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Bene. How doth the lady?
Why seek'st thou then to cover with excuse Beat.
Dead, I think ; - help, uncle; That which appears in proper nakedness ? Hero! why, Hero !- Uncle ! - Signior Benedick! Friar. Lady, what man is he you are accus'd of? friar !
Hero. They know, that do accuse me; I know Leon. O fate, take not away thy heavy hand ! Death is the fairest cover for her shame,
If I know more of any man alive, That may be wish'd for.
Than that which maiden modesty doth warrant, Beat.
How now, cousin Hero? Let all my sins lack mercy! - O my father, Friar. Have comfort, lady.
Prove you that any man with me convers'd Leon.
Dost thou look up? At hours unmeet, or that I yesternight Friar. Yea; Wherefore should she not?
Maintain'd the change of words with any creature, Leon. Wherefore ? Why, doth not every earthly Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death. thing
Friar. There is some strange misprision in the Cry shame upon her? Could she here deny
princes. The story that is printed in her blood ?
Bene. Iwo of them have the very bent of honour; Do not live, Hero ; do not ope thine eyes : And if their wisdoms be misled in this, For did I think thou would'st not quickly die, The practice of it lives in John the bastard, Thought I thy spirits were stronger than thy shames, Whose spirits toil in frame of villainies. Myself would, on the rearward of reproaches, Leon. I know not; If they speak but truth of her, Strike at thy life. Griev'd I, I had but one? These hands shall tear her; if they wrong her hoChid I for that at frugal nature's frame ?
nour, 0, one too much by thee! Why had I one ? The proudest of them shall well hear of it. Why ever wast thou lovely in my eyes?
Time hath not yet so dried this blood of mine, Why had I not with charitable hand,
Nor age so eat up my invention, Took up a beggar's issue at my gates;
Nor fortune made such havoc of my means,
But they shall find, awak'd in such a kind,
Pause a while,
Your daughter here the princes left for dead;
And publish it that she is dead indeed :
Maintain a mourning ostentation ; Bene.
Sir, sir, be patient : And on your family's old monument For my part I am so attir'd in wonder,
Hang mournful epitaphs, and do all rites I know not what to say.
That appertain unto a burial. Beat. O, on my soul, my cousin is belied!
Leon. What shall become of this? What wil Bene. Lady, where you her bedfellow last night?
this do? Beat. No, truly not; although, until last night Friar. Marry, this, well carried, shall on he I have this twelvemonth been her bedfellow.
behalf Leon. Confirm'd, confirm’d! O, that is stronger Change slander to remorse ; that is some good : made,
But not for that, dream I on this strange course, Which was before barr'd up with ribs of iron ! But on this travail look for greater birth. Would the two princes lie? and Claudio lie? She dying, as it must be so maintain'd, Who lov'd her so, that, speaking of her foulness, Upon the instant that she was accus'd, Wash'd it with tears? Hence from her ; let her shall be lamented, pitied, and excus'd, die.
Of every hearer: For it so falls out, Friar. Hear me a little ;
That what we have we prize not to the worth, For I have only been silent so long,
Whiles we enjoy it; but being lack'd and lost, And given way unto this course of fortune, Why, then we rack the value, then we find By noting of the lady; I have mark'd
The virtue, that possession would not show us A thousand blushing apparitions start
Whiles it was ours: So will it fare with Claudio : Into her face; a thousand innocent shames When he shall hear she died upon his words, In angel whiteness bear away those blushes ; The idea of her life shall sweetly creep And in her eye there hath appear'd a fire,
Into his study of imagination; To burn the errors that these princes hold
And every lovely organ of her life Against her maiden truth : Call me a fool ; Shall come apparell'd in more precious habit, Trust not my reading, nor my observations, More moving-delicate, and full of life, Which with experimental seal doth warrant Into the eye and prospect of his soul, The tenour of my book; trust not my age,
Than when she liv'd indeed :— then shall he mourn My reverence, calling, nor divinity,
(If ever love had interest in his liver), If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here
And wish he had not so accused her; Under some biting error.
No, though he thought his accusation true.
Friar, it cannot be: Let this be so, and doubt not but success
Than I can lay it down in likelihood.
But if all aim but this be levellid false,
The supposition of the lady's death
kinswoman? - 0, that I were a man
an ! - What! Will quench the wonder of her infamy:
bear her in hand until they come to take hands; And, if it sort not well, you may conceal her and then with public accusation, uncovered slander, (As best befits her wounded reputation)
unmitigated rancour, - O God, that I were a man! In some reclusive and religious life,
I would eat his heart in the market-place, Out of all eyes, tongues, minds, and injuries.
Bene. Hear me, Beatrice ; Bere. Signior Leonato, let the friar advise you : Beat. Talk with a man out at a window ?-a And though, you know, my inwardness and love
proper saying Fery much unto the prince and Claudio,
Bene. Nay but, Beatrice ; Yet, by mine honour I will deal in this
Beat. Sweet Hero ! - she is wronged, she is slanAs særetly, and justly as your soul
dered, she is undone. &ould with your body.
Bene. Beat Leer.
Being that I flow in grief, Beat. Princes, and counties ! Surely, a princely The smallest twine may lead me.
testimony, a goodly count-confect; a sweet gallant, Friar. 'Tis well consented; presently away; surely ! O that I were a man for his sake! or that I For to strange sores strangely they strain the had any friend would be a man for my sake! But eure.
manhood is melted into courtesies, valour into comCane, lady, die to live : this wedding day, pliment, and men are only turned into tongue, and Perlaps, is but prolong'd; have patience, and trim ones too: he is now as valiant as Hercules, endure.
that only tells a lie, and swears it :- I cannot be a (Exeunt Friar, HERO, and LEONATO. man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman Bene Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this with grieving.
Bene. Tarry, good Beatrice : By this hand, I Bect. Yea, and I will weep awhile longer. love thee. Bere. I will not desire that.
Beat. Use it for my love some other way than Bent. You have no reason, I do it freely. swearing by it. Bent. Surely, I do believe your fair cousin is Bene. Think you in your soul the count Claudio wrong'd.
hath wronged Hero? Beet. Ah, how much might the man deserve of Beat. Yea, as sure as I have a thought, or a soul. me that would right her!
Bene. Enough, I am engaged, I will challenge Bere. Is there any way to show such friendship? him ; I will kiss your hand, and so leave you : By Bedt. A very even way, but no such friend. this hand, Claudio shall render me a dear account: Bene. May a man do it?
As you hear of me, so think of me. Go, comfort Beant. It is a man's office, but not yours.
your cousin : I must say, she is dead; and so, Bere. I do love nothing in the world so well as farewell.
[Exeunt. you; Is not that strange ?
SCENE II. – A Prison. Bet. As strange as the thing I know not: It Enter Dogberty, Verges, and Sexton, in gowns, e as possible for me to say, I loved nothing so vel as you: but believe me not; and yet I lie not ;
and the Watch, with ConradE and BORACHIO. I confess nothing, nor I deny nothing: -I am Dogb. Is our whole dissembly appeared ? serry so my cousin.
Verg. O, a stool and a cushion for the sexton! Ben. By my sword, Beatrice, thou lovest me. Sexton. Which be the malefactors ? Berl. Do not swear by it, and eat it.
Dogb. Marry, that am I and my partner. Bere. I will swear by it, that you love me ; and Verg. Nay, that's certain ; we have the exhibition I will make him eat it, that says, I love not you.
to examine. beat. Will you not eat your word ?
Sexton. But which are the offenders that are to be Pere. With no sauce that can be devised to it: examined ? let them come before master constable. I grotest, I love thee.
Dogb. Yea, marry, let them come before me. Besi. Why then, God forgive me!
your name, friend ? Bone. What offence, sweet Beatrice ?
Bora. Borachio. Best. You have staid me in a happy hour ; I w Dogb. Pray write down - Borachio. Yours, sbeat to protest I loved you.
sirrah? Bene. And do it with all thy heart,
Con. I am a gentleman, sir, and my name is Brzt. I love you with so much of my heart, that Conrade. nota is left to protest.
Dogb. Write down master gentleman Conrade. Bere. Corne, bid me do any thing for thee. · Masters, do you serve God ? Beul. Kill Claudio.
Con. Bora. Yea, sir, we hope. Pere. Ha! not for the wide world.
Dogb. Write down — that they hope they serve Peat. You kill me to deny it: Farewell. God: - and write God first ; for God defend but Bene. Tarty, sweet Beatrice.
God should go before such villains! - Masters, it is Bm. I am gone, though I am here; There is proved already that you are little better than false no love in you: - Nay, I pray you, let me go.
knaves; and it will go near to be thought so shortly. Eine. Beatrice,
How answer you for yourselves ? Beat. In faith, I will go.
Con. Marry, sir, we say we are none. Bace. We'll be friends first.
Dogb. A marvellous witty fellow, I assure you ; Beat. You dare easier be friends with me, than but I will go about with him. - Come you hither, light with mine enemy,
sirrah; a word in your ear, sir; I say to you, it is Bese. ks Claudio thine enemy?
thought you are false knaves. Bezat. Is he not approved in the height a vil- Bora. Sir, I say to you, we are none. lain, that hath slandered, scomed, dishonoured my Dogb. Well, stana asiae. - Fore Goa, they are
both in a tale: Have you writ down — that they are 2 Watch. This is all. nonc?
Serton. And this is more, masters, than you can Sexton. Master constable, you go not the way to deny. Prince John is this morning secretly stolen examine ; you must call forth the watch that are away; Hero was in this manner accused, in this very their accusers.
manner refused, and upon the grief of this, suddenly Dogb. Yea, marry, that's the eftest way: - Let died. — Master constable, let these men be bound, the watch come forth : - Masters, I charge you, in and brought to Leonato's; I will go before, and the prince's name, accuse these men.
show him their examination.
(Exit. 1 Watch. This man said, sir, that Don John, the Dogb. Come, let them be opinioned. prince's brother, was a villain.
Verg. Let them be in band. Dogb. Write down — prince John a villain : Con. Off, coxcomb ! Why this is flat perjury, to call a prince's brother Dogb. God's my life! Where's the sexton ? let villain.
him write down the prince's officer, coxcomb. Bora. Master constable,
Come, bind them :-Thou naughty varlet ! Dogb. Pray thee; fellow, peace; I do not like Con. Away! you are an ass, you are an ass. thy look, I promise thee.
Dogb. Dost thou not suspect my place? Dost Sexton. What heard you him say else?
thou not suspect my years ? - O that he were here to 2 Watch. Marry, that he had received a thousand write me down — an ass ! but, masters, remember, ducats of Don John, for accusing the lady Hero that I am an ass; though it be not written down, yet wrongfully.
forget not that I am an ass: — No, thou villain, thou Dogb. Flat burglary, as ever was committed. art full of piety, as shall be proved upon thee by good Verg. Yea, by the mass, that it is.
witness. I am a wise fellow; and, which is more, an Serton. What else, fellow ?
officer; and, which is more, a housholder; and, which 1 Watch. And that count Claudio did mean, is more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any is in Mesupon his words, to disgrace Hero before the whole sina; and one that knows the law, go to ; and a rich assembly, and not marry her.
fellow enough, go to; and a fellow that hath had Dogb. O villain! thou wilt be condemned into losses ; and one that hath two gowns, and every thing everlasting redemption for this.
handsome about him: – Bring him away. O, that Sexton. What else?
I had been writ down an ass! (Eseuni.
The like himself: therefore give me no counsel :
Ant. Yet bend not all the harm upon yourself ;
Leon. There thou speak’st reason : nay, I will do
SCENE I. - Before Leonato's House.
Enter LEONATO and Antonto.
I pray thee, cease thy counsel,
My soul doth tell me, Hero is belied ;
Enter Don Pedro and CLAUDIO.
Good day to both of you.
well, my lord: –
D. Pedro. Nay, do not quarrel with us, good old
Ant. If he could right himself with quarrelling,
Who wrongs him?
s, never lay thy hand upon thy sword, la tbee not.
Enter BENEDICK. Cand. Marry, beshrew my hand,
D. Pedro. See, see; here comes the man we Pit should give your age such cause of fear : went to seek. h futb, my hand meant nothing to my sword. Claud. Now, signior! what news ? Lar. Tushi, tush, man, never fleer and jest at Bene. Good day, my lord. me :
D. Pedro. Welcome, signior : You are almost I speak not like a dotard, nor a fool;
come to part almost a fray. As, under privilege of age, to brag
Claud. We had like to have had our two noses That I have done being young, or what would do, snapped off with two old men without teeth. Veze I not old : Know, Claudio, to thy head, D. Pedro. Leonato and his brother: What think'st Thou hast so wrong'd mine innocent child and me, thou? Had we fought, I doubt, we should have That I am forc'd to lay my reverence by ;
been too young for them. And, with grey hairs, and bruise of many days, Bene. In a false quarrel there is no true valour : Do challenge thee to trial of a man.
I came to seek you both. say, thou hast belied mine innocent child;
Claud. We have been up and down to seek thee; Thy slander hath gone through and through her for we are high proof melancholy, and would fain heart,
have it beaten away : Wilt thou use thy wit ? And she lyes buried with her ancestors :
Bene. It is in my scabbard; Shall I draw it? 0! in a torab wbere never scandal slept,
D. Pedro. Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side? Sure this of her's, fram'd by thy villainy.
Claud. Never any did so, though very many have Claud. My villainy !
been beside their wit. — I will bid thee draw, as we Thine, Claudio ; thine I say do the minstrels; draw, to pleasure us. D. Pedro. You say not right, old man.
D. Pedr). As I am an honest man, he looks Lean.
My lord, my lord, pale : - Art thou sick, or angry? 11 prove it on his body, if he dare;
Claud. What! courage, man! What though care Despite his nice fence, and his active practice, killed a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill His May of youth, and bloom of lustyhood. Card Away, I will not have to do with you.
Bene. Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career, an Lon Canst thou so daff me? Thou hast kill'd you charge it against me :- - I pray you, choose my child;
another subject. Y to kill'st me, boy, thou shalt kill a man.
Claud. Nay, then give him another staff; this 4. He shall kill two of us, and men indeed;
last was broke cross. But that's no matter ; let him kill one first; - D. Pedro. By this light, he changes more and pin me and wear me, – let him answer me, - more; I think, he be angry indeed. Come follow me, boy ; come, boy, follow me: Claud. If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle. Sor boy, I'll whip you from your foining fence; Bene. Shall I speak a word in your ear? Jay, * I am a gentleman, I will.
Claud. God bless me from a challenge! Leon Brother,
Bene. You are a villain ;~ I jest not - I will Art. Content yourself: God knows, I lov'd my make it good how you dare, with what you dare, niece;
and when you dare: - Do me right, or I will proAnd she is dead, slander'd to death by villains ; test your cowardice. You have killed a sweet lady, That dare as well answer a man, indeed,
and her death shall fall heavy on you : Let me hear As I dare take a serpent by the tongue : Boys apes, braggarts, Jacks, milksops!
Claud. Well, I will meet you, so I may have Leon
good cheer. 4. Hold you content: What, man! I know D. Pedro. What, a feast ? a feast? them, yea,
Claud. I'faith, I thank him ; he bath bid me to a And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple : calf's head and a capon, the which if I do not carve Saabling, out-facing, fashion-mong'ring boys most curiously say, my knife's naught. — Shall I The lie, and cog, and flout, deprave and slander, not find a woodcock too? Go antickly, and show outward hideousness,
Bene. Sir, your wit ambles well ; it goes easily. And peak of half a dozen dangerous words,
D. Pedro. I'll tell thee how Beatrice praised thy He they might hurt their enemies, if they durst, wit the other day : I said, thou hadst a fine wit; And this is all.
True, says she, a fine little one : No, said I, a great Leon. But, brother Antony,
wit ; Right, says she, a great gross one : Nay, said I,
Come, 'tis no matter ; a good wit; Just, said she, it hurts no body : Nay, De net yod meddle, let me deal in this.
said I, the gentleman is wise ; Certain, said she, a D. Pedrs. Gentlemen both, we will not wake wise gentleman : Nay, said I, he hath the tongues ; your patience.
That I believe, said she, for he swore a thing to me on Vir heart is sorry for your daughter's death; Monday night, which he forswore on Tuesday mornBat, oa my bonour, she was charg'd with nothing ing; there's a double tongue ; there's two tongues. Bot what was true, and very full of proof.
Thus did she, an hour together, transshape thy parLen My lord, my lord,
ticular virtues; yet, at last, she concluded with a D. Pedro I will not hear you.
sigh, thou wast the properest man in Italy. Lean
No? Claud. For the which she wept heartily, and said, Brciber, away :- I will be heard ;
she cared not.
And shall, D. Pedro. Yea, that she did ; but yet, for all Or sonce of us will smart for it.
that, an if she did not hate him deadly, she would (Excunt Leonato and Antonio. love him dearly : the old man's daughter told us all,
your blood ?
Claud. All, all; and moreover, God saw him when D. Pedro. Runs not this speech like iron through he was hid in the garden.
D. Pedro. But when shall we set the savage bull's Claud. Í have drunk poison, whiles he uttered it, horns on the sensible Benedick's head?
D. Pedro. But did my brother set thee on to this: Claud. Yea, and text underneath, Here dwells Bora. Yea, and paid me richly for the practice of it. Benedick the married man?
D. Pedro. He is compos'd and fram'd of treaBene. Fare you well, boy ! you know my mind;
chery : I will leave you ‘now to your gossip-like humour : And fled he is upon this villainy. you break jests as braggarts do their blades, which, Claud. Sweet Hero! now thy image doth appear God be thanked, hurt not. My lord, for your In the rare semblance that I loved it first. many courtesies I thank you : I must discontinue Dogb. Come, bring away the plaintiffs ; by this your company: your brother, the bastard, is fled time our Sexton hath reformed signior Leonato of from Messina : you have, among you, killed a sweet the matter : And masters, do not forget to specify, and innocent lady: For my lord Lack-beard, there, when time and place shall serve, that I am an ass. he and I shall meet; and till then, peace be with Verg. Here, here comes master signior Leonato, him.
[Exit BENEDICK. and the Sexton too. D. Pedro. He is in earnest. Claud. In most profound earnest ; and I'll war.
Re-enter LEONATO and ANTONIO, with the Sexton. rart you, for the love of Beatrice.
Leon. Which is the villain ? Let me see his eyes D. Pedro. And hath challenged thee ?
That when I note another man like him, Claud. Most sincerely.
I may avoid him: Which of these is he? D. Pedro. What a pretty thing man is, when he Bora. If you would know your wronger, look or goes in his doublet and hose, and leaves off his wit !
Leon. Art thou the slave, that with thy breath Enter DOGBERRY, Verges, and the Watch, with
hast kill'd CONRADE and BORACHIO.
Mine innocent child ? Claud. He is then a giant to an ape: but then is Bora.
Yea, even I alone. an ape a doctor to such a man.
Leon. No, not so, villain ; thou bely'st thyself; D. Pedro. But, soft you, let be ; pluck up, my Here stand a pair of honourable men, heart, and be sad! Did he not say, my brother was A third is filed, that had a hand in it: fled ?
I thank you, princes, for my daughter's death; Dogb. Come, you, sir ; if justice cannot tame you, Record it with your high and worthy deeds; she shall ne'er weigh more reasons in her balance: 'Twas bravely done, if you bethink you of it. nay, an you be a cursing hypocrite once, you must Claud. I know not how to pray your patience, be looked to,
Yet I must speak : Choose your revenge yourself ; D. Pedro. How now, two oi' my brother's men Impose me to what penance your invention bound! Borachio, one!
Can lay upon my sin : yet sinn'd I not, Claud. Hearken after their offence, my lord ! But in mistaking.
D. Pedro. Officers, what offence have these men D. Pedro. By my soul, nor I; done ?
And yet, to satisfy this good old man, Dogb. Marry, sir, they have committed false re- I would bend under any heavy weight port; moreover, they have spoken untruths ; se- That he'll enjoin me to. condarily, they are slanders ; sixth and lastly, they Leon. I cannot bid you bid my daughter live, have belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified unjust That were impossible ; but I pray you both, things: and, to conclude, they are lying knaves. Possess the people in Messina here
D. Pedro. First, I ask thee what they have done ; How innocent she died : and, if your love thirdly, I ask thee what's their offence; sixth and Can labour aught in sad invention, lastly, why they are committed ; and, to conclude, Hang her an epitaph upon her tomb, what you lay to their charge ?
And sing it to her bones ; sing it to-night :Claud. Rightly reasoned, and in his own division; | To-morrow morning come you to my house ; and, by my troth, there's one meaning well suited. And since you could not be my son-in-law,
D. Pedro. Whom have you offended, masters, that Be yet my nephew : my brother hath a daughter, you are thus bound to your answer ? this learned Almost the copy of my child that's dead, constable is too cunning to be understood : What's And she alone is heir to both of us ; your offence ?
Give her the right you should have given her cousin Bora. Sweet prince, let me go no further to And so dies my revenge. mine answer; do you hear me, and let this count Claud.
O, noble sir, kill me. I have deceived even your very eyes : what Your over kindness doth wring tears from me! your wisdoms could not discover, these shallow fools I do embrace your offer; and dispose have brought to light; who, in the night, overheard For henceforth of poor Claudio. me confessing to this man, how Don John your Leon. To-morrow then I will expect your com brother incensed me to slander the lady Hero; how
ing; you were brought into the orchard, and saw me To-night I take my leave. - This naughty man court Margaret in Hero's garments; how you dis- Shall face to face be brought to Margaret, graced her, when you should marry her : my vil. Who, I believe, was pack'd in all this wrong, lainy they have upon record ; which I had rather Hir’d to it by your brother. seal with my death, than repeat over to my shame : Bora.
No, by my soul, she was not the lady is dead upon mine and my master's false Nor knew not what she did, when she spoke to me accusation; and, briefly, I desire nothing but the But always hath been just and virtuous, reward of a villain.
In any thing that I do know by her,