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ACT II. SCENE I.
LEON AT O.
Ant. I saw him not. Beat. How tartly that gentleman looks! I never can see him, but I am heart-burn’d an hour after.
Hero. He is of a very melancholy disposition.
Beat. He were an excellent man that were made just in the mid-way between him and Benedick; the one is too like an image, and says nothing; and the other too like my lady's eldest fon, evermore tattling.
Leon. Then half lignior Benedick’s tongue in count John's mouth, and half count John's melancholy in signior Benedick's face
Beat. With a good leg, and a good foot, uncle, and money enough in his purse, such a man would win any woman in the world, if he could get her good-will.
Leon. By my troth, neice, thou wilt never get thee a husband, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.
Ant. In faith, she's too curft.
Beat. Too curft is more than curst; and I shall lessen god's sending that way; for, it is said, god sends a curst cow short horns, but to a cow too curst he sends none.
Leon. So, by being too curst, god will send you no horns.
Beat. Juft, if he send me no husband; for the which blessing I am at him upon my knees every morning and evening: lord? I could not endure a husband with a beard on his face; I had rather lye in woollen. Leon. You may light upon a husband that hath no beard.
Beat. What should I do with him? dress him in my apparel, and make him my waiting-gentlewoman? he that hath a beard is more than a youth; and he that hath no beard is less than a man; and he that is more than a youth, is not for me; and he that is less than a man, I am not for him : therefore, I will even take six pence in earnest of the bearherd, and lead his apes to hell.
Leon. Well then, go you into hell ?
Beat. No, but to the gate; and there will the devil meet me, like an old cuckold, with his horns on his head, and say, get you to heaven, Beatrice, get you to heav'n, here's no place for you maids : so deliver I up my apes, and away to faint Peter, for the heav’ns; he shows me where the bachelors fit, and there live we as merry as the day is long.
Ant. Well, neice, I trust, you will be rul’d by your father. [To Hero.
Beat. Yes, 'faith, it is my cousin's duty to make court’sy, and say, as it please you ; but yet for all that, cousin, let him be a handsome fellow, or else make another court'sy, and say, father, as it pleases me.
Leon. Well, neice, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband.
Beat. Not 'till god make men of some other metal than earth: would it not grieve a woman to be over-master'd with a piece of valiant dust ? to make account of her life to a clod of wayward marle? no, uncle, I'll none: Adam's sons are my brethren, and, truly, I hold it a sin to match in
kindred. Leon. Daughter, remember what I told you; if the prince do folicit
answer. Beat. The fault will be in the musick, cousin, if you be not woo'd in good time: if the prince be too importunate, tell him, there is measure in every thing, and so dance out the answer: for hear me, Hero, wooing, wedding, and repenting, is a Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinque-pace: the first suit is hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as fantastical; the wedding, mannerlymodest, as a measure, full of state and ancientry; and then comes repentance, and, with his bad legs, falls into the cinquepace faster and faster, till he sinks into his grave.
Leon. Cousin, you apprehend pafling shrewdly.
Beat. I have a good eye, uncle; I can see a church by daylight.
Leon. The revellers are entring, brother; make good room.
SCENE II. Enter Don Pedro, Claudio, Benedick, Balthazar, and others
in masquerade. Pedro. Lady, will you walk about with your friend? Hero. So
walk softly, and look sweetly, and say nothing, I am yours for the walk; and, especially, when I walk away.
Pedro. With me in your company?
Hero. When I like your favour; for god defend, the lute should be like the case!
Pedro. My visor is Philemon's roof; within the house is Jove.
[Drawing ber aside to wbilper. Balth. Well, I would, you did like me.
Marg. So would not I, for your own fake! for I have many ill qualities.
Balth. Which is one?
the better; the hearers may cry, amen. Marg. God match me with a good dancer! Baltb. Amen.
Marg. And god keep him out of my fight when the dance is done! answer, clerk.
Balth. No more words; the clerk is answer’d.
you are he.
Ant. To tell you true, I counterfeit him.
Urs. You could never do him so ill, well, unless you were the very man: here's his dry hand up and down; you are he,
Ant. At a word, I am not.
Urs. Come, come; do you think I do not know you by your excellent wit? can virtue hide itself? go to, mum, you are he; graces will appear, and there's an end.
Beat. Will you not tell me who told you so?
Beat. That I was disdainful, and that I had my good wit out of The hundred merry tales; well, this was signior Benedick that said so.
Bene. What's he?
Beat. Why, he is the prince's jester; a very dull fool; only his gift is in devising impossible flanders: none but libertines delight in him; and the commendation is not in his wit, but in his villany; for he both pleaseth men and angers them, and then they laugh at him, and beat him; I am sure, he is in the Aleet; I would, he had boarded me.
Bene. When I know the gentleman, I'll tell him what you say.
Beat. Do, do; he'll but break a comparison or two on me, which, peradventure, not mark’d, or not laugh'd at, strikes him into melancholy; and then there's a partridge wing fav’d, for the fool will eat no supper that night. We must follow the leaders.
Bene. In every good thing.
Beat. Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at the next turning
Musick for the Dance. John. Sure, my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath withdrawn her father to break with him about it: the ladies follow her, and but one visor remains.
Bora. And that is Claudio; I know him by his bearing.
John. Signior, you are very near my brother in his love; he is enamour'd on Hero; I pray you, dissuade him from her, she is no equal for his birth; you may do the part of an honest man in it.
Claud. How know you he loves her?
Claud. Thus answer I in name of Benedick,
Bene. Count Claudio ?