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You feem to me as Dian in her orb,
As chalte as is the bud ere it be blown:
But you are more intemperate in your
Than Venus, or those pamper'd animals -
That rage in favage fenfuality.
Hero. Is my Lord well, that he doth speak fo wide?
Leon. Sweet Prince, why speak not you?
Pedro. What thould I fpeak?
I ftand difhonour'd, that have gone about
To link my dear friend to a cominon ftale.
Leon. Are these things spoken, or do I but dream?
John. Sir, they are spoken, and these things are true..
Bene. This looks not like a nuptial.
Hero. True! O God!
Claud. Leonato, ftand I here?
Is this the Prince? is this the Prince's brother?
Is this face Hero's? are our eyes our own?
Leon. All this is fo; but what of this, my Lord? Claud. Let me but move one queition to yourdaughter,And, by that fatherly and kindly power
That you have in her, bid her answer truly.
Leon. I charge thee do fo, as thou art my child.
Hero. O God defend me, how am I befet!
What kind of catechifing call you this?
Claud. To make you answer truly to your name. Hero. Is it not Hero! who can blot that name With any juft reproach?
Claud. Marry, that can Hero;
Hero herself can blot out Hero's virtue.
What man was he talk'd with you yesternight
Out at your window betwixt twelve and one?
Now, if you are a maid, answer to this.
Hero. I talk'd with no man at that hour, my Lord.
Pedro, Why, then you are no maiden. Leonato,
I am forry, you must hear; upon mine honour,
Myfelf, my brother, and this grieved Count,
Did fee her, hear her, at that hour last night,
Talk with a ruffian at her chamber-window;
Who hath indeed, like an illiberal villain,
Confefs'd the vile encounters they have had
A thoufand times in fecret.
John. Fie, fie, they are not to be nam'd, my Lord,.
Not to be spoken of;
There is not chastity enough in language,
Without offence, to utter them: thus, pretty lady,
I am forry for thy much mifgovernment.
Claud. O Hero! what a Hero hadft thou been,
If half thy outward graces had been place'd
About the thoughts and counfels of thy heart?
But fare thee well, most foul, most fair! farewel
Thou pure impiety, and impious purity!
For thee I'll lock up all the gates
And on my eye-lids shall conjecture hang,
To turn all beauty into thoughts of harm;
And never fhall it more be gracious.
Leon. Hath no man's dagger here a point for me?
Beat. Why, how now, cousin? wherefore fink you
John. Come, let us go; these things come thus to light, Smother her spirits up.
Exeunt Don Pedro, Don John, and Claud.
SCE NE II.
Bene. How doth the lady ?
Beat. Dead, I think; help, uncle.
Hero! why, Hero! uncle! Signior Benedick! Friar ! Leon. O fate! take not away thy heavy hand; Death is the fairest cover for her fhame,
That may be wish'd for.
Beat. How now, coufin Hero?
Friar. Have comfort, Lady.
Leon. Doft thou look up?
Friar. Yea, wherefore should she not?
Leon. Wherefore? why doth not every earthly thing Cry fhame upon her? could fhe here deny
The story that is printed in her blood?
Do not live, Hero, do not ope thine eyes:
For did I think thou wouldst not quickly die,
Thought I thy fpirits were stronger than thy fhames,
Myfelf would on the rereward of reproaches
Strike at thy life. Griev'd I, I had but one?
Chid I for that at frugal nature's 'fraine?
I've one too much by thee. Why had I one?
Why ever waft thou lovely in my eyes?
Why had I not, with charitable hand,
Took up a beggar's iffue at my gates?
Who fmeered thus, and mir'd with infamy,
I might have faid, no part of it is mine;
This fhame derives itself from unknown loins.
But mine, as mine I lov'd, as mine I prais'd,
As mine that I was proud on, mine so much,
That I myfelf was to myself not mine,
Valuing of her; why, the,-O, the is fall'n
Into a pit of ink, that the wide fea
Hath drops too few to wash her clean again;
And falt too little, which may feafon give
To her foul tainted flesh !
Bene. Sir, Sir, be patient;
For my part, I am fo attir'd in wonder,
I know not what to say.
Beat. O, on my foul, my coufin is bely'd.
Bene. Lady, were you her bedfellow last night? Beat. No, truly, not; although until last night I have this twelvemonth been her bedfellow.
Leon. Confirm'd, confirm'd! O that is ftronger made, Which was before barr'd up with ribs of iron. Would the two princes lye? and Claudio lye, Who lov'd her fo, that speaking of her foulnefs, Wash'd it with tears? Hence from her, let her die. Friar Hear me a little,
For I have only been filent fo long,
And given way unto this course of fortune,
By noting of the lady I have mark'd
A thoufand blufhing apparitions
To start into her face; a thousand innocent fhames
In angel-whitenefs bear away thofe blufhes;
And in her eye there hath appear'd a fire,
To burn the errors that these princes hold
Against her maiden truth. Call me a fool,
Truft not my reading, nor my obfervations,
Which with experimental feal do warrant
The tenor of my book; truft not my age,
My reverence, calling, nor divinity,
If this fweet lady lie not guiltless here
Under fome biting error.
Leon. Friar, it cannot be
Thou seest that all the grace that she hath left,
Is, that fhe will not add to her damnation
A fin of perjury; fhe not denies it :
Why feek'st thou then to cover with excufe
That which appears in proper nakedness?
Friar. Lady, what man is he you are accus'd of?
Hero. They know that do accufe
I know none:
If I know more of any man alive,
Than that which maiden modefty doth warrant,
Let all my fins lack mercy! O my father,
Prove you that any man with me convers'd
At hours unmeet, or that I yesternight
Maintain'd the change of words with any creature,
Refufe me, hate me, torture me to death.
Friar. There is some strange mifprifion in the princes. Bene. Two of them have the very bent of honour, And if their wisdoms be misled in this,
The practice of it lives in John the bastard,
Whofe fpirits toil in frame of villanies.
Leon. I know not: if they speak but truth of her,
These hands fhall tear her; if they wrong her honour,
The proudest of them fhall well hear of it.
Time hath not yet fo dry'd this blood of mine,
Nor age fo eat up my invention,
Nor fortune made fuch havock of my means,
Nor my bad life reft me so much of friends,
But they fhall find awak'd, in fuch a kind,
Both ftrength of limb and policy of mind,
Ability in means, and choice of friends,
To quit me of them thoroughly.
Friar. Faufe a while,
And let my counfel fway you in this cafe.
Your daughter here the princes left for dead;
Let her a while be fecretly kept in,
And publish it that fhe is dead indeed:
Maintain a mourning oftentation,
And on your family's old monument
Hang mournful epitaphs, and do all rites
That appertain unto a burial.
Leon. What fhall become of this? what will this do? Friar. Marry, this, well carry'd, fhall on her behalf
Change flander to remorfe; that is fome good:
But not for that dream I on this ftrange courfe,
Put on this travel look for greater birth,
She dying, as it must be fo maintain'd,
Upon the inftant that the was accus'd
Shall be lamented, pity'd, and excus'd,`
Of every hearer; for it so falls out,
That what we have we prize not to the worth,
Whiles we enjoy it; but being lack'd and lost,
Why, then we rack the value; then we find
The virtue that poffeffion would not fhew us
Whilft it was curs. So will it fare with Claudio.
When he shall hear fhe dy'd upon his words,
• Th'idea of her life fhall fweetly creep
Into his study of imagination,
And every lovely organ of her life
Shall come apparell'd in more precious habit;
More moving, delicate, and full of life
Into the eye and prospect of his foul
Than when fhe liv'd indeed.' Then fhall he mourn,
If ever love had intereft in his liver,
And wish he had not fo accufed her;
No, though he thought his accufation true.
Let this be fo, and doubt not but fuccefs
Will fashion the event in better shape
Than I can lay it down in likelihood.
But if all aim but this be levell'd falfe,
The fuppofition of the lady's death
Will quench the wonder of her infamy.
And, if it fort not well, you may conceal her,
As beft befits her wounded reputation,
In fome reclufive and religious life,
Out of all eyes, tongues, minds, and injuries.
Bene. Signior Leonato, let the Friar advise you.
And though, you know, my inwardnefs and love
very much unto the Prince and Claudio;
Yet, by mine honour, I will deal in this
As fecretly and juftly as your foul
Should with your body.
Leon. Being that I flow in grief,
The fmalleft twine may lead me,