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Manent Benedick and Beatrice.
Bene. Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while ?
Beat. You have no reason, I do it freely.
Bene. Surely, I do believe, your fair coufin is wrong'd. Beat. Ah, how much might the man deserve of me, that would right her!
Bene. Is there any way to fhew fuch friendship?
Beat. It is a man's office, but not yours.
Bene. I do love nothing in the world fo well as you ; is not that ftrange?
Beat. As ftrange as the thing I know not; it were as poffible for me to fay, I loved nothing_fo well as you ; but believe me not; and yet I lye not; I confefs nothing, nor I deny nothing. I am forry for my coufin.
Bene. By my fword, Beatrice, thou lov'ft me.
Bene. I will fwear by it that you love me; and I will make him eat it, that fays, I love not you.
Beat. Will you not eat your word?
Bene. With no sauce that can be devis'd to it; I proteft, I love thee.
Beat. Why then, God forgive me.
Bene. What offence, fweet Beatrice?
Beat. You have stay'd me in a happy hour; I was about to proteft, I lov'd you.
Bene. And do it with all thy heart.
Beat. I love you with fo much of my heart, that none is left to protest.
Bene. Come, bid me do any thing for thee.
Beat. Kill Claudio.
Bene. Ha! not for the wide world.
Beat. You kill me to deny; farewel.
Bene. Tarry, fweet Beatrice.
Beat. I am gone, tho' I am here; there is no love in you; nay, I pray you, let me go.
Beat. In faith, I will
Beat. You dare easier be friends with me, than fight with mine enemy.
Bene. Is Claudio thine enemy?
Beat. Is he not approved in the height a villain, that hath flander'd, fcorn'd, dishonour'd my kinfwoman! O, that I were a man! what! bear her in hand until they come to take hands, and then with publick accufation, uncover'd flander, unmitigated rancour O God, that I were a man! I would eat his heart in the market-place.
Bene. Hear me, Beatrice.
Beat. Talk with a man out at a window? a proper saying!
Bene. Nay, but Beatrice.
Beat. Sweet Hero! fhe is wrong'd, fhe is flander'd, fhe is undone.
Beat. Princes and Counts! furely, a princely teftimony, a goodly count-comfect, a fweet gallant, furely! O that I were a man for his fake! Or that I had friend would be a man for my fake! but manhood is melted into curtefies, valour into compliment, and men are only turn'd into tongue, and trim ones too; he is now as valiant as Hercules, that only tells a lie, and fwears it: I cannot be a man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving.
Bene. Tarry, good Beatrice; by this hand, 'I love thee. Beat. Ufe it for my love fome other way than fwearing by it.
Bene. Think you in your foul, the Count Claudio hath wrong'd Hero?
Beat. Yea, as fure as I have a thought or a foul. Bene. Enough, I am engag'd; I will challenge him, I will kiss your hand, and fo leave you; by this hand, Claudio fhall render me a dear account; as you hear of me, fo think of me; go comfort your coufin; I must fay, fhe is dead, and fo farewel. [Exeunt. SCENE
SCENE changes to a Prifon.
Enter Dogberry, Verges, Borachio, Conrade, the
To. Cl. IS Deg. O, a ftool and a cushion for the fexton!
TS our whole appear'd?
Sexton. Which be the malefactors?
Verg. Marry, that am I and my Partner.
Dog. Nay, that's certain, we have the exhibition to examine.
Sexton. But which are the offenders that are to be examin'd? let them come before mafter conftable.
To. Cl. Yea, marry, let them come before me; what is your name, friend?
To. Cl. Pray, write down, Borachio. Yours, Sirrah? Conr. I am a gentleman, Sir, and my name is Conrade.
To. Cl. Write down, mafter gentleman Conrade; mafters, do you ferve God?
Both. Yea, Sir, we hope. (15)
To. Cl. Write down, that they hope they ferve God: and write God first: for God defend, but God fhould go before fuch villains.- -Masters, it is proved already that you are little better than falfe knaves, and it will go. near to be thought fo fhortly; how answer you for your felves?
Conr. Marry, Sir, we fay, we are none.
To. Cl. A marvellous witty fellow, I affure you, but I will go about with him. Come you hither, firrah,
(15) Both. Tea, Sir, we hope.
To. Cl. Write down, that they hope, they ferve God: and write God first; for God defend, but God should go before fuch Villains This fhort Paffage, which is truly humourous and in character, I have added from the old Quarto. Befides, in fupplies a Defect: for, without it, the Town-Clerk asks a Queftion of the Prisoners, and goes on without ftaying for any. Answer to it,
a word in your ear, Sir; I fay to you, it is thought you are both falfe knaves.
Bora. Sir, I fay to you, we are none.
To. Cl. Well, ftand afide; 'fore God, they are both in a tale; have you writ down, that they are none ?
Sexton. Mafter town-clerk, you go not the way to examine, you must call the watch that are their ac cufers.
(16) To. Cl. Yea, marry, that's the deftest way, let the Watch come forth; mafters, I charge you in the Prince's name accuse these men.
1 Watch. This man faid, Sir, that Don John the Prince's brother was a villain.
To. Cl. Write down, Prince John a villain; why this is flat perjury, to call a Prince's brother villain.
Bora. Mafter town-clerk
To. Cl. Pray thee, fellow, Peace; I do not like thy look, I promise thee.
Sexton. What heard you him fay else?
2 Watch. Marry, that he had receiv'd a thousand ducats of Don Jobn, for accufing the lady Hero wrongfully.
(16) To. Cl. Tea, marry, that's the eafieft Way, let the Watch come forth.] This, eafieft, is a Sophistication of our modern Editors, who were at a Lofs to make out the corrupted Reading of the old Copies. The Quarto, in 1600, and the first and fecond Editions in Folie all concur in reading;
Tea, marry, that's the eftest way, &c.
A Letter happen'd to flip out at Prefs in the first Edition; and 'twas too hard a Task for the fubfequent Editors to put it in, or guess at the Word under this accidental Depravation. There is no doubt, but the Author wrote, as I have rektor'd the Text;
Tea, marry, that's the defteft way, &c.
i. e. the readiest, most commodious Way. The Word is pure Saxon. Deaplice, debitè, congruè, duely, fitly. Gedæftlice, opportune, commode, fitly, conveniently, feasonably, in good time, commodiously. Vid. Spelman's Saxon Glofs. To. Cl.
To. Cl. Flat burglary, as ever was committed.
Sexton. What elfe, fellow?
1 Watch. And that Count Claudio did mean, upon his words, to difgrace Hero before the whole affembly, and not marry her.
To. Cl. O villain! thou wilt be condemn'd into everlafting redemption for this.
Sexton. What else?
2. Watch. This is all.
Sexton. And this is more, mafters, than you can deny. Prince John is this morning fecretly ftoll'n away: Hero was in this manner accus'd, and in this very manner refus'd, and upon the grief of this fuddenly dy'd. Mafter Conftable, let these men be bound and brought to Leonato; I will go before, and fhew him their examination. [Exit.
Dogb. Come, let them be opinion'd. Conr. Let them be in the hands of Coxcomb! Dogb. God's my life, where's the Sexton ? let him write down the Prince's officer Coxcomb: come, bind them, thou naughty varlet.
Conr. Away! you are an afs, you are an afs.
Dogb. Doft thou not fufpect my place? doft thou not fufpect my years? O, that he were here to write me down an afs! but, mafters, remember, that I am an afs; though it be not written down, yet forget not that I am an afs; no, thou villain, thou art full of piety, as fhall be prov'd upon thee by good witnefs; I am a wife fellow, and which is more, an officer; and which is more, an houfholder; and which is more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any in Mefina, and one that knows the law; go to, and a rich fellow enough; go to, and a fellow that hath had loffes; and one that hath two gowns, and every thing handsome about him; bring him away; O, that I had been writ down an ass!