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Beuir. Nor will you not tell me who you are?
Bened. Not now. [Pedro and Hero stand R.

Beatr. That I was disdainful—and that I had my good wit out of the hundred merry tales ;-- Well, this was Signior Benedick that said so.

Bened. What's he?
Beatr. I am sure you know him well enougu.
Bened. Not I, believe me.
Beatr. Did he never make you laugh? .
Bened, I pray you what is he ?

Beatr. Why, he is the prince's jester: a very dull fuol : only his gift is in devising impossible slanders ; none but libertines delight in him; and the commendation is not in his wit, but in his villainy; for he both pleaseth men and angers them, and then they laugh at him and beat him ; I am sure he is in the fleet; I would he had boarded me.

Bened. When I know the gentleman, I'll tell him what you say.

Beatr. Do, do; he'll but break a comparison or two on me; which, peradventure, not marked, or not laughed at, strikes him into melancholy; and then there's a partridge wing saved, for the fool, will eat no supper that night.

[The Company beginning to leave the Room, We must follow the leaders. [Music-Exeunt all but Don John, Borachio,

and CLAUDIO. John. (:.c.) Su.e my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath withdrawn her father, to break with him about it : the ladies follow her, and but one visor remains.

Bor. (L. C.) And that is Claudio : I know him by his wearing.

John. Are not you Signior Benedick?
Claud. You know me well: I am he.

John. Signior, you are very near my brother in his love: he is enainoured on Hero ; I pray you dissuade him from her, she is no equal for his birth; you may do the part of an honest man in it.

Claud. How know you he loves her?
John. I heard him swear his affection,

Bor. So did I too; and he swore he would marry ner to-night. John. Come, let us to the banquet.

[Exeunt Don John and BoracHIO, L.

1

: Claud. Thus answer I in the name of Benedick,
But hear these ill news with the ears of Claudio-
'Tis certain so ;-The prince wooes for himself.
Friendship is constant in all other things,
Save in the office and affairs of love:
Therefore, all hearts in love use their own tougues ;
Let ev'ry eye negotiate for itself,
And trust no agent; for beauty is a witch,
Against whose charms faith melteth into blood.
This is an accident of hourly proof,
Which I mistrusted not: farewell, therefore, Hero.

Enter BenEDICK, J.-
Bened. (L. c.) Count Claudio ?
Claud. (R. C.) Yea, the same.
Bened. Come, will you go with me?
Claud. Whither?

Bened. Even to the next willow, about your own business, Count. What fashion will you wear the garland of? About your neck, like a 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.

Bened. Why, that's spoken like an honest drover ; so they sell bullocks. But did you think the prince would have served you thus ?

Ctaud. I pray you, leave me.

Bened. Ho! now you strike like the blindman ; 'twas the boy that stole your meat, and you'll beat the post. Claud. If it will not be, I'll leave you.

[Exit CLAUDIO, L. Bened. 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 so 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 revenged as I may.

Enter Don PEDRO, R. Pedro. Now, Signior, where's the count? Did you see him ?

Bened.'(c.) Troth, my lord, I played the part of Lady Fame. I found him here as melancholy as a lodge in a warren; I told him, and I think I told him true, that

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your grace had got the good will of his 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 up a rod, as being worthy to be whipt.

Pedro. (R. C.) To be whipt! what's his fault ?

Bened. The flat transgression of a school-boy; who, being overjoyed with finding a bird's nest, shows it his companion, and he steals it.

Pedro. Wilt thou make a trust a transgression ? The transgression is in the stealer.

Bened. 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 stolen his bird's nest.

Pedro. I will but teach them to sing, and restore them to the owner.

Bened. If their singing answer your saying, by my faith, you say honestly.

Pedro. The Lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you; the gentleman, that danced with her, told her, she is much wronged by you.

Bened. Wronged ! she wronged ! she misused me past the endurance of a block; an oak, but with one green leaf on it, would have answered her ; my very visor began to assume life, and scold with her: She told me, not thinking I had been myself, that I was the prince's jestor ; and that I was duller than a great thaw; huddling jest upon jest, with such impossible 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: I would not marry her, though she were endowed with all that Adam had left him before he trangressed : she would have made Hercules have turned spit; yea, and have cleft bis club, to make the fire to. I would to Heaven, some scholar 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; indeed, all disquiet, horror, and perturbation follows her.

Beatr. Lcon. Claud. and Hero. [Within] Ha! ha! ha!

Pedro. Look, here she comes.

Bened. Will your grace command 'me any service to the world's end? I{will go on the slightest errand now to the Antipodes, that you can devise to send me on; I

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will fetch you a toothpicker now from the farthest inch of Asia ; bring you the length of Prester John's foot; fetch you a hair off the great Cham's beard: do you any ambassage to the Pigmies, rather then hold three words conference with this harpy: You have no employment for me?

Pedro. None, but to desire your good company,

Bened. O lord, sir, here's a dish I love not ; I cannot endure my Lady Tongue. [Exit BENEDICK, R. Enter BEATRICE, LEONATO, CLAUDIO, and Hero, L.

Pedro. (L. C.) Come, lady, come, you have lost the heart of Signior Benedick. You have put him down, lady, you have put him down.

Beair. (L.) So I would not he should do me, my lord ; lest I should prove the mother of fools. I have brought Count Claudio, whom you sent me to seek. Pedro. Why, how now, Count? wherefore are you sad? Claud. (c.) Not sad, my lord. Pedi o. How then? Sick? Claud. Neither, my lord.

Beatr. The Count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor well : but civil, Count; civil as an orange, and something of that jealous complexion.

Pedro. I'faith, lady, I think your blazen 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: bame the day of marriage, and Heaven 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!

Beatr. 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, [BEATRICE sighs) as you are mine, I am yours : I give away myself for you, and dote upon the exchange.

Beutr. Speak, cousin, or, if you cannot stop his mouth with a kiss, and let him not speak, neither.

Pedro. In faith, lady, you have a merry heart.

Beatr. 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.

Claud. And so she doth, cousin.
Beatr. Good lord, for allianco ! Thus goes every

one to the world but I, and I am sun-burned ; I may sit in a corner, and cry, “ Heigho for a husband!”

Pedro. (R.) Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.

Beatr. I would rather have one of your father's gelting. Hath your Grace ne'er a brother like you? Your father got excellent husbands, if a maid could come by them.

Pedro. Will you have me, lady?

Beatr. No, my, Lord, unless I might have another for working days : your Grace is too costly to wear every day :-But I beseech your Grace, pardon me; I was born to speak all mirth, and no matter.

Pedro. Your silence most offends me; and to be merry best becomes you; for, out of question, you were born in a merry hour.

Beatr. No, sure, my Lord, my mother cried; but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born, Cousins, Heaven give you joy!

Leon. Niece, will you look to those things I told you of ?

Beatr. [Crossing to R.] I cry you mercy, uncle. By your Grace's pardon.

[Exit R. Pedro. By my troth,' a pleasant-spirited-lady! 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; and a time too brief too, to have all things answer my mind.

Pedro. (R.) 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' labours; which is, to bring Signior Benedick and the Lady Beatrice into a mountain of affection, the one with the other. I would fajn have ů 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, if it cost me ten nights watchings,

Claud. (L.) And I, my Lord.
Pedro. (L.) And you too, gentle Hero?

Hero. I will do any modest office, my Lord, to help my cousin to a good husband.

Pedro. And Benedick is not the unbopefullest husband that I know : thus far can I praise him; he is of a noble strain, of approved valour, and confirmed ho

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