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Enter Don John, and Borachio.
John. Any bar, any cross, any impediment, will be medicinable to me: I am fick in displeasure to him; and whatsoever comes athwart his affection, ranges evenly with mine. How canst thou cross this marriage ?
Bora. Not honestly, my lord, but fo covertly that no dishonefty shall appear in me.
John. Show me briefly how.
Bora. I think, I told your lordship, a year since, how much I am in the favour of Margaret, the waiting-gentlewoman to Hero.
John. I remember.
Bora. I can, at any unseasonable instant of the night, appoint her to look out at her lady's chamber-window.
John. What life is in that, to be the death of this marriage ?
Bora. The poison of that lies in you to temper : go you to the prince your brother; spare not to tell him, that he hath wrong’d his honour in marrying the renown’d Claudio (whose eftimation do you mightily hold up) to a contaminated ftale, such a one as Hero.
John. What proof shall I make of that?
Bora. Proof enough, to misuse the prince, to vex Claudio, to undo Hero, and kill Leonato; look you for any other issue ?
John. Only to despite them, I will endeavour any thing.
Bora. Go then, find me a meet hour, to draw on Pedro, and the count Claudio, alone; tell them that you know Hero loves me; intend a kind of zeal both to the prince and Claudio, as, in a love of your brother's honour who hath made this match, and
his friend's reputation, who is thus like to be cozen’d with the semblance of a maid, that you have discover'd thus: they will hardly believe this without trial: offer them instances, which shall bear no less likelihood than to fee me at her chamberwindow; hear me call Margaret, Hero; hear Margaret term me Borachio; and bring them to see this, the very night before the intended wedding : for, in the mean time, I will so fashion the matter, that Hero shall be absent; and there shall appear such seeming truths of Hero's disloyalty, that jealousy shall be call’d assurance, and all the preparation overthrown.
John. Grow this to what adverse issue it can, I will put it in practice: be cunning in the working this, and thy fee is a thousand ducats.
Bora. Be thou constant in the accusation, and my cunning shall not shame me.
John. I will presently go learn their day of marriage. [Exeunt.
Enter Benedick, and a boy. Bene. OY!
Boy. Signior. Bene. In my chamber-window lyes a book; bring it hither to me in the orchard. Boy. I am here already, fir.
[Exit Boy. Bene. I know that; but I would have thee hence, and here again. - I do much wonder, that one man, seeing how much another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviours to love, will, after he hath laught 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 musick with him but the drum and the fife; and now had he rather hear the taber and the pipe: I have known, when he would have walk'd ten mile afoot, to see a good armour; and now will he lye 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 have made an oyster of me, he shall never make me such a fool. One woman is fair; yet I am well: another 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 colour it please god". Ha! the prince and monsieur love! I will hide me in the arbour:
Claud. Yea, my good lord: how still the evening is,
where Benedick hath hid himself? Claud. O, very well, my lord; the musick ended, We'll fit the cade-fox with a penny-worth.
Pedro. Come, Balthazar, we'll hear that song again.
Balth. O good my lord, tax not so bad a voice To Nander musick any more than once,
Pedro. It is the witness still of excellency, To put a strange face on his own perfection: I pray thee, fing, and let me woo no more.”
Hinting satirically at the art used by ladies in dying their hair of a colour different from what it is by nature.
Balth. Because you talk of wooing, I will sing ; Since many a wooer doth commence his suit
Sigh no more, ladies, high no more,
Men were deceivers ever;
To one thing constant never :
And be you blith and bonny ;
Into, hey nony, nony.
Of dumps fo dull and heavy;
Since summer first was leavy:
Then high not so, &c. Pedro. By my troth, a good song. Balth. And an ill finger my lord. Pedro. Ha? no; no, 'faith; thou sing'st well enough for a shift.
Bene. If he had been a dog that should have howľd thus, they would have hang’d him; and I pray god, his bad voice bode no mischief; I had as lief have heard the night-raven, come what plague could have come after it.
Pedro. Yea, marry: dost thou hear, Balthazar ? I pray thee, get us some excellent musick; for to-morrow night we would have it at the lady Hero's chamber-window. Balth. The best I can, my lord. .
To her he thinks not worthy; yet he wooes ;
Pedro. Nay, pray thee, come ;
Balth. Note this before my notes,
Pedro Why, these are very crotchets that he speaks ;
Bene. Now, divine air! now is his soul ravish’d! is it not strange, that sheeps guts should hale fouls out of men's bodies ? well, a horn for my money, when all's done. The SONG, C.
Pedro. Do so: farewel. Come hither, Leonato; what was it you told me of to-day? that your neice Beatrice was in love with signior Benedick?
Claud. O, ay: stalk on; stalk on; the fowl fits. I did never think that lady would have loved any man.
. Leon. No, nor I neither; but most wonderful, that she should so dote on signior Benedick, whom she hath in all outward behaviour feem'd ever to abhor.
Bene. Is’t possible? fits the wind in that corner ? [afide.
Leon. By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to think of it; but that she loves him with an enraged affection, it is pass’d the infinite of thought.
Pedro. May be she doth but counterfeit.
Leon. O God! counterfeit! there was never counterfeit of passion came so near the life of passion as she discovers it.
Pedro. Why, what effects of passion shows she?
Leon. What effects, my lord ? she will fit you — you heard my daughter tell
how. Claud. She did, indeed.
Pedro. How, how, I pray you? you amaze me: I would have thought her spirit had been invincible against all affaults of affection.
Leon. I would have sworn it had, my lord; especially against Benedick.
Bene. I should think this a gull, but that the white-bearded fellow speaks it: knavery cannot, sure, hide himself in such reverence.
[afide. Claud. He hath ta’en th' infection; hold it up. [Speaking low. Pedro. Hath she made her affection known to Benedick? Leon. No; and swears, she never will; that's her torment.
Glaud. 'Tis true, indeed, so your daughter says: shall I, says she, that have so oft encounter'd him with scorn, write to him that I love him? Leon. This says she now, when she is beginning to write to him;