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To burn the errors that these Princes hold
Againt her maiden truth. Call me a fool,
Trust not my reading, nor my observations,
Which with experimental seal doth warrant
The tenor of my book; trust not my age,
My reverence, calling, nor divinity,
If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here,
Under some biting error.

Leon. Friar, it cannot be ;
Thou feeft, that all the grace that she hath left,
Is, that she will not add to her damnation
A fin of perjury; she not denies it:
Why seeks thou then to cover with excuse
That, which appears in proper nakedness?

Friar. Lady, what man is he you are accus’d of?

Hero. They know, that do accuse me; I know none: If I know more of any man alive, Than that which maiden modefly doth warrant, Let all my fins lack mercy. O my father, Prove you that

any man with me convers’d
At hours unmeet, or that I yesternight
Maintain’d the change of words with any creature,
Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death.

Friar. There is some strange misprision in the Princes,

Bene. Two of them have the very bent of honour, And if their wisdoms be misled in this, The Practice of it lives in John the bastard, Whofe fpirits toil in frame of villanies.

Leon. I know not: if they speak but truth of her, These hands shall tear her; if they wrong her honour, The proudest of them shall well hear of it. Time hath not yet so dry'd this blood of mine, Nor age

so

eat up my invention,
Nor fortune made such havock of my means,
Nor
my

bad life reft me fo much of friends,
But they shall find awak'd, in such a kind,
Both strength of limb, and policy of mind,
Ability in means, and choice of friends,
To quit me of them throughly.

Friar. Pause a while,
And let my counsel sway you in this case.
Your daughter here the Princes left for dead; (17)
Let her a while be fecretly kept in,
And publish it, that she is dead, indeed :
Maintain a mourning oftentation,
And on your family's old Monument
Hang mournful Epitaphs, and do all rites
That appertain unto a burial.

Leon. What shall become of this ? what will this do?

Friar. Marry, this, well carry'd, shall on her behalf Change slander to remorse ; that is some good ; But not for that dream I on this strange course, But on this travel look for greater birth ; She dying, as it must be so maintain'd, Upon the instant that she was accus'd, Shall be lamented, pity'd, and excus’d, Of every hearer : for it so falls out, That what we have we prize not to the worth, (18)

(17) Your Daughter here the Princess (left for dead) But how comes Poro to fart up a Princess here? We have no intimation of her father being a Prince; and this is the first and only time that she is complimen'el with this dignity. The remotion of a single jetter, and of the Perenthisis, will bring her to her own rank, and the place to iis true meaning.

Your Daurkter here the Princes left for dead; i, e.

Din Pedro, Prince of Arragon; and his Bastard Brother who is likewise call'd a Prince. So in the other Paftages of this Play;

To buin t'e cricr that these Princes bold
Against ber Maiden Honour.

There is some ftrange Mi prision in tbvfa Princes.
And again,

I thank you, Princes, for my Darghter's Death.
(18) Tkat, rebat we have, tre prize not to the Worth,

W'biles ove enjoy it ; but being lack'd and loft,
Why, then we rack the Value; then we find
The Virtue that Poilillion would not be cu us

Whilf it was ours : ] Whether this be an imitation, or nei, I won't contend; but if not, it seems to me a very fin: paraphrase on this paffage of Horace; Lib. III. Ode 24.

Virtutem incolumem odimus,
Sublatam ex uculis quærimus invidi.

1

And again,

Whiles we enjoy it; but being lack'd and loft,
Why, then we rack the value ; then we find
The virtue that possession would not shew us
Whilst it was ours ; fo will it fare with Claudio :
When he shall hear the dy'd upon his words,
Th’ idea of her Life fhall sweetly creep
Into his study of imagination,
And every lovely organ of her life
Shall come apparei'd in more precious habit;
More moving, delicate, and full of life,
Into the eye and prospect of his foul,
Than when she liv'd indeed. Then shall he mourn,
If ever love had interest in his liver,
And wish, he had not so accused her;
No, though he thought his accufation true :
Let this be so, and doubt not, but success
Will fashion the event in better shape

Than I can lay it down in likelihood.
But if all Aim but this be levelld false,
The supposition of the lady's death
Will quench the wonder of her infamy.
And, if it fort not well, you may conceal her,
As best befits her wounded reputation,
In some reclufive and religious life,
Out of all eyes, tongues, minds, and injuries.

Bene. Signior Leonato, let the friar advise you :
And though, you know, my inwardness and love
Is

very much unto the Prince and Claudio,
Yet, by mine honour, I will deal in this
As secretly and justly, as your soul
Should with your body.

Leon. Being that I flow in grief,
The smallest twine

may

lead me. Friar. 'Tis well consented, presently away ;

For to ftrange fores, ftrangely they strain the cure. Come, lady, die to live; this wedding day, Perhaps, is but prolong’d: have patience and endure,

[Exeunt.

Manent

Manent Benedick and Beatrice. Bene. Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while ? Beat. Yea, and I will weep a while longer. Bene. I will not desire that. Beat. You have no reason, I do it freely. Bene. Surely, I do believe, your fair cousin is wrong'd.

Beat. Ah, how much might the man deserve of me, that would right her!

Bene. Is there any way to fhew such friendship?
Beat. A very even way, but no such friend.
Bene. May a man do it?
Beat. It is a man's office, but not yours.

Bene. I do love nothing in the world so well as you; is not that strange ?

Beat. As strange as the thing I know not ; it were as possible for me to say, I lov'd 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 cousin.

Bene. By my sword, Beatrice, thou lov'ít me.
Beat. Do not swear by it, and eat it.

Bene. I will swear by it that you love me ; and I will make him eat it, that says, I love not you.

Beat. Will you not eat your word ?

Bene. With no sauce that can be devis'd to it; I proteit, I love thee.

Beat. Why then, God forgive me.
Bene. What offence, sweet Beatrice?

Beat. You have stay'd me in a happy hour; I wasabout 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. Kill Claudio.
Bene. Ha ! not for the wide world.
Beat. You kill me to deny; farewel.
Bene. Tarry, sweet Beatrice.

Beat. I am gone, tho' I am here; there is no love in you; nay, I pray you, let me go. 4

Bene.

Bene. Beatrice,
Beat. In faith, I will go.
Bene. We'll be friends first.
Beat. You dare easier be friends with me, than fight

with mine enemy:

-a

Bene. Is Claudio thine enemy?

Beat. Is he not approved in the height a villain, that hath lander'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 sander, 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? proper saying!

Bene. Nay, but Beatrice.

Beat. Sweet Hero! she is wrong’d, he is Nander'd, the is undone.

Bene. Beat

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 curtefies, 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 some other way than swearing by it.

Bere. Think you in your soul, the Count Claudio hath wrong'd Hero?

Beat. Yea, as sure as I have a thought or a foul.

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 cousin ; I mult say, ihe is dead, and so farewel.

[Exeunt.

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SCENE

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