If any man doubt that, let him put me to my purgation.
I have trod a measure, I have flatt’red a lady, I have been politic with my friend, smooth with mine enemy, I have undone three tailors, I have had four quarrels, and like to have fought one. Faith, we met, and found the quarrel was upon the seventh cause. I press in here, sir, amongst the rest of the country copulatives, to swear and to forswear, according as marriage binds and blood breaks. A poor virgin, sir, an ill-favor’d thing, sir, but mine own; a poor humor of mine, sir, to take that that no man else will. Rich honesty dwells like a miser, sir, in a poor house, as your pearl in your foul oyster. According to the fool’s bolt, sir, and such dulcet diseases. Upon a lie seven times remov’d (bear your body more seeming, Audrey), as thus, sir. I did dislike the cut of a certain courtier’s beard. He sent me word, if I said his beard was not cut well, he was in the mind it was: this is call’d the Retort Courteous. If I sent him word again, it was not well cut, he would send me word he cut it to please himself: this is call’d the Quip Modest. If again, it was not well cut, he disabled my judgment: this is call’d the Reply Churlish. If again, it was not well cut, he would answer I spake not true: this is call’d the Reproof Valiant. If again, it was not well cut, he would say I lie: this is call’d the Countercheck Quarrelsome; and so to Lie Circumstantial and the Lie Direct. I durst go no further than the Lie Circumstantial, nor he durst not give me the Lie Direct; and so we measur’d swords and parted. O sir, we quarrel in print, by the book—as you have books for good manners. I will name you the degrees. The first, the Retort Courteous; the second, the Quip Modest; the third, the Reply Churlish; the fourth, the Reproof Valiant; the fift, the Countercheck Quarrelsome; the sixt, the Lie with Circumstance; the seventh, the Lie Direct. All these you may avoid but the Lie Direct; and you may avoid that too, with an If. I knew when seven justices could not take up a quarrel, but when the parties were met themselves, one of them thought but of an If, as, “If you said so, then I said so”; and they shook hands and swore brothers. Your If is the only peacemaker; much virtue in If.