Enter Dogbery and his compartner with the watch.

Dog. Are you good men and true? Verg. Yea, or else it were pitty but they should suffer saluation body and soule

Dogb. Nay, that were a punishment too good for them, if they should haue any allegiance in them, being chosen for the Princes watch

Verges. Well, giue them their charge, neighbour Dogbery

Dog. First, who thinke you the most desartlesse man to be Constable

Watch.1. Hugh Ote-cake sir, or George Sea-coale, for they can write and reade

Dogb. Come hither neighbour Sea-coale, God hath blest you with a good name: to be a wel-fauoured man, is the gift of Fortune, but to write and reade, comes by Nature

Watch 2. Both which Master Constable Dogb. You haue: I knew it would be your answere: well, for your fauour sir, why giue God thankes, & make no boast of it, and for your writing and reading, let that appeare when there is no need of such vanity, you are thought heere to be the most senslesse and fit man for the Constable of the watch: therefore beare you the lanthorne: this is your charge: You shall comprehend all vagrom men, you are to bid any man stand in the Princes name

Watch 2. How if a will not stand? Dogb. Why then take no note of him, but let him go, and presently call the rest of the Watch together, and thanke God you are ridde of a knaue

Verges. If he will not stand when he is bidden, hee is none of the Princes subiects

Dogb. True, and they are to meddle with none but the Princes subiects: you shall also make no noise in the streetes: for, for the Watch to babble and talke, is most tollerable, and not to be indured

Watch. We will rather sleepe than talke, wee know what belongs to a Watch

Dog. Why you speake like an ancient and most quiet watchman, for I cannot see how sleeping should offend: only haue a care that your bills be not stolne: well, you are to call at all the Alehouses, and bid them that are drunke get them to bed

Watch. How if they will not? Dogb. Why then let them alone till they are sober, if they make you not then the better answere, you may say, they are not the men you tooke them for

Watch. Well sir, Dogb. If you meet a theefe, you may suspect him, by vertue of your office, to be no true man: and for such kinde of men, the lesse you meddle or make with them, why the more is for your honesty

Watch. If wee know him to be a thiefe, shall wee not lay hands on him

Dogb. Truly by your office you may, but I think they that touch pitch will be defil'd: the most peaceable way for you, if you doe take a theefe, is, to let him shew himselfe what he is, and steale out of your company

Ver. You haue bin alwaies cal'd a merciful ma[n] partner

Dog. Truely I would not hang a dog by my will, much more a man who hath anie honestie in him

Verges. If you heare a child crie in the night you must call to the nurse, and bid her still it

Watch. How if the nurse be asleepe and will not heare vs? Dog. Why then depart in peace, and let the childe wake her with crying, for the ewe that will not heare her Lambe when it baes, will neuer answere a calfe when he bleates

Verges. 'Tis verie true

Dog. This is the end of the charge: you constable are to present the Princes owne person, if you meete the Prince in the night, you may staie him

Verges. Nay birladie that I thinke a cannot

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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