Bene. How now! Interjections? why, then some be of laughing, as ha, ha, he!

Člaud. Stand thee by, friar : father, by your leave; Will you with free and unconstrained soul Give me this maid your daughter?

Leon. As freely fon, as God did give her me.

Claud. And what have I to give you back, whose worth May counterpoise this rich and precious gift?

Pedro. Nothing, unless you render her again.

Claud. Sweet Prince, you learn me noble thankfulness:
There, Leonato, take her back again ;
Give not this rotten orange to your friend.
She's but the sign and semblance of her honour :
Behold, how like a maid she blushes here!
O, what authority and shew of truth
Can cunning fin cover itself withal!
Comes not that blood, as modest evidence,
To witness simple virtue ? would you not swear,
All you that see her, that she were a maid,
By these exterior shews ? but she is none ;
She knows the heat of a luxurious bed;
Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty.
Leon. What do you mean, my

Claud. Not to be marry'd,
Nct knit my foul to an approved Wanton.

Leon. Dear my Lord, if you in your own approof (16)
Hlave vanquish'a the resistance of her youth,
And made defeat of her virginity-

[her, Claud. I know what you would say: if I have known

(16) Dear my Lord, if you in your own Proof,] I am surpriz'd, the poetical editors did not observe the lameness of this verfe. It evidently wants a fyllable in the last foot, which I have restor’d by a word, which, I presume, the first editors might hesitate at; tho' it is a very proper one, and a word elsewhere used by our author. Antb. and Cleop.

Sister, proye such a wife
As my thoughts make thee, and my farthest bond

Shall pass on thy Approof.
Besides, in the passage under examination, this word comes in almost
necessarily, as Claudio had said in the line immediately preceding ;
Not knit my soul to an approved wanton.



You'll say, she did embrace me as a husband,
And fo extenuate the forehand fin.
No, Leonato,
I never tempted her with word too large ;
But, as a brother to his sister, shew'd
Bashful fincerity, and comely love.

Hero. And seem'd I ever otherwise to you !

Claud. Out on thy Seeming! I will write against it; You seem to me as Dian in her orb, As chaste as is the bud ere it be blown, But you are more intemperate in your blood Than Venus, or those pamper’d animals That rage in favage fenfuality.

Hero. Is my Lord well, that he doth speak so wide?
Leon. Sweet Prince, why speak not you?

Pedro. What should I speak ?
I stand dishonour'd, that have gone about
To link


dear friend to a common Stale.
Leon. Are these things spoken, or do I but dream?
John. Sir, they are spoken, and these things are true.
Bene. This looks not like a Nuptial.
Hero. True! O God!

Claud. Leonato, ftand I here !
Is this the Prince? Is this the Prince's Brother?
Is this face Hero's ? are our eyes our own?

Leon. All this is so; but what of this, my lord ?

Claud. Let me but move one question to your daughter And by that fatherly and kindly power That

you have in her, bid her answer truly. Leon. I charge thee do so, as thou art my child.

Hero. O God defend me, how am I belet! What kind of catechizing call you this?

Claud. To make you answer truly to your name.

Hero. Is it not Hero? who can blot that name
With any just reproach?

Claud. Marry, that can Hero;
Hero herself can blot out Hero's virtue.
What man was he talk'd with you yesternight
Out at your window betwixt twelve and one ?
Now, if you are a maid, answer to this.


[ocr errors]

Hero. I talk'd with no man at that hour, my Lord.

Pedro. Why, then you are no maiden. Leonato,
I am sorry, you must hear; upon mine Honour,
Myself, my Brother, and this grieved Count
Did see her, hear her, at that hour last night
Talk with a ruffian at her chamber-window;
Who hath, indeed, most like a liberal villain,
Confefs'd the vile encounters they have had
A thousand times in secret.

John. Fie, fie, they are not to be nam’d, my Lord,
Not to be spoken of;
There is not chastity enough in language,
Without offence, to utter them: thus, pretty lady,
I am sorry for thy much misgovernment.

Claud. O Hero! what a Hero hadft thou been,
If half thy outward graces had been plac'd
About the thoughts and counsels of thy heart?
But fare thee well, most foul, most fair! farewell,
Thou pure impiety, and impious purity!
For thee I'll lock

all the


of love,
And on my eyelids shall Conjecture hang,
To turn all beauty into thoughts of harm;
And never shall it more be gracious.

Leon. Hath no man's dagger here a point for me?
Beat. Why, how now, Cousin,wherefore fink you down?

John. Come, let us go; these things come thus to light, .
Smother her spirits up.

[Exe. D. Pedro, D. John and Claud.
Bene. How doth the
Beat. Dead, I think; help, uncle.
Hero! why Hero! uncle ! Signior Benedick ! friar!

Leon. O fate! take not away thy heavy hand ;
Death is the faireft cover for her shame,
That may be wifh'd for.

Beat. How now, cousin Hero ?
Friar. Have comfort, Lady.
Leon. Doft thou look up ?
Friar. Yea, wherefore should the not?

Leon. Wherefore? why, doth not every earthly thing
Cry shame upon her ? could the here deny
The story that is printed in her blood ?

[ocr errors]


Do not live, Hero, do not ope thine eyes :
For did I think thou woulust not quickly die,
Thought I, thy spirits were stronger than thy shames,
Myself would on the rereward of reproaches
Strike at thy life. Griev'd I, I had but one :
Chid I for That at frugal nature's frame ?
I've one too much by thee. Why had I one ?
Why ever waft thou lovely in my eyes ?
Why had I not, with charitable hand,
Took up a beggar's issue at my gates ?
Who smeared thus, and mir’d with infamy,
I might have said, no part of it is mine ;
This shame derives itself from unknown loins
But mine, and mine I lov'd, and mine I prais’d,
And mine that I was proud on, mine so much,
That I myself was to myself not mine ;
Valuing of her ; why, she,-0, he is fall'a
Into a pit of ink, that the wide sea
Hath drops too few to wash her clean again ;
And salt too little, which may season give
To her foul tainted flesh !

Bene. Sir, Sir, be patient;
For my part, I am so attir'd in wonder,
I know not what to say.

Beat. O, on my soul, my cousin is bely'd.
Bene. Lady, were you her bed fellow last night?

Beat. No, truly, not; altho' until last night
I have this twelvemonth been her bedfellow.

Leon. Confirm’d; confirm’d! O, that is stronger made,
Which was before barr'd up with ribs of iron.
Would the two Princes lie? and Claudio lie?
Who lov'd her so, that, speaking of her foulness,
Wash'd it with tears? hence from her, let her die.

Friar. Hear me a little,
For I have only been filent so long,
And given way unto this course of fortune,
By noting of the lady. I have mark'd
A thousand blushing apparitions
To start into her face: a thousand innocent shames
In angel whiteness bear away those blushes ;
And in her eye there hath appear'd a fire,


To burn the errors that these Princes hold
Against her maiden truth. Call me a fool,
Truft not my reading, nor my observations,
Which with experimental seal doth warrant
The tenor of my book; trust not my age,
My reverence, calling, nor divinity,
If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here,
Under some biting error.

Leon. Friar, it cannot be ;
Thou seeft, that all the grace that she hath left,
Is, that she will not add to her damnation
A fin of perjury; she not denies it :
Why seeks thou then to cover with excuse
That, which appears in proper nakedness ?

Friar. Lady, what man is he you are accus’d of?

Hero. They know, that do accuse me: I know none;
If I know more of any man alive,
Than that which maiden modesty doth warrant,
Let all

my fins lack mercy. O my father,

that any man with me convers'd
At hours unmeet, or that I yesternight
Maintain'd the change of words with any creature,
Refute me, hate me, torture me to death.

Friar. There is some ftrange misprifion in the Princes.

Bene. Two of them have the very bent of honour,
And if their wisdoms be milled in this,
The Practice of it lives in John the bastard,
Whose spirits toil in frame of villanies.

Leon. I know not : if they speak but truth of her,
These hands shall tear her, if they wrong her honour,
The proudeft of them shall well hear of it.
Time hath not yet fo dry'd this blood of mine,

age so eat up my invention,
Nor fortune made fuch havock of my means,

bad life reft me so much of friends,
But they shall find awak'd, in such a kind,
Both strength of limb, and policy of mind,
Ability in means, and choice of friends,
To quit me of them throughly.

Prove you

[ocr errors]
« 上一页继续 »