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Friar. You come hither, my lord, to marry this lady?
Claud. No.
Leon. To be married to her, friar ; you come to mar.

ry her.

Friar. Lady, you come hither to be married to this count?

Hero. I do. Friar. If either of you know any inward impedimento why you should not be conjoined, I charge you, on your souls, to utter it.

Claud. Know you any, Hero ?
Hero. None, my lord.
Friar. Know you any, count?
Leon. I dare make his answer, none.

Claud. O, what men dare do! what men may do! what men daily do! not knowing what they do!

Bene. How now! Interjections ? Why, then some be of laughing, as, ha! ha! he !!

Claud. Stand thee by, friar :-Father, by your leave; Will you with free and unconstrained soul Give me this maid, your daughter?

Leon. As freely, son, as God did give her me.

Claud. And what have I to give you back, whose worth May counterpoise this rich and precious gift?

D. Pedro. Nothing, unless you render her again. Claud. Sweet prince, you learn me noble thankfulness.There, Leonato, take her back again ; Give not this rotten orange to your friend; She's but the sign and semblance of her honour :Behold, how like a maid she blushes here: O, what authority and show of truth Can cunning sin cover itself withal ! Comes not that blood, as modest evidence, To witness simple virtue ? Would you not swear, All you that see her, that she were a maid, By these exterior shows ? But she is none : She knows the heat of a luxurious bed: 8

[6] This is borrowed from our Marriage Ceremony, which (with a few sligbt changes in phraseology) is the same as was used in the time of Shakespeare

DOUCE (7) This is a quotation from the Accidence JOHNSON (8] 1. e. lascivious. Lurvry is the confessor's term for unlawful pleasures of the

JOHNSON.

sex

Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty.

Leon. What do you mean, my lord ?

Claud. Not to be married,
Not knit my soul to an approved wanton.

Leon. Dear my lord, if you, in your own proof
Have vanquish'd the resistance of her youth,
And made defeat of her virginity,

Clau. I know what you would say; If I have known her,
You'll say, she did embrace me as a husband,
And so extenuate the 'forehand sin :
No, Leonato,
I never tempted her with word too large ;
But, as a brother to his sister, show'd
Bashful sincerity, and comely love.

Hero. And seem'd I ever otherwise to you?

Claud. Out on thy seeming! I will write against it:
You seem to me as Dian in her orb;
As chaste as is the bud ere it be blown ; 9
But you are more intemperate in your blood
Than Venus, or those pamper'd animals
That rage in savage sensuality.

Hero. Is my lord well, that he doth speak so wide ?
Leon. Sweet prince, why speak not you ?

D. Pedro. What should I speak ?
I stand dishonour'd, that have gone about
To link my dear friend to a common stale.

Leon. Are these things spoken? or do I but dream ?
D. John. Sir, they are spoken, and these things are true.
Bene. This looks not like a nuptial.
Hero. True, O God!

Claud. Leonato, stand I here?
Is this the prince? Is this the prince's brother?
Is this face Hero's ? Are our eyes out own ?
Leon. All this is so ; But what of this, my

lord ?
Claud. Let me but move one question to your daughter;
And, by that fatherly and kindly power!
That

you bave in her, bid her answer truly. Leon. I charge thee do so, as thou art my child.

Hero. O God defend me! how am I beset!
What kind of catecbizing call you this?

Claud. To make you answer truly to your nane.
Hero. Is it not Hero? Who can blot that name

JOHNS

(91-chaste as is the bud-Pfore the air las tastert it. Sheelotss. 0 i e. batural power Kind is nature. JOH.ISOX.

Vol. III.

3

With any just reproach?

Claud. Marry, that can Hero ;
Hero itself can blot out Hero's virtue.
What man was he talk'd with you yesternight
Out at your window, betwixt twelve and one ?
Now, if you are a maid, answer to this.

Hero. I talk'd with no man at that hour, my lord.

D. Pedro. Why, then you are no maiden.—Leonato,
I am sorry you must bear; Upon mine honour,
Mvself, my brother, and this grieved count,
Did see her, 'hear her, at that hour last night,
Talk with a ruffian at her chamber-window;
Who hath, indeed, most like a liberal villain,
Confess’d the vile encounters they have had
A thousand times in secret.

D. John. Fye, fye! they are
Not to be nam’d, my lord, not to be spoke of;
There is not chastity enough in language,
Without offence, to utter them: Thus, pretty lady,
I am sorry for thy much misgovernment.

Claud. O Hero! what a Hero badst thou been,
If half thy outward graces had been plac'd
About thy thoughts, and counsels of thy heart!
But, fare thee well, most foul, most fair! farewell,
Thou pure impiety, and impious purity !
For thee I'll lock up all the gates of love,
And on my eye-lids shall conjecture hang,
To turn all beauty into thoughts of harm,
And never shall it more be gracious.
Leon. Hath do man's dagger here a point for me?

(HERO swoons. Beat. Why, how now, cousin ? wherefore sink you

down ? D. John. Come, let us go: these things, come thus to light, Smother her spirits up.

[Ereunt Don Pedro, Don John, and CLAUDIO. Bene. How doth the lady ?

Beat. Dead, I think ;-help, uncle ;-
Hero! why, Hero !—Uncle !-Signior Benedick !—friar !

Leon. O fate, take not away thy heavy hand !
Death is the fairest cover for her shame
That may be wish'd for.

(2) Liberal here, as in many places of these plays, means frank beyond honesty, or decency. Frue of longul. JOHNSON.

Beat. How now, cousin Hero?
Friar. Have comfort, lady.
Leon. Dost thou look up ?
Friar. Yea; Wherefore should she not?

Leon. Wherefore? Why, doth not every earthly thing
Cry shame upon ber? Could she here deny
The story that is printed in her blood ?:-
Do not live, Hero ; do not ope thine eyes :
For did I think thou wouldst not quickly die,
Thought I thy spirits were stronger than thy suames,
Myself would, on the rearward of reproaches,
Strike at thy life. Griev'd I, I bad but one ?
Chid I for that at frugal nature's frame ?
0, one too much by thee! Why had I orie?
Why ever wast thou lovely in my eyes ?
Why had I not, with charitable hand,
Took up a beggar's issue at my gates ;
Who smirched thus, and mired with infamy,
I might have said, No part of it is mine,
This shame derives itself from unknown loins ?
But mine, and mine I lov’d, and mine I prais'd,
And mine that I was proud on ; mine so much,
That I myself, was to myself not mine,
Valuing of her; why, she-0, she is fallen
Into a pit of ink! that the wide sea
Hath drops too few to wash her clean again ;
And salt too little, which may season give
To her foul tainted flesh!

Bene. Sir, sir, be patient :
For my part, I am so attir'd in wonder,
I know not what to say.

Beat. 0, on my soul, my cousin is belied !
Bene. Lady, were you her bedfellow last night?
Beat. No, truly, not; although, until last night,
I have this twelvemonth been her bedfellow.

Leon. Confirm'd, confirm'd! O, that is stronger made,
Which was before barr'd up with ribs of iron !
Would the two princes lie ? and Claudio lie ?
Who lov'd her so, that, speaking of her foulness,
Wash'd it with tears? Hence from her; let her die.

Friar. Hear me a little ;
For I have only been silent so long,
And given way unto this course of fortune,

(3) That is, the story o?ich her blus res diseovur to be true JOHNSON

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By noting of the lady: I have mark'd
A thousand blushing apparitions start
Into her face ; a thousand innocent shames
In angel whiteness bear away those blushes;
And in her eye there hath appear'd a fire,
To burn the errors that these princes hold
Against her maiden truth :-Call me a fool ;
Trust not my reading, nor my observations,
Which with experimental seal doth warrant
The tenour 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 seest, that all the grace that she hath left,
Is, that she will not add to her damnation
A sin of perjury; she not denies it :
Why seek'st thou then to cover with excuse
That which appears in proper nakedness ?

Friar. Lady, what man is be 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 modesty doth warrant,
Let all my sins lack mercy !~0 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,

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[4] The Friar had just before boasted his great skill in fishing out the truth. And, indeed, he appears by this question to be no fool. He was by, all the while at the accusatior, and heard no names mentioned. Why then should he ask her tilat men she was accused of? But in this lay the subtilty of his examination. For, had dero been guilty, it was probable that in that burry and confusion of spirits, into which the terrible insult of her lover had thrown her, she would never have observed that the man's name was not mentioned; and so, on this question, have betrayed herself by nating the person she was conscious of an aifair with. The Friar observed this, and so concluded, that, were she guilty, she would probably fall into the trap he had laid for her.--I only take notice of this to show how admirably weli Shaliespeare knew how to sustain his characters. WARBURTON

(5) Bent is used by our author for the utmost degree of any passion, or mental quality. In this play before, Benedick says of Beatrice, her affection has its full lent. The expression is drawn from archery; the bow has its bent when it is draw as far as it can be. JOHNSON

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