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D. John. Show me briefly now.
Bora. I think, I told your lordship, a year since, how much I am in the favour of Margaret, the waiting-gentlewoman to Hero.
D. John. I remember.
Bora. I can, at any unseasonable instant of the night, appoint her to look out at her lady's chamber-window.
D. John. What life is in that, to be the death of this marriage ?
Bora. The poison of that lies in you to temper. Go you to the prince your brother ; spare not to tell him, that he hath wronged his honour in marrying the renowned Claudio (whose estimation do you mightily hold up) to a contaminated stale, such a one as Hero.
D. John. What proof shall I make of that?
Bora. Proof enough to misuse the prince, to vex Claudio, to undo Hero, and kill Leonato: Look you for any other issue ?
D. John. Only to despite them, I will endeavour anything.
Bora. Go then, find me a meet hour to draw Don Pedro and the count Claudio, alone: tell them, that you know that Hero loves me; intend* a kind of zeal both to the prince and Claudio, as-in love of your brother's honour who hath made this match and his friend's reputation, who is thus like to be cozened with the semblance of a maid, -that you have discovered thus. They will scarcely believe this without trial: offer them instances; which shall bear no less likelihood, than to see me at her chamber-window; hear me call Margaret, Hero; hear Margaret term me Borachio; and bring them to see this, the very night before the intended wedding : for, in the mean time, I will so fashion the matter, that Hero shall be absent; and there shall appear such seeming truth of Hero's disloyalty, that jealousy shall be call d assurance, and all the preparation overthrown.
D. John. Grow this to what adverse issue it can, I will put it in practice : Be cunning in the working this, and thy fee is a thousand ducats.
Bora. Be you constant in the accusation, and my cunning shall not shame me. D. John. I will presently go learn their day of marriage.
[Exeunt. SCENE III.-LEONATO's Garden.
Enter BENEDICK and a Boy.
Bene. In my chamber-window lies a book; bring it hither to ine in the orchard.
Boy. I am here already, Sir.
Bene. I know that, but I would have thee hence and here again. [Exit Boy.)-do much wonder, that one man, seeing how much another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviours to love, will, after he hath laughed at such shallow follies in others, become the argument of his own scorn, by falling in love : And such a man is Claudio. I have when there was no music with him but the drum and fife; and now he would rather hear the tabor and the pipe : I have known, when he would have walked ten mile afoot, to see a good armour; and now will he lie ten nights awake, carving the fashion of a new doublet. He was wont to speak plain, and to the purpose, like an honest man, and a soldier; and now is he turn’d orthographer; his words are a very fantastical banquet, just so many strange dishes. May I be so converted, and see with these eyes ? I cannot tell; I think not: I will not be sworn, but love may transform me to an oyster; but I'll take my oath on it, till he have made an oyster of me, he shall never make me such a fool. One woman is fair; yet I am well: another is wise; yet I am well: another virtuous; yet I am well : but till all graces be in one woman, one woman shall not come in my grace. Rich she shall be, that's certain ; wise, or I'll none; virtuous, or I'll never cheapen her; fair, or I'll never look on her; mild, or come note near me; noble, or not I for an angel; of good discourse, an excellent musician, and her hair shall be of what colour it please God. Ha! the prince and monsieur Love! I will hide me in the harbour.
[Withdraws. Enter Don PEDRO, LEONATO, and CLAUDIO. D. Pedro. Come, shall we hear this music ?
Claud. Yea, my good lord :- How still the evening is,
D. Pedro. See you where Benedick hath hid himself ?
Enter BALTHAZAR, with music.
Balth. O, good my lord, tax not so had a voice,
D. Pedro. It is the witness still of excellency,
Balth. Because you talk of wooing, I will sing:
D. Pedro. Nay, pray thee, come;
Balth. Note this before my notes,
D. Pedro. Why these are very crotchets that he speaks,
(Music. Bene. Now, Divine air! now is his soul ravished !-Is it not strange, that sheep's guts should hale souls out of men's bodies ! -Well, a horn for my money, when all's done.
* The young or cub.fox.
Men were deceivers ever ;
Then sigh not so,
But let them go,
Into, Hey nonny, nonny.
Of dumps so dull and heavy ;
Then sigh not so, &c.
Balth. And an isl singer, my lord. D. Pedro. Ha ? no; no, faith ; thou singest well enough for a shift.
Bene. [aside). An he had been a dog, that should have howled thus, they would have hanged him; and, I pray his bad voice bode no mischief! I had as lief have heard the night-raven, come what plague could have come after it.
D. Pedro. Yea, marry. [To CLAUDIO.] Dost thou hear, Balthazar! I pray thee, get us some excellent music; for, tomorrow night, we would have it at the lady Hero's chamberwindow.
Balth. The best I can, my lord.
D. Pedro. Do so: farewell. [Exeunt BALTHAZAR and music.] Come hither, Leonato : What was it you told me of to-day? that your niece, Beatrice, was in love with signior Benedick?
Claud. O, ay ;-Stalk on, stalk on; the fowl sits. [Aside to PEDRO.] I did never think that lady would have loved any man.
Leon. No, nor I neither; but most wonderful, that she should so dote on signior Benedick, whom she hath in all outward behaviours seemed ever to abhor. Bene. Is't possible ? Sits the wind in that corner ? [Aside.
Leon. By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to think of it; but that she loves him with an enraged affection,-it is past the infinite of thought."
D. Pedro. May be, she doth but counterfeit.
Leon. O God? counterfeit! There never was counterfeit of passion came so near the life of passion, as she discovers it.
D. Pedro. Why, what effects of passion shows she?
[ Aside. Leon. What effects, my lord ! She will sit you, You heard my daughter tell you how.
Claud. She did, indeed.
† Beyond the power of thought to conceive.
D. Pedro. How, how, I pray you? You amaze me: I would have thought her spirit had been invincible against all assaults of affection.
Leon. I would have sworn it had, my lord; especially against Benedick.
Bene. [aside]. I should think this a gull, but that the whitebearded fellow speaks it: knavery cannot, sure, hide itself in such reverence.
Claud. He hath ta’en the infection; hold it up. [Aside. D. Pedro. Hath she made her affection known to Benedick? Leon. No; and swears she never will: that's her torment.
Claud. 'Tis true, indeed; so your daughter says: Shall I, says she, that have so oft encounter'd him with scorn, write to him that I love him?
Leon. This says she now when she is beginning to write to him: for she'll be up twenty times a night: and there will she sit in her smock, till she have writ a sheet of paper :-my daughter tells us all.
Claud. Now you talk of a sheet of paper, I remember a pretty jest your daughter told us of.
Leon. O !-when she had writ it, and was reading it over, she found Benedick and Beatrice between the sheet ?
Leon. O! she tore the letter into a thousand half-pence; railed at herself, that she should be so immodest to write to one that she knew would flout her: I measure him, says she, by my own spirit; for I should flout him if he writ to me; yea, though I love him, I should.
Claud. Then down upon her knees she falls, weeps, sobs, beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, curses ;--Osweet Benedick? God give me patience!
Leon. She doth indeed; my daughter says so: and the ecstasy* hath so much overborne her, that my daughter is sometime afraid she will do a desperate outrage to herself, It is very true.
D. Pedro. It were good, that Benedick knew of it by some other, if she will not discover it.
Claud. To what end? He would but make a sport of it, and torment the poor lady worse.
D. Pedro. An he should, it were an alms to hang him: She's an excellent sweet lady; and, out of all suspicion, she is virtuous.
Claud. And she is exceeding wise.
Leon. O, my lord, wisdom and blood combating in so tender a body, we have ten proofs to one, that blood hath the victory. I am sorry for her, as I have just cause, being her uncle and her guardian.
D. Pedro. I would she had bestowed this dotage on me; I would have daff’dt all other respects, and made her half myself: I pray you, tell Benedick of it, and hear what he will say. Leon. Were it good, think you ? Claud. Hero thinks surely, she will die: for she says, she will
* Alienation of mind.
+ Thrown off.
die if he love her not; and she will die ere she makes her love known; and she will die if he woo her, rather than she will ’bate one breath of her accustomed crossness.
D. Pedro. She doth well, if she should make tender of her love, 'tis very possible he'll scorn it; for the man, as you know all, hath a contemptible* spirit.
Claud. He is a very propert man. D. Pedro. He hath, indeed, a good outward happiness. Claud. 'Fore God, and in my mind, very wise. D. Pedro. He doth, indeed, show some sparks that are like wit.
Leon. And I take him to be valiant.
D. Pedro. As Hector, I assure you: and in the managing of quarrels you may say he is wise ; for either he avoids them with great discretion, or undertakes them with a most Christian-like fear.
Leon. If he do fear God, he must necessarily keer peace; if he break the peace, he ought to enter into a quarrel with fear and trembling.
D. Pedro. And so will he do; for the man doth fear God, howsoever it seems not in him, by some large jests he will make. Well, I am sorry for your niece: Shall we go see Benedick, and tell him of her love?
Claud. Never tell him, my lord; let her wear it out with good counsel.
Leon. Nay, that's impossible; she may wear her heart out first.
D. Pedro. Well, we'll hear further of it by your daughter; let it cool the while.' I love Benedick well; and I could wish he would modestly examine himself, to see how much he is unworthy so good a lady:
Leon. My lord, will you walk ? Dinner is ready.
Claud. If he do not dote on her upon this, I will never trust my expectation.
[Aside. D. Pedro. Let there be the same net spread for her; and that must your daughter and her gentlewoman carry. The sport will be, when they hold one an opinion of another's dotage, and no such matter; that's the scene that I would see, which will be merely a dumb show. Let us send her to call him in to dinner.
[Aside. [Exeunt Don PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and LEONATO.
BENEDICK advances from the arbour. Bene. This can be no trick; The conference was sadly borne. I - They have the truth of this from Hero. They seem to pity the lady; it seems, her affections have their full bent. Love me! why, it must be requited. I hear how I am censured: they say, I will bear myself proudly, if I perceive the love come from her; they say too, that she will rather die than give any sign of affection.-1 did never think to marry :-I must not seem proud :Happy are they that hear their detractions, and can put them to * Contemptuous.
+ Handsome. # Seriously carried on.