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Don Pedro. What need the bridge much broader than

the flood ?
The fairest grant is the necessity.
Look, what will serve is fit: 'tis once, thou lovest;
And I will fit thee with the remedy.
I know we shall have revelling to-night;
I will assume thy part in some disguise,
And tell fair Hero I am Claudio;
And in her bosom I'll unclasp my heart,
And take her hearing prisoner with the force
And strong encounter of my amorous tale;
Then, after, to her father will I break;
And the conclusion is, she shall be thine :
In practice let us put it presently.


Hero. For look where Beatrice, like a lapwing, runs 21 Close by the ground, to hear our conference.

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Hero. O God of love! I know he doth deserve
As much as may be yielded to a man :
But nature never fram'd a woman's heart
Of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice;
Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes,
Misprising what they look on ; and her wit
Values itself so highly, that to her
All matter else seems weak : she cannot love,
Nor take no shape nor project of affection,
She is so self-endear'd.

Sure, I think so ;
And therefore certainly it were not good

She knew his love, lest she make sport of it.

Hero. Why, you speak truth. I never yet saw man, How wise, how noble, young, how rarely featur’d, But she would spell him backward : if fair fac'd, She 'd swear the gentleman should be her sister; If black, why, nature, drawing of an antick, Made a foul blot ; if tall, a lance ill-headed ; If low, an agate very vilely cut ; If speaking, why, a vane blown with all winds; If silent, why a block moved with none. So turns she every man the wrong side out; And never gives to truth and virtue that Which simpleness and merit purchaseth.


BEATRICE advances.

Beatrice. What fire is in mine ears? Can this be true ?

Stand I condemn’d for pride and scorn so much? Contempt, farewell ! and maiden pride, adieu !

No glory lives behind the back of such. And, Benedick, love on, I will requite thee :

Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand.22 If thou dost love, my kindness shall incite thee

To bind our loves up in a holy band : For others say thou dost deserve; and I Believe it better than reportingly.


Beatrice. O, on my soul, my cousin is belied !



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 observation,
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.


Friar. Marry, this, well carried, shall on her behalf Change slander to remorse ; that is some good : But not for that dream I on this strange course, But on this travail look for greater birth. She dying, as it must be so maintain'd, Upon the instant that she was accus'd, Shall be lamented, pitied, and excused Of every hearer : for it so falls out, That what we have we prize not to the worth Whiles we enjoy it ; but being lack'd and lost, Why, then we rack the value, then we find The virtue that possession would not show us Whiles it was ours. -So will it fare with Claudio : When he shall hear she died upon his words, The idea of her life shall sweetly creep Into his study of imagination; And every lovely organ of her life

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Shall come apparell'd in more precious habit,
More moving delicate, and full of life,
Into the eye and prospect of his soul,
Than when she liv'd indeed :—then shall he mourn,
And wish he had not so accused her ;
No, though he thought his accusation true.
Let this be so, and doubt not but success
Will fashion the event in better shape
Than I can lay it down in likelihood.
But if all aim but this be levell’d false,
The supposition of the lady's death
Will quench the wonder of her infamy :
And if it sort not well, you may conceal her
(As best befits her wounded reputation)
In some reclusive and religious life,
Out of all eyes, tongues, minds, and injuries.

Benedick. Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while?
Beatrice. Yea, and I will weep a while longer.
Benedick. I will not desire that.
Beatrice. You have no reason, I do it freely.
Benedick. Surely, I do believe your fair cousin is wronged.
Beatrice. Ah! how much might the man deserve of me

that would right her.
Benedick. Is there any way to show such friendship?
Beatrice. A very even way, but no such friend.
Benedick. May a man do it ?
Beatrice. It is a man's office, but not yours.
Benedick. I do love nothing in the world so well as you ;

is not that strange ? Beatrice. 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.- I am sorry for my cousin.

Benedick. By my sword, Beatrice, thou lovest me.
Beatrice. Do not swear by it, and eat it.

Benedick. I will swear by it that you love me; and I will make him eat it that says I love not you. Beatrice. Will

not eat your

word ? Benedick. With no sauce that can be devised to it: I protest, I love thee.

Beatrice. Why then, God forgive me !
Benedick. What offence, sweet Beatrice?

Beatrice. You have staid me in a happy hour, I was about to protest I loved you.

Benedick. And do it with all thy heart.

Beatrice. I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest.

Benedick. Come, bid me do any thing for thee.
Beatrice. Kill Claudio.
Benedick. Ha ! not for the wide world.
Beatrice. You kill me to deny it. Farewell.
Benedick. Tarry, sweet Beatrice.

Beatrice. I am gone, though I am here: there is no love in you.-Nay, I pray you, let me go.

Benedick. Beatrice,-
Beatrice. In faith, I will go.
Benedick. We'll be friends first.

Beatrice. You dare easier be friends with me, than fight with mine enemy.

Benedick. Is Claudio thine enemy?

Beatrice. Is he not approved in the height a villain, that hath slandered, scorned, dishonoured my kinswoman? -0, that I were a man !—What! bear her in hand until they come to take hands, and then, with public accusation,

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