Act V - Act V, Scene 1
SCENE I. The King of Navarre's park.
[Enter HOLOFERNES, SIR NATHANIEL, and DULL.]
Satis quod sufficit.
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.
Novi hominem tanquam te: his humour is lofty, his
discourse peremptory, his tongue filed, his eye ambitious, his
gait majestical and his general behaviour vain, ridiculous, and
thrasonical. He is too picked, too spruce, too affected, too odd,
as it were, too peregrinate, as I may call it.
A most singular and choice epithet.
[Draws out his table-book.]
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 nebour, neigh
abbreviated ne. This is abhominable, which he
would call abominable,--it insinuateth me of insanie: anne
intelligis, domine? to make frantic, lunatic.
Laus Deo, bone intelligo.
Bone? bone for bene: Priscian a little scratch'd; 'twill serve.
[Enter ARMADO, MOTH, and COSTARD.]
Videsne quis venit?
Video, et gaudeo.
[To MOTH] Chirrah!
Quare chirrah, not sirrah?
Men of peace, well encountered.
Most military sir, salutation.
[Aside to COSTARD.] They have been at a great feast of
languages and stolen the scraps.
O! they have lived long on the alms-basket of words. I
marvel thy master hath not eaten thee for a word, for thou are
not so long by the head as honorificabilitudinitatibus; thou art
easier swallowed than a flap-dragon.
Peace! the peal begins.
[To HOLOFERNES.] Monsieur, are you not lettered?
Yes, yes; he teaches boys the hornbook. What is a, b, spelt
backward with the horn on his head?
Ba, pueritia, with a horn added.
Ba! most silly sheep with a horn. You hear his learning.
Quis, quis, thou consonant?
The third of the five vowels, if you repeat them; or the
fifth, if I.
I will repeat them,--a, e, i,--
The sheep; the other two concludes it,--o, u.
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!
Offered by a child to an old man; which is wit-old.
What is the figure? What is the figure?
Thou disputes like an infant; go, whip thy gig.
Lend me your horn to make one, and I will whip about your
infamy circum circa. A gig of a cuckold's horn.
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 half-penny 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.
O, I smell false Latin! 'dunghill' for unguem.
Arts-man, praeambula; we will be singled from the barbarous. Do
you not educate youth at the charge-house on the top of the
Or mons, the hill.
At your sweet pleasure, for the mountain.
I do, sans question.
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.
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.
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 courtsy; I beseech
thee, apparel thy head: and among other importunate 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 antic, 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.
Sir, you shall present before her the Nine Worthies. Sir
Nathaniel, as concerning some entertainment of time, some
show in the posterior of this day, to be rendered by our
assistance, 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.
Where will you find men worthy enough to present them?
Joshua, yourself; myself, Alexander; this gallant
gentleman, Judas Maccabaeus; this swain, because of his great
limb or joint, shall pass Pompey the Great; the page, Hercules,--
Pardon, sir; error: he is not quantity enough for that
Worthy's thumb; he is not so big as the end of his club.
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.
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
For the rest of the Worthies?--
I will play three myself.
Shall I tell you a thing?
We will have, if this fadge not, an antic. I beseech you,
Via, goodman Dull! Thou has spoken no word all this while.
Nor understood none neither, sir.
Allons! we will employ thee.
I'll make one in a dance, or so, or I will play on the tabor to
the Worthies, and let them dance the hay.
Most dull, honest Dull! To our sport, away.
— Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
Holofernes and Armado are indulging in archaisms and foreign-word importation. Holofemes mixes Latin ("Quare," meaning "why") and English, and Armado uses "Men of peace" as a euphemism for "civilians." Moth and Costard are attempting to understand this linguistic affliction in their own country way, saying that Holofernes and Armado have, like poor beggars, stolen what was left from a "feast of languages."