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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,



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

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.
Pedro. See, see,
Here comes the man we went to seek.



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


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.”

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 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!


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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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