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Not to be spoken of;
There is not chastity enough in language,
Without offence, to utter them : thus, pretty Lady,
I am sorry for thy much misgovernment.
Claud. O Hero ! what a Hero hadft thou been,
If ha's thy outward graces had been plac'd
About the thoughts and counsels of thy heart?
But fare thee well, most foul, most fair ! farewel
Thou pure impiety, and impious purity !
For thee I'll lock up all the gates of love,
And on my eye-lids fhall conjecture hang,
To turn all beauty into thoughts of harm ;
And never shall it more be gracious.
Leon. Hath no man's dagger here a point for me?
[Hero fwoons. Beat. Why, how now, cousin ? wherefore link you
down? John. Come, let us go; these things come thus to light, Smother her spirits up.
Exeunt Don Pedro, Don John, and Claud.
S CE N E II.
Bene. How doth the lady ?
Beat. Dead, I think ; help, uncle.
Hero ! why, Hero! uncle ! Signior Benedick ! Friar !
Leon. O fate! take not away thy heavy hand;
Death is the faireft cover for her shame,
That may be wish'd for.
Beat. How now, cousin Hero?
Friar. Have comfort, Lady.
Leon. Doft thou look up ?
Friar. Yea, wherefore should she not?
Leon. Wherefore? why, doth not every earthly thing
Cry shame upon her ? could she here deny
The story that is printed in her blood ?
Do not live, Hero, do not ope thine
eyes : For did I think thou wouldft not quickly die, Thought I thy spirits were stronger than thy shames, Myself would on the rereward of reproaches Strike at thy life. Griev'd I I had but one ? Chid I for that at frugal nature's 'fraine ? I've one too much by thee. Why had I one?
Why ever wast thou lovely in my eyes ?
Why had I not, with charitable hand,
Took up a beggar's issue at my gates ?
Who smeered thus, and mir’d with infamy,
I might have said, no part of it is mine ;
This shame derives itself from unknown loins.
But mine, as mine I lov’d, as mine I prais’d,
As mine that I was proud on, mine so much,
That I myself was to myself not mine,
Valuing of her ; why, the---0, she is fallin
Into a pit of ink, that the wide sea
Hath drops too few to wash her clean again ;
And salt too little, which may season give
To her foul tainted flesh !
Bene. Sir, Sir, be patient;
For my part, I am fo attir'd in wonder,
I know not what to say.
Beat. O, on my soul, my cousin is bely’d.
Bene. Lady, were you her bedfellow last night?..
Beat. No, truly, not; although until last night
I have this twelvemonth been her bedfellow.
Leon. Confirm’d, confirm'd! O, that is stronger made,
Which was before barr'd up with ribs of iron.
Would the two princes lye? and Claudio lye,
Who lov'd her so, that, speaking of her foulness,
Wash'd it with tears? Hence from her, let her die.
Friar. Hear me a little,
For I have only been silent so long,
And given way unto this course of fortune,
By noting of the lady. I have mark'd
A thousand blushing apparitions
To start into her face; a thousand innocent shames
In angel-whiteness bear away those blushes ;
And in her eye there hath appear'd a fire,
To burn the errors that these princes hold
Against her maiden truth. Call me a fool,
Truft not my reading, nor my observations,
Which with experimental feal do warrant
The tenor of my book; trust not my age,
My reverence, calling, nor divinity,
If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here
Under fome biting error.'
Leon. Friar, it cannot be.
Thou seest that all the grace that she hath left,
Is, that she will not add to her damnation
A sin of perjury; she not denies it:
Why seek’it thou then to cover with excuse
That which appears in proper nakedness ?
Friar. Lady, what man is he you are accus’d of?
Hero. They know that do accuse me ; I know none:
If I know more of any man alive,
Than that which maiden modesty doth warrant,
any man with me convers'd
At hours unmeet, or that I yesternight
Maintain' the change of words with any creature, ·
Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death.
Friar. There is some strange misprifion in the princes.
Bene. Two of them have the very bent of honour, And if their wisdoms be milled in this, The practice of it lives in John the bastard, Whose spirits toil in frame of villanies.
Leon. I know not : if they speak but truth of her,
These hands shall tear her; if they wrong her honour,
The proudeft of them shall well hear of it.
Time hath not yet so dry'd this blood of mine,
Nor age so eat up my invention,
Nor fortune made such havock of my means,
bad life reft me so much of friends,
But they shall find awak'd, in such a kind,
Both strength of limb, and policy of mind,
Ability in means, and choice of friends,
To quit me of them thoroughly.
Friar. Pause a while,
And let my counsel sway you in this case.
Your daughter here the princes left for dead;
Let her a while be secretly kept in,
And publish it that she is dead indeed :
Maintain a mourning oftentation,
And on your family's old monument
Hang mournful epitaphs, and do all rites
That appertain unto a burial.
Leon. What shall become of this ? what will this do?
Friar. Marry, this, well carry'd, shall on her belialf
Change lander to remorse; that is some good :
But not for that dream I on this strange course,
But on this travel look for greater birth. '
She dying, as it must be so maintain'd,
Upon the instant that she was accus’d:
Shall be lamented, pity'd, and excus’d,
Of every hearer; for it fo falls out,
That what we have we prize-not to the worth,
Whiles we enjoy it ; but being lack'd and loft,
Why, then we rack the value ; then we find
The virtue that possession would not shew us
Whilft it was ours. So will it fare with Claudio.
• When he shall hear she dy'd upon his words,
"Th’idea of her life shall'sweetly creep
• Into his study of imagination,
“And every lovely organ of her life
• Shall come apparelld in more precious habit;
• More moving, delicate, and full of life,
Into the eye and prospect of his soul,
• Than when she liv'd indeed.' Then shall he mourn,
If ever love had interest in his liver,
And wish he had not so accused her ;
No, though he thought his accusation true.
Let this be so, and doubt not but success
Will fashion the event in better shape
Than I can lay it down in likelihood.
But if all aim but this be levell’d false,
The supposition of the lady's death
Will quench the wonder of her infamy.
And, if it fort not well, you may conceal her,
As best befits her wounded reputation,
In some reclusive and religious life,
Out of all eyes, tongues, minds, and injuries.
Bene. Signior Leonato, let the Friar advise you.
And though, you know, my inwardness and love
Is very much unto the Prince and Claudio
Yet, by mine honour, I will deal in this
As secretly and juftly as your soul
Should with your body.
Leon. Being that I flow in grief,
The smallest twine may lead me.
Friar. 'Tis well confented, presently away ;
For to strange fores, strangely they strain the cure. Come, Lady, die to live; this wedding-day
Perhaps is but prolong'd : have patience, and endure.
SCENE III. Manent Benedick and Beatrice.
Bene. Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while ?
Beat. Yea, and I will weep a while longer.
Bene. I will not desire that.
Beat. You have no reason, I do it freely.
Bene. Surely I do believe your fair cousin is wrong’d.
Beat. Ah, how much might the man deserve of me, that would right her!
Bene. Is there any way to shew such friendship?
Beat. A very even way, but no such friend.
Bene. May a man do it?
Beat. It is a man's office, but not your's.
Bene. I do love nothing in the world so well as you ; is not that strange ?
Beat. As strange as the thing I know not. It were as posible for me to say, I loved nothing so well as you ; but believe me not, and yet I lye not; I confefs nothing, nor I deny nothing. I am sorry for my cousin,
Bene, By my sword, Beatrice, thou lov'st me.
Beat. Do not swear by it, and eat it.
Bene. I will swear by it, that you
and I will make him eat it that says I love not you.
Beat. Will you not eat your.word?
Bene. With no sauce that can be devis’d to it; I proteft I love thee.
Beat. Why then, God forgive me.
Bene. What offence, sweet Beatrice ?
Beat. You have stay'd me in a happy hour ; I was about to proteft I lov'd you.
Bene. And do it with all thy heart.
Beat. I love you with so much of my heart, that none is left to protest.
Bene. Come, bid me do any thing for thee.
Beat. Kill Claudio,
Bene. Ha ! not for the wide world.