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Dramatis Persona.

DON PEDRO, Prince of Arragon.
Leonato, Governor of Messina.
Don John, Bastard-Brother to Don Pedro.
Claudio, a young Lord of Florence, Favourite to Don

Benedick, a young Lord of Padua, favour'd likewise by

Don Pedro.
Balthazar, Servant to Don Pedro.
Antonio, Brother to Leonato.
Borachio, Confident to Don John.
Conrade, Friend to Borachio.

} Verges,

two foolish Officers.

Hero, Daughter to Leonato.
Beatrice, Neice to Leonato.

} two Gentlewomen, attending on Hero.

A Friar, Messenger, Watch, Town-Clerk, Sexton, and


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Enter Leonato, Hero, and Beatrice, with a Messenger.

Learn in this letter, that Don Pedro of
Arragon comes this night to Mefina.

Meff. He is very near by this, he was not three leagues off when I left him.

Leon. How many gentlemen have you loft in this action?

Mel. But few of any Sort, and none of Name.

Leon. A victory is twice itself, when the atchiever brings home full numbers; I find here, that Don Pedro hath bestowed much honour on a young Florentine, call'd Claudio.

Mes. Much deserved on his part, and equally remembred by Don Pedro: he hath borne himself beyond the promise of his age, doing in the figure of a lamb the feats of a lion: he hath, indeed, better bet

1 The Story from Ariolo, Orl. Fur. 1. 5.

Mr. Pope.



ter'd expectation, than you must expe&t' of me to tell

you how.

Leon. He hath an uncle here in Messina will be very much glad of it.

Mej. I have already delivered him letters, and there appears much joy in him; even so much, that ? joy could not shew itself modest enough, without a badge of bitterness.

Leon. Did he break out into tears?
Mel. In great measure.

Leon. A kind overflow of kindness. There are no faces truer than those that are so wash'd. How much better is it to weep at joy, than to joy at weeping! Beat. I pray you,

i'is Signior Montanto return'd from the wars or no?

Mell. I know none of that name, Lady; - there was none such in the army of any Sort,

Leon. What is he that you ask for, Neice?
Hero. My Cousin means Signior Benedick of Padua.
Mel. O, he's return'd, and as pleasant as ever he


Beat. He set up his bills here in Messina, and challeng'd Cupid at the fight; and my Uncle's fool, reading the challenge, subscrib'd for Cupid, and challeng'd him at the bird-bolt. “ I pray you, how many hath " he kill'd and eaten in these wars? but how many “ hath he kill'd ? for, indeed, I promis’d to eat all " of his killing."

2 joy could not fbew it self modeft enough, without a badge of bitterness.] This is judiciously express’d. Of all the transports of Joy, chat which is attended with tears is least offensive; because carrying with it this mark of pain, it allays the envy that usually attends another's happiness. This he finely calls a modef joy, such a one as did not insult the observer by an indication of happiness unmixed with pain.

3 is signior Montanto return'd] Montánte, in Spanish, is a huge sowo-handed sword, given, with much humour, to one, the 1peaker would represent as a Boafter or Bravado.

4 there was none such in the army of any Sort) Not meaning there was none such of any order or degree whatever, but that there was none such of any quality above the common.


Leon. Faith, Neice, you tax Signior Benedick too much ; but he'll be meet with you, I doubt ic not.

Mes. He hath done good service, Lady, in these


Beat. You had musty victuals, and he hath holp " to eat it; he's a very valiant trencher-man, he hath

an excellent stomach."
Mes. And a good soldier too, Lady.

Beat. And a good soldier to a lady? but what is he to a lord ?

Mel. A lord to a lord, a man to a man, stuffc with all honourable virtues.

Beat. It is so, indeed : he is no less than a stuffc man : but for the stuffing,— well, we are all mortal.

Leon. You must not, Sir, mistake my Neice; there is a kind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick and her ; they never meet, but there's a skirmish of Wit between them.

Beat. Alas, he gets nothing by That. In our last conflict, four of his five wits went halting off, and now is the whole man govern'd with one: So that if he have * wit enough to keep himself from harm, lec him bear it for a difference between himself and his horse; for it is all the wealth that he hach left, to be known a reasonable creature. Who is his companion now ? he hath every month a new sworn brocher.

* wit enough to keep himself WARM.) But how would that make a difference between him and his horse? We hould read, Wit enough to keep himself from HARM. This suits the satirical turn of her speech, in the character the would give of Benedick; and this would make the difference spoken of. For 'tis the nature of horses, when wounded, to run upon che point of the weapon.

Vol. II,

B 3


Mel. Is it possible ?

Beat. Very easily possible ; she wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat, it ever changes with the next block.

Mel. I fee, Lady, the gentleman is not in your books.

Beat. “ No; an he were, I would burn my Study. “ But, I pray you, who is his companion?' is there

no young squarer now, that will make a voyage “ with him to the devil ?

Mej. 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 peftilence, and the taker runs presently mad. God help the noble Claudio, if he have caught the Benedick; it will cost him a thousand pounds ere he be cur'd.

Mel. I will hold friends with you, Lady.
Beat. Do, good friend.
Leon. You'll ne'er run mad, Neice.
Beat. No, not 'till a hot January.
Mel. Don Pedro is approach'd.

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Enter Don Pedro, Claudio, Benedick, Balthazar, and

Don John. Pedro. Good Signior Leonalo, you are come to meet your trouble : the fafhion 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

she wears his faith ] No: religious Profession, but Profeffion of friendship; for the speaker gives it as the reason of her asking, who was not his Companion ? that he had every month * NEW fuorn brorber.


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