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Leon. 'Faith, Neice, you tax Signior Benedick too much; but he'll be meet with you, I doubt it not.
Mell. He hath done good service, Lady, in these wars.
Beat. You had musty. victuals, and he hath holp to eat it ; he's a very valiant trencher-man, he hath an ex-' cellent ftomach.
Mel. And a good soldier too, Lady.
Beat. And a good soldier to a lady? but what is he to a lord ?
Mefl. A lord to a lord, a man to a man, stufft with all honourable virtues.
Beat. It is so, indeed : (2) he is no less than a stufft man: but for the stuffings--well, we are all mortal.
Leon. You must not, Sir, miltake my Neice; there is a kind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick and her ; they never meet, but there's a skirmish of wit between them.
Beat. Alas, he gets nothing by That. In our last confict, four of his five wits went halting off, and no: is the whole man govern'd with one : So that if he haie wit enough to keep himself warm, let him bear it for a difference between bimself and his hore; for it is al the wealth that he hath lest, to be known a reasonable creature. Who is his companion now! he hath every month a new sworn brother.
t Mel. Is it poffible?
Beat. Very easily foffible; he wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat, it ever changes with the next block.
( zobe is no less eban a stufft man: but for ibe Stuffing well, we are all mortal.] Thus has this Passage been all along ftop'd, from the very first Edition downwards. If any of the Editors could extract Sense from this Pointing, their Sagacity is a Pitch above mine. I believe, by my Regulation, I have retriev'd the Poet's true Meaning. Our Poet seems to use the Word Stuffing here much as Plautus does in his Moffellaria; Ad. i. Sc. 3. Non Veffem amatores mulieris amant, sed Veftis fartum,
Mel. I see, Lady, the gentleman is not in your books.
Beat. No; an he were, I would burn my Study. But, I pray you, who is his companion? is there no young squarer now, that will make a voyage with him to the devil ?
Mell. He is most in the company of the right noble Claudio.
Beat. O lord, he will hang upon him like a disease; he is sooner caught than the peftilence, and the taker suns presently mad. God help the noble Claudio, if he have caught the Benedick; it will cost him a thousand pounds ere he be cur'd.
Mej. I will hold friends with you, Lady.
Mef. Don Pedro is approach'd.
Don John Pedro. Good Signior Leonata, you are come to meet your trouble : the fashion of the world is to avoid cost, and you encounter it.
Leon. 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,
Pedro. You embrace your charge too willingly : I think, this is your daughter.
Leon. Her mother hath many times told me fo.
Leon. Signior Benedick, no; for then were you a child.
Pedro. You have it full, Benedick; We may guess by this what you are, being a-man: truly, the lady fathers her self; be happy, lady, for you are like an honourable father.
Bene. If Signior Leonato be her Father, she would not have his head on her Shoulders for all Meflina, as like him as the is,
Beat. I wonder, that you will fill be talking, Signior Benedick ; 'no body marks you.
Bene, What, my dear lady Difdain/ are you yet living?
Beat. Is it possible, Disdain Mould die, while she hath fuch meet food to feed it, as Signior Benedick? Courtefie it self must convert to Disdain, if you come in her presence.
Bene. Then is courtesie a turn-coat; but it is certain, I am lov'd 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.
Beat. A dear happiness to women; they would else have been troubled with a pernicious fuitor. 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.
Bene. God keep your ladyship still in that sind! so some gentleman or other shall scape a predestinate scratche face,
Beat. Scratching could not make it worse, an 'twere fuch a face as yours were.
Bene. Well, you are a rare parrot teacher.
Beat. A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours.
Bene. I would, my horse had the speed of your tongue, and so good a continuer; but keep your way o' God's name, I have done.
Beat. You always end with a jade's trick ; I know
Pedro. This is the sum of all: Leonato, Signior Claudio, and Signior Benedick, -my dear friend Leo. nato hath invited you all; I tell him, we shall stay here at the least a month ; and he heartily prays, fome occafion may detain us longer: I dare swear, he is no hypo. crite, but prays from his heart. Leon. If
shall not be Torswear, my Lord, you
you fworn. -- Let me bid You welcome, my lord, being reconciled to the prince your brother ;; I owe you all duty.
you of old.
John. I thank you ; I am not of many words, but
I thank you.
Leon. Please it your Grace lead on?
[Exeunt all but Benedick and Claudio. Claud. Benedick, didit thou note the daughter of Sig. nior Leonato ?
Bene. I noted her not, but I look'd on her.
Bere. 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?
Claud. No, I prythee, speak in sober judgment,
Bene. Why, i'faith, methinks, she is too low for an high praise, too brown for a fair praise, and too little for a great praise ; only this commendation I can af, ford her, that were fhe other than she is, the were unhandsome ; and being no other but as she is, I do not like her.
Claud. Thou think'A, I am in sport; I pray thee; tell me truly how thou lik'st her.
Bene. Would you buy her, that you enquire after her ?
Claud. Can the world buy such a jewel?
Bene. Yea, and a case to put it into ; but fpeak you this with a fad brow? or do you play the fouting 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 ?
Claud. In mine eye, she is the sweetest lady that I ever look'd on.
Bene. I can see yet without spectacles, and I see no such matter ; there's her Cousin, 'if me were not poffeff with such 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?
Claud. I would scarce truft myself, tho' I had sworn the contrary, if Hero would be my wife. Bene. 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 batchelor of threescore again ? go to, i'faith, if thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it, and ligh away Sundays : look, Don Pedro is return'd to seek
you. Re enter Don Pedro and Don John. Pedro. What Secret hath held you here, that you
forlow'd not to Leonato's house ?
Bene. I would, your Grace would constrain me to tell.
I would have you think so ; but on my allegiance, mark you this, on my allegiance : -he is in love ; with whom? now that is
your mark, how short his answer is, with Hero, Leonato'$ short daughter.
Claud. If this were so, so were it uttered.
Bene. Like the old tale, my lord, it is not so, nor twas not so; but, indeed, God forbid it should be so.
Claxd. If my passion change not shortly, God forbid it should be otherwise.
Pedro. Amen, if you love her ; for the Lady is very well worthy.
Claud. You speak this to fetch me in, my Lord.
Bere. And by my two faiths and troths, my Lord, I fpeak mine.
Claud. That I love her, I feel.
Bene. That I neither feel how she should be loved, nor know how me. Thould be worthy, is the opiniott that fire cannoc melt out of me; I will die in it at the Atake.
Pedro. Thou wast ever an obstinate heretick in the despight of beauty.
Claud. And never could maintain his part, but in the force of his will..
Bene. That a woman gonceived me, I thank hess in un