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Nor age so eat up my invention,
Nor fortune made such havoc of my means,
Nor my bad life reft me so much of friends,
But they shall find, awak'd in such a kind,
Both strength of limb, and policy of mind,
Ability in means, and choice of friends,
To quit me of them thoroughly.

Pause a while,
And let my counsel sway you in this case.
Your daughter here the princes left for dead;
Let her awhile be secretly kept in,

And publish it that she is dead indeed:
Maintain a mourning ostentation;
And on your family's old monument

Hang mournful epitaphs, and do all rites

That appertain unto a burial.

Leon. What shall become of this? What will this do?

Friar. Marry, this, well carried, shall on her behalf

Change slander to remorse; that is some good;

She dying, as it must be so maintain'd,
Upon the instant that she was accus'd,
Shall be lamented, pitied, and excus'd,
Of every hearer: For it so falls out,

That what we have we prize not to the worth,
Whiles we enjoy it; but being lack'd and lost,
Why, then we rack the value, then we find
The virtue, that possession would not show us
Whiles it was ours: So will it fare with Claudio:
When he shall hear she died upon his words,
The idea of her life shall sweetly creep

Into his study of imagination;

And every lovely organ of her life

Shall come apparell'd in more precious habit,

More moving-delicate, and full of life,

Into the eye and prospect of his soul,

Than when she lived indeed :-then shall he mourn,

And wish he had not so accus'd her;

No, though he thought his accusation true.
Let this be so, and doubt not but success
Will fashion the event in better shape
Than I can lay it down in likelihood.
But if all aim but this be levell'd false,
The supposition of the lady's death
Will quench the wonder of her infamy:
And, if it sort not well, you may conceal her
(As best befits her wounded reputation,)
In some reclusive and religious life,
Out of all eyes, tongues, minds, and injuries.

Bene. Signior Leonato, let the friar advise you:

And though, you know, my inwardness and love
Is very much unto the prince and Claudio,

Yet, by mine honor, I will deal in this

As secretly and justly as your soul
Should with your body.


Being that I flow in grief,

The smallest twine may lead me.

Friar. "Tis well consented; presently away;

For to strange sores strangely they strain the cure.—
Come, lady, die to live; this wedding day,

Perhaps, is but prolong'd; have patience, and endure.
[Exeunt Friar, HERO, and LEONATO.

Bene. Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while?
Beat. Yea, and I will weep awhile longer.

Bene. I will not desire that.

Beat. You have no reason, I do it freely.

Bene. Surely, I do believe your fair cousin is wrong'd.

Beat. Ah, how much might the man deserve of me that would right her.

Bene. Is there any way to show such friendship?

Beat. A very even way, but no such friend.

Bene. May a man do it?

Beat. It is a man's office, but not yours.

Bene. I do love nothing in the world so well as you; Is not that strange?

Beat. As strange as the thing I know not: It were as possible for me to say, I loved nothing so well as you: but believe me not; and yet I lie not; I confess nothing, nor I deny nothing :-I am sorry for my cousin.

Bene. By my sword, Beatrice, thou lovest me.

Beat. Do not swear by it, and eat it.

Bene. I will swear by it, that you love me; and I will make him eat it, that says, I love not you.

Beat. Will you not eat your word?

Bene. With no sauce that can be devised to it: I protest, I love thee.

Beat. Why then, Heaven forgive me!

Bene. What offence, sweet Beatrice ?

Beat. You have staid me in a happy hour; I was about to pro

test I loved you.

Bene. And do it with all thy heart.

Beat. I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest.

Bene. Come, bid me do any thing for thee.

Beat. Kill Claudio.

Bene. Ha! not for the wide world.

Beat. You kill me to deny it: Farewell.

Bene. Tarry, sweet Beatrice.

Beat. I am gone, though I am here -There is no love in you :—

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Beat. You dare easier be friends with me, than fight with mine enemy.

Bene. Is Claudio thine enemy?

Beat. Is he not approved in the height a villain, that hath slandered, scorned, dishonored my kinswoman ?—O, that I were a man! -What! bear her in hand until they come to take hands; and then with public accusation, uncovered slander, unmitigated rancor.-0 Heaven, that I were a man! I would eat his heart in the marketplace.

Bene. Hear me, Beatrice ;

Beat. Talk with a man out at a window ?—a proper saying.
Bene. Nay but, Beatrice ;-

Beat. Sweet Hero!—she is wronged, she is slandered, she is undone.
Bene. Beat-

Beat. Princes, and counties? Surely, a princely testimony, a
goodly count-confect; a sweet gallant, surely! O that I were a man
for his sake! or that I had any friend would be a man for my sake!
But manhood is melted into courtesies, valor into compliment, and
men are only turned into tongue, and trim ones too: he is now as
valiant as Hercules, that only tells a lie, and swears it :—I cannot be
a man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving.
Bene. Tarry, good Beatrice : By this hand, I love thee.
Beat. Use it for my love some other way than swearing by it.
Bene. Think you in your soul the count Claudio hath wronged

Beat. Yea, as sure as I have a thought, or a soul.

Bene. Enough, I am engaged, I will challenge him; I will kiss your hand, and so leave you: By this hand, Claudio shall render me a dear account: As you hear of me, so think of me. Go, comfort your cousin: I must say, she is dead; and so, farewell. [Exeunt.

SCENE II.-A Prison.

Enter DOGBERRY, VERGES, and Sexton, in gowns; and the Watch

Dogb. Is our whole dissembly appeared ?
Verg. O, a stool and a cushion for the sexton!

Sexton. Which be the malefactors?

Dogb. Marry, that am I and my partner.

Verg. Nay, that's certain; we have the exhibition to examine.
Sexton. But which are the offenders that are to be examined?

let them come before master constable.

Dogb. Yea, marry, let them come before me. What is your name, friend?

Bora. Borachio.

Dogb. Pray write down-Borachio.

Yours, sirrah?

Con. I am a gentleman, sir, and my name is Conrade.

Dogb. Write down-master gentleman Conrade.-Masters, it is proved already that you are little better than false knaves; and it will go near to be thought so shortly. How answer you for yourselves? Con. Marry, sir, we say we are none.

Dogb. A marvellous witty fellow, I assure you; but I will go about with him.-Come you hither, sirrah; a word in your ear, sir; I say to you, it is thought you are false knaves.

Bora. Sir, I say to you, we are none.

Dogb. Well, stand aside. They are both in a tale: Have you writ down-that they are none?

Sexton. Master constable, you go not the way to examine; you must call forth the watch that are their accusers.

Dogb. Yea, marry, that's the eftest way: Let the watch come forth: Masters, I charge you, in the prince's name, accuse these


1st Watch. This man said, sir, that Don John, the prince's brother was a villain.

Dogb. Write down-prince John a villain :-Why this is flat perjury, to call a prince's brother-villain.

Bora. Master constable,

Dogb. Pray thee, fellow, peace; I do not like thy look, I promise thee.

Sexton. What heard you him say else?

2nd Watch. Marry, that he had received a thousand ducats of Don John, for accusing the lady Hero wrongfully. Dogb. Flat burglary, as ever was committed.

Verg. Yea, by the mass, that it is.

Sexton. What else, fellow?

1st Watch. And that count Claudio did mean, upon his words, to disgrace Hero before the whole assembly, and not marry her.

Dogb. O villain! thou wilt be condemned into everlasting redemption for this.

Sexton. What else?

2nd Watch. This is all.

Sexton. And this is more, masters, than you can deny. Prince John is this morning secretly stolen away; Hero was in this manner accused, in this very manner refused, and upon the grief of this, suddenly died.-Master constable, let these men be bound, and brought to Leonato's; I will go before and show him their examination. [Exit.

Dogb. Come, let them be opinioned.

Verg. Let them be in band.

Con. Off, coxcomb!

Dogb. Where's the sexton? let him write down-the prince's officer, coxcomb.-Come, bind them :-Thou naughty varlet! Con. Away! you are an ass, you are an ass.

Dogb. Dost thou not suspect my place? Dost thou not suspect

my years :-O that he were here to write me down-an ass! but, masters, remember, that I am an ass; though it be not written down, yet forget not that I am an ass :-No, thou villain, thou art full of piety, as shall be proved upon thee by good witness. I am a wise fellow; and, which is more, an officer; and, which is more, a house holder; and, which is more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any is in Mes sina; and one that knows the law, go to; and a rich fellow enough, go to; and a fellow that hath had losses; and one that hath two gowns, and every thing handsome about him: Bring him away. 0, that I had been writ down-an ass! [Exeunt.


Hero's innocence is completely established by the confession of Borachio

Claudio, on learning how unjustly he had accused his mistress, implores the forgiveness of Leonato, and offers any reparation within his power-supposing that Hero is dead. Leonato invites him to come to his House, "to-morrow morning"-and proposes to give him the hand of a niece of his, in marriage. Claudio consents. The next Scene winds

up the story of this incomparable comedy.

SCENE.-A Room in Leonato's House.


Friar. Did I not tell you she was innocent?

Leon. So are the prince and Claudio, who accus'd her,

Upon the error that you have heard debated:

But Margaret was in some fault for this;
Although against her will, as it appears

In the true course of all the question.

Ant. Well, I am glad that all things sort so well.
Bene. And so am I, being else by faith enforc'd
To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it.
Leon. Well, daughter, and you gentlewomen all,
Withdraw into a chamber by yourselves;
And, when I send for you, come hither mask'd!
The prince and Claudio promis'd by this hour
To visit me:-You know your office, brother;
You must be father to your brother's daughter,
And give her to young Claudio.

[Exeunt Ladies

Ant. Which I will do with confirm'd countenance.
Bene. Friar, I must entreat your pains, I think.
Friar. To do what, signior?

Bene. To bind me, or undo me, one of them.-
Signior Leonato, truth it is, good signior,

Your niece regards me with an eye of favor.

Leon. That eye my daughter lent her; 'Tis most true,
Bene. And I do with an eye of love requite her.
Leon. The sight, whereof, I think, you had from me,
From Claudio and the prince; But what's your will?

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