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The fraud of men was ever so,
Then sigh not so, &c.
Bene. [Aside.)-An he had been a dog, that should have howled thus, they would have hanged him : and, I pray Heaven 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 signior 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 neither; but most wonderful, that she should so dote on signior Benedick, whom she hath in all outward behaviors seemed ever to abhor.
Bene. Is't possible ? Sits the wind in that corner ? Aside.
Leon. By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to 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. Counterfeit! There never was counterfeit of passion came 80 near the life of passion, as she discovers it.
D. Pedro. Why, what effects of passion shows she?
[Aside. Leon. What effects, my lord! She will sit you,You heard my daughter tell you how.
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 whitebearded 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 till she have writ a sheet of paper :-my daughter tells us all. Then she will tear the letter into a thousand half-pence; rail at herself, that she should write to one that she knew would flout her: I measure him, says she, by my own spirit; for I would flout him, if he writ to me; yea, thrugh I love him, I should.
Claud. Then down upon her knees she falls, weeps, sobs, beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, curses ;-0 sweet Benedick !
Leon. She doth indeed; my daughter says so: and the ecstasy hath so much overborne her, that my daughter is sometimes 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. 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 daffd 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 breadth of her accustomed crossness.
D. Pedro. She doth weil : if she should make tender of her love, ’tis very possible he'll scorn it: for the man, as you know all, hath a contemptuous spirit.
Claud. He is a very proper man.
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. 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 daugh er: 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 so good a lady.
Leon. My lord, will you walk ? dinner is ready.
Claud. If he do not doat 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 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 to dinner. [Aside.
[Exeunt Don PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and LEONATO. BESY 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: 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.
Beat. I took no more pains for those thanks, than you take pai:is 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, signior ; fare you well.
[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. ACT III.
SCENE I.-Leonato's Garden.
Enter HERO, MARGARET, and URSULA.
Marg. I'll make her come, I warrant you, presently. [Exit
Hero. Now, Ursula, when Beatrice doth come,
Enter BEATRICE, behind.
Urs. The pleasant'st angling is to see the fish
Hero. Then go we near her, that her ear lose nothing
[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.
* A species of hawks.
Irs. And did they bid you tell her of it, madam ?
Hero. They did entreat me to acquaint her of it:
Urs. Why did you so ?
Hero. Nature never framed a woman's heart
Sure, I think so;
Hero. Why, you speak truth : I never yet saw man, How wise, how noble, young, how rarely featurd, 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 antic, 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; 0, 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.
Urs. Yet tell her of it; hear what she will say.
Hero. No; rather I will go to Benedick,
Urs. O, do not do your cousin such a wrong.