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count John's mouth, and half count John's melancholy in seignior Benedick's face,
Beat. With a good leg, and a good foot, uncle, and money enough in his purse, such a man would win any woman in the world, —if he could get her good will.
, Leon. By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee a husband, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.
Ant. In faith, she is too curst.
Beat. 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
Leon. So, by being too curst, God will send you no horns.
Beat. 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
Leon. You may light upon a husband that hath no beard.
Beat. What should I do with him ? dress him in my apparel, and make him my waiting gentlewoman? He that hath a beard, is more than a youth ; and he that hath no beard, is less than a man: and he that is more than a youth, is not for me ; and he that is less than a man, I am not for him. Therefore I will even take sixpence in earnest of the bear-herd, and lead his
apes into hell.
Leon. Well, then, go you into hell ?
Beat. No; but to the gate; and there will the devil meet me, like an old cuckold, with horns on his head,
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.
Ant. Well, niece, [To Hero.] I trust you will be ruled by your father.
. Beat. Yes, faith ; it is my cousin's duty to make courtesy, and say, Father, as it please you :—but yet for all that, cousin, let him be a handsome fellow, or else make another courtesy, and say, Father, as it please me.
Leon. Well, niece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband.
Beat. Not till God make men of some other metal than earth. Would it not grieve a woman to be overmastered with a piece of valiant dust ? To make an account of her life to a clod of wayward marl ? No, uncle, I'll none : Adam's sons are my brethren; and truly, I hold it a sin to match in my kindred. Leon. Daughter, remember what I told you;
if the prince do solicit
you in that kind, you know your answer. Beat. The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you be not wooed in good time: if the prince be too important,' tell him, there is measure in every thing, and so dance out the answer.
For hear me, Hero; wooing, wedding, and repenting, is as a Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinque-pace; the first suit is hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as fantastical ; the wedding, mannerly-modest, as a measure full of state and ancientry; and then comes repentance, and, with his bad legs, falls into the cinque-pace faster and faster, till he sink into his grave.
Leon. Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly.
Beat. I have a good eye, uncle ; I can see a church by day-light.
Leon. The revellers are entering ; brother, make good room.
Enter Don Pedro, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK, BALTHAZAR ;
Don John, BORACHIO, MARGARET, URSULA, and others masked.
D. Pedro. Lady, will you walk about with your friend?
1 Importunate. 2 A measure, in old language, besides its ordinary meaning, signified also a dance.
Hero. So you walk softly, and look sweetly, and say nothing, I am yours for the walk; and, especially, when I walk away.
D. Pedro. With me in your company?
Hero. When I like your favor; for God defend, the Jute should be like the case!
D. Pedro. My visor is Philemon's roof; within the house is Jove.
Hero. Why, then, your visor should be thatched.
[Takes her aside. Bene. Well, I would you did like me.
Marg. So would not I, for your own sake; for I have many ill qualities.
Bene. Which is one ?
Bene. I love you the better; the hearers may cry, Amen.
Marg. God match me with a good dancer !
Marg. And God keep him out of my sight, when the dance is done !-Answer, clerk.
Balth. No more words; the clerk is answered.
Urs. I know you well enough; you are seignior Antonio.
Ant. At a word, I am not.
Urs. 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, you are he.
Ant. At a word I am not.
Urs. 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.
1 Alluding to the fable of Baucis and Philemon in Ovid.
you are ?
Beat. Will you not tell me who told
Beat. That I was disdainful,—and that I had my good wit out of the Hundred merry Tales ;?_Well,
, this was seignior Benedick that said so.
Bene. What's he?
Beat. 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 pleaseth 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.
Bene. When I know the gentleman, I'll tell him what you say.
Beat. 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.
[Music within. We must follow the leaders.
Bene. In every good thing.
Beat. Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at the next turning.
[Dance. Then exeunt all but Don John,
BORACHIO, and CLAUDIO. D. John. 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.
1 This was a term for a jest-book in Shakspeare's time, from a popular collection of that name, about which the commentators were much puzzled, until a large fragment was discovered in 1815, by the Rev. J. Conybeare, Professor of Poetry in Oxford.
Bora. And that is Claudio: I know him by his bearing
D. John. Are not you seignior Benedick?
D. John. Seignior, you are very near my brother in his love: he is enamored 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.
Claud. How know you he loves her ?
Bora. So did I too; and he swore he would marry her to-night. D. John. Come, let us to the banquet.
[Exeunt Don John and Borachio. Claud. Thus answer I in 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 : Therefore, all hearts in love use their own tongues, Let every eye negotiate for itself, And trust no agent; for beauty is a witch, Against whose charms faith melteth into blood. This is an accident of hourly proof, Which I mistrusted not : farewell, therefore, Hero!
Bene. Even to the next willow, about your own business, count. 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.
Claud. I wish him joy of her.
1 Blood signifies amorous heat or passion.