Act V

Scene I

The same

Enter Holofernes, Sir Nathaniel, and Dull

Holofernes

Satis quod sufficit.

Sir Nathaniel

I praise God for you, sir: your reasons at dinner have been sharp and sententious; pleasant without scurrility, witty without affection, audacious without impudency, learned without opinion, and strange without heresy. I did converse this quondam day with a companion of the king's, who is intituled, nominated, or called, Don Adriano de Armado.

Holofernes

Novi hominem tanquam te: his humour is lofty, his discourse peremptory, his tongue filed, his eye ambitious, his gait majestical, and his general behavior vain, ridiculous, and thrasonical. He is too picked, too spruce, too affected, too odd, as it were, too peregrinate, as I may call it.

Sir Nathaniel

A most singular and choice epithet.

Draws out his table-book

Holofernes

He draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer than the staple of his argument. I abhor such fanatical phantasimes, such insociable and point-devise companions; such rackers of orthography, as to speak dout, fine, when he should say doubt; det, when he should pronounce debt,—d, e, b, t, not d, e, t: he clepeth a calf, cauf; half, hauf; neighbour vocatur nebor; neigh abbreviated ne. This is abhominable,—which he would call abbominable: it insinuateth me of insanie: anne intelligis, domine? to make frantic, lunatic.

Sir Nathaniel

Laus Deo, bene intelligo.

Holofernes

Bon, bon, fort bon, Priscian! a little scratch'd, 'twill serve.

Sir Nathaniel

Videsne quis venit?

Holofernes

Video, et gaudeo.

Enter Don Adriano de Armado, Moth, and Costard

Don Adriano de Armado

Chirrah!

To Moth

Holofernes

Quare chirrah, not sirrah?

Don Adriano de Armado

Men of peace, well encountered.

Holofernes

Most military sir, salutation.

Moth

Aside to Costard

They have been at a great feast of languages, and stolen the scraps.

Costard

O, they have lived long on the alms-basket of words. I marvel thy master hath not eaten thee for a word; for thou art not so long by the head as honorificabilitudinitatibus: thou art easier swallowed than a flap-dragon.

Moth

Peace! the peal begins.

Don Adriano de Armado

To Holofernes

Monsieur, are you not lettered?

Moth

Yes, yes; he teaches boys the hornbook. What is a, b, spelt backward, with the horn on his head?

Holofernes

Ba, pueritia, with a horn added.

Moth

Ba, most silly sheep with a horn. You hear his learning.

Holofernes

Quis, quis, thou consonant?

Moth

The third of the five vowels, if you repeat them; or the fifth, if I.

Holofernes

I will repeat them,—a, e, i,—

Moth

The sheep: the other two concludes it,—o, u.

Don Adriano de Armado

Now, by the salt wave of the Mediterraneum, a sweet touch, a quick venue of wit! snip, snap, quick and home! it rejoiceth my intellect: true wit!

Moth

Offered by a child to an old man; which is wit-old.

Holofernes

What is the figure? what is the figure?

Moth

Horns.

Holofernes

Thou disputest like an infant: go, whip thy gig.

Moth

Lend me your horn to make one, and I will whip about your infamy circum circa,—a gig of a cuckold's horn.

Costard

An I had but one penny in the world, thou shouldst have it to buy gingerbread: hold, there is the very remuneration I had of thy master, thou halfpenny purse of wit, thou pigeon-egg of discretion. O, an the heavens were so pleased that thou wert but my bastard, what a joyful father wouldst thou make me! Go to; thou hast it ad dunghill, at the fingers' ends, as they say.

Holofernes

O, I smell false Latin; dunghill for unguem.

Don Adriano de Armado

Arts-man, preambulate, we will be singled from the barbarous. Do you not educate youth at the charge-house on the top of the mountain?

Holofernes

Or mons, the hill.

Don Adriano de Armado

At your sweet pleasure, for the mountain.

Holofernes

I do, sans question.

Don Adriano de Armado

Sir, it is the king's most sweet pleasure and affection to congratulate the princess at her pavilion in the posteriors of this day, which the rude multitude call the afternoon.

Holofernes

The posterior of the day, most generous sir, is liable, congruent and measurable for the afternoon: the word is well culled, chose, sweet and apt, I do assure you, sir, I do assure.

Don Adriano de Armado

Sir, the king is a noble gentleman, and my familiar, I do assure ye, very good friend: for what is inward between us, let it pass. I do beseech thee, remember thy courtesy; I beseech thee, apparel thy head: and among other important and most serious designs, and of great import indeed, too, but let that pass: for I must tell thee, it will please his grace, by the world, sometime to lean upon my poor shoulder, and with his royal finger, thus, dally with my excrement, with my mustachio; but, sweet heart, let that pass. By the world, I recount no fable: some certain special honours it pleaseth his greatness to impart to Armado, a soldier, a man of travel, that hath seen the world; but let that pass. The very all of all is,—but, sweet heart, I do implore secrecy,—that the king would have me present the princess, sweet chuck, with some delightful ostentation, or show, or pageant, or antique, or firework. Now, understanding that the curate and your sweet self are good at such eruptions and sudden breaking out of mirth, as it were, I have acquainted you withal, to the end to crave your assistance.

Holofernes

Sir, you shall present before her the Nine Worthies. Sir, as concerning some entertainment of time, some show in the posterior of this day, to be rendered by our assistants, at the king's command, and this most gallant, illustrate, and learned gentleman, before the princess; I say none so fit as to present the Nine Worthies.

Sir Nathaniel

Where will you find men worthy enough to present them?

Holofernes

Joshua, yourself; myself and this gallant gentleman, Judas Maccabaeus; this swain, because of his great limb or joint, shall pass Pompey the Great; the page, Hercules,—

Don Adriano de Armado

Pardon, sir; error: he is not quantity enough for that Worthy's thumb: he is not so big as the end of his club.

Holofernes

Shall I have audience? he shall present Hercules in minority: his enter and exit shall be strangling a snake; and I will have an apology for that purpose.

Moth

An excellent device! so, if any of the audience hiss, you may cry 'Well done, Hercules! now thou crushest the snake!' that is the way to make an offence gracious, though few have the grace to do it.

Don Adriano de Armado

For the rest of the Worthies?—

Holofernes

I will play three myself.

Moth

Thrice-worthy gentleman!

Don Adriano de Armado

Shall I tell you a thing?

Holofernes

We attend.

Don Adriano de Armado

We will have, if this fadge not, an antique. I beseech you, follow.

Holofernes

Via, goodman Dull! thou hast spoken no word all this while.

Dull

Nor understood none neither, sir.

Holofernes

Allons! we will employ thee.

Dull

I'll make one in a dance, or so; or I will play
On the tabour to the Worthies, and let them dance the hay.

Holofernes

Most dull, honest Dull! To our sport, away!

Exeunt