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If I know more of any man alive,
Than that which maiden modesty doth warrant,
Let all my sins 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 misprison in the

princes. Bene. Two of them have the very bent of ho

nour;
And if their wisdoms be mined in this,
The practice of it lives in John the bastard,
Whole fpirits toil in frame of villainies.

Leon. I know not: If they speak but truth of her These hands shall tear her ; if they wrong her ho

nour,
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 so 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 thoroughly.

Friar. Pause a while,
And let my counsel sway you in this case.
Your daughter here the princes left for dead ;?

Let 6.-bent of henour,] Bent is used by our authour for the utmost degree of any passion, or mental quality. In this play before Benedick says of Beatrice, her affietion has its full bent. The expression is derived from archery ; the bow has its bent, when it is drawn as far as it can be. JOHNSON. ? Your daughter here the princes left for dead;) In former copies, Your daughter bere the princess (left for dead;

But

Let her awhile be secretly kept in,
And publish it, that he 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 be

half Change Nander to remorse; that is some good: But not for that dream I on this strange course, But on this travail 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, Whiles we enjoy it ; but being lack'd and lost, Why, then we rack the value;' then we find The virtue that posfellion would not shew us Whilft it was ours : So will it fare with Claudio : When he shall hear she dy'd upon his words, The idea of her life shall sweetly creep Into his study of imagination ; And every lovely organ of her life

But how comes Hero to start up a princess here? We have no in. timation of her father being a prince; and this is the first and on. ly time she is complimented with this dignity. The remotion of a single letter, and of the parenthesis, will bring her to her own rank, and the place to its true meaning.

Your daughter here the princes left for dead; i. e. Don Pedro, prince of Arragon ; and his bastard brother who is likewise called a prince. THEOBALD.

-ofientation ;] Show; appearance. JOHNSON.
-we rack the value ;

1 i. e. We exaggerate the value. The allusion is to rack-rents. STEEVENS,

Shall

Shall come apparel'd in more precious habit,
More moving, delicate, and full of life,
Into the eye and prospect of his soul,
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 accusation 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 deach
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 reclusive 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 Row in grief,
The smallest twine may lead me.'
Friar. 'Tis well consented; presently away ;

For to strange fores, strangely they strain the

cure.

Come, lady, die to live : this wedding day, Perhaps, is but prolong'd; have patience and endure.

[Exeunt,

The smallest twine may lead me ) This is one of our authour's observations upon life. Men overpowered with distress, eagerly liften to the first offers of relief, close with every scheme, and be. lieve every promise. He that has no longer any confidence in himself, is glad to repose his trust in any other that will undertake to guide him. Johnson. VOL. II.

X

Manent Manent Benedick and Beatrice,

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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 thew 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 loved nothing so well as you: but believe me not; and yet I lie not ; I confess nothing, nor I deny nothing. I am sorry for my cousin.

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

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Manent Benedick and Beatrice.] The poet, in my opinion, has Shewn a great deal of address in this scene. Beatrice here engages her lover to revenge the injury done her cousin Hero :- and wichout this very natural incident, considering the character of Bea. trice, and that the story of her passion for Benedick was all a fable, she could never have been easily or naturally brought to contess the loved him, notwithftanding all the foregoing preparation. And yet, on this confession, in this very place, depended the whole succeis of the plot upon her and Benedick. For had the not owned her love here, they must have foon found out the trick, and then the design of bringing them together had been defeated; and he would never have owned a paffion she had been only tricked into, had not her defire of revenging her cousin's wrong made her drop her capricious humour at once. WARBURTON.

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Bene. I will swear by it, that you love mę; 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 protest, I love thee.

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

Beat. You have staid 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. Kill Claudio.
Bene. Ha ! not for the wide world.
Beat. You kill me to deny it; farewell.
Bene. Tarry, sweet Beatrice.

Beat. I am gone, though I am here : 3 There is Ro love in you: nay, I pray you, let me go

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.

Bene. Is Claudio thine enemy?

Beat. Is he not approved in the height a villain, that hath Nander'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 Nander, unmitigated rancour-O God, that I were a man! I would eat his heart in the market place.

Bene. Hear me, Beatrice.

· I am gone, tho' I am here :] i.e. I am out of your mind already, tho' I remain in person before you. STEEVENS,

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