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We'll fit the kid-fox with a penny-worth.
Pedro. Come, Balthazar, we'll hear that Song again
Pedro. It is the witness ftill of excellency,
Pedro. Nay, pray thee, come;
Balth. Note this before my notes,
There's not a note of mine, that's worth the noting.
Bene. Now, divine air; now is his foul ravish'd! is it not ftrange, that fheeps guts fhould hale fouls out of mens bodies? well, a horn for my money, when all's done.
Pedro. By my troth, a good Song. Balth. And an ill finger, my lord. Pedro. Ha, no; no, faith; thou fing'ft well enough for a shift.
Bene. If he had been a dog, that should have howl'd thus, they would have hang'd him; and, I pray God, his bad voice bode no mifchief: I had as lief have heard the night-raven, come what plague could have come after it.
Pedro. Yea, marry, doft thou hear, Balthazar? I pray thee, get us fome excellent mufick; for to morrow night we would have it at the lady Hero's chamberwindow.
Balth. The best I can, my lord.
Pedro. Do fo: farewel. Come hither, Leonato; what was it you told me of to day, that your Neice Beatrice was in love with Signior Benedick?
Claud. O, ay ftalk on, ftalk on, the fowl fits. I did never think, that lady would have loved any
Leon. No, nor I neither; but moft wonderful, that fhe fhould fo doat on Signior Benedick, whom he hath in all outward behaviours feem'd ever to abhor.
Béne. Is't poffible, fits the wind in that corner?
Leon. By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to think of it; but that the loves him with an inraged affection, it is paft the infinite of thought.
Pedro. May be, fhe doth but counterfeit.
Leon. O God! counterfeit
there was never.counterfeit of paffion came fo near the life of paffion, as the difcovers it.
Pedro. Why, what effects of paffion fhews fhe ? Claud. Bait the hook well, this fifh will bite. [Afide.: Leon. What effects, my lord? fhe will fit 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 fpirit had been invincible against all affaults of affection.
Leon. I would have fworn, it had, my lord; efpeci ally against Benedick.
Bene. [Afide.] I fhould think this a gull, but that the white-bearded fellow fpeaks it; knavery cannot, fure, hide himself in fuch reverence.
Claud. He hath ta'en th' infection, hold it up. [Afide. Pedro. Hath fhe made her affection known to Benedick?
Leon. No, and fwears fhe never will; that's her tor
Claud. 'Tis true, indeed, so your daughter fays: fhall I, fays fhe, that have so oft encounter'd him with fcorn, write to him that I love him?
Leon. This fays fhe now, when she is beginning to write to him; for fhe'll be up twenty times a night, and there will she fit in her fmock, 'till fhe have writ a fheet of paper; my daughter tells us all.
Claud. Now you talk of a fheet of paper, I remember a pretty jeft your daughter told us of.
Leon. O, when the had writ it, and was reading it over, the found Benedick and Beatrice between the sheet.
Leon. (9) O, the tore the letter into a thousand halfpence; rail'd at her felf, that fhe fhould be fo immodeft, to write to one that, he knew, wou'd flout her: measure him, fays fhe, by my own Spirit, for I fhould flout him if he writ to me; yea, though I love him, I should.
(9) O, fhe tore the Letter into a thousand half-pence;} i. e. into a thousand pieces of the same bignefs. This is farther explain'd by a Paffage in As you like it;
There were none principal; they were all like one another as half-pence are.
In both places the Poet alludes to the old Silver Penny which had a Creafe running Crofs-wife over it, fo that it might be broke into two or four equal pieces, half pence, ex farthings.
Claud. Then down upon her knees the falls, weeps, fobs, beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, curfes; O fweet Benedick! God give me patience!
Leon. She doth, indeed, my daughter fays fo; and the ecftafie hath fo much overborn her, that my daughter is fometime afraid, fhe will do desperate outrage to her felf; it is very true.
Pedro. It were good, that Benedick knew of it by. some other, if she will not discover it.
Claud. To what end? he would but make a sport of it, and torment the poor lady worse.
Pedro. If he fhould, it were an Alms to hang him; fhe's an excellent fweet lady, and (out of all suspicion) fhe is virtuous.
Claud. And fhe is exceeding wife.
Pedro. In every thing, but in loving Benedick.
Leon. O my lord, wifdom and blood combating in fo tender a body, we have ten proofs to one, that blood hath the victory; I am forry for her, as I have just cause, being her uncle and her guardian.
Pedro. I would, fhe had beftow'd this dotage on me; I would have dafft all other refpects, and made her half my felf; I pray you, tell Benedick of it; and hear what he will fay.
Leon. Were it good, think you?
Claud. Hero thinks, furely fhe will die; for fhe fays, fhe will die if he love her not, and fhe will die ere the make her love known; and fhe will die if he woo her, rather than he will bate one breath of her accuftom'd crofsnefs.
Pedro. She doth well; if she should make tender of her love, 'tis very poffible, he'll fcorn it; for the man, as you know all, hath a contemptible spirit.
Cland. He is a very proper man.
Pedro. He hath, indeed, a good outward happiness. Claud. 'Fore God, and, in my mind, very wife. Pedro. He doth, indeed, fhew fome fparks that are like wit.
Leon. And I take him to be valiant.
Pedro, As Hector, I affure you; and in the managing
of quarrels you may fay he is wife; for either he avoids them with great difcretion, or undertakes them with a chriftian-like fear.
Leon. If he do fear God, he muft neceffarily keep peace; if he break the peace, he ought to enter into a quarrel with fear and trembling.
Pedro. And fo will he do, for the man doth fear God, how foever it seems not in him, by fome large jests he will make. Well, I am forry for your Neice: fhall we go feek Benedick, and tell him of her love?
Claud. Never tell him, my lord; let her wear it out with good counsel.
Leon. Nay, that's impoffible, the may wear her heart out firft.
Pedro. Well, we will hear further of it by your daughter; let it cool the while. I love Benedick well; and I could wish he would modeftly examine himself, to fee how much he is unworthy to have fo good a lady.
Leon. My Lord, will you walk? dinner is ready. Claud. If he do not dote on her upon this, I will never trust my expectation. [Afide. Pedro. Let there be the fame net fpread for her, and that muft your daughter and her gentlewomen carry ; the fport will be, when they hold an opinion of one another's dotage, and no fuch matter; that's the Scene that I would fee, which will be meerly a Dumb Show; let us fend her to call him to dinner. [Afide.] [Exeunt.
Benedick advances from the Arbour.
Bene. This can be no trick, the conference was fadly borne; they have the truth of this from Hero; they seem to pity the lady; it feems, her affections have the full bent. Love me! why, it must be requited: I hear, how I am cenfur'd; they fay, I will bear my felf proudly, if I perceive the love come from her; they lay too, that he will rather die than give any fign of affection. I did never think to marryI muft not seem proud - happy are they that hear their detractions, and can put them to mending: they