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SCENE I.—Before LEoNATo’s House. Enter LEoNATo,HERo, BEATRIce, and others, with a Messenger.
Leonato. I 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 him. 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 mumbers. I find here, that Don Pedro hath bestowed much honour on a young Florentine, called Claudio. Mess. Much deserved on his part, and equally remembered 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 him ; even so much, that joy could not show itself modest enough, without a badge of bitterness." Leon. Did he break out into tears 2 Mess. In great measure. Leon. A kind overflow of kindness : There are no
...  This is judiciously expressed. Of all the transports of joy, that which is attended with tears is feast offensive ; because, carrying with it this mark of pain, it allays the envy that usually attends another’s happiness. This he finely calls a modest joy, such a one as did not insult the observer by an indication of happiness unmixed with pain, WARBURTON,
faces truer than those that are so washed. How much
 Montante, in Spanish, is a huge two-handed sword, a title given, with much humour, to one whom 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 Windsor : “—thy reverse, thy distance, thy montant. STEEVENS,
 Flight (as Mr. 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 at this sport are called flight-arrows; as were those used in battle for great distances. STEEVENS.
 The bird-bolt is a short thick arrow without a point, and spreading at the extremity so much, as to leave a flat surface, about the breadth of a shilling. Such are to this day in use to kill rooks with, and are shot from a cross-bow. STEEVENS. - - -
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 flight-arrows are used.) In other words, he challenged him to shoot at hearts. The fool, to ridicule this piece of vanity, in his turn challenged Benedick to shoot at crows with the cross-bow and bird-bolt; an inferior kind of archery used by fools, who, for obvious reasons, were not permitted to shoot with pointed arrows : Whence the proverb–o A fool’s bolt is soon shot.” DOUCE.
 Stuffed, in this first instance... has no ridiculous meaning. Mr. Edwards observes, that Mede, in his Discourses on Scripture, speaking of Adam,
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 witso 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 wealth that he hath left, to be known a reasonable creature.—Who is his companion now 2 He hath every month a new sworn brother.” Mess. Is it possible 2 Beat. Very easily possible : he wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat, 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 praw you, who is his companion 2 Is there no young squarer now,9 that will make a voyage with him to the devil 2 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.
says, “ -he whom God had stuff d with so many excellent qualities.” Un homime bien etfe, signifies, in French, a man in good circumstances. STEE. so In our author's time wit was the general term for intellectual powers. e pits seem to have been reckoned five, by analogy to the five senses, or the five inlets to ideas. Johnson.  i.e. one with whom he hath sworn (as was anciently the custom adventurers) to share fortunes. STE EVENS. y u among .. To be in a man's books, originally meant to be in the list of his retain Sir John Man leville tells us, of alle the mynstrelles that o: §: great Chon ben witholden with him, as of his houshold, and entred in his *; aş for !. o mem.” FARMER. serve it and a lover were in Cupid’s Vocabulary, synonymous Hence perhaps tie phrase—to be in a person’s books—was applied and the menial attendant. §§§ E. pplied equally to the lover s2] A squarer I take to be a cholerick, quarrelsome fellow, for in thi Shakspeare uses the word to square, 'jößNson. ellow, for in this sense
24 WOL. I.i.
Leon. You will never run mad, niece.
JEnter Don PE pRo, attended by BALTHAzAR and others, Don John, CLAUDIo, and BENED1ck.
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 honourable father. Bene. If signior Leonato be her father, she would not have his 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 2 Beat. Is it possible, disdain should die, while she hath such meet food to feed it, as signior Benedick 2 Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you come in her presence. Bene. Then is courtesy a turn-coat :—But it is certain, 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. A 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 humour for that ; I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow, than a man swear he loves me.
 charge does not mean, as Dr. Johnson explains it, burden, incumbrance, but "the person committed to you 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 hypoerite, 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 2 ID. Pedro. Your hand, Leonato ; we will go together. [Eaceunt all but BENED1ck and CLAUD10. Claud. Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of signior Leonato 2 JBene. 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 2 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 unhandsome ; and being no other but as she is, I do not like her.
o, The É. has judiciously marked the gloominess of Don John's character, by making him averse to the common forms of civility. Sir J. HAWKINs.