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Hero. He is the only man of Italy,
Urs. I pray you, be not angry with me, madam,
Hero. Indeed, he hath an excelle good name. Urs. His excellence did earn it, ere he had it.— When are you married, madam?
Hero. Why, every day;-to-morrow: Come, go in; I'll show thee some attires; and have thy counsel, Which is the best to furnish me to-morrow.
Urs. She's lim'd, I warrant you; we have caught her, madam. Hero. If it proves so, then loving goes by haps: Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.
[Exeunt HERO and URSULA. BEATRICE advances.
Beat. What fire is in my ears? Can this be true?
Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand;
Beatrice and Benedick are successfully played upon, and a mutual affection grows up between them.
A double plot is now developed. Don John, brother to Pedro, envious, discontented man, is jealous of Claudio's interest with the Prince, and determines to revenge himself. For this purpose he plans with his servant, Borachio, to throw suspicion on the character of Hero. Don John undertakes to place the Prince and Claudio within hearing, near Hero's chamber window, while Borachio addresses Margaret, Hero's waiting woman, by the name of her mistress, while she returns the greeting most familiarly.
Borachio, returning from this interview, meets his fellow servant, Conrade, to whom he discloses the business he had been engaged in. They are overheard by the city watch, and are taken in custody.
The following scene introduces one of Shakspeare's most celebrated characters. Dogberry, the constable, is a masterpiece of humor,-the type of a class, the ignorant supercilious" Jack in office."
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, Dody 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, neighbor Dogberry.
Dogb. First, who think you the most desartless man to be constable?
1st Watch. Hugh Oatcake, sir, or George Seacoal; for they can write and read.
Dogb. Come hither, neighbor Seacoal: Heaven hath blessed you with a good name: to be a well-favored man is the gift of fortune; but to write and read comes by nature.
2nd Watch. Both which, master constable,
Dogb. You have; I knew it would be your answer. Well, for your favor, sir, why, give Heaven 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.
2nd 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 Heaven 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.
2nd 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 ale-houses, and bid those that are drunk get them to bed.
2nd 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.
2nd 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.
2nd 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, 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.
2nd 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 so.
Dogb. Ha, ha, ha! W masters, good night: an there be any matter of weight chances, call up me: keep your fellows' counsels and your own, and good night.-Come, neighbor.
2nd 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 neighbors: 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 vigilant, I beseech you.
[Exeunt DOGBERRY and VERGES.
Enter BORACHIO and CONRADE.
Bora. What! Conrade,-
Bora. Conrade, I say!
Con. Here, man, I am at thy elbow.
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 villany should be so dear?
Bora. Thou should'st rather ask, if it were possible any villany 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.
Bora. I mean, the fashion.
Con. Yes, the fashion is the fashion.
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; he has been a vile thief this seven year; he goes up and down like a gentleman: I remember his name. [Aside.
Bora. Didst thou not hear somebody?
Con. No; 'twas the vane on the house.
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?
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 to-night 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 en
Con. And thought they, Margaret was Hero?
Bora. Two of them did, the prince and Claudio, but 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 villany, 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.
1st Watch. We charge you in the prince's name, stand.
2nd Watch. Call up the right master constable: we have here recovered the most dangerous piece of villany that ever was known in the commonwealth.
1st Watch. And one Deformed is one of them.
Con. Masters, masters.
2nd Watch. You'll be made bring Deformed forth, I warrant you. Con. Masters,—
1st Watch. Never speak; we charge you, let us obey you to go with us.
Bora. We are likely to prove a goodly commodity, being taken up of these men's bills.
Con. A commodity in question, I warrant you. obey you.
Come, we'll [Exit.
Claudio, deceived by the machinations of Don John, believes Hero to be unfaithful. On the day appointed for the marriage, he attends in the church, and, before the assembled guests, denounces Hero as being false, and refuses to marry her-Hero swoons on hearing the charge, and Claudio and his friends retire. The Priest or Friar engaged to perform the nuptial ceremony, interferes to appease the wrath of Leonato.
Enter Friar, HERO, LEONATO, BENEDICK, and BEATRICE. Friar. Hear me a little;
For I have only been silent so long,
And given way unto this course of fortune,
A thousand blushing apparitions start
Friar, it cannot be :
Why seek'st thou then to cover with excuse
Friar. Lady, what man is he you are accus'd of?
Than that which maiden modesty doth warrant,
Friar. There is some strange misprision in the princes.
Leon. I know not; If they speak but truth of her,