Page images
[merged small][ocr errors]



ON THE Fable AND Composition of



HAVE not hitherto discovered any novel on which this comedy appears to have been founded; and yet the story of it has most of the features of an ancient romance. STEEVENS.

In this play, which all the editors have concurred to censure, and some have rejected as unworthy of our poet, it must be confessed that there are many passages mean, childish, and vulgar; and some which ought not to have been exhibited, as we are told they were, to a maiden queen. But there are scattered through the whole many sparks of genius; nor is there any play that has more evident marks of the hand of Shakspere. JOHNSON.

Dramatis Personae.


FERDINAND, King of Navarre.




Three Lords, attending upon the King in

his Retirement.

BOYET, } Lords, attending upon the Princess of France,


DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO, a fantastical Spaniard.
NATHANIEL, a Curate.

DULL, a Constable.

HOLOFERNES, a Schoolmaster.

COSTARD, a Clown.

MOTH, Page 10 Don Adriano de Armado.

[blocks in formation]

Officers, and others, Attendants upon the King and Princess.

SCENE, the King of Navarre's Palace, and the Country

near it.

This enumeration of the persons was made by Mr. Rowe.




Navarre. The Palace. Enter the King, BIRON, LonGAVILLE, and DUMAIN.


LET fame, that all hunt after in their lives,

Live registred upon our brazen tombs,
And then grace us in the disgrace of death;
When, spight of cormorant devouring time,

The endeavour of this present breath may buy

That honour, which shall bate his scythe's keen edge,
And make us heirs of all eternity.

Therefore, brave conquerors !—for so you are,
That war against your own affections,
And the huge army of the world's desires,-
Our late edict shall strongly stand in force:
Navarre shall be the wonder of the world;
A iij



Our court shall be a little Academe,

Still and contemplative in living art.

You three, Biron, Dumain, and Longaville,
Have sworn for three years' term to live with me,
My fellow scholars, and to keep those statutes,
That are recorded in this schedule here:

Your oaths are past, and now subscribe your names;
That his own hand may strike his honour down,
That violates the smallest branch herein:

If you are arm'd to do, as sworn to do,
Subscribe to your deep oath, and keep it too.

Long. I am resolv'd: 'tis but a three years fast;
The mind shall banquet, though the body pine :
Fat paunches have lean pates; and dainty bits
Make rich the ribs, but bankerout the wits..

Dum. My loving lord, Dumain is mortify'd ;
The grosser manner of these world's delights
He throws upon the gross world's baser slaves :
To love, to wealth, to pomp, I pine and die;
With all these living in philosophy.

Biron. I can but say their protestation over,
So much, dear liege, I have already sworn,
That is, To live and study here three years.
But there are other strict observances :
As, not to see a woman in that term ;
Which, I hope well, is not enrolled there.
And, one day in a week to touch no food;
And but one meal on every day beside;
The which, I hope, is not enrolled there.
And then, to sleep but three hours in the night,





« PreviousContinue »