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The supposition of the lady's death
Bene. Signior Leonato, let the friar advise you :
Being that I flow in grief, The smallest twine may lead me. Friar. 'Tis well consented; presently away; For to strange sores strangely they strain the
Come, lady, die to live: this wedding day,
Perhaps, is but prolong'd; have patience, and endure.
[Exeunt Friar, HERO, and LEONATO. Bene. Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while?
Beat. Yea, and I will weep awhile longer.
Beat. You have no reason, I do it freely.
Beat. Ah, how much might the man deserve of me that would right her!
Bene. Is there any way to show such friendship?
Beat. It is a man's office, but not yours. Bene. I do love nothing in the world so well as you; Is not that strange?
Beat. As strange as the thing I know not: It were as possible for me to say, I loved nothing so well as you but believe me not; and yet I lie not; I confess nothing, nor I deny nothing:sorry for my cousin.
kinswoman? - O, that I were a man! - What. bear her in hand until they come to take hands; and then with public accusation, uncovered slander, unmitigated rancour, - O God, that I were a man! I would eat his heart in the market-place. Bene. Hear me, Beatrice;
Beat. Talk with a man out at a window? proper saying.
Bene. Nay but, Beatrice;
Beat. Sweet Hero' - she is wronged, she is slan. dered, she is undone.
Beat. Princes, and counties! Surely, a princely testimony, a goodly count-confect; a sweet gallant, surely! O that I were a man for his sake! or that I had any friend would be a man for my sake! But manhood is melted into courtesies, valour into compliment, and men are only turned into tongue, and trim ones too: he is now as valiant as Hercules, that only tells a lie, and swears it: I cannot be a man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving.
Bene. Tarry, good Beatrice: By this hand, I love thee.
Beat. Use it for my love some other way than swearing by it.
Bene. Think you in your soul the count Claudic hath wronged Hero?
Beat. Yea, as sure as I have a thought, or a soul. Bene. Enough, I am engaged, I will challenge him; I will kiss your hand, and so leave you: By this hand, Claudio shall render me a dear account: As you hear of me, so think of me. Go, comfort your cousin: I must say, she is dead; and so, farewell. [Exeunt.
A Prison. Enter DOGBERRY, VERGES, and Sexton, in gowns : and the Watch, with CONRADE and BORACHIO. Dogb. Is our whole dissembly appeared? Verg. O, a stool and a cushion for the sexton! Sexton. Which be the malefactors?
Dogb. Marry, that am I and my partner. Verg. Nay, that's certain; we have the exhibition to examine.
Sexton. But which are the offenders that are to be examined? let them come before master constable. Dogb. Yea, marry, let them come before me. What is your name, friend?
- that they hope they serve God: and write God first; for God defend but God should go before such villains! - Masters, it is There is proved already that you are little better than false knaves; and it will go near to be thought so shortly. How answer you for yourselves?
- Nay, I pray you, let me go.
Bene. Beatrice, –
Beat. In faith, I will go.
Bene. We'll be friends first.
Con. Marry, sir, we say we are none.
Dogb. A marvellous witty fellow, I assure you; Come you hither, sirrah; a word in your ear, sir; I say to you, it is thought you are false knaves.
Beat. You dare easier be friends with me, than but I will go about with him. fight with mine enemy.
Bene. Is Claudio thine enemy?
Beat. Is he not approved in the height a vilain, that hath slandered, scorned, dishonoured my
Bora. Sir, I say to you, we are none.
Con. Off, coxcomb!
Bora. Master constable, Dogb. Pray thee, fellow, peace; I do not like thy look, I promise thee.
Sexton. What heard you him say else?
2 Watch. Marry, that he had received a thousand ducats of Don John, for accusing the lady Hero wrongfully.
Dogb. Flat burglary, as ever was committed.
Sexton. What else, fellow?
1 Watch. And that count Claudio did mean, upon his words, to disgrace Hero before the whole assembly, and not marry her.
Dogb. God's my life! where's the sexton? let him write down - the prince's officer, coxcomb. Come, bind them: - Thou naughty varlet! Con. Away! you are an ass, you are an ass. Dogb. Dost thou not suspect my place? Dost thou not suspect my years? - O that he were here to write me down - an ass! but, masters, remember, that I am an ass; though it be not written down, yet forget not that I am an ass: No, thou villain, thou art full of piety, as shall be proved upon thee by good witness. I am a wise fellow; and, which is more, an officer; and, which is more, a housholder; and, which is more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any is in Messina; and one that knows the law, go to; and a rich fellow enough, go to; and a fellow that hath had
Dogb. O villain! thou wilt be condemned into losses; and one that hath two gowns, and every thing everlasting redemption for this.
Sexton. What else?
handsome about him: - Bring him away. O, that I had been writ down—an ass! [Exeunt.
Ant. If you go on thus, you will kill yourself; And 'tis not wisdom, thus to second grief Against yourself.
Measure his woe the length and breadth of mine,
Patch grief with proverbs; make misfortune drunk
But there is no such man: For, brother, men
The like himself: therefore give me no counsel : My griefs cry louder than advertisement.
Ant. Therein do men from children nothing differ.
Leon. I pray thee, peace; I will be flesh and blood;
For there was never yet philosopher,
Ant. Yet bend not all the harm upon yourself; Make those, that do offend you, suffer too.
Leon. There thou speak'st reason: nay, I will do
Nay, never lay thy hand upon thy sword,
I fear thee not. Claud.
Marry, beshrew my hand,
If it should give your age such cause of fear:
I speak not like a dotard, nor a fool;
What I have done being young, or what would do,
And, with grey hairs, and bruise of many days.
I say, thou hast belied mine innocent child;
D. Pedro. See, see; here comes the man we went to seek.
Claud. Now, signior! what news?
Bene. Good day, my lord.
D. Pedro. Welcome, signior: You are almost come to part almost a fray.
Claud. We had like to have had our two noses snapped off with two old men without teeth.
D. Pedro. Leonato and his brother: What think'st thou? Had we fought, I doubt, we should have been too young for them.
Bene. In a false quarrel there is no true valour : I came to seek you both.
Claud. We have been up and down to seek thee;
Thy slander hath gone through and through her for we are high proof melancholy, and would fain
And she lyes buried with her ancestors:
If thou kill'st me, boy, thou shalt kill a man.
Ant. He shall kill two of us, and men indeed; But that's no matter; let him kill one first; Win me and wear me, — let him answer me, Come follow me, boy; come, boy, follow me: Sir boy, I'll whip you from your foining fence; Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will.
Leon. Brother, ·
Ant. Content yourself: God knows, I lov'd my niece;
And she is dead, slander'd to death by villains;
As I dare take a serpent by the tongue :
Ant. Hold you content: What, man! I know
have it beaten away: Wilt thou use thy wit?
Bene. It is in my scabbard; Shall I draw it? D. Pedro. Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side? Claud. Never any did so, though very many have been beside their wit. I will bid thee draw, as we do the minstrels; draw, to pleasure us.
D. Pedro. As I am an honest man, he looks pale : — Art thou sick, or angry?
Claud. What! courage, man! What though care killed a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill
Bene. Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career, an you charge it against me: — I pray you, choose another subject. Claud. Nay, then give him another staff; this last was broke cross.
D. Pedro. By this light, he changes more and more; I think, he be angry indeed.
Claud. If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle. Bene. Shall I speak a word in your ear? Claud. God bless me from a challenge! Bene. You are a villain;—I jest not- I will make it good how you dare, with what you dare, and when you dare: Do me right, or I will proYou have killed a sweet lady, and her death shall fall heavy on you: Let me hear from you.
test your cowardice.
Claud. Well, I will meet you, so I may have good cheer.
D. Pedro. What, a feast? a feast?
Claud. I'faith, I thank him; he hath bid me to a calf's head and a capon, the which if I do not carve most curiously say, my knife's naught. Shall I not find a woodcock too?
Bene. Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes easily.
D. Pedro. I'll tell thee how Beatrice praised thy wit the other day: I said, thou hadst a fine wit, True, says she, a fine little one: No, said I, a great wit; Right, says she, a great gross one: Nay, said I, a good wit; Just, said she, it hurts no body: Nay, said I, the gentleman is wise; Certain, said she, a wise gentleman: Nay, said I, he hath the tongues : That I believe, said she, for he swore a thing to me on Monday night, which he forswore on Tuesday morning; there's a double tongue; there's two tongues. Thus did she, an hour together, transshape thy particular virtues; yet, at last, she concluded with a sigh, thou wast the properest man in Italy.
Claud. For the which she wept heartily, and said, she cared not.
D. Pedro. Yea, that she did; but yet, for all that, an if she did not hate him deadly, she would love him dearly: the old man's daughter told us all.
Claud. All, all; and moreover, God saw him when he was hid in the garden.
D. Pedro. But when shall we set the savage bull's horns on the sensible Benedick's head?
Claud. Yea, and text underneath, Here dwells Benedick the married man?
Bene. Fare you well, boy! you know my mind; I will leave you now to your gossip-like humour : you break jests as braggarts do their blades, which, God be thanked, hurt not. My lord, for your many courtesies I thank you : I must discontinue your company: your brother, the bastard, is fled from Messina: you have, among you, killed a sweet and innocent lady: For my lord Lack-beard, there, he and I shall meet; and till then, peace be with him. [Exit BENEDICK.
D. Pedro. He is in earnest. Claud. In most profound earnest ; and I'll warrant you, for the love of Beatrice.
D. Pedro. And hath challenged thee?
D. Pedro. What a pretty thing man is, when he goes in his doublet and hose, and leaves off his wit! Enter DOGBERRY, VERGES, and the Watch, with CONRADE and BORACHIO.
Claud. He is then a giant to an ape: but then is an ape a doctor to such a man.
D. Pedro. But, soft you, let be; pluck up, my heart, and be sad! Did he not say, my brother was fled?
Dogb. Come, you, sir; if justice cannot tame you, she shall ne'er weigh more reasons in her balance: nay, an you be a cursing hypocrite once, you must be looked to,
D. Pedro. How now, two of my brother's men bound! Borachio, one!
Claud. Hearken after their offence, my lord! D. Pedro. Officers, what offence have these men done?
Dogb. Marry, sir, they have committed false report; moreover, they have spoken untruths; secondarily, they are slanders; sixth and lastly, they have belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified unjust things and, to conclude, they are lying knaves.
D. Pedro. First, I ask thee what they have done; thirdly, I ask thee what's their offence; sixth and lastly, why they are committed; and, to conclude, what you lay to their charge?
Claud. Rightly reasoned, and in his own division; and, by my troth, there's one meaning well suited. D. Pedro. Whom have you offended, masters, that you are thus bound to your answer? this learned constable is too cunning to be understood: What's your offence?
Bora. Sweet prince, let me go no further to mine answer; do you hear me, and let this count kill me. I have deceived even your very eyes: what your wisdoms could not discover, these shallow fools have brought to light; who, in the night, overheard me confessing to this man, how Don John your brother incensed me to slander the lady Hero; how you were brought into the orchard, and saw me court Margaret in Hero's garments; how you disgraced her, when you should marry her: my villainy they have upon record; which I had rather seal with my death, than repeat over to my shame : the lady is dead upon mine and my master's false accusation; and, briefly, I desire nothing but the reward of a villain.
Claud. I have drunk poison, whiles he uttered it, D. Pedro. But did my brother set thee on to this? Bora. Yea, and paid me richly for the practice of it. D. Pedro. He is compos'd and fram'd of treachery:
And fled he is upon this villainy.
Claud. Sweet Hero! now thy image doth appear In the rare semblance that I loved it first.
Dogb. Come, bring away the plaintiffs; by this time our Sexton hath reformed signior Leonato of the matter: And masters, do not forget to specify when time and place shall serve, that I am an ass. Verg. Here, here comes master signior Leonaw›, and the Sexton too.
Re-enter LEONATO and ANTONIO, with the Sexton.
I may avoid him: Which of these is he?
Leon. Art thou the slave, that with thy breath hast kill'd
Mine innocent child?
I thank you, princes, for my daughter's death;
Claud. I know not how to pray your patience,
Leon. I cannot bid you bid my daughter live, That were impossible; but I pray you both, Possess the people in Messina here
How innocent she died: and, if your love
Give her the right you should have given her cousin,
Dogb. Moreover, sir, (which, indeed, is not under white and black,) this plaintiff here, the offender, did call me ass: I beseech you, let it be remembered in his punishment: And also, the watch heard them talk of one Deformed: they say, he wears a key in his ear, and a lock hanging by it; and borrows money in God's name; the which he hath used so long, and never paid, that now men grow hard-hearted, and will lend nothing for God's sake: Pray you, examine him upon that point.
Leon. I thank thee for thy care and honest pains. Dogb. Your worship speaks like a most thankful and reverend youth; and I praise God for you. Leon. There's for thy pains.
Dogb. God save the foundation! Leon. Go, I discharge thee of thy prisoner, and I thank thee.
Dogb. I leave an arrant knave with your worship; which, I beseech your worship, to correct yourself, for the example of others. God keep your worship; I wish your worship well; God restore you to health: I humbly give you leave to depart; and if a merry meeting may be wished, God prohibit it. Come, neighbour.
[Exeunt DOGBERRY, VERGES, and Watch. Leon. Until to-morrow morning, lords, farewell. Ant. Farewell, my lords; we look for you to
Enter BENEDICK and MARGARET, meeting. Bene. Pray thee, sweet mistress Margaret, deserve well at my hands, by helping me to the speech of Beatrice.
Marg. Will you then write me a sonnet in praise of my beauty?
Bene. In so high a style, Margaret, that no man living shall come over it; for, in most comely truth, thou deservest it.
Marg. To have no man come over me? why, shall I always keep below stairs?
Bene. Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound's mouth, it catches.
Marg. And your's as blunt as the fencer's foils, which hit, but hurt not.
Bene. A most manly wit, Margaret, it will not hurt a woman; and so, I pray thee, call Beatrice : I give thee the bucklers.
Marg. Give us the swords, we have bucklers of
good swimmer, Troilus the first employer of panders, and a whole book full of these quondam carpet-mongers, whose names yet ran smoothly in the even road of a blank verse, why, they were never so truly turned over and over as my poor self, in love. Marry, I cannot show it in rhyme; I have tried; I can find out no rhyme to lady but baby, an innocent rhyme; for scorn, hern, a hard rhyme; for school, fool, a babbling rhyme; very ominous endings: No, I was not born under a rhyming planet, nor I cannot woo in festival terms.
Sweet Beatrice, would'st thou come when I called thee?
Beat. Yea, signior, and depart when you bid me. Bene. O, stay but till then!
Beat. Then, is spoken; fare you well now: and yet, ere I go, let me go with that I came for, which is, with knowing what hath passed between you and Claudio.
Bene. Only foul words; and thereupon I will kiss thee.
Beat. Foul words is but foul wind, and fou! wind is but foul breath, and foul breath is noisome ; therefore I will depart unkissed.
Bene. Thou hast frighted the word out of his right sense, so forcible is thy wit: But, I must teli thee plainly, Claudio undergoes my challenge; and either I must shortly hear from him, or I will subscribe him a coward. And, I pray thee now, tell me, for which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love with me?
Beat. For them all together; which maintained so politick a state of evil, that they will not admit any good part to intermingle with them. But for which of my good parts did you first suffer love for me?
Bene. Suffer love; a good epithet! I do suffer love, indeed, for I love thee against my will.
Beat. In spite of your heart, I think; alas! poor heart! If you spite it for my sake, I will spite it for yours; for I will never love that which my friend hates.
Bene. Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably. Beat. It appears not in this confession: there's not one wise man among twenty, that will praise himself.
Bene. An old, an old instance, Beatrice, that lived in the time of good neighbours: if a man do not erect in this age his own tomb ere he dies, he shall live no longer in monument, than the bell rings, and the widow weeps.
Beat. And how long is that, think you?
Bene. Question? Why, an hour in clamour, and a quarter in rheum: Therefore it is most expedient for the wise, (if Don Worm, his conscience, find no impediment to the contrary,) to be the trumpet of his own virtues, as I am to myself: So much for praising myself, (who, I myself will bear witness, is praise-worthy,) and now tell me, How doth your cousin?
Beat. Very ill.
Bene. And how do you? Beat. Very ill too.
Bene. Serve God, love me, and mend. there will I leave you too, for here comes one in haste.
Urs. Madam, you must come to your uncle;