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and sigh away Sundays. Look; Don Pedro is returned to seek you.

Re-enter DON PEDRO.

D. Pedro. What secret hath held you here, that you followed 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 uttered.

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.

sigh away Sundays. A modern Benedick would perhaps say, 'Be an obviously married man and a good church-going Philistine!'

217. uttered, proclaimed.

218. Like the old tale, the tale of Mr. Fox,' written down from memory by Blakeway for Malone's edition, and obviously 'old' in spite of the eighteenth



century colouring of the dialogue. 'It is not so, nor 'twas not so, but, indeed, God forbid it should be so,' is Mr. Fox's ironical comment on the successive horrors which Lady Mary relates him after her furtive visit to his house. Cf. Jacobs' English Fairy Tales.

225. fetch me in, bring me to a confession.

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 loved 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 conceived me, I thank 240 her; that she brought me up, I likewise give her most humble thanks: but that I will have a recheat winded in my 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 drinking, pick 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.

237. in the despite of, in aversion from.

242. have a recheat winded in my forehead, i. e. wear a horn. To 'wind a recheat' was to blow a blast on the hunting-horn re

calling the hounds.


244. baldrick, the belt in which the horn was hung.

247. fine, end.

258. argument, theme for discourse.

Bene. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat and shoot at me; and he that hits me, let him be 260 clapped on the shoulder, and called 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 wouldst 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 matter enough in me for such an embassage; and so I commit you

Claud. To the tuition of God: From my house, if I had it,

D. Pedro. The sixth of July: Your loving friend, Benedick.

Bene. Nay, mock not, mock not.

259. a bottle, probably a large wooden bottle or small barrel.

261. Adam, Adam Bell the famous archer of the popular ballads.

263. In time the savage bull,' etc., a (slightly inaccurate) quotation from Kyd's Spanish


The body of



Kyd himself took it, almost intact, from Watson's Passionate Centurie of Love. 272. horn-mad, mad like a bull.

276. temporize with the hours, comply with the time.

283. tuition, guardianship.

your discourse is sometime guarded with fragments, and the guards are but slightly basted on neither : ere you flout old ends any further, examine your 290 conscience and so I leave you. [Exit. Claud. My liege, your highness now may do me good.

D. Pedro. My love is thine to teach: teach it but how,

And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn

Any hard lesson that may do thee good.

Claud. Hath Leonato any son, my lord?

D. Pedro. No child but Hero; she's his only heir Dost thou affect her, Claudio?


O, my lord,

When you went onward on this ended action,
I look'd upon her with a soldier's eye,
That liked, but had a rougher task in hand
Than to drive liking to the name of love:
But now I am return'd and that war-thoughts
Have left their places vacant, in their rooms
Come thronging soft and delicate desires,
All prompting me how fair young Hero is,
Saying, I liked her ere I went to wars.

D. Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover presently
And tire the hearer with a book of words.

If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it,

And I will break with her and with her father
And thou shalt have her. Was 't not to this end

That thou began'st to twist so fine a story?

Claud. How sweetly you do minister to love,
That know love's grief by his complexion!
But lest my liking might too sudden seem,

288. guarded with fragments, trimmed with scraps.

289. guards, trimmings.
290. flout old ends, mock me

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with scraps and tags (the quotation from Kyd, and the stock 'ending' of letters, From my house').

I would have salved it with a longer treatise.

D. Pedro. What need the bridge much broader

than the flood?

The fairest grant is the necessity.

Look, what will serve is fit: 'tis once, thou lovest, 320
And I will fit thee with the remedy.

I know we shall have revelling to-night:
I will assume thy part in some disguise
And tell fair Hero I am Claudio,

And in her bosom I'll unclasp my heart
And take her hearing prisoner with the force
And strong encounter of my amorous tale;
Then after to her father will I break;
And the conclusion is, she shall be thine.
In practice let us ut it presently.

[Exeunt. 330

SCENE II. A room in LEONATO's house.

Enter LEONATO and ANTONIO, meeting. Leon. How now, brother! Where is my cousin, your son? hath he provided this music?

Ant. He is very busy about it. But, brother, I can tell you strange news that you yet dreamt not of.

Leon. Are they good?

Ant. As the event stamps them: but they have a good cover; they show well outward. The prince and Count Claudio, walking in a thickpleached alley in mine orchard, were thus much 10 overheard by a man of mine: the prince discovered

317. salved, palliated.

319. The fairest grant is the necessity, the most serviceable gift is that which satisfies the need.

320. 'tis once, it is settled once for all.

9. thick-pleached, thickly intertwined, of dense foliage.

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