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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? Go to, mum, you are he: graces will appear, and there's an end.
Beat. Will you not tell me who told you so ?
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. Why, he is the prince's jester: a very dull fool; only his gift is in devising impossible* slanders ; none but libertines delight in him; and the commendation is not in his wit, but in his villany; for he both pleases men, and angers them, and then they laugh at him, and beat him: I am sure he is in the fleet; I would he had boardedt me.
Bene. When I know the gentleman, I'll tell him what you say. 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 wing saved, for the fool will eat no supper that night. (Music within. We must follow the leaders.
Bene. In every good thing.
Beat. Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at the next turning. [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 Sure, my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath withdrawn her father to break with him about it: The ladies follow her, and but one visor remains.
Bora. And that is Claudio: I know him by his bearing. I
D. John. Signior, you are very near my brother in his love : he his 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 ?
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 BORACII10.
# Carriage, demeanour.
Claud. Thus answer I in name of Benedick,
Bene. Even to the next willow, about your own business, count. What fashion will you wear the garland of ? About your neck, like an usurer's chain? or under your arm, like a lieutenant's scarf? You must wear it one way, for the prince hath got your Hero.
Claud. I wish him joy of her.
Bene. Why, that's spoken like an honest drover; so they sell bullocks. But did you think the prince would have served you thus ?
Claud. I pray you, leave me.
Bene. Ho! now you strike like the blind man; 'twas the boy that stole your meat, and you'll beat the post. Claud. If it will not be, I'll leave you.
[Exit. Bene. Alas, poor hurt fowl! Now will he creep into sedges.-But, that my lady Beatrice should know me, and not know me! The prince's fool!--Ha! it may be, I go under that title, because I am merry:-Yea; but so; I am apt to do myself wrong: I am not so reputed : it is the base, the bitter disposition of Beatrice, that puts the world into her person, and so gives me out. Well, I'll be revenged as I may.
Re-enter DON PEDRO, HERO, and LEONATO. D. Pedro. Now, signior, where's the count? Did you see him?
Bene. Troth, my lord, I have played the part of lady Fame. I found him here as melancholy as a lodge in a warren; I told him, and, I think, I told him true, that your grace had got the good will of this young lady; and I offered him my company to a willow tree, either to make him a garland, as being forsaken, or to bind him up a rod, as being worthy to be whipped.
D. Pedro. To be whipped ! What's his fault?
Bene. The flat transgression of a school-boy; wlio being overjoy'd with finding a bird's nest, shows it his companion, and he steals it.
D. Pedro. Wilt thou make a trust a transgression ? The transgression is in the stealer.
Bene. Yet it had not been amiss, the rod had been made, and the garland too; for the garland he might have worn himself; and the rod he might have bestowed on you, who, as I take it, have stol'n his bird's nest.
D. Pedro. I will but teach them to sing, and restore them to the owner.
Bene. If their singing answer your saying, by my faith, you say honestly.
D. Pedro. The lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you ; the gentleman, that danced with her, told her, that she is much wronged by you.
Bene. 0, she misused me past the endurance of a block; an oak, but with one green leaf on it, would have answered her; my. very visor began to assume life, and scold with her : She told me, not thinking I had been myself
, that I was the prince's jester; that I was duller than a great thaw; huddling jest upon jest, with such impossible* conveyance, upon me, that I stood like a man at a mark, with a whole army shooting at me: She speaks poniards, and every word stabs: if her breath were as terrible as her terminations, there were no living near her, she would infect to the north star. I would not marry her, though she were endowed with all that Adam had left him before he transgressed : she would have made Hercules have turned spit; yea, and have cleft his club to make the fire too. Come, talk not of her; you shall find her the infernal Atét in good apparel. I would to God, some scholar would conjure her; for, certainly, while she is here, a man may live as quiet in hell, as in a sanctuary; and people sin upon purpose, because they would go thither; so, indeed, all disquiet, horror, and perturbation follow her.
Re-enter CLAUDIO and BEATRICE. D. Pedro. Look, here she comes.
Benc. Will your grace command me any service to the world's end? I will go on the slightest errand now to the Antipodes, that you can devise to send me on; I will fetch you a tooth-picker now from the farthest inch of Asia; bring you the length of Prester John's foot; fetch you a hair off the great Cham's beard ; do you any embassage to the Pigmies, rather than hold three words' conference with this harpy : You have no employment for me?
D. Pedro. None, but to desire your good company.
Bene. O God, Sir, here's a dish I love not; f cannot endure my lady tongue.
[Exit. D. Pedro. Come, lady, come ; you have lost the heart of signior Benedick.
Beat. Indeed, my lord, he lent it me a while; and I give him usef for it, a double heart for his single one: marry, once before, he won it of me with false dice, therefore your grace may well say, I have lost it.
D. Pedro. You have put him down, lady, you have put him down.
* Incredible. + The goddess of Discord. VOL. I.
Beat. So I would not he should do me, my lord, lest I should prove the mother of fools. I have brought count Claudio, whom you sent me to seek.
D. Pedro. Why, how now, count? wherefore are you sad ?
Beat. The count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor well: but civil, count; civil as an orange, and something of that jealous complexion.
D. Pedro. I' faith, lady, I think your blazon to be true; though, I'll be sworn, if he be so, his conceit is false. Here, Claudio, I have wooed in thy name, and fair Hero is won; I have broke with her father, and his good will obtained: name the day of marriage, and God give you joy!
Leon. Count, take of me my daughter, and with her my fortunes: his grace hath made the match, and all grace say Amen to it! Beat. Speak, count, 'tis your cue.*
Claud. Silence is the perfectest 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 dote upon the exchange.
Beat. Speak, cousin; or, if you cannot, stop his mouth with a kiss, and let him not speak, neither. D. Pedro. In faith, lady, you have a merry heart.
Beat. Yes, 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 sunburned; I may sit in a corner, and cry, heigh hó! for a husband.
D. 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 ? Your father got excellent husbands, if a maid could come by them. D. Pedro. Will you have me, lady?
Beat. No, my lord, unless I might have another for workingdays; your graco is too costly to wear every day :--But, I beseech your grace, pardon me: I was born to speak all mirth, and no matter.
D. 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 cried; but then there was a star danced, and under that I was born.-Cousins, God give you joy!
Leon. Niece, will you look to those things I told you of ?
[Exit BEATRICE. my mind.
* Turn; a phrase among the players.
D. Pedro. By my troth, a pleasant spirited lady.
Leon. There's little of the melancholy element in her, my lord : she is never sad, but when she sleeps, and not ever sad then for I have heard my daughter say, she hath often dreamed of unhappiness, and waked herself with laughing.
D. Pedro. She cannot endure to hear tell of a husband.
Leon. O lord, my lord, if they were but a week married, they would talk themselves mad.
D. Pedro. Count Claudio, when mean you to go to church?
Claud. Tc-morrow, my lord : Time goes on crutches, till love have all his rites.
Leon. Not till Monday, my dear son, which is hence a justi seven-night; and a time too brief too, to have all things answer
D. 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' 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 but to fashion it, if you three will but minister such assistance as I shall give you direction.
Leon. My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten nights' watchings.
Claud. And I, my lord.
Hero. I will do any modest office, my lord, to help my cousin to a good husband.
D. Pedro. And Benedick is not the unlopefullest husband that I know: thus far can I praise him; he is of a noble strain,* of approved valour, and confirmed honesty: I will teach you how to humour your cousin, that she shall fall love with Benedick :-and 1, with your two helps, will so practise on Benedick, that, in despite of his quick wit and his queasyt stomach, 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 you my drift.
[Exeunt. SCENE II.- Another Room in LEONATO's House.
Enter Don JOHN and BORACHIO. D. John. It is so; the count Claudio shall marry the daughter of Leonato.
Bora. Yea, my lord; but I can cross it.
D. John, Any bar, any cross, any impediment will be medicinable to me: I am sick 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 dishonesty shall appear in me.