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We'll fit the kid-fox with a penny-worth.
Pedro. Come, Balthazar, we'll hear that Song again.
'Pedro. It is the witnefs ftill of excellency,
Pedro. Nay, pray thee, come;
Or if thou wilt hold longer argument,
Balth. Note this before my notes,
There's not a note of mine, that's worth the noting. Pedro. Why, thefe are very crotchets that he speaks, Note, notes, forfooth, and noting.
Bene. Now, divine air; now is his foul ravifh'd! is it not ftrange, that sheeps guts fhould hale fouls out of men's bodies? well, a horn for my money, when all's done.
Sigh no more, ladies, figh no more,
Sing no more ditties, fing no mo,
Pedro. By my troth, a good Song.
Balth. And an ill finger, my lord.
Pedro. Ha, no; no, faith; thou fing'ft well enough for a fhift.
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, doft thou hear, Balthazar? I pray thee, get us fome excellent mufick; for to-morrow night we would have it at the lady Hero's chamberwindow.
Balb. The best I can, my lord. [Exit Balthazar. Pedro. Do fo: farewel. Come hither, Leonato; what was it you told me of to-day, that your Niece Beatrice was in love with Signior Benedick?
Claud. O, ay;
ftalk on, stalk on, the fowl fits. I did never think, that lady would have loved any
Leon. No, nor I neither; but most wonderful, that fhe fhould fo doat on Signior Benedick, whom he hath in all outward behaviour feem'd ever to abhor.
Bene. Is't poffible, 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, fhe doth but counterfeit.
Claud. Faith, like enough.
Leon. O God! counterfeit? there was never counterfeit of paffion came fo near the life of paffion, as the difcovers it.
Pedro. Why, what effects of paffion fhews the ?
Claud. Bait the hook well, this fifh will bite. [Afide. Leon. What effects, my lord? fhe will fit you, you heard my daughter tell you how.
Claud. She did, indeed.
Pedro. How, how, I pray you? you amaze me: I
would have thought. her fpirit had been invincible against all affaults of affection.
Leon. I would have fworn, it had, my lord; efpecially against Benedick.
Bene. [Afide.] I fhould think this a gull, but that the white bearded fellow fpeaks it; knavery cannot, fure, hide himself in fuch reverence.
Claud. He hath ta'en th' inffection, hold it up. Afide. Pedro. Hath fhe made her affection known to Benedick?
Leon. No, and fwears fhe never will; that's her tor
Claud. 'Tis true, indeed, fo your daughter fays: fhall I, fays fhe, that have fo oft encounter'd him with scorn, write to him that I love him?
Leon. This fays fhe now, when he is beginning to write to him; for fhe'll be up twenty times a night, and there will the fit in her fmock, 'till fhe have writ a fheet of paper; my daughter tells us all.
Claud. Now you talk of a fheet of paper, I remember a pretty jeft your daughter told us of.
Leon. O, when he had writ it, and was reading it over, the found Benedick and Beatrice between the fheet.
Leon. (9) O, fhe tore the letter into a thousand halfpence; rail'd at herfelf, that fhe fhould be fo immodeft, to write to one that, he knew, wou'd flout her: I measure him, fays the, by my own Spirit, for I fhould flout him if he writ to me; yea, though I love him, I fhould.
(9) 0, he tore the Letter into a thousand half-pence ;] i. e. into a thoufand pieces of the fame bignefs. This farther explained by a Paffage 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 Silver Penny which had a Creafe running Cross-wife over it, fo that it might be broke into two or four equal pieces, half-pence, or farthings.
Claud. Then down upon her knees fhe falls, weeps, fobs, beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, curfes; O fweet Benedick! God give me patience!
Leon. She doth, indeed, my daughter fays fo; and the ecftafy hath fo much overborne her, that my daughter is fometime afraid, fhe will do defperate outrage to herfelf; it is very true.
Pedro. It were good, that Benedick knew of it by fome other, if she will not discover it.
Claud. To what end? he would but make a fport of it, and torment the poor lady worse.
Pedro. If he fhould, it were an Alms to hang him;, fhe's an excellent fweet lady, and (out of all fufpicion} fhe is virtuous.
Claud. And fhe is exceeding wife.
Pedro. In every thing, but in loving Benedick.
Leon. O my lord, wifdom and blood combating in fo tender a body, we have ten proofs to one, that blood hath the victory; I am forry for her, as I have just cause, being her uncle and her guardian.
Pedro. I would, fhe had beftow'd this dotage on me; I would have dafft all other refpects, and made her half. myfelf; I pray you tell Benedick of it; and hear what he will fay.
Leon. Were it good, think you?
Claud. Hero thinks, furely fhe will die; for she says, fhe will die if he love her not, and fhe will die ere the make her love known; and fhe will die if he woo her, rather than fhe will bate one breath of her accuftom'd crofsnefs.
Pedro. She doth well; if the fhould make tender of her love, 'tis very poffible, he'll fcorn 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 wife.
Pedro. He doth, indeed, fhew fome fparks that are. like wit.
Leon. And I take him to be valiant.
Pedro. As Hector, I affure you; and in the managing
of quarrels you may fay he is wife; for either he avoids them with great difcretion, or undertakes them with a chriftian-like fear.
Leon. If he do fear God, he muft neceffarily keep peace; if he break the peace, he ought to enter into a quarrel with fear and trembling.
Pedro. And fo will he do, for the man doth fear God, how foever it feems not in him, by fome large jefts he will make. Well, I am forry for your Niece: fhall we go feek Benedick, and tell him of her love?
Claud. Never tell him, my lord; let her wear it out with good counfel.
Leon. Nay, that's impoffible, fhe may wear her heart out first.
Pedro. Well, we will hear further of it by your daughter; let it cool the while. I love Benedick well; and I could with he would modeftly examine himself, to fee how much he is unworthy to have fo good a lady.
Leon. My Lord, will you walk? dinner is ready. Claud. If he do not dote on her upon this, 1 will never truft my expectation.
[Afide. Pedro. Let there be the fame net fpread for her, and that muft your daughter and her gentlewomen carry ; the fport will be, when they hold an opinion of one another's dotage, and no fuch matter; that's the Scene that I would fee, which will be merely a Dumb Show; let us fend her to call him to dinner. [Afide.] Exeunt.
Benedick advances from the Arbour.
Bene. This can be no trick, the conference was fadly borne; they have the truth of this from Hero; they seem to pity the lady; it feems, her affections have the full bent. Love me! why, it must be requited: I hear, how I am cenfur'd; they fay, I will bear myself proudly, if I perceive the love come from her; they fay too, that he will rather die than give any fign of affection-I did never think to marry[ muft not feem proud-happy are they that hear their detractions, and can put them to mending: they