Imatges de pàgina

Are you so hafty now? well, all is one.

Pedro. Nay, do not quarrel with us, good old man.

Ant. If he could right himself with quarrelling,
Some of us would lye low.

Claud. Who wrongs him?
Leon. Marry, thou dost wrong me, thou diffembler,

thou !
Nay, never lay thy hand upon thy sword,
I fear thee not.

Claud. Marry, beshrew my hand,
If it should give your age such cause of fear ;
In faith, my hand meant nothing to my sword.

Leon. Tush, tush, man, never fleer and jest at me
I speak not like a dotard, nor a fool;
As, under privilege of age, to brag
What I have done being young, or what would do,
Were I not old: know, Claudio, to thy head,
Thou hast so wrong'd my innocent child and me,
That I am forc'd to lay my reverence by ;
And, with grey hairs, and bruise of many days,
Do challenge thee to tryal of a man;
I say, thou haft bely'd mine innocent child,
Thy Nander hath gone through and through her heart;
And she lyes bury'd with her ancestors,
o, in a tomb where never scandal Nept,
Save this of hers, fram'd by thy villany!

Claud. My villany?
Leon. Thine, Claudio ; thine, I say.
Pedro. You say not right, old man.

Leon. My lord, my lord,
I'll prove it on his body, if he dare;
Despight his nice fence and his active practice,
His May of youth, and bloom of lụstyhood.

Claud. Away, I will not have to do with you.
Leon. Canst thou so doffe me? thou hast kill'd my

If thou kill'st me, boy, thou shalt kill a man.


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3 Ant. He shall kill two of us, and men indeed
But that's no matter, let him kill one first ;
Win me and wear me, let him answer me;
Come, follow me, boy; come, boy, follow me;
Sir boy, I'll whip you from your foining fence;
Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will.

Leon. Brother,
Ant. Content your self; God knows, I lov'd my

And she is dead, flander'd to death by villains,
That dare as well answer a man, indeed,
As I dare take a serpent by the tongue.
Boys, apes, braggarts, jacks, milksops!

Leon. Brother Anthony
Ant.“ Hold you content; what, man? I know

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them, yea,

" And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple:

Scambling, out-facing, fashion-mongring boys, “ That lye, and cog, and fout, deprave and Nander, " Go antickly, and show an outward hideousness, " And speak off half a dozen dangerous words, “ How they might hurt their enemies, if they durft; " And this is all."

Leon. But, brother Anthony,

Ant. Come, 'tis no matter;
Do not you meddle, let me deal in this.

3 Ant. He fall kill two of us, &c.] This Brother Anthony is the truest picture imaginable of human nature. He had assumed the Character of a Sage to comfort his Brother, o'erwhelm’d with grief for his only daughter's affront and dishonour; and had feverely reproved him for not commanding his passion better on so trying an occafion. Yet, immediately after this

, no sooner does he begin to suspect that his Age and Valour are slighted, but he falls into the moit intemperate fit of rage himself: and all his Brother can do or say is not of power to pacify him. This is copying nature with a penetration and exactness of Judgment peculiar to Shakespear. As to the expression, too, of his paffion, nothing can be more highly painted.


Pedro. Gentlemen both, 4 we will not wrack

your patience. My heart is sorry for your daughter's death; But, on my Honour, she was charg'd with nothing But what was true, and very full of proof.

Leon. My lord, my lord
Pedro. I will not hear you.
Leon. No! come, brother, away, I will be heard.
Ant. And shall, or some of us will smart for it.

[Exeunt ambo.

Enter Benedick.
Pedro. See, fee, here comes the man we went to

Claud. Now, Signior, what news?
Bene. Good day, my lord.

Pedro. Welcome, Signior ; you are almost come to part almost a fray.

Claud. We had like to have had our two noses snapt off with two old men without teeth.

Pedro. Leonato and his brother ; what think'st thou ? had we fought, I doubt, we should have been too young for them.

Bene. In a false quarrel there is no true valour: I came to seek you both.

Claud. We have been up and down to seek thee; for we are high-proof melancholy, and would fain have it beaten away: wilt thou use thy wit?'

Bene. It is in my scabbard; shall I draw it?
Pedro. Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side?

4 we will not WAKE your patience.] This conveys a sentiment that the speaker would by no means have implied, That the patience of the two Old men was not exercised, but asleep, which upbraids them for insensibility under their wrong. Shakespear must have wrote-We will not WRACK, i. e, destroy your patience by tantalizing you.


Claud. Never any did so, though very many have been beside their wit. I will bid thee draw, as we do the minstrels; draw, to pleasure us.

Pedro. As I am an honest man, he looks pale : art thou fick or angry?

Claud. What! courage, man: what tho'care kill'd a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.

Bene. Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career, if you charge it against me. - I pray you, chuse another subject.

Claud. 5 Nay, then give him another staff; this last was broke cross.

Pedro. By this light, he changes more and more: I think, he be angry, indeed.

Claud. If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle.
Bene. Shall I speak a word in your ear?
Claud. God bless me from a challenge!

Bene. You are a villain; 1 jeft not. I will make it good how you dare, with what you dare, and when you dare. Do me right, or I will protest your cowardise. You have kill'd a sweet lady, and her death shall fall heavy on you. Let me hear from you.

Claud. Well, I will meet you, so I may have good cheer.

Pedro. What, a feast?

Claud. l'faith, I thank him; he hath bid me to a calves-head and a capon, the which if I do not carve most curiously, say, my knife's naught. Shall I not find a woodcock too?

Bene. Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes easily.

Pedro. I'll tell thee, how Beatrice prais'd thy wit the other day: I said, thou hadft a fine wit; right, says she, a fine little one; no, said I, a great wit; just, said she, a great grofs one ; nay, said I, a good wic; just, said she, it hurts no body; nay, said I, the gen

5 Nay, then give him another faf; &c.] Allusion to Tilting. See note, As you like it. Act 3. Scene 10.


tleman is wise ; certain, said she, a wise gentleman ; nay, said I, he hath the tongues; that I believe, faid the, for he swore a thing to me on Monday night, which he forswore on Tuesday morning; there's a double congue, there's two tongues. Thus did she an hour together trans-lhape thy particular virtues ; yet, at last, she concluded with a sigh, thou wast the properest man in Italy.

Claud. For the which she wept heartily, and said, she car'd not.

Pedro. Yea, that she did; but yet for all that, and if she did not hate him deadly, the would love him dearly; the old man's daughter told us all.

Claud. All, all; and moreover, God saw him when he was bid in the garden.

Pedro. But when shall we set the salvage bull's horns on the sensible Benedick's head ?

Claud. Yea, and text underneath, Here dwells Benedick the married man.

Bene. Fare you well, boy, you know my mind; I will leave you now to your goffip-like humour ; you break jests as braggarts do their blades, which, God be thank'd, hurt not. My lord, for your many courtesies I thank you; I must discontinue your company; your brother, the bastard, is fled from Messina ; you have among you killed a sweet and innocent lady. For my lord lack-beard there, he and I shall meet; and 'till then, peace be with him! [Exit Benedick.

Pedro. He is in earnest.

Claud. In most profound earnest, and, I'll warrant you, for the love of Beatrice.

Pedro. And hath challeng'd thee?
Claud. Most sincerely.

Pedro. What a pretty thing man is, when he goes in his doublet and hose, and leaves off his wit!

SCENE 6 What a pretty thing man is, when he goes in his doublet and hofe, and leaves of his witl] It was esteemed a mark of levity


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