Imatges de pàgina

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 blood?

CLAUD. I have drunk poison, whiles he utter'd it. D. PEDRO. But did my brother set thee on to this? BORA. Yea, and paid me richly for the practice of it.

D. PEDRO. He is compos'd and fram'd 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.

DOGB. Come, bring away the plaintiffs; by this time our Sexton hath reformed 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


LEON. Art thou the slave, that with thy breath hast kill'd

Mine innocent child?


Yea, even I alone.

LEON. No, not so, villain; thou bely'st 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 know 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.


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 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,

4 IMPOSE me to what penance-] i. e. command me to undergo whatever penance, &c. A task or exercise prescribed by way of punishment for a fault committed at the Universities, is yet called (as Mr. Steevens has observed in a former note) an imposition.

MALONE. 5 POSSESS the people, &c.] To possess, in ancient language, signifies, to inform, to make acquainted with. So, in The Merchant of Venice:

"Is he yet possess'd how much you would?" Again, ibid. :

"I have possess'd your grace of what I purpose."


6 Hang her an epitaph upon her tomb,] C'est la coutume parmi les Catholiques d'attacher à quelque colonne, ou ailleurs, près du tombeau des morts, et surtout des morts de reputation, des inscriptions funebres en papier. La Monnoie en Bayle, au mot Aretin (Pierre), note G. BLAKEWAY.

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 7;

Give her the right you should have given her cousin, And so dies my revenge.


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 in all this wrong",
Hir'd to it by your brother.

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.

DOGB. 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 remembered in his punishment: And also, the watch heard them talk of one Deformed: they say, he

7 And she alone is heir to both of us;] Shakspeare seems to have forgot what he had made Leonato say, in the fifth scene of the first Act to Antonio: "How now, brother; where is my cousin your son? hath he provided the musick?" ANONYMOUS.

8 Who, I believe, was PACK'D in all this wrong,] i. e. combined; an accomplice. So, in Lord Bacon's Works, vol. iv. p. 269, edit. 1740: "If the issue shall be this, that whatever shall be done for him, shall be thought done for a number of persons that shall be laboured and packed." MALONE.

So, in King Lear:


snuffs and packings of the dukes."


Again, in Melvill's Memoirs, p. 90: "he was a special instrument of helping my Lord of Murray and Secretary Lidington to pack up the first friendship betwixt the two queens," &c.




wears a key in his ear, and a lock hanging by it9; and borrows money in God's name'; the which

9- he wears a KEY IN HIS EAR, and a LOCK hanging by it;} There could not be a pleasanter ridicule on the fashion, than the constable's descant on his own blunder. They heard the conspirators satirize the fashion; whom they took to be a man surnamed Deformed. This the constable applies with exquisite humour to the courtiers, in a description of one of the most fantastical fashions of that time, the men's wearing rings in their ears, and indulging a favourite lock of hair, which was brought before, and tied with ribbons, and called a love-lock. Against this fashion William Prynne wrote his treatise, called, The Unlovelyness of Love-Locks. To this fantastick mode Fletcher alludes in his Cupid's Revenge: "This morning I brought him a new perriwig with a lock at it—And yonder's a fellow come has bored a hole in his ear." And again, in his Woman-Hater: "If I could endure an ear with a hole in it, or a platted lock," &c. WARBURTON.

Dr. Warburton, I believe, has here (as he frequently does) refined a little too much. There is no allusion, I conceive, to the fashion of wearing rings in the ears (a fashion which our author himself followed). The pleasantry seems to consist in Dogberry's supposing that the lock which Deformed wore, must have a key


Fynes Moryson, in a very particular account that he has given of the dress of Lord Montjoy, (the rival, and afterwards the friend, of Robert, Earl of Essex,) says, that his hair was "thinne on the head, where he wore it short, except a lock under his left eare, which he nourished the time of this warre, [the Irish War, in 1599,] and being woven up, hid it in his neck under his ruffe." Itinerary, P. II. p. 45. When he was not on service, he probably wore it in a different fashion. The portrait of Sir Edward Sackville, Earl of Dorset, painted by Vandyck, (now at Knowle,) exhibits this lock with a large knotted ribband at the end of it. It hangs under the ear on the left side, and reaches as low as where the star is now worn by the knights of the garter.

The same fashion is alluded to in an epigram, quoted in a note on The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act II. Sc. I.:

"Or what he doth with such a horse-tail-lock," &c. So, also, in Arden of Feversham, 1592:

"His chinne was bare, but on his upper lippe

"A mutchado, which he wound about his eare." MALONE.


and BORROWS money in GOD'S NAME ;] i. e. is a common beggar. This alludes, with too much levity, to the 17th verse of the 19th chapter of Proverbs: "He that giveth to the poor, lendeth unto the Lord." STEEVENS.

he hath used 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.

DOGB. Your worship speaks like a most thankful and reverend youth; and I praise God for you. LEON. There's for thy pains.

DOGB. God save the foundation?!

LEON. GO, I discharge thee of thy prisoner, and I thank thee.

DOGB. 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 wished, God prohibit it.-Come, neighbour.

[Exeunt DOGBERRY, VERGES, and Watch. LEON. Until to-morrow morning, lords, farewell. ANT. Farewell, my lords; we look for you to


D. PEDRO, We will not fail.

To-night I'll mourn with Hero [Exeunt DON PEDRO and CLAUDIO. LEON. Bring you these fellows on; we'll talk with Margaret,

How her acquaintance grew with this lewd fellow3. [Exeunt.

2 God save the FOUNDATION!] Such was the customary phrase employed by those who received alms at the gates of religious houses. Dogberry, however, in the present instance, might have designed to say-"God save the founder!" STEEVENS,

3 LEWD fellow.] Lewd, in this, and several other instances, has not its common meaning, but merely signifiesignorant. So, in King Richard III. Act I. Sc. III. :

But you must trouble him with lewd complaints." Again, in the ancient metrical romance of the Sowdon of Babyloyne, MS:

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