Imatges de pàgina

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 fo much,
That I myself was to myself not mine,
Valuing of her; why, fhe,-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 so attir'd in wonder,
I know not what to say.

Beat. O, on my foul, my cousin 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 so, that speaking of her foulness, 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 courfe 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 blushes;
And in her eye there hath appear'd a fire,
To burn the errors that thefe princes hold
Against her maiden truth. Call me a fool,
Trust 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 feest 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 me; I know none: If I know more of any man alive,

Than that which maiden modesty doth warrant,
Let all my fins lack mercy! O my father,
Provė you that any man with me convers'd
At hours unmeet, or that I yesternight
Maintain'd the change of words with any creature,
Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death.

Friar. There is fome ftrange mifprifion in the princes.
Bene. Two of them have the very bent of honour,
And if their wifdoms 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, Thefe 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 fo 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 shall 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 firange 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 fo falls out,
That what we have we prize not to the worth,
Whiles we enjoy it; but being lack'd and loft,
Why, then we rack the value; then we find
The virtue that poffeffion would not fhew us
Whilft it was ours. 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 advife you.
And though, you know, my inwardnefs and love
Is 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,


Friar. 'Tis well confented, presently away; For to ftrange fores, ftrangely they flrain the cure. Come, Lady, die to live; this wedding-day Perhaps is but prolong'd: have patience, and endure. [Exeunt.

SCENE III. Manent Benedick and Beatrice.
Bene. Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while?
Beat. Yea, and I will weep a while longer.
Bene. I will not defire that.

Beat. You have no reafon, I do it freely.

Bene. Surely I do believe your fair coufin is wrong'd. Beat. Ah, how much might the man deferve of me, that would right her!

Bene. Is there any way to fhew fuch friendship? Beat. A very even way, but no fuch friend. Bene. May a man do it?

Beat. It is a man's office, but not your's. 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 lie not; I con fefs nothing, nor I deny nothing. I am forry for my coufin:

Bene. By my fword, Beatrice, thou lov'ft me.
Beat. Do not fwear by it, and eat it.

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 fauce 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 flay'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.

E 2


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. Bene. Beatrice,

Beat. In faith, I will go.

Bene. We'll be friends firft.

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, difhonour'd my kinswoman! O that I were a man! What! bear her in hand until they come to take hands, and then, with public 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 faying!

Bene. Nay, but Beatrice.

Beat. Sweet Hero! fhe is wrong'd, she is flander'd, fhe is undone.

Bene. Beat

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 any 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 lye, and fwears it. I cannot be a man with wifhing, 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 engage'd; I will challenge him. I will kifs your hand, and fo leave you; by this hand,


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