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1 I learn in this letter that Don Pedro of Arragon
2 comes this night to Messina.
3 He is very near by this: he was not three leagues
4 off when I left him.
5 How many gentlemen have you lost in this
7 But few of any sort, and none of name.
8 A victory is twice itself when the achiever brings
9 home full numbers. I find here that Don Pedro
10 hath bestowed much honor on a young
11 Florentine called Claudio.
12 Much deserved on his part and equally remembered
13 by Don Pedro: he hath borne himself beyond the
14 promise of his age, doing, in the figure of a lamb,
15 the feats of a lion: he hath indeed better
16 bett'red expectation than you must expect of me to
17 tell you how.
18 He hath an uncle here in Messina will be very
19 much glad of it.
20 I have already delivered him letters, and there
21 appears much joy in him; even so much that joy
22 could not show itself modest enough without a
23 badge of bitterness.
24 Did he break out into tears?
25 In great measure.
26 A kind overflow of kindness: there are no faces
27 truer than those that are so washed. How much
28 better is it to weep at joy than to joy at
30 I pray you, is Signior Mountanto returned from
31 the wars or no?
32 I know none of that name, lady: there was none
33 such in the army of any sort.
34 What is he that you ask for, niece?
35 My cousin means Signior Benedick of
37 O, he's returned; and as pleasant as ever
38 he was.
39 He set up his bills here in Messina and
40 challeng'd Cupid at the flight; and my uncle's
41 fool, reading the challenge, subscrib'd for Cupid,
42 and challenged him at the burbolt. I pray you,
43 how many hath he killed and eaten in these wars?
44 But how many hath he killed? for indeed I promis'd
45 to eat all of his killing.
46 Faith, niece, you tax Signior Benedick too much;
47 but he'll be meet with you, I doubt it not.
48 He hath done good service, lady, in these
50 You had musty victual, and he hath holp to eat it:
51 he is a very valiant trencherman; he hath an
52 excellent stomach.
53 And a good soldier too, lady.
54 And a good soldier to a lady: but what is
55 he to a lord?
56 A lord to a lord, a man to a man; stuff'd with all
57 honorable virtues.
58 It is so, indeed; he is no less than a stuff'd
59 man: but for the stuffing,well, we are all
61 You must not, sir, mistake my niece. There is a
62 kind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick and her:
63 they never meet but there's a skirmish of wit
64 between them.
65 Alas! he gets nothing by that. In our last
66 conflict four of his five wits went halting off, and
67 now is the whole man governed with one: so that if
68 he have wit enough to keep himself warm, let him
69 bear it for a difference between himself and his
70 horse; for it is all the wealth that he hath left,
71 to be known a reasonable creature. Who is his
72 companion now? He hath every month a new sworn
74 Is't possible?
75 Very easily possible: he wears his faith but as
76 the fashion of his hat; it ever changes with the
77 next block.
78 I see, lady, the gentleman is not in your
80 No; an he were, I would burn my study. But, I pray
81 you, who is his companion? Is there no young
82 squarer now that will make a voyage with
83 him to the devil?
84 He is most in the company of the right
85 noble Claudio.
86 O Lord, he will hang upon him like a disease: he
87 is sooner caught than the pestilence, and the taker
88 runs presently mad. God help the noble Claudio! if
89 he have caught the Benedick, it will cost him a
90 thousand pound ere 'a be cur'd.
91 I will hold friends with you, lady.
92 Do, good friend.
93 You will never run mad, niece.
94 No, not till a hot January.
95 Don Pedro is approached.
96 Good Signior Leonato, you are come
97 to meet your trouble: the fashion of the world is to
98 avoid cost, and you encounter it.
99 Never came trouble to my house in the likeness of
100 your grace: for trouble being gone, comfort should
101 remain; but when you depart from me, sorrow abides
102 and happiness takes his leave.
103 You embrace your charge too willingly. I think this
104 is your daughter.
105 Her mother hath many times told me so.
106 Were you in doubt, sir, that you asked her?
107 Signior Benedick, no; for then were you
108 a child.
109 You have it full, Benedick: we may
110 guess by this what you are, being a man. Truly,
111 the lady fathers herself. Be happy, lady; for you are
112 like an honorable father.
113 If Signior Leonato be her father, she would not
114 have his head on her shoulders for all Messina, as
115 like him as she is.
116 I wonder that you will still be talking, Signior
117 Benedick: nobody marks you.
118 What, my dear Lady Disdain! are you yet
120 Is it possible disdain should die while she hath
121 such meet food to feed it as Signior Benedick?
122 Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you
123 come in her presence.
124 Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain
125 I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted:
126 and I would I could find in my heart that I
127 had not a hard heart; for, truly, I love none.
128 A dear happiness to women: they would else
129 have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I
130 thank God and my cold blood, I am of your
131 humor for that: I had rather hear my dog bark
132 at a crow than a man swear he loves me.
133 God keep your ladyship still in that mind!
134 so some gentleman or other shall 'scape a
135 predestinate scratched face.
136 Scratching could not make it worse, an
137 'twere such a face as yours were.
138 Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher.
139 A bird of my tongue is better than a beast
140 of yours.
141 I would my horse had the speed of your tongue,
142 and so good a continuer. But keep your way,
143 i' God's name; I have done.
144 You always end with a jade's trick: I know
145 you of old.
146 That is the sum of all, Leonato. Signior
147 Claudio and Signior Benedick, my dear
148 friend Leonato hath invited you all. I tell
149 him we shall stay here at the least a month;
150 and he heartily prays some occasion may
151 detain us longer. I dare swear he is no hypocrite,
152 but prays from his heart.
153 If you swear, my lord, you shall not be forsworn.
154Let me bid you welcome, my lord:
155being reconciled to the prince your
156brother, I owe you all duty.
157 I thank you: I am not of many words,
158 but I thank you.
159 Please it your grace lead on?
160 Your hand, Leonato; we will go
*** Exeunt. Manent BENEDICK
162 Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of
163 Signior Leonato?
164 I noted her not; but I looked on her.
165 Is she not a modest young lady?
166 Do you question me, as an honest man
167 should do, for my simple true judgment;
168 or would you have me speak after my custom,
169 as being a professed tyrant to their sex?
170 No; I pray thee speak in sober judgment.
171 Why, i' faith, methinks she's too low for a high
172 praise, too brown for a fair praise and too little
173 for a great praise: only this commendation I can
174 afford her, that were she other than she is, she
175 were unhandsome; and being no other but as she
176 is, I do not like her.
177 Thou thinkest I am in sport: I pray thee tell me
178 truly how thou likest her.
179 Would you buy her, that you inquire after
181 Can the world buy such a jewel?
182 Yea, and a case to put it into. But speak you this
183 with a sad brow? or do you play the flouting Jack,
184 to tell us Cupid is a good hare-finder and Vulcan a
185 rare carpenter? Come, in what key shall a man take
186 you, to go in the song?
187 In mine eye she is the sweetest lady that ever I
188 looked on.
189 I can see yet without spectacles and I see no such
190 matter: there's her cousin, an she were not
191 possessed with a fury, exceeds her as much in beauty
192 as the first of May doth the last of December. But I
193 hope you have no intent to turn husband,
194 have you?
195 I would scarce trust myself, though I had sworn the
196 contrary, if Hero would be my wife.
197 Is't come to this? In faith, hath not the world
198 one man but he will wear his cap with suspicion?
199 Shall I never see a bachelor of three-score again?
200 Go to, i' faith; an thou wilt needs thrust thy neck
201 into a yoke, wear the print of it, and sigh away
202 Sundays. Look, Don Pedro is returned to
203 seek you.
204 What secret hath held you here, that you followed
205 not to Leonato's?
206 I would your grace would constrain me to
208 I charge thee on thy allegiance.
209 You hear, Count Claudio: I can be secret as a
210 dumb man; I would have you think so; but, on
211 my allegiance, mark you this, on my allegiance.
212 He is in love. With who? now that is your grace's
213 part. Mark how short his answer is;With Hero,
214 Leonato's short daughter.
215 If this were so, so were it uttered.
216 Like the old tale, my lord: 'it is not so, nor
217 'twas not so, but, indeed, God forbid it should
218 be so'.
219 If my passion change not shortly, God forbid it
220 should be otherwise.
221 Amen, if you love her; for the lady is
222 very well worthy.
223 You speak this to fetch me in, my lord.
224 By my troth, I speak my thought.
225 And, in faith, my lord, I spoke mine.
226 And, by my two faiths and troths, my
227 lord, I spoke mine.
228 That I love her, I feel.
229 That she is worthy, I know.
230 That I neither feel how she should be loved
231 nor know how she should be worthy, is the
232 opinion that fire cannot melt out of me: I will
233 die in it at the stake.
234 Thou wast ever an obstinate heretic in
235 the despite of beauty.
236 And never could maintain his part but in the
237 force of his will.
238 That a woman conceived me, I thank her; that
239 she brought me up, I likewise give her most
240 humble thanks: but that I will have a recheat
241 winded in my forehead, or hang my bugle in
242 an invisible baldrick, all women shall pardon me.
243 Because I will not do them the wrong to mistrust
244 any, I will do myself the right to trust none; and
245 the fine is, for the which I may go the finer, I will
246 live a bachelor.
247 I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with
249 With anger, with sickness, or with hunger, my lord,
250 not with love: prove that ever I lose more blood
251 with love than I will get again with drinking, pick
252 out mine eyes with a ballad-maker's pen and hang
253 me up at the door of a brothel-house for the sign of
254 blind Cupid.
255 Well, if ever thou dost fall from this faith, thou
256 wilt prove a notable argument.
257 If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat and shoot
258 at me; and he that hits me, let him be clapped on
259 the shoulder, and called Adam.
260 Well, as time shall try: 'In time the savage bull
261 doth bear the yoke'.
262 The savage bull may; but if ever the sensible
263 Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull's horns and set
264 them in my forehead: and let me be vilely painted,
265 and in such great letters as they write 'Here is
266 good horse to hire', let them signify under my sign
267 'Here you may see Benedick the
268 married man'.
269 If this should ever happen, thou wouldst
270 be horn-mad.
271 Nay, if Cupid have not spent all his quiver in
272 Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly.
273 I look for an earthquake too, then.
274 Well, you temporize with the hours. In the
275 meantime, good Signior Benedick, repair to
276 Leonato's: commend me to him and tell him I will
277 not fail him at supper; for indeed he hath made
278 great preparation.
279 I have almost matter enough in me for such an
280 embassage; and so I commit you
281 To the tuition of God: From my house,
282 if I had it,
283 The sixth of July: Your loving friend,
285 Nay, mock not, mock not. The body of your
286 discourse is sometime guarded with fragments,
287 and the guards are but slightly basted on neither:
288 ere you flout old ends any further, examine your
289 conscience: and so I leave you.
290 My liege, your highness now may do me good.
291 My love is thine to teach: teach it but how,
292 And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn
293 Any hard lesson that may do thee good.
294 Hath Leonato any son, my lord?
295 No child but Hero; she's his only heir.
296 Dost thou affect her, Claudio?
296 O, my lord,
297 When you went onward on this ended action,
298 I look'd upon her with a soldier's eye,
299 That liked, but had a rougher task in hand
300 Than to drive liking to the name of love:
301 But now I am return'd and that war-thoughts
302 Have left their places vacant, in their rooms
303 Come thronging soft and delicate desires,
304 All prompting me how fair young Hero is,
305 Saying, I liked her ere I went to wars.
306 Thou wilt be like a lover presently
307 And tire the hearer with a book of words.
308 If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it,
309 And I will break with her and with her father,
310 And thou shalt have her. Was't not to this end
311 That thou began'st to twist so fine a story?
312 How sweetly you do minister to love,
313 That know love's grief by his complexion!
314 But lest my liking might too sudden seem,
315 I would have salv'd it with a longer treatise.
316 What need the bridge much broader than the flood?
317 The fairest grant is the necessity.
318 Look, what will serve is fit: 'tis once, thou lovest,
319 And I will fit thee with the remedy.
320 I know we shall have revelling tonight:
321 I will assume thy part in some disguise
322 And tell fair Hero I am Claudio,
323 And in her bosom I'll unclasp my heart
324 And take her hearing prisoner with the force
325 And strong encounter of my amorous tale:
326 Then after to her father will I break;
327 And the conclusion is, she shall be thine.
328 In practise let us put it presently.
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