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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 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 ?
Mess. He is most in the company of the right noble Claudio.
Beat. 0! 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.
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. 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; nobody marks you.
Beñe. 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.
Beat. A dear happiness to woman; they would else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow, than a man swear he loves me.
Bene. Heaven keep your ladyship still in that mind! so some gene tleman 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.
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.
[Exeunt all but BENEDICK and CLAUDIO.
Bene. Do you question me as an honest man should do, for my simple true judgment; or would you have me speak after iny 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 con trary, if Hero would be my wife.
Bene. Is it come to this, i' faith? Hath not the world one nan, but he will wear his cap with suspicion? Shall I never see a bache. lor 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.
Bene. You hear,count Claudio : I can be secret as a dunib 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, ту.
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. 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 de 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 et 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 ; und 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.
D. Pedro. My love is thine to teach; teach it but how,
Claud. Hath Leonato any son, my lord ?
D. Pedro. No child but Hero, she's his only heir:
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,
D. Pedro. What need the bridge much broader than the flood ?
SCENE I. -A Hall in Leonato's House.
Beat. How tartly that gentleman looks! I never can see him, but I am heart-burned an hour aster.
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 you. father.
Beut. Yes, faith ; it's my cousin's duty to make courtesy; and say, Father, as in 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 til! men are made of some other metal than earth. 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