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That I believe, said she, for he swore a thing to me on Monday night, which he forswore on Tuesday morning; there's a double tongue; there's two tongues. Thus, did she, an hour together, transshape thy particular virtues; yet, at last, she concluded with a sigh, thou wast the properest man in Italy.

Claud. For the which she wept heartily, and said, she cared not.

D. Pedro. Yea, that she did; but yet, for all that, an if she did not hate him deadly, she would love him dearly: the old man's daughter told us all.

Claud. All, all; and moreover, God saw him when he was hid in the garden.

D. Pedro. But when shall we set the savage bull's horns on the sensible Benedick's head ?

Claud. Yea, and text underneath, Here dwells Benedick the married man?

Bene. Fare you well, boy; you know my mind; I will leave you now to your gossip-like humour : you break jests as braggarts do their blades, which, God be thanked, hurt not.My lord, for your many courtesies I thank you : I must discontinue your company: your brother, the bastard, is fled from Messina : you have, among you, killed a sweet and innocent lady: For my lord Lack-beard, there, he and I shall meet; and till then, peace be with him.

[Exit BENEDICK. D. Pedro. He is in earnest.

Claud. In most profound earnest; And, I'll warrant you,

for the love of Beatrice. D. Pedro. And hath challenged thee? Claud. Most sincerely.

D. Pedro. What a pretty thing man is, when he goes in his doublet and hose, and leaves off his wit 18.

18 These words are probably meant to express what Rosaline, in As You Like It, calls the careless desolation of a lover.

Claud. He is then a giant to an ape: but then is an ape a doctor to such a man.

D. Pedro. But, soft you, let be 19; pluck up my heart, and be sad 20 ! Did he not say, my brother

was fled ?

Enter DOGBERRY, VERGES, and the Watch, with

CONRADE and BORACHIO. Dogb. Come, you, sir; if justice cannot tame you, she shall ne'er weigh more reasons in her balance: nay, an you be a cursing hypocrite once 21, you must be looked to.

D. Pedro. How now, two of my brother's men bound! Borachio, one! Claud. Hearken after their offence, my

lord ! D. Pedro. Officers, what offence have these men done?

Dogb. Marry, sir, they have committed false report; moreover, they have spoken untruths; secondarily, they are slanders: sixth and lastly, they have belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified unjust things: and, to conclude, they are lying knaves.

D. Pedro. First, I ask thee what they have done; thirdly, I ask thee what's their offence; sixth and lastly, why they are committed; and, to conclude, what you lay to their charge?

Claud. Rightly reasoned, and in his own division; and, by my troth, there's one meaning well suited 22.

D. Pedro. Whom have you offended, masters,

20 i. e.

19 The old copies read ‘let me be,' the emendation is Malone's. Let be appears here to signify hold, rest there. It has the same signification in Saint Matthew, ch. xxvii. v. 49.

rouse thyself my heart and be prepared for serious consequences.'

21 See before in this play, p. 129, note 35.

22 That is, one meaning put into many different dresses ; the Prince having asked the same question in four modes of speech.

hear me,

that you are thus bound to your answer? this learned constable is too cunning to be understood : What's your

offence ? Bora. Sweet prince, let me go no further to mine answer; do you

and let this count kill me. I have deceived even your very eyes: what your wisdoms could not discover, these shallow fools have brought to light; who, in the night, overheard me confessing to this man, how Don John, your brother, incensed 23 me to slander the lady Hero; how you were brought into the orchard, and saw me court Margaret in Hero's garment; how you disgraced her, when you should marry her: my villany they have upon record; which I had rather seal with my death, than repeat over to my shame: the lady is dead upon mine and my master's false accusation; and, briefly, I desire nothing but the reward of a villain. D. Pedro. Runs not this speech like iron through your

blood ? Claud. I have drunk poison, whiles he utter'd it. D. Pedro. But did my brother set thee on to this?

Bora. Yea, and paid me richly for the practice of it. D. Pedro. He is compos'd and fram'd of trea

chery: And fled he is upon this villany.

Claud. Sweet Hero! now thy image doth appear In the rare semblance that I loved it first.

Dogb. Come, bring away the plaintiffs; by this time our Sexton hath reformed signior Leonato of the matter: And masters, do not forget to specify, when time and place shall serve, that I am an ass.

Verg. Here, here comes master signior Leonato, and the Sexton too.

23 Incited, instigated.

Re-enter LEONATO and ANTONIO, with the Sexton. Leon. Which is the villain ? Let me see his

eyes; That when I note another man like him, I may avoid him: Which of these is he? Bora. If


would know your wronger, look on


Leon. Art thou the slave, that with thy breath

hast kill'd Mine innocent child ? Bora.

Yea, even I alone. Leon. No, not so, villain; thou bely'st thyself; Here stand a pair of honourable men, A third is filed, that had a hand in it:I thank you, princes, for my daughter's death; Record it with your high and worthy deeds; 'Twas bravely done, if you bethink you of it.

Claud. I know not how to pray your patience, Yet I must speak: Choose your revenge yourself; Impose me to what

penance your invention
Can lay upon my sin: yet sinn'd I not,
But in mistaking.

D. Pedro. By my soul, nor I;
And yet, to satisfy this good old man,
I would bend under any heavy weight
That he'll enjoin me to.
Leon. I cannot bid


my daughter live,
That were impossible; but, I pray you both,
Possess people in Messina here
How innocent she died: and, if

your Can labour aught in sad invention,


25 the


24 i. e, inflict upon me whatever penance, &c.' See vol, i. p. 160, note i.

25 To possess anciently signified to inform, to make acquainted with. So in The Merchant of Venice:

* I have possess'd your grace of what I purpose.'

Hang her an epitaph upon her tomb 26,
And sing it to her bones; sing it to-night :
To-morrow morning come you to my house;
And since you could not be my son-in-law,
Be yet my nephew : my brother hath a daughter,
Almost the



child that's dead,
And she alone is heir to both of us 27 ;
Give her the right you should have given her cousin,
And so dies my revenge.

0, noble sir,
Your over-kindness doth wring tears from me!
I do embrace your offer; and dispose
For henceforth of


Claudio. Leon. To-morrow then I will expect your coming; To-night I take my leave. This naughty man Shall face to face be brought to Margaret, Who, I believe, was pack'd 28 in all this wrong, Hir'd to it by your brother, Bora.

No, by my soul, she was not; Nor knew not what she did, when she spoke to me; But always hath been just and virtuous, In any thing that I do know by her.

Dogb. Moreover, sir (which, indeed, is not under white and black), this plaintiff here, the offender, did call me ass: I beseech you, let it be remembered in his punishment: And also, the watch heard them talk of one Deformed: they say, he wears a key in his ear, and a lock hanging by it 29; and

26 It was the custom among Catholics to attach, upon or near the tomb of celebrated persons, a written inscription either in prose or verse generally in praise of the deceased. See Bayle, in Aretin (Pierre), note H. ed. 1720.

27 Yet Shakspeare makes Leonato say to Antonio, Act i. Sc. 5, • How now, brother; where is my cousin your son,' &c.

28 i. e. combined ; an accomplice.

29 It was one of the fantastic fashions of Shakspeare's time to wear a long hanging lock of hair dangling by the ear; it is often mentioned by cotemporary writers, and may be observed in some ancient portraits. The humour of this passage is in Dogberry's VOL. II.


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