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Enter Don Pedro and CLAUDIO. Ant. Here comes the prince, and Claudio hastily. D. Pedro. Good den, good den. Claud.

Good day to both of you. Leon. Hear you, my lords, D. Pedro. We have some haste, Leonato. Leon. 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

Ant. If he could right himself with quarrelling, Some of us would lie low. Claud.

Who wrongs him ? Leon.

Marry, Thou, thou dost wrong me ; thou dissembler,

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.

Leon. Tush, tush, man, never fleer and jest at


I speak not like a dotard, nor a fool;
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 forc'd 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


And she lies buried with her ancestors;
0! in a tomb where never scandal slept,
Save this of her's, fram'd by thy villainy.

Claud. My villainy!

Thine, Claudio; thine I say.

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

My lord, my lord, I'll prove it on his body, if he dare; Despite his nice fence, and his active practice, 5 His May of youth, and bloom of lustyhood.

Claud. Away, I will not have to do with you. Leon. Canst thou so daff me? Thou hast kill'd


my child;

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

Ant. He shall kill two of us, and men indeed : But that's no matter; let him kill one first ;Win me and wear me,- let him answer me,Come, follow me, boy; come, boy, follow me: Sir boy, I'll whip you from your foining 6 fence; Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will.

Leon. Brother,
Ant. Content yourself: God knows, I lov'd my

And she is dead, slander'd to death by villains;
That dare as well answer a man, indeed,
As I dare take a serpent by the tongue;
Boys, apes, braggarts, Jacks, milksops !

Brother Antony,Ant. Hold you content; What, man! I know And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple: Scambling, out-facing, fashion-mong’ring boys, That lie, and cog, and flout, deprave and slander, Go antickly, and show outward hideousness,

them, yea,

5 Skill in fencing

6 Thrusting.

And speak off half a dozen dangerous words,
How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst,
And this is all.

Leon. But, brother Antony,

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 honour, she was charg'd with nothing
But what was true, and very full of proof,

Leon. My lord, my lord, –
D. Pedro.

I will not hear you. Leon.

No? Brother, away: I will be heard ;Ant.

And shall, Or some of us will smart for it.


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

Claud. Now, signior ! what news!
Bene. Good day, my lord.

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

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

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

Bene. In a false quarrel there is no true valour. I came to seek


both. Claud. 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 ?





kill care.

Bene. It is in my scabbard; Shall I draw it?
D. Pedro. Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side ?

Claud. 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 pale:- Art thou sick, or angry?

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

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

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

D. Pedro. By this light, he changes more and more; I think, he be


Claud. If he be, he knows how to turn his
girdle. 7

Bene. Shall I speak a word in your ear?
Claud. God bless me from a challenge!

Bene. 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 pro-
test your cowardice. You have killed a sweet
lady, and her death shall fall heavy on you: Let
me hear from you.
Claud. Well, I will meet you, so


have good cheer.

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

Claud. I'faith, I thank him; he hath bid 8 me to a calf's-head and a capon; the which if I do not carve most curiously, say, my knife's naught.

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Shall I not find a woodcock too?

7 To give a challenge.

8 Invited,


Bene. 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, says 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 foreswore 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.

Claud. 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 told us all.

Claud. 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 ?

Claud. Yea, and text underneath, Here dwells Benedick the married man? Bene. Fare you well, boy; you know

my I will leave you now to your gossip-like humour : you break jests as braggarts 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 Lack-beard, there, he and I shall 'meet; and till then, peace be with him.



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