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Before LEONATO'S house.

If you go on thus, you will kill yourself:

And 'tis not wisdom thus to second grief

Against yourself.

I pray thee, cease thy counsel,

Which falls into mine ears as profitless

As water in a sieve: give not me counsel;

Nor let no comforter delight mine ear

But such a one whose wrongs do suit with mine.

Bring me a father that so loved his child,

Whose joy of her is overwhelm'd like mine, (10)

And bid him speak of patience;

Measure his woe the length and breadth of mine

And let it answer every strain for strain,

As thus for thus and such a grief for such,

In every lineament, branch, shape, and form:

If such a one will smile and stroke his beard,

Bid sorrow wag, cry 'hem!' when he should groan,

Patch grief with proverbs, make misfortune drunk

With candle-wasters; bring him yet to me,

And I of him will gather patience. (20)

But there is no such man: for, brother, men

Can counsel and speak comfort to that grief

Which they themselves not feel; but, tasting it,

Their counsel turns to passion, which before

Would give preceptial medicine to rage,

Fetter strong madness in a silken thread,

Charm ache with air and agony with words:

No, no; 'tis all men's office to speak patience

To those that wring under the load of sorrow,

But no man's virtue nor sufficiency (30)

To be so moral when he shall endure

The like himself. Therefore give me no counsel:

My griefs cry louder than advertisement.

Therein do men from children nothing differ.

I pray thee, peace. I will be flesh and blood;

For there was never yet philosopher

That could endure the toothache patiently,

However they have writ the style of gods

And made a push at chance and sufferance.

Yet bend not all the harm upon yourself; (40)

Make those that do offend you suffer too.

There thou speak'st reason: nay, I will do so.

My soul doth tell me Hero is belied;

And that shall Claudio know; so shall the prince

And all of them that thus dishonor her.

Here comes the prince and Claudio hastily. Enter DON PEDRO and CLAUDIO.

D. Pedro.
Good den, good den.

Good day to both of you.

Hear you, my lords,—

D. Pedro.
We have some haste, Leonato.

Some haste, my lord! well, fare you well, my lord:

Are you so hasty now? well, all is one.

D. Pedro.
Nay, do not quarrel with us, good old man.

If he could right himself with quarrelling,

Some of us would lie low.

Who wrongs him?

Marry, thou dost wrong me; thou dissembler, thou:—

Nay, never lay thy hand upon thy sword;

I fear thee not.

Marry, beshrew my hand,

If it should give your age such cause of fear:

In faith, my hand meant nothing to my sword.

Tush, tush, man; never fleer and jest at me:

I speak not like a dotard nor a fool, (60)

As under privilege of age to brag

What I have done being young, or what would do

Were I not old. Know, Claudio, to thy head,

Thou hast so wrong'd mine innocent child and me

That I am forced to lay my reverence by

And, with grey hairs and bruise of many days,

Do challenge thee to trial of a man.

I say thou hast belied mine innocent child;

Thy slander hath gone through and through her heart,

And she lies buried with her ancestors; (70)

O, in a tomb where never scandal slept,

Save this of hers, framed by thy villany!

My villany?

Thine, Claudio; thine, I say.

D. Pedro.
You say not right, old man.

My lord, my lord,

I'll prove it on his body, if he dare,

Despite his nice fence and his active practice,

His May of youth and bloom of lustihood.

Away! I will not have to do with you.

Canst thou so daff me? Thou hast kill'd my child:

If thou kill'st me, boy, thou shalt kill a man.

He shall kill two of us, and men indeed: (81)

But that's no matter; let him kill one first;

Win me and wear me; let him answer me.

Come, follow me, boy; come, sir boy, come, follow me:

Sir boy, I'll whip you from your foining fence;

Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will.


Content yourself. God knows I loved my niece;

And she is dead, slander'd to death by villains,

That dare as well answer a man indeed (90)

As I dare take a serpent by the tongue:

Boys, apes, braggarts, Jacks, milksops!

Brother Anthony,—

Hold you content. What, man! I know them, yea,

And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple,—

Scrambling, out-facing, fashion-monging boys,

That lie and cog and flout, deprave and slander,

Go anticly, show outward hideousness,

And speak off half a dozen dangerous words,

How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst;

And this is all.

But, brother Anthony,— (100)

Come, 'tis no matter:

Do not you meddle; let me deal in this.

D. Pedro.
Gentlemen both, we will not wake your patience.

My heart is sorry for your daughter's death:

But, on my honor, she was charged with nothing

But what was true and very full of proof.

My lord, my lord,—

D. Pedro.
I will not hear you.

No? Come, brother; away! I will be heard.

And shall, or some of us will smart for it. [Exeunt Leonato and Antonio

D. Pedro.
See, see; here comes the man we went to seek. Enter BENEDICK.

Now, signior, what news?

Good day, my lord.

D. Pedro.
Welcome, signior: you are almost
come to part almost a fray.

We had like to have had our two
noses snapped off with two old men without

D. Pedro.
Leonato and his brother. What
thinkest thou? Had we fought, I doubt we
should have been too young for them.

In a false quarrel there is no true (121)
valor. I came to seek you both.

We have been up and down to seek
thee; for we are high-proof melancholy and
would fain have it beaten away. Wilt thou
use thy wit?

It is in my scabbard: shall I draw it?

D. Pedro.
Dost thou wear thy wit by thy

Never any did so, though very many
have been beside their wit. I will bid thee draw,
as we do the minstrels; draw, to pleasure us.

D. Pedro.
As I am an honest man, he looks (131)
pale. Art thou sick, or angry?

What, courage, man! What though
care killed a cat, thou hast mettle enough in
thee to kill care.

Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career,
and you charge it against me. I pray you
choose another subject.

Nay, then, give him another staff:
this last was broke cross.

D. Pedro.
By this light, he changes more (141)
and more: I think he be angry indeed.

If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle.

Shall I speak a word in your ear?

God bless me from a challenge!

[Aside to Claudio]
You are a villain;
I jest not: I will make it good how you
dare, with what you dare, and when you dare.
Do me right, or I will protest your cowardice.
You have killed a sweet lady, and her death
shall fall heavy on you. Let me hear from (151)

Well, I will meet you, so I may
have good cheer.

D. Pedro.
What, a feast, a feast?

I' faith, I thank him; he hath bid
me to a calf's head and a capon; the which
if I do not carve most curiously, say my knife's
naught. Shall I not find a woodcock too?

Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes easily.

D. Pedro.
I'll tell thee how Beatrice praised
thy wit the other day. I said, thou hadst a
fine wit: 'True,' said she, 'a fine little one.'
'No,' said I, 'a great wit:' 'Right,' says she,
'a great gross one.' 'Nay,' said I, 'a good
wit:' 'Just,' said she, 'it hurts nobody.'
'Nay,' said I, 'the gentleman is wise:' 'Certain,'
said she,'a wise gentleman.' 'Nay,' said
I, 'he hath the tongues:' 'That I believe,'
said she, 'for he swore a thing to me on Monday
night, which he forswore on Tuesday
morning; there's a double tongue; there's two
tongues.' Thus did she, an hour, together, transshape
thy particular virtues: yet at last she
concluded with a sigh, thou wast the properest
man in Italy.

For the which she wept heartily
and said she cared not.

D. Pedro.
Yea, that she did: but yet, for
all that, an if she did not hate him deadly, she
would love him dearly: the old man's daughter (180)
told us all.

All, all; and, moreover, God saw
him when he was hid in the garden.

D. Pedro.
But when shall we set the savage
bull's horns on the sensible Benedick's head?

Yea, and text underneath, 'Here
dwells Benedick the married man'?

Fare you well, boy: you know my
mind. I will leave you now to your gossiplike
humor: you break jests as braggards do
their blades, which God be thanked, hurt not.
My lord, for your many courtesies I thank
you: I must discontinue your company: your
brother the bastard is fled from Messina: you
have among you killed a sweet and innocent
lady. For my Lord Lackbeard there, he and
I shall meet: and, till then, peace be with him. [Exit.

D. Pedro.
He is in earnest.

In most profound earnest; and, I'll
warrant you, for the love of Beatrice. (200)

D. Pedro.
And hath challenged thee.

Most sincerely.

D. Pedro.
What a pretty thing man is when
he goes in his doublet and hose and leaves off
his wit.

He is then a giant to an ape; but
then is an ape a doctor to such a man.

D. Pedro.
But, soft you, let me be: pluck
up, my heart, and be sad. Did he not say, my
brother was fled? Enter DOGBERRY, VERGES, and the Watch, with CONRADE and BORACHIO.

Come you, sir: if justice cannot tame
you, she shall ne'er weigh more reasons in her
balance: nay, an you be a cursing hypocrite
once, you must be looked to.

D. Pedro.
How now? two of my brother's
men bound! Borachio one!

Hearken after their offence, my lord.

D. Pedro.
Officers, what offence have these
men done?

Marry, sir, they have committed false
report; moreover, they have spoken untruths;
secondarily, they are slanders; sixth and
lastly, they have belied a lady; thirdly, they
have verified unjust things; and, to conclude,
they are lying knaves.

D. Pedro.
First, I ask thee what they have
done; thirdly, I ask thee what's their offence;
sixth and lastly, why they are committed; and,
to conclude, what you lay to their charge.

Rightly reasoned, and in his own
division: and, by my troth, there's one meaning (231)
well suited.

D. Pedro.
Who have you offended, masters,
that you are thus bound to your answer? this
learned constable is too cunning to be understood:
what's your offence?

Sweet prince, let me go no farther to
mine answer: do you hear me, and let this
count kill me. I have deceived even your very
eyes: what your wisdoms could not discover,
these shallow fools have brought to light: who
in the night overheard me confessing to this
man how Don John your brother incensed me
to slander the Lady Hero, how you were
brought into the orchard and saw me court
Margaret in Hero's garments, how you disgraced
her, when you should marry her: my
villany they have upon record; which I had
rather seal with my death than repeat over to
my shame. The lady is dead upon mine and
my master's false accusation; and, briefly, I
desire nothing but the reward of a villain.

D. Pedro.
Runs not this speech like iron through your blood?

I have drunk poison whiles he utter'd it.

D. Pedro.
But did my brother set thee on to this?

Yea, and paid me richly for the
practice of it.

D. Pedro.
He is composed and framed of treachery:

And fled he is upon this villany.

Sweet Hero! now thy image doth appear (260)

In the rare semblance that I loved it first.

Come, bring away the plaintiffs: by
this time our sexton hath reformed Signior
Leonato of the matter: and, masters, do not
forget to specify, when time and place shall
serve, that I am an ass.

Here, here comes master Signior Leonato,
and the Sexton too. Re-enter LEONATO and ANTONIO, with the Sexton.

Which is the villain? let me see his eyes, (270)

That, when I note another man like him,

I may avoid him: which of these is he?

If you would know your wronger, look on me.

Art thou the slave that with thy breath hast kill'd

Mine innocent child?

Yea, even I alone.

No, not so, villain; thou beliest thyself:

Here stand a pair of honorable men;

A third is fled, that had a hand in it.

I thank you, princes, for my daughter's death:

Record it with your high and worthy deeds:

'Twas bravely done, if you bethink you of it.

I know not how to pray your patience;

Yet I must speak. Choose your revenge yourself;

Impose me to what penance your invention

Can lay upon my sin: yet sinn'd I not

But in mistaking.

D. Pedro.
By my soul, nor I:

And yet, to satisfy this good old man,

I would bend under any heavy weight

That he'll enjoin me to.

I cannot bid you bid my daughter live;

That were impossible: but, I pray you both, (290)

Possess the people in Messina here

How innocent she died; and if your love

Can labor ought in sad invention,

Hang her an epitaph upon her tomb

And sing it to her bones, sing it to-night:

To-morrow morning come you to my house,

And since you could not be my son-in-law,

Be yet my nephew: my brother hath a daughter,

Almost the copy of my child that's dead,

And she alone is heir to both of us: (300)

Give her the right you should have given heir cousin,

And so dies my revenge.

O noble sir,

Your over-kindness doth wring tears from me!

I do embrace your offer; and dispose

For henceforth of poor Claudio.

To-morrow then I will expect your coming;

To-night I take my leave. This naughty man

Shall face to face be brought to Margaret,

Who I believe was pack'd in all this wrong,

Hired to it by your brother.

No, by my soul, she was not, (310)

Nor knew not what she did when she spoke to me,

But always hath been just and virtuous

In any thing that I do know by her.

Moreover, sir, which indeed is not
under white and black, this plaintiff here, the
offender, did call me ass: I beseech you, let it
be remembered in his punishment. And also,
the watch heard them talk of one Deformed:
they say he wears a key in his ear and a lock
hanging by it, and borrows money in God's
name, the which he hath used so long and
never paid that now men grow hard-hearted
and will lend nothing for God's sake: pray
you, examine him upon that point.

I thank thee for thy care and honest pains.

Your worship speaks like a most
thankful and reverend youth; and I praise
God for you.

There's for thy pains.

God save the foundation!

Go, I discharge thee of thy prisoner,
and I thank thee.

I leave an arrant knave with your
worship; which I beseech your worship to
correct yourself, for the example of others.
God keep your worship! I wish your worship
well; God restore you to health! I humbly
give you leave to depart; and if a merry meeting
may be wished, God prohibit it! Come,
neighbor. [Exeunt Dogberry and Verges.

Until to-morrow morning, lords, farewell.

Farewell, my lords: we look for you to-morrow.

D. Pedro.
We will not fail.

To-night I'll mourn with Hero.

[To the Watch]
Bring you these fellows on. We'll talk with Margaret,

How her acquaintance grew with this lewd fellow. [Exeunt, severally.

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