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What fashion will you wear the garland of ? about your neck, like an usurer's chain? or under your arm, like a lieutenant's scarf? you must wear it one way, for the prince hath got your Hero.

Claud. I wish him joy of her.

Bene. Why, that's spoken like an honest drover; so they fell bullocks: but did you think the prince would have served you thus ?

Claud. I pray you, leave me.

Bene. Ho! now you strike like the blind man; 'twas the boy that stole your meat, and you'll beat the post. Claud. If it will not be, I'll leave you.

[Exit. Bene. Alas, poor hurt fowl! now will he creep into sedges. But that my lady Beatrice should know me, and not know me! the prince's fool! ha? it may be, I go under that title, because I am merry; yea, but so I am apt to do myself wrong: I am not fo reputed. It is the base, though bitter, disposition of Beatrice, that puts the world into her person, and so gives me out: well, I'll be reveng’d as I may.


Enter Don Pedro.
Pedro. Now, signior, where's the count? did you see him?

Bene. Troth, my lord, I have play'd the part of lady fame. I found him here as melancholy as a lodge in a warren ; I told him (and, I think, told him true) that your grace


the will of this young lady; and I offered him my company to a willow tree, either to make him a garland, as being forsaken, or to bind him a rod, as being worthy to be whip’d.

Pedro. To be whip’d! what's his fault?

Bene. The fat transgression of a school-boy, who, being overjoy’d with finding a bird's nest, shows it his companion, and he steals it.

Pedro. Wilt thou make a trust, a transgreslion ? the transgresfion is in the stealer.


Bene. Yet it had not been amiss the rod had been made, and the garland too; for the garland he might have worn himself, and the rod he might have bestowed on you, who, as I take it, have stol'n his bird's nest.

Pedro. I will but teach them to sing, and restore them to the


Bene. If their singing answer your saying, by my faith, you fay honestly.

Pedro. The lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you; the gentleman that danc'd with her told her, she is much wrong'd by you.

Bene. O, she misus’d me past the endurance of a block; an oak, but with one green leaf on it, would have answer'd her; my very visor began to assume life, and fcold with her; she told me, not thinking I had been myself, that I was the prince's jefter, and that I was duller than a great thaw; hudling jest upon jest, with such impetuous conveyance upon me, that I stood like a man at a mark, with a whole army shooting at me: she speaks poniards, and every word stabs ; if her breath were as terrible as her terminations, there were no living near her, she would infect to the north-star; I would not marry her, though she were endowed with all that Adam had left him before he tranfgress’d; she would have made Hercules have turn'd spit; yea, and have cleft his club to make the fire too. Come, talk not of her, you shall find her the infernal Atè in good apparel. I would to god, fome fcholar would conjure her ; for, certainly, while she is here a man may live as quiet in hell as in a sanctuary; and people sin upon purpose, because they would go thither; so, indeed, all disquiet, horror, and perturbation, follow her.

Enter Claudio, Beatrice, Leonato, and Hero.
Pedro. Look, here she comes.

Bene. Will your grace command me any service to the world's end? I will go on the sligheft errand now to the Antipodes that you can devise to send me on; I will fetch you a tooth-picker now


from the furthest inch of Asia; bring you the length of Prefter John's foot ; fetch you a hair off the great Cham's beard ; do you any embassage to the pigmies, rather than hold three words conference with this harpy: you have no employment for me?

Pedro. None, but to desire your good company.

Bene. O god, sir, here's a dish I love not. I cannot endure this lady's tongue,

[Exit. Pedro. Come, lady, come, you have lost the heart of lìgnior Benedick. Beat. Indeed, my lord, he lent it me a while, and I

a gave him use for it, a double heart for a single one; marry, once before he won it of me with false dice, therefore your grace may well say, I have lost it.

Pedro. You have put him down, lady, you have put him down.

Beat. So I would not he should do me, my lord, left I should prove the mother of fools: I have brought count Claudio, whom you sent me to feek.

Pedro. Why, how now, count, wherefore are you sad?
Claud. Not fad, my lord.
Pedro. How then ? fick ?
Claud. Neither, my lord. .

Beat. The count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor well; but civil count, civil as an orange, and something of a jealous complexion.

Pedro. I' faith, lady, I think your blazon to be true; though I'll be sworn, if he be so, his conceit is false. Here, Claudio, I have wooed in thy name, and fair Hero is won; I have broke with her father, and his good will obtained; name the day of marriage, and god give thee joy!

Leon. Count, take of me my daughter, and with her my fortunes; his grace hath made the match, and all grace say, amen, to it!

Beat. Speak, count, 'tis your cue.

Claud. Silence is the perfectest herald of joy; I were but little happy, if I could say how much. Lady, as you are mine, I am

M m m


Vol. I.

have a

yours; I give away myself for you, and dote upon the exchange.

Beat. Speak, cousin, or, if you cannot, stop his mouth with a kiss, and let not him speak neither. Pedro. In faith, lady, you a merry

heart. Beat. Yea, my lord, I thank it, poor fool, it keeps on the windy side of care: my cousin tells him in his ear that he is in her heart.

Leon. And so she doth, cousin.

Beat. Good lord, for alliance ! thus goes every one to the world but I, and I am sun-burn'd, I may fit in a corner, and cry, heigh ho! for a husband.

Pedro. Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.
Beat. I would rather have one of


father's getting: hath your grace ne'er a brother like you? your father husbands, if a maid could come by them.

Pedro. Will you have me, lady?

Beat. No, my lord, unless I might have another for workingdays; your grace is too costly to wear every day: but, I beseech your grace, pardon me, I was born to speak áll mirth, and no Pedro. Your silence most offends me, and to be


best becomes you; for, out of question, you were born in a merry hour.

Beat. No, sure, my lord, my mother cry’d; but then there was a star danc’d, and under that I was born. Cousins, god give

got excellent


you joy!

Leon. Neice, will you look to those things I told you

of? Beat. I cry you mercy, uncle: by your grace's pardon.

[Exit Beatrice. S CE N E VI. Pedro. By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady.

Leon. There's little of the melancholy element in her, my lord; she is never sad but when she sleeps, and not ever fad then ; for I have heard my daughter fay, she hath often dream'd of unhappiness, and wak’d herself with laughing. Pedro. She cannot endure to hear tell of a husband ?


my mind.

Leon. O, by no means, she mocks all her wooers out of fuit. Pedro. She were an excellent wife for Benedick.

Leon. O lord, my lord, if they were but a week marry'd they would talk themselves mad.

Pedro. Count Claudio, when mean you to go to church?

Claud. To-morrow, my lord; time goes on crutches, 'till love have all his rites.

Leon. Not 'till monday, my dear son, which is hence a just seven-night, and a time too brief too, to have all things answer

Pedro. Come, you shake the head at so long a breathing; but, I warrant thee, Claudio, the time shall not go dully by us; I will, in the interim, undertake one of Hercules's labours, which is, to bring signior Benedick and the lady Beatrice into a mountain of affection the one with the other: I would fain have it a match; and I doubt not to fashion it, if you three will but minister such assistance as I shall give you direction.

Leon. My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten nights watchings.

Claud. And I, my lord.
Pedro. And you too, gentle Hero ?

Hero. I will do any modeft office, my lord, to help my cousin to a good husband.

Pedro. And Benedick is not the unhopefullest husband that I know: thus far can I praise him; he is of a noble strain, of approv'd valour, and confirm’d honesty. I will teach you how to humour your cousin, that she shall fall in love with Benedick; and I, with your two helps, will so practise on Benedick, that, in despite of his quick wit, and his queasy stomach, he shall fall in love with Beatrice: if we can do this, Cupid is no longer an archer, his glory shall be ours, for we are the only love-gods ; go in with me, and I will tell you my drift. [Exeunt.

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