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And all of them, that thus dishonour her.

Enter Don Pedro and Claudio.

Ant. Here comes the prince, and Claudio, hastily.
D. Pedro. Good den, good den.
Good day to both of you.
Leon. Hear you my lords,-
D. Pedro. We have some haste, Leonato.
Leon. Some haste, my lord!-well, fare you
well, my lord :-

Are you so hasty now?-well, all is one.
D. Pedro. Nay, do not quarrel with us, good

old man.

Ant. If he could right himself with quarrelling, Some of us would lie low.

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Thou, thou dost wrong me; thou dissembler, thou:

Nay, never lay thy hand upon thy sword,
I fear thee not.

Marry, beshrew my hand,
If it should give your age such cause of fear:
In faith, my hand meant nothing to my sword.
Leon. Tush, tush, man, never fleer and jest at me:
I speak not like a dotard, nor a fool;
As, under privilege of age, to brag
What I have done being young, or what would do,
Were I not old: Know, Claudio, to thy head,
Thou hast so wrong'd mine innocent child and me,
That I am forc'd to lay my reverence by ;
And, with gray hairs, and bruise of many days,
Do challenge thee to trial of a man.

I say, thou hast belied mine innocent child;
Thy slander hath gone through and through her

And she lies buried with her ancestors:
O! in a tomb where never scandal slept,
Save this of her's framed by thy villany.
Claud. My villany?


Thine, Claudio; thine I say.
D. Pedro. You say not right, old man.
My lord, my lord,
I'll prove it on his body, if he dare;
Despite his nice fence, and his active practice,'
His May of youth, and bloom of lustyhood.
Claud. Away, I will not have to do with you.
Leon. Canst thou so daff me? Thou hast kill'd

my child;

If thou kill'st me, boy, thou shalt kill a man.

Ant. He shall kill two of us, and men indeed:
But that's no matter; let him kill one first :-
Win me and wear me,-let him answer me,-
Come, follow me, boy; come, boy, follow me:-
Sir boy, I'll whip you from your foining2 fence;
Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will.

Leon. Brother,

Ant. Content yourself: God knows, I lov'd my


And she is dead, slander'd to death by villains;
That dare as well answer a man, indeed,
As I dare take a serpent by the tongue :
Boys, apes, braggarts, Jacks, milksops!-
Brother Antony,-

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Or some of us will smart for it.

[Exeunt Leonato and Antonio. Enter Benedick.

D. Pedro. See, see, here comes the man we went to seek.

Claud. Now, signior! what news?

Bene. Good day, my lord.

D. Pedro. Welcome, signior: You are almost come to part almost a fray.

Claud. We had like to have had our two noses snapped off with two old men without teeth.

D. Pedro. Leonato and his brother: What think'st thou ? Had we fought, I doubt, we should have been too young for them.


Bene. In a false quarrel there is no true valour. came to seek you both.

Claud. We have been up and down to seek thee; for we are high-proof melancholy, and would fain have it beaten away: Wilt thou use thy wit?

Bene. It is in my scabbard; shall I draw it? D. Pedro. Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side? Claud. Never any did so, though very many have been beside their wit.-I will bid thee draw as we do the minstrels; draw, to pleasure us.

D. Pedro. As I am an honest man, he looks pale: Art thou sick or angry?

Claud. What! courage, man! What though care killed a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill


Bene. Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career, an you charge it against me :-I pray you, choose another subject.

Claud. Nay, then give him another staff; this last was broke cross.

D. Pedro. By this light, he changes more and more: I think, he be angry indeed.

Claud. If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle. Bene. Shall I speak a word in your ear? Claud. God bless me from a challenge! Bene. You are a villain; I jest not:-I will make it good how you dare, with what you dare, and when you dare:-Do me right, or I will protest your cowardice. You have killed a sweet lady, and her death shall fall heavy on you: Let me hear from you.

Claud. Well, I will meet you, so I may have good cheer.

D. Pedro. What, a feast? a feast?
Claud. I'faith, I thank him; he hath bid me to
Ant. Hold you content; What, man! I know a calf's-head and a capon; the which if I do not
carve most curiously, say, my knife's naught.-
Shall I not find a woodcock too?

them, yea,
And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple:
Scrambling, out-facing, fashion-mong'ring boys,
That lie, and cog, and flout, deprave and slander,
Go anticly, and shew outward hideousness,
And speak off half a dozen dangerous words,
How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst,
And this is all.

(1) Skill in fencing. (2) Thrusting.

Bene. Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes easily. D. Pedro. I'll tell thee how Beatrice praised thy wit the other day: I said, thou hadst a fine wit; True, says she, a fine little one: No, said I, a great wit; Right, says she, a great gross one: Nay, said I, a good wit: Just, said she, it hurts nobody:

(3) To give a challenge. (4) Invited.

Nay, said I, the gentleman is wise; Certain, said kill me. I have deceived even your very eyes: she, a wise gentleman: Nay, said I, he hath the what your wisdoms could not discover, these shaltongues; That I believe, said she, for he swore a low fools have brought to light; who, in the night, thing to me on Monday night, which he forswore overheard me confessing to this man, how Don on Tuesday morning; there's a double tongue; John your brother incensed me to slander the lady there's two tongues. Thus did she, an hour toge- Hero; how you were brought into the orchard, ther, trans-shape thy particular virtues; yet, at and saw me court Margaret in Hero's garments; last, she concluded with a sigh, thou wast the pro- how you disgraced her, when you should marry perest man in Italy. her: my villany they have upon record; which I Claud. For the which she wept heartily, and had rather seal with my death, than repeat over to said, she cared not. my shame: the lady is dead upon mine and my master's false accusation; and, briefly, I desire nothing but the reward of a villain.

D. Pedro. Yea, that she did; but yet, for all that, an if she did not hate him deadly, she would love him dearly: the old man's daughter told us all. Claud. All, all; and moreover, God saw him when he was hid in the garden.

D. Pedro. But when shall we set the savage bull's horns on the sensible Benedick's head? Claud. Yea, and text underneath, Here dwells Benedick the married man.

D. Pedro. Runs not this speech like iron through your blood?

Claud. I have drunk poison whiles he utter'd it. D. Pedro. But did my brother set thee on to this? Bora. Yea, and paid me richly for the practice of it.

D. Pedro. He is compos'd and fram'd of treachery:

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Bene. Fare you well, boy; you know my mind; 1 will leave you now to your gossip-like humour: And fled he is upon this villany. you break jests as braggarts do their blades, which, Claud. Sweet Hero! now thy image doth appear God be thanked, hurt not.-My lord, for your many In the rare semblance that I lov'd it first. courtesies I thank you: I must discontinue your Dogb. Come, bring away the plaintiffs; by this company; your brother, the bastard, is fled from time our Sexton hath reformed signior Leonato of Messina: you have, among you, killed a sweet and the matter: and masters, do not forget to specify, innocent lady for my lord Lack-beard, there, he when time and place shall serve, that I am an ass. and I shall meet; and till then, peace be with him. Verg. Here, here comes master signior Leonato, [Exit Benedick. and the Sexton too.

D. Pedro. He is in earnest.
Claud. In most profound earnest; and, I'll war-
rant you, for the love of Beatrice.

D. Pedro. And hath challenged thee?
Claud. Most sincerely.

D. Pedro. What a pretty thing man is, when he goes in his doublet and hose, and leaves off his wit!

Enter Dogberry, Verges, and the Watch, with
Conrade and Borachio.

Claud. He is then a giant to an ape: but then is an ape a doctor to such a man.

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Leon. Art thou the slave, that with thy breath
hast kill'd
Mine innocent child?
Yea, even I alone.
Leon. No, not so, villain; thou bely'st thyself;
Here stand a pair of honourable men,

D. Pedro. But, soft you, let be; pluck up, my
heart, and be sad! Did he not say my brother was A third is fled, that had a hand in it:-

I thank you, princes, for my daughter's death; Dogb. Come, you, sir; if justice cannot tame Record it with your high and worthy deeds; you, she shall ne'er weigh more reasons in her ba-'Twas bravely done, if you bethink you of it. lance; nay, an you be a cursing hypocrite once, you must be looked to.

D. Pedro. How now, two of my brother's men bound! Borachio, one

Claud. Hearken to their offence, my lord! D. Pedro. Officers, what offence have these men done?

Claud. I know not how to pray your patience,
Yet I must speak: Choose your revenge yourself;
Impose3 me to what penance your invention
Can lay upon my sin: yet sinn'd I not,
But in mistaking.

D. Pedro.

By my soul, nor I;
And yet, to satisfy this good old man,
would bend under any heavy weight
That he'll enjoin me to.


Dogb. Marry, sir, they have committed false report; moreover, they have spoken untruths; secondarily, they are slanders; sixth and lastly, they Leon. I cannot bid you bid my daughter live, have belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified un-That were impossible; but, I pray you both, just things: and, to conclude, they are lying knaves. Possess the people in Messina here D. Pedro. First, I ask thee what they have done; How innocent she died: and, if your love thirdly, I ask thee what's their offence; sixth and lastly, why they are committed; and, to conclude, what you lay to their charge?

Claud. Rightly reasoned, and in his own divi sion; and, by my troth, there's one meaning well suited.

D. Pedro. Whom have you offended, masters, that you are thus bound to your answer? this learned constable is too cunning to be understood: What's your offence?

Bora. Sweet prince, let me go no further to mine answer; do you hear me, and let this count '1) Serious. (2) Incited.

Can labour ought in sad invention,
Hang her an epitaph upon her tomb,
And sing it to her bones; sing it to-night :-
To-morrow morning come you to my house;
And since you could not be my son-in-law,
Be yet my nephew: my brother hath a daughter,
Almost the copy of my child that's dead,
And she alone is heir to both of us;
Give her the right you should have given her cousin,
And so dies my revenge.
O, noble sir,
Your over-kindness doth wring tears from me!

(3) Command. (4) Acquaint.

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I do embrace your offer; and dispose
For henceforth of poor Claudio.

Leon. To-morrow then I will expect your coming;
To-night I take my leave. This naughty man
Shall face to face be brought to Margaret,
Who, I believe, was pack'd in all this wrong,
Hir'd to it by your brother.


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I mean, in singing; but in loving,-Leander the No by my soul, she was not; good swimmer, Troilus the first employer of panNor knew not what she did, when she spoke to me; dars, and a whole book full of these quondam carBut always hath been just and virtuous, pet-mongers, whose names yet run smoothly in the In any thing that I do know by her. even road of a blank verse, why, they were never

be re

Dogb. Moreover, sir, (which, indeed, is not un-so truly turned over and over as my poor self, in der white and black,) this plaintiff here, the offen-love: Marry, I cannot show it in rhyme; I have der, did call me ass: I beseech you, let tried; I can find out no rhyme to lady but baby, an membered in his punishment: and also, the watch innocent rhyme; for scorn, horn, a hard rhyme; heard them talk of one Deformed: they say, he for school, fool, a babbling rhyme; very ominous wears a key in his ear, and a lock hanging by it; endings: No, I was not born under a rhyming and borrows money in God's name; the which he planet, nor I cannot woo in festival terms.2 hath used so long, and never paid, that now men

Enter Beatrice.

grow hard-hearted, and will lend nothing for God's Sweet Beatrice, would'st thou come when I called sake: pray you, examine him upon that point.

Leon. I thank thee for thy care and honest pains. Dogb. Your worship speaks like a most thankful and reverend youth; and I praise God for you. Leon. There's for thy pains.

Dogb. God save the foundation!

Leon. Go, I discharge thee of thy prisoner, and I thank thee.


Beat. Yea, signior, and depart when you bid mc. Bene. O, stay but till then!

Beat. Then, is spoken; fare you well now:and yet, ere I go, let me go with that I came for, which is, with knowing what hath passed between you and Claudio.

Bene. Only foul words; and thereupon, I will

Dogb. I leave an arrant knave with your wor-kiss thee. ship; which, I beseech your worship, to correct

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yourself, for the example of others. God keep your is but foul breath, and foul breath is noisome; Beat. Foul words is but foul wind, and foul wind worship; I wish your worship well; God restore therefore I will depart unkissed. you to health: I humbly give you leave to depart; and if a merry meeting may be wished, God prohi- right sense, so forcible is thy wit: But, I must tell Bene. Thou hast frighted the word out of his bit it.-Come, neighbour.

[Exeuni Dogberry, Verges, and Watch. Leon. Until to-morrow morning, lords, farewell. Ant. Farewell, my lords; we look for you to


D. Pedro. We will not fail.

To-night I'll mourn with Hero. [Exeunt Don Pedro and Claudio. Leon. Bring you these fellows on; we'll talk with Margaret,

How her acquaintance grew with this lewd' fellow. [Exeunt. Enter Bene

SCENE II.-Leonato's Garden.

dick and Margaret, meeting. Bene. Pray thee, sweet mistress Margaret, deserve well at my hands, by helping me to the speech of Beatrice.

Marg. Will you then write me a sonnet in praise of my beauty?

Bene. In so high a style, Margaret, that no man living shall come over it; for, in most comely truth, thou deservest it.

Marg. To have no man come over me? why, shall I always keep below stairs?

Bene. Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound's mouth, it catches.

Marg. And your's as blunt as the fencer's foils, which hit, but hurt not.

and either I must shortly hear from him, or I will thee plainly, Claudio undergoes my challenge; subscribe him a coward. And, I pray thee now, tell me, for which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love with me?

so politic a state of evil, that they will not admit Beat. For them all together; which maintained any good part to intermingle with them. But for which of my good parts did you first suffer love for me?

Bene. Suffer love; a good epithet! I do suffer love, indeed, for I love thee against my will.

Beat. In spite of your heart, I think; alas! poor heart! If you spite it for my sake; I will spite it for yours; for I will never love that which my friend hates.

Bene. Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably. Beat. It appears not in this confession: there's not one wise man among twenty that will praise himself.

Bene. An old, an old instance, Beatrice, that lived in the time of good neighbours: if a man do not erect in this age his own tomb ere he dies, he shall live no longer in monument, than the bell rings, and the widow weeps.

Beat. And how long is that, think you?

Bene. Question?-Why, an hour in clamour, and a quarter in rheum: Therefore, it is most expeBene. A most manly wit, Margaret, it will not dient for the wise (if Don Worm, his conscience, hurt a woman; and so I pray thee, call Beatrice: find no impediment to the contrary,) to be the I give thee the bucklers. trumpet of his own virtues, as I am to myself: So Marg. Give us the swords, we have bucklers of much for praising myself (who, I myself will bear

our own.

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witness, is praiseworthy,) and now tell me, How doth your cousin?

Beat. Very ill.

Bene. And how do you?
Beat. Very ill too.

Bene. Serve God, love me, and mend: there

(3) Is subject to.

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