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Now, by my maiden honour, yet as pure
As the unsullied lily, I protest,

A world of torments though I should endure,
I would not yield to be your house's guest:
So much I hate a breaking-cause to be
Of heavenly oaths, vow'd with integrity.
King. O, you have liv'd in desolation here,
Unseen, unvisited, much to our shame.
Prin. Not so, my lord; it is not so, I swear;
We have had pastimes here, and pleasant


A mess of Russians left us but of late.

King. How, madam ? Russians?

Ay, in truth, my lord; Trim gallants, full of courtship, and of state.

Ros. Madam, speak true: It is not so, my lord; My lady, (to the manner of the days), 3

In courtesy, gives undeserving praise.
We four, indeed, confronted here with four
In Russian habit: here they stay'd an hour,
And talk'd apace; and in that hour, my lord,
They did not bless us with one happy word.
I dare not call them fools; but this I think,
When they are thirsty, fools would fain have drink.
Biron. This jest is dry to me:- Fair, gentle


Your wit makes wise things foolish; when we


With eyes best seeing heaven's fiery eye,
By light we lose light: Your capacity

Is of that nature, that to your huge store

Wise things seem foolish, and rich things but poor. Ros. This proves you wise and rich; for in my

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Biron. I am a fool, and full of poverty.

Ros. But that you take what doth to you belong, It were a fault to snatch words from my tongue. Biron. O, I am yours, and all that I possess. Ros. All the fool mine?


I cannot give you less. Ros. Which of the visors was it that you wore? Biron. Where? when? what visor? why demand you this?

Ros. There, then, that visor; that superfluous


That hid the worse, and show'd the better face. King. We are descried: they'll mock us now downright.

Dum. Let us confess, and turn it to a jest. Prin. Amaz'd, my lord? Why looks your highness sad?

Ros. Help, hold his brows! he'll swoon! Why look you pale?

Sea-sick, I think, coming from Muscovy.

Biron. Thus pour the stars down plagues for perjury.

Can any face of brass hold longer out? Here stand I, lady; dart thy skill at me;

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Bruise me with scorn, confound me with a


Thrust thy sharp wit quite through my ignorance;
Cut me to pieces with thy keen conceit;
And I will wish thee never more to dance,
Nor never more in Russian habit wait.
O! never will I trust to speeches penn'd,
Nor to the motion of a school-boy's tongue;

Nor never come in visor to my friend; 4

Nor woo in rhyme, like a blind harper's song;

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Taffata phrases, silken terms precise,

Three-pil'd hyperboles, spruce affectation, Figures pedantical; these summer-flies

Have blown me full of maggot ostentation : I do forswear them: and I here protest,

By this white glove, (how white the hand,
God knows!)

Henceforth my wooing mind shall be express'd
In russet yeas, and honest kersey noes:
And, to begin wench, so God help me, la !
My love to thee is sound, sans crack or flaw.
Ros. Sans SANS, I pray you.

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Biron. Yet I have a trick Of the old rage: - bear with me, I am sick : I'll leave it by degrees. Soft, let us see;; Write, Lord have mercy on us, on those three; They are infected, in their hearts it lies, They have the plague, and caught it of your eyes; These lords are visited; you are not free, For the Lord's tokens on you do I see.

Prin. No, they are free, that gave these tokens

to us.

Biron. Our states are forfeit, seek not to undo


Ros. It is not so; For how can this be true, That you stand forfeit, being those that sue? Biron. Peace; for I will not have to do with you.

Ros. Nor shall not, if I do as I intend.

Biron. Speak for yourselves, my wit is at an end.

King. Teach us, sweet madam, for our rude transgression

Some fair excuse.


The fairest is confession. Were you not here, but even now, disguis'd?

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And were you well advis'd?

King. Madam, I was.

King. I was, fair madam.


When you then were here,

What did you whisper in your lady's ear?

King. That more than all the world I did respect her.

Prin. When she shall challenge this, you will reject her.

King. Upon mine honour, no.

Prin. Peace, peace, forbear; Your oath once broke, you force not to forswear. King. Despise me, when I break this oath of


Prin. I will; and therefore keep it :-Rosaline, What did the Russian whisper in your ear?

Ros. Madam, he swore, that he did hold me dear

As precious eye-sight; and did value me
Above this world: adding thereto, moreover,
That he would wed me, or else die my lover.
Prin. God give thee joy of him! the noble lord
Most honourably doth uphold his word.

King. What mean you, madam? by my life, my troth,

I never swore this lady such an oath.

Ros. By heaven, you did; and to confirm it plain,

You gave me this: but take it, sir, again.

King. My faith, and this, the princess I did give; I knew her by this jewel on her sleeve.

Prin. Pardon me, sir, this jewel did she wear; And lord Birón, I thank him, is my dear: What; will you have me, or your pearl again?

5 Make no difficulty.

Biron. Neither of either; I remit both twain.I see the trick on't;- Here was a consent, 6 (Knowing aforehand of our merriment,)

To dash it like a Christmas comedy:

Some carry-tale, some please-man, some slight zany, 7

Some mumble-news, some trencher-knight, some Dick,

That smiles his cheek in years; and knows the trick
To make my lady laugh, when she's dispos'd,
Told our intents before: which once disclos'd,
The ladies did change favours; and then we,
Following the signs, woo'd but the sign of she.
Now, to our perjury to add more terror,
We are again forsworn; in will and error.
Much upon this it is : — And might not you?
Forestal our sport, to make us thus untrue?
Do not you know my lady's foot by the squire,
And laugh upon the apple of her eye?
And stand between her back, sir, and the fire,
Holding a trencher, jesting merrily?


You put our page out: Go, you are allow'd;
Die when you will, a smock shall be your shrowd.
You leer upon me, do you? there's an eye,
Wounds like a leaden sword.


Full merrily

Hath this brave manage, this career, been run. Biron. Lo, he is tilting straight! Peace; I have done.


Welcome, pure wit! thou partest a fair fray.
Cost. O Lord, sir, they would know,

Whether the three worthies shall come in, or no.

6 Conspiracy.

7 Buffoon.

8 Rule.

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