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Prin. Thy news, Boyet?

Prepare, madam, prepare!
Arm, wenches, arm! encounters mounted are
Against your peace: Love doth approach disguised,
Armed in arguments; you'll be surprised:
Muster your wits; stand in your own defence;
Or hide your heads like cowards, and fly hence.
Prin. Saint Denis to Saint Cupid! What are

That charge their breath against us? say, scout, say.
Boyet. Under the cool shade of a sycamore
I thought to close mine eyes some half an hour;
When, lo! to interrupt my purposed rest,
Toward that shade I might behold addrest
The king and his companions: warily
I stole into a neighbour thicket by,
And overheard what you shall overhear;
That, by and by, disguised they will be here;
Their herald is a pretty knavish page,

That well by heart hath conn'd his embassage:
Action and accent did they teach him there;
'Thus must thou speak,' and 'thus thy body bear :' 100

And ever and anon they made a doubt
Presence majestical would put him out;

'For,' quoth the king, 'an angel shalt thou see;
Yet fear not thou, but speak audaciously.'
The boy replied, 'An angel is not evil;

I should have fear'd her had she been a devil.'
With that, all laugh'd and clapp'd him on the

Making the bold wag by their praises bolder:
One rubb'd his elbow thus, and fleer'd and swore


109. rubb'd his elbow, a sign of satisfaction. Cf. Jonson, Barthol. Fair, iii. 1:

[He sings the burden with him. Oh rare! I would fain rub my elbow now, but I dare not pull out my hand.

Cokes. That again, good balladman, that again

109. fleer'd, grinned.

A better speech was never spoke before;
Another, with his finger and his thumb,
Cried, 'Via! we will do 't, come what will come;'
The third he caper'd, and cried, 'All goes well;'
The fourth turn'd on the toe, and down he fell.
With that, they all did tumble on the ground,
With such a zealous laughter, so profound,
That in this spleen ridiculous appears,

To check their folly, passion's solemn tears.
Prin. But what, but what, come they to visit

Boyet. They do, they do; and are apparell'd thus,

Like Muscovites or Russians, as I guess.
Their purpose is to parle, to court and dance;
And every one his love-feat will advance
Unto his several mistress, which they 'll know
By favours several which they did bestow.
Prin. And will they so? the gallants shall be

For, ladies, we will every one be mask'd;
And not a man of them shall have the grace,
Despite of suit, to see a lady's face.

Hold, Rosaline, this favour thou shalt wear,
And then the king will court thee for his dear;
Hold, take thou this, my sweet, and give me thine,
So shall Biron take me for Rosaline.

And change you favours too; so shall your loves
Woo contrary, deceived by these removes.

Ros. Come on, then; wear the favours most in sight.

Kath. But in this changing what is your intent?

117. spleen ridiculous, paroxysm of laughter, the spleen being regarded as the seat of laughter, as well as of ill-humour. Boyet says that they laughed




till they shed the tears which, as properly belonging to grief, constituted a reproof.

122. parle, discourse.

Prin. The effect of my intent is to cross theirs:
They do it but in mocking merriment;
And mock for mock is only my intent.
Their several counsels they unbosom shall
To loves mistook, and so be mock'd withal
Upon the next occasion that we meet,
With visages display'd, to talk and greet.

Ros. But shall we dance, if they desire us to 't?
Prin. No, to the death, we will not move a foot;
Nor to their penn'd speech render we no grace,
But while 'tis spoke each turn away her face.
Boyet. Why, that contempt will kill the
speaker's heart,

And quite divorce his memory from his part.

Prin. Therefore I do it; and I make no doubt The rest will ne'er come in, if he be out. There's no such sport as sport by sport o'erthrown, To make theirs ours and ours none but our own: So shall we stay, mocking intended game, And they, well mock'd, depart away with shame. [Trumpets sound within. Boyet. The trumpet sounds: be mask'd; the maskers come. [The Ladies mask.

Enter Blackamoors with music; MOTH; the
Russian habits, and masked.

Moth. All hail, the richest beauties on the earth!

Boyet. Beauties no richer than rich taffeta.
Moth. A holy parcel of the fairest dames,
[The Ladies turn their backs to him.
That ever turn'd their-backs—to mortal views!

159. taffeta, a rich smooth silken stuff; here, the taffeta marks, which alone were seen,




used also metaphorically of fine phrases (v. 406).

160. parcel, company, party.

Biron. [Aside to Moth] Their eyes, villain,

their eyes.

Moth. That ever turn'd their eyes to mortal views!


Boyet. True; out indeed.

Moth. Out of your favours, heavenly spirits, vouchsafe

Not to behold—

Biron. [Aside to Moth] Once to behold, rogue.
Moth. Once to behold with your sun-beamed


—with your sun-beamed eyes

Boyet. They will not answer to that epithet; You were best call it 'daughter-beamed eyes.' Moth. They do not mark me, and that brings

me out.

Biron. Is this your perfectness? be gone, you
[Exit Moth.
Ros. What would these strangers? know their
minds, Boyet:

If they do speak our language, 'tis our will
That some plain man recount their purposes:
Know what they would.

Boyet. What would you with the princess?
Biron. Nothing but peace and gentle visitation.
Ros. What would they, say they?
Boyet. Nothing but peace and gentle visitation.
Ros. Why, that they have; and bid them so
be gone.

Boyet. She says, you have it, and you may be


King. Say to her, we have measured many miles

To tread a measure with her on this grass.

185. measure, a stately dance.



Boyet. They say, that they have measured many a mile

To tread a measure with you on this grass.
is not So. Ask them how many

Ros. It

Is in one mile: if they have measured many,
The measure then of one is easily told.

Boyet. If to come hither you have measured

And many miles, the princess bids you tell
How many inches doth fill up one mile.

Biron. Tell her, we measure them by weary


Boyet. She hears herself.
How many weary steps,
Of many weary miles you have o'ergone,
Are number'd in the travel of one mile?

Biron. We number nothing that we spend for


Our duty is so rich, so infinite,

That we may do it still without accompt.
Vouchsafe to show the sunshine of your face,
That we, like savages, may worship it.

Ros. My face is but a moon, and clouded too.
King. Blessed are clouds, to do as such clouds

Vouchsafe, bright moon, and these thy stars, to shine,

Those clouds removed, upon our watery eyne.

Ros. O vain petitioner! beg a greater matter; Thou now request'st but moonshine in the water. King. Then, in our measure do but vouchsafe one change;

Thou bid'st me beg: this begging is not strange. Ros. Play, music, then! Nay, you must do [Music plays.

it soon.




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