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Manent Benedick and Beatrice.
Beat. Ah, how much might the man deserve of me, that would right her!
Bene. Is there any way to sew such friendship?
Bene. I do love nothing in the world so well as you ; is not that ftrange?
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 lye not;
I confess nothing, nor I deny nothing. I am sorry for my coufin.
Bene. By my sword, Beatrice, thou lov'ít me.
love and I will
Beat, Why then, God forgive me.
Beat. You have stay'd me in a happy hour; I was about to protest, I lov'd 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. I am gone, tho' I am here; there is no love in you ; nay, I pray you, let me go.
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 flander'd, scorn'd, dishonour'd my kinswoman! O, that I were a man! what! bear her in hand until they come to take hands, and then with publick accusation, uncover'd flander, unmitigated rancour O God, that I were a man! I would eat his heart in the market-place.
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 wrongd, she is slander'd, she is undone.
Beat. Princes and Counts! surely, a princely testimony, a goodly count-comfect, a sweet gallant, surely! O that I were a man for his fake! Or that I had
any friend would be a man for my fake! but manhood is melted into curtesies, valour into compliment, and men are only turn'd into tongue, and trim ones too; he is now as valiant as Hercules, that only tells a lie, and fwears 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 fome other way than swear
ing by it.
Bene. Think you in your soul, the Count Claudio hath wrong'd Hero?
Beat. Yea, as fure as I have a thought or a soul.
Bene. Enough, I am engag'd; I will challenge him, I will kiss your hand, and fo leave you ; by this hand, Claudio shall render me a dear account; as you hear of me, so think of me; go comfort your coufin ; I must say, she is dead, and so farewel.
SCENE changes to a Prison.
Enter Dogberry, Verges, Borachio, Conrade, the
Town-Clerk and Sexton in Gowns.
To. Ch. Dog. O, a stool and a cushion for the fexton!
CIT S our whole
Dog. Nay, that's certain, we have the exhibition to examine.
Sexton. But which are the offenders that are to be examin'd ? let them come before master conftable.
To. Cl. Yea, marry, let them come before me ; what is your name, friend
Conr. I am a gentleman, Sir, and my name is Cone rade.
To. Cl. Write down, master gentleman Conrade ; masters, do you serve God?
Both. Yea, Sir, we hope. (15)
To. Cl. Write down, that they hope they serve God : and write God firft : for God defend, but God should go before such villains.Mafters, 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
your felves ?
Conr. Marry, Sir, we say, we are none.
To. Cl. A marvellous witty fellow, I assure you, but I will go about with him. Come you hither, firrah,
(15) Both. Tea, Sir, we hope.
To. Cl. Write down, that they hope, they serve God: and writa God forft; for God defend, but God mould go before such Vile lains --} This short Passage, which is truly humourous and in character, I have added from the old Quarto. Besides, ik fupplies a. Defeat: for, without it, the Town-Clerk asks a Question of whe Prisoners, and goes on without saying for any. Answer to it,
a word in your ear, Sir; I say to you, it is thought you are both false knaves.
Bora. Sir, I say to you, we are none.
To. Cl. Well, ftand afide; 'fore God, they are both in a tale; have you writ down, that they are none ?
Sexton, Master town-clerk, you go not the way to examine, you must call the watch that are their ac• cusers.
(16) To. Cl. Yea, marry, that's the deftest way, let the Watch come forth; masters, I charge you in the Prince's name accuse these men.
Enter Watchmen. 1 Watch. This man said, Sir, that Don John the Prince's brother was a villain.
To. Cl. Write down, Prince John a villain; why this is flat perjury, to call a Prince's brother villain.
Bora. Mafter town-clerk
To. Cl. Pray thee, fellow, Peace; I do not like thy look, I promise thee. Sexton. What heard you him fay else?
2 Watch. Marry, that he had receiv'd a thousand ducats of Don Jobr, for accusing the lady Hero wrongfully.
(16) To. Cl. Tea, marry, that's the easiest Way, let the Watch come forth.] This, cafeft, is a Sophistication of our modern Editors, who were at a Lors to make out the corrupted Reading of the old Copies. The Quarto, in 1600, and the first and second Editions in Folio all concur in reading :
Tea, marry, that's the efrest war, &c. A Letter happen'd to Nip out at Press in the first Edition ; and 'was too hard a Task for the subsequent Editors to put it in, or guess at the Word under this accidental Depravation. There is no doubt, but the Author wrote, as i have reford the Text;
Tea, marry, that's the defteft way, &c. i. e. the readiest, most commodious Way. The Word is pure Saxon. Deaflice, debite, congruè, duely, fitly. Lesæftlice, opportunes commodè, fitly, conveniently, seasonably, in good time, commodiously, Vid. Spelman's Saxon Gloss.
To. Cl. Flat burglary, as ever was committed.
1 Watch. And that Count Claudio did mean, upon his words, to disgrace Hero before the whole assembly, and not marry her.
To. Cl. O villain! thou wilt be, condemn'd into everlasting redemption for this.
Sexton. What else ?
Sexton. And this is more, masters, than you can deny. Prince John is this morning secretly stoll'n away: Hero was in this manner accus'd, and in this very manner refus'd, and upon the grief of this suddenly dy'd. Master Constable, let these men be bound and brought to Leonato ; I will go before, and shew him their examination.
[Exit. Dogb. Come, let them be opinion'd. Conr. Let them be in the hands of Coxcomb !
Dogb. God's my life, where's the Sexton ? let him write down the Prince's officer Coxcomb: come, bind them, thou naughty varlet.
Conr. 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 afs ; no, thou villain, thou art full of piety, as shall be prov'd upon thee by good witness; I am a wise fellow, and which is more, an officer ; and which is more, an housholder; and which is more, as pretty a piece of felh as any in Mesina, 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!