Imatges de pÓgina
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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. Leonatos
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, most like a liberal villain,
Confefs'd the vile encounters they have had
A thousand 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 hadit thou been,
If half thy outward graces had been plac'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 of love,
And on my eyelids fhall 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, Coufin, wherefore fink you down?' John. Come, let us go; these things, come thus to light,. Smother her spirits up.

[Exe. D. Pedro, D. John and Claud..

Bene. How doth the Lady?

Beat. Dead, I think, help, uncle.

Hero! why, Hero! uncle! Signior Benedick! friar!

C 5

Leons

Leon. O fate! take not away thy heavy hand; Death is the fairest cover for her shame,

That may be wish'd for.

Beat. How now, Coufin Hero?
Friar. Have comfort, Lady.

Leon. Doft thou look up?

Friar. Yea, wherefore thould she not?

Leon. Wherefore? why, doth not every earthly thing Cry fhame upon her? could fhe here deny

The ftory 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 ftronger 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 frame?
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 :
Fat mine, and mine I lov'd, and mine I prais'd,
And mine that I was proud on, mine fo much,
That I myfelf was to myfelf not mine,

Valuing of her; why, fhe,

O, fhe 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 feason 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 coufin is bely'd.
Bene. Lady, were you her bedfellow last night?
Beat. No, truly, not; altho' until last night

I have this twelvemonth been her bedfellow.

Leona

Leon. Confirm'd, confirm'd! O, that is ftronger made, Which was before barr'd up with ribs of iron. Would the two Princes lie? and Claudio lie? Who lov'd her fo, that, speaking of her foulness, Wash'd it with tears? hence from her, let her die. Friar. Hear me a little,

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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 thousand blushing apparitions

To start into her face; a thousand innocent fhames
In angel whitenefs bear away those blushes ;
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 tenour 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 feeft, that all the grace, that she hath left,
Is, that he 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 r

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 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 yefternight
Maintain'd the change of words with any creature,
Refufe 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 mif-led in this,

The practice of it lives in John the bastard,

Whofe

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 fo much of friends,
But they shall 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. Paufe a while,

And let my counsel sway you in this cafe.
Your daughter here the Princes left for dead; (14)
Let her awhile 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 course, But on this travel look for greater birth: She dying, as it must be fo maintain'd, Upon the inftant that fhe was accus'd, Shall be lamented, pity'd, and excus'd, Of every hearer: for it fo falls out,

(14) Your daughter bere the Princefs (left for dead)] But how Comes Hero to ftart up a Princess here? We have no Intimation of her Father being a Prince; and this is the first and only Time that She is complimented with this Dignity. The Remotion of a fingle Letter, and of the Parenthefis, will bring her to her own Rank,, and the Place to its true Meaning.

Your Daughter here the Princes left for dead;

i. e. Don Pedro, Prince of Arragon; and his Bastard Brother whe is likewife called a Prince..

That

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 shew us
Whilft it was ours; fo will it fare with Claudio:
When he fhall hear fhe dy'd upon his words,
Th' idea of her Life fhall fweetly creep
Into his ftudy of imagination,

And every lovely organ of her life

Shall come apparel'd in more precious habit;
More moving, delicate, and full of life,

Into the eye and profpect of his foul,

Than when the liv'd indeed. Then fhall he mourn,
If ever love had interest in his liver,

And wish, he had not so accused her;

No, though he thought his accufation true:
Let this be fo, and doubt not, but fuccefs
Will fashion the event in better fhape
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 inwardness and love:
Is very much unto the Prince and Claudio,
Yet, by mine honour, I will deal in this
As fecretly and justly as your foul

Should with your body.

Leon. Being that I flow in grief,

The fmalleft twine may lead me.

Friar. 'Tis well confented, prefently away;

For to ftrange fores, ftrangely they ftrain the cure.

Come, lady, die to live; this wedding day,

Perhaps, is but prolong'd: have patience and endure.

[Exeunt.

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