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Leon. That eye my daughter lent her; 'Tis most
true. Bene. And I do with an eye of love requite her. Leon. The sight whereof, I think, you had from
me, From Claudio, and the prince; But what's your will?
Bene. Your answer, sir, is enigmatical:
Leon. My heart is with your liking.
And my help. Here comes the prince, and Claudio.
Enter Don Pedro and Claudio, with attendants.
D. Pedro. Good morrow to this fair assembly. Leon. Good morrow, prince; good morrow Clau.
We here attend you; are you get determin'd
Claud. I'll hold my mind, were she an Ethiope.
(Exit Antonio. D. Pedro. Good morrow, Benedick: Why what's
the matter, That you have such a February face, So full of frost, of storm, and cloudiness?
Claud. I think, he thinks upon the savage bull:Tush, fear not, man, we'll tip thy horns with gold, And all Europa shall rejoice at thee; As once Europa did at lusty Jove, When he would play the noble beast in love.
Bene. Bull Jove, sir, had an amiable low; And some such strange bull leap'd your father's cow, And got a calf in that same noble feat, Much liks to you,
for you have just his bleat.
Re-enter Antonio, with the Ladies mask'd.
Claud. For this I owe you: here come other
reckonings. Which is the lady I must seize upon ?
Ant. This same is she, and I do give you her. Claud. Why then she's mine : Sweet, let me see
Leon. No, that you shall not, till you take her
hand Before this friar, and swear to marry her.
Claud. Give me your hand before this holy friar; I am your husband, if you like of me. Hero. And when I lived, I was your other wife :
[Unmasking And when you loved, you were my other husband.
Claud. Another Hero?
D. Pedro. The former Hero! Hero that is dead!
Bene. Soft and fair, friar.-Which is Beatrice ?
What is your will? Bene. Do not you love me? Beat.
No, no more than reason. Bene. Why, then your uncle, and the prince, and
No, no more than reason. Beat. Why then, my cousin, Margaret, and
Bene. They swore that you were almost sick for
Beat. They swore that you were well-nigh dead
for die. Bene. 'Tis no such matter:-Then, you do not
love me? Peat. No, truly, but in friendly recompense. Leon. Come, cousin, I am sure you love the gen.
tleman. Claud. And I'll be sworn upon't, that he loves
For here's a paper, written in his hand,
And here's another, Writ in my cousin's hand, stolen from her pocket, Containing her affection unto Benedick.
Bene. A miracle! here's our own hands against our hearts !-Come, I will have thee; but, by this light, I take thee for pity.
Beat. I would not deny you ;-but, by this good day, I yield upon great persuasion; and, partly, to
your life, for I was told you were in a consumption. Bene. Peace, I will stop your mouth
[Kissing her. D. Pedro. How dost thou, Benedick the married
man? Bene. I'll tell thee what, prince; a college of wit. crackers cannot fout me out of my humour: dost thou think, I care for a satire, or an epigram; No: if a man will be beaten with brains, he shall wear nothing landsome about him: In brief, since I do propose to marry, I will think nothing to any pur. pose that the world can say against it; and therefore never flout at me for what I have said against it; for
man is a giddy thing, and this is my conclusion. -For thy part, Claudio, I did think to have beaten thee; but in that* thou art like to be my kinsman, live unbruised, and love my cousin.
Claud. I had well hoped, thou would'st have de nied Beatrice, that I might have cudgelled thee out of thy single life, to make thee a double dealer; which, out of question, thou wilt be, if my cousin do not look exceeding narrowly to thee.
Bene. Come, come, we are friends :-let's have a dance ere we are married, that we may lighten our hearts, and our wives' heels.
Leon. We'll have dancing afterwards.
Bene. First, o'my word; therefore, play, music.Prince, thou art sad; get thee a wife, get thee a wife: there is no staff more reverend than one tipped with horn.
Enter a Messenger. Mess. Mylord, your brother John is ta'en iu flight, And brought with armed men back to Messina.
Bene. Think not on him till tomorrow; I'll devise thee brave punishments for him.-Strike up, pipers.
This play may be justly said to contain two of the most sprightly characters that Shakspeare ever drew. The wit, the humourist, the gentleman, and the sol. dier, are combined in Benedick. It is to be lamento ed, indeed, that the first and most splendid of these distinctions, is disgraced by unnecessary profaneness; for the goodness of his heart is hardly suffi. cient atone for the licence of his tongue. The too sarcastic levity, which flashes out in the conversa. tion of Beatrice, may be excused on account of the steadiness and friendship so apparent in her behaviour, when she urges her lover to risque his life by a challenge to Claudio. In the conduct of the fable, however, there is an imperfection similar to that which Dr. Johnson has pointed out in The Merry Wives of Windsor :- the second contrivance is less ingenious than the first:-or, to speak more plainly, the same incident is become stale by repetition.. I wish some other method had been found to entrap Beatrice, than that very one wbich before had been successfully practised on Benedick.
Much Ado About Nothing (as I understand from one of Mr. Vertue's MSS.), formerly passed under the title of Benedick and Beatrix, Heming the player received, on the 20th of May, 1613, the sum of forty pounds, and twenty pounds more as his majesty's gratuity, for exhibiting six plays at Hampton Court, among which was this comedy.