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Bened. If Signior Leonato be her father, she would not have his head on her shoulders for all Messina, as like him as she is !

Beatr. I wonder, that you will still be talking, Signior Benedick! nobody marks you.

Bened. What, my dear Lady Disdain ! are you yet living?

Beatr. Is it possible, Disdain should die, while she hath such meet food to feed it, as Signior Benedick ? Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you come in her presence.

Bened. Then is courtesy a turn-coat !-But it is certain, I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted: and I would I could find in my heart, that I had not a hard heart! for truly, I love none.

Beatr. A dear happiness to women! they would else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I thank Heaven, and my cold blood, I am of your humour for that! I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow,

than a man swear he loves me. Bened. Heaven keep your ladyship still in that mind! so some gentleman or other shall 'scape a predestinate scratched face.

Beatr. Scratching could not make it worse, and 'twere such a face as yours.

Bened. Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher!
Beatr. A bird of my tongue, is better than a beast

Bened. I would, my horse had the speed of your tongue, and so good a continuer ! But keep your way, o’Heaven's name! I have done.

Beatr. You always end with a jade's trick; I know you of old.

Pedro. This is the sum of all:-Leonató, Signior Claudio, and Signior Benedick, my dear friend, Leonato, hath invited you all. I tell him, we shall stay here at the least a month; and he heartily prays, some

of yours:

I thank you.

occasion may detain us longer ; I dare swear he is no hypocrite, but prays from his heart.

Leon. If you swear, my lord, you shall not be forsworn.- Let me bid you welcome, my lord; being reconciled to the prince, your brother, I owe you all duty.

John. I thank you; I am not of many words, but
Leon. Please it your grace, lead on?
Pedro, Your hand, Leonato; we will go together.

[Exeunt all, but BenEDICK and CLAUDIO. Claud. Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of Signior Leonato ?

Bened. I noted her not'; but I looked on her.
Claud. Is she not a modest young lady?

Bened. Do you question me, as an honest man should do, for my simple true judgmenti or would you have me speak after my custom, as being a pro fessed tyrant to their sex?

Claud. No, I pray thee, speak in sober judment !

Bened. Why, i'faith, methinks, she is too low for a high praise, too brown for a fair praise, and too little for a great praise: only this commendation I can afford her; that, were she other than she is, she were unhandsome; and, being no other but as she is, I do not like her.

Claud. Thou think'st, I am in sport; I pray thee, tell me truly, how thou lik’st her.

Bened. Would you buy ber, that you inquire after her ?

Claud. Can the world huy such a jewel ?

Bened. Yea, and a case to put it into. But, speak you this with a sad brow? or do you play the flouting Jack? Come, in what key shall a man take you?

Claud. In mine eye, she is the sweetest lady that ever I looked on !

Bened. I can see yet without spectacles, and I see


no such matter : there's her cousin, an she were not possessed with a fury, exceeds her as much in beauty, as the first of May doth the last of December! But, I hope, you have no intent to turn husband, have

Claud. I would scarce trust myself, though I had sworn the contrary, if Hero would be my wife.

Bened. Is't come to this, i’taith? Hath not the world one man, but he will wear his cap with suspicion :Shall I never see a bachelor of threescore again? Go to, i’faith! an thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it, and sigh away Sundays. Look, Don Pedro is returned to seek

you. Enter Don Pedro, Pedro. What secret hath held you here, that you followed not to Leonato's ?

Bened. I would, your grace would constrain me to tell !

Pedro. I charge thee, on thy allegiance !

Bened. You hear, Count Claudio- I can be as secret as a dumb man; I would have you think so; but on my allegiance-mark you this, on my allegiance. -He is in love. With whom ?-now that is your grace's part.-Mark, how short his answer is :- With Hero, Leonato's short daughter.

Claud. If this were so, so were it uttered.

Bened. Like the old tale, my lord;-it is not so, nor 'twas not so; but, indeed, Heaven forbid it should be so!

Claud. If my passion change not shortly, Heaven forbid it should be otherwise !

Pedro. Amen, if you love her, for the lady is very well worthy

Claud. You speak this to fetch me in, my lord.
Pedro. By my troth, I speak my thought !
Claud. And, in faith, my lord, I spoke mine!

Bened. And, by my two faiths and troths, my lord, I spoke mine!

Claud. That I love her, I feel.
Pedro. That she is worthy, I know.

Bened. That I neither feel how she should be loved, nor know how she should be worthy, is the opinion that fire cannot melt out of me: I will die in it at the stake.

Pedro. Thou wast ever an obstinate heretic in the despite of beauty.

Claud. And never could maintain his part, but in the force of his will.

Bened. That a woman conceived me, I thank her; that she brought me up, I likewise give her most humble thanks : but that I will have a recheat winded in my forehead, all women shall pardon me: Because I will not do them the

wrong to mistrust

any, will do myself the right to trust none; and the fine is, for the which I may go the finer, I will live a bachelor.

Pedro. Ishall see thee, ere I die,look pale with love.

Bened. With anger, with sickness, or with hunger, my lord-not with love: prove, that ever I lose more blood with love, than I will get again with drinking, pick out mine eyes with a ballad-maker's pen, and hang me up at the door of a brothel-house, for the sign of blind Cupid.

Pedro. Well, if ever thou dost fall from this faith, thou wilt prove a notable argument.

Bened. If I do, hang me in a bottle, like a cat, and shoot at me!

Pedro. Well, as time shall try:
In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke.

Bened. The savage bull may; but if ever the sensible Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull's horns, and set them in my forehead : and let me be vilely painted! and in such great letters as they write-Here is good horse to hire, let them signify under my sign Here you may see Benedick, the married man.

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Pedro. Nay, if Cupid hath not spent all his quiver in Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly.

Bened. I look for an earthquake too then.

Pedro. Well, you will temporise with the hours! In the mean time, good Signior Benedick, repair to Leonato's; commend me to him, and tell him, I will not fail him at supper; for, indeed, he hath made great preparation.

Bened. I have almost matter enough in me for such an embassage ; and so I commit you—

Claud. To the tuition of Heaven; from my house, if I had it

Pedro. The sixth of July; your loving friend, Benedick,

Bened. Nay, mock not, mock not: The body of your discourse is sometimes guarded with fragments, and the guards are but slightly basted on neither :ere you flout old ends any further, examine your conscience; and so I leave you.

[Exit. Claud. My liege, your highness now may do me

good. Pedro. My love is thine to teach ; teach it but how, And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn Any hard lesson, that may do thee good.

Člaud. Hath Leonato any son, my lord ?

Pedro. No child but Hero; she's his only heir:
Dost thou affect her, Claudio ?

Claud. O my lord,
When you went onward on this ended action,
Í look'd upon her with a soldier's eye,
That lik’d, but had a rougher task in hand
Than to drive liking to the name of love:
But now I am return’d, and that war thoughts
Have left their places vacant, in their rooms
Come thronging, soft and delicate desires,
All prompting me how fair young Hero is,
Şaying I lik'd her, ere I went to wars,

Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover presently,

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