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Balth. O good my lord, tax not so bad a voice To tlander musick any more than once.
Pedro. It is the witness still of excellency,
Balth. Because you talk of wooing, I will fing;
Pedro. Nay, pray thee, come;
Balth. Note this before my notes,
Pedro. Why, these are very crotchets that he speaks, Note, notes, forsooth, and noting.
Bene. Now, divine air; now is his soul ravish'd ! is it not strange, that meep's guts should hale souls out of mens bedies ? well, a horn for my money, when all's done.
The SON G.
Men were deceivers ever;
To one thing constant never :
And be you blith and bonny;
Into hey nony, nony.
Of dumps fo dull and heavy;
Since summer was first leafy :
Pedro. Ha, no; no, faith ; thou fing'st well enough for a fhift.
Claud. O, ay ;
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 mischief: I had as lief have heard the night-raven, come what plague could have come after it.
Pedro. Yea, marry, dost thou hear, Balthazar? I pray thee, get us some excellent musick; for to-morrow night we would have it at the lady Hero's chamberwindow. Balth. The best I can, my
[Exit Balthazar. Pedro. Do so: farewel. Come hither, Leonato ; what was it you told me of to day, that your Niece Beatrice was in love with Signior Benedick?
talk on, stalk on, the fowl fits. I did never think, that lady would have loved any man.
Leon. No, nor I neither; but most wonderful, that she should so doat on Signior Benedick, whom she hath in ail outward behaviours seem'd ever to abhor.
Bene. Is’t poflible, fits the wind in that corner? [-Afide.
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 past the infinite of thought.
Pedro. May be, ne doth but counterfeit.
Leon. O God! counterfeit? there was never counterfeit of passion came so near the life of passion, as she discovers it.
Pedro. Why, what effects of passion Thews she?
Leon. What cífects, my lord? she will fit you, you heard my daughter tell you how.
Claud. She did, indeed.
I would have thought, her spirit had been invincible against all assaults of affection.
Leon. I would have sworn, it had, my lord; especially againit Benedick.
Bene. [ Aside.] I should think this a gull, but that the white-bearded fellow speaks it; knavery cannot, sure, hide himself in such reverence. B 5
Claud. He hath ta'en th’infection, hold it up. [Aside.
Claud. 'Tis true, indeed, so your daughter says: shall I, says she, that have so oft encounter'd him with scorn, write to him that I love him?
Leon. This says she now, when she is beginning to write to him ; for she'll be up twenty times a night, and there will she fit in her smock, 'till she have writ a, sheet of paper; my daughter tells us all.
Claud. Now you talk of a sheet of paper, I remember a pretty jeit your daughter told us of.
Leon. 0,-when she had writ it, and was reading it over, the found Benedick and Beatrice between the sheet.
Leon. (11) O, she tore the letter into a thousand halfpence; rail'd at herself, that she should be so immodeft, to write to one that, she knew, wou'd flout her: I meafure him, says she, by my own spirit, for I should flout him if he writ to me, yea, though I love him, I should.
Claud. Then down upon her knees she falls, weeps, sobs, beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, curses ; O sweet Benedick! God give me patience !
Lecn. She doth, indeed, 'my daughter says so; and the ecstasy hath so much overborn her, that my daughter is sometime afraid, she will do desperate outrage to herself; it is very true.
Pedro. It were good, that Benedick knew of it by some oiher, 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 should, it were an Alms to hang him ;
(11) O, she tore the letter into a thousand half-pence;] i. e. into a thousand pieces of the same bigness. This is farther explain’d by a parlage 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 filver penny which had a crease running cross-wise over it, so that it might be broke into two or four equal pieces, half-fence, or farthings.
fhe's an excellent sweet lady, and (out of all suspicion) she is virtuous.
Claud. And she is exceeding wise.
Leon. O my lord, wisdom and blood combating in so tender a body, we have ten proofs to one, that blood hath the victory; I am sorry for her, as I have just cause, being her uncle and her guardian.
Pedro. I would, she had bestow'd this dotage on me; I would have dafft all other respects, and made her half myself; I pray you, tell Benedick of it; and hear what he will sav.
Leon. Were it good, think you?
Claud. Hero thinks, surely she will die ; for the says, The will die if he love her not, and she will die ere the make her love known; and she will die if he woo her, rather than she will bate one breath of her accustom'd crossness.
Pedro. She doth well; if she should make tender of her love, 'tis very posfible, he'll scorn it; for the man, as you know all, hath a contemptible fpirit.
Claud. He is a very proper man. Pedro. He hath, indeed, a good outward happiness. Claud. 'Fore God, and, in my mind, very wise. Pedro. He doth, indeed, shew some sparks that are like wit.
Leon. And I take him to be valiant.
Pedro. As Hector, I assure you ; and in the managing of quarrels you may say he is wife ; for either he avoids them with great discretion, or undertakes them with a christian-like fear.
Leon. If he do fear God, he must necessarily keep peace; if he break the peace, he ought to enter into a quarrel with fear and trembling.
Pedro. And so will he do, for the man doth fear God, howioever it seems not in him, by some large jests, he will make. Well, I am sorry for your Niece: Mall we go seek 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 impossible, she may wear her heart out firit.
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 modestly examine himself to see how much he is unworthy to have so 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 same net spread for her, and that must your daughter and her gentlewoman carry; the sport will be, when they hold an opinion of one another's dotage, and no such matter; that's the Scene that I would see, which will be merely a Dumb Show; let us send her to call him to dinner. [ Afide.] [Exeunt.
Benedick advances from the Arbour. Bene. This can be no trick, the conference was sadly born; they have the truth of this from Hero; they seem to pity the lady; it seems, her affections have the full bent. Love me! why, it muit be requited : I hear, how I ain censur'd; they say, I will bear myself proudly, if I perceive the love come from her; they say too, that me will rather die than give any sign of affection. I did never think to marry
· I must not seem proud - happy are they that hear their detractions, and can put them to mending: they fay the lady is fair ; 'tis a truth, I can bear them witness: and virtuous; --'tis fo, I cannot reprove it: and wise, but for loving
by my troth, it is no addition to her wit, nor no great argument of her folly; for I will be horribly in love with her. -I may chance to have fome odd quirks and remnants of wit broken en me, because I have rail'd so long against marriage; but doth not the appetite alter? a man loves the meat in his youth, that he cannot endure in his
age. Shall quipps and feniences, and these paper-bullets of the brain, awe a II. an from the career of his humour? no: the world must be peopled. When I said, I would die a bachelor, I did not think I fheuld live ’till I were marry’d. Here