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said to be a fatilain. I am trecreed not
said to be a flattering honest man, it must not be denied that I am a plain-dealing villain. I am trusted with a muzzle, and enfranchised with a clog; therefore I have decreed not to sing in my cage : if I had my mouth, I would bite; if I had my liberty, I would do my liking: in the meantime, let me be that I am, and seek not to alter me.
Con. Can you make no use of your discontent?
D. John. I* make all use of it, for I use it only. Who comes here? what news, Borachio?
Enter BORACHIO. BORA. I came yonder from a great supper; the prince, your brother, is royally entertained by Leonato; and I can give you intelligence of an intended marriage.
D. JOHN. Will it serve for any model to build mischief on? What is he for a foola that betroths himself to unquietness?
BORA. Marry, it is your brother's right hand.
D. JOHN. A proper squire! And who, and who? which way looks he?
Bora. Marry, on Hero, the daughter and heir of Leonato.
BORA. Being entertained for a perfumer, as I was smoking a musty room,(5) comes me the prince and Claudio, hand in hand, in sad conference: I whipt met behind the arras, and there heard it agreed upon, that the prince should woo Hero for himself, and having obtained her, give her to count Claudio.
D. John. Come, come, let us thither; this may prove food to my displeasure: that young start-up hath all the glory of my overthrow. If I can cross him any way, I bless myself every way: you are both sure, and will assist me?
Con. To the death, my lord.
D. John. Let us to the great supper; their cheer is the greater that I am subdued: would the cook were of my mind !-Shall we go prove what's to be done? BORA. We'll wait upon your lordship.
(*) First folio, will make.
' (t) First folio omits, me. * What is he for a fool-1 This construction, though no longer permissible, was trite enough in the poet's time. The meaning is, what kind of fool is he? It is found in Peele's “Edward I." So, 2:-“What's he for a man?" in Ben Jonson's “Every Man out of his Humour,” Act III. Sc. 6:
“What is he for a creature ?”. And in “ Ram Alley,” Act IV. Sc. 2:
“What is he for a man?"
“Nothing for a man, but much for a beast." Sad conference :) Sad here, and in most other instances where it occurs in these plays, signifies, serious.
SCENE I.-A Hall in Leonato's House.
BEAT. How tartly that gentleman looks! I never can see him, but I am heart-burned an hour after.
HERO. He is of a very melancholy disposition.
BEAT. He were an excellent man, that were made just in the midway between him and Benedick : the one is too like an image, and says nothing; and the other, too like my lady's eldest son, evermore tattling.
LEON. Then half signior Benedick's tongue in count John's mouth, and half count John's melancholy in signior Benedick's face,
BEAT. With a good leg, and a good foot, uncle, and money enough in his purse, such a man could win any woman in the world,—if he could get her good will.
LEON. By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee a husband, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.
Ant. In faith, she's too curst.
BEAT. Too curst is more than curst: I shall lessen God's sending that way, for it is said, God sends a curst cow short horns; but to a cow too curst he sends none.
LEON. So, by being too curst, God will send you no horns.
BEAT. Just, if he send me no husband; for the which blessing, I am at him upon my knees every morning and evening: Lord! I could not endure a husband with a beard on his face; I had rather lie in the woollen.
LEON. You may light upon a husband that hath no beard.
BEAT. What should I do with him ? dress him in my apparel, and make him my waiting-gentlewoman? He that hath a beard is more than a youth; and he that hath no beard is less than a man: and he that is more than a youth, is not for me; and he that is less than a man, I am not for him. Therefore I will even take sixpence in earnest of the bear-ward, and lead his apes into hell.
LEON. Well then, go you into hell?
BEAT. No; but to the gate; and there will the devil meet me, like an old cuckold, with horns on his head, and say, Get you to heaven, Beatrice, get you to heaven; here's no place for you maids: so deliver I up my apes, and away to Saint Peter; for the heavens !b he shows
a Enter Leonato, &c.] The original copies again introduce Leonato's wife here.
b For the heavens! This adjuration, which Gifford says is no more than by hearen ! has before occurred in "The Merchant of Venice." See note (TM), Vol. I., p. 564.
me where the bachelors sit, and there live we as merry as the day is long.
ANT. Well, niece, [To HERO.] I trust you will be ruled by your father.
BEAT. Yes, faith; it is my cousin's duty to make courtesy, and say, Father,* as it please you:-but yet for all that cousin, let him be a handsome fellow, or else make another courtesy, and say, Father, as
it pleadsome Felis it please is my a
LEON. Well, niece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband.
BEAT. Not till God make men of some other metal than earth. Would it not grieve a woman to be over-mastered with a piece of valiant dust ? to make account of her life to a clod of wayward marl ? No, uncle, I'll none: Adam's sons are my brethren; and truly, I hold it a sin to match in my kindred.
LEON. Daughter, remember what I told you: if the prince do solicit you in that kind, you know your answer.
BEAT. The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you be not wooed in good time: if the prince be too important,a tell him there is measureb in every thing, and so dance out the answer. For hear me, Hero; wooing, wedding, and repenting, is as a Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinque-pace: the first suit is hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as fantastical: the wedding, mannerly-modest, as a measure, full of state and ancientry; and then comes repentance, and, with his bad legs, falls into the cinque-pace faster and faster, till he sink † into his grave.
LEON. Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly.
Enter Don PEDRO, DON JOHN, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK, BALTHAZAR ;
BORACHIO, MARGARET, URSULA, and others, masked. D. PEDRO. Lady, will you walk about with your friend ?e
HERO. So you walk softly, and look sweetly, and say nothing, I am yours for the walk: and, especially, when I walk away.
D. PEDRO. With me in your company?
HERO. When I like your favour; for God defend, the lute should be like the case! (*) First folio omits, Father.
(+) First folio, sinks, * Too important, -] That is, importunate. See note (), Vol. I., p. 194,
• There is measure in every thing,–] That is, moderation in every thing; but Beatrice plays on the word measure, which, in addition to its ordinary acceptation, once signified, any kind of dance. See (2), Vol., I. p. 145.
- A measure,-) A measure here means, a particular dance, slow and dignified, like the minuet. See note (2), Vol. I., p. 145.
Enter Don Pedro, &c.] The stage-direction in the quarto is, “ Enter Prince, Pedro, Claudio, and Benedicke, and Balthaser, or dumb John," The folio adds, “ Maskers with a drum."
Your friend?] Friend, in former times, was the ordinary term, applicable to both sexes, for lover.
D. PEDRO. My visor is Philemon's roof; within the house is Jove.
Speak low, if you speak love.
[Takes her aside. BALTH. Well, I would you did like me.” MARG. So would not İ, for your own sake; for I have many ill qualities.
BALTH. Which is one?
MARG. And God keep him out of my sight, when the dance is done!- Answer, clerk.
BALTH. No more words; the clerk is answered.
URs. You could never do him so ill well, unless you were the very man: here's his dry hand up and down ;d you are he, you are he.
ANT. At a word, I am not.
URS. Come, come; do you think I do not know you by your excellent wit? Can virtue hide itself? Go to, mum, you are he: graces will appear, and there's an end.
BEAT. Will you not tell me who told you so ?
BEAT. That I was disdainful,—and that I had my good wit out of the Hundred merry tales ;-(1) Well, this was signior Benedick that said so.
BENE. What's he?
* Within the house is Jove.] The folio has love, which is plainly wrong, as Shakespeare, in this reference to the story of Baucis and Philemon, obviously intended to form a couplet in the long fourteen-syllable verse of Golding's Ovid :
“D. PEDRO. My visor is Philemon's roof; within the house is Jove.
Speak low, if you speak love." b Well, I would you did like me.] It can hardly be doubted that this and the next two speeches, assigned to Benedick in the old editions, belong rightly to Balthazar. As Mr. Dyce remarks, “ Benedick is now engaged with Beatrice, as is evident from what they presently say.” The error probably arose like a similar one in “Love's Labour's Lost," Act II. Sc. 1. See note (6), Vol. I., p. 85,-from each of the two prefixes beginning with the same letter. 'c You could never do him so ill well, &c.] You could never represent one, who is so ill-qualified, to the life, unless you were the very man.
d Here's his dry hand up and down ;] See note (6), Vol. I., p. 18.
gift is in devising impossiblea slanders: none but libertines delight in him; and the commendation is not in his wit, but in his villainy; for he both pleases* men, and angers them, and then they laugh at him, and beat him: I am sure, he is in the fleet; I would he had boarded me.
BENE. When I know the gentleman, I'll tell him what you say.
BEAT. Do, do: he'll but break a comparison or two on me; which, peradventure, not marked, or not laughed at, strikes him into melancholy; and then there's a partridge' wing saved, for the fool will eat no supper that night. [Music within.] We must follow the leaders.
BENE. In every good thing.
BEAT. Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at the next turning
[Dance. Then exeunt all but DON JOHN,
BORACHIO, and CLAUDIO. D. JOHN. Sure, my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath withdrawn her father, to break with him about it: the ladies follow her, and but one visor remains.
BORA. And that is Claudio: I know him by his bearing.
D. JOHN. Signior, you are very nearb my brother in his love: he is enamoured on Hero; I pray you, dissuade him from her, she is no equal for his birth: you may do the part of an honest man in it.
CLAUD. How know you he loves her?
[Ereunt Don John and BORACHIO.
(*) First folio, pleaseth. • Impossible slanders :) Incredible, inconceivable slanders. Thus, in the “Merry Wives of Windsor,” Act III. Sc. 5:-"I will search impossible places.” Again, in * Julius Cæsar," Act II. Sc. 1:
" And I will strive with things impossible,
Yea, get the better of them." And in “Twelfth Night,” Act III. Sc. 2:-"- for there is no Christian can ever believe such impossible passages of grossness."
6 You are very near my brother-] You are in close confidence with my brother. This explains a passage in “Ilenry IV."' Part II. Act V. Sc. 2:-“ If I had a suit to Master Shallow, I would humour his men, with the imputation of being near their master."