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BEAT. No: an he were, I would burn my study. But, I pray you, who is his companion? Is there
books is to be in one's codicils or will, to be among friends set down for legacies. JOHNSON.
I rather think that the books alluded to, are memorandumbooks, like the visiting books of the present age. So, in Decker's Honest Whore, Part II. 1620:
"I am sure her name was in my table-book once."
Or, perhaps the allusion is to matriculation at the University. So, in Aristippus, or The Jovial Philosopher, 1630:
"You must be matriculated, and have your name recorded in Albo Academiæ."
Again: What have you enrolled him in albo? Have you fully admitted him into the society?-to be a member of the body academic?"
Again: "And if I be not entred, and have my name admitted into some of their books, let," &c.
And yet I think the following passage in The Maid's Revenge, by Shirley, 1639, will sufficiently support my first supposition:
"Pox of your compliment, you were best not write in her table-books."
It appears to have been anciently the custom to chronicle the small beer of every occurrence, whether literary or domestic, in table-books.
So, in the play last quoted :
"Devolve itself!-that word is not in my
"His name hath in her tables."
Again, in Acolastus, a comedy, 1540:
We weyl haunse thee, or set thy name into our felowship boke, with clappynge of handes," &c.
I know not exactly to what custom this last quoted passage refers, unless to the album; for just after, the same expression occurs again: that " from henceforthe thou may'st have a place worthy for thee in our whyte: from hence thou may'st have thy name written in our boke."
It should seem from the following passage in The Taming of a Shrew, that this phrase might have originated from the Herald's Office:
"A herald, Kate! oh, put me in thy books!”
After all, the following note in one of the Harleian MSS. No. 847, may be the best illustration:
no young squarer now, that will make a voyage with him to the devil?
MESS. He is most in the company of the right noble Claudio.
BEAT. O Lord! he will hang upon him like a disease: he is sooner caught than the pestilence, and the taker runs presently mad. God help the noble Claudio! if he have caught the Benedick, it will cost him a thousand pound ere he be cured. MESS. I will hold friends with you, lady.
BEAT. Do, good friend.
LEON. You will never run mad, niece.
BEAT. No, not till a hot January.
MESS. Don Pedro is approached.
"W. C. to Henry Fradsham, Gent. the owner of this book: "Some write their fantasies in verse
"In theire bookes where they friendshippe shewe,
"The great good will that they do owe," &c. STEevens. This phrase has not been exactly interpreted. To be in a man's books, originally meant to be in the list of his retainers. Sir John Mandeville tells us, alle the mynstrelles that comen before the great Chan ben witholden with him, as of his houshold, and entred in his bookes, as for his own men." FARMER.
A servant and a lover were in Cupid's Vocabulary, synonymous. Hence perhaps the phrase-to be in a person's books-was applied equally to the lover and the menial attendant.
That in all great families the names of the servants of the household were written in books kept for that purpose, appears from the following passage in A New Trick to Cheat the Devil, a comedy, 1639: "See, Master Treatwell, that his name be enrolled among my other servants. Let my steward receive such notice from you." "Let me be unroll'd, (says our poet's Autolycus) and my name be put in the book of virtue." MALONE.
There is a MS. of Lord Burleigh's, in the Marquis of Lansdowne's library, wherein, among many other household concerns, he has entered the names of all his servants, &c. DOUCE.
3 young SQUARER -] A squarer I take to be a cholerick, quarrelsome fellow, for in this sense Shakspeare uses the word to square. So, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream, it is said of Oberon and Titania, that they never meet but they square. So the sense may be, Is there no hot-blooded youth that will keep him company through all his mad pranks? JOHNSON.
Enter Don PEDRO, attended by BALTHAZAR and others, Don JOHN, CLAUDIO, and BENEDICK1.
D. PEDRO. Good signior Leonato, you are come to meet your trouble: the fashion of the world is to avoid cost, and you encounter it.
LEON. Never came trouble to my house in the likeness of your grace: for trouble being gone, comfort should remain; but, when you depart from me, sorrow abides, and happiness takes his leave.
D. PEDRO. You embrace your charge too willingly.—I think, this is your daughter.
LEON. Her mother hath many times told me so. BENE. Were you in doubt, sir, that you asked her ?
LEON. Signior Benedick, no; for then were you a child.
D. PEDRO. You have it full, Benedick: we may guess by this what you are, being a man. Truly, the lady fathers herself:-Be happy, lady! for you are like an honourable father.
BENE. If signior Leonato be her father, she would not have his head on her shoulders, for all Messina, as like him as she is.
BEAT. I wonder, that you will still be talking, signior Benedick; no body marks you.
* Quarto, are you come.
In the old copies: "Enter Don Pedro, Claudio, Benedicke, Balthasar, and John the bastard."
5 — your CHARGE-] That is, your burden, your incumbrance. JOHNSON.
Charge does not mean, as Dr. Johnson explains it, burden, incumbrance, but the person committed to your care.
in the relationship between guardian and ward.
So it is used DOUCE.
fathers herself:] This phrase is common in Dorsetshire :
“Jack fathers himself;" is like his father. STEEVens.
BENE. What, my dear lady Disdain! are you yet living?
BEAT. Is it possible, disdain should die, while she hath such meet food to feed it, as signior Benedick'? Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you come in her presence.
BENE. Then is courtesy a turn-coat :-But it is certain, I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted and I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart; for, truly, I love none.
BEAT. A dear happiness to women; they would else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I thank God, and my cold blood, I am of your humour for that; I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow, than a man swear he loves me.
BENE. God keep your ladyship still in that mind! so some gentleman or other shall 'scape a predestinate scratched face.
BEAT. Scratching could not make it worse, an 'twere such a face as yours were.
BENE. Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher.
BEAT. A bird of my tongue, is better than a beast of yours.
BENE. I would, my horse had the speed of your tongue and so good a continuer: But keep your way o' God's name; I have done.
BEAT. You always end with a jade's trick; I know you of old.
D. PEDRO. This is the sum of all: Leonato,signior Claudio, and signior Benedick,-my dear friend Leonato, hath invited you all. I tell him
7 Is it possible, DISDAIN should die, while she hath such meet food to feed it, as signior Benedick?] A kindred thought occurs in Coriolanus, Act II. Sc. I.:
"Our very priests must become mockers, if they encounter such ridiculous subjects as you are." STEEVENS.
we shall stay here at the least a month; and he heartily prays, some occasion may detain us longer: I dare swear he is no hypocrite, but prays from his heart.
LEON. If you swear, my lord, you shall not be forsworn.-Let me bid you welcome, my lord: being reconciled to the prince your brother, I owe you all duty.
D. JOHN. I thank you : I am not of many words, but I thank you.
LEON. Please it your grace lead on?
D. PEDRO. Your hand, Leonato; we will go together. [Exeunt all but BENEDICK and CLAUDIO. CLAUD. Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of signior Leonato ?
BENE. I noted her not; but I looked on her.
BENE. Do you question me, as an honest man should do, for my simple true judgment; or would you have me speak after my custom, as being a professed tyrant to their sex ?
CLAUD. No, I pray thee, speak in sober judg
BENE. Why, i'faith, methinks she is too low for a high praise, too brown for a fair praise, and too little for a great praise: only this commendation I can afford her; that were she other than she is, she were unhandsome; and being no other but as she is, I do not like her.
CLAUD. Thou thinkest, I am in sport; I pray thee, tell me truly how thou lik'st her.
BENE. Would you buy her, that you inquire after her?
CLAUD. Can the world buy such a jewel?
8 I thank you:] The poet has judiciously marked the gloominess of Don John's character, by making him averse to the common forms of civility. SIR J. HAWKINS.