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I stand dishonour'd, that have gone about
To link my dear friend to a common stale."
Leon. Are these things spoken? or do I but

About thy thoughts, and counsels of thy heart!
But fare thee well, most foul, most fair! farewell,
Thou pure impiety, and impious purity!
For thee I'll lock up all the gates of love,

D. John. Sir, they are spoken, and these things And on my eyelids shall conjecture hang,fi

are true.

Bene. This looks not like a nuptial.


True! O God! Claud. Leonato, stand I here ? Is this the prince? is this the prince's brother? Is this face Hero's? are our eyes our own?

Leon. All this is so: but what of this, my lord? Claud. Let me but move one question to your daughter;

And, by that fatherly and kindly power
That you have in her, bid her answer truly.
Leon. I charge thee do so, as thou art my child.
Hero. O God! defend me! how am I beset!-
What kind of catechising call you this?

Claud. To make you answer truly to your name. Hero. 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
Out at your window, betwixt twelve and one?
Now, if you are a maid, answer to this.

Hero. I talk'd with no man at that hour, my lord.

D. Pedro.


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Why, then are you no maiden.— Cry shame upon her? Could she here deny

I am sorry you must hear: upon mine honour,
Myself, my brother, and this grievèd 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 liberalꞌ villain,
Confess'd the vile encounters they have had
A thousand times in secret.

D. John.
Fie, fie! they are
Not to be nam'd, 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.10

Claud. O Hero! what a Hero hadst thou been, If half thy outward graces had been plac'd

belief by as quick a resolve to publicly "shame her" (Act iii., SC. 2).

6. Stale. See Note 50, Act ii.

7. True! Hero repeats Don John's last word. This is one of the several instances we shall point out, where Shakespeare makes a speaker refer farther back than to the speech or words immediately preceding those in which the reference occurs. 8. Kindly power. Used for 'right derived from kindred.' 9. Liberal. Sometimes, as here, used for free, licentious. 10. Misgovernment. This word is here used with greater force of meaning in criminality than ill-governed behaviour, misconduct; as Shakespeare elsewhere uses the word " government" (for a womanly attribute) with more ample signification than it now bears.

The story that is printed in her blood ?13—
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


Myself would, on the rearward of reproaches,"
Strike at thy life. Griev'd I, I had but one?
Chid I for that at frugal Nature's frame ?1s
Oh, one too much by thee! Why had I one?
Why ever wast thou lovely in my eyes?
Why had I not with charitable hand
Took up a beggar's issue at my gates,
Who smirched 16 thus and mir'd with infamy,
I might have said, “No part of it is mine;
This shame derives itself from unknown loins ?"

11. On my eyelids shall conjecture hang. My eyes shall conjecture hidden defects in every woman they see.'

12. Gracious. Used for winning, attractive, captivating. 13. Printed in her blood. Testified to be true by her blushes. 14. On the rearward of reproaches. "Rearward" (the word in the Quarto) is misprinted 'reward' in the Folio; but the passage means 'I would, following up these reproaches by death, kill thee myself.'

15. Frame. Used here for order, ordination, disposal of events. In "Love's Labour's Lost," Act iii., sc. 1, Shakespeare has the word precisely in the sense of 'order,' 'regular condition: "Like a German clock, still a repairing, ever out of frame.'

16. Smirched. See Note 47. Act iii.



But mine, and mine I lov'd, and mine I prais'd,
And mine that I was proud on; mine so much,
That I myself was to myself not mine,
Valuing of her; why, she-Oh, she is fallen
Into a pit of ink, that the wide sea

Hath drops too few to wash her clean again,
And salt too little, which may season give
To her foul 17 tainted flesh !


Sir, sir, be patient.
For my part, I am so attir'd in wonder,
I know not what to say.

Beat. Oh, on my soul, my cousin îs belied!
Bene. Lady, were you her bedfellow last night?
Beat. No, truly, not; although, until last night,
I have this twelvemonth been her bedfellow.
Leon. Confirm'd, confirm'd! Oh, that is stronger

Which was before barr'd up with ribs of iron!
Would the two princes lie? and Claudio lie,
Who lov'd her so, that, speaking of her foulness,
Wash'd it with tears? Hence from her! let her


F. Fran. Hear me a little;

For I have only been silent so long,

And given way unto this course of fortune,
By noting of the lady: I have mark'd
A thousand blushing apparitions start
Into her face; a thousand innocent shames
In angel whiteness bear away 18 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 observation,
Which with experimental seal doth warrant
The tenour of my book; 19 trust not my age,
My reverence, calling, nor divinity,
If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here
Under some biting error.20

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17. Foul. For foully. An adjective used adverbially is a poetic licence employed by many writers; and yet it has been proposed to change "foul tainted" here, as if the expresion were wrong. 18 In angel whiteness bear away, &c. The Quarto prints 'beat' instead of "bear;" and many editors follow the Quarto reading. But "bear" (the word in the Folio) appears to us to be more in harmony with the whole passage.

19. The tenour of my book. "Book" here refers to the "reading" mentioned in the line above; and the whole sentence means "Which ["my observation"] confirms with the seal of experience what my reading asserts."

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20. Biting error. It has been proposed to change "biting' for blighting' here; but Shakespeare elsewhere uses the word

Hero. They know that do accuse me: I know


If I know more of any man alive,

Than that which maiden modesty doth warrant,
Let all my sins lack mercy!-Oh, my father!
Prove you that any man with me convers'd
At hours unmeet,21 or that I yesternight
Maintain'd the change of words with any creature,
Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death.
F. Fran. There is some strange misprision in
the princes.

Bene. Two of them have the very bent of honour; 23

And if their wisdoms be misled in this,
The practice of it lives in John the bastard,
Whose spirits toil in frame of villainies.24

Leon. 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.

Time hath not yet so dried this blood of mine,
Nor age so eat up my invention,

Nor fortune made such havoc of my means,
Nor my bad life reft me so much of friends,
But they shall find, awak'd in such a kind,
Both strength of limb and policy of mind,
Ability in means and choice of friends,
To quit me of them throughly.25

F. Fran.

Pause a while,

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,26
And on your family's old monument
Hang mournful epitaphs, and do all rites
That appertain unto a burial.

Leon. What shall become of this? what will this do?

F. Fran. Marry, this, well carried, shall on her behalf

Change slander to remorse ;—that is some good:
But not for that dream I on this strange course,
But on this travail look for greater birth.
She dying, as it must be so maintain’d,

"biting" to express 'keenly piercing,' 'acutely painful,' 'sorely distressing.' For instance, in "Merry Wives," Act v., sc. 5, we find-"To repay that money will be a biting affliction." 21. Unmeet. Unfit, unseemly, improper.

22. Misprision. Used for mistake, misconception.

23. The very bent of honour. The utmost degree or strain of honour. See Note 71, Act ii.

24. Frame of villainies. Framing, construction, or composition of villainies.

25. To quit me of them throughly. To procure me thorough requital or redress from them. See Note 44, Act v., "Measure for Measure," and Note 18, Act iii., "The Tempest." 26. Ostentation. Show, appearance, demonstration.

Upon the instant that she was accus'd,
Shall be lamented, pitied, and excus'd
Of every hearer: for it so falls out,
That what we have we prize not to the worth
Whiles we enjoy it; but being lack'd and lost,
Why, then we rack the value, then we find
The virtue that possession would not show us,
Whiles it was ours.-So will it fare with Claudio:
When he shall hear she died upon his words,
The idea of her life shall sweetly creep
Into his study of imagination;

And every lovely organ of her life

Shall come apparell'd in more precious habit,
More moving delicate, and full of life,
Into the eye and prospect of his soul,

Than when she liv'd indeed; then shall he mourn,
(If ever love had interest in his liver), 28
And wish he had not so accused her,-
No, though he thought his accusation true.
Let this be so, and doubt not but success
Will fashion the event in better shape
Than I can lay it down in likelihood.
But if all aim 29 but this be levell'd false,
The supposition of the lady's death
Will quench the wonder of her infamy :
And if it sort not well, you may conceal her
(As best befits her wounded reputation)
In some reclusive and religious life,


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Bene. Is there any way to show such friendship? Beat. A very even way, but no such friend. Bene. May a man do it?

Beat. It is a man's office, but not yours. Bene. I do love nothing in the world so well as you is not that strange ?

Beat. 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.


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27. Rack the value. Exaggerate or overstrain the value; stretch it to its utmost.

28. In his liver. See Note 7, Act iv., "The Tempest." 29. All aim. "Aim" is here used for desired end,' 'drift,' or 'scope;' rather the object or mark aimed at, than the aim taken.


30. If it sort not well. Shakespeare sometimes uses sort to express 'fall out,' 'happen or concur befittingly;' so in the last scene of this play we find-"I am glad that all things sort so well."

31. Inwardness and love is very much, &c. Shakespeare uses "inwardness" for 'intimacy' here, as he uses "inward" for 'intimate' (see Note 51, Act iii., "Measure for Measure"); and he frequently has the verb in the singular after two nouns, as "is" after "inwardness and love."

32. Being that I flow in grief, the smallest, &c. Not only is this facile yielding to friendly representations true to human nature in distress, but it is conveyed in an illustrative metaphor as perfectly true to the laws of natural philosophy.

33 A very even way. Shakespeare here uses the word "even" in its senses of smooth, unrugged, level, and direct, straightforward, undeviating.

34. Deny it. Refuse to do it.

35. I am gone, though I am here. Beatrice's way of saying she is gone in spirit, though held there personally by Benedick's detaining hand. She wishes him to think that he keeps her there against her will; but she feels that she pretends to go, while she can't help staying. Anything more perfectly characteristic than this charming little love-declaration scene, was never written even by the Prince of Dramatists himself.

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Talk with a man out at a window!-a proper saying!

Bene. Nay, but Beatrice,

Beat. Sweet Hero!-she is wrong'd, she is slandered, she is undone.

Bene. Beat

Beat. Princes and counties !38 Surely, a princely testimony, a goodly count, count confect; a sweet gallant, surely! Oh, that I were a man for his sake! or that I had any friend would be a man for my sake! But manhood is melted into courtesies, valour into compliment, and men are only turned into tongue, and trim ones too:" he is now as valiant as Hercules that only tells a lie, and swears it. I cannot be a man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving.

Bene. Tarry, good Beatrice. By this hand, I love thee.

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Con. I am a gentleman, sir, and my name is Conrade.

Dog. Write down-master gentleman Conrade.
-Masters, do you serve God?

Con. Yea, sir, we hope.
Bora. S

Dog. 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?
Con. Marry, sir, we say we are none.

Dog. A marvellous witty's 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

Beat. Use it for my love some other way than thought you are false knaves. swearing by it.

Bene. Think you in your soul the Count Claudio hath wronged Hero?

Beat. Yea, as sure as I have a thought or a soul. Bene. Enough! I am engag'd; I will challenge him. I will kiss your hand, and so 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. [Exeunt.

SCENE 11-A Prison.

Enter DOGBERRY, VERGES, and Sexton, in gowns; and the Watch, with CONRADE and BORACHIO. Dog. Is our whole dissembly" appeared?


36. Approved. Used here, as elsewhere, for 'proved.' 37. Bear her in hand. To "bear in hand was an idiom for 'beguile onward,' 'lure by false encouragement,' 'delude by maintaining an appearance of good-will.'

38. Princes and counties! "County" was a title applied to noblemen generally.

39. Count confect. "Confect" (now corrupted into 'comfit') and the modern word 'confectionary' are derived from the Italian word confetti, sugar-plums. Beatrice's nickname for the contemptible Claudio is characteristic and apt indeed.

40. Turned into tongue, and trim ones too. Shakespeare sometimes gives easy effect to his dialogue, by thus using a singular substantive (as "tongue" here) followed by a plural re


Bora. Sir, I say to you we are none.

Dog. Well, stand aside.-'Fore Heaven, they are both in a tale. Have you writ down-that they are none?

Sex. Master constable, you go not the way to examine: you must call forth the watch that are their accusers.


Dog. Yea, marry, that's the eftest way.—Let the watch come forth,-Masters, I charge you, in the prince's name, accuse these men,

First Watch. This man said, sir, that Don John, the prince's brother, was a villain,

Dog. Write down-Prince John a villain.— Why, this is flat perjury, to call a prince's brother


Bora. Master Constable,

ference (as "trim ones"). By "trim" he seems to mean neat, spruce, dapper, dainty, smooth-spoken.

41. Dissembly. For assembly.

42. Marry. A corruption of By Mary.'

43. The exhibition to examine. Verges means to say-'We
have the examination to exhibit;' that is, to show Leonato, who
has said (Act iii., sc. 5)-"Take their examination yourself and
bring it me." Shortly after, in this scene, the sexton says-
"I will go before, and show him their examination."
44. God defend but, &c. "Defend" is here used in the sense
of 'forbid.' See Note 9, Act ii.
45. Witty.
46. Eftest

Used for sharp, clever, quick-witted.
Quickest, speediest, readiest.


Dogberry. Yea, marry, let them come before me.-What is your name, friend?
Sec. Watch. This is all.

Dog. Pray thee, fellow, peace: I do not like thy look, I promise thee.

Sex. What heard you him say else?

Sec. Watch. Marry, that he had received a thousand ducats of Don John, for accusing the Lady Hero wrongfully.

Dog. Flat burglary as ever was committed,
Verg. Yea, by the mass, that it is.

Sex. What else, fellow?

First Watch. And that Count Claudio did mean, upon his words, to disgrace Hero before the whole assembly, and not marry her.

Act IV. Scene II.

Sex. 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 refused; and upon the grief of this, suddenly died.-Master Constable, let these men be bound, and brought to Leonato's: I will go before, and show him their examination.

Dog. Come, let them be opinioned.49
Verg. Let them be in the hands-50
Con. Off, coxcomb!


Dog. Od's my life! where's the sexton? let him

Dog. Oh, villain! thou wilt be condemned into write down-the prince's officer, coxcomb.-Come, everlasting redemption for this,

Sex. What else?

47. Ducats. A "ducat" was a coin so named from having originally been minted by dukes. A silver ducat was worth about four shillings and sixpence; a gold ducat, nine and sixpence.

bind them.-Thou naughty varlet!

Con. Away! you are an ass, you are an ass.

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