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Sexton. And this is more, masters, than you can deny. Prince John is this morning secretly stolen away. Hero was in this manner accused, in this very manner refused, and upon the grief of this, suddenly died.-Master constable, let these men be bound, and brought to Leonato's; I will go before, and show him their examination.

Dogb. Come, let them be opinioned.
Verg. Let them be in the bands-

Con. Off, coxcomb!


Dogb. God's my life! where's the sexton? Let him write down-the prince's officer, coxcomb.- Come, bind them. Thou naughty varlet!

Con. Away! You are an ass, you are an ass.

Dogb. Dost thou not suspect my place? Dost thou not suspect my years?-O that he were here to write me down

an ass! But, masters, remember, that I am an ass; though it be not written down, yet forget not that I am an ass. - No, thou villain, thou art full of piety, as shall be proved upon thee by good witness. I am a wise fellow; and, which is more, an officer; and, which is more, a householder; and, which is more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any is in Messina; and one that knows the law, go to; and a rich fellow enough, go to; and a fellow that hath had losses; and one that hath two gowns, and every thing handsome about him. Bring him away. O that I had been writ down[Exeunt.

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-an ass.


SCENE I. Before Leonato's House.


Ant. If you go on thus, you will kill yourself; And 'tis not wisdom thus to second grief

Against yourself.


I pray thee, cease thy counsel,

Which falls into mine ears as profitless

As water in a sieve.

Give not me counsel;

Nor let no comforter delight mine ear,

But such a one whose wrongs do suit with mine.
Bring me a father, that so loved his child,

Whose joy of her is overwhelmed like mine,
And bid him speak of patience;

Measure his woe the length and breadth of mine,

And let it answer every strain for strain;
As thus for thus, and such a grief for such,
In every lineament, branch, shape, and form.
If such a one will smile, and stroke his beard;
Cry-sorrow, wag! and hem, when he should groan;
Patch grief with proverbs; make misfortune drunk
With candle-wasters; bring him yet to me,
And I of him will gather patience.

But there is no such man; for, brother, men
Can counsel, and speak comfort to that grief
Which they themselves not feel; but, tasting it,
Their counsel turns to passion, which before
Would give preceptial medicine to rage,
Fetter strong madness in a silken thread,
Charm ache with air, and agony with words.
No, no; 'tis all men's office to speak patience
To those that wring under the load of sorrow;
But no man's virtue, nor sufficiency,

To be so moral, when he shall endure

The like himself. Therefore give me no counsel;
My griefs cry louder than advertisement.

Ant. Therein do men from children nothing differ. Leon. I pray thee, peace. I will be flesh and blood; For there was never yet philosopher,

That could endure the tooth-ache patiently;

However they have writ the style of gods,

And made a push at chance and sufferance.

Ant. Yet bend not all the harm upon yourself;

Make those that do offend you suffer too.

Leon. There thou speak'st reason; nay, I will do so.

My soul doth tell me, Hero is belied;

And that shall Claudio know; so shall the prince,
And all of them, that thus dishonor her.


Ant. Here comes the prince, and Claudio, hastily.
D. Pedro. Good den, good den.

Leon. Hear you, my lords,-
D. Pedro.

Good day to both of you.

We have some haste, Leonato.

Leon. Some haste, my lord!-Well, fare you well, my


Are you so hasty now?-Well, all is one.

D. Pedro. Nay, do not quarrel with us, good old man. Ant. If he could right himself with quarrelling, Some of us would lie low.


Who wrongs him?

Leon. Marry, 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 me. 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 wronged mine innocent child and me,
That I am forced to lay my reverence by;
And, with gray hairs, and bruise of many days,
To challenge thee to trial of a man.

I say, thou hast belied mine innocent child:

Thy slander hath gone through and through her heart,
And she lies buried with her ancestors.

O! in a tomb where never scandal slept,
Save this of hers, framed by thy villany.
Claud. My villany!


Thine, Claudio; thine, I say.

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

My lord, my lord,

I'll prove it on his body, if he dare;
Despite his nice fence, and his active practice,

His May of youth, and bloom of lustihood.

Claud. Away, I will not have to do with you.

Leon. Canst thou so daff me? Thou hast killed 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 fence;
Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will.

Leon. Brother,—

Ant. Content yourself. God knows, I loved my niece; And she is dead, slandered 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! Leon.

Brother Antony,

Ant. Hold you content. What, man! I know them, yea, And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple: Scambling, out-facing, fashion-mongring boys, That lie, and cog, and flout, deprave and slander, Go anticly, 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 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 honor, she was charged with nothing,

But what was true, and very full of proof.

Leon. My lord, my lord,—

D. Pedro.


I will not hear you.


And shall,

Come, brother, away; -I will be heard;-

Or some of us will smart for it.



D. Pedro. See, see; here comes the man we went to seek. Claud. Now, seignior! what news?

Bene. Good day, my lord.

D. Pedro. Welcome, seignior. 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 valor. 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?

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 kill care.

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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 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 killed a sweet lady, and her death shall fall heavy on you. Let me hear from you.

Claud. Well, I will meet you, so I may have good cheer. D. Pedro. What, a feast? A feast?

Claud. I'faith, I thank him; he hath bid me to a calf's 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.

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, says 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, 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, and 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 mind; I will

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