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Leon. 'Faith, Neice, you tax Signior Benedick too much; but he'll be meet with you, I doubt it not.
Mel. He hath done good service, Lady, in these
Beat. You had musty. victuals, and he hath holp to eat it ; he's a very valiant trencher-man, he hath an excellent ftomach.
Mell. And a good soldier too, Lady.
Beat. And a good soldier to a lady? but what is he to a lord ?
Mel. A lord to a lord, a man to a man, ftufft with all honourable virtues.
Beat. It is fo, indeed : (2) he is no less than a stufft man : but for the stuffings--well, we are all mortal.
Leon. You must not, Sir, mistake my Neice; there is a kind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick and her; they never meet, but there's a skirmish of wit between them.
Beat. Alas, he gets nothing by That. In our lait conflict, four of his five wits went halting off, and no:v is the whole man govern'd with one: So that if he haie wit enough to keep himself warm, let him bear it for a difference between himself and his hore; for it is al the wealth that he hath left, to be known a reasonable creature, Who is his companion now? he hath
every month a new sworn brother.
1 Mel. Is it poflible?
Bcat. Very easily possible; he wears his faith but as the faihion of his hat, it ever changes with the next block,
( zobe is no lefs iban a flufft man: but for ibe Stuffing well, we are all mortal.] Thus has this Passage been all along fop'd, from the very first Edition downwards. If any of the Editors could extract Sense from this Pointing, their Sagacity is a Pitch above mine. I believe, by my Regulation, I have retriev'd the Poet's true Meaning. Our Poet seems to use the Word Stuffing here much as Plautus does in his Moffellaria; Ad. s. Sc. 3. Non Vetem amatores mulieris amant, sed Veffis fartum.
Mef. I fee, Lady, the gentleman is not in your books.
Beat. No; an he were, I would burn my Study. But, I pray you, who is his companion? is there no young squarer now, that will make a voyage with him to the devil?
Mef. He is most in the company of the right noble Claudio.
Beat. O lord, he will hang upon him like a disease; he is sooner caught than the pestilence, and the taker runs presently mad. God help the noble Claudio, if he have caught the Beredick; it will cost him a thousand pounds ere he be cur’d.
Mef. I will hold friends with you, Lady.
Mef. Don Pedro is approach'd.
Don John Pedro. Good Signior Leonato, you are come to meet your trouble : the fashion of the world is to avoid cost, and you encounter it.
Leon. Never came trouble to my house in the likeness of your Grace; for trouble being gone, comfort should remain ; but when you depart from me, forrow abides, ard happiness takes his leave.
Pedro. You embrace your charge too willingly : I think, this is your daughter.
Leon. Her mother hath many times told me fo.
Leon. Signior Benedick, no; for then were you a child.
Pedro. You have it full, Benedick; We may guess by this what you are, being a-man : truly, the lady fathers her self; be happy, lady, for you are like an honourable father.
Bene. If Signior Leonato be her father, the would not have his head on her Shoulders for all Melina, as like him as she is,
Beat. I wonder, that you will fill be talking, Signior Benedick ; no body marks you.
Bene. What, my dear lady Difdain! are you yet living?
Beat. Is it possible, Disdain should die, while she hath fuch meet food to feed it, as Signior Benedick? Cour. tefie it self mult convert to Disdain, if you come in her presence.
Bene. Then is courtesie a turn-coat; but it is certain, I am lov'd of all ladies, only you excepted ; and I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart, for truly I love none.
Beat. A dear happiness to women; they would else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I thank God and my cold blood, I am of your Humour for that; I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow, than a man swear he loves me.
Bene. God keep your ladyship still in that mind! fo some gentleman or other shall scape a predeftinate scratcht face,
Beat. Scratching could not make it worse, an 'twere fuch a face as yours were.
Bene. Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher.
Beat. A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours.
Bene. I would, my horse had the speed of your tongue, and so good a continuer ; but keep your way o' God's name, I have done.
Beat. You always end with a jade's trick ; I know
Pedro. This is the sum of all: Leonato, Signior Claudio, and Signior Benedick, -my dear friend
Leo. nato hath invited you all; I tell him, we shall stay here at the least a month ; and he heartily prays, fome fion may detain us longer: I dare swear, he is no hypo-.. crite, but prays from his heart.
Lcon. If you swear, my Lord, you shall not be 'sorfworn.- Let me bid You welcome, my lord, being reconciled to the prince your brother ; I owe you all duty.
you of old.
I thank you.
John. I thank you ; I am not of many words, but
[ Exeunt all but Benedick and Claudio. Claud. Benedick, didt thou note the daughter of Sig. nior Leonato?
Bene. I noted her not, but I look'd on her.
Bere. Do you question me, as an honest man should do, for my simple true judgment ? or would you
have me speak after my custom, as being a professed tyrant to. their sex?
Claud. No, I prøythee, speak in sober judgment,
Bene. Why, i'faith, methinks, me is too low for an high praise, too brown for a fair praise, and too little for a great praise ; only this commendation I can af, ford her, that were the other than the is, he were unhandsome ; and being no other but as the is, I do not like her.
Claud. Thou think'A, I am in sport; I pray thee, tell me truly how thou lik'st her.
Bene. Would you buy her, that you enquire after her
Claud. Can the world buy such a jewel?
Bene. Yea, and a case to put it into ; but speak you this with a sad brow? or do you play the Aouting Jack, to tell us Cupid is a good hare finder, and Vulcan a rare carpenter ? come, in what key shall a man take you to go in the Song ?
Claud. In mine eye, she is the sweetest lady that I ever look'd on.
Bene. I can see yet without spectacles, and I fee no such matter ; there's her Cousin, if me were not poffeff with such a Fury, exceeds her as much in beauty, as the first of May doth the last of December : but I hope, you have no intent to turn husband, have you?
Claud. I would scarce truft myself, tho' I had sworn the contrary, if Hero would be my wife.
Bene. Is't come to this, in faith? hath not the world
one man, but he will wear his cap with suspicion ? shall I never see a batchelor of threescore again ? go to, i'faith, if thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it, and ligh away Sundays : look, Don Pedro is return'd to seek you.
Re enter Don Pedro and Don John. Pedro. What Secret hath held
you here, that
follow'd not to Leonato's house?
Bene. I would, your Grace would constrain me to tell. Pedro. I charge thee on thy allegiance.
Bene. You hear, Count Claudio, I can be secret as a dumb man, I would have you think so ; but on my allegiance, mark you this, on my allegiance :-- he is in love ;- with whom? now that is your
Grace's part: mark, how short his answer is, with Hero, Leonato's short daughter.
Claud. If this were fo, fo were it uttered.
Bene. Like the old tale, my lord, it is not so, nor: twas not so; but, indeed, God forbid it should be so.
Claud. If my passion change not shortly, God forbid it should be otherwise.
Pedro. Amen, if you love her ; for the Lady is very well worthy:
Claud. You speak this to fetch me in, my Lord.
Berei And by my two faiths and troths, my Lord, I fpeak mine.
Claud. That I love her, I feel.
Bene. That I neither feel how she should be loved.. nor know how she should be worthy, is the opiniott that fire cannot melt out of me; I will die in it at the itake,
Pedro. Thou walt ever an obstinate heretick in the despight of beauty.
Claud. And never could maintain his part, but in the force of his will. Bene. That a woman conceived me, I thank hers