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Sc. I

horse: for it is all the wealth that he hath left, to be known a reasonable creature. Who is his companion

now? He hath every month a new sworn brother. MESS. Is 't possible? BEAT. Very easily possible: he wears his faith but as the

fashion of his hat; it ever changes with the next block.' Mess. I see, Lady, the gentleman is not in your books. 69 BEAT. No; an he were, I would burn my study. But, I pray you,

who is his companion? Is there no young squarer? now that will make a voyage with him to the

Devil ?
Mess. He is most in the company of the right noble

BEAT. O, Lord! he will hang upon him like a disease :

he is sooner caught than the pestilence, and the taker
runs presently mad. God help the noble Claudio ! if
he have caught the Benedick, it will cost him a

thousand pound ere he be cur’d.
Mess. I will hold friends with you, Lady.
BEAT. Do, good friend.
LEON. You 'll ne'er run mad, Niece.
BEAT. No; not till a hot January.
Mess. Don Pedro is approach’d.




and John the Bastard. D. PEDRO. Good Signior Leonato, you are come to meet

your trouble: the fashion of the World is to avoid cost,

and you encounter it. LEON. Never came trouble to my house in the likeness

of your Grace : for Trouble being gone, Comfort should remain; but when you depart from me, Sorrow abides,

and Happiness takes his leave. D. PEDRO. You embrace your charge too willingly. I

think this is your daughter. Leon. Her mother hath many times told me so. BENE. Were you in doubt that you ask'd her ? LEON. Signior Benedick, no; for then were you a child. D. PEDRO. You have it full, Benedick: we may guess by this what you are, being a man. Truly, the lady 1 mould (for fashion).

2 roysterer.

Sc. I



fathers herself. Be happy, Lady, for you are like an

honourable father. BENE. If Signior Leonato be her father, she would not

have his head on her shoulders for all Messina, as like

him as she is.
BEAT. I wonder that you will still be talking, Signior

Benedick: nobody marks you.
BENE. What, my dear Lady Disdain! are you yet living ?

BEAT. Is it possible Disdain should die, while she hath

such meet food to feed it as Signior Benedick? Courtesy itself must convert to Disdain, if you come

in her presence. BENE. Then is Courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain

I am lov'd of all ladies, only you excepted: and I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard

heart; for, truly, I love none. BEAT. A dear happiness’ to women: they would else have

been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I thank God and my cold blood I am of your humour for that: I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man

swear he loves me. BENE. God keep your Ladyship still in that mind! so

some gentleman or other shall 'scape a predestinate

scratch'd face.
BEAT. Scratching could not make it worse, an 'twere

such a face as your's were.
BENE. Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher.
BEAT. A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of your's.
BENE. I would my horse had the speed of your tongue,

and so good a continuer ! But keep your way i' God's

name; I have done. BEAT. You always end with a jade's trick: I know

I 20



you of old.

D. Pedro. This is the sum of all : Leonato-Signior

Claudio and Signior Benedick, my dear friend Leonato hath invited you all. I tell him we shall stay here at the least a month ; and he heartily prays some occasion may detain us longer: I dare swear he is no hypocrite,

but prays from his heart. LEON. If you swear, my Lord, you shall not be forsworn.


2 piece of rare luck.

1 transform.

3 stayer.

[to Don John.] Let me bid you welcome, my Lord :

Lord : ACT I being reconcil'd to the Prince your brother, I owe Sc. I

you all duty. D. John. I thank you: I am not of many words, but

I thank you.



LEON. Please it your Grace lead on?
D. PEDRO. Your hand, Leonato; we will go together.

[Exeunt all but BENEDICK and CLAUDIO. CLAUD. Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of Signior

BENE. I noted her not; but I look'd on her.
CLAUD. Is she not a modest young lady?
BENE. Do you question me, as an honest man should

do, for my simple true judgment ? or would you have
me speak after my custom, as being a profess'd tyrant

to their sex? CLAUD. No; I pray thee speak in sober judgment. BENE. Why, i'faith, methinks she's too low for a high

praise, too brown for a fair praise, and too little for a great praise : only this commendation I can afford her; that were she other than she is, she were unhandsome;

and, being no other but as she is, I do not like her. CLAUD. Thou think'st I am in sport; I pray thee, tell

me truly how thou lik’st her.
BENE. Would you buy her, that you inquire after her ?
CLAUD. Can the world buy such a jewel ?
BENE. Yea; and a case to put it into. But speak you

this with a sad brow? or do you play the flouting jack,
to tell us Cupid is a good hare-finder, and Vulcan a
rare carpenter ? Come, in what key shall a man take

you, to gos in the song ?
CLAUD. In mine eye she is the sweetest lady that ever

I look'd on.
BENE. I can see yet without spectacles, and I see no such

matter: there's her cousin, an she were not possess'd
with a Fury, exceeds her as much in beauty as the
first of May doth the last of December. But I hope

you have no intent to turn husband, have you?
CLAUD. I would scarce trust myself, though I had sworn

the contrary, if Hero would be my wife.
I not blind but especially sharp-sighted.
3 join.




2 a bad smith but a fine workman in wood.

Sc. I

BENE. Is 't come to this? In faith, hath not the World

one man but he will wear his cap with suspicion ?! Shall I never see a bachelor of threescore again? Go to, i'faith ; an thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it, and sigh away? Sundays. Look; Don Pedro is return'd to seek you. .


Re-enter Don PEDRO and John the Bastard.
D. PEDRO. What secret hath held you here that you

follow'd not to Leonato's?
BENE. I would your Grace would constrain me to tell.
D. PEDRO. I charge thee on thy allegiance.
BENE. You hear, Count Claudio ? I can be secret as

a dumb man, I would have you think so; but, on my
allegiance (mark you this, on my allegiance), he is in
love. With who ? now that is your Grace's part.
Mark how short his answer is: with Hero, Leonato's

short daughter. CLAUD. If this were so, so were it utter'd. BENE. Like the old tale, my Lord : It is not so, nor twas

' not so; but, indeed, God forbid it should be so. CLAUD. If my passion change not shortly, God forbid it

should be otherwise.
D. PEDRO. Amen, if you love her; for the lady is very

well worthy.
CLAUD. You speak this to fetch me in, my Lord.
D. PEDRO. By my troth, I speak my thought.
CLAUD. And, in faith, my Lord, I spoke mine.
BENE. And by my two faiths and troths, my Lord, I

spoke mine.
CLAUD. That I love her I feel.
D. PEDRO. That she is worthy I know.
BENE. That I neither feel how she should be lov'd, nor

know how she should be worthy, is the opinion that

fire cannot melt out of me; I will die in it at the stake. D. PEDRO. Thou wast ever an obstinate heretic in the

despite of Beauty. CLAUD. And never could maintain his part but in the

force of his will. BENE. That a woman conceiv'd me, I thank her; that

i that he is horned, for that another shares the wearing of it. 8

3 contempt.




go to church and be serious.







she brought me up, I likewise give her most humble ACT I thanks : but that I will have a recheat? winded in my

Sc. I forehead, or hang my bugle in an invisible baldrick, all women shall pardon me. Because I will not do them the wrong to mistrust any, I will do myself the right to trust none; and the fine" is (for the which I may

go the finer) I will live a bachelor. D. PEDRO. I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with

love. BENE. With anger, with sickness, or with hunger, my

Lord; not with love: prove that ever I lose more blood with love than I will get again with drinkingpick out mine eyes with a ballad-maker's pen, and hang me up at the door of a brothel-house for the sign

of Blind Cupid ! D. PEDRO. Well, if ever thou dost fall from this faith,

thou wilt prove a notable argument." BENE. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat, and shoot

at me; and he that hits me, let him be clapp'd on the

shoulder, and callid Adam.
D. PEDRO. Well, as Time shall try :

In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke.
BENE. The savage bull may; but if ever the sensible

Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull's horns, and set
them in my forehead : and let me be vilely painted,
and in such great letters as they write Here is good
horse to hire let them signify under my sign Here

you may see Benedick the Married Man. CLAUD. If this should ever happen, thou would'st be

horn-mad. D. PEDRO. Nay, if Cupid have not spent all his quiver

in Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly. BENE. I look for an earthquake too, then. D. PEDRO. Well, you will temporize with the hours.

In the meantime, good Signior Benedick, repair to Leonato's: commend me to him, and tell him I will not fail him at supper; for indeed he hath made

great preparation. BENE. I have almost matters enough in me for such an



embassage: and so I commit you1 a point blown to call back the hounds (hunters'). 4 end. 5 subject for discourse.

7 mad as a bull. II : B

2 i.e, on a horn. 6 i.e. the first man.

8 horn.

8 wit. 9

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