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by Leonato; and I can give you intelligence of an intended marriage.
D. John. Will it serve for any model to build mischief on? What is he for a fool, that betroths himself to unquietness?
Bora. Marry, it is your brother's right hand. D. John. Who? the most exquisite Claudio? Bora. Even he.
D. John. A proper squire! and who, and who? which way looks he?
Bora. Marry, on Hero, the daughter and heir of Leonato.
D. John. A very forward March-chick! How came you to this?
Bora. Being entertained for a perfumer, as I was smoking a musty room, comes me the prince
and Claudio, hand in hand, in sad conference: I whipt me behind the arras; and there heard it agreed upon, that the prince should woo Hero for himself, and, having obtained her, give her to Count Claudio.
D. John. Come, come, let us thither; this may prove food to my displeasure: that young start-up hath all the glory of my overthrow; if I can cross him any way, I bless myself every way: you are both sure, and will assist me?
Con. To the death, my lord.
D. John. Let us to the great supper; their cheer is the greater that I am subdued. 'Would the cook were of my mind !—Shall we go prove what's to be done? Bora. We'll wait upon your lordship.
SCENE I.-A Hall in Leonato's House.
Leon. By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee a husband, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.
Ant. In faith, she is too curst.
Beat. Too curst is more than curst. I shall lessen God's sending that way: for it is said, “God sends a curst cow short horns;" but to a cow too curst, He sends none.
Leon. So, by being too curst, God will send
you no horns.
Enter Leonato, Antonio, Hero, BEATRICE,
and others. Leon. Was not Count John here at supper? Ant. I saw him not.
Beat. How tartly that gentleman looks! I never can see him, but I am heartburned an hour after.
Hero. He is of a very melancholy disposition.
Beat. He were an excellent man that were made just in the midway between him and Benedick: the one is too like an image, and says nothing; and the other too like my lady's eldest son, evermore tattling.
Leon. Then half Signior Benedick's tongue in Count John's mouth, and half Count John's melancholy in Signior Benedick's face
Beat. With a good leg and a good foot, uncle, and money enough in his purse, such a ma would win any woman in the world—if he could get her good will.
Beat. Just, if he send me no husband; for the which blessing I am at Him upon my knees every morning and evening. Lord! I could not endure a husband with a beard on his face; I had rather lie in the woollen.
Leon. You may light upon a husband that hath no beard.
Beat. What should I do with him? dress him in my apparel, and make him my waiting gentlewoman? He that hath a beard is more than a youth; and he that hath no beard is less than a man: and he that is more than a youth, is not for me; and he that is less than a man, I am not
D. Pedro. With me in your company ?
so? Hero. When I like your favour; for God defend the lute should be like the case !
D. Pedro. My visor is Philemon's roof; within the house is Jove.
Hero. Why then your visor should be thatched. D. Pedro. Speak low, if you speak love.
[Takes her aside. Bene. Well, I would you did like me.
Marg. So would not I, for your own sake; for I have many ill qualities.
Bene. Which is one?
for him. Therefore, I will even take sixpence in earnest of the bearherd, and lead his apes
Leon. Well then, go you into hell ?
Beat. No; but to the gate; and there will the devil meet me, like an old cuckold, with horns on his head, and say, “Get you to heaven, Beatrice, get you to heaven; here's no place for you maids :" so deliver I up my apes, and away to Saint Peter for the heavens: he shews me where the bachelors sit, and there live we as merry as the day is long. Ant. Well, niece, [To Hero.] I trust you
will be ruled by your father.
Beat. Yes, faith; it is my cousin's duty to make courtesy, and
say, “Father, as it please you :' but yet for all that, cousin, let him be a handsome fellow; or else make another courtesy, and say, "Father, as it please me.”
Leon. Well, niece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband.
Beat. Not till God make men of some other metal than earth. Would it not grieve a woman to be over-mastered with a piece of valiant dust? to make an account of her life to a clod of wayward marl? No, uncle, I'll none : Adam's sons are my brethren; and truly, I hold it a sin to match in my kindred.
Leon. Daughter, remember what I told you: if the prince do solicit you in that kind, you know your answer.
Beat. The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you be not wooed in good time: if the prince be too important, tell him there is measure in everything, and so dance out the answer. For hear me, Hero; wooing, wedding, and repenting, is as a Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinque-pace: the first suit is hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as fantastical; the wedding, mannerly modest, as a measure full of state and ancientry; and then comes repentance, and, with his bad legs, falls into the cinque-pace faster and faster, till he sink into his grave.
Leon. Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly.
Beat. I have a good eye, uncle; I can see a church by daylight.
Leon. The revellers are entering; brother, make good room.
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 answered.
Urs. I know you well enough; you are Signior Antonio.
Ant. At a word, I am not.
Urs. You could never do him so ill-well, unless you were the very man. Here's his dry hand up 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
and there's an end.
Beat. Will not tell me who told you so?
Beat. That I was disdainful—and that I had my good wit out of the “Hundred merry Tales;" -Well, this was Signior Benedick that said so.
Bene. What's he?
Beat. Why, he is the prince's jester : a very dull fool; only his gift is in devising impossible slanders: none but libertines delight in him; and the commendation is not in his wit, but in 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.
Enter Don Pedro, Claudio, BENEDICK, Bal
THAZAR, Don John, BoracHIO, MARGARET, URSULA, and others, masked.
D. Pedro. Lady, will you walk about with your friend?
Hero. So you walk softly, and look sweetly, and say nothing, I am yours for the walk; and especially when I walk away.
'T is certain so; the prince woos for himself.
Beat. Do, do: he'll but break a comparison or two on me; which, peradventure, not marked, or not laughed at, strikes him into melancholy: and then there's a partridge' wing saved, for the fool will eat no supper that night. [Music within. We must follow the leaders.
Bene. In every good thing.
Beat. Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at the next turning.
[Dance. [Exeunt all but Don John, Borachio,
and Claudio. D. 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.
D. John. Are not you Signior Benedick?
D. John. Signior, you are very near my brother in his love: he is enamoured 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 you he loves her ?
Bora. So did I, too; and he swore he would marry her to-night. D. John. Come, let us to the banquet.
[Exeunt Don John and Borachio. Claud. Thus answer I in name of Benedick, But hear these ill news with the ears of Claudio.
Bene. Even to the next willow, about your own business, Count. What fashion will you wear the 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
thus ? Claud. I
pray you, leave me. Bene. Ho! now you strike like the blind man; 't was the boy that stole your meat, and you 'll beat the post.
Claud. If it will not be, I'll leave you. [Exit.
Bene. Alas! poor hurt fowl! Now will he creep into sedges. But that my Lady Beatrice man may live as quiet in hell as in a sanctuary; and people sin upon purpose, because they would go thither; so, indeed, all disquiet, horror, and perturbation follow her.
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 so; I am apt to do myself wrong: I am not so reputed : it is the base, the bitter disposition of Beatrice, that puts the world into her person, and so gives me out. Well, I'll be revenged as I may.
Re-enter Don Pedro, Hero, and LEONATO.
D. Pedro. Now, signior, where's the Count? Did you see him?
Bene. Troth, my lord, I have played the part of lady Fame. I found him here as melancholy as a lodge in a warren : I told him, and I think I told him true, that your grace had got the good will of this young lady; and I offered him my company to a willow tree, either to make him a garland, as being forsaken, or to bind him up a rod, as being worthy to be whipped.
D. Pedro. To be whipped! What's his fault?
Bene. The flat transgression of a schoolboy ; who, being overjoyed with finding a bird's-nest, shews it his companion, and he steals it.
D. 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 himself; and the rod he might have bestowed on you, who, as I take it, have stolen his bird's-nest.
D. 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.
D. Pedro. The lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you; the gentleman that danced with her, told her she is much wronged by you.
Bene. O, she misused me past the endurance of a block; an oak but with one green leaf on it would have answered her; my very visor began to assume life, and scold with her. She told me, not thinking I had been myself, that Prince's jester ; that I was duller than a great thaw; huddling jest upon jest, with such impossible conveyance, upon me, that I stood like a man at a mark, with a whole army shooting at me. She speaks poniards, and every word stabs : if her breath were as terrible as her terminations, there were no living near her,--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 transgressed: she would have made Hercules have turned spit; yea, and have cleft his club to make the fire, too. Come, talk not of her; you shall find her the infernal Até in good apparel. I would to God some scholar would conjure her; for certainly, while she is here, a
Re-enter Claudio and BEATRICE. D. Pedro. Look, here she comes.
Bene. Will your grace command me any service to the world's end? I will go on the slightest errand now to the antipodes, that you can devise to send me on; I will fetch you a tooth-picker now from the farthest inch of Asia; bring you the length of Prester John's foot; fetch you a hair off the great Cham's beard; do you any embassage to the Pigmies, rather than hold three words' conference with this harpy. You have no employment for me?
D. Pedro. None, but to desire your good company.
Bene. O God, sir, here's a dish I love not; I cannot endure my lady Tongue. [E.cit.
D. Pedro. Come, lady, come; you have lost the heart of Signior Benedick.
Beat. Indeed, my lord, he lent it me a while ; and I gave him use for it, a double heart for his single one: marry, once before he won it of me with false dice, therefore your grace may well say I have lost it.
D. Pedro. You have put him down, lady, you have put him down.
Beat. So I would not he should do me, my lord, lest I should prove the mother of fools. I have brought Count Claudio, whom you sent me to seek.
D. Pedro. Why, how now, Count? wherefore are you sad?
Claud. Not sad, my lord.
Beat. The Count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor well : but civil, Count; civil as an orange, and something of that jealous complexion.
D. Pedro. I'faith, lady, I think your blazon to be true; though I'll be sworn, if he be so, his conceit is false. Here, Claudio, I have wooed in thy name,
and fair Hero is won; I have broke with her father, and his good will obtained: name the day of marriage, and God give thee joy !
Leon. Count, take of me my daughter, and with her my fortunes; his grace
hath made the match, and all grace say Amen to it!
Beat. Speak, Count, 't is your cue.
Claud. Silence is the perfectest herald of joy: I were but little happy, if I could say how much.Lady, as you are mine, I am yours : I give away myself for you, and dote upon the exchange.
Beat. Speak, cousin; or, if you cannot, stop interim, undertake one of Hercules' labours ; which is, to bring Signior Benedick and the Lady Beatrice into a mountain of affection, the one with the other. I would fain bave it a match; and I doubt not but to fashion it, if you three will but minister such assistance as I shall give you direction.
Leon. My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten nights' watchings. Claud. And I, my
lord. D. Pedro. And you, too, gentle Ilero?
Hero. I will do any modest office, my lord, to help my cousin to a good husband.
D. Pedro. And Benedick is not the unhopefullest husband that I know: thus far can I praise him; he is of a noble strain, of approved valour, and confirmed honesty. I will teach you how to humour your cousin, that she shall fall in love with Benedick :-and I, with your two helps, will so practise on Benedick, that, in despite of his quick wit and his queasy stomach, he shall fall in love with Beatrice. If we can do this, Cupid is no longer an archer; his glory shall be ours, for we are the only love-gods. Go in with me, and I will tell you my drift.
his mouth with a kiss, and let him not speak neither.
D. Pedro. In faith, lady, you have a merry heart.
Beat. Yea, my lord; I thank it, poor fool, it keeps on the windy side of care. My cousin tells him in his ear, that he is in her heart.
Claud. And so she doth, cousin.
Beat. Good lord, for alliance !--Thus goes every one to the world but I, and I am sunburned; I may sit in a corner, and cry, “ Heighho! for a husband.”
D. Pedro. Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.
Beat. I would rather have one of your father's getting. Hath your grace ne'er a brother like you? Your father got excellent husbands, if a maid could come by them.
D. Pedro. Will you have me, lady ?
Beat. No, my lord, unless I might have another for working-days: your grace is too costly to wear every day. But I beseech your grace, pardon me; I was born to speak all mirth, and no matter.
D. Pedro. Your silence most offends me, and to be merry best becomes you; for, out of question, you were born in a merry hour.
Beat. No, sure, my lord, my mother cried ; but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born.-Cousins, God give you joy!
Leon. Niece, will you look to those things I told you
of? Beat. I cry you mercy, uncle. By your grace's pardon.
[Exit BEATRICE. D. Pedro. By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady.
Leon. There's little of the melancholy element in her, my lord; she is never sad, but when she sleeps; and not ever sad then; for I have heard my daughter say, she hath often dreamed of unhappiness, and waked herself with laughing.
D. Pedro. She cannot endure to hear tell of a husband.
Leon. O, by no means; she mocks all her wooers out of suit.
D. Pedro. She were an excellent wife for Benedick.
Leon. O Lord, my lord, if they were but a week married, they would talk themselves mad.
D. Pedro. Count Claudio, when mean you to go to church?
Claud. To-morrow, my lord: Time goes on crutches, till Love have all his rites.
Leon. Not till Monday, my dear son, which is hence a just sevennight; and a time too brief, too, to have all things answer my mind.
D. Pedro. Come, you shake the head at so long a breathing ; but I warrant thee, Claudio, the time shall not go dully by us. I will, in the
Scene II.- Another Room in Leonato's House.
Enter Don John and BORACHIO. D. John. It is so; the Count Claudio shall marry the daughter of Leonato.
Bora. Yea, my lord, but I can cross it.
D. John. Any bar, any cross, any impediment will be medicinal to me: I am sick 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 so covertly, that no dishonesty shall appear in me.
D. John. Shew 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.
D. John. I remember.
Bora. I can, at any unseasonable instant of the night, appoint her to look out at her lady's chamber-window.
D. 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 wronged his honour in marrying the renowned Claudio (whose estimation do you mightily hold up) to a contaminated stale, —such a one as Hero.