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Hero. When I like your favour; for God defendt, the lute should be like the case !
D. Pedro. My visor is Philemon's roof; within the house is Jove.
Hero. Why, then your visor should be thatch'd. D. Pedro. Speak low, if you speak love.
[Takes her aside. Bene. Well, I would you
did like me. Marg. So would not I, for your own sake; for I have many ill qualities,
Bene. Which is one ?
aloud. Bene. I love you the better; the hearers may
Marg. God match me with a good dancer!
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. 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
and there's an end.
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 ?
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. Why, he is the prince's jester ; a very dull fool; only his gift is in devising impossible 5 slanders: none but libertines delight in him; and the commendation is not in his wit, but in his villainy; for he both pleaseth 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 6 me. 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. [Musick within.] We must follow the leaders.
Bene. In every good thing.
Beat. Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at the next turning. (Dance. Then exeunt all but 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 Sure, my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath withdrawn her father to break with him about it: The ladies follow her, and but one visor remains.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. 7
D. John. Are not you signior Benedick?
D. John. Signior, you are very near my brother in his love: he is enamoured 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 yo! he loves her ?
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
Bene. Even to the next willow, about your own business, count. What fashion will you wear the
7 Carriage, demeanour.
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.
Claud. I wish him joy of her.
Bene. Why, that's spoken like an honest drover; so they sell bullocks. But did you think the prince would have served
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 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, the 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, HERO, and LEONATO. D. Pedro. Now, signior, where's the count; Did
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? Bene. The flat transgression of a school-boy?
you see him ?
who, being overjoy'd with finding a bird's 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 stoln his bird's nest.
D. Pedro. I will but teach them to sing, and restore them to the owner.
Benc. 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: 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 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 Atéi in good apparel.
i The Goddess of Discord.