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Bene. Two of them have the very bent of honour, And if their wisdoms be mis-led in this, The Practice of it lives in John the bastard, 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 shall well hear of it. Time hath not yet so dry'd this blood of mine, Nor age so eat up my invention, Nor fortune made fuch 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 strength of limb, and policy of mind, Ability in means, and choice of friends, To quit me of them throughly.
Friar. Pause a while, And let my counsel sway you in this case. Your daughter here the Princes' left for dead; 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 flander 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'd, Of every hearer : for it fo falls out, That what we have we prize not to the worth, Whiles we enjoy it; but being lack'd and lost, Why, then we rack the value; then we find Vol. II. F
The virtue that poffeffion would not shew us
Th’idea of her Life shall sweetly creep
Shall come apparel'd in more precious habit ;
Into the eye and prospect of his soul,
Leon. Being that I flow in grief,
For to strange fores, strangely they strain the cure.
os C Ε Ν Ε III.
Manent Benedick and Beatrice. Bene. Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while? Beat. Yea, and I will weep a while longer. Bene. I will not desire that. Beat. You have no reason, I do it freely.
Bene. Surely, I do believe, your fair cousin is wrong'd.
Beat. Ah, how much might the man deserve of me, that would right her!
Bene. Is there any way to thew such friendship?
Bene. I do love nothing in the world so well as you ; is not that strange?
Beat. As strange as the thing I know not; it were as possible for me to say, I loved nothing so well as you ; but believe me not; and yet I lye not; I confess nothing, nor I deny nothing. I am sorry for my cousin.
Bene. By my sword, Beatrice, thou lov'st me.
6 SCENE III.] The poet, in my opinion, has shewn a great deal of address in this scene. Beatrice here engages her lover to revenge the injury done her cousin Hero: And without this very natural incident, considering the character of Beatrice, and that the story of her Passion for Benedick was all a fable, she could never have been easily or naturally brought to confess the loved him, notwithstanding all the foregoing preparation. And yet, on this confession, in this very place, depended the whole success of the plot upon her and Benedick. For had me not owned her love here, they must have soon found out the trick, and then the defign of bringing them together had been defeated ; and the would never have owned a passion she had been only tricked into, had not her desire of revenging her cousin's wrong made her drop her capricious humour at once. F 2
Bene. I will swear by it that you love me, and I will make him eat it, that says, I love not you.
Beat. Will you not eat your word?
Bene. With no fauce that can be devis'd to it; I proteft, I love thee.
Beat. Why then, God forgive me.
Beat. You have stay'd me in a happy hour; I was about to protest, I lov'd you.
Bene. And do it with all thy heart.
Beat. I love you with so much of my heart, that none is left to protest.
Bene. Come, bid me do any thing for thee.
Beat. I am gone, tho’ I am here; there is no love in you; nay, I pray you, let me go.
Beat. You dare easier be friends with me, than
Beat. Is he not approved in the height a villain, that hath Nander'd, scorn'd, dishonour'd my kinswoman ! O, that I were a man! what! bear her in hand until they come to take hands, and then with publick accusation, uncover'd Nander, unmitigated rancour – O God, that I were a man! I would eat his heart in the market-place.
Bene, Hear me, Beatrice.
Beat. Talk with a man out at a window?-a proper saying!
Bene. Nay, but Beatrice.
Beat. Sweet Hero! she is wrong'd, she is Nanderd, she is undone.
Beat. Princes and Counts! surely, a princely testimony, a goodly count-comfect, a sweet gallant, surely! O that I were a man for his fake! Or that I had any friend would be a man for my fake! but manhood is melted into curtesies, valour into compliment, and men are only turn'd into tongue, and trim ones too; he is now as valiant as Hercules, that only tells a lie, and swears it : I cannot be a man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving.
Bene. Tarry, good Beatrice; by this hand, I love thee.
Beat. Use it for my love some other way than swearing by it.
Bene. Think you in your soul, the Count Claudio hath wrong'd Hero?
Beat. Yea, as sure as I have a thought or a foul.
Bene. Enough, I am engag'd; I will challenge him, I will kiss your hand, and so leave you ; by this hand, Claudio shall render me a dear account; as you hear of me, so think of me; go comfort your cousin; I must say, she is dead, and so farewel. [Exeunt.
S CE N E IV.
Changes to a Prison. Enter Dogberry, Verges, Borachio, Conrade, the
Town-Clerk and Sexton in Gowns. To. Cl. TS our whole dissembly appear'd?
Dogb. O, a stool and a cushion for the sexton! Sexton. Which be the malefactors? Verg. Marry, that am I and my Partner.
Dogb. Nay, that's certain, we have the exhibition to examine.