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me speak after my custom, as being a professed tyrant to their sex?
Claud. 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 unhandsome; and being no other but as she is, I do not like her.
Claud. Thou thinkest, I am in sport; I pray thee, tell me truly how thou likest her.
Bene. Would you buy her, that you inquire after her?
Claud. Can the world buy such a jewel ?
Bene. Yea, and a case to put it into. But speak you this with a sad 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, she is the sweetest lady, that ever I looked on.
Bene. I can see yet without spectacles, and I see no such matter: there's her cousin, an she were not possessed with 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 trust myself, though I had sworn the contrary, if Hero would be my wife.
Bene. Is it come to this, i'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; an thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it, and sigh away Sundays. Look, Don Pedro is returned to seek you.
Re-enter Don Pedro. D. Pedro. What secret hath held you here, that you followed not to Leonato's ?
Bene. I would, your grace would constrain me to tell.
D. 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 who? now that is your grace's part.Mark, how short his answer is :-With Hero, Leonato's short daughter.
Claud. If this were so, so were it uttered.
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 heretick 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 brothel-house for the sign of blind Cupid.
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 hits me, let him be clapped on the shoulder, and called Adam.
D. Pedro. Well as time shall try:
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 horn-mad.
D. Pedro. Nay, if Cupid have not spent all his quivers 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 discourse is sometime guarded with fragments, and the guards are but slightly basted on neither : ere you fout old ends any further, 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, And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn Any hard lesson, that may do thee good.
Claud. Hath Leonato any son, my lord ?
D. Pedro. No child but Hero, she's his only heir: Dost thou affect her, Claudio ?
Claud. O my lord,
D. Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover presently,
Claud. How sweetly do you minister to love,
the flood ?