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Friar. Lady, you come hither to be marry'd to this Count?
Hero. I do.
Friar. If either of you know any inward impediment why you should not be conjoin'd, I charge you on your souls to utter it.
Claud. Know you any, Hero?
Hero. None, my Lord.
Friar. Know you any, Count?
Leon. I dare make his answer, none.
Claud. O what men dare do! what men may do! what men daily do! not knowing what they do!
Bene. How now! Interjections? why, then some be of laughing, as ha, ha, he!
Claud. Stand thee by, friar: father, by your leave;
Will you with free and unconstrained soul
Give me this maid your daughter?
Leon. As freely, son, as God did give her me.
Claud. And what have I to give you back, whose
May counterpoise this rich and precious gift?
Pedro. Nothing, unless you render her again.
Claud. Sweet Prince, you learn me noble thankful-
There, Leonato, take her back again;
Give not this rotten orange to your friend.
She's but the sign and semblance of her honour:
Behold, how like a maid she blushes here!
O, what authority and shew of truth
Can cunning fin cover it self withal!
Comes not that blood, as modest evidence,
To witness simple virtue? would you not swear,
All you that see her, that she were a maid,
By these exterior shews ? but the is none:
She knows the heat of a luxurious bed;
Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty.
Leon. What do you mean, my Lord?
Claud. Not to be marry'd,
Not knit my soul to an approved Wanton.
Leon. Dear my Lord, if you in your own approof (16)
Have vanquish'd the resistance of her youth,
And made defeat of her virginity-
Claud. I know what you would say: if I have known
You'll say, she did embrace me as a husband,
And so extenuate the forehand fin.
I never tempted her with word too large;
But, as a brother to his fifter, shewd
Bashful sincerity, and comely love.
Hero. And seem'd I ever otherwise to you?
Claud. Out on thy, Sceming! I will write against it; You seem to me as Dian in her orb, As chaste as is the bud ere. it be blown: But you are more intemperate in your blood Than Venus, or those pamper'd animals That
rage in savage sensuality. Hero. Is my Lord well, that he doth speak so wide? Leon. Sweet Prince, why speak not you?
Pedro. What should I speak?
I stand dishonour'd, that have gone about
To link my dear friend to a common Scale.
Leon. Are these things spoken, or do I but dream?
John. Sir, they are spoken, and these things are true.
Bene. This looks not like a Nuptial. ,
Hero. True! O God!
Claud. Leonato, stand I here?
Is this the Prince? Is this the Prince's Brother?
Is this face Hero's? are our eyes our own?
(16) Dear 'my Lord, if you in your own Proof,] I am surpriz'd, the Poetical Editors did not observe the Lameness of this Verse. It evi. dently wants a Syllable in the last Foot, which I have restor’d by a Word, which, I presume, the first Editors might hesitate at; tho it is a very proper one, and a Word elsewhere used by our Author.' Antb. and Cleop.
Sifter, prove fucb a Wife
As my Thoughts make thee, and my farthest Band
Shall pass on thy Approof.
Besides, in the Passage under Examination, this Word comes in almost
necessarily, as Claudio had said in the Line immediately preceding;
Not knit, my Soul to an approved Wanton.
Leon. All this is so; but what of this, my lord? Claud. Let me but move one queftion to your
daughter, And by that fatherly and kindly power That you have in her, bid her answer truly.
Leon. I charge thee do so, as thou art my child.
Hero. O God defend me, how am I beset! What kind of catechizing call you this?
Claud. To make you answer truly to your name: .
Hero. Is it not Hero? who can blot that name
With any, just reproach?
· Claud. Marrý, that can Hero ;
Hero her felf can blot out Hero's virtue.
What man was he talk'a 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 nó man at that hour, my Lord.
Pedro. Why, then you are no maiden. Leonato,
I am sorry, you must hear; upon mine Honour,
My self, 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 thoufand times in fecret.
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, to urter them: thus, pretty lady,
I am sorry for thy much misgovernment.
Claud. O Hero! what a Hero hadst thou been, If half 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 ['ll lock up all the gates of love, And on my eyelids fall 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?
Beat. Why, how now, Cousin, wherefore link you
John. Come, let us go; these things come thus to
Smother her spirits up.
[Exe. D. Pedro, D. John and Claud, 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 withd 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 wouldit not quickly die,
Thought I, thy spirits were stronger than thy Thames,
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 faid, 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,
Thaç I my self was to my self not mine,
Valuing of her; why, she,—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
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. 0, 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. Confirm’d, confirm'd! O, That is stronger
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 doth warrant
The tenour of my book; truft 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 fin of perjury; she not denies it :
Why seek'st thou then to cover with excuse
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,