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Claud. Well, I will meet you, so I may have good cheer.

D. Pedro. What! a feast, a feast? Claud. I' faith, I thank him; he hath bid me to a calf's-head and a capon, the which if I do not carve most curiously, say my knife's naught. Shall I not find a woodcock too?

Bene. Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes easily. D. Pedro. I'll tell thee how Beatrice praised thy wit the other day. I said, thou hadst a fine wit. True,' said she, 'a fine little one.' 'No,' said I, a great wit.' Right,' says she, 'a great gross one.' 'Nay,' said I, 'a good wit.' 'Just,' said she, it hurts nobody.' Nay,' said I, 'the gentleman is wise.' 'Certain,' said she, 'a wise gentleman.' 'Nay,' said I, 'he hath the tongues.' That I believe,' said she, 'for he swore a thing to me on Monday night, which he forswore on Tuesday morning: there's a double tongue; there's two tongues.' Thus did she, an hour together, trans-shape thy particular virtues; yet at last she concluded with a sigh, thou wast the properest man in Italy.

Claud. For the which she wept heartily and said she cared not.

D. Pedro. Yea, that she did; but yet, for all that, an if she did not hate him deadly, she would love him dearly. The old man's daughter told us all. 180 Claud. All, all; and moreover, God saw him when he was hid in the garden.

D. Pedro. But when shall we set the savage bull's horns on the sensible Benedick's head? Claud. Yea, and text underneath, 'Here dwells Benedick the married man!'

Bene. Fare you well, boy: you know my mind. I will leave you now to your gossip-like humour: you break jests as braggarts do their blades, which, God be thanked, hurt not. My lord, for your many courtesies I thank you: I must discontinue your company. Your brother the bastard is fled from Messina: you have, among you, killed a sweet and innocent lady. For my Lord Lackbeard there, he and I shall meet; and till then, peace be with him.

D. Pedro. He is in earnest.


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D. Pedro. Who have you offended, masters, that you are thus bound to your answer? this learned constable is too cunning to be understood. What's your offence?

Bora. Sweet prince, let me go no further to mine answer: do you hear me, and let this count kill me. I have deceived even your very eyes: what your wisdoms could not discover, these shallow fools have brought to light; who in the night overheard me confessing to this man how Don John your brother incensed me to slander the Lady Hero; how you were brought into the orchard and saw me court Margaret in Hero's garments; how you disgraced her, when you should marry her. My villany they have upon record; which I had rather seal with my death than repeat over to my shame. The lady is dead upon mine and my master's false accusation; and, briefly, I desire nothing but the reward of a villain.


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Dogb. Come, bring away the plaintiffs: by this time our sexton hath reformed Signior Leonato of the matter. And, masters, do not forget to specify, when time and place shall serve, that I am an ass.

Verg. Here, here comes Master Signior Leonato, and the sexton too.

Re-enter LEONATO, ANTONIO, and the Sexton. Leon. Which is the villain? Let me see his eyes, That when I note another man like him, I may avoid him: which of these is he? Bora. If you would know your wronger, look

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Impose me to what penance your invention
Can lay upon my sin: yet sinn'd I not
But in mistaking.

D. Pedro,

By my soul, nor I; And yet, to satisfy this good old man, I would bend under any heavy weight That he'll enjoin me to.


Leon. I cannot bid you bid my daughter live;
That were impossible: but, I pray you both,
Possess the people in Messina here
How innocent she died; and, if your love
Can labour aught in sad invention,
Hang her an epitaph upon her tomb,
And sing it to her bones: sing it to-night.
To-morrow morning come you to my house,
And since you could not be my son-in-law,
Be yet my nephew. My brother hath a daughter,
Almost the copy of my child that's dead,
And she alone is heir to both of us :

Give her the right you should have given her

And so dies my revenge.

O noble sir!

Your over-kindness doth wring tears from me.
I do embrace your offer; and dispose
For henceforth of poor Claudio.

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Leon. To-morrow then I will expect your

To-night I take my leave. This naughty man
Shall face to face be brought to Margaret,
Who, I believe, was pack'd in all this wrong,
Hir'd to it by your brother.


No, by my soul, she was not; Nor knew not what she did when she spoke to

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Dogb. Moreover, sir, which indeed is not under white and black, this plaintiff here, the offender, did call me ass: I beseech you, let it be remembered in his punishment. And also, the watch heard them talk of one Deformed: they say he wears a key in his ear and a lock hanging by it, and borrows money in God's name; the which he hath used so long and never paid, that now men grow hard-hearted, and will lend nothing for God's sake. Pray you, examine him upon that point. 322 Leon. I thank thee for thy care and honest pains.

D. Pedro. We will not fail.

To-night I'll mourn with Hero.
Exeunt Don PEDRO and CLAUDIO.

Leon. To the Watch. Bring you these fellows on.
We'll talk with Margaret,

How her acquaintance grew with this lewd fellow.

Enter BENEDICK and MARGARET, meeling.

Bene. Pray thee, sweet Mistress Margaret, deserve well at my hands by helping me to the speech of Beatrice.

Marg. Will you then write me a sonnet in praise of my beauty?

Bene. In so high a style, Margaret, that no man living shall come over it; for, in most comely truth, thou deservest it.

Marg. To have no man come over me! why, shall I always keep below stairs?


Bene. Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound's mouth; it catches.

Marg. And yours as blunt as the fencer's foils, which hit, but hurt not.

Bene. A most manly wit, Margaret; it will not hurt a woman: and so, I pray thee, call Beatrice. I give thee the bucklers,

Marg. Give us the swords, we have bucklers of our own.

Bene. If you use them, Margaret, you must put in the pikes with a vice; and they are dangerous weapons for maids.


Marg. Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who I think hath legs.

Bene. And therefore will come.

The god of love,

That sits above,


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I mean in singing; but in loving, Leander the good swimmer, Troilus the first employer of pandars, and a whole bookful of these quondam carpet-mongers, whose names yet run smoothly in the even road of a blank verse, why, they were never so truly turned over and over as my poor self in love. Marry, I cannot show it in rime; I have tried: I can find out no rime to 'lady but baby,' an innocent rime; for 'scorn,' 'horn,' a hard rime; for school,' 'fool,' a babbling rime; very ominous endings. No, I was not Dogb. Your worship speaks like a most thank-born under a riming planet, nor I cannot woo ful and reverend youth, and I praise God for you. in festival terms. Leon. There's for thy pains. Dogb. God save the foundation!

Leon. Go, I discharge thee of thy prisoner, and I thank thee. 330 Dogb. I leave an arrant knave with your worship; which I beseech your worship to correct yourself for the example of others. God keep your worship! I wish your worship well: God restore you to health! I humbly give you leave to depart, and if a merry meeting may be wished, God prohibit it! Come, neighbour.


· Leon. Until to-morrow morning, lords, farewell.

Ant. Farewell, my lords; we look for you to

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right sense, so forcible is thy wit. But, I must tell thee plainly, Claudio undergoes my challenge, and either I must shortly hear from him, or I will subscribe him a coward. And, I pray thee now, tell me, for which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love with me?


Beat. For them all together; which maintained so politic a state of evil that they will not admit any good part to intermingle with them. But for which of my good parts did you first suffer love for me?

Bene. Suffer love! a good epithet. I do suffer love, indeed, for I love thee against my will. Beat. In spite of your heart, I think. Alas! poor heart. If you spite it for my sake, I will spite it for yours; for I will never love that which my friend hates.


Bene. Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably. Beat. It appears not in this confession: there's not one wise man among twenty that will praise himself.

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Urs. Madam, you must come to your uncle. Yonder's old coil at home: it is proved my Lady Hero hath been falsely accused, the prince and Claudio mightily abused; and Don John is the author of all, who is fled and gone. Will you come presently? 102

Beat. Will you go hear this news, signior? Bene. I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be buried in thy eyes; and moreover I will go with thee to thy uncle's. Excunt.

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Upon the error that you heard debated:
But Margaret was in some fault for this,
Although against her will, as it appears
In the true course of all the question.

Ant. Well, I am glad that all things sort so well. Bene. And so am I, being else by faith enforc'd To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it.

Leon. Well, daughter, and you gentlewomenall, Withdraw into a chamber by yourselves, And when I send for you, come hither mask'd: The prince and Claudio promis'd by this hour To visit me. Exeunt Ladies, You know your office, brother: You must be father to your brother's daughter, And give her to young Claudio.

Ant. Which I will do with confirm'd counte



Bene. Friar, I must entreat your pains, I think. Fri. To do what, signior?

Hang thou there upon the tomb,
Praising her when I am dumb.


Bene, Your answer, sir, is enigmatical:

Now, music, sound, and sing your solemn hymn. But, for my will, my will is your good will

Bene. To bind me, or undo me; one of them.


Signior Leonato, truth it is, good signior,
Your niece regards me with an eye of favour.
Leon. That eye my daughter lent her: 'tis

most true.

Bene. And I do with an eye of love requite her. Leon. The sight whereof I think you had from me, From Claudio, and the prince. But what's your will?

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Re-enter ANTONIO, with the Ladies masked. Claud. For this I owe you: here come other reckonings.

Which is the lady I must seize upon?

Ant. This same is she, and I do give you her. Claud. Why, then she's mine. Sweet, let me see your face.

Leon. No, that you shall not, till you take her hand Before this friar, and swear to marry her. Claud. Give me your hand: before this holy friar, I am your husband, if you like of me.

Hero. And when I liv'd, I was your other wife: Unmasking. 60 And when you lov'd, you were my other husband. Claud. Another Hero! Hero.

Nothing certainer : One Hero died defil'd, but I do live, And, surely as I live, I am a maid.

D. Pedro. The former Hero! Hero that is dead! Leon. She died, my lord, but whiles her slander liv'd.

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Hero. And here's another Containing her affection unto Benedick. Writ in my cousin's hand, stol'n from her pocket,

Bene. A miracle! here's our own hands against our hearts. Come, I will have thee; but, by this light, I take thee for pity.

Beat. I would not deny you; but, by this good day, I yield upon great persuasion, and partly to save your life, for I was told you were in a consumption.


Bene. Peace! I will stop your mouth. Kisses her. D. Pedro. How dost thou, Benedick, the married man?

Bene. I'll tell thee what, prince; a college of wit-crackers cannot flout me out of my humour. Dost thou think I care for a satire or an epigram? No: if a man will be beaten with brains, a' shall wear nothing handsome about him. In brief, since I do purpose to marry, I will think nothing to any purpose that the world can say against it; and therefore never flout at me for what I have said against it, for man is a giddy thing, and this is my conclusion. For thy part, Claudio, I did think to have beaten thee; but, in that thou art like to be my kinsman, live unbruised, and love my cousin.


Cland. I had well hoped thou would'st have denied Beatrice, that I might have cudgelled thee out of thy single life, to make thee a doubledealer; which, out of question, thou wilt be, if my cousin do not look exceeding narrowly to thee.

Bene. Come, come, we are friends. Let's have a dance ere we are married, that we may lighten our own hearts and our wives' heels.

Leon. We'll have dancing afterward.

Bene. First, of my word; therefore play, music! Prince, thou art sad; get thee a wife, get thee a wife there is no staff more reverend than one tipped with horn.

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Enter a Messenger.

Mess. My lord, your brother John is ta'en in flight,

And brought with armed men back to Messina. Bene. Think not on him till to-morrow: I'll devise thee brave punishments for him. Strike up, pipers.


Dance. Exeunt.

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Live register'd upon our brazen tombs,
And then grace us in the disgrace of death;
When, spite of cormorant devouring Time,
The endeavour of this present breath may buy
That honour which shall bate his scythe's keen

And make us heirs of all eternity.
Therefore, brave conquerors, for so you are,
That war against your own affections
And the huge army of the world's desires,
Our late edict shall strongly stand in force:
Navarre shall be the wonder of the world;
Our court shall be a little academe,
Still and contemplative in living art.


King. Let fame, that all hunt after in their As, not to see a woman in that term,


You three, Berowne, Dumaine, and Longaville, Have sworn for three years' term to live with me, My fellow scholars, and to keep those statutes That are recorded in this schedule here:

Your oaths are pass'd; and now subscribe your

DULL, a Constable.
COSTARD, a Clown.
MOTH, Page to Armado.
A Forester.




Ladies attending on the Princess.

JAQUENETTA, a country Wench.



That his own hand may strike his honour down
That violates the smallest branch herein.
If you are arm'd to do, as sworn to do,
Subscribe to your deep oaths, and keep it too.
Long. I am resolv'd; 'tis but a three years'

The mind shall banquet, though the body pine:
Fat paunches have lean pates, and dainty bits
Make rich the ribs, but bankrupt quite the wits.
Dum. My loving lord, Dumaine is mortified:
The grosser manner of these world's delights
He throws upon the gross world's baser slaves:

To love, to wealth, to pomp, I pine and die; n With all these living in philosophy.

Berowne. I can but say their protestation over; So much, dear liege, I have already sworn, That is, to live and study here three years. But there are other strict observances;

Which I hope well is not enrolled there :
And one day in a week to touch no food,
And but one meal on every day beside;
The which I hope is not enrolled there :
And then, to sleep but three hours in the night
And not be seen to wink of all the day,
When I was wont to think no harm all night
And make a dark night too of half the day,
Which I hope well is not enrolled there.
O! these are barren tasks, too hard to keep,
Not to see ladies, study, fast, not sleep.
King. Your oath is pass'd to pass away from

Berowne. Let me say no, my liege, an if you please.

I only swore to study with your grace,
And stay here in your court for three years' space.
Long. You swore to that, Berowne, and to the

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