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

Bene. That a woman conceived me, I thank her; 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.

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

Bene. With anger, with fickness, 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 balladmaker's pen, and hang me up at the door of a brothel-house for the sign of blind Cupid.

Pedro. Well, if ever thou doft fall from this faith, thou wilt prove a notable argument.

Bene. 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.a

Pedro. Well, as time shall try; in time the savage bull doth bear the yoke.

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

Claud. If this fhould ever happen, thou would'st be horn-mad.

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

Bene. I look for an earthquake too then.

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Alluding to one Adam Bell a famous archer of old.. Besides that Venice is as remarkable for freedoms in amorous intrigues as Cyprus was of old, there may be a farther conjeĉture why this expression is here usid: the Italians give to each of their principal cities a particular distinguishing title, as, Roma la santa, Napoli la gentile, Genoua la superba, &c. and among the rest it is, Venetia la ricca, Venice the wealthy: a Jarcasm therefore seems to be here implied that money governs love..


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. I have almost matter enough in me for such an embassage, and so I commit youClaud. To the tuition of god. From my house, if I had it, Pedro. The sixth of July, your loving friend, Benedick.

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


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

Pedro. My love is thine to teach, teach it but how,
And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn
Any hard leffon 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;
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.

Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover presently,
And tire the hearer with a book of words :
If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it,
And I'll break with her: was’t not to this end,


That thou began'ft

' to twist so fine a story?
Claud. How sweetly do you minister toʻlove,
That know love's grief by his complexion !
But left 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 plea is the necessity;
Look, what will serve, is fit; 'tis once, thou lovest,
And I will fit thee with the remedy.
I know, we shall have revelling to-night;
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. Re-enter Leonato, and Antonio. . Leon. How now, brother, where is my cousin your son? hath he provided this musick ?

Ant. He is very busy about it; but, brother, I can tell you news that you yet dream'd not of.

Leon. Are they good ?

Ant. As the event stamps them, but they have a good cover; they show well outward. The prince and count Claudio

, walking in a thick pleached alley in my orchard, were thus over-heard. by a man of mine : the prince discover'd to Claudio that he lov’d my neice your daughter, and meant to acknowledge it this night in a dance; and, if he found her accordant, meant to take the present time by the top, and instantly break with


of it. Leon. Hath the fellow any wit that told you

this? Ant. A good sharp fellow. I will send for him, and question him yourself. Leon. No, no; we will hold it as a dream, 'till. it appear itself:


but I will acquaint my daughter with all, that she may be the better prepared for answer, if peradventure this be true; go you, and tell her of it: cousins, you know what you have to do. [Some cross the stage.] O, I cry you mercy, friend, go you with me, and I will use your skill; good cousin, have a care this busy time.


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Conr. WH

Enter Don John, and Conrade.
HAT the goujeres, my lord! why are you thus out

of measure fad ? John. There is no measure in the occasion that breeds it, therefore the sadness is without limit.

Conr. You should hear reason.
John. And when I have heard it, what blessing bringeth it?
Conr. If not a present remedy, yet a patient fufferance.

John. I wonder that thou (being, as thou say'st thou art, born under faturn) goest about to apply a moral medicine to a mortifying mischief: I cannot hide what I am: Imust be sad when I have cause, and smile at no man's jests; eat when I have stomach, and wait for no man's leisure; sleep when I am drowsy, and tend on no man's business; laugh when I am merry, and claw no man in his humour.

Conr. Yea, but you must not make the full show of this, 'till you may do it without controlment: you have of late stood out against your brother, and he hath ta’en you newly into his grace; where it is impossible, you should take root, but by the fair weather that you make yourself; it is needful that you frame the season for your own harvest.

John. I had rather be a canker in a hedge, than a role in his grace; and it better fits my blood to be disdain'd of all, than to fashion a carriage to rob love from any: in this (though I cannot


be said to be a flattering honest man) it must not be deny'd but I am a plain-dealing villain : I am trusted with a muzzle, and enfranchised with a clog; therefore I have decreed not to sing in my cage: if I had my mouth, I would bite; if I had my liberty, I would do my liking: in the mean time, let me be that I am, and seek not to alter me. Conr. Can you make no use of

your discontent? John. I will make all use of it, for I use it only. Who comes here? what news, Borachio?

Enter Borachio. Bora. I came yonder from a great fupper; the prince, your brother, is royally entertain’d by Leonato; and I can give you intelligence of an intended marriage.

John. Will it serve for any model to build mischief on? what is he for a fool that betroths himself to unquietness ?

Bora. Marry, it is your brother's right hand.
John. Who, the most exquisite Claudio ?
Bora. Even he.
John. A proper squire! and who,and who? which way looks he?
Bora. Marry, on Hero, the daughter and heir of Leonato.
John. A very forward march chick! How come you to this?

Bora. Being entertain’d for a perfumer, as I was smoking a musty room, comes me the prince and Claudio, hand in hand, in fad conference: I whipt behind the arras, and there heard it agreed upon that the prince should woo Hero for himself, and, having obtain’d her, give her to count Claudio.

John. Come, come, let us thither; this may prove food to my displeasure: that young start-up hath all the glory of my overthrow; if I can cross him any way, I blefs myself every way: you are both fure, and will affift me?

Conr. To the death, my lord.

John. Let us to the great fupper; their cheer is the greater that I am fubdu'd: would, the cook were of my mind I fhall we go prove what's to be done? Bora. We'll wait upon your lordship.

[Exeunt. Vol. I.



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