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Bene. O! she misused me past the endurance of a block: an oak, but with one green leaf on it, would have answered her: my very visor began to assume life, and scold with her. She told me, not thinking I had been myself, that I was the prince's jester; that I was duller than a great thaw; huddling jest upon jest, with such impossible conveyance, upon me, that I stood like a man at a mark, with a whole army shooting at me. She speaks Farewell, therefore, poignards, 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 Iwith all that Adam had left him before he transgressed: she would have made Hercules have turned spit, yea, and have cleft his club to make the fire too. Come, talk not of her; you shall find her the infernal Até in good apparel. I would to God, some scholar 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.
But hear these ill news with the ears of Claudio.
Bene. Count Claudio?
Claud. Yea, the same.
Bene. Come, will you go with me?
Bene. Even to the next willow, about your own business, county. 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 sell 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 so 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 revenged as I may.
Re-enter DON PEDRO.
D. Pedro. Now, signior, where's the count? Did you see him?
Bene. Troth, my lord, I have played the part of lady Fame. I found him here as melancholy as a lodge in a warren: I told him, and, I think, I told him true, that your grace had got the good 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 up a rod, as being worthy to be whipped.
D. Pedro. To be whipped! What's his fault? Bene. The flat transgression of a school-boy; who, being overjoy'd with finding a bird's nest, shows it his companion, and he steals it.
D. Pedro. Wilt thou make a trust a transgression? The transgression 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 bestow'd on you, who, as I take it, have stolen his bird's nest.
D. Pedro. I will but teach them to sing, and restore them to the owner.
Bene. If their singing answer your saying, by my faith you say honestly.
D. Pedro. The lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you: the gentleman, that danced with her, told her she is much wronged by you.
Enter CLAUDIO, BEATRICE, HERO, and LEONATO.
D. Pedro. Look, here she comes.
Bene. Will your grace command me any service to the world's end? I will go on the slightest errand now to the Antipodes, that you can devise to send me on: I will fetch you a toothpicker now from the furthest inch of Asia; bring you the length of Prester John's foot; fetch you a hair of 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?
D. Pedro. None, but to desire your good com
Bene. O God, sir, here's a dish I love not: 1 cannot endure my lady Tongue. [Exit. D. Pedro. Come, lady, come; you have lost the heart of signior Benedick.
Beat. Indeed, my lord, he lent it me a while; and I gave him use for it, a double heart for his single one: marry, once before he won it of me with false dice, therefore your grace may well say I have lost it.
D. Pedro. You have put him down, lady; you have put him down.
Beat. So I would not he should do me, my lord, lest I should prove the mother of fools. I have brought count Claudio, whom you sent me to seek. D. Pedro. Why, how now, count? wherefore are you sad?
Claud. Not sad, my lord.
D. Pedro. How then? Sick?
Beat. The count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor well; but civil, count, civil as an orange, and something of that jealous complexion.
D. 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 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 him not speak neither.
D. Pedro. In faith, lady, you have 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.
Claud. And so she doth, cousin.
Beat. Good lord! for alliance thus goes every one to the world but I, and I am sun-burned: I may sit in a corner, and cry, heigh ho! for a husband.
D. Pedro. Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.
Beat. I would rather have one of your father's getting. Hath your grace ne'er a brother like you? Your father got excellent husbands, if a maid could come by them.
D. Pedro. Will you have me, lady?
Beat. No, my lord, unless I might have another for working-days: your grace is too costly to wear every day. But, I beseech your grace, pardon me; I was born to speak all mirth, and no matter.
D. Pedro. Your silence most offends me, and to be merry best becomes you; for, out of question, you were born in a merry hour.
Beat. No, sure, my lord, my mother cried; but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born.-Cousins, God give you joy!
Leon. Niece, will you look to those things I told you of?
Beat. I cry you mercy, uncle.-By your grace's pardon. [Exit BEATRIce.
D. 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 sad then, for I have heard my daughter say, she hath often dreamed of unhappiness, and waked herself with laughing.
D. Pedro. She cannot endure to hear tell of a husband.
Leon. O! by no means, she mocks all her wooers out of suit.
D. Pedro. She were an excellent wife for Benedick.
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 my mind.
D. 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' 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 but 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.
D. Pedro. And you too, gentle Hero? Hero. I will do any modest office, my lord, to help my cousin to a good husband.
D. Pedro. And Benedick is not the unhopefullest husband that I know. Thus far can I praise him:
he is of a noble strain, of approved valour, and confirmed honesty. I will teach you how to hu mour 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.
Bora. Go then; find me a meet hour to draw Pedro and the Count Claudio, alone: tell t that you know that Hero loves me; intend a of zeal both to the prince and Claudio, (as in of your brother's honour, who hath made match, and his friend's reputation, who is thu to be cozened with the semblance of a maid. you have discovered thus. They will se believe this without trial; offer them inst which shall bear no less likelihood than to s at her chamber-window, hear me call Ma Hero; hear Margaret term me Claudio; and them to see this the very night before the in wedding for in the mean time I will so fashi matter, that Hero shall be absent, and ther appear such seeming truth of Hero's disloyal jealousy shall be called assurance, and all th paration overthrown.
John. Grow this to what adverse issue it will put it in practice. Be cunning in the w this, and thy fee is a thousand ducats.
Bora. Be you constant in the accusation, cunning shall not shame me.
John. I will presently go learn their | marriage.
SCENE III.-LEONATO's Garden.
armour; and now will he lie ten nights awake, carving the fashion of a new doublet. He was wont to speak plain, and to the purpose, like an honest man, and a soldier; and now is he turn'd orthographer: his words are a very fantastical banquet, just so many strange dishes. May I be so converted, and see with these eyes? I cannot tell;
Enter a Boy.
Bene. In my chamber-window lies a book; bring I think not: I will not be sworn, but love may it hither to me in the orchard. transform me to an oyster; but I'll take my oath on it, till he have made an oyster of me, he shall never make me such a fool. One woman is fair, yet I am well: another is wise, yet I am well: another virtuous, yet I am well; but till all graces be in one woman, one woman shall not come in my grace. Rich she shall be, that's certain; wise, or I'll none; virtuous, or I'll never cheapen her; fair, or I'll never look on her; mild, or come not near me; noble, or not I for an angel; of good discourse. an excellent musician, and her hair shall be of what colour it please God. Ha! the prince and monsieur Love! I will hide me in the arbour. [Withdraws.
Boy. I am here already, sir. Bene. I know that;-[Exit Boy]-but I would have thee hence, and here again. I do much wonder, that one man, seeing how much another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviours to love, will, after he hath laughed at such shallow follies in others, become the argument of his own scorn by falling in love: and such a man is Claudio. I have known, when there was no music with him but the drum and the fife; and now had he rather hear the tabor and the pipe: I have known, when he would have walked ten mile afoot to see a good
Enter Don PEDRO, LEONATO, and CLAUDIO.
As hush'd on purpose to grace harmony!
Enter BALTHAZAR, with music.
D. Pedro. Come, Balthazar, we'll hear that song again.
Balth. O! good my lord, tax not so bad a voice To slander music any more than once.
D. Pedro. It is the witness still of excellency, To put a strange face on his own perfection.I pray thee, sing, and let me woo no more.
Balth. Because you talk of wooing, I will sing; Since many a wooer doth commence his suit To her he thinks not worthy; yet he woos, Yet will he swear he loves.
Nay, pray thee, come: Or, if thou wilt hold longer argument, Do it in notes.
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 nothing! Bene. [Aside.] Now, divine air! now is his soul ravish'd! Is it not strange, that sheeps' guts should hale souls out of men's bodies?-Well, a horn for my money, when all's done.
Balth. The best I can, my lord.
D. Pedro. Do so: farewell.-[Exeunt BALTHAZAR and Musicians.]-Come hither, Leonato: what was it you told me of to-day? that your niece Beatrice was in love with signior Benedick?
Claud. [Aside to PEDRO.] O, ay:-stalk on, stalk on; the fowl sits.-[Aloud.]-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 signior Benedick, whom
she hath in all outward behaviours seemed ever to abhor.
Bene. [Aside.] Is't possible? Sits the wind in that corner?
Leon. By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to 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. Claud. 'Faith, like enough. Leon. O God! counterfeit! There was never counterfeit of passion came so near the life of passion, as she discovers it.
D. Pedro. Why, what effects of passion shows
Claud. [Aside.] Bait the hook well: this fish will
Leon. What effects, my lord? She will sit you,you heard my daughter tell you how.
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.
D. Pedro. In every thing, but in loving Benedick. 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 daff'd all other respects, and made her half myself. I pray you, tell Benedick of it, and hear what a' 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 make her love known, and she will die if he woo her, rather than she will 'bate one breath
of her accustomed crossness.
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.
D. Pedro. Well, we will 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 so good a lady.
Leon. My lord, will you walk? dinner is ready. Claud. [Aside.] If he do not dote on her upon this, I will never trust my expectation.
D. Pedro. [Aside.] Let there be the same net spread for her; and that must your daughter and her gentlewomen carry. The sport will be, when they hold one an opinion of another's dotage, and no such matter: that's the scene that I would see, which will be merely a dumb show. Let us send her to call him in to dinner.
[Exeunt Don PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and LEONATO. Bene. [Advancing from the arbour.] This can be no trick the conference was sadly borne.-They have the truth of this from Hero. They seem to pity the lady: it seems, her affections have their full bent. Love me! why, it must be requited. I hear how I am censured: they say, I will bear myself proudly, if I perceive the love come from her: they say, too, that she will rather die than give any sign of affection.-I did never think to marry.-I must not seem proud.-Happy are they that hear their detractions, and can put them to mending. They say, the lady is fair; 'tis a truth, I can bear them witness and virtuous; 'tis so, I cannot reprove it: and wise, but for loving me; by my troth, it is no addition to her wit, nor no great argument of her folly, for I will be horribly in love with her. I may chance have some odd quirks and remnants of wit broken on me, because I have railed so long against marriage; but doth not the appetite alter? A man loves the meat in his youth, that he cannot endure in his age. Shall quips, and sentences, and these paper bullets of the brain, awe a man from the career of his humour? No; the world must be peopled. When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married.Here comes Beatrice. By this day, she's a fair lady: I do spy some marks of love in her.
Beat. Against my will, I am sent to bid you come in to dinner.
Bene. Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains.