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URS. Come, come; do you think I do not know you by your excellent wit?

Can virtue hide itself? Go to, mum, you are he: graces will appear, and

there's an end. Beat. Will you not tell me who told you so ? BENE. No, you shall pardon me. Beat. Nor will you not tell me who you are ? BENE. Not now. Beat. That I was disdainful,—and that I had my good wit out of the Hundred

merry Tales;' 1o_Well, this was signior Benedick that said so. BENE. What's he? BEAT. I am sure you know him well enough. BENE. Not I, believe me. Beat. Did he never make you laugh ? BENE. I pray you, what is he? Bear. Why, he is the prince's jester: a very dull fool; only his gift is in devis

ing impossible slanders a: pone but libertines delight in him; and the commendation is not in his wit but in his villainy; for he both pleaseth men and angers them, and then they laugh at him and beat him: I am sure he is in

the fleet; I would he had boarded 6 me. BENE. When I know the gentleman, I 'll tell him what you say. Beat. Do, do: he 'll but break a comparison or two on me; which, peradven

ture, not marked, or not laughed at, strikes him into melancholy ; and then there's a partridge' wing saved, for the fool will eat no supper that night.

[Music within.] We must follow the leaders. BENE. In every good thing. Beat. Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at the next turning.

[Dance. Then exeunt all but Don John, BO RACHIO, and Claudio. D. John. Sure, my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath withdrawn her father

to break with him about it: The ladies follow her, and but one visor re

mains. Bora. And that is Claudio : I know him by his bearing. D. John. Are not you signior Benedick ? CLAUD. You know me well; I am he. D. Joan. Signior, you are very near my brother in his love: he is enamoured

on Hero ; I pray you dissuade him from her, she is no equal for his birth :

you may do the part of an honest man in it. Claud. How know you he loves her? D. John. I heard him swear his affection. BORA. So did I too; and he swore he would marry her to-night. D. John. Come, let us to the banquet. [Exeunt Don John and BORACHIO. CLAUD. Thus answer I in name of Benedick,


* In a subsequent passage of this scene we have “ impossible conveyance." The commentators make difficulties of both these passages, and would change the adjective to impassable or importable. This is, indeed, to “ speak by the card."


But hear these ill news with the ears of Claudio.
"T is certain so ;—the prince woos for himself.
Friendship is constant in all other things,
Save in the office and affairs of love:
Therefore, all hearts in love use their own tongues ;
Let every eye negotiate for itself,
And trust no agent: for beauty is a witch,
Against whose charms faith melteth into blood.
This is an accident of hourly proof,
Which I mistrusted not: Farewell, therefore, Hero!

Re-enter BENEDICK.
BENE. Count Claudio ?
CLAUD. Yea, the same.
BENE. Come, will you go with me?
CLAUD. Whither?
Bene. Even to the next willow, about your own business, count a. What fashion

will you wear the garland of ? About your neck, like an usurer's chain 6? or under your arm, like a lieutenant's scarf ? You must wear it one way, for

the prince hath got your Hero. CLAUD. I wish him joy of her. BENE. Why, that 's spoken like an honest drover; so they sell bullocks. But

did you think the prince would have served you thus? CLAUD. I pray you, leave me. BENE. Ho! now you strike like the blind man; 't was the boy that stole your

meat and you 'll beat the post. CLAUD. If it will not be, I 'll leave you.

[Exit. BENE. Alas! poor hurt fowl! Now will he creep into sedges. But that my lady

Beatrice should know me, and not know me! The prince's fool !—Ha, it may be I go under that title, because I am merry.—Yea; but so ; I am apt to do myself wrong: I am not so reputed: it is the base though bittere disposition of Beatrice, that puts the world into her person, and so gives me out. Well, I 'll be revenged as I may.

Re-enter Don PEDRO. D. PEDRO. Now, signior, where's the count; Did you see him? Bene. Troth, my lord, I have played the part of lady Fame. I found him here

as melancholy as a lodge in a warren d; I told him, and I think told e him Count. The quarto has the more ancient and more poetical county.

• An usurer's chain-the ornament of a wealthy citizen or goldsmith. The Jews were not in Shakspere's time the only class who took use for money.

Base though bitter. So the old copies. But the phrase has been changed into “the base, the bitter." Benedick means to say that the disposition of Beatrice, which pretends to speak the opinion of the world, is a grovelling disposition, although it is sharp and satirical.

• It has been supposed that this image of solitariness was suggested by the “lodge in a garden of cucumbers" of the Hebrew prophet. Shakspere has another picture of loneliness-—" at the moated grange resides this dejected Mariana.”—Measure for Measure,' Act III., Scene 1.)

• In the quarto, I told him.


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true, that your grace had got the will a of this young lady; and I offered him my company to a willow tree, either to make him a garland, as being forsaken,

or to bind him b a rod, as being worthy to be whipped. D. PEDRO. To be whipped! What's his fault? Bere. The flat transgression of a schoolboy; who being overjoyed with finding

a bird's nest shows it his companion, and he steals it. D. PEDRO. Wilt thou make a trust a transgression? The transgression is in

the stealer. BENE. Yet it had not been amiss the rod had been made, and the garland too;

for the garland he might have worn himself; and the rod he might have

bestowed on you, who, as I take it, have stolen his bird's nest. D. PEDRO. I will but teach them to sing, and restore them to the owner. BENE. If their singing answer your saying, by my faith, you say honestly. D. Pedro. The lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you; the gentleman that danced

with her told her she is much wronged by you. BENE. O, she misused me past the endurance of a block: an oak, but with one

green leaf on it, would have answered her; my very visor began to assume life and scold with her: She told me, not thinking I had been myself, that I was the prince's jester, and that I was duller than a great thaw; huddling jest upon jest, with such impossible conveyance upon me, that: I stood like a man at a mark, with a whole army shooting at me : She speaks poniards, and every word stabs : if her breath were as terrible as her terminations, there were no living near her; she would infect to the north star. I would not marry her though she were endowed with all that Adam had left him before he transgressed : she would have made Hercules have turned spit; yea, and have cleft his club to make the fire too. Come, talk not of her: you shall find her the infernal Até in good apparel. I would to God some scholar would conjure her; for, certainly, while she is here, a man may live as quiet in hell as in a sanctuary; and people sin upon purpose because they would go thither; so, indeed, all disquiet, horror, and perturbation follow her.

Re-enter CLAUDIO, BEATRICE, LEONATO, and HERO. D. PEDRO. Look, here she comes. BENE. Will your grace command me any service to the world's end? I will go

on the slightest errand now to the antipodes, that you can devise to send me on; I will fetch you a toothpicker now from the farthest inch of Asia; bring you the length of Prester John's foot"; fetch you a hair off the great Cham's beard ; do you any embassage to the Pigmies,-rather than hold three words:

conference with this barpy: You have no employment for me? D. PEDRO. None, but to desire your good company. BENE. O God, sir, here's a dish I love not; I cannot endure my lady Tongue.

[Exit. * In the quarto, good will.

• In the quarto, bind him up. • The quarto omits and.

à My, in the quarto. The folio has this.

D. PEDRO. Come, lady, come; you have lost the heart of signior Benedick. Beat. Indeed, my lord, he lent it me a while; and I gave him use for it-a

double heart for a single one: marry, once before he won it of me with false

dice, therefore your grace may well say I have lost it. D. PEDRO. You have put him down, lady, you have


him down. BEAT. So I would not he should do me, my lord, lest I should prove the mother

of fools. I have brought count Claudio, whom you sent me to seek. D. PEDRO. Why, how now, count? wherefore are you sad ? CLAUD. Not sad, my lord. D. PEDRO. How then ? Sick ? CLAUD. Neither, my lord. Beat. The count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor well : but civil, count;

civil as an orange, and something of that a jealous complexion. D. PEDRO. I' faith, lady, I think your blazon to be true; though I 'll be sworn,

if he be so, his conceit is false. Here, Claudio, I have wooed in thy name, and fair Hero is won; I have broke with her father, and his good will

obtained : name the day of marriage, and God give thee joy ! Leon. Count, take of me my daughter, and with her my fortunes; his grace

hath made the match, and all grace say Amen to it ! BEAT. Speak, count, 't is your cue. CLAUD. Silence is the perfectest herald of joy: I were but little happy if I

could say how much. Lady, as you are mine, I am yours : I give away

myself for you, and dote upon the exchange. BEAT. Speak, cousin ; or, if you cannot, stop his mouth with a kiss, and let not

him speak neither. D. PEDRO. In faith, lady, you have a merry heart. Beat. Yea, my lord, I thank it; poor fool, it keeps on the windy side of care :

-My cousin tells him in his ear that he is in her heart. CLAUD. And so she doth, cousin. Beat. Good lord, for alliance !—Thus goes every one to the world but I, and I

am sunburned b; I may sit in a corner, and cry, heigh-ho! for a husband. D. PEDRO. Lady Beatrice, I will get you one. Beat. I would rather have one of your father's getting : Hath your grace ne'er

a brother like you? Your father got excellent husbands, if a maid could

come by them. D. PEDRO. Will you have me, lady? Beat. No, my lord, unless I might have another for working-days; your grace

is too costly to wear every day: But, I beseech your grace, pardon me; I

was born to speak all mirth, and no matter. D. Pedro. Your silence most offends me, and to be merry best becomes you ;

for, out of question, you were born in a merry hour. * That, in the quarto. The folio, a.

Shakspere, in 'All 's Well that Ends Well,' has used the phrase to go to the world in the sense of being married. We have a parallel use of sunburned in . Troilus and Cressida ::

“ The Grecian dames were sunburn'd, and not worth
The splinter of a lance."

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BEAT. No, sure, my lord, my mother cried; but then there was a star danced,

and under that I was born.—Cousins, God give you joy! Leon. Niece, will you look to those things I told you of ? BEAT. I cry you mercy, uncle. By your grace's pardon. [Exit BEATRICE. D. Pedro. By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady. Leon. There 's little of the melancholy element in her, my lord : she is never

sad, but when she sleeps; and not ever sad then: for I have heard my daughter say she hath often dreamt of unhappiness, and waked herself

with laughing. D. PEDRO. She cannot endure to hear tell of a husband. LEON. O, by no means; she mocks all her wooers out of suit. D. PEDRO. She were an excellent wife for Benedick. Leon. O Lord, my lord, if they were but a week married they would talk them

selves mad. D. PEDRO. Count Claudio, when mean you to go to church? Clauv. Tomorrow, my lord: Time goes on crutches till Love have all his

rites. Leon. Not till Monday, my dear son, which is hence a just seven-night; and a

time too brief too, to have all things answer mind a. D. PEDRO. Come, you shake the head at so long a breathing; but I warrant

thee, Claudio, the time shall not go dully by us; I will, in the interim, undertake one of Hercules' labours; which is, to bring signior Benedick and the lady Beatrice into a mountain of affection, the one with the other. I would fain have it a match; and I doubt not but to fashion it, if


three will but minister such assistance as I shall give you direction. Leon. My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten nights' watchings. CLAUD. And I, my lord. D. PEDRO. And you too, gentle Hero ? HERO. I will do any modest office, my lord, to help my cousin to a good

husband. D. PEDRO. And Benedick is not the unhopefullest husband that I know: thus

far can I praise him; he is of a noble strain , of approved valour, and confirmed honesty. I will teach you how to humour your cousin, that she fall in love with Benedick :--and I, with your two helps, will so practise on Benedick, that, in despite of his quick wit and his queasy stomach, he shall fall in love with Beatrice. If we can do this, Cupid is no longer an archer ; his glory shall be ours, for we are the only love-gods. Go in with me, and I will tell you my drift.


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