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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.

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