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Leon. So, by being too curst, God will send you no horns.
Beat. Just, if he send me no husband; for the which blessing, I am at him upon my knees every morning and evening: Lord! I could not endure a husband with a beard on his face; I had rather lie in the woollen.
Leon. You may light upon a husband, that hath no beard.
Beat. What should I do with him ? dress him in my apparel, and make him my waiting gentle-woman? He, that hath a beard, is more than a youth; and he, that hath no beard, is less than a man: and he, that is more than a youth, is not for me; and he, that is less than a man, I am not for him: Therefore I will even take sixpence in earnest of the bear-herd, and lead his apes into hell.
Leo. Well then, go you into hell ?
Beat. No; but to the gate; and there will the devil meet me, like an old cuckold, with horns on his head, and say, Get you to heaven, Beatrice, get you to heaven; here's no place for you maids : so deliver I up my apes, and away to Saint Peter for the heavens; he shows me where the bachelors sit, and there live we as merry as the day is long.
Ant. Well, niece, [To Hero.] I trust, you will be ruled by your father.
Beat. Yes, faith; it is my cousin's duty to make courtesy, and say, Father, as it please you :—but yet for all that, cousin, let him be a handsome fellow, or else make another courtesy, and say, Father, as it please me. Leon. Well, niece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband.
Beat. Not till God make men of some other metal than earth. Would it not grieve a woman to be overmastered with a piece of valiant dust ? to make an account of her life to a clod of wayward marl? No, uncle, I'll none: Adam's sons are my brethren; and truly, I hold it a sin to match in my kindred.
Leon. Daughter, remember, what I told you: if the prince do solicit you in that kind, you know your answer.
Beat. The fault will be in the musick, cousin, if you be not woo'd in good time: if the prince be too important, tell him, there is measure in every thing, and so dance out the answer. For hear me, Hero; Wooing, wedding, and repenting, is as a Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinque-pace: the first suit is hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as fantastical; the wedding, mannerly-modest, as a measure full of state and ancientry; and then comes repentance, and, with his bad legs, falls into the cinque-pace faster and faster, till he sink into his grave.
Leon. Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly.
Beat. I have a good eye, uncle; I can see a church by day-light.
Leon. The revellers are entering; brother, make good room.
And whe When I plempany ?
Enter Don PEDRO, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK, Baltha
ZAR; Don John, BORACHIO, MARGARET, URSULA, and others, masked.
D. Pedro. Lady, will you walk about with your friend?
Hero. So you walk softly, and look sweetly, and say nothing, I am yours for the walk; and, especially, when I walk away.
D. Pedro. With me in your company?
Hero. When I like your favour ; for God defend, the lute should be like the case !
D. Pedro. My visor is Philemnon's roof; within the house is Jove.
Hero. Why, then your visor should be thatch'd.
[Takes her aside. Bene. Well, I would you did like me. Marg. So would not I, for your own sake; for I have many ill qualities.
Bene. Which is one?
Bene. I love you the better; the hearers may cry, Amen.
Marg. God match me with a good dancer !
Marg. And God keep him out of my sight, when the dance is done !-Answer, clerk.
Balth. No more words; the clerk is answered.
Urs. I know you well enough : you are signior An- : tonio.
Ant. At a word, I am not.
Urs. You could never do him so ill-well, unless you were the very man: Here's his dry hand up and down; you are he, you are he.
Ant. At a word, I am not.
Urs. Come, come ; do you think I do not know you by your excellent wit? Can virtue hide itself? Go to, mum, you are he: graces will appear, and there's an end.
Beat. Will you not tell me who told you so ?
Beat. That I was disdainful,—and that I had my good wit out of the Hundred merry Tales ;-Well, this was signior Benedick, that said so.
Bene. What's he?
Beat. Why, he is the prince's jester : a very dull fool; only his gift is in devising impossible slanders : none but libertines delight in him; and the commendation is not in his wit, but in his villainy; for he both pleases men and angers them, and then they laugh at him, and beat him: I am sure, he is in the fleet; I would he had boarded me.
Bene. When I know the gentleman, I'll tell him what you say.
Beat. Do, do : he'll but break a comparison or two on me; which, peradventure, not marked, or not laughed at, strikes him into melancholy; and then there's a partridge' wing saved, for the fool will eat no supper that night. [Musick within.] We must follow the leaders.
Bene. In every good thing.
Beat. Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at the next turning.
[Dance. Then excunt all but Don John, BORA
chio, and CLAUDIO. · D. John. Sure, my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath withdrawn her father to break with him about it: The ladies follow her, and but one visor remains.
Bora. And that is Claudio; I know him by his bearing.
D. John. Are not you signior Benedick ?
.D. John. Signior, you are very near my brother in his love: he is enamoured on Hero; I pray you, dissuade him from her, she is no equal for his birth : you may do the part of an honest man in it.
Claud. How know you he loves her ?
Bora. So did I too; and he swore he would marry her to-night. D. John. Come, let us to the banquet.
[Exeunt Don John and BORACH10. Claud. Thus answer I in name of Benedick, But hear these ill news with the ears of Claudio.