SCENE IIThe same.
Enter HOLOFERNES, SIR NATHANIEL, and DULL.
Very reverend sport, truly; and
done in the testimony of a good conscience.
The deer was, as you know, sanguis,
in blood; ripe as the pomewater, who now
hangeth like a jewel in the ear of caelo, the
sky, the welkin, the heaven; and anon falleth
like a crab on the face of terra, the soil, the
land, the earth.
Truly, Master Holofernes, the epithets
are sweetly varied, like a scholar at the
least: but, sir, I assure ye, it was a buck of (10)
the first head.
Sir Nathaniel, haud credo.
'Twas not a haud credo; 'twas a pricket.
Most barbarous intimation! yet a
kind of insinuation, as it were, in via, in way,
of explication; facere, as it were, replication,
or rather, ostentare, to show, as it were, his inclination,
after his undressed, unpolished, uneducated,
unpruned, untrained, or rather, unlettered,
or ratherest, unconfirmed fashion, to (20)
insert again my haud credo for a deer.
I said the deer was not a haud credo; 'twas a pricket.
Twice-sod simplicity, bis coctus!
O thou monster Ignorance, how deformed dost thou look!
Sir, he hath never fed of the dainties
that are bred in a book; he hath not eat paper,
as it were; he hath not drunk ink: his
intellect is not replenished; he is only an animal,
only sensible in the duller parts:
And such barren plants are set before us, that
we thankful should be, (30)
Which we of taste and feeling are, for those
parts that do fructify in us more than he.
For as it would ill become me to be vain, indiscreet,
or a fool,
So were there a patch set on learning, to see
him in a school:
But omne bene, say I; being of an old father's mind,
Many can brook the weather that love not the wind.
You two are book-men: can you tell me by your wit
What was a month old at Cain's birth, that's not five weeks old as yet?
Dictynna, goodman Dull; Dictynna, goodman Dull.
What is Dictynna?
A title to Phoebe, to Luna, to the moon. (40)
The moon was a month old when Adam was no more.
And raught not to five weeks when he came to five-score.
The allusion holds in the exchange.
'Tis true indeed: the collusion holds in the exchange.
God comfort thy capacity! I say, the
allusion holds in the exchange.
And I say, the pollusion holds in the
exchange; for the moon is never but a month
old: and I say beside that, 'twas a pricket that
the princess killed.
Sir Nathaniel, will you hear an extemporal
epitaph on the death of the deer? And,
to humor the ignorant, call I the deer the princess
killed a pricket.
Perge, good Master Holofernes,
perge; so it shall please you to abrogate scurrility.
I will something affect the letter, for it argues facility.
The preyful princess pierced and prick'd a pretty pleasing pricket;
Some say a sore; but not a sore, till now made sore with shooting. (60)
The dogs did yell; put L to sore, then sorel jumps from thicket;
Or pricket sore, or else sorel; the people fall a-hooting.
If sore be sore, then L to sore makes fifty sores one sorel.
Of one sore I an hundred make by adding but one more L.
A rare talent!
If a talent be a claw, look
how he claws him with a talent.
This is a gift that I have, simple, simple;
a foolish extravagant spirit, full of forms,
figures, shapes, objects, ideas, apprehensions,
motions, revolutions: these are begot in the
ventricle of memory, nourished in the womb
of pia mater, and delivered upon the mellowing
of occasion. But the gift is good in those in
whom it is acute, and I am thankful for it.
Sir, I praise the Lord for you: and
so may my parishioners; for their sons are
well tutored by you, and their daughters profit
very greatly under you: you are a good member
of the commonwealth.
Mehercle, if their sons be ingenuous,
they shall want no instruction; if their daughters
be capable, I will put it to them: but vir
sapit qui pauca loquitur; a soul feminine saluteth
us. Enter JAQUENETTA and COSTARD.
God give you good morrow, master Parson.
Master Parson, quasi pers-on. An if
one should be pierced, which is the one?
Marry, master schoolmaster, he that
is likest to a hogshead.
Piercing a hogshead! a good lustre of
conceit in a tuft of earth; fire enough for a
flint, pearl enough for a swine: 'tis pretty; it
Good master Parson, be so good as
read me this letter: it was given me by Costard,
and sent me from Don Armado: I beseech
you, read it.
Fauste, precor gelida quando pecus
omne sub umbra Ruminat,--and so forth. Ah,
good old Mantuan! I may speak of thee as
the traveller doth of Venice;
100Chi non ti vede non ti pretia.
Old Mantuan, old Mantuan! who understandeth
thee not, loves thee not. Ut, re, sol, la, mi,
fa. Under pardon, sir, what are the contents?
or rather, as Horace says in his--What, my
Ay, sir, and very learned.
Let me hear a staff, a stanze, a verse;
If love make me forsworn, how shall I swear to love? (110)
Ah, never faith could hold, if not to beauty vow'd!
Though to myself forsworn, to thee I'll faithful prove;
Those thoughts to me were oaks, to thee like osiers bow'd.
Study his bias leaves and makes his book thine eyes,
Where all those pleasures live that art would comprehend:
If knowledge be the mark, to know thee shall suffice;
Well learned is that tongue that well can thee commend,
All ignorant that soul that sees thee without wonder;
Which is to me some praise that I thy parts admire:
Thy eye Jove's lightning bears, thy voice his dreadful thunder, (120)
Which, not to anger bent, is music and sweet fire.
Celestial as thou art, O, pardon, love, this wrong,
That sings heaven's praise with such an earthly tongue.
You find not the apostraphas, and so
miss the accent: let me supervise the canzonet.
Here are only numbers ratified; but, for
the elegancy, facility, and golden cadence of
poesy, caret. Ovidius Naso was the man: and
why, indeed, Naso, but for smelling out the
odoriferous flowers of fancy, the jerks of invention?
Imitari is nothing: so doth the hound
his master, the ape his keeper, the tired horse
his rider. But, damosella virgin, was this directed
Ay, sir, from one Monsieur Biron,
one of the strange queen's lords.
I will overglance the superscript: 'To
the snow-white hand of the most beauteous
Lady Rosaline.' I will look again on the intellect
of the letter, for the nomination of the
party writing to the person written unto:
'Your ladyship's in all desired employment,
BIRON.' Sir Nathaniel, this Biron is one ofthe
votaries with the king; and here he hath
framed a letter to a sequent of the stranger
queen's, which accidentally, or by the way of
progression, hath miscarried. Trip and go, my
sweet; deliver this paper into the royal hand
of the king: it may concern much. Stay not
thy compliment; I forgive thy duty: adieu. (150)
Good Costard, go with me. Sir, God save your life!
Have with thee, my girl. Exeunt Cost. and Jaq.
Sir, you have done this in the fear of
God, very religiously; and, as a certain father
Sir, tell not me of the father; I do
fear colorable colors. But to return to the
verses: did they please you, Sir Nathaniel?
Marvellous well for the pen.
I do dine to-day at the father's of a
certain pupil of mine; where, if, before repast,
it shall please you to gratify the table with a
grace, I will, on my privilege I have with the
parents of the foresaid child or pupil, undertake
your ben venuto; where I will prove those
verses to be very unlearned, neither savouring
of poetry, wit, nor invention: I beseech your
And thank you too; for society, saith
the text, is the happiness of life.
And, certes, the text most infallibly
concludes it.To Dull Sir, I do invite you
too; you shall not say me nay: pauca verba.
Away! the gentles are at their game, and we
will to our recreation. Exeunt.