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Bora. Being entertain’d for a perfumer, as I was smoking a musty room, comes me the Prince and Claudio hand in hand in sad conference. I whipt behind the arras, and there heard it agreed upon, that the Prince should woo Hero for himself; and having obtain’d her, give her to Count Claudio.
John. Come, come, let us thither ; this may prove food to my displeasure : that young start-up hath all the glory of my overthrow. If I can cross him any way, I bless myself every way; you are both sure, and will affift me.
Conr. To the death, my Lord.
John. Let us to the great fupper; their cheer is the greater that I am subdu’d; would the cook were of my mind !-Shall we go prove what's to be done?
Bora. We'll wait upon your Lordship. [Exeunt.
S CE N E
A hall in Leonato's house. Enter Leonato, Antonio, Hero, Beatrice, Margaret,
and Ursula. Leon. AS not Count John here at supper?
Ant. I saw him Beat. How tartly that gentleman looks ! I never can see him, but I am heart-burn'd an hour after.
Hero. He is of a very melancholy disposition.
Beat. He were an excellent man, that were made just in the mid-way between him and Benedick : the one is too like an image, and says nothing; and the other too like my lady's eldest son, evermore tatling.
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 threwd of thy tongue.
Ant. In faith, she's too curs’d.
Beat. Too curs'd is more than curs’d. I shall leffen God's sending that way; for it is said, God sends a curs’d cow short horns; but to a cow too curs’d, he fends none.
Leon. So, by being too curs’d, God will send you no horos.
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 couid not endure a husband with a beard on his face, I had rather lie in 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 fix pence in earnest of the bear-herd, and lead his apes into hell *.
Ant. Well, niece, I trust, you will be rul'd by your father,
[To Hero, Beat. Yes, faith, it is my cousin's duty to make curtsy, and say, Father, as it pleafes you ; but yet for all that, cousin, let him be a handsome fellow, or else make another curtsy, and say, Father, as it pleases 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 overmaster'd with a piece of valiant duft ? to make account of her life to a clod of wayward marle ? No, uncle, I'll none; Adam's fons are my brethren, and, truly, I hold it a în to match in my kindred.
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 his horns on his head, and fay, Get you to heaven, Beatrice, get you to heav'n, here's no place for you maids. So deliver 1 up my apes, and away to St Peter, for the heav'ns; he shews me where the bachelors fit, and there liye we as merry as the day is long. Ant. Well, niece, &c. Vol. II.
Leon. Daughter, remember, what I told you; if the Prince do solicit you in that kind, you know your anfwer.
Beat. The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you be not woo'd in good time. If the Prince be too importunate, tell him, there is measure in every thing, and fo dance out the answer: for hear me, Hero, wooing, wedding, and repenting, is as a Scotch jig, a measure, and á 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 anchentry; and then comes repentance, and with his bad legs falls into the cinque-pace faster and faster, till he links into
Leon. Cousin, you apprehend pafling shrewdly.
Beat. I have a good eye, uncle, I can see a church by day-light.
Leon. The revellers are entering, brother ; make good room.
S CE N E II.
others in masquerade.
Hero. So you walk-softly, and look sweetly, and say nothing, I am your's for the walk, and especially when I walk away.
Pedro, With me in your company?
for God defend, the lute should be like the case !
Pedro. My visor is Philemon's roof; within the house is Jove.
Hero, Why, then your visor should be thatch'd.
Marg. So would not I for your own fake, for I have many ill qualities.
Balth. Which is one ?
* This seems to be a line quoted from a song or some verses commonly known at that time,
Marg. I say my prayers aloud.
Balth. I love you the better; the hearers may cry Amen.
Marg. God match me with a good dancer !
Niarg. And God keep him out of my fight when the dance is done! Answer, clerk, Balth. No more words, the clerk is answer'd.
Urs. I know you well enough ; you are Signior Antonio.
Ant. At a word, I am not.
Urf. You could never do him fo ill-well, unless you were the very man: here's his dry hand up and down
; you are he, you are he.
Ant. At a word, I am not.
Urf. 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
Beat. That I was disdainful, and that I had my good wit out of The hundred merry tales; well, this was Sign pior Benedick that faid so.
Bene. What's he?
Beat. Why, he is the Prince's jester; a very dull fool, only his gift is in devising impassable Nanders. None but libertines delight in him; and the commendation is not in his wit, but in his villany; for he both pleaseth men and angers them, and then they laugh at him, and beat him. I am sure he is in the feet : I would he had boarded me.
Bene. When I know thé gentleman, I'll tell him what
Beat. Do, do; he'll but break a comparison or two on me ; which, peradventure, not mark’d, or not laugh’d atstrikes him into melancholy, and then there's a partridge-wing sav’d, for the fool will eat no supper that night. We must follow the leaders. [Music within.
Bene. In every good thing.
Beat. Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at the next turning.
[Exeunt. S CE N E. III. Manent John, Borachio, and Claudio. 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 vifor renrains.
Bora. And that is Claudio ; I know him by his beará ing.
John. Are you not Signior Bencdick?
john. Signior, you are very near my brother in his lore, he is enamour'd: 09 Hero : I pray you, diffuade hini from her, she is no equal for his birth ; you may do the part of an honeit man in it.
Claudi How know ye he loves her?
Bora. So did I too, and he swore be would marry her
[Exeunt John and Lor.