nesty. I will teach you how to humour your cousin, that she shall fall in love with Benedick: and I, with your two helps, will so practise on Benedick, that, in despite of his quick wit and queasy stomach, he shall fall in love with Beatrice. If we can do this, Cupid is no longer an archer ; his glory shall be ours, for we are the only love-gods. Go in with me, and I will tell you my drift.


SCENE II.-A Hall in Leonato's House.

Enter Don John and BORACHIO, R. John. (L.) It is so ; the Count Claudio shall marry the daughter of Leonato,

Bor. (c.) Yea, my Lord; but I can cross it.

John. Any bar, any cross, any impediment, will be medicinable to me: I am sick in displeasure to him; and whatsoever comes athwart his affection, ranges evenly with mine. How canst thou cross this marriage ?

Bor. Not honestly, my Lord; but so covertly, that no dishonesty shall appear in me.

John. Show me briefly how.

Bor. I think I told your Lordship a year since how much I am in the favour of Margaret, the waiting gentlewoman to Hero.

John. I remember.

Bor. I can, at any unseasonable instant of the night, appoint her to look out at her lady's chamber window.

John. What life is in that, to be the death of this marriage?

Bor. The poison of that lies in you to temper. Go you to the prince, your brother ; spare not to tell him, that he hath wronged his honour in marrying the renowned Claudio, whose estimation do you mightily hold up, to a contaminated stale, such a one as Hero.

John. What proof shall I make of that?

Bor. Proof enough to misuse the prince, to vex Clau. dio, to undo Hero, and kill Leonato: Look you for any other issue?

John. Only to despite them, I will endeavour any thing.

Bor. Go then, find me a meet hour to draw Don Pedro, and the Count Claudio, alone: tell them that you know that Hero loves me; intend a kind of zeal both to the prince and Claudio, as-in love of your brother's honour, who hath made this match; and his friend's reputation, who is thus like to be cozened with the semblance of a maid-that you have discovered thus. They will scarcely believe this without trial : offer them instances; which shall bear nu less likelihood, than to see me at her chamber window; hear me call Margaret, Hero; hear Margaret term me Borachio; and bring them to see this the very night before the intended wedding : for, in the mean time, I will so fashion the matter, that Hero shall be absent ; and there shall appear such seeming truth of Hero's disloyalty, that jealousy shall be called assurance, and all the preparation overthrown.

John. Grow this to what adverse issue it can, I will put it in practice: be cunning in the working this, and thy fee is a thousand ducats.

Bor. Be you constant in the accusation, and my cunning shall not shame me.

John. I will presently go learn their day of marriage.

[Exeunt-BORACHIO, R. John, L.

SCENE III. Leonato's Garden.

BENEDICK seated. Bened. I do much wonder that one man, seeing how much another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviours to love, will, after he hath laughed at such shallow follies in others, become the argument of his own scorn, by falling in love: and such a man is Clandio. I have known when there was no music with him but the drum and the fife; and now had he rather hear the tabor and the pipe : I have known when he would have walked ten mile afoot, to see a good armour ; and now will he lie ten nights awake, carving the fashion of a new doublet. He was wont to speak plain, and to the purpose, like an honest man, and a soldier ; and now he is turned orthographer; his words are a very fantastical banquet, just so many strange dishes. May I be so converted, and see with these eyes? I cannot tell ; I think not: I will not be sworn, but love may transform me to an oyster ; but I'll take my oath on it, till he have made an oyster of me, he shall never make me such a fool. One woman is fair; yet I am well: another is wise ; yet I am well : another virtuous; yet I am well : but till all graces be in one wo

man, one woman shall not come in my grace. Rich she shall be, that's certain ; wise, or I'll none; virtuous, or I'll never cheapen her ; fair, or I'll never look on her ; mild, or come not near me ; noble, or not I; of good discourse, an excellent musician, and her hair shall be of what colour it please Heaven. Ha! the Prince, and Monsieur Love! I will hide me in the arbour.


THASAR, and SINGERS.-Don PEDRO, &c. stand R.
Singers stand L.
Pedro. Come, shall we hear this music?
Claud. Yea, my good Lord :-how still the even-

ing is,
As bush'd on purpose to grace harmony !

Pedro. See you where Benedick hath hid himself! Come, Balthasar, we'll hear that song again.

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,

Men were deceivers ever ;;
One foot in sea, and one on shore ;
To one thing constant never :

Then sigh not so,

But let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny ;
Converting all your sounds of woe

Into Hey nonny, nonny.
Sing no more ditties, sing no mo,

Of dumps so dull and heavy;
The fraud of men was ever so,
Since summer firs: was leavy.

Then sigh not so, &c. Pedro. Dost thou hear, Balthasar? I pray thee, got us some excellent music; for, to-morrow night, we would bave it at the Lady Hero's chamber window.

Balth. The best I can, my lord.

Pedro. Do so: farewell ! [Exeunt BALTHASAR and SINGERS, L.] Coine hither, Leonato: What was it you told me of to-day? that your niece, Beatrice, was in love with Signior Benedick ?

[They sit. Claud. O, ay: [Aside.] Stalk on, stalk on; the fowl sits.- I did never think that lady.would have loved any man.

Leon. No, nor I neither ; but most wonderful, that she should so dote on Signior Benedick, whom she hath, in all outward behaviours, seemed ever to abhor. s

Bened. [Listeniny at r. V. E.] Is't possible? Sits the wind in that corner ?

Leon. By my troth, my Lord, I cannot tell what to think of it; but that she loves him with an enraged affection-it is past the infinite of thought.

Pedro. May be she doth but counterfeit.
Claud. 'Faith, like enough.

Leon. Counterfeit! There never was counterfeit of passion came so near the life of passion as she discovers it.

Pedro. Why, what effects of passion shows she? Claud. [Aside.] Bait the hook well; this fish will bite.

Leon. What effects, my Lord ! She will sit you. You heard my daughter tell you how.

Claud. She did, indeed.

Pedro. How, how, I pray you? You amaze me: I would have thought her spirit had been invincible against all assaults of affection.

Leon. I would have sworn it had, my Lord; especially against Benedick.

Bened. I should think this a gull, but that the whitebearded fellow speaks it: knavery cannot, sure, hide himself in such reverence.

Claud. [Aside.] He hath ta'en the affection ; hold

it up.

Pedro. Hath she made her affection known to Benedick?

Leon. No; and swears she never will : that's her torment.

Bened. So, so !

Lcon. My daughter says, the ecstacy hath so much overborne her, that she is sometime afraid she will do desperate outrage to herself.

Pedro. It were good, if Benedick knew of it by some other, if she will not discover it. I pray you, tell * Benedick of it, and hear what he will say.

Leon. Were it good, think you ?

Claud. 'Tis very possible he'll scorn it; for the man, as you know all, hath a contemptible spirit.

Bened. Very well

Claud. Never tell him, my Lord ; let her wear it out with good counsel.

Leon. Nay, that's impossible ; she may wear her heart out first.

Pedro. Well, we will hear 'farther of it by your daughter; let it cool the while. I love Benedick well; and I could wish he would modestly examine himself, to see how much he is unworthy so good a lady.

[Bell rings. Leon. My lord, will you walk ? dinner is ready.

[They rise. Claud. [Aside.] If he do not dole on her upon this, I will never trust my expectation.

Pedro. [Aside.] Let there be the same net spread for her, and that must your daughter and her gentle. woman carry. The sport will be, when they hold an opinion of one another's dotage, and no such matter ; that's the scene that I would see, Let us send her to call him to dinner.

[Exeunt, R. [Benedick advances softly to c. Bened. This can be no trick : The conference was sadly borne. They have the truth of this from Hero. They seem to pity the lady; it seems, her affections have their full bent. Love me! why, it must be requite ed. I hear how I am censured; they say, I will bear myself proudly, if In 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: [Crosses to R.] I must not seem proud : happy are they that hear their detractions, and can put them to mending. They say, the lady is fair ; [Returns to c.] 'tis a truth, I can bear them witness : and virtuous ;-'tis so, I cannot reprove it: and wise—but for loving nie :-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 brokeri on me, because I have railed so long against marriage: But doth not the appetite alter ? A man loves the meat in 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 ? No: the world must be peopled. [Walks about agitated.] When I said, I would die a batchelor, I did not think I should live till Į were married. Here comes Beatrice. By this day, she's a fair lady : [ Takes off his hat and ripes it-adjusts his dress.] I do spy some marks of love in her.


« VorigeDoorgaan »