Page images

We'll fit the kid-fox with a penny-worth.

Pedro. Come, Balthazar, we'll hear that Song again.

Balth. O good my lord, tax not so bad a voice To flander mufick any more than once.

Pedro. It is the witness still of excellency, To put a strange face on his own perfection; 1

pray thee, fing; and let me woo no more.

Balib. Because you talk of wooing, I will fing;
Since many a wooer doth commence his suit
To her he thinks not worthy, yet he wooes ;
Yet will he swear, 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, forsooth, and noting,

Bene. Now, divine air; now is his foul ravish'd ! is it not ftrange, that sheeps guts should hale fouls out of men's bodies? well, a horn for my money, when all's done.



Sigh no more, ladies, high no more,

Men were deceivers ever ;
One foot in sea, and one on fore,

To one thing constant never :
Then high not so, but let them go,

And be you blith and bonny;
Converting all your sounds of woe

Into hey nony, nony.

Sing no more ditties, fing no mo,

Of dumps fo dull and heavy;
The frauds of men were ever so,

Since Jummer was first leafy:
Iben sigh not fo, &c.


Pedro. By my troth, a good Song.
Balth. And an ill singer, 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 some excellent mufick; for to-mor. row night we would have it at the lady Hero's chamberwindow.

Balih. The best I can, my lord. [Exit Balthazar.

Pedro. Do fo : farewel. Come hither, Leoneto; what was it

you told me of to-day, that your Niece Beatrice was in love with Signior Benedick? Claud. O, ay ;

stalk on, stalk on, the fowl sits. I did never think, that lady would have loved any


Leon. No, nor I neither; but most wonderful, that she should so dat on Signior Benedick, whom the hath in all outward behaviour feem'd ever to abhor. Bene. Is't posible, fits the wind in that corner ?

[ A fide. Leon. By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to think of it; but that she loves him with an inraged affection, it is paft the infinite of thought.

Pedro. May be, le doth but counterfeit.
Claud. Faith, like enough.

Leon. O God! counterfeit ? there was never counterfeit of passion came so near the life of passion, as she difcovers it.

Pedro. Why, what effects of passion fhews she?
Claud. Baic the hook well, this fish will bite. [4jiile.

Leon. What effects, my lord ? she will fit you, you heard my daughter tell you how.

Claud. She did, indeed.
Pedro. How, how, I pray you? you amaze me: I


B 5

would have thought, her spirit had been invincible against all assaults of affection.

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

Bene. [Afde. ] I should think this a goll, but that the white bearded fellow speaks it; knavery cannot, sure, hide himself in such reverence.

Claud. He hath ta'en th' infection, hold it up. Alide,

Pedro. Hath she made her affection known to Benedick ?

Leon. No, and swears she never will ; that's her tor


Claud. 'Tis true, indeed, so your daughter says: shall I, says she, that have so oft encounter'd him with scorn, write to him that I love him?

Leon. This says she now, when fhe is beginning to write to him; for she'll be up twenty times a night, and there will she fit in her smock, 'till she have writ a sheet of paper; my daughter tells us all. Claud. Now you talk of a sheet of paper,

I remember a pretty jeft your daughter told us of.

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

Claud. That

Leon. (9) O, me tore the letter into a thousand halfpence; rail'd at herself, that she should be so im modeft, to write to one that, the knew, wou'd flout her: I measure him, says the, by my own Spirit, for I should fout him if he writ to me; yea, though I love him, I should.

(9) 0, me tore the Letter into a thousard half-pence;] i. e. into a thousand pieces of the same bigness. This is farther explained by a Pallage in As you like it.

There were none principal; they were all like one another as half-pence are.

In both places the Poet alludes to the old Silver Penny which had a Crease running Cross-wife over it, so that it might be broke into two or four egual pieces, half-pence, or farthings.


Claud. Then down upon her knees she falls, weeps, fobs, beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, curles; O sweet Benedick! God give me patience !

Leon. She doth, indeed, my daughter says fo; and the ecstasy hath so much overborne her, that my daughter is sometime afraid, she will do desperate outrage to herself; 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 sweet lady, and (out of all fufpicion) The is virtuous.

Claud. And she is exceeding wise.
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, she had bestow'd this dotage on me; I would have dafft all other respects, and made her half. myself; I pray you tell Benedick of it; and hear what he will say. Leon. Were it good, think you

? Claud. Hero thinks, furely the will die ; for the says, she will die if he love her not, and she will die ere the make her love known; and she will die if he won her, rather than she will bate one breath of her accustom'd crossness.

Pedro. She doth well; if she should make tender of her love, 'tis very possible, he'll fcorn it; for the man, as you know all, hath a contemptible spirit.

Claud. He is a very proper man.
Pedro. He hath, indeed, a good outward happiness.
Claud. 'Fore God, and, in my mind, very wile.

Pedro. He doth, indeed, thew fome sparks that are like wit.

Leon, And I take him to be valiant.
Pedro. As Hector, I assure you ; and in the managing

of quarrels you may fay he is wise; for either he avoids them with great discretion, or undertakes them with a christian-like fear.

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

Pedro. And so will he do, for the man doth fear God, howsoever it seems not in him, by fome large jefts he will make. Well, I am forry for your Niece ; ihall we go seek Benedick, and tell him of her love ?

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

Leon. Nay, that's impossible, she 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 j and I could wish he would modestly examine himself, to see how much he is unworthy to have so 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 trust my expectation.

(Afade. Pedro. Let there be the same net spread for her, and that must your daughter and her gentlewomen carry ; the sport will be, when they hold an opinion of one another's dotage, and no such matter ; that's the Scene that I would see, which will be merely a Dumb Show; let us send her to call him to dinner. [ Aside.] Exeunt.

Benedick advances from the Arbour. Bene. This can be no trick, the conference was fadly borne; 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 censur'd ; they say, I will bear myself proudly, if I perceive the love come from her; they say too, that she will rather die than give any sign 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

[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »