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Bene. When I know the gentleman, I'll tell him what you fay.
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. [Mufick within.
Bene. In every good thing.
Beat. Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at the next turning. [Exeunt:
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 Sure, my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath withdrawn her father to break with him about it: the ladies follow her, and but one visor remains.
Bora. And that is Claudio; I know him by his Bearing.
John. Are you not Signior Benedick?
John. Signior, you are very near my brother in his love, he is enamour'd on Hero; I pray you, diffuade him from her, she is no equal for his birth; you may do the part of an honest man in it.
Claud. How know ye, he loves her?
John. I heard him fwear 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 anfwer I in name of Benedick,
Bene. Count Claudio?
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 fcarf? you must wear it one way, for the Prince hath got your Hero.
Claud. I wish him Joy of her.
Bene. Why, that's spoken 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 ; 'twas the boy that ftole your meat, and you'll beat the Poft. Claud. If it will not be, I'll leave you.
[Exit. Bene. Alas, poor hurt fowle! 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, under that Title, because I am merry; yea, but fo I am apt to do my felf wrong: I am not fo reputed. It is the base (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 stealer.
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 beftow'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 faying, 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, the misus'd me past 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 my felf, that I was the Prince's jefter, and that I was duller than a great thaw; (6) hudling jeft upon jest, with fuch impaffable conveyance upon me, that I stood like a man at a mark, with a whole army fhooting at me; fhe fpeaks 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 North-Star; I would not marry her, though fhe were endowed with all that Adam had left him before he tranfgrefs'd; she would have made Hercules have turn'd Spit, yea, and have cleft his club to make the fire too. Come, talk not of her, you fhall find her the infernal Até in good apparel. I would to God, fome fcholar would conjure
(6) hudling jeft upon jest, with such impoffible conveyance, upon me.] Thus all the printed Copies; but I freely confefs, I can't poffibly understand the Phrafe. I have ventur'd to fubftitute impaffable. To make a Pafs (in Fencing,) is, to thruft, push and by impaffable, I prefume, the Poet meant, that the push'd her jefts upon him with fuch Swiftness, that it was impoffible for him to pass them off, to parry them.
her; for, certainly, while fhe is here a man may live as quiet in hell as in a fanctuary, and people fin upon purpofe, because they would go thither; fo, indeed, all difquiet, horror, and perturbation follow her.
Enter Claudio, Beatrice, Leonato and Hero.
Pedro. Look, here fhe comes.
Bene. Will your Grace command me any service to the world's end? I will go on the flighteft errand now to the Antipodes, that you can devife to fend me on; I will fetch you a tooth-picker now from the fartheft inch of Afia; bring you the length of Prefier John's foot; fetch you a hair off the great Cham's beard; do you any ambaffage to the pigmies, rather than hold three words conference with this harpy; you have no ėmployment for me?
Pedro. None, but to defire your good company.
- Bene. O God, Sir, here's a difh I love not. I cannot indure this Lady Tongue.
Pedro. Come, Lady, come; you have lost the heart of Signior Benedick.
Beat. Indeed, my Lord, he lent it me a while, and I gave him ufe for it, a double heart for a fingle one; marry, once before he won it of me with falfe dice, therefore your Grace may well fay, I have loft it.
Pedro. You have put him down, Lady, you ha put him down.
Beat. So I would not he fhould do me, my Lord, left I fhould prove the mother of fools: I have brought Count Claudio, whom you fent me to feek.
Pedro. Why, how now, Count, wherefore are you fad?
Claud. Not fad, my Lord.
Beat. The Count is neither fad, nor fick, nor merry, nor well; but civil, Count, civil as an orange, and fomething of that jealous complexion.
Pedro. I'faith, Lady, I think your blazon to be true; though I'll be worn, if he be fo, his conceit is falfe. VOL. II.
Here, Claudio, I have wooed in thy name, and fair Hero is won; I have broke with her father, and his good will obtained; name the day of marriage, and God give thee joy.
Leon. Count, take of me my daughter, and with her my fortunes: his Grace hath made the match, and all grace fay, Amen, to it.
Beat. Speak, Count, 'tis your cue.
Claud. Silence is the perfecteft herald of joy; I were but little happy, if I could fay how much. Lady, as you are mine, I am yours: I give away my self for you, and doat upon the exchange.
Beat. Speak, Coufin, or (if you cannot) ftop his mouth with a kifs, and let him not speak neither.
Pedro. In faith, Lady, you have a merry heart. Beat. Yea, my Lord, I thank it, poor fool, it keeps on the windy fide of care; my coufin tells him in his car, that he is in her heart.
Claud. And fo fhe doth, coufin.
Beat. Good Lord, for alliance! thus goes every one to the world but I, and I am fun-burn'd; I may fit in a corner, and cry heigh ho! for a husband.
Pedro. Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.
Beat. I would rather have one of your Father's getting: hath your Grace ne'er a brother like you? your Father got excellent husbands, if a maid could come by
Pedro. Will you have me, Lady?
Beat. No, my Lord, unless I might have another for working-days; your Grace is too coftly to wear every day but, I beseech your Grace, pardon me, I was born to speak all mirth and no matter.
Pedro. Your filence moft offends me, and to be merry best becomes you; for, out of queftion, you were born in a merry hour.
Beat. No, fure, my Lord, my mother cry'd ; but then there was a ftar danc'd, and under that I was born. Coufins, God give you joy.
Leon. Neice, will you look to those things I told