-I learn in this letter that Don Peter of Arragon comes this
night to Messina. -He is very near by this:
he was not three leagues off when I left him.
-How many gentlemen have you lost in this action?
-But few of any sort, and none of name.
-A victory is twice itself when the achiever brings home full
numbers. I find here that Don Peter hath bestowed much honour
on a young Florentine called Claudio.
-Much deserved on his part and equally remembered by Don
Pedro: he hath borne himself beyond the promise of his age,
doing, in the figure of a lamb, the feats of a lion: he hath
indeed better bettered expectation than you must
expect of me to tell you how. -He hath an uncle here in
Messina will be very much glad of it.
-I have already delivered him letters, and there appears much
joy in him; even so much that joy could not show itself
modest enough without a badge of bitterness.
-Did he break out into tears? -In great measure.
-A kind overflow of kindness: there are no faces truer than
those that are so washed. How much better is it to weep at
joy than to joy at weeping! -I pray you, is Signior
Mountanto returned from the wars or no?
-I know none of that name, lady: there was none such in
the army of any sort. -What is he that you ask for, niece?
-My cousin means Signior Benedick of Padua.
-O, he's returned; and as pleasant as ever he was.
-He set up his bills here in
Messina and challenged Cupid at the flight; and my uncle's
fool, reading the challenge, subscribed for Cupid, and
challenged him at the bird-bolt. I pray you, how many
hath he killed and eaten in these wars? But how many hath
he killed? for indeed I promised to eat all of his killing.
-Faith, niece, you tax Signior
Benedick too much; but he'll be meet with you, I doubt it not.
-He hath done good service, lady, in these wars.
-You had musty victual, and he hath holp to eat it: he is a
very valiant trencherman; he hath an excellent stomach.
-And a good soldier too, lady. -And a good soldier to a lady:
but what is he to a lord? -A lord to a lord, a man to a
man; stuffed with all honourable virtues.
-It is so, indeed; he is no less than a stuffed man: but
for the stuffing,--well, we are all mortal.
-You must not, sir, mistake my niece. There is a kind of merry
war betwixt Signior Benedick and her: they never meet but
there's a skirmish of wit between them.
-Alas! he gets nothing by that. In our last conflict four of
his five wits went halting off, and now is the whole man
governed with one: so that if he have wit enough to keep
himself warm, let him bear it for a difference between
himself and his horse; for it is all the wealth that he hath
left, to be known a reasonable creature. Who is his companion
now? He hath every month a new sworn brother.
-He is most in the company of the right noble Claudio.
-O Lord, he will hang upon him like a disease: he is sooner
caught than the pestilence, and the taker runs presently mad.
God help the noble Claudio! if he have caught the Benedick, it
will cost him a thousand pound ere a' be cured.
-You will never run mad, niece. -No, not till a hot January.
-Don Pedro is approached.
-Good Signior Leonato, you are come to meet your trouble: the
fashion of the world is to avoid cost, and you encounter it
-Never came trouble to my house in the likeness of your grace:
for trouble being gone, comfort should remain; but when you
depart from me, sorrow abides and happiness takes his leave.
-You embrace your charge too willingly. I think this is your daughter.
-Her mother hath many times told me so.
-Were you in doubt, sir, that you asked her?
-Signior Benedick, no; for then were you a child.
-You have it full, Benedick: we
may guess by this what you are, being a man. Truly, the lady
fathers herself. Be happy, lady; for you are like an
honourable father. -If Signior Leonato be her
father, she would not have his head on her shoulders for all
Messina, as like him as she is. -I wonder that you will still
be talking, Signior Benedick: nobody marks you.
-What, my dear Lady Disdain! are you yet living?
-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.
-Then is courtesy a turncoat. 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.
-A dear happiness to women: they would else have been
troubled with a pernicious suitor. I thank God 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.
-God keep your ladyship still in that mind! so some gentleman
or other shall 'scape a predestinate scratched face.
-Scratching could not make it worse, an 'twere such a face as
yours were. -Well, you are a rare
parrot-teacher. -A bird of my tongue is better
than a beast of yours. -I would my horse had the speed
of your tongue, and so good a continuer. But keep your way,
i' God's name; I have done. -You always end with a jade's
trick: I know you of old. -That is the sum of all,
Leonato. 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 occasion
may detain us longer. I dare swear he is no hypocrite, but
prays from his heart. -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.
-I thank you: I am not of many words, but I thank you.
-Please it your grace lead on?
-Your hand, Leonato; we will go together.
-Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of Signior Leonato?
-I noted her not; but I looked on her.
-Is she not a modest young lady?
-Do you question me, as an honest man should do, for my
simple true judgment; or would you have me speak after my
custom, as being a professed tyrant to their sex?
-No; I pray thee speak in sober judgment.
-Why, i' faith, methinks she's 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. -Thou thinkest I am in sport:
I pray thee tell me truly how thou likest her.
-Would you buy her, that you inquire after her?
-Can the world buy such a jewel?
-Yea, and a case to put it into. But speak you this with a
sad brow? or do you play the flouting Jack, to tell us Cupid
is a good hare-finder and Vulcan a rare carpenter? Come,
in what key shall a man take you, to go in the song?
-In mine eye she is the sweetest lady that ever I
looked on. -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 you?
-I would scarce trust myself, though I had sworn the
contrary, if Hero would be my wife.
-Is't come to this? In faith, hath not the world one man but
he will wear his cap with suspicion? Shall I never see a
bachelor of three-score 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.
-What secret hath held you here, that you followed not to
Leonato's? -I would your grace would
constrain me to tell. -I charge thee on thy
allegiance. -You hear, Count Claudio: I can
be 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 who? now that is your grace's part. Mark how
short his answer is;--With Hero, Leonato's short daughter.
-If this were so, so were it uttered.
-Like the old tale, my lord: 'it is not so, nor 'twas not
so, but, indeed, God forbid it should be so.'
-Amen, if you love her; for the lady is very well worthy.
-You speak this to fetch me in, my lord.
-By my troth, I speak my thought.
-And, in faith, my lord, I spoke mine.
-And, by my two faiths and troths, my lord, I spoke mine.
-That I love her, I feel. -That she is worthy, I know.
-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.
-Thou wast ever an obstinate heretic in the despite of beauty.
-And never could maintain his
part but in the force of his will.
-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, or hang my bugle in
an invisible baldrick, all women shall pardon me. Because
I will not do them the wrong to mistrust any, I 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.
-I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with love.
-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.
-Well, if ever thou dost fall from this faith, thou wilt
prove a notable argument. -If I do, hang me in a bottle
like a cat and shoot at me; and he that hits me, let him be
clapped on the shoulder, and called Adam.
-Well, as time shall try: 'In time the savage bull doth bear
the yoke.' -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.' -If this should ever happen,
thou wouldst be horn-mad. -Nay, if Cupid have not spent
all his quiver in Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly.
-I look for an earthquake too, then.
-Well, you temporize with the hours. In the meantime, 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. -I have almost matter enough in
me for such an embassage; and so I commit you--
-To the tuition of God: From my house, if I had it,--
-The sixth of July: Your loving friend, Benedick.
-Nay, mock not, mock not. The body of your discourse is
sometime 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.
-My liege, your highness now may do me good.
-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. -Hath Leonato any son, my lord?
-No child but Hero; she's his only heir. Dost thou affect
her, Claudio? -O, my lord, When you went
onward on this ended action, I look'd upon her with a
soldier's eye, That liked, 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, Saying, I liked her ere I went
to wars. -Thou wilt be like a lover
presently And tire the hearer with a book of words. If thou
dost love fair Hero, cherish it, And I will break with her
and with her father, And thou shalt have her. Was't not to
this end That thou began'st to twist so fine a story?
-How sweetly you do minister to love, That know love's grief by
his complexion! I would have salved it with a
longer treatise. -What need the bridge much
broader than the flood? The fairest grant is the necessity.
Look, what will serve is fit: 'tis once, thou lovest, 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 she shall be thine.
In practise let us put it presently.
-How now, brother! Where is my
cousin, your son? hath he provided this music?
-He is very busy about it. But, brother, I can tell you strange
news that you yet dreamt not of.
-Are they good? -As the event stamps them: but
they have a good cover; they show well outward. The prince
and Count Claudio, walking in a thick-pleached alley in mine
orchard, were thus much overheard by a man of mine: the
prince discovered to Claudio that he loved my niece your
daughter and meant to acknowledge it this night in a
dance: and if he found her accordant, he meant to take the
present time by the top and instantly break with you of it.
-Hath the fellow any wit that told you this?
-A good sharp fellow: I will send for him; and question him
yourself. -No, no; we will hold it as a
dream till it appear itself: but I will acquaint my daughter
withal, that she may be the better prepared for an answer,
if peradventure this be true. Go you and tell her of it.
-Cousins, you know what you have to do. O, I cry you mercy,
friend; go you with me, and I will use your skill. Good
cousin, have a care this busy time.
-What the good-year, my lord! why are you thus out of measure
sad? -There is no measure in the
occasion that breeds; therefore the sadness is without limit.
-You should hear reason. -And when I have heard it, what
blessing brings it? -If not a present remedy, at
least a patient sufferance. -I wonder that thou, being, as
thou sayest thou art, born under Saturn, goest about to
apply a moral medicine to a mortifying mischief. 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 on no man's business,
laugh when I am merry and claw no man in his humour.
-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.
-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 enfranchised 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 meantime let me be that I am and seek not to
alter me. -Can you make no use of your
discontent? -I make all use of it, for I
use it only. Who comes here?
What news, Borachio?
-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.
-Will it serve for any model to build mischief on? What is he
for a fool that betroths himself to unquietness?
-Marry, it is your brother's right hand.
-Who? the most exquisite Claudio?
-Even he. -A proper squire! And who, and
who? which way looks he? -Marry, on Hero, the daughter
and heir of Leonato. -A very forward March-chick!
How came you to this? -Being entertained for a
perfumer, as I was smoking a musty room, comes me the prince
and Claudio, hand in hand in sad conference: I whipt me
behind the arras; and there heard it agreed upon that the
prince should woo Hero for himself, and having obtained
her, give her to Count Claudio. -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? -To the death, my lord.
-Let us to the great supper: their cheer is the greater that
I am subdued. Would the cook were of my mind! Shall we go
prove what's to be done? -We'll wait upon your lordship.
-Was not Count John here at supper?
-I saw him not. -How tartly that gentleman
looks! I never can see him but I am heart-burned an hour
after. -He is of a very melancholy
disposition. -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 tattling.
-Then half Signior Benedick's tongue in Count John's mouth,
and half Count John's melancholy in Signior
Benedick's face,-- -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 a' could get her good-will.
-By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee a husband, if
thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.
-In faith, she's too curst. -Too curst is more than curst:
I shall lessen God's sending that way; for it is said, 'God
sends a curst cow short horns;' but to a cow too curst he sends
none. -So, by being too curst, God
will send you no horns. -Just, if he send me no
husband; for the which blessing I am at him upon my knees every
morning and evening. Lord, I could not endure a husband with
a beard on his face: I had rather lie in the woollen.
-You may light on a husband that hath no beard.
-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-ward, and lead his apes into hell.
-Well, then, go you into hell? -No, but to the gate; and there
will the devil meet me, like an old cuckold, with horns on his
head, and say 'Get you to heaven, Beatrice, get you to
heaven; here's no place for you maids:' so deliver I up my
apes, and away to Saint Peter for the heavens; he shows me
where the bachelors sit, and there live we as merry as the
day is long. -Well, niece, I trust you will
be ruled by your father. -Yes, faith; it is my cousin's
duty to make curtsy and say 'Father, as it please you.' But
yet for all that, cousin, let him be a handsome fellow, or
else make another curtsy and say 'Father, as it please me.'
-Daughter, remember what I told you: if the prince do solicit
you in that kind, you know your answer.
-I have a good eye, uncle; I can see a church by daylight.
-The revellers are entering, brother: make good room.
-Lady, will you walk about with your friend?
-So you walk softly and look sweetly and say nothing, I am
yours for the walk; and especially when I walk away.
-With me in your company? -I may say so, when I please.
-And when please you to say so? -When I like your favour; for
God defend the lute should be like the case!
-My visor is Philemon's roof; within the house is Jove.
-Why, then, your visor should be thatched.
-Speak low, if you speak love.
-Well, I would you did like me.
-So would not I, for your own sake; for I have many
ill-qualities. -Which is one?
-I say my prayers aloud. -I love you the better: the
hearers may cry, Amen. -God match me with a good
-And God keep him out of my sight when the dance is done!
Answer, clerk. -No more words: the clerk is
-I know you well enough; you
are Signior Antonio. -At a word, I am not.
-I know you by the waggling of your head.
-To tell you true, I counterfeit him.
-You could never do him so ill-well, unless you were the
very man. Here's his dry hand up and down: you are he.
-At a word, I am not.
-Come, come, do you think I do not know you by your excellent
wit? can virtue hide itself? Go to, mum, you are he: graces
will appear, and there's an end.
-Will you not tell me who told you so?
-No, you shall pardon me. -Nor will you not tell me who
you are? -Not now.
-That I was disdainful, and that I had my good wit out of
the 'Hundred Merry Tales:'--well this was Signior
Benedick that said so. -What's he?
-I am sure you know him well enough.
-Not I, believe me. -Did he never make you laugh?
-I pray you, what is he? -Why, he is the prince's
jester: a very dull fool; only his gift is in devising
impossible slanders: none but libertines delight in him; and
the commendation is not in his wit, but in his villany; for he
both pleases men and angers them, and then they laugh at
him and beat him. I am sure he is in the fleet: I would he had
boarded me. -When I know the gentleman,
I'll tell him what you say. -Do, do: he'll but break a
comparison or two on me; which, peradventure not marked or not
laughed at, strikes him into melancholy; and then there's a
partridge wing saved, for the fool will eat no supper that
night. We must follow the leaders.
-In every good thing. -Nay, if they lead to any ill,
I will leave them at the next turning.
-Sure my brother is amorous on Hero and hath withdrawn her
father to break with him about it. The ladies follow her and
but one visor remains. -And that is Claudio: I know
him by his bearing. -Are not you Signior Benedick?
-You know me well; I am he. -Signior, you are very near my
brother in his love: he is enamoured on Hero; I pray you,
dissuade him from her: she is no equal for his birth: you may
do the part of an honest man in it.
-How know you he loves her? -I heard him swear his
affection. -So did I too; and he swore he
would marry her to-night. -Come, let us to the banquet.
-Thus answer I in the name of Benedick, But hear these ill
news with the ears of Claudio. 'Tis certain so; the prince
wooes for himself. Friendship is constant in all other things
Save in the office and affairs of love:
-And trust no agent; for beauty is a witch
Farewell, therefore, Hero!
-Count Claudio? -Yea, the same.
-Come, will you go with me? -Whither?
-Even to the next willow, about your own business, county. What
fashion will you wear the garland of? about your neck,
like an usurer's chain? or under your arm, like a
lieutenant's scarf? You must wear it one way, for the prince
hath got your Hero. -I wish him joy of her.
-Why, that's spoken like an honest drovier: so they sell
bullocks. But did you think the prince would have served you
thus? -I pray you, leave me.
-Ho! now you strike like the blind man: 'twas the boy that
stole your meat, and you'll beat the post.
-If it will not be, I'll leave you.
-Alas, poor hurt fowl! now will he creep into sedges. But that
my Lady Beatrice should know me, and not know me! The
prince's fool! Ha? It may be I go under that title because I
am merry. Yea, but so I am apt to do myself wrong; I am not so
reputed: it is the base, though bitter, disposition of Beatrice
that puts the world into her person and so gives me out.
Well, I'll be revenged as I may.
-Now, signior, where's the count? did you see him?
-Troth, my lord, I have played the part of Lady Fame. I found
him here as melancholy as a lodge in a warren: I told him,
and I think I told him true, that your grace had got the
good will of this young lady; and I offered him my company to
a willow-tree, either to make him a garland, as being
forsaken, or to bind him up a rod, as being worthy to be
whipped. -To be whipped! What's his
fault? -The flat transgression of a
schoolboy, who, being overjoyed with finding a birds' nest,
shows it his companion, and he steals it.
-Wilt thou make a trust a transgression?
The transgression is in the stealer.
-Yet it had not been amiss the rod had been made, and the
garland too; for the garland he might have worn himself, and
the rod he might have bestowed on you, who, as I take it, have
stolen his birds' nest. -I will but teach them to sing,
and restore them to the owner. -If their singing answer your
saying, by my faith, you say honestly.
-The Lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you: the gentleman
that danced with her told her she is much wronged by you.
-O, she misused me past the endurance of a block! an oak
but with one green leaf on it would have answered her; my
very visor began to assume life and scold with her. She told
me, not thinking I had been myself, that I was the prince's
jester, that I was duller than a great thaw; huddling jest
upon jest with such impossible conveyance upon me that I stood
like a man at a mark, with a whole army shooting at me.
She speaks poniards, and every word stabs: if her breath were as
terrible as her terminations, there were no living near her;
she would infect to the north star. I would not
marry her, though she were endowed with all that Adam had
left him before he transgressed: she would have
made Hercules have turned spit, yea, and have cleft his club to
make the fire too. Come, talk not of her: you shall find her
the infernal Ate in good apparel. I would to God some
scholar would conjure her; for certainly, while she is here, a
man may live as quiet in hell as in a sanctuary; and people
sin upon purpose, because they would go thither; so, indeed,
all disquiet, horror and perturbation follows her.
-Look, here she comes.
-Will your grace command me any
service to the world's end? I will go on the slightest errand
now to the Antipodes that you can devise to send me on;
I will fetch you a tooth-picker now from the furthest inch of
Asia, bring you the length of Prester John's foot, fetch you
a hair off the great Cham's beard, do you any embassage to
the Pigmies, rather than hold three words' conference with
this harpy. You have no employment for me?
-None, but to desire your good company.
-O God, sir, here's a dish I love not: I cannot endure my
Lady Tongue. -Come, lady, come; you have
lost the heart of Signior Benedick.
-Indeed, my lord, he lent it me awhile; and I gave him use for
it, a double heart for his single one: marry, once before
he won it of me with false dice, therefore your grace may
well say I have lost it. -You have put him down, lady,
you have put him down. -So I would not he should do
me, my lord, lest I should prove the mother of fools.
I have brought Count Claudio, whom you sent me to seek.
-Why, how now, count! wherefore are you sad?
-Not sad, my lord. -How then? sick?
-Neither, my lord. -The count is neither sad, nor
sick, nor merry, nor well; but civil count, civil as an
orange, and something of that jealous complexion.
-I' faith, lady, I think your blazon to be true; though, I'll
be sworn, if he be so, his conceit is false. Here,
Claudio, I have wooed in thy name, and fair Hero is won:
I have broke with her father, and his good will obtained:
name the day of marriage, and God give thee joy!
-Count, take of me my daughter, and with her my fortunes:
his grace hath made the match, and an grace say Amen to it.
-Speak, count, 'tis your cue. -Silence is the perfectest
herald of joy: I were but little happy, if I could say
how much. Lady, as you are mine, I am yours: I give away
myself for you and dote upon the exchange.
-Speak, cousin; or, if you cannot, stop his mouth with a
kiss, and let not him speak neither.
-In faith, lady, you have a merry heart.
-Yea, my lord; I thank it, poor fool, it keeps on
I cry you mercy, uncle. By your grace's pardon.
-She cannot endure to hear tell of a husband.
-O, by no means: she mocks all her wooers out of suit.
-She were an excellent wife for Benedick.
-O Lord, my lord, if they were but a week married, they would
talk themselves mad. -County Claudio, when mean you
to go to church? -To-morrow, my lord: time goes
on crutches till love have all his rites.
-Not till Monday, my dear son, which is hence a just
seven-night; and a time too brief, too, to have all things
answer my mind. -Come, you shake the head at so
long a breathing: but, I warrant thee, Claudio, the time
shall not go dully by us. I will in the interim undertake
one of Hercules' labours; which is, to bring Signior Benedick
and the Lady Beatrice into a mountain of affection the one
with the other. I would fain have it a match, and I doubt
not but to fashion it, if you three will but minister such
assistance as I shall give you direction.
-My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten nights'
watchings. -And I, my lord.
-And you too, gentle Hero? -I will do any modest office,
my lord, to help my cousin to a good husband.
-And Benedick is not the unhopefullest husband that I
know. Thus far can I praise him; he is of a noble strain,
of approved valour and confirmed honesty. I will teach
you how to humour your cousin, that she shall fall in love
with Benedick; and I, with your two helps, will so practise on
Benedick that, in despite of his quick wit and his queasy
stomach, he shall fall in love with Beatrice. If we can do
this, Cupid is no longer an archer: his glory shall be ours
for we are the only love-gods.
Go in with me, and I will tell you my drift.
-It is so; the Count Claudio
shall marry the daughter of Leonato.
-Yea, my lord; but I can cross it.
-Any bar, any cross, any impediment will be medicinable
to me: I am sick in displeasure to him, and whatsoever comes
athwart his affection ranges evenly with mine. How canst
thou cross this marriage? -Not honestly, my lord; but so
covertly that no dishonesty shall appear in me.
-Show me briefly how. -I think I told your lordship a
year since, how much I am in the favour of Margaret, the
waiting gentlewoman to Hero. -I remember.
-I can, at any unseasonable instant of the night, appoint
her to look out at her lady's chamber window.
-What life is in that, to be the death of this marriage?
-The poison of that lies in you to temper. Go you to the prince
your brother; spare not to tell him that he hath wronged his
honour in marrying the renowned Claudio--whose estimation do
you mightily hold up--to a contaminated stale, such a one
as Hero. -What proof shall I make of
that? -Proof enough to misuse the
prince, to vex Claudio, to undo Hero and kill Leonato. Look you
for any other issue? -Only to despite them, I will
endeavour any thing. -Go, then; find me a meet hour
to draw Don Pedro and the Count Claudio alone: tell them that
you know that Hero loves me; intend a kind of zeal as,--in
love of your brother's honour,
who hath made this match, and his friend's reputation
--that you have discovered thus. They will scarcely believe this
without trial: offer them instances; which shall bear no
less likelihood than to see me at
her chamber-window, hear me call Margaret Hero, hear
Margaret term me; and bring them to see this the very
night before the intended wedding,--for in the meantime I
will so fashion the matter that Hero shall be absent,--and
there shall appear such seeming truth of Hero's disloyalty that
jealousy shall be called assurance and all the
preparation overthrown. -Grow this to what adverse
issue it can, I will put it in practise. Be cunning in the
working this, and thy fee is a thousand ducats.
-Be you constant in the accusation, and my cunning
shall not shame me. -I will presently go learn
their day of marriage.
-In my chamber-window lies a
book: bring it hither to me.
-I am here already, sir. -I know that; but I would have
thee hence, and here again.
-I do much wonder that one man,
seeing how much another man is a fool when he dedicates his
behaviors to love, will, after he hath laughed at such shallow
follies in others, become the argument of his own scorn by
falling in love: and such a man is Claudio. I have known when
there was no music with him but the drum and the fife; and now
had he rather hear the tabour and the pipe: I have known when
he would have walked ten mile a-foot to see a good armour;
and now will he lie ten nights awake, carving the fashion
of a new doublet. He was wont to speak
plain and to the purpose, like an honest man and a soldier;
and now is he turned orthography; his words are a
very fantastical banquet, just so many strange dishes. May I
be so converted and see with these eyes? I cannot tell;
I think not: I will not be sworn, but love may transform me to an
oyster; but I'll take my oath on it, till he have made an
oyster of me, he shall never make me such a fool.
One woman is fair, yet I am well; another is wise, yet I am well;
another virtuous, yet I am well; but till all graces be
in one woman, one woman shall not come in my grace.
Rich she shall be, that's certain; wise, or I'll none;
virtuous, or I'll never cheapen her; fair, or I'll never look on her;
mild, or come not near me; noble, or not I for an angel;
of good discourse, an excellent musician, and her hair shall be
of what colour it please God.
Ha! the prince and Monsieur Love! I will hide me.
-Come, shall we hear this music?
-Yea, my lord. How still the evening is,
As hush'd on purpose to grace harmony!
-See you where Benedick hath hid himself?
-O, very well, my lord: the music ended, We'll fit the kid-fox with a pennyworth.
-Come, Balthasar, we'll hear that song again.
-O, good my lord, tax not so bad a voice To slander music
any more than once. -It is the witness still of
excellency To put a strange face on his own perfection.
I pray thee, sing, and let me woo no more.
-Because you talk of wooing, I will sing; Since many a wooer
doth commence his suit To her he thinks not worthy, yet he
wooes, Yet will he swear he loves.
-Now, pray thee, come; Or, if thou wilt hold longer argument,
Do it in notes. -Note this before my notes;
There's not a note of mine that's worth the noting.
-Why, these are very crotchets that he speaks; Note, notes,
forsooth, and nothing. -Now, divine air! now is his
soul ravished! Is it not strange that sheeps' guts
should hale souls out of men's bodies? Well, a horn for my
money, when all's done.
-Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,
Men were deceivers ever,
One foot in sea and one on shore
To one thing constant never:
Then sigh not so, but let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into Hey nonny, nonny.
Sing no more ditties, sing no moe,
Of dumps so dull and heavy;
The fraud of men was ever so,
Since summer first was leafy:
Then sigh not so, but let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into Hey nonny, nonny.
-By my troth, a good song.
-And an ill singer, my lord.
-Ha, no, no, faith;
thou singest well enough for a shift.
-An he had been a dog that should have howled thus,
they would have hanged him:
I had as lief have heard the night-raven,
come what plague could have come after it.
-Yea, marry, dost thou hear,
Balthasar? I pray thee, get us some excellent music; for
to-morrow night we would have it at the Lady Hero's
chamber-window. -The best I can, my lord.
-Do so: farewell. -Come hither, Leonato. What was
it you told me of to-day, that your niece Beatrice was in love
with Signior Benedick?
-O, ay: stalk on. stalk on; the fowl sits.
I did never think that lady would have loved any man.
-No, nor I neither; but most
wonderful that she should so dote on Signior Benedick, whom
she hath in all outward behaviors seemed ever to abhor.
-Is't possible? Sits the wind in that corner?
-By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to think of it but
that she loves him with an enraged affection: it is past
the infinite of thought. -May be she doth but
counterfeit. -Faith, like enough.
-O God, counterfeit! There was never counterfeit of passion
came so near the life of passion as she discovers it.
-Why, what effects of passion shows she?
-Bait the hook well; this fish will bite.
-What effects, my lord? She will sit you, you heard my
daughter tell you how. -She did, indeed.
-How, how, pray you? You amaze me: I would have I thought her
spirit had been invincible against all assaults of
affection. -I would have sworn it had, my
lord; especially against Benedick.
-I should think this a gull, but that the white-bearded
fellow speaks it: knavery cannot, sure,
hide himself in such reverence.
-He hath ta'en the infection: hold it up.
-Hath she made her affection known to Benedick?
-No; and swears she never will: that's her torment.
So your daughter says: 'Shall I,' says she,
'that have so oft encountered him with scorn,
write to him that I love him?'
-This says she now when she is beginning to write to him; for
she'll be up twenty times a night, and there will she sit
in her smock till she have writ a sheet of paper.
-Now you talk of a sheet of paper,
I remember a pretty jest your daughter told us of.
-O, when she had writ it and was reading it over, she found
Benedick and Beatrice between the sheet?
-That. -O, she tore the letter into a
thousand halfpence; railed at herself, that she should be so
immodest to write to one that she knew would flout her.
-Then down upon her knees she falls, weeps, sobs, beats her
heart, tears her hair, prays, curses; 'O sweet Benedick!
God give me patience!'
-She doth indeed; my daughter afeared
she will do a desperate outrage to herself
-She doth well: if she should
make tender of her love, 'tis very possible he'll scorn it;
for the man, as you know all, hath a contemptible spirit.
-To what end? He would make but a sport of it and torment the
poor lady worse. -An he should, it were an alms
to hang him. She's an excellent sweet lady; and, out of all
suspicion, she is virtuous. -And she is exceeding wise.
-In every thing but in loving Benedick.
-O, my lord, wisdom and blood combating in so tender a body,
we have ten proofs to one that blood hath the victory.
I am sorry for her, as I have just cause, being her uncle
and her guardian.
-Hero thinks surely she will die; for she says she will die,
if he love her not, and she will die, ere she make her love
known, and she will die, if he woo her, rather than she will
bate one breath of her accustomed crossness.
-I would she had bestowed this dotage on me:
I would have daffed all other respects and
made her half myself. I pray you, tell Benedick of it, and
hear what a' will say.
-He is a very proper man.
-He hath indeed a good outward happiness.
-Before God! and, in my mind, very wise.
-He doth indeed show some sparks that are like wit.
-And I take him to be valiant.
-As Hector, I assure you: and in the managing of quarrels you
may say he is wise; for either he avoids them with great
discretion, or undertakes them with a most Christian-like fear.
-If he do fear God, a' must
necessarily keep peace: if he break the peace, he ought to
enter into a quarrel with fear and trembling.
-And so will he do; for the man doth fear God, howsoever it
seems not in him by some large jests he will make. Well I am
sorry for your niece. Shall we go seek Benedick, and tell him
of her love? -Never tell him, my lord:
let her wear it out with good counsel.
-Nay, that's impossible: she may wear her heart out first.
-Well, we will hear further of it by your daughter:
let it cool the while. I love Benedick well;
and I could wish he would modestly examine himself,
to see how much he is unworthy so good a lady.
-My lord, will you walk? dinner is ready.
-If he do not dote on her upon this,
I will never trust my expectation.
-Let there be the same net spread for her; and that must
your daughter and her gentlewomen carry.
The sport will be, when they hold one an opinion of another's dotage,
and no such matter: that's the scene that I would see,
which will be merely a dumb-show.
Let us send her to call him in to dinner.
-This can be no trick:
the conference was sadly borne. They have the truth of this
from Hero. They seem to pity the lady: it seems her
affections have their full bent. Love me! why, it must be
requited. I hear how I am censured: they say I will bear
myself proudly, if I perceive the love come from her;
they say too that she will rather die than give any sign of
affection. I did never think to marry: I must not seem proud:
happy are they that hear their detractions
and can put them to mending. They say the lady is fair;
'tis a truth, I can bear them witness; and virtuous;
'tis so, I cannot reprove it; and wise, but for loving me;
by my troth, it is no addition to her wit, nor no great argument
of her folly, for I will be horribly in love with her.
I may chance have some odd quirks and remnants of wit broken on
me, because I have railed so long against marriage: but
doth not the appetite alter? a man loves the meat in his youth
that he cannot endure in his age. Shall quips and sentences
and these paper bullets of the brain awe a man from the career
of his humour?
No, the world must be peopled.
When I said I would die a bachelor,
I did not think I should live till I were married.
Here comes Beatrice. By this day! she's a fair lady:
I do spy some marks of love in her.
-Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner.
-Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains.
-I took no more pains for those thanks than you take pains to
thank me: if it had been painful, I would not have come.
-You take pleasure then in the message?
-Yea, just so much as you may take upon a knife's point and
choke a daw withal. You have no stomach, signior: fare you well.
-Ha! 'Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner;
there's a double meaning in that
that 'I took no more pains for those thanks than you took
pains to thank me.' that's as much as to say, Any pains that
I take for you is as easy as thanks. If I do not take pity
of her, I am a villain; if I do not love her, I am a joke.
I will go get her picture.
-Good Margaret, run thee to the parlor;
There shalt thou find my cousin Beatrice
Proposing with the prince and Claudio:
Whisper her ear and tell her, I and Ursula
Walk in the orchard and our whole discourse
Is all of her; say that thou overheard'st us; And bid her
steal into the pleached bower, Where honeysuckles, ripen'd by
the sun, Forbid the sun to enter, like favourites, Made
proud by princes, that advance their pride Against that power
that bred it: there will she hide her, To listen our purpose.
This is thy office; Bear thee well in it and leave us alone.
-I'll make her come, I warrant you, presently.
-Now, Ursula, when Beatrice
doth come, As we do trace this alley up and down, Our talk
must only be of Benedick. When I do name him, let it be thy
part To praise him more than ever man did merit: My talk to
thee must be how Benedick Is sick in love with Beatrice.
Of this matter Is little Cupid's crafty arrow made,
That only wounds by hearsay.
-The pleasant'st angling is to
see the fish Cut with her golden oars the silver stream,
And greedily devour the treacherous bait: So angle we
for Beatrice; who even now Is couched in the woodbine
coverture. Fear you not my part of the dialogue.
-Then go we near her, that her ear lose nothing Of the false
sweet bait that we lay for it.
-No, truly, Ursula, she is too disdainful;
I know her spirits are as coy and wild As haggerds of the rock.
-But are you sure That Benedick loves Beatrice so entirely?
-So says the prince and my new-trothed lord.
-And did they bid you tell her of it, madam?
-They did entreat me to acquaint her of it;
But I persuaded them, if they loved Benedick,
To wish him wrestle with affection,
And never to let Beatrice know of it.
-Doth not the gentleman Deserve as full as fortunate a bed
As ever Beatrice shall couch upon?
-O god of love! I know he doth deserve As much as may be
yielded to a man: But Nature never framed
a woman's heart Of prouder stuff than that of
Beatrice; Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes,
Misprising what they look on, and her wit Values itself so
highly that to her All matter else seems weak: she cannot
love, Nor take no shape nor project of affection, She is so
self-endeared. -Sure, I think so; And
therefore certainly it were not good She knew his love, lest
she make sport at it. -Why, you speak truth. I never
yet saw man, How wise, how noble, young, how rarely
featured, But she would spell him backward: if fair-faced,
She would swear the gentleman should be her sister; If black,
why, Nature, drawing of an antique, Made a foul blot;
if tall, a lance ill-headed; If low, an agate very vilely cut;
If speaking, why, a vane blown with all winds; If silent, why,
a block moved with none. So turns she every man the wrong
side out And never gives to truth and virtue that Which
simpleness and merit purchaseth.
-Sure, sure, such carping is not commendable.
-No, not to be so odd and from all fashions As Beatrice is,
cannot be commendable: But who dare tell her so? If I should
speak, She would mock me into air; O, she would laugh me Out
of myself, press me to death with wit. Therefore let
Benedick, like cover'd fire, Consume away in sighs, waste
inwardly: It were a better death than die with mocks,
Which is as bad as die with tickling.
-Yet tell her of it: hear what she will say.
-No; rather I will go to Benedick And counsel him to
fight against his passion. And, truly, I'll devise some honest
slanders To stain my cousin with: one doth not know How
much an ill word may empoison liking.
-O, do not do your cousin such a wrong.
As she is prized to have--as to refuse So rare a gentleman
as Signior Benedick. -He is the only man of Italy.
Always excepted my dear Claudio.
-I pray you, be not angry with me, Speaking my fancy:
Signior Benedick, Goes foremost in report
through Italy. -Indeed, he hath an excellent
good name. -His excellence did earn it,
ere he had it. When are you married, madam?
-Why, every day, to-morrow. Come, go in: I'll show thee
some attires, and have thy counsel Which is the best to
furnish me to-morrow.
-She's limed, I warrant you: we have caught her, madam.
-If it proves so, then loving goes by haps:
Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.
-What fire is in mine ears? Can this be true? Stand I condemn'd
for pride and scorn so much? Contempt, farewell! and maiden
pride, adieu! No glory lives behind the back of such. And,
Benedick, love on; I will requite thee, Taming my wild
heart to thy loving hand: If thou dost love, my kindness
shall incite thee To bind our loves up in a holy band;
For others say thou dost deserve, and
I Believe it better than reportingly.
-I do but stay till your
marriage be consummate, and then go I toward Arragon.
-I'll bring you thither, my lord, if you'll vouchsafe me.
-Nay, that would be as great a soil in the new gloss of your
marriage as to show a child his new coat and forbid him to wear it
I will only be bold with Benedick for his company; for,
from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot, he is all
mirth: he hath twice or thrice cut Cupid's bow-string and the
little hangman dare not shoot at him; he hath a heart as
sound as a bell and his tongue is the clapper, for what his
heart thinks his tongue speaks.
-Gallants, I am not as I have been.
-So say I methinks you are sadder.
-I hope he be in love.
-Hang him, truant! there's no true drop of blood in him, to
be truly touched with love: if he be sad, he wants money.
-I have the toothache.
-Draw it. -Hang it!
-You must hang it first, and draw it afterwards.
-What! sigh for the toothache?
-Where is but a humour or a worm.
-Well, every one can master a grief but he that has it.
-Yet say I, he is in love. -There is no appearance of
fancy in him, unless it be a fancy that he hath to strange
disguises; as, to be a Dutchman today, a Frenchman to-morrow,
or in the shape of two countries at once, as, a German
from the waist downward, all slops, and a Spaniard from the
hip upward, no doublet.
-If he be not in love with some woman,
there is no believing old signs: what should that bode?
-Hath any man seen him at the barber's?
-No, but the barber's man hath been seen with him, and the old
ornament of his cheek hath already stuffed tennis-balls.
-Indeed, he looks younger than he did, by the loss of a beard.
-Nay, a' rubs himself with civet: can you smell him out by that?
-That's as much as to say, the sweet youth's in love.
-The greatest note of it is his melancholy.
-And when was he wont to wash his face?
-Yea, or to paint himself? for the which, I hear what they say of him.
-Nay, but his jesting spirit; is now governed by stops.
-Indeed, that tells a heavy tale for him: conclude,
conclude he is in love. -Nay, but I know who loves him.
-That would I know too: I warrant, one that knows him not.
-Yes, and despite his ill conditions; dies for him.
-She shall be buried with her face upwards.
-Yet is this no charm for the toothache. Old signior, walk
aside with me: I have studied eight or nine wise words to
speak to you, which these hobby-horses must not hear.
-For my life, to break with him about Beatrice.
-'Tis even so. Hero and Margaret have by this played
their parts with Beatrice; and then the two bears will not
bite one another when they meet.
-My lord and brother, God save you!
-Good den, brother. -If your leisure served,
I would speak with you. -In private?
-If it please you: yet Count Claudio may hear; for what I
would speak of concerns him. -What's the matter?
-Means your lordship to be married to-morrow?
-You know he does. -I know not that, when he knows
what I know. -If there be any impediment, I
pray you discover it. -You may think I love you not:
let that appear hereafter, and aim better at me by that I now
will manifest. For my brother, I think he holds you well, and
in dearness of heart hath holp to effect your ensuing
marriage;--surely suit ill spent and labour ill bestowed.
I came hither to tell you; and, circumstances shortened,
for she has been too long a talking of, the lady is disloyal.
-Even she; Leonato's Hero, your Hero, every man's Hero:
-Disloyal? -The word is too good to paint
out her wickedness; I could say she were worse: think you of a
worse title, and I will fit her to it. Wonder not till further
warrant: go but with me to-night, you shall see her
chamber-window entered, even the night before her
wedding-day: if you love her then, to-morrow wed her; but it
would better fit your honour to change your mind.
-May this be so? -I will not think it.
-If you dare not trust that you see, confess not that you know:
if you will follow me, I will show you enough; and when you
have seen more and heard more, proceed accordingly.
-If I see any thing to-night why I should not marry her
to-morrow in the congregation, where I should wed, there will
I shame her. -And, as I wooed for thee to
obtain her, I will join with thee to disgrace her.
-I will disparage her no farther till you are my
witnesses: bear it coldly but till midnight,
and let the issue show itself.
-O day untowardly turned!
-O mischief strangely thwarting!
-O plague right well prevented!
so will you say when you have seen the sequel.
-I love you, Borachio.
-I love thee, too, Lady Hero!
-Are you good men and true?
-Yea, or else it were pity but they should suffer salvation,
body and soul. -Nay, that were a punishment
too good for them, if they should have any allegiance in
them, being chosen for the prince's watch.
-Well, give them their charge, neighbour Dogberry.
-First, who think you the most desertless man to be constable?
-Hilda Oatcake, sir, or Georgina Seacole; for they can
write and read. -Come hither, neighbour
Seacole. God hath blessed you with a good name: to be a
well-favoured woman is the gift of fortune; but to write and
read comes by nature. -Both which, master
constable,-- -You have: I knew it would be
your answer. Well, for your favour, sir, why, give God
thanks, and make no boast of it; and for your writing and
reading, let that appear when there is no need of such
vanity. You are thought here to be the most senseless and fit
man for the constable of the watch; therefore bear you the
lantern. This is your charge: you shall comprehend all vagrom
men; you are to bid any man stand, in the prince's name.
-How if a' will not stand? -Why, then, take no note of
him, but let him go; and presently call the rest of the
watch together and thank God you are rid of a knave.
-If he will not stand when he is bidden, he is none of the
prince's subjects. -True, and they are to meddle
with none but the prince's subjects. You shall also make
no noise in the streets; for, for the watch to babble and to
talk is most tolerable and not to be endured.
-We will rather sleep than talk: we know what belongs to a watch
-Why, you speak like an ancient
and most quiet watchman; for I cannot see how sleeping should
offend: only, have a care that your bills be not stolen.
Well, you are to call at all the ale-houses, and bid those that
are drunk get them to bed. -How if they will not?
-Why, then, let them alone till they are sober: if they make
you not then the better answer, you may say they are not the
men you took them for. -Well, sir.
-If you meet a thief, you may suspect him, by virtue of your
office, to be no true man; and, for such kind of men, the less
you meddle or make with them, why the more is for your
honesty. -If we know him to be a thief,
shall we not lay hands on him? -Truly, by your office, you
may; but I think they that touch pitch will be defiled:
the most peaceable way for you, if you do take a thief, is to
let him show himself what he is and steal out of your company.
-You have been always called a merciful man, partner.
-Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will, much more a man who
hath any honesty in him. -If you hear a child cry in the
night, you must call to the nurse and bid her still it.
-How if the nurse be asleep and will not hear us?
-Why, then, depart in peace, and let the child wake her with
crying; for the ewe that will not hear her lamb when it baes
will never answer a calf when he bleats.
-'Tis very true.
-This is the end of the charge:--
you, constable, are to present the prince's own
person: if you meet the prince in the night, you may stay him.
-Nay, by'r our lady, that I think a' cannot.
-Five shillings to one on't, with any man that knows the
statutes, he may stay him: marry, not without the prince
be willing; for, indeed, the watch ought to offend no man;
and it is an offence to stay a man against his will.
-By'r lady, I think it be so.
-Ha, ha, ha! Well, masters, good night:
an there be any matter of weight chances, call up me:
keep your fellows' counsels and your own; and good night.
-Well, masters, we hear our charge: let us go sit here upon
the church-bench till two, and then all to bed.
-One word more, honest neighbours.
I pray you watch about Signior Leonato's door;
for the wedding being there to-morrow, there is a great
coil to-night. Adieu: be vigitant, I beseech you.
-What Conrade! -Peace! stir not.
-Conrade, I say! -Here, man; I am at thy elbow.
-Mass, and my elbow itched; I thought there would a scab follow.
-I will owe thee an answer for that: and now forward with thy tale.
-Stand thee close, then, under this pent-house, for it
drizzles rain; and I will, like a true drunkard, utter all to thee.
-Some treason, masters: yet stand close.
-Therefore know I have earned of Don John a thousand ducats.
-Is it possible that any villany should be so dear?
-Thou shouldst rather ask if it
were possible any villany should be so rich; for when
rich villains have need of poor ones, poor ones may make what
price they will. -I wonder at it.
-That shows thou art unconfirmed. Thou knowest that
the fashion of a doublet, or a hat, or a cloak, is nothing to a man.
-Yes, it is apparel.
-I mean, the fashion.
-Yes, the fashion is the fashion.
-Tush! I may as well say the fool's the fool. But seest thou
not what a deformed thief this fashion is?
-I know that Deformed; a' has been a vile thief this seven year;
a' goes up and down like a gentleman: I remember his name.
-Didst thou not hear somebody? -No; 'twas the vane on the house.
-Seest thou not, I say, what a
deformed thief this fashion is? how giddily a' turns about all
the hot bloods between fourteen and five-and-thirty? sometimes
fashioning them like Pharaoh's soldiers in the reeky painting,
sometime like the shaven Hercules in the smirched
worm-eaten tapestry, where his codpiece seems as massy as his club?
-All this I see; and I see that
the fashion wears out more apparel than the man. But art
not thou thyself giddy with the fashion too, that thou hast
shifted out of thy tale into telling me of the fashion?
-Not so, neither: but know that I have to-night wooed Margaret,
the Lady Hero's gentlewoman, by the name of Hero: she leans me
out at her mistress' chamber-window, bids me a
thousand times good night,-- I tell this tale vilely:--
I should first tell thee how the prince and Claudio,
planted and placed and possessed by my master Don John,
saw afar off in the orchard this amiable encounter.
-And thought they Margaret was Hero?
-Two of them did, the prince and Claudio; but the devil my
master knew she was Margaret; and partly by his oaths, which
first possessed them, partly by the dark night, which did
deceive them, but chiefly by my villany, which did confirm any
slander that Don John had made, away went Claudio enraged;
swore he would meet her, as he was appointed, next morning at
the temple, and there, before the whole congregation, shame
her with what he saw o'er night and send her home again
without a husband.
-We charge you, in the prince's name, stand!
-Call up the right master constable.
We have here recovered the most dangerous
piece of lechery that ever was known in the commonwealth.
-And one Deformed is one of them: I know him; a' wears a lock.
-You'll be made bring Deformed forth, I warrant you.
-Masters,-- -Never speak: we charge you let
us obey you to go with us. -We are like to prove a goodly
commodity, being taken up of these men's bills.
-A commodity in question, I warrant you. Come, we'll obey you.
-Good Ursula, wake my cousin Beatrice,
and desire her to rise.
-I will, lady. -And bid her come hither.
-Well. -Troth, I think your other
rabato were better. -No, pray thee, good Meg, I'll
wear this. -By my troth, 's not so good;
and I warrant your cousin will say so.
-My cousin's a fool, and thou art another: I'll wear none but this.
-I like the new tire within
excellently, if the hair were a thought browner; and your
gown's a most rare fashion, i' faith. I saw the Duchess of
Milan's gown that they praise so.
-O, that exceeds, they say. -By my troth, 's but a
night-gown in respect of yours: cloth o' gold, and cuts, and
laced with silver, set with pearls, down sleeves, side
sleeves, and skirts, round underborne with a bluish
tinsel: but for a fine, quaint, graceful and excellent fashion,
yours is worth ten on 't. -God give me joy to wear it!
for my heart is exceeding heavy.
-'Twill be heavier soon by the weight of a man.
-Fie upon thee! art not ashamed?
-Of what, lady? of speaking honourably? Is not marriage
honourable in a beggar? Is not your lord honourable without
marriage? I think you would have me say, 'saving your
reverence, a husband:' is there any harm in
'the heavier for a husband'? None, I think, and it be the
right husband and the right wife; otherwise 'tis light, and
not heavy: ask my Lady Beatrice else; here she comes.
-Good morrow, coz. -Good morrow, sweet Hero.
-Why how now? do you speak in the sick tune?
-I am out of all other tune, methinks.
-Clap's into 'Light o' love;' that goes without a burden: do
you sing it, and I'll dance it. -Ye light o' love, with your
heels! then, if your husband have stables enough, you'll see
he shall lack no barns. -O illegitimate construction!
I scorn that with my heels. -'Tis almost five o'clock,
cousin; tis time you were ready. By my troth, I am
exceeding ill: heigh-ho!
-For a hawk, a horse or a husband?
-For the letter that begins them all, H.
-Well, and you be not turned
Turk, there's no more sailing by the star.
-What means the fool, trow? -Nothing I; but God send every
one their heart's desire!
-These gloves the count sent me,
they are an excellent perfume.
-I am stuffed, cousin; I cannot smell.
-A maid, and stuffed! there's goodly catching of cold.
-O, God help me! God help me! How long have you professed
apprehension? -Even since you left it. Doth
not my wit become me rarely? -It is not seen enough, you
should wear it in your cap. By my troth, I am sick.
-Get you some of this distilled Carduus Benedictus, and lay it
to your heart: it is the only thing for a qualm.
-There thou prickest her with a thistle.
-Benedictus! why Benedictus? you have some moral in this
-Moral! no, by my troth, I have no moral meaning;
You may think perchance that I think you are in love:
of thinking, that you are in love or that you will be in
love or that you can be in love. Yet Benedick was such
another: he swore he would never marry, and yet now, in despite
of his heart, he eats his meat without grudging:
but methinks you look with your eyes as other women do.
-What pace is this that thy tongue keeps?
-Not a false gallop.
-Madam, withdraw: the prince,
the count, Signior Benedick, Don John, and all the gallants
of the town, are come to fetch you to church.
-Help to dress me, good coz, good Meg, good Ursula.
-What would you with me, honest neighbour?
-Marry, sir, I would have some confidence with you that
decerns you nearly. -Brief, I pray you; for you see
it is a busy time with me. -Marry, this it is, sir.
-Yes, in truth it is, sir. -What is it, my good friends?
-Goodman Verges, sir, speaks a little off the matter:
an old woman, sir, and her wits are not so blunt as, God help,
I would desire they were; but, honest as the skin
between her brows. -Yes, I thank God I am as
honest as any man living that is an old man and no honester
than I. -Comparisons are odorous:
palabras, neighbour Verges. -Neighbours, you are tedious.
-It pleases your worship to say so, but we are the poor duke's
officers; but truly, for mine own part, if I were as tedious
as a king, I could find it in my heart to bestow it all of
your worship. -All thy tediousness on me, ah?
-Yea, an 'twere a thousand pound more than 'tis; for I
hear as good exclamation on your worship as of any man in
the city; and though I be but a poor man, I am glad to hear it.
-And so am I. -I would fain know what you
have to say. -Marry, sir, our watch
to-night, excepting your worship's presence, ha' ta'en a
couple of as arrant knaves as any in Messina.
-A good old woman, sir; she will be talking: as they say,
when the age is in, the wit is out: God help us! it is a world
to see. Well said, i' faith, neighbour Verges: well, God's a
good man; an two men ride of a horse, one must ride behind.
An honest soul, i' faith, sir; by my troth she is,
God is to be worshipped; all men are not
alike; alas, good neighbour! -Indeed, neighbour, she comes
too short of you. -Gifts that God gives.
-I must leave you. -One word, sir: our watch
have indeed comprehended two aspicious persons, and we would
have them this morning examined before your worship.
-Take their examination yourself:
now in great haste, as it may appear unto you.
-It shall be suffigance.
-Drink some wine ere you go: fare you well.
-Go, good partner, go, get you to Francis Seacole; bid him
bring his pen and inkhorn to the gaol: we are now to
examination these men. -And we must do it wisely.
-We will spare for no wit, I warrant you; here's that shall
drive some of them to a non-come: only get the learned
writer to set down our excommunication
and meet me at the gaol.
-Come, Friar Francis, be brief;
only to the plain form of marriage, and you shall recount
their duties afterwards.
Please, place your hands upon this book.
-You come hither, my lord, to marry this lady.
-To be married to her: friar, you come to marry her.
-Lady, you come hither to be married to this count.
-If either of you know any inward impediment why you
should not be conjoined, charge you, on your souls, to utter it.
-Know you any, Hero?
-None, my lord. -Know you any, count?
-I dare make his answer, none. -O, what men dare do! what men
may do! what men daily do, not knowing what they do!
-How now! interjections? Why, then, some be of laughing, as,
ah, ha, he! -Stand thee by, friar. Father,
by your leave: Will you with free and unconstrained soul
Give me this maid, your daughter?
-As freely, son, as God did give her me.
-And what have I to give you in return?
-Nothing, unless you render her again.
-Sweet prince, you learn me noble thankfulness. There,
Leonato, take her back again: Give not this rotten orange to
your friend; She's but the sign and semblance of her honour.
Behold how like a maid she blushes here!
Would you not swear that she were a maid,
By these exterior shows?
But she is none: She knows the heat of a luxurious bed;
Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty.
-Count, if you, in your own proof,
Have vanquish'd the resistance of her youth,
And made defeat of her virginity,-- -I know what you would say:
if I have known her, You will say she did embrace me as a
husband: No, Leonato, I
never tempted her with word too large;
show'd Bashful sincerity and comely love.
-And seem'd I ever otherwise to you?
-Out on thee! Seeming! I will write against it: You seem to
me as Dian in her orb, As chaste as is the bud ere it be
blown; That rage in savage sensuality.
-Is my lord well, that he doth speak so wide?
-Sweet prince, why speak not you?
-What should I speak?
I stand dishonour'd, that have gone about
To link my dear friend to a common stale.
-Are these things spoken, or do I but dream?
-Sir, they are spoken, and these things are true.
-This looks not like a nuptial.
-True! O God!
-Leonato, stand I here? Is this the prince?
is this the prince's brother? Is this face Hero's?
are our eyes our own?
-All this is so: but what of this, my lord?
-Let me but move one question to your daughter;
That you have in her, bid her answer truly.
-I charge thee do so, as thou art my child.
-O, God defend me! how am I beset!
What kind of catechising call you this?
-To make you answer truly to your name.
-Is it not Hero? Who can blot that name With any just reproach?
-Marry, that can Hero; Hero itself can
blot out Hero's virtue. What man was he talk'd
with you yesternight betwixt twelve and one?
Now, if you are a maid, answer to this.
-I talk'd with no man at that hour, my lord.
-Why, then are you no maiden. Leonato, I am sorry you must
hear: upon mine honour, Myself, my brother and this grieved
count Did see her, hear her, at that hour last night Talk with
a ruffian at her chamber-window Who hath indeed, most like a
liberal villain, Confess'd the vile encounters they have had
A thousand times in secret. -Fie, fie! they are not to be
named, my lord, Not to be spoke of; There is not chastity
enough in language Without offence to utter them. Thus,
pretty lady, I am sorry for thy much misgovernment.
-O Hero, what a Hero hadst thou been, If half thy outward
graces had been placed About thy thoughts and counsels of
thy heart! But fare thee well, most foul, most fair!
For thee I'll lock up all the gates of love,
And never shall it more be gracious.
-Hath no man's dagger here a point for me?
-Why, how now, cousin! wherefore sink you down?
-Come, let us go. These things, come thus to light,
Smother her spirits up.
-How doth the lady?
-Dead, I think. Hero! why, Hero! Uncle! Signior
Benedick! Friar! -O Fate! take not away thy
heavy hand. Death is the fairest cover for her shame
That may be wish'd for. -How now, cousin Hero!
-Have comfort, lady. -Dost thou look up?
-Yea, wherefore should she not?
-Wherefore! Why, doth not every
earthly thing Cry shame upon her? Could she here deny The
story 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 spirits were stronger than thy shames,
Myself would, on the rearward of reproaches, Strike at thy
life. Grieved I, I had but one? Chid I for that at frugal
nature's frame? O, one too much by thee! Why had I one?
Why had I not with charitable hand Took up a beggar's issue
at my gates, This shame derives itself
from unknown loins'? Who smirch'd thus and mired with infamy,
But mine and mine I loved and mine I
I praised And mine that I was proud on, mine so much That I
myself was to myself not mine, Valuing of her,--why, she, O,
she is fallen Into a pit of ink, drops too few
to wash her clean again And salt too little which
may season give To her foul-tainted flesh!
-Sir, sir, be patient. For my part, I am so attired in
wonder, I know not what to say.
-O, on my soul, my cousin is belied.
-Lady, were you her bedfellow last night?
-No, truly not; although, until
last night, I have this twelvemonth been her bedfellow.
Would the two princes lie, and Claudio lie, Who loved her so,
Hence from her! let her die.
-Hear me a little; For I have
only been silent so long By noting of the lady I have
mark'd A thousand blushing apparitions To start into her
face, a thousand innocent shames In angel whiteness beat
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; Trust not my reading nor my
observations, trust not my age,
My reverence, calling, nor divinity, If this
sweet lady lie not guiltless here.
-Friar, it cannot be. Thou seest that all the grace that
she hath left Is that she will not add to her damnation A sin
of perjury; she not denies it: Why seek'st thou then to cover
-Lady, what man is he you are accused of?
-They know that do accuse me;
I know none: If I know more of any man alive Than that which
maiden modesty doth warrant, Let all my sins lack mercy!
O my father, Prove you that any man with me conversed At hours
unmeet, or that I yesternight Maintain'd the change of words
with any creature, Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death!
-There is some strange misprision in the princes.
-Two of them have the very bent of honour; And if their wisdoms
be misled in this, The practise of it lives in John the
bastard, Whose spirits toil in frame of villanies.
-I know not. If they speak but truth of her, These hands shall
tear her; if they wrong her honour, The proudest of them
shall well hear of it. -Pause awhile, And let my
counsel sway you in this case. Your daughter here the princes
left for dead: Let her awhile be secretly kept in, And publish
it that she is dead indeed; Maintain a mourning ostentation
That appertain unto a burial.
-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 secretly
and justly as your soul Should with your body.
-Being that I flow in grief, The smallest twine may lead me.
-'Tis consented: presently away;
-Come, lady, die to live: this wedding-day Perhaps is but
prolong'd: have patience and endure.
-Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while?
-Yea, and I will weep a while longer.
-I will not desire that.
-You have no reason; I do it freely.
-Surely I do believe your fair cousin is wronged.
-Ah, how much might the man deserve of me that would right her!
-Is there any way to show such friendship?
-A very even way, but no such friend.
-May a man do it? -It is a man's office, but not yours.
-I do love nothing in the world
so well as you: is not that strange?
-As strange as the thing I know not. It were as possible for me
to say I loved nothing so well as you: but believe me not; and
yet I lie not; I confess nothing, nor I deny nothing.
I am sorry for my cousin.
-By my sword, Beatrice, thou lovest me.
-Do not swear, and eat it.
-I will swear by it that you love me; and I will make him
eat it that says I love not you.
-Will you not eat your word? -With no sauce that can be
devised to it. I protest I love thee.
-Why, then, God forgive me! -What offence, sweet Beatrice?
-You have stayed me in a happy hour: I was about to protest I
loved you. -And do it with all thy heart.
-I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest.
-Come, bid me do any thing for thee.
-Ha! not for the wide world. -You kill me to deny it. Farewell.
-Tarry, sweet Beatrice.
-I am gone, though I am here: there is no love in you: nay, I
pray you, let me go. -Beatrice,--
-In faith, I will go. -We'll be friends first.
-You dare easier be friends with me than fight with mine
enemy. -Is Claudio thine enemy?
-Is he not approved in the height a villain, that hath
slandered, scorned, dishonoured my kinswoman?
O that I were a man!
What, bear her in hand until they come to take hands;
and then, with public accusation, uncovered slander,
unmitigated rancour, --
O God, that I were a man!
I would eat his heart in the market-place.
-Hear me, Beatrice,--
-Talk with a man out at a window! A proper saying!
-Nay, but, Beatrice,-- -Sweet Hero! She is wronged,
she is slandered, she is undone.
-Beat-- -Use it for my love some other
way than swearing by it. -Think you in your soul
the Count Claudio hath wronged Hero?
-Yea, as sure as I have a thought or a soul.
-Enough, I am engaged; I will challenge him. I will kiss your
hand, and so I leave you. By this hand, Claudio shall render
me a dear account. As you hear of me, so think of me.
Go, comfort your cousin: I must say she is dead: and so, farewell.
-Is our whole dissembly appeared?
-O, a stool and a cushion for the sexton.
-Which be the malefactors?
-Marry, that am I and my partner. -Nay, that's certain; we have
the exhibition to examine. -But which are the offenders
that are to be examined? let them come before master constable.
-Yea, marry, let them come before me.
What is your name, friend?
-Borachio. -Pray, write down, Borachio.
Yours, sirrah? -I am a gentlelady, sir, and my
name is Conrade. -Write down, master lady Conrade.
Masters, do you serve God?
-Yea, sir, we hope. -Yea, sir, we hope.
-Write down, that they hope they serve God: and write God
first; for God defend but God should go before such villains!
Masters, it is proved already that you are little better than
false knaves; and it will go near to be thought so shortly.
How answer you for yourselves? -Marry, sir, we say we are none.
-A marvellous witty fellow, I assure you: but I will go about
with him. Come you hither, sirrah; a word in your ear: sir,
I say to you, it is thought you are false knaves.
-Sir, I say to you we are none.
-'Fore God, they are both in a tale.
Have you writ down, that they are none?
-Master constable, you go not the way to examine: you must
call forth the watch that are their accusers.
-Yea, marry, that's the eftest way. Let the watch come forth.
I charge you, in the prince's name, accuse these men.
-This man said, sir, that Don John, the prince's brother, was a villain.
-Write down Prince John a villain. Why, this is flat
perjury, to call a prince's brother villain.
-Pray thee: I do not like thy look, I promise thee.
-What heard you him say else? -Marry, that he had received a
thousand ducats of Don John for accusing the Lady Hero
wrongfully. -Flat burglary as ever was
committed. -Yea, by mass, that it is.
-What else, fellow? -And that Count Claudio
upon his words, would disgrace Hero before the whole
assembly. and not marry her. -O villain! thou wilt be
condemned into everlasting redemption for this.
-What else? -This is all.
-And this is more, masters, than you can deny. Prince John
is this morning secretly stolen away; Hero was in this manner
accused, in this very manner suddenly died.
Master constable, let these men be
bound, and brought to Leonato's: I will go before and
show him their examination. -Come, let them be opinioned.
-Let them be in the hands-- -Off, coxcomb!
-God's my life, where's the sexton? let him write down the
prince's officer coxcomb. Come, bind them. Thou naughty varlet!
-Away! you are an ass, you are an ass.
-Dost thou not suspect my place? dost thou not suspect my
years? O that he were here to write me down an ass!
I am an officer, and, which is more, a householder, and,
which is more, a wise man, and which is more as pretty a piece
of flesh as any is in Messina,
and one that knows the law, go to; and a rich fellow
and a fellow that hath had losses, and one that hath two gowns
and every thing handsome about him. Bring him away.
O that I had been writ down an ass!
-If you go on thus, you will kill yourself: And 'tis not
wisdom thus to second grief Against yourself.
-I pray thee, cease thy counsel,
-Nor let no comforter delight mine ear But such a one whose
wrongs do suit with mine. Bring me a father that so loved his
child, Whose joy of her is overwhelm'd like mine, And bid
him speak of patience; Measure his woe the length and
breadth of mine And let it answer every strain for strain,
As thus for thus and such a grief for such, In every
lineament, branch, shape, and form:
Bid sorrow wag, cry 'hem!' when he should groan,
Patch grief with proverbs, make misfortune drunk
bring him yet to me, And I of him will gather
patience. But there is no such man: for, brother, men Can
counsel and speak comfort to that grief
Their counsel turns to passion, that passion to rage.
No, no; 'tis all men's office to speak patience
Therefore give me no counsel:
My griefs cry louder than advertisement.
-Therein do men from children nothing differ.
-I pray thee, peace; For there was
never yet philosopher That could endure
the toothache patiently, -Yet bend not all the harm upon
yourself; Make those that do offend you suffer too.
-There thou speak'st reason:
nay, I will do so. My soul doth tell me Hero is belied;
And that shall Claudio know; so shall the prince.
And all of them that thus dishonour her.
-Here comes the prince and Claudio hastily.
-Good den, good den.
-Good day to both of you. -Hear you. my lords,--
-We have some haste, Leonato. -Some haste, my lord! well,
fare you well, my lord: Are you so hasty now?
-Nay, do not quarrel with us, good old man.
-If he could right himself with quarreling, Some of us would
lie low. -Who wrongs him?
-Marry, thou dost wrong me; thou dissembler, thou:--
Nay, never lay thy hand upon thy sword; I fear thee not.
-In faith, my hand meant nothing to my sword.
-Tush, tush, man; never fleer and jest at me:
Thou hast so wrong'd mine innocent child and me
And, with grey hairs and bruise of many days, Do
challenge thee to trial of a man.
Thy slander hath gone through and through her heart, And she
lies buried with her ancestors; O, in a tomb where never
scandal slept, Save this of hers, framed by thy villany!
-My villany? -Thine, I say.
-You say not right, old man. -I'll prove it on his body, if
he dare, Despite his nice fence and his active practise, His
May of youth and bloom of lustihood.
-Away! I will not have to do with you.
-Thou hast kill'd my child: If thou
kill'st me, boy, thou shalt kill a man.
-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, sir boy,
I'll whip you from your foining fence;
Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will.
-Brother,-- -Content yourself. God knows I
loved my niece; And she is dead, slander'd to death by
villains, As I dare take a serpent by
the tongue: Boys, apes, braggarts, Jacks, milksops!
-Brother Antony,-- -Hold you content. What, man!
I know them, yea, And what they weigh, even to the utmost
scruple,-- Scrambling, out-facing, fashion-monging
boys, That lie and cog and flout, deprave and slander,
show outward hideousness, And speak off half
a dozen dangerous words,
-But, brother Antony,--
-Come, 'tis no matter: Do not you meddle; let me deal in this.
-Gentlemen both, we will not
wake your patience. My heart is sorry for your daughter's
death: But, on my honour, she was charged with nothing But
what was true and very full of proof.
-No? Come, brother; away! I will be heard.
-And shall, or some of us will smart for it.
-See, see; here comes the man we went to seek.
-Now, signior, what news? -Good day, my lord.
-Welcome, signior: you are almost come to part almost a fray.
-We had like to have had our two noses snapped off
with two old men without teeth.
-Leonato and his brother. What thinkest thou? Had we fought,
I doubt we should have been too young for them.
-In a false quarrel there is no true valour. I came to seek you both.
-We have been up and down to seek thee;
Wilt thou use thy wit?
-It is in my scabbard: shall I draw it?
-Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side?
-I will bid thee draw, to pleasure us.
-As I am an honest man, he
looks pale. Art thou sick, or angry?
-thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.
-Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career, and you charge it
against me. I pray you choose another subject.
-Nay, then, give him another staff: this last was broke cross.
-By this light, he changes more and more: I think he be angry indeed.
-If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle.
-Shall I speak a word in your ear?
-God bless me from a challenge! -You are a villain; I jest 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 cowardice.
You have killed a sweet lady, and her death shall fall heavy
on you. Let me hear from you. -Well, I will meet you, so I
may have good cheer. -What, a feast, a feast?
-curiously, say my knife's naught. Shall I not find a
woodcock too? -Sir, your wit ambles well; it
goes easily. -I'll tell thee how Beatrice
praised thy wit the other day. I said, thou hadst a fine wit:
'True,' said she, 'a fine little one.' 'No,' said I,
'a great wit:' 'Right,' says she, 'a great gross one.' 'Nay,'
said I, 'a good wit:' 'Just,' said she, 'it hurts nobody.'
'Nay,' said I, 'the gentleman is wise:' 'Certain,' said she,
'a wise gentleman.' 'Nay,' said I, 'he hath the
tongues:' 'That I believe,' said she, 'for he swore a thing
to me on Monday night, which he forswore on Tuesday morning;
there's a double tongue; there's two tongues.' Thus did
she, an hour together, transshape thy particular
virtues: yet at last she concluded with a sigh,
thou wast the properest man in Italy.
-For the which she wept heartily and said she cared not.
-Yea, that she did: but if she did not
hate him deadly, she would love him dearly:
the old man's daughter told us all.
-God saw him when he was hid in the garden.
-But when shall we set the
savage bull's horns on the sensible Benedick's head?
-Yea, and text underneath,
'Here dwells Benedick the the married man'?
-Fare you well, boy: you know
my mind. I will leave you now to your gossip-like humour:
you break jests as braggarts do their blades, which God be
thanked, 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 Lackbeard there, he and I
shall meet: and, till then, peace be with him.
-He is in earnest.
-In most profound earnest; for the love of Beatrice.
-And hath challenged thee. -Most sincerely.
-What a pretty thing man is when he goes in his doublet and
hose and leaves off his wit! -He is then a giant to an ape;
but then is an ape a doctor to such a man.
-But, soft you, let me be: pluck up, my heart, and be sad.
Did he not say, my brother was fled?
-Come you, sir: if justice cannot tame you, she shall
ne'er weigh more reasons in her balance: nay, an you be a
cursing hypocrite once, you must be looked to.
-How now? two of my brother's men bound! Borachio one!
-Hearken after their offence, my lord.
-Marry, sir, they have committed false report;
moreover, they have spoken untruths; secondarily, they are
slanders; sixth and lastly, they have belied a lady;
thirdly, they have verified unjust things; and, to
conclude, they are lying knaves.
-First, I ask thee what they have done; thirdly, I ask thee
what's their offence; sixth and lastly, why they are committed;
and, to conclude, what you lay to their charge.
-Rightly reasoned, and in his own division: and, by my troth,
there's one meaning well suited.
-Sweet prince, let me go no farther to mine answer:
do you hear me, and let this count kill me. I have deceived even
your very eyes: what your wisdoms could not discover,
these shallow fools have brought to light: who in the
night overheard me confessing to this woman how Don John your
brother incensed me to slander the Lady Hero, how you
saw me court Margaret in Hero's garments,
how you disgraced her, when you should marry her:
my villany they have upon record; which
I had rather seal with my death than repeat over to my
shame. The lady is dead upon mine and my master's false
accusation; and, briefly, I desire nothing but the reward of a villain.
-Runs not this speech like iron through your blood?
-I have drunk poison whiles he utter'd it.
-But did my brother set thee on to this?
-Yea, and paid me richly for the practise of it.
-Sweet Hero! now thy image doth
appear In the rare semblance that I loved it first.
-Come, bring away the plaintiffs: by this time our
sexton hath reformed Signior Leonato of the matter:
and, do not forget to specify, when time and place
shall serve, that I am an ass.
-Which is the villain? let me see his eyes,
That, when I note another man like him,
I may avoid him: which of these is he?
-If you would know your wronger, look on me.
-Art thou the slave that with thy breath hast kill'd Mine