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LEONATO'S garden.

Good Margaret, run thee to the parlor;

There shalt thou find my cousin Beatrice

Proposing with the prince and Claudio:

Whisper her ear and tell her, I and Ursula

Walk in the orchard and our whole discourse

Is all of her; say that thou overheard'st us;

And bid her steal into the pleached bower,

Where honeysuckles, ripen'd by the sun,

Forbid the sun to enter, like favorites, (10)

Made proud by princes, that advance their pride

Against that power that bred it: there will she hide her,

To listen our purpose. This is thy office;

Bear thee well in it and leave us alone.

I'll make her come, I warrant you, presently. [Exit.

Now, Ursula, when Beatrice doth come,

As we do trace this alley up and down,

Our talk must only be of Benedick.

When I do name him, let it be thy part

To praise him more than ever man did merit: (20)

My talk to thee must be how Benedick

Is sick in love with Beatrice. Of this matter

Is little Cupid's crafty arrow made,

That only wounds by hearsay. Enter BEATRICE, behind.

Now begin;

For look where Beatrice, like a lapwing, runs

Close by the ground, to hear our conference.

The pleasant'st angling is to see the fish

Cut with her golden oars the silver stream,

And greedily devour the treacherous bait:

So angle we for Beatrice; who even now (30)

Is couched in the woodbine coverture.

Fear you not my part of the dialogue.

Then go we near her, that her ear lose nothing

Of the false sweet bait that we lay for it. [Approaching the bower.

No, truly, Ursula, she is too disdainful;

I know her spirits are as coy and wild

As haggerds of the rock.

But are you sure

That Benedick loves Beatrice so entirely?

So says the prince and my newtrothed lord.

And did they bid you tell her of it, madam? (40)

They did entreat me to acquaint her of it;

But I persuaded them, if they loved Benedick,

To wish him wrestle with affection,

And never to let Beatrice know of it.

Why did you so? Doth not the gentleman

Deserve as full as fortunate a bed

As ever Beatrice shall couch upon?

O god of love! I know he doth deserve

As much as may be yielded to a man:

But nature never framed a woman's heart (50)

Of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice;

Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes,

Misprising what they look on, and her wit

Values itself so highly that to her

All matter else seems weak: she cannot love,

Nor take no shape nor project of affection,

She is so self-endeared.

Sure, I think so;

And therefore certainly it were not good

She knew his love, lest she make sport at it.

Why, you speak truth. I never yet saw man, (60)

How wise, how noble, young, how rarely featured,

But she would spell him backward: if fairfaced,

She would swear the gentleman should be her sister;

If black, why, Nature, drawing of an antique,

Made a foul blot; if tall, a lance ill-headed;

If low, an agate very vilely cut;

If speaking, why, a vane blown with all winds;

If silent, why, a block moved with none.

So turns she every man the wrong side out

And never gives to truth and virtue that (70)

Which simpleness and merit purchaseth.

Sure, sure, such carping is not commendable.

No, not to be so odd and from all fashions

As Beatrice is, cannot be commendable:

But who dare tell her so? If I should speak,

She would mock me into air; O, she would laugh me

Out of myself, press me to death with wit.

Therefore let Benedick, like cover'd fire,

Consume away in sighs, waste inwardly:

It were a better death than die with mocks, (80)

Which is as bad as die with tickling.

Yet tell her of it: hear what she will say.

No; rather I will go to Benedick

And counsel him to fight against his passion.

And, truly, I'll devise some honest slanders

To stain my cousin with: one doth not know

How much an ill word may empoison liking.

O, do not do your cousin such a wrong.

She can not be so much without true judgement—

Having so swift and excellent a wit (90)

As she is prized to have—as to refuse

So rare a gentleman as Signior Benedick.

He is the only man of Italy,

Always excepted my dear Claudio.

I pray you, be not angry with me, madam,

Speaking my fancy: Signior Benedick,

For shape, for bearing, argument and valor,

Goes foremost in report through Italy.

Indeed, he hath an excellent good name.

His excellence did earn it, ere he had it. (100)

When are you married, madam?

Why, every day, to-morrow. Come, go in:

I'll show thee some attires, and have thy counsel

Which is the best to furnish me to-morrow.

She's limed, I warrant you: we have caught her, madam.

If it proves so, then loving goes by haps:

Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps. [Exeunt Hero and Ursula.

[Coming forward]
What fire is in mine ears? Can this be true?

Stand I condemn'd for pride and scorn so much?

Contempt, farewell! and maiden pride, adieu!

No glory lives behind the back of such.

And, Benedick, love on; I will requite thee,

Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand:

If thou dost love, my kindness shall incite thee

To bind our loves up in a holy band;

For others say thou dost deserve, and I

Believe it better than reportingly.[Exit.


A room in LEONATO'S house.

D. Pedro.
I do but stay till your marriage
be consummate, and then go I toward Arragon.

I'll bring you thither, my lord, if
you'll vouchsafe me.

D. Pedro.
Nay, that would be as great a
soil in the new gloss of your marriage as to
show a child his new coat and forbid him to
wear it. I will only be bold with Benedick for
his company; for, from the crown of his head
to the sole of his foot, he is all mirth: he hath
twice or thrice cut Cupid's bow-string and the
little hangman dare not shoot at him; he hath
a heart as sound as a bell and his tongue is
the clapper, for what his heart thinks his tongue

Gallants, I am not as I have been.

So say I: methinks you are sadder.

I hope he be in love.

D. Pedro.
Hang him, truant! there's no
true drop of blood in him, to be truly touched (20)
with love: if he be sad, he wants money.

I have the toothache.

D. Pedro.
Draw it.

Hang it!

You must hang it first, and draw it

D. Pedro.
What! sigh for the toothache?

Where is but a humor or a worm.

Well, every one can master a grief
but he that has it. (30)

Yet say I, he is in love.

D. Pedro.
There is no appearance of fancy
in him, unless it be a fancy that he hath to
strange disguises; as, to be a Dutchman today,
a Frenchman to-morrow, or in the shape
of two countries at once, as, a German from
the waist downward, all slops, and a Spaniard
from the hip upward, no doublet. Unless he
have a fancy to this foolery, as it appears he
hath, he is no fool for fancy, as you would
have it appear he is.

If he be not in love with some
woman, there is no believing old signs: a'
brushes his hat o' mornings; what should that bode?

D. Pedro.
Hath any man seen him at the

No, but the barber's man hath been
seen with him, and the old ornament of his
cheek hath already stuffed tennis-balls.

Indeed, he looks younger than he
did, by the loss of a beard.

D. Pedro.
Nay, a' rubs himself with civet: (51)
can you smell him out by that?

That's as much as to say, the sweet
youth's in love.

D. Pedro.
The greatest note of it is his

And when was he wont to wash his

D. Pedro.
Yea, or to paint himself? for the
which, I hear what they say of him.

Nay, but his jesting spirit; which is
now crept into a lute-string and now governed
by stops.

D. Pedro.
Indeed, that tells a heavy tale
for him: conclude, conclude he is in love.

Nay, but I know who loves him.

D. Pedro.
That would I know too: I warrant
one that knows him not.

Yes, and his ill conditions; and, in
despite of all, dies for him.

D. Pedro.
She shall be buried with her face (71)

Yet is this no charm for the toothache.
Old signior, walk aside with me: I have
studied eight or nine wise words to speak to
you, which these hobby-horses must not hear. [Exeunt Benedick and Leonato.

D. Pedro.
For my life, to break with him
about Beatrice.

'Tis even so. Hero and Margaret
have by this played their parts with Beatrice;
and then the two bears will not bite one another (81)
when they meet. Enter DON JOHN.

D. John.
My lord and brother, God save you!

D. Pedro.
Good den, brother.

D. John.
If your leisure served, I would
speak with you.

D. Pedro.
In private?

D. John.
If it please you: yet Count
Claudio may hear; for what I would speak of
concerns him.

D. Pedro.
What's the matter?

D. John.
[To Claudio]
Means your lordship
to be married to-morrow?

D. Pedro.
You know he does.

D. John.
I know not that, when he knows
what I know.

If there be any impediment, I pray
you discover it.

D. John.
You may think I love you not:
let that appear hereafter, and aim better at me
by that I now will manifest. For my brother,
I think he holds you well, and in dearness of
heart hath holp to effect your ensuing marriage,—
surely suit ill spent and labor ill bestowed.

D. Pedro.
Why, what's the matter?

D. John.
I came hither to tell you; and,
circumstances shortened, for she has been too
long a talking of, the lady is disloyal.

Who, Hero?

D. John.
Even she; Leonato's Hero, your (110)
Hero, every man's Hero.


D. John.
The word is too good to paint out
her wickedness; I could say she were worse:
think you of a worse title, and I will fit her to
it. Wonder not till further warrant: go but
with me to-night, you shall see her chamberwindow
entered, even the night before her
wedding-day: if you love her then, to-morrow
wed her; but it would better fit your honor to
change your mind. (120)

May this be so?

D. Pedro.
I will not think it.

D. John.
If you dare not trust that you see,
confess not that you know: if you will follow
me, I will show you enough; and when you
have seen more and heard more, proceed

If I see any thing to-night why I
should not marry her to-morrow, in the congregation,
where I should wed, here will I
shame her.

D. Pedro.
And, as I wooed for thee to obtain
her, I will join with thee to disgrace her.

D. John.
I will disparage her no farther
till you are my witness: bear it coldly but
till midnight, and let the issue show itself.

D. Pedro.
O day untowardly turned!

O mischief strangely thwarting!

D. John.
O plague right well prevented!
so will you say when you have seen the sequel. [Exeunt.


A street.
Enter DOGBERRY and VERGES with the Watch.

Are you good men and true?

Yea, or else it were pity but they
should suffer salvation, body and soul.

Nay, that were a punishment too
good for them, if they should have any allegiance
in them, being chosen for the prince's watch.

Well, give them their charge, neighbor

First, who think you the most desartless (10)
man to be constable?

First Watch.
Hugh Otecake, sir, or George
Seacole; for they can write and read.

Come hither, neighbor Seacole. God
hath blessed you with a good name: to be a
well-favored man is the gift of fortune: but
to write and read comes by nature.

Sec. Watch.
Both which, master constable,—

You have: I knew it would be your
answer. Well, for your favor, sir, why, give
God thanks, and make no boast of it; and for
your writing and reading, let that appear when
there is no need of such vanity. You are
thought here to be the most senseless and fit
man for the constable of the watch; therefore
bear you the lantern. This is your charge:
you shall comprehend all vagrom men; you
are to bid any man stand, in the prince's name.

Sec. Watch.
How if a' will not stand?

Why, then, take no note of him, but
let him go; and presently call the rest of the
watch together and thank God you are rid of
a knave.

If he will not stand when he is bidden,
he is none of the prince's subjects.

True, and they are to meddle with
none but the prince's subjects. You shall also
make no noise in the streets; for, for the watch
to babble and to talk is most tolerable and not
to be endured.

We will rather sleep than talk; (40)
we know what belongs to a watch.

Why, you speak like an ancient and
most quiet watchman; for I cannot see how
sleeping should offend: only, have a care that
your bills be not stolen. Well, you are to call
at all the ale-houses, and bid those that are
drunk get them to bed.

How if they will not?

Why, then, let them alone till they
are sober: if they make you not then the better
answer, you may say they are not the men (51)
you took them for.

Well, sir.

If you meet a thief, you may suspect
him, by virtue of your office, to be no true
man; and, for such kind of men, the less you
meddle or make with them, why, the more is
for your honesty.

If we know him to be a thief, shall
we not lay hands on him?

Truly, by your office, you may; but
I think they that touch pitch will be defiled:
the most peaceable way for you, if you do take
a thief, is to let him show himself what he is
and steal out of your company.

You have been always called a merciful
man, partner.

Truly, I would not hang a dog by my
will, much more a man who hath any honesty
in him.

If you hear a child cry in the night,
you must call to the nurse and bid her still it.

How if the nurse be asleep and (71)
will not hear us?

Why, then, depart in peace, and let
the child wake her with crying; for the ewe
that will not hear her lamb when it baes will
never answer a calf when he bleats.

'Tis very true.

This is the end of the charge:—you,
constable, are to present the prince's own person:
if you meet the prince in the night, you (81)
may stay him.

Nay, by'r lady, that I think a'

Five shillings to one on't, with any
man that knows the statutes, he may stay him:
marry, not without the prince be willing; for,
indeed, the watch ought to offend no man; and
it is an offence to stay a man against his will. (89)

By'r lady, I think it be so.

Ha, ha, ha! Well, masters, good
night: an there by any matter of weight
chances, call up me: keep your fellows' counsels
and your own; and good night. Come,

Well, masters, we hear our charge:
let us go sit here upon the church-bench till
two, and then all to bed.

One word more, honest neighbors. I
pray you, watch about Signior Leonato's door;
for the wedding being there to-morrow, there
is a great coil to-night. Adieu: be vigitant, I (100)
beseech you. [Exeunt Dogberry and Verges. Enter BORACHIO and CONRADE.

What, Conrade!

Peace! stir not.

Conrade, I say!

Here, man; I am at thy elbow.

Mass, and my elbow itched; I
thought there would a scab follow.

I will owe thee an answer for that:
and now forward with thy tale.

Stand thee close, then, under this
pent-house, for it drizzles rain; and I will, like
a true drunkard, utter all to thee.

Some treason, masters: yet
stand close.

Therefore know I have earned of
Don John a thousand ducats.

Is it possible that any villany should
be so dear?

Thou shouldst rather ask if it were
possible any villany should be so rich; for
when rich villains have need of poor ones,
poor ones may make what price they will.

I wonder at it.

That shows thou art unconfirmed.
Thou knowest that the fashion of a doublet,
or a hat, or a cloak, is nothing to a man.

Yes, it is apparel.

I mean, the fashion. (129)

Yes, the fashion is the fashion.

Tush! I may as well say the fool's
the fool. But seest thou not what a deformed
thief this fashion is?

I know that Deformed; a'
has been a vile thief this seven year; a' goes
up and down like a gentleman: I remember
his name.

Didst thou not hear somebody?

No; 'twas the vane on the house.

Seest thou not, I say, what a deformed
thief this fashion is? how giddily a'
turns about all the hot bloods between fourteen
and five-and-thirty? sometimes fashioning
them like Pharaoh's soldiers in the reeky painting,
sometime like god Bel's priests in the old
church-window, sometime like the shaven Hercules
in the smirched worm-eaten tapestry,
where his codpiece seems as massy as his club?

All this I see; and I see that the
fashion wears out more apparel than the man.
But art not thou thyself giddy with the fashion
too, that thou hast shifted out of thy tale into
telling me of the fashion?

Not so, neither: but know that I
have to-night wooed Margaret, the Lady
Hero's gentlewoman, by the name of Hero:
she leans me out at her mistress' chamber-
window, bids me a thousand times good night,
—I tell this tale vilely:—I should first tell
thee how the prince, Claudio and my master,
planted and placed and possessed by my master
Don John, saw afar off in the orchard this (161)
amiable encounter.

And thought they Margaret was Hero?

Two of them did, the prince and
Claudio; but the devil my master knew she
was Margaret; and partly by his oaths, which
first possessed them, partly by the dark night,
which did deceive them, but chiefly by my villany,
which did confirm any slander that Don
John had made, away went Claudio enraged;
swore he would meet her, as he was appointed,
next morning at the temple, and there, before
the whole congregation, shame her with what
he saw o'er night and send her home again
without a husband.

First Watch.
We charge you, in the prince's
name, stand!

Sec. Watch.
Call up the right master constable.
We have here recovered the most dangerous
piece of lechery that ever was known in (181)
the commonwealth.

First Watch.
And one Deformed is one of
them: I know him; a' wears a lock.

Masters, masters,—

Sec. Watch.
You'll be made bring Deformed
forth, I warrant you.


First Watch.
Never speak: we charge you
let us obey you to go with us.

We are like to prove a goodly commodity,
being taken up of these men's bills.

A commodity in question, I warrant
you. Come, we'll obey you. [Exeunt.


HERO'S apartment.

Good Ursula, wake my cousin Beatrice,
and desire her to rise.

I will, lady.

And bid her come hither.

Well. [Exit.

Troth, I think your other rabato
were better.

No, pray thee, good Meg, I'll wear this.

By my troth, 's not so good; and I (10)
warrant your cousin will say so.

My cousin's a fool, and thou art another:
I'll wear none but this.

I like the new tire within excellently,
if the hair were a thought browner; and your
gown's a most rare fashion, i' faith. I saw the
Duchess of Milan's gown that they praise so.

O, that exceeds, they say.

By my troth, 's but a night-gown in
respect of yours: cloth o' gold, and cuts, and
laced with silver, set with pearls, down sleeves,
side sleeves, and skirts, round underborne with
a bluish tinsel: but for a fine, quaint, graceful
and excellent fashion, yours is worth ten on't.

God give me joy to wear it! for my
heart is exceedingly heavy.

'Twill be heavier soon by the weight
of a man.

Fie upon thee! art not ashamed?

Of what, lady? of speaking honorably?
Is not marriage honorable in a beggar?
Is not your lord honorable without marriage?
I think you would have me say, 'saving your
reverence, a husband:' and bad thinking do
not wrest true speaking, I'll offend nobody: is
there any harm in 'the heavier for a husband'?
None, I think, an it be the right husband
and the right wife: otherwise 'tis light,
and not heavy: ask my Lady Beatrice else;
here she comes. Enter BEATRICE.

Good morrow, coz. (40)

Good morrow, sweet Hero.

Why, how now? do you speak in the
sick tune?

I am out of all other tune, methinks.

Clap's into 'Light o' love;' that
goes without a burden: do you sing it, and I'll
dance it.

Ye light o' love, with your heels!
then, if your husband have stables enough,
you'll see he shall lack no barns.

O illegitimate construction! I scorn (51)
that with my heels.

'Tis almost five o'clock, cousin; 'tis
time you were ready. By my troth, I am exceeding
ill: heigh-ho!

For a hawk, a horse, or a husband?

For the letter that begins them all, H.

Well, and you be not turned Turk,
there's no more sailing by the star.

What means the fool, trow?

Nothing I; but God send every one (61)
their heart's desire!

These gloves the count sent me;
they are an excellent perfume.

I am stuffed, cousin; I cannot smell.

A maid, and stuffed! there's goodly
catching of cold.

O, God help me! God help me! how
long have you professed apprehension?

Ever since you left it. Doth not my (70)
wit become me rarely?

It is not seen enough, you should
wear it in your cap. By my troth, I am sick.

Get you some of this distilled Carduus
Benedictus, and lay it to your heart: it
is the only thing for a qualm.

There thou prickest her with a thistle.

Benedictus! why Benedictus? you
have some moral in this Benedictus.

Moral! no, by my troth, I have no
moral meaning; I meant, plain holy-thistle.
You may think perchance that I think you are
in love: nay, by'r lady, I am not such a fool to
think what I list, nor I list not to think what I
can, nor indeed I cannot think, if I would
think my heart out of thinking, that you are in
love or that you will be in love or that you can
be in love. Yet Benedick was such another,
and now is he become a man: he swore he
would never marry, and yet now, in despite of
his heart, he eats his meat without grudging:
and how you may be converted I know not, but
methinks you look with your eyes as other
women do.

What pace is this that thy tongue keeps?

Not a false gallop. Re-enter URSULA.

Madam, withdraw: the prince, the
count, Signior Benedick, Don John, and all the
gallants of the town, are come to fetch you to

Help to dress me, good coz, good
Meg, good Ursula.[Exeunt.


Another room in LEONATO'S house.

What would you with me, honest

Marry, sir, I would have some confidence
with you that decerns you nearly.

Brief, I pray you; for you see it is a
busy time with me.

Marry, this it is, sir.

Yes, in truth it is, sir.

What is it, my good friends?

Goodman Verges, sir, speaks a little
off the matter: an old man, sir, and his wits
are not so blunt as, God help, I would desire
they were; but, in faith, honest as the skin between
his brows.

Yes, I thank God I am as honest as
any man living that is an old man and no
honester than I.

Comparisons are odorous: palabras,
neighbor Verges. (20)

Neighbors, you are tedious.

It pleases your worship to say so, but
we are the poor duke's officers; but truly, for
mine own part, if I were as tedious as a king,
I could find it in my heart to bestow it all of
your worship.

All thy tediousness on me, ah?

Yea, an 'twere a thousand pound
more than 'tis; for I hear as good exclamation
on your worship as of any man in the city;
and though I be but a poor man, I am glad to (30)
hear it.

And so am I.

I would fain know what you have to say.

Marry, sir, our watch to-night, excepting
your worship's presence, ha' ta'en a
couple of as arrant knaves as any in Messina.

A good old man, sir; he will be talking:
as they say, When the age is in, the wit is
out: God help us! it is a world to see. Well
said, i' faith, neighbor Verges: well, God's a
good man; an two men ride of a horse, one
must ride behind. An honest soul, i' faith, sir;
by my troth he is, as ever broke bread; but
God is to be worshipped; all men are not
alike; alas, good neighbor!

Indeed, neighbor, he comes too short
of you.

Gifts that God gives.

I must leave you.

One word, sir: our watch, sir, have
indeed comprehended two aspicious persons,
and we would have them this morning examined
before your worship.

Take their examination yourself and
bring it me: I am now in great haste, as it
may appear unto you.

It shall be suffigance.

Drink some wine ere you go: fare
you well. Enter a Messenger.

My lord, they stay for you to give (60)
your daughter to her husband.

I'll wait upon them: I am ready. [Exeunt Leonato and Messenger.

Go, good partner, go, get you to
Francis Seacole; bid him bring his pen and
inkhorn to the gaol: we are now to examination
these men.

And we must do it wisely.

We will spare for no wit, I warrant
you; here's that shall drive some of them to a
noncome: only get the learned writer to set
down our excommunication and meet me at
the gaol. [Exeunt.

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