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How you delight, my lords, I know not, I;
But, I protest, I love to hear him lie,
And I will use him for my minstrelsy."



Biron. Armado is a most illustrious wight, A man of fire-new words, fashion's own knight. Long. Costard the swain, and he, shall be our sport; And, so to study, three years is but short.

Enter DULL, with a letter, and COSTARD. Dull. Which is the duke's own person?9

6 From tawny Spain, lost in the world's debate.] i. e. he shall relate to us the celebrated stories recorded in the old romances, and in their very style. Why he says, from tawny Spain, is, because those romances, being of Spanish original, the heroes and the scene were generally of that country. Why he says, lost in the world's debate, is, because the subject of those romances were the crusades of the European Christians against the Saracens of Asia and Africa. Warburton.

I have suffered this note to hold its place, though Mr. Tyrwhitt has shewn that it is wholly unfounded, because Dr. Warburton refers to it in his dissertation at the end of this play. Malone. in the world's debate.] The world seems to be used in a monastick sense by the king, now devoted for a time to a monastick life. In the world, in seculo, in the bustle of human affairs, from which we are now happily sequestered, in the world, to which the votaries of solitude have no relation. Johnson.

Warburton's interpretation is clearly preferable to that of JohnThe king had not yet so weaned himself from the world, as to adopt the language of a cloister. M. Mason.


And I will use him for my minstrelsy.] i. e. I will make a minstrel of him, whose occupation was to relate fabulous stories.


fire-new words,] "i. e. (says an intelligent writer in the Edinburgh Magazine, Nov. 1786,) words newly coined, new from the forge. Fire-new, new off the irons, and the Scottish expression bren-new, have all the same origin." The same compound epithet occurs in King Richard III:

"Your fire-new stamp of honour is scarce current."


• Which is the duke's own person? The king of Navarre in several passages, through all the copies, is called the duke: but as this must have sprung rather from the inadvertence of the editors than a forgetfulness in the poet, I have every where, to avoid confusion, restored king to the text. Theobald.

The princess in the next act calls the king-"this virtuous duke," a word which, in our author's time, seems to have been used with great laxity. And indeed, though this were not the

Biron. This, fellow; What would'st?

Dull. I myself reprehend his own person, for I am his grace's tharborough:1 but I would see his own person in flesh and blood.

Biron. This is he.

Dull. Signior Arme-Arme-commends you. There's villainy abroad; this letter will tell you more.

Cost. Sir, the contempts thereof are as touching me. King. A letter from the magnificent Armado.

Biron. How low soever the matter, I hope in God for high words.

Long. A high hope for a low having:2 God grant us patience! hearing mr.

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Biron. To hear? or forbear hearing? 3

Long. To hear meekly, sir, and to laugh moderately; or to forbear both.

Biron. Well, sir, be it as the style shall give us cause to climb4"in the merriness. chime

case, such a fellow as Costard may well be supposed ignorant of his true title. Malone.

I have followed the old copies. Steevens.


It is so employed in Macbeth, Act I:


tharborough:] i. e. Thirdborough, a peace officer, alike in authority with a headborough or a constable. Sir J. Hawkins. 2 A high hope for a low having:] In old editions:

"A high hope for a low heaven ‚”

A low heaven, sure, is a very intricate matter to conceive. I dare warrant, I have retrieved the poet's true reading; and the meaning is this: "Though you hope for high words, and should have them, it will be but a low acquisition at best." This our poet calls a low having; and it is a substantive which he uses in several other passages. Theobald.

great prediction

"Of noble having, and of royal hope."

Heaven, however, may be the true reading, in allusion to the gradations of happiness promised by Mohammed to his followers. So, in the comedy of Old Fortunatus, 1600:

"Oh, how my soul is rapt to a third heaven!" Steevens.

3 To hear? or forbear hearing?] One of the modern editors plausibly enough, reads:

"To hear? or forbear laughing?" Malone.


— as the style shall give us cause to climb-] A quibble between the stile that must be climbed to pass from one field to another, and style, the term expressive of manner of writing in regard to language. Steevens.


Cost. The matter is to me, sir, as concerning Jaquenetta. The manner of it is, I was taken with the manner.5

Biron. In what manner?

Cost. In manner and form following, sir; all those three: I was seen with her in the manor house, sitting with her upon the form, and taken following her into the park; which put together, is, in manner and form following. Now, sir, for the manner, it is the manner of a man to speak to a woman: for the form,-in some form.

Biron. For the following, sir?

Cost. As it shall follow in my correction; And God defend the right!

King. Will you hear this letter with attention?

Biron. As we would hear an oracle.

Cost. Such is the simplicity of man to hearken after the flesh.

King. [Reads.] Great deputy, the welkin's vicegerent, and sole dominator of Navarre, my soul's earth's God, and body's fostering patron,—

Cost. Not a word of Costard yet.

King. So it is,—

Cost. It may be so: but if he say it is so, he is, in telling true, but so, so."

King. Peace.

Cost. —be to me, and every man that dares not fight! King. No words.

Cost. of other men's secrets, I beseech you.

King. So it is, besieged with sable-coloured melancholy, I did commend the black-oppressing humour to the most wholesome physick of thy health-giving air; and, as I am a gentleman, betook myself to walk. The time when? About

5 ――――

taken with the manner.] i. e. in the fact. So, in Heywood's Rape of Lucrece, 1630: " and, being taken with the manner, had nothing to say for himself." Steevens.

A forensick term. A thief is said to be taken with the manner, i. e, mainour or manour, (for so it is written in our old lawbooks,) when he is apprehended with the thing stolen in his possession. The thing that he has taken was called mainour, from the Fr. manier, manu tractare. Malone.


but so, so.] The second so was added by Sir T. Hanmer, and adopted by the subsequent editors. Malone.

the sixth hour; when beasts most graze, birds best peck, and men sit down to that nourishment which is called sup per. So much for the time when: Now for the ground which; which, I mean, I walked upon: it is ycleped thy park. Then for the place where; where, I mean, I did encounter that obscene and most preposterous event, that draweth from my snow-white pen the ebon-coloured ink, which here thou viewest, beholdest, surveyest, or seest: But to the place, where,—it standeth north-north-east and by east from the west corner of thy curious-knotted garden: There did I see that low-spirited swain, that base minnow of thy mirth,8

Cost. Me.

King. that unletter'd small-knowing soul,
Cost. Me.

King. that shallow"vassal," vessel

Cost. Still me.

King. which, as I remember, hight Costard,
Cost. O me!

King. sorted and consorted, contrary to thy established proclaimed edict and continent canon, with—with,—O with -but with this I passion to say wherewith;—

Cost. With a wench.


curious-knotted garden:] Ancient gardens abounded with figures of which the lines intersected each other in many direcThus, in King Richard II:


"Her fruit-trees all unprun'd, her hedges ruin'd,
"Her knots disorder'd," &c.

In Thomas Hill's Profitable Art of Gardening, &c. 4to. bl. 1. 1579, is the delineation of "a proper knot for a garden, whereas is spare roume enough, the which may be set with Time, or Isop, at the discretion of the Gardener." In Henry Dethick's Gardener's Labyrinth, bl. 1. 4to. 1586, are other examples of "proper knots deuised for gardens." Steevens.



base minnow of thy mirth,] The base minnow of thy mirth, is the contemptible little object that contributes to thy entertainment. Shakspeare makes Coriolanus characterize the tribunitian insolence Sicinius, under the same figure:

hear you not

"This Triton of the minnows!"


Again, in Have with you to Saffron Walden, or Gabriel Harvey's Hunt is up, &c. 1596: "Let him denie that there was another shewe made of the little minnow his brother," &c. Steevens.

9 with-with,] The old copy reads-which with. The correction is Mr. Theobald's. Malone.


with a child of our grandmother Eve, a female; or, for thy more sweet understanding, a woman. Him I (as my ever-esteemed duty pricks me on) have sent to thee, to receive the meed of punishment, by thy sweet grace's officer, Antony Dull; a man of good repute, carriage, bearing, and estimation.

Dull. Me, an 't shall please you; I am Antony Dull. King. For Jaquenetta, (so is the weaker vessel called, which I apprehended with the aforesaid swain) I keep her as a vessel of thy law's fury;1 and shall, at the least of thy sweet notice, bring her to trial. Thine, in all compliments of devoted and heartburning heat of duty,

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO. Biron. This is not so well as I looked for, but the best that ever I heard.

King. Ay, the best for the worst. But, sirrah, what say you to this?

Cost. Sir, I confess the wench.

King. Did you hear the proclamation?

Cost. I do confess much of the hearing it, but little of the marking of it.2

King. It was proclaimed a year's imprisonment, to be taken with a wench.

Cost. I was taken with none, sir; I was taken with a damosel.

King. Well, it was proclaimed damosel.

Cost. This was no damosel neither, sir; she was a virgin.

King. It was so varied too; for it was proclaimed virgin.

Cost. If it were, I deny her virginity; I was taken with a maid.

King. This maid will not serve your turn, sir.
Cost. This maid will serve my turn, sir.


vessel of thy law's fury:] This seems to be a phrase adopted from scripture. See Epist. to the Romans, ix. 22: 66 the vessel of wrath." Mr. M. Mason would read-vassal instead of vessel. Steevens.

2 I do confess much of the hearing it, but little of the marking of it.] So Falstaff, in The Second Part of King Henry IV:


- it is the disease of not listening, the malady of not marking, that I am troubled withal." Steevens.

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