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Hero. Why then your vifor fhould be thatch'd.
Balth. Well; I would, you did like me. (6)
plain, the poet alludes to the ftory of Baucis and Philemon from OVID And this old couple, as the Roman poet defcribes it, liv'd in a thatch'd cottage;
Stipulis & canna tecta paluftri.
But why, within the boufe is Love? Baucis and Fhilemon, 'tis true, had liv'd to old age together, and a comfortable ftate of agreement. But piety and hospitality are the top parts of their character. Our poet unquestionably goes a little deeper into the ftory. Tho' this old pair liv'd in a cottage, this cottage receiv'd two straggling Gods, (Jupiter and Mercury) under its roof. So Don Pedro is a prince; and tho' his vifor is but ordinary, he would infinuate to Hro, that he has fomething god-like within; alluding either to his dignity, or the qualities of his perfon and mind. By thefe circumftances, I am fure the thought is mended; as, I think verily, the text is too by the change of a fingle letter.
within the boufe is Jove.
I made this correction in my SHAKESPEARE reftor'd; and Mr. Pope has vouchfaf'd to adopt it, in his last edition. Nor is this emendation a little confirm'd by another paffage in our author, in which he plainly alludes to the fame ftory. As you like it.
Clown. I am bere with thee and thy Goats, as the most capricious poet, boneft Ovid, was amongst the Goths.
Jaq. O knowledge ill inhabited, worse than Jove in a thatch'd House. am naturally drawn here to correct a paffage in Beaumont and Fletcher's Two Noble Kinfmen, where a fault of the like kind has btain'd in all the copies.
here love himself fits fmiling;
Juft fuch another wanton Ganymede
Set Love a-fire with, and enforc'd the God
A fhining constellation;
All my readers, who are acquainted with the poetical history herealluded to, will concur with me in the certainty of the following emendation:
Juft fuch another wanton Ganymede
Set Jove a-fire with,
(6) Balth. Well, I would, you did like me.] This and the two following little fpeeches, which I have placed to Balthazar, are in all the printed copies given to Benedick. But, 'tis clear, the dialogue here ought to be betwixt Balthazar and Margaret: Benedick a little lower converfes with Beatrics: and fo every man talks with his women once round.
Marg. So would not I for your own fake, for I have many ill qualities.
Balth. Which is one?
Marg. I fay my prayers aloud.
Balth. I love you the better, the hearers may cry Amen.
Marg. God match me with a good dancer!
Marg. And God keep him out of my fight when the dance is done! Anfwer, clerk.
Balth. No more words, the clerk is anfwer'd.
Urf. I know you well enough; you are Signior Antonie. Ant. At a word, I am not.
Urf. I know you by the wagling of your head. Ant. To tell you true, I counterfeit him. Urf. You cou'd never do him fo ill-well, unless were the very man; here's his dry hand up and down; you are he, you are he.
Ant. At a word, I am not.
Urf. Come, come, do you think, I do not know you by your excellent wit? can virtue hide itfelf? go to, mum, you are he: graces will appear, and there's an end.
Beat. Will you not tell me, who told you fo?
Bene. No, you shall pardon me.
Beat. Nor will you not tell me, who you are?
Beat. That I was difdainful, and that I had my good Wit out of the Hundred merry Tales; well, this was Signior Benedick that said so.
Bene. What's he?
Beat. I am fure, you know him well enough.
Bene. Not I, believe me.
Beat. Did he never make you laugh?
Bene. I pray you, what is he?
Beat. Why, he is the Prince's jefter; a very dull fool, only his gift is in devifing impoffible flanders: none but libertines delight in him, and the commendation is not in his wit, but in his villany; for he both pleaseth men and angers them, and then they laugh at him, and
beat him; I am fure, he is in the fleet; I would, he had boarded me.
Bene. When what you say.
I know the gentleman, I'll tell him
Beat. Do, do, he'll but break a comparison or two on me; which, peradventure, not mark'd, or not laugh'd at, ftrikes him into melancholy, and then there's a partridge wing fav'd, for the fool will eat no fupper that night. We must follow the leaders.
Bene. In every good thing. Beat. Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at the next turning.
Manent John, Borachio, and Claudio.
John. Sure, my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath withdrawn her father to break with him about it: the ladies follow her, and but one vizor remains.
Bora. And that is Claudio; I know him by his Bearing. John. Are you not Signior Benedick?
Claud. You know me well, I am he.
John. Signior, you are very near my brother in his love, he is enamour'd on Hero; I pray you diffuade him from her, fhe is no equal for his birth; you may do the of an honest man in it.
Claud. How know ye, he loves her?
John. I heard him swear his affection.
Bora. So did I too, and he fwore he would marry her to-night.
John. Come, let us to the banquet.
[Exeunt John and Bor. Claud. Thus answer I in the name of Benedick, But hear this ill news with the ears of Claudio. 'Tis certain fo, the Prince wooes for himfelf. Friendship is conftant in all other things, Save in the office and affairs of love;
Therefore all hearts in love use their own tongues,
And truft no agent; beauty is a witch,
Against whose charms faith melteth into blood.
This is an accident of hourly proof,
Which I mistrusted not. Farewel then, Hero!
Bene. Count Claudio?
Claud. Yea, the fame.
Bene. Come, will you go with me ?
Bene. Even to the next willow, about your own bufinefs, Count. What fashion will you wear the garland of? about your neck, like an Ufurer'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.
Bene. Why, that's fpoken like an honeft drover; fo they fell bullocks: but did you think, the Prince would have ferved you thus ?
Claud. I pray you, leave me.
Bene. Ho! now you ftrike like the blind man; 'twás the boy that stole your meat, and you'll beat the post. Claud. If it will not be, I'll leave you.
Bene. Alas, poor hurt fowl! now will he creep into fedges. But that my lady Beatrice fhould 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 fo reputed. It is the bafe (tho' bitter) difpofition of Beatrice, that puts the world into her perfon, and fo gives me out; well, I'll be reveng'd as I may.
Enter Don Pedro.
Pedro. Now, Signior, where's the Count? did you fee him?
Bene. Troth, my lord, I have play'd the part of lady Fame. I found him here as melancholy as a lodge in a warren, I told him (and I think, told him true) that your Grace had got the Will of this young lady, and I offer'd him my company to a willow-tree, either to make him a garland, as being forfaken, or to bind him up a rod, as being worthy to be whipt.
Pedro. To be whipt! what's his fault?
Bene. The flat tranfgreffion of a school-boy; who, being overjoy'd with finding a bird's neft, fhews it his companion, and he fteals it."
Pedro. Wilt thou make a truft, a tranfgreffion? the tranfgreffion is in the ftealer.
Bene. Yet it had not been amifs, the rod had been made, and the garland too; for the garland he might have worn himself, and the rod he might have bestow'd on you, who (as I take it) have ftol'n his bird's neft.
Pedro. I will but teach them to fing, and restore them to the owner.
Bene. If their finging answer your saying, by my faith, you fay honestly..
Pedro. The lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you; the gentleman, that danc'd with her, told her fhe is much wrong'd by you.
Bene. O, fhe mifus'd me paft the indurance of a block; an oak, but with one green leaf on it, would have anfwer'd her; my very vifor began to affume life, and fcold with her; fhe told me, not thinking I had been myself, that I was the Prince's jefter, and that I was duller than a great thaw; (7) hudling jeft upon jeft, with fuch impaffable conveyance upon me, that I ftood like a man at a mark, with a whole army fhooting at me; the speaks Ponyards, and every word ftabs; if her breath were as terrible as her terminations, there were no living near her, fhe would infect to the NorthStar; I would not marry her, though the were endowed with all that Adam had left him before he tranfgrefs'd; she would have made Hercules have turn'd fpit, yea, and have cleft his club to make the fire too. Come, talk not of her, you shall find her the infernal Até in good
(7)- budling jeft upon jeft, with fuch impoffible conveyance upon me. Thus all the printed copies; but I freely confefs, I can't poffibly understand the phrafe. I have ventured to fubftitute impaffable. To make a Pafs (in Fencing,) is, to thrust, pufh: and by impaffable, I prefume, the poet meant, that the pufh'd her jefts upon him with fuch Swiftnefs, that it was impoffible for him to pass them off, to parry them.