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What kind of catechizing call you this?
Claud. To make you answer truly to yo ir name.

Hero. Is it not Hero? who can blot that name
With any just reproach ?

Claud. Marry, that can Hero;
Hero her self can blot out Hero's virtue.
What man was he talk'd with you yesternight
Out at your window betwixt twelve and one ?
Now, if you are a maid, answer to this.
Hero. I talk'd with no man at that hour, my

Lord.
Pedro. Why, then you are no maiden. Leonato, ;
I am sorry, you must hear; upon mine Honour,
My felf, my Brother, and this grieved Count
Did see her, hear her, at that hour last night
Talk with a ruffian at her chamber-window
Who hath, indeed, most like a liberal villain,
Confess’d the vile encounters they have had
A thousand times in secret.
John. : Fie, fie, they are not to be nam’d, my

Lord,
Not to be spoken of;
There is not chastity enough in language,
Without offence, tó utter them : thus, pretty lady,
I am sorry for thy much misgovernment.

Claud. O Hero! what a Hero hadft thou been,
If half .thy outward graces had been plac'd
About the thoughts and counsels of thy heart?
But fare thee well, moft foul, most fair! farewel,
Thou pure impiety, and impious purity.!
For thee I'll lock

up
all the

gates

of love, And on my eyelids fhall Conjecture hang, To turn all beauty into thoughts of harmi, And never shall it more be gracious.

Leon. Hath no man's dagger here a point for me? Beat. Why, how now, Cousin, wherefore sink you

down? John. Come, let us go; these things, come thus to

light, Smother her spirits up.

[Exe. D. Pedro, D. Jokin and Claud. Bene. How doth the lady ? C 5

Beat.

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 wilh'd for.

Beat. How now, cousin Hero?
Friar. Have comfort, Lady.
Leon. Dost 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 wouldst not quickly die,
Thought I, thy spirits were stronger than thy shames,
My self 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 frame ?
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 it self from unknown loins :
But mine, and mine I lov'd, and mine I prais’d,
And mine that I was proud on, mine so much,
That I my self was to my self not mine,
Valuing of her ; why, the, O, she is fall's
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 so 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; altho' until last night
I have this twelvemonth been her bedfellow,

Leon,

Leon, Confirm'd, confirm'd! O, That is stronger

made,
Which was before barr'd up with ribs of iron.
Would the two Princes lie ? and Claudio lie ?
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,
Trust not my reading, nor my observations,
Which with experimental seal do warrant
The tenour of my book; trust not my age,
My reverence, calling, nor divinity,
If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here
Under some 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,
Let all my fins lack mercy! O my father,
Prove you

that

any man with me convers'd
At hours unmeet, or that I yesternight
Maintain'd the change of words with any creature,
Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death.

Friar. There is some strange misprision in the Princes.

Bene. Two of them have the very bent of honour, And if their wisdoms be mis-led in this,

The

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 proudest 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,
Nor my 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 throughly.

Friar. Pause a while,
And let

my counsel sway you in this case.
Your daughter here the Princes left for dead; (14)
Let her awhile 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 Thall become of this ? what will this do?
Friar: Marry, this, well carry'd, shall on her behalf
Change slander 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 fails out,

(14) Tour Daughter here the Princess (life for dead)] But how comes Hero to tart up a Princess here? We have no Intimation of her Father being a Frincez, and this is the firft and only. Time that she is complimented with this Dignity. The Remotion of a fingle Letter, and of the Parenı hesis, will bring her to her own Rank, and the Place to its true Meaning.

Tour Daughter here the Princes left for dead; i, e, Don Pedro, Prince of Arragon; and his Baftard Brother who is likewise call's a Prince.

That

That what we have we prize not to the worth,
Whiles we enjoy it; but being lack'd and lot,
Why, then we rack the value ; then we fird
The virtue that possession would not fhew us
Whilst it was ours; so will it fare with Claudio ::
When he shall hear the 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 apparei'd 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 fuppofition of the lady's death
Will quench the wonder of her infamy.
And, if it fort not well, you may conceal her,
As beft 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 fow in grief,
The smallest twine

may
Friar. 'Tis well consented, presently away ;

For to strange fores, ftrangely they strain the cure,
Come, lady, die to live; this wedding day,
Perhaps, is but prolong’d: have patience and en-
dure,

[Exeunt.

lead me.

Manent

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