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As I dare take a serpent by the tongue :
Boys, apes, braggarts, jacks, milksops! -

Leon. Brother Anthony,-
Ant. Hold you content; What, man? I know

them, yea,

100

110

And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple :
Scambling, out-facing, fashion-mongʻring boys,
That lye, and cog, and flout, deprave and slander,
“Go antickly, and show outward hideousness,"
And speak off half a dozen dangerous words,
How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst,
And this is all.

Leon. But, brother Anthony,

Ant. Come, 'tis no matter ;
Do not you meddle, let me deal in this.
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,
Pedro. I will not hear you.

Leon. No?
Come, brother, away :-I will be heard ;

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

[Exeunt ambo.
Enter BENEDICK.
Pedro. See, see,
Here comes the man we went to seek.
Hiij

Claud,

120

Claud. Now, signior! What news?

Bene. Good day, my lord.

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

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

my

scabbard ; shall I draw it? 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.

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

142

care.

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.”

15% Pedro.

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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. 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 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

“ 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?
Claud. Most sincerely.

209 Pedro. What a pretty thing man is, when he goes in his doublet and hose, and leaves off his wit!

Enter

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220

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!
Borachio, one!

Claud. Hearken after their offence, my lord !
Pedro. Officers, what offence have these men done?

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 ?

239 Bora.

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