Gary Taylor, John Jowett, Terri Bourus, and Gabriel Egan (eds), The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition

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pg 14421.1Sc. 1

Editor’s NoteEnter Leonato (governor of Messina), [reading a paper,] Innogen (his wife), Hero (his daughter), and Beatrice (his niece), with a Messenger
Editor’s Note Link 1

leonato I learn in this letter, that Don Pedro of Aragon comes this Editor’s Note2night to Messina.

Editor’s Note3

messenger He is very near by this. He was not three leagues off when I 4left him.

Editor’s Note5

leonato How many gentlemen have you lost in this action?

Editor’s Note6

messenger But few of any sort, and none of name.

Editor’s Note7

leonato A victory is twice itself when the achiever brings home full 8numbers. I find here that Don Pedro hath bestowed much honour on a Editor’s Note9young Florentine called Claudio.

Editor’s Note10

messenger Much deserved on his part, and equally remembered by Editor’s Note11Don Pedro. He hath borne himself beyond the promise of his age, doing Editor’s Note12in the figure of a lamb the feats of a lion. He hath indeed better bettered 13expectation than you must expect of me to tell you how.

14

leonato He hath an uncle here in Messina will be very much glad of it.

15

messenger I have already delivered him letters, and there appears 16much joy in him—even so much, that joy could not show itself modest Editor’s Note17enough without a badge of bitterness.

18

leonato Did he break out into tears?

19

messenger In great measure.

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leonato A kind overflow of kindness, there are no faces truer than 21those that are so washed. How much better is it to weep at joy than to joy 22at weeping!

Editor’s Note23

beatrice I pray you, is Signor Montanto returned from the wars, or no?

24

messenger I know none of that name, lady. There was none such in the Editor’s Note25army of any sort.

26

leonato What is he that you ask for, niece?

Editor’s Note27

hero My cousin means Signor Benedick of Padua.

Editor’s Note28

messenger O, he's returned, and as pleasant as ever he was.

Editor’s Note29

beatrice He set up his bills here in Messina, and challenged Cupid at Editor’s Note30the flight; and my uncle's fool, reading the challenge, subscribed for pg 1443Editor’s Note31Cupid and challenged him at the bird-bolt. I pray you, how many hath Editor’s Note32he killed and eaten in these wars? But how many hath he killed? For 33indeed I promised to eat all of his killing.

Editor’s Note34

leonato Faith, niece, you tax Signor Benedick too much. But he'll be Editor’s Note35meet with you, I doubt it not.

36

messenger He hath done good service, lady, in these wars.

Editor’s Note37

beatrice You had musty victual, and he hath holp to eat it. He is a very Editor’s Note38valiant trencherman, he hath an excellent stomach.

39

messenger And a good soldier too, lady.

Editor’s Note40

beatrice And a good soldier to a lady, but what is he to a lord?

41

messenger A lord to a lord, a man to a man, stuffed with all honourable 42virtues.

Editor’s Note43

beatrice It is so indeed, he is no less than a stuffed man, but for the Editor’s Note44stuffing—well, we are all mortal.

45

leonato You must not, sir, mistake my niece. There is a kind of merry 46war betwixt Signor Benedick and her. They never meet but there's a 47skirmish of wit between them.

48

beatrice Alas, he gets nothing by that. In our last conflict, four of his Editor’s Note49five wits went halting off, and now is the whole man governed with one, Editor’s Note50so that if he have wit enough to keep himself warm, let him bear it for Editor’s Note51a difference between himself and his horse, for it is all the wealth that he Editor’s Note Link 52hath left, to be known a reasonable creature. Who is his companion Editor’s Note53now? He hath every month a new sworn brother.

54

messenger Is't possible?

Editor’s Note55

beatrice Very easily possible: he wears his faith but as the fashion of Editor’s Note56his hat, it ever changes with the next block.

Editor’s Note57

messenger I see, lady, the gentleman is not in your books.

Editor’s Note58

beatrice No. An he were, I would burn my study. But I pray you, who Editor’s Note59is his companion? Is there no young squarer now that will make a voyage 60with him to the devil?

61

messenger He is most in the company of the right noble Claudio.

pg 1444 62

beatrice O Lord, he will hang upon him like a disease. He is sooner 63caught than the pestilence, and the taker runs presently mad. God Editor’s Note64help the noble Claudio. If he have caught the Benedick, it will cost him Editor’s Note65a thousand pound ere a be cured.

Editor’s Note66

messenger I will hold friends with you, lady.

67

beatrice Do, good friend.

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leonato You will never run mad, niece.

69

beatrice No, not till a hot January.

Editor’s Note70

messenger Don Pedro is approached.

Editor’s NoteEnter Don Pedro [the Prince], Claudio, Benedick, Balthasar and John Editor’s Notethe bastard.
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prince Good Signor Leonato, are you come to meet your trouble? The Editor’s Note72fashion of the world is to avoid cost, and you encounter it.

Editor’s Note73

leonato Never came trouble to my house in the likeness of your grace; 74for trouble being gone, comfort should remain, but when you depart 75from me, sorrow abides and happiness takes his leave.

Editor’s Note76

prince You embrace your charge too willingly. I think this is your daughter.

77

leonato Her mother hath many times told me so.

78

benedick Were you in doubt, sir, that you asked her?

Editor’s Note79

leonato Signor Benedick, no, for then were you a child.

Editor’s Note80

prince You have it full, Benedick. We may guess by this what you are, Editor’s Note Link 81being a man. Truly, the lady fathers herself. Be happy, lady, for you are 82like an honourable father.

Editor’s Note83

benedick If Signor Leonato be her father, she would not have his head 84on her shoulders for all Messina, as like him as she is.

85

beatrice I wonder that you will still be talking, Signor Benedick. Editor’s Note86Nobody marks you.

Editor’s Note87

benedick What, my dear Lady Disdain! Are you yet living?

Editor’s Note88

beatrice Is it possible disdain should die while she hath such meet 89food to feed it as Signor Benedick? Courtesy itself must convert to 90disdain if you come in her presence.

91

benedick Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain I am loved of all Editor’s Note92ladies, only you excepted. And I would I could find in my heart that I 93had not a hard heart, for truly I love none.

Editor’s Note94

beatrice A dear happiness to women: they would else have been 95troubled with a pernicious suitor. I thank God and my cold blood I am pg 1445Editor’s Note96of your humour for that. I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than 97a man swear he loves me.

Editor’s Note98

benedick God keep your ladyship still in that mind! So some gentleman Editor’s Note99or other shall scape a predestinate scratched face.

Editor’s Note100

beatrice Scratching could not make it worse, an 'twere such a face as 101yours were.

Editor’s Note102

benedick Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher.

Editor’s Note103

beatrice A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours.

Editor’s Note104

benedick I would my horse had the speed of your tongue, and so good Editor’s Note105a continuer. But keep your way, o' God's name, I have done.

Editor’s Note106

beatrice You always end with a jade's trick. I know you of old.

107

prince That is the sum of all, Leonato. Signor Claudio and Signor 108Benedick, my dear friend Leonato hath invited you all. I tell him we Editor’s Note109shall stay here, at the least a month, and he heartily prays some occasion 110may detain us longer. I dare swear he is no hypocrite, but prays from 111his heart.

Editor’s Note112

leonato If you swear, my lord, you shall not be forsworn. [To John] Let Editor’s Note113me bid you welcome, my lord. Being reconciled to the Prince your 114brother, I owe you all duty.

115

john I thank you. I am not of many words, but I thank you.

Link 116

leonato [to Prince] Please it your grace lead on?

117

prince Your hand, Leonato. We will go together.

Exeunt. Manent Benedick and Claudio
Editor’s Note118

claudio Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of Signor Leonato?

119

benedick I noted her not, but I looked on her.

120

claudio Is she not a modest young lady?

121

benedick Do you question me as an honest man should do, for my Editor’s Note122simple true judgement, or would you have me speak after my custom, Editor’s Note123as being a professed tyrant to their sex?

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claudio No, I pray thee speak in sober judgement.

Editor’s Note125

benedick Why, i'faith, methinks she's too low for a high praise, too Editor’s Note126brown for a fair praise, and too little for a great praise. Only this Editor’s Note127commendation I can afford her, that were she other than she is, she were 128unhandsome, and being no other but as she is, I do not like her.

129

claudio Thou thinkest I am in sport. I pray thee tell me truly how thou 130likest her.

131

benedick Would you buy her, that you enquire after her?

pg 1446 132

claudio Can the world buy such a jewel?

Editor’s Note133

benedick Yea, and a case to put it in, too. But speak you this with a sad Editor’s Note134brow, or do you play the flouting jack, to tell us Cupid is a good hare-Editor’s Note135finder and Vulcan a rare carpenter? Come, in what key shall a man take Editor’s Note136you to go in the song?

137

claudio In mine eye, she is the sweetest lady that ever I looked on.

Editor’s Note138

benedick I can see yet without spectacles, and I see no such matter. Editor’s Note139There's her cousin, an she were not possessed with a fury, exceeds her 140as much in beauty as the first of May doth the last of December. But I 141hope you have no intent to turn husband, have you?

Editor’s Note142

claudio I would scarce trust myself, though I had sworn the contrary, 143if Hero would be my wife.

Editor’s Note144

benedick Is't come to this? In faith, hath not the world one man but he Editor’s Note145will wear his cap with suspicion? Shall I never see a bachelor of three-Editor’s Note146score again? Go to, i'faith, an thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a Editor’s Note147yoke, wear the print of it, and sigh away Sundays. Look, Don Pedro is 148returned to seek you.

Enter Don Pedro [the Prince]
149

prince What secret hath held you here that you followed not to 150Leonato's?

Editor’s Note151

benedick I would your grace would constrain me to tell.

Editor’s Note152

prince I charge thee on thy allegiance.

153

benedick You hear, Count Claudio? I can be secret as a dumb man, I 154would have you think so. But on my allegiance, mark you this, on my 155allegiance! [To the Prince] He is in love. With who? Now that is your Editor’s Note156grace's part. Mark how short his answer is: with Hero, Leonato's short 157daughter.

Editor’s Note158

claudio If this were so, so were it uttered.

Editor’s Note159

benedick Like the old tale, my lord—it is not so, nor 'twas not so, but 160indeed, God forbid it should be so.

Editor’s Note161

claudio If my passion change not shortly, God forbid it should be Editor’s Note162otherwise.

pg 1447 163

prince Amen, if you love her, for the lady is very well worthy.

Editor’s Note164

claudio You speak this to fetch me in, my lord.

Editor’s Note165

prince By my troth, I speak my thought.

166

claudio And in faith, my lord, I spoke mine.

Editor’s Note167

benedick And by my two faiths and troths, my lord, I spoke mine.

168

claudio That I love her, I feel.

169

prince That she is worthy, I know.

170

benedick That I neither feel how she should be loved nor know how she 171should be worthy is the opinion that fire cannot melt out of me. I will 172die in it at the stake.

Editor’s Note173

prince Thou wast ever an obstinate heretic in the despite of beauty.

Editor’s Note174

claudio And never could maintain his part but in the force of his will.

175

benedick That a woman conceived me, I thank her. That she brought 176me up, I likewise give her most humble thanks. But that I will have a Editor’s Note177recheat winded in my forehead, or hang my bugle in an invisible baldrick, 178all women shall pardon me. Because I will not do them the wrong to Editor’s Note179mistrust any, I will do myself the right to trust none. And the fine is Editor’s Note Link 180(for the which I may go the finer), I will live a bachelor.

181

prince I shall see thee ere I die look pale with love.

182

benedick With anger, with sickness, or with hunger, my lord; not with Editor’s Note183love. Prove that ever I lose more blood with love than I will get again Editor’s Note184with drinking, pick out mine eyes with a ballad-maker's pen and hang Editor’s Note185me up at the door of a brothel house for the sign of blind Cupid.

186

prince Well, if ever thou dost fall from this faith, thou wilt prove a Editor’s Note187notable argument.

Editor’s Note188

benedick If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat, and shoot at me, and he Editor’s Note189that hits me, let him be clapped on the shoulder and called Adam.

Editor’s Note190

prince Well, as time shall try.

Editor’s Note191'In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke'.

192

benedick The savage bull may, but if ever the sensible Benedick bear it, Editor’s Note193pluck off the bull's horns, and set them in my forehead, and let me be pg 1448Editor’s Note194vilely painted, and in such great letters as they write, 'Here is good horse 195to hire' let them signify under my sign, 'Here you may see Benedick, 196the married man'.

Editor’s Note197

claudio If this should ever happen, thou wouldst be horn-mad.

Editor’s Note198

prince Nay, if Cupid have not spent all his quiver in Venice thou wilt Editor’s Note199quake for this shortly.

Editor’s Note200

benedick I look for an earthquake too, then.

Editor’s Note201

prince Well, you will temporize with the hours. In the mean time, Editor’s Note202good Signor Benedick, repair to Leonato's, commend me to him, and Editor’s Note203tell him I will not fail him at supper, for indeed he hath made great 204preparation.

Editor’s Note205

benedick I have almost matter enough in me for such an embassage. Editor’s Note206And so I commit you—

Editor’s Note207

claudio To the tuition of God, from my house if I had it—

208

prince The sixth of July:

209Your loving friend,

210Benedick.

211

benedick Nay, mock not, mock not. The body of your discourse is Editor’s Note212sometime guarded with fragments, and the guards are but slightly Editor’s Note Link 213basted on neither. Ere you flout old ends any further, examine your 214conscience. And so I leave you.

Exit
Editor’s Note215

claudio My liege, your highness now may do me good.

Editor’s Note216

prince My love is thine to teach. Teach it but how,

Editor’s Note217And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn

218Any hard lesson that may do thee good.

219

claudio Hath Leonato any son, my lord?

220

prince No child but Hero. She's his only heir.

Editor’s Note221Dost thou affect her, Claudio?

claudio O, my lord,

Editor’s Note222When you went onward on this ended action,

223I looked upon her with a soldier's eye,

pg 1449224That liked, but had a rougher task in hand

Editor’s Note225Than to drive liking to the name of love.

Editor’s Note226But now I am returned, and that war-thoughts

Editor’s Note227Have left their places vacant, in their rooms

228Come thronging soft and delicate desires,

Editor’s Note229All prompting me how fair young Hero is,

230Saying I liked her ere I went to wars.

Editor’s Note231

prince Thou wilt be like a lover presently,

Editor’s Note232And tire the hearer with a book of words.

233If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it,

Editor’s Note234And I will break with her, and with her father,

Editor’s Note235And thou shalt have her. Was't not to this end

236That thou began'st to twist so fine a story?

Editor’s Note237

claudio How sweetly you do minister to love,

Editor’s Note238That know love's grief by his complexïon!

239But lest my liking might too sudden seem,

Editor’s Note240I would have salved it with a longer treatise.

Editor’s Note241

prince What need the bridge much broader than the flood?

Editor’s Note242The fairest grant is the necessity.

Editor’s Note243Look what will serve is fit. 'Tis once: thou lovest,

Editor’s Note244And I will fit thee with the remedy.

245I know we shall have revelling tonight.

Editor’s Note246I will assume thy part in some disguise,

247And tell fair Hero I am Claudio,

Editor’s Note Link 248And in her bosom I'll unclasp my heart,

249And take her hearing prisoner with the force

250And strong encounter of my amorous tale.

251Then after to her father will I break,

252And the conclusion is, she shall be thine.

Editor’s Note253In practice let us put it presently.

Exeunt

Notes Settings

Notes

Editor’s Note
1.1.0 Hero for Shakespeare's audience the name would have immediately recalled the Greek legend famously retold in Marlowe's Hero and Leander (printed in 1598), in which Hero renounced her duties as a priestess of Venus for her lover, Leander, who drowned while swimming the Hellespont to be with her; she in turn drowned herself, and is therefore a somewhat complicated, contradictory figure associated with both chastity and sensual love (forgoing one for the other), as well as both inconstancy and its extreme opposite
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1.1.0 Beatrice from the Latin beatrix meaning 'one who blesses'; Benedick somewhat reciprocally derives from benedictus meaning 'blessed'
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1.1.0 Innogen Few known performances have staged this 'ghost' character. In one production, Innogen was mute and used sign language to communicate.
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1.1.1 Aragon region in north-west Spain
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1.1.1 leonato Interpretations of Leonato range from a powerful governor with a lavish costume and air of nobility to a doddering, good-natured rural gentleman with a simple costume and friendly countenance.
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1.1.2 Messina port city in north-east Sicily
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1.1.3 three leagues about 9 miles
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1.1.5 action battle
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1.1.6 sort high social rank
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1.1.6 name reputation; noble family
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1.1.7 achiever winner
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1.1.9 Florentine native of Florence, in modern-day central Italy, a powerful ducal city-state at the time of the play's composition
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1.1.10 remembered rewarded
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1.1.11 borne carried
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1.1.11 promise … age i.e. what is expected of one his age
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1.1.12 figure form; image
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1.1.12 bettered exceeded
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1.1.17–8 badge … bitterness servants wore badges to show themselves inferior to their masters; the uncle's tears show his modesty in honouring, but not sharing in, his nephew's glory
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1.1.20 kind natural (because of their familial relationship); humane
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1.1.23 Montanto fencing term meaning 'upthrust', variously connoting the witty banter of braggart fencers; Benedick as more braggart than soldier; sexual innuendo, both in the phallic image of the thrusting sword and the phonetic wordplay of 'mount onto'
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1.1.23 beatrice Beatrice's delivery may range from playful to caustic. Sometimes she wears masculine clothing or relatively simple women's wear compared to the lavish costumes of the other females.
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1.1.25 sort (social) rank
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1.1.27 Benedick see note to 1.1.0.2
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1.1.27 Padua city in north-east Italy, famous for its university; compare Taming of the Shrew 3.1–3
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1.1.28 pleasant good-humoured; witty (facetious)
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1.1.29 bills advertisements
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1.1.30 flight i.e. archery contest, though specifically 'flight' arrows were light and well-feathered to cover long distances
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1.1.30 fool house jester; possibly Beatrice herself
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1.1.30 subscribed for signed up in the name of
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1.1.31 bird-bolt short, blunt-headed arrow for shooting birds, used by children (Cupid, most famously) or unskilled archers (such as the 'fool'); the meaning is cryptic, but suggests either Benedick's attempts to seem an expert wooer are being mocked, or possibly Beatrice's inexpert attempts to woo him; however, Cupid's arrows are usually depicted as weak and blunt precisely to suggest the ease with which the heart may be pierced (as at Love's Labour's Lost 4.3.17–18)
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1.1.32 killed … eaten i.e. none at all (common send-up of those who pretend ferocity and valour); compare Henry V 3.7.75
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1.1.34 Faith in faith (truly)
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1.1.34 tax criticize
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1.1.35 meet even (quits)
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1.1.37 musty victual stale rations (such as soldiers at war would be forced to eat)
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1.1.37 holp helped
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1.1.38 valiant hearty; brave
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1.1.38 trencherman eater (a 'trencher' was a kind of wooden plate); i.e. instead of killing (and eating) enemies, his 'service' in the war was in taking up rations
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1.1.38 stomach appetite; courage
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1.1.40 to compared to; faced with
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1.1.43 stuffed man man fed full (continuing the eating theme); scarecrow; possible sexual wordplay—'stuffed' could mean both sexually penetrated and pregnant
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1.1.44 stuffing substance (stuff of which he is made); sex
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1.1.49 five wits faculties of the mind (common wit, imagination, fantasy, judgement, memory); five senses
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1.1.49 halting limping
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1.1.50 wit good sense
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1.1.50 bear show
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1.1.51 difference distinguishing feature (term from heraldry)
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1.1.52 reasonable capable of reason (his only advantage over the horse)
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1.1.53 sworn brother comrade-in-arms (mocking as superficial the military male bonding of swearing brotherly loyalty in battle)
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1.1.55 wears shows (puts on); carries (upholds)
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1.1.55 faith fidelity; oath of loyalty
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1.1.55 but as merely as he does
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1.1.56 ever constantly
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1.1.56 block style (the mould on which the hat is made)
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1.1.57 books good books
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1.1.58 An if
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1.1.59 squarer brawler
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1.1.64 pestilence plague
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1.1.64 taker victim
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1.1.64 runs becomes (is made)
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1.1.64 presently immediately
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1.1.65–6 thousand pound i.e. a huge number of visits by the doctor (one of which would cost about 10 shillings), though the 'hang upon' may also imply that Benedick leeches money; either way, he is portrayed as very hard to get rid of
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1.1.65 ere a before he
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1.1.66 hold remain
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1.1.68 run mad i.e. by catching 'the Benedick'
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1.1.70 is approached has arrived
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1.1.70.1–2 Enter … bastard The Prince's party may appear for the first time in military uniforms appropriate to the historical setting of a particular performance.
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1.1.70.1 john Don John is sometimes portrayed as a man who literally struggles to speak, sometimes stammering in his delivery of lines. He may be visually linked to the Prince by way of costume or casting.
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1.1.70.2 bastard Don John is an illegitimate child (see 4.1.185), thought of as naturally envious and covetous
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1.1.71 trouble burden, i.e. guests
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1.1.72 fashion custom
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1.1.72 cost expense (of entertaining the Prince and his men)
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1.1.72 encounter go towards
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1.1.73 likeness appearance
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1.1.76 charge expense; responsibility
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1.1.79 for … child i.e. too young to seduce his wife; implies that Benedick is the only one he would suspect
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1.1.80 You … full you are fully answered, i.e. there's no reply to that
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1.1.80 what … are i.e. a womanizer
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1.1.81–2 fathers herself i.e. shows who her father is through her resemblance to him
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1.1.83 his head i.e. because he is a white-bearded old man, though there is a possible secondary reference to cuckold's horns, which were said to grow on the heads of men with unfaithful wives
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1.1.86 marks takes notice of
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1.1.87 yet still
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1.1.88 meet suitable (puns on 'meat')
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1.1.92 would wish
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1.1.94 dear happiness precious good fortune
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1.1.94 else otherwise
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1.1.96 humour disposition
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1.1.98 still always
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1.1.99 scape escape
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1.1.99 predestinate inescapable
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1.1.100 an 'twere if it were
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1.1.102 rare exceptional
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1.1.102 parrot-teacher i.e. one who repeats themselves over and over to teach a parrot to talk
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1.1.103–4 A … yours i.e. a talking bird is better than a dumb (mute) beast
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1.1.104–5 so … continuer i.e. could go on as long
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1.1.105 keep … way carry on
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1.1.105 have am
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1.1.106 jade worn-out horse
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1.1.106 jade's trick refusing to budge, like an old, stubborn horse; throwing the rider, like an old crafty horse; Benedick is denying her the chance to reply by bowing out of the game
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1.1.109 occasion matter
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1.1.112 forsworn proved false
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1.1.113 Being now you are
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1.1.118 note notice; pay special attention to (Benedick picks up on this meaning); the first of many uses of this word, which had several meanings for Shakespeare's audience; see note to Title.
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1.1.118 claudio Claudio is often cast as very young, in particular because of his desire to win the approval of the Prince and Benedick
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1.1.122 after … custom in my customary manner
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1.1.123 professed well-known
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1.1.125 low short
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1.1.125 high lavish, playing on 'tall'
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1.1.126 brown brown-haired/skinned
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1.1.126 fair generous; flattering; of her beauty, playing on 'blonde/pale'
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1.1.127 afford give (spare)
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1.1.133 case jewel-case, playing on sense of 'vagina'; 'jewel' also connoted 'virginity'
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1.1.133–4 with … brow i.e. seriously
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1.1.134 flouting jack joking rogue
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1.1.134 hare-finder Cupid was blind, and so unlikely to spot a hare in a hunt.
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1.1.135 Vulcan … carpenter Vulcan was the Roman god of fire, depicted as a blacksmith, therefore an unlikely woodworker
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1.1.135 rare excellent
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1.1.136 go join (harmonize)
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1.1.138 yet still
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1.1.139 an if
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1.1.139 with by
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1.1.139 fury Medusa-like avenging spirit in Greek mythology, i.e. a fierce temper
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1.1.142 scarce scarcely
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1.1.142 though even if
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1.1.142 the contrary i.e. not to marry
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1.1.144–5 but … will i.e. who will not
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1.1.145 wear … suspicion be suspected of trying to conceal a cuckold's horns simply for wearing a hat (because he got married in the first place)
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1.1.145 three-score sixty, i.e. one who has lived his life unmarried
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1.1.146 Go to away with you (expression of impatience)
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1.1.147 yoke wooden bar used to join oxen at the neck to pull ploughs etc., and symbolic of marriage; also a restraint for prisoners (Shakespeare elsewhere uses the word figuratively to mean a state of subjection)
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1.1.147 print imprint (because it is both heavy and restrictive)
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1.1.147 sigh … Sundays in dull domesticity with one's wife
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1.1.151 constrain force
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1.1.152 charge command
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1.1.152 allegiance sworn loyalty (to the prince)
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1.1.156 part i.e. his line (to ask 'with who?')
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1.1.156 Mark note
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1.1.158 If … uttered if this were true, that's how it might be told
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1.1.159–60 it … so refers to a folk-tale in which a robber-bridegroom speaks this refrain when his crimes are finally discovered by his wife
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1.1.161 shortly soon, but playing on the various senses of 'short' at 1.1.156
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1.1.162 otherwise i.e. other than that he loves her
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1.1.164 fetch … in trick me
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1.1.165 troth truth, i.e. upon my word
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1.1.167 two … troths i.e. because he owes loyalty to both Claudio and the Prince
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1.1.173 heretic picks up on the image of burning at the stake in the previous line; Benedick's refusal to acknowledge women's beauty and worth is parodied as akin to a religious heretic refusing the true faith even while being tortured to death
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1.1.173 despite scorn
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1.1.174 maintain justify
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1.1.177 recheat hunting horn or the call made through it; either way, another reference to a cuckold's horns
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1.1.177 winded blown
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1.1.177 bugle … baldrick complex pun; 'bugle' is another (cuckold's) horn reference, with secondary innuendo on 'penis'; a 'baldrick' was a shoulder belt worn across the body to carry a horn or sword, suggestive of a vagina, more so because it is 'invisible' or concealed; on one level he therefore means he has no intention of having sex, leading him to marry and end up a cuckold; on another he is recasting the image at 1.1.145 about having to conceal his cuckold's horn somehow
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1.1.179 fine conclusion
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1.1.180 for … go as a result of which I will be
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1.1.180 finer better dressed (without the cost of a wife)
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1.1.183 Prove if you prove
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1.1.183–4 lose … drinking love melancholy was thought to draw blood away from the heart; drinking wine was thought to restore the blood flow
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1.1.184 ballad-maker's pen many ballads were about love
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1.1.184–6 hang … Cupid brothels, like taverns, had signs outside them; Benedick's image of himself hanging up with his eyes plucked out is a grotesque mockery of love imagery; he is also referencing the blindness caused by venereal disease, as well as suggesting that love is reducible to the activities of a brothel
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1.1.185 for in place of
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1.1.187 argument topic of conversation
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1.1.188 hang … cat cats suspended in wicker baskets or 'bottles' were used as targets for archers; Benedick continues to subvert Cupid imagery (see 1.1.184–5).
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1.1.189 Adam Adam Bell, an outlaw famed in ballads as a great archer
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1.1.190 try tell
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1.1.191–2 In … yoke proverbial (compare 1.1.146–7); in addition to the idea of a wild, horny masculine spirit being tamed, the bull's horns suggest cuckoldry
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1.1.193–4 pluck … forehead another cuckold reference
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1.1.194–7 vilely … man carrying on from the imagery of the brothel sign, sideshows, attractions, or services for sale were commonly advertised using crudely painted images with descriptions in large, eye-catching lettering
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1.1.197–8 horn-mad enraged, like a charging beast; cuckolding was seen as provoking similar fury in husbands
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1.1.198–9 spent … Venice i.e. shot all his arrows in Venice, a city notorious for sexual licence and prostitution (the image also suggests ejaculation); the Prince, despite having played the courtly lover to Benedick's boor, is similarly reductive about love
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1.1.199 quake i.e. under the effects of love, also playing on 'quiver'
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1.1.200 look for await; expect
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1.1.200 earthquake i.e. a rare event considered a portent of momentous temporal change (compare Macbeth 2.3.46–55); continues to play on 'quiver' and 'quake'
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1.1.201 temporize … hours waste your time (precisely by avoiding decisions in order to stall for time); become more temperate (conform) in time; 'hours' also continues the misogynistic warp and weft of the conversation by playing on 'whores'
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1.1.202 repair make your way
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1.1.202 commend me convey my greetings
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1.1.203 fail him fail to attend
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1.1.205 matter capacity; sense
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1.1.205 embassage envoy's message (mock formality)
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1.1.206 commit commend—Benedick is using it as a general form of leave-taking, though it could be a more formal commendation by prayer, which Claudio picks up on; possibly picking up on the sense of entrust with a task (as he has been)
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1.1.207 tuition protection
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1.1.207–11 To … Benedick they return the mock formality of his leave-taking by using conventional endings to letters; the 'sixth of July' was a quarter day when rents were paid, as well as being the old midsummer day (associated with strange behaviour)
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1.1.212 sometime sometimes
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1.1.212 guarded with ornamented/decked out in (tailoring metaphor)
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1.1.212 fragments odd rags, i.e. clichés
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1.1.212 but only
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1.1.212–13 slightly basted loosely stitched
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1.1.213 neither in any case
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1.1.213 Ere before
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1.1.213 flout mockingly recite
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1.1.213 old ends conventional endings (of letters); worn-out sayings
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1.1.215 do … good help me
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1.1.216 My … teach Some performances emphasize a potentially homosexual relationship and closeness between the Prince and Claudio.
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1.1.217 apt ready
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1.1.221 affect love
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1.1.222 went onward set out
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1.1.222 action military action
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1.1.225 drive push (convert)
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1.1.226 that now that
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1.1.227 places i.e. posts (military mindset)
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1.1.227 rooms places (domestic, civilian mindset)
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1.1.229 prompting reminding; persuading
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1.1.231 presently before long
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1.1.232 book … words lovers were associated both with prolixity and poetry about love
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1.1.234 break broach the matter
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1.1.235 end purpose
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1.1.237 minister to provide for; administer (a salve)
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1.1.238 complexïon appearance
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1.1.240 salved it accounted for
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1.1.240 treatise narrative (explanation)
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1.1.241 flood river
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1.1.242 grant gift (and the granting thereof)
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1.1.242 the necessity that which is needed
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1.1.243 Look what whatever
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1.1.243 serve suffice
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1.1.243 fit suitable
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1.1.243 once once and for all, i.e. settled
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1.1.244 fit provide
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1.1.246 part i.e. person
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1.1.248 in … bosom i.e. to her privately
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1.1.248 unclasp open (like a book fastened with clasps)
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1.1.253 presently immediately
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