Scene II

The same

Enter Holofernes, Sir Nathaniel, and Dull

Sir Nathaniel

Very reverend sport, truly; and done in the testimony of a good conscience.

Holofernes

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.

Sir Nathaniel

Truly, Master Holofernes, the epithets are sweetly varied, like a scholar at the least: but, sir, I assure ye, it was a buck of the first head.

Holofernes

Sir Nathaniel, haud credo.

Dull

'Twas not a haud credo; 'twas a pricket.

Holofernes

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 insert again my haud credo for a deer.

Dull

I said the deer was not a haud credo; twas a pricket.

Holofernes

Twice-sod simplicity, his coctus! O thou monster Ignorance, how deformed dost thou look!

Sir Nathaniel

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, 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.

Dull

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?

Holofernes

Dictynna, goodman Dull; Dictynna, goodman Dull.

Dull

What is Dictynna?

Sir Nathaniel

A title to Phoebe, to Luna, to the moon.

Holofernes

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.

Dull

'Tis true indeed; the collusion holds in the exchange.

Holofernes

God comfort thy capacity! I say, the allusion holds in the exchange.

Dull

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.

Holofernes

Sir Nathaniel, will you hear an extemporal epitaph on the death of the deer? And, to humour the ignorant, call I the deer the princess killed a pricket.

Sir Nathaniel

Perge, good Master Holofernes, perge; so it shall please you to abrogate scurrility.

Holofernes

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.
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.

Sir Nathaniel

A rare talent!

Dull

Aside

If a talent be a claw, look how he claws him with a talent.

Holofernes

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 Nathaniel

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.

Holofernes

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

Jaquenetta

God give you good morrow, master Parson.

Holofernes

Master Parson, quasi pers-on. An if one should be pierced, which is the one?

Costard

Marry, master schoolmaster, he that is likest to a hogshead.

Holofernes

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 is well.

Jaquenetta

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.

Holofernes

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;

Venetia, Venetia,
Chi 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 soul, verses?

Sir Nathaniel

Ay, sir, and very learned.

Holofernes

Let me hear a staff, a stanze, a verse; lege, domine.

Sir Nathaniel

Reads

If love make me forsworn, how shall I swear to love?
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,
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.

Holofernes

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 odouriferous 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 to you?

Jaquenetta

Ay, sir, from one Monsieur Biron, one of the strange queen's lords.

Holofernes

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 of the 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.

Jaquenetta

Good Costard, go with me. Sir, God save your life!

Costard

Have with thee, my girl.

Exeunt Costard and Jaquenetta

Sir Nathaniel

Sir, you have done this in the fear of God, very religiously; and, as a certain father saith,—

Holofernes

Sir tell me not of the father; I do fear colourable colours. But to return to the verses: did they please you, Sir Nathaniel?

Sir Nathaniel

Marvellous well for the pen.

Holofernes

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 society.

Sir Nathaniel

And thank you too; for society, saith the text, is the happiness of life.

Holofernes

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