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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. John. If you dare not trust that you see, confess not that you know. If you will follow me, I will shew you enough; and when you have seen more, 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 í 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 shew itself.
D. Pedro. O day untowardly turned !
D. John. O plague right well prevented !
SCENE III. A Street.
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 Seacoal ; for they can write and read.
Dogb. Come hither, neighbour Seacoal. God hath blessed you with a good name. To be a well-favoured man is the gift of Fortune; but to write and read comes by Nature.
2 Watch. Both which, Master Constable... Dogb. You have; I knew it would be your answer. 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 be the most senseless and fit man for the constable 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 name.
2 Watch. How if a' 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. Dagb. 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 shew 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.
Dogh. 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, a' 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 so.
Dogb. Ha, ha, ha! Well, masters, good night. An there be any matter of weight chances, calì Keep your fellows' counsels and your own, good night. Come, neighbour.
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 pray you, watch about Signior Leonato's door ; for the wedding being there to-morrow, there is a great coil to-night. Adieu, be vigitant, I beseech you.
[Exeunt DOGBERRY and VERGES. Enter BORACHIO and CONRADE. Bora. What! Conrade! Watch. Peace, stir not.
[Aside. Bora. Conrade, I say! Con. Here, man, I am at thy elbow. Bora. Mass, and my
I thought, 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 pent-house, 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 shouldst rather ask if it were possible 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 shews 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.
Bora. Tush! I may as well say, the fool's the fool. But seest thou not what a deformed thief this Fashion is? Watch. I know that Deformed; a' has been a vile thief this seven year; a' 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 a' turns about all the hot bloods, between fourteen and five and thirty? sometime, fashioning them like Pharaoh's soldiers in the reechý 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 codpiece 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 amiable 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, partly by the dark night, which did deceive them, but chiefly by my villainy, which did confirm any slander that Don John had made, away went Claudio enraged; swore he would meet her as he was appointed, next morning at the temple, and there, before the whole congregation, shame her with what he saw over-night, and send her home again without a husband.
1 Watch. We charge you in the Prince's name, stand!