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That I am forc'd to lay my reverence by,
And, with grey hairs and bruise of many days, 65
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 hers, fram'd by thy villainy!

Claud. My villainy?

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, 75 His

May of youth and bloom of lustihood. 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. 81 Win me and wear me; let him answer me. Come, follow me, boy ; come, sir boy, come, fol

low me. Sir boy, I'll whip you from your foining fence; Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will. Leon. Brother, Ant. Content yourself. God knows I lov'd

my niece; 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! Leon.

Brother Antony, Ant. Hold you content. What, man! I know

them, yea, And what they weigh, even to the utmost

scruple, Scambling, qut-facing, fashion-monging boys, That lie and cog and' flout, deprave and slan

der, Go anticly and show outward hideousness, And speak off half a dozen dangerous words, How they might hurt their enemies, if they

darst; And this is all.

Leon. But, brother Antony,

Come, 't is no matter.
Do not you meddle; let me deal in this.
D. Pedro. Gentlemen both, we will not wake

your patience. My heart is sorry for your daughter's death ; But, on my honour, she was charg'd with

But what was true and very full of proof.

Leon. My lord, my lord, -
D. Pedro. I will not hear you.
Leon. No? Come, brother, away! I will be

heard. Ant. And shall, 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 snapp'd 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. I 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

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

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

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

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 across.

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. [Aside to Claudio.) 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 kill'd a sweet lady, and her death shall fall heavy on you. Let me hear

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 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?

Bene. Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes easily.

D. Pedro. I 'll tell thee how Beatrice prais'd thy wit the other day, I said, thou hadst a fine wit. “True," said she, 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." "Nay,” said !, “the (185 gentleman is wise. Certain,” said she, wise gentleman." “Nay,'' said I," he hath the tongues.". That I believe,” said she, "for he swore a thing to me on Monday night, which




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he forswore on Tuesday morning. There's a double tongue; there's two tongues." Thus (170 did she, an hour together, trans-shape thy particular virtues; yet at last she concluded with a sigh, thou wast the properest man in Italy.

Claud. For the which she wept heartily and said she car'd not.

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"?

Bene. Fare you well, boy; you know my mind. I will leave you now to your gossip-like humour. You break jests as braggarts do their blades, which, God be thanked, hurt not. My (190 lord, for your many courtesies I thank you. I must discontinue your company. Your brother the bastard is fled from Messina. You have among you kill'd a sweet and innocent lady. For my Lord Lackbeard there, he and I shall meet; and, till then, peace be with him. (198

(Exit.] D. Pedro. He is in earnest.

Claud. In most profound earnest; and, I 'll warrant you, for the love of Beatrice.

D. Pedro.' And hath challeng'd 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 Constables (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.

D. Pedro. But, soft you, let me be. Pluck up, my heart, and be sad. Did he not say, my brother was fled ?

Dog. Come you, sir. If justice cannot tame you, she shall ne'er weigh more reasons in her balance. Nay, an you be a cursing hypocrite once, you must be look'd to.

D. Pedro. How now? Two of my brother's men bound! Borachio one!

Claud. Hearken after their offence, my lord.

D. Pedro. Officers, what offence have these men done?

Dog. Marry, sir, they have committed false report; truths; secondarily, they are slanders; sixth and lastly, they have belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified unjust things; and, to conclude,

they are lying knaves. D. Pedro. First, I ask thee what they have done ; 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 division ; and, by my troth, there's one meaning well suited.

D. Pedro. Who have you offended, masters, that you are thus bound to your answer ? This learned constable is too cunning to be under stood. What's your offence ?

Bora. Sweet Prince, let me go no farther to mine answer. Do you hear me, and let this count kill me. I have deceived even your very eyes. What your wisdoms could not discover, these shallow fools have brought to light, who in the night overheard me confessing to this (240 man how Don John your brother incensed me to slander the Lady Hero, how you were brought into the orchard and saw me court Margaret in Hero's garments, how you disgrac'd her, when you should marry her. My yillainy (ats they have upon record ; which I had rather seal with my death than repeat over to 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. 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, And fled he is upon this villainy. Claud. Sweet Hero! now thy image doth

appear In the rare semblance that I lov'd it first.

Dog: Come, bring away the plaintiffs. By this time our sexton hath reformed Signior Leonato of the matter; and, masters, do not forget to specify, when time and place shall serve, that I am an ass.

Verg. Here, here comes master Signior
Leonato, and the sexton too.
Re-enter LEONATO and ANTONIO, with the

Leon. Which is the villain? Let me see his

That, when I note another man like him,
I may avoid him. Which of these is he?
Bora. If you would know your wronger,

look on me. Leon. Art thou the slave that with thy breath

hast kill'd Mine innocent child ? Bora.

Yea, even I alone.
Leon. No, not so, villain ; thou beliest thy-

self. Here stand a pair of honourable men, A third is fled, that had a hand in it. I thank you, princes, for my daughter's death. Record it with your high and worthy deeds. 'Twas bravely done, if you bethink you of

it. Claud. I know not how to pray your pa

tience; Yet I must speak. Choose your revenge your

self; Impose me to what penance your invention



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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, I would bend under any heavy weight That he 'll enjoin me to.

Leon. I cannot bid you bid my daughter live,

That were impossible; but, I pray you both, 290
Possess the people in Messina here
How innocent she died; and if your love
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




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

And so dies my revenge.

O noble sir,

Your over-kindness doth wring tears from


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.
No, by my soul, she was not,
Nor knew not what she did when she spoke to




But always hath been just and virtuous
In any thing that I do know by her.

Dog. Moreover, sir, which indeed is not under white and black, this plaintiff here, the offender, did call me ass. I beseech you, let it [315 be rememb'red in his punishment. And also, the watch heard them talk of one Deformed. They say he wears a key in his ear and a lock hanging by it, and borrows money in God's name, the which he hath used so long and never paid [320 that now men grow hard-hearted and will lend nothing for God's sake. Pray you, examine him upon that point.

Leon. I thank thee for thy care and honest pains.


Dog. Your worship speaks like a most thankful and reverend youth, and I praise God for


Leon. There's for thy pains.

Dog. God save the foundation!

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


Dog. I leave an arrant knave with your worship; which I beseech your worship to correct yourself, for the example of others. God keep your worship! I wish your worship well. God restore you to health! I humbly give you leave to depart; and if a merry meeting may be [335 wish'd, God prohibit it! Come, neighbour. [Exeunt [Dogberry and Verges].

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


Bene. A most manly wit, Margaret; it will not hurt a woman. And so, I pray thee, call Beatrice; I give thee the bucklers.

Marg. Give us the swords; we have bucklers of our own.

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Bene. If you use them, Margaret, you must put in the pikes with a vice; and they are dangerous weapons for maids.

Marg. Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who I think hath legs. [Exit Margaret. Bene. And therefore will come. [Sings.] The god of love, That sits above,

And knows me, and knows me,
How pitiful I deserve,


I mean in singing; but in loving, Leander the good swimmer, Troilus the first employer of panders, and a whole bookful of these quondam carpet-mongers, whose names yet run smoothly in the even road of a blank verse, why, they were never so truly turn'd over and over as my poor self in love. Marry, I cannot show it in [35 rhyme. I have tried. I can find out no rhyme to lady" but "baby," an innocent rhyme; for scorn, ," "horn," a hard rhyme; for "school," fool," a babbling rhyme; very ominous endings. No, I was not born under a rhyming planet, nor I cannot woo in festival terms.




Sweet Beatrice, wouldst thou come when I call'd thee?

Beat. Yea, signior, and depart when you bid


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 pass'd between you and Claudio.









Bene. Only foul words; and thereupon I will kiss thee.

Beat. Foul words is but foul wind, and foul wind is but foul breath, and foul breath is noisome; therefore I will depart unkiss'd.

Bene. Thou hast frighted the word out of his right sense, so forcible is thy wit. But I (65 must tell thee plainly, Claudio undergoes my challenge; and either I must shortly hear from him, or I will 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?

Beat. For them all together, which maintained so politic a state of evil that they will not admit 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 bates.

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 liv'd in the time of good neighbours. If a man do not erect in this age his own tomb ere be 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 is it most expedient for the wise, if Don Worm, his [85 conscience, find no impediment to the contrary, to be the trumpet of his own virtues, as I am to myself. So much for praising myself, who, I myself will bear 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 will I leave you too, for here comes one in haste.

Enter URSULA. Urs. Madam, you must come to your uncle. Yonder 's old coil at home. It is proved my Lady Hero hath been falsely accus'd, the Prince and Claudio mightily abus'd; and Don John is the author of all, who is fled and gone. Will you come presently ?

Beat. Will you go hear this news, signior ?

Bene. I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be buried in thy eyes; and moreover I will go with thee to thy uncle's. (Exeunt. 106

(SCENE III. A church.] Enter Don PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and three or four

with tapers.
Claud. Is this the monument of Leonato ?


A Lord. It is, my lord.
Claud. [Reading out of a scroll.]

Done to death by slanderous tongues

Was the Hero that here lies.
Death, in guerdon of her wrongs,

Gives her fame which never dies.
So the life that died with shame

Lives in death with glorious fame."
Hang thou there upon the tomb,

Praising her when I am dumb. Now, music, sound, and sing your solemn hymn.

“Pardon, goddess of the night,

Those that slew thy virgin knight;
For the which, with songs of woe,
Round about her tomb they go.

Midnight, assist our moan;
Help us to sigh and groan,

Heavily, heavily.
Graves, yawn and yield your dead,
Till death be uttered,

Heavily, heavily."
(Claud.) Now, unto thy bones good night!

Yearly will I do this rite.
D. Pedro. Good morrow, masters; put your

torches out. The wolves have prey'd; and look, the

gentle day, Before the wheels of Phæbus, round about

Dapples the drowsy east with spots of grey. Thanks to you all, and leave us. Fare you

well. Claud. Good morrow, masters. Each his

several way. D. Pedro. Come, let us hence, and put on

other weeds ; And then to Leonato's we will go. Claud. And Hymen now with luckier issue

speed 's Than this for whom we rend'red up this

(Exeunt. [SCENE IV. A room in Leonato's house.) Enter LEONATO, old man (ANTONIO), BENE

Friar. Did I not tell you she was innocent ?
Leon. So are the Prince and Claudio, who

accus'd her
Upon the error that you heard debated.
But Margaret was in some fault for this,
Although against her will, as it appears
In the true course of all the question.
Ant. Well, I am glad that all things sort so

well. Bene. And so am I, being else by faith en

forcod To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it. Leon. Well, daughter, and you gentlewomen


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wife ;


Bene. Friar, I must entreat your pains, I

think. Friar. To do what, signior? Bene. To bind me, or undo me; one of

them. Signior Leonato, truth it is, good signior, Your niece regards me with an eye of favour. ieon. That eye my daughter lent her; 't is

most true. Bene. And I do with an eye of love requite

her. Leon. The sight whereof I think you had From Claudio, and the Prince. But what's


from me,

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your will?



Ant. This same is she, and I do give you her. Claud. Why, then she's mine. Sweet, let me

see your face. Leon. No, that you shall not, till you take

her hand Before this friar and swear to marry her. Claud. Give me your hand. Before this holy

friar I am your husband, if you like of me. Hero. And when I liv'd, I was your other

[Unmasking.) 60 And when you lov'd, you were my other hus

band. Claud. Another Hero! Hero.

Nothing certainer. One Hero died defil'd, but I do live; And surely as I live, I am a maid. D. Pedro. The former Hero! Hero that is

dead! Leon. She died, my lord, but whiles her

slander liv'd. Friar. All this amazement can I qualify; When after that the holy rites are ended, I'll tell you largely of fair Hero's death. Meantime let wonder seem familiar, And to the chapel let us presently, Bene. Soft and fair, friar. Which is Bea

trice ? Beat. [Unmasking.) I answer to that name.

What is your will ? Bene. Do not you love me? Beat. Why, no; no more than reason, Bene. Why, then your uncle and the Prince

and Claudio
Have been deceived. They swore you did.

Beat. Do not you love me?
Bene. Troth, no; no more than reason.
Beat. Why, then my cousin, Margaret, and

Are much deceiv'd, for they did swear you did.

Bene. They swore that you were almost sick Beat. They swore that you were well-nigh

dead for me. Bene. 'Tis no such matter. Then you do not

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

gentleman. Claud. And I'll be sworn upon't that he

loves her;
For here's a paper written in his hand,
A halting sonnet of his own pure brain,
Fashion'd to Beatrice.

And here's another Writ in my cousin's hand, stolen from her

pocket, Containing her affection unto Benedick.

Bene. À miracle ! here's our own hands against our hearts. Come, I will have thee; but, by this light, I take thee for pity.

Beat. I would not deny you; but, by this good day, I yield upon great persuasion; and (95 partly to save your life, for I was told you wero in a consumption. (Bene.] Peace! I will stop your mouth.

(Kissing her.]



for me.

Bene. Your answer, sir, is enigmatical ;
But, for my will, my will is your good will
May stand with ours, this day to be conjoin'd
In the state of honourable marriage;
In which, good friar, I shall desire your help.

Leon. My heart is with your liking.

And my help.
Here comes the Prince and Claudio.
Enter Dox PEDRO and CLAUDIO, and two or

three other. D. Pedro. Good morrow to this fair assem

bly. Leon. Good morrow, Prince ; good morrow,

Claudio; We here attend you. Are you yet determin'd To day to marry with my brother's daughter ? Claud. I'll hold my mind, were she an Ethi

ope. Leon. Call her forth, brother; here's the friar ready.

(Erit Antonio.] D. Pedro. Good morrow, Benedick. Why,

what 's the matter, That you have such a February face, So fuù of frost, of storm and cloudiness? Claud. I think he thinks upon the savage

bull. Tush, fear not, man; we 'll tip thy horns with

gold And all Europa shall rejoice at thee, As once Europa did at lusty Jove, When he would play the noble beast in love.

Bene. Bull Jove, sir, had an amiable low ; And some such strange bull leap'd your

father's cow, And got a calf in that same noble feat Much like to you, for you have just his bleat. Re-enter ANTONIO, with the LADIES (masked). Claud. For this I owe you: here comes other

reckonings. Which is the lady I must seize upon?






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