Much adoe about Nothing.
I Learne in this letter, that don Peter of Arragon comes this night to Messina.
He is very neare by this, he was not three leagues off when I left him.
How many gentlemen haue you lost in this action?
But few of any sort, and none of name.
A victory is twice it selfe, when the atchiuer brings homeful numbers: I find here, that don Peter hath bestowed much honour on a yong Florentine called Claudio.
Much deseru'd on his part and equally remembred by don Pedro he hath borne himselfe beyond the promise of his age, doing in the figure of a lamb, the feats of a lion, he hath indeed better bettred expectation then you must expect of me to tell you how.
He hath an vnckle here in Messina will be very much glad of it.
I haue already deliuered him letters, and there ap∣peares much ioy in him, euen so much that ioy could not shew itselfe modest enough, without a badge of bitternesse.
Did he breake out into teares?
In great measure.
A kind ouerflow of kindnesse, there are no faces truer then those that are so washt, how much better is it to weepe at ioy, then to ioy at weeping?
I pray you, is Signior Mountanto returnd from the warres or no?
I know none of that name, ladie, there was none such in the army of any sort.
What is he that you aske for neece?
My cosen meanes Signior Benedicke of Padua.
O hee's returnd, and as pleasant as euer he was.
He set vp his bills here in Messina, and challengde Cupid at the Flight, and my vncles foole reading the chalenge subscribde for Cupid, and challengde him at the Burbolt: I pray you, how many hath he kild and eaten in these warres? but how many hath he kild? for indeede I promised to eate all of his killing.
Faith neece you taxe Signior Benedicke too much, but heele be meet with you, I doubt it not.
He hath done good seruice lady in these warres.
You had musty vittaile, and he hath holpe to eate it, he is a very valiaunt trencher man, he hath an excellent sto∣macke.
And a good souldier too, lady.
And a good souldiour to a Lady, but what is he to a Lord?
A lord to a lord, a man to a man, stufft with al hono∣rable vertues.
It is so indeed, he is no lesse then a stuft man, but for the stuffing wel, we are al mortall.
You must not, sir, mistake my neece, there is a kind of mery warre betwixt Signior Benedicke and her, they neuer meet but there's a skirmish of wit betweene them.
Alas he gets nothing by that, in our last conflict, 4 of his fiue wits went halting off, and now is the whole man gouernd with one, so that if he haue wit enough to keep himself warm, let him beare it for a difference between himself and his horse, for it is all the wealth that he hath left, to be known a reasona∣ble Page [unnumbered] creature, who is his companion now? he hath euery month a new sworne brother.
Very easily possible, he weares his faith but as the fa∣shion of his hat, it euer changes with the next blocke.
I see lady the gentleman is not in your bookes.
No, and he were, I would burne my study but I pray you who is his companion? is there no yong squarer now that will make a voyage with him to the diuell?
He is most in the companie of the right noble Clau∣dio.
O Lord, he will hang vpon him like a disease, hee is sooner caught than the pestilence, and the taker runs present∣ly madde, God help the noble Claudio, if he haue caught the Benedict, it will cost him a thousand pound e•e a be cured.
I will holde friends with you Ladie.
Do good friend.
You will neuer runne madde niece.
No, not till a hote Ianuary.
Don Pedro is approacht.
Good signior Leonato, are you come to meet your trouble: the fashion of the world is, to auoyd cost, and you in∣counter it.
Neuer came trouble to my house, in the likenesse of your grace; for trouble being gone, comfort should remaine: but when you depart from mee, sorrow abides, and happines takes his leaue.
You embrace your charge too willingly: I thincke this is your daughter.
Her mother hath many times tolde me so.
Were you in doubt sir that you askt her?
Signior Benedicke, no, for then were you a child.
You haue it full Benedicke, wee may ghesse by this, what you are, being a man, truely the Lady fathers her selfe: Page [unnumbered] be happy Lady, for you are like an honourable father.
If Signior Leonato be her father, she would not haue his head on her shoulders for all Messina as like him as she is.
I wonder that you will still be talking, signior Bene∣dicke, no body markes you.
What my deere lady Disdaine! are you yet liuing?
Is it possible Disdaine should die, while she hath such meete foode to feede it, as signior Benedicke? Curtesie it selfe must conuert to Disdaine, if you come in her presence.
Then is curtesie a turne-coate, but it is certaine I am loued of all Ladies, onelie you excepted: and I would I could finde in my heart that I had not a hard heart, for truely I loue none.
A deere happinesse to women, they would else haue beene troubled with a pernitious suter, I thanke God and my cold blood, I am of your humour for that, I had rather heare my dog barke at a crow, than a man sweare he loues me.
God keepe your Ladiship stil in that mind, so some Gentleman or other shall scape a predestinate scratcht face.
Scratching could not make it worse, and twere such a face as yours were.
Well, you are a rare parrat teacher.
A bird of my tongue, is better than a beast of yours.
I would my horse had the speed of your tongue, and so good a continuer, but keep your way a Gods name, I haue done.
You alwayes end with a iades tricke, I knowe you of olde.
That is the summe of all: Leonato, signior Claudio, and signior Benedicke, my deere friend Leonato, hath inuited you all, I tell him we shall stay here, at the least a moneth and he heartily praies some occasion may detaine vs longer, I dare sweare he is no hypocrite, but praies from his heart.
If you sweare my lord, you shall not be forsworne, let mee bidde you welcome, my lord, being reconciled to the Prince your brother: I owe you all duetie.
I thanke you, I am not of many wordes, but I thanke yo•
Please it your grace leade on?
Your hand Leonato, we wil go together.
Benedicke, didst thou note the daughter of Signior Leonato?
I noted her not, but I lookte on her,
Is she not a modest yong ladie?
Do you question me as an honest man should doe, for my simple true iudgement? or would you haue me speake after my custome, as being a professed tyrant to their sex?
No, I pray thee speake in sober iudgement.
Why yfaith me thinks shees too low for a hie praise, too browne for a faire praise, and too litle for a great praise, on∣lie this commendation I can affoord her, that were shee other then she is, she were vnhansome, and being no other, but as she is, I do not like her.
Thou thinkest I am in sport, I pray thee tell mee truelie how thou lik'st her.
Would you buie her that you enquier after her?
Can the world buie such a iewel?
Yea, and a case to putte it into, but speake you this with a sad brow? or doe you play the flowting iacke, to tell vs 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?
In mine eie, shee is the sweetest Ladie that euer I lookt on.
I can see yet without spectacles, and I see no such matter: theres her cosin, and she were not possest with a fury, exceedes her as much in beautie, as the first of Maie dooth the last of December: but I hope you haue no intent to turne hus∣band, haue you?
I would scarce trust my selfe, though I had sworne the contrarie, if Hero would be my wife.
Ist come to this? in faith hath not the worlde one man but he will weare his cappe with suspition? shall I neuer see a batcheller of three score againe? go to yfaith, and thou wilt needes thrust thy necke into a yoke, weare the print of it, and sigh away sundaies: looke, don Pedro is returned to seeke you.
What secret hath held you here, that you followed not to Leonatoes?
I would your Grace would constraine me to tell.
I charge thee on thy allegeance.
You heare, Count Claudio, I can be secret as a dumb man, I woulde haue you thinke so (but on my allegiance, marke you this, on my allegiance) he is in loue, with who? now that is your Graces part: marke how short his answer is, with Hero Leonatoes short daughter.
If this were so, so were it vttred.
Like the olde tale, my Lord, it is not so, nor twas not so: but indeede, God forbid it should be so.
If my passion change not shortly, God forbid it should be otherwise.
Amen, if you loue her, for the Lady is very well worthy.
You speake this to fetch me in, my Lord.
By my troth I speake my thought.
And in faith, my Lord, I spoke mine.
And by my two faiths and troths, my Lorde, I spoke mine.
That I loue her, I feele.
That she is worthy, I know.
That I neither feele how she should be loued, nor know how she should be worthie, is the opinion that fire can not melt out of me, I will die in it at the stake.
Thou wast euer an obstinate heretique in the de∣spight of Beauty.
And neuer could maintaine his part, but in the force of his wil.
That a woman conceiued me, I thanke her: that she brought me vp, I likewise giue her most humble thankes: but that I will haue a rechate winded in my forehead, or hang my bugle in an inuisible baldricke, all women shall pardon mee: because I will not doe them the wrong to mistrust any, I will doe my selfe the right to trust none: and the fine is, (for the Page [unnumbered] which I may go the finer,) I will liue a bacheller.
I shall see thee ere I die, looke pale with loue.
With anger, with sickenesse, or with hunger, my Lord, not with loue: proue that euer I loose more blood with loue then I will get againe with drinking, picke out mine eies with a Ballad-makers penne and hang me vp at the doore of a brothel house for the signe of blinde Cupid.
Well, if euer thou dost fall from this faith, thou wilt prooue a notable argument.
If I do, hang me in a bottle like a Cat, and shoote at me, and he that hits me, let him be clapt on the shoulder, and calld Adam.
Well, as time shal trie: in time the sauage bull doth beare the yoake.
The sauage bull may, but if euer the sensible Bene∣dicke beare it, plucke off the bulls hornes, and set them in my forehead, and let me be vildly painted, and in such great let∣ters as they write, here is good horse to hyre: let them signi∣fie vnder my signe, here you may see Benedicke the married man.
If this should euer happen, thou wouldst be horn madde.
Nay, if Cupid haue not spent all his quiuer in Ve∣nice, thou wilt quake for this shortly.
I looke for an earthquake too then.
Well, you will temporize with the howres, in the meane time, good signior Benedicke, repaire to Leonatoes, commend me to him, and tell him I will not faile him at sup∣per, for indeede he hath made great preparation.
I haue almost matter enough in mee for suche an Embassage, and so I commit you.
To the tuition of God: from my house if I had it.
The sixt of Iuly: your louing friend Benedicke.
Nay mocke not, mocke not, the body of your dis∣course is sometime guarded with fragments, and the guardes are but slightly basted on neither, ere you flowt old ends any further, examine your conscience and so I leaue you.
My liege, your Highnesse nowe may doe mee good.
How now brother, where is my cosen your sonne hath he prouided this musique?
He is very busie about it, but brother, I can tell you strange newes that you yet dreampt not of.
Are they good?
As the euents stampes them but they haue a good co∣uer: they shew well outward, the prince and Count Claudio walking in a thicke pleached alley in mine orchard, were thus much ouer-heard by a man of mine: the prince discouered to Claudio that he loued my niece your daughter, and meant to acknowledge it this night in a daunce, and if he found her ac∣cordant, he meant to take the present time by the top, and in∣stantly breake with you of it.
Hath the fellow any wit that told you this?
A good sharp fellow, I wil send for him, and question him your selfe.
No, no, we wil hold it as a dreame til it appeare it self: but I will acquaint my daughter withall, that she may bee the better prepared for an answer, if peraduenture this be true: go you and tel hir of it: coosins, you know what you haue to doe, O I crie you mercie friend, go you with me and I wil vse your shill: good cosin haue a care this busie time.
What the goodyeere my lord, why are you thus out of measure sad?
There is no measure in the occasion that breeds, ther∣fore the sadnesse is without limit.
You should heare reason.
And when I haue heard it, what blessing brings it?
If not a present remedy, at least a patient sufferance.
I wonder that thou (being as thou saist, thou art, borne vnder Saturne) goest about to apply a morall medicine, to a Page [unnumbered] mortifying mischiefe: I cannot hide what I am: I must be sad when I haue cause, and smile at no mans iests, eate when I haue stomack, and wait for no mans leisure: sleep when I am drow∣sie, and tend on no mans businesse, laugh when I am mery, and claw no man in his humor.
Yea but you must not make the full show of this till you may do it without controllment you haue of late stoode out against your brother, and he hath tane you newly into his grace, where it is impossible you should take true root, but by the faire weather that you make yourself, it is needful that you frame the season for your owne haruest.
I had rather be a canker in a hedge, then a rose in his grace, and it better fits my bloud to be disdain'd of all, then to fashion a cariage to rob loue from any: in thi, (thogh I cannot be said to be a slatering honest man) it must not be denied but I am a plain dealing villaine, I am trusted with a mussel, and en∣fraunchisde with a •ogge, therfore I haue decreed, not to sing in my cage: if I had my mouth I would bite: if I had my liber∣ty I would do my liking: in the mean time, let me be that I am, and seeke not to alter me.
Can you make no vse of your discontent?
I make all vse of it, for I vse it only,
Who comes here? what newes Borachio?
I came yonder from a great supper, the prince your brother is royally entertain'd by Leonato, and I can giue you intelligence of an intended mariage.
Wil it serue for any model to build mischiefe on? what is he for a foole that betrothes himselfe to vnquietnesse?
Mary it is your bothers right hand.
Who, the most exquisite Claudio?
A proper squier, and who, and who, which way looks he?
Mary one Hero the daughter and heire of Leonato.
A very forward March-chicke, how came you to this?
Being entertain'd for a perfumer, as I was smoaking a musty roome, comes me the prince and Claudio, hand in hand in sad conference: I whipt me behind the arras, and there heard it agreed vpon, that the prince should wooe Hero for himselfe, and hauing obtain'd her, giue her to Counte Clau∣dio.
Come, come, let vs thither, this may proue food to my displeasure, that yong start vp hath all the glory of my ouer∣throw: if I can crosse him any way, I blesse my selfe euery way, you are both sure, and wil assist me.
To the death my Lord.
Let vs to the great supper, their cheere is the greater that I am subdued, would the cooke were a my mind, shall we go proue whats to be done?
Weele wait vpon your lordship.
Was not counte Iohn here at supper?
I saw him not.
How tartely that gentleman lookes, I neuer can see him but I am heart-burn'd an hower after.
He is of a very melancholy disposition.
He were an excellent man that were made iust in the mid-way between him and Benedick, the one is too like an image and saies nothing, and the other too like my ladies eldest sonne, euermore tatling.
Then halfe signior Benedickes tongue in Counte Iohns mouth, and halfe Counte Iohns melancholy in Signior Benedickes face.
With a good legge and a good foote vnckle, and money inough in his purse, such a man would winne any wo∣man in the world if a could get her good will.
By my troth neece thou wilt neuer get thee a hus∣band, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.
Infaith shees too curst.
Too curst is more then curst, I shall lessen Page [unnumbered] Gods sending that way, for it is saide, God sends a curst cow short hornes, but to a cow too curst, he sends none.
So, by being too curst, God will send you no hornes.
Iust, if he send me no husband, for the which bles∣sing, I am at him vpon my knees euery morning and euening: Lord, I could not endure a husband with a beard on his face, I had rather lie in the woollen!
You may light on a husband that hath no beard.
What should I do with him, dresse him in my ap∣parell and make him my waiting gentle woman? he that hath a beard, is more then a youth: and he that hath no beard, is lesse then a man: and he that is more then a youth, is not for me, and he that is lesse then a man, I am not for him, therefore I will euen take sixpence in earnest of the Berrord, and leade his apes into hell.
Well then▪ go you into hell.
No but to the gate, and there will the diuell meete me like an old cuckold with hornes on his head, and say, get you to heauen Beatrice, get you to heauen, heeres no place for you maids, so deliuer I vp my apes and away to saint Peter: for the heauens, he shewes me where the Batchellers sit, and there liue we as mery as the day is long.
Well neece, I trust you will be rulde by your fa∣ther.
Yes faith, it is my cosens duetie to make cursie and say, father, as it please you: but yet for all that cosin, let him be a handsome fellow, or else make an other cursie, and say, father, as it please me.
Well neece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband.
Not til God make men of some other mettal then earth, would it not grieue a woman to be ouer-masterd with a peece of valiant dust? to make an account of her life to a clod of waiward marle? no vnckle, ile none: Adams sonnes are my brethren, and truely I holde it a sinne to match in my kin∣red.
Daughter, remember what I told you, if the prince do solicite you in that kind, you know your answer.
The fault will be in the musique cosin, if you be not wooed in good time: if the prince be too important, tell him there is measure in euery thing, and so daunce out the an∣swer, for here me Hero, wooing, wedding, and repenting, is as a Scotch ijgge, a measure, and a cinquepace: the first suite is hot and hasty like a Scotch ijgge (and ful as fantasticall) the wedding manerly modest (as a measure) full of state and aun∣chentry, and then comes Repentance, and with his bad legs falls into the cinquepace faster and faster, til he sincke into his graue.
Cosin you apprehend passing shrewdly.
I haue a good eie vnckle, I can see a church by day-light.
The reuellers are entring brother, make good roome.
Lady will you walke about with your friend?
So, you walke softly, and looke sweetly, and say no∣thing, I am yours for the walke, and especially when I walk a∣way.
With me in your company.
I may say so when I please.
And when please you to say so?
When I like your fauour, for God defend the lute should be like the case.
My visor is Philemons roofe, within the house is Ioue.
Why then your visor should be thatcht.
Speake low if you speake loue.
Well, I would you did like me.
So would not I for your owne sake, for I haue ma∣ny ill qualities.
Which is one?
I say my praiers alowd.
I loue you the better, the hearers may cry Amen.
God match me with a good dauncer.
And God keepe him out of my sight when the daunce is done: answer Clarke.
No more words, the Clarke is answered.
I know you well enough, you are signior Antho∣nio.
At a word I am not.
I knowe you by the wagling of your head.
To tell you true, I counterfeit him.
You coulde neuer doe him so ill well, vnlesse you were the very man: heeres his drie hand vp and downe, you are he, you are he.
At a word I am not.
Come, come, do you thinke I do not know you by your excellent wit? can vertue hide it selfe? go to, mumme, you are he, graces will appeere, and theres an end.
Will you not tell me who tolde you so?
No, you shall pardon me.
Nor will you not tell me who you are?
That I was disdainefull, and that I had my good wit out of the hundred mery tales: wel, this was signior Benedick that said so.
I am sure you know him well enough.
Not I, beleeue me.
Did he neuer make you laugh?
I pray you what is he?
Why he is the princes ieaster, a very dul fool only his gift is, in deuising impossible slaunders, none but Libertines delight in him, and the commendation is not in his wit, but in his villanie, for he both pleases men and angers them, and then they laugh at him, and beate him: I am sure he is in the Fleete, I would he had boorded me.
When I know the Gentleman, ile tell him what you say.
Do, do, heele but break a comparison or two on me, which peraduēture, (not markt, or not laught at) strikes him in∣to melancholy and then theres a partrige wing saued, for the foole will eate no supper that night: wee must follow the lea∣ders.
In euery good thing.
Nay, if they leade to any ill, I will leaue them at the next turning.
Sure my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath with∣drawne her father to breake with him about it: the Ladies fo∣low her, and but one visor remaines.
And that is Claudio, I knowe him by his bear∣ing.
Are not you signior Benedicke?
You know me well, I am he.
Signior, you are very neere my brother in his loue, he is enamourd on Hero, I pray you disswade him from her, she is no equall for his birth, you may doe the parte of an honest man in it.
How know you he loues her?
I heard him sweare his affection.
So did I too, and he swore hee would marry her to night.
Come let vs to the banquet.
Yea, the same.
Come, will you go with me?
Euen to the next willow, about your owne busines, county: what fashion will you weare the garland of? about your necke, like an Vsurers chaine? or vnder your arme, like a Lieutenants scarffe? you must weare it one way, for the prince hath got your Hero.
I wish him ioy of her.
Why thats spoken like an honest Drouier, so they sell bullockes: but did you thinke the Prince would haue ser∣ued you thus?
I pray you leaue me.
Ho now you strike like the blindman, twas the boy that stole your meate, and youle beate the post.
If it will not be, ile leaue you.
Alas poore hurt foule, now will hee creepe into sedges: but that my Ladie Beatrice should know me, and not know mee: the princes foole! hah, it may be I goe vnder that title because I am merry: yea but so I am apte to doe my selfe wrong: I am not so reputed, it is the base (though bitter) dispo∣sition of Beatrice, that puts the world into her person, and so giues me out: well, ile be reuenged as I may.
Now signior wheres the Counte, did you see him?
Troth my lord, I haue played the part of Ladie Fame, I found him heere as melancholy as a Lodge in a War∣ren, I tolde him, and I thinke I tolde him true, that your grace had got the goodwil of this yoong Lady and I offred him my company to a willow tree, either to make him a garland, as be∣ing forsaken, or to binde him vp a rod, as being worthie to bee whipt.
To be whipt, whats his fault?
The flatte transgression of a Schoole-boy, who being ouer-ioyed with finding a birds nest, shewes it his com∣panion, and he steales it.
Wilt thou make a trust a transgression? the transgres∣sion Page [unnumbered] is in the stealer.
Yet it had not beene amisse the rodde had beene made, & the garland too, for the garland he might haue worn himselfe, and the rodde he might haue bestowed on you, who (as I take it) haue stolne his birds nest.
I wil but teach them to sing, and restore them to the owner.
If their singing answer your saying, by my faith you say honestly.
The ladie Beatrice hath a quarrell to you, the Gen∣tleman that daunst with her, told her shee is much wrongd by you.
O shee misusde me past the indurance of a blocke: an oake but with one greene leafe on it, would haue answered her: my very visor beganne to assume life, and scold with her: she tolde me, not thinking I had beene my selfe, that I was the Princes iester, that I was duller than a great thawe, huddleing iest vpon iest, with such impossible conuciance vpon me, that I stoode like a man at a marke, with a whole army shooting at me: she speakes poynyards, and euery word stabbes: if her breath were as terrible as her terminations, there were no liu∣ing neere her, shee would infect to the north starre: I woulde not marry her, though shee were indowed with al that Adam had left him before he transgrest, she would haue made Her∣cules haue turnd spit, yea, and haue cleft his club to make the fire too: come, talke not of her, you shall find her the infernall Ate in good apparell, I would to God some scholler woulde coniure her, for certainely while she is heere, a man may liue as quiet in hell, as in a sanctuarie, and people sinne vpon pur∣pose, because they would goe thither, so indeede all disquiet, horrour, and perturbation followes her.
Looke heere she comes.
Will your grace command me any seruice to the worldes end? I will go on the slightest arrand now to the An∣typodes that you can deuise to send mee on: I will fetch you a tooth-picker now from the furthest inch of Asia: bring you Page [unnumbered] the length of Prester Iohns foot: fetch you a haire off the great Chams beard: doe you any embassage to the Pigmies, rather than holde three words conference, with this harpy, you haue no imployment for me?
None, but to desire your good company.
O God sir, heeres a dish I loue not, I cannot in∣dure my Ladie Tongue.
Come Lady, come, you haue lost the heart of signi∣or Benedicke.
Indeed my Lord, he lent it me awhile, and I gaue him vse for it, a double heart for his single one, mary once be∣fore he wonne it of me, with false dice, therefore your grace may well say I haue lost it.
You haue put him downe Lady, you haue put him downe.
So I would not he should do me, my Lord, lest I should prooue the mother of fooles: I haue brought Counte Claudio, whom you sent me to seeke.
Why how now Counte, wherefore are you sad?
Not sad my Lord.
How then? sicke?
Neither, my Lord.
The Counte is neither sad, nor sicke, nor merry, nor well: but ciuill Counte, ciuil as an orange, and something of that iealous complexion.
I faith Lady, I think your blazon to be true, though ile be sworne, if he be so▪ his conceit is false: heere Claudio, I haue wooed in thy name, and faire Hero is won, I haue broke with her father, and his good will obtained, name the day of marriage, and God giue thee ioy.
Counte take of me my daughter, and with her my fortunes: his grace hath made the match, and all grace say A∣men to it.
Speake Counte, tis your Qu.
Silence is the perfectest Herault of ioy, I were but little happy if I could say, how much? Lady, as you are mine, I am yours, I giue away my selfe for you, and doate vpon the exchange.
Speake cosin, or (if you cannot) stop his mouth with a kisse, and let not him speake neither.
Infaith lady you haue a merry heart.
Yea my lord I thanke it, poore foole it keepes on the windy side of Care, my coosin tells him in his eare that he is in her heart
And so she doth coosin.
Good Lord for aliance: thus goes euery one to the world but I, and I am sun-burnt, I may sit in a corner and crie, heigh ho for a husband.
Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.
I would rather haue one of your fathers getting: hath your grace ne re a brother like you? your father got excellent husbands if a maide coulde come by them.
Will you haue me? lady.
No my lord, vnles I might haue another for work∣ing-daies, your grace is too costly to weare euery day: but I beseech your grace pardon me, I was born to speake all mirth, and no matter.
Your silence most offends me, and to be merry, best becomes you, for out a question, you were borne in a merry hower.
No sure my lord, my mother cried, but then there was a starre daunst, and vnder that was I borne, cosins God giue you ioy.
Neece, will you looke to those things I tolde you of?
I crie you mercy vncle, by your graces pardon.
By my troth a pleasant spirited lady.
Theres little of the melancholy element in her my lord, she is neuer sad, but when she sleeps, & not euer sad then: for I haue heard my daughter say, she hath often dreampt of vnhappines, and wakt her selfe with laughing.
She cannot indure to heare tell of a husband.
O by no meanes, she mockes al her wooers out of sute.
She were an excellent wife for Benedick.
O Lord, my lord, if they were but a weeke married, they would talke themselues madde.
Countie Claudio, when meane you to goe to church?
To morow my lord, Time goes on crutches, til Loue haue all his rites.
Not til monday, my deare sonne, which is hence a iust seuennight, and a time too briefe too, to haue al things an∣swer my mind.
Come▪ you shake the head at so long a breathing, but I warrant thee Claudio, the time shall not go dully by vs, I wil in the interim, vndertake one of Hercules labors, which is, to bring Signior Benedick and the lady Beatrice into a moun∣taine of affection, th'one with th'other, I would faine haue it a match, and I doubt not but to fashion it, if you three will but minister such assistance as I shall giue you direction.
My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten nights watchings.
And I my Lord.
And you too gentle Hero?
I wil do any modest office, my lord, to help my cosin to a good husband.
And Benedicke is not the vnhopefullest husband that I know: thus farre can I praise him, he is of a noble strain, of approoued valour, and confirmde honesty, I will teach you how to humour your cosin, that she shall fal in loue with Be∣nedicke, and I, with your two helpes, wil so practise on Bene∣dicke, that in dispight of his quicke wit, and his queasie sto∣macke, he shall fall in loue with Beatrice: if we can do this, Cu∣pid is no longer an Archer, his glory shall bee ours, for we are the onely loue-gods, goe in with mee, and I will tell you my drift.
It is so, the Counte Claudio shall marry the daughter of Leonato.
Yea my lord, but I can crosse it.
Any barre, any crosse, any impediment, will be med∣cinable to me, I am sicke in displeasure to him, and whatsoeuer comes athwart his affection, ranges euenly with mine, how canst thou crosse this marriage?
Not honestly my lord, but so couertly, that no disho∣nesty shall appeare in me.
Shew me briefely how.
I thinke I told your lordship a yeere since, how much I am in the fauour of Margaret, the waiting gentlewoman to Hero.
I can at any vnseasonable instant of the night, appoint her to looke out at her ladies chamber window.
What life is in that to be the death of this mariage?
The poison of that lies in you to temper, goe you to the prince your brother, spare not to tell him, that he hath wronged his honor in marrying the renowned Claudio, whose estimation do you mightily hold vp, to a contaminated stale, such a one as Hero.
What proofe shall I make of that?
Proofe enough, to misuse the prince, to vexe Claudio, to vndoe Hero, and kill Leonato, looke you for any other issue?
Onely to dispight them I will endeuour any thing.
Go then, find me a meet houre, to draw don Pedro and the Counte Claudio alone, tell them that you know that Hero loues me, intend a kind of zeale both to the prince & Claudio (as in loue of your brothers honor who hath made this match) and his friends reputation, who is thus like to bee cosen'd with the semblance of a maid, that you haue discouer d thus: they wil scarcely beleeue this without triall: offer them instances which shall beare no lesse likelihood, than to see me at her chamber window, heare me call Margaret Hero, heare Marg terme me Claudio, & bring them to see this the very night before the in∣tended wedding, for in the mean time, I wil so fashion the mat∣ter, that Hero shal be absent and there shal appeere such seem∣ing truth of Heroes disloyaltie, that iealousie shal be cald assu∣rance Page [unnumbered] and al the preparation ouerthrowne.
Grow this to what aduerse issue it can, I will put it in practise: be cunning in the working this, and thy fee is a thou∣sand ducates.
Be you constant in the accusation, and my cunning shall not shame me.
I will presently go learne their day of marriage.
In my chamber window lies a booke, bring it hither to me in the orchard.
I am here already sir.
I know that, but I would haue thee hence and here a∣gaine. I do much wonder, that one man seeing how much an other man is a foole, when he dedicates his behauiours to loue, wil after he hath laught at such shallow follies in others, becom the argument of his owne scorne, by falling in loue, and such a man is Claudio, I haue •nowne when there was no musique with him but the drumme and the fife, and now had he rather heare the taber and the pipe: I haue knowne when he would haue walkt ten mile a foot, to see a good armour, and now wil he lie ten nights awake caruing the fashion of a new dublet: he was woont to speake plaine, and to the purpose (like an honest man and a souldier) and now is he turnd ortography, his words are a very fantasticall banquet, iust so many strange dishes: may I be so conuerted and see with these eies? I cannot tell, I thinke not: I wil not be sworne but loue may transforme me to an oyster, but ile take my oath on it, till he haue made and oy∣ster of me, he shall neuer make me such a foole: one woman is faire, yet I am well, an other is wise, yet I am well: an other vertuous, yet I am wel: but till all graces be in one woman, one womā shal not com in my grace: rich she shal be thats certain, wise, or ile none, vertuous, or ile neuer cheapen her: faire, or ile neuer looke on her, mild, or come not neare me, noble, or not I for an angell, of good discourse, an excellent musitian, and her Page [unnumbered] haire shall be of what colour it please God hah• the prince and monsieur Loue, I wil hide me in the arbor.
Come shall we heare this musique?
See you where Benedicke hath hid himselfe?
Come Balthaser, weele heare that song againe.
Now diuine aire, now is his soule rauisht, is it not strange that sheepes guts should hale soules out of mens bo∣dies? well a horne for my mony when alls done.
By my tr•th a good song.
And 〈◊〉〈◊〉 singer my lord.
Ha 〈◊〉〈◊〉〈◊〉, thou singst wel enough for a shift.
And 〈◊〉〈◊〉 bin a dog that should haue howld thus, they w•u•••ave hangd him, and I pray God his bad voice 〈◊〉•o m•scheefe, I had as liue haue heard the night-rauen, come wh•• plague could haue come after it.
Yea mary, doost thou heare Balthasar? I pray thee get 〈◊〉 some excellent musique: for to morow night we would haue it at the ladie Heroes chamber window.
The best I can my lord.
Do so, farewell. Come hither Leonato, what was it y•u t••d mee of to day, that your niece Beatrice was in loue with s••nior Benedicke?
O I, stalke on, stalk on, the foule sits. I did neuer think that lady would haue loued any man.
No nor I neither, but most wonderful, that she should so dote on signior Benedicke, whome she hath in all outward be•••••rs seemd euer to abhorre.
Ist possible? sits the wind in that corner?
By my troth my Lord, I cannot tell what to thinke of it but that she loues him with an inraged affection, it is past the 〈◊〉 of thought.
May be she doth but counterfeit.
Faith like enough.
O God▪ counterfeit? there was neuer counterfeit of passion, came so neare the life of passion as she discouers it.
Why what effects of passion shewes she?
Baite the hooke wel, this fish will bite.
What effects my Lord? she wil sit you, you heard my daughter tell you how.
She did indeede.
How how I pray you! you amaze me, I would haue thought her spirite had beene inuincible against all assaults of affection.
I would haue sworn it had, my lord, especially against Benedicke.
I should think this a gull, but that the white bearded fellow speakes it: knauery cannot sure hide himself in such re∣uerence.
He hath tane th' infection, hold it vp.
Hath shee made her affection knowne to Bene∣dicke?
No, and sweares shee neuer will, thats her tor∣ment.
Tis true indeed, so your daughter saies: shall I, saies she, that haue so oft encountred him with scorne, write to him that I loue him?
This saies she now when she is beginning to write to him, for sheel be vp twenty times a night, and there will she sit in her smocke til she haue writ a sheete of paper: my daughter tels vs all.
Now you talk of a sheet of paper, I remember a prety iest your daughter told of vs.
O when she had writ it, and was reading it ouer, she found Benedicke and Beatrice betweene the sheete.
O she tore the letter into a thousand halfpence, raild at her self, that she should be so immodest to write, to one that she knew would flout her, I measure him, saies she, by my own spirit, for I should flout him, if he writ to me, yea thogh I loue him I should.
Then downe vpon her knees she falls, weepes, sobs, beates her heart, teares her haire, prayes, curses, O sweet Bene∣dicke, Page [unnumbered] God giue me patience.
She doth indeed, my daughter saies so, and the ex∣tasie hath so much ouerborne her, that my daughter is some∣time afeard shee will doe a desperate out-rage to her selfe, it is very true.
It were good that Benedicke knew of it by some o∣ther, if she will not discouer it.
To what end: he would make but a sport of it, and torment the poore Lady worse.
And he should, it were an almes to hang him shees an excellent sweete lady, and (out of all suspition,) she is vertu∣ous.
And she is exceeding wise.
In euery thing but in louing Benedicke.
O my Lord, wisedome and blood combating in so tender a body, we haue ten proofes to one, that bloud hath the victory, I am sory for her, as I haue iust cause, beeing her vncle, and her gardian.
I would shee had bestowed this dotage on mee, I would haue daft all other respects, and made her halfe my self: I pray you tell Benedicke of it, and heare what a will say.
Were it good thinke you?
Hero thinkes surely she will die, for she sayes shee will die, if he loue her not, and shee will die ere shee make her loue knowne, and she will die if he wooe her rather than shee will bate one breath of her accustomed crosnes•e.
She doth well, if shee shoulde make tender of her loue, tis very possible heele scorne it, for the man (as you know all) hath a contempt•ble spirite.
He is a very proper man.
He hath indeede a good outward happines.
Before God, and in my mind, very wise.
Hee dooth indeede shew some sparkes that are like wit.
And I take him to be valiant.
As Hector, I assure you, and in the mannaging of quarrels you may say he is wise, for either hee auoydes them Page [unnumbered] with great discretion, or vndertakes them with a most christi∣anlike feare.
If he do feare God, a must necessarily keep peace, if hee breake the peace, hee ought to enter into a quarrel with feare and trembling.
And so will hee doe, for the man doth feare God, howsoeuer it seemes not in him, by some large iestes hee will make: well I am sory for your niece, shall we go seeke Bene∣dicke, and tell him of her loue?
Neuer tell him, my Lord, let her weare it out with good counsell.
Nay thats impossible, shee may weare her heart out first.
Well, we will heare further of it by your daughter, let it coole the while, I loue Benedicke wel▪ and I could wish he would modestly examine himselfe, to see how much he is vnworthy so good a lady.
My lord, will you walke? dinner is ready.
If he do not doate on her vppon this, I will neuer trust my expectation
Let there be the same nette spread for her, and that must your daughter and her gentlewomen carry: the sporte will be, when they holde one an opinion of an others dotage, and no such matter, thats the scene that I woulde see, which wil be meerely a dumbe shew: let vs send her to call him in to dinner.
This can be no tricke, the conference was s•dly borne▪ they haue the trueth of this from Hero, they seeme to pittie the Lady: it seemes her affections haue their full bent: loue me? why it must be requited: I heare how I am censurde, they say I will beare my selfe prowdly, if I perceiue the loue come from her: they say too that she will rather die than giue anie signe of affection: I did neuer thinke to marry, I must not seeme prowd, happy are they that heare their detractions, and can put them to mending: they say the Lady is faire, us a trueth, I can beare them witnesse: and vertuous, us so, I can∣not reprooue it, and wise, but for louing me, by my troth it is Page [unnumbered] no addition to her wit, nor no great argument of her follie, for I will be horribly in loue with her, I may chaunce haue some odde quirkes and remnants of witte broken on me, because I haue railed so long against marriage: but doth not the appe∣tite alter? a man loues the meate in his youth, that he cannot in∣dure in his age. Shall quippes and sentences, and these paper bullets of the brain awe a man from the carreere of his humor? No, the world must be peopled. When I saide I woulde die a batcheller, I did not think I should liue til I were married, here comes Beatrice: by this day, shees a faire lady, I doe spie some markes of loue in her.
Aganst my will I am sent to bid you come in to din∣ner.
Faire Beatrice, I thanke you for your paines.
I tooke no more paines for those thankes, then you take paines to thanke me, if it had bin painful I would not haue come.
You take pleasure then in the message.
Yea iust so much as you may take vppon a kniues point, and choake a daw withall: you haue no stomach signior, fare you well.
Ha, against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner: theres a double meaning in that: I took no more paines for those thanks thē you took pains to thank me, thats as much as to say, any pains that I take for you is as easy as thanks: if I do not take pitty of her I am a villaine, if I do not loue her I am a Iew, I will go get her picture,
I doe but stay til your mariage be consummate, and then go I toward Arragon.
Ile bring you thither my lord, if youle vouchsafe me.
Nay that would be as great a soyle in the new glosse of your marriage, as to shew a child his new coate and forbid him to weare it, I wil only be bold with Benedick for his com∣pany, for from the crowne of his head, to the sole of his foot, he is al mirth, he hath twice or thrice cut Cupides bow-string, and the little hang-man dare not shoot at him, he hath a heart as sound as a bell, and his tongue is the clapper, for what his heart thinkes, his tongue speakes.
Gallants, I am not as I haue bin.
So say I, me thinkes you are sadder.
I hope he be in loue.
Hang him truant, theres no true drop of bloud in him to be truly toucht with loue, if he be sadde, he wantes mo∣ney.
I haue the tooth-ach.
You must hang it first, and draw it afterwards.
What? sigh for the tooth-ach.
Where is but a humour or a worme.
Wel, euery one cannot master a griefe, but he that has it.
Yet say I, he is in loue.
There is no appeerance of fancie in him, vnlesse it be a fancy that he hath to strange disguises, as to be a Dutch-man to day, a French-man to morrow, or in the shape of two countries at once, as a Germaine from the waste downward, all slops, and a Spaniard from the hip vpward, no dublet: vn∣lesse he haue a fancie to this foolery, as it appeares he hath, he is no foole for fancy, as you would haue it appeare he is.
If he be not in loue with some woman, there is no be∣leeuing old signes, a brushes his hat a mornings, what should that bode?
Hath any man seene him at the Barbers?
No, but the barbers man hath bin seene with him, and the olde ornament of his cheeke hath already stufft tennis balls.
Indeed he lookes yonger than he did, by the losse of a beard.
Nay a rubs himselfe with ciuit, can you smell him out by that?
Thats as much as to say, the sweete youthe's in loue.
The greatest note of it is his melancholy.
And when was he woont to wash his face?
Yea or to paint himselfe? for the which I heare what they say of him.
Nay but his iesting spirit, which is now crept into a lute-string, and now gouernd by stops.
Indeed that tells a heauy tale for him: conclude, con∣clude he is in loue.
Nay but I know who loues him.
That would I know too, I warrant one that knows him not.
Yes, and his ill conditions, and in dispight of al, dies for him.
She shall be buried with her face vpwards.
Yet is this no charme for the tooth-ake, old signior, walke aside with me, I haue studied eight or nine wise wordes to speake to you, which these hobby-horses must not heare.
For my life to breake with him about Beatrice.
Tis euen so, Hero and Margaret haue by this play∣ed their parts with Beatrice, and then the two beares will not bite one another when they meete.
My lord and brother, God saue you.
Good den brother.
If your leisure seru'd, I would speake with you.
If it please you, yet Count Claudio may heare, for what I would speake of, concernes him.
Whats the matter?
Meanes your Lordship to be married to morrow?
You know he does.
I know not that when he knowes what I know.
If there be any impediment, I pray you discouer it.
You may think I loue you not, let that appeare here∣after, and ayme better at me by that I now will manifest, for my brother (I thinke, he holdes you well, and in dearenesse of heart) hath holpe to effect your ensuing mariage: surely sute ill spent, and labor ill bestowed.
Why whats the matter?
I came hither to tel you, and circumstances shortned, (for she has bin too long a talking of) the lady is disloyall.
Euen she, Leonatoes Hero, your Hero, euery mans Hero.
The word is too good to paint out her wickednesse, I could say▪ she were worse, thinke you of a worse title, and I wil fit her to it: wonder not till further warrant: go but with me to night you shall see her chamber window entred, euen the night before her wedding day, if you loue her, then to morow wed her: But it would better fitte your honour to change your mind.
May this be so?
I wil not thinke it.
If you dare not trust that you see, confesse not that you knowe: if you will follow mee, I will shew you enough, and when you haue seene more, and heard more, proceede ac∣cordingly.
If I see anie thing to night, why I should not mar∣ry her to morrow in the congregation, where I should wed, there will I shame her.
And as I wooed for thee to obtaine her, I wil ioyne with thee, to disgrace her.
I will disparage her no farther, till you are my wit∣nesses, beare it coldely but till midnight, and let the issue shew it selfe.
O day vntowardly turned!
O mischiefe strangely thwarting!
O plague right well preuented! so will you say, when you haue seene the sequele.
Are you good men and true?
Yea, or else it were pitty but they should suffer sal∣uation body and soule.
Nay, that were a punishment too good for them, if they should haue any allegeance in them, being chosen for the Princes watch.
Well, giue them their charge, neighbour Dog∣bery.
First, who thinke you the most desartlesse man to be Constable?
I Hugh Ote-cake sir, or George Sea-cole, for they can write and reade.
Come hither neighbor Sea-cole, God hath blest you with a good name: to be a welfauoured man, is the gift of Fortune, but to write and reade, comes by nature.
Both which maister Constable.
You haue: I knew it would be your answer: wel, for your fauour sir, why giue God thanks, and make no boast of it, and for your writing and reading, let that appeere when there is no neede of such vanity, you are thought heere to be the most senslesse and fit man for the Constable of the watch: therefore beare you the lanthorne: this is your charge, You shall comprehend all vagrom men; you are to bidde any man stand, in the Princes name.
How if a will not stand?
Why then take no note of him, but let him goe, Page [unnumbered] and presently call the rest of the watch together, and thanke god you are ridde of a knaue.
If he wil not stand when he is bidden, he is none of the Princes subiects.
True, and they are to meddle with none but the Princes subiects: you shall also make no noise in the streetes: for, for the watch to babble and to talke, is most tollerable, and not to be indured.
We will rather sleepe than talke, we know what be∣longs to a watch.
Why you speake like an antient and most quiet watchman, for I cannot see how sleeping should offend: one∣ly haue a care that your billes bee not stolne: well, you are to cal at al the alehouses, and bid those that are drunke get them to bed.
How if they will not?
Why then let them alone til they are sober, if they make you not then the better answer, you may say, they are not the men you tooke them for.
If you meete a thiefe, you may suspect him, by vertue of your office, to be no true man: and for such kind of men, the lesse you meddle or make with them, why the more is for your honesty.
If we know him to be a thiefe, shal we not lay hands on him?
Truely by your office you may, but I thinke they that touch pitch will be defilde: the most peaceable way for you, if you doe take a thiefe, is, to let him shew himselfe what he is, and steale out of your companie.
You haue beene alwayes called a mercifull manne, partner.
Truely I would not hang a dogge by my will, much more a man who hath anie honestie in him.
If you heare a child crie in the night you must call to the nurse and bid her stil it.
How if the nurse be asleepe and will not heare vs.
Why then depart in peace, and let the child wake her with crying, for the ewe that will not heare her lamb when it baes, will neuer answer a calfe when he bleates.
Tis very true.
This is the end of the charge: you constable are to present the princes owne person, if you meete the prince in the night, you may stay him.
Nay birlady that I thinke a cannot.
Fiue shillings to one on twith any man that knowes the statutes, he may stay him, mary not without the prince be willing, for indeed the watch ought to offend no man, and it is an offence to stay a man against his will.
Birlady I thinke it be so.
Ha ah ha, wel masters good night, and there be any matter of weight chaunces, cal vp me, keepe your fellowes counsailes, and your owne, and good night, come neigh∣bour.
Well masters, we heare our charge, let vs goe sitte here vppon the church bench till twoo, and then all to bed.
One word more, honest neighbors, I pray you watch about signior Leonatoes doore, for the wedding being there to morrow, there is a great coyle to night, a diew, be vigitant I be∣seech you.
Peace, stir not.
Conrade I say.
Here man, I am at thy elbow.
Mas and my elbow itcht, I thought there would a scabbe follow.
I will owe thee an answer for that, and now forward with thy tale.
Stand thee close then vnder this penthouse, for it drissells raine, and I will, like a true drunckard, vtter all to thee.
Some treason masters, yet stand close.
Therefore know, I haue earned of Dun Iohn a thou∣sand ducates.
Is it possible that any villanie should be so deare?
Thou shouldst rather aske if it were possible any vil∣lanie shuld be so rich? for when rich villains haue need of poor ones poore ones may make what price they will.
I wonder at it.
That shewes thou art vnconfirm'd, thou knowest that the fashion of a dublet, or a hat, or a cloake, is nothing to a man.
Yes it is apparell.
I meane the fashion.
Yes the fashion is the fashion.
Tush, I may as well say the foole's the foole, but seest thou not what a deformed theefe this fashion is?
I know that deformed, a has bin a vile theefe, this vij. yeere a goes vp and downe like a gentle man: I remember his name.
Didst thou not heare some body?
No, twas the vane on the house.
Seest thou not (I say what a deformed thiefe this fashi∣on is, how giddily a turnes about all the Hot-blouds, between foureteene and fiue and thirtie, sometimes fashioning them like Phataoes souldiours in the rechie painting, sometime like god Bels priests in the old church window, sometime like the shauen Hercules in the smircht worm-eaten tapestry, where his cod peece seemes as massie as his club.
Al this I see, and I see that the fashion weares out more apparrell then the man, but art not thou thy selfe giddy with the fashion too that thou hast shifted out of thy tale into telling me of the fashion?
Not so neither, but know that I haue to night wooed Margaret the Lady Heroes gentle-woman, by the name of Hero, she leanes me out at her mistris chamber window, bids me a thousand times good night: I tell this tale vildly I should first tel thee how the prince Claudio and my master planted▪ and placed, and possessed, by my master Don Iohn, saw a farre Page [unnumbered] off in the orchard this amiable incounter.
And thought they Margaret was Hero?
Two of them did, the prince and Claudio, but the di∣uel my master knew she was Margaret, and partly by his oths, which first possest them, partly by the darke night which did deceiue them, but chiefely, by my villany, which did confirme any slander that Don Iohn had made, away went Claudio en∣ragde, swore he would meet her as he was apointed next mor∣ning at the Temple, and there, before the whole congregation shame her, with what he saw o re night, and send her home a∣gaine without a husband.
We charge you in the prince name stand.
Call vppe the right maister Constable, wee haue here recouerd the most dangerous peece of lechery, that euer was knowne in the common wealth.
And one Deformed is one of them, I know him, a weares a locke.
Youle be made bring deformed forth I warrant you.
Masters, neuer speake, we charge you, let vs obey you to go with vs.
We are like to proue a goodly commoditie, being ta∣ken vp of these mens billes.
A commodity in question I warrant you, come weele obey you.
Good Vrsula wake my cosin Beatrice, and desire her to rise.
I wil lady.
And bid her come hither.
Troth I thinke your other rebato were better.
No pray thee good Meg, ile weare this.
By my troth's not so good, and I warrant your cosin will say so.
My cosin's a foole, and thou art another, ile weare Page [unnumbered] none but this.
I like the new tire within excelently, if the haire were a thought browner: and your gown's a most rare fashion yfaith, I saw the Dutchesse of Millaines gowne that they praise so.
O that exceedes they say.
By my troth's but a night-gown it respect of yours, cloth a gold and cuts, and lac d with siluer, set with pearles, downe sleeues, side sleeues, and skirts, round vnderborne with a blewish unsell, but for a fine queint graceful and excelent fa∣shion, yours is worth ten on't.
God giue me ioy to weare it, for my heart is exceed∣ing heauy.
T'will be heauier soone by the weight of a man.
Fie vpon thee, art not ashamed?
Of what lady? of speaking honourably? is not marri∣age honourable in a beggar? is not your Lord honourable without mariage? I thinke you would haue me say, sauing your reuerence a husband: & bad thinking do not wrest true spea∣king, ile offend no body, is there any harm in the heauier, for a husband? none I thinke, and it be the right husband, and the right wife, otherwise tis light and not heauy, aske my lady Bea∣trice els, here she comes.
Good morrow coze.
Good morrow sweete Hero.
Why how now? do you speake in the sicke tune?
I am out of all other tune, me thinkes.
Clap's into Light a loue, (that goes without a burden,) do you sing it, and ile daunce it.
Ye Light alone with your heels, then if your husband haue stables enough youle see he shall lacke no barnes.
O illegitimate construction! I scorne that with my heeles.
Tis almost fiue a clocke cosin, tis time you were rea∣dy, by my troth I am exceeding ill, hey ho.
For a hauke, a horse, or a husband?
For the letter that begins them al, H.
Wel, and you be not turnde Turke, theres no more sayling by the starre.
What meanes the foole trow?
Nothing I, but God send euery one their hearts de∣sire.
These gloues the Counte sent me, they are an excel∣lent perfume.
I am stuft cosin, I cannot smell.
A maide and stuft! theres goodly catching of colde.
O God help me, God help me, how long haue you profest apprehension?
Euer since you left it, doth not my wit become me rarely?
It is not seene enough, you should weare it in your cap, by my troth I am sicke.
Get you some of this distill'd carduus benedictus, and lay it to your heart, it is the onely thing for a qualme.
There thou prickst her with a thissel.
Benedictus, why benedictus? you haue some moral in this benedictus.
Morall? no by my troth I haue no morall meaning, I meant plaine holy thissel, you may thinke perchaunce that I think you are in loue, nay birlady I am not such a foole to think what I list nor I list not to thinke what I can, nor indeed I can not think, if I would thinke my heart out of thinking, that you are in loue, or that you will be in loue, or that you can be in loue: yet Benedicke was such another and now is he become a man, he swore he would neuer marry, and yet now in dispight of his heart he eates his meate without grudging, and how you may be conuerted I know not, but me thinkes you looke with your eies as other women do.
What pace is this that thy tongue keepes?
Not a false gallop.
Madame withdraw, the prince, the Count, signior Benedicke, Don Iohn, and all the gallants of the towne are Page [unnumbered] come to fetch you to church.
Help to dresse me good coze, good Meg, good Vr∣sula.
What would you with me, honest neighbour?
Mary sir I would haue some confidence with you, that decernes you nearely.
Briefe I pray you, for you see it is a busie time with me.
Mary this it is sir.
Yes in truth it is sir.
What is it my good friends?
Goodman Verges sir speaks a little of the matter, an old man sir, and his wittes are not so blunt, as God helpe I would desire they were, but infaith honest, as the skin between his browes.
Yes I thank God, I am as honest as any man liuing, that is an old man, and no honester then I.
Comparisons are odorous, palabras, neighbour Verges.
Neighbors, you are tedious.
It pleases your worship to say so, but we are the poore Dukes officers, but truly for mine owne part, if I were as tedious as a King I could find in my heart to bestow it all of your worship.
Al thy tediousnesse on me, ah?
Yea, and't twere a thousand pound more than tis, for I heare as good exclamation on your worshippe as of any man in the citie, and though I be but a poore man, I am glad to heare it.
And so am I.
I would faine know what you haue to say.
Mary sir our watch to night, excepting your wor∣ships presence, ha tane a couple of as arrant knaues as any in Messina.
A good old man sir, he will be talking as they say, when the age is in, the wit is out, God help vs, it is a world Page [unnumbered] to see: well said yfaith neighbour Verges, well, God's a good man, and two men ride of a horse, one must ride behind, an ho∣nest soule yfaith sir, by my troth he is, as euer broke bread, but God is to be worshipt, all men are not alike, alas good neigh∣bour.
Indeed neighbour he comes too short of you.
Gifts that God giues.
I must leaue you.
One word sir, our watch sir haue indeede com∣prehended two aspitious persons, and wee woulde haue them this morning examined before your worship.
Take their examination your selfe and bring it me, I am now in great haste, as it may appeare vnto you.
It shall be suffigance.
Drinke some wine ere you goe: fare you well.
My lord, they stay for you, to giue your daugh∣ter to her husband.
Ile wait vpon them, I am ready.
Go good partner▪ goe get you to Francis Sea-cole, bid him bring his penne and inckehorne to the Gaole: we are now to examination these men.
And we must do it wisely.
We will spare for no witte I warrant you: heeres that shall driue some of them to a noncome, only get the lear∣ned writer to set downe our excommunication, and meet me at the Iaile.
Come Frier Francis, be briefe, onely to the plaine forme of marriage, and you shall recount their particular due∣ties afterwards.
You come hither, my lord, to marry this lady.
To bee married to her: Frier, you come to marry her.
Lady, you come hither to be married to this counte.
If either of you know any inward impediment why Page [unnumbered] you should not be conioyned, I charge you on your soules to vtter it.
Know you any, Hero?
None my lord.
Know you any, Counte?
I dare make his answer, None.
O what men dare do! what men may do! what men daily do, not knowing what they do!
Howe nowe! interiections? why then, some be of laughing, as, ah, ha, he.
As freely sonne as God did giue her mee.
Nothing, vnlesse you render her againe.
What do you meane my lord?
And seemde I euer otherwise to you?
Is my Lord well that he doth speake so wide?
Sweete prince, why speake not you?
Are these things spoken, or do I but dreame?
Sir, they are spoken, and these things are true.
This lookes not like a nuptiall.
True, O God!
All this is so, but what of this my Lord?
I charge thee do so, as thou art my child.
To make you answer truly to your name.
Sir, sir, be patient, for my part I am so attired in won∣der, I know not what to say.
Heare me a little, for I haue only bin silent so long, & giuen way vnto this course of fortune, by noting of the lady, I haue markt,
Ah, how much might the man deserue of me that would right her!
I doe loue nothing in the worlde so well as you, Page [unnumbered] is not that strange?
As strange as the thing I knowe not, it were as possi∣ble for me to say, I loued nothing so wel as you, but beleue me not and yet I lie not, I confesse nothing, nor I deny nothing I am sory for my coosin.
By my sword Beatrice, thou louest me.
Do not sweare and eate it.
I will sweare by it that you loue me, and I wil make him eate it that sayes I loue not you.
Will you not eate your word?
With no sawce that can be deuised to it, I protest I loue thee.
Why then God forgiue me.
VVhat offence sweete Beatrice?
You haue stayed me in a happy houre, I was about to protest I loued you.
And do it with all thy heart.
I loue you with so much of my heart, that none is left to protest.
Come bid me doe any thing for thee.
Ha, not for the wide world.
You kill me to deny it, farewell.
Tarry sweete Beatrice.
I am gone, though I am here, there is no loue in you, nay I pray you let me go.
In faith I will go.
VVeele be friends first.
You dare easier be friends with mee, than fight with mine enemy.
Is Claudio thine enemy?
Is a not approoued in the height a villaine, that hath slaundered, scorned, dishonored my kinswoman? O that I were a man! what, beare her in hand: vntill they come to take handes and then with publike accusation vncouerd slaunder, vnmittigated rancour? O God that I were a man! I woulde Page [unnumbered] eate his heart in the market place.
Heare me Beatrice.
Talke with a man out at a window, a proper saying.
Nay but Beatrice.
Sweete Hero, she is wrongd, she is slaundred, shee is vndone.
Princes and Counties! surely a princely testimonie, a goodly Counte, Counte Comfect, a sweete Gallant surely, O that I were a man for his sake! or that I had any friend woulde be a man for my sake! But manhoode is melted into cursies, valour into complement, and men are only turnd into tongue, and trim ones too: he is now as valiant as Hercules, that only tels a lie, and sweares it: I cannot be a man with wishing, ther∣fore I will die a woman with grieuing.
Tarry good Beatrice, by this hand I loue thee.
Vse it for my loue some other way than swearing by it.
Thinke you in your soule the Count Claudio hath wrongd Hero?
Yea, as sure as I haue a thought, or a soule.
Enough, I am engagde, I will challenge him, I will kisse your hand, and so I leaue you: by this hand, Claudio shal render me a deere account: as you heare of me, so think of me: goe comforte your coosin, I must say she is dead, and so fare∣well.
Is our whole dissembly appeard?
O a stoole and a cushion for the Sexton.
Which be the malefactors?
Mary that am I, and my partner.
Nay thats certaine, we haue the exhibition to exa∣mine.
But which are the offenders? that are to be exami∣ned let them come before maister constable.
Yea mary, let them come before mee, what is your Page [unnumbered] name, friend?
Pray write downe Borachio. Yours sirra.
I am a gentleman sir, and my name is Conrade.
Write downe maister gentleman Conrade: maisters, do you serue God?
Yea sir we hope.
Write downe, that they hope they serue God: and write God first, for God defend but God shoulde goe before such villaines: maisters, it is prooued alreadie that you are little better than false knaues, and it will go neere to be thought so shortly, how answer you for your selues?
Mary sir we say, we are none.
A maruellous witty fellowe I assure you, but I will go about with him: come you hither sirra, a word in your eare sir, I say to you, it is thought you are false knaues.
Sir, I say to you, we are none.
VVel, stand aside, fore God they are both in a tale: haue you writ downe, that they are none?
Master constable, you go not the way to examine, you must call foorth the watch that are their accusers.
Yea mary, thats the eftest way, let the watch come forth: masters, I charge you in the Princes name accuse these men.
This man said sir, that don Iohn the Princes bro∣ther was a villaine.
Write downe prince Iohn a villaine: why this is flat periurie, to call a Princes brother villaine.
Pray thee fellowe peace, I doe not like thy looke I promise thee.
VVhat heard you him say else?
Mary that he had receiued a thousand duckats of don Iohn, for accusing the Ladie Hero wrongfully.
Flat burglarie as euer was committed.
Yea by masse that it is.
VVhat else fellow?
And that Counte Claudio did meane vppon his wordes, to disgrace Hero before the whole assemblie, and not marrie her.
O villaine! thou wilt be condemnd into euerlasting redemption for this.
This is all.
And this is more masters then you can deny, prince Iohn is this morning secretlie stolne awaie: Hero was in this manner accusde, in this verie manner refusde, and vppon the griefe of this sodamlie died: Maister Constable, let these men be bound, and brought to Leonatoes, I will goe before and shew him their examination.
Come, let them be opiniond.
Let them be in the hands of Coxcombe.
Gods my life, wheres the Sexton? let him write down the Princes officer Coxcombe: come, bind them, thou naugh∣ty varlet.
Away, you are an asse, you are an asse.
Doost thou not suspect my place? doost thou not suspect my yeeres? O that he were here to write me downe an asse! but maisters, remember that I am an asse▪ though it bee not written downe, yet forget not that i am nasse: No thou villaine, thou art full of pretie as shal be prou de vpon thee by good witnes. I am a wise fellow, and which is more, an officer, and which is more, a housholder, and which is more, as pret∣ty a peece of flesh as anie is in Messina, and one that knowes the Law, goe to and a rich fellow enough, go to, and a fellow that hath had losses, and on that hath two gownes and euery thing hansome about him: bring him away: O that I had bin writ downe an asse!
Welcome signior, you are almost come to parte al∣most a fray.
Wee had likt to haue had our two noses snapt off with two old men without teeth.
Leonato and his brother what thinkst thou? had we sought, I doubt we should haue beene too yong for them.
In a false quarrell there is no true valour, I came to seeke you both.
We haue beene vp and downe to seeke thee, for we are high proofe melancholie, and would faine haue it beaten away, wilt thou vse thy wit?
It is in my scabberd, shal I drawe it?
Doest thou weare thy wit by thy side?
Neuer any did so, though very many haue been be∣side their wit, I will bid thee drawe, as wee doe the minstrels, •••w to pleasure vs.
As I am an honest man he lookes pale, art thou si•ke, or angry?
What, courage man: what though care kild a catte, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.
Sir, I shall meete your wit in the careere, and you charge it against me, I pray you chuse another subiect
Nay then giue him another staffe, this last was broke crosse.
By this light, he chaunges more and more, I thinke he be angry indeed.
If he be, he knowes how to turne his girdle.
Shall I speake a word in your eare?
God blesse me from a challenge.
You are a villaine, I ieast not, I will make it good howe you dare, with what you dare, and when you dare: doe mee right, or I will protest your cowardise: you haue killd a Page [unnumbered] sweeete Lady, and her death shall fall heauie on you, let me heare from you.
Well I wil meet you, so I may haue good cheare.
What, a feast, a feast?
I faith I thanke him he hath bid me to a calues head & a capon, the which if I doe not carue most curiously, say my kniffe's naught, shall I not find a woodcocke too?
Sir your wit ambles well, it goes easily.
Ile tell thee how Beatrice praisd thy witte the other day: I said thou hadst a fine witte, true said she, a fine little one: no said I, a great wit: right saies she, a great grosse one: nay said I, a good wit, iust said she, it hurts no body: nay said I, the gen∣tleman is wise: certaine said she, a wise gentleman: nay said I, he hath the tongues: that I beleeue said shee, for he swore a thing to mee on munday night, which hee forswore on tuesday mor∣ning, theres a double tongue theirs two tongues, thus did shee an houre together trans-shape thy particular vertues, yet at last she cōcluded with a sigh, thou wast the properst man in Italy.
For the which shee wept heartily and saide she ca∣red not.
Yea that she did, but yet for all that, and if she did not hate him deadly, she would loue him dearely, the old mans daughter told vs all.
All all, and moreouer, God sawe him when he was hid in the garden.
But when shall we set the sauage bulles hornes one the sensible Benedicks head?
Yea and text vnder-neath, here dwells Benedick the married man.
Fare you wel, boy, you know my minde, I wil leaue you now to your gossep-like humor, you breake iests as brag∣gards do their blades, which God be thanked hurt not: my Lord, for your many courtisies I thanke you, I must disconti∣nue your company, your brother the bastard is fled from Mes∣sina: you haue among you, kild a sweet and innocent lady: for my Lord Lacke beard, there hee and I shal meet, and till then peace be with him.
He is in earnest.
In most profound earnest, and ile warrant you, for the loue of Beatrice.
And hath challengde thee.
What a pretty thing man is, when he goes in his dublet and hose, and leaues off his wit!
He is then a Giant to an Ape, but then is an Ape a Doctor to such a man.
But soft you, let me be, plucke vp my heart, and be sad, did he not say my brother was fled?
Come you sir, if iustice cannot tame you, she shall nere weigh more reasons in her ballance, nay, and you be a cursing hypocrite once, you must be lookt to.
How now, two of my brothers men bound? Bora∣chio one.
Hearken after their offence my Lord.
Officers, what offence haue these men done?
Mary sir, they haue committed false report, moreo∣uer they haue spoken vntruths, secondarily they are slanders, sixt and lastly, they haue belyed a Lady, thirdly they haue ve∣refied vniust thinges, and to conclude, they are lying knaues.
First I aske thee what they haue done, thirdly I ask thee whats their offence, sixt and lastly why they are com∣mitted, and to conclude, what you lay to their charge.
Rightly reasoned, and in his owne diuision, and by my troth theres one meaning wel suted.
Who haue you offended maisters, that you are thus bound to your answere? this learned Constable is too cunning to be vnderstood, whats your offence?
Sweete prince, let me goe no farther to mine answere: do you heare me, and let this Counte kill me: I haue deceiued euen your very eyes: what your wisedoms could not discouer, these shallowe fooles haue broght to light, who in the night o∣•erheard me confessing to this man, how Don Iohn your bro∣•her incensed me to slaunder the Lady Hero, howe you were Page [unnumbered] brought into the orchard, and saw me court Margaret in He∣roes garments, how you disgracde hir when you should marry hir: my villany they haue vpon record, which I had rather seale with my death, then repeate ouer to my shame: the lady is dead vpon mine and my masters false accusation: and briefely, I de∣sire nothing but the reward of a villaine.
Runnes not this speech like yron through your bloud?
I haue dronke poison whiles he vtterd it.
But did my brother set thee on to this?
Yea, and paid me richly for the practise of it.
Come, bring away the plaintiffes, by this time our sexton hath reformed Signior Leonato of the matter: and ma∣sters, do not forget to specifie when time and place shal serue, that I am an asse.
Here, here comes master Signior Leonato, and the sexton too.
Moreouer sir, which indeede is not vnder white and blacke, this plaintiffe heere, the offendour, did call me asse, I beseech you let it be remembred in his punishment, and also Page [unnumbered] the watch heard them talke of one Deformed, they say he weares a key in his eare and a locke hanging by it, and borows monie in Gods name, the which he hath vsde so long, & neuer paied, that now men grow hard hearted and wil lend nothing for Gods sake: praie you examine him vpon that point.
I thanke thee for thy care and honest paines.
Your worship speakes like a most thankful and re∣uerent youth, and I praise God for you.
Theres for thy paines.
God saue the foundation.
Goe, I discharge thee of thy prisoner, and I thanke thee.
I leaue an arrant knaue with your worship, which I beseech your worship to correct your selfe, for the example of others: God keepe your worship, I wish your worship well, God restore you to health, I humblie giue you leaue to depart and if a merie meeting may be wisht, God prohibite it: come neighbour.
Vntill to morrow morning, Lords, farewell.
Farewell my lords, we looke for you to morrow.
We will not faile.
To night ile mourne with Hero.
Bring you these fellowes on, weel talke with Mar∣garet, how her acquaintance grew with this lewd felow.
Praie thee sweete mistris Margaret, deserue well at my hands by helping me to the speech of Beatrice.
Wil you then write me a sonnet in praise of my beau∣tie?
In so high a stile Margaret, that no man liuing shall come ouer it, for in most comely truth thou deseruest it.
To haue no man come ouer me, why shal I alwaies keep below staires.
Thy wit is as quicke as the grey-hounds mouth, it catches.
And your's, as blunt as the Fencers foiles, which hit, but hurt not.
A most manly witte Margaret, it will not hurt a wo∣man: and so I pray thee call Beatrice, I giue thee the buck∣lers.
Giue vs the swordes, wee haue bucklers of our owne.
If you vse them Margaret, you must putte in the pikes with a vice, and they are daungerous weapons for maides.
Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who I thinke hath legges.
And therefore wil come. The God of loue that sits aboue, and knowes mee, and knowes me, how pittifull I de∣serue. I meane in singing, but in louing, Leander the good swimmer, Troilus the first imploier of pandars, and a whole booke full of these quondam carpet-mongers, whose names yet runne smoothly in the euen rode of a blancke verse, why they were neuer so truly turnd ouer and ouer as my poore selfe in loue: mary I cannot shew it in rime, I haue tried, I can finde out no rime to Ladie but babie, an innocent rime: for scorne, horne, a hard rime: for schoole foole, a babling rime: very omi∣nous endings, no, I was not borne vnder a riming plannet, nor I cannot wooe in festiuall termes: sweete Beatrice wouldst thou come when I cald thee?
Yea signior, and depart when you bid me.
O stay but till then.
Then, is spoken: fare you wel now, and yet ere I goe, let me goe with that I came, which is, with knowing what hath past betweene you and Claudio.
Onely foule words, and therevpon I will kisse thee.
Foule words is but foule wind, and foule wind is but foule breath, and foule breath is holsome, therfore I wil depart vnkist.
Thou hast frighted the word out of his right sence, so forcible is thy wit, but I must tel thee plainly, Claudio vnder∣goes my challenge, and either I must shortly heare from him, or I will subscribe him a coward, and I pray thee now tell me, Page [unnumbered] for which of my bad parts didst thou first fal in loue with me?
For them all together, which maintaind so politique a state of euil, that they will not admitte any good part to inter∣mingle with them: but for which of my good parts did you first suffer loue for me?
Suffer loue! a good epithite, I do suffer loue indeed, for I loue thee against my will.
In spight of your heart I thinke, alas poore heart, if you spight it for my sake, I will spight it for yours, for I wil ne∣uer loue that which my friend hates.
Thou and I are too wise to wooe peaceably.
It appeares not in this confession, theres not one wise man among twentie that will praise himselfe.
An old, an old instance Beatrice, that liu'd in the time of good neighbours, if a man do not erect in this age his owne toomb ere he dies, he shall liue no longer in monument, then the bell rings, and the widow weepes.
And how long is that thinke you?
Question, why an hower in clamour and a quarter in rhewme, therefore is it most expedient for the wise, if Don worme (his conscience) find no impediment to the contrary, to be the trumpet of his owne vertues, as I am to my self so much for praising my selfe, who I my selfe will beare witnes is praise worthie, and now tell me, how doth your cosin?
And how do you?
Verie ill too.
Serue God, loue me, and mend, there wil I leaue you too, for here comes one in haste.
Madam, you must come to your vncle, yonders old coile at home, it is prooued my Lady Hero hath bin falsely ac∣cusde, the Prince and Claudio mightily abusde, and Don Iohn is the author of all, who is fled and gone: will you come pre∣sently?
Will you go heare this newes signior?
I wil liue in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be buried in thy eies: and moreouer, I wil go with thee to thy vncles.
A miracle, heres our owne hands against our hearts: come, I will haue thee, but by this light I take thee for pittie.
I would not denie you, but by this good day, I yeeld vpon great perswasion, and partly to saue your life, for I was told, you were in a consumption.
Peace I will stop your mouth.
How dost thou Benedicke the married man?
Ile tel thee what prince: a colledge of witte-crackers cannot flout me out of my humour, dost thou think I care for a Satyre or an Epigramme? no, if a man will be beaten with braines, a shall weare nothing hansome about him: in briefe, since I doe purpose to marrie, I will think nothing to anie pur∣pose that the world can saie against it, and therfore neuer flout at me, for what I haue said against it: for man is a giddie thing, and this is my conclusion: for thy part Claudio, I did thinke to haue beaten thee▪ but in that thou art like to be my kinsman, liue vnbruisde, and loue my cousen.
I had wel hopte thou wouldst haue denied Beatrice, that I might haue cudgelld thee out of thy single life, to make Page [unnumbered] thee a double dealer, which out of question thou wilt be, if my coosin do not looke exceeding narrowly to thee.
Come, come, we are friends, lets haue a dance ere we are maried, that we may lighten our own hearts, and our wiues heeles.
Weele haue dancing afterward.
First, of my worde, therefore plaie musicke, Prince, thou art sad, get thee a wife, get thee a wife, there is no staffe more reuerent then one tipt with horne.
Thinke not on him till to morrow, ile deuise thee braue punishments for him: strike vp Pipers.