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Bene. That I neither feel how she should be loved nor know how she should be worthy, is the opinion that fire cannot melt out of me: I will die in it at the stake.
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.
Bene. That a woman conceived me, I thank her; that she brought me up, I likewise give her most humble thanks : but that I will have a recheat winded in my forehead, or hang my bugle in an invisible baldrick, all women shall pardon me. Because I will not do them the wrong to mistrust any, I will do myself the right to trust none; and the fine is, for the which I may go the finer, I will live a bachelor.
D. Pedro. I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with love. Bene. With anger, with sickness, or with hunger, my lord, not with love: prove that ever I lose more blood with love than I will get again with drinking, pick out mine eyes with a ballad-maker's pen and hang me up at the door of a 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 clapped on the shoulder, and called Adam.
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. ""
270 Claud. If this should ever happen, thou wouldst be hornmad.
D. Pedro. Nay, if Cupid have not spent all his quiver in Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly.
Bene. I look for an earthquake too, then.
D. Pedro. Well, you will temporize with the hours. In the meantime, good Signior Benedick, repair to Leonato's : commend me to him and tell him I will not fail him at supper; for indeed he hath made great preparation. 280
Bene. I have almost matter enough in me for such an embassage; and so I commit you
Clauid. To the tuition of God: From my house, if I had it,
D. Pedro. The sixth of July: Your loving friend, Benedick.
Bene. Nay, mock not, mock not. The body of your discourse is sometime guarded with fragments, and the guards are but slightly basted on neither: ere you flout old ends any further, examine your conscience: and so I leave you. [Exit. 291
Claud. My liege, your highness now may do me good. 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.
Člaud. Hath Leonato any son, my lord?
D. Pedro. No child but Hero; she's his only heir. Dost thou affect her, Claudio?
O, my lord,
D. Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover presently
Caud. How sweetly you do minister to love,
D. Pedro. What need the bridge much broader than the flood?
The fairest grant is the necessity.
Look, what will serve is fit: 'tis once, thou lovest,
And I will fit thee with the remedy.
I know we shall have revelling to-night:
I will assume thy part in some disguise
And in her bosom I'll unclasp my heart
SCENE II. A room in LEONATO's house.
Enter LEONATO and ANTONIO, meeting.
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 dreamt not of.
Leon. Are they good?
Ant. As the event stamps them: but they have a good cover; they show well outward. The prince and Count Claudio, walking in a thick-pleached alley in mine orchard, were thus much overheard by a man of mine the prince discovered to Claudio that he loved my niece your daughter and meant to acknowledge it this night in a dance; and if he found her accordant, he meant to take the present time by the top and instantly break with you of it.
Leon. Hath the fellow any wit that told you this?
Ant. A good sharp fellow: I will send for him; and question him yourself.
Leon. No, no; we will hold it as a dream till it appear itself but I will acquaint my daughter withal, that she may be the better prepared for an answer, if peradventure this be true. Go you and tell her of it. [Enter Attendants.] Cousins, you know what you have to do. O, I cry you mercy, friend; go you with me, and I will use your skill. Good cousin, have a care this busy time.
SCENE. III. The same.
Enter DON JOHN and CONRADE.
Con. What the good-year, my lord! why are you thus out of measure sad?
D John. There is no measure in the occasion that breeds; therefore the sadness is without limit.
Con. You should hear reason.
D. John. And when I have heard it, what blessing brings
Con. If not a present remedy, at least a patient sufferance, D. John. I wonder that thou, being, as thou sayest 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 stomach and wait for no man's leisure, sleep when I am drowsy and tend on no man's business, laugh when i am merry and claw no man in his humour. Con. Yea, but you must not make the full show of this
You have of late
till you may do it without controlment. stood out against your brother, and he hath ta'en you newly into his grace; where it is impossible you should take true root but by the fair weather that you make yourself: it is needful that you frame the season for your own harvest.
D. John. I had rather be a canker 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 denied but I am a plain-dealing villain. I am trusted with a muzzle and enfranchised with a clog; therefore I have decreed not to sing in my cage. If I had my mouth, I would bite; if I had my liberty, I would do my liking: in the meantime 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?
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. 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.
Enter LEONATO, ANTONIO, HERO, BEATRICE, and others.
Beat. How tartly that gentleman looks! him but I am heart-burned an hour after.
I never can see
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. 11
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 man would win any woman in the world, if a' 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's 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. 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 woolen.
Leon. You may light on 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› ward, 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,