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Bene. Is it come to this, i' faith ? Hath not the world one man, but he will wear his cap with suspicion? Shall I never see a bachelor of three-score again? Go to, i' faith : an thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it, and sigh away Sundays. 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.
Bene. You hear, count Claudio: I can be secret as a dumb man, I would have you think so; but on my allegiance,-mark you tlis, 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, Heaven forbid it should be so.
Claud. If my passion change not shortly, Heaven 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.
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 heretic in the despite of beauty.
Claud. And never could maintain his part, but in the force of his will.
Bene. Because I will not do them the wrong to mistrust any woman, I will do myself the right to trust none; and the fine is, (for the which I may go the finer,) I will live a bachelor.
D. 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, than I will get again with drinking, pick out mine eyes with a ballad-maker's pen, and hang me up for the sign of blind Cupid.
D. Pedro. Well, if ever thou dost fall from this faith, thou wilt prove a notable argument.
Bene. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat, and shoot at me; and he that hits me, let him be clapped on the shoulder, and called Adam. D. Pedro. Well, as time shall try :
In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke. Bene. The savage 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 horse to hire, let them signify under my sign,—Here you may see Benedick, the married man.
Claud. If this should ever happen, thou would'st be horn-mad.
D. Pedro. Nay, if Cupid have not spent all his quiver in Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly.
Bene. I look for an earthquake too then.
D. Pedro. Well, you will temporize with the hours. In the meantime, 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 Heaven: From my house, (if I had it) D. 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 slightly basted on neither: ere you flout old ends any further, examine your conscience ; and so I leave you.
[Exit BENEDICK. Claud. My liege, your highness now may do me good.
D. Pedro. My love is thine to teach; teach it but how,
Claud. Hath Leonato any son, my lord ?
D. Pedro. No child but Hero, she's his only heir :
O my lord,
her ere I went to wars.
Claud. How sweetly do you mi nister to love,
But lest my liking might too sudden seem,
D. Pedro. What need the bridge much broader than the flood ?
SCENE I.-A Hall in Leonato's House.
Beat. How tartly that gentleman looks! I never can see him, but I am heart-burned an hour after.
Hero. He is of a very melancholy disposition.
Beat. He were an excellent man, that were made just in the midway between him and Benedick; the one is too like an image, and says nothing; and the other, too like my lady's eldest son, evermore tattling.
Leon. Then half signior Benedick's tongue in count John's mouth, and half count John's melancholy in signior Benedick's face,
Beat. With a good leg, and a good foot, uncle, and money enough in his purse, such a man would win any woman in the world, --if he could get her good will.
Leon. By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee a husband, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.
Ant. Well, niece, (to HERO,] I trust you will be ruled by your father.
Beat. Yes, faith ; it's my cousin's duty to make courtesy, and say, Father, as ii please you :—but yet for all that, cousin, let him be a handsome fellow, or else make another courtesy, and say, Father, as it please me.
Leon. Well, 'niece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband.
Beat. Not till men are made of some other metal than earth. Would it not grieve a woman to be over-mastered with a piece of valiant dust ? to make an account of her life to a clod of wayward
marl? No, uncle, I'll hold none. Adam's sons are my brethren ; and truly, I hold it a sin to match in my kindred.
Leon. Daughter, remember what I told you : if the prince do solicit you in that kind, you know your answer.
Beat. The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you be not wood in good time: if the prince be too important, tell him, there is measure in every thing, and so dance out the answer. For hear me, Hero; wooing, wedding, and repenting, is as a Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinque-pace: the first suit is hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as fantastical; the wedding, mannerly-modest, as a measure full of state and ancientry; and then comes repentance, and, with his bad legs, falls into the cinque-pace faster and faster, till he sink into his grave.
Leon. Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly.
He also breaks the matter to Leonato, who cheerfully consents to the union of his daughter with Claudio.
Don Pedro, Leonato, Claudio, and Hero, now undertake to bring Benedick and Beatrice into a mountain of affection.'—Their plans are carried out in the two following scenes.
SCENE III.—Leonato's Garden.
Enter BENEDICK and a Boy.
Bene. In my chamber-window lies a book; bring it hither to me in the orchard.
Boy. I am here already, sir. Bene. I know that;—but I would have thee hence, and here again. [Exit Boy.]—I do much wonder, that one man, seeing how much another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviors to love, will, after he hath laughed at such shallow follies in others, become the argument of his own scorn, by falling in love: And such a man is Claudio. I have known when there was no music with him but the drum and fife; and now had he rather hear the tabor and the pipe : I have known, when he would have walked ten mile afoot, to see a good armor; and now will he lie ten nights awake, carving the fashion of a new doublet. He was wont to speak plain, and to the purpose, like an honest man, and a soldier; and now is he turn’d orthographer; his words are a very fantastical banquet, just so many strange dishes. May I be so converted, and see with these eyes ? I cannot tell; I think not: I will not be sworn, but love may transform me to an oyster ; but I'll take my oath on it, till he hath made an oyster of me, he shall never make me such a fool. One woman is fair; yet I am well: arother is wise; yet I am well: another virtuous; yet I am
well: but till all graces be in one woman, one woman shall not come in my grace. Rich, she shall be, that's certain ; wise, or I'll none; virtuous, or I'll never cheapen her; fair, or I'll never look on her; mild, or come not near me; noble, or not I for an angel; of good discourse, an excellent musician, and 'her hair shall be of what color it please. Ha! the prince and monsieur Love! I will hide me in the arbor.
[Withdraws. Enter Don PEDRO, LEONATO, and CLAUDIO. D. Pedro. Come, shall we hear this music?
Claud. Yea, my good lord :—How still the evening is, As hush'd on purpose to grace harmony!
D. Pedro. See you where Benedick hath hid himself ?
Claud. O, very well, my lord : the music ended,
Enter BALTHAZAR, with music.
Balth. O good my lord, tax not so bad a voice
D. Pedro. It is the witness still of excellency,
Balth. Because you talk of wooing, I will sing :
he loves, D. Pedro.
Nay, pray thee, come:
Balth. Note this before my notes,
D. Pedro. Why these are very crotchets that he speaks ; Note, notes, forsooth, and noting !
[Musis Bene. Now, Divine air! now is his soul ravished !
Men were deceivers ever;
Then sigh not so,
But let them go,
Into, Hey nonny, nonny.
Of dumps so dull and heavy;