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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.
Verg. You have been always called a merciful man, partner.
Dogb. Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will; much more a man who hath any honesty in him.
Verg. If you hear a child cry in the night, you must call to the nurse, and bid her still it.
2 Watch. How if the nurse be asleep, and will not hear us?
Dogb. Why then, depart in peace, and let the child wake her with crying: for the ewe that will not hear her lamb when it baas, will never answer a calf when he bleats.
Verg. 'Tis very true.
Dogb. 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 may stay him.
Verg. Nay, by'r lady, that I think he cannot.
Dogb. Five shillings to one on't, with any man that knows the statues, 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.
Verg. By'r lady, I think it be so.
Dogb. Ha, ha, ha! Well, masters, good night: an there be any matter of weight chances, call up me: keep your fellows' counsels and your own, and good night. - Come, neighbour. .
2 Watch. Well, masters, we hear our charge : let us go sit here upon the church-bench till two, - and then all to-bed.
Dogb. One word more, honest neighbours: 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 beseech you.
[Exeunt DOGBERRY and VERGES. Enter BORACHIO and CONRADE. Bora. What! Conrade, Watch. Peace, stir not.
[Aside. Bora. Conrade, I say ! Con. Here, man, I am at thy elbow.
Bora. Mass, and my elbow itched; I thought, there would a scab follow.
Con. I will owe thee an answer for that; and now forward with thy tale.
Bora. Stand thee close then under this penthouse, for it drizzles rain ; and I will, like a true
2 drunkard, utter all to thee.
Watch. [aside,] Some treason, masters; yet stand close.
Bora. Therefore know, I have earned of Don John a thousand ducats.
Con. Is it possible that any villainy should be so dear?
Bora. Thou should'st rather ask, if it were possible any villainy should be so rich; for when rich villains have need of poor ones, poor ones may make what price they will.
Con. I wonder at it.
Bora. That shows thou art unconfirmed 5: Thou knowest, that the fashion of a doublet, or a hat, or a cloak, is nothing to a man.
Con. Yes, it is apparel.
5 Unpractised in the ways of the world.
fool. But see'st thou not what a deformed thief this fashion is?
Watch. I know that Deformed; he has been a vile thief this seven year; he goes up and down like a gentleman: I remember his name.
Bora. Didst thou not hear somebody?
Bora. Seest thou not, I say, what a deformed thief this fashion is ? how giddily he turns about all the hot bloods, between fourteen and five and thirty ? sometime, fashioning them like Pharaoh's soldiers in the reechy 6 painting; sometime, like god Bel's priests in the old church window : sometime, like the shaven Hercules in the smirched 7 worm-eaten tapestry, where his cod-piece seems as massy as his club?
Con. All this I see; and 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.
Bora. 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 amiable encounter.
Con. And thought they, Margaret was Hero?
Bora. 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 villainy, 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 over-night, and send her home again without a husband.
1 Watch. We charge you in the prince's name, stand.
2 Watch. Call up the right master constable : We have here recovered the most dangerous piece of lechery that ever was known in the commonwealth.
i Watch. And one Deformed is one of them : I know him, he wears a lock.
Con. Masters, masters.
2 Watch. You'll be made bring Deformed forth I warrant you.
1 Watch. Never speak; we charge you, let us obey you to go with us.
Bora. We are like to prove a goodly commodity, being taken up of these men's bills.
Con. A commodity in question, I warrant you. Come, we'll obey you.
Urs. I will, lady.
[Exit Ursula. Marg. Troth, I think, your other rabato 8 were better.
Hero. No, pray thee, good Meg, I'll wear this.
Marg. By my troth, it's not so good ; and I warrant, your cousin will say so.
Hero. My cousin's a fool, and thou art another; I'll wear none but this.
Marg. I like the new tire 9 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.
Hero. O, that exceeds, they say.
Marg. By my troth its but a night-gown in respect of yours: Cloth of gold, and cuts, and laced with silver; set with pearls, down-sleeves, side-sleeves', and skirts round, underborne with a blueish tinsel: but for a fine, quaint, graceful, and excellent fashion, yours is worth ten on't. Hero. God give me joy to wear it, for my
heart is exceeding heavy!
Marg. 'Twill be heavier soon, by the weight of a man.
Hero. Fye upon thee! art not ashamed ?
Marg. Of what, lady? of speaking honourably? Is not marriage honourable in a beggar? Is not your lord honourable without marriage ? I think, you would have me say, saving your reverence, a husband: an 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.
8 A kind of ruff.
9 Head-dress. 1 Long sleeves.