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Bene. Like the old tale, my lord: it is not so, nor 'twas not so; but, indeed, God forbid it should be so '.
Claud. If my passion change not shortly, God forbid it should be otherwise.
D. Pedro. Amen, if you love her; for the lady is very well worthy.
Claud. You speak this to fetch me in, my lord.
Bene. And by my two faiths and troths, my lord, I spoke mine'.
Claud. That I love her, I feel.
Bene. That I neither feel how she should be loved, nor know how she should be worthy, is the opinion that fire cannot melt out of me: I will die in it at the stake.
D. Pedro. Thou wast ever an obstinate heretic in the despite of beauty.
Claud. And never could maintain his part, but in the force of his will.
Bene. That a woman conceived me, I thank her: that she brought me up, I likewise give her most humble thanks; but that I will have a recheat winded in my forehead', or hang my bugle in an invisible baldrick, all women shall pardon me. Because I will not do them the wrong to mistrust any, I will do myself the right to trust none; and the fine is, (for the which I may go the finer) I will live a bachelor.
D. Pedro. I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with love.
Bene. With anger, with sickness, or with hunger, my lord ; not with love: prove, that ever I lose more blood with love, than I will get again with drinking, pick out mine eyes with a ballad-maker's pen, and hang me up at the door of a brothelhouse for the sign of blind Cupid.
God forbid it should be so.] This alludes to an old tale, no doubt in print in Shakespeare's time, but now lost. Blakeway preserved the tradition of it. See Malone's Shakespeare, by Boswell, vii. 163, and Spenser's Fairy Queen, Book III. c. 11.
- I SPOKE mine.] This is the preferable reading of the 4to, 1600 : the folio bas, “I speak mine," but Benedick is referring to what he has already said. In the corr. fo. 1632, speak is altered to “spoke," and such, doubtless, was the practice of the stage.
? - a RECHEAT winded in my forehead,] “ Recheat" is a hunting term, a recall. Benedick of course means, that he will not wear a horn which any huntsman might blow. The “bugle in an invisible baldrick"contains a similar allusion,
D. Pedro. Well, if ever thou dost fall from this faith, thou wilt prove a notable argument.
Bene. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat, and shoot at me; and he that first hits me, let him be clapped on the shoulder, and called Adam.
D. Pedro. Well, as time shall try : « “In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke.”
Bene. The savage bull may, but if ever the sensible Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull's horns, and set them in my forehead ; and let me be vilely painted, and in such great letters as they write, “Here is good horse to hire,” let them signify under my sign,—“Here you may see Benedick, the married man.”
Claud. If this should ever happen, thou would'st be hornmad.
D. Pedro. Nay, if Cupid have not spent all his quiver in Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly.
Bene. I look for an earthquake too, then.
D. Pedro. Well, you will temporize with the hours. In the mean time, good signior Benedick, repair to Leonato's: commend me to him, and tell him, I will not fail him at supper; for, indeed, he hath made great preparation.
Bene. I have almost matter enough in me for such an embassage; and so I commit you
Claud. To the tuition of God: from my house, if I had it.
D. Pedro. The sixth of July: your loving friend, Benedick. Bene. Nay, mock not, mock not. The body of your dis
let him be clapped on the shoulder, and called Adam.] To shoot at a cat in a bottle was formerly a sport; and when Benedick says that he who first hits him is to be “ called Adam," the allusion may be to the outlaw Adam Bell : if so, it would have been more proper to call him William, for it was William of Cloudesley who, being a famous archer, cleft the apple on his son's head. Perhaps the meaning is only that the person who hit the bottle was to be called, by way of distinction, the first man, i.e. Adam. The word “first” is from the corr. fo. 1632 : the first who hit him, and not any man who might afterwards do so, was to be called Adam.
• In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke.] This line is quoted from A. ii. of “ The Spanish Tragedy," the earliest known edition of which (the second) was printed in 1599. Shakespeare does not give the line exactly as it stands in the original :
“In time the savage bull sustains the yoke.” Vide Dodsley's Old Plays, III. 118, last edit. Kyd, the author of “ The Spanish Tragedy,” borrowed it, and three other lines, from Watson's Sonnets, printed in or after 1582: they were entered at Stationers' Hall in March of that year. Ac. curacy in literary dates is always material.
course is sometime guarded with fragments", and the guards are but slightly basted on neither: ere you flout old ends any farther', examine your conscience, and so I leave you.
[Exit BENEDICK. Claud. My liege, your highness now may do me good.
D. Pedro. My love is thine to teach : teach it but how,
0! my lord,
D. Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover presently,
Claud. How sweetly do you minister to love,
flood ? The fairest ground is the necessity'.
GUARDED with fragments,] Clothes were of old said to be guarded, when they were ornamented with lace. Shakespeare and all the dramatists of his time frequently allude to such guards.
flout OLD ENDS any farther,] i.e. Old ends or conclusions of letters: it was very common formerly to finish a letter with the words used by Benedick, Claudio, and Don Pedro :-"And so I commit you to the tuition of God : From my house, the sixth of July, your loving friend,” &c.
? And thou shalt have her.] These, and the preceding words, “and with her father,” are only in the 4to, 1600. 8 The fairest Ground is the necessity.] Ground" is from the corr. fo. 1632 : VOL. II.
Look, what will serve is fit: 'tis once, thou lovest",
A Room in LEONATO's House.
Enter LEONATO 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 strange news' that you yet dreamt 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 alley' in my orchard, were thus much overheard' by a man of mine : the prince discovered to Claudio 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
the old editions have grant, but Don Pedro was referring to the ground of the sudden love of Claudio for Hero. Grant was misheard for “ground.”
'tis ONCE, thou lovest,] A common expression not always meaning once for all, as some bave explained it, but sometimes at once.
1- I can tell you STRANGE news] The folio of 1623 omits “ strange," which is found in the 4to, 1600.
thick-PLEAched alley] i. e. Thickly interwoven.
be the better prepared for an answer, if peradventure this be true. Go you, and tell her of it. [Several persons cross the stage.] Cousins, you know what you have to do :-0, I cry you mercy, friend; go you with me, and I will use your skill. --Good cousin, have a care this busy time. [Exeunt.
Another Room in LEONATO's House.
Enter John and CONRADE. Con. What the good year', my lord! why are you thus out of measure sad ?
John. There is no measure in the occasion that breeds it', therefore the sadness is without limit.
Con. You should hear reason.
John. I wonder, that thou being (as thou say'st thou art) born under Saturn, goest about to apply a moral medicine to a mortifying mischief. I cannot hide what I am : I 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 claw no man in his humour.
Con. Yea; but you must not make the full show of this, 'till
you may do it without controlment. You have 'till 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.
· Cousins, you know what you have to do.] Leonato addresses his dependants, (poor relations retained in his family) who were assisting in making preparations for the masquerade.
s What the good year, my lord!] An exclamation found (as Blakeway ob. serves) in Roper's Life of Sir T. More, “ What the good year, Mr. More !"
6 – in the occasion that breeds it,] The pronoun “it” is not in the old copies, but it is inserted in MS. in the corr. fo. 1632, and is certainly necessary. Modern editors have been in the habit of inserting “it," but without warrant, and without notice. 7
AT LEAST] The folio reads yet. * You have Ärill of late] “ 'Till ” is from the corr. fo. 1632, and is clearly required by the sense.
- TRUE root,] True is omitted in the folio, 1623.