« PreviousContinue »
Claud. I think, he thinks upon the savage bull:-
When he would play the noble beast in love.
Re-enter ANTONIO, with the Ladies masked.
Claud. For this I owe you: here comes other reckonings. 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 Leon. No, that you shall not, till you take her hand [face. Before this friar, and swear to marry her.
Claud. Give me your hand before this holy friar; I am your husband, if you like of me.
Hero. And when I liv'd, I was your other wife:
And when you loved, you were my
Nothing certainer :
D. Pedro. The former Hero! Hero that is dead!
Leon. She died, my lord, but whiles her slander lived. Friar. All this amazement can I qualify;
When after that the holy rites are ended,
Bene. Soft and fair, friar. Which is Beatrice?
the savage bull:-] Alluding to the passage quoted in act. 1. scene 1. from Kyd's Hieronymo.
Why no, no more than reason. Bene. Why, then your uncle, and the prince, and ClauHave been deceived; for they swore you did: [dio,
Beat. Do not you love me? Bene. Troth no, no more than reason. Beat. Why then my cousin, Margaret, and Ursula, Are much deceiv'd; 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, written in his hand,
A halting sonnet of his own pure brain,
Fashion'd to Beatrice.
And here's another.
Bene. A miracle! here's our own hands against our hearts! Come, I will have thee; but, by this light, I take thee for pity.
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 witcrackers 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 propose 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 art like to be my kinsman, live unbruised, and love my cousin.
Claud. I had well hoped, thou wouldst have denied Beatrice, that I might have cudgelled 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 afterwards.
Bene. First, o' 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 horn.P
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.
P no staff more reverend than one tipped with horn.] Mr. Steevens, to assist future editors to an explanation of these words which he declares himself unable to furnish, has given several quotations to prove that a staff tipped with horn was the weapon used by the parties in the ancient trial by wager of battle. It may be so; but may not the allusion here be to the common horn headed walking sticks carried by old and reverend men?
9 This play may be justly said to contain two of the most sprightly characters that Shakspeare ever drew. The wit, the humourist, the gentleman, and the soldier, are combined in Benedick. It is to be lamented, indeed, that the first and most splendid of these distinctions, is disgraced by unnecessary profaneness; for the goodness of his heart is hardly sufficient to atone for the licence of his tongue. The too sarcastic levity, which flashes out in the conversation of Beatrice, may be excused on account of the steadiness and friendship so apparent in her behaviour, when she urges her lover to risk his life by a challenge to Claudio. In the conduct of the fable, however, there is an imperfection similar to that which Dr. Johnson has pointed out in The Merry Wives of Windsor :-the second contrivance is less ingenious than the first :or, to speak more plainly, the same incident is become stale by repetition. I wish some other method had been found to entrap Beatrice, than that very one which before had been successfully practised on Benedick.-STEEVENS. To this last observation of Steevens's, M. Schlegel replies, "Je ne sais qui a blâmé cette répétition du même moyen pour les enlacer, mais il me semble que le plaisant de la chose consiste précisément dans la symétrie des illusion.”— The following remark is original and just. "Leurs ames s'attribuent toute la gloire de leurs défaite, mais la direction exclusive des plaisanteries de tous deux vers un seul objet, etait déjà le germe d'une inclination cachée.-Cours des Literature Dramatique, vol. iii. 20.
A MIDSUMMER-NIGHT'S DREAM.
THIS play was entered at Stationers' Hall, Oct. 8, 1600.-And there were two editions of it published in quarto in that year. Mr. Malone supposes it to have been written in 1594. It is distinguished by one of the strongest characteristics of our author's early plays-the recurrence of passages and scenes in rhyme.
THESEUS, duke of Athens.
DEMETRIUS, in love with Hermia.
PHILOSTRATE, master of the revels to Theseus.
QUINCE, the carpenter.
SNUG, the joiner.
BOTTOM, the weaver.
HIPPOLYTA, queen of the Amazons, betrothed to Theseus. HERMIA, daughter to Egeus, in love with Lysander.
HELENA, in love with Demetrius.
Wall, characters in the Interlude, performed by the
Other Fairies attending their King and Queen.
SCENE, Athens, and a Wood not far from it.
a The enumeration of persons was first made by Mr. Rowe.-STEEVENS.