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Benedick, a young lord of Padua, favourite like- Hero, daughter to Leonato.

wise of Don Pedro.

Leonato, governor of Messina.

Antonio, his brother.

Balthazar, servant to Don Pedro.

Borachio,

Conrade, followers of Don John.

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Beatrice, niece to Leonato.

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ACT I.

Mess. O, he is returned; and as pleasant as ever he was.

Beat. He set up his bills here in Messina, and

SCENE I.-Before Leonato's house. Enter Leonato, Hero, Beatrice, and others, with a Mes-challenged Cupid at the flight:3 and my uncle's

senger.

Leonato.

fool, reading the challenge, subscribed for Cupid, and challenged him at the bird-bolt.-I pray you, how many hath he killed and caten in these wars? But how many hath he killed? for, indeed, I proLeon. Faith, niece, you tax signior Benedick too

I LEARN in this letter, that Don Pedro of Arra-mised to eat all of his killing.

gon, comes this night to Messina.

Mess. He is very near by this; he was not three much; but he'll be meet with you, I doubt it not. leagues off when I left him. Mess. He hath done good service, lady, in these wars.

Leon. How many gentlemen have you lost in

this action?

Mess. But few of any sort, and none of name. Leon. A victory is twice itself, when the achiever brings home full numbers. I find here, that Don Pedro hath bestowed much honour on a young Florentine, called Claudio.

Mess. Much deserved on his part, and equally remembered by Don Pedro: he hath borne himself beyond the promise of his age; doing, in the figure of a lamb, the feats of a lion: he hath, indeed, better bettered expectation, than you must expect of me to tell you how.

Leon. He hath an uncle here in Messina will be very much glad of it.

Mess. I have already delivered him letters, and there appears much joy in him; even so much, that joy could not show itself modest enough, with

out a badge of bitterness.

Beat. You had musty victual, and he hath holp to eat it: he is a very valiant trencher-man, he hath an excellent stomach.

is

Mess. And a good soldier too, lady.

he to a lord?
Beat. And a good soldier to a lady ;-But what

Mess. A lord to a lord, a man to a man; stuffed with all honourable virtues.

Beat. It is so, indeed; he is no less than a stuffed man: but for the stuffing,-Well, we are all mortal.

Leon. You must not, sir, mistake my niece: there is a kind of merry war betwixt signior Benedick and her: they never meet, but there is a skirmish of wit between them.

Beat. Alas, he gets nothing by that. In our last conflict, four of his five wits went halting off, and now is the whole man governed with one: so that if he have wit enough to keep himself warm, let him bear it for a difference between himself and his horse: for it is all the wealth that he hath left, Leon. A kind overflow of kindness: There are to be known a reasonable creature.-Who is his no faces truer than those that are so washed. How companion now? He hath every month a new much better is it to weep at joy, than to joy at weeping?

Leon. Did he break out into tears?
Mess. In great measure.2

Beat. I pray you, is signior Montanto returned from the wars, or no?

Mess. I know none of that name, lady; there was none such in the army of any sort.

Leon. What is he that you ask for, niece?
Hero. My cousin means signior Benedick of
Padua.

sworn brother.

Mess. Is it possible?

Beat. Very easily possible: he wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat, it ever changes with the next block.

Mess. I see, lady, the gentleman is not in your books.

Beat. No: an he were, I would burn my study. But, I pray you, who is his companion? Is there no

(1) Kind. (2) Abundance. (3) At long lengths. (4) Even. (5) A cuckold. (6) Mould for a hat.

young squarer' now, that will make a voyage with heartily prays some occasion may detain us longer: him to the devil? I dare swear he is no hypocrite, but prays from has Mess. He is most in the company of the right heart. noble Claudio.

Leon. If you swear, my lord, you shall not be Beat. O Lord! he will hang upon him like a dis- forsworn.-Let me bid you welcome, my lord: ease: he is sooner caught than the pestilence, and being reconciled to the prince your brother, I owe the taker runs presently mad. God help the noble you all duty. Claudio! if he have caught the Benedick, it will

cost him a thousand pound ere he be cured.
Mess. I will hold friends with you, lady.
Beat. Do, good friend.

Leon. You will never run mad, niece.
Beat. No, not till a hot January.
Mess. Don Pedro is approached.

Enter Don Pedro, attended by Balthazar, and others, Don John, Claudio, and Benedick.

D. Pedro. Good signior Leonato, you are come to meet your trouble: the fashion of the world is to avoid cost, and you encounter it.

Leon. Never came trouble to my house in the likeness of your grace: for trouble being gone, comfort should remain; but, when you depart from me, sorrow abides, and happiness takes his leave. D. Pedro. You embrace your charge too willingly.-I think, this is your daughter. Leon. Her mother hath many times told me so. Bene. Were you in doubt, sir, that you asked her? Leon. Signior Benedick, no; for then were you a child.

D. Pedro. You have it full, Benedick: we may guess by this what you are, being a man. Truly, the lady fathers herself:-Be happy, lady! for you are like an honourable father.

Bene. If signior Leonato be her father, she would not have his head on her shoulders, for all Messina, as like him as she is.

Bene. I wonder, that you will still be talking, signior Benedick; no body marks you.

Bene. What, my dear lady Disdain! are you yet bring?

D. John. I thank you: I am not of many words, but I thank you.

Leon. Please it your grace lead on?

D. Pedro. Your hand, Leonato; we will go together. [Exeunt all but Benedick and Claudio. Claud. Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of signior Leonato?

Bene. I noted her not; but I looked on her.
Claud. Is she not a modest young lady?

Bene. Do you question me, as an honest man should do, for my simple true judgment; or would you have me speak after my custom, as being a professed tyrant to their sex?

Claud. No, I pray thee, speak in sober judgment.

Bene. Why, i'faith, methinks she is too low for a high praise, too brown for a fair praise, and too little for a great praise: only this commendation I can afford her; that were she other than she is, she were unhandsome; and being no other but as she is, I do not like her.

Claud. Thou thinkest, I am in sport; I pray thee tell me truly how thou likest her?

Bene. Would you buy her, that you inquire after her?

Claud. Can the world buy such a jewel?

Bene. Yea, and a case to put it into. But speak you this with a sad brow? or do you play the flouting jack; to tell us Cupid is a good hare-finder, and Vulcan a rare carpenter? Come, in what key shall man take you, to go in the song?

a

Claud. In mine eye, she is the sweetest lady that ever I looked on.

Bene. I can see yet without spectacles, and I see Beal. Is it possible, disdain should die, while no such matter: there's her cousin, an she were not she hath such meet food to feed it, as signior Bene-possessed with a fury, exceeds her as much in dick? Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if beauty, as the first of May doth the last of Decemyou come in her presence. ber. But I hope you have no intent to turn husband; have you?

Bene. Then is courtesy a turn-coat-But it is certain, I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted: and I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart; for, truly, I love none.

Beat. A dear happiness to women; they would else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I thank God, and my cold blood, I am of your humour for that; I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow, than a man swear he loves me.

Bene. God keep your ladyship still in that mind! so some gentleman or other shall 'scape a predestinate scratched face.

Beat. Scratching could not make it worse, an 'twere such a face as yours were.

Bene. Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher. Beat. A bird of my tongue, is better than a beast of yours.

Bene. I would my horse had the speed of your tongue; and so good a continuer: But keep your way o' God's name; I have done.

Claud. I would scarce trust myself, though I had sworn the contrary, if Hero would be my wife.

Bene. Is it come to this, i'faith? Hath not the world one man, but he will wear his cap with suspicion? Shall I never see a bachelor of threescore again? Go to, i'faith; an thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it, and sigh away Sundays. Look, Don Pedro is returned to seek you.

Re-enter Don Pedro.

D. Pedro. What secret hath held you here, that you followed not to Leonato's?

Bene. I would, your grace would constrain me to tell.

D. Pedro. I charge thee on thy allegiance. Bene. You hear, count Claudio: I can be secret as a dumb man, I would have you think so; but on Beat. You always end with a jade's trick; I know He is in love. With who?-now that is your grace's my allegiance, mark you this, on my allegiance:you of old.

D. Pedro. This is the sum of all: Leonato,-Leonato's short daughter. signior Claudio, and signior Benedick,-my dear friend Leonato, hath invited you all. I tell him, wel shall stay here at the least a month; and he (2) Trust.

part.-Mark, how short his answer is:-With Hero,

(1) Quarrelsome fellow.

Claud. If this were so, so were it uttered. Bene. Like the old tale, my lord: it is not so, nor 'twas not so; but, indeed, God forbid it should be so. Claud. If my passion change not shortly, God forbid it should be otherwise.

D. Pedro. Amen, if you love her; for the lady is very well worthy.

Claud. You speak this to fetch me in, my lord. D. Pedro. By my troth, I speak my thought. Claud. And, in faith, my lord, I spoke mine. Bene. And, by my two faiths and troths, my lord, I spoke mine.

Cland. That I love her, I feel.

D. Pedro. That she is worthy, I know. Bene. That I neither feel how she should be loved, nor know how she should be worthy, is the opinion that tire cannot melt out of me; I will die in it at the take.

D. Pedro. Thou wast ever an obstinate heretic in the despite of beauty.

Claud. And never could maintain his part, but in the force of his will.

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D. Pedro. My love is thine to teach; teach it
but how,

And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn
Any hard lesson that may do thee good.
Claud. Hath Leonato any son, my lord?
D. Pedro. No child but Hero, she's his only heir;
Dost thou affect her, Claudio?

Claud.
O, my lord,
When you went onward on this ended action,
look'd upon her with a soldier's eye,
That liked, but had a rougher task in hand
Than to drive liking to the name of love:
But now I am return'd, and that war-thoughts
Have left their places vacant, in their rooms
Come thronging soft and delicate desires,
All prompting me how fair young Hero is,
Saying, I lik'd her ere I went to wars.

Bene. That a woman conceived me, I thank her ;| D. Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover presently, that she brought me up, I likewise give her most And tire the hearer with a book of words: humble thanks: but that I will have a recheat' If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it; winded in my forehead, or hang my bugle in an And I will break with her, and with her father, invisible baldric, all women shall pardon me. Be- And thou shalt have her: Was't not to this end, cause I will not do them the wrong to mistrust any, That thou began'st to twist so fine a story? I will do myself the right to trust none; and the Claud. How sweetly do you minister to love, fine is (for the which I may go the finer,) I will That know love's grief by his complexion! But lest my liking might too sudden seem, would have salv'd it with a longer treatise. D. Pedro. What need the bridge much broader than the flood?

live a bachelor.

D. Pedro. I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with love.

I

Bene. With anger, with sickness, or with hunger, my lord: not with love: prove, that ever I The fairest grant is the necessity: lose more blood with love, than I will get again Look, what will serve, is fit: 'tis once, thou lov'st; with drinking, pick out mine eyes with a ballad- And I will fit thee with the remedy.

maker's pen, and hang me up at the door of a I know, we shall have revelling to-night;

brothel-house, for the sign of blind Cupid.
D. Pedro. Well, if ever thou dost fall from this
faith, thou wilt prove a notable argument.
Bene. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat, and
shoot at me; and he that hits me, let him be clap-
ped on the shoulder, and called Adam.4

D. Pedro. Well, as time shall try:
In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke.

Bene, The savage bull may; but if ever the sensible Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull's horns, and set them in my forehead: and let me be vilely painted; and in such great letters as they write, Here is good horse to hire, let them signify under my sign,-Here you may see Benedick the married

man.

Claud. If this should ever happen, thou would'st

be horn-mad.

I will assume thy part in some disguise,
And tell fair Hero I am Claudio;
And in her bosom I'll unclasp my heart,
And take her hearing prisoner with the force
And strong encounter of my amorous tale:
Then, after, to her father will I break;
And, the conclusion is, she shall be thine:
In practice let us put it presently.

[Exeunt.

SCENE II-A room in Leonato's house. Enter Leonato and Antonio.

Leon. How now, brother? where is my cousin, your son? Hath he provided this music?

Ant. He is very busy about it. But, brother, I can tell you strange news that you yet dreamed not of. Leon. Are they good?

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D. Pedro. Nay, if Cupid have not spent all his quiver in Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly. Ant. As the event stamps them; but they have Bene. I look for an earthquake too then. good cover, they show well outward. The prince D. Pedro. Well, you will temporize with the and count Claudio, walking in a thick-pleached" hours. In the mean time, good signior Benedick, alley in my orchard, were thus much overheard repair to Leonato's; commend me to him, and tell by a man of mine: The prince discovered to Clauhim, I will not fail him at supper; for, indeed, he dio, that he loved my niece your daughter, and hath made great preparation. meant to acknowledge it this night in a dance;

Bene. I have almost matter enough in me for and, if he found her accordant, he meant to take such an embassage; and so I commit you- the present time by the top, and instantly break Claud. To the tuition of God: From my house with you of it. (if I had it)

D. Pedro. The sixth of July: Your loving friend, Benedick.

Leon. Hath the fellow any wit, that told you this? Ant. A good sharp fellow: I will send for him, and question him yourself.

Bene. Nay, mock not, mock not: The body of Leon. No, no; we will hold it as a dream, till your discourse is sometime guarded with frag- it appears itself:-but I will acquaint my daughter ments, and the guards are but slightly basted on withal, that she may be the better prepared for an neither: ere you flout old ends any further, examine answer, if peradventure this be truc. Go you, and your conscience; and so I leave you. [Exit Bene, tell her of it. [Several persons cross the stage.] Claud. My liege, your highness now may do me Cousins, you know what you have to do.—0,

good.

(1) The tune sounded to call off the dogs. (2) Hunting-horn. (3) Girdle.

ery you mercy, friend; you go with me, and I

(4) The name of a famous archer. (5) Trimmed.
(6) Once for all.
(7) Thickly interwoven.

will use your skill:-Good cousins, have a care hath all the glory of my overthrow; if I can cross this busy time. [Exeunt. him any way, I bless myself every way: You are both sure, and will assist me?

SCENE III-Another room in Leonato's house.
Enter Don John and Conrade.

Con. What the goujere, my lord! why are you

thus out of measure sad?

D. John. There is no measure in the occasion that breeds it, therefore the sadness is without limit. Con. You should hear reason.

D. John. And when I have heard it, what blessing bringeth it?

Con. If not a present remedy, yet a patient sufferance.

D. John. I wonder that thou being (as thou say'st thou art) born under Saturn, goest about to apply a moral medicine to a mortifying mischief. I cannot hide what I am: I must be sad when I have cause, and smile at no man's jests; eat when I have a stomach, and wait for no man's leisure; sleep when I am drowsy, and tend to no man's business; laugh when I am merry, and claw2 no man in his humour.

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. [Exeunt.

ACT II.

SCENE I-A hall in Leonato's house. 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 heart-burned an hour after. Hero. He is of a very melancholy disposition. Beat. He were an excellent man, that were made just in the mid-way between him and Bene Con. Yea, but you must not make the full show dick: the one is too like an image, and says of this, till you may do it without controlment. nothing; and the other, too like my lady's eldest You have of late stood out against your brother, son, evermore tattling.

and he hath ta'en you newly into his grace; where Leon. Then half signior Benedick's tongue in it is impossible you should take true root, but by count John's mouth, and half count John's melan the fair weather that you make yourself: it is choly in signior Benedick's face,needful that you frame the season for your own Beat. With a good leg, and a good foot, uncle,

harvest.

D. John. I had rather be a canker3 in a hedge, than a rose in his grace; and it better fits my blood to be disdained of all, than to fashion a carriage to rob love from any: in this, though I cannot be said to be a flattering honest man, it must not be

and money enough in his purse, such a man would win any woman in the world,-if he could get her good will.

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.

curst he sends none.

denied that I am a plain-dealing villain. I am Beat. Too curst is more than curst: I shall lestrusted with a muzzle, and enfranchised with a sen God's sending that way for it is said, God cloz; therefore I have decreed not to sing in my sends a curst cow short horns; but to a cow too care; if I had my mouth, I would bite; if I had my liberty, I would do my liking: in the mean tine, let me be that I am, and seek not to alter me. Con. Can you make no use of your discontent? D. John. I make all use of it, for I use it only. Who comes here? What news, Borachio?

Enter Borachio.

Bora. I came yonder from a great supper; the prince, your brother, is royally entertained 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?
Bor. 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?'

Leon. So, by being too curst, God will send you no horns.

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 gentle woman? 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 for him. Therefore, I will even take sixpence in earnest of the bear-herd, and lead his apes into hell. 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 Bora. Being entertained for a perfumer, as I the heavens; he shows me where the bachelors was smoking a musty room, comes me the princesit, and there live we as merry as the day is long. and Claudio, hand in hand, in sad1 conference: I Ant. Well, niece, [To Hero.] I trust, you will whipt me behind the arras; and there heard it be ruled by your father.

Claudio.

agreed upon, that the prince should woo Hero for Beat. Yes, faith; it is my cousin's duty to make himself, and having obtained her, give her to count courtesy, and say, Father, as it please you :-but vet for all that, cousin, let him be a handsome felD. John. Come, come, let us thither; this may low, or else make another courtesy, and say, Fa prove food to my displeasure: that young start-up ther, as it please me.

(1) The venereal disease. (2) Flatter.

(3) Dog-rose.

(4) Serious,

Q

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 waywaid 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 woo'd in good time: if the prince be too important, tell him, there is measure in every

Go to, mum, you are he: graces will appear, and there's an end.

Beat. Will you not tell me who told you so.
Bene. No, you shall pardon me.

Beat. Nor will you not tell me who you are?
Bene. Not now.

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. I am sure, you know him well enough. Bene. Not I, believe me.

Beat. Did he never make you laugh?

Bene. I pray you, what is he?

Beat. Why, he is the prince's jester: a very dull thing, and so dance out the answer. Fer hear me, fool; only his gift is in devising impossible slanHero; wooing, wedding, and repenting, is as a ders: none but libertines delight in him; and the Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinque-pace: the first commendation is not in his wit, but in his villany; suit is hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as for he both pleaseth men, and angers them, and fantastical; the wedding, mannerly modest, as a hen they laugh at him, and beat him: I am sure, measure full of state and ancientry; and then he is in the fleet; I would he had boarded me. comes repentance, and, with his bad legs, falls into Bene. When I know the gentleman, I'll tell him the cinque-pace faster and faster, till he sink into what you say. his grave.

Leon. Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly. Beat. I have a good eye, uncle: I can see a church by day-light.

Leon. The revellers are entering; brother, make good room.

Enter Don Pedro, Claudio, Benedick, Balthazar; Don John, Borachio, Margaret, Ursula, and others, masked.

D. Pedro. Lady, will you walk about with your friend ?2

Hero. So you walk softly, and look sweetly, and say nothing, I am yours for the walk; and especially, when I walk away.

D. Pedro. With me in your company?
Hero. I may say so, when I please.

D. Pedro. And when please you to say 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 thatch'd. D. Pedro. Speak low, if you speak love. [Takes her aside. Bene. Well, I would you did like me. Marg. So would not 1, for your own sake; for I have many ill qualities.

Bene. Which is one?

Marg. I say my prayers aloud.

Bene. I love you the better; the hearers may cry Amen.

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. I know you by the waggling of your head. Ant. To tell you true, I counterfeit him.

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?

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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's wing saved, for the fool will eat no supper that night. [Music within.] We must follow the leaders.

Bene. In every good thing. them at the next turning. Beat. Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave

[Dance. Then exeunt all but Don John, Borachio, and Claudio.

D. John. Sure, my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath withdrawn her father to b cak 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?
Claud. You know me well; I am he.

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?

D. John. I heard him swear his affection. 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.'Tis certain so;-the prince woos for himself. Friendship is constant in all other things, Save in the off ce and affairs of love: Therefore, all hearts in love use their own tongues; Let every eye negotiate for itself, And trust no agent: for beauty is a witch, Against whose charms faith melteth into blood." This is an accident of hourly proof, Which I mistrusted not: Farewell therefore, Hero! Re-enter Benedick.

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