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Claud. To make you answer truly to your name.

Hero, Is it not Hero? who can blot that name
With any juft reproach ?

Claud. Marry, that can Hero:
Hero herself can blot out Hero's virtue.
What man was he talk'd with you yesternight
Out at your window betwixt twelve and one ?
Now, if you are a maid answer to this.

Hero. I talk'd with no man at that hour, my Lordi

Pedro. Why, then you are no maiden. Leonatos
I am sorry, you must hear; upon mine Honour,
Myself, my Brother, and this grieved Count
Did see her, hear her, at that hour last night.
Talk with a ruffian at her chamber-window ;
Who, hath, indeed, most like a liberal villain,
Confess’d the vile encounters they have had
A thousand times in secret.

John. Fie, fie, they are not to be nam'd, my Lord),
Not to be spoken of;
There is not chastity enough in language,
Without offence, to utter them : thus, pretty lady,
I am sorry for thy much misgovernment.

Claud. O Hero! what a Hero hadit thou been,
If half thy outward graces had been plac'd
About the thoughts and counsels of thy heart ?
But fare thee well, moit foul, most fair! farewelyn
Thou pure impiety, and impious purity!
For thee I'll lock up all the gates of love,
And on my eyelids Thall Conjecture hang,
To turn all beauty into thoughts of harm;
And never shall it more be gracious.

Leon. Hath no man's dagger here a point for me?
Beat. Why, how now, Cousin, wherefore fink you down

John. Come, let us go ; these things,,come thus to lights, Smother her spirits up.

(Exe. D. Pedro, D. John and Claud. Bene. How doth the Lady?

Beat. Dead, I think, help, uncle.
Hero! why, Hero! uncle ! Signior Benedick.! friar !

Leones

C5

Leon. O fate! take not away thy heavy hand;
Death is the fairest cover for her shame,
That may be wish'd for.

Beat. How now, Coufin Hero?
Friar. Have comfort, Lady.
Leon. Doft thou look up?
Friar. Yea, wherefore ihould she not?

Leon. Wherefore? why, doth not every earthly thing
Cry shame upon her ? could she here deny
The story that is printed in her blood;
Do not live, Hero, do not ope thine

eyes :
For did I think, thou wouldīt not quickly die,
Thought I, thy spirits were stronger than thy shames,
Myself would on the rereward of reproaches
Strike at thy life. Griev'd I, I had but one ?
Chid I for that at frugal nature's frame?
I've one too much by thee. Why had I one ?
Why ever waft thou lovely in my eyes ?
Why had I not, with charitable hand,
Took up a beggar's issue at my Gates ?
Who smeered thus, and mir'd with infamy,
I might have faid, no part of it is mine;
This shame derives itself from unknown loins :
Bat mine, and mine I lov'd, and mine I prais d,
And mine that I was proud on, mine so much,
That I myself was to myself not mine,
Valuing of her; why, the

,, she is fallin
Into a pit of ink, that the wide sea
Hath drops too few to wash her clean again;
And salt too little, which may season give
To her foul tainted flesh!

Bene, Sir, Sir, be patient;
For my part, I am so attir'd in wonder,
I know not what to say.

Best. O, on my soul, my cousin is bely'd.
Pene. Lady, were you her bedfellow last night?

Beat. No, truly, not; altho' until last night
I have this twelvemonth been her bedfellow.

Less

Leon. Confirm’d, confirm'd! O, that is stronger made,
Which was before barr'd up with ribs of iron.
Would the two Princes lies and Claudio lie?
Who lov'd her fo, that, speaking of her foulness,
Walh'd it with tears ? hence from her, let her die.

Friar. Hear me a little,
For I have only been filent so long,
And given way unto this course of fortune,
By moting of the lady. I have mark'd
A thousand blushing apparitions
To start into her face; a thousand innocent shames
In angel whiteness bear away those blushes;
And in her eye there hath appear'd a fire,
To burn the errors that these Princes hold
Against her maiden truth. Call me a fool,
Truft not my reading, nor my observations,
Which with experimental seal do warrant
The tenour of my book; trust not my age,
My reverence, calling, nor divinity,
If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here
Under some biting error.

Leon. Friar, it cannot be;
Thou seeft, that all the grace, that she hath left,
Is, that she will not add to her damnation
A sin of perjury; the not denies it:
Why seek'st thou then to cover with excuse
That, which appears

in
proper

nakedness!
Friar. Lady, what man is he you are accus'd of?
Hero. They know, that do accuse me; I know none :
If I know more of any man alive,
Than that which maiden modelty doth warranty
Let all my fins lack mercy! O my father,
Prove

you
that

any man with me convers'd
At hours unmeet, or that I yesternight
Maintain'd the change of words with any creature,
Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death.

Friar. There is some strange misprision in the Princes

Bene. Two of them have the very bent of honour,
And if their wisdoms be mil-led in this,
The practice of it lives in John the bastard,

Whole

Whose spirits toil in frame of villanies.

Leon. I know not : if they speak but truth of her,
These hands shall tear her; if they wrong her honour,
The proudest of them fhall well hear of it.
Time hath not yet fo dry'd this blood of mine,
Nor age so eat up my invention,
Nor fortune made such havock of my means,
Nor
my

bad life reft me so much of friends,
But they shall find awak'd, in such a kind,
Both ftrength of limb, and policy of mind,
Ability in means, and choice of friends,
To quit me of them thoroughly.

Friar. Pause a while,
And let my counsel sway you in this case.
Your daughter here the Princes left for dead ; (14)
Let her awhile be secretly kept in,
And publish it, that she is dead, indeed :
Maintain a mourning oftentation,
And on your family's old Monument
Hang mournful Epitaphs, and do all rites.
That appertain unto a burial.

Leon. What shall become of this ? what will this do

Friar. Marry, this, well carry'd, shall on her behalf Change slander to remorse; that is some good: But not for that dream I on this strange course, But on this travel look for greater birth : She dying, as it must be so maintain'd, Upon the instant that she was accus’d, Shall be lamented, pity'd, and excus'do Of every hearer : for it fo falls out,

(14) Tour daughter bere the Princess (left for dead)] But how comes Hero to start up a Princess here? We have no Intimation of her Father being a Prince; and this is the first and only Time that She is complimented with this Dignity. The Remotion of a fingle Letter, and of the Parenthesis, will bring her to her own Rank, and the Place to its true Meaning

Your Daughter here the Princes left for dead ; i. e. Don Pedro, Prince of Arragon; and his Bastard Brother who is likewise called a Prince,

That

That what we have we prize not to the worth,
Whiles we enjoy it; but being lack'd and fost,
Why, then we rack the value; then we find
The virtue that possession would not few us
Whilft it was ours; so will it fare with Claudio :
When he shall hear she dy'd upon his words,
Th’ idea of her Life shall sweetly creep
Into his study of imagination,
And every lovely organ of her life
Shall come apparel'd in more precious habit;
More moving, delicate, and full of life,
Into the eye and prospect of his soul,
Than when she liv'd indeed. Then shall he mourn,
If ever love had interest in his liver,
And wilh, he had not so accused her;
No, though he thought his accusation true :
Let this be so, and doubt not, but success
Will fashion the event in better shape
Than I can lay it down in likelihood.
But if all Aim but this be levelld false,
The supposition of the lady's death
Will quench the wonder of her infamy.
And, if it sort not well, you may conceal her,.
As beft befits her wounded reputation,
In some reclusive and religious life,
Out of all eyes, tongues, minds, and injuries.

Bene. Signior Leonato, let the Friar advise you:
And though, you know, my inwardness and love
Is very much unto the Prince and Claudio,
Yet, by mine honour, I will deal in this.
As secretly and juftly as your soul
Should with your body,

Leon. Being that I flow in grief,
The smallest twine

may
Friar. 'Tis well consented, presently away;

For to strange fores, itrangely they ftrain the cure.
Come, lady, die to live; this wedding day,

Perhaps, is but prolong di have patience and endure.

lead me.

[Exeunt.

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