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DON PEDRO, Prince of Arragon.
two foolish Officers.
Hero, Daughter to Leonato.
} two Gentlewomen, attending on Hero.
A Friar, Messenger, Watch, Town-Clerk, Sexton, and
Enter Leonato, Hero, and Beatrice, with a Messenger.
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.
ter'd expectation, than you must expe&t' of me to tell
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?
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?
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."
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.
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.
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.