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SCENE II. Another Room in Leonato's House.
Enter DON JOHN and BORACHIO.
D. John. It is so; the count Claudio shall marry the daughter of Leonato.
Bora. Yea, my lord; but I can cross it.
D. John. Any bar, any cross, any impediment will be medicinable to me. I am sick in displeasure to him; and whatsoever comes athwart his affection, ranges evenly with mine. How canst thou cross this marriage?
Bora. Not honestly, my lord; but so covertly that no dishonesty shall appear in me.
D. John. Show me briefly how.
Bora. I think, I told your lordship, a year since, how much I am in the favor of Margaret, the waitinggentlewoman to Hero.
D. John. I remember.
Bora. I can, at any unseasonable instant of the night, appoint her to look out at her lady's chamberwindow.
D. John. What life is in that to be the death of this marriage?
Bora. The poison of that lies in you to temper. Go you to the prince, your brother; spare not to tell him, that he hath wronged his honor in marrying the renowned Claudio (whose estimation do you mightily hold up) to a contaminated stale, such a one as Hero. D. John. What proof shall I make of that?
Bora. Proof enough to misuse the prince, to vex Claudio, to undo Hero, and kill Leonato. Look you for any other issue?
D. John. Only to despite them, I will endeavor any thing.
Bora. Go then, find me a meet hour to draw don Pedro and the count Claudio alone. Tell them, that you know that Hero loves me; intend1 a kind of zeal
both to the prince and Claudio, as-in love of your brother's honor, who hath made this match; and his friend's reputation, who is thus like to be cozened with the semblance of a maid-that you have discovered thus. They will scarcely believe this without trial. Offer them instances; which shall bear no less likelihood, than to see me at her chamber-window; hear me call Margaret, Hero; hear Margaret term me Claudio; and bring them to see this, the very night before the intended wedding; for, in the mean time, I will so fashion the matter, that Hero shall be absent; and there shall appear such seeming truth of Hero's disloyalty, that jealousy shall be called assurance, and all the preparation overthrown.
D. John. Grow this to what adverse issue it can, I will put it in practice. Be cunning in the working this, and thy fee is a thousand ducats.
Bora. Be you constant in the accusation, and my cunning shall not shame me.
D. John. I will presently go learn their day of marriage.
SCENE III. Leonato's Garden.
Enter BENEDICK and a Boy.
Bene. In my chamber-window lies a book; bring it hither to me in the orchard.
Boy. I am here, already, sir.
Bene. I know that;--but I would have thee hence, and here again. [Exit Boy.]—I do much wonder, that one man, seeing how much another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviors to love, will, after he hath laughed at such shallow follies in others, become
1 The old copies read Claudio here. Theobald altered it to Borachio. 2 Gardens were once called orchards.
the argument of his own scorn, by falling in love. And such a man is Claudio. I have known when there was no music with him but the drum and fife; and now had he rather hear the tabor and the pipe. I have known when he would have walked ten mile afoot, to see a good armor; and now will he lie ten nights awake, carving the fashion of a new doublet. He was wont to speak plain, and to the purpose, like an honest man and a soldier; and now is he turned orthographer; his words are a very fantastical banquet, just so many strange dishes. May I be so converted, and see with these eyes? I cannot tell; I think not. I will not be sworn, but love may transform me to an oyster; but I'll take my oath on it, till he have made an oyster of me, he shall never make me such a fool. One woman is fair; yet I am well: another is wise; yet I am well: another virtuous; yet I am well: but till all the graces be in one woman, one woman shall not come in my grace. Rich she shall be, that's certain; wise, or I'll none; virtuous, or I'll never cheapen her; fair, or I'll never look on her; mild, or come not near me; noble, or not I for an angel; of good discourse, an excellent musician, and her hair shall be of what color it please God. Ha! the prince and monsieur Love! I will hide me in the arbor.
Enter DON PEDRO, LEONATO, and CLAUDIO.
D. Pedro. Come, shall we hear this music? Claud. Yea, my good lord. How still the evening is,
As hushed on purpose to grace harmony!
D. Pedro. See you where Benedick hath hid himself? Claud. O, very well, my lord. The music ended, We'll fit the kid-fox with a penny-worth.
Some editors have printed this hid-fox; and others suppose it to mean young or cub-fox.
Enter BALTHAZAR, with music.
D. Pedro. Come, Balthazar, we'll hear that
Balth. O, good my lord, tax not so bad a voice To slander music any more than once.
D. Pedro. It is the witness still of excellency, To put a strange face on his own perfection :pray thee, sing, and let me woo no more.
Balth. Because you talk of wooing, I will sing:
Yet will he swear, he loves.
Nay, pray thee, come:
Or, if thou wilt hold longer argument,
Do it in notes.
Note this before my notes,
There's not a note of mine that's worth the noting.
Note, notes, forsooth, and noting!
[Music. Bene. Now, divine air! now is his soul ravished! -Is it not strange, that sheep's guts should hale souls out of men's bodies?-Well, a horn for my money, when all's done.
Balth. Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more;
One foot in sea, and one on shore;
Then sigh not so,
But let them go,
And be blithe and bonny;
Converting all your sounds of woe
Sing no more ditties, sing no mo
D. Pedro. By my troth, a good song.
D. Pedro. Ha! No; no, faith; thou singest well enough for a shift.
Bene. [Aside.] An he had been a dog, that should have howled thus, they would have hanged him; and, I pray God, his bad voice bode no mischief! I had as lief have heard the night-raven,' come what plague could have come after it.
D. Pedro. Yea, marry. [To CLAUDIO.]-Dost thou hear, Balthazar? I pray thee, get us some excellent music; for to-morrow night we would have it at the lady Hero's chamber-window.
Balth. The best I can, my lord.
D. Pedro. Do so; farewell. [Exeunt BALTHAZAR and music.] Come hither, Leonato. What was it you told me of to-day? that your niece Beatrice was in love with seignior Benedick?
Claud. O, ay.-Stalk on, stalk on; the fowl sits.' [Aside to PEDRO.] I did never think that lady would have loved any man.
Leon. No, nor I neither; but most wonderful, that she should so dote on seignior Benedick, whom she hath in all outward behaviors seemed ever to abhor.
Bene. Is't possible? Sits the wind in that corner?
Leon. By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to
1 i. e. the owl.
2 This is an allusion to the stalking-horse; a horse either real or factitious, by which the fowler anciently screened himself from the sight of the game.