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Beat. Speak, Count, 'tis your cue.
Claud. Silence is the perfecteft 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 doat upon the exchange.
Beat. Speak, Coulin, or (if you cannot) stop his mouth with a kiss, and let him not speak neither.
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 sun-burn'd; I may fit in a corner, and cry heigh ho ! for a husband.
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? Father
got excellent Husbands, if a maid could come by them.
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.
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 cry'd; but then there was a star danc'd, and under that I was born. Cousins, God give you joy.
Leon. Neice, will you look to those things I told
Beat. I cry you mercy, Uncle: by your Grace's pardon.
Pedro.B 'Lo%. There's little of the melancholy ele
ment in her, my Lord; she is never fad but when she sleeps, and not ever sad then; for I have heard my daughter say, she hath often dream'd of unhappiness, and wak'd herself with laughing.
Pedro. She cannot endure to hear tell of a husband.
Leon. O, by no means, she mocks all her wooers out of fuit.
Pedro. She were an excellent wife for Benedick.
Leon. O Lord, my Lord, if they were but a week marry'd, they would talk themselves mad.
Pedro. Count Claulio, 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 fon, which is hence a just seven-night, and a time too brief too, to have all things answer my mind.
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 Interim undertake one of Hercules's labours, which is, to bring Signior Benedick and the Lady Beatrice into a mountain of affection the one with the other; I would fain have it a match, and I doubt not to fashion it, if you three will but minister such aslistance as I shall give
Leon, My Lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten nights watchings. Claud. And I,
Hero. I will do any modeft office, my Lord, to help my Cousin to a good husband.
Fonto | Daughter of Leonato.
Pedro. And Benedick is not the unhopefullest husband that I know: thus far I can praise him, he is of a noble strain, of approv'd valour, and confirm’d 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 fo practice on Benedick, that in despight of his quick wit, and his queasy ftomach, 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
Enter Don John and Borachio.
Bona. Yea, my Lord, but I can cross it.
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 so 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 estimation do you mightily hold up) to a contaminated Stale, such a one as Heró.
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 Don 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 discoį ver'd thus; they will hardly believe this without
trial: offer them instances, which shall bear no less likelihood than to see me at her chamber-window; hear mc 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 abfent; and there shall appear such seeming truths of Hero's disloyalty, that jealousy shall be call’d afsurance, 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.
Enter Benedick, and a Boy. Bene.
Boy. Signior. Bene. In my chamber-window lies a book, bring it hither to me in the orchard. Boy. I am here already, Sir.
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 music 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 a-foot, to see a good armour; and now will he lie 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 he is turn'd orthographer, his words are a very fantastical banquet, just so many strange dishes. May I be fo converted, and fee 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,
woman shall not come in my grace. Rich she shall be, that's certain; *• wise, or I'll none; * These Words added out of the Editions of 1623.