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If black, why, nature, drawing of an antic,
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
Which simpleness and merit purchaseth.
Urs. Sure, sure, such carping is not commendable.
Hero. 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'd 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;
Which is as bad as die with tickling.

Urs. Yet tell her of it; hear what she will say.
Hero. 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.

Urs. O, do not do your cousin such a wrong.
She cannot be so much without true judgment
(Having so swift and excellent a wit,
As she is priz'd to have,) as to refuse
So rare a gentleman as signior Benedick.
Hero. He is the only man in Italy,
Always excepted my dear Claudio."

Urs. I pray you, be not angry with me, madan,, Speaking my fancy; signior Benedick,

For shape, for bearing, argument,2 and valour,

Goes foremost in report through Italy.

Hero. Indeed, he hath an excellent good name. Urs. His excellence did earn it, ere he had it.When are you married, madam?

[blocks in formation]

Hero. 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.

Urs. She's lim'd, I warrant you; we have caught her, madam.

Hero. If it prove so, then loving goes by haps : Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps. [Exeunt Hero and Ursula.

Beatrice advances.

Beat. 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.

SCENE II-A room in Leonato's house. Enter Don Pedro, Claudio, Benedick, and Leonato. D. Pedro. I do but stay till your marriage be consummate, and then I go toward Arragon.

Claud. 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 bowstring, and the little hangman dares 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 speaks.

(1) Ensnar'd with birdlime.

Bene. Gallants, I am not as I have been.
Leon. So say I; methinks, you are sadder.
Claud. I hope, he be in love.

D. Pedro. Hang him, truant; there's no true drop of blood in him, to be truly touch'd with love if he be sad, he wants money.

Bene. I have the tooth-ach.
D. Pedro. Draw it.

Bene. Hang it!

Claud. You must hang it first, and draw it after wards.

D. Pedro. What? sigh for the tooth-ach? Leon. Where is but a humour, or a worm? Bene. Well, every one can master a grief, but he that has it.

Claud. 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 to-day; a Frenchman tomorrow; or in the shape of two countries at once, as a German from the waist downward, all slop; 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.

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

D. Pedro. Hath any man seen him at the barber's? Claud. No, but the barber's man hath been seen with him; and the old ornament of his cheek hath already stuffed tennis-balls.

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

D. Pedro. Nay, he rubs himself with civet: can you smell him out by that?

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

(1) Large loose breeches.

D. Pedro. The greatest note of it is his melancholy.

Claud. And when was he wont to wash his face? D. Pedro. Yea, or to paint himself? for the which, I hear what they say of him.

Claud. Nay, but his jesting spirit; which is now crept into a lutestring, and now governed by stops. D. Pedro. Indeed, that tells a heavy tale for him conclude, conclude, he is in love.

Claud. Nay, but I know who loves him.

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

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

D. Pedro. She shall be buried with her face upwards.

Bene. Yet is this no charm for the tooth-ach.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.

Claud. 'Tis even so: Hero and Margaret have by this played their parts with Beatrice; and then the two bears will not bite one another, 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 Clandio may hear; for what I would speak of concerns him. D. Pedro. What's the matter?

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

D. Pedro. You know he does.

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

Claud. 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 labour ill bestowed!

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

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

Claud. Who? Hero?

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

Claud. Disloyal?

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 tonight, you shall see her chamber-window entered; even the night before her wedding-day: if you love her then, to-morrow wed her; but it would better fit your honour to change your mind. Claud. 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 accordingly.

Claud. If I see any thing to-night why I should not marry her to-morrow; in the congregation, where I should wed, there 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 witnesses: bear it coldly but till midnight, and let the issue show itself.

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