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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Much Ado About Nothing

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SCENE.--Messina.

ACT I. Scene I.

An orchard before Leonato's house.

[Enter Leonato (Governor of Messina), Hero (his Daughter), and
Beatrice (his Niece), with a Messenger.]

Leon.
I learn in this letter that Don Pedro of Arragon comes this
night to Messina.

Mess.
He is very near by this. He was not three leagues off when I left
him.

Leon.
How many gentlemen have you lost in this action?

Mess.
But few of any sort, and none of name.

Leon.
A victory is twice itself when the achiever brings home full
numbers. I find here that Don Pedro hath bestowed much honour on
a young Florentine called Claudio.

Mess.
Much deserv'd on his part, and equally rememb'red by Don Pedro.
He hath borne himself beyond the promise of his age, doing in the
figure of a lamb the feats of a lion. He hath indeed better
bett'red expectation than you must expect of me to tell you how.

Leon.
He hath an uncle here in Messina will be very much glad of it.

Mess.
I have already delivered him letters, and there appears much joy
in him; even so much that joy could not show itself modest enough
without a badge of bitterness.

Leon.
Did he break out into tears?

Mess.
In great measure.

Leon.
A kind overflow of kindness. There are no faces truer than those
that are so wash'd. How much better is it to weep at joy than to
joy at weeping!

Beat.
I pray you, is Signior Mountanto return'd from the wars or no?

Mess.
I know none of that name, lady. There was none such in the army
of any sort.

Leon.
What is he that you ask for, niece?

Hero.
My cousin means Signior Benedick of Padua.

Mess.
O, he's return'd, and as pleasant as ever he was.

Beat.
He set up his bills here in Messina and challeng'd Cupid at the
flight, and my uncle's fool, reading the challenge, subscrib'd
for Cupid and challeng'd him at the burbolt. I pray you, how many
hath he kill'd and eaten in these wars? But how many hath he
kill'd? For indeed I promised to eat all of his killing.

Leon.
Faith, niece, you tax Signior Benedick too much; but he'll be
meet with you, I doubt it not.

Mess.
He hath done good service, lady, in these wars.

Beat.
You had musty victual, and he hath holp to eat it. He is a very
valiant trencherman; he hath an excellent stomach.

Mess.
And a good soldier too, lady.

Beat.
And a good soldier to a lady; but what is he to a lord?

Mess.
A lord to a lord, a man to a man; stuff'd with all honourable
virtues.

Beat.
It is so indeed. He is no less than a stuff'd man; but for the
stuffing--well, we are all mortal.

Leon.
You must not, sir, mistake my niece. There is a kind of merry war
betwixt Signior Benedick and her. They never meet but there's a
skirmish of wit between them.

Beat.
Alas, he gets nothing by that! In our last conflict four of his
five wits went halting off, and now is the whole man govern'd
with one; so that if he have wit enough to keep himself warm, let
him bear it for a difference between himself and his horse; for
it is all the wealth that he hath left to be known a reasonable
creature. Who is his companion now? He hath every month a new
sworn brother.

Mess.
Is't possible?

Beat.
Very easily possible. He wears his faith but as the fashion of
his hat; it ever changes with the next block.

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?

Mess.
He is most in the company of the right noble Claudio.

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 ere '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 approach'd.

[Enter Don Pedro, Claudio, Benedick, Balthasar, and John the
Bastard.]

Pedro.
Good Signior Leonato, are you 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.

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 ask'd her?

Leon.
Signior Benedick, no; for then were you a child.

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 scratch'd 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, and so good a
continuer. But keep your way, a God's name! I have done.

Beat.
You always end with a jade's trick. I know you of old.

Pedro.
That is the sum of all, Leonato. Signior 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 heartly 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.

John.
I thank you. I am not of many words, but I thank you.

Leon.
Please it your Grace lead on?

Pedro.
Your hand, Leonato. We will go together.

[Exeunt. Manent Benedick and Claudio.]

Claud.
Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of Signior Leonato?

Bene.
I noted her not, but I look'd on her.

Claud.
Is she not a modest young lady?

Bene.
Do you question me, as an honest man should do, for my simple
true judgment? 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 judgment.

Bene.
Why, i' faith, methinks 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
lik'st her.

Bene.
Would you buy her, that you enquire 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?

Claud.
In mine eye she is the sweetest lady that ever I look'd on.

Bene.
I can see yet without spectacles, and I see no such matter.
There's her cousin, an she were not possess'd with a fury,exceeds
her as much in beauty as the first of May doth 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
threescore again? Go to, i' faith! An thou wilt
needs thrust thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it and sigh
away Sundays.

[Enter Don Pedro.]

Look! Don Pedro is returned to seek you.

Pedro.
What secret hath held you here, that you followed not to
Leonato's?

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 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 utt'red.

Bene.
Like the old tale, my lord: 'It is not so, nor 'twas not so; but
indeed, God forbid it should be so!'

Claud.
If my passion change not shortly, God forbid it should be
otherwise.

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

Claud.
You speak this to fetch me in, my lord.

Pedro.
By my troth, I speak my thought.

Claud.
And, in faith, my lord, I spoke mine.

Bene.
And, by my two faiths and troths, my lord, I spoke mine.

Claud.
That I love her, I feel.

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.

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
rechate 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.

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.

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 clapp'd on the shoulder and call'd Adam.

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.'

Claud.
If this should ever happen, thou wouldst be horn-mad.

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.

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 it--

Pedro.
The sixth of July. Your loving friend, Benedick.

Bene.
Nay, mock not, mock not. The body of your discourse 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.]

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

Pedro.
My love is thine to teach. Teach it but how,
And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn
Any hard lesson that may do thee good.

Claud.
Hath Leonato any son, my lord?

Pedro.
No child but Hero; she's his only heir.
Dost thou affect her, Claudio?

Claud.
O my lord,
When you went onward on this ended action,
I look'd upon her with a soldier'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 soft and delicate desires,
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 dost love fair Hero, cherish it,
And I will break with her and with her father,
And thou shalt have her. Wast not to this end
That thou began'st to twist so fine a story?

Claud.
How sweetly you do minister to love,
That know love's grief by his complexion!
But lest my liking might too sudden seem,
I would have salv'd it with a longer treatise.

Pedro.
What need the bridge much broader than the flood?
The fairest grant is the necessity.
Look, what will serve is fit. 'Tis once, thou lovest,
And I will fit thee with the remedy.
I know we shall have revelling to-night.
I will assume thy part in some disguise
And tell fair Hero I am Claudio,
And in her bosom I'll unclasp my heart
And take her hearing prisoner with the force
And strong encounter of my amorous tale.
Then after to her father will I break,
And the conclusion is, she shall be thine.
In practice let us put it presently. [Exeunt.]

Scene II.

A room in Leonato's house.

[Enter [at one door] Leonato and [at another door, Antonio] an
old man, brother to Leonato.]

Leon.
How now, brother? Where is my cousin your son? Hath he provided
this music?

Ant.
He is very busy about it. But, brother, I can tell you strange
news that you yet dreamt not of.

Leon.
Are they good?

Ant.
As the event stamps them; but they have a good cover, they show
well outward. The Prince and Count Claudio, walking in a
thick-pleached alley in mine orchard, were thus much overheard by
a man of mine: the Prince discovered to Claudio that he loved my

niece 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 instantly break with you of it.

Leon.
Hath the fellow any wit that told you this?

Ant.
A good sharp fellow. I will send for him, and question him
yourself.

Leon.
No, no. We will hold it as a dream till it appear itself; but I
will acquaint my daughter withal, that she may be the better
prepared for an answer, if peradventure this be true. Go you and
tell her of it. [Exit Antonio.]

[Enter Antonio's Son with a Musician, and others.]

[To the Son] Cousin, you know what you have to do.

--[To the Musician] O, I cry you mercy, friend. Go you with me,
and I will use your skill.--Good cousin, have a care this busy
time. [Exeunt.]

Scene III.

Another room in Leonato's house.

[Enter Sir John the Bastard and Conrade, his companion.]

Con.
What the goodyear, my lord! Why are you thus out of measure sad?

John.
There is no measure in the occasion that breeds; therefore the
sadness is without limit.

Con.
You should hear reason.

John.
And when I have heard it, what blessings brings it?

Con.
If not a present remedy, at least a patient sufferance.

John.
I wonder that thou (being, as thou say'st thou art, born under
Saturn) goest about to apply a moral medicine to a mortifying
mischief. I cannot hide what I am: I must be sad when I have
cause, and smile at no man's jests; eat when I have stomach, and
wait for no man's leisure; sleep when I am drowsy, and tend on no
man's business; laugh when I am merry, and claw no man in his
humour.

Con.
Yea, but you must not make the full show of this till you may do
it without controlment. You have of late stood out against your
brother, and he hath ta'en you newly into his grace, where it is
impossible you should take true root but by the fair weather that
you make yourself. It is needful that you frame the season for
your own harvest.

John.
I had rather be a canker in a hedge than a rose in his grace, and
it better fits my blood to be disdain'd of all than to fashion a
carriage to rob love from any. In this, though I cannot be said
to be a flattering honest man, it must not be denied but I am a
plain-dealing villain. I am trusted with a muzzle and
enfranchis'd with a clog; therefore I have decreed not to
sing in my cage. If I had my mouth, I would bite; if I had my
liberty, I would do my liking. In the meantime let me be that I
am, and seek not to alter me.

Con.
Can you make no use of your discontent?

John.
I make all use of it, for I use it only.

[Enter Borachio.]

Who comes here? What news, Borachio?

Bora.
I came yonder from a great supper. The Prince your brother is
royally entertain'd by Leonato, and I can give you intelligence
of an intended marriage.

John.
Will it serve for any model to build mischief on? What is he for
a fool that betroths himself to unquietness?

Bora.
Marry, it is your brother's right hand.

John.
Who? the most exquisite Claudio?

Bora.
Even he.

John.
A proper squire! And who? and who? which way looks he?

Bora.
Marry, on Hero, the daughter and heir of Leonato.

John.
A very forward March-chick! How came you to this?

Bora.
Being entertain'd for a perfumer, as I was smoking a musty room,
comes me the Prince and Claudio, hand in hand in sad conference.
I whipt me behind the arras and there heard it agreed upon that
the Prince should woo Hero for himself, and having obtain'd her,
give her to Count Claudio.

John.
Come, come, let us thither. This may prove food to my
displeasure. That young start-up hath all the glory of my
overthrow. If I can cross him any way, I bless myself every way.
You are both sure, and will assist me?

Con.
To the death, my lord.

John.
Let us to the great supper. Their cheer is the greater that I am
subdued. Would the cook were o' my mind! Shall we go prove what's
to be done?

Bora.
We'll wait upon your lordship.
[Exeunt.]

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PROVIDED BY PROJECT GUTENBERG ETEXT OF CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY
WITH PERMISSION. ELECTRONIC AND MACHINE READABLE COPIES MAY BE
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ACT II. Scene I.

A hall in Leonato's house.

[Enter Leonato, [Antonio] his Brother, Hero his Daughter, and
Beatrice his Niece, and a Kinsman; [also Margaret and Ursula.]

Leon.
Was not Count John here at supper?

Ant.
I saw him not.

Beat.
How tartly that gentleman looks! I never can see him but I am
heart-burn'd an hour after.

Hero.
He is of a very melancholy disposition.

Beat.
He were an excellent man that were made just in the midway
between him and Benedick. The one is too like an image and says
nothing, and the other too like my lady's eldest son,
evermore tattling.

Leon.
Then half Signior Benedick's tongue in Count John's mouth, and
half Count John's melancholy in Signior Benedick's face--

Beat.
With a good leg and a good foot, uncle, and money enough in his
purse, such a man would win any woman in the world--if 'a could
get her good will.

Leon.
By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee a husband if thou be
so shrewd of thy tongue.

Ant.
In faith, she's too curst.

Beat.
Too curst is more than curst. I shall lessen God's sending that
way, for it is said, 'God sends a curst cow short horns,' but to
a cow too curst he sends none.

Leon.
So, by being too curst, God will send you no horns.

Beat.
Just, if he send me no husband; for the which blessing I am at
him upon my knees every morning and evening. Lord, I could not
endure a husband with a beard on his face. I had rather lie in
the woollen!

Leon.
You may light on a husband that hath no beard.

Beat.
What should I do with him? dress him in my apparel and make him
my waiting gentlewoman? He that hath a beard is more than a
youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man; and he that
is more than a youth is not for me; and he that is less than a
man, I am not for him. Therefore I will even take sixpence in
earnest of the berrord and lead his apes into hell.

Leon.
Well then, go you into hell?

Beat.
No; but to the gate, and there will the devil meet me like an old
cuckold with horns on his head, and say 'Get you to heaven,
Beatrice, get you to heaven. Here's no place for you maids.' So
deliver I up my apes, and away to Saint Peter--for the heavens.
He shows me where the bachelors sit, and there live we as merry
as the day is long.

Ant.
[to Hero] Well, niece, I trust you will be rul'd by your father.

Beat.
Yes faith. It is my cousin's duty to make cursy and say, 'Father,
as it please you.' But yet for all that, cousin, let him be a
handsome fellow, or else make another cursy, and say,
'Father, as it please me.'

Leon.
Well, niece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband.

Beat.
Not till God make men of some other metal than earth. Would it
not grieve a woman to be overmaster'd with a piece of valiant
dust? to make an account of her life to a clod of wayward marl?
No, uncle, I'll none. Adam's sons are my brethren, and truly I
hold it a sin to match in my kinred.

Leon.
Daughter, remember what I told you. If the Prince do solicit you
in that kind, you know your answer.

Beat.
The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you be not wooed in
good time. If the Prince be too important, tell him there is
measure in everything, and so dance out the answer. For, hear me,
Hero: wooing, wedding, and repenting is as a Scotch jig, a
measure, and a cinque-pace: the first suit is hot and hasty like
a Scotch jig--and full as fantastical; the wedding, mannerly
modest, as a measure, full of state and ancientry; and then comes
Repentance and with his bad legs falls into the cinque-pace
faster and faster, till he sink into his grave.

Leon.
Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly.

Beat.
I have a good eye, uncle; I can see a church by daylight.

Leon.
The revellers are ent'ring, brother. Make good room.

[Exit Antonio.]

[Enter, [masked,] Don Pedro, Claudio, Benedick, and Balthasar.
With them enter Antonio, also masked. After them enter
Don John [and Borachio (without masks), who stand aside
and look on during the dance.]

Pedro.
Lady, will you walk a bout with your friend?

Hero.
So you walk softly and look sweetly and say nothing, I am yours
for the walk; and especially when I walk away.

Pedro.
With me in your company?

Hero.
I may say so when I please.

Pedro.
And when please you to say so?

Hero.
When I like your favour, for God defend the lute should be like
the case!

Pedro.
My visor is Philemon's roof; within the house is Jove.

Hero.
Why then, your visor should be thatch'd.

Pedro.
Speak low if you speak love. [Takes her aside.]

Balth.
Well, I would you did like me.

Marg.
So would not I for your own sake, for I have many ill qualities.

Balth.
Which is one?

Marg.
I say my prayers aloud.

Balth.
I love you the better. The hearers may cry Amen.

Marg.
God match me with a good dancer!

Balth.
Amen.

Marg.
And God keep him out of my sight when the dance is done!
Answer, clerk.

Balth.
No more words. The clerk is answered.

[Takes her aside.]

Urs.
I know you well enough. You are Signior Antonio.

Ant.
At a word, I am not.

Urs.
I know you by the waggling of your head.

Ant.
To tell you true, I counterfeit him.

Urs.
You could never do him so ill-well unless you were the very man.
Here's his dry hand up and down. You are he, you are he!

Ant.
At a word, I am not.

Urs.
Come, come, do you think I do not know you by your excellent wit?
Can virtue hide itself? Go to, mum you are he. Graces will
appear, and there's an end. [ They step aside.]

Beat.
Will you not tell me who told you so?

Bene.
No, you shall pardon me.

Beat.
Nor will you not tell me who you are?

Bene.
Not now.

Beat.
That I was disdainful, and that I had my good wit out of the
'Hundred Merry Tales.' Well, this was Signior Benedick that said
so.

Bene.
What's he?

Beat.
I am sure you know him well enough.

Bene.
Not I, believe me.

Beat.
Did he never make you laugh?

Bene.
I pray you, what is he?

Beat.
Why, he is the Prince's jester, a very dull fool. Only his gift
is in devising impossible slanders. None but libertines delight
in him; and the commendation is not in his wit, but
in his villany; for he both pleases men and angers them, and then
they laugh at him and beat him. I am sure he is in the fleet. I
would he had boarded me.

Bene.
When I know the gentleman, I'll tell him what you say.

Beat.
Do, do. He'll but break a comparison or two on me; which
peradventure, not marked or not laugh'd at, strikes him into
melancholy; and then there's a partridge wing saved, for the
fool will eat no supper that night.
[Music.]
We must follow the leaders.

Bene.
In every good thing.

Beat.
Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at the next
turning.

[Dance. Exeunt (all but Don John, Borachio, and Claudio].

John.
Sure my brother is amorous on Hero and hath withdrawn her father
to break with him about it. The ladies follow her and but one
visor remains.

Bora.
And that is Claudio. I know him by his bearing.

John.
Are you not Signior Benedick?

Claud.
You know me well. I am he.

John.
Signior, you are very near my brother in his love. He is
enamour'd on Hero. I pray you dissuade him from her; she is no
equal for his birth. You may do the part of an honest man in it.

Claud.
How know you he loves her?

John.
I heard him swear his affection.

Bora.
So did I too, and he swore he would marry her tonight.

John.
Come, let us to the banquet.

[Exeunt. Manet Claudio.]

Claud.
Thus answer I in name of Benedick
But hear these ill news with the ears of Claudio.
[Unmasks.]
'Tis certain so. The Prince wooes for himself.
Friendship is constant in all other things
Save in the office and affairs of love.
Therefore all hearts in love use their own tongues;
Let every eye negotiate for itself
And trust no agent; for beauty is a witch
Against whose charms faith melteth into blood.
This is an accident of hourly proof,
Which I mistrusted not. Farewell therefore Hero!
[Enter Benedick [unmasked]].

Bene.
Count Claudio?

Claud.
Yea, the same.

Bene.
Come, will you go with me?

Claud.
Whither?

Bene.
Even to the next willow, about your own business, County. What
fashion will you wear the garland of? about your neck, like an
usurer's chain? or under your arm, like a lieutenant's scarf?
You must wear it one way, for the Prince hath got your Hero.

Claud.
I wish him joy of her.

Bene.
Why, that's spoken like an honest drovier. So they sell bullocks.
But did you think the Prince would have served you thus?

Claud.
I pray you leave me.

Bene.
Ho! now you strike like the blind man! 'Twas the boy that stole
your meat, and you'll beat the post.

Claud.
If it will not be, I'll leave you.
[Exit.]

Bene.
Alas, poor hurt fowl! now will he creep into sedges. But, that my
Lady Beatrice should know me, and not know me! The Prince's fool!
Ha! it may be I go under that title because I am merry. Yea, but
so I am apt to do myself wrong. I am not so reputed. It is the
base (though bitter) disposition of Beatrice that puts the world
into her person and so gives me out. Well, I'll be revenged as I
may.

[Enter Don Pedro.]

Pedro.
Now, signior, where's the Count? Did you see him?

Bene.
Troth, my lord, I have played the part of Lady Fame, I found him
here as melancholy as a lodge in a warren. I told him, and I
think I told him true, that your Grace had got the good will of
this young lady, and I off'red him my company to a willow tree,
either to make him a garland, as being forsaken, or to bind him
up a rod, as being worthy to be whipt.

Pedro.
To be whipt? What's his fault?

Bene.
The flat transgression of a schoolboy who, being overjoyed with
finding a bird's nest, shows it his companion, and he steals it.

Pedro.
Wilt thou make a trust a transgression? The transgression is in
the stealer.

Bene.
Yet it had not been amiss the rod had been made, and the garland
too; for the garland he might have worn himself, and the rod he
might have bestowed on you, who, as I take it, have stol'n his
bird's nest.

Pedro.
I will but teach them to sing and restore them to the owner.

Bene.
If their singing answer your saying, by my faith you say
honestly.

Pedro.
The Lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you. The gentleman that
danc'd with her told her she is much wrong'd by you.

Bene.
O, she misus'd me past the endurance of a block! An oak but with
one green leaf on it would have answered her; my very visor began
to assume life and scold with her. She told me, not thinking I
had been myself, that I was the Prince's jester, that I was
duller than a great thaw; huddling jest upon jest with such
impossible conveyance upon me that I stood like a man at a mark,
with a whole army shooting at me. She speaks poniards, and every

word stabs. If her breath were as terrible as her terminations,
there were no living near her; she would infect to the North
Star. I would not marry her though she were endowed with all that
Adam had left him before he transgress'd. She would have made
Hercules have turn'd spit, yea, and have cleft his club to make
the fire too. Come, talk not of her. You shall find her the
infernal Ate in good apparel. I would to God some scholar would
conjure her, for certainly, while she is here, a man may live as
quiet in hell as in a sanctuary; and people sin upon purpose,
because they would go thither; so indeed all disquiet, horror,
and perturbation follows her.

[Enter Claudio and Beatrice, Leonato, Hero.]

Pedro.
Look, here she comes.

Bene.
Will your Grace command me any service to the world's end? I will
go on the slightest errand now to the Antipodes that you can
devise to send me on; I will fetch you a toothpicker now from the
furthest inch of Asia; bring you the length of Prester John's
foot; fetch you a hair off the great Cham's beard; do you any
embassage to the Pygmies--rather than hold three words'
conference with this harpy. You have no employment for me?

Pedro.
None, but to desire your good company.

Bene.
O God, sir, here's a dish I love not! I cannot endure my Lady
Tongue.
[Exit.]

Pedro.
Come, lady, come; you have lost the heart of Signior Benedick.

Beat.
Indeed, my lord, he lent it me awhile, and I gave him use for
it--a double heart for his single one. Marry, once before he won
it of me with false dice; therefore your Grace may well say I
have lost it.

Pedro.
You have put him down, lady; you have put him down.

Beat.
So I would not he should do me, my lord, lest I should prove the
mother of fools. I have brought Count Claudio, whom you sent me
to seek.

Pedro.
Why, how now, Count? Wherefore are you sad?

Claud.
Not sad, my lord.

Pedro.
How then? sick?

Claud.
Neither, my lord.

Beat.
The Count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor well; but
civil count--civil as an orange, and something of that jealous
complexion.

Pedro.
I' faith, lady, I think your blazon to be true; though I'll be
sworn, if he be so, his conceit is false. Here, Claudio, I have
wooed in thy name, and fair Hero is won. I have broke with her
father, and his good will obtained. Name the day of marriage, and
God give thee joy!

Leon.
Count, take of me my daughter, and with her my fortunes. His
Grace hath made the match, and all grace say Amen to it!

Beat.
Speak, Count, 'tis your cue.

Claud.
Silence is the perfectest herald of joy. I were but little happy
if I could say how much. Lady, as you are mine, I am yours. I
give away myself for you and dote upon the exchange.

Beat.
Speak, cousin; or, if you cannot, stop his mouth with a kiss and
let not him speak neither.

Pedro.
In faith, lady, you have a merry heart.

Beat.
Yea, my lord; I thank it, poor fool, it keeps on the windy side
of care. My cousin tells him in his ear that he is in her heart.

Claud.
And so she doth, cousin.

Beat.
Good Lord, for alliance! Thus goes every one to the world but I,
and I am sunburnt. I may sit in a corner and cry 'Heigh-ho for a
husband!'

Pedro.
Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.

Beat.
I would rather have one of your father's getting. Hath your Grace
ne'er a brother like you? Your father got excellent husbands, if
a maid could come by them.

Pedro.
Will you have me, lady?

Beat.
No, my lord, unless I might have another for working days: your
Grace is too costly to wear every day. But I beseech your Grace
pardon me. I was born to speak all mirth and no matter.

Pedro.
Your silence most offends me, and to be merry best becomes you,
for out o' question you were born in a merry hour.

Beat.
No, sure, my lord, my mother cried; but then there was a star
danc'd, and under that was I born. Cousins, God give you joy!

Leon.
Niece, will you look to those things I told you of?

Beat.
I cry you mercy, uncle, By your Grace's pardon.
[Exit.]

Pedro.
By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady.

Leon.
There's little of the melancholy element in her, my lord. She is
never sad but when she sleeps, and not ever sad then; for I have
heard my daughter say she hath often dreamt of
unhappiness and wak'd herself with laughing.

Pedro.
She cannot endure to hear tell of a husband.

Leon.
O, by no means! She mocks all her wooers out of suit.

Pedro.
She were an excellent wife for Benedick.

Leon.
O Lord, my lord! if they were but a week married, they would talk
themselves mad.

Pedro.
County Claudio, when mean you to go to church?

Claud.
To-morrow, my lord. Time goes on crutches till love have all his
rites.

Leon.
Not till Monday, my dear son, which is hence a just sevennight;
and a time too brief too, to have all things answer my mind.

Pedro.
Come, you shake the head at so long a breathing; but I warrant
thee, Claudio, the time shall not go dully by us. I will in the
interim undertake one of Hercules' labours,
which is, to bring Signior Benedick and the Lady Beatrice into a
mountain of affection th' one with th' other. I would fain have
it a match, and I doubt not but to fashion it if you three will
but minister such assistance as I shall give you direction.

Leon.
My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten nights' watchings.

Claud.
And I, my lord.

Pedro.
And you too, gentle Hero?

Hero.
I will do any modest office, my lord, to help my cousin to a good
husband.

Pedro.
And Benedick is not the unhopefullest husband that I know. Thus
far can I praise him: he is of a noble strain, of approved
valour, and confirm'd honesty. I will teach you how to humour
your cousin, that she shall fall in love with Benedick; and I,
[to Leonato and Claudio] with your two helps, will so practise on
Benedick that, in despite of his quick wit and his queasy
stomach, he shall fall in love with Beatrice. If we can do this,
Cupid is no longer an archer; his glory shall be ours, for we are
the only love-gods. Go in with me, and I will tell you my drift.

[Exeunt.]

Scene II.

A hall in Leonato's house.

[Enter [Don] John and Borachio.]

John.
It is so. The Count Claudio shall marry the daughter of Leonato.

Bora.
Yea, my lord; but I can cross it.

John.
Any bar, any cross, any impediment will be med'cinable to me. I
am sick in displeasure to him, and whatsoever comes athwart his
affection ranges evenly with mine. How canst thou cross this
marriage?

Bora.
Not honestly, my lord, but so covertly that no dishonesty shall
appear in me.

John.
Show me briefly how.

Bora.
I think I told your lordship, a year since, how much I am in the
favour of Margaret, the waiting gentlewoman to Hero.

John.
I remember.

Bora.
I can, at any unseasonable instant of the night, appoint her to
look out at her lady's chamber window.

John.
What life is in that to be the death of this marriage?

Bora.
The poison of that lies in you to temper. Go you to the Prince
your brother; spare not to tell him that he hath wronged his
honour in marrying the renowned Claudio (whose estimation do you
mightily hold up) to a contaminated stale, such a one as Hero.

John.
What proof shall I make of that?

Bora.
Proof enough to misuse the Prince, to vex Claudio, to undo Hero,
and kill Leonato. Look you for any other issue?

John.
Only to despite them I will endeavour anything.

Bora.
Go then; find me a meet hour to draw Don Pedro and the Count
Claudio alone; tell them that you know that Hero loves me; intend
a kind of zeal both to the Prince and Claudio, as--in love of
your brother's honour, who hath made this match, and his friend's

reputation, who is thus like to be cozen'd with the semblance of
a maid--that you have discover'd thus. They will scarcely believe
this without trial. Offer them instances; which shall bear no
less likelihood than to see me at her chamber window, hear me
call Margaret Hero, hear Margaret term me Claudio; and bring them
to see this the very night before the intended wedding (for in
the meantime I will so fashion the matter that Hero shall be
absent) and there shall appear such seeming truth of Hero's
disloyalty that jealousy shall be call'd assurance and all the
preparation overthrown.

John.
Grow this to what adverse issue it can, I will put it in
practice. Be cunning in the working this, and thy fee is a
thousand ducats.

Bora.
Be you constant in the accusation, and my cunning shall not shame
me.

John.
I will presently go learn their day of marriage.

[Exeunt.]

Scene III.

Leonato's orchard.

[Enter Benedick alone.]

Bene.
Boy!

[Enter Boy.]

Boy.
Signior?

Bene.
In my chamber window lies a book. Bring it hither to me in he
orchard.

Boy.
I am here already, sir.

Bene.
I know that, but I would have thee hence and here again.
(Exit Boy.) I do much wonder that one man, seeing how much
another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviours to love,
will, after he hath laugh'd at such shallow follies in others,
become the argument of his own scorn by falling in love; and such
a man is Claudio. I have known when there was no music with him
but the drum and the fife; and now had he rather hear the tabor
and the pipe. I have known when he would have walk'd ten mile
afoot to see a good armour; and now will he lie ten nights awake
carving the fashion of a new doublet. He was wont to speak plain
and to the purpose, like an honest man and a soldier; and now is
he turn'd orthography; his words are a very fantastical
banquet--just so many strange dishes. May I be so converted and
see with these eyes? I cannot tell; I think not. I will not be
sworn but love may transform me to an oyster; but I'll take my
oath on it, till he have made an oyster of me he shall never make
me such a fool. One woman is fair, yet I am well; another is
wise, yet I am well; another virtuous, yet I am well; but till
all graces be in one woman, one woman shall not come in my grace.
Rich she
shall be, that's certain; wise, or I'll none; virtuous, or I'll
never cheapen her; fair, or I'll never look on her; mild, or come
not near me; noble, or not I for an angel; of good discourse, an
excellent musician, and her hair shall be of what colour it
please God. Ha, the Prince and Monsieur Love! I will hide me in
the arbour. [Hides.]

[Enter Don Pedro, Leonato, Claudio.]

[Music within.]

Pedro.
Come, shall we hear this music?

Claud.
Yea, my good lord. How still the evening is,
As hush'd on purpose to grace harmony!

Pedro.
See you where Benedick hath hid himself?

Claud.
O, very well, my lord. The music ended,
We'll fit the kid-fox with a pennyworth.

[Enter Balthasar with Music.]

Pedro.
Come, Balthasar, we'll hear that song again.

Balth.
O, good my lord, tax not so bad a voice
To slander music any more than once.

Pedro.
It is the witness still of excellency
To put a strange face on his own perfection.
I pray thee sing, and let me woo no more.

Balth.
Because you talk of wooing, I will sing,
Since many a wooer doth commence his suit
To her he thinks not worthy, yet he wooes,
Yet will he swear he loves.

Pedro.
Nay, pray thee come;
Or if thou wilt hold longer argument,
Do it in notes.

Balth.
Note this before my notes:
There's not a note of mine that's worth the noting.

Pedro.
Why, these are very crotchets that he speaks!
Note notes, forsooth, and nothing! [Music.]

Bene.
[aside] Now divine air! Now is his soul ravish'd! Is it not
strange that sheep's guts should hale souls out of men's bodies?
Well, a horn for my money, when all's done.

[Balthasar sings.]

The Song.

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more!
Men were deceivers ever,
One foot in sea, and one on shore;
To one thing constant never.
Then sigh not so,
But let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into Hey nonny, nonny.
Sing no more ditties, sing no moe,
Of dumps so dull and heavy!
The fraud of men was ever so,
Since summer first was leavy.
Then sigh not so, &c.
Pedro.
By my troth, a good song.

Balth.
And an ill singer, my lord.

Pedro.
Ha, no, no, faith! Thou sing'st well enough for a shift.

Bene.
[aside] An he had been a dog that should have howl'd thus, they
would have hang'd him; and I pray God his bad voice bode no
mischief. I had as live have heard the night raven, come what
plague could have come after it.

Pedro.
Yea, marry. Dost thou hear, Balthasar? I pray thee get us some
excellent music; for to-morrow night we would have it at the Lady
Hero's chamber window.

Balth.
The best I can, my lord.

Pedro.
Do so. Farewell.

[Exit Balthasar [with Musicians.]

Come hither, Leonato. What was it you told me of to-day? that
your niece Beatrice was in love with Signior Benedick?

Claud.
O, ay!-[Aside to Pedro] Stalk on, stalk on; the fowl sits. --I
did never think that lady would have loved any man.

Leon.
No, nor I neither; but most wonderful that she should so dote on
Signior Benedick, whom she hath in all outward behaviours seem'd
ever to abhor.

Bene.
[aside] Is't possible? Sits the wind in that corner?

Leon.
By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to think of it, but that
she loves him with an enraged affection. It is past the infinite
of thought.

Pedro.
May be she doth but counterfeit.

Claud.
Faith, like enough.

Leon.
O God, counterfeit? There was never counterfeit of passion came
so near the life of passion as she discovers it.

Pedro.
Why, what effects of passion shows she?

Claud.
[aside] Bait the hook well! This fish will bite.

Leon.
What effects, my lord? She will sit you--you heard my daughter
tell you how.

Claud.
She did indeed.

Pedro.
How, how, I pray you? You amaze me. I would have thought her
spirit had been invincible against all assaults of affection.

Leon.
I would have sworn it had, my lord--especially against Benedick.

Bene.
[aside] I should think this a gull but that the white-bearded
fellow speaks it. Knavery cannot, sure, hide himself in such
reverence.

Claud.
[aside] He hath ta'en th' infection. Hold it up.

Pedro.
Hath she made her affection known to Benedick?

Leon.
No, and swears she never will. That's her torment.

Claud.
'Tis true indeed. So your daughter says. 'Shall I,' says she,
'that have so oft encount'red him with scorn, write to him that I
love him?'"

Leon.
This says she now when she is beginning to write to him; for
she'll be up twenty times a night, and there will she sit in her
smock till she have writ a sheet of paper. My daughter tells us
all.

Claud.
Now you talk of a sheet of paper, I remember a pretty jest your
daughter told us of.

Leon.
O, when she had writ it, and was reading it over, she found
'Benedick' and 'Beatrice' between the sheet?

Claud.
That.

Leon.
O, she tore the letter into a thousand halfpence, rail'd at
herself that she should be so immodest to write to one that she
knew would flout her. 'I measure him,' says she, 'by my own
spirit; for I should flout him if he writ to me. Yea, though I
love him, I should.'

Claud.
Then down upon her knees she falls, weeps, sobs, beats her heart,
tears her hair, prays, curses--'O sweet Benedick! God give me
patience!'

Leon.
She doth indeed; my daughter says so. And the ecstasy hath so
much overborne her that my daughter is sometime afeard she will
do a desperate outrage to herself. It is very true.

Pedro.
It were good that Benedick knew of it by some other, if she will
not discover it.

Claud.
To what end? He would make but a sport of it and torment the poor
lady worse.

Pedro.
An he should, it were an alms to hang him! She's an excellent
sweet lady, and (out of all suspicion) she is virtuous.

Claud.
And she is exceeding wise.

Pedro.
In everything but in loving Benedick.

Leon.
O, my lord, wisdom and blood combating in so tender a body, we
have ten proofs to one that blood hath the victory. I am sorry
for her, as I have just cause, being her uncle and her
guardian.

Pedro.
I would she had bestowed this dotage on me. I would have daff'd
all other respects and made her half myself. I pray you tell
Benedick of it and hear what 'a will say.

Leon.
Were it good, think you?

Claud.
Hero thinks surely she will die; for she says she will die if he
love her not, and she will die ere she make her love known, and
she will die, if he woo her, rather than she will bate one
breath of her accustomed crossness.

Pedro.
She doth well. If she should make tender of her love, 'tis very
possible he'll scorn it; for the man (as you know all) hath a
contemptible spirit.

Claud.
He is a very proper man.

Pedro.
He hath indeed a good outward happiness.

Claud.
Before God! and in my mind, very wise.

Pedro.
He doth indeed show some sparks that are like wit.

Claud.
And I take him to be valiant.

Pedro.
As Hector, I assure you; and in the managing of quarrels you may
say he is wise, for either he avoids them with great discretion,
or undertakes them with a most Christianlike fear.

Leon.
If he do fear God, 'a must necessarily keep peace. If he break
the peace, he ought to enter into a quarrel with fear and
trembling.

Pedro.
And so will he do; for the man doth fear God, howsoever it seems
not in him by some large jests he will make. Well, I am sorry for
your niece. Shall we go seek Benedick and tell him of her love?

Claud.
Never tell him, my lord. Let her wear it out with good counsel.

Leon.
Nay, that's impossible; she may wear her heart out first.

Pedro.
Well, we will hear further of it by your daughter. Let it cool
the while. I love Benedick well, and I could wish he would
modestly examine himself to see how much he is unworthy so good a
lady.

Leon.
My lord, will you walk? Dinner is ready.

[They walk away.]

Claud.
If he dote on her upon this, I will never trust my expectation.

Pedro.
Let there be the same net spread for her, and that must your
daughter and her gentlewomen carry. The sport will be, when they
hold one an opinion of another's dotage, and no such matter.
That's the scene that I would see, which will be merely a dumb
show. Let us send her to call him in to dinner.

[Exeunt Don Pedro, Claudio, and Leonato.]

[Benedick advances from the arbour.]

Bene.
This can be no trick. The conference was sadly borne; they have
the truth of this from Hero; they seem to pity the lady. It
seems her affections have their full bent. Love me? Why, it must
be requited. I hear how I am censur'd. They say I will bear
myself proudly if I perceive the love come from her. They say too
that she will rather die than give any sign of affection. I did
never think to marry. I must not seem proud. Happy are they that
hear their detractions and can put them to mending. They say the
lady is fair--'tis a truth, I can bear them witness; and
virtuous--'tis so, I cannot reprove it; and wise, but for loving
me--by my troth, it is no addition to her wit, nor no great
argument of her folly, for I will be horribly in love with her. I
may chance have some odd quirks and remnants of wit broken on me
because I have railed so long against marriage. But doth not the
appetite alters? A man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot
endure in his age. Shall quips and sentences and these paper
bullets of the brain awe a man from the career of his humour? No,
the world must be peopled. When I said I would die a bachelor, I
did not think I should live till I were married.

[Enter Beatrice.]

Here comes Beatrice. By this day, she's a fair lady! I do spy
some marks of love in her.

Beat.
Against my will I am sent to bid You come in to dinner.

Bene.
Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains.

Beat.
I took no more pains for those thanks than you take pains to
thank me. If it had been painful, I would not have come.

Bene.
You take pleasure then in the message?

Beat.
Yea, just so much as you may take upon a knives point, and choke
a daw withal. You have no stomach, signior. Fare you well.
[Exit.]

Bene.
Ha! 'Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner.'
There's a double meaning in that. 'I took no more pains for those
thanks than you took pains to thank me.' That's as much as to
say, 'Any pains that I take for you is as easy as thanks.' If I
do not take pity of her, I am a villain; if I do not love her, I
am a Jew. I will go get her picture. [Exit.]

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ACT III.

Scene I.

Leonato's orchard.

[Enter Hero and two Gentlewomen, Margaret and Ursula.]

Hero.
Good Margaret, run thee to the parlour.
There shalt thou find my cousin Beatrice
Proposing with the Prince and Claudio.
Whisper her ear and tell her, I and Ursley
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 honeysuckles, ripened 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. 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.

[Enter Beatrice.]

Now begin;
For look where Beatrice like a lapwing runs
Close by the ground, to hear our conference.

[Beatrice hides in the arbour].

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.

Hero.
Then go we near her, that her ear lose nothing
Of the false sweet bait that we lay for it.

[They approach the arbour.]

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 you tell her of it, madam?

Hero.
They did entreat 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,
Misprizing 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'll 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 would swear the gentleman should be her sister;
If black, why, Nature, drawing of an antic,
Made a foul blot; if tall, a lance ill-headed;
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.
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.

[They walk away.]

Urs.
She's lim'd, I warrant you! We have caught her, madam.

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