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And tire the hearer with a book of words:
If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it,
And I will break with her.
Was't not to this end,
That thou began'st to twist so fine a story?

Claud. How sweetly do you minister to love,
That know love's grief by his complexion !
But lest my liking might too sudden seem,
I would have salv'd it with a longer treatise.
Pedro. What need the bridge much broader than

the flood?
Look, what will serve, is fit: 'tis once, thou lov'st;
And I will fit thee with the remedy.
I know we shall have revelling to-night;
I will assume thy part in some disguise,
And tell fair Hero, I am Claudio;
And in her bosom I'll unclasp my heart,
And take her hearing prisoner, with the force
And strong encounter of my amorous tale:
Then, after, to her father, will I break;
And, the conclusion is, she shall be thine:
In practice let us put it presently.



A Hall, in LEONATO's House.

Enter Don John and CONRAD. Con. What the goujere, my lord! why are you th us out of measure sad?

John. There is no measure in the occasion that breeds it, therefore the sadness is without limit. Con. You should hear reason.

John. And when I have heard it, what blessing bringeth it?

Con. If not a present remedy, yet a patient suffer


John. I cannot hide what I am: I must be sad when I have cause, and smile at no man's jests ; eat when I have stomach, and wait for no man's leisure; sleep when I am drowsy, and tend to no man's business; laugh when I am merry, and claw no man in his humour.

Con. Yea, but you must not make the full show of this, till you may do it without controlment. You have, of late, stood out against your brother, and he hath ta'en you newly into his grace : where, it is impossible you should take true root, but by the fair weather that you make yourself: it is needful, that you frame the season for your own harvest.

John. I had rather be a canker in a hedge, than a rose in his grace; and it better fits my blood to be disdained of all, than to fashion a carriage to rob love from any: in this, though I cannot be said to be a flattering honest man, it must not be denied, but I am a plain dealing villain. I am trusted with a muzzle, and infranchised with a clog! therefore, I have decreed not to sing in my cage : If I had my mouth, I would bite; if I had my liberty, I would do my liking: in the mean time, let me be that I am, and seek not to alter me.

Con. Can you make use of your discontent?

John. I make all use of it, for I use it only. Who comes here?

Enter BORACHIO. What news, Borachio?

Bor. I came yonder, from a great supper ; the prince, your brother, is royally entertained by Leonato; and I can give you intelligence of an intended marriage.

John. Will it serve for any model to build mischief on? What is he, for a fool, that betroths himself to unquietness?

Bor. Marry, it is your brother's right hand.
John. Who? the most exquisite Claudio ?
Bor. Even he!

John. A proper squire! and who, and who? which way looks he?

Bor. Marry, on Hero, the daughter and heir of Leonato.

John. A very forward March chick ! Come, come; let us thither; this may prove food to my displeasure; that young start-up hath all the glory of my overthrow: if I can cross him any way, I bless myself every way. You are both sure, and will assist me?

Con. To the death, my lord.

John. Let us to the great supper; their cheer is the greater, that I am subdued. 'Would the cook were of my mind!




A Room in LEONATO's House.

Enter LEONATO and ANTONIO Leon. How came you to this?

Ant. I tell you, the prince and Count Claudio, walking in the thick-pleached alley of the orchard,

were overheard by a man of mine. It was agreed upon, that the prince should, in a dance, woo Hero, as for himself, and, having obtained her, give her to Count Claudio, Leon. Hath the fellow any wit, that told you

this? Ant. A good sharp fellow. I will send for him, and you shall question him yourself.

Leon. No, no; we will hold it as a dream, till it appear itself. But do you acquaint my daughter withal, that she may be better prepared for her answer, if, peradventure, this be true. Here she comes.

Enter Hero and BEATRICE. Was not Count John here at supper?

Hero. I saw him not.

Beatr. How tartly that gentleman looks ! I never can see him, but I'm heart-burned an hour after,

Hero. He is of a very melancholy disposition.

Beatr. He were an excellent man, that were made just in the midway, between him and Benedick : the one is too like an image, and says nothing; and the other, too like my lady's eldest son, evermore tartling.

Leon. Then half signior Benedick's tongue in Count John's mouth, and half Count John's melancholy in Signior Benedick's face

Beatr. With a good leg, and a good foot, uncle, and money enough in his purse, such a man would win any woman in the world—if he could get her good will.

Leon. By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee a husband, if thou be'st so shrewd of thy tongue!

Beatr. For the which blessing, I am at Heav'n upon my knees every morning and evening: Lord, 'I could not endure a husband with a beard on his face! I bad rather lie in the woollen.

Leon. You may light upon a husband that hath no beard.

Beabr. What should I do with him? dress him in


my apparel, and make him my waiting.gentlewoman? He that hath a beard, is more than a youth ; and he that hath no beard, is less than a man: and he that is more than a youth, is not for me ; and he that is less than a man, I am not for him: Therefore I will even take sixpence in earnest of the bear-herd, and lead his apes into hell.

Ant. [To Hero.] Well, niece, I trust, you will be ruled by your father?

Beatr. Yes, faith; it is my cousin's duty to make a courtesy, and say, Father, as it please you :”—but yet for all that, cousin, let him be a handsome fellow, or else make another courtesy, and say,“ Father, as it please me.”

Leon. Well, niece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband.

Beatr. Not till Heaven make men of some other metal than earth. Would it not grieve a woman to be over mastered with a piece of valiant dust? to make account of her life to a clod of wayward marle? No, uncle, I'll none : Adam's sons are my brethren, and truly, I hold it a sin to match in my kindred.

Ant. Niece, remember what I told you: if the prince do solicit you in that kind, you know your an

Beatr. The fault will be in the musick, cousin, if you

be not wooed in good time: if the prince be too important, tell him, there is a measure in every thing, and so dance out the answer. For, hear me, Hero, wooing, wedding, and repenting, is a Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinque-pace: the first suit is hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as fantastical; the wedding, mannerly modest, as a measure full of state and ancientry; and then comes repentance, and, with his bad legs, falls into the cinque-pace faster and fas. ter, till he sink into his grave.

Leon. Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly.


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