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Now, by my maiden honour, yet as pure
A world of torments though I should endure,
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.
Your wit makes wise things foolish; when we
With eyes best seeing heaven's fiery eye,
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
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;
Bruise me with scorn, confound me with a
Thrust thy sharp wit quite through my ignorance;
Nor never come in visor to my friend; 4
Nor woo in rhyme, like a blind harper's song;
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,
Henceforth my wooing mind shall be express'd
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
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?
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
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
You put our page out: Go, you are allow'd;
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.
Whether the three worthies shall come in, or no.