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Friar. Marry, this, well carried, shall on her behalf
Change slander to remorse; that is some good:
But not for that dream I on this strange course,
But on this travail look for greater birth.
She dying, as it must be so maintain'd,
Upon the instant that she was accus'd,
Shall be lamented, pitied and excus'd
Of every hearer; for it so falls out,
That what we have we prize not to the worth,
Whiles we enjoy it, but being lack'd and lost,
Why, then we rack the value; then we find
The virtue, that possession would not show us,
Whiles it was ours.-So will it fare with Claudio:
When he shall hear she died upon his words,
The idea of her life shall sweetly creep
Into his study of imagination,
And every lovely organ of her life

Shall come apparell'd in more precious habit,
More moving, delicate, and full of life,
Into the eye and prospect of his soul,

Than when she liv'd indeed :-then shall he mourn,

(If ever love had interest in his liver,)
And wish he had not so accused her;
No, though he thought his accusation true.
Let this be so, and doubt not but success
Will fashion the event in better shape
Than I can lay it down in likelihood.
But if all aim but this be levell'd false,
The supposition of the lady's death

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Bene. Is there any way to show such friendship?
Beat. A very even way, but no such friend.
Bene. May a man do it?

Beat. It is a man's office, but not yours. Bene. I do love nothing in the world so well as you. Is not that strange?


Beat. As strange as the thing I know not. were as possible for me to say, I loved nothing so well as you; but believe me not, and yet I lie not: I confess nothing, nor I deny nothing.-I am sorry for my cousin.

Bene. By my sword, Beatrice, thou lovest me. Beat. Do not swear by it, and eat it.

Bene. I will swear by it, that you love me; and I will make him eat it, that says I love not you.

Beat. Will you not eat your word?

Bene. With no sauce that can be devised to it. I protest, I love thee.

Beat. Why then, God forgive me!
Bene. What offence, sweet Beatrice?

Beat. You have stay'd me in a happy hour: I was about to protest, I loved you.

Bene. And do it with all thy heart.

Beat. I love you with so much of my heart, that none is left to protest.

Bene. Come, bid me do any thing for thee.

Beat. Kill Claudio.

Bene. Ha! not for the wide world.

Beat. You kill me to deny it. Farewell.

Bene. Tarry, sweet Beatrice.

Beat. I am gone, though I am here:-there is no love in you.-Nay, I pray you, let me go. Bene. Beatrice,

Beat. In faith, I will go.

Bene. We'll be friends first.

Beat. You dare easier be friends with me than fight with mine enemy.

Bene. Is Claudio thine enemy?

Beat. Is he not approved in the height of a villain, that hath slandered, scorned, dishonoured my kinswoman?-O, that I were a man!-What! bear her in hand until they come to take hands, and then with public accusation, uncovered slander, unmitigated rancour,-O God, that I were a man! I would eat his heart in the market-place.

Bene. Hear me, Beatrice

Beat. Talk with a man out at a window!-a proper saying.

Bene. Nay, but Beatrice

Beat. Sweet Hero!-she is wronged, she is slandered, she is undone.

Bene. Beat

Beat. Princes, and counties! Surely, a princely testimony, a goodly count, count confect; a sweet gallant, surely! O, that I were a man for his sake! or that I had any friend would be a man for my sake! But manhood is melted into courtesies, valour into compliment, and men are only turned into tongue, and trim ones too: he is now as valiant as Hercules, that only tells a lie and swears it.—I cannot be a man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving.

Bene. Tarry, good Beatrice. By this hand, I love thee.

Beat. Use it for my love some other way than swearing by it.

Bene. Think you in your soul the count Claudio hath wronged Hero?

Beat. Yea, as sure as I have a thought, or a soul. Bene. Enough! I am engaged, I will challenge him. I will kiss your hand, and so I leave you.

By this hand, Claudio shall render me a dear account. As you hear of me, so think of me. Go, comfort your cousin: I-must say she is dead; and so, farewell. [Exeunt.

SCENE II.-A Prison.

Enter DOGBERRY, VERGES, and Sexton, in gowns;
and the Watch, with CONRADE and BORACHIO.
Dogb. Is our whole dissembly appeared?
Verg. O! a stool and a cushion for the sexton.
Sexton. Which be the malefactors?

Dogb. Marry, that am I and my partner.

Verg. Nay, that's certain: we have the exhibition to examine.

Sexton. But which are the offenders that are to be examined? let them come before master constable.

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Dogb. Dost thou not suspect my place? Dost thou not suspect my years?-O, that he were here to write me down an ass!-but, masters, remember, that I am an ass; though it be not written down, yet forget not that I am an ass.-No, thou villain, thou art full of piety, as shall be proved upon thee by good witness. I am a wise fellow; and, which is more, an officer; and, which is more, a householder; and, which is more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any is in Messina; and one that knows the law, go to; and a rich fellow enough, go to; and a fellow that hath had losses; and one that hath two gowns, and every thing handsome about him. Bring him away. Ó, that I had been writ down

an ass.


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SCENE I.-Before LEONATO's House.

Ant. If you go on thus, you will kill yourself;
And 'tis not wisdom thus to second grief
Against yourself.
I pray thee, cease thy counsel,
Which falls into mine ears as profitless
As water in a sieve. Give not me counsel;
Nor let no comforter delight mine ear,
But such a one whose wrongs do suit with mine:
Bring me a father that so lov'd his child,
Whose joy of her is overwhelm'd like mine,
And bid him speak of patience;

Measure his woe the length and breadth of mine,
And let it answer every strain for strain;
As thus for thus, and such a grief for such,
In every lineament, branch, shape, and form:
If such a one will smile, and stroke his beard;
Cry-sorrow wag! and hem, when he should groan;
Patch grief with proverbs; make misfortune drunk
With candle-wasters; bring him yet to me,
And I of him will gather patience.
But there is no such man; for, brother, men
Can counsel, and speak comfort to that grief
Which they themselves not feel; but, tasting it,
Their counsel turns to passion, which before
Would give preceptial medicine to rage,
Fetter strong madness in a silken thread,
Charm ache with air, and agony with words.
No, no; 'tis all men's office to speak patience
To those that wring under the load of sorrow,
But no man's virtue, nor sufficiency,

To be so moral when he shall endure
The like himself. Therefore give me no counsel:
My griefs cry louder than advertisement.

Ant. Therein do men from children nothing differ.
Leon. I pray thee, peace! I will be flesh and

For there was never yet philosopher,
That could endure the tooth-ache patiently,
However they have writ the style of gods,
And made a push at chance and sufferance.

Ant. Yet bend not all the harm upon yourself;
Make those that do offend you suffer too.
Leon. There thou speak'st reason: nay, I will

do so.

My soul doth tell me Hero is belied,
And that shall Claudio know; so shall the prince,
And all of them, that thus dishonour her.

Enter Don PEDRO and CLAUDIO. Ant. Here comes the prince, and Claudio hastily.

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I speak not like a dotard, nor a fool;
As, under privilege of age, to brag

What I have done being young, or what would do,
Were I not old. Know, Claudio, to thy head,
Thou hast so wrong'd mine innocent child and me,
That I am forc'd to lay my reverence by,
And with grey hairs, and bruise of many days,
Do challenge thee to trial of a man.

I say, thou hast belied mine innocent child
Thy slander hath gone through and through her


And she lies buried with her ancestors,
O! in a tomb where never scandal slept,
Save this of her's, fram'd by thy villainy.
Claud. My villainy?

Thine, Claudio; thine, I say. D. Pedro. You say not right, old man. Leon. My lord, my lord,

I'll prove it on his body, if he dare,
Despite his nice fence, and his active practice,
His May of youth, and bloom of lustyhood.
Claud. Away! I will not have to do with you.
Leon. Canst thou so daff me? Thou hast kill'd
my child:

If thou kill'st me, boy, thou shalt kill a man.

Ant. He shall kill two of us, and men indeed: But that's no matter; let him kill one first :Win me and wear me,-let him answer me.Come, follow me, boy! come, sir boy, come, follow


Sir boy, I'll whip you from your foining fence; Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will.

Leon. Brother

Ant. Content yourself. God knows, I lov'd my niece;

And she is dead; slander'd to death by villains,
That dare as well answer a man, indeed,
As I dare take a serpent by the tongue.
Boys, apes, braggarts, Jacks, milksops!—
Brother Antony-
What, man! I know

Ant. Hold you content. them, yea, And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple: Scambling, out-facing, fashion-mong'ring boys, That lie, and cog, and flout, deprave and slander, Go antickly, and show outward hideousness, And speak off half a dozen dangerous words, How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst, And this is all!

Leon. But, brother Antony-
Come, 'tis no matter:
Do not you meddle, let me deal in this.
D. Pedro. Gentlemen both, we will not wake
your patience.

My heart is sorry for your daughter's death;
But, on my honour, she was charg'd with nothing
But what was true, and very full of proof.

Leon. My lord, my lord!-
D. Pedro.

I will not hear you.


Come, brother, away.-I will be heard.Ant. And shall, or some of us will smart for it. [Exeunt LEONATO and ANTONIO.


D. Pedro. See, see: here comes the man we went to seek.

Claud. Now, signior, what news?

Bene. Good day, my lord.

D. Pedro. Welcome, signior: you are almost come to part almost a fray.

Claud. We had like to have had our two noses snapped off with two old men without teeth.

D. Pedro. Leonato and his brother. What think'st thou Had we fought, I doubt, we should have been too young for them.

Bene. In a false quarrel there is no true valour. I came to seek you both.

Claud. We have been up and down to seek thee; for we are high-proof melancholy, and would fain have it beaten away. Wilt thou use thy wit?

Bene. It is in my scabbard: shall I draw it? D. Pedro. Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side? Claud. Never any did so, though very many have been beside their wit.-I will bid thee draw, as we do the minstrels; draw to pleasure us.

D. Pedro. As I am an honest man, he looks pale.-Art thou sick, or angry?

Claud. What! courage, man! What though care killed a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.

Bene. Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career, an you charge it against me.-I pray you, choose another subject.

Claud. Nay then, give him another staff: this last was broke cross.

D. Pedro. By this light, he changes more and I think he be angry indeed.


Claud. If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle. Bene. Shall I speak a word in your ear? Claud. God bless me from a challenge! Bene. You are a villain.-I jest not:- I will make it good how you dare, with what you dare,

and when you dare.—Do me right, or I will protest your cowardice. You have killed a sweet lady, and her death shall fall heavy on you. Let me hear from you.

Claud. Well, I will meet you, so I may have good cheer.

D. Pedro. What, a feast? a feast?

Claud. I'faith, I thank him; he hath bid me to a calf's-head and a capon, the which if I do not carve most curiously, say my knife's naught.-Shall I not find a woodcock too?

Bene. Sir, your wit ambles well: it goes easily. D. Pedro. I'll tell thee how Beatrice praised thy wit the other day. I said, thou hadst a fine wit: "True," said she, "a fine little one:" "No," said I, "a great wit:" "Right," says she, "a great gross one:" "Nay," said I, "a good wit:" "Just," said she, "it hurts nobody :" "Nay," said I, "the gentleman is wise:""Certain," said she, "a wise gentleman:" "Nay," said I, "he hath the tongues:" "That I believe," said she, "for he swore a thing to me on Monday night, which he forswore on Tuesday morning: there's a double tongue; there's two tongues." Thus did she, an hour together, transshape thy particular virtues; yet at last she concluded with a sigh, thou wast the properest man in Italy.

Claud. For the which she wept heartily, and said she cared not.

D. Pedro. Yea, that she did; but yet, for all that, an if she did not hate him deadly, she would love him dearly. The old man's daughter told us


Claud. All, all; and moreover, God saw him when he was hid in the garden.

D. Pedro. But when shall we set the savage bull's horns on the sensible Benedick's head?

Claud. Yea, and text underneath, “Here dwells Benedick the married man!"

Bene. Fare you well, boy: you know my mind. I will leave you now to your gossip-like humour: you break jests as braggarts do their blades, which, God be thanked, hurt not.-My lord, for your many courtesies I thank you: I must discontinue your company. Your brother, the bastard, is fled from Messina: you have, among you, killed a sweet and innocent lady. For my lord Lack-beard, there, he and I shall meet; and till then, peace be with him. [Exit BENEDICK.

D. Pedro. He is in earnest. Claud. In most profound earnest; and, I'll warrant you, for the love of Beatrice.

D. Pedro. And hath challenged thee?
Claud. Most sincerely.

D. Pedro. What a pretty thing man is, when he goes in his doublet and hose, and leaves off his wit!

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