Not to be spoken of;
There is not chastity enough in language,

Without offence, to utter them: thus, pretty Lady,
I am forry for thy much mifgovernment.

Claud. O Hero! what a Hero hadft thou been,
If half thy outward graces had been plac'd
About the thoughts and counfels of thy heart?
But fare thee well, moft foul, moft fair! farewel
Thou pure impiety, and impious purity!
For thee I'll lock up all the gates of love,
And on my eye-lids fhall conjecture hang,
To turn all beauty into thoughts of harm;
And never shall it more be gracious.

Leon. Hath no man's dagger here a point for me? [Hero fwoons. Beat. Why, how now, coufin? wherefore fink you


John. Come, let us go; these things come thus to light, Smother her fpirits up.

Exeunt Don Pedro, Don John, and Claud.


Bene. How doth the lady?

Beat. Dead, I think; help, uncle.


Hero! why, Hero! uncle! Signior Benedick! Friar! Lean. O fate! take not away thy heavy hand; Death is the faireft cover for her shame,

That may be wish'd for.

Beat. How now, coufin Hero?

Friar. Have comfort, Lady.

Leon. Doft thou look up?

Friar. Yea, wherefore should she not?

Leon. Wherefore? why, doth not every earthly thing Cry fhame upon her? could fhe here deny

The ftory that is printed in her blood?
Do not live, Hero, do not ope thine eyes:
For did I think thou wouldst not quickly die,
Thought I thy fpirits were ftronger than thy fhames,
Myfelf would on the rereward of reproaches
Strike at thy life. Griev'd II had but one?
Chid I for that at frugal nature's 'fraine?
I've one too much by thee. Why had I one?

Why ever waft thou lovely in my eyes?
Why had I not, with charitable hand,
Took up a beggar's iffue at my gates?
Who fmeered thus, and mir'd with infamy,
I might have faid, no part of it is mine;
This fhame derives itself from unknown loins.
But mine, as mine I lov'd, as mine I prais'd,
As mine that I was proud on, mine fo much,
That I myfelf was to myself not mine,
Valuing of her; why, fhe,-O, fhe is fall'n
Into a pit of ink, that the wide fea

Hath drops too few to wash her clean again;
And falt too little, which may feason give
To her foul tainted flesh!

Bene. Sir, Sir, be patient;

For my part, I am fo attir'd in wonder,
I know not what to say.

Beat. O, on my foul, my coufin is bely'd.
Bene. Lady, were you her bedfellow last night?
Beat. No, truly, not; although until last night
I have this twelvemonth been her bedfellow.

Leon. Confirm'd, confirm'd ! O, that is ftronger made,
Which was before barr'd up with ribs of iron.
Would the two princes lye and Claudio lye,
Who lov'd her fo, that, fpeaking of her foulnefs,
Wafh'd it with tears? Hence from her, let her die.
Friar. Hear me a little,

For I have only been filent fo long,

And given way unto this courfe of fortune,
By noting of the lady. I have mark'd

A thoufand blufhing apparitions

To ftart into her face; a thousand innocent fhames
In angel-whitenefs bear away thofe blushes;
And in her eye there hath appear'd a fire,
To burn the errors that these princes hold
Againft her maiden truth. Call me a fool,
Truft not my reading, nor my observations,
Which with experimental feal do warrant
The tenor of my book; truft not my age,
My reverence, calling, nor divinity,
If this fweet lady lie not guiltlefs here
Under fome biting error.


Leon. Friar, it cannot be.

Thou seest that all the grace that she hath left,
Is, that she will not add to her damnation
A fin of perjury; fhe not denies it:

Why feek'ft thou then to cover with excuse

That which appears in proper nakedness?

Friar. Lady, what man is he you are accus'd of? Hero. They know that do accufe me; I know none : If I know more of any man alive,

Than that which maiden modefty doth warrant,
Let all my fins lack mercy ! O my father,
Prove you that any man with me convers'd
At hours unmeet, or that I yesternight

Maintain'd the change of words with any creature, .
Refufe me, hate me, torture me to death.

Friar. There is fome ftrange mifprifion in the princes. Bene. Two of them have the very bent of honour,. And if their wifdoms be misled in this,

The practice of it lives in John the bastard,
Whofe fpirits toil in frame of villanies.

Leon. I know not: if they speak but truth of her, Thefe hands fhall tear her; if they wrong her honour, The proudeft of them fhall well hear of it.

Time hath not yet fo dry'd this blood of mine,
fo eat up my invention,

Nor age
Nor fortune made fuch havock of my means,
Nor my bad life reft me fo much of friends,
But they fhall find awak'd, in such a kind,
Both ftrength of limb, and policy of mind,
Ability in means, and choice of friends,
To quit me of them thoroughly.
Friar. Paufe a while,

And let my counsel fway you in this cafe.
Your daughter here the princes left for dead;

Let her a while be fecretly kept in,

And publish it that he is dead indeed :

Maintain a mourning oftentation,

And on your family's old monument

Hang mournful epitaphs, and do all rites

That appertain unto a burial.

Leon. What shall become of this? what will this do? Friar. Marry, this, well carry'd, fhall on her behalf VOL. II.


Change flander to remorfe; that is fome good :
But not for that dream I on this ftrange course,
But on this travel look for greater birth.
She dying, as it must be fo maintain❜d,
Upon the inftant that she was accus'd
Shall be lamented, pity'd, and excus'd,
Of every hearer; for it fo falls out,

That what we have we prize-not to the worth,
Whiles we enjoy it; but being lack'd and loft,
Why, then we rack the value; then we find
The virtue that poffeffion would not fhew us
Whilft it was ours. So will it fare with Claudio.
• When he shall hear the dy'd upon his words,
• Th'idea of her life fhall fweetly creep

Into his ftudy of imagination,

And every lovely organ of her life

Shall come apparell'd in more precious habit;
More moving, delicate, and full of life,

Into the eye and profpect of his foul,

Than when the liv'd indeed.' Then fhall he mourn, If ever love had intereft in his liver, And wish he had not fo accused her; No, though he thought his accufation true. Let this be fo, and doubt not but fuccefs Will fashion the event in better shape Than I can lay it down in likelihood. But if all aim but this be levell'd false, The fuppofition of the lady's death Will quench the wonder of her infamy. And, if it fort not well, you may conceal her, As beft befits her wounded reputation, In fome reclufive and religious life,

Out of all eyes, tongues, minds, and injuries.

Bene. Signior Leonato, let the Friar advife you.

And though, you know, my inwardness and love
Is very much unto the Prince and Claudio;
Yet, by mine honour, I will deal in this
As fecretly and juftly as your foul
Should with your body.

Leon. Being that I flow in grief, 'The fmalleft twine may lead me.

Friar. "Tis well confented, presently away;

For to ftrange fores, ftrangely they ftrain the cure. Come, Lady, die to live; this wedding-day

Perhaps is but prolong'd have patience, and en-

SCENE III. Manent Benedick and Beatrice.

Bene. Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while? Beat. Yea, and I will weep a while longer.

Bene. I will not defire that.

Beat. You have no reafon, I do it freely.

Bene. Surely I do believe your fair coufin is wrong'd. Beat. Ah, how much might the man deserve of me, that would right her!

Bene. Is there any way to fhew fuch friendship?
Beat. A very even way, but no fuch friend.

Bene. May a man do it?

Beat. It is a man's office, but not your's.

Bene. I do love nothing in the world fo well as you;

is not that ftrange?

Beat. As ftrange as the thing I know not.

It were as poffible for me to fay, I loved nothing fo well as you; but believe me not, and yet I lye not; I confefs nothing, nor I deny nothing. I am forry for my coufin.

Bene. By my fword, Beatrice, thou lov'ft me.
Beat. Do not fwear by it, and eat it.

Bene. I will fwear by it, that you love me;

will make him eat it that fays I love not you. Beat. Will you not eat your word?

and I

Bene. With no fauce that can be devis'd to it; I proteft I love thee.

Beat. Why then, God forgive me.

Bene. What offence, fweet Beatrice ?

Beat. You have stay'd me in a happy hour; I was

about to proteft I lov'd you.

Bene. And do it with all thy heart. ·

Beat. I love you with fo much of my heart, that

none is left to protest.

Bene. Come, bid me do any thing for thee.

Beat. Kill Claudio.

Bene. Ha! not for the wide world.

« ElőzőTovább »