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BEAT. Scratching could not make it worse, an 't were such a face as yours were.
BENE. Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher.
BEAT. A bird of my tongue, is better than a beast of yours. · BENE. I would my horse had the speed of your tongue, and so good a continuer : but keep your way o' God's name! I have done.
BEAT. You always end with a jade's trick ; I know 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.—Let me bid you welcome, my lord; being reconciled to the prince your brother, I owe you all duty.
D. JOHN. I thank you : I am not of many words, but I thank you.
[Exeunt all but BENEDICK and CLAUDIO. CLAUD. Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of signior Leonato ?
BENE. I noted her not, but I looked on her.
BENE. Do you question me, as an honest man should do, for my simple true judgment; or would you have me speak after my custon, as being a professed 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 thinkest, I am in sport ; I pray thee, tell me truly how thou likest her.
BENE. Would you buy her, that you inquire after her?
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?a Come, in what key shall a man take you, to go in the song?
CLAUD. In mine eye she is the sweetest lady that ever I looked on.
BENE. I can see yet without spectacles, and I see no such matter: there's her cousin, an she were not possessed 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?
* To tell us Cupid is a good hare-finder, and Vulcan a rare carpenter:] This, which has so puzzled all the commentators, is nothing more than an example of what Puttenham terms "Antiphrasis, or the Broad floute.” “Or when we deride by plaine and flat contradiction, as he that saw a dwarfe go in the streete said to his companion that walked with him; See yonder gyant; and to a Negro or woman blackemoore, In good sooth ye are a faire one.”—The Arte of English Poesie, 1589.
CLAUD. I would scarce trust myself, though I had sworn the contrary, if Hero would be my wife.
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 returned to seek yon.
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.
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 't was not so; but, indeed, God forbid it should be so.(3)
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.
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 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,a 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 fineb 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.
(*) First folio, speake. a But that I will hare a recheat winded in my forehead, or hang my bugle in an invisible baldrick,-) A recheat was a note upon the horn, usually employed to recal the dogs from the wrong scent. Benedick's meaning appears to be, I will neither be a vittol, glorying in my shame, nor a poor cuckold who must endure and conceal it.
b The fine. The conclusion.
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.
BENE. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat,a and shoot at me; and he that hits me, let him be clapped on the shoulder, and called Adam.(4)
D. PEDRO. Well, as time shall try:
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 mean time, 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,)
BENE. Nay, mock not, mock not: the body of 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 conscience; and so I leave you.
[Exit BENEDICK. CLAUD. My liege, your highness now may do me good.
D. PEDRO. My love is thine to teach ; teach it but how,
CLAUD. Hath Leonato any son, my lord ?
D. PEDRO. No child but Hero, she's his only heir. Dost thou affect her, Claudio ?
CLAUD. O my lord,
a Hang me in a bottle like a cat, and shoot at me ;] This was one of the barbarous sports of former times. The practice was to enclose a cat in a suspended coop of open bars, and shoot at it with arrows till the poor animal was killed :-"- arrowes flew faster than they did at a catte in a basket, when Prince Arthur, or the Duke of Shoreditch, strucke up drumme in field.”—Warres ; or, The Peace is Broken, a blackletter tract, quoted by Steevens.
b In time, &c.] A line from the old stage butt, “The Spanish Tragedy," by Thomas Kyd; but which originally occurs in Watson's “ Passionate Centurie of Love,” printed in 1582.
c Your loving friend, Benedick.] The "old ends," here ridiculed, were the formal conclusions of letters in the poet's time, which usually ran, “ And so, wishing you health, I commend you to the tuition of God,” &c., &c.
When you went onward on this ended action,
D. PEDRO. Thou wilt be like a lover presently,
CLAUD. How sweetly do you minister to love,
D. PEDRO. What need the bridge much broader than the flood ?
SCENE II.-A Room in Leonato's House.
Enter LEONATO and ANTONIO.d 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 news that you yet dreamed not of.
LEON. Are they good ?
- And with her father,
And thou shalt have her :] These words are omited in the folio, 1623.
b The fairest grant is the necessity :) Mr. Hayley proposed to read “ The fairest grant is to necessity, that is, necessitas quod cogit defendit,” but surely the sense is clear enough-the best boon is that which answers the necessities of the case : or, as Don Pedro pithily explains it, “what will serve, is fit.” e 'Tis once,-) See note (6), Vol. I., p. 174.
Enter Leonato and Antonio.] In the old copies, “Enter Leonato and an old man, brother to Leonato."
ANT. As the event* stamps them ; but they have a good cover, they show well outward. The prince and count Claudio, walking in a thick-pleached alley a in my orchard, were thus much f overheard by a man of mine. The prince discovered to Claudio, that he loved my niece your daughter, and meant to acknowledge it this night in a dance; and, if he found her accordant, he meant to take the present time by the top, and instantly break with you of it.
LEON. Hath the fellow any wit, that told you this?
Ant. A good sharp fellow: I will send for him, and question him yourself.
LEON. No, no; we will hold it as a dream, till it appear itselfbut I will acquaint my daughter withal, that she may be the better prepared for an answer, if peradventure this be true. Go you, and tell her of it. [Several persons cross the stage.] Cousins, you know what you have to do.-0, I cry you mercy, friend: go you with me, and I will use your skill.—Good cousins, I have a care this busy time.
SCENE III.-Another Room in Leonato's House.
Enter Don John and CONRADE.! Con. What the good year, my lord! why are you thus out of measure sad ?
D. John. There is no measure in the occasion that breeds, therefore the sadness is without limit.
Con. You should hear reason.
D. JOHN. I wonder that thou, being (as thou say'st thou art) born under Saturn, goest about to apply a moral medicine to a mortifying mischief. I cannot hide what I am: I must be sad when I have cause, and smile at no man's jests; eat when I have stomach, and wait for no man's leisure ; sleep when I am drowsy, and tend on no man's business; laugh when I am merry, and clawo no man in his humour.
Con. Yea, but you must not make the full show of this, till you may do it without controlment. You have of late stood out against your brother, and he hath ta’en you newly into his grace; where it is impossible you should take true $ root, but by the fair weather that you make yourself: it is needful that you frame the season for your own harvest.
D. John. I had rather be a canker in a hedge, than a rose in his grace; and it better fits my blood to be disdained of all, than to fashion a carriage to rob love from any: in this, though I cannot be
(*) Old text, erents.
(1) First folio omits, much. (1) Old copies, cousin.
00) First folio omits, true. * Thick-pleached alley-] A thickly intertwined avenue.
b Enter Don John and Conrade.] The original stage-direction is, “ Enter Sir John the Bastard, and Conrade, his companion."
c And claw no man-] To claw or scratch, is, metaphorically, to flatter.