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As I dare take a serpent by the tongue :
Leon. Brother Anthony,-
And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple :
Leon. But, brother Anthony,
Ant. Come, 'tis no matter ;
Leon. My lord, my lord,
Ant. And shall,
Claud. Now, signior! What news?
Bene. Good day, my lord.
Pedro. Welcome signior :
Claud. We had like to have had our two noses snapt off with two old men without teeth.
129 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 you 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? Bene. It is in
scabbard ; shall I draw it? “ Pedro. Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side ?" Claud. “ Never
did so, though very many have been beside their wit."-I will bid thee draw, as we do the minstrels; draw, to pleasure us.
Pedro. As I am an honest man, he looks pale Art thou sick or angry?
Claud. What! courage, man! What though care kill'd a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill
Bene. Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career, if you charge it against me:-1 pray you, chuse another subiect.
“ Claud. Nay, then give him another staff; this « last was broke cross.”
Pedro. By this light, he changes more and more; I think, he be angry indeed.
Claud. If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle.
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 protest your cowardice. You have kill'd a sweet lady, and her death shall fall heavy on you:-Let me hear from you.
163 Claud. Well, I will meet you, so I may have good cheer.
Pedro. What, a feast? a feast?
Claud. I'faith, I thank him ; he hath bid me to a calves-head and a capon ; the which if I do not carve most curiously, say my knife's naught. Shall I not find a woodcock too?
Bene. Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes easily.
“ Pedro. I'll tell thee, how Beatrice prais'd thy "' wit the other day : I said, thou had'st a fine wit ; " True, says she, a fine little one; No, said I, a great “ wit; Right, said she, a great gross one ; Nay, said I, a
good wit; Just, says 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 forswore on Tuesday morning ; there's a double tongue, there's two tongues.
Thus did she, “ an hour together, trans-shape 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 car'd not.
“ 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. 189
“ Claud. All, all; and moreover, God saw him when “ he was hid in the garden."
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 mind ; 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, kill'd a sweet and innocent lady: For my lord lack-beard there, he and I shall meet; and till then, peace be with him!
[Exit BenedICK, Pedro. He is in earnest.
Claud. In most profound earnest; and, I'll warrant you, for the love of Beatrice.
Pedro. And hath challeng'd thee?
209 Pedro. What a pretty thing man is, when he goes in his doublet and hose, and leaves off his wit!
Enter DOGBERRY, VERGES, CONRADE and BORA
chio guarded. “ Claud. He is then a giant to an ape : but then is an ape a doctor to such a man. “ Pedro." But, soft you, let be;
“ pluck up my “ heart, and be sad :" Did he not say, my brother was fied ?
Dogb. Come, you, sir; if justice cannot tame you, she shall ne'er weigh more reasons in her balance : nay, an you be a cursing hypocrite once, you must be look'd to.
Pedro. How now, two of my brother's men bound!
Claud. Hearken after their offence, my lord !
Dogb. Marry, sir, they have committed false report; moreover, they have spoken untruths ; secondarily, they are slanders ; sixth and lastly, they have bely'd a lady ; thirdly, they have verify'd unjust things : and, to conclude, they are lying knaves. 229
Pedro. First, I ask thee what they have done ; thirdly, I ask thee what's their offence; sixth and lastly, why they are committed ; and, to conclude, what you lay to their charge ?
Claud. Rightly reason'd, and in his own division ; " and, by my troth, there's one meaning well suited."
Pedro. Whom have you offended, masters, that you are thus bound to your answer : this learned constable is too cunning to be understood : what's your offence ?