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Claud. For the which she wept heartily, and said, she cared 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 lord, for your many courtesies I thank you: I must discontinue your company: your brother, the bastard, is filed from Messina: you have, among you, kill'd a sweet and innocent lady: For my lord Lack-beard, there, he and I shall meet; and till then, peace be with him.

[Exit Bene 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!8

3 What a pretty thing man is, when he goes in his doublet and hose, and leaves off his wit! ] It was esteemed a mark of levity and want of becoming gravity, at that time, to go in the doublet and hose, and leave off the cloak, to which this well-turned expression alludes. The thought is, that love makes a man as ridiculous, and exposes him as naked as being in the doublet and hose without a cloak.

Warburton. I doubt much concerning this interpretation, yet am by no means confident that my own is right. I believe, however, these words refer to what Don Pedro had said just before—" And hath challenged thee!”and that the meaning is, What a pretty thing a man is when he is silly enough to throw off his cloak, and go in his doublet and hose, to fight for a woman! In The Merry Wives of Windsor, when Sir Hugh is going to engage with Dr. Caius, he walks about in his doublet and hose: “ Page. And youthful still in your doublet and hose, this raw rheumatick day!” “ - There is reasons and causes for it,” says Sir Hugh, alluding to the duel

Enter 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 be;o pluck up, my heart, and be sad !1 Did he not say, my brother was fled?

Dogb. Come, you, sir; if justice cannot tame you, she shall ne'er weigh more reasons in her balance:2 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?

Dogb. Marry, sir, they have committed false report; moreover, they have spoken untruths; secondarily, they

he was going to fight.-I am aware that there was a particular species of single combat called Rapier and cloak; but I suppose, nevertheless, that when the small sword came into common use, the cloak was generally laid aside in duels, as tending to embarrass the combatants. Malone.

Perhaps the whole meaning of the passage is this:- What an inconsistent fool is man, when he covers his body with clothes, and at the same time divests himself of his understanding.

Steevens. 9 But, soft you, let be;] The quarto and first folio read cor. ruptly-let me be, which the editor of the second folio, in order to obtain some sense, converted to let me see. I was once idle enough to suppose that copy was of some authority; but a minute examination of it has shewn me that all the alterations made in it were merely arbitrary, and generally very injudicious. Let be were without doubt the author's words. The same expression occurs again in Antony and Cleopatra, Act IV, sc. iv:

“What's this for? Ah, let be, let be.Malone. If let be is the true reading, it must mean, let things remain as they are. I have heard the phrase used by Dr. Johnson himself. Mr. Henley observes, that the same expression occurs in St. Matt. xxvii, 49. Steevens. So, in Henry VIII, Act I, sc. i:

and they were ratify'd,

“ As he cried, Thus, let be." Again, in The Winter's Tale, Act V, sc. iii, Leontes says,

« Let be, let be.


pluck up, my heart, and be sad!] i. e rouse thyself, my heart, and be prepared for serious consequences! Steevens.

ne'er weigh more reasons in her balance:] A quibble between reasons and raisons. Ritson.



are slanders; sixth and lastly, they have bely'd 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.3

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

Bora. Sweet prince, let me go no further 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 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 disgraced her, when you should marry her: : my villainy 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.


- one meaning well suited.] That is, one meaning is put into many different dresses ; the prince having asked the same question in four modes of speech. Johnson.

4-incensed me to slander &c.] That is, incited me. The word is used in the same sense in Richard III, and Henry VIII.

M. Mason. See Minsheu's Dict. in v. Malone.

Dogb. Come, bring away the plaintiffs; by this time our sexton hath reform’d 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 Sexton.

Leon. Which is the villain? Let me see his eyes;
That when I note another man like him,

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 bely'st thyself;
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



of it.
Claud. I know not how to pray your patience,
Yet I must speak: Choose your revenge yourself;
Impose me to what penances your invention
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,
Possess the people6 in Messina here

5 Impose me to what penance -] i. e. command me to undergo whatever penance, &c. A task or exercise prescribed by way of punishment for a fault committed at the Universities, is yet called (as Mr. Steevens has observed in a former note) an imposition. Malone.

6 Possess the people &c.] To possess, in ancient language, signifies to inform, to make acquainted with. So, in The Merchant of Venice:

Is he yet possess'd how much you would ?”

How innocent she died: and, if your love
Can labour aught 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 daughter,
Almost the copy of my child that's dead,
And she alone is heir to both of us;7
Give her the right you should have given her cousin,
And so dies my revenge.

(), noble sir,
Your over-kindness doth wring tears from me!
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, 8
Hir'd to it by your brother.

No, by my soul, she was not;
Nor knew not what she did, when she spoke to me;
But always hath been just and virtuous,
In any thing that I do know by her.

Dogb. Moreover, sir, (which, indeed, is not under white and black) this plaintiff here, the offender, did call me ass: I beseech you, let it be remembered in his

Again, ibid:

“ I have possess'd your grace of what I purpose.” Steevens. ? And she alone is heir to both of us;] Shakspeare seems to have forgot what he had made Leonato say, in the fifth scene of the first Act to Antonio, “How now, brother; where is my cousin your son? hath he provided the musick ?" Anonymous.

8 Who, I believe, was pack'd in all this wrong,] i. e. combined; an accomplice. So, in Lord Bacon's Works, Vol. IV, p. 269, edit. 1740: “If the issue shall be this, that whatever shall be done for him, shall be thought done for a number of persons that shall be laboured and packed

Malone. So, in King Lear:

snuffs and packings of the dukes.” Steevens. Again, in Melvill's Memoirs, p. 90: “ - he was a special instrument of helping my Lord of Murray and Secretary Lidington to pack up the first friendship betwixt the two queens,” &c.


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