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think of it; but that she loves him with an enraged affection,-it is past the infinite of thought.
D. Pedro. May be, she doth but counterfeit.
Leon. O God! Counterfeit! There never was counterfeit of passion came so near the life of passion, as she discovers it.
D. Pedro. Why, what effects of passion shows she? Claud. Bait the hook well; this fish will bite.
[ Aside. Leon. What effects, my lord ? She will sit you,— you heard my daughter teil
Claud. She did, indeed.
D. Pedro. How, how, I pray you? You amaze me; I would have thought her spirit had been invincible against all assaults of affection.
Leon. I would have sworn it had, my lord; especially against Benedick.
Bene. [Aside.] I should think this a gull, but that the white-bearded fellow speaks it. Knavery cannot, sure, hide itself in such reverence. Claud. He hath ta’en the infection; hold it up.
[ Aside. D. Pedro. Hath she made her affection known to Benedick?
Leon. No; and swears she never will; that's her torment.
Claud. 'Tis true, indeed; so your daughter says. Shall I, says she, that have so oft encountered him with scorn, write to him that I love him!
Leon. 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.—My daughter tells us all.
Claud. Now you talk of a sheet of paper, I remember a pretty jest your daughter told us of.
Leon. 0 !- When she had writ it, and was reading it over, she found Benedick and Beatrice between the sheet!
Leon. 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. I measure him, says she, by my own spirit; for I should flout him, if he writ to me; yea, though I love him, I should.
Claud. Then down upon her knees she falls, weeps, sobs, beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, curses O sweet Benedick! God give me patience!
Leon. She doth indeed; my daughter says so; and the ecstasy hath so much overborne her, that my daughter is sometime afraid she will do a desperate outrage to herself. It is very true.
D. Pedro. It were good, that Benedick knew of it by some other, if she will not discover it.
Claud. To what end? He would but make a sport of it, and torment the poor lady worse.
D. Pedro. An he should, it were an alms to hang him. She's an excellent sweet lady; and, out of all suspicion, she is virtuous.
Claud. And she is exceeding wise.
Leon. 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.
D. Pedro. 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 he will say.
Leon. Were it good, think you?
Claud. Hero thinks surely she will die ; for she says, she will die if he love her not; and she will die ere she makes her love known; and she will die if he woo her, rather than she will 'bate one breath of her accustomed crossness.
1 i. e. into a thousand small pieces ; the silver halfpence were very mi. nute pieces.
2 i. e. passion.
D. Pedro. 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.
Claud. He is a very proper man.
D. Pedro. He hath, indeed, a good outward happiness.
Claud. 'Fore God, and in my mind, very wise.
D. Pedro. He doth, indeed, show some sparks that are like wit.
Leon. And I take him to be valiant.
D. Pedro. 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.
Leon. If he do fear God, he must necessarily keep peace; if he break the peace, he ought to enter into a quarrel with fear and trembling.
D. Pedro. 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 see Benedick, and tell him of her love ?
Claud. Never tell him, my lord ; let her wear it out with good counsel.
Leon. Nay, that's impossible; she may wear her heart out first.
D. Pedro. Well, we'll 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 to have so good a lady.
Leon. My lord, will you walk ? Dinner is ready.
Claud. If he do not dote on her upon this, I will never trust my expectation.
[ Aside. D. Pedro. "Let there be the same net spread for her; and that must your daughter and her gentlewoman carry. The sport will be, when they hold one
1 That is, a spirit inclined to scorn and contempt. It should be contemptuous.
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.
[ Aside. [Exeunt Don PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and LEONATO.
BENEDICK advances from the arbor. Bene. 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 humor? 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.
Enter BEATRICE. Beat. Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner.
Bene. Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains. Beat. I took no more pains for those thanks, than
1 Seriously carried on.
take pains to thank me; if it had been painful, I would not have come.
Bene. You take pleasure then in the message ?
Beat. Yea, just so much as you may take upon a knife's point, and choke a daw withal.—You have no stomach, seignior ; fare you
[Exit. Bene. Ha! Against my will I am sent to bid you come to dinner ;-—there's a double meaning in 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 Jew. I will go get her picture. [Exit.
SCENE I. Leonato's Garden.
Enter HERO, MARGARET, and URSULA. Hero. Good Margaret, run thee into 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 honey-suckles, ripened by the sun, Forbid the sun to enter;-like favorites, Made proud by princes, that advance their pride Against that power that bred it. There will she hide her, To listen our propose.? This is thy office; Bear thee well in it, and leave us alone.
1 Proposing is conversing, from the French propos, discourse, talk.
2 The folio reads purpose; the quarto propose, which appears to be right. See the preceding note. VOL. I.