D.John. Come, come, let us thither : this may prove food 
to my displeasure. That young start-up hath all the glory 
of my overthrow : if I can cross him any way, I bless myself 
every way. You are both sure,^-^ and will assist me? 

Con. To the death, my lord. 

D. John. Let us to the great supper : their cheer is the 
greater that I am subdued. Would the cook were of my 
mind ! Shall we go prove what's to be done ? 

Bora. We'll wait upon your lordship. \_Exeunt. 


Scene I. — A Hall in Leonato's House. 
Enter Leonato, Antonio, Hero, Beatrice, and others. 

Leon. Was not Count John here at supper? 

Ant. I saw him not. 

Beat. How tartly that gentleman looks ! I never can see 
him but I am heart-burn'd an hour after. 

Hero. He is of a very melancholy disposition. 

Beat. He were an excellent man that were made just in 
the midway between him and Benedick : the one is too like 
an image, and says nothing ; and the other too like my lady's 
eldest son, evermore tatthng. 

Leon. Then half Signior Benedick's tongue in Count 
John's mouth, and half Count John's melancholy in Signior 
Benedick's face, — 

Beat. With a good leg and a good foot, uncle, and money 
enough in his purse, such a man would win any woman in 
the world, — if he could get her good-will. 

13 Sure is still used sometimes io the sense of to be relied upon. 


Leon. By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee a hus- 
band, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue. 

Afit. In faith, she's too curst. 

Beat. Too curst is more than curst : I shall lessen God's 
sending that way ; for it is said, God sends a curst cow short 
horns ; but to a cow too curst He sends none. 

Leon. So, by being too curst, God will send you no horns. 

Beat. Just, if He send me no husband ; for the which 
blessing I am at Him upon my knees every morning and 
evening. Lord, I could not endure a husband with a beard 
on his face : I had rather lie in the woollen.^ 

Leon. You may light on a husband that hath no beard. 

Beat. What should I do with him? dress him in my 
apparel, and make him my waiting-gentlewoman ? He that 
hath a beard is more than a youth ; and he that hath no 
beard is less than a man : and he that is more than a youth 
is not for me ; and he that is less than a man, I am not for 
him : therefore I will even take sixpence in earnest of the 
bear-ward,~ and lead his apes into Hell. 

Leon. Well, then, go you into Hell? 

Beat. No ; but to the gate ; and there will the Devil meet 
me, like an old cuckold, with horns on his head, and say. 
Get you to Heaven, Beatrice, get you to Heaven ; here^s no 
place for you maids : so deliver I up my apes, and away to 
Saint Peter : for the Heavens,^ he shows me where the bach- 
elors sit, and there live we as merry as the day is long. 

i Probably meaning, lie between the blankets, without sheets. Beatrice 
is thinking, apparently, that a beard would make kissing rather uncomfort- 
able. Wearing woollen next the skin was sometimes imposed as a penance. 
See vol. ii., page 104, note 71. 

2 Bear-ward is, properly, a keeper of a bear or bears : here it seems to 
stand for a showman of strange beasts in general, and of monkeys in partic- 
ular. Beatrice is alluding to certain odd old notions about the future destiny 
of those who die old maids. See vol. ii., page 174, note 2. 

" " For the HeaTens " is probably intended here as a petty oath. 


Ant. [To Hero.] Well, niece, I trust you will be ruled 
by your father. 

Beaf. Yes, faith ; it is my cousin's duty to make curtsy, 
and say. Father, as it please you : — but yet for all that, 
cousin, let him be a handsome fellow, or else make another 
curtsy, and say. Father, as it please me. 

Leon. Well, niece, I hope to see you one day fitted with 
a husband. 

Beat. Not till God make men of some other metal than 
earth. Would it not grieve a woman to be overmaster'd 
with a piece of valiant dust ? to make an account of her life 
to a clod of wayward marl? No, uncle, I'll none : Adam's 
sons are my brethren ; and, truly, I hold it a sin to match in 
my kindred. 

Leon. Daughter, remember what I told you : if the Prince 
do solicit you in that kind, you know your answer. 

Beat. The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you be not 
wooed in good time : if the Prince be too important,'* tell him 
there is measure^ in ever)^ thing, and so dance out the 
answer. For, hear me, Hero : Wooing, wedding, and re- 
penting, is as a Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinque-pace : ^ 
the first suit is hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as 
fantastical; the wedding, mannerly-modest, as a measure, 
full of state and ancientry ; and then comes repentance, and, 
with his bad legs, falls into the cmque-pace faster and faster, 
till he sink apace into his grave. 

Leon. Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly. 

Beat. I have a good eye, uncle ; I can see a church by 

* Important for importunate. Repeatedly so. See page 83, note 3. 

5 A measure, in old language, besides its ordinary meaning, signified also 
a grave, solemn dance w ith slow and measured steps like the minuet ; and 
therefore is described as " full of state and ancientry." 

6 The cinque-pace was a dance, the measures whereof were r^ulated by 
the number fiye. 


Leon. The revellers are entering, brother : make good 

Enter Don Pedro, Claudio, Benedick, Balthazar, Don 
John, Borachio, Margaret, Ursula, and others, masked. 

D. Pedro. Lady, will you walk about with your friend ? 

Hero. So you walk softly, and look sweetly, and say 
nothing, I am yours for the walk ; and especially when I 
walk away. 

D. Pedro. With me in your company? 

Hero. I may say so, when I please. 

D. Pedro. And when please you to say so ? 

Hero. When I like your favour ; for God defend the lute 
should be like the case ! ^ 

D. Pedro. My visor is Philemon's roof ; within the house 
is Jove.^ 

Hero. Why, then your visor should be thatch'd. 

D. Pedro. Speak low, if you speak love. \Takes her aside. 

Balth. Well, I would you did like me. 

Marg. So would not I, for your own sake ; for I have 
many ill qualities. 

Balth. Which is one? 

Marg. I say my prayers aloud. 

Balth. I love you the better : the hearers may cry, Amen. 

Marg. God match me with a good dancer ! 

Balth. Amen. 

Marg. And God keep him out of my sight when the dance 
is done ! — Answer, clerk.^ 

T " God forbid that your face should be like your mask." 

8 Alluding' to the fable of Baucis and Philemon in Ovid, who describes 
the old couple as living in a thatched cottage : Stipulis etcanncl tecta palus- 
tri ; which Golding renders " The roo/e thereof was thatched all with straw 
and fennish reede." 

9 The clerk here meant is the clerk of the parish, a part of whose duty 
was to lead the responses of the congregation in the religious service. 


Balth. No more words : the clerk is answered. 

Urs. I know you well enough ; you are Signior Antonio. 

Ant. At a word, I am not. 

Urs. I know you by the waggling of your head. 

Ant. To tell you true, I counterfeit him. 

Urs. You could never do him so ill-well, unless you were 
the very man. Here's his dry hand up and down : i" you are 
he, you are he. 

Ant. At a word, I am not. 

Urs. Come, come, do you think I do not know you by 
your excellent wit ? can virtue hide itself? Go to, mum, you 
are he : graces will appear, and there's an end. 

Beat. Will you not tell me who told you so ? 

Bene. No, you shall pardon me. 

Beat. Nor will you not tell me who you are ? 

Bene. Not now. 

Beat. That I was disdainful, and that I had my good wit 
out of the Hundred Merry Tales}^ WeU, this was Signior 
Benedick that said so. 

Bene. What's he ? 

Beat. I am sure you know him well enough. 

Bene. Not I, believe me. 

Beat. Did he never make you laugh ? 

Bene. I pray you, what is he? 

Beat. Why, he is the Prince's jester : a very dull Fool ; 
only his gift is in devising impossible '- slanders : none but 

1" This phrase seems to mean exactly or precisely. See vol. i., page 184, 
note 4. 

11 This was the term for 2i jest-book in Shakespeare's time, from a popular 
collection of that name, about which the commentators were much puzzled, 
until a large fragment was discovered in 1815, by the Rev. J. Conybeare, 
Professor of Poetry in Oxford. It was printed by Rastell, and therefore 
must have been published previous to 1533. 

12 Shakespeare has impossible repeatedly in the exact sense of incredible. 
Also, once at least, impossibility for incredibility. See page 43, note 27.— 
" Only his g^ft " means his only gift. 


libertines delight in him ; and the commendation is not in 
his wit, but in his villainy ; for he both pleases men and 
angers them, and then they laugh at him and beat him. 
I am sure he is in the fleet : I wouldi he had boarded 

Bene. When I know the gentleman, I'll tell him what 
you say. 

Beat. Do, do : he'll but break a comparison or two on 
me ; which, peradventure, not mark'd, or not laugh'd at, 
strikes him into melancholy ; and then there's a partridge' 
wing saved, for the Fool will eat no supper that night. "[Music 
within^ We must follow the leaders. 

Bene. In every good thing. 

Beat. Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at the 
next turning. \^Dance. Then exeunt all but Don John, 

BoRACHio, and Claudio, 

D. John. Sure my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath 
withdrawn her father to break with him about it. The ladies 
follow her, and but one visor remains. 

Bora. And that is Claudio : I know him by his bearing. 

D.John. Are not you Signior Benedick? 

Claud. You know me well ; I am he. 

D.John. Signior, you are very near my brother in his 
love : he is enamour'd on Hero. I pray you, dissuade him 
from her, she is no equal for his birth : you may do the part 
of an 4ionest man in it. 

Claud. How know you he loves her? 

D. John. I heard him swear his affection. 

Bora. So did I too ; and he swore he would marry her 

13 To board sometimes meant to address or to accost. But the ^ord fleet 
shows that Beatrice has an eye to the meaning of board as a naval term. 
And I suppose we all know what it is to board an enemy's ship in a sea- 
fight. See vol. ii., page 165, note 13. 


D.John. Come, let us to the banquet. 

\_Exeunt Don John and Borachio. 

Claud. Thus answer I in name of Benedick, 
But hear these ill news with the ears of Claudio. 
Tis certain so ; the Prince wooes for himself. 
Friendship is constant in all other things 
Save in the office and affairs of love : 
Therefore •"* all hearts in love use their own tongues ; 
Let every eye negotiate for itself, 
And trust no agent ; for beauty is a witch. 
Against whose charms faith melteth into blood.'-'' 
This is an accident of hourly proof, 
Which I mistrusted not. Farewell, then. Hero ! 

Re-enter Benedick. 

Bene. Count Claudio ? 

Claud. Yea, the same. 

Bene. Come, will you go with me ? 

Claud. Whither? 

Bene. Even to the next willow, about your own business, 
count. What fashion will you wear the garland of? about 
your neck, like an usurer's chain ?'^ or under your arm, like 
a lieutenant's scarf? You must wear it one way, for the 
Prince hath got your Hero. 

Claud. I wish him joy of her. 

Bene. Why, that's spoken like an honest drover : so they 
sell bullocks. But did you think the Prince would have served 
you thus? 

Claud. I pray you, leave me. 

^* Let, which occurs in the next line, is understood here. 

15 Blood was very, often put for passion or impulse. 

16 Chains of gold were in Shakespeare's time worn by wealthy citizens 
and others, in the same manner as they are now on public occasions by the 
aldermen of London. Usury was then a common topic of invective. 


Bene. Ho ! now you strike like the blind man : 'twas the 
boy that stole your meat, and you'll beat the post. 

Claud. If it will not be, I'll leave you. \Exit. 

Bene. Alas, poor hurt fowl ! now will he creep into sedges. 
But, that my Lady Beatrice should know me, and not know 
me ! The Prince's Fool ! Ha ! it may be I go under that 
title because I am merry. Yea, but so I am apt to do myself 
wrong. — I am not so reputed : it is the base, though bitter,i^ 
disposition of Beatrice that puts the world into her person, 
and so gives me out.^^ Well, I'll be revenged as I may. 

Re-enter Don Pedro. 

D. Pedro. Now, signior, where's the count ? did you see 

Bene. Troth, my lord, I have played the part of Lady 
Fame. I found him here as melancholy as a lodge in a 
warren : ^^ I told him, and I think I told him true, that 
your Grace had got the good-will of his young lady ; and I 
offered him my company to a willow-tree, either to make 
him a garland,^'' as being forsaken, or to bind him up a 
rod, as being worthy to be whipp'd. 

D.Pedro. To be whipp'd ! What's his fault? 

Bene. The flat transgression of a school- boy, who, being 

1'^ Though, if the text be right, would seem to be used here in the sense 
oi because ox since. And so the Poet has it repeatedly; and sometimes it 
renders his meaning very obscure to us. See vol. ii., page 31, note 22. 

18 That is, fathers her own thoughts upon the world, and then quotes the 
world as her authority for them. A common trick of petty spite. 

19 A most expressive image of dismal loneliness. A warren was a place 
for keeping wild animals, and secured by royal grant against all intruders, 
for the owner's exclusive sport : so that the special duty of the keeper of it 
was to maintain an utter solitude about himself and his lodging. 

20 A garland of willow was the common badge, at least in poetry, of for- 
saken lovers. So in poor Barbara's song, Othello, iv. 3 : " Sing all a green 
willow must be my garland." See, also, vol. iii., page 210, note 3. 


overjoyed with finding a bird's-nest, shows it his companion, 
and he steak it. 

D. Pedro. Wilt thou make a trust a transgression? The 
trangression is in the stealer. 

Bene. Yet it had not been amiss the rod had been made, 
and the garland too ; for the garland he might have worn 
himself, and the rod he might have bestowed on you, who, 
as I take it, have stol'n his bird's-nest. 

D. Pedro. I will but teach them to sing, and restore them 
to the owner. 

Bene. If their singing answer your saying, by my faith, 
you say honestly. 

D. Pedro. The Lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you : the 
gentleman that danced with her told her she is much wTong'd 
by you. 

Bene. O, she misused me past the endurance of a block ! 
an oak but with one green leaf on it would have answered 
her ; my very visor began to assume life and scold with her. 
She told me — not thinking I had been myself — that I was 
the Prince's jester, and that I was duller than a great thaw ; 
huddling jest upon jest, with such impossible ^i conveyance, 
upon me, that I stood like a man at a mark, with a whole 
army shooting at me. She speaks poniards, and every word 
stabs : if her breath were as terrible as her terminations, 
there were no living near her ; she would infect to the north 
star. I would not marry her, though she were endowed with 
all that Adam had left him before he transgress'd : she 
would have made Hercules have tum'd spit, yea, and have 
cleft his club to make the fire too. Come, talk not of her : 
you shall find her the infernal At6 in good apparel.^ I 

21 Impossible, again, as before explained. See page 175, note 12. — Con- 
veyance has the sense, here, of swiftness or dexterity. The word was used 
technically in reference to feats of jugglery and legerdemain. 

22 At6 was the daughter of Jupiter, and the goddess of mischief and dis- 


would to God some scholar would conjure her ; for certainly, 
while she is here, a man may live as quiet in Hell as in a 
sanctuary ; and people sin upon purpose, because they would 
go thither ; so, indeed, all disquiet, horror, and perturbation 
follow her, 

D. Pedro. Look, here she comes. 

Re-enter Claudio, Beatrice, Hero, and Leonato. 

Bene. Will your Grace command me any service to the 
world's end ? I will go on the slightest errand now to the 
Antipodes that you can devise to send me on ; I will fetch 
you a toothpicker now from the farthest inch of Asia ; bring 
you the length of Prester John's foot ; ^3 fetch you a hair of 
the great Cham's beard ; do you any embassage to the Pig- 
mies ; rather than hold three words' conference with this 
harpy. You have no employment for me ? 

D. Pedro. None, but to desire your good company. 

Bene. O God, sir, here's a dish I love not : I cannot en- 
dure my Lady Tongue. \_Exit. 

D. Pedro. Come, lady, come ; you have lost the heart of 
Signior Benedick. 

Beat. Indeed, my lord, he lent it me awhile ; and I gave 
him use ^^ for it, — a double heart for his single one : marry, 
once before he won it of me with false dice, therefore your 
Grace may well say I have lost it. 

cord. The words good apparel look as if the Poet might have been thinking 
of her as one of the Furies, whom the ancient poets and painters were wont 
to represent in rags. For turn'd spit, see vol. i., page 87, note 9. 

23 How difficult this had been, mav be guessed from Butler's account of 
that distinguished John : 

While like the mighty Prester John, 
Whose person none dares look upon, 
But is preserved in close disguise 
From being made cheap to vulgar eyes. 

24 Use in the mercantile sense, interest. See vol. iii., page 129, note 7. 


D. Pedro. You have put him down, lady, you have put 
him down. 

Beat. So I would not he should do me, my lord, lest I 
should prove the mother of fools. I have brought Count 
Claudio, whom you sent me to seek. 

D. Pedro. Why, how now, count ! wherefore are you 

Claud. Not sad, my lord. 

D. Pedro. How then ? sick ? 

Claud. Neither, my lord. 

Beat. The count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor 
well ; but civil count, — civil as an orange,"^ and something 
of that jealous complexion. 

D. Pedro. I'faith, lady, I think your blazon to be true ; 
though, I'll be sworn, if he be so, his conceit -^ is false. — 
Here, Claudio, I have wooed in thy name, and fair Hero is 
won ; I have broke with her father, and his good-wiU ob- 
tained : name the day of marriage, and God give thee joy ! 

Leon. Count, take of me my daughter, and with her my 
fortunes : his Grace hath made the match, and all grace say 
Amen to it ! 

Beat. Speak, count, 'tis your cue. 

Claud. Silence is the perfectest herald of joy : I were but 
little happy, if I could say how much. — Lady, as you are 
mine, I am yours : I give away myself for you, and dote 
upon the exchange. 

Beat. Speak, cousin ; or, if you cannot, stop his mouth 
with a kiss, and let not him speak neither. 

25 A quibble, probably. At that time, England, it seems, had her oranges 
chiefly from Seville, in Spain ; and this name was pronounced the same as 
cirjil. Yellow is, time out of mind, the colour of jealousy. Staunton, how- 
ever, thinks the allusion is to the sour or bitter taste, and not to the yellow 
colour, of the orange. Not likely, I think. 

26 Conceit, as usual, for conception, idea, or thought. The word and its 
cognates always had a good sense. See vol. iii., page 117, note 21. 


D. Pedro. In faith, lady, you have a merry heart. 

Beat. Yea, my lord ; I thank it, poor fool, it keeps on the 
windy side of care. My cousin tells him in his ear that he 
is in her heart. 

Claud. And so she doth, cousin. 

Beat. Good Lord, for alliance l^^ — Thus goes every one 
to the world but \^ and I am sunbum'd;^^ I may sit in a 
corner, and cry Heigh-ho for a husband ! 

D. Pedro. Lady Beatrice, I will get you one. 

27 The meaning seems to be, " Good Lord, how many alliances are form- 
ing ! " or, " How matrimony prospers ! " 

28 As a nun entering a cloister was said to give up the world, or Xo forsake 
the world, so, on the other hand, going to the world, and tying one's self to 
the world, were common expressions for entering upon the cares and duties 
of married life. The phrase in the text is used repeatedly by Shakespeare 
in that sense. See page 25, note 3. 

29 Upon this passage, the Rev. Joseph Hunter, in his New Illustrations of 
Shakespeare, makes a very learned and elaborate comment. It appears that 
" to be sunburned," " to be in the sun," and " to be in the warm sun," were 
phrases in common use for being without a home, in the full English sense 
of the term ; that is, without the shelter and protection of household kin- 
dred and domestic ties ; left alone in the world, and so exposed to its social 
inclemencies. And the phrases seem to have grown into use from a pas- 
sage in the 121st Psalm, which, in the old translation, as we have it in the 
Psalter, reads thus : " The Lord himself is thy keeper ; the Lord is thy defence 
upon thy right hand ; so that the Sun shall not burn thee by day, neither the 
Moon by night." The authorized version gives it as follows : " The Lord is 
thy keeper ; the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand : the Sun shall not 
smite thee by day, nor the Moon by night." This Psalm, in the older 
version, formed part of the " Office for the Churching of women," and thus 
its benedictions became familiarly associated with the occasions of honour- 
able motherhood. So that, as Mr. Hunter says, " the matron, surrounded 
by her husband and children, was one who had received the benediction 
that the sun should not burn her : while the unmarried woman, who had re- 
ceived no such benediction, was spoken of as one ' still left exposed to the 
burning of the sun." " Perhaps I should add, that the phrases came to have 
a much wider application. So, in King Lear, ii. 2, when the old King has 
been turned off by one of his daughters, and is seeking refuge with the other, 
Kent says to himself, " Good King, that must approve the common saw, 
Thou out of Heaven's benediction comest to the warm sun." And so Wither, 


Beat. I would rather have one of your father's getting. 
Hath your Grace ne'er a brother like you ? Your father got 
excellent husbands, if a maid could come by them. 

D. Pedro. Will you have me, lady? 

Beat. No, my lord, unless I might have another for work- 
ing-days : your Grace is too costly to wear every day. But, 
I beseech your Grace, pardon me : I was born to speak all 
mirth and no matter. 

D. Pedro. Your silence most offends me, and to be merry 
best becomes you ; for, out of question, you were born in a 
merry hour. 

Beat. No, sure, my lord, 'my mother cried ; but then there 
was a star danced, and under that was I bom. — Cousins, 
God give you joy ! 

Leon. Niece, will you look to those things I told you of? 

Beat. I cry you mercy, uncle. — By your Grace's pardon. 


D. Pedro. By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady. 

Leon. There's little of the melancholy element in her, my 
lord : she is never sad but when she sleeps ; and not ever^" 
sad then ; for I have heard my daughter say, she hath often 
dream'd of unhappiness,"^i and waked herself with laughing. 

D. Pedro. She cannot endure to hear tell of a husband. 

Leon. O, by no means : she mocks all her wooers out of 

in his Abuses Stript and Whipt, after speaking of having left the home of his 
childhood in Hampshire and gone alone to London, adds, 

What do I mean, to run 
Out of God 's blessing thus into the sun! 
What comfort or what goodness here can I 
Expect among these Anthropophagi ? 

** Not ever here means not always. So in Henry VII L, v. i : " And not 
ever the justice and the truth o' the question carries the due o" the verdict 
with it." 

*l Unhappiness here is mischief. So unhappy ^zs often used for mis- 
chievous. See page 107, note 8. Also voL ii., page 76, note 2. 


D. Pedro. She were an excellent wife for Benedick. 

Leon. O Lord, my lord, if they were but a week married, 
they would talk themselves mad ! 

D. Pedro. Count Claudio, when mean you to go to 
church ? 

Claud. To-morrow, my lord : time goes on crutches till 
love have all his rites. 

Leon. Not till Monday, my dear son, which is hence a 
just seven-night ; ^2 and a time too brief, too, to have all 
things answer my mind. 

D. Pedro. Come, you shake the head at so long a breath- 
ing : but, I warrant thee, Claudio, the time shall not go dully 
by us. I will, in the interim, undertake one of Hercules' 
labours ; which is, to bring Signior Benedick and the Lady 
Beatrice into a mountain of affection the one with the other. 
I would fain have it a match ; and I doubt not but to fash- 
ion it, if you three will but minister such assistance as I shall 
give you direction. 

Leon. My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten nights' 

Claud. And I, my lord. 

D. Pedro. And you too, gentle Hero? 

Hero. I will do any modest office, my lord, to help my 
cousin to a good husband. 

D. Pedro. And Benedick is not the unhopefullest husband 
that I know. Thus far can I praise him. He is of a noble 
strain,23 of approved valour, and confirm'd honesty. I will 
teach you how to humour your cousin, that she shall fall in 

32 Old language for "just a seven-night." So in The Merchant, iv. 1 : 
" Nor cut thou less nor more hxAjust a pound of flesh : if thou takest more 
or less than a just pound," &c. — A seven-night is a week. 

33 Strain is stock, lineage, or descent; often used thus by the Poet. So in 
Henry V., ii. i : " And he is bred out of that bloody strain that haunted us 
in our familiar paths." The word is from the Anglo-Saxon strynd, and is 
sometimes spelt strene. 


love with Benedick; — and I, with your two helps, will so 
practise on Benedick, that, in despite of his quick wit and 
his queasy stomach, he shall fall in love with Beatrice. If 
we can do this, Cupid is no longer an archer : his glory shall 
be ours, for we are the only love-gods. Go in with me, and I 
will tell you my drift. [Exeunt. 

Scene II. — Another Room in Leonato's House. 
Enter Don John and Borachio. 

D.John. It is so; the Count Claudio shall marry the 
daughter of Leonato. 

Bora. Yea, my lord ; but I can cross it. 

D.John. Any bar, any cross, any impediment will be 
medicinable * to me : I am sick in displeasure to him ; and 
whatsoever comes athwart his affection ranges evenly with 
mine. How canst thou cross this marriage ? 

Bora. Not honestly, my lord ; but so covertly that no 
dishonesty shall appear in me. 

D. John. Show me briefly how. 

Bora. I think I told your lordship, a year since, how much 
I am in the favour of Margaret, the waiting-gentlewoman to 

D.John. I remember. 

Bora. I can, at any unseasonable instant of the night, 
appoint her to look out at her lady's chamber->vindow. 

D.John. What life is in that, to be the death of this 
marriage ? 

Bora. The poison of that lies in you to temper. Go you 
to the Prince your brother ; spare not to tell him that he hath 

"^Medicinable for medicinal; the passive form with the active sense; 
according to the usage so frequent in several classes of words in Shake- 
speare's time. See page 15, note 15. 


wronged his honour in marrying the renowned Claudio 
(whose estimation do you mightily hold up) to a contami- 
nated stale, such a one as Hero. 

D.John. What proof shall I make of that? 

Bora. Proof enough to misuse the Prince, to vex Claudio, 
to undo Hero, and kill Leonato. Look you for any other 
issue ? 

D.John. Only to despite them, I will endeavour any 

Bora. Go, then ; find me a meet hour to draw Don Pedro 
and the Count Claudio alone : tell them that you know that 
Hero loves me ; intend ^ a kind of zeal both to the Prince 
and Claudio, as, — in love of your brother's honour, who hath 
made this match, and his friend's reputation, who is thus like 
to be cozen'd with the semblance of a maid, — that you have 
discover'd thus. They will scarcely believe this without 
trial ; offer them instances ; which shall bear no less likeli- 
hood than to see me at her chamber-window ; hear me call 
Margaret, Hero ; hear Margaret term me Claudio ; ^ and 
bring them to see this the very night before the intended 
wedding : for in the mean time I will so fashion the matter 
that Hero shall be absent ; and there shall appear such seem- 
ing truth of her disloyalty, that jealousy shall be call'd assur- 
ance, and all the preparation overthrown. 

D. John. Grow this to what adverse issue it can, I will put 
it in practice. Be cunning in the working this, and thy fee 
is a thousand ducats. 

2 Intend for pretend ; the two words being used interchangeably in the 
Poet's time. So in Richard III., iii. 5 : " Tremble and start at wagging of a 
straw, intending deep suspicion." See, also, vol. ii., page 209, note 4. 

3 Here we are to understand, no doubt, that Rorachio intends to have a 
prearrangement with Margaret, whereby they are to conduct their interview 
under the names of Claudio and Hero, though, of course, Margaret is to be 
kept ignorant of the purpose tliereof. See Critical Notes. 


Bora. Be you constant in the accusation, and my cunning 
shall not shame me. 

D.John. I will presently go learn their day of marriage. 


Scene III. — Leoxato's Garden. 
Enter Benedick and a Boy. 

Bene. Boy, — 

Boy. Signior ? 

Bene. In my chamber-window lies a book : bring it hither 
to me in the orchard. 

Boy. I am here already, sir. 

Bene. I know that ; but I would have thee hence, and 
here again. \^Exit Boy.] — I do much wonder that one 
man, seeing how much another man is a fool when he dedi- 
cates his behaviours to love, will, after he hath laugh'd at 
such shallow follies in others, become the argument of his 
own scorn by falling in love : and such a man is Claudio. I 
have known when there was no music with him but the 
drum and the fife ; and now had he rather hear the tabor and 
the pipe : I have known when he would have walk'd ten mile 
a-foot to see a good armour ; and now will he lie ten nights 
awake, carving the fashion of a new doublet. He was wont 
to speak plain and to the purpose, like an honest man and a 
soldier ; and now he is turn'd orthographer ; his words are a 
very fantastical banquet, — just so many strange dishes. 
May I be so converted, and see with these eyes? I cannot 
tell ; I think not : I will not be sworn but love may transform 
me to an oyster ; but I'll take my oath on it, till he have 
made an oyster of me, he shall never make me such a fool. 
One woman is fair, — yet I am well ; another is wise, — yet I 
am well ; another virtuous, — yet I am well : but till all graces 
be in one woman, one woman shall not come in my grace. 


Rich she shall be, that's certain ; wise, or I'll none ; virtuous, 
or I'll never cheapen her ; ^ fair, or I'll never look on her ; 
mild, or come not near me ; noble, or not I for an angel ; 
of good discourse, an excellent musician, and her hair shall 
be of what colour it please God.^ Ha, the Prince and Mon- 
sieur Love ! I will hide me in the arbour. 

[ Withdraws into the arbour. 

Enter Don Pedro, Claudio, and Leonato, followed by 
Balthazar and Musicians. 

D. Pedro. Come, shall we hear this music ? 

Claud. Yea, my good lord. How still the evening is, 
As hush'd on purpose to grace harmony ! 

D. Pedro. See you where Benedick hath hid himself? 

Claud. O, very well, my lord : the music ended. 
We'll fit the hid fox with a pennyworth. 

D. Pedro. Come, Balthazar, we'll hear that song again. 

Balth. O, good my lord, tax not so bad a voice 
To slander music any more than once. 

D. Pedro. It is the witness still of excellency 
To put a strange face on his own perfection. 
I pray thee, sing, and let me woo no more. 

Balth. Because you talk of wooing, I will sing ; 
Since many a wooer doth commence his suit 

1 This seems to us a strange use of cheapen ; but it is in strict accord- 
ance with the old sense of the word, which was to bargain for ox purchase. 
And it appears that the usage was not entirely extinct in Johnson's time ; for 
we have the following instance in a letter published in the Rambler : " She 
that has once demanded a settlement has allowed the importance of fortune ; 
and when she cannot show pecuniary merit, why should she think her 
cheapener obliged to purchase ? " 

2 Disguises of false hair and of dyed hair were quite common, especially 
among the ladies, in Shakespeare's time ; scarce any of them being so richly 
dowered with other gifts as to be content with the hair which it had pleased 
Nature to bestow. The Poet has several passages going to show that this 
custom was not much in favour with him. 


To her he thinks not worthy ; yet he wooes. 
Yet will he swear he loves. 

D. Pedro. Nay, pray thee, come j 

Or, if thou wilt hold longer argument. 
Do it in notes. 

Balth. Note this before my notes, — 

There's not a note of mine that's worth the noting. 

D. Pedro. Wliy, these are very crotchets that he speaks ; 
Note notes, forsooth, and nothing ! ^ \Music. 

Bene. \_Aside^ Now, Divine air ! now is his soul ravished ! 
Is it not strange that sheep's-guts ^ should hale souls out of 
men's bodies ? ^ Well, a horn for my money, when all's done. 

Balthazar sings. 

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more. 

Men were deceivers ever ; 
One foot in sea, and one on shore ; 
To one thing constant never : 
Then sigh not so. 
But let them go. 
And be you blithe and bonny ; 
Converting all your sounds of woe 
Into Hey nonny, nonny. 

Sing no more ditties, sing no mo 

Of dumps so dull and heavy ; 
The fraud of men was ever so. 

Since Summer first was leavy. 
Then sigh not so, &c. 

D. Pedro. By my troth, a good song. 

• It would seem, fix)m this, that nothing was sounded like noting. 

* An odd, perhaps intended as a characteristic, expression for catgvt. 

s So, in Tvoelfth Night, iL 3, music is humorously described as able to 
" draw thrpe souls put of one weaver." 


Balth. And an ill singer, my lord. 

D. Pedro. Ha, no, no, faith ; thou singest well enough 
for a shift. 

Bene. [Aside.'] An he had been a dog that should have 
howl'd thus, they would have hang'd him : and I pray God 
his bad voice bode no mischief ! I had as lief have heard the 
night-raven,6 come what plague could have come after it. 

D. Pedro. Yea, marry, dost thou hear, Balthazar ? I pray 
thee, get us some excellent music ; for to-morrow night we 
would have it at the Lady Hero's chamber-window. 

Balth. The best I can, my lord. 

D. Pedro. Do so : farewell. [^Exeunt Balthazar and Mu- 
sicians.] — Come hither, Leonato. What was it you told me 
of to-day, that your niece Beatrice was in love with Signior 
Benedick ? 

Claud. \_Astde to Don Pedro.] O, ay: stalk on, stalk 
on ; the fowl sits.''' — \_Aloud.'\ I did never think that lady 
would have loved any man. 

Leon. No, nor I neither ; but most wonderful that she 
should so dote on Signior Benedick, whom she hath in all 
outward behaviours seemed ever to abhor. 

Bene. [Aside.'] Is't possible ? Sits the wind in that comer? 

Leon. By ray troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to think 

6 The terms night-raven and night-crow ^q^q used as synonymous by the 
old poets, and both were applied to the night-heron, wjiose singing was 
thought ill-omened. So inj> Henry VI.,\. 6: "The night-crow cned, abod- 
ing luckless time." And Milton, in L' Allegro : " And the night-raven 

■^ An allusion to the stalking-horse, whereby the fowler anciently screened 
himself from the sight of the game. It is thus described in John Gee's New 
Shreds of the Old Snare : " Methinks I behold the cunning fowler, such as 
I have known in the fen-countries and elsewhere, that do shoot at wood- 
cocks, snipes, and wild fowl, by sneaking behind a painted cloth which they 
carry before them, having pictured on it the shape of a horse ; which while 
the silly fowl gazeth on, it is knocked down with hail-shot, and so put intoy 
the fowler's budget." 


of it : but that she loves him with an enraged aflfection, — it 
is past the infinite of thought. 

D. Pedro. May be she doth but counterfeit. 

Claud. Faith, like enough. 

Leon. O God, counterfeit ! There was never counterfeit 
of passion came so near the life of passion as she discovers it. 

D. Pedro. Why, what effects of passion shows she ? 

Claud. lAslde.'] Bait the hook well ; this fish will bite. 

Leon. What effects, my lord ! She will sit you, — you 
heard my daughter tell you how. 

Claud. She did, indeed. 

Z>. Pedro. How, how, I pray you ? You amaze me : I 
would have thought her spirit had been invincible against all 
assaults of affection. 

Leon. I would have sworn it had, my lord ; especially 
against Benedick. 

Bene. \_Aside.'] I should think this a gull, but that the 
white-bearded fellow speaks it: knavery cannot, sure, hide 
himself in such reverence. 

Claud. [Aside.^ He hath ta'en the infection : hold it up. 

L>. Pedro. Hath she made her affection known to Bene- 

Leon. No ; and swears she never will : that's her torment. 

Claud. Tis true, indeed ; so your daughter says : Shall 
I, says she, that have so of t encounter' d him with scorn, write 
to him that I love him ? 

Leon. This says she now when she is beginning to write 
to him ; for she'll be up twenty times a night ; and there will 
she sit in her smock till she have wTit a sheet of paper. My 
daughter tells us all. 

Claud. Now you talk of a sheet of paper, I remember a 
pretty jest your daughter told us of. 

Leon. O, when she had wTit it, and was reading it over, 
she found Benedick and Beatrice between the sheet? 


Claud. That. 

Leon. O, she tore the letter into a thousand halfpence ; ^ 
rail'd at herself, that she should be so immodest to write to 
one that she knew would flout her : I measure him, says she, 
by my own spirit; for I should flout him, if he writ to me ; 
yea, though I love him, I should. 

Claud. Then down upon her knees she falls, weeps, sobs, 
beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, cries, O sweet Bene- 
dick ! God give me patience ! 

Leon. She doth indeed ; my daughter says so : and the 
ecstasy hath so much overborne her, that my daughter is 
sometime afeared she will do a desperate outrage to herself : 
it is very true. 

D. Pedro. It were good that Benedick knew of it by some 
other, if she will not discover it. 

Claud. To what end ? He would but make a sport of it, 
and torment the poor lady worse. 

D. Pedro. An he should, it were an alms-deed to hang 
him. She's an excellent-sweet lady ; and, out of all suspicion, 
she is virtuous. 

Claud. And she is exceeding wise. 

D. Pedro. In every thing but in loving Benedick. 

Leon. O, my lord, wisdom and blood combating in so ten- 
der a body, we have ten proofs to one that blood hath the 
victory. I am sorry for her, as I have just cause, being her 
uncle and her guardian. 

D. Pedro. I would she had bestowed this dotage on me : 
I would have dafPd^ all other respects,io a^d made her half 
myself. I pray you, tell Benedick of it, and hear what he 
will say. . 

Leon. Were it good, think you ? 

8 The silver halfpence then in use were very minute pieces. 

9 Daff is another form oidoff, meaning do off, ox put aside. 

10 Respect for consideration or regard. Commonly so in Shakespeare. 


Claud. Hero thinks surely she will die ; for she says she 
will die, if he love her not ; and she will die, ere she make 
her love known ; and she will die, if he woo her, rather than 
she will bate one breath of her accustomed crossness. 

D. Pedro. She doth well : if she should make tender of 
her love, 'tis very possible he'll scorn it ; for the man, as you 
know all, hath a contemptible ^^ spirit. 

Claud. He is a very proper 12 man. 

D. Pedro. He hath indeed a good outward happiness. 

Claud. 'Fore God, and, in my mind, very wise. 

D. Pedro. He doth indeed show some sparks that are like 

Leon. And I take him to be valiant. 

D. Pedro. As Hector, I assure you : and in the managing 
of quarrels you may say he is wise ; for either he avoids 
them with great discretion, or undertakes them with a most 
Christian-like fear. 

Leon. If he do fear God, 'a must necessarily keep the 
peace : if he break the peace, he ought to enter into a quar- 
rel with fear and trembling. 

D. Pedro. And so Nvill he do ; for the man doth fear God, 
howsoever it seems not in him by some large jests he will 
make. Well, I am sorry for your niece. Shall we go seek 
Benedick, and tell him of her love ? 

Claud. Never tell him, my lord : let her wear it out with 
good counsel. 

Leon. Nay, that's impossible : she may wear her heart out 

D. Pedro. Well, we will hear further of it by your daugh- 
ter : let it cool the while. I love Benedick well ; and I could 

11 Contemptible for contempt.ious. Another instance of the indiscriminate 
use of active and passive forms. See page 185, note i. 

12 Here, as usual in Shakespeare, proper is handsome or fine-^rppearins 
See vol. iii., p>age 124, note 16. 


wish he would modestly examine himself, to see how much 
he is unworthy so good a lady. 

Leon. My lord, will you walk ? dinner is ready. 

Claud. \_Aside^ If he do not dote on her upon this, I 
will never trust my expectation. 

D. Pedro. \_Aside^ Let there be the same net spread for 
her ; and that must your daughter and her gentlewomen 
carry. The sport will be, when they hold one an opinion of 
another's dotage, and no such matter : that's the scene that 
I would see, which will be merely a dumb-show. Let us 
send her to call him in to dinner. 

\Exeunt Don Pedro, Claudio, and Leonato. 

Benedick advances frotii the arbour. 

Bene. This can be no trick: the conference was sadly '^ 
borne. They have the truth of this from Hero. They seem 
to pity the lady : it seems her affections have their full bent. 
Love me ! why, it must be requited. I hear how I am cen- 
sured : they say I will bear myself proudly, if I perceive the 
love come from her ; they say too that she will rather die 
than give any sign of affection. I did never think to marry : 
I must not seem proud : happy are they that hear their de- 
tractions, and can put them to mending. They say the lady 
is fair, — 'tis a truth, I can bear them witness ; and virtuous, 

— 'tis so, I cannot reprove it ; and wise, but for loving me, 

— by my troth, it is no addition to her wit,^"^ — nor no great 
argument of her folly, for I will be horribly in love with her. 
I may chance have some odd quirks and remnants of wit 

13 Sadly for seriously or in earnest ; just as sad twice before. 

1^ A good instance of wisdom and wit used synonymously. So too a 
little before, when Claudio says Benedick is " very wise" and Don Pedro 
replies, " He doth indeed show some sparks that are like wit'' — " Cannot 
reprove " is cannot refute or disprove. So in 2 Henry VI., iii. i : " Reprove 
my allegation, if you can," 


broken on me, because I have rail'd so long against mar- 
riage : but doth not the appetite alter? a man loves the 
meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age. Shall 
quips and sentences, and these paper-bullets of the brain, awe 
a man from the career of his humour ? no, the world must 
be peopled. \Vhen I said I would die a bachelor, I did not 
think I should live till I were married. Here comes Bea- 
trice. By this day, she's a fair lady : I do spy some marks 

of love in her. 

Enter Beatrice. 

Beat. Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to 

Bene. Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains. 

Beat. I took no more pains for those thanks than you take 
pains to thank me : if it had been painful, I would not have 

Bene. You take pleasure, then, in the message ? 

Beat. Yea, just so much as you may take upon a knife's 
point, and not choke a daw withal. You have no stomach, 
signior? fare you well. \_Exit. 

Bene. Ha ! Against my ivill I am sent to bid you come 
in to dinner : there's a double meaning in that. / took no 
more pains for those thanks than you took pains to thank me : 
that's as much as to say. Any pains that I take for you is as 
easy as thanks. If I do not take pity of her,^^ I am a vil- 
lain ; if I do not love her, I am a Jew. I will go get her 
picture. \^Exit. 

15 " Take pity on her," we should say. See page 78, note 12. 


ACT in. 

Scene I. — Leonato's Garden. 
Enter Hero, Margaret, and Ursula. 

Hero. Good Margaret, run thee to the parlour ; 
There shalt thou find my cousin Beatrice 
Proposing ^ with the Prince and Claudio : 
Whisper her ear, and tell her, I and Ursula 
Walk in the orchard, and our whole discourse 
Is all of her ; say that thou overheard'st us ; 
And bid her steal into the pleached bower, 
Where honeysuckles, ripen'd by the sun, 
Forbid the sun to enter ; — like favourites. 
Made proud by princes, that advance their pride 
Against that power that bred it : — there will she hide her, 
To listen our propose. This is thy office : 
Bear thee well in it, and leave us alone. 

Marg. I'll make her come, I warrant you, presently. 


Hero. Now, Ursula, when Beatrice doth come, 
As we do trace this alley up and down, 
Our talk must only be of Benedick. 
When I do name him, let it be thy part 
To praise him more than ever man did merit : 
My talk to thee must be, how Benedick 

1 Proposing IS talking or conversing; from the French /r^/cj. A little 
after, we have the noun, "to listen our propose" in the same sense. — This 
scene, as also the preceding, takes place in " Leonato's garden" ; yet here, 
as before, it is said, in the text, to be in the orchard. Which shows that 
srchard and garden were synonymous. The Poet often has orchard so. 


Is sick in love with Beatrice. Of this matter 

Is little Cupid's crafty arrow made, 

That only wounds by hearsay. Now begin ; 

Enter Beatrice, behind. 

For look where Beatrice, like a lapwing, runs 
Close by the ground, to hear our conference. 

Urs. The pleasant'st angling is to see the fish 
Cut with her golden oars the silver stream. 
And greedily devour the treacherous bait : 
So angle we for Beatrice ; who ev^en now 
Is couched in the woodbine coverture. 
Fear you not my part of the dialogue. 

Hero. Then go we near her, that her ear lose nothing 
Of the false-sweet bait that we lay for it. 

\They advance to the bovver. 
No, truly, Ursula, she's too disdainful ; 
I know her spirits are as coy and wild 
As haggards 2 of the rock. 

Urs. But are you sure 

That Benedick loves Beatrice so entirely? 

Hero. So says the Prince and my new-trothed lord. 

Urs. And did they bid you tell her of it, madam ? 

Hero. They did entreat me to acquaint her of it ; 
But I persuaded them, if they loved Benedick, 
To wish him wrestle with affection. 
And never to let Beatrice know of it. 

Urs. Why did you so ? Doth not the gentleman 
Deserve as full, as fortunate a bed 
As ever Beatrice shall couch upon ? 

Hero. O god of love ! I know he doth deserve 

- The haggard is a wild hawk. Latham, in his Book of Falconry, sajrs, 
" Such is the greatness of her spirit, she will not admit of any society until 
such a time as nature worketh." 


As much as may be yielded to a man : 
But Nature never framed a woman's heart 
Of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice ; 
Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes, 
Misprising what they look on ; and her wit 
Values itself so highly, that to her 
All matter else seems weak : she cannot love, 
Nor take no shape nor project of affection. 
She is so self-endear'd. 

Urs. Sure, I think so ; 

And therefore certainly it were not good 
She knew his love, lest she make sport at it. 

Hero. Why, you speak truth. I never yet saw man 
How wise, how noble, young, how rarely-featured, 
But she would spell him backward : ^ if fair-faced, 
She'd swear the gentleman should be her sister ; 
If black, why. Nature, drawing of an antic. 
Made a foul blot ; '* if tall, a lance ill-headed ; 
If low, an agate ^ very vilely cut ; 
If speaking, why, a vane blown with all winds ; 
If silent, why, a block moved with none. 
So turns she every man the wrong side out ; 
And never gives to truth and virtue that 
Which simpleness and merit purchaseth. 

Urs. Sure, sure, such carping is not commendable. 

Hero. No, nor to be so odd, and from all fashions, 

3 That is, misinterpret him. An allusion to the practice of witches in 
uttering prayers. In like sort, we often say of a man who refuses to take 
things in their plain natural meaning, as if he were on the lookout for some 
cheat, " He reads every thing backwards." 

■* A black man here means a man with a dark or thick beard, which is the 
blot in nature's drawing. The antic was the fool or buffoon ,of the old farces. 

5 An agate is often used metaphorically for a very diminutive person, in 
allusion to the figures cut in agate for rings. Queen Mab is described " in 
shape no bigger than an agate stone on the forefinger of an alderman." 


As Beatrice is, cannot be commendable : 
But who dare tell her so ? If I should speak. 
She'd mock me into air ; O, she would laugh me 
Out of ra}^elf, press me to death ^ with wit ! 
Therefore let Benedick, like cover'd fire. 
Consume away in sighs, waste inwardly : 
It were a better death than die with mocks, 
^Vhich is as bad as die with ticklingj 

Urs. Yet tell her of it : hear what she will say. 

Hero. No ; rather I will go to Benedick, 
And counsel him to fight against his passion. 
And, truly, I'll devise some honest slanders 
To stain my cousin with : one doth not know 
How much an ill word may empoison liking. 

Urs. O, do not do your cousin such a wrong 1 
She cannot be so much without true judgment 
(Having so swift and excellent a wit 
As she is prized to have) as to refuse 
So rare a gentleman as Signior Benedick. 

Hero. He is the only man of Italy, 
Always excepted my dear Claudio. 

Urs. I pray you, be not angry with me, madam. 
Speaking my fancy : Signior Benedick, 
For shape, for bearing, argument,^ and valour. 
Goes foremost in rep)ort through Italy. 

Hero. Indeed, he hath an excellent-good name. 

Urs. His excellence did earn it, ere he had it 
WTien are you married, madam? 

<■ The allusion is to an ancient punishment inflicted on those who refused 
to plead to an indictment. If they continued silent, they were pressed to 
death by heavy weights laid on their stomach. 

" This word is intended to be pronounced as a trisyllable ; it was some- 
times written tickeling. 

B Argument, here, seems to mean discourse or coiroersatum. 


Hero. Why, every day to-morrow.^ Come, go in : 
I'll show thee some attires ; and have thy counsel 
Which is the best to furnish me to-morrow. 

Urs, \_Aside.'\ She's limed,i° I warrant you : we've caught 

her, madam. 
Hero. \_Aside.~\ If it prove so, then loving goes by haps : 
Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps. 

\_Exeu7it Hero and Ursula. 

Beatrice advances. 

Beat. What fire is in mine ears?'^ Can this be true? 
Stand I condemn'd for pride and scorn so much? 
Contempt, farewell ! and maiden pride, adieu ! 
No glory lives behind the back of such. 
And, Benedick, love on ; I will requite thee, 
Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand : ^^ 
If thou dost love, my kindness shall incite thee 
To bind our loves up in a holy band ; 
For others say, thou dost deserve, and I 
Believe it better than reportingly. \_Exit. 

9 The best explanation of this is Staunton's, that Hero plays upon the 
form of the question, meaning that she is a married woman to-morrow, and 
every day after that. 

1" Limed is ensnared or caught, as with bird-lime, which was at first a 
sticky substance spread where birds were apt to light ; but the word came 
to be used of any trap or snare. See page 82, note 11. 

1^ Alluding to the proverbial saying, which is as old as Pliny's time, 
" That when our ears do glow and tingle, some there be that in our absence 
do talke of us." 

i''^ This image is taken from falconry. She has been charged with being 
as wild as haggards of the rock ; she therefore says that, wild as her heart 
is, she will tam^ it to the hand. 


Scene II. — A Room in Leonato's House. 
Enter Don Pedro, Claudio, Benedick, and Leonato. 

D. Pedro. I do but stay till your marriage be consum- 
mate, and then go I toward Arragon. 

Claud. I'll bring you thither, my lord, if you'll vouchsafe 

D. Pedro. Nay, that would be as great a soil in the new 
gloss of your marriage, as to show a child his* new coat, and 
forbid him to wear it. I will only be bold with Benedick for 
his company ; for, from the crown of his head to the sole of 
his foot, he is all mirth : he hath twice or thrice cut Cupid's 
bow-string, and the little hangman ' dare not shoot at him ; 
he hath a heart as sound as a bell, and his tongue is the 
clapper, — for what his heart thinks, his tongue speaks. 

Bene. Gallants, I am not as I have been. 

Leon. So say I : methinks you are sadder. 

Claud. I hope he be in love. 

D. Pedro. Hang him^ truant ! there's no true drop of 
blood in him, to be truly touched with love : if he be sad, 
he wants money. 

Bene. I have the toothache.^ 

D. Pedro. Draw it. 

Bene. Hang it ! 

Claud. You must hang it first, and draw it afterwards.^ 

1 Hangman is executioner ; here meaning the slayer of hearts. 

' This is well illustrated by a passage in Fletcher's False One, ii. 3 : 

O, this sounds mangily. 
Poorly, and scurvily, in a soldier's mouth ! 
You had best be troubled with the tooth-ache too. 
For lovers ever are, and let your nose drop. 
That your celestial beauty may befriend you. 

■ Alluding, apparently, to the old custom of drawing and quartering 
criminals after hanging them. 


D. Pedro. What ! sigh for the toothache ? 

Leon. Where is but a humour or a worm?'' 

Bene. Well, every one can master a, grief but he that 
has it. 

Claud. Yet say I he is in love. 

D. Pedro. There is no appearance of fancy ^ in him, unless 
it be a fancy that he hath to strange disguises ; as, to be a 
Dutchman to-day, a Frenchman to-morrow ; or in the shape 
of two countries at once, as, a German from the waist down- 
ward, all slops,'' and a Spaniard from the hip upward, no doub- 
let. Unless he have a fancy to this foolery, as it appears he 
hath, he is no fool for fancy, as you would have it appear he is. 

Claud. If he be not in love with some woman, there is 
no believing old signs. He brushes his hat o' mornings : 
what should that bode ? 

D. Pedro. Hath any man seen him at the barber's ? 

Claud. No, but the barber's man hath been seen with 
him ; and the old ornament of his cheek hath already stufPd 

Leon. Indeed, he looks younger than he did, by the loss 
of a beard. 

D. Pedro. Nay, he rubs himself with civet : ^ can you smell 
him out by that ? 

Claud. That's as much as to say, the sweet youth's in love. 

D. Pedro. The greatest note of it is his melancholy. 

■* The ulcer at the root of a diseased tooth was thought to be a -worm, 
which it sometimes resembles. 

5 A play upon the word fancy, which Shakespeare uses for love, as well 
as for humour, caprice, or affectation, 

6 Large, loose breeches or trousers. Hence a slop-seWev for one who 
furnishes seamen, &c., with clothes. Our word slop-shop is no doubt a relic 
of the same usage. See vol. ii., page 58, note 5. 

■^ Civet is the old name of the perfume, musk, derived from an animal 
called civet-cat. So, in As You Like It, Touchstone calls perfume " the flux 
of a cat." 


Claud. And when was he wont to wash his face ? 

D. Pedro. Yea, or to paint himself? for the which I hear 
what they say of him. 

Claud. Nay, but his jesting spirit; which is now crept 
into a lute-string,8 and new-govem'd by stops. 

D. Pedro. Indeed, that tells a heavy tale for him. Con- 
clude, conclude he is in love. 

Claud. Nay, but I know who loves him. 

D. Pedro. That would I know too : I warrant, one that 
knows him not. 

Claud. Yes, and his ill conditions ;^ and, in despite of all, 
dies for him. 

D. Pedro. She shall be buried with her face upwards. 

Bene. Yet is this no charm for the toothache. — Old sig- 
nior, walk aside Avith me : I have studied eight or nine wise 
words to speak to you, which these hobby-horses *® must not 
hear. \Exeunt Benedick and Leonato. 

D. Pedro. For my life, to break with him about Beatrice. 

Claud. 'Tis even so. Hero and Margaret have by this 
played their parts with Beatrice ; and then the two bears will 
not bite one another when they meet. 

Enter Don John. 

D. John. My lord and brother, God save you 

D. Pedro. Good den,'^ brother. 

D. John. If your leisure served, I would speak with you. 

D. Pedro. In private ? 

8 Love-songs, in Shakespeare's rime, were sung to the lute. So in /^ Henry 
IV.: "As melancholy as an old lion, or a lovers lute." — The stops of a 
lute or guitar are the ridges across the finger-board where the strings are 
pressed down. Hamlet calls xhem/rets. There is a quibble on stops. 
3 Condition was conrinually used for temper or disposition. 
1' Hobby-korse was sometimes used for a silly fellow. 
11 A colloquial abridgment of good even; also used for good day. 


D. John. If it please you : yet Count Claudio may hear ; 
for what I would speak of concerns him. 

D. Pedro. What's the matter? 

D. John. \To Claudio.] Means your lordship to be mar- 
ried to-morrow? 

D. Pedro. You know he does. 

D. John. I know not that, when he knows what I know. 

Claud. If there be any impediment, I pray you discover it. 

D. John. You may think I love you not : let that appear 
hereafter, and aim ^^ better at me by that I now will manifest. 
For my brother, I think he holds you well ; and in- dearness 
of heart hath holp ^^ to effect your ensuing marriage, — surely 
suit ill spent and labour ill bestowed. 

D. Pedro. Why, what's the matter? 

D. John. I came hither to tell you ; and, circumstances 
shorten'd, (for she hath been too long a-talking of,) the lady 
is disloyal. 

Claud. Who, Hero? 

D.John. Even she; Leonato's Hero, your Hero, every 
man's Hero. 

Claud. Disloyal I 

D. John. The word is too good to paint out her wicked- 
ness ; I could say she were worse : think you of a worse title, 
and I will fit her to it. Wonder not till further warrant : go 
but with me to-night, you shall see her chamber-window 
enter'd, even the night before her wedding-day : if you love 
her then, to-morrow wed her ; but it would better fit your 
honour to change your mind. 

Claud. May this be so ? 

D. Pedro. I will not think it. 

D. John. If you dare not trust that you see, confess not 

12 To aim is to guess ; often so used. See vol. i., page 201, note 2. 
18 Holp or holpen is the old preterite of help; occurring often in the 


that you know : if you will follow me, I will show you enough ; 
and, when you have seen more, and heard more, proceed 

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. 

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

D. John. I will disparage her no further till you are my 
witnesses : bear it coldly but till midnight, and let the issue 
show itself. 

D. Pedro. O day imtowardly turned ! 

Claud. O mischief strangely thwarting ! 

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

Scene III. — A Street. 
Enter Dogberry and Verges, with the Watch. 

Dog. Are you good men and true ? 

Verg. Yea, or else it were pity but they should suffer sal- 
vation, body and soul. 

Dog. 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. 

Dog. First, who think you the most desartless man to be 
constable ? 

I Watch. Hugh Oatcake, sir, or George Seacoal ; for they 
can write and read. 

Dog. Come hither, neighbour Seacoal. God hath bless 'd 
you with a good name : to be a well-favoured man is the gift 
of fortune ; but to write and read comes by nature. 


2 Watch. Both which, master constable, — 

Dog. 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 lantern. This is your charge : 
You shall comprehend all vagrom men ; you are to bid any 
man stand, in the Prince's name. 

2 Watch. How if 'a will not stand ? 

Dog. 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. 

Dog. 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 tolera- 
ble and not to be endured. 

2 Watch. We will rather sleep than talk : we know what 
belongs to a watch. 

Dog. Why, you speak like an ancient and most quiet 
watchman ; for I cannot see how sleeping should offend : 
only, have a care that your bills ^ be not stolen. Well, you 
are to call at all the ale-houses, and bid those that are drunk 
get them to bed. 

2 Watch. How if they will not? 

Dog. 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. 

Dog. If you meet a thief, you may suspect him, by virtue 

1 A sort of halberd, or hatchet with a hooked point, used by watchmen. 


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? 

Dog, Truly, by your office, you may ; but I think they that 
touch pitch will be defiled : 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. 

Verg. You have been always call'd a merciful man, part- 

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

Verg. If you 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 

Dog. Why, then depart in peace, and let the child wake 
her with 'cr}ing ; for the ewe that will not hear her lamb 
when it baes will never answer a calf when he bleats. 

Verg. 'Tis very true. 

Dog. 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, by'r Lady,^ that I think 'a cannot. 

Dog. 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 wiU. 

Verg. By'r Lady, I think it be so. 

2 A tnie man is an honest man : the humour of the passage turns partly 
on that sense of true. 

3 B/r Lady is a contraction of " by our Lady," an ancient form of sweat' 
ing ; referring, of course, to the Virgin Mother. 


Dog. Ha, ah-ha ! — Well, masters, good night : an there 
be any matter of weight chances, call up me : keep your 
fellows' counsels and your own ; and good night. — Come, 

1 Watch. Well, masters, we hear our charge : let us go 
sit here upon the church-bench till two, and then all to bed. 

Dog. One word more, honest neighbours. I pray you, 

watch about Signior Leonato's door ; for, the wedding being 

there to-morrow, there is a great coil ^ to-night. Adieu : be 

vigitant, I beseech you. \_Exeunt Dogberry and Verges. 

Enter Borachio and Conrade. 

Bora. What, Conrade ! — 

I Watch. l_Aside.'] Peace ! stir not. 

Bora. Conrade, I say ! — 

Con. Here, man ; I am at thy elbow. 

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

Con. 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 drizzles rain ; and I will, like a true drunkard, utter all to 

I Watch. \_Aside7\ Some treason, masters : yet stand 

Bora. Therefore know I have earned of Don John a thou- 
sand ducats. 

4 Coil is stir, bustle, tumult. See vol. i., page 105, note 8. 

5 " By the Mass " was a very common oath ; Mass being the old name 
of the Lord's Supper. 

8 A rather curious note of Shakespeare's acquaintance with Italian. Bora- 
chio does not mean that he is himself either drunk or a drunkard ; he merely 
refers to the significance of his own name, — a glutton or a wine-bibber. 
Thus in Florio's Italian Dictionary : "Boraccia, a boracho or bottle made 
of goat's skin, such as they use in Spain. Boracchiare, to gluttonize." Of 
course there is an implied reference to the proverb, in vino Veritas. 


Con. Is it possible that any villainy should be so dear? 

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

Con. 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. 

Con. Yes, it is apparel. 

Bora. I mean, the fashion. 

Con. Yes, the fashion is the fashion. 

Bora. Tush ! I may as well say the fool's the fool. But 
see'st thou not what a deformed thief this fashion is ? 

I Watch. \^Aside^ I know that Deformed ; 'a has been a 
vile thief this seven year ; 'a goes up and down like a gentle- 
man : I remember his name. 

Bora. Didst thou not hear somebody? 

Con. No ; 'twas the vane on the house. 

Bora. See'st thou not, I say, what a defonned thief this 
fashion is? how giddily he turns about all the hot bloods 
between fourteen and five-and-thirty ? sometime fashioning 
them like Pharaoh's soldiers in the reechy ^ painting, some- 
time hke god Bel's priests in the old church-window, some- 
time like the shaven Hercules in the smirch'd ^ worm-eaten 
tapestry, where his codpiece seems as massy as his club r 

Con. All this I see ; and I see that the fashion wears out 

^ Unpractised in the ways of the world. 

8 Reechy is discoloured with smoke. Reeking is still used in a similar sense. 

9 Soiled, sullied. Probably only another form of smutched. The word is 
used repeatedly by Shakespeare, and is met with in Smollet. Not found 
elsewhere, I think. — Here, again, sometime for sometimes, the two being then 
used interchangeably. — Scripture stories, also classical fables and legends 
were wont to be pictured, by embroidery or other>vise, on the tapestries or 
hangings with which rooms were lined ; and the Poet has many allusions to 
the custom. See page 170, note 12. 


more apparel than the man. But art not thou thyself giddy 
with the fashion too, 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' 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 placed and possessed by my master Don 
John, saw afar off in the orchard this amiable encounter. 

Con. And thought they 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 villainy, which 
did confirm any slander that Don John had made, away went 
Claudio enraged ; swore he would meet her, as he was ap- 
pointed, 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. 

1 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 commonwealth. 

1 Watch. And one Deformed is one of them : I know 
him ; 'a wears a lock.^" 

Con. Masters, masters, — 

2 Watch. You'll be made bring Deformed forth, I war- 
rant you. 

10 A lock of hair, called " a love-lock," was often worn by the gay young 
gallants of Shakespeare's time. This ornament and invitation to love was 
cherished with great care by the owners, being brought before aifd tied with 
a riband. Prynne, the great Puritan hero, spit some of his bile against this 
fashion, in a book on The Unlovclivess of Love-locks. 


Con. Masters, — 

I Watch. Never speak : we charge you let us obey you to 
go with us. 

Bora. We are like to prove a goodly commodity, being 
taken up of these men's bills. '^ 

Con. A commodity in question,'"^ I warrant you. — Come, 
we'll obey you. {Exeunt. 

Scene IV. — A Room in Leonato's House. 
Enter Hero, Margaret, and Ursula. 

Hero. Good Ursula, wake my cousin Beatrice, and desire 
her to rise. 

Urs. I will, lady. 

Hero. And bid her come hither. 

Urs. Well. {Exit. 

Marg. Troth, I think your other rabato * were better. 

Hero. No, pray thee, good Meg, I'll wear this. 

Marg. By my troth, 's not so good ; and I warrant your 
cousin wiU say so. 

Hero. My cousin's a fool, and thou art another : I'll wear 
none but this. 

Marg. I like the new tire^ within excellently, if the hair 

II Wc have the same conceit in 2 Henry J '/., iv. 7 : " My lord, when shall 
we go to Cheapside, and faJke up commoditUs upon oxa-billsf" The Poet 
has several like quibbles upon bills. See vol. ii., page 220, note 16. 

12 Question refers to the examination or trial that the speaker expects to 
undergo, now that he is caught. 

1 The rabato was a kind of ruff or collar for the neck, such as were 
much worn in the Poets time, and are often seen in the portraits of Queen 
Elizabeth. Dekker calls them "your stiff-necked rebatoes." The word "is 
from the French rebattre, to beat back ; and the thing is said to be so called 
because put back towards the shoulders. Shakespeare uses rebate, from the 
same source, and with a similar meaning. 

* Tire is head-dress. So in The Merry Wives of Windsor, iii. 3 : " Thou 
hast the right arched beauty of the brow, that becomes the ship-/*r^, the 


were a thought browner ; and your gown's a most rare fash- 
ion, i'faith. I saw the Duchess of Milan's gown that they 
praise so. 

Hero. O, that exceeds, they say. 

Marg. By my troth, 's but a night-gown in respect of-^ 
yours : cloth-o'-gold, and cuts, and laced with silver, set with 
pearls down sleeves,^ side sleeves, and skirts round under- 
borne with a bluish tinsel : but for a fine, quaint,^ graceful, 
and excellent fashion, yours is worth ten on't. 

Hero. God give me joy to wear it ! for my heart is ex- 
ceeding heavy. 

Marg. 'Twill be heavier soon by the weight of a man. 

Hero. Fie upon thee ! art not ashamed? 

Marg Of what, lady? of speaking honourably? Is not 
marriage honourable in a beggar ? Is not your lord honour- 
able without marriage? I think you would have me say, 
saving your reverence, a husband : an bad thinking do not 
wrest true speaking, I'll offend nobody. Is there any harm in 
the heavier for a husband? None, I think, an it be the right 
husband and the right wife ; otherwise 'tis light, and not 
heavy : ask my Lady Beatrice else ; here she comes. 

Enter Beatrice. 

Hero. Good morrow, coz. 

^i;-^-valiant, or any 'tire of Venetian admittance." — "A thought browner " is 
a shade browner. 

8 In respect of is here exactly equivalent to in comparison with. Com- 
monly so in the old writers. And so in the 39th Psalm of the Psalter : 
" Thou hast made my days as it were a span long, and mine age is even as 
nothing in respect of Thee." 

< That is, with pearls set along down the sleeves. " Side sleeves " are 
long, full sleeves. Side is from the Anglo-Saxon sid, long, ample. Peele, in 
his Old Wives' Tale, has " side slops," for long trousers. Our word side, in 
its ordinary use, has reference to the length of the thing to which it is 
applied. — Round is equivalent to roundabout. 

' Quaint is ingenious or elegant; probably from the Latin comptus. 


Beat. Good morrow, sweet Hero. 

Hero. Why, how now ! do you speak in the sick tune ? 

Beat. I am out of all other tune, methinks. 

Marg. Clap us into Light o* Love ;^ that goes without a 
burden : do you sing it, and I'll dance it. 

Beat. Yea, Light o' Love, with your heels ! then, if your 
husband have stables enough, you'll see he shall lack no barns.'^ 

Marg. O illegitimate construction ! I scorn that with my 

Beat. 'Tis almost five o'clock, cousin ; 'tis time you were 
ready. — By my troth, I am exceeding ill : heigh-ho ! 

Marg. For a hawk, a horse, or a husband ? 

Beat. For ^ the letter that begins them all, H.^ 

Marg. Well, an you be not tum'd Turk,^*' there's no more 
sailing by the star. 

Beat. What means the fool, trow?^^ 

Marg. Nothing I ; but God send every one their heart's 
desire ! 

** Light o' Love is the title of a popular song often mentioned by old 
writers. The words of it are supposed to be lost. The reason given for 
" clapping into " it here is, that it " goes ■without a burden " ; there being no 
one present to sing a burden. And the words, " Do you sing it, and I'll 
dance it," infer that Light o' Lave was, strictly, a ballet, to be sung and 
danced. The air or tune was found by Sir John Hawkins in " an ancient 
manuscript." — The matter of this note is from Chapjjell's Popular 
Afusic, &.C. 

~ A quibble between darns, repositories for corn, and bairns, children, 
formerly pronounced bams. So in The Winter's Tale, iii. 3 : " Mercy on 
us, a barn / a very pretty barn f " 

^ Here /or has the sense of because of; but there is a quibble involved 
between that sense and the sense it bears in the preceding speech. Because 
and because o/axe both among the old senses oi/or, in frequent use. 

3 That is, for an ache, or a pain, formerly pronounced like the letter H. 
So in Antony and Cleopatra, iv. 7 : " I had a wound here that was like a T, 
but now 'tis made an H." The word occurs just so again in The Tempest. 

1* To turn Turk is an old phrase for proving treacherous or unfaithful. 

11 So in The Merry Wives : "Who's there, trowf" In both places, the 
phrase is equivalent to I wonder ; though it commonly meant think. 


Hero. These gloves the count sent me ; they are an excel- 
lent perfume. 

Beat. I am stuff d, cousin ; I cannot smell. 

Marg. A maid, and stuff'd ! there's goodly catching of 

Beat. O, God help me ! God help me ! how long have 
you profess'd apprehension ? '- 

Marg. Ever since you left it. Doth not my wit become 
me rarely? 

Beat. It is not seen enough ; you should wear it in your 
cap. — By my troth, I am sick. 

Marg. Get you some of this distill'd Carduus Benedictus,!^ 
and lay it to your heart : it is the only thing for a qualm. 

Hero. There thou prickest her with a thistle. 

Beat. Benedictus ! why Benedictus? you have some 
moral i"* in this Benedictus. 

Marg, Moral ! no, by my troth, I have no moral mean- 
ing ; I meant, plain holy-thistle. You may think perchance 
that I think you are in love : nay, by'r Lady, I am not such 
a fool to think what I list ; nor I list not to think what I can ; 
nor, indeed, I cannot think, if I would think my heart out of 
thinking, that you are in love, or that you will be in love, or 

12 Apprehension was sometimes used for sarcasm, or for the faculty of 
saying sarcastic things. So, in / Henry P7., ii. 4, Richard Plantagenet, on 
being taunted by Somerset as " a yeoman," replies, " I'll note you in my 
book of memory, to scourge you for this apprehension^ And so the verb in 
ii. I, of this play : " Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly." 

13 Carduus Benedictus, or the blessed thistle, was one of the ancient herbs 
medicinal, like those which in our day a much-experienced motherhood has 
often applied successfully to the " ills that flesh is heir to." Thus in Co- 
gan's Haven of Health, 1595 : " This herb, for the singular virtue it hath, is 
worthily named Benedictus, or Omnimorbia, that is, a salve for every sore, 
not known to the physicians of old time, but lately revealed by the special 
providence of Almighty God." 

1* Some hidden meaning, like the moral of a fable. So in Lucrece : 
" Nor could she moralize his wanton sight." And in The Taming of the 
Shrew : " To expound the meaning or moral of his signs and tokens." 


that you can be in love. Yet Benedick was such another, 
and now is he become a man: he swore he would never 
marry ; and yet now, in despite of his heart, he eats his meat 
without grudging : ^^ and how you may be converted, I know 
not ; but methinks you look with your eyes as other women 

Beat. ^Vhat pace is this that thy tongue keeps? 

Marg. Not a false gallop. 

Re-enter Ursula. 

Urs. Madam, withdraw: the Prince, the count, Signior 
Benedick, Don John, and all the gallants of the town, are 
come to fetch you to church. 

Hero. Help to dress me, good coz, good Meg, good 
Ursula. {Exeunt. 

Scene V. — Another Room in Leonato's House. 
Enter Leonato, with Dogberry and Verges. 

Leon. What would you with me, honest neighbour? 

Dog. Marry, sir, I would have some confidence with you 
that decerns you nearly. 

Leon. Brief, I pray you ; for you see it is a busy time 
with me. 

Dog. Marry, this it is, sir, — 

Verg. Yes, in truth it is, sir. 

Leon. What is it, my good fiiends? 

Dog. Goodman Verges, sir, speaks a little off the matter : 
an old man, sir, and his wits are not so blunt as, God help, 
I would desire they were ; but, in faith, honest as the skin 
between his brows. 

Verg. Yes, I thank God I am as honest as any man living 
that is an old man and no honester than I. 

1* Grudging in the sense of grumbling, murmuring, or repining. 


Dog. Comparisons are odorous : palabras,^ neighbour 

Leon. Neighbours, you are tedious. , 

Dog. It pleases your Worship to say so, but we are the 
poor Duke's officers ; ^ but truly, for mine own part, if I were 
as tedious as a king, I could find it in my heart to bestow it 
all of 2 your Worship. 

Leon. All thy tediousness on me, ha ! 

Dog. Yea, an 'twere a thousand pound more than 'tis ; 
for 1 hear as good exclamation on your Worship as of any 
man in the city; and, though I be but a poor man, I am 
glad to hear it. 

Verg. And so am I. 

Leon. I would fain know what you have to say. 

Verg. Marry, sir, our watch to-night, excepting your Wor- 
ship's presence, have ta'en a couple of as arrant knaves as 
any in Messina. 

Dog. A good old man, sir ; he will be talking : as they 
say. When the age is in, the wit is out : God help us ! it is a 
world to see ! "* — Well said, i'faith, neighbour Verges : — 
well, God's a good man ;^ an two men ride of a horse, one 

1 How this Spanish word came into our language is uncertain. It seems 
to have been current for a time, even among the vulgar, and was probably 
introduced by sailors, as well as the corrupted {orm, palaver. We have it 
again in the mouth of Sly the Tinker: " Therefore, pai/cas pa/Iairis ; let the 
world slide : Sessa." 

2 This stroke of pleasantry, arising from the transposition of the epithet 
poor, occurs in Measure for Measure. Elbow says, "If it please your 
Honour, I am \k\e poor Duke's constable." 

3 O/and on were used indifferently in such cases. 

* This was a common apostrophe of admiration, equivalent to it is won- 
derful, or U is admirable. Baret in his Alvearie, 1580, explains "// is a 
world to heart " by " It is a thing worthie the hearing, audire est opera 
pretium." In Cavendish's Life of Wolsey we have " Is it not a world to 
consider ? " 

8 This appears to have been a sort of proverbial saying. So in the old 
Moral-play of Lusty "^unentus : " He wyl say that God is a good man." 


must ride behind. — An honest soul, i'faith, sir; by my 
troth, he is, as ever broke bread : but God is to be wor- 
shipp'd : all men are not alike, — alas, good neighbour ! 

Leon. Indeed, neighbour, he comes too short of you. 

Dog. Gifts that God gives. 

Leon. I must leave you. 

Dog. One word, sir : Our watch, sir, have indeed com- 
prehended two auspicious persons, and we would have them 
this morning examined before your Worship. 

Leon. Take their examination yourself, and bring it me : 
I am now in great haste, as it may appear unto you. 

Dog. It shall be suffigance. 

Leon. Drink some wine ere you go : fare you weU. 

Enter a Messenger. 

Mess. My lord, they stay for you to give your daughter to 
her husband. 

Leon. I'll wait upon them : I am ready. 

\_Exeunt \jzo^KTO and Messenger. 

Dog. Go, good partner, go, get you to Francis Seacoal ; 
bid him bring his pen and inkhom to the jail : we are now 
to examination those men. 

Verg. And we must do it wisely. 

Dog. We will spare for no wit, I warrant you ; here's that 
{Touching his forehead.'] shall drive some of them to a non- 
come : 6 only get the learned writer to set down our excom- 
munication, and meet me at the jail. {Exeunt. 

Also in A Hundred Merry Tayls, 1526 : " In the dole tj-me there came one 
which sayde that ^od was a good man:' And in Burton's Anatomie of 
Melanckoly : " God is a good man, and vnW doe no harme." 

6 A characteristic blunder for non com., the old abbreviation for non 
compos mentis. Probably a further blunder was intended; honest Dog- 
berry having confounded non com. and nonplus. To nonplus a man is to 
stagger or puzzle him, \.o put him to a stand. 


ACT rv. 

Scene I. — The Inside of a Church. 

Enter Don Pedro, Don John, Leonato, Friar Francis, 
Claudio, Benedick, Hero, Beatrice, and Attendants. 

Leon. Come, Friar Francis, be brief; only to the plait? 
form of marriage, and you shall recount their particular du 
ties afterwards. 

F. Fran. You come hither, my lord, to marry this lady ? 

Claud. No. 

Leon. To be married to her, friar : you come to marry 

F. Fran. Lady, you come hither to be married to this 

Hero. I do. 

F. Fran. If either of you know any inward impediment 
why you should not be conjoined, I charge you, on your 
souls, to utter it. 

Claud. Know you any, Hero ? 

Hero. .None, my lord. 

F. Fran. Know you any, count? 

Leon. I dare make his answer, — none. 

Claud. O, what men dare do ! what men may do ! what 
men daily do, not knowing what they do ! 

Bene. How now ! interjections ? Why, then some be of 
laughing, as, Ha, ha, he ! 

Claud. Stand thee by, friar. — Father, by your leave : 
Will you with free and unconstrained soul 
Give me this maid, your daughter? 


Leon. As freely, son, as God did give her me. 

Claud. And what have I to give you back, whose worth 
May counterpoise this rich and precious gift? 

D. Pedro. Nothing, unless you render her again. 

Claud. Sweet Prince, you learn me noble thankfulness. — ■ 
There, Leonato, take her back again : 
Give not this rotten orange to your friend ; 
She's but the sign and semblance of her honour, — 
Behold how like a maid she blushes here ! 
O, what authority and show of truth 
Can cunning sin cover itself withal ! 
Comes not that blood as modest evidence 
To witness simple virtue ? Would you not swear, 
All you that see her, that she were a maid, 
By these exterior shows ? But she is none : 
She knows the heat of a luxurious bed ; 
Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty. 

Leon. What do you mean, my lord ? 

Claud. Not to be married, not to knit my soul 
To an approved wanton. 

Leon. Dear my lord, if you, in your own proof, 
Have vanquish'd the resistance of her youth. 
And made defeat of her virginity, — 

Claud. I know what you would say : if I have known her, 
You'll say she did embrace me as a husband, 
And so extenuate the 'forehand sin : 
No, Leonato, 

I never tempted her with word too large ; 
But, as a brother to his sister, show'd 
Bashful sincerity and comely love. 

Hero. And seem'd I ever otherwise to you ? 

Claud. Out on thy seeming ! I will vsTite against it : 
You seem'd to me as Dian in her orb. 
As chaste as is the bud ere it be blown ; 


But you are more intemperate in your blood 
Than Venus, or those pamper'd animals 
That rage in savage sensuality. 

Hero. Is my lord well, that he doth speak so wide ? 

Claud. Sweet Prince, why speak not you ? 

D. Pedro. What should I speak? 

I stand dishonour'd, that have gone about 
To link my dear friend to a common stale. 

Leon. Are these things spoken ? or do I but dream ? 

D. JoJm. Sir, they are spoken, and these things are true. 

Bene. This looks not like a nuptial. 

Hero. True ! — O God ! ^ 

Claud. Leonato, stand I here? 
Is this the Prince? is this the Prince's brother? 
Is this face Hero's ? are our eyes our own ? 

Leon. All this is so : but what of this, my lord? 

Claud. Let me but move one question to your daughter ; 
And, by that fatherly and kindly ^ power 
That you have in her, bid her answer truly. 

I^on. I charge thee do so, as thou art my child. 

Hero. O, God defend me ! how am I beset ! — 
What kind of catechising call you this ? 

Claud. To make you answer truly to your name. 

Hero. Is it not Hero ? Who can blot that name 
With any just reproach ? 

Claud. Marry, that can Hero ; 

Hero itself can blot out Hero's virtue. 

1 Hero's words are in reply to the speech of Don John. 

2 Shakespeare has kind repeatedly in its primitive meaning, nature, and 
here kindly for natural. So in the first scene of this play : " A kind overflow 
of kindness ; " where, of course, a play on the word is intended. See, also, 
vol. ii., page 143, note 15. And so in The Faerie Queene, i. 3, 28 : 

The earth shall sooner leave her kindly skill 
To bring forth fruit, and make eternall dearth, 
Than I leave you, my life, yborne of heavenly birth. 


What man was he talk'd with you yesternight 
Out at your window betwixt twelve and one ? 
Now, if you are a maid, answer to this. 

Hero. I talk'd with no man at that hoiu", my lord. 

D. Pedro. Why, then are you no maiden. — Leonato, 
I'm sorr}^ you must hear : upon mine honour, 
Myself, my brother, and this grieved count 
Did see her, hear her, at that hour last night 
Talk with a ruffian at her chamber-window ; 
Who hath indeed, most like a liberal ^ villain, 
Confess'd the vile encounters they have had 
A thousand times in secret. 

D. John. Fie, fie ! they are not to be named, ray lord. 
Not to be spoke of; 

There is not chastity enough in language. 
Without offence to utter them. — Thus, pretty lady, 
I'm sorry for thy much misgovemment. 

Claud. O Hero, what a Hero hadst thou been. 
If half thy out^\-ard graces had been placed 
About the thoughts and counsels of thy heart ! 
But fare thee well, most foul, most fair ! farewell, 
Thou pure impiety and impious purity ! 
For thee I'll lock up all the gates of love. 
And on my eyelids shall conjecture hang. 
To turn all beauty into thoughts of harm. 
And never shall it more be gracious. 

Leon. Hath no man's dagger here a point for me ? 

[Hero swoons. 

Beat. Why, how now, cousin ! wherefore sink you down ? 

D.John. Come, let us go. These things, come thus to 

' Liberal here, as in many places of these plays, means licentious, free 
beyond honour, or decency. So in Othello, IL i : " Is he not a most profane 
and liberal censurer ? " 


Smother her spirits up. \_Exeunt Don Pedro, Don John, 

Claudio, a«^ Attendants. 

Bene. How doth the lady? 

Beat. Dead, I think : — help, uncle : — 

Hero ! why, Hero ! — uncle ! — Signior Benedick ! — friar ! 

Leon. O Fate, take not away thy heavy hand ! 
Death is the fairest cover for her shame 
That may be wish'd for. 

Beat. How now, cousin Hero ! 

F. Fran. Have comfort, lady. 

Leon. Dost thou look ujd ? 

F. Fran. Yea, wherefore should she not ? 

Leon. Wherefore ! Why, doth not every earthly thing 
Cry shame upon her ? Could she here deny 
The story that is printed in her blood ?^ — 
Do not live, Hero ; do not ope thine eyes : 
For, did I think thou wouldst not quickly die. 
Thought I thy spirits were stronger than thy shames, 
Myself would, on the rearward^ of reproaches. 
Strike at thy life. Grieved I, I had but one ? 
Chid I for that at frugal Nature's frame ? 
O, one too much by thee ! Why had I one ? 
Why ever wast thou lovely in my eyes ? 
Why had I not with charitable hand 
Took up a beggar's issue at my gates. 
Who smirched thus and mired with infamy, 
I might have said. No part of it is mine ; 
This shame derives itself from unknown loins ? 
But mine, and mine I loved, and mine I praised, 
And mine that I was proud on ; mine so much 
That I myself was to myself not mine, 

* The story which her blushes discovered to be true. 
5 The rearward here means simply the rear. To strike on the rearward 
of a thing is to follow the thing with a blow. 


ValuingiOf her ; why, she — O, she is fall'n 
Into a pit of ink, that the wide sea 
Hath drops too few to wash her clean again, 
And salt too little which may season give 
To her foul-tainted flesh ! 

Bene. Sir, sir, be patient. 

For my part, I am so attired in wonder, 
I know not what to say. 

Beat. O, on my soul, my cousin is belied ! 

Bene. Lady, were you her bedfellow last night ? 

Beat. No, truly, not ; although, until last night, 
I have this twelvemonth been her bedfellow. 

Leon. Confirm'd, confirm'd ! O, that is stronger made 
Which was before barr'd up with ribs of iron ! 
Would the two Princes lie ? and Claudio lie. 
Who loved her so, that, speaking of her foulness, 
Wash'd it with tears ? Hence from her ! let her die. 

F. Fran. Hear me a little ; 
For I have only silent been so long. 
And given way unto this course of fortune, 
By noting of the lady : I have mark'd 
A thousand blushing apparitions start 
Into her face ; a thousand innocent shames 
In angel whiteness beat away those blushes ; 
And in her eye there hath appear'd a fire. 
To bum the errors that these Princes hold 
Against her maiden truth. Call me a fool ; 
Trust not my reading nor my observation. 
Which with experimental seal^ doth warrant 
The tenour of my books ; trust not rny age. 
My reverend calling, nor divinity. 
If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here 

« Experimental seal is XhcpUd^^e, proof, or verifiiotion of experience. 


Under some blighting error. 

Leon. Friar, it cannot be. 

Thou see'st that all the grace that she hath left 
Is, that she will not add to her damnatiorl 
A sin of perjury ; she not denies it : 
Why seek'st thou, then, to cover with excuse 
That which appears in proper nakedness ? 

F. Fran. Lady, what man is he you are accused of? 

Hero. They know that do accuse me ; I know none : 
If I know more of any man alive 
Than that which maiden modesty doth warrant, 
Let all my sins lack mercy ! — O my father, 
Prove you that any man with me conversed 
At hours unmeet, or that I yesternight 
Maintain 'd the change of words with any creature, 
Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death ! 

F. Fran. There is some strange misprision' in the 

Bene. Two of them have the very bent of honour ; 
And if their wisdoms be misled in this, 
The practice of it lies in John the bastard. 
Whose spirits toil in frame of villainies. 

Leon. I kno\^ not. If they speak but truth of her, 
These hands shall tear her ; if they wrong her honour. 
The proudest of them shall well hear of it. 
Time hath not yet so dried this blood of mine. 
Nor age so eat up my invention, 
Nor fortune made such havoc of my means, 
Nor my bad life reft me so much of friends, 
But they shall find, awaked in such a cause. 
Both strength of limb and policy of mind, 

T Misprision is mistake or misapprehension. Much used in the Poet's 
time. Misprise occurs repeatedly also in the same sense ; as " I am alto- 
gether misprised" in As You Like It. 


Ability in means and choice of friends. 
To quit me of them throughly .^ 

F. Fran. Pause awhile, • 

And let my counsel sway you in this case. 
Your daughter here the Princes left for dead : 
Let her awhile be secretly kept in, 
And publish it that she is dead indeed ; 
Maintain a mourning ostentation,^ 
And on your family's old monument 
Hang mournful epitaphs, and do all rites 
That appertain imto a burial. 

Leon. What shall become^*' of this? what will this do? 

F. Fran. Marr)-, this, well carried, shall on her behalf 
Change slander to remorse ;i* that is some good : 
But not for that dream I on this strange course. 
But on this travail look for greater birth. 
She dying, as it must be so maintain'd. 
Upon the instant that she was accused, 
Shall be lamented, pitied, and excused 
Of every hearer : for it so falls out, 
That what we have we prize not to the worth 
Whiles we enjoy it ; but, being lack'd and lost, 
Why, then we rack ^'^ the value, then we find 
The virtue that possession would not show us 
^VTiiles it was ours. So will it fare with Claudio : 

8 To quit was in common use for requite : the Poet has it repeatedly so. 
— Throughly and thoroughly are but difTerent forms of the same word ; also 
through and thorough .• as to be thorough in a thing is to go through it. 
Shakespeare uses either form indifferently, to suit the occasions of his verse. 

8 Ostentation is show, appearance, or display. The Poet has ostent in the 
same sense. See vol. iii., page 145, note 34. 

1" A rather singular use of become. Of course it has the sense of come to 
be, or, simply, come. 

11 Remorse was continually used for pity, the relentings of compassion. 

12 Strain it up to the highest pitch. So in the common phrase, rack-rent 


When he shall hear she died upon his words, 

Th' idea of her life shall sweetly creep 

Into%is study of imagination ; 

And every lovely organ of her life 

Shall come apparell'd in more precious habit, 

More moving-delicate and full of life, 

Into the eye and prospect of his soul, 

Than when she lived indeed ; then shall he mourn, 

(If ever love had interest in his liver,i^) 

And wish he had not so accused her, — 

No, though he thought his accusation true. 

Let this be so, and doubt not but success i"* 

Will fashion the event in better shape 

Than I can lay it down in likelihood. 

But, if all aim at this ^^ be levell'd false, 

The supposition of the lady's death 

Will quench the wonder of her infamy : 

And, if it sort ^^ not well, you may conceal her 

(As best befits her wounded reputation) 

In some reclusive and religious life. 

Out of all eyes, tongues, minds, and injuries. 

Bene. Signior Leonato, let the friar advise you : 
And though you know my inwardness ^^ and love 
Is very much unto the Prince and Claudio, 
Yet, by mine honour, I will deal in this 

13 The liver was formerly thought to be the seat of the passions. 

14 Success in the sense of sequel, issue, or result. See page 55, note 25. 

16 This evidently refers to what precedes ; and the meaning of the pas- 
sage appears to be, " But if all expectation of, or all planning for, this result 
be falsely, that is, wrongly, directed." To level is still used for to take aim. 

16 To sort was frequently used in the sense of to fall out, happen, or result. 
The Poet has it repeatedly thus. So again in v. 4, of this play : " I am glad 
that all things sort so well." 

17 Inwardness is here used for intimacy. The Poet has inward, both as 
noun and adjective, in a similar sense. See vol. ii., page 74, note 8. 


As secretly and justly as your soul 
Should with your body. 

Leon. Being that I flow in grief, 

The smallest twine may lead me.'^ 

F. Fran. 'Tis well consented : presently away ; 
For to strange sores strangely they strain the cure. — 
Come, lady, die to live : this wedding-day 
Perhaps is but prolong'd : have patience and endure. 

[^Fxeuni Friar Francis, Hero, and Leonato. 
Bene. Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while ? 
Beat. Yea, and I will weep awhile longer. 
Bene. I will not desire that. 
Beat. You have no reason ; I do it freely. 
Bene. Surely I do believe your fair cousin is wrong'd. 
Beat. Ah, how much might the man deserve of me that 
would right her ! 

Bene. Is there any way to show such friendship ? 
Beat. A very even way, but no such friend. 
Bene. May a man do it ? 
Beat It is a man's office, but not yours. 
Bene. I do love nothing in the world so well as you : is 
not that strange ? 

Beat. As strange as the thing I know not. It were as 
possible for me to say I loved nothing so well as you : but 
believe me not ; and yet I lie not ; I confess nothing, nor I 
deny nothing. I am sorry for my cousin. 

Bene. By my sword, Beatrice, thou lovest me. 
Beat. Do not swear by it, and eat it. 
Bene. I will swear by it that you love me; and I will 
make him eat it that says I love not you. 

18 This is one of Shakespeare's subtile observations upon life. Men. over- 
powered with distress, eagerly listen to the first offers of relief, close with 
every scheme, and believe every promise. He that has no longer any confi- 
dence in himself is glad to repose his trust in any other that will imdertake 
to guide him. — Johnson. 


Beat. Will you not eat your word ? 

Bene. With no sauce that can be devised to it. I protest 
I love thee. 

Beat. Why, then God forgive me ! 

Bene. What offence, sweet Beatrice? 

Beat. You have stayed me in a happy hour : I was about 
to protest I loved you. 

Bene. And do it with all thy heart. 

Beat. I love you with so much of my heart, that none is 
left to protest. 

Bene. Come, bid me do any thing for thee. 

Beat. Kill Claudio. 

Bene. Ha ! not for the wide world. 

Beat. You kill me to deny it. Farewell. 

Bene. Tarry, sweet Beatrice. 

Beat. I am gone, though I am here : ^^ there is no love in 
you : nay, I pray you, let me go. 

Bene. Beatrice, — 

Beat. In faith, I will go. 

Bene. We'll be friends first. 

Beat. You dare easier be friends with me than fight with 
mine enemy. 

Bene. Is Claudio thine enemy? 

Beat. Is he not approved in the height a villain, that hath 
slandered, scorned, dishonoured my kmswoman? O that I 
were a man ! What, bear her in hand^'^ until they come to 
take hands ; and then, with public accusation, uncovered slan- 
der, unmitigated rancour, — O God, that I were a man ! I 
would eat his heart in the market-place. 

Bene. Hear me, Beatrice, — 

Beat. Talk with a man out at a window ! a proper saying ! 

19 "Though my person stay with you, my heart is gone from you." 
2' A common phrase of the time, signifying to take, lead, carry along, as 
an expectant or friend. See vol. ii., page 210, note i. 


Bene. Nay, but, Beatrice, — 

Beat. Sweet Hero ! she is wrong'd, she is slandered, she 
is undone. 

Bene. Beat - — 

Beat. Princes and ctoiuities I^i Singly, a princely testi- 
mony, a goodly count, Count Confect;^^ 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 sake ! But manhood is melted 
into courtesies, valour into compUment, and men are only 
turned into tongue, and trim^ ones too : he is now as val- 
iant as Hercules that only tells a lie, and swears it. I cannot 
be a man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with 

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 engaged ; 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. 

31 Countie was the ancient term for a count or earl. 

22 That is, an image of a man, cast in sugar ; such a nobleman as amfec- 
Honers sell, " a sweet gallant " : of course spoken in contempt. 

23 Trim seems here to signify apt, fair-spoken. Tongue used in the sin- 
gular, and trim ones in the plural, is a mode of construction not uncommon 
in Shakespeare. 


Scene II. — A Prison. 

Enter Dogberry, Verges, and Sexton, in gowns ; and the 

Watch, with Conrade and Borachio. 


Dog. Is our whole dissembly appeared ? 

Verg. O, a stool and a cushion for the sexton. 

Sex. Which be the malefactors ? 

Dog. Marry, that am I and my partner. 

Ve7g. Nay, that's certain ; we have the exhibition to ex- 

Sex. But which are the offenders that are to be examined ? 
let them come before Master Constable. 

Dog. Yea, marry, let them come before me. — What is 
your name, friend ? 

Bora. Borachio. 

Dog. Pray, write down Borachio. — Yours, sirrah ? 

Con. I am a gentleman, sir, and my name is Conrade. 

Dog. Write down master gentleman Conrade. — Masters, 
do you serve God ? 



Dog. 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 ? 

Con. Marry, sir, we say we are none. 

Dog. A marvellous witty fellow, I assure you ; but I will 
go about with him. — Come you hither, sirrah : a word in 
your ear, sir ; I say to you, it is thought you are false knaves. 

1 This is a blunder of the constable's, for " examination to exhibit." In 
the last scene of the third act, Leonato says, " Take their examination your- 
self and bring it me." 

\ Yea, sir, we hope. . 
ira. ) 


Bora. Sir, I say to you we are none ! 

Dog. Well, stand aside. — 'Fore God, they are both in a 
tale .2 Have you writ down that they are none ? 

Sex. Master Constable, you go not the way to examine : 
you must call forth the watch that are their accusers. 

Dog. Yea, marry, that's the eftest way.^ — Let the watch 
come forth. — Masters, I charge you, in the Prince's name, 
accuse these men. 

1 Watch. This man said, sir, that Don John, the Prince's 
brother, was a villain. 

Dog. Write down Prince John a villain. — Why, this is flat 
perjury, to call a prince's brother, villain. 

Bora. Master Constable, — 

Dog. Pray thee, fellow, peace : I do not like thy look, I 
promise thee. 

Sex. What heard you him say else ? 

2 Watch. Marry, that he had received a thousand ducats 
of Don John for accusing the Lady Hero wrongfully. 

Dog. Flat burglary as ever was committed. 
Verg. Yea, by the Mass, that it is. 
Sex. What else, fellow? 

1 Watch. And that Count Claudio did mean, upon his 
words, to disgrace Hero before the whole assembly, and not 
marry her. 

Dog. O villain ! thou wilt be condemn'd into everlasting 
redemption for this. 
Sex. What else? 

2 Watch. This is all. 

2 " They are both in a tale" means they both make the same answer, or 
their answers tally ; that is, correspond or agree together. In the Poet's 
time, accounts were often kept by cutting notches in a stick. The stick was 
then split in two, so as to give the notches in duplicate, one set for each of 
the parties. These were called tally-sticks ; and when both were in a tale, 
this certified the accuracy of the account. 

3 The quickest or the handiest way. 


Sex. And this is more, masters, than you can deny. 
Prince John is this morning secretly stolen away ; Hero was 
in this manner accused, in this very manner refused, and 
upon the grief of this suddenly died. — Master Constable, let 
these men be bound, and brought to Leonato's : I will go 
before and show him their examination. [Exit. 

Dog. Come, let them be opinion'd. 

Verg. Let them be in the hands — 

Con. Off, coxcomb ! 

Dog. God's my life, where's the sexton? let him write 
down the Prince's officer, coxcomb. — Come, bind them. — 
Thou naughty varlet ! 

Con. Away ! you are an ass, you are an ass. 

Dog. Dost thou not suspect my place? dost thou not sus- 
pect 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 piety, as shall be proved upon thee by 
good witness. I am a wise fellow ; and, which is more, an 
officer ; and, which is more, a householder ; and, which is 
more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any in Messina ; 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. 

■* It may seem strange that Dogberry should thus boast of his losses ; but 
the man's pride probably fastens on the point of his still being rich notwith- 
standing his losses. It has been suggested, however, that losses may be 
a characteristic blunder for lawsuits. 



Scene I. — Before Leonato's House. 
Enter Leonato and Anionio. 

Ant. If you go on thus, you will kill yourself; 
And 'tis not wisdom thus to second grief 
Against yourself. 

Leon. I pray thee, cease thy counsel. 

Which falls into mine ears as profitless 
As water in a sieve : give not me counsel ; 
Nor let no comforter delight mine ear 
But such a one whose wrongs do suit with mine. 
Bring me a father that so loved his child, 
Whose joy of her is overvvhelm'd like mine. 
And bid him speak to me of patience ; 
Measure his woe the length and breadth of mine. 
And let it answer every strain for strain, 
As thus for thus, and such a grief for such. 
In every lineament, branch, shape, and form : 
If such a one will smile, and stroke his beard. 
Bid sorrow wag, cry hem when he should groan, 
Patch grief with proverbs, make misfortune drunk 
With candle-wasters,^ — bring him yet to me, 

1 It appears that to stroke the beard and cry hem was often represented 
as a common gesture preparatory to the utterance of a wise saying, or to a 
display of profound book-learning. So in Troilus and Cressida, i. 3 : " Now 
play me Nestor ; hem and stroke thy beard." Also in Chapman's May-Day, 
iL I : " Thou shall now see me stroke my beard, and speak sentetitiousfy." So 
that candle-wasters here evidently means those who " bum the midnight 
oil " in study. Jonson has it thus in his Cynthia's Revels : " Heart, was there 
ever so prosperous an invention thus unluckily perverted and spoiled by a 


And I of him will gather patience. 
But there is no such man : for, brother, men 
Can counsel and speak comfort to that grief 
Which they themselves not feel ; but, tasting it, 
Their counsel turns to passion, which before 
Would give preceptial medicine to rage, 
Fetter strong madness in a silken thread, 
Charm ache with air, and agony with words. 
No, no ; 'tis all men's office to speak patience 
To those that wring under the load of sorrow ; 
But no man's virtue nor sufficiency 
To be so moral when he shall endure 
The like himself. Therefore give me no counsel : 
My griefs cry louder than advertisement.^ 

Ant. Therein do men from children nothing differ. 

Leon. I pray thee, peace ! I will be flesh and blood ; 
For there was never yet philosopher 
That could endure the toothache patiently, 
However they have writ the style of gods, 
And made a push ^ at chance and sufferance. 

Ant. Yet 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, 

whoreson book-worm, a candle-waster ? " And so in TAe Hospitall of In- 
curable Fooles, 1600 : " I which have known you better and more inwardly 
than a thousand of these candle-wasting book-worms." The general idea 
in the text is that of curing grief by sage counsel, as men often lose the 
sense of pain or misfortune in a drunken sleep. 

2 Advertisement, even as now used, might easily pass over into the kin- 
dred sense of admonition or instruction. 

8 Push is an old exclamation, equivalent to pish. So in Titnon of Athens, 
iii. 6: "Push! did you see my cap ? " spoken by one of the Lords when old 
Timon hurls stones at them, and drives them out from the sham banquet to 
which he had invited them. 


And all of them that thus dishonour her. 

Ant Here comes the Prince and Claudio hastily. 

Enter Don Pedro and Claudio. 

D. Pedro. Good den, good den. 

Claud. 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, my 
lord : — 
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 quarrelling, 
Some of us would lie low. 

Claud. Who wrongs him ? 

Leon. \\Tio \ 

Marry, thou wrong'st me ; thou dissembler, 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 
What I have done, being young, or what would do. 
Were I not old. Know, Claudio, to thy head. 
Thou hast so wTong'd mine innocent child and me. 
That I am forced 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 hers, framed by thy villainy ! 

Claud. My villainy ! 

Leon. Thine, Claudio ; thine, I say. 

D. Pedro. You say not right, old man. 

Leon. 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 lustihood. 

Claud. Away ! I will not have to do with you. 

Leon. Canst thou so daff me? Thou hast kill'd my 
child : 
If thou kill'st 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, boy ; come, sir boy, follow me : 
Sir boy, I'll whip you from your foining fence ; ^ 
Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will. 

Leon. Brother, — 

Ant. Content yourself. God knows I loved my niece ; 
And she is dead, slander'd to death by villains, 
That dare as well answer a man indeed ^ 
As 1 dare take a serpent by the tongue ; 
Boys, apes, braggarts. Jacks, milksops ! — 

Leon. Brother Antony, — 

Ant. Hold you content. What, man ! I know them, yea, 
And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple, — 

* Practice here means exercise, or well-practised skill, in the use of the 
sword. — Nice fence has much the same meaning, — exactness in the art of 
defence, or o{ fencing. 

5 Foining is an old word for thrusting. — Fence is sword-practice, a teacher 
of which is still called a fencing-muster. 

6 Indeed here goes with man, not with ansioer ; a real man, or one who 
is indeed a man ; as in Hamlet's " A combination and a form indeed." 


Scambling," out-facing, fashion-mongering boys, 
That lie, and cog,^ and flout, deprave, and slander. 
Go anticly, show outward hideousness. 
And speak off half a dozen dangerous words. 
How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst ; 
Aiid this is all. 

Leon. But, brother Antony, — 

Ant. Come, 'tis no matter : 

Do not you meddle ; let me deal in this. 

D. Pedro. Gentlemen both, we will not wake your pa- 
My heart is sorry for your daughter's death : 
But, on my honour, she was charged with nothing 
But what was true, and very fuU of proof. 

Leon. My lord, my lord, — 

D. Pedro. I will not hear you. 

L^on. No ? — 

Come, brother, away. — I will be heard. 

Ant. And shall, 

Or some of us will smart for't. \^Exeunt\x.(y:s>ao and AsTOmo. 

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

Claud. Now, signior, what news'? 

'> Scambling appears to have been much the same as scrambling, shifting, 
or shuffling. " Griffe graffe," says Cotgrave, " by hook or by crook, squim- 
ble-squamble, scamblingly, catch that catch may." 

8 To cog is to cheat, to cajole, to play sly tricks. See vol. ii., page 85. note 
24. — To go anticly is to go &ntastically or apishly, like a buffoon. See 
page 198, note 4. — " Show outward hideousness " is well explained in As 
You Like It, i. 3 : " We'll have a swashing and a martial outside ; as many 
other mannish cowards have that do outfece it with their semblances." 

9 That is, " rouse, stir up, convert your f>atience into anger." An image 
of sleep is implied in regard to patience. Patience is, properly, repose of 
mind ; and to wake one's patience is to disturb it, to put it from itselt We 
have a like use of wake in Richard II., i. 3 : " To wake our peace, which in 
our country's cradle draws the sweet infant breath of gentle sleep." 


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 snapp'd 
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 

Bene. In a false quarrel there is no true valour. I came 
to seek you 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 any did so, though very many have been 
beside their wit. — I will bid thee draw, as we do the min- 
strels ; draw, to pleasure us.'' 

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

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

Bene. Sir, I shall mett 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.'^ 

10 Doubt was very often used in the sense of fear or suspect. So in 
I Henry IV., i. 2 : " But I doubt they will be too hard for us." — " Too youn^ 
for them " is, as we should say, " too much for them " ; that is, too strong. 
The Poet has young just so in several other instances. 

11 " I will bid thee draw thy sword, as we bid the minstrels draw the bows 
of their fiddles, merely to please us." 

12 The allusion here is to tilting. It was held very disgraceful for a tilter 
to have his spear broken across the body of his adversary, instead of by a 
push of the point. See page 38, note 11. 


D. Pedro. By "this light, he changes more and more : I 
think he be angry indeed. 

Claud. If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle.^^ 

Bene. Shall I speak a word in your ear ? 

Claud. God bless me from a challenge ! 

Bene. \Aside to Claud.] You are a villain ; I jest not : I 
will make it good how you dare, with what you dare, and 
when you dare. Do me right, or I will protest your cow- 
ardice. You have kill'd 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 

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

Claud. I'faith, I thank him ; he hath bid me to a calf's- 
head and a capon ; the which if I do not carve most curi- 
ously, say my knife's naught. — Shall I not find a woodcock^* 

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

D. Pedro. I'U 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, 
/■/ hurts nobody. Nay, said I, the gentleman is wise : Cer- 

1* So* Sir Ralph Winwood in a letter to Cecil : " I said, what I spake 
was not to make him angry. He replied. If I were angry, I might turn the 
buckle of my girdle behind me." The phrase came from the practice of 
WTestlers, and is thus explained by Holt White : " 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." 

I* A woodcock was a common term for a foolish fellow ; that savoury bird 
being supposed to have no brains. Claudio alludes to the stratagem whereby 
Benedick has been made to fall in love. So Sir William Cecil, in a letter to 
Secretary Maitland, referring to an attempted escap>e of some French hos- 
tages : " I went to lay some lime-twigs for certain woodcocks, which I have 


fain, said she, a wise gentleman}^ Nay, said I, he hath the 
tongues : That I believe, said she, _/<?;' he swore a thing to me 
on Monday night, which he forswore on Tuesday morning; 
there's a double tongue ; there's two tongues. Thus did she, 
an hour together, trans-shape thy particular virtues : yet at 
last she concluded with a sigh, thou wast the properest man 
in Italy. 

Claud. For the which she wept heartily, and said she 
cared not. 

D. Pedro. Yea, that she did ; but yet, for all that, an if 
she did not hate him deadly, she would love him dearly. 
The old man's daughter told us all. 

Claud. All, all ; and, moreover, God saw him when he 
was hid in the garden. 

D. Pedro. But when shall we set the savage bull's horns 
on the sensible Benedick's head ? 

Claud. Yea, and text underneath. Here dwells Benedick, 
the married man ? 

Bene. Fare you well, boy : you know my mind. I will 
leave you now to your gossip-like humour : you break jests 
as braggarts do their blades, which, God be thanked, hurt 
not. — My lord, for your many courtesies I thank you : I 
must discontinue your company. Your brother the bastard 
is fled from Messina : you have among you kill'd a sweet and 
innocent lady. For my Lord Lackbeard there, he and I 
shall meet ; and till then peace be with him. \_Exit. 

D. Pedro. He is in earnest. 

Claud. In most profound earnest ; and, I'll warrant you, 
for the love of Beatrice. 

D. Pedro. And hath challenged thee ? 

Claud. Most sincerely. 

15 Wise gentleman was probably used ironically for a silly fellow ; as we 
Still say a wiseacre. 


D. Pedro. What a pretty thing man is when he goes in 
his doublet and hose, and leaves off his wit ! 

Claud. He is then a giant to an ape : but then is an ape 
a doctor to such a man. 

D. Pedro. But, soft you ! let me pluck up my heart, and 
be sad.'^ Did he not say, my brother was fled? 

Enter Dogberry, Verges, and the Watch, with Conrade 
and BoRACHio. 

Dog. Come, you, sir : if justice cannot tame you, she shall 
ne'er weigh more reasons in her balance : nay, an you be a 
cursing hypocrite once, you must be look'd to. 

D. Pedro. How now ! two of my brother's men bound ! 
Borachio one ! 

Claud. Hearken after their offence, my lord. 

D. Pedro. Officers, what offence have these men done? 

Dog. Marry, sir, they have committed false report ; more- 
over, they have spoken untruths ; secondarily, they are slan- 
derers ; sixth and lastly, they have belied a lady ; thirdly, 
they have verified imjust things ; and, to conclude, they are 
lying knaves. 

D. Pedro. First, I ask thee what they have done ; thirdly, 
I ask thee what's their offence ; sixth and lastly, why they are 
committed ; and, to conclude, what you lay to their charge. 

Claud. Rightly reasoned, and in his own division ; and, 
by my troth, there's one meaning well suited.'' 

D. Pedro. \\Tio have you offended, masters, that you are 
thus bound to your answer? this learned constable is too 
cunning to be understood : what's your offence ? 

Bora. Sweet Prince, let me go no further to mine answer : 

^6 Meaning, apparently, " Let me rouse up my spirits, and be ready for 
serious business." This play has sad repeatedly in the same sense. See 
page 170, note 11. 

1'^ That is, one meaning put into many different dresses; the Prince hav- 
ing asked (he same question in four modes of speech. 


do you hear me, and let this count kill me. I have deceived 
even your very eyes : what your wisdoms could not discover, 
these shallow fools have brought to light ; who, in the night, 
overheard me confessing to this man, how Don John your 
brother incensed me to slander the Lady Hero ; how you were 
brought into the orchard, and saw me court Margaret in 
Hero's garments ; how you disgraced her, when you should 
marry her : my villainy they have upon record ; which I had 
rather seal with my death than repeat over to my shame. 
The lady is dead upon mine and my master's false accusation ; 
and, briefly, I desire nothing but the reward of a villain. 

D. Pedro. Runs not this speech like iron through your 

Claud. I have drunk poison whiles he utter'd it. 

D. Pedro. But did my brother set thee on to this ? 

Bo7a. Yea, and paid me richly for the practice of it. 

D. Pedro. He is composed and framed of treachery ; 
And fled he is upon this villainy. 

Claud. Sweet Hero ! now thy image doth appear 
In the rare semblance that I loved it first. 

Dog. Come, bring away the plaintiffs : by this time our 
sexton hath reform'd Signior Leonato of the matter. And, 
masters, do not forget to specify, when time and place shall 
serve, that I am an ass. 

Verg. Here, here comes master Signior Leonato, and the 
sexton too. 

Re-enter Leonato and Antonio, with the Sexton. 

Leon. Which is the villain? let me see his eyes, 
That, when I note another man like him, 
I may avoid him : which of these is he ? 

Bora. If you would know your wronger, look on me. 

Leon. Art thou the slave that with thy breath hast kill'd 
Mine innocent child? 


Bora, Yea, even I alone. 

Leon. No, not so, villain ; thou beliest thyself: 
Here stand a pair of honourable men, 
A third is fled, that had a hand in it. — 
I thank you, Princes, for my daughter's death : 
Record it with your high and worthy deeds ; 
'Twas bravely done, if you bethink you of it. 

Claud. I known not how to pray your patience ; 
Yet I must speak. Choose your revenge yourself; 
Impose me to what penance your invention 
Can lay upon my sin : yet sinn'd I not 
But in mistaking. 

D. Pedro. By my soul, nor I : 

And yet, to satisfy this good old man, 
I would bend under any heavy weight 
That he'll enjoin me to. 

Leon. I cannot bid you bid my daughter live, — 
That were impossible : but, I pray you both. 
Possess 1^ the people in Messina here 
How innocent she died ; and, if your love 
Can labour aught in sad invention, 
Hang her an epitaph upon her tomb,^^ 
And sing it to her bones, — sing it to-night : 
To-morrow morning come you to my house ; 
And, since you could not be my son-in-law, 
Be yet my nephew : my brother hath a daughter. 
Almost the copy of my child that's dead. 
And she alone is heir to both of us : 20 

18 To possess signified to inform, to make acquainted with. So in 7%^ 
Merchant, iv. 1 : " I possess' d your grace of what I purpose." 

1^ It was the custom to attach, u(>6n or near the tombs of celebrated 
jjersons, a written inscription, either in prose or verse, generally in praise of 
the deceased. 

20 It would seem that Antonio's son, mentioned in i. 2, must have died 
since the play began. 


Give her the right you should have given her cousin, 
And so dies my revenge. 

Claud. O noble sir, . 

Your over-kindness doth wring tears from me ! 
I do embrace your offer ; and dispose 
For henceforth of poor Claudio. 

Leon. To-morrow, then, I will expect your coming ; 
To-night I take my leave. — This naughty man 
Shall face to face be brought to Margaret, 
Who I believe was pack'd^i in all this wrong. 
Hired to it by your brother. 

Bora. No, by my soul, she was not ; 

Nor knew not what she did when she spoke to me ; 
But always hath been just and virtuous 
In any thing that I do know by her. 

Dog. Moreover, sir, (which indeed is not under white and 
black,) this plaintiff here, the offender, did call me ass : I 
beseech you, let it be remember'd in his punishment. And 
also, the watch heard them talk of one Deformed : they say 
he wears a key in his ear, and a lock hanging by it ; 22 ^^d 
borrows money in God's name, — the which he hath used^a 
so long and never paid, that now men grow hard-hearted, and 
will lend nothing for God's sake : pray you, examine him 
upon that point. 

Leon. I thank thee for thy care and honest pains. 

21 To he packed is to be one of a pack, set, or gang; that is, an accom- 
plice or confederate. 

22 It was one of the fantastic fashions of Shakespeare's time to wear a 
long hanging /ock of hair dangling by the ear : it is often mentioned by con- 
temporary writers, and may be observed in some ancient portraits. The 
humour of this passage is in Dogberry's supposing the lock to have a key 
to it. , 

23 Used in the sense of practised, or been used to do. The Poet has the 
verb to use repeatedly in the same way. So, in The Merchant, i. 3, Shylock 
says, " Methought you said you neither lend nor borrow upon advantage," 
and Antonio replies, " I do never ttse it." 


Dog. Your Worship speaks like a most thankful and re- 
verend youth ; and I praise God for you. 

Leon. There's for thy pains. 

Dog. God save the foundation ! -'^ 

Leon. Go, I discharge thee of thy prisoner, and I thank 

Dog. I leave an arrant knave with your Worship ; which 
I beseech your Worship to correct yourself, for the example 
of others. God keep your Worship ! I wish your Worship 
well ; God restore you to health ! I humbly give you leave 
to depart ; and, if a merry meeting may be wish'd, God pro- 
hibit it ! — Come, neighbour. 

{^Exeunt Dogberry, Verges, and Watch. 

L^on. Until to-morrow morning, lords, farewell. 

Ant. Farewell, my lords : we look for you to-morrow. 

D. Pedro. We will not fail. 

Ciaud. To-night I'll mourn with Hero. 

{^Exeunt Don Pedro and Claudio. 

Leon. Bring you these fellows on. We'll talk with Mar- 
How her acquaintance grew with this lewd ^ fellow. 


Scene II. — Leonato's Garden. 
Enter, sezferally. Benedick and Margaret. 

Bene. Pray thee, sweet Mistress Margaret, deserve well at 
my hands by helping me to the speech of Beatrice. 

Mdrg. Will you, then, write me a sonnet in praise of my 
beauty ? 

2< A phrase used by those who received alms at the gates of religious and 
charitable houses. Dogberry probably means, " God save the founder." 

25 Here lewd has not the common meaning ; but rather means knavish, 
■wicked, depraved: IWeXheLsiiinpra-uus. Repeatedly so. 


Bene. In so high a style, Margaret, that no man living 
shall come over it ; for, in most comely truth, thou deseiv- 
est it. 

Marg. To have no man come over me ! why, shall I 
always keep men below stairs ? 

Bene. Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound's mouth ; it 

Marg. And yours 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 

Marg. Give us the swords ; we have bucklers of our own. 

Bene. If you use them, Margaret, you must put in the 
pikes with a vice ; and they are dangerous weapons for 

Marg. Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who I think hath 

Bene. And therefore will come. — \_Exit Margaret. 

[Sings.] The god of love, that sits above, 

And knows me, and knows me. 
How pitiful I deserve, — 

I mean in singing ; but, in loving, Leander the good swim- 
mer, Troilus the first employer of panders, 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 
scorii, horn, — a hard rhyme; for school, fool, — a babbling 

1 To give the bucklers was to yield the victory ; whereby the victor got 
his adversary's shield and kept his own. 


rhyme ; very ominous endings : no, I was not bom under a 
rhyming planet, nor I cannot woo in festival terms,^ — 

Enter Beatrice. 

Sweet Beatrice, wouldst thou come when I call'd 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 pass'd between you and Claudio. 

Bene. 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 de- 
part unkiss'd. 

Bene. Thou hast frighted the word out of his 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 maintain'd so politic 
a state of evil, that they will not admit any good part to in- 
termingle with them. But for which of my good parts did 
you first suffer love for me ? 

Bene. Suffer love, — a good epithet ! I do suffer love in- 
deed, 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. 

2 Festival terms is choice language. So mine Host in The Merry Wives 
says of Fenton, " he speaks holiday r And Hotspur, in / Henry IV., " With 
many holiday and lady terms he question'd me." 

3 Is under challenge, or now stands challenged, by me. 


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 neigbours.'^ 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 quar- 
ter in rheum : therefore is it most expedient for the wise (if 
Don Worm, his conscience, find no impediment to the con- 
trary) 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 praiseworthy : and now tell me, how doth your cousin ? 

Beat. Very ill. 

Bene. And how do you ? 

Beat. Very ill too. 

Beiie. 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? 

* When men were not envious, but every one gave others their due. 

5 This means, apparently, " You ask a question indeed ! " — In what fol- 
lows, " an hour in clamour " refers, no doubt, to the continuous ringing of the 
bell; and rkeum is Uars, — the tears which " the widow weeps" ; that word 
being used indiflferently for the secretions of the eyes, mouth, and nose. " A 
quarter," I presume, may mean either a quarter oia.year or a quarter of an 
hour : probably the former, though the latter seems more germane to the 
speaker's satirical humour or mood. 

6 Old coil is huge bustle or stir. Coil has occurred before in this play. 
See page 208, note 4. Old was in frequent use as a colloquial augmenta- 
tive. See vol. iii., page 209, note 2. 

" Abused is deceived, cheated, or imposed upon. A very frequent usage. 


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. 


Scene III. — The Inside of a Church. 

Enter Don Pedro, Claudio, and Attendants, wiffi music 
and tapers. 

Claud. Is this the monument of Leonato ? 

Atten. It is, my lord. 

Claud. [Reads from a scroll.] 

Done to death ^ by slanderous tongues 

Was the Hero that here lies : 
Death, in guerdon of her wrongs^ 

Gives her fame which never dies. 
So the life that died with shame 
Lives in death with glorious fame. 

Hang thou there upon the tomb, \Fixing up the scroll. 
Praising her when I am dumb. — 
Now, music, sound, and sing your solemn hymn. 


Pardon, goddess of the night. 
Those that slew thy virgin knight; ^ 

1 This phrase occurs frequently in writers of Shakespeare's time : it ap- 
pears to be derived from the French phrase, y&/r^ mourir. 

- Knight was a common poetical app>ellation of virgins in Shakesjjeare's 
time ; ' probably in allusion to their being the votarists of Diana, whose chosen 
pastime was in knightly sports. So in Ttu Two Noble Kinsmen, v. i : 
O, sacred, shadowy, cold, and constant queen, 
Abandoner of revels, mute, contemplative. 
Sweet, solitary, white as chaste, and pure 
As wind-fann'd snow, who to ihy /etnaie knights 
AUow'st no more blood than will make a blush. 
Which is their order's robe. 


For the which, with songs of woe, 
Round about her tomb they go. 
Midnight, assist our moan ; 
Help us to sigh and groan. 

Heavily, heavily : 
Graves, yawn, and yield your dead. 
Till death be uttered. 
Heavily, heavily? 

Claud. Now, unto thy bones good night ! — 
Yearly will I do this rite. 

D. Pedro. Good morrow, masters ; put your torches out : 
The wolves have prey'd ; and look, the gentle day, 
Before the wheels of Phoebus, round about 
Dapples the drowsy East with spots of grey. 
Thanks to you all, and leave us : fare you well. 

Claud. Good morrow, masters : each his several way. 

D. Pedro. Come, let us hence, and put on other weeds ; 
And then to Leonato's we will go. 

Claud. And Hymen now with luckier issue speed's 
Than this for whom we render'd up this woe ! \_Exeunf. 

Scene IV. — A Room in Leonato's House. 

Enter Leonato, Antonio, Benedick, Beatrice, Margaret, 
Ursula, Friar Francis, and Hero. 

F. Fran. Did I not tell you she was innocent ? 

Leon. So are the Prince and Claudio, who accused her 

3 We are indebted to Sidney Walker for the best explanation of this 
obscure passage : " With regard to the words, ' graves yawn,' &c., I know 
not why we should consider them as any thing more than an invocation, — 
after the usual manner of funeral dirges in that age, in which mourners of 
some description or other are summoned to the funeral, — a call, I say, 
upon the surrounding dead to come forth from their graves, as auditors or 
sharers in the solemn lamentation. Uttered, expressed, commemorated in 


Upon the error that you heard debated : 
But Margaret was in some fault for this, 
Although against her will, as it appears 
In the true course of all the question.^ 

Anf. Well, I am glad that all things sort so welL 

Bene. And so am I, being else by faith enforced 
To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it. 

Leo7i. Well, daughter, and you gentiewomen all. 
Withdraw into a chamber by yourselves, 
And when I send for you, come hither mask'd : 
The Prince and Claudio promised by this hour 
To visit me. — You know your office, brother : [^Exeuniljadxes. 
You must be father to your brother's daughter, 
And give her to young Claudio. 

Ant Which I will do with confirm'd countenance. 

Bene. Friar, I must entreat your pains, I think. 

F. Fran. To do what, signior? 

Bene. To bind me, or undo me ; one of them. — 
Signior Leonato, truth it is, good signior. 
Your niece regards me with an eye of favour. 

Leon. That eye my daughter lent her : 'tis most true 

Bene. And I do with an eye of love requite her. 

Leon. The sight whereof I think you had from me, 
From Claudio, and the Prince : but what's your will? 

Bene. Your answer, sir, is enigmatical : 
But, for my will, my will is, your good-will 
May stand ^^^th oius, this day to be conjoin'd 
r the state of honoruable marriage : — 
In which, good friar, I shall desire your help. 

Leon. My heart is with your liking. 

F. Fran. And my help. 

1 Question is used by Shakespeare in a great variety of senses. Here it 
means, apparently, investigation or inquiry, one of its Latin senses. See 
vol. ilL. page 197, note 25. 


Here come the Prince and Claudio. 

Enter Don Pedro and Claudio, with Attendants, 

D. Pedro. Good morrow to this fair assembly. 

Leon. Good morrow, Prince ; — good morrow, Claudio : 
We here attend you. Are you yet determined 
To-day to marry with my brother's daughter ? 

Claud. I'll hold my mind, were she an Ethiop. 

Leon. Call her forth, brother ; here's the friar ready. 

\_Exit Antonio. 

D. Pedro. Good morrow. Benedick. Why, what's the 
That you have such a February face, 
So full of frost, of storm, and cloudiness ? 

Claud. I think he thinks upon the savage bull. ^- 
Tush, fear not, man ; we'll tip thy horns with gold, 
And all Europa shall rejoice at thee ; 
As once Europa did at lusty Jove, 
When he would play the noble beast in love. 

Bene. Bull Jove, sir, had an amiable low ; 
And some such strange bull leap'd your father's cow, 
And got a calf in that same noble feat 
Much like to you, for you have just Kis bleat. 

Claud. For this I owe you : here come other reckon- 
ings. — 

Re-enter Antonio, with the Ladies masked. 

Which is the lady I must seize upon ? ^ 

Ant. This same is she, and I do give you her. 

Claud. Why, then she's mine. — Sweet, let me see your face. 

Leon. No, that you shall not, till you take her hand 

Before this friar, and swear to marry her. 

2 Seite upon is here a technical term in the law, and means take possession 
of. The Poet lias it repeatedly so. 


Claud. Give me your hand before this holy friar : 
I am your husband, if you like of me. 

Hero. And when I lived, I was your other wife : 

[ Unmasking. 
And when you loved, you were my other husband. 

Claud. Another Hero ! 

Hero. Nothing certainer : 

One Hero died defiled ; ^ but I do live, 
And, surely as I live, I am a maid. 

D. Pedro. The former Hero ! Hero that is dead ! 

Leon. She died, my lord, but whiles her slander lived- 

F. Fran. All this amazement can I qualify ; 
WTien, after that the holy rites are ended, 
I'll tell you largely of fair Hero's death : 
Meantime let wonder seem famihar,"* 
And to the chapel let us presently. 

Bene. Soft and fair, friar. — ^Vhich is Beatrice ? 

Beat. \_Unmasking.'] I answer to that name. What is 
your will? 

Bene. Do not you love me ? 

Beat. Why, no ; no more than reason. 

Bene. Why, then your uncle, and the Prince, and Claudio 
Have been deceived ; for they swore you did. 

Beat. Do not you love me ? 

3 Of course Hero means that she was defiled in the same sense that she 
died. She was believed to be defiled, and she was believed to be dead, and 
she was, in reality, just as much the one as the other, and no more. The 
word is used just so again in King Lear, iii. 6 : " When false opinion, whose 
wrong thought defiles thee," &c. But, indeed, loss of good name and of 
social sweetness through evil report or false imputation is a sort of death to 
a soul like Hero's, or rather something worse than death ; and a perfect 
recovery from such a loss is, to her, like a coming to life again. See Crit- 
ical Notes. 

* The meaning probably is, " Let that which seems wonderful be treated 
as a common or ordinary event"; that is, act as if there were nothing 
strange about it. 


Bene. Troth, no ; no more than reason. 

Beat. Why, then my cousin, Margaret, and Ursula 
Are much deceived ; for they did swear you did. 

Bene. They swore that you were almost sick for me. 

Beat. They swore that you were well-nigh dead for me. 

Bene. 'Tis no such matter. Then you do not love me ? 

Beat. No, truly, but in friendly recompense, 

Leon. Come, cousin, I am sure you love the gentleman. 

Claud. And I'll be sworn upon't that he loves her; 
For here's a paper, wTitten in his hand, 
A halting sonnet of his own pure brain, 
Fashion'd to Beatrice. 

Hero. And here's another. 

Writ in my cousm's hand, stol'n from her pocket, 
Containing her affection unto Benedick. 

Bene. A miracle ! here's our own hands against our hearts. 
Come, I will have thee ; but, by this light, I take thee for 

Beat. I would not deny you ; but, by this good day, I 
yield upon great persuasion ; and partly to save your life, for 
I was told you were in a consumption. 

Bene. Peace ! I will stop your mouth. \_Kissing her. 

D. Pedro. How dost thou. Benedick, the married man ? 

Bene. I'll tell thee what. Prince ; a college of wit-crackers 
cannot flout me out of my humour. Dost thou think I care 
for a satire or an epigram ? No : if a man will be beaten 
with brains, he shall wear nothing handsome about him. In 
brief, since I do purpose to marry, I will think nothing to 
any purpose that the world can say against it ; and therefore 
never flout at me for what I have said against it ; for man 
is a giddy thing, and this is my conclusion. — For thy part, 
Claudio, I did think to have beaten thee \ but in that ^ thou 

fi In that was much used for inasmuch as or because. 


art like to be my kinsman, live unbruised, and love my 

Claud. I had well hoped thou wouldst have denied Bea- 
trice, that I might have cudgell'd thee out of thy single life, 
to make thee a double-dealer ; which, out of question, thou 
wilt be, if my cousin do not look exceeding narrowly to thee. 

Bene. Come, come, we are friends. Let's have a dance 
ere we are married, that we may lighten our own hearts and 
our wives' heels. 

Leon. We'll have dancing afterward. 

Bene. First, of my word ; therefore play, music ! — Prince, 
thou art sad ; get thee a wife, get thee a wife : there is no 
staff more reverend than one tipped with hom.^ 

Enter a Messenger. 

Mess. My lord, your brother John is ta'en in flight. 
And brought with armed men back to Messina. 

Bene. Think not on him till to-morrow : I'll devise thee 
brave punishments for him. — Strike up, pipers ! \_Dance. 


8 Alluding, no doubt, to the walking-sticks or staves of elderly persons, 
which were often tipped or headed with horn, sometimes crosswise, in imita- 
tion of the crutched sticks or potences of the friars. Chaucer's Sompnour 
describes one of his fHars as having a "scrippe and tipped staff" ; and he 
adds that " His felaw had a staf tipped with horn." — Benedick's sportive 
quibble upon horn is, I presume, obvious enough. See, however, voL ii- 
page 47, note ii. 


Act I., Scene i. 

Page 155. Enter Leonato, Hero, and Beatrice, wnth a Messen- 
ger. — The old copies have " Enter Leonato, Governour of Messina, 
Innogen his wife. Hero his daughter, and Beatrice his Neece, with a 
messenger." Again, at the beginning of the second Act, the wife is 
introduced among the other persons. But, as " Innogen his wife " does 
not utter a word throughout the play, and as there are divers places 
where she could hardly be a mere dummy were she present, the name 
is rightly omitted in modern stage-directions. Theobald may be right 
in the conjecture, that " the Poet had in his first plan designed such a 
character, which, on a survey of it, he found would be superfluous, and 
therefore he left it out." 

P. 155. I find here that Don Pedro hath bestowed much honour, 
Slc. — Here, and also in the first speech of the play, the old editions 
have Peter instead of Pedro. 

P. 159. Is it possible disdain should die while she hath such meet 
food to feed on as Signior Benedick ? — The old text has iV instead of 
on. It is evident that the word should be either her or on. 

P. 160. Scratching could not make it worse, an ''twere such a face 

as yours. — So Collier's second folio. The old text reads " such a 

face as yours were." Here were is manifestly a good deal worse than 



P. 162. D. Pedro. Tf it were so, so were it utter'd. — In the old 
copies, this speech is assigned to Claudio. I can see no fitness, or even 
meaning, in the speech, as coming from him ; whereas the Prince 
might ver)' naturally say, " If Claudio were really in love with Hero, he 



would declare it." And Benedick's next speech, I think, fairly infers 
this to be spoken by the Prince. Of course it is a word of encourage- 
ment to Claudio. 

P. 165. My love is thine to teach : teach it but how, 

And thou shall see how apt it is to learn, ^c — The first teach 
sounds hardly right, and the word may have been repeated in advance 
by mistake. Walker suggests changing it to use; but I think the word 
learn, at the end of the next line, speaks something in favour of the 
old reading. 

P. 166. The fairest grant is to necessity. — The original text is 
"the necessity"; which maybe strained to sense, but hardly. The 
slight change of the to to was proposed by Hayley. 

Act I., Scene 2. 

P. 168. Cousin, you knoto what you have to do. — The old copies 
have the plural, cousins, here. But the use of cousin a little after in 
this speech, and also in the first speech of the scene, — " Where is my 
cousin, your son ? " — shows that the singular is required. See foot- 
note 3. 

Act I., Scene 3. 

P. 168. There is no measure iiz the occasion that breeds it. — Here 
it, plainly needful to the sense, is wanting in the old copies. 

P. 169. You have of late stood out against your brother. — Collier's 
second folio reads " You have till of late." Singer prints until, which 
he says is supplied in his corrected folio. The insertion is highly 
plausible, to say the least. 

Act II., Scene i. 

P. 173. Falls into the cinque-pace faster and faster, till he sink 
apace into his grave. — The old copies read "till he sink into his 
grave." The reading in the text was conjectured by Capell, and is 
found in Collier's second folio. As the Cambridge Editors note, the 
reading is supported by a passage in Marston's Insatiate Countess. 
One of the persons says, " Thinke of me as of the man whose dancing 
dayes you see are not yet done "; and another replies, "Yet you sinke 
a pace. Sir." 


P. 174. Balth. Well, I would you did like me. — This and Bal- 
thazar's next tivo speeches are assigned to Benedick in the old copies. 
The needful correction was made by Theobald, and is generally re- 
ceived; Dyce remarking that "two prefixes, each beginning with the 
same letter, are frequently confounded by transcribers and printers : so, 
in Lo-iies Labours Lost, ii. i, six speeches in succession which belong to 
Biron are assigned in the folio to Boyet." 

P. 177. Tkis is an accident of hourly proof. 

Which I mistrusted not. Farewell, then, Hero ! — So Collier's 
second folio and several modem editions. The old copies have there- 
fore instead of then. 

P. 178. / told him that your Grace had got the good-will of\as. young 
lady. — The old text reads " of this young lady." There being nothing 
for this to refer to. Walker proposed the change. His and this were 
very often misprinted each for the other. 

Act II., Scene 2. 
P. 186. Hear me call Margaret, Hero; hear Margaret term me 
Claudio. — As Borachio is to act the man in this interview, Theobald 
substituted that name here for Claudio, and has been followed by sev- 
eral editors. But it appears to be a part of the arrangement that, as 
Borachio is to address Margaret by the name of Hero, so Margaret is 
to receive him under the name of Claudio. So much is fairly implied 
in the expression " hear Margaret term me." As Claudio was to wit- 
ness the encounter, he would of course know that he was not himself 
the person talking with the supposed Hero ; and both he and the 
Prince might well be persuaded that Hero received a clandestine lover, 
whom she called Claudio, in order to deceive her attendants, should 
any be within hearing ; and this they would naturally deem an aggra- 
vation of her offence. 

P. 186. Hero shall be absent, and there shall appear such seeming 
truth of her disloyalty. — The old copies read " of Heroes disloyaltie," 
thus repeating the name. Capell made the correction. 

Act II., Scene 3. 
P. 187. And new he is turn'd orthographer. — Instead of orthogra- 
pker, the old copies have ortography and orthography. Hardly worth 
the notice. 


P. 1 88. We'll fit the \\\dL fox zuith a pennyworth. — The old copies 
read " fit the kuMoxe " ; which has been explained in different ways, 
but hardly to any sense that fits the occasion. The correction is War- 

P. 192. Weeps, sobs, beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, cries, O 
sweet Benedick ! — The old copies read "prays, curses, O sweet Bene- 
dick." I cannot imagine what curses should have to do there. The 
change is from Collier's second folio. 

P. 192. An he should, it were an alms-deed to hang him. — So Col- 
lier's second folio ; the old copies, " an alms to hang him." Alms 
does not give the right sense ; and alms-deed was a current phrase, 
which the Poet elsewhere uses, to express much the same meaning 
which is required here ; as in j" Henry VI., v. 5, Margaret says to 
Gloster, " murder is thy alms-deed." 

P. 193. If he do fear God, 'a must necessarily keep the peace : if he 
break the peace, &c. — The old copies read "keep peace," omitting the 
article : but, as they have it in the next clause, it should evidently be 
supplied. Corrected by Dyce. 

P. 195. yust so much as you may take upon a knife^s point, and not 
choke a daw withal. — So Collier's second folio ; the old copies omit 

Act III., Scene 2. 

P. 203. Which is now crept into a lute-string, and n&vf-govern' d by 
stops. — The old copies read " and no7u govern'd." The correction is 
Walker's, who points out many like instances of ti07u and neiu con- 

P. 203. She shall be buried with her face upwards. — Theobald 
printed " with her heels upwards," which defeats the sense and humour 
of the passage. Don Pedro, playing on the word dies, which has just: 
been used, means that the lady shall be buried in her lover's arms. 
So, in The Winter's Tale, iv. 3, Perdita says to Florizell, " Not like ^ 
corse ; or if, — not to be buried, but quick, and in mine arms."- 


P. 204. Claud. WAo, Hero ? 

D. John. Even she, I^onato's Hero, your Hero, every 
man^s Hero. — Lettsom, in a private letter to Dyce, observed that 
" some very necessary words seem to have been omitted here " ; and 
he queries whether Claudio's speech ought not to stand thus : " Who, 
Hero ? my Hero? Leonato's Hero?" I cannot help thinking the 
query well-placed. 

Act III., Scene 3. 

P. 209. Thou shouldst rather ask, if it were possible any villain 
ihould be so rich ; for when rich villains, &c. — So Warburton, with 
manifest propriety ; the old copies, " if any villanie should be so rich." 

P. 211. I Watch. Never speak : we charge you let us obey you to go 
with us. — Absurdly assigned to Conrade in the old copies. Corrected 
by Theobald. 

Act IV., Scene i. 

P. 219. Hero. And seemed I ever otherwise to you ? 

Claud. Out on thy seeming ! I will write against it : 
You seem'd to me as Dian in her orb. — Here, in the second 
line, the old copies have " on thee seeming," and, in the third, " You 
seeme to me." Errors that almost correct themselves. The first was 
corrected by Pope, the other by Hanmer. 

P. 220. Claud. Sweet Prince, why speak you not? — Assigned to 
Leonato in the old copies. Claudio naturally calls on the Prince to 
confirm the charges he has just made. Tieck, I believe, was the first 
to propose giving the speech to Claudio ; and Dyce remarks, " To 
Claudio, as I saw long ago, it assuredly belongs." 

P. 221. About the thoughts and counsels of thy heart. — The old 
copies have " About thy thoughts "; thy having doubtless got repeated 
by mistake. Corrected by Rowe. 

P. 222, Chid I for that at frugal Nature's frame ? — Hanmer 
printed "Nature's hand" and Collier's second folio has "Natiure's 
frown." But frame is probably right, meaning the framing, disposing, 
or ordering of Providence. A like use of frame occurs later in this 
scene : " Whose spirits toil m frame of villainies." 


P. 223. For I have only silent been so long. — The old copies trans- 
pose silent and been, to the spoiling of the metre. Corrected by White. 

P. 223. Trust not my reading nor my observation. 

Which with experimental seal doth warrant 

The tenour of my books; trust not my age. 

My reverend calling, nor divinity. 

If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here 

Under some blighting error. — Here the old copies have, in the 
first line, observations, in the third, book, in the fourth, " reverence, call- 
ing," and in the last, biting. Heath proposed books, and " reverend 
calling " and blighting are from Collier's second folio. Hanmer reads 

P. 224. The practice of it lies in John the bastard. — The old copies 
have lives instead of lies. The correction is Walker's, who cites divers 
instances of lie and live misprinted each for the other. 

P. 224. But they shall find, awaked in such a cause. 

Both strei^h of limb and policy of mind. — So Collier's second 
folio, and Walker. The old copies have kirtd instead of cause. Kind 
is clearly wrong in sense, and makes, besides, a most ill-placed rhyme 
with mind ; which, occurring thus in the midst of blank-verse, Walker 
pronounces "inadmissible, to say nothing of the sense." 

P. 226. But, if all aim at this be levelVd false. — The old copies read 
" all aim but this." I can only understand this as referring to what 
precedes, and but is incompatible with such reference. See foot- 
note 15. 

Act IV., Scene 2. 

P. 232. Dog. Come, let them be opinion' d. 

Verg. Let them be in the hands — 

Con. Off, coxcomb ! — So modern editions generally, follow- 
ing Malone. In the old copies, the last two speeches are run together, 
thus : " Let them be in the hands of Coxcombe." It seems not un- 
likely that something may be lost ; but the common arrangement is the 
best that can be done with the text as it stands. That Conrade uses 
the term coxcomb, is evident from Dogberry's next speech : " God's my 
Hfe, Where's the sexton? let him write down the Prince's officer, cox- 


Act. v., Scene i. 

P. 233. And bid him speak to me of patience. — So Hanmer, Ritson, 

Walker, Collier's second folio, and Dyce. The old text omits to me. 

P. 233. If such a one will smile, and stroke his beard. 
Bid sorrow wag, cry hem when he should groan. 
Patch grief 'tvith proverbs, &c. — The old copies read"^n^sor- 
rowe wagge, crie hem^' &c., out of which it is hardly possible to make 
any sense. Various changes of the text have been printed and offered. 
Fhe one here adopted is Capell's, which Dyce pronounces " incom- 
parably the best yet proposed." — Of course xi'(7f means be gone. 

P. 235. Qaud. Who ivrongs him ? 

Leon. Who ! 

Marry, thou wrong'st me; thou dissembler, thou. — The exclam- 
ative Who ! in Leonato's speech is wanting in the old copies. Supplied 
by Walker, and justified on grounds both of sense and of metre. The 
old copies also have " thou dost wrong me," instead of " thou wrongest 

P. 236. Come, follow, boy ; come, sir boy, follow me. — The old text 
gives this line thus : " Come follow me boy, come sir boy, come follow 
me." Yet the whole speech is printed there as verse, and was evi- 
dently meant to be such. 

P. 237. Go anticly, sho^u outward hideousness. — The old copies 
have " and show," to the spoiling of the metre. The context has so 
many anJs, that the word might easily get repeated once too often. 
The correction is Spedding's. 

P. 237. Gentlemen both, we will not wake your patience. — Hanmer 
changed wake to rack ; and Dyce pronounces wake " a most suspicious 
lection, though defended by several commentators." Nevertheless wake 
is most probably right. An image of sleep is implied, and aptly im- 
plied, in regard to patience. See foot-note 9. 

P. 241 . But, soft you ! let me pluck up my heart, and be sad. — Here 
the original text has a very strange reading, " let me be, plucke up ray 
heart," &c. This has commonly been changed to " let be : pluck up, 
my heart." Dyce and White print " let me be : pluck up, my heart." 


The reading here given was proposed by Malone. It clears the pas- 
sage of obscurity at least, and, I think, reduces it to tolerable English. 
See foot-note 16. 

P. 241. Secondarily, they are slanderers. — So Walker; the old 
copies, slanders. Possibly slanders may have been intended as a blun- 
der of Doglierry's ; but I think not, as this would be rather overload- 
ing the speech in that kind ; and Walker cites various examples of 
similar errors. 

Act v.. Scene 2. 

P. 246. To have no man come over tne ! Why, shall I always keep 
men beloiv stairs? — The old copies read "shall I always keep below 
stairs?" omitting men. This seems to defeat the passage of all suit- 
able meaning. Steevens proposed to insert men. Singer proposes 

P. 247. Let me go with that T came for. — For, which is necessary to 
the sense, is wanting in the old copies. Supplied by Pope 

P. 249. / will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be buried in thy 
eyes. — Collier says, "The Rev. Mr. Barry suggests to me, that the 
words heart and eyes have in some way changed places in the old 

Act v.. Scene 3. 

P. 250. Graves, yawn, and yield your dead. 
Till death be uttered 

Heavily, heavily. — So the quarto : the folio reads 
" Heavenly, heavenly," though it has " Heavily, heavily " three lines 
before. Hereby hangs a long tale of critical discussion. Knight, 
Verplanck, Staunton, and White follow the folio ; Dyce and various 
others, the quarto. Upon the folio reading Walker puts something 
very like an extinguisher, thus : " The folio and Knight read Heavenly, 
heavenly; a most absurd error, generated {ut scepe) by the corruption 
of an uncommon word to a common one. So in Hamlet, ii. 2, — * it goes 
so heavily with my disposition,' — the folio has heavenly ; as Dyce has 
also noticed. My note, however, was suggested by the sense of the 
passage. — The explanation of uttered, as signifying ousted, is one of 
the many unfortunate exhibitions of half-learning to which our Poet 
has given occasion." See foot-note 3. 


P. 250. Claud. Now, unto thy botus good night ! — 

Yearly will I do this rite. — In the old copies these two hues 
are assigned to Lord. Corrected by Rowe. 

P. 250, And Hymen now with Itukier issue speed's. — The old text 
has speeds. Speed's is a contraction of speed us, designed to rhyme 
with weeds, in the second line before. The Poet has many such con- 
tractions, and some even bolder than this. Thirlby makes the follow- 
ing apt note upon the passage : " Claudio could not know, without 
being a prophet, that this new proposed match should have any luckier 
event than that designed with Hero. Certainly, therefore, this should 
be a wish in Claudio ; and, to this end, the Poet might have wTote 
speed's, that is, speed us : and so it becomes a prayer to Hymen." 

Act v., Scene 4. 

P. 252. Ant This same is she, and I do give you her. — So Theo- 
bald. The old editions assign this speech to Leonato ; which is 
clearly wrong, as it contravenes the arrangement expressly made 

P. 253. One Hero died defiled ; bid I do live. 

And, surely as I live, I am a maid. — So the quarto. The 
folio omits defiled, and leaves a gap in the verse ; perhaps because the 
Editors judged that word to be unfitting, and did not see what to sub- 
stitute. Collier has proposed to read "One Hero died reviled" ; and 
urges it on the ground that Hero had, in truth, been reviled, but had 
not really been defiled, and that she would naturally shrink from ap- 
plying that word to herself. But, as she represents herself to be 
" another Hero," and is supposing the reputed defilement and death 
of the first Hero to have been real, I doubt whether this objection will 
hold. See foot-note 3. 

P. 253. Why, then your uncle, and the Prince, and Claudio 

Have been deceived ; for they swore you did. — The word for 
is wanting here in the old copies. Perhaps we ought to read, as in the 
third speech after, " Are much deceived; for they did swear you did." 
The reading in the text is Capell's. 

P. 255. Bene. Peace ! I will stop your mouth. — In the old editions, 
this speech is absurdly assigned to Leonato. Corrected by Theobald. 

PR 2753 .H8 1899 v. A SMC 
Shakespeare, William, 
The complete works of 
William Shakespeare Harvard 
ed. —