Bene. I would, your Grace would constrain me to tell.

Pedro. I charge thee on thy allegiance.

Bene. You hear, Count Claudio, I can be fecret as a dumb man, I would have you think fo; but on my allegiance, mark you this, on my allegiance:he is in love; with whom? now that is your Grace's part: mark, how fhort his answer is, with Hero, Leonato's fhort daughter.

Claud. If this were so, so were it uttered.

Bene. Like the old tale, my lord, it is not fo, nor 'twas not fo; but, indeed, God forbid it fhould be fo.

Claud. If my paffion change not fhortly, God forbid it fhould be otherwife.

Pedro. Amen, if you love her, for the Lady is very well worthy.

Claud. You fpeak this to fetch me in, my Lord. Pedro. By my troth, I fpeak my thought. Claud. And, in faith, my Lord, I spoke mine. Bene. And by my two faiths and troths, my Lord, I speak mine.

Claud. That I love her, I feel.

Pedro. That fhe is worthy, I know.

Bene. That I neither feel how fhe fhould be loved, nor know how fhe fhould be worthy, is the opinion that fire cannot melt out of me; I will die in it at the ftake.

Pedro. Thou waft ever an obftinate heretick in the defpight of beauty.

Claud. And never could maintain his part, but in the force of his will.

Bene. That a woman conceived me, I thank her; that he brought me up, I likewise give her moft humble thanks: but that I will have a recheate winded

8 but in the force of his will.] Alluding to the definition. of a Heretick in the Schools.


in my forehead, or hang my bugle in an invifible baldrick, all women fhall pardon me; because I will not do them the Wrong to miftruft any, I will do my self the Right to truft none; and the fine is, (for the which I may go the finer,) I will live a batchelor. Pedro. I fhall fee thee, ere I die, look pale with love.

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Bene. "With anger, with fickness, or with hunger, my lord, not with love: prove, that ever I "lose more blood with love, than I will get again "with drinking, pick out mine eyes with a ballad"maker's pen, and hang me up at the door of a "brothel-house for the Sign of blind Cupid."

Pedro. Well, if ever thou doft fall from this faith, thou wilt prove a notable argument.

Bene. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat, and fhoot at me; and he that hits me, let him be clapt on the fhoulder, and call'd 9 Adam.

Pedro. Well, as time fhall try; in time the favage bull doth bear the yoke.

Bene. The favage bull may, but if ever the fenfible Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull's-horns, and fet them in my forehead, and let me be vilely painted; and in fuch great letters as they write, Here is good Horfe to hire, let them fignifie under my Sign, Here you may fee Benedick the marry'd man.

Claud. If this fhould ever happen, thou would'st be horn-mad.

Pedro. Nay, if Cupid hath not spent all his quiver in Venice, thou wilt quake for this fhortly.


9 Adam Bell, at that time famous for Archery. Mr. Theobald. 1 if Cupid hath not spent all his quiver in Venice,] All modern Writers agree in reprefenting Venice in the fame light, that the Ancients did Cyprus. And 'tis this Character of the People that is here alluded to. The Sieur de St. Difdier speaking of their Courtifanes fays, Je fuis certain que rien ne peut egaler ce qui fe voit à Venice, tant pour la multitude, que pour la pleine


Bene. I look for an earthquake too then.

Pedro. Well, you will temporize with the hours; in the mean time, good Signior Benedick, repair to Leonato's, commend me to him, and tell him I will not fail him at fupper; for, indeed, he hath made great preparation.

Bene. I have almoft matter enough in me for fuch an embaffage, and fo I commit you

Claud. To the tuition of God; From my house, if I had it,

Pedro. The fixth of July, your loving friend, Benedick.

Bene. Nay, mock not, mock not; the body of your difcourfe is fometime guarded with fragments, and the guards are but flightly bafted on neither: ere you flout old ends any further, examine your confcience, and fo I leave you.

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Claud. My Liege, your Highness now may do me good.

libertè Il y a deux cent cinquante quatre ans que Venice fe trouvant fans Courtifanes, la Republique fut obligée d'en faire venir un grand nombre d' Eftrangeres. La Doglioni loïe extremement en cela la fageffe de la Rep. laquelle, par ce moyen fceut pourvoir à la feureté des femmes d'honneur, aufquelles on faifoit tous les jours des violences publiques; puifque les lieux les plus Saints n'eftoient point un afile assuré. C'est pourquoy comme la Rep. croit que l'air falé qu'on refpire dans ce climat rend le difordre habituel&fans remede, elle jugea, &c. Mr. Bayle, speaking of the diffolute manners of the Venetian Ecclefiafticks, fays, Je me fouviens d'avoir demandé un jour à un Homme, qui me contoit mille &mille Dereglemens des Ecclefiaftiques de Venice, comment il fe pouvoit faire que le Senat fouffroit.-On me fit reponse que le bien public obligeoit le Souverain à ufer de cette Indulgence: & pour m'expliquer cette Enigme, on ajouta que le Senat etoit bien aife que le Peuple eut le dernier mepris pour les Prétres; car des lors ils font moins capables de le faire foulever. Thus, when natural temperament, the Policy of the Republic, and the Example of Churchmen, all concur to foment this disorder, it is no wonder it fhould rife higher here than in any other place.


Pedro. My love is thine to teach, teach it but how,
And thou fhalt fee how apt it is to learn.
Any hard leffon that may do thee good.
Claud. Hath Leonato any fon, my lord?
Pedro. No child but Hero, fhe's his only heir:
Doft thou affect her, Claudio?
Claud. O my lord,

When you went onward on this ended action,
I look'd upon her with a foldier's eye;
That lik'd, but had a rougher task in hand
Than to drive liking to the name of love;
But now I am return'd, and that war-thoughts
Have left their places vacant; in their rooms.
Come thronging foft and delicate Defires,
All prompting me how fair young Hero is ;
Saying, I lik'd her ere I went to wars.

Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover presently,
And tire the hearer with a book of words:
If thou doft love fair Hero, cherish it,

And I will break with her: and with her Father,
And Thou fhalt have her: was't not to this end,
That thou began'ft to twift fo fine a story?

Claud. How fweetly do you minifter to love,
That know love's grief by his complection!
But left my liking might too fudden feem,
I would have falv'd it with a longer treatife.
Pedro. What need the bridge much broader than
the flood?

2 The faireft grant is the neceffity;

Look, what will ferve, is fit; 'tis once, thou lov'ft;
And I will fit thee with the remedy.

I know, we shall have revelling to-night;
I will affume thy part in fome difguife,
And tell fair Hero I am Claudio;

2 The fairest grant is the neceffity;] i. e. no one can have a better reafon for granting a request than the neceffity of its being granted.


And in her bofom I'll unclafp my heart,
And take her hearing prifoner with the force
And ftrong encounter of my amorous tale:
Then, after, to her father will I break;
And the conclufion is, fhe fhall be thine;
In practice let us put it presently.

Re-enter Leonato and Antonio.


Leon. How now, Brother, where is my Coufin your fon? hath he provided this musick?

Ant. He is very bufie about it; but, brother, I can tell you news that you yet dream'd not of.

Leon. Are they good?

Ant. As the event ftamps them, but they have a good cover; they fhow well outward. The Prince and Count Claudio, walking in a thick-pleached alley in my orchard, were thus over-heard by a man of mine: The Prince difcover'd to Claudio, that he lov'd my neice your daughter, and meant to acknowledge it this night in a dance; and if he found her accordant, he meant to take the present time by the top, and inftantly break with you of it.

Leon. Hath the fellow any wit, that told you this? Ant. A good fharp fellow; I will fend for him, and queftion him your felf.

Leon. No, no; we will hold it as a dream, 'till it appear it felf: but I will acquaint my daughter withal, that she may be the better prepared for anfwer, if peradventure this be true; go you and tell her of it: Coufins, you know what you have to do. [Several cross the Stage here.] O, I cry you mercy, friend, go you with me and I will ufe your skill; good Coufin, have a care this busie time. [Exeunt.



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