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'Tis certain so ;—the prince wooes for himself.
Bene. Even to the next willow, about your own business, count. What fashion will you wear the garland of? About your neck, like an usurer's chain? or under your arm, like a lieutenant's scarf? You must wear it one way, for the prince hath got your Hero.
Claud. I wish him joy of her.
Bene. Why, that's spoken like an honest drover; so they sell bullocks. But did you think, the prince would have served you thus?
Claud. I pray you, leave me.
Bene. Ho! now you strike like the blind man; 'twas the boy, that stole your meat, and you'll beat the post.
Claud. If it will not be, I'll leave you. [Erit.
Bene. Alas, poor hurt fowl! Now will he creep into sedges. — But, that my lady Beatrice should know me, and not know me! The prince's fool !-Ha! it may be, I go under that title, because I am merry.
Yea; but so; I am apt to do myself wrong: I am not so reputed: it is the base, the bitter disposition of Beatrice, that puts the world into her person, and so gives me out. Well, I'll be revenged as I may.
Re-enter Don Pedro, Hero, and LEONATO. D. Pedro. Now, signior, where's the count? Did you see him?
Bene. Troth, my lord, I have played the part of lady Fame. I found him here as melancholy as a lodge in a warren; I told him, and, I think, I told him true, that your grace had got the good will of this young lady; and I offered him my company to a willow tree, either to make him a garland, as being forsaken, or to bind him up a rod, as being worthy to be whipped.
D. Pedro. To be whipped! What's his fault ?
Bene. The flat transgression of a school-boy; who, being overjoy'd with finding a bird's nest, shows it his companion, and he steals it.
D. Pedro. Wilt thou make a trust a transgression ? The transgression is in the stealer.
Bene. Yet it had not been amiss, the rod had been made, and the garland too; for the garland he might have worn himself; and the rod he might have bestow'd on you, who, as I take it, have stol’n his bird's nest.
D. Pedro. I will but teach them to sing, and restore them to the owner.
Bene. If their singing answer your saying, by my faith, you say honestly.
D. Pedro. The lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you; the gentleman, that danced with her, told her, she is much wronged by you.
Bene. O, she misused me past the endurance of a block; an oak, but with one green leaf on it, would have answered her: my very visor began to assume life, and scold with her : She told me, not thinking I had been myself, that I was the prince's jester; that I was duller than a great thaw; huddling jest upon jest, with such impossible conveyance, upon me, that I stood like a man at a mark, with a whole army shooting at me: She speaks poniards, and every word stabs: if her breath were as terrible as her terminations, there were no living near her, she would infect to the north star. I would not marry her, though she were endowed with all that Adam had left him before he transgressed: she would have made Hercules have turned spit; yea, and have cleft his club to make the fire too. Come, talk not of her; you shall find her the infernal Até in good apparel. I would to God, some scholar would conjure her; for, certainly, while she is here, a man may live as quiet in hell, as in a sanctuary; and people sin upon purpose, because they would go thither; so, indeed, all disquiet, horror, and perturbation follow her.
Re-enter CLAUDIO and BEATRICE.
Bene. Will your grace command me any service to the world's end? I will go on the slightest errand now to the Antipodes, that you can devise to send me on; I will fetch you a toothpicker now from the farthest inch of Asia; bring you the length of Prester John's foot; fetch you a hair off the great Cham's beard; do you any embassage to the Pigmies, rather than hold three words' conference with this harpy: You have no employment for me?
D. Pedro. None, but to desire your good company.
Bene. O God, sir, here's a dish I love not; I cannot endure my lady Tongue.
[Erit. D. Pedro. Come, lady, come; you have lost the heart of signior Benedick.
Beat. Indeed, my lord, he lent it me a while; and I gave him use for it, a double heart for his single one: marry, once before, he won it of me with false dice, therefore your grace may well say, I have lost it.
D. Pedro. You have put him down, lady, you have put him down.
Beat. So I would pot he should do me, my lord, lest I should prove the mother of fools. I have brought count Claudio, whom you sent me to seek.
D. Pedro. Why, how now, count? wherefore are you sad ?
Claud. Not sad, my lord.
Beat. The count is neither sad, 'nor sick, nor merry, nor well: but civil, count; civil as an orange, and something of that jealous complexion.
D. Pedro. I’faith, lady, I think your blazon to be true; though, I'll be sworn, if he be so, his conceit is false. Here, Claudio, I have wooed in thy name, and fair Hero is won; I have broke with her father, and his good will obtained : name the day of marriage, and God give thee joy!
Leon. Count, take of me my daughter, and with her
my fortunes: his grace hath made the match, and all grace say Amen to it!
Beat. Speak, count, 'tis your cue.
Claud. Silence is the perfectest herald of joy: I were but little happy, if I could say how much.—Lady, as you are mine, I am yours: I give away myself for you, and dote upon the exchange.
Beat. Speak, cousin; or, if you cannot, stop his mouth with a kiss, and let him not speak, neither.
D. Pedro. In faith, lady, you have a merry heart.
Beat. Yea, my lord; I thank it, poor fool, it keeps on the windy side of care :-My cousin tells him in his ear, that he is in her heart.
Claud. And so she doth, cousin.
Beat. Good lord, for alliance !—Thus goes every one to the world but I, and I am sun-burned; I may sit in a corner, and cry, heigh ho! for a husband.
D. Pedro. Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.
Beat. I would rather have one of your father's getting: Hath your grace ne'er a brother like you? Your father got excellent husbands, if a maid could come by them.
D. Pedro. Will you have me, lady?
Beat. No, my lord, unless I might have another for working-days; your grace is too costly to wear every day :-But, I beseech your grace, pardon me; I was born to speak all mirth, and no matter.
D. Pedro. Your silence most offends me, and to be merry best becomes you; for, out of question, you were born in a merry hour.
Beat. No, sure, my lord, my mother cry'd; but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born.