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Enter BALTHAZAR, with music. D. Pedro. Come, Balthazar, we'll hear that song
D. Pedro. It is the witness still of excellency,
Balth. Because you talk of wooing, I will sing:
Nay, pray thee, come:
Balth. Note this before my notes, There's not a note of mine that's worth the noting. D. Pedro. Why these are very crotchets that he
speaks : Note, notes, forsooth, and noting!
[Music. Bene. Now, divine air! now is his soul ravished ! -Is it not strange, that sheep's guts should hale souls out of men's bodies ?-Well, a horn for my money, when all's done.
Balth. Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more ;
Men were deceivers ever ;
Then sigh not so,
But let them go,
blithe and bonny; Converting all your sounds of woe
Into, Hey nonny, nonny.
Of dumps so dull and heavy;
Then sigh not so, &c.
D. Pedro. By my troth, a good song.
D. Pedro. Ha! No; no, faith ; thou singest well enough for a shift.
Bene. [Aside.] An he had been a dog, that should have howled thus, they would have hanged him; and, I pray God, his bad voice bode no mischief! I had as lief have heard the night-raven,' come what plague could have come after it.
D. Pedro. Yea, marry. [To Claudio.]Dost thou hear, Balthazar? I pray thee, get us some excellent music; for to-morrow night we would have it at the lady Hero's chamber-window.
Balth. The best I can, my lord.
. [Exeunt BALTHAZAR and music.] Come hither, Leonato. What was it you told me of to-day? that your niece Beatrice was in love with seignior Benedick?
Claud. O, ay.--Stalk on, stalk on; the fowl sits.? [ Aside to Pedro.] I did never think that lady would have loved any man.
Leon. No, nor I neither; but most wonderful, that she should so dote on seignior Benedick, whom she hath in all outward behaviors seemed ever to abhor. Bene. Is't possible? Sits the wind in that corner ?
[Aside. Leon. By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to
1 i. e. the owl.
2 This is an allusion to the stalking-horse ; a horse either real or face titious, by which the fowler anciently screened himself from the sight of the game.
think of it; but that she loves him with an enraged affection,-it is past the infinite of thought.
D. Pedro. May be, she doth but counterfeit.
Leon. O God! Counterfeit! There never was counterfeit of passion came so near the life of passion, as she discovers it.
D. Pedro. Why, what effects of passion shows she? Claud. Bait the hook well; this fish will bite.
[Aside. Leon. What effects, my lord ? She will sit you, you heard my daughter teil you how.
Claud. She did, indeed.
D. Pedro. How, how, I pray you? You amaze me; I would have thought her spirit had been invincible against all assaults of affection.
Leon. I would have sworn it had, my lord ; especially against Benedick.
Bene. [ Aside.] I should think this a gull, but that the white-bearded fellow speaks it. Knavery cannot, sure, hide itself in such reverence. Claud. He hath ta'en the infection ; hold it up.
[Aside. D. Pedro. Hath she made her affection known to Benedick ?
Leon. No; and swears she never will; that's her torment.
Claud. 'Tis true, indeed; so your daughter says. Shall I, says she, that have so oft encountered him with scorn, write to him that I love him!
Leon. This says she now when she is beginning to write to him; for she'll be up twenty times a night, and there will she sit in her smock, till she have writ a sheet of paper.—My daughter tells us all.
Claud. Now you talk of a sheet of paper, I remember a pretty jest your daughter told us of.
Leon. Ó!-When she had writ it, and was reading it over, she found Benedick and Beatrice between the sheet!
Leon. O! she tore the letter into a thousand halfpence;' railed at herself, that she should be so immodest to write to one that she knew would flout her. I measure him, says she, by my own spirit; for I should flout him, if he writ to me; yea, though I love him, I should.
Claud. Then down upon her knees she falls, weeps, sobs, beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, curses ;O sweet Benedick! God give me patience!
Leon. She doth indeed; my daughter says so; and the ecstasy hath so much overborne her, that my daughter is sometime afraid she will do a desperate outrage to herself. It is very true.
D. Pedro. It were good, that Benedick knew of it by some other, if she will not discover it.
Claud. To what end? He would but make a sport of it, and torment the poor lady worse.
D. Pedro. An he should, it were an alms to hang him. She's an excellent sweet lady; and, out of all suspicion, she is virtuous.
Claud. And she is exceeding wise.
Leon. O my lord, wisdom and blood combating in so tender a body, we have ten proofs to one, that blood hath the victory. I am sorry for her, as I have just cause, being her uncle and her guardian.
D. Pedro. I would she had bestowed this dotage on me: I would have daffed' all other respects, and made her half myself. I pray you, tell Benedick of it, and hear what he will say.
Leon. Were it good, think you?
Claud. Hero thinks surely she will die ; for she says, she will die if he love her not; and she will die ere she makes her love known; and she will die if he woo her, rather than she will 'bate one breath of her accustomed crossness.
1 i. e. into a thousand small pieces ; the silver halfpence were very minute pieces.
2 i. e. passion.
D. Pedro. She doth well. If she should make tender of her love, 'tis very possible he'll scorn it; for the man, as you know all, hath a contemptible' spirit.
Claud. He is a very proper man.
D. Pedro. He hath, indeed, a good outward happiness.
Claud. 'Fore God, and in my mind, very wise.
D. Pedro. He doth, indeed, show some sparks that are like wit.
Leon. And I take him to be valiant.
D. Pedro. As Hector, I assure you: and in the mnanaging of quarrels you may say he is wise ; for either he avoids them with great discretion, or undertakes them with a most Christian-like fear.
Leon. If he do fear God, he must necessarily keep peace; if he break the peace, he ought to enter into a quarrel with fear and trembling.
D. Pedro. And so will he do; for the man doth fear God, howsoever it seems not in him by some large jests he will make. Well, I am sorry your niece. Shall we go see Benedick, and tell him of her love?
Claud. Never tell him, my lord ; let her wear it out with good counsel.
Leon. Nay, that's impossible ; she may wear her heart out first.
D. Pedro. Well, we'll hear further of it by your daughter; let it cool the while. I love Benedick well; and I could wish he would modestly examine himself, to see how much he is unworthy to have so good a lady.
Leon. My lord, will you walk? Dinner is ready.
Claud. If he do not dote on her upon this, I will never trust my expectation.
D. Pedro. "Let there be the same net spread for her; and that must your daughter and her gentlewoman carry. The sport will be, when they hold one
1 That is, a spirit inclined to scorn and contempt. It should be contemptuous.