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Bene. Is't come to this, in faith? hath not the world one man, but he will

wear his


with sufpicion ? shall I never see a bachelor of threescore again ? go to, i'faith, if thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it, and figh away Sundays : look, Don Pedro is return'd to seek you.


Re-enter Don Pedro and Don John. Pedro, THAT Secret hath held you here, that

you follow'd not to Leonato's house? Bene. I would your Grace would constrain me to tell.

Pedro. I charge thee on thy allegiance.

Bene. You hear, Count Claudio, I can be secret as a dumb man, I would have you think fo; but on my allegiance, mark you this, on 'my allegiance :-he is in love; with whom? now that is your Grace's part: mark, how short his anfwer is, with Hero, Leonato's short-daughter.

Claud. If this were so, so were it uttered:

Bene. Like the old tale, my lord, it is not so, nor 'twas not so; but, indeed, God forbid it should be fo.

Claud. If my passion change not shortly, God forbid it should be otherwise.

Pedro. Amen, if you love her, for the Lady is very well worthy.

Claud. You speak this to fetch me in, my Lord.
Pedro. By my troth, I speak my thought.
Claud. And, in faith, my Lord, I spoke mine.

Bene. And by my two faiths and troths, my Lord, I speak mine.

Claud. That I love her, 'I feel.
Pedro. That she is worthy, I know.

Bene. That I neither feel how she should be loved, nor know how she should be worthy, is the opinion F 3

that * Adam Bell, at that time famous for Archery. Mr. Theobald.

that fire cannot melt out of me; I will die in it at the stake.

Pedro. Thou wast ever an obftinate heretic in the despight of beauty:

Claud. And never could maintain his part, but in the force of his will.

Bone. That a woman conceiv'd me, I thank her; that she brought me up, I likewise give her most humble thanks: but that I will have a recheate winded in my forehead, or hang my bugle in an invisible baldric, all women shall pardon me; because I will not do them the Wrong to mistrust any, I will do myself the Right to trust none: and the fine is, (for the which I may go the finer,) I will live a bachelor,

Pedro. I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with love.

Bene. With anger, with fickness, or with hunger, my lord, not with love: prove, that ever I lose more blood with love, than I will get again with drinking, pick out mine eyes with a ballad-maker's pen, and hang me up at the door of a brothel-house for the Sign of blind Cupid.

Pedro. Well, if ever thou dost fall from this faith, thou wilt prove a notable argument.

Bene, If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat, and shoot at me; and he that hits me, let him be clapt on the shoulder, and callid * Adam.

Pedo. Well, as time shall try; in time the favage bull doth bear the yoke.

Bene. The savage bull may, but if ever the sensible Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull's-horns, and set ihem in my forehead, and let me be vilely painted ; and in such great letters as they wrile, Here is good Horse to hire, let them fignify under my Sign, Here you may see Benedick the marry'd the man.

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Claud. If this should ever happen, thou would'st be horn-mad.

Pedro. Nay, if Cupid hath not spent all his quiver in Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly.

Bene. I look for an earthquake too then.

Pedro. Well, you will temporize with the hours; in the mean time, good Signior Benedick, repair to Leonato's, commend me to him, and tell him I will not fail him at supper; for, indeed, he hath made great preparation.

Bene. I have almost matter enough in me for such an embassage, and so I commit you

Claud. To the tuition of God; From my house, if I had it,

Pedro. The fixth of July, your loving friend, Benedick.

Bene. Nay, mock not, mock not; the body of your discourse is sometime guarded with fragments, and the guards are but slightly basted on neither: ere you flout old end's

any further, examine your conscience, and so I leave you.

[Exit. SCENE V. Claud. Y Liege, your Highness now may do

me good. Pedro. My love is thine to teach, teach it but how, And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn Any hard leflon that may do thee good. Claud. Hath Leonato any son, my

lord ?
Pedro. No child hut Hero, she's his only heir:
Dost thou affect her, Claudio ?

Claud. O my lord,
When you went onward on this ended action,
I lookd upon her with a soldier's eye;
That lik’d, but had a rougher talk in hand
Than to drive liking to the name of love ;
But now I am return'd, and that war-thoughts




Have left their places vacant; in their rooms
Come thronging soft and delicate Defires,
All prompting me how fair young Hero is ;
Saying, I lik'd her ere I went to wars.

Pedro. Thou wilt be a lover presently,
And tire the hearer with a book of words:
If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it,
And I will break with her, and with her Father,
And thou shalt have her: was't not to this end,
That thou began ft to twist so fine a story?

Claud. How sweetly do you minister to love,
That know love's grief by his complexion !
But left my liking might too sudden seem,
I would have faly'd it with a longer treatise.
Pedro. What need the bridge much broader than

the flood?
The fairest grant is the necessity;
Look, what will serve, is fit; 'tis once, thou lov'st;
And I will fit thee with the remedy.
I know, we shall have revelling to-night;
I will assume thy part in some disguise,
And tell fair Hero I am Claudio;
And in her bofom I'll unclasp my heart,
And take her hearing prisoner with the force
And strong encounter of

my amorous tale :
Then, after, to her father will I break;
And the conclusion is, she shall be thine;
In practice let us put it presently.

Re-enter Leonato arid Antonio.
Leon. How now, Brother, where is my Cousin
fon? hath he provided this music?

Ant. He is very busy about it; but, brother, I can tell

you yet dream'd not of., Leon. Are they good?

Ant. As the event stamps them, but they have a good cover; they show well outward. The Prince and Count Claudio, walking in a thick-pleached alley

Cousin your

you news that

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my orchard, were thus over-heard by a man of mine : The Prince discover'd to Claudio, that he lov'd my neice yourdaughter, and meant to acknowledge it this night in a dance; and if he found her accordant, he meant to take the present time by the top, and instantly break with you of it.

Leon. 'Hath the fellow any wit, that told you this ?

Ant. A good sharp fellow ; I will send for him, and question him yourself.

Leon. No, no; we will hold it as a dream, 'till it appear itself; but I will acquaint my daughter withal, that she may be the better prepared for answer, if peradventure this be true; go you and tell her of it: Cousins, you know what you have to do. [Several cross the Stage here.] O, I cry you mercy, friend, go you with me and I will use your skill; good Cousin, have a care this busy time.


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Changes to an Apartment in Leonato's House.

Enter Don John and Conrade.
Conr. THAT the good-jer, my lord, why are

you thus out of measure fad ? John. There is no measure in the occasion that breeds it, therefore the sadness is without limit.

Conr. You should hear reason.

John. And when I have heard it, what Blessing bringeth it?

Conr. If not a present remedy, yet a patient sufferance.

John. I wonder, that thou (being; as thou fay'st thou art, born under Saturn) goest about to apply moral medicine to a mortifying mischief: I cannot hide what I am: I must be sad when I have cause, and smile at no man's jests; eat when I have stomach, and wait for no man's leisure; sleep when I am drow




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