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SCENE I.-Before Leonato's House. Enter LEONATO, HERO, BEATRICE, and others, with a Messenger.

Leonato. 1 LEARN in this letter, that Don Pedro of Arragon comes this night to Messina.

Mess. He is very near by this ; he was not three leagues off when I left bim.

Leon. How many gentlemen have you lost in this action ?

Mess. But few of any sort, and none of name.

Leon. A victory is twice itself, when the achiever brings home full numbers. I find bere, that Don Pedro hath bestowed much honour on a young Florentine,

called Claudio.

Mess. Much deserved on his part, and equally remem• bered by Don Pedro : He hath borne himself beyond the

promise of his age ; doing, in the figure of a lamb, the feats of a lion : he hath, indeed, better bettered expectation, than you must expect of me to tell you how.

Leon. He hath an uncle here in Messina will be very much glad of it.

Mess. I have already delivered him letters, and there appears much joy in bim; even so much, that joy could not show itself modest enough, without a badge of bitterRess.

Leon. Did he break out into tears ? Mess. In great measure. (U This is judiciously expressed. Of all the transports of joy, that which is attended with tears is least ofensive; because, carrying with it this mark of pain, it allays the envy that weually attenis another's !appiness. This he finely calls a modest joy, such a one as dit not insult the observer by an indication of bappiness usmixed with pain. WARBURTON.

Leon. A kind overflow of kindness : There are no faces truer than those that are so washed. How much better is it to weep at joy, than to joy at weeping ?

Beat. I pray you, is signior Montanto returned from the wars, or no ?

Mess. I know none of that name, lady; there was none such in the army of any sort.

Leon. What is he that you ask for, niece ?
Hero. My cousin means signior Benedick of Padua.
Mess. O, he is returned ; and as pleasant as ever he was.

Beat. He set up bis bills here in Messina, and challenged Cupid at the flight: and my uncle's fool, reading the challenge, subscribed for Cupid, and challenged him at the bird-bolt. - pray you, how many hath he killed and eaten in these wars ? But how many bath he killed ? for, indeed, I promised to eat all of his killing.

Leon. Faith, niece, you tax signior Benedick too much; but he'll be meet with you, I doubt it not.

Mess. He hath done good service, lady, in these wars.

Beat. You had musty victual, and he bath holp to eat it: he is a very valiant trencher-man, he hath an excellent stomach.

Mess. And a good soldier too, lady.

Beat. And a good soldier to a lady ;-But what is he to a lord ?

Mess. A lord to a lord, a man to a man ; stuffed with all honourable virtues.'


(2] Montante, in Spanish, is a huge two-handed sword, a title given, with much humour. to one w bom the speaker would represent as a boaster or bravado.

WARBURTON Montanto was one of the ancient terms of the fencing-school. So, in The Wives of Pirulsor :

-thy reverse, thy distance, thy montant. STEEVENS [3] Flighl (as M. Douce observes to me) does not here mean an arrow, but a sort of shooting called roving, or shooting at long lengths The arrows used sport are called flight-arrows; as were those used in battle for great distances.

STEEVENS. [4] The bird-bolt is a short thick arrow without a point, and spreading at the ex tremity so much, as to leave a dat surface, about the breadth of a shilling Such are to this day in use to kill rooks witb, and are shot froin' a cross-how

STEEVEXS. The meaning of the whole is–Benedick, from a vain conceit of his influence over women, challenged Cupid at roving (a particular kind of archery, in which flightarrows are use) In other words, he challen er him to shoot at hearts. The fool, to ridjoule this piece of vanity, in his turn challenged Benedick to shoot at crows with the cross bow and bird-holt; an inferior kind of archery used by fools, aro. for obvious reason, were not permitted to shoot with pointed arrows: Whence tbe proverh--" A (ool's bolt is woon shot." DOUCE

[5] Stuffed, in the Grst instance, has no ridiculous meaning. r. Edwards observes, that liede, in his Discourses on Scripture, speaking of Adam, says, "-bs

Beat. It is so, indeed; he is no less than a stuffed man : but for the stuffing,–Well, we are all mortal.

Leon. You must not, sir, mistake my niece : there is a kind of merry war betwixt signior Benedick and her: they never meet, but there is a skirmish of wit between them.

Beat. Alas, he gets nothing by that. In our last conflict, four of his five witsó went halting off, and now is the whole man governed with one : so that if he have. wit enough to keep himself warm, let him bear it for a difference between himself and his horse ; for it is all the wealtb that he hath left, to be known a reasonable creature.-Who is his companion now ? He hath every month a new sworn brother."

Mess. Is it possible ?

Beat. Very easily possible : he wears his faith but as the fashion of his bat, it ever changes with the next block.

Mess. I see, lady, the gentleman is not in your books.

Beat. No: an he were, I would burn my study. But, I pray you, who is his companion ? Is there no young squarer now, that will make a voyage with him to the devil ?

Mess. He is most in the company of the right noble Claudio.

Beat. O lord! he will hang upon him like a disease : he is sooner caught than the pestilence, and the taker runs presently mad. God help the noble Claudio ! if he have caught the Benedick, it will cost him a thousand pound ere he be cured.

Mess. I will hold friends with you, lady.
Beat. Do, good friend.

whom God hart stuffed with so many excellent qualities.". Un homme bien etoffe, signides, in French, a man in good circumstances. STEEVENS.

(6) In our author's time rit was the general term for intellectual powers. The rits seem to have been reckoned five, by analogy to the five senses, or the five inlets to ideas. JOHNSON

(7) i. e. one with wbom he hath sworn (as was anciently the custom among adventurers) to share fortunes. STEEVENS.

(8] To be in a man's books, originally meant to be in the list of his retainets. Si John Mandeville tells us, “alle the mynstrelles that comen before the great Chao ben wit holden with him, as of his houshold, and entred in his bookes, as for bis Own men." FARMER.

A servant and a lover were in Cupid's Vocabulary, synonymous. Hence perhaps the phrase-to be in a person's books-was applied equally to the lover and the menial attendant. MALONE

(9) A squarer I take to be a choleric, quarrelsome fellow, for in this sepse Sbakespeare uses the word to square.


Leon. You will never run mad, niece.
Beat. No, not till a hot January.

Mess. Don Pedro is approached.
Enter Don Pedro, attended by BALTHAZAR and others, Don

John, Claudio, and BENEDICK. D. Pedro. Good signior Leonato, you are come to meet your trouble : the fashion of the world is to avoid cost, and you encounter it.

Leon. Never came trouble to my house in the likeness of your grace : for trouble being gone, comfort should remain ; but, when you depart from me, sorrow abides, and happiness takes his leave.

D. Pedro. You embrace your charge' too willingly. I think, this is your daughter.

Leon. Her mother hath many times told me so.
Bene. Were you in doubt, sir, that you asked her ?
Leon. Signior Benedick, no; for then were you a child.

D. Pedro. You have it full, Benedick: we may guess by this what you are, being a man. Truly, the lady fathers herself: -Be happy, lady! for you are like an bonourable father.

Bene. If signior Leonato be her father, she would not have bis head on her shoulders, for all Messina, as like him as she is.

Beat. I wonder, that you will still be talking, signior Benedick ; no body marks you.

Bene. What, my dear lady Disdain ! are you yet living ?

Beat. Is it possible, disdain should die, while she hath such meet food to feed it, as signior Benedick ? Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you come in ber presence.

Bene. Then is courtesy a turn-coat :-But it is cer: tain, I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted : and I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart; for, truly, I love none.

Beat. Ą dear happiness to women; they would else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor.

I thank God, and my cold blood, I am of your bumour for that; I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow, than a man swear he loves me.

(1) Charge does not mean, as Dr. Johnson explains it, burden, incumbrance, but " the person committed to your care." So it is used in the relationship between guardian and ward. DOUCE.

Bene. God keep your ladyship still in that mind! so some gentleman or other shall 'scape a predestinate scratched face.

Beat. Scratching could not make it worse, an 'twere such a face as yours were.

Bene. Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher.

Beat. A bird of my tongue, is better than a beast of yours.

Bene. I would my horse had the speed of your tongue; and so good a continuer : But keep your way, o'God's name; I have done.

Beat. You always end with a jade's trick; I know you of old.

D. Pedro. This is the sum of all : Leonato,-signior Claudio, and signior Benedick, my dear friend Leonato hath invited you all. I tell him, we shall stay here at the least a month ; and he heartily prays, some occasion may detain us longer: I dare swear he is no hypocrite, but prays from his heart.

Leon. If you swear, my lord, you shall not be forsworn.—Let me bid you welcome, my Lord: being reconciled to the prince your brother, I owe you all duty.

D. John. I thank you : I am not of many words, but I thank you."

Leon. Please it your grace lead on?
D. Pedro. Your hand, Leonato ; we will go together.

[Exeunt all but Benedick and Claudio. Claud. Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of signior Leonato ? Bene. I noted her not; but I looked on her. Claud. Is she not a modest young lady?

Bene. Do you question me, as an honest man should do, for my simple true judgment ? or would you have me speak after my custom, as being a professed tyrant to their sex?

Clau. No, I pray thee, speak in sober judgment.

Bene. Why, i'faith, methinks she is too low for a high praise, too brown for a fair praise, and too little for a great praise : only this commendation I can afford her ; that were she other than she is, she were unbandsome; and being no other but as she is, I do not like her.

(2) The poet has judiciously marked the gloominess of Doo John's character, by making bin averse to the common forms of civility. Sir J. HAWKINS.

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