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Bene. Heaven keep your ladyship still in that mind! so some gentleman or other shall 'scape a predestinate scratched face.
Beat. Scratching could not make it worse, an 'twere such a face
as yours were.
Bene. Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher.
Beat. A bird of my tongue, is better than a beast of yours. Bene. I would, my horse had the speed of your tongue; and so good a continuer: But keep your way; I have done.
Beat. You always end with a jade's trick; I know you of old. D. Pedro. This is the sum of all:-Leonato,-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: I dare swear he is no hypocrite, but prays from his 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?
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 looked
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 December. But I hope, you have no intent to turn husband; have you?
Claud. I would scarce trust myself, though I had sworn the contrary, if Hero would be my wife.
Bene. Is it come to this, i' faith? 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, i' faith: 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-He is in love. With who?-now that is your grace's part.-Mark, how short his answer is: With Hero, Leonato's short daughter.
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.
Bene. And, by my two faiths and troths, my lord, I spoke mine.
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
Bene. Because I will not do them the wrong to mistrust any woman, 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.
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 drinking, 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.
Claud. If this should ever happen, thou would'st 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 meantime, 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, mock 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.
Claud. Hath Leonato any son, my lord?
D. Pedro. No child but Hero, she's his only heir: Dost thou affect her, Claudio?
O my lord,
D. Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover presently,
Claud. How sweetly do you minister to love,
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? The fairest grant is the necessity:
Look, what will serve, is fit: 'tis once, thou lov'st;
I know, we shall have revelling to-night;
SCENE I-A Hall in Leonato's House.
Enter LEONATO, ANTONIO, HERO, BEATRICE, and others.
Leon. Was not count John here at supper?
Ant. I saw him not.
Beat. How tartly that gentleman looks! I never can see him, but I am heart-burned an hour after.
Hero. He is of a very melancholy disposition.
Beat. He were an excellent man, that were made just in the midway between him and Benedick; the one is too like an image, and says nothing; and the other, too like my lady's eldest son, evermore tattling.
Leon. Then half signior Benedick's tongue in count John's mouth, and half count John's melancholy in signior Benedick's face,—
Beat. With a good leg, and a good foot, uncle, and money enough in his purse, such a man would win any woman in the world,—if he could get her good will.
Leon. By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee a husband, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.
Ant. Well, niece, [to HERO,] I trust you will be ruled by your father.
Beat. Yes, faith; it's 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 carth. Would it not grieve a woman to be over-mastered with a piece of valiant dust? to make an account of her life to a clod of wayward
marl? No, uncle, I'll hold 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 music, 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
Leon. Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly.
Beat. I have a good eye, uncle, I can see a church by daylight. Leon. The revellers are entering; brother, make good room.
The Plot arranged by Don Pedro, is carried into execution at the masked Ball given by Leonato. The Prince disguised as Claudio, wooes Hero, and obtains confession of her love. He also breaks the matter to Leonato, who cheerfully consents to the union of his daughter with Claudio.
Don Pedro, Leonato, Claudio, and Hero, now undertake to bring Benedick and Beatrice into a mountain of affection.' Their plans are carried out in the two following scenes.
SCENE III.-Leonato's Garden.
Bene. In my chamber-window lies a book; bring it hither to me in the orchard.
Boy. I am here already, sir.
Bene. I know that;-but I would have thee hence, and here again. [Exit Boy.]—I do much wonder, that one man, seeing how much another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviors to love, will, after he hath laughed at such shallow follies in others, become the argument of his own scorn, by falling in love: And such a man is Claudio. I have known when there was no music with him but the drum and fife; and now had he rather hear the tabor and the pipe: I have known, when he would have walked ten mile afoot, to see a good armor; and now will he lie ten nights awake, carving the fashion of a new doublet. He was wont to speak plain, and to the purpose, like an honest man, and a soldier; and now is he turn'd orthographer; his words are a very fantastical banquet, just so many strange dishes. May I be so converted, and see with these eyes? I cannot tell; I think not: I will not be sworn, but love may transform me to an oyster; but I'll take my oath on it, till he hath made an oyster of me, he shall never make me such a fool. One woman is fair; yet I am well: another is wise; yet I am well: another virtuous; yet I am