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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 so.
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.
Bene. And, by my two faiths and croths, my lord, I speak mine.
Claud. That I love her, I feel.
Bene. That I neither feel how she should be loved, nor know how she should be worthy, is the opinion that fire cannot melt out of me; I will die in it at the stake.
Claud. If this were fo, fo were it uttered.] This and the three next speeches I do not well understand ; there seems something omitted relating to Hero's consent, or to Claudio's marriage, elle I know not what Claudio can wish not to be otherwise. The copies all read alike. Perhaps it may be better thus,
Claud. If this were so, fo were it.
Bene. Uttered like the old tale, &c. Claudio gives a sullen answer, if it is fo, so it is. Still there seems something omitted which Claudio and Pedro concur in wishing.
JOHNSON. If (says Claudio, evading an explicit answer) this asertion of his were true, it is a truth that might quickly be declared. He alludes to the short answer, &c, which Benedick has just mentioned. Benedick replies, My lord, be is like the old riddling tale, it is not so, and'ıwas not so; but (now he mentions his own private wish) I say, God forbid that it should be fo! Claudio then re-affumes his part in the dialogue, and adds, If I do not change the oljeet of my affections, God forbid it should be ciberwise. Benedick, by saying God forbid it should be fo, means God forbid you should be married. The other returns for answer, If I continue as much in love with her as I am at prefent, God forbid I should not. STEEVENS. I
Pedro. Thou wast"ever an obstinate heretick in the defpight of beauty.
Claud. And never could maintain his part, - but in the force of his will.
Bene. That a woman conceived 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 baldrick, all women shall pardon me. Because I will not do them the wrong to mistrust any, I will do my self the right to trust none; and the fine is, (for the which I may go the finer) I will live a batchelor.
Pedro. I shall see thee, 'ere I die, look pale with love.
Bene. With anger, with sickness, or with hunger, my lord; not with love : prove, that ever I lose more blood with love, th:n I will get again with drinking, pick out mine eyes with a balladmaker's pen, and hang me up at the door of a brothel-house for the sign of blind Cupid.
Pedro. Well, if ever thou doit fall from this faith, thou wilt prove a notable argument. Bone. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat,s and
shoot ---Lut in the force of his will.] Alluding to the defi. nition of a heretick in the schools. WARBURTON.
-but that I will have a recheate winded in my forebead,] That is, I will wear a horn on my foribead which the huntsman may I low. A rechzate is the found by which dogs are called back. Shakespeare had no mercy upon the poor cuckold, his born is an inexhaufible subject of merriment. JOHNSON.
A riebrate is a particular leffon upon the horn, to call dogs back from the scene; from the old French word ricet, which was used in the same fense as retraite.
4 noiable argument.] An eminent subject for satire. Johnson.
Sin a borrle like a cat ) As to the cat and boule, I can procure no better information than the following, which does not exactly suit with the text.
Thoot at me; and he that hits me, let him be clapt on the shoulder, and call'd Adam.
Pedro. Well, as time shall try : In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke.
Bene. The favage bull may ; but if ever the sensible Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull's-horns, and set them in my forehead, and let me be vilely painted; and in such great letters as they write, Here is good borse to bire, let them signify under my sign, Here you may see Benedick the marry'd man.
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. In some counties of England, a cat was formerly closed up with a quantity of foot in a wooden bottle, (such as that in which shepherds carry their liquor) and was suspended on a line. He who beat out the bottom as he ran under it, and was nimble enough to escape its contents, was regarded as the hero of this inhuman diversion. Steevens.
s and be that hits me, let bim be clap'd on the shoulder, and call's Adam.) But why should he therefore be called Adam ? Perhaps, by a quotation or two we may be able to trace the poet's allusion here. `In Law-Tricks, or, Who would have thought it, (a comedy written by John Day, and printed in 1608) I find this speech. Adam Bell, a substantial outlaw, and a paling good archer, yet no tobacconift.-By this it appears, that Adam
Bell at that time of day was of reputation for his skill at the bow.
I find him again mentioned in a burlesque poem of fir William Davenant's, called, The long Vacation in London. THEOBALD.
Adam Bell was a companion of Robin Hood, as may be seen in Robin Hood's Garland ; in which, if I do not mistake, are these lines,
For he brought Adam Bell, Clim of the Clough,
And William of Cloudesla,
And the forefter beat them all three. JOHNSON. ? In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke.] This line is taken from the Spanish Tragedy, or Hieronymo, &c. 1605. STEVENS.
3 if Cupid bath not spent all his quiver in Venice,] All modern writers agree in representing Venice in the same light as the ancients
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 sixth 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 nightly basted on neither: ere 4 you Hout old ends any further, examine your conscience ; and so I leave you.
(Exit. Claud. My 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 leffon that may do thee good.
Claud. Hath Leonato any son, my lord ?
Pedro. No child but Hero, she's his only heir :
Claud. O my lord,
did Cyprus. And 'tis this character of the people that is here al. luded to. WAR BURTON.
4 ere you fout old ends, &c.] Before you endeavour to diftinguis yourself any more by antiquated allusions, examine whether you can fairly claim them for your own, This, I think is the meaning ; or it may be understood in another sense, examine, if your farcajms de not touch yourself. JOHNSON.
But now I am return'd, and that war-thoughts
Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover presently,
Claud. How sweetly do you minister to love,
might too sudden seem, I would have salv'd it with a longer treatise. Pedro. What need the bridge much broader than
the flood ? $ The fairest grant is the necesity. Look, what will serve, is fit: 'tis once, thou lov'it į 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.
5 The fairefi grant is the necesity.) i. e, no one can have a better reason for granting a request than the necesity of its being granted. WARBURTON.