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is a kind of merry war betwixt signior Benedick 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 whole 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?

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D. Pedro. This is the sum of all: Don John,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 he heartily prays, some occasion may detain us longer: Mess. He is most in the company of the right I dare swear he is no hypocrite, but prays from his noble Claudio.

Beat. O Lord! he will hang upon him like a disease: he is sooner caught than the pestilence, and the taker runs presently mad. Heaven 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 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. 2 Quarrelsome fellow.

heart.

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.
Claud. Is she not a modest young lady?

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. But speak 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 look'd 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 DecemBut I hope, you have no intent to turn husband; have you?

ber.

Claud. I would scarce trust myself, though I had sworn the contrary, if Hero would be my wife.

Bene. Is it come to this? Hath not the world one man, but he will wear his cap with suspicion?

Shall I never see a bachelor of three-score again?
Go to; 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: With who?. - now that is your Mark, how short his answer is: With Hero, Leonato's short daughter.

- He is in love. grace's part.

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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, heaven forbid it should be so.

Claud. If my passion change not shortly, heaven 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 heretic 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, 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.

Claud. If this should ever happen, thou wouldst be horn-mad.

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 heaven: From my house, (if I had it,

D. Pedro. The sixth of July: Your loving friend, Benedick.

Bene. Nay, inock 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
Any hard lesson that may do thee good.

Claud. Hath Leonato any son, my lord?
D. Pedro. No child but Hero, she's his only heir:
Dost thou affect her, Claudio?

Claud.
O my lord,
When you went onward on this ended action,
I look'd upon her with a soldier's eye,
That lik'd, but had a rougher task in hand
Than to drive liking to the name of love :
But now I am return'd, and that war-thoughts
Have left their places vacant, in their rooms
Come thronging soft and delicate desires,
All prompting me how fair young Hero is,
Saying, I lik'd her ere I went to wars.

D. Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover presently,
And tire the hearer with a book of words:
If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it;
And I will break with her, and with her father,
And thou shalt have her: Was't not to this end
That thou began'st to twist so fine a story?

Claud. How sweetly do you minister to love,
That know love's grief by his complexion!
But lest my liking might too sudden seem,
I would have salv'd it with a longer treatise.
D. Pedro. What need the bridge much broader
than the flood?

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 drink-The fairest grant is the necessity:
ing, pick out mine eyes with a ballad-maker's pen,
and hang me up 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 called 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 the sensible Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull's horns, and set them in my forehead: and let me be vilely painted; and in such great letters as they write, Here is good horse to hire, let them signify under my sign, Here you may see Benedick, the married man.

3 The tune sounded to call off the dogs.

4 The name of a famous archer.

Look, what will serve, is fit: 'tis once, thou lov'st;
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.

[Exeunt.

SCENE II. A Room in Leonato's House.

Enter LEONATO and ANTONIO. Leon. How now, brother? Where is my cousin, your son? Hath he provided this musick?

5 Once for all.

Ant. He is very busy about it. But, brother, I can tell you strange news that you yet dreamed not of.

Leon. Are they good?

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. - 0, cry you mercy, friend; you go with me, and I will use your skill: Good cousins, have a care this busy time. [Exeunt.

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SCENE III.—Another Room in Leonato's House. Enter Don JOHN and CONRADE.

Con. My lord! why are you thus out of measure 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?

Con. If not a present remedy, yet a patient sufferance.

D. John. I wonder, that thou being (as thou say'st thou art) born under Saturn, 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 claw7 no man in his humour.

Con. Yea, but you must not make the full show of this, till you may do it without controlment. 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 disdained of all, than to fashion a carriage to 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.

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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?

Enter 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. Who? the most exquisite Claudio?
Bora. Even he.

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, and having obtained her, give her to count Claudio.

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. [Exeunt.

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Ant. Well, niece, [To HERO.] I trust, you will be ruled by your father.

Beat. Yes, 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 men are made of some other metal than earth. Would it not grieve a woman to be overmaster'd 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 your answer.

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.

Enter Don PEDRO, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK, BALTHAZAR; Don JOHN, BORACHIO, MARGARET, URSULA, and others, masked.

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?
Hero. I may say so, when I please.

D. Pedro. And when please you to say so? Hero. When I like your favour; for heaven forbid the lute should be like the case!

D. Pedro. My visor is Philemon's roof; within

the house is Jove.

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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 there's an end.

Beat. Will you not tell me who told you so?
Bene. No, you shall pardon me.

8 Importunate.

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Beat. I am sure, you know him well enough. Bene. Not I, believe me.

Beat. Did he never make you laugh?

Bene. I pray you, what is he?

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.

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. Bora. And that is Claudio; I know him by his bearing. 9

D. John. Are not you signior Benedick?
Claud. You know me well; I am he.

in his love; he is enamoured on Hero; I pray you, D. John. Signior, you are very near my brother 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. Claud. Thus answer I in name of Benedick, But hear these ill news with the ears of Claudio, — 'Tis certain so; -- the prince wooes for himself. Friendship is constant in all other things,

Save in the office and affairs of love :
Therefore, all hearts in love use their own tongues;
Let every eye negotiate for itself,
And trust no agent: for beauty is a witch,
Against whose charms faith melteth into blood. 1
This is an accident of hourly proof,

Which I mistrusted not: Farewell therefore, Hero!
Re-enter BENEDICK.

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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.

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 overjoyed 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: she would have made Hercules have turned spit; yea, and have cleft his club to make the fire too. Come, talk not of her.

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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 sir, here's a dish I love not; I cannot endure my lady Tongue. [Exib

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 give 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. 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.

D. Pedro. How then? Sick?
Claud. Neither, 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. 3

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. Hath your grace ne'er a brother like you? 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. Cousins, God give you joy!

Leon. Niece, will you look to those things I told

Re-enter CLAUDIO, BEATRICE, LEONATO, and HERO. you of?

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 Pigmics, rather

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Beat. I cry you mercy, By your grace's pardon. [Exit BEATRICE. D. Pedro. By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady. Leon. There's little of the melancholy element in her, my lord: she is never sad, but when she sleeps: and not ever sad then; for I have heard my daughter say, she hath often dreamed of unhappiness, and waked herself with laughing.

2 Interest,

3 Turn a phrase among the players.

I

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