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possess'd with a fury, exceeds her as much in beauty, as the first of May doth the last of December. But I hope, you have no intent to turn husband; have

you ?

Claud. I would scarce trust myself, though I had sworn the contrary, if Hero would be

my

wife. Bene. Is't come to this, i'faith ? Hath not the world one man, but he will wear his cap with suspicion? Shall I never see a bachelor of threescore again? Go to, i'faith ; an thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it, and sigh away Sundays. Look, Don Pedro is return'd to seek you.

202

Re-enter Don PEDRO. Pedro. What secret hath held you here, that you follow'd not to Leonato's ?

Bene. I would, your grace would constrain me to tell.

Pedro. I charge thee on thy allegiance.

Bene. You hear count Claudio : I can be secret as a dumb man, I would have you think so; but on my allegiance,---mark you this, on my allegiance. He is in love. With who?--now that is your grace's part.-Mark, how short his answer is :--With Hero, Leonato's short daughter.

213 Claud. If this were so, so were it uttered.

Bene. Like the old tale, my lord : it is not so, nor 'twas not so; but, indeed, God forbid it should be

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.

Claud. If my passion change not shortly, God forbid it should be otherwise.

219 Pedro. Amen, if you love her, for the lady is very well worthy.

Claud. You speak this to fetch me in, my lord.
Pedro. By my troth, I speak my thought.
Claud. And, in faith, my lord, I spoke mine.

Bene. And, by my two faiths and troths, my lord,
I speak mine.

Claud. That I love her, I feel.
Pedro. That she is worthy, I know.

228 Bene. That I neither feel how she should be loved, nor know how she should be worthy, is the opinion that fire cannot melt out of me; I will die in it at the stake.

Pedro. Thou wast ever an obstinate heretick in the despight of beauty.

Claud. And never could maintain his part, but in the force of his will.

Bene. That a woman conceived me, I thank her i that she brought me up, I likewise give her most humble thanks: but that I will have a recheat winded in my forehead, " or hang my bugle in an « invisible baldrick," all women shall pardon me : Because I will not do them the wrong to mistrust any, I will do myself the right to trust none; and the fine is (for the which I may go the finer), I will live a bachelor.

245 Pedro. I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with love

B

Beat.

253

Bene. With anger, with sickness, or with hunger, my lord ; not with love: prove, that ever I lose more blood with love, than I will get again with drinking, pick out mine eyes with a ballad-maker's pen, and hang me up at the door of a brothel-house for the sign of blind Cupid.

Pedro. Well, if ever thou dost fall from this faith,

thou wilt prove a notable argument. Bene. Radn. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat, and shoot at me;

• and he that hits me, let him be clap'd " on the shoulder, and call’d Adam."

Pedro. Well, as time shall try :
In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke.

260 Bene. The savage bull may ; but if ever the sensible Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull's horns, and set them in my forehead: and let me be vilely painted ; and in such great letters as they write, Here is good horse to hire, let them signify under my sign,--Here you may see Benedick the marry'd man.

" Claud. If this should ever happen, thou would'st 66 be horn-mad."

Pedro. Nay, if Cupid hath not spent all his quiver in Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly. 270

Bene. I look for an earthquake too then.

Pedro. Well, you will temporize with the hours. In the mean time, good signior Benedick, repair to Leonato's ; commend me to him, and tell him, I will not fail him at supper ; for, indeed, he hath made great preparation.

Bene.

Bene. I have almost matter enough in me for such an embassage; and so I commit you

Claud. To the tuition of God; from my house (if I bad it),

280 Pedro. The sixth of July ; your loving friend, Bedick.

Bene. Nay, mock not, mock nột: The body of your discourse is sometime guarded with fragments, and the guards are but slightly basted on neither : ere you fiout old ends any further, examine your conscience; and so I leave you.

[Exit. Claud. My liege, your highness now may do me good,

289
Pedro. My love is thine to teach ; teach it but how,
And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn
Any hard lesson that may do thee good.

Claud. Hath Leonato any son, my lord ?

Pedro. No child but Hero, she's his only heir :
Dost thou affect her Claudio ?

Claud. O my lord,
When you went onward on this ended action,
I look'd upon her with a soldier's eye,
That lik'd, but had a rougher task in hand
Than to drive liking to the name of love : 300
But now I am return'd, and that war-thoughts
Have left their places vacant, in their rooms
Come thronging soft and delicate desires,
All prompting me how fair young Hero is,
Saying, I lik'd her ere I went to wars.
Pedra. Thou wilt be like a lover presently,
Bij

And

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And tire the hearer with a book of words :
If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it;
And I will break with her “and with her father, 309
6 And thou shalt have her :" Was't not to this end,
That thou began'st to twist so fine a story?

Claud. How sweetly do you minister to love,
That know love's grief by his complection!
But lest my liking might too sudden seem,
I would have salv'd it with a longer treatise.
Pedro. What need the bridge much broader than

the flood ? The fairest grant is the necessity : Look, what will serve, is fit: 'tis once, thou lov'st; And I will fit thee with the remedy. I know we shall have revelling to night; 320 I will assume thy part in some disguise, And tell fair Hero I am Claudio; And in her bosom I'll unclasp my heart, And take her hearing prisoner with the force And strong encounter of my amorous tale : Then, after, to her father will I break; And, the conclusion is, she shall be thine : In practice let us put it presently.

[Exeunt.

SCENE II.

" A Room in LEONATO's House. Enter LEONATO and

ANTONIO.

« Leo. How now, brother ? Where is my cousin, your son? Hath he provided this musick?

330

" Ante

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