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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.
Marg. So would not I for your own fake, for I have many ill qualities. .
Balth. Which is one?
Balth. I love you the better, the hearers may cry
Marg. God match me with a good dancer!
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.
Ant. At a word, I am not.
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 not tell
Bene. What's 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 Sure, my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath withdrawn her father to break with him about it: the ladies follow her, and but one visor remains.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.
John. Are you not Signior Benedick ?
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 ?
Bora. So did I too, and he swore he would marry
[Exeunt John and Bor.
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.
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.
SC EN E IV.
Enter Don Pedro.
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?
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.