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great praise; only this commendation I can afford her, that were she other than she is, she were unhandsome; and being no other but as she is, I do not like her.
Claud. Thou think'st, I am in sport; I pray thee, tell me truly how thou lik’st her.
Bene. Would you buy her, that you enquire after her?
Bene. Yea, and a case to put it into; but fpeak you this with a fad brow? or do you play the flouting Jack, to tell us Cupid is a good hare-finder, and Vulcan a rare carpenter? come, in what key shall a man take you to go in the song ?
Claud. In mine eye, he is the sweetest lady that I ever look'd on.
Bene. I can see yet without spectacles, and I see no such matter; there's her Cousin, if she were not possest with such a Fury, exceeds her as much in beauty, as the first of May doth the last of December : but i hope, you have no intent to turn husband, have you?
Claud. I would scarce truft myself, tho' I had sworn the contrary, if Hero would be
wife. Bene. Is't come to this, in faith? hath not the world one man, but he will wear his cap with suspicion ? shall I never see a bachelor of threescore again ? go to, i' faith, if thou wilt needs thruit thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it, and figh away Sundays : look, Don Pedro is return'd to seek
you. Re-enter Don Pedro and Don John. Pedro. What secret hath held you here, that you fol. low'd not to Leonato's house ?
Bene. I would, your Grace would constrain me to tell. Pedro. I charge thee on thy allegiance.
Bene. You hear, Count Claudio, I can be secret as a dumb man, I would have you think so; but on my allegiance, mark you this, on my allegiance :- he is in love : with whom? now that is your Grace's part: mark, how short his answer is, with Hero, Leonato's Short daughter.
Claud. If this were fo, fo were it uttered.
Bene. Like the old tale, my lord, it is not fo, nor 'twas not so; but, indeed, God forbid it should be fo.
Claud. If my passion change not shortly, God forbid it should be otherwise.
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 speak mine.
Claud. That I love her, I feel,
Bene. That I neither feel how she should be loved, nor know how the should be worthy, is the opinion that. fire cannot melt out of me; I will die in it at the stake.
Pedro. Thou wast ever an obstinate heretick in the de!pight 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 moft humble thanks : but that I will have a recheate 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.
Pedro. I shall see thee,'ere I die, look pale with love.
Bene. With anger, with fickness, 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 brothel-house for the Sign of blind Cupid.
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 hits me, let him be clapt on the shoulder, and call'd Adam. (3)
Pedro. Well, as time thall try; in time the savage bull doth bear the yoke.
Bene. The savage bull may, but if ever the fensible Benediek, bear it, pluck off the bull's-horns, and jet 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 fign, Here you may see Benedick the marry'd man.
Claud. If this should ever happen, thou would'st be horn-mad.
(3) And be that bits me, let bim be clapd on tbe foulder, and call's Adam.] But why should he therefore be call'd Adam? Perhaps, by a quotation or two we may be able to trace the poet's allufion here. In Law-Tr:cks, or, Wło wouli bave thought it, (a Comedy written by Zobn Day, and printed in 1608) I find this speech.
I have keard, Old dam w..san bere min, and a good Gardiner ; lov'd Letice well, Salads and Cabage reasoñuble well, yet no Tobacco; Again, Adam Bull, a substantial Outlaw, and a paling good Archer, ye! no Tob.ccouift. By this it appears, that Ad.m Bell at that time of day was of
repu. tation for his skill at the bow. I find him again mention’d in a burlesque poem of Sir Wiliam Davenuni's, call’d, The lorg Vacation in London.
Now lean Attorney that his cheese
Sol se:s, for fear they'll shoct at him. By the pafiage, which I have above quoted foam Law-Tricks, 'tis plain, Sir William's editor has taltely ponted ihe laft line but one; we must correct it thus;
Like ghosts of Adar Bill, and Cl, mme; "Tis this wight, no doubt, whom our author here alludes to: and had I the convenience of consulting Ajibam's Toxopbilns, I might probably grow better acquainted with bis history.
Pedro. Nay, if Cupid hath not spent all his quiver in Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly.
Bene. I look for an earthquake too then.
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
Pedro. The fixth of July, your loving friend, Benedick.
Bene. Nay, mock not, mock not; the body of your discourse is sometime guarded with fragments, a d the guards are but slightly basted on neither: ere you
frut old ends any further, examine your conscience, and 10 I leave you.
[Exit. Claud. My liege, your Highness now may do me good.
Pedro. My love is thine to teach, teach it but how,
Claud. Hath Leonato ary lon, my lord ?
Pedro. No child but Ilero, she's his only heir :
Claud. O my lord,
Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover presently,
Claud. How sweetly do you minister to love,
Pedro. What need the bridge much broader than the The faireit grant is the necessity;
[flood Look, what will serve, is fit; 'tis once, thou lov'it; And I will fit thee with the remedy. I know, we shall have revelling to night; I will assume thy part in some diguise, 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, the shall be thine ; In practice let us put it presently.
[Exeunt Re-enter Leonato and Antonio. Leon. How now, brother, where is my Cousin your fon? hath he provided this musick ?
Ant. He is very busy about it; but, brother, I can tell you news that
you yet dream'd not of. Leon. Are they good?
Ant. As the event itamps 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 overheard by a man of mine : The Prince discover'd to Claudio, that he lov'd 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
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 answer, if peradventure this be true ; go you and tell her of it: