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stated man: but for the stuffing, ali mortal.
Well, we are Leon. You must not, sir, mistake my niece : there is a kind of merry war betwixt signior Bonedick and her: they never meet, but there is a skirmish of wit between them.
Beat. Alas, he gets nothing by that. In our last conflict, four of his five wits went halting off, and now is the old man governed with one: so that if he have wit enough to keep himself warm, let him bear it for a difference between himself and his horse; for it is all 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.
Mess. Is it possible?
Beat. Very easily possible: he wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat, it ever changes with the next block.
Mess. I see, 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?
certain, I am loved 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! so some gentleman or other shall 'scape a predestinate scratched face.
Beat. Scratching could not make it worse, an 'twere such 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 you of old.
D. 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 lã• Mess. He is most in the company of the right heartily prays some occasion may detain us longer: noble Claudio. I dare swear he is no hypocrite, but prays from his heart.
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 Benedick, it will cost him a thousand pound ere he be cured. Mess. I will hold friends with you, lady. Beat. Do, good friend.
Leon. You will never run mad, niece.
Beat. No, not till a hot January.
Mess. Don Pedro is approached.
Enter Don PEDRO, attended by BALTHAZAR and others, Don JOHN, CLAUDIO, and BENEDICK.
D. 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, sorrow abides, and happiness takes his leave.
D. Pedro. You embrace your charge too willingly. I think, this is your daughter. Leon. Her mother hath many times told me so. Bene. Were you in doubt, sir, that you asked her? Leon. Signior Benedick, no; for then were you a child.
D. Pedro. You have it full, Benedick: we may guess by this what you are, being a man. Truly, the lady fathers herself: — Be happy, lady! for you are like an honourable father.
Bene. If signior Leonato be her father, she would not have his head on her shoulders, for all Messina, as like him as she is.
Beat. I wonder that you will still be talking, signior Benedick; no body marks you.
Bene. What, my dear lady Disdain! are you yet living.
Beat. Is it possible, disdain should die, while she hath such meet food to feed it, as signior Benedick? Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you come in her presence.
Bene. Then is courtesy a turn-coat : But it is
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.
D. John. I thank you: I am not of many words, but I thank you. Leon. Please it your grace lead on? D. 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 looked on her.
Bene. 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 pray thee, speak in sober judgment. Bene. Why, i'faith, methinks she is too low for a high praise, too brown for a fair praise, and too little for a great praise: only this commendation I can afford her; that were she other than she is, she were unhandsome; and being no other but as she is, I do not like her.
Claud. Thou thinkest I am in sport; I pray thee, tell me truly how thou likest her.
Bene. Would 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.
you this with a sad 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 ever I looked on.
Bene. I can see yet without spectacles, and I see no such matter: there's her cousin, an she were not possessed with 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 it come to this, i'faith? Hath not the world one man, but he will wear his cap with suspicion ? Shall I never see a bachelor of threescore again? Go to, i'faith: an thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it, and sigh away Sundays. Look, Don Pedro is returned to seek you.
Re-enter Don PEDRO.
D. Pedro. What secret hath held you here, that you followed not to Leonato's?
Bene. I would, your grace would constrain me to tell.
D. 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 who? -now that is your Mark, how short his answer is: With Hero, Leonato's short daughter. Claud. If this were so, so 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.
D. Pedro. Amen, if you love her; for the lady is very well worthy.
Claud. You speak this to fetch me in, my lord. D. 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 spoke mine.
Claud. That I love her, I feel.
D. Pedro. That she is worthy, I know.
Bene. That I neither feel how she should 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.
D. Pedro. Thou wast ever an obstinate heretick❘ in the despite 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 recheat winded in my forehead, or hang my bugle in an invisible baldrick, 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 is, (for the which I may go the finer,) I will live a bachelor.
D. Pedro. I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with love.
Bene. With anger, with sickness, or with hunger, my lord; not with love: prove, that ever I lose more blood with love, than I will get again with drinking, 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.
D. 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 clapped on the shoulder, and cailed Adam.
D. Pedro. Well, as time shall try :
In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke.
Bene. The savage bull may; but if ever this sen
D. Pedro. Nay, if Cupid have not spent all his quiver in Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly. Bene. I look for an earthquake too then.
D. Pedro. Well, you will temporize 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 supper; for, indeed, he hath made great preparation.
Bene. I have almost matter enough in me for such an embassage; and so I commit you Claud. To the tuition of God: From my house, (if I had it) ·
D. Pedro. The sixth of July: Your loving friend, Benedick.
Bene. Nay, mock not, mock not: The body of your discourse is sometime guarded with fragments, and the guards are but slightly basted on neither: ere you flout old ends any further, examine your conscience; and so I leave you. [Exit BENEDICK. Claud. My liege, your highness now may do me good.
D. Pedro. My love is thine to teach; teach it but how,
And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn
Dost thou affect her, Claudio?
D. Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover presently
Claud. How sweetly do you minister to love,
The fairest grant is the necessity :
I know, we shall have revelling to-night;
Ant. As the event stamps them; but they have a good cover, they show well outward. The prince and Count Claudio, walking in a thick-pleached alley in my orchard, were thus much overheard by a man of mine: The prince discovered to Claudio, that he loved 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 instantly break with you of it. Leon. Hath the fellow any wit, that told you this? Ant. A good sharp fellow; I will send for him, and question him yourself.
Leon. No, no; we will hold it as a dream, till it appear itself: — but I will acquaint my daughter withal, that she may be the better prepared for an answer, if peradventure this be true. Go you, and tell her of it. [Several persons cross the stage.] Cousins, you know what you have to do. — O, I cry you mercy, friend: you go with me, and I will use your skill: - Good cousins, have a care this busy time. [Exeunt.
SCENE III.- Another Room in Leonato's House.
Enter Don JoHN and CONRADE.
Con. What the goujere, my lord! why are you
thus out of ineasure sad?
D. John. There is no measure in the occasion that breeds it, therefore the sadness is without limit. Con. You should hear reason.
D. John. And when I have heard it, what blessing bringeth it?
You have of late stood out against your brother. and he hath ta'en you newly into his grace; where it is impossible you should take true root, but by the fair weather that you make yourself: it is needful that you frame the season for your own harvest.
D. John. I had rather be a canker in a hedge, than a rose in his grace; and it better fits my blood to be disdain'd of all, than to fashion a carriage te rob love from any in this, though I cannot be said to be a flattering honest man, it must not be denied that I am a plain-dealing villain. I am trusted with a muzzle, and enfranchised with a clog: therefore I have decreed not to sing 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 seek not to alter me.
Con. Can you make no use of your discontent? D. John. I make all use of it, for I use it only. Who comes here? What news, Borachio?
Bora. I came yonder from a great supper; the prince, your brother, is royally entertained by Leonato; and I can give you intelligence of an intended marriage.
D. John. Will it serve for any model to build mischief on? What is he for a fool, that betroths himself to unquietness?
Bora. Marry, it is your brother's right hand.
D. John. A proper squire! And who, and who? which way looks he?
Bora. Marry, on Hero, the daughter and heir of Leonato.
D. John. A very forward March-chick! How came you to this?
Bora. Being entertained for a perfumer, as I was smoking a musty room, comes me the prince and Claudio, hand in hand, in sad conference: I whipt me behind the arras; and there heard it agreed upon, that the prince should woo Hero for himself,
Con. If not a present remedy, yet a patient suf- and having obtained her, give her to count Claudio.
D. John. I wonder, that thou being (as thou say'st thou art) born under Suturn, goest about to apply a moral medicine to a mortifying mischief. I cannot hide what I am: I must be sad when I have cause, and smile at no man's jests; eat when I have stomach, and wait for no man's leisure; sleep when I am drowsy, and tend to no man's business; laugh when I am merry, and claw no man in his humour. Con. Yea, but you must not make the full show of this, till you may do it without controlment.
D. John. Come, come, let us thither; this may prove food to my displeasure: that young start-up hath all the glory of my overthrow; if I can cross him any way, I bless myself every way: You are both sure, and will assist me?
Con. To the death, my lord.
D. John. Let us to the great supper: their cheer is the greater, that I am subdued: 'Would the cook were of my mind! Shall we go prove what's to be done?
Bora. We'll wait upon your lordship. [Ereunt.
Beat. Too curst is more than curst: I shall lessen God's sending that way for it is said, God sends a curst cow short horns; but to a cow too curst he sends none.
Leon. So, by being too curst, God will send you no horns.
Beat. Just, if he send me no husband; for the which blessing, I am at him upon my knees every morning and evening: Lord! I could not endure a husband with a beard on his face: I had rather lie in the woollen.
Leon. You may light upon a husband, that hath no beard.
Beat. What should I do with him? dress him in my apparel, and make him my waiting gentlewoman? He that hath a beard, is more than a youth; and he that hath no beard, is less than a man: and he that is more than a youth, is not for me; and he that is less than a man, I am not for him: Therefore I will even take sixpence in earnest of the bear-herd, and lead his apes into hell.
Leon. Well then, go you into hell?
Beat. No; but to the gate; and there will the devil meet me, like an old cuckold, with horns on his head, and say, Get you to heaven, Beatrice, get you to heaven; here's no place for you maids: so deliver I up my apes, and away to Saint Peter for the heavens; he shows me where the bachelors sit, and there live we as merry as the day is long.
Ant. Well, niece, [to HERO.] I trust, you will be ruled by your father.
Beat. Yes, faith; it is my cousin's duty to make courtesy, and say, Father, as it please you: - but yet for all that, cousin, let him be a handsome fellow, or else make another courtesy, and say, Father, as it please me.
Leon. Well, niece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband.
Beat. Not till God make men of some other metal than earth. Would it not grieve a woman to be over-mastered with a piece of valiant dust? to make an account of her life to a clod of wayward marl? No, uncle, I'll none: Adam's sons are my brethren; and truly, I hold it a sin to match in my kindred.
Leon. Daughter, remember, what I told you: if the prince do solicit you in that kind, you know
Beat. The fault will be in the musick, cousin, if you be not woo'd in good time: if the prince be too important, tell him, there is measure in every thing, and so dance out the answer. For hear me, Hero; Wooing, wedding, and repenting, is as a Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinque-pace: the first suit is hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as fantastical; the wedding, mannerly-modest, as a measure full of state and ancientry; and then comes repentance, and, with his bad legs, falls into the cinque-pace faster and faster, till he sink into his grave.
Leon. Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly. Beat. I have a good eye, uncle; I can see a church by day-light.
Leon. The revellers are entering; brother, make good room.
D. Pedro. Lady, will you walk about with your friend?
Hero. So you walk softly, and look sweetly, and say nothing, I am yours for the walk; and, especially, when I walk away.
D. Pedro. With me in your company?
D. Pedro. And when please you to say so? Hero. When I like your favour; for God defend, the lute should be like the case!
D. Pedro. My visor is Philemon's roof; within the house is Jove.
Hero. Why, then your visor should be thatch'd. D. Pedro. Speak low, if you speak love.
[Takes her asule.
Bene. Well, I would you did like me. Marg. So would not I, for your own sake, for I have many ill qualities.
Bene. Which is one?
Marg. I say my prayers aloud.
Bene. I love you the better; the hearers may cry, Amen.
Marg. God match me with a good dancer!
Marg. And God keep him out of my sight, when the dance is done ! - Answer, clerk. Balth. No more words; the clerk is answered. Urs. I know you well enough; you are signior Antonio.
Ant. At a word, I am not.
Urs. I know you by the waggling of your head.
Ant. To tell you true, I counterfeit him. Urs. You could never do him so ill-well, unless you were the very man: Here's his dry hand up and down; you are he, you are he.
Ant. At a word, I am not.
Urs. Come, come; do you think I do not know you by your excellent wit? Can virtue hide itself? Go to, mum, you are he: graces will appear, and
Beat. I am sure, you know him well enough.
Beat. Did he never make you laugh?
Beat. Why, he is the prince's jester: a very dull fool; only his gift is in devising impossible slanders: none but libertines delight in him; and the commendation is not in his wit, but in his villainy; for he both pleaseth men, and angers them, and then they laugh at him, and beat him: I am sure he is in the fleet; I would he had boarded me.
Bene. When I know the gentleman, I'll tell him what you say.
Beat. Do, do he'll but break a comparison or two on me; which, peradventure, not marked, or not laughed at, strikes him into melancholy; and then there's a partridge' wing saved, for the fool
will eat no supper that night. [Musick within.] We must follow the leaders.
Bene. In every good thing.
Beat. Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at the next turning.
[Dance. Then exeunt all but Don JOHN, BORACHIO, and CLAUDIO.
D. John. Sure, my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath withdrawn her father to break with him about it: The ladies follow her, and but one visor remains.
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,
Bora. And that is Claudio: I know him by his shows it his companion, and he steals it. bearing.
D. John. Are not you signior Benedick?
D. John. Signior, you are very near my brother in his love: he is enamour'd on Hero; I pray you, dissuade him from her, she is no equal for his birth: you may do the part of an honest man in it.
Claud. How know you he loves her?
D. John. I heard him swear his affection. Bora. So did I too; and he swore he would marry her to-night.
D. John. Come, let us to the banquet.
[Exeunt Don JOHN and BORACHIO.
And trust no agent: for beauty is a witch,
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 wrong'd by you.
Bene. O, she misused me past the endurance of a block; an oak, but with one green leaf on it, would have answer'd 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,
Which I mistrusted not: Farewell therefore, Hero! and every word stabs: if her breath were as terrible
Bene. Count Claudio?
Claud. Yea, the same.
Bene. Come, will you go with me?
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. [Exit. 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.
D. Pedro. Now, signior, where's the count; Did you see him.
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, BEATRICE, LEONATO, and HERO. D. Pedro. Look, here she comes.
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. [Exit. 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.