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Benedick well; and I could wish he would modestly examine himself, to see how much he is unworthy so good a lady.

Leon. My lord, will you walk? dinner is ready. Claud. If he do not dote on her upon this, I will never trust my expectation.

D. Pedro. Let there be the same net spread for her; and that must your daughter and her gentlewomen carry. The sport will be, when they hold one an opinion of another's dotage, and no such matter: that's the scene that I would see, which will be merely a dumb-show. Let us send her to call him in to dinner.

[Exeunt Don Pedro, Claudio, and Leonato. Bene. [Coming forward] This can be no trick the conference was sadly borne. :



have the truth of this from Hero. They seem to 230 pity the lady it seems her affections have their full bent. Love me! why, it must be requited. I hear how I am censured: they say I will bear myself proudly, if I perceive the love come from her; they say too that she will rather die than give any sign of affection. I did never think to marry: I must not seem proud: happy are they that hear their detractions and can put them to mending. They say the lady is fair; 'tis a truth, I can bear them witness; and virtuous; 'tis so, I 240 cannot reprove it; and wise, but for loving me; by my troth, it is no addition to her wit, nor no great argument of her folly, for I will be horribly in love with her. I may chance have some odd quirks and remnants of wit broken on me, because I have railed so long against marriage: but doth not the appetite alter? a man loves the meat in 229. sadly borne, conducted with gravity. 245. quirks, jests.

his youth that he cannot endure in his age. Shall quips and sentences and these paper bullets of the brain awe a man from the career of his humour? 250 No, the world must be peopled. When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married. Here comes Beatrice. By this day! she's a fair lady: I do spy some marks of love in her.


Beat. Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner.

Bene. Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains. Beat. I took no more pains for those thanks than you take pains to thank me: if it had been 260 painful, I would not have come.

Bene. You take pleasure then in the message? Beat. Yea, just so much as you may take upon a knife's point and choke a daw withal. You have no stomach, signior: fare you well.

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[Exit. Bene. Ha! Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner;' there's a double meaning in that. 'I took no more pains for those thanks than you took pains to thank me;' that's as much as to say, Any pains that I take for you is 270 as easy as thanks. If I do not take pity of her, I am a villain; if I do not love her, I am a Jew. I will go get her picture.






SCENE I. LEONATO's garden.

Enter HERO, MARGARET, and URSULA. Hero. Good Margaret, run thee to the parlour; There shalt thou find my cousin Beatrice Proposing with the prince and Claudio: Whisper her ear and tell her, I and Ursula Walk in the orchard and our whole discourse Is all of her; say that thou overheard'st us; And bid her steal into the pleached bower, Where honeysuckles, ripen'd by the sun, Forbid the sun to enter, like favourites,

Made proud by princes, that advance their pride Against that power that bred it: there will she hide her,

To listen our propose. This is thy office;

Bear thee well in it and leave us alone.

Marg. I'll make her come, I warrant you, presently.


Hero. Now, Ursula, when Beatrice doth come, As we do trace this alley up and down,

Our talk must only be of Benedick.

When I do name him, let it be thy part

To praise him more than ever man did merit :
My talk to thee must be how Benedick

Is sick in love with Beatrice.

Of this matter

Is little Cupid's crafty arrow made,
That only wounds by hearsay.

3. Proposing, conversing.

12. propose, discourse.

So Q; Ff 'purpose.'



Enter BEATRICE, behind.

Now begin;

For look where Beatrice, like a lapwing, runs
Close by the ground, to hear our conference.

Urs. The pleasant'st angling is to see the fish
Cut with her golden oars the silver stream,
And greedily devour the treacherous bait :
So angle we for Beatrice; who even now
Is couched in the woodbine coverture.
Fear you not my part of the dialogue.

Hero. Then go we near her, that her ear lose nothing

Of the false sweet bait that we lay for it.

[Approaching the bower.

No, truly, Ursula, she is too disdainful;
I know her spirits are as coy and wild
As haggards of the rock.


But are you sure

That Benedick loves Beatrice so entirely?

Hero. So says the prince and my new-trothed lord.

Urs. And did they bid you tell her of it, madam?


Hero. They did entreat me to acquaint her of it; 40 But I persuaded them, if they loved Benedick,

To wish him wrestle with affection,

And never to let Beatrice know of it.

Urs. Why did you so?

Doth not the gentleman

Deserve as full as fortunate a bed

As ever Beatrice shall couch upon ?

Hero. O god of love! I know he doth deserve As much as may be yielded to a man: But Nature never framed a woman's heart Of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice;

36. haggards, wild untrained hawks.


Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes,
Misprising what they look on, and her wit
Values itself so highly that to her

All matter else seems weak: she cannot love,
Nor take no shape nor project of affection,
She is so self-endeared.


Sure, I think so;

And therefore certainly it were not good

She knew his love, lest she make sport at it.

Hero. Why, you speak truth. I never yet saw


How wise, how noble, young, how rarely featured, 60
But she would spell him backward: if fair-faced,
She would swear the gentleman should be her sister;
If black, why, Nature, drawing of an antic,
Made a foul blot; if tall, a lance ill-headed;
If low, an agate very vilely cut;

If speaking, why, a vane blown with all winds;
If silent, why, a block moved with none.
So turns she every man the wrong side out,
And never gives to truth and virtue that
Which simpleness and merit purchaseth.

Urs. Sure, sure, such carping is not commend-

Hero. No, not to be so odd and from all fashions
As Beatrice is, cannot be commendable :
But who dare tell her so? If I should speak,

She would mock me into air; O, she would laugh


Out of myself, press me to death with wit.
Therefore let Benedick, like cover'd fire,

52. Misprising, undervaluing.
63. black, of dark complexion.
ib. antic, buffoon.

65. an agate; often worn in rings, with little figures cut in it; hence a symbol for smallness.


72. from all fashions, uncon ventional.

76. press me to death with wit; alluding to the torture of crushing with heavy weights (the 'peine forte et dure').

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