« PreviousContinue »
Mess. I see, lady, the gentleman is not in your books. Beat. No; an he were, I would burn my study. But I pray you, who is his companion? Is there no young squarer now that will make a voyage with him to the devil? He is most in the company of the right noble
Beat. O Lord, he will hang upon him like a disease: he is sooner caught than the pestilence, and the taker runs presently mad. God help the noble Claudio! if he have caught the Benedick, it will cost him a thousand pound ero a' be cured.
Mess. I will hold friends with you, lady.
Beat. Do, good friend.
| Leon You will never run mad, niece. Beat. No, not till a hot January.
Mess. Don Pedro is approached.
Enter DON PEDRO, DON JOHN, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK, and
D. Pedro. Good Signior Leonato, you are come to meet your trouble: the fashion of the world is to avoid cost, and you encounter it.
Leon. Never came trouble to my house in the likeness of your grace for trouble being gone, comfort should remain; but when you depart from me, sorrow abides and happiness takes his leave.
D. Pedro. You embrace your charge too willingly. I think this is your daughter.
Leon. Her mother hath many times told me so. Bene. Were you in doubt, sir, that you asked her? Leon. Signior Benedick, no; for then were vou a child. D. Pedro. You have it full, Benedick: we may guess by this what you are, being a man. Truly, the lady fathers herself. Be happy, lady; for you are like an honourable father.
Bene. If Signior Leonato be her father, she would not have his head on her shoulders for all Messina, as like him as she is.
Beat. I wonder that you will still be talking, Signior Benedick; nobody marks you.
Bene. What, my dear Lady Disdain! are you yet living? Beat. Is it possible disdain should die while she hath such meet food to feed it as Signior Benedick? Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you come in her presence. Bene. Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted: and I would I
could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart; for, truly, I love none.
Beat. A dear happiness to women: they would else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I thank God and my cold blood, I am of your humour for that: I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me.
Bene. God keep your ladyship still in that mind! so some gentleman or other shall 'scape a predestinate scratched face.
Beat. Scratching could not make it worse, an 'twere such a face as yours were.
Bene. Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher.
Beat. A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours. Bene. I would my horse had the speed of your tongue, But keep your way, i' God's and so good a continuer.
I have done.
Beat. You always end with a jade's trick: I know you of old.
Signior D. Pedro. That is the sum of all, Leonato. Claudio and Signior Benedick, my dear friend Leonato hath invited you all. I tell him we shall stay here at the least a month; and he heartily prays some occasion may detain us longer. I dare swear he is no hypocrite, but prays from his heart.
Leon. If you swear, my lord, you shall not be forsworn. [To Don John] Let me bid you welcome, my lord being reconciled to the prince your brother, I owe you all duty. D. John. I thank you: I am not of many words, but I thank you.
Leon. Please it your grace lead on?
D. Pedro. Your hand, Leonato; we will go together.
Bene. I noted her not; but I looked on her.
Claud. Is she not a modest young lady?
Bene. Do you question me, as an honest man should do, 171 for my simple true judgement; or would you have me speak after my custom, as being a professed tyrant to their sex? Claud. No; I pray thee speak in sober judgement.
Bene. Why, i' faith, me thinks she's too low for a high praise, too brown for a fair praise and too little for a great praise only this commendation I can afford her, that were she other than she is, she were unhandsome; and being no other but as she is, I do not like her.
Claud. Thou thinkest I am in sport: I pray thee tell me truly how thou likest her.
Bene. Would you buy her, that you inquire after her? Claud. Can the world buy such a jewel?
Bene. Yea, and a case to put it into. But speak you this with a sad brow? or do you play the flouting Jack, to tell us Cupid is a good hare-finder and Vulcan a rare carpenter? Come, in what key shall a man take you, to go in the song?
Caud. In mine eye she is the sweetest lady that ever I looked on. 190
Bene. I can see yet without spectacles and I see no such matter there's her cousin, an she were not possessed with a fury, exceeds her as much in beauty as the first of May does the last of December. But I hope you have no intent to turn husband, have you?
Claud. I would scarce trust myself, though I had sworn the contrary, if Hero would be my wife.
Bene. Is't come to this? In faith, hath not the world one man but he will wear his cap with suspicion? Shall I never see a bachelor of three score again? Go to, i' faith; an thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it and sigh away Sundays. Look; Don Pedro is returned to seek you.
Re-Enter DON PEDRO.
D. Pedro. What secret hath held you here, that you followed not to Leonato's?
Bene. I would your grace would constrain me to tell.
Bene. You hear, Count Claudio: I can be secret as a dumb man; I would have you think so; but, on my allegiance, mark you this, on my allegiance. He is in love. With who? now that is your grace's part. Mark how short his answer is ;-With Hero, Leonato's short daughter.
Claud. If this were so, so were it uttered.
Bene. Like the old tale, my lord: "it is not so, nor 'twas not so, but, indeed, God forbid it should be so." 220 Claud. If my passion change not shortly, God forbid it should be otherwise.
D. Pedro. Amen, if you love her; for the lady is very well worthy.
Claud. You speak this to fetch me in, my lord.
D. Pedro. By my troth, I speak my thought.
Bene. And, by my two faiths and troths, my lord, I spoke mine.
Claud. That I love her, I feel.
D. Pedro. That she is worthy, I know.
Bene. That I neither feel how she should be loved nor know how she should be worthy, is the opinion that fire cannot melt out of me: I will die in it at the stake.
D. Pedro. Thou wast ever an obstinate heretic in the despite 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 she brought me up, I likewise give her most humble thanks: but that I will have a recheat winded in my forehead, or hang my bugle in an invisible baldrick, all women shall pardon me. Because I will not do them the wrong to mistrust any, I will do myself the right to trust none; and the fine is, for the which I may go the finer, I will live a bachelor.
D. Pedro. I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with love. Bene. With anger, with sickness, 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.
D. Pedro. Well, if ever thou dost fall from this faith, thou wilt prove a notable argument.
Bene. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat and shoot at me; and he that hits me, let him be clapped on the shoulder, and called Adam. 261
D. Pedro. Well, as time shall try:
"In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke."
Bene. The savage bull may; but if ever the sensible Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull's horns and set them in my forehead and let me be vilely painted, and in such great letters as they write "Here is good horse to hire," let them signify under my sign "Here you may see Benedick the married man."
270 Claud. If this should ever happen, thou wouldst be hornmad.
D. Pedro. Nay, if Cupid have not spent all his quiver in Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly.
Bene. I look for an earthquake too, then.
D. Pedro. Well, you will temporize with the hours. In the meantime, good Signior Benedick. repair to Leonato's: commend me to him and tell him I will not fail him at supper; for indeed he hath made great preparation.
Bene. I have almost matter enough in me for such an embassage; and so I commit you
Claud. To the tuition of God: From my house, if I had
D. Pedro. The sixth of July: Your loving friend, Benedick.
Bene. Nay, mock not, mock not. The body of your dis course is sometime guarded with fragments, and the guards are but slightly basted on neither: ere you flout old ends any further, examine your conscience: and so I leave you. [Exit. 291
Claud. My liege, your highness now may do me good.
Claud. Hath Leonato any son, my lord?
O, my lord, When you went onward on this ended action, I look'd upon her with a soldier's eye,
That liked, but had a rougher task in hand
D. Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover presently
Caud. How sweetly you do minister to love,
D. Pedro. What need the bridge much broader than the
I know we shall have revelling to-night:
I will assume thy part in some disguise
The fairest grant is the necessity.
Look, what will serve is fit: 'tis once, thou lovest, 320
And in her bosom I'll unclasp my heart
And the conclusion is, she shall be thine,