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Mess. He is most in the company of the right noble Claudio.

Beat. O Lord! he will hang upon him like a disease: he is sooner caught than the pestilence, and the taker runs presently mad. God help the noble Claudio! if he have caught the Benedick, it will cost him a thousand pound ere he be cured.

Mess. I will hold friends with you, lady.
Beat. Do, good friend.
Leon. You will never run mad, niece.
Beat. No, not till a hot January.

Mess. Don Pedro is approached. Enter Don PEDRO, attended by BALTHAZAR and others, Don John, CLAUDIO, and BENEDICK.

D. Pedro. Good signior Leonato, you are come. to meet your trouble: the fashion of the world is to avoid cost, and you encounter it.

Leon. Never came trouble to my house in the likeness of your grace: for trouble being gone, comfort should remain; but, when you depart from me, sorrow abides, and happiness takes his leave. D. Pedro. You embrace

your charge too willingly.-I think, this is your daughter.

Leon. Her mother hath many times told me so. Bene. Were you in doubt, sir, that you asked her? Leon. Signior Benedick, no; for then were you a

D. Pedro. You have it full, Benedick: we may guess by this what you are, being a man. Truly, the lady fathers herself 16 :- Be happy, lady! for you are like an honourable father.

15

child.

• Jack father's

15 Barthen, incumbrance.

16 This phrase is common in Dorsetshire. himself,' is like his father. VOL. II.

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Bene. If signior Leonato be her father, she would not have his head on her shoulders, for all Messina, as like him as she is.

Beat. I wonder, that you will still be talking, signior Benedick; no body marks you.

Bene. What, my dear lady Disdain! are you yet living?

Beat. Is it possible disdain should die, while she hath such meet food to feed it, as signior Benedick? Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you come in her presence.

Bene. Then is courtesy a turn-coat:But it is certain, I am lov'd of all ladies, only you excepted: and I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart; for, truly, I love none.

Beat. A dear happiness to women; they would else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I thank God, and my cold blood, I am of your humour for that; I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow, than a man swear he loves me.

Bene. God keep your ladyship still in that mind! so some gentleman or other shall 'scape a predestinate scratched face.

Beat. Scratching could not make it worse, an 'twere such a face as yours were.

Bene. Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher.
Beat. A bird of my

ongue is better than a beast of

yours.

Bene. I would, my horse had the speed of your tongue; and so good a continuer: But keep your way o'God's

's name; I have done. Beat. You always end with a jade's trick; I know

you of old.

D. Pedro. This is the sum of all: Leonato,-signior Claudio, and signior Benedick,—my dear friend

Leonato, hath invited you all. I tell him, we shall stay here at the least a month; and he heartily prays, some occasion

may

detain us longer: I dare swear he is no hypocrite, but prays from his heart.

Leon. If you swear, my lord, you shall not be forsworn.—Let me bid

you welcome, my lord, being reconciled to the prince your brother, I owe

you

all duty.

D. John. I thank you: I am not of many words, but I thank

you. Leon. Please it your grace lead on?

D. Pedro. Your hand, Leonato; we will go together. [Exeunt all but BENEDICK and CLAUDIO.

Claud. Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of signior Leonato?

Bene. I noted her not; but I looked on her.
Claud. Is she not a modest young lady?

Bene. Do you question me, as an honest man should do, for my simple true judgment; or would you have me speak after my custom, as being a professed tyrant to their sex?

Claud. No, I pray thee, speak in sober judgment.

Bene. Why, i’faith, methinks she is too low for a high praise, too brown for a fair praise, and too little for a great praise: only this commendation I can afford her; that were she other than she is, she were unhandsome; and being no other but as she is, I do not like her.

Claud. Thou thinkest, I am in sport; I pray thee, tell me truly how thou likest her.

Bene. Would you buy her, that you inquire after her.

Claud. Can the world buy such a jewel?

Bene. Yea, and a case to put it into. But speak you this with a sad brow? or do you play the flout

18 ? to go

in the song

ing Jack; to tell us Cupid is a good hare-finder, and Vulcan a rare carpenter 17? Come, in what key shall a man take

you Claud. In mine eye, she is the sweetest lady that ever I looked on.

Bene. I can see yet without spectacles, and I see no such matter : there's her cousin, an she were not possessed with a fury, exceeds her us much in beauty, as the first of May doth the last of December. But I hope, you have no intent to turn husband; have you?

Claud. I would scarce trust myself, though I had sworn the contrary, if Hero would be

my

wife. Bene. Is it come to this, i'faith? Hath not the world one man, but he will wear his cap with suspicion 19 ? Shall I never see a bachelor of threescore again? Go to, i'faith; an thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it, and sigh away Sundays 20. Look, Don Pedro is returned to seek you.

Re-enter Don PEDRO. D. Pedro. What secret hath held

you here, that you followed not to Leonato's ?

Bene. I would, your grace would constrain me to

tell.

D. Pedro. I charge thee on thy allegiance.
Bene. You hear, Count Claudio: I can be secret

17 Do you scoff and mock in telling us that Cupid, who is blind, is a good hare-finder; and that Vulcan, a blacksmith, is a good carpenter? Do you mean to amuse us with improbable stories?

18 i. e. to join in the song.
19 i. e. subject his head to the disquiet of jealousy.

20 i. e. become sad and serious. Alluding to the manner in which the Puritans usually spent the Sabbath, with sighs and gruntings, and other hypocritical marks of devotion.

so; but

on

as a dumb man, I would have

you

think my allegiance,-mark you this, on my allegiance: -He is in love. With who?—now that is your grace's part.—Mark, how short his answer is :With Hero, Leonato's short daughter.

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 21.

Claud. If my passion change not shortly, God forbid it should be otherwise.

D. Pedro. Amen, if you love her; for the lady is very well worthy.

Claud. You speak this to fetch me in, my lord.
D. Pedro. By my troth, I speak my thought.
Claud. And, in faith, my lord, I spoke mine.

Bene. And, by my two faiths and troths, my lord,
I spoke mine.

Claud. That I love her, I feel.
D. Pedro. That she is worthy, I know.

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.

D. Pedro. Thou wast ever an obstinate heretick in the despite of beauty.

Claud. And never could maintain his part, but in the force of his will 22.

Bene. That a woman conceived me, I thank her; that she brought me up, I likewise give her most

21 The old tale, of which this is the burthen, has been traditionally preserved and recovered by Mr. Blakeway, and is perhaps one of the most happy illustrations of Shakspeare that has ever appeared. It is to be found at the end of the play in the late edition of Shakspeare by Mr. Boswell. I regret that its length precludes me from printing it. 22 Alluding to the definition of a heretic in the schools.

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