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pray you, watch about signior Leonato's door; for
the wedding being there to-morrow, there is a great
suil to-night: Adieu, be vigitant, I beseech you.

Bra. What! Conrade, -
Watch. Peace, stir not.

Bora. Conrade, I say!

Con. Here, man, I am at thy elbow.

2 Watch. Call up the right master Constable: we

Bora. Mass, and my elbow itched; I thought, have here recovered the most dangerous piece of there would a scab follow.


Con. I will owe thee an answer for that; and now forward with thy tale.

Bara. Stand thee close then under this pent. house, for it drizzles rain; and I will, like a true drunkard, utter all to thee.

Watch. [aside.] Some treason, masters; yet stand close.

Bora. Therefore know, I have earned of Don John a thousand ducats.

Con. Is it possible that any villainy should be so dear?

Bora. Thou should'st rather ask, if it were possiole any villainy should be so rich; for when rich villins have need of poor ones, poor ones may ake what price they will.

Con. I wonder at it.

Bora. That shows, thou art unconfirmed: Thou knowest, that the fashion of a doublet, or a hat, or a cloak, is nothing to a man.

Con. Yes, it is apparel.

Bora. I mean, the fashion

Con. Yes, the fashion is the fashion.

Bora. Tush! I may as well say, the fool's the fool. But see'st thou not what a deformed thief this fashion is?

Watch. I know that Deformed; he has been a vile thief this seven year; he goes up and down like a gentleman: I remember his name.

Bora. Didst thou not hear somebody?
Con. No; 'twas the vane on the house.

Bora. Seest thou not, I say, what a deformed thief this fashion is? how giddily he turns about all the hot bloods, between fourteen and five and thirty? sometime, fashioning them like Pharaoh's soldiers in the reechy painting; sometime, like god Bel's priests in the old church window; sometime, like the shaven Hercules in the smirched worm-eaten tapestry, where his cod-piece seems as massy as his club?

Con. All this I see; and 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?

Bora. Not so neither: but know, that I have tonight 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, Claudio, and my master, planted, and placed, and possessed by my master Don John, saw afar off in the orchard this miable encounter.


but chiefly by my villainy, 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 over-night, and send her home again without a husband.

Con. And thought they, Margaret was Hero? Bora. 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,

1 Watch. We charge you in the prince's name, stand.

lechery that ever was known in the commonwealth. 1 Watch. And one Deformed is one of them; I know him, he wears a lock.

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Hero. Fye upon thee! art not ashamed? Marg. 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: an bad thinking do not wrest true speaking, I'll offend nobody: Is there any harm in the heavier for a husband? None, I think, an it be the right husband, and the right wife; otherwise 'tis light, and not heavy: Ask my lady Beatrice else, here she comes.

Hero. Good morrow, coz.
Bent. Good morrow, sweet Hero.

Hero. Why, how now! do you speak in the sick tune?

Beat. I am out of all other tune, methinks. Marg. Clap us into-Light o' love; that goes without a burden; do you sing it, and I'll dance it. Beat. Yea, Light o' love, with your heels! - then if your husband have stables enough, you'll see he

shall lack no barns.

Marg. O illegitimate construction! I scorn that with my heels.

Beat. 'Tis almost five o'clock, cousin; 'tis time you were ready. By my troth I am exceeding ill:hey ho!

Verg. Yes, I thank God, I am as honest as any man living, that is an old man, and no honester than I.

Dogb. Comparisons are odorous: palabras, neighbour Verges.

Marg. For a hawk, a horse, or a husband?

Leon. Neighbours, you are tedious.

Beat. For the letter that begins them all, H. Marg. Well, an you be not turned Turk, there's no more sailing by the star.

Dogb. 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 in my heart to bestow it all of your worship.

Beat. What means the fool, trow? Marg. Nothing I; but God send every one their heart's desire !

Leon. All thy tediousness on me! ha!

Hero. These gloves the count sent me, they are an excellent perfume.

Beat. I am stuffed, cousin, I cannot smell. Marg. A maid, and stuffed! there's goodly catch-be ing of cold.

Dogb. Yea, and 'twere a thousand times more than 'tis for I hear as good exclamation on your worship, as of any man in the city; and though I but a poor man, I am glad to hear it. Verg. And so am I.

Beat. O, God help me! God help me! how long have you profess'd apprehension ?

Leon. I would fain know what you have to say.
Verg. Marry, sir, our watch to-night, excepting

Marg. Ever since you left it: doth not my wit your worship's presence, have ta'en a couple of as become me rarely? arrant knaves as any in Messina.

Beat. It is not seen enough, you should wear it in your cap. By my troth, I am sick. Marg. Get you some of this distilled Carduus Benedictus, and lay it to your heart; it is the only thing for a qualm.


Dogb. A good old man, sir; he 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 he is, as ever broke bread: but God is to be worshipped: All men are not alike; alas, good neighbour!

Leon. Indeed, neighbour, he comes too short of you.

Dogb. Gifts, that God gives.
Leon. I must leave you.

Hero. There thou prick'st her with a thistle. Beat. Benedictus! why Benedictus? you have some moral in this Benedictus.

Marg. Moral? no, by my troth, I have no moral meaning; I meant, plain holy-thistle. You may think, perchance, that I think you are in love: nay, by'r lady, I am not such a fool to think what I list; nor I list not to think what I can; nor, indeed, I cannot think, if I would think my heart out 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, and now is he become a man he swore he would never marry; and yet now, in despite of his heart, he eats his meat without grudging: and how you may be converted, I know not; but, methinks, you look with your eyes as other women do. Beat. What pace is this that thy tongue keeps? Marg. Not a false gallop.

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Leon. Brief, I pray you; for you see, 'tis a busy time with me.

Dogb. Marry, sir, I would have some confidence with you, that decerns you nearly.

Dogb. Marry, this it is, sir.
V'erg. Yes, in truth it is, sir.
Leon. What is it, my good friends.

Dogb. Goodman Verges, sir, speaks a little off the matter: an old man, sir, and his wits are not so blunt, as, God help, I would desire they were; but, in faith, honest, as the skin between his brows.

Dogb. One word, sir: our watch, sir, have, indeed, comprehended two aspicious persons, and we would have them this morning examined before your worship.

Leon. Take their examination yourself, and bring it me; I am now in great haste, as it may appear unto you.

Dogb. It shall be suffigance.
Leon. Drink some wine ere you go: fare


Enter a Messenger.

Mess. My lord, they stay for you to give your daughter to her husband.

Leon. I will wait upon them; I am ready. [Exeunt LEONATO and Messenger. Dogb. Go, good partner, go, get you to Francis Seacoal, bid him bring his pen and inkhorn to the gaol we are now to examination these men. Verg. And we must do it wisely.


Dogb. We will spare for no wit, I warrant you; here's that [touching his forehead.] shall drive some of them to a non com: only get the learned writer to set down our excommunication, and meet me at the gaol. [Exeunt.

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SCENE I. -The Inside of a Church. Enter Don PEDRO, Don JOHN, LEONATO, Friar, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK, HERO, and BEATRICE, &c.

Leon. Come, friar Francis, be brief; only to the plain form of marriage, and you shall recount their particular duties afterwards.

Friar. You come hither, my lord, to marry this lady? Claud. No.

Leon. To be married to her, friar; you come to marry her.

Friar. Lady, you come hither to be married to this count?

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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:
O, what authority and show of truth
Can cunning sin cover itself withal!
Comes not that blood, as modest evidence,
To witness simple virtue? Would you not swear,
All you that see her, 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.

Leon. What do you mean, my lord? Claud. Not to be married, Not knit my soul to an approved wanton. Leon. Dear my lord, if you, in your own proof Have vanquish'd the resistance of her youth, And made defeat of her virginity,

Claud. I know what you would say; If I have known her,

You'll say, she did embrace me as a husband,
And so extenuate the 'forehand sin :
No, Leonato,

I never tempted her with word too large;
But, as a brother to his sister show'd
Bashful sincerity, and comely love.

Hero. And seem'd I ever otherwise to you? Claud. Out on thy seeming! I will write agair st it: You seem to me as Dian in her orb;

As chaste as is the bud ere it be blown ;
But you are more intemperate in your blood
Than Venus, or those pamper'd animals
That rage in savage sensuality.

Hero. Is my lord well, that he doth speak so wide?
Leon. Sweet prince, why speak not you?
D. Pedro.
What should I speak?

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 dream?
D. John. Sir, they are spoken, and these things

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And, by that fatherly and kindly power
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. Why, then are you no maiden.

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.

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D. John. Fy, fye! 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.

Claud. 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! farewell, Thou pure impiety, and impious purity! For thee I'll lock up all the gates of love, And on my eye-lids sha conjecture hang, To turn all beauty into thoughts of harm, And never shall it more be gracious.

Leon. Hath no man's dagger here a point for me? [HERO Swoons. Beat. Why, how now, cousin? wherefore sink you down?

D. John. Come, let us go: these things, come thus to light, Smother her spirits up.

[Exeunt Don PEDRO, Don JOHN, and CLAUDIO


Bene. How doth the lady? Beat. Dead, I think;-help, uncle; Hero! why, Hero! - Uncle!--Signior Benedick! - friar!

Leon. 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?
Friar. Have comfort, lady.

Friar. Yea; Wherefore should she not?
Leon. Wherefore? Why, doth not every earthly

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 would'st not quickly die,
Thought I thy spirits were stronger than thy shames,
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?
O, 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 thus, and mired with infamy,
I might have said, No part of it is mine,
This shame derives itself from unknown loins?
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 - O, 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 tainted flesh!


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


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 convers'd Dost thou look up? At hours unmeet, or that I yesternight Maintain'd the change of words with any creature, Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death.

Friar. There is some strange misprision in the princes.

Beat. O, on my soul, my cousin is belied! Bene. Lady, where 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! O, that is stronger made,

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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

die. Friar. 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 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, Which with experimental seal doth warrant The tenour of my book; trust not my age, My reverence, calling, nor divinity, If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here Under some biting error.

Leon. 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:

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Bene. Two of them have the very bent of honour; And if their wisdoms bę misled in this, The practice of it lives in John the bastard, Whose spirits toil in frame of villainies.

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Friar. 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,
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 mourr.
(If ever love had interest in his liver),
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 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,

Out of all eyes, tongues, minds, and injuries.
Bene. 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.

Levn. Being that I flow in grief, The smallest twine may lead me. Friar. 'Tis well consented; presently away; For to strange sores strangely they strain the


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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. Bene. By my sword, Beatrice, thou lovest me. Beat. Do not swear by it, and eat it.


Bene. I will swear by it, that you love me; and I will make him eat it, that says, I love not you. Beat. Will you not eat your word?

Bene. With no sauce that can be devised to it: protest, I love thee.

Beat. Why then, God forgive me!

Bene. What offence, sweet Beatrice?

Beat. You have staid me in a happy hour; I was about to protest I loved you.

Bene. And do it with all thy heart.

Beat. I love you with so much of my heart, that none is left to protest.

Bene. Come, bid me do any thing for thee.
Beat. Kill Claudio.

Bene. Ha! not for the wide world.

Beat. You kill me to deny it: Farewell.

Bene. Tarry, sweet Beatrice.

There is


Beat. I am gone, though I am here ;
no love in you:
Nay, I pray you, let me go.
Bene. Beatrice,

Beat. In faith, I will go.

Bene. We'll be friends first.

Beat. You dare easier be friends with me, than fight with mine enemy.

Bene. Is Claudio thine enemy?

Beat. Is he not approved in the height a viltain, that hath slandered, scorned, dishonoured my

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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. Bene. Hear me, Beatrice;

Beat. Talk with a man out at a window? proper saying.

Bene. Nay but, Beatrice ; —

Beat. Sweet Hero' - she is wronged, she is slandered, she is undone.

Bene. Beat

Beat. Princes, and counties! Surely, a princely testimony, a goodly count-confect; a sweet gallant, surely! O 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 courtesics, 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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