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Bene. God keep your Ladyship still in that mind ! fo some gentleman or other shall scape a predestinate Icratch'd face.

Beat. “ Scratching could not make it worse, an « 'twere such a face as your's were.”

Bene. Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher,

Beat. A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of your's.

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 you of old.

Pedro. This is the sum of all: Leonato,-Signior: Claudio, and Signior Benedick,-my dear friend Leonato hath invited you all; I tell him, we shall stay here at the least a month; and he heartily prays some occasion

may detain us longer: I dare swear he is no hypocrite, but prays from his heart.

Leon. If you swear, my Lord, you shall not be forsworn.—Let me bid you welcome, my Lord, being reconciled to the Prince your brother; I owe you all duty.

John. I thank you; I am not of many words, but

I thank you.

Leon. Please it your Grace lead on?
Pedro. Your hand, Leonato; we will go together.

[Exeunt all but Benedick and Claudio.

Claud. Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of
Signior Leonato ?

Bene. I noted her not, but I look'd on her.
Claud. Is she not a modest young Lady?

Bene. Do you question me, as an honest man should do, for my simple true judgement? or would you have me speak after my custom, as being a professed tyrant to their sex?

Claud. No, I pr’ythee, speak in sober judgement.

Bene. Why, i'faith, methinks she 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

« afford

* afford her, that were she other than she is, she were " unhandfome ; and being no other but as she is, I do

not like her.”

Claud. Thou think'st I am in sport; I pray thee tell me truly how thou lik'st her.

Bene. Wou'd you buy her, that you inquire 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 fad brow? or do you play the flouting 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 she were not pofsess'd 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 trust myself, though 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 sigh away Sundays. Look, Don Pedro is return'd to seek you.

SCE N E IV. Re-enter Don Pedro. Pedro. Whiat secret hath held you here, that you followed 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

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


dumb man,



'twas not so; but, indeed, God forbid it should be fo.

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. .
Pedro. By my troth, I speak my thought.
Claud. And, in faith, my Lord. I spoke mine,

Bene. And by my two faiths and troths, my Lord, I speak mine,

Claud. That I love her, I feel.
Pedro. That she is worthy, I know.

Bene. That I neither feel how she should be loved, por know how she should be worthy, is the opinion that fire cannot melt out of I will die in it at the stake,

Pedro. Thou wast ever an obstinate heretic 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 her; that she brought me up, I likewise give her molt humble thanks : but that I will have a recheate winded in my forehead, or hang my bugle in an invisible baldric, all women shall pardon me ; because I will not do them the wrong to mistrust any, I will do myself the right to trust none; and the fine iş, (for the which I may go the finer), I will live a bachelor.

Pedro. I'fhall see thee, ere I die, look pale with love.

Bene." With anger, with fickness, or with hunger,

my Lord, not with love: prove, that ever I lose more “ blood with love, than I will get again with drink

ing, pick out mine eyes with a ballad-maker's pen, " and hang me up at the door of a brothel-house for " the sign of blind Cupid.”

Pedro. Well, if ever thou dost fall from this faith, thou wilt prove a notable argument.

Bene. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat, and shoot at me; and he that hits me, let him be clapt on the shoulder, and call'd Adam *.




Alluding to ore Adım Bell, a famous archer of old.


Pedro. Well, as time shall try; in time the favage bull doth bear the yoke.

Bene. The favage bull may; but if ever the sensible Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull's horns, and set them in my forehead, and let me be vilely painted ; and in such great letters as they write, Here is good horse to hire, let them fignify under my fign, Here you may fee Benedick the marry'd man.

Claud. If this should ever happen, thou would it be horn-mad.

Pedro. Nay, if Cupid hath not spent all his quiver in Venice *, thou wilt quake for this shortly.

Bene. I look for an earthquake too then.'

Pedro. Well, you will temporise with the hours; in the mean time, gond Signior Benedick, repair to Leonato's, .commend me to him, and tell him I will not fail him at fupper; for indeed he hath made great preparation.

Bene. I have almost matter enough in me for such an embaffage, and so I commit you

Claud. To the tuition of God: From my house, if I had it,

Pedro. The fixth of July, your loving friend, Benedick.

Bene. Nay, mock not, mock not; the body of your discourse is fometime guarded with fraginents, and the guards are but slightly

beasted on neither: ere you flout old ends any further, examine your conscience, and so

[Exit. SCENE V. Claud. My Liege, your Highness now may do me

good. Pedro. My love is thine to teach, teach it but how, And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn Any hard lesson that may do thee good.

I leave you.

* Besides that Venice is as remarkable for freedoms in amorous in. trigues as Cyprus was of old, there may he a fariher conjecture why this expression is here used. The Italians give to each of their prin: cipal cities a pa'ticular dibinguihing title, as, Roma la fanta, Napoli la gentile, Genoua la superba, ci, and among the rest it is, Vereria la ricca, Venice the weaitky. A sarcasm therefore foems to be here implio ed, that money governs love.



Glaud. Háth Leonato any son, my Lord ?

Pedro. No child but Hero, she's his only heir:
Dost thou affect her, Claudio ?

Claud. O my Lord,
When you went onward on this ended action,
I look'd upon her with a soldier's eye ;
That lik’d, but had a rougher task in hand
Than to drive liking to the name of love ;
But now I am return'd, and that war-thoughts
Have left their places vacant ; in their rooms
Come thronging soft and delicate desires,
All prompting me how fair young Hero is;
Saying, I lik’d her ere I went to wars.
* Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover presently,
And tire the hearer with a book of words :
If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it,
And I will break with her : and with her father,
And thou shalt have her : was't not to this end
That thou began'st to twist so fine a story?

Claud. How sweetly do you minister to love,
That know love's grief by his complexion !
But left my liking might too sudden seem,
I would have salv'd it with a longer treatise.
Pedro. What need the bridge much broader than

the flood ? The fairest grant is the necessity; Look, what will serve, is fit; 'tis once, thou lov'st; And I will fit thee with the remedy. I know, we shall have revelling to-night; I will affume thy part in fome disguise, And tell iair Hero I am Claudio ; And in her bosom I'll unclasp my heart, And take her hearing prisoner with the force And strong encounter of my amorous tale : Then, after, to her father will I break; And the conclusion is, she shall be thine. In practice let us put it presently.

[Exeunt. Re-enter Leonato and Antonio. Leon. How now, brother, where is my cousin your fon? hath he provided this mufic? VOL. II. B


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