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D. Pedro. The former Hero! Hero that is dead !/it; for man is a giddy thing, and this is my concluLeon. She died, my lord, but whiles her slander sion.-For thy part, Claudio, I did think to have liv'd.

beaten thee; but in that' thou art like to be my Friar. All this amazement can I qualify ; kinsman, live unbruised, and love my cousin. When aster that the holy rites are ended,

Claud. I had well hoped, thou would'st have deI'll tell you largely of fair Hero's death :

nied Beatrice, that I might have cudgelled thee out Mean time, let wonder seem familiar,

of thy single life, to make thee a double dealer ; And to the chapel let us presently:

which, out of question, thou wilt be, if my cousin
Dene. Soft and fair, friar.-Which is Beatrice? do not look escceding narrowly to thee.
Beat. I answer to that name; [Unmasking. Bene. Come, come, we are friends :-let's have
What is your will ?

a dance ere we are married, that we may lighten Bene. Do not you love me?

our hearts, and our wives' hecls. Beat.

No, no more than reason. Leon. We'll have dancing afterwards. Bene. Why, then your uncle, and the prince, Bene. First, o' my word; therefore, play, muand Claudio,

sic. --Prince, thou art sad; get thee a wife, get Have been deceived , for they swore you did. thee a wise: there is no staff more reverend than Beal. Do not you love me?

one tipped with horn.

No, no more than reason.
Beat. Why then, my cousin, Margaret, and

Enter a Messenger.

Mess. My lord, your brother John is ta'cn in Are much deceiv'd; for they did swear you did.

flight, Bene. They swore that you werc almost sick for And brought with armcd men back to Messina.

Bene. Think not on him till to-morrow; I'll de. Beat. They swore that you were well-nigh dead vise thee brave punishments for him.-Strike up, for me. pipers.

(Dance. Bene. 'Tis no such matter :-Then, you do not

[Excunt. love me? Beat. No, truly, but in friendly recompense. Leon. Come, cousin, I am sure you love the gentleman.

This play may be justly said to contain two of Claud. And I'll be sworn upon't, that he loves the most sprighily characters that Shakspeare ever

drew. The wit, the humourist, the gentleman, For here's a 'paper, written in his hand,

and the soldier, are combined in Benedick. It is to A halting sonnet of his own pure brain,

be lamented, indeed, that the first and most splenFashion' to Beatrice.

did of these distinctions, is disgraced by unnecesHero.

And here's another, sary prosaneness; for the goodness of his heart is Writ in my cousin's hand, stolen from her pocket, hardly sufficient to atone for the license of his Containing her affection unto Benedick.

tongue. The too sarcastic levity, which Nashes out Bene. A miracle ! here's our own hands against in the conversation of Beatrice, may be excused our hearts !-Come, I will have thee; but, by this on account of the steadiness and friendship so aplight, I take thee for pity.

parent in her behaviour, when she urges her lover Beat. I would not deny you ;-but, by this good to risk his life by a challenge to Claudio. In the day, 1 yield upon great persuasion; and, partly, to conduct of the fablc, however, there is an impersave your life, for I was iold you were in a consump- fection similar to that which Dr. Johnson has pointtion.

ed out in The Merry Wives of Windsor :-the Bene. Peace, I will stop your mouth.

second contrivance is less ingenious than the first :

(Kissing her. or, to speak more plainly, the same incident is beD. Pedro. How dost thou, Benedick the married come stalc

by repetition. I wish some other method man?

had been found to entrap Beatrice, than that very Bene. I'll tell thee what, princc; a college of wit- one which before had been successfully practised on crackers cannot flout me out of my humour: dost Benedick. thou think, I care for a satire, or an epigram; No: Much Ado About Nothing (as I understand if a man will be beaten with brains, he shall wear from one of Mr. Vertue's MSS.) formerly passed nothing handsome about him: In bries, since I do under the title of Benedick and Beatrix. Heming propose to marry, I will think nothing to any pur- the player received, on the 20th of May, 1613, the pose that the world can say against it; and iherc- sum of forty pounds, and twenty pounds more as fore never fout at me for what I have said against his majesty's gratuity, for exhibiting six plays at

Hampton Court, among which was this comedy. (1) Because.





Theseus, duke of Athens.

Oberon, king of the fairies. Egeus, father to Hermia.

Titania, queen of the fairies. Lysander,

Puck, or Robin Good-lellow, a fairy. in love with Hermia. Demetrius, }

Peas-Blossom, Philostrate, master of the revels to Theseus. Cobweb, Quince, the carpenter.


fairies. Snug, the joiner.

Mustard seed,
Bottom, the weaver.
Flute, the bellows-mender.

Snout, the linker.

Characters in the inlerlude, pero

Wall, Starveling, the

formed by the Clorons. or,


Lion, Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, belrolhed to Other faries altending their king and queen. Theseus.

Allendants on Theseus and Hippolyta. Hermia, daughter to Egeus, in love with Lysander. Helena, in love wilh Demetrius.

Scene, Athens, and a rood not far from it.



And interchang'd love-tokens with my child :

Thou hast by moon-light at her window sung, SCENE I.-Athens. A roon in the palace of With feignilig voice, verscs of reigning love;

Theseus. Enter Theseus, Hippolyla, Philos. And stol'n the impression of her fantasy trate, and ailendants.

With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits,

Knacks, trilles, noscpays, sweet-mcats; messengers, Thesells.

of strong prevailment in unbarden'd youth:

With cunning hast thou filch'd my daughter's heart; Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour.

Turn'd her obedience, which is due to me, Draws on apace; four happy days bring in

To stubborn harshness :-and, my gracious duke, Another moon: but, oh, icthinks, how slow

Be it so she will not here before your grace This old moon wanes ! she lingers my desires,

Consent to marry with Demetrius, Like to a step-dame, or a dowager

I beg the ancient privilege of Athens ; Long withering out a young man's revenue.

As she is inine, I may dispose of her: Hip. Four days will quickly steep themselves in which shall be either to this gentleman, nights ;

Or to her death; according to our law, Four nights will quickly dream away the time;

Immediately provided in that case. And then the moon, like to a silver bow

The. What say yo 1, Hermia? be advis'd, fair maid: New bent in heaven, shall belold the night

To you your liziher should be as a god; Of our solcmnitics,

One that compos'd your beauties; yea, and one The.

Go, Philostrate,

To whom you are but as a form in wax, Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments;

By him imprinted, and within his power Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth;

To leave the figure, or distigure it. Turn melancholy forth to funerals,

Demetrius is a worihy gentlemali. The.pale companion is not for our pomp:

Hor. So is Lysander.

The. (Erit I'l.ilostratc.

In himself he is : Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword,

But, in this kind, wanting your father's voice, And won thy love, doing thee injuries;

The other must be held the worthier. But I will wed thee in another key,

Iler. I would my father look'd but with my eyes With pomp, with triumph,' and with revelling.

The. Rather your eyes must with his judgment

look. Enter Egeus, Hermia, Lysander, and Demetrius.

Her. I do entreat your graec to parilon me.

I know not by what power I ain made bold; Ege. Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke ! Nor how it may corcern my modesty, The. Thanks, good Egeus : what's the news In such a presence here, to plead my thoughts: with thec?

But I beseech your grace that I may know Ege. Full of vexation come I, with complaint The worst that mav befal me in this case, Against my child, my daughter Herinia.

If I refuse to wed Demetrius. Stand forth, Demetrius; My noble lord,

The. Either to dic the death, or to abjure 'This man hath any consent to marry her:- For ever the society of men. Stand forth, Lysander ;-and, my gracious duke, Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires, This hath bewitch'd the bosom of my child : Know of your youth, examine well your blood, Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes, Whether, if you yield not to your father's choice, (1) Shows.

(2) Baubles.

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You can endure the livery of a nun ;

Lys. Or else misgrassed, in respect of years; For ayet to be in shady cloister mew'd,

Her. O spite! too old to be engag'd to To live a barren sister all your life,

Lys. Or else it stood upon the choice of friends. Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon. Her. O hell! to choose love by another's eye! Thrice blessed they, that master so their blood, Lys. Or, if there were a sympathy in choice, To undergo such maiden pilgrimage:

War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it;
But earthlier happy is the rose distilld,

Making it momentary as a sound,
Than that, which, withering on the virgin thorn, Swilt as a shadow, short as any dream;
Crows, lives, and dies, in single blessedness. Brief as the lightning in the collied* night,

Her. So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord, That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
Ere I will yield my virgin patent up

Ard ere a man hath power to say,-Behold! Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke

The jaws of darkness do devour it up: My soul consenis not to give sovereignty. So guick bright things come to confusion. The. Take time to pause : and, by the next new Iler. If then true lovers have been ever cross'd,

It stands as an edict in destiny: (The sealing-day betwixt my love and me, Then let us tcach our trial patience, for everlasting bond of fellowship,)

Because it is a customery cross; Upon that day either prepare to die,

As due to love, as thoughts, and drcams, and For disobedience to your father's will;

sighs, Or else, to wed Demetrius, as he would: Wishes, and tears, poor fancy's followers. Or on Diana's altar to protest,

Lys. A good persuasion; therefore, hear me, For aye austerity and single life.

Hermia. Dem. Relent, 'sweet Hermia ;-And, Lysander, I have a widow aunt, a dowager yield

or grcat revenue, and she hath no child : Thy crazed title to my certain right.

From Athens is her house remote seven leagucs;
Lys. You have her father's love, Demetrius ; And she respects me as her only son.
Let ine have Hermia's: do you marry him. There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee;

Ege. Scornful Lysander ! lrue, he hath my love; And to that place the sharp Alhenian law
And what is mine my love shall render him; Cannot pursue us : if thou lov'st me then,
And she is mine; and all iny right of her Steal forth thy father's house to-morrow night;
I do estate unto Demetrius.

And in the wood, a league without the town,
Lys. I am, my lord, as well deriv'd as he, Where I did meet thee once with Helena,
As well possess'u; my love is more than his ; To do observance to a morn of May,
My fortunes every way as fairly rank’d,

|There will I stay for thee. If not with vantage, as Demetrius';


My good Lysander: And, which is more than all these boasts can bc, I swear to thee, by Cupid's strongest bow; I am belor'd of beauteous Hermia :

By his best arrow with the golden head; Why should not I then prosecule my right? By the simplicity of Venus' doves; Demetrius, I'll avouch it to his head,

By that which knitteth souls, and prospers lores; Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena, And by that fire which burn'd the Carthage queen, And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, dotes, When the false Trojan under sail was seen; Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry,

By all the vows that ever men have broke,
Upon this spotted? and inconstant man.

Li number more than ever women spoke ;-
The. I must confess, that I have heard so much, In that same place thou hast appointed me,
And with Demetrius thought to have spoke thereof; To-morrow truly will I meet with thec.
But, being over-full of self-affairs,

Lys. Keep promise, love: look, here comes My mind did lose it.-But, Demetrius, come;

And come, Egcus; you shall go with me,
I have some
private schooling for you both.

Enter Helena.
For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself Her. God speed fair Helena! Whither away?
To fit your fancies to your father's will;

Hel. Call you me fair ? that fair again unsay. Or else the law of Athens yield you up

Demetrius loves your fair: O happy fair! (Which by no means we may extenuate,) Your eyes are lode-stars ;and your tonguc's sweet To death, or to a vow of single lifc.

air Come, my Hippolyta ; what cheer, my love ? More tuncable than lark to shepherd's ear, Demetrius, and Egeus, go along :

When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear. I must employ you in some business

Sickness is catching ; 0 were favour? so! Against our nuptial; and confer with you Yours would I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go; Of something nearly that concerns yourselves. My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye, Ege. With duty and desire we follow you. Mytongue should catch yourlongue's sweet melody.

Ereunt Thes. Hip. Egc. Dem. and train. Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated, Lys. How now, my love? Why is your cheek The rest I'll give to be to you translated. $0 pale?

O, teach me how you look; and with what art How chance the roses there do fade so fast ? You sway the motion of Demetrius' heart.

Her. Belike for want of rain ; which I could well Her. I frown upon him, yet he loves me still. Betecin thein' from the tempest of nine eyes. Hel. O, that your frowns would teach my smiles Lys. Ah me! for aught that ever I could read,

such skill! Could ever hear by tale or history,

Her. I give him curses, yet he gives me love. The course of true love never did run smooth: Hel. O, that my prayers could such affection Bol, either it was different in blood;

moye! Her. O cross! too high to be enthrall'd to low! Her. The more I hate, the more he follows me.

Hel. The more I love, the more he hateth me. (1) Ever, (2) Wieked, (3) Give, bestow. (4) Black (5) Lovers. (6) Pole-stars,

(7) Countenance,

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