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SCENE I. Leonato's Garden.


Hero. Good Margaret, run thee into the par


There shalt thou find


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, ripen'd by the sun, Forbid the sun to enter-like favourites, 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.

Marg. I'll make her come, I warrant you, presently.

[E.rit. Hero. Now, Ursula, when Beatrice doth come, As we do trace this alley up and down, Our talk must only be of Benedick. When I do name him, let it be thy part To praise him more than ever man did merit: My talk to thee must be, how Benedick Is sick in love with Beatrice : Of this matter Is little Cupid's crafty arrow made, That only wounds by hearsay. Now begin;

Proposing with the Prince and Claudio:] Proposing is con. versing, from the French word-propos, discourse, talk.

Enter Beatrice, behind.
For look where Beatrice, like a lapwing, runs
Close by the ground, to hear our conference.

Urs. The pleasant'st angling is to see the fish
Cut with her golden oars the silver stream,
And greedily devour the treacherous bait:
So angle we for Beatrice; who even now
Is couched in the woodbine coverture :
Fear you not my part of the dialogue.
Hero. Then go we near her, that her ear lose

nothing Of the false sweet bait that we lay for it.

[They advance to the bower. No, truly, Ursula, she is too disdainful; I know, her spirits are as coy and wild As haggards of the rock. Urs.

But are you sure, That Benedick loves Beatrice so entirely? Hero. So says the prince, and my new-trothed

lord. Urs. And did they bid you tell her of it, madam? Hero. They did intreat me to acquaint her of

But I persuaded them, if they lov'd Benedick,
To wish him wrestle with affection,
And never to let Beatrice know of it.

Urs. Why did you so? Doth not the gentle


Deserve as full, as fortunate a bed,
As ever Beatrice shall couch upon ?

Hero. O God of love! I know, he doth deserve
As much as may be yielded to a man :
But nature never fram'd a woman's heart
Of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice :
Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes,

Misprising' what they look on ; and her wit
Values itself so highly, that to her
All matter else seems weak : she cannot love,
Nor take no shape nor project of affection,
She is so self-endeared.

Sure, I think so;
And therefore, certainly, it were not good
She knew his love, lest she make sport at it.
Hero. Why, you speak truth : I never yet saw

man, How wise, how noble, young, how rarely featur’d, But she would spell him backward : if fair-faced, She'd swear, the gentleman should be her sister; If black, why, nature, drawing of an antick, Made a foul blot : if tall, a lance ill-headed; If low, an agate very vilely cut: If speaking, why, a vane blown with all winds ; If silent, why, a block moved with none. So turns she every man the wrong side out; And never gives to truth and virtue, that Which simpleness and merit purchaseth.

Urs. Sure, sure, such carping is not commendable.

Hero. No: not to be so odd, and from all fashions,
As Beatrice is, cannot be commendable :
But who dare tell her so? If I should speak,
She'd mock me into air ; O, she would laugh me
"Out of myself, press me to death with wit.

Therefore let Benedick, like cover'd fire,
Consume away in sighs, waste inwardly :
It were a better death than die with mocks;
Which is as bad as die with tickling.

Urs. Yet tell her of it; hear what she will say.

Hero. No; rather I will go to Benedick, And counsel him to fight against his passion : And, truly, I'll devise some honest slanders

? Misprising-] Despising, contemning, or undervoluing,

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