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Scene I.—Before Leonato's House. brings home full numbers. I find here, that Don
Pedro hath bestowed much honour on a young Enter LEONATO, Hero, BEATRICE, and others, Florentine, called Claudio. with a Messenger.
Mess. Much deserved on his part, and equally Leon. I learn in this letter, that Don Pedro of remembered by Don Pedro: he hath borne himArragon comes this night to Messina.
self beyond the promise of his age; doing, in the Mess. He is very near by this; he was not figure of a lamb, the feats of a lion: he hath, inthree leagues off when I left him.
deed, better bettered expectation, than you must Leon. How many gentlemen have you lost in expect of me to tell you how. this action?
Leon. He hath an uncle here in Messina will Mess. But few of any sort, and none of name. | be very much glad of it. Leon. A victory is twice itself when the achiever Mess. I have already delivered him letters, and
there appears much joy in him; even so much, that joy could not shew itself modest enough without a badge of bitterness.
Leon. Did he break out into tears ?
Leon. A kind overflow of kindness. There are no faces truer than those that are so washed. How much better is it to weep at joy, than to joy at weeping !
Beat. I pray you, is Signior Montanto returned from the wars, or no?
Mess. I know none of that name, lady; there was none such in the army of any sort.
Leon. What is he that you ask for, niece?
Hero. My cousin means Signior Benedick, of Padua.
Mess. O, he is returned; and as pleasant as ever he was.
Beat. He set up his bills here in Messina, and challenged Cupid at the flight: and my uncle's fool, reading the challenge, subscribed for Cupid, and challenged him at the bird-bolt.— I pray you,
how many hath he killed and eaten in these wars? | But how many hath he killed ? for indeed, I promised to eat all of his killing.
Leon. Faith, niece, you tax Signior Benedick too much ; but he'll be meet with you, I doubt it not.
Mess. He hath done good service, lady, in these wars.
Beat. You had musty victual, and he hath holp to eat it: he is a very valiant trencher-man, he hath an excellent stomach.
Mess. And a good soldier too, lady.
Beat. And a good soldier to a lady; but what is he to a lord ?
Mess. A lord to a lord, a man to a man; stuffed with all honourable virtues.
Beat. It is so, indeed; he is no less than a stuffed man: but for the stuffing—well, we are all mortal.
Leon. You must not, sir, mistake my niece: there is a kind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick and her: they never meet but there is a skirmish of wit between them.
Beat. Alas, he gets nothing by that. In our last conflict, four of his five wits went halting off, and now is the whole man governed with 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 easily 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 mind! so some gentleman or other shall 'scape study. But, I pray you, who is his companion? a predestinate scratched face. Is there no young squarer now, that will make Beat. Scratching could not make it worse, an a voyage with him to the devil?
't were such a face as yours were. Mess. He is most in the company of the right Bene. Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher. noble Claudio.
Beat. A bird of my tongue is better than a Beat. O Lord! he will hang upon him like a beast of yours. disease : he is sooner caught than the pestilence, Bene. I would my horse had the speed of your and the taker runs presently mad. God help the tongue; and so good a continuer. But keep your noble Claudio! if he have caught the Benedick, way o' God's name; I have done. it will cost him a thousand pound ere he be cured. Beat. You always end with a jade's trick; I
Mess. I will hold friends with you, lady. know you of old.
D. Pedro. This is the sum of all: Leonato Leon. You will never run mad, niece.
Signior Claudio and Signior Benedick-my dear Beat. No, not till a hot January.
friend Leonato hath invited you all. I tell him Mess. Don Pedro is approached.
we shall stay here at the least a month; and he
heartily prays some occasion may detain us Enter Don Pedro, attended by Balthazar and
longer. I dare swear he is no hypocrite, but others; Don Jonn, CLAUDIO, and BENEDICK.
prays from his heart. D. Pedro. Good Signior Leonato, you are Leon. If you swear, my lord, you shall not be come to meet your trouble: the fashion of the forsworn.—Let me bid you welcome, my lord : world is to avoid cost, and you encounter it. being reconciled to the prince your brother, I
Leon. Never came trouble to my house in the owe you all duty. likeness of your grace: for trouble being gone, D. John. I thank you: I am not of many comfort should remain; but when you depart from words, but I thank you. me, sorrow abides, and happiness takes his leave. Leon. Please it your grace lead on?
D. Pedro. You embrace your charge too wil D. Pedro. Your hand, Leonato; we will go lingly.—I think this is your daughter.
together. (Exeunt all but BENEDICK & CLAUDIO. Leon. Her mother hath many times told me so. Claud. Benedick, didst thou note the daughter Bene. Were you in doubt, sir, that you asked her? of Signior Leonato?
Leon. Signior Benedick, no; for then were you Bene. I noted her not; but I looked on her. a child.
Claud. Is she not a modest young lady? D. Pedro. You have it full, Benedick: we Bene. Do you question me as an honest man may guess by this what you are, being a man. should do, for my simple true judgment; or would Truly the lady fathers herself.—Be happy, lady! you have me speak after my custom, as being a for you are like an honourable father.
professed tyrant to their sex? Bene. If Signior Leonato be her father, she Claud. No, I pray thee, speak in sober judgwould not have his head on her shoulders for all ment. Messina, as like him as she is.
Bene. Why, i' faith, methinks she is too low Beat. I wonder that you will still be talking, for a high praise, too brown for a fair praise, and Signior Benedick; nobody marks you.
too little for a great praise: only this comBene. What, my dear lady Disdain ! are you mendation I can afford her; that were she other yet living ?
than she is, she were unhandsome; and being no Beat. Is it possible disdain should die, while other but as she is, I do not like her. she hath such meet food to feed it, as Signior Claud. Thou thinkest I am in sport; I pray Benedick? Courtesy itself must convert to dis thee tell me truly how thou likest her. dain, if you come in her presence.
Bene. Would you buy her, that you enquire Bene. Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it after her? is certain, I am loved of all ladies, only you ex | Claud. Can the world buy such a jewel ? cepted: and I would I could find in my heart that | Bene. Yea, and a case to put it into. But I had not a hard heart; for truly I love none. speak you this with a sad brow? or do you play
Beat. A dear happiness to women; they would the flouting Jack; to tell us Cupid is a good hareelse have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. finder, and Vulcan a rare carpenter? Come, in I thank God, and my cold blood, I am of your what key shall a man take you, to go in the song? humour for that; I had rather hear my dog bark 1 Claud. In mine eye, she is the sweetest lady at a crow, than a man swear he loves me. that ever I looked on.
Bene. God keep your ladyship still in that Bene. I can see yet without spectacles, and I
see no such matter: there's her cousin, an she none; and the fine is (for the which I may go were not possessed with a fury, exceeds her as the finer) I will live a bachelor. much in beauty as the first of May doth the last D. Pedro. I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale of December. But I hope you have no intent to with love. turn husband; have you?
Bene. With anger, with sickness, or with hunClaud. I would scarce trust myself, though I had ger, my lord; not with love: prove that ever I sworn the contrary, if Hero would be my wife. lose more blood with love than I will get again Bene. Is it come to this, i' faith? Hath not
with drinking, pick out mine eyes with a balladthe world one man but he will wear his cap with maker's pen, and hang me up at the door of a suspicion? shall I never see a bachelor of three brothel-house, for the sign of blind Cupid. score again? Go to, i'faith : an thou wilt needs D. Pedro. Well, if ever thou dost fall from this thrust thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it, faith, thou wilt prove a notable argument. and sigh away Sundays. Look, Don Pedro is Bene. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat, returned to seek you.
and shoot at me: and he that hits me, let him be
clapped on the shoulder, and called Adam. Re-enter Don Pedro.
D. Pedro. Well, as time shall try : D. Pedro. What secret hath held you here, “In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke." that you followed not to Leonato's?
Bene. The savage bull may; but if ever the Bene. I would your grace would constrain me sensible Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull's to tell.
horns and set them in my forehead: and let me D. Pedro. I charge thee on thy allegiance. be vilely painted; and in such great letters as
Bene. You hear, Count Claudio: I can be secret they write, “Here is good horse to hire,” let as a dumb man, I would have you think so; but on them signify under my sign, “Here you may my allegiance-mark you this, on my allegiance: | see Benedick the married man."
-He is in love. With who?—now that is your Claud. If this should ever happen, thou wouldst grace's part. Mark how short his answer is :- | be horn-mad. With Hero, Leonato's short daughter.
D. Pedro. Nay, if Cupid have not spent all his Claud. If this were so, so were it uttered. quiver in Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly.
Bene. Like the old tale, my lord: “It is not Bene. I look for an earthquake too, then. so, nor 't was not so; but, indeed, God forbid it D. Pedro. Well, you will temporise with the should be so."
hours. In the mean time, good Signior Benedick, Claud. If my passion change not shortly, God repair to Leonato's; commend me to him, and tell forbid it should be otherwise.
him I will not fail him at supper; for indeed he D. Pedro. Amen, if you love her; for the lady hath made great preparation. is very well worthy.
Bene. I have almost matter enough in me for Claud. You speak this to fetch me in, my lord. such an embassage; and so I commit youD. Pedro. By my troth, I speak my thought. Claud. “To the tuition of God. From my Claud. And in faith, my lord, I spoke mine. house,” (if I had it)
Bene. And by my two faiths and troths, my D. Pedro. “The sixth of July: your loving lord, I spoke mine.
friend, Benedick." Claud. That I love her, I feel.
Bene. Nay, mock not, mock not. The body of D. Pedro. That she is worthy, I know. your discourse is sometime guarded with frag
Bene. That I neither feel how she should be ments, and the guards are but slightly basted on loved, nor know how she should be worthy, is the neither: ere you float old ends any further, exaopinion that fire cannot melt out of me; I will die mine your conscience; and so I leave you. [Exit. in it at the stake.
Claud. My liege, your highness now may do D. Pedro. Thou wast ever an obstinate heretic
me good. in the despite of beauty.
D. Pedro. My love is thine to teach; teach it Claud. And never could maintain his part, but
but how, in the force of his will.
And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn Bene. That a woman conceived me, I thank | Any hard lesson that may do thee good. her; that she brought me up, I likewise give her Claud. Hath Leonato any son, my lord ? most humble thanks : but that I will have a re D. Pedro. No child but Hero, she's his only heir: cheat winded in my forehead, or hang my bugle Dost thou affect her, Claudio? in an invisible baldrick, all women shall pardon Claud. O, my lord, me. Because I will not do them the wrong to When you went onward on this ended action, mistrust any, I will do myself the right to trust | I looked upon her with a soldier's eye,
That liked, but had a rougher task in hand withal, that she may be the better prepared for an Than to drive liking to the name of love: answer, if peradventure this be true. Go you, and But now I am returned, and that war-thoughts tell her of it. [Several persons cross the stage. Have left their places vacant, in their rooms Cousins, you know what you have to do.—0, I Come thronging soft and delicate desires, cry you mercy, friend; go you with me, and I All prompting me how fair young Hero is ; will use your skill.—Good cousins, have a care Saying, I liked her ere I went to wars.
this busy time.
[Exeunt. D. Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover presently, And tire the hearer with a book of words. If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it;
Scene III.-Another Room in LEONATO's House. And I will break with her and with her father, And thou shalt have her. Was't not to this end
Enter Don John and Conrade. That thou began'st to twist so fine a story? Con. What the goujere, my lord! why are you
Claud. How sweetly do you minister to love, thus out of measure sad? That know love's grief by his complexion !
D. John. There is no measure in the occasion But lest my liking might too sudden seem, that breeds it, therefore the sadness is without I would have salved it with a longer treatise. limit. D. Pedro. What need the bridge much broader Con. You should hear reason. than the flood?
D. John. And when I have heard it, what blessThe fairest grant is the necessity :
ing bringeth it. Look, what will serve is fit: 'tis once, thou lov'st; Con. If not a present remedy, yet a patient And I will fit thee with the remedy.
sufferance. I know we shall have revelling to-night;
D. John. I wonder that thou, being (as thou I will assume thy part in some disguise,
sayst thou art) born under Saturn, goest about to And tell fair Hero I am Claudio;
apply a moral medicine to a mortifying mischief. And in her bosom I 'll unclasp my heart,
I cannot hide what I am: I must be sad when I And take her hearing prisoner with the force have cause, and smile at no man's jests; eat when And strong encounter of my amorous tale: I have stomach, and wait for no man's leisure; Then, after, to her father will I break;
sleep when I am drowsy, and tend to no man's And the conclusion is, she shall be thine:
business; laugh when I am merry, and claw no In practice let us put it presently. (Exeunt. man in his humour.
Con. Yea, but you must not make the full show
of this, till you may do it without controlment. You Scene II.-A Room in Leonato's House. have of late stood out against your brother, and
he has ta’en you newly into his grace; where it is Enter Leonato and AntonIO.
impossible you should take true root, but by the Leon. How now, brother? Where is my cousin, fair weather that you make yourself: it is needful your son? Hath he provided this music?
that you frame the season for your own harvest. Ant. He is very busy about it. But, brother, I D. John. I had rather be a canker in a hedge, can tell you strange news that you yet dreamed than a rose in his grace; and it better fits my not of.
blood to be disdained of all, than to fashion Leon. Are they good ?
à carriage to rob love from any: in this, though Ant. As the event stamps them; but they have a I cannot be said to be a flattering honest man, good cover, they shew well outward. The prince | it must not be denied that I am a plain-dealand Count Claudio, walking in a thick-pleached ing villain. I am trusted with a muzzle, and alley in my orchard, were thus much overheard by enfranchised with a clog; therefore I have dea man of mine: the prince discovered to Claudio creed not to sing in my cage. If I had my that he loved my niece your daughter, and meant mouth, I would bite; if I had my liberty, I to acknowledge it this night in a dance; and, if would do my liking: in the mean time, let me he found her accordant, he meant to take the be that I am, and seek not to alter me. present time by the top, and instantly break with Con. Can you make no use of your discontent? you of it.
D. John. I make all use of it, for I use it only. Leon. Hath the fellow any wit that told you this? -Who comes here? What news, Borachio?
Ant. A good sharp fellow. I will send for him, and question him yourself.
Enter Borachio. Leon. No, no; we will hold it as a dream till it ! Bora. I came yonder from a great supper; appear itself: but I will acquaint my daughter the prince, your brother, is royally entertained