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There shalt thou find my cousin Beatrice
Proposing with the Prince and Claudio:
Whisper her ear, and tell her, I and Ursula
Walk in the orchard, and our whole discourse
Is all of her : say, that thou overheard'st us;
And bid her steal into the pleached bower,
Where honey-suckles, ripen'd by the sun,
Forbid the sun to enter; like favourites,
Made proud by princes, that advance their pride
Against that power that bred it. There will she hide

her,
To listen our propose 12. This is thy office;
Bear thee well in it, and leave us alone.
Marg. I'll make her come, I warrant you, presently.

[Exit.
Hero. Now, Ursula, when Beatrice doth come,
As we do trace this alley up and down,
Our talk must only be of Benedick:
When I do name him, let it be thy part
To praise him more than ever man did merit.
My talk to thee must be, how Benedick
Is sick in love with Beatrice : of this matter
Is little Cupid's crafty arrow made,
That only wounds by hearsay. Now begin;

Enter BEATRICE, behind.
For look where Beatrice, like a lapwing, runs
Close by the ground, to hear our conference.

Urs. The pleasant'st angling is to see the fish
Cut with her golden oars the silver stream,
And greedily devour the treacherous bait:
So angle we for Beatrice; who even now
Is couched in the woodbine coverture.
Fear you not my part of the dialogue.

12 To listen our PROPOSE.] A few lines above we had “ Proposing with the Prince and Claudio.” “ Propose ” is conversation, and is the reading of the 4to, for which the folio has “purpose.” Beatrice was to come to overhear what Hero and Ursula were saying, not what they intended to do.

Hero. Then go we near her, that her ear lose nothing Of the false sweet bait that we lay for it.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.
Urs. And did they bid her tell you of it, madam?

Hero. They did intreat me to acquaint her of it ;
But I persuaded them, if they lov'd Benedick,
To wish him wrestle with affection,
And never to let Beatrice know of it.

Urs. Why did you so ? Doth not the gentleman
Deserve as full, as fortunate a bed,
As ever Beatrice shall couch upon ?

Hero. O God of love! I know, he doth deserve
As much as may be yielded to a man;
But nature never fram'd a woman's heart
Of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice :
Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes,
Misprising what they look on; and her wit
Values itself so highly, that to her
All matter else seems weak. She cannot love,
Nor take no shape nor project of affection,
She is so self-endeared.
Urs.

Sure, I think so ;
And therefore, certainly, it were not good
She knew his love, lest she make sport at it.

Hero. Why, you speak truth. I never yet saw man,
How wise, how noble, young, how rarely featur’d,
But she would spell him backward : if fair-fac'd,
She'd swear the gentleman should be her sister:
If black, why, nature, drawing of an antick,
Made a foul blot: if tall, a lance ill-headed :

1 As haggards of the rock.) A haggard of the rock is a wild hawk, frequenting mountainous districts.

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 would mock me into air : O! 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?, Which is as bad as die with tickling.

Urs. Yet tell her of it: hear what she will say.

Hero. No; rather I will go to Benedick,
And counsel him to fight against his passion :
And, truly, I'll devise some honest slanders
To stain my cousin with. One doth not know,
How much an ill word may empoison liking.

Urs. O! do not do your cousin such a wrong.
She cannot be so much without true judgment,
(Having so swift and excellent a wit,
As she is priz’d to have) as to refuse
So rare a gentleman as signior Benedick.

Hero. He is the only man of Italy,
Always excepted my dear Claudio.

Urs. I pray you, be not angry with me, madam,
Speaking my fancy : signior Benedick,
For shape, for bearing, argument, and valour,
Goes foremost in report through Italy.

Hero. Indeed, he hath an excellent good name.
Urs. His excellence did earn it, ere he had it.-

? It were a better death than die with mocks,] The folio, 1623, has “than to die with mocks ;” but “to” is surplusage, both as regards sense and metre. VOL. II.

Q

When are you married, madam?

Hero. Why, every day ;-to-morrow. Come, go in : I'll show thee some attires, and have thy counsel, Which is the best to furnish me to-morrow. Urs. [Aside.] She's lim'd, I warrant you : we have

caught her, madam. Hero. [Aside.] If it prove so, then loving goes by

haps : Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.

[Exeunt HERO and URSULA, Beat. [advancing.] What fire is in mine ears? Can

this be true? Stand I condemn'd for pride and scorn so much? Contempt, farewell! and maiden pride, adieu !

No glory lives behind the back of such. And, Benedick, love on: I will requite thee,

Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand. If thou dost love, my kindness shall incite thee

To bind our loves up in a holy band; For others say thou dost deserve, and I Believe it better than reportingly.

[Exit.

SCENE II.

A Room in LEONATO's House.

Enter Don PEDRO, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK, and LEONATO.

D. Pedro. I do but stay till your marriage be consummate, and then go I' toward Arragon.

Claud. I'll bring you thither, my lord, if you'll vouch

safe me.

D. Pedro. Nay; that would be as great a soil in the new gloss of your marriage, as to show a child his new coat, and forbid him to wear it. I will only be bold with Benedick for his company; for from the crown of 3 She's liM'D,] So the 4to. more figuratively: the folío reads ta’en.

and then go I] So the old copies : modern editions, I go.

4

his head to the sole of his foot, he is all mirth: he hath twice or thrice cut Cupid's bow-string, and the little hangman dare not shoot at him. He hath a heart as sound as a bell, and his tongue is the clapper; for what his heart thinks, his tongue speaks.

Bene. Gallants, I am not as I have been.
Leon. So say I: methinks, you are sadder.
Claud. I hope, he be in love.

D. Pedro. Hang him, truant! there's no true drop of blood in him, to be truly touch'd with love. If he be sad, he wants money.

Bene. I have the tooth-ache.
D. Pedro. Draw it.
Bene. Hang it!

Claud. You must hang it first, and draw it afterwards.

D. Pedro. What! sigh for the tooth-ache?
Leon. Where is but a humour, or a worm?

Bene. Well, every one can master a grief", but he that has it.

Claud. Yet say I, he is in love.

D. Pedro. There is no appearance of fancy in him, unless it be a fancy that he hath to strange disguises ; as to be a Dutchman to-day, a Frenchman to-morrow, or in the shape of two countries at once; as a German from the waist downward, all slops, and a Spaniard from the hip upward, no doublet?. Unless he have a fancy to this foolery, as it appears he hath, he is no fool for fancy, as you would have it appear he is.

Claud. If he be not in love with some woman, there

• Well, every one can master a grief,] The old editions, 4to. and folio, have cannot for “can," an obvious misprint.

6 – all slops ;] Large loose breeches, or trousers.

1- or in the shape of two countries at once ; as, a German from the waist downward, all slops, and a Spaniard from the hip upward, no doublet.] This passage is only in the 4to, 1600, and not in any of the folio impressions. Why it was omitted, must be matter of conjecture: perhaps, on account of the change of fashion in dress between 1600 and 1623.

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