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D. Pedro. Well, you will temporise with the hours. In the meantime, 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) D. Pedro. The sixth of July: Your loving friend, Benedick.

Bene. Nay, mock not, mock not: The body of your discourse is sometime guarded with fragments,11 and the guards are but slightly basted on neither : ere you flout old ends any further,12 examine your conscience; and so I leave you.

[Ecit. Claud. My liege, your highness now may do me good.

D. Pedro. My love is thine to teach ; teach it but how,
And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn
Any hard lesson that may do thee good.

Claud. Hath Leonato any son, my lord ?

D. Pedro. No child but Hero, she's his only heir :
Dost thou affect her, Claudio ?
Claud.

O my lord,
When you went onward on this ended action,
I look'd upon her with a soldier's eye,
That lik'd, but had a rougher task 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 desires,
All prompting me how fair young Hero is,
Saying, I lik'd her ere I went to wars.

D. Pedro. Thou wilt be like 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'st to twist so fine a story?

Claud. How sweetly do you minister to love,

That know love's grief by his complexion !
But lest my liking might too sudden seem,
I would have salv'd it with a longer treatise.

D. 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 ; 13
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 bosom 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

[Exeunt.

SCENE II.-A Room in LEONATO's House.

Enter LEONATO and ANTONIO. Leon. How now, brother? Where is my cousin, your son ? Hath he provided this music?

Ant. He is very busy about it. But, brother, I can tell you strange news that you yet dreamt not of.

Leon. Are they good ?

Ant. As the event stamps them: but they have a good cover ; they shew well outward. The prince and Count Claudio, walking in a thick-pleached alley 14 in my orchard, were thus much overheard by a man of mine : the prince discovered to Claudio, that he loved my niece your daughter, 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.

B

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 an answer, if peradventure this be true. Go you, and tell her of it. [Several persons cross the stage.] Cousins, you know what you have to do.-0, I cry you mercy, friend ; you go with me, and I will use your skill.-Good cousin, have a care this busy time.

[Exeunt.

SCENE III.-Another Room in LEONATO'S Housé...

Enter Don JOHN and CONRADE. Con. What the good-year, my lord ! why are you thus out of measure sad?

D. John. There is no measure in the occasion that breeds ; therefore the sadness is without limit.

Con. You should hear reason.
D. John. And when I have heard it, what blessing bringeth it ?
Con. If not a present remedy, yet a patient sufferance.

D. John. I wonder that thou being (as thou sayest thou art) born under Saturn, goest about to apply a 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 drowsy, and tend to no man's business ; laugh when I am merry, and claw no man in his humour,15

Con. Yea, but you must not make the full show of this, till you may do it without controlment. You have of late stood out against your brother, and he hath ta’en you newly into his grace; where it is impossible you should take true root, but by the fair weather that you make yourself: it is needful that you frame the season for your own harvest.

D. John. I had rather be a canker in a hedge than a rose in his

grace ; and it better fits my blood to be disdained of all, than to fashion a carriage to rob love from any: in this, though I cannot be said to be a flattering honest man, it must not be denied that I am a plain-dealing villain. I am trusted th a

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muzzle, and enfranchised with a clog; therefore I have decreed not to sing in my cage. If I had my mouth, I would bite; if I had my liberty, I would do my liking: in the meantime, let me be that I am, and seek not to alter me.

I
Con. Can you make no use of your discontent ?

D. John. I make all use of it, for I use it only. Who comes here?

Enter BORACHIO. What news, Borachio ?

Bora. I came yonder from a great supper; the prince, your brother, is royally entertained by Leonato ; and I can give you intelligence of an intended marriage.,

D. John. Will it serve for any model to build mischief on? What is he for a fool that betroths himself to unquietness ?

Bora. Marry, it is your brother's right hand.
D. John. Who, the most exquisite Claudio ?
Bora. Even he.

D. John. A proper, squire! And who, and who ? which way looks he ?

Bora, Marry, on Hero, the daughter and heir of Leonato.
D. John. A very forward March-chick! How came you to this ?

Bora. Being entertained for a perfumer, as I was smoking a musty room, comes me the prince and Claudio, hand in hand, in sad conference :16 I whipt me behind the arras ; and there heard it agreed upon, that the prince should woo Hero for himself, and having obtained her, give her to Count Claudio.

D. John. Come, come, let us thither ; this may prove food to my displeasure : that young start-up hath all the glory of my overthrow; if I can cross him any way, I bless myself every way. You are both sure, and will assist me?

Con. To the death, my lord.

D. John. Let us to the great supper; their cheer is the greater that I am subdued. Would the cook were of my mind !-Shall we go prove what's to be done ? Bora. We'll wait upon your lordship.

[Exeunt.

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Bene, (Aside.) Is 't possible. Sits the wind in that corner - Act II. Sc. 3.

ACT II.

SCENE I.-A Hall in LEONATO's House.

Enter LEONATO, ANTONIO, HERO, BEATRICE, and others.
Leon. Was not Count John here at supper?
Ant. I saw him not.

Beat. How tartly that gentleman looks! I never can see him, but I am heart-burned an hour after.

Hero. He is of a very melancholy disposition.

Beat. He were an excellent man that were made just in the mid-way between him and Benedick; the one is too like an image, and says nothing; and the other, too like my lady's eldest son, evermore tattling.

Leon. Then half Signior Benedick's tongue in Count John's mouth, and half Count John's melancholy to Signior Benedick's face

Beat. With a good leg, and a good foot, uncle, and money

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