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Don PEDRO, Prince of Ar- Antonio, brother to Leonato. ragon.

Borachio, confident to Don Leonato, Governor of Mef- John. fina.

Conrade, friend to Borachio, Don John, bastard-brother || Dogberry, two foolijk ofto Don Pedro.


Verges, ficers.
Claudio, a young Lord of Hero, daughter to Leonato,

Florence, favourite to Beatrice, niece to Leonato.
Don Pedro.

Margaret, Ursula, two gen-
Benedick, a young Lord of tlewomen attending on

Padua, favoured likewise Hero.
by Don Pedro.

A Friar, Messenger, Watch,
Balthazar, servant to Don Town-Clerk, Sexton, and

SCENE, Melina in Sicily.

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A court before Leonato's house.
Enter Leonato, Hero, and Beatrice, with a messenger.
Leon. LEARN in this letter, that Don Pedro

of Arragon comes this night to Meflina.

Mes. He is very near by this; he was

not three leagues off when I left him. Leon. How many gentlemen have you lost in this action ?

Mell. But few of any fort, and none of name.

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

to Atbl

• The story from Arioso, Orl. Fur. 1. 5. Mr Pope. Vol. II.


Mer. Mes. Much deserved on his part, and equally remembered by Don Pedro: he hath borne himself beyond the promise of his age, doing in the figure of a lamb the feats of a lion: he hath indeed better better'd expectation, than you must expect of me to tell

you how.

Leon. He hath an uncle here in Meflina will be

very much glad of it.

Mes. I have already delivered him letters, and there appears much joy in him ; even so much, that joy could not fhew ittelf modeft enough, without a badge of bitterness.

Leon. Did he break out into tears?
Mef. In great measure.

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

Beat. I pray you, is Signior Montanto * returned from the wars, or no?

Mej. I know none of that name, Lady; there was none such in the



Leon. What is he that you ask for, niece?
Hero. My cousin means Signior Benedick of Padua,
Mej. O, he's return'd, and as pleafant as ever he


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Beat. He fet up his bills here in Messina, and challenge'd Cupid at the flight; and my uncle's fool, reading the challenge, subscribed for Cupid, and challenged him at the bird-bolt. " I

pray you,


hath " he kill'd and eaten in these wars ? but how many “ hath he kill'd? for indeed I promis’d to eat all of « his killing."

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

Mell. He hath done good service, Lady, in these wars.

Beat." You had musty victuals, and he hath holp " to eat it; he's a very valiant trencher-man, he hath

an excellent stomach.”
Mell. And a good soldier too, Lady.

* She gives him this name, to ridicule in him the character of a blustering foldier, the word montante in Spanish fignitying a two-banded sword.


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

Mell. A lord to a lord, a man to a man, stuff?d with all honourable virtues.

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

Leon. You must not, Sir, mistake my niece; there is a kird of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick and her; they never meet, but there's a Ikirmish of wit between them.

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

Mell. Is it possible ?

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

Niel. I see, Lady, the gentleman is not in your books.

Beat. “ No; an he were, I would burn my study. *** But, I pray you, who is his companion ? is there

no young squarer now that will make a voyage with “ him to the devil ?”

Mej. He is most in the company of the Right Noble Claudio.

Beat. O Lord, he will hang upon him like a disease; he is sooner caught than the peftilence, and the taker runs presently mad. God help the Noble Claudio, if he have caught the Benedick; it will cost him a thoufand pounds ere he be cur'd.

Mej: I will hold friends with you, Lady.
Beat. Do, good friend.
Leon. You'll ne'er run mad, niece.
Beat. No, not till a hot January.
Mel. Don Pedro is approach'd.

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Enter Don Pedro, Claudio, Benedick, Balthazar, and

Don John.
Pedro. Good Signior Leonato, you are come to meet
your trouble: the fashion of the world is to avoid cost,
and you encounter it.

Leon. Never came trouble to my house in the likeness of your Grace: for trouble being gone, comfort should remain; but when you depart from me, sorrow abides, and happiness takes his leave.

Pedro. You embrace your charge too willingly; I think this is your daughter.

Leon. Her mother hath many times told me so.
Bene. Were you in doubt, Sir, that you ask'd her ?

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

Pedro. You have it full, Benedick; we may guess by this what you are, being a man: truly the lady fathers herself; be happy, Lady, for you are like an honourable father.

Bene. If Signior Leonato be her father, she would not have his head on her shoulders for all Messina, as like him as the is.

Beat. I wonder that you will still be talking, Signior Benedick; no body marks you.

Bene. What, my dear Lady Disdain! are you yet living?

Beat. Is it possible Disdain should die, while she hath fuchi meet food to feed it as Signior Benedick? Courtesy itself must convert to Difdain, if you come in her presence.

Bene. Then is Courtesy a turn-coat; but it is certain I am lov'd of all ladies, only you excepted ; and I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart; for truly I love none.

Beat. A dear happiness to women ; they would else have been troubled with a pernicious fuitor. I thank God and my cold blood, I am of your humour for that; I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow, than a mar fwear he loves me.

Bente. .

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