Page images

The Song.

Sigh no more, ladies, figh no more,
Men were deceivers ever;
One foot in fea, and one on fhore;
To one thing conftant never :
Then figh not fo, but let them go,

And be you blith and bonny;
Converting all your founds of wo

Into, hey nony, nony.

Sing no more ditties, fing no more
Of dumps fo dull and heavy;
The frauds of men were ever fo,
Since fummer firft was leavy:
Then figh not fo, &c.

Pedro. By my troth, a good fong.
Balth. And an ill finger my lord.

Pedro. Ha? no; no, 'faith; thou fing'ft well enough for a shift. Bene. If he had been a dog that should have howl'd thus, they would have hang'd him; and I pray god, his bad voice bode no mischief; I had as lief have heard the night-raven, come what plague could have come after it.

Pedro. Yea, marry: dost thou hear, Balthazar? I pray thee, get us fome excellent mufick; for to-morrow night we would. have it at the lady Hero's chamber-window.

Balth. The best I

can, my lord.

[Exit Balthazar.

To her he thinks not worthy; yet he wooes;

Yet will he fwear, he loves.

Pedro. Nay, pray thee, come;

Or if thou wilt hold longer argument,

Do it in notes.

Balth. Note this before my notes,

There's not a note of mine that's worth the noting.

Pedro Why, these are very crotchets that he speaks;

Note notes, forfooth, and noting.

Bene. Now, divine air! now is his foul ravifh'd! is it not ftrange, that sheeps guts fhould

hale fouls out of men's bodies? well, a horn for my money, when all's done.

The SONG, &c.


[ocr errors]

Pedro. Do fo: farewel. Come hither, Leonato; what was it you told me of to-day? that your neice Beatrice was in love with fignior Benedick?

Claud. O, ay: ftalk on; stalk on; the fowl fits. I did never think that lady would have loved any man.

Leon. No, nor I neither; but most wonderful, that she should fo dote on fignior Benedick, whom he hath in all outward behaviour feem'd ever to abhor.

Bene. Is't poffible? fits the wind in that corner?


Leon. By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to think of it; but that she loves him with an enraged affection, it is pass'd the infinite of thought.

Pedro. May be the doth but counterfeit.

Claud. 'Faith, like enough.

Leon. O God! counterfeit! there was never counterfeit of paffion came fo near the life of paffion as the discovers it.

Pedro. Why, what effects of paffion shows she?

Claud. Bait the hook well; the fish will bite. [Speaking low. Leon. What effects, my lord? fhe will fit you—you heard my daughter tell you how.

Claud. She did, indeed.

Pedro. How, how, I pray you? you amaze me: I would have thought her spirit had been invincible against all affaults of affection.

Leon. I would have fworn it had, my lord; especially against

Bene. I fhould think this a gull, but that the white-bearded fellow fpeaks it: knavery cannot, fure, hide himself in such



Claud. He hath ta'en th' infection; hold it up. [Speaking low. Pedro. Hath fhe made her affection known to Benedick? Leon. No; and fwears, fhe never will; that's her torment. Claud. 'Tis true, indeed, so your daughter fays: fhall I, fays fhe, that have so oft encounter'd him with fcorn, write to him that I love him?

Leon. This fays fhe now, when she is beginning to write to him;


[ocr errors]

for fhe'll be up twenty times a-night; and there will she fit in her fmock, 'till fhe have writ a fheet of paper: my daughter tells us all.

Claud. Now you talk of a fheet of paper, I remember a pretty jest your daughter told us of.

Leon. O, when she had writ it, and was reading it over, fhe found Benedick and Beatrice between the sheet?

Claud. That.

Leon. O, fhe tore the letter into a thousand halfpence; rail'd at herself, that she should be fo immodeft, to write to one that she knew would flout her: I measure him, fays fhe, by my own spirit; for I should flout him if he writ to me; yea, though I love him, I fhould.

Claud. Then down upon her knees fhe falls, weeps, fobs, beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, curses; o sweet Benedick! god give me patience!

Leon. She doth, indeed, my daughter fays fo; and the ecstasy hath fo much overborn her, that my daughter is sometime afraid fhe will do a defperate outrage to herfelf; it is very true.

Pedro. It were good, that Benedick knew of it by some other, if she will not discover it.

Claud. To what end? he would but make a sport of it, and torment the poor lady worse.

Pedro. If he should, it were an alms to hang him: she's an excellent fweet lady, and, out of all fufpicion, she is virtuous. Claud. And fhe is exceeding wife.

Pedro. In every thing, but in loving Benedick.

Leon. O my lord, wisdom and blood combating in so tender a body, we have ten proofs to one, that blood hath the victory : I am sorry for her, as I have just cause, being her uncle and her guardian.

Pedro. I would, fhe had bestow'd this dotage on me; I would have dofft all other respects, and made her half myself: I pray you, tell Benedick of it, and hear what he will fay.

Leon. Were it good, think you?

Claud. Hero thinks furely, fhe will die, for she says she will




die if he love her not; and fhe will die ere fhe make her love known; and she will die if he woo her, rather than fhe will bate one breath of her accuftom'd croffness.

Pedro. She doth well; if fhe fhould make tender of her love, 'tis very poffible he'll fcorn it; for the man, as you know all, hath a contemptuous spirit.

Claud. He is a very proper man.

Pedro. He hath, indeed, a good outward happiness.
Claud. 'Fore god, and, in my mind, very wife.

Pedro. He doth, indeed, fhow fome sparks that are like wit.
Leon. And I take him to be valiant.

Pedro. As Hector, I affure you; and in the managing of quarrels you may fee he is wife; for either he avoids them with great difcretion, or undertakes them with a chriftian-like fear." Well, I am forry for your neice: fhall we go fee Benedick, and tell him of her love?

Claud. Never tell him, my lord; let her wear it out with good counfel.

Leon. Nay, that's impoffible; fhe may wear her heart out first. Pedro. Well, we will hear further of it by your daughter; let it cool the while. I love Benedick well; and I could wish he would modeftly examine himself, to see how much he is unworthy to have fo good a lady.

Leon. My lord, will you walk? dinner is ready.

Claud. If he do not dote on her upon this, I will never truft my expectation.

Pedro. Let there be the same net spread for her, and that must your daughter and her gentlewoman carry; the sport will be, when they hold an opinion of one another's dotage, and no fuch matter; that's the scene that I would fee, which will be merely a dumb fhow; let us fend her to call him in to dinner.


a chriftian-like fear.

Leon. If he do fear god, he muft neceffarily keep peace; if he break the peace, he ought to enter into a quarrel with fear and trembling.

Pedro. And fo will he do, for the man doth fear god, howfoever it seems not in him, by fome large jefts he will make. Well, &c.




[ocr errors]


Benedick advances from the arbour.

Bene. This can be no trick; the conference was fadly born: they have the truth of this from Hero; they seem to pity the lady; it seems, her affections have the full bent. Love me! why, it must be requited: I hear how I am cenfur'd; they fay, I will bear myfelf proudly, if I perceive the love come from her; they fay too, that she will rather die than give any fign of affection — I did never think to marry I must not seem proud - happy are they that hear their detractions, and can put them to mending they fay, the lady is fair; 'tis a truth, I can bear them witness: and virtuous; 'tis fo, I cannot reprove it: and wife, but for loving me: by my troth, it is no addition to her wit; nor no great argument of her folly; for I will be horribly in love with her. I may chance to have fome odd quirks and remnants of wit broken on me, because I have rail'd fo long against marriage: but doth not the appetite alter? a man loves the meat in his youth, that he cannot endure in his age. Shall quips, and sentences, and these paper bullets of the brain, awe a man from the career of his humour? no: the world must be peopled. When I faid, I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live 'till I were marry'd. Here comes Beatrice: by this day, she's a fair lady; I do spy fome marks of love in her.

Enter Beatrice.

Beat. Against my will, I am fent to bid you come in to dinner.
Bene. Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains.

Beat. I took no more pains for those thanks, than you take pains to thank me; if it had been painful, I would not have


Bene. You take pleasure then in the message ?

Beat. Yea, just so much as you may take upon a knife's point, and choke a daw withal: you have no ftomach, fignior; fare you well.



Nnn 2

« PreviousContinue »