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'twas not fo; but, indeed, God forbid it fhould be fo. Claud. If my paffion change not fhortly, God forbid it fhould be otherwise.
Pedro. Amen, if you love her; for the lady is very well worthy.
Claud. You fpeak this to fetch me in, my Lord.! Pedro. By my troth, I fpeak my thought. Claud. And, in faith, my Lord, I spoke mine. Bene. And by 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 fhe fhould be loved, nor know how she should be worthy, is the opinion that fire cannot melt out of me; I will die in it at the stake.
Pedro. Thou waft ever an obftinate heretic in the defpight 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 most humble thanks but that I will have a recheate winded inmy forehead, or hang my bugle in an invifible baldric, all women shall pardon me; because I will not do them the wrong to miftruft any, I will do myself the right to truft none; and the fine is, (for the which I may go the finer), I will live a bachelor.
Pedro. I fhall fee 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 lofe 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 fign of blind Cupid.",
Pedro. Well, if ever thou doft fall from this faith, thou wilt prove a notable argument.
Bene. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat, and fhoot at me; and he that hits me, let him be clapt on the fhoulder, and call'd Adam *.
* Alluding to one Adam Bell, a famous archer of old.
Pedro. Well, as time fhall try; in time the favage bull doth bear the yoke.
Bene. The favage bull may; but if ever the fenfible Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull's horns, and set them in my forehead, and let me be vilely painted ; and in fuch great letters as they write, Here is good horfe to hire, let them fignify under my fign, Here you may fee Benedick the marry'd man.
Claud. If this thould ever happen, thou would'st be horn-mad.
Pedro. Nay, if Cupid hath not spent all his quiver in Venice*, thou wilt quake for this fhortly.
Bene. I look for an earthquake too then.
Pedro. Well, you will temporife with the hours; in the mean time, good 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 prepa
Bene. I have almoft matter enough in me for such an embaffage, and fo 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 difcourfe is fometime guarded with fragments, and the guards are but slightly beasted on neither: ere you flout old ends any further, examine your confcience, and fo I leave you. [Exit.
Claud. My Liege, your Highnefs now may do me good.
Pedro. My love is then to teach, teach it but how, And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn Any hard leffon that may do thee good.
*Befides that Venice is as remarkable for freedoms in amorous intrigues as Cyprus was of old, there may be a farther conjecture why this expreffion is here ufed. The Italians give to each of their principal cities a particular diftinguishing title, as, Roma la fanta, Napoli la gentile, Genoua la fuperba, &c. and among the reft it is, Venetia la ricca, Venice the wealthy. A farcafm therefore feems to be here implied, that money governs love,
Claud. Hath Leonato any fon, my Lord?
Pedro. No child but Hero, she's his only heir: Doft thou affect her, Claudio?
Claud. O my Lord,
When you went onward on this ended action,
Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover prefently
Claud. How fweetly do you minifter to love,
Pedro. What need the bridge much broader than the
The fairest grant is the neceffity;
Look, what will ferve, is fit; 'tis once, thou lov'ft; And I will fit thee with the remedy.
I know, we shall have revelling to-night;
I will affume thy part in fome disguise,
Re-enter Leonato and Antonio.
Leon. How now, brother, where is my coufin your fon? hath he provided this mufic?
Ant. He is very busy about it; but, brother, I can tell you news that you yet dream'd not of. Leon. Are they good.?
Ant. As the event ftamps them, but they have a good cover; they fhow well outward. The Prince and Count Claudio, walking in a thick-pleached alley in my orchard, were thus overheard by a man of mine: The Prince difcover'd to Claudio, that he lov'd my niece your daughter, and meant to acknowledge it this night in a dance; and if he found her accordant, he meant to take the present time by the top, and inftantly break with you of it.
Leon. Hath the fellow any wit that told you this? Ant. A good fharp fellow; I will fend for him, and question him yourself. ، ، ، H
Leon. No, no; we will hold it as a dream, till it a ap! pear itfelf: but I will acquaint my daughter withal, that fhe may be the better prepared for anfwer, if peradventure this be true; go you and tell her of it. Coufins, you know what you have to do. [Several cross the flage here] O, I cry you mercy, friend, go you with me, and I will ufe your fkill; good coufin, have a care this bufy time. [Exeunt.
S C ENE VI.
Changes to an apartment in Leonato's houfe..
Conr. What the good-jer, my Lord, why are you thus out of measure fad ?
John. There is no measure in the occafion that breeds it, therefore the fadness is without limit.
Conr. You fhould hear reafon.
John. And when I have heard it, what bleffing bringeth it?
Conr. If not a prefent remedy, yet a patient fuffe
John. I wonder, that thou (being, as thou fay'ft thou art, born under Saturn) goeft about to apply a moral medicine to a mortifying mifchief. I cannot hide what I am I must be fad when I have cause, and smile at no man's jefts; eat when I have ftomach, and wait
for no man's leisure; fleep when I am drowsy, and tead on no man's bufinefs; laugh when I am merry, and claw no man in his humour.
Conr. Yea, but you must not make the full show of this, till you may do it without controlement. You have of late ftood out against your brother, and he hath ta'en you newly into his grace, where it is impoffible you should take root, but by the fair weather that you make yourself; it is needful that you frame the season for your own harvest.
John. I had rather be a canker in a hedge, than a rofe in his grace; and it better fits my blood to be difdain'd of all, than to fashion a carriage to rob love from any in this (though I cannot be faid to be a flattering honeft man) it must not be deny'd but I am a plain-dealing villain; I am trufted with a muzzel, and infranchised with a clog, therefore I have decreed not to fing in my cage: if I had my mouth, I would bite; if I had my liberty, I would do my liking: in the mean time let me be that I am, and feek not to al
Conr. Can you make no ufe of your difcontent? John. I will make all use of it, for I ufe it only. Who comes here? What news, Borachio?
Bona. I came yonder from a great fupper; the Prince, your brother, is royally entertain'd by Leonato, and I can give you intelligence of an intended marriage.
John. Will it ferve for any model to build mischief on? what is he for a fool, that betrothes himself to unquietnefs?
Bora. Marry, it is your brother's right hand.
John. A proper Squire! and who, and who? which -way looks he?
Bora. Marry, on Hero, the daughter and heir of Leonato.
John. A very forward March chick! How come you to this?