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What fashion will you wear the garland of ? about your neck, like an usurer's chain? or under your arm, like a lieutenant's scarf? you must wear it one way, for the prince hath got your Hero.
Claud. I wish him joy of her.
Bene. Why, that's spoken like an honest drover; so they fell bullocks: but did you think the prince would have served you thus ?
Claud. I pray you, leave me.
Bene. Ho! now you strike like the blind man; 'twas the boy that stole your meat, and you'll beat the post. Claud. If it will not be, I'll leave you.
[Exit. Bene. Alas, poor hurt fowl! now will he creep into sedges. But that my lady Beatrice should know me, and not know me! the prince's fool! ha? it may be, I go under that title, because I am merry; yea, but so I am apt to do myself wrong: I am not fo reputed. It is the base, though bitter, disposition of Beatrice, that puts the world into her person, and so gives me out: well, I'll be reveng’d as I may.
Enter Don Pedro.
Bene. Troth, my lord, I have play'd the part of lady fame. I found him here as melancholy as a lodge in a warren ; I told him (and, I think, told him true) that your grace
the will of this young lady; and I offered him my company to a willow tree, either to make him a garland, as being forsaken, or to bind him a rod, as being worthy to be whip’d.
Pedro. To be whip’d! what's his fault?
Bene. The fat transgression of a school-boy, who, being overjoy’d with finding a bird's nest, shows it his companion, and he steals it.
Pedro. Wilt thou make a trust, a transgreslion ? the transgresfion is in the stealer.
Bene. Yet it had not been amiss the rod had been made, and the garland too; for the garland he might have worn himself, and the rod he might have bestowed on you, who, as I take it, have stol'n his bird's nest.
Pedro. I will but teach them to sing, and restore them to the
Bene. If their singing answer your saying, by my faith, you fay honestly.
Pedro. The lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you; the gentleman that danc'd with her told her, she is much wrong'd by you.
Bene. O, she misus’d me past the endurance of a block; an oak, but with one green leaf on it, would have answer'd her; my very visor began to assume life, and fcold with her; she told me, not thinking I had been myself, that I was the prince's jefter, and that I was duller than a great thaw; hudling jest upon jest, with such impetuous conveyance upon me, that I stood like a man at a mark, with a whole army shooting at me: she speaks poniards, and every word stabs ; if her breath were as terrible as her terminations, there were no living near her, she would infect to the north-star; I would not marry her, though she were endowed with all that Adam had left him before he tranfgress’d; she would have made Hercules have turn'd spit; yea, and have cleft his club to make the fire too. Come, talk not of her, you shall find her the infernal Atè in good apparel. I would to god, fome fcholar would conjure her ; for, certainly, while she is here a man may live as quiet in hell as in a sanctuary; and people sin upon purpose, because they would go thither; so, indeed, all disquiet, horror, and perturbation, follow her.
Bene. Will your grace command me any service to the world's end? I will go on the sligheft errand now to the Antipodes that you can devise to send me on; I will fetch you a tooth-picker now
from the furthest inch of Asia; bring you the length of Prefter John's foot ; fetch you a hair off the great Cham's beard ; do you any embassage to the pigmies, rather than hold three words conference with this harpy: you have no employment for me?
Pedro. None, but to desire your good company.
Bene. O god, sir, here's a dish I love not. I cannot endure this lady's tongue,
[Exit. Pedro. Come, lady, come, you have lost the heart of lìgnior Benedick. Beat. Indeed, my lord, he lent it me a while, and I
a gave him use for it, a double heart for a single one; marry, once before he won it of me with false dice, therefore your grace may well say, I have lost it.
Pedro. You have put him down, lady, you have put him down.
Beat. So I would not he should do me, my lord, left I should prove the mother of fools: I have brought count Claudio, whom you sent me to feek.
Pedro. Why, how now, count, wherefore are you sad?
Beat. The count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor well; but civil count, civil as an orange, and something of a jealous complexion.
Pedro. I' faith, lady, I think your blazon to be true; though I'll be sworn, if he be so, his conceit is false. Here, Claudio, I have wooed in thy name, and fair Hero is won; I have broke with her father, and his good will obtained; name the day of marriage, and god give thee joy!
Leon. Count, take of me my daughter, and with her my fortunes; his grace hath made the match, and all grace say, amen, to it!
Beat. Speak, count, 'tis your cue.
Claud. Silence is the perfectest herald of joy; I were but little happy, if I could say how much. Lady, as you are mine, I am
M m m
yours; I give away myself for you, and dote upon the exchange.
Beat. Speak, cousin, or, if you cannot, stop his mouth with a kiss, and let not him speak neither. Pedro. In faith, lady, you a merry
heart. Beat. Yea, my lord, I thank it, poor fool, it keeps on the windy side of care: my cousin tells him in his ear that he is in her heart.
Leon. And so she doth, cousin.
Beat. Good lord, for alliance ! thus goes every one to the world but I, and I am sun-burn'd, I may fit in a corner, and cry, heigh ho! for a husband.
Pedro. Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.
father's getting: hath your grace ne'er a brother like you? your father husbands, if a maid could come by them.
Pedro. Will you have me, lady?
Beat. No, my lord, unless I might have another for workingdays; your grace is too costly to wear every day: but, I beseech your grace, pardon me, I was born to speak áll mirth, and no Pedro. Your silence most offends me, and to be
best becomes you; for, out of question, you were born in a merry hour.
Beat. No, sure, my lord, my mother cry’d; but then there was a star danc’d, and under that I was born. Cousins, god give
Leon. Neice, will you look to those things I told you
of? Beat. I cry you mercy, uncle: by your grace's pardon.
[Exit Beatrice. S CE N E VI. Pedro. By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady.
Leon. There's little of the melancholy element in her, my lord; she is never sad but when she sleeps, and not ever fad then ; for I have heard my daughter fay, she hath often dream'd of unhappiness, and wak’d herself with laughing. Pedro. She cannot endure to hear tell of a husband ?
Leon. O, by no means, she mocks all her wooers out of fuit. Pedro. She were an excellent wife for Benedick.
Leon. O lord, my lord, if they were but a week marry'd they would talk themselves mad.
Pedro. Count Claudio, when mean you to go to church?
Claud. To-morrow, my lord; time goes on crutches, 'till love have all his rites.
Leon. Not 'till monday, my dear son, which is hence a just seven-night, and a time too brief too, to have all things answer
Pedro. Come, you shake the head at so long a breathing; but, I warrant thee, Claudio, the time shall not go dully by us; I will, in the interim, undertake one of Hercules's labours, which is, to bring signior Benedick and the lady Beatrice into a mountain of affection the one with the other: I would fain have it a match; and I doubt not to fashion it, if you three will but minister such assistance as I shall give you direction.
Leon. My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten nights watchings.
Claud. And I, my lord.
Hero. I will do any modeft office, my lord, to help my cousin to a good husband.
Pedro. And Benedick is not the unhopefullest husband that I know: thus far can I praise him; he is of a noble strain, of approv'd valour, and confirm’d honesty. I will teach you how to humour your cousin, that she shall fall in love with Benedick; and I, with your two helps, will so practise on Benedick, that, in despite of his quick wit, and his queasy stomach, he shall fall in love with Beatrice: if we can do this, Cupid is no longer an archer, his glory shall be ours, for we are the only love-gods ; go in with me, and I will tell you my drift. [Exeunt.