Page images

Claud. O my lord,
When you went onward on this ended action,
I look'd upon her with a soldier's eye,
That lik'd, but had a rougher task in hand
Than to drive liking to the name of love:
But now I am return'd, and that war-thoughts
Have left their places vacant, in their rooms
Come thronging soft and delicate desires,
All prompting me how fair young Hero is,
Saying, I lik'd her ere I went to wars—-

D. Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover presently,
And tire the hearer with a book of words:
If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it,
And I will break with her, and with her father,
And thou shalt have her." was't not to this end,
That thou hegan'st to twist so fine a story?

Claud. How sweetly do you minister to love.

a And with her father,

And thou shalt have her:]

These words are omitted in the folio, 1G23.

The fairest grant is the necessity :] Mr. Hayley proposed to

I That know love's grief by his complexion!
I But lest my liking might too sudden seem,

I would have salv'd it with a longer treatise.
D. Pedro. What need the bridge much broader
than the flood?

The fairest grant is the necessity :b

Look, what will serve, is fit:'t is once,'' thou lovst:

And I will fit thee with the remedy.

I know, we shall have revelling to-night;

I will assume thy part in some disguise,

And tell fair Hero I am Claudio;

And in her bosom I'll unclasp my heart.

And take her hearing prisoner with the force

And strong encounter of my amorous tale:

Then, after, to her father will I break.

And, the conclusion is, she shall be thine:

In practice let us put it presently. [Ejvvsi.

read "The fairest grant is to necessity, that h, nmmltmi fmmd cogit defendU" but surely the sense is clear enough—the he* hrmn is that which answers the necessities of the case: or. as Dae Pedro pithily explains it, "what will serve, is tit." e 'Tis once,—J See note (a), p. 128.

SCENE II.—.4 Room in Leonato'* House. Enter Lkoxato and Antonio.*

Leon. How now, brother? where is my cousin, your son? hath he provided this music?

Ant. He is very busy about it. But, brother, I can tell you news that you yet dreamed not of.

Leon. Are they good?

Ant. As the event* stamps them ; but they have a good cover, they show well outward. The prince and count Claudio, walking in a thick-pleached alleyb in my orchard, were thus muchf overheard by a man of mine. The prince discovered to ('laudio, that he loved my niece your daughter, and meant to acknowledge it this night in a dance; and, if he found her accordant, he meant to take the present time by the top, and instantly break with you of it.

Leon. Hath the fellow any wit, that told you this?

Ant. A good sharp fellow: I will send for him, and question him yourself.

Leon. No, no; we will hold it as a dream, till it appear itself:—-but I will acquaint my daughter withal, that she may be the better prepared for an answer, if peradventure this be true. Go you, and toll her of it. [Several persons cross the stage.] Cousins, you know what you have to do.—O, I cry you mercy, friend: go you with me, and I will use your .--kill.—Good cousins,}: have a care this busy time. [Exeunt.

SCENE III.—Another Room in Leonato'* House. Enter Don John and Conrade."

Con. What the good year, my lord! why are you thus out of measure sad?

D. John. There is no measure in the occasion that breeds, therefore the sadness is without limit.

Con. You should hear reason.

D. John. And when I have heard it, what blessing bringcth it?

Con. If not a present remedy, yet a patient sufferance.

D. John. I wonder that thou, being (as thou

(") Old text, emit. (t) First folio omits, much.

(J) Old copies, cot/sin.

» Enter Leonato and Antonio.] In the old copies, "Enter Leonato and an old man, brother to Leonato."

o Thick-pleached alley—] A thickly intertwined avenue.

c Enter Don John and Conrade.] The original statue-direction is, "Enter Sir John the Bastard, and Conrade, his companion.'1

a And claw no man—] To claw ox scratch, is, metaphorically, to fatter:

• What is he for a fool—] This construction, though no longer

say'st thou art) born under Saturn, gorst about to apply a moral medicine to a mortifying mischief. I cannot hide what I am: 1 must be sad when I have cause, and smile at no man's jests; eat when I have stomach, and wait for no man's leisure; sleep when I am drowsy, and tend on no man's business; laugh when I am merry, and claw11 no man in his humour.

Con. Yea, but you must not make the full show of this, till you may do it without controhnent. You have of late stood out against your brother, and he hath ta'en you newly into his grace; where it is impossible you should take true* root, but by the fair weather that you make yourself: it is needful that you frame the season for your own harvest.

D. John. I had rather be a canker in a hedge, than a rose in his grace; and it better fits my blood to be disdained of all, than to fashion a carnage to rob love from any: in this, though I cannot be said to be a flattering honest man, it must not be denied but I am a plain-dealing villain. I am trusted with a muzzle, and enfranchised with a clog; therefore 1 have decreed not to sing in my cage: if I had my mouth, I would bite; if I had my liberty, I would do my liking: in the meantime, let me be that I am, and seek not to alter me.

Con. Can you make no use of your discontent?

1). John. It make all use of it. for I use it only. Who comes hero? what news. Horachio?


Bora. I came yonder from a great supper: the prince, your brother, is royally entertained by Iax>nato; and I can give you intelligence of an intended marriage.

D. John. Will it serve for any model to build mischief on? What is he for a fool' that bctroths himself to unquictness?

Bora. Marry, it is your brother's right hand.

D.john. Who? the most exquisite Claudio?

Bora. Even he.

D. John. A proper squire! And who, and who? which way looks he?

Bora. Marry, on Hero, the daughter and heir of Leonato.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][graphic]
[graphic][merged small][merged small]

Enter Leoxato, Antonio, Hero, Beatrice, and others.*

Leon. Was not count John here at supper?

Ant. I saw him not.

Beat. How tartly that gentleman looks! I never can see him, but I am heart-burned an hour after.

Heho. He is of a very melancholy disposition.

Beat. He were an excellent man, that were made just in the mid-way between him and Bene

» Enter Leonato, &e.) The original copies again Introduce Leunato's wife here.

dick: the one is too like an image, and says nothing; and the other, too like my lady's eldest son, evermore tattling.

Leon. Then half signior Benedick's tongue in count John's mouth, and half count John's melancholy in signior Benedick's face,—

Beat. With a good leg, and a good foot, uncle, and money enough in his purse, such a man would win any woman in the world,—if he could get her good will.

Leon. By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee a husband, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.

Ant. In faith, she's too curst.

Beat. Too curst is more than curst: I shall lessen God's sending that way, for it is said, God sends a curst cow short horns; but to a cow too curst he sends none.

Leon. So, by being too curst, God will send you no horns.

Beat. Just, if he send me no husband; for the which blessing, I am at him upon my knees every morning and evening: Lord! I could not endure a husband with a beard on his face; I had rather lie in the woollen.

Leon. You may light upon a husband that hath no beard.

Beat. What should I do with him? dress him in my apparel, and make him my waiting-gentlewoman? He that hath a beard is more than a youth; and he that hath no beard is less than a man: and he that is more than a youth, is not for me; and he that is less than a man, I am not for him. Therefore I will even take sixpence in earnest of the bear-ward, and lead his apes into hell.

Leon. Well then, go you into hell?

Beat. No; but to the gate; and there will the devil meet me, like an old cuckold, with horns on his head, and say, Get you to heaven, Beatrice, get you to heaven; here's no place for you maids: 'so deliver I up my apes, and away to Saint Peter ; for the heavens ! * he shows me where the bachelors sit, and there live we as merry as the day is long.

Ant. Well, niece, [To Hero.] I trust you will be ruled by your father.

Beat. Yes, faith; it is my cousin's duty to make courtesy, and say, Father,* as it please you:—but yet for all that, cousin, let him be a handsome fellow, or else make another courtesy, and say, Father, as it pie ise me.

Leon. Well, niece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband.

Beat. Not till God make men of some other metal than earth. Would it not grieve a woman to be over-mastered with a piece of valiant dust? to make account of her life to a clod of wayward marl? No, uncle, I 'll none: Adam's sons are my brethren; and truly, I hold it a sin to match in my kindred.

(*) First folio omits, Father.

a For the heavens 11 This adjuration, which Gifford says is no more than 6// heaven! has before occurred in "The Merchant of Venice." See note (d), p. 401.

b Too important,—] That is importunate. See note (e), p. 14?.

C. There is measure in ecery thing.—] That is, moderation in every thing; but Beatrice plays on the word measure, which, in addition to its ordinary acceptation, once signified, any kind of dance. See (2), p. 103.

d A measure,—] A measure here means, a particular dance, sli wand dignified, like the minuet. See not ■ (2), p. 103.

"Enter Don Pedro, Me.) The stage-direction in the quarto is, "Enter Prince, Pedro, Claudio, and Benrdicke,and Ballhascr, or dumb John." The folio adds, " Maskers with a drum."

f Your friend.'] Friend, in former times, was the ordinary term, applicable to both sexes, for lover.

t Within the house is Jove.] The folio has lore, which is

Leon. Daughter, remember what I told you: if the prince do solicit you in that kind, you know your answer.

Beat. The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you be not wooed in good time: if the prince be too important,b tell him there is measure11 in every thing, and so dance out the answer. For hear me, Hero; wooing, wedding, and repenting, is as a Scotch jig, a measure,"1 and a cinque-pace : the first suit is hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as fantastical: the wedding, mannerly-modest, as a measure, full of state and ancientry; and then comes repentance, and, with his bad legs, falls into the cinque-pace faster and faster, till he sink" into his grave.

Leon. Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly.

Beat. I have a good eye, uncle; I can see two church by day-light.

Leon. The revellers are entering, brother; make good room.

Enter Don Pedro, Don John, Clat-dic-, BeneDick, Balthazar; Borachio, Margaret, Ursula, and others, masked.'

D. Pedro. Lady, will you walkabout with your friend ?f

Hero. So you walk softly, and look sweetly, and say nothing, I am yours for the walk: and, especially, when I walk away.

D. Pedro. With me in your company?

Here, I may say so, when I please.

D. Pedro. And when please you to say so?

Hero. When I like your favour; for God defend, the lute should be like the case!

D. Pedro. My visor is Philemon's roof; within the house is Jove.*

Hero. Why then your visor should be thatched.

D. Pedro. Speak low, if you speak love.

[Takes her aside.

Balth. Well, I would you did like me.''

Marg. So would not I, for your own sake; for I have many ill qualities.

Balth. Which is one?

P) First folio, sinks.

plainly wrong, as Shakespeare, in this reference to the story of Baucis and Philemon, obviously intended to form a couplet in the long fourteen-syllable verse of Golding's Ovid:—

"D. Pedro. My visor is Philemon's roof; within the house is Jove.

"Here, Why then your visor should be thatched.

"D. Pedro. Speak low, if you speak lore."

h Well, I would you did like me.) It can hardly be doubted that this and the next two speeches, assigned to Benedick in the old editions, belong rightly to Balthazar. As Mr. Dyce remarks. "Benedick is now engaged with Beatrice, as is evident from what they presently say." The error probably arose like a similar one in "Love's Labour's Lost," Act II. Sc. 1. See note (b), p. 62.— from each of the two prefixes beginning with the same letter.

« PreviousContinue »