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Pedro. My visor is Philemon's roof; within the house is (a) Jove.

Hero. Why, then your visor should be thatch'd.
Pedro. Speak low, if you speak love.
Balth. Well; I would, you did like me.

Marg. So would not I for your own fake, for I have many ill qualities. .

Balth. Which is one?
Marg. I say my Prayers aloud.

Balth. I love you the better, the hearers may cry

Marg. God match me with a good dancer!
Balth. Amen.

Marg. And God keep him out of my sight when the dance is done! Answer, Clerk.

Balth. No more words, the clerk is answer'd.
Urs. I know you well enough; you are Signior

Ant. At a word, I am not.
Urf. I know you by the wagling of your head.
· Ant. To tell you true, I counterfeit him.

Urs. You could never do him fo ill-well, unless you were the very man: here's his dry hand


and down; you are he, you are he.

Ant. At a word, I am not.

Urs. Come, come, do you think, I do not know
you by your excellent wit? can virtue hide itself? go
to, mum, you are he; graces will appear, and there's
an end.
Beat. Will you not tell me, who told you

Bene. No, you shall pardon me.
Beat. Nor will


Bene. Not now.
Beat. That I was disdainful, and that I had

good Wit out of The Hundred merry Tales ; well, this
was Signior Benedick chat said fo.
(a) Jove, Mr. Theobald – Vulg. Love.


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you not tell

Bene. What's he?
Beat. I am sure, you know him well enough.
Bene. Not I, believe me.
Beat. Did he never make you laugh?
Bene. I pray you, what is he?

Beat. Why, he is the Prince's jester; a very dull fool, only + his gift is in devising impassible Nanders : none but libertines delight in him, and the commendation is not in his wit, but in 5 his villany ; for he both pleaseth men and angers them, and then they laugh at him, and beat him; I am sure, he is in the fleet; I would, he had boarded me.

Bene. When I know the gentleman, I'll tell him what you say.

Beat. Do, do, he'll but break a comparison or two on me; which, peradventure, not mark’d, or not laugh’d at, strikes him into melancholy, and then there's a partridge wing fav’d, for the fool will eat no fupper that night. We must follow the leaders.

[Musick within. Bene. In every good thing.

Beat. Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at the next turning.

[Exeunt. S CE N E III.

Manent John, Borachio, and Claudio. John. Sure, my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath withdrawn her father to break with him about it: the ladies follow her, and but one visor remains.

Bora. And that is Claudio; I know him by his Bearing.

4 his gift is in devising IMPOSSIBLE panders:] We should read IMPASSIBLE, i. e, slanders so ill invented that they will pass upon no body.

5 his villany ;] by which, the means his malice and impiety. By his impious jests, the infinuates he pleafed libertines 3 and by his devising Randers of them, he angered them.


C 3


John. Are you not Signior Benedick ?
Claud. You know me well, I am he.

John. Signior, you are very near my brother in his love, he is enamour'd' on Hero; I pray you, dissuade him from her, she is no equal for his birth; you may do the part of an honest man in it.

Claud. How know ye, he loves her ?
John. I heard him swear his affection.

Bora. So did I too, and he swore he would marry
her to night.
John. Come, let us to the banquet.

[Exeunt John and Bor.
Claud. Thus answer I in name of Benedick,
But hear this ill news with the ears of Claudio.
'Tis certain so, the Prince wooes for himself.
Friendship is constant in all other things,
Save in the office and affairs of love;
Therefore all hearts in love use (a) your own fongues!
Let every eye negotiate for itself,
And trust no agent; beauty is a witch,
Against whose charms faith melteth into blood.
This is an accident of hourly proof,
Which I mistrusted not. Farewel then, Hero!

Enter Benedick.
Bene. Count Claudio ?
Claud, 'Yea, the fame.
Bene. Come, will you go with me?

Claud. Whither?
business, Count. What fashion will you wear the

6 -faith melteth into blood.] i.e. These intemperate defires make men treacherous ; but the expression alludes to the old opinion of superstition concerning witches; that they turned wholesome liquors into blood by their charms.

(a) - your own tongues! Oxf. Edit. Vulg. their own tongues.

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garland of? about your neck, like an Usurer's chain ? or under your arm, like a Lieutenant's scarf? you must wear it one way, for the Prince hath got your Hero.

Claud. I wish him Joy of her.

Bene. Why, that's spoken like an honest drover; so they sell bullocks: but did you think, the Prince would have served you thus ?

Claud. I pray you, leave me.

Bene. Ho! now you strike like the blind man; 'twas the boy that stole your meat, and you'll beat the Poft.

Claud. If it will not be, I'll leave you. [Exit.

Bene. Alas, poor hurt fowle! now will he creep into sedges. But, that my Lady Beatrice should know me, and not know me! the Prince's fool! ha? it may be, I go under that Title, because I am merry ; yea, but fo I am apt to do myself wrong: I am not lo reputed. It is the base (tho’ bitter) disposition of Beatrice, that puts the World into her person, and so gives me out; well, I'll be reveng'd as I may.


Enter Don Pedro.
Pedro. Now, Signior, where's the Count? did

you see him?

Bene. Troth, my lord, I have play'd the part of lady Fame. I found him here as melancholy as a Jodge in a warren, I told him (and I think, told him true) that your Grace had got the Will of this young tady, and I offer'd him my company to a willowtree, either to make him a garland, as being forsaken, or to bind him up a rod, as being worthy to be whipt.

Pedro. To be whipt! what's his fault?
Bene. The flat transgression of a School-boy ; who,




being overjoy'd with finding a bird's nest, shews it his companion, and he steals it.

Pedro. Wilt thou make a trust, a transgression ? the transgression is in the stealer.

Bene. Yet it had not been amiss, the rod had been made, and the garland too; for the garland he might have worn himlelf, and the rod he might have beftow'd on you, who (as I take it) have stoln his bird's nest.

Pedro. I will but teach them to sing, and restore them to the owner.

Bene. If their singing answer your saying, by my faith, you say honestly.

Pedro. The lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you ; the gentleman, that danc'd with her, told her she is much wrong’d by you.

Bene. “O, she misus'd me past the indurance of « a block ; an oak, but with one green leaf on it,

would have answer'd her; my very visor began to o assume life, and scold with her; she told me, not " thinking I had been myself, that I was the Prince's “ jefter, and that I was duller than a great thaw; “ hudling jest upon jest, with such impaffable con

veyance upon me, that I stood like a man at a “ mark, with a whole army shooting at me ; she

speaks Ponyards, and every word stabs ; if her « breath were as terrible as her terminations, there

were no living near her, 8 she would infect to the " North-Star;" I would not marry her, though she were endowed with all that Adam had left him before he transgress'd; he would have made Hercules have turn'd Spit

, yea, and have cleft his club to make the fire 7 fuch IMPOSSIBLE conveyance] We should read ImPASSABLE. A term taken from fencing, when the Arokes are to swift and repea:ed as not to be parried or passed off.

8 she would infc7 the North Star ;] i. e. There is nothing of fo pure and seen a brightness, that her calumnious tongue would not fully.

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