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We here attend you; are you yet determined
To-day to marry with my brother's daughter ?
Claud. I'll hold my mind, were she an Ethiope.
Leon. Call her forth, brother, here's the friar ready.
D. Pedro. Good morrow, Benedick: Why, what's the matter
That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm, and cloudiness?
Claud. I think, he thinks upon the savage bull :-
Tush, fear not, man, we'll tip thy horns with gold,
And all Europa shall rejoice at thee;
As once Europa did at lusty Jove,
When he would play the noble beast in love.
Bene. Bull Jove, Sir, had an amiable low;
And some such strange bull leap'd
your father's cow,
And got a calf in that same noble feat,
Much like to you, for you have just his bleat.
Re-enter ANTONIO, with the Ladies masked.
Claud. For this I owe you: here comes 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 min 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 lived, I was your other wife: [Unmasking. And when you loved, you were my other husband.
Claud. Another Hero?
Hero. Nothing certainer:
One Hero died defiled; 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 lived.
Friar. All this amazement can I qualify;
When, after that the holy rites are ended,
I'll tell you largely of fair Hero's death:
Meantime, let wonder seem familiar,
And to the chapel let us presently.
Bene. Soft and fair, friar.-Which is Beatrice?
Beat. I answer to that name; [Unmasking.] What is your
Bene. Do not you love me?
Beat. No, no more than reason.
Bene. Why, then your uncle, and the prince, and Claudio,
Have been deceived; for they swore you did.
Beat. Do not you love me?
Bene. No, no more than reason.
Beat. Why, then my cousin, Margaret, and Ursula,
Are much deceived; for they did swear you did.
Bene. They swore that you were almost sick for me.
Beat. They swore that you were well-nigh dead for me.
Bene. 'Tis no such matter :-Then, you do not love me?
Beat. No, truly, but in friendly recompense.
Leon. Come, cousin, I am sure you love the gentleman.
Claud. And I'll be sworn upon't, that he loves her;
For here's a paper, written in his hand,
A halting sonnet of his own pure brain,
Fashion'd to Beatrice.
Hero. And here's another,
Writ in my cousin's hand, stolen from her pocket,
Containing her affection unto Benedick.
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 told you were in a consumption. Bene, Peace, I will stop your mouth.
[Kissing 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, he shall wear nothing handsome about him: In brief, since I do propose to marry, I will think nothing to any purpose that the world can say against it; and therefor never flor 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.
claud. I had well hoped, thou wouldst have denied Beatrice, that I might have cudgelled thee out of thy single life, to make thee a double dealer; which, out of question, thou wilt be, if my cousin do not look exceeding parrowly 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 afterwards.
Bene. First o'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.
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.
SCENE.-Athens, and a Wood not far from it.
SCENE I.-Athens. A Room in the Palace of 'THESEUS. Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PHILOSTRATE, and Attendants.
The. Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
Another moon: but oh, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes ! she lingers my desires,
Like to a step-dame, or a dowager,
Long withering out a young man's revenue.
Hip. Four days will quickly steep themselves in nights;
Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
And then the moon, like to a silver bow
New bent in heaven, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities.
The. Go, Philostrate,
Stir up thé Athenian youth to merriments;
Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth;
Turn melancholy forth to funerals,
The pale companion is not for our pomp.- [Exit PHILOSTRATE.
Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword,
And won thy love, doing thee injuries;
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph,* and with revelling.
Enter EGEUS, HERMIA, LYSANDER, and DEMETRIUS.
Ege. Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke !
The. Thanks, good Egeus: What's the news with thee?
Ege. Full of vexation come I, with complaint
Against my child, my daughter Hermia.
Stand forth, Demetrius ;-My noble lord,
This man hath my consent to marry her :-
Stand forth, Lysander;-and, my gracious duke,
This hath bewitch'd the bosom of my child :
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,
And interchanged love-tokens with my child:
Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung,
With feigning voice, verses of feigning love;
And stolen the impression of her fantasy.
With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds,t conceits,
Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats; messengers
Of strong prevailment in unharden'd youth:
With cunning hast thou filch'd my daughter's heart;
Turn'd her obedience, which is due to me,
To stubborn harshness :- And, my gracious duke,
Be it so she will not here before your grace
Consent to marry with Demetrius,
I beg the ancient privilege of Athens;
As she is mine, I may dispose of her:
Which shall be either to this gentleman,
Or to her death; according to our law,
Immediately provided in that case.
The. What say you, Hermia ? be advised, fair maid:
To you your father should be as a god;
One that composed your beauties; yea, and one
To whom you are but as a form in wax,
By him imprinted, and within his power
To leave the figure, or disfigure it.
Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.
Her. So is Lysander.
The. In himself he is :
But, in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
The other must be held the worthier.
Her. I would, my father look'd but with my eyes.
The. Rather your eyes must with his judgment look.
Her. I do entreat your grace to pardon me.
I know not by what power I am made bold;
Nor how it may concern my modesty,
In such a presence here, to plead my thoughts;
But I beseech your grace that I may know
The worst that may befall me in this case,
If I refuse to wed Demetrius.
The. Either to die the death, or to abjure
For ever the society of men.
Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires,
Know of your youth, examine well your blood,
Whether, if you yield not to your father's choice,
You can endure the livery of a nun;
For aye* to be in shady cloister mew'd,
To live a barren sister all your life,
Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.
Thrice blessed they, that master so their blood,
To undergo such maiden pilgrimage :
But earthlier happy is the rose distillid,
Than that, which, withering on the virgin thorn,
Grows, lives, and dies, in single blessedness.
Her. So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord.
Ere I will yield my virgin patent up
Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke
My soul consents not to give sovereignty.
The. Take time to pause: and by the next new moon
(The sealing-day betwixt my love and me,
For everlasting bond of fellowship),
Upon that day either prepare to die,
For disobedience to your father's will;
Or else, to wed Demetrius, as he would:
Or on Diana's altar to protest;
For aye, austerity and single life.
Dem. Relent, sweet Hermia ; - And, Lysander, yield Thy crazed title to my certain right.
Lys. You have her father's love, Demetrius;
Let me have Hermia's: do you marry him.
Ege. Scornful Lysander ! true, he hath my love;
And what is mine my love shall render him;
And she is mine; and all my right of her
I do estate unto Demetrius.
Lys. I am, my lord, as well derived as he,
As well possess'd ; my love is more than his;
My fortunes every way as fairly rank’d,
If not with vantage, as Demetrius';
And, which is more than all these boasts can be,
I am beloved of beauteous Hermia:
Why should not I then prosecute my right?
Demetrius, I'll avouch it to his head,
Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena,
And won her soul; and she, sweet lady dotes,
Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry,
Upon this spottedt and inconstant man.
The. I must confess, that I have heard so much, And with Demetrius thought have spoke thereof;