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ACT II


SCENE I

A hall in LEONATO'S house.
Enter LEONATO, ANTONIO, HERO, BEATRICE, and others.

Leon.
Was not Count John here at supper?

Ant.
I saw him not.

Beat.
How tartly that gentleman looks! I
never can see him but I am heart-burned an
hour after.

Hero.
He is of a very melancholy disposition.

Beat.
He were an excellent man that were
made just in the midway between him and
Benedick: the one is too like an image and (10)
says nothing, and the other too like my lady's
eldest son, evermore tattling.

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
a' could get her good-will.

Leon.
By my troth, niece, thou wilt never (20)
get thee a husband, if thou be so shrewd of
thy tongue.

Ant.
In faith, she's too curst.

Beat.
Too curst is more than curst: I shall
lessen God's sending that way; for it is said,
'God sends a curst cow short horns;' but to
a cow too curst he sends none.

Leon.
So, by being too curst, God will send you no horns.

Beat.
Just, if he send me no husband; for
the which blessing I am at him upon my knees (30)
every morning and evening. Lord, I could not
endure a husband with a beard on his face:
I had rather lie in the woollen.

Leon.
You may light on 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 (40)
youth is not for me, and he that is less than
a man, I am not for him: therefore I will
even take sixpence in earnest of the bear-ward,
and lead his apes 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
horns on his head, and say 'Get you to
heaven, Beatrice, get you to heaven; here's
no place for you maids:' so deliver I up my (50)
apes, and away to Saint Peter for the heavens;
he shows me where the bachelors sit, and
there live we as merry as the day is long.

Ant.
[To Hero]
Well, niece, I trust you
will be ruled by your father.

Beat.
Yes, faith; it is my cousin's duty to
make curtsy and say 'Father, as it please
you.' But yet for all that, cousin, let him be
a handsome fellow, or else make another
curtsy and say 'Father, as it please me.' (60)

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 overmastered with a piece of valiant
dust? to make an account of her life to a clod
of wayward marl? No, uncle, I'll none:
Adam's sons are my brethren; and, truly, I
hold it a sin to match in my kindred.

Leon.
Daughter, remember what I told (70)
you: if the prince do solicit you in that kind,
you know your answer.

Beat.
The fault will be in the music, cousin,
if you be not wooed in good time: if the
prince be too important, tell him there is measure
in every thing and so dance out the answer.
For, hear me, Hero: wooing, wedding,
and repenting, is as a Scotch jig, a measure,
and a cinque pace: the first suit is hot and
hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as fantastical; (80)
the wedding, mannerly-modest, as a measure,
full of state and ancientry; and then comes
repentance and, with his bad legs, falls into
the cinque pace faster and faster, till he sink
into his grave.

Leon.
Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly.

Beat.
I have a good eye, uncle; I can see
a church by daylight.

Leon.
The revellers are entering, brother:
make good room. [All put on their masks. Enter DON PEDRO, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK, BALTHASAR, DON JOHN, BORACHIO, MARGARET, URSULA, and others, masked.

D. Pedro.
Lady, will you walk about with your friend?

Hero.
So you walk softly and look sweetly
and say nothing, I am yours for the walk; and
especially when I walk away.

D. Pedro.
With me in your company?

Hero.
I may say so, when I please.

D. Pedro.
And when please you to say so?

Hero.
When I like your favor; for God
defend the lute should be like the case!

D. Pedro.
My visor is Philemon's roof; (100)
within the house is Jove.

Hero.
Why, then, your visor should be
thatched.

D. Pedro.
Speak low, if you speak love. [Drawing her aside.

Balth.
Well, I would you did like me.

Marg.
So would not I, for your own sake;
for I have many ill qualities.

Balth.
Which is one?

Marg.
I say my prayers aloud.

Balth.
I love you the better: the hearers (110)
may cry, Amen.

Marg.
God match me with a good dancer!

Balth.
Amen.

Marg.
And God keep him out of my sight
when the dance is done! Answer, clerk.

Balth.
No more words: the clerk is answered.

Urs.
I know you well enough; you are
Signior Antonio.

Ant.
At a word, I am not.

Urs.
I know you by the waggling of your (120)
head.

Ant.
To tell you true, I counterfeit him.

Urs.
You could never do him so 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.

Urs.
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. (130)

Beat.
Will you not tell me who told you so?

Bene.
No, you shall pardon me.

Beat.
Nor will you not tell me who you are?

Bene.
Not now.

Beat.
That I was disdainful, and that I had
my good wit out of the 'Hundred Merry
Tales:'—well, this was Signior Benedick that said so.

Bene.
What's he?

Beat.
I am sure you know him well enough.

Bene.
Not I, believe me. (140)

Beat.
Did he never make you laugh?

Bene.
I pray you, what is he?

Beat.
Why, he is the prince's jester: a very
dull fool; only his gift is in devising impossible
slanders: none but libertines delight in
him; and the commendation is not in his wit,
but in his villany; for he both pleases men
and angers them, and then they laugh at him
and beat him. I am sure he is in the fleet: I
would he had boarded me. (150)

Bene.
When I know the gentleman, I'll tell
him what you say.

Beat.
Do, do: he'll but break a comparison
or two on me; which, peradventure not
marked or not laughed at, strikes him into
melancholy; and then there's a partridge wing
saved, for the fool will eat no supper that
night. [Music.] We must follow the leaders.

Bene.
In every good thing.

Beat.
Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will (160)
leave them at the next turning. [Dance. Then exeunt all except Don John, Borachio, and Claudio.

D. 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 visor remains.

Bora.
And that is Claudio: I know him by
his bearing.

D. John.
Are not you Signior Benedick?

Claud.
You know me well; I am he.

D. John.
Signior, you are very near my (170)
brother in his love: he is enamored on Hero;
I pray you, dissuade him from her: she is no
equal for his birth: you may do the part of
an honest man in it.

Claud.
How know you he loves her?

D. John.
I heard him swear his affection.

Bora.
So did I too; and he swore he would
marry her to-night.

D. John.
Come, let us to the banquet. [Exeunt Don John and Borachio.

Claud.
Thus answer I in name of Benedick, (180)

But hear these ill news with the ears of Claudio.

'Tis certain so; the prince wooes for himself.

Friendship is constant in all other things

Save in the office and affairs of love:

Therefore, all hearts in love use their own tongues;

Let every eye negotiate for itself

And trust no agent; for beauty is a witch

Against whose charms faith melteth into blood.

This is an accident of hourly proof,

Which I mistrusted not. Farewell, therefore, Hero! Re-enter BENEDICK.
(190)


Bene.
Count Claudio?

Claud.
Yea, the same.

Bene.
Come, will you go with me?

Claud.
Whither?

Bene.
Even to the next willow, about your
own business, county. What fashion will you
wear the garland of? about your neck, like
an usurer's chain? or under your arm, like a
lieutenant's scarf? You must wear it one way,
for the prince hath got your Hero. (200)

Claud.
I wish him joy of her.

Bene.
Why, that's spoken like an honest
drovier: so they sell bullocks. But did you
think the prince would have served you thus?

Claud.
I pray you, leave me,

Bene.
Ho! now you strike like the blind
man: 'twas the boy that stole your meat, and
you'll beat the post.

Claud.
If it will not be, I'll leave you. [Exit.


Bene.
Alas, poor hurt fowl! now will he (210)
creep into sedges. But that my Lady Beatrice
should know me, and not know me! The
prince's fool! Ha? It may be I go under that
title because I am merry. Yea, but so I am
apt to do myself wrong; I am not so reputed:
it is the base, though bitter, disposition of
Beatrice that puts the world into her person,
and so gives me out. Well, I'll be revenged as I may. Re-enter DON PEDRO.

D. Pedro.
Now, signior, where's the count?
did you see him? (220)

Bene.
Troth, my lord, I have played the
part of Lady Fame. I found him here as melancholy
as a lodge in a warren: I told him,
and I think I told him true, that your grace
had got the good will of this young lady; and
I offered him my company to a willow-tree,
either to make him a garland, as being forsaken,
or to bind him up a rod, as being
worthy to be whipped.

D. Pedro.
To be whipped! What's his fault? (230)

Bene.
The flat transgression of a school-boy,
who, being overjoyed with finding a birds'
nest, shows it his companion, and he steals it.

D. Pedro.
Wilt thou make a trust a transgression?
The transgression is in the stealer.

Bene.
Yet it had not been amiss the rod
had been made, and the garland too; for the
garland he might have worn himself, and the
rod he might have bestowed on you, who, as
I take it, have stolen his birds' nest. (240)

D. Pedro.
I will but teach them to sing, and
restore them to the owner.

Bene.
If their singing answer your saying,
by my faith, you say honestly.

D. Pedro.
The Lady Beatrice hath a quarrel
to you: the gentleman that danced with
her told her she is much wronged by you.

Bene.
O, she misused me past the endurance
of a block! an oak but with one green
leaf on it would have answered her; my very
visor began to assume life and scold with her. (250)
She told me, not thinking I had been myself,
that I was the prince's jester, that I was duller
than a great thaw; huddling jest upon jest
with such impossible conveyance upon me
that I stood like a man at a mark, with a
whole army shooting at me. She speaks poniards,
and every word stabs: if her breath
were as terrible as her terminations, there
were no living near her; she would infect to
the north star. I would not marry her, though (260)
she were endowed with all that Adam had
left him before he transgressed: she would
have made Hercules have turned spit, yea, and
have cleft his club to make the fire too. Come,
talk not of her: you shall find her the infernal
Ate in good apparel. I would to God some
scholar would conjure her; for certainly, while
she is here, a man may live as quiet in hell as
in a sanctuary; and people sin upon purpose,
because they would go thither; so, indeed, all (270)
disquiet, horror and perturbation follows her.

D. Pedro.
Look, here she comes. Re-enter CLAUDIO, BEATRICE, HERO, and LEONATO.

Bene.
Will your grace command me any
service to the world's end? I will go on the
slightest errand now to the Antipodes that you
can devise to send me on; I will fetch you a
tooth-picker now from the furthest inch of
Asia, bring you the length of Prester John's
foot, fetch you a hair off the great Cham's
beard, do you any embassage to the Pigmies, (280)
rather than hold three words' conference with
this harpy. You have no employment for me?

D. Pedro.
None, but to desire your good company.

Bene.
O God, sir, here's a dish I love not:
I cannot endure my Lady Tongue. [Exit.

D. Pedro.
Come, lady, come; you have
lost the heart of Signior Benedick.

Beat.
Indeed, my lord, he lent it me
awhile; and I gave him use for it, a double
heart for his single one: marry, once before (290)
he won it of me with false dice, therefore your
grace may well say I have lost it.

D. Pedro.
You have put him down, lady,
you have put him down.

Beat.
So I would not he should do me, my
lord, lest I should prove the mother of fools.
I have brought Count Claudio, whom you sent
me to seek.

D. Pedro.
Why, how now, count! wherefore
are you sad? (300)

Claud.
Not sad, my lord.

D. Pedro.
How then? sick?

Claud.
Neither, my lord.

Beat.
The count is neither sad, nor sick,
nor merry, nor well; but civil count, civil as
an orange, and something of that jealous complexion.

D. Pedro.
I' faith, lady, I think your blazon
to be true; though, I'll be sworn, if he be so,
his conceit is false. Here, Claudio, I have
wooed in thy name, and fair Hero is won: I (310)
have broke with her father, and his good will
obtained: name the day of marriage, and God
give thee joy!

Leon.
Count, take of me my daughter, and
with her my fortunes: his grace hath made
the match, and all grace say Amen to it.

Beat.
Speak, count, 'tis your cue.

Claud.
Silence is the perfectest herald of
joy: I were but little happy, if I could say how
much. Lady, as you are mine, I am yours: I (320)
give away myself for you and dote upon the exchange.

Beat.
Speak, cousin; or, if you cannot,
stop his mouth with a kiss, and let not him
speak neither.

D. Pedro.
In faith, lady, you have a merry heart.

Beat.
Yea, my lord; I thank it, poor fool,
it keeps on the windy side of care. My cousin
tells him in his ear that he is in her heart.

Claud.
And so she doth, cousin.

Beat.
Good Lord, for alliance! Thus goes (330)
every one to the world but I, and I am sunburnt;
I may sit in a corner and cry heigh-ho
for a husband!

D. Pedro.
Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.

Beat.
I would rather have one of your
father's getting. Hath your grace ne'er a
brother like you? Your father got excellent
husbands, if a maid could come by them.

D. Pedro.
Will you have me, lady?

Beat.
No, my lord, unless I might have (340)
another for working-days: your grace is too
costly to wear every day. But, I beseech your
grace, pardon me: I was born to speak all
mirth and no matter.

D. Pedro.
Your silence most offends me,
and to be merry best becomes you; for, out of
question, you were born in a merry hour.

Beat.
No, sure, my lord, my mother cried;
but then there was a star danced, and under
that was I born. Cousins, God give you joy! (350)

Leon.
Niece, will you look to those things
I told you of?

Beat.
I cry you mercy, uncle. By your
grace's pardon. [Exit.

D. Pedro.
By my troth, a pleasant-spirited
lady.

Leon.
There's little of the melancholy element
in her, my lord: she is never sad but
when she sleeps, and not ever sad then; for I
have heard my daughter say, she hath often (360)
dreamed of unhappiness and waked herself
with laughing.

D. Pedro.
She cannot endure to hear tell
of a husband.

Leon.
O, by no means: she mocks all her
wooers out of suit.

D. Pedro.
She were an excellent wife for
Benedick.

Leon.
O Lord, my lord, if they were but a
week married, they would talk themselves mad. (370)

D. Pedro.
County Claudio, when mean you
to go to church?

Claud.
To-morrow, my lord: time goes on
crutches till love have all his rites.

Leon.
Not till Monday, my dear son, which
is hence a just seven-night; and a time too
brief, too, to have all things answer my mind.

D. Pedro.
Come, you shake the head at so
long a breathing: but, I warrant thee, Claudio,
the time shall not go dully by us. I will (380)
in the interim undertake one of Hercules' labors;
which is, to bring Signior Benedick and
the Lady Beatrice into a mountain of affection
the one with the other. I would fain have it a
match, and I doubt not but to fashion it, if
you three will but minister such assistance as
I shall give you direction.

Leon.
My lord, I am for you, though it cost
me ten nights' watchings.

Claud.
And I, my lord. (390)


D. Pedro.
And you too, gentle Hero?

Hero.
I will do any modest office, my lord,
to help my cousin to a good husband.

D. Pedro.
And Benedick is not the unhopefullest
husband that I know. Thus far can I
praise him; he is of a noble strain, of approved
valor and confirmed honesty. I will
teach you how to humor your cousin, that she
shall fall in love with Benedick; and I, with
your two helps, will so practise on Benedick
that, in despite of his quick wit and his queasy
stomach, he shall fall in love with Beatrice.
If we can do this, Cupid is no longer an
archer: his glory shall be ours, for we are the
only love-gods. Go in with me, and I will tell
you my drift. [Exeunt.


SCENE II

The same.
Enter DON JOHN and BORACHIO.

D. John.
It is so; the Count Claudio shall
marry the daughter of Leonato.

Bora.
Yea, my lord; but I can cross it.

D. John.
Any bar, any cross, any impediment
will be medicinable to me: I am sick
in displeasure to him, and whatsoever comes
athwart his affection ranges evenly with mine.
How canst thou cross this marriage?

Bora.
Not honestly, my lord; but so covertly (10)
that no dishonesty shall appear in me.

D. John.
Show me briefly how.

Bora.
I think I told your lordship a year
since, how much I am in the favor of Margaret,
the waiting gentlewoman to Hero.

D. John.
I remember.

Bora.
I can, at any unseasonable instant of
the night, appoint her to look out at her lady's
chamber-window.

D. John.
What life is in that, to be the (20)
death of this marriage?

Bora.
The poison of that lies in you to
temper. Go you to the prince your brother;
spare not to tell him that he hath wronged his
honor in marrying the renowned Claudio—
whose estimation do you mightily hold up—to
a contaminated stale, such a one as Hero.

D. John.
What proof shall I make of that?

Bora.
Proof enough to misuse the prince,
to vex Claudio, to undo Hero and kill Leonato. (30)
Look you for any other issue?

D. John.
Only to despite them, I will endeavor any thing.

Bora.
Go, then; find me a meet hour to
draw Don Pedro and the Count Claudio alone:
tell them that you know that Hero loves me;
intend a kind of zeal both to the prince and
Claudio, as,—in love of your brother's honor,
who hath made this match, and his friend's
reputation, who is thus like to be cozened with
the semblance of a maid,—that you have discovered (40)
thus. They will scarcely believe this
without trial: offer them instances; which
shall bear no less likelihood than to see me at
her chamber-window, hear me call Margaret
Hero, hear Margaret term me Claudio; and
bring them to see this the very night before
the intended wedding,—for in the meantime I
will so fashion the matter that Hero shall be
absent,—and there shall appear such seeming
truth of Hero's disloyalty that jealousy shall (50)
be called assurance and all the preparation
overthrown.

D. John.
Grow this to what adverse issue
it can, I will put it in practice. Be cunning in
the working this, and thy fee is a thousand
ducats.

Bora.
Be you constant in the accusation,
and my cunning shall not shame me.

D. John.
I will presently go learn their day
of marriage. [Exeunt.


SCENE III

LEONATO'S orchard.
Enter BENEDICK,

Bene.
Boy! Enter Boy.

Boy.
Signior?

Bene.
In my chamber-window lies a book:
bring it hither to me in the orchard.

Boy.
I am here already, sir.

Bene.
I know that; but I would have thee
hence, and here again.[Exit Boy.] I do much
wonder that one man, seeing how much another
man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviors (10)
to love, will, after he hath laughed
at such shallow follies in others, become the
argument of his own scorn by falling in love:
and such a man is Claudio. I have known
when there was no music with him but the
drum and the fife; and now had he rather
hear the tabor and the pipe: I have known
when he would have walked ten mile a-foot to
see a good armor; and now will he lie ten
nights awake, carving the fashion of a new (20)
doublet. He was wont to speak plain and to
the purpose, like an honest man and a soldier;
and now is he turned orthography; his words
are a very fantastical banquet, just so many
strange dishes. May I be so converted and see
with these eyes? I cannot tell; I think not: I
will not be sworn but love may transform
me to an oyster; but I'll take my oath on it,
till he have made an oyster of me, he shall
never make me such a fool. One woman is
fair, yet I am well; another is wise, yet I am
well; another virtuous, yet I am well; but till
all graces be in one woman, one woman shall
not come in my grace. Rich she shall be, that's
certain; wise, or I'll none; virtuous, or I'11
never cheapen her; fair, or I'll never look on
her; mild, or come not near me; noble, or
not I for an angel; of good discourse, an excellent
musician, and her hair shall be of what
color it please God. Ha! the prince and Monsieur
Love! I will hide me in the arbor. [Withdraws. Enter DON PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and LEONATO.

D. Pedro.
Come, shall we hear this music?

Claud.
Yea, my good lord. How still the evening is,

As hush'd on purpose to grace harmony!

D. Pedro.
See you where Benedick hath hid himself?

Claud.
O, very well, my lord: the music ended,

We'll fit the kid-fox with a pennyworth. Enter BALTHASAR with Music.


D. Pedro.
Come, Balthasar, we'll hear that song again.

Balth.
O, good my lord, tax not so bad a voice

To slander music any more than once.

D. Pedro.
It is the witness still of excellency

To put a strange face on his own perfection. (50)

I pray thee, sing, and let me woo no more.

Balth.
Because you talk of wooing, I will sing;

Since many a wooer doth commence his suit

To her he thinks not worthy, yet he wooes,

Yet will he swear he loves.

D. Pedro.
Now, pray thee, come;

Or, if thou wilt hold longer argument,

Do it in notes.

Balth.
Note this before my notes;

There's not a note of mine that's worth the noting.

D. Pedro.
Why, these are very crotchets that he speaks; (59)

Note, notes, forsooth, and nothing. [Air.


Bene.
Now, divine air! now is his soul
ravished! Is it not strange that sheeps' guts
should hale souls out of men's bodies? Well,
a horn for my money, when all's done.

The Song.


Balth.
Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,

Men were deceivers ever,

One foot in sea and one on shore,

To one thing constant never:

Then sigh not so, but let them go,

And be you blithe and bonny,

Converting all your sounds of woe

Into Hey nonny, nonny.

Sing no more ditties, sing no moe,

Of dumps so dull and heavy;

The fraud of men was ever so,

Since summer first was leavy:

Then sigh not so, &c.



D. Pedro.
By my troth, a good song.

Balth.
And an ill singer, my lord.

D. Pedro.
Ha, no, no, faith; thou singest (80)
well enough for a shift.

Bene.
An he had been a dog that should
have howled thus, they would have hanged
him: and I pray God his bad voice bode no
mischief. I had as lief have heard the night-
raven, come what plague could have come
after it.

D. Pedro.
Yea, marry, dost thou hear, Balthasar?
I pray thee, get us some excellent
music; for to-morrow night we would have it
at the Lady Hero's chamber-window. (90)

Balth.
The best I can, my lord.

D. Pedro.
Do so: farewell.[Exit Balthasar.]
Come hither, Leonato. What was it
you told me of to-day, that your niece Beatrice
was in love with Signior Benedick?

Claud.
O, ay: stalk on, stalk on; the fowl
sits. I did never think that lady would have
loved any man.

Leon.
No, nor I neither; but most wonderful
that she should so dote on Signior Benedick,
whom she hath in all outward behaviors (101)
seemed ever to abhor.

Bene.
Is't possible? Sits the wind in that
corner?

Leon.
By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell
what to think of it but that she loves him with
an enraged affection: it is past the infinite of
thought.

D. Pedro.
May be she doth but counterfeit.

Claud.
Faith, like enough.

Leon.
O God, counterfeit! There was
never counterfeit of passion came so near the (111)
life of passion as she discovers it.

D. Pedro.
Why, what effects of passion shows she?

Claud.
Bait the hook well; this fish will bite.

Leon.
What effects, my lord? She will sit
you, you heard my daughter tell you how.

Claud.
She did, indeed.

D. Pedro.
How, how, I pray you? You
amaze me: I would have thought her spirit (120)
had been invincible against all assaults of affection.

Leon.
I would have sworn it had, my lord;
especially against Benedick.

Bene.
I should think this a gull, but that
the white-bearded fellow speaks it: knavery
cannot, sure, hide himself in such reverence.

Claud.
He hath ta'en the infection: hold it up.

D. Pedro.
Hath she made her affection
known to Benedick?

Leon.
No; and swears she never will: (130)
that's her torment.

Claud.
'Tis true, indeed; so your daughter
says: 'Shall I,' says she, 'that have so oft encountered
him with scorn, write to him that I
love him?'

Leon.
This says she now when she is beginning
to write to him; for she'll be up twenty
times a night, and there will she sit in her
smock till she have writ a sheet of paper: my
daughter tells us all.

Claud.
Now you talk of a sheet of paper, I
remember a pretty jest your daughter told us
of.

Leon.
O, when she had writ it and was
reading it over, she found Benedick and Beatrice
between the sheet?

Claud.
That.

Leon.
O, she tore the letter into a thousand
halfpence; railed at herself, that she should
be so immodest to write to one that she knew
would flout her: 'I measure him,' says she,
'by my own spirit; for I should flout him, if
he writ to me; yea, though I love him, I (151)
should.'

Claud.
Then down upon her knees she
falls, weeps, sobs, beats her heart, tears her
hair, prays, curses; 'O sweet Benedick! God
give me patience!'

Leon.
She doth indeed; my daughter says
so: and the ecstasy hath so much overborne
her that my daughter is sometime afeard she
will do a desperate outrage to herself: it is
very true.

D. Pedro.
It were good that Benedick knew
of it by some other, if she will not discover it.

Claud.
To what end? He would make but
a sport of it and torment the poor lady worse.

D. Pedro.
An he should, it were an alms to
hang him. She's an excellent sweet lady; and,
out of all suspicion, she is virtuous.

Claud.
And she is exceeding wise.

D. Pedro.
In every thing but in loving
Benedick.

Leon.
O, my lord, wisdom and blood combating
in so tender a body, we have ten proofs
to one that blood hath the victory. I am sorry
for her, as I have just cause, being her uncle
and her guardian.

D. Pedro.
I would she had bestowed this
dotage on me: I would have daffed all other
respects and made her half myself. I pray you,
tell Benedick of it, and hear what a' will say. (179)

Leon.
Were it good, think you?

Claud.
Hero thinks surely she will die; for
she says she will die, if he love her not, and
she will die, ere she make her love known, and
she will die, if he woo her, rather than she
will bate one breath of her accustomed crossness.

D. Pedro.
She doth well: if she should
make tender of her love, 'tis very possible
he'll scorn it; for the man, as you know all,
hath a contemptible spirit.

Claud.
He is a very proper man. (190)

D. Pedro.
He hath indeed a good outward
happiness.

Claud.
Before God! and, in my mind, very wise.

D. Pedro.
He doth indeed show some
sparks that are like wit.

Claud.
And I take him to be valiant.

D. Pedro.
As Hector, I assure you: and in
the managing of quarrels you may say he is
wise; for either he avoids them with great
discretion, or undertakes them with a most (200)
Christian-like fear.

Leon.
If he do fear God, a' must necessarily
keep peace: if he break the peace, he ought
to enter into a quarrel with fear and trembling.

D. Pedro.
And so will he do; for the man
doth fear God, howsoever it seems not in him
by some large jests he will make. Well, I am
sorry for your niece. Shall we go seek Benedick,
and tell him of her love?

Claud.
Never tell him, my lord: let her
wear it out with good counsel.

Leon.
Nay, that's impossible: she may (210)
wear her heart out first.

D. Pedro.
Well, we will hear further of it
by your daughter: let it cool the while. I love
Benedick well; and I could wish he would
modestly examine himself, to see how much
he is unworthy so good a lady.

Leon.
My lord, will you walk? dinner is
ready.

Claud.
If he do not dote on her upon this, (220)
I will never trust my expectation.

D. Pedro.
Let there be the same net spread
for her; and that must your daughter and her
gentlewoman carry. The sport will be, when
they hold one an opinion of another's dotage,
and no such matter: that's the scene that I
would see, which will be merely a dumb-show.
Let us send her to call him in to dinner. [Exeunt Don Pedro, Claudio, and Leonato.

Bene.
[Coming forward]
This can be no
trick: the conference was sadly borne. They
have the truth of this from Hero. They seem
to pity the lady: it seems her affections have
their full bent. Love me! why, it must be requited.
I hear how I am censured: they say
I will bear myself proudly, if I perceive the
love come from her: they say too that she
will rather die than give any sign of affection.
I did never think to marry: I must not seem
proud: happy are they that hear their detractions
and can put them to mending. They say
the lady is fair; 'tis a truth, I can bear them
witness; and virtuous; 'tis so, I cannot reprove
it; and wise, but for loving me; by my
troth, it is no addition to her wit, nor no great
argument of her folly, for I will be horribly in
love with her. I may choice have some odd
quirks and remnants of wit broken on me, because
I have railed so long against marriage:
but doth not the appetite alter? a man loves
the meat in his youth that he cannot endure
in his age. Shall quips and sentences and these
paper bullets of the brain awe a man from
the career of his humor? No, the world must
be peopled. When I said I would die a bachelor,
I did not think I should live till I were
married. Here comes Beatrice. By this day!
she's a fair lady: I do spy some marks of love
in her. Enter BEATRICE.

Beat.
Against my will I am sent to bid you
come in to dinner.

Bene.
Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your
pains.

Beat.
I took no more pains for those thanks
than you take pains to thank me: if it had (261)
been painful, I would not have come.

Bene.
You take pleasure then in the message?

Beat.
Yea, just so much as you may take
upon a knife's point and choke a daw withal.
You have no stomach, signior: fare you well. [Exit.

Bene.
Ha! 'Against my will I am sent to
bid you come in to dinner;' there's a double
meaning in that. 'I took no more pains for
those thanks than you took pains to thank me;'
that's as much as to say, Any pains that I take
for you is as easy as thanks. If I do not take
pity of her, I am a villain; if I do not love her,
I am a Jew. I will go get her picture. [Exit.

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