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And made defeat of her virginity,—

Did see her, hear her, at that hour last night,

Claud. I know what you would say: if I have| Talk with a ruffian at her chamber-window; 92

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Leon. Sweet prince, why speak not you? D. Pedro. What should I speak? I stand dishonour'd, that have gone about To link my dear friend to a common stale. Leon. Are these things spoken, or do I but dream?

D. John. Sir, they are spoken, and these things are true.


Bene. This looks not like a nuptial.
True! O God!

Claud. Leonato, stand I here?
Is this the prince? Is this the prince's brother?
Is this face Hero's? Are our eyes our own? 72
Leon. All this is so; but what of this, my lord?
Claud. Let me but move one question to your

And by that fatherly and kindly power
That you have in her, bid her answer truly. 76
Leon. I charge thee do so, as thou art my

Hero. O, God defend me! how am I beset!
What kind of catechizing call you this?

Claud. To make you answer truly to your


80 Hero. Is it not Hero? Who can blot that


With any just reproach?

Marry, that can Hero:
Hero itself car blot out Hero's virtue.
What man was he talk'd with you yesternight 84
Out at your window, betwixt twelve and one?
Now, if you are a maid, answer to this.

Hero. I talk'd with no man at that hour, my lord.

D. Pedro. Why, then are you no maiden. Leonato,

88 I am sorry you must hear: upon mine honour, Myself, my brother, and this grieved count,

Who hath indeed, most like a liberal villain,
Confess'd the vile encounters they have had
A thousand times in secret.

D. John. Fie, fie! they are not to be nam'd, my lord, 96

Not to be spoke of;


There is not chastity enough in language
Without offence to utter them. Thus, pretty lady,
I am sorry for thy much misgovernment.
Claud. O Hero! what a Hero hadst thou been,
If half thy outward graces had been plac'd
About thy thoughts and counsels of thy heart!
But fare thee well, most foul, most fair! farewell,
Thou pure impiety, and impious purity! 105
For thee I'll lock up all the gates of love,
And on my eyelids shall conjecture hang,
To turn all beauty into thoughts of harm, 108
And never shall it more be gracious.

for me?

Leon. Hath no man's dagger here a point [HERO Swoons. Beat. Why, how now, cousin! wherefore sink you down?

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Myself would, on the rearward of reproaches, 128
Strike at thy life. Griev'd I, I had but one?
Chid I for that at frugal nature's frame?
O! one too much by thee. Why had I one?
Why ever wast thou lovely in mine eyes?
Why had I not with charitable hand
Took up a beggar's issue at my gates,
Who smirched thus, and mir'd with infamy,
I might have said, 'No part of it is mine; 136
This shame derives itself from unknown loins?'

But mine, and mine I lov'd, and mine I prais'd,
And mine that I was proud on, mine so much
That I myself was to myself not mine,
Valuing of her; why, she-O! she is fallen
Into a pit of ink, that the wide sea

Hath drops too few to wash her clean again,
And salt too little which may season give
To her foul-tainted flesh.

Sir, sir, be patient.
For my part, I am so attir'd in wonder,
I know not what to say.



Beat. O! on my soul, my cousin is belied!
Bene. Lady, were you her bedfellow last night?
Beat. No, truly, not; although, until last

I have this twelvemonth been her bedfellow.
Leon. Confirm'd, confirm'd! O! that is
stronger made,

Which was before barr'd up with ribs of iron.
Would the two princes lie? and Claudio lie,
Who lov'd her so, that, speaking of her foulness,
Wash'd it with tears? Hence from her! let
her die.

Friar. Hear me a little;

For I have only been silent so long,

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Leon. I know not. If they speak but truth


of her,
These hands shall tear her; if they wrong her

The proudest of them shall well hear of it.
Time hath not yet so dried this blood of mine.
Nor age so eat up my invention,

Nor fortune made such havoc of my means,
Nor my bad life reft me so much of friends,
But they shall find, awak'd in such a kind,
Both strength of limb and policy of mind, 200
Ability in means and choice of friends,
To quit me of them throughly.


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Pause awhile,
And let my counsel sway you in this case.
Your daughter here the princes left for dead;
Let her awhile be secretly kept in,
And publish it that she is dead indeed:
Maintain a mourning ostentation;
And on your family's old monument



To start into her face; a thousand innocent Hang mournful epitaphs and do all rites shames


In angel whiteness bear away those blushes;
And in her eye there hath appear'd a fire,
To burn the errors that these princes hold
Against her maiden truth. Call me a fool;
Trust not my reading nor my observations,
Which with experimental seal doth warrant 168
The tenour of my book; trust not my age,
My reverence, calling, nor divinity,
If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here
Under some biting error.
Friar, it cannot be. 172
Thou seest that all the grace that she hath left
Is, that she will not add to her damnation
A sin of perjury: she not denies it.
Why seek'st thou then to cover with excuse 176
That which appears in proper nakedness?
Friar. Lady, what man is he you are ac-
cus'd of?

Hero. They know that do accuse me, I know


That appertain unto a burial.

Leon. What shall become of this? What will this do?

Friar. Marry, this well carried shall on her behalf



Change slander to remorse; that is some good:
But not for that dream I on this strange course,
But on this travail look for greater birth.
She dying, as it must be so maintain'd,
Upon the instant that she was accus'd,
Shall be lamented, pitied and excus'd
Of every hearer; for it so falls out
That what we have we prize not to the worth
Whiles we enjoy it, but being lack'd and lost,
Why, then we rack the value, then we find 222
The virtue that possession would not show us
Whiles it was ours. So will it fare with Claudio:
When he shall hear she died upon his words,
The idea of her life shall sweetly creep
Into his study of imagination,
And every lovely organ of her life
Shall come apparell'd in more precious habit,
More moving-delicate, and full of life
Into the eye and prospect of his soul,

If I know more of any man alive
Than that which maiden modesty doth warrant,
Let all my sins lack mercy! O, my father!
Prove you that any man with me convers'd
At hours unmeet, or that I yesternight
Maintain'd the change of words with any crea-If ever love had interest in his liver,—
And wish he had not so accused her,




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No, though he thought his accusation true.
Let this be so, and doubt not but success
Will fashion the event in better shape
Than I can lay it down in likelihood.
But if all aim but this be levell'd false,
The supposition of the lady's death
Will quench the wonder of her infamy:
And if it sort not well, you may conceal her,-
As best befits her wounded reputation,-
In some reclusive and religious life,
Out of all eyes, tongues, minds, and injuries.
Bene. Signior Leonato, let the friar advise you:
And though you know my inwardness and love
Is very much unto the prince and Claudio, 248
Yet, by mine honour, I will deal in this
As secretly and justly as your soul
Should with your body.




Being that I flow in grief, The smallest twine may lead me. Friar. 'Tis well consented: presently away; For to strange sores strangely they strain the

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Beat. You have no reason; I do it freely. Bene. Surely I do believe your fair cousin is wronged.

Beat. Ah! how much might the man deserve of me that would right her. 265

Bene. Is there any way to show such friendship?

Beat. A very even way, but no such friend. Bene. May a man do it?


Beat. It is a man's office, but not yours. Bene. I do love nothing in the world so well as you: is not that strange? 272 Beat. As strange as the thing I know not. It were as possible for me to say I loved nothing so well as you; but believe me not, and yet I lie not; I confess nothing, nor I deny nothing. I am sorry for my cousin.

277 Bene. By my sword, Beatrice, thou lovest me. Beat. Do not swear by it, and eat it. Bene. I will swear by it that you love me; and I will make him eat it that says I love not you.

Beat. Will you not eat your word? Bene. With no sauce that can be devised to it. I protest I love thee.

Beat. Why then, God forgive me!
Bene. What offence, sweet Beatrice?


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Beat. You dare easier be friends with me than fight with mine enemy.

Bene. Is Claudio thine enemy?


Beat. Is he not approved in the height a villain, that hath slandered, scorned, dishonoured my kinswoman? O! that I were a man. What! bear her in hand until they come to take hands, and then, with public accusation, uncovered slander, unmitigated rancour,―O God, that I were a man! I would eat his heart in the market-place. 313

Bene. Hear me, Beatrice,—

Beat. Talk with a man out at a window! a proper saying!


Bene. Nay, but Beatrice,― Beat. Sweet Hero! she is wronged, she is slandered, she is undone.

Bene. Beat


Beat. Princes and counties! Surely, a princely testimony, a goodly Count Comfect; a sweet gallant, surely! O! that I were a man for his sake, or that I had any friend would be a man for my sake! But manhood is melted into curtsies, valour into compliment, and men are only turned into tongue, and trim ones too: he is now as valiant as Hercules, that only tells a lie and swears it. I cannot be a man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving. Bene. Tarry, good Beatrice. By this hand, I love thee.


Beat. Use it for my love some other way than swearing by it.

Bene. Think you in your soul the Count Claudio hath wronged Hero? 336 Beat. Yea, as sure as I have a thought or a soul.

Bene. Enough! I am engaged, I will challenge him. I will kiss your hand, and so leave you. By this hand, Claudio shall render me a dear account. As you hear of me, so think of me. Go, comfort your cousin: I must say she is dead; and so, farewell. [Exeunt.

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Dogb. Write down Master gentleman Conrade. Masters, do you serve God?

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Dogb. Write down that they hope they serve God: and write God first; for God defend but God should go before such villains! Masters, it is proved already that you are little better than false knaves, and it will go near to be thought so shortly. How answer you for yourselves? 26

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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 examina-

Dogb. Come, let them be opinioned.
Verg. Let them be in the hands-
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 in Mes32 sina; 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 everything handsome about him. Bring him away. Ŏ that I had been writ down an ass! 93 [Exeunt.

Con. Marry, sir, we say we are none. Dogb. A marvellous witty fellow, I assure you; but I will go about with him. Come you hither, sirrah; a word in your ear: sir, I say to you, it is thought you are false knaves.

Bora. Sir, I say to you we are none. Dogb. Well, stand aside. 'Fore God, they are both in a tale. Have you writ down, that they are none?

Sexton. Master constable, you go not the way to examine: you must call forth the watch that are their accusers.


Dogb. Yea, marry, that's the eftest way. Let the watch come forth. Masters, I charge you, in the prince's name, accuse these men.

First Watch. This man said, sir, that Don John, the prince's brother, was a villain.


Dogb. Write down Prince John a villain. Why, this is flat perjury, to call a prince's brother villain.

Bora. Master constable,—

Dogb. Pray thee, fellow, peace: I do not like thy look, I promise thee. Sexton. What heard you him 50 say else? Sec. Watch. Marry, that he had received a

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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 20
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, 28
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 toothache 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 your-


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;

Some of us would lie low.

Who wrongs him? 52 Leon. Marry, thou dost wrong me; thou dissembler, thou.

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. 56 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 wrong'd mine innocent child and me
That I am forc'd to lay my reverence by, 64
And, with grey hairs and bruise of many days,
Do challenge thee to trial of a man.

I say thou hast belied mine innocent child:
Thy slander hath gone through and through her

And she lies buried with her ancestors;
O! in a tomb where never scandal slept,
Save this of hers, fram'd by thy villany!
Claud. My villany?



Thine, Claudio; thine, I say. 72 D. Pedro. You say not right, old man. Leon. 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
kill'd 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: 81
Win me and wear me; let him answer me.

And that shall Claudio know; so shall the Come, follow me, boy; come, sir boy, come, folprince,


And all of them that thus dishonour her.
Ant. Here come the prince and Claudio

D. Pedro. Good den, good den.

Good day to both of you.
Leon. Hear you, my lords,—
D. Pedro. We have some haste, Leonato.
Leon. Some haste, my lord! well, fare you
well, my lord:



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,

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