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D. John. I know not that, when he knows what | be the most senseless and fit man for the constable i know.
Claud. If there be any impediment, I pray you, discover it.
D. John. You may think, I love you not; let that appear hereafter, and aim better at me by that I now will manifest. For my brother, I think, he holds you well; and in dearness of heart hath holp to effect your ensuing marriage: surely, suit ill spent, and labour ill bestowed!
D. Pedro. Why, what's the matter?
D. John. I came hither to tell you: and, circumstances shortened, (for she hath been too long a talking of,) the lady is disloyal.
Claud. Who? Hero?
D. John. Even she; Leonato's Hero, your Hero, every man's Hero.
D. John. The word is too good to paint out her wickedness; I could say, she were worse; think you of a worse title, and I will fit her to it. Wonder not till further warrant: go but with me to-night, you shall see her chamber-window entered; even the night before her wedding-day: if you love her then, to-morrow wed her; but it would better fit your honour to change your mind.
Claud. May this be so?
D. Pedro. I will not think it.
D. John. If you dare not trust that you see, confass not that you know: if you will follow me, I will show you enough; and when you have seen inore, and heard more, proceed accordingly.
Claud. If I see any thing to-night why I should not marry her to-morrow; in the congregation, where I should wed, there will I shame her.
D. Pedro. And, as I wooed for thee to obtain her, I will join with thee to disgrace her.
D. John. I will disparage her no farther, till you are my witnesses: bear it coldly but till midnight, and let the issue show itself.
D. Pedro. O day untowardly turned !
SCENE III. -A Street.
Enter DOGBERRY and VERGES, with the Watch.
Dogb. Are you good men and true? Verg. Yea, or else it were pity but they should suffer salvation, body and soul.
Dogb. Nay, that were a punishment too good for them, if they should have any allegiance in them, being chosen for the prince's watch.
Verg. Well, give them their charge, neighbour Dogberry.
Dogb. First, who think you the most desartless man to be constable?
1 Watch. Hugh Oatcake, sir, or George Seaoal; for they can write and read.
Dogb. Come hither, neighbour Seacoal: God hath blessed you with a good name: to be a wellfavoured man is the gift of fortune; but to write and read comes by nature.
of the watch; therefore bear you the lantern: This is your charge; You shall comprehend all vagrom men; you are to bid any man stand, in the prince's
2 Watch. How if he will not stand?
Dogb. Why then, take no note of him, but let him go; and presently call the rest of the watch together, and thank God you are rid of a knave.
Verg. If he will not stand when he is bidden, he is none of the prince's subjects.
Dogb. True, and they are to meddle with none but the prince's subjects: . You shall also make no noise in the streets; for, for the watch to babble and talk, is most tolerable and not to be endured.
2 Watch. We will rather sleep than talk; we know what belongs to a watch.
Dogb. Why, you speak like an ancient and most quiet watchman; for I cannot see how sleeping should offend: only, have a care that your bills be not stolen: - Well, you are to call at all the alehouses, and bid those that are drunk get them to bed. 2 Watch. How if they will not?
Dogb. Why then, let them alone till they are sober; if they make you not then the better answer, you may say, they are not the men you took them for. 2 Watch. Well, sir.
Dogb. If you meet a thief, you may suspect him, by virtue of your office, to be no true man: and, for such kind of men, the less you meddle or make with them, why, the more is for your honesty.
2 Watch. If we know him to be a thief, shall we not lay hands on him?
Dogb. Truly, by your office, you may; but, I think, they that touch pitch will be defiled: the most peaceable way for you, if you do take a thief, is, to let him show himself what he is, and steal out of your company.
Verg. You have been always called a merciful man, partner.
Dogb. Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will; much more a man who hath any honesty in him.
Verg. If you hear a child cry in the night, you must call to the nurse, and bid her still it.
2 Watch. How if the nurse be asleep, and will not hear us?
Dogb. Why then, depart in peace, and let the child wake her with crying: for the ewe that will not hear her lamb when it baes, will never answer a calf when he bleats.
Verg. 'Tis very true.
Dogb. This is the end of the charge. You, constable, are to present the prince's own person; if you meet the prince in the night, you may stay him. Verg. Nay by'r lady, that, I think, he cannot. Dogb. Five shillings to one on't, with any man that knows the statues, he may stay him: marry, not without the prince be willing: for, indeed, the watch ought to offend no man; and it is an offence to stay a man against his will.
Verg. By'r lady, I think, it be 10.
Dogb. Ha, ha, ha! Well, masters, good night: an there be any matter of weight chances, call up 2 Watch. Both which, master constable, me: keep your fellows' counsels and your own, and Dogb. You have; I knew it would be good night. your anCome, neighbour. swer. Well, for your favour, sir, why, give God thanks, and make no boast of it; and for your writing and reading, let that appear when there is no need of such vanity. You are thought here to
2 Watch. Well, masters, we hear our charge: let us go sit here upon the church-bench till two, and then all to-bed.
Dogb. One word more, honest neighbours I
Bora. Mass, and my elbow itched; I thought, have here recovered the most dangerous piece of there would a scab follow.
Con. I will owe thee an answer for that; and now forward with thy tale.
Bora. Stand thee close then under this penthouse, for it drizzles rain; and I will, like a true drunkard, utter all to thee.
Watch. [aside.] Some treason, masters; yet stand close.
Bora. Therefore know, I have earned of Don John a thousand ducats.
Con. Is it possible that any villainy should be so dear?
Bora. Thou should'st rather ask, if it were possiole any villainy should be so rich; for when rich villains have need of poor ones, poor ones may make what price they will.
Con. I wonder at it.
Bora. That shows, thou art unconfirmed: Thou knowest, that the fashion of a doublet, or a hat, or a cloak, is nothing to a man.
Con. Yes, it is apparel.
Con. Yes, the fashion is the fashion.
Bora. Tush! I may as well say, the fool's the fool. But see'st thou not what a deformed thief this fashion is?
Watch. I know that Deformed; he has been a vile thief this seven year; he goes up and down like a gentleman: I remember his name.
Bora. Didst thou not hear somebody?
Bora. Seest thou not, I say, what a deformed thief this fashion is? how giddily he turns about all the hot bloods, between fourteen and five and thirty? sometime, fashioning them like Pharaoh's soldiers in the reechy painting; sometime, like god Bel's priests in the old church window; sometime, like the shaven Hercules in the smirched worm-eaten tapestry, where his cod-piece seems as massy as his club?
Con. All this I see; and see, that the fashion wears out more apparel than the man: But art not thou thyself giddy with the fashion too, that thou hast shifted out of thy tale into telling me of the fashion?
Bora. Not so neither: but know, that I have tonight wooed Margaret, the lady Hero's gentlewoman, by the name of Hero; she leans me out at her mistress' chamber window, bids me a thousand times good night, I tell this tale vilely: - I should first tell thee, how the Prince, Claudio, and my master, planted, and placed, and possessed by my master Don John, saw afar off in the orchard this uniable encounter.
Con. And thought they, Margaret was Hero? Bora. Two of them did, the Prince and Claudio; but the devil my master knew she was Margaret ; and partly by his oaths, which first possessed them, artly by the dark night, which did deceive them,
lechery that ever was known in the commonwealth. 1 Watch. And one Deformed is one of them; I know him, he wears a lock.
Con. Masters, masters.
2 Watch. You'll be made bring Deformed forth, I warrant you.
1 Watch. Never speak; we charge you, let us obey you to go with us.
Bora. We are like to prove a goodly commodity, being taken up of these men's bills.
Con. A commodity in question, I warrant you. Come, we'll obey you.
SCENE IV.A Room in Leonato's House.
Enter HERO, MARGARET, and URSULA.
Hero. Good Ursula, wake my cousin Beatrice, and desire her to rise.
Urs. I will, lady.
Hero. And bid her come hither.
[Exit URSULA. Marg. Troth, I think, your other rabato were better.
Hero. No, pray thee, good Meg, I'll wear this. Marg. By my troth, it's not so good; and I warrant, your cousin will say so.
Hero. My cousin's a fool, and thou art another; I'll wear none but this.
Marg. I like the new tire within excellently, if the hair were a thought browner and your gown's a most rare fashion, i'faith. I saw the duchess of Milan's gown, that they praise so.
Hero. O, that exceeds, they say.
Marg. By my troth it's but a night gown in respect of your's: Cloth of gold, and cuts, and laced with silver; set with pearls, down sleeves, sidesleeves, and skirts round, underborne with a blueish tinsel but for a fine, quaint, graceful. and excellent fashion, yours is worth ten on't.
Hero. God give me joy to wear it, for my heart is exceeding heavy!
Marg. 'Twill be heavier soon, by the weight of a
Hero. Fye upon thee! art not ashamed?
Marg. Of what lady? of speaking honourably? Is not marriage honourable in a beggar? Is not your lord honourable without marriage! I think, you would have me say, saving your reverence, — a husband: an bad thinking do not wrest true speaking, I'll offend nobody: Is there any harm in the heavier for a husband? None, think, an it be the right husband, and the right wife; otherwise 'tis light, and not heavy: Ask my lady Beatrice else, here she comes.
Hero. Why, how now! do you speak in the sick tune?
Beat. I am out of all other tune, methinks. Marg. Clap us into-Light o' love; that goes without a burden; do you sing it, and I'll dance it. Beat. Yea, Light o' love, with your heels! — then if your husband have stables enough, you'll see he❘ shall lack no barns.
Marg. O illegitimate construction! I scorn that with my heels.
Beat. 'Tis almost five o'clock, cousin; 'tis time you were ready. By my troth I am exceeding ill :hey ho!
Marg. For a hawk, a horse, or a husband? Beat. For the letter that begins them all, H. Marg. Well, an you be not turned Turk, there's no more sailing by the star.
Beat. What means the fool, trow?
Marg. Nothing I; but God send every one their heart's desire!
Hero. These gloves the count sent me, they are an excellent perfume.
Leon. Brief, I pray you; for you see, 'tis a busy time with me.
Dogb. Marry, this it is, sir.
Leon. What is it, my good friends.
Dogb. Goodman Verges, sir, speaks a little off the matter: an old man, sir, and his wits are not so blunt, as, God help, I would desire they were; but, in faith, honest, as the skin between his brows. Verg. Yes, I thank God, I am as honest as any man living, that is an old man, and no honester than I.
Dogb. Comparisons are odorous: palabras, neighbour Verges.
Leon. Neighbours, you are tedious.
Dogb. It pleases your worship to say so, but we are the poor duke's officers; but, truly, for mine own part, if I were as tedious as a king, I could find in my heart to bestow it all of your worship. Leon. All thy tediousness on me! ha!
Dogb. Yea, and 'twere a thousand times more than 'tis for I hear as good exclamation on your worship, as of any man in the city; and though I but a poor man, I am glad to hear it. Verg. And so am I.
Beat. I am stuffed, cousin, I cannot smell. Marg. A maid, and stuffed! there's goodly catch-be ing of cold.
Beat. O, God help me! God help me! how long have you profess'd apprehension?
Marg. Ever since you left it: doth not my wit become me rarely?
Beat. It is not seen enough, you should wear it in your cap. By my troth, I am sick. Marg. Get you some of this distilled Carduus Benedictus, and lay it to your heart; it is the only thing for a qualm.
Hero. There thou prick'st her with a thistle. Beat. Benedictus! why Benedictus? you have some moral in this Benedictus.
Marg. Moral? no, by my troth, I have no moral meaning; I meant, plain holy-thistle. You may think, perchance, that I think you are in love: nay, by'r lady, I am not such a fool to think what I list; nor I list not to think what I can; nor, indeed, I cannot think, if I would think my heart out of thinking, that you are in love, or that you will be in love, or that you can be in love: yet Benedick was such another, and now is he become a man: he swore he would never marry; and yet now, in despite of his heart, he eats his meat without grudging: and how you may be converted, I know not; but, methinks, you look with your eyes as other women do. Beat. What pace is this that thy tongue keeps? Marg. Not a false gallop.
Urs. Madam, withdraw; the prince, the count, signior Benedick, Don John, and all the gallants of the town, are come to fetch you to church.
Hero. Help to dress me, good coz, good Meg, good Ursula. [Exeunt.
SCENE V.- Another Room in Leonato's House. Enter LEONATO, with DOGBERRY and VERGES. Leon. What would you with me, honest neighbour?
Dogb. Marry, sir, I would have some confidence with you, that decerns you nearly.
Leon. I would fain know what you have to say.
Verg. Marry, sir, our watch to-night, excepting your worship's presence, have ta'en a couple of as arrant knaves as any in Messina.
Dogb. A good old man, sir; he will be talking; as they say, When the age is in, the wit is out; God help us! it is a world to see! Well said, i'faith, neighbour Verges: well, God's a good man; an two men ride of a horse, one must ride behind: An honest soul, i'faith, sir; by my troth he is, as ever broke bread: but God is to be worshipped : All men are not alike; alas, good neighbour!
Leon. Indeed, neighbour, he comes too short of you.
Dogb. Gifts, that God gives.
Dogb. One word, sir: our watch, sir, have, indeed, comprehended two aspicious persons, and we would have them this morning examined before your worship.
Leon. Take their examination yourself, and bring it me; I am now in great haste, as it may appear unto you.
Dogb. It shall be suffigance.
Leon. Drink some wine ere you go: fare you well.
SCENE I. The Inside of a Church. Enter Don PEDRO, Don JOHN, LEONATO, Friar, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK, HERO, and BEATRICE, &c. Leon. Come, friar Francis, be brief; only to the plain form of marriage, and you shall recount their particular duties afterwards.
As chaste as is the bud ere it be blown;
Hero. Is my lord well, that he doth speak so wide:
Friar. You come hither, my lord, to marry this lady? I stand dishonour'd, that have gone about
Leon. To be married to her, friar; you come to marry her.
Friar. Lady, you come hither to be married to this count?
Hero. I do.
Friar. If either of you know any inward impediment why you should not be conjoined, I charge you, on your souls, to utter it.
Claud. Know you any, Hero?
Hero. None, my lord.
Friar. Know you any, count?
Leon. I dare make his answer, none.
Claud. O, what men dare do! what men may do! what men daily do! not knowing what they do!
Bene. How now! Interjections? Why, then some be of laughing, as, ha! ha! he!
Claud. Stand thee by, friar: - Father, by your leave;
Will you with free and unconstrained soul
Leon. As freely, son, as God did give her me. Claud. And what have I to give you back, whose worth
May counterpoise this rich and precious gift?
D. Pedro. Nothing, unless you render her again. Claud. Sweet prince, you learn me noble thankfulness.
There, Leonato, take her back again;
To witness simple virtue? Would you not swear,
Claud. I know what you would say; If I have known her,
You'll say, she did embrace me as a husband,
I never tempted her with word too large;
Bashful sincerity, 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;
Bene. This looks not like a nuptial. Hero.
Claud. Leonato, stand I here?
True, O God
Is this the prince? Is this the prince's brother'
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
Leon. I charge thee do so, as thou art my child.
Marry, that can Hero; Hero itself 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.
Hero. I talk'd with no man at that hour, my lord. D. Pedro. Why, then are you no maiden.
I am sorry you must hear; Upon mine honour,
Leon. Hath no man's dagger here a point for me? [HERO SWOONS.
Beat. Why, how now, cousin? wherefore sink you down?
D. John. Come, let us go: these things, come thus to light, Smother her spirits up.
[Exeunt Don PEDRO, Don JOHN, and CLAUD
How now, cousin Hero? Friar. Have comfort, lady. Leon.
Dost thou look up? Friar. Yea; Wherefore should she not? Leon. Wherefore? Why, doth not every earthly thing
Cry shame upon her? Could she here deny
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 belied!
Which was before barr'd up with ribs of iron!
Friar. Hear me a little ; For I have only been silent so long, And given way unto this course of fortune, By noting of the lady; I have mark'd A thousand blushing apparitions 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; Trust not my reading, nor my observations, Which with experimental seal doth warrant The tenour of my book; trust not my age, My reverence, calling, nor divinity, If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here Under some biting error.
The proudest of them shall well hear of it.
Nor fortune made such havoc of my means,
Leon. What shall become of this? What will this do?
Friar. Marry, this, well carried, shall on her behalf
Change slander to remorse; that is some good :
Shall come apparell'd in more precious habit,
Than when she liv'd indeed :-then shall he mourn,