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SCENE II.-LEONATO's Garden. Enter BENEDICK and MARGARET, meeting. Bene. Pray thee, sweet mistress Margaret, deserve well at my hands by helping me to the speech of Beatrice.
Marg. Will you, then, write me a sonnet in praise of my beauty?
Bene. In so high a style, Margaret, that no man living shall come over it; for, in most comely truth, thou deservest it.
Marg. To have no man come over me? why shall I always keep below stairs?
Bene. Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound's mouth; it catches.
Marg. And your's as blunt as the fencer's foils, which hit, but hurt not.
Bene. A most manly wit, Margaret; it will not hurt a woman: and so, I pray thee, call Beatrice. I give thee the bucklers.
Marg. Give us the swords, we have bucklers of
I mean, in singing; but in loving, Leander the good swimmer, Troilus the first employer of panders, and a whole book full of these quondam carpet-mongers, whose names yet run smoothly in the even road of a blank verse, why, they were never so truly turned over and over as my poor self, in love. Marry, I cannot show it in rhyme; I have tried: I can find out no rhyme to "lady" but "baby," an innocent rhyme; for "scorn," "horn," a hard rhyme; for "school," "fool," a babbling rhyme-very ominous endings. No, I was not born under a rhyming planet, nor I cannot woo in festival terms.
Sweet Beatrice, would'st thou come when I called thee?
Beat. Yea, signior; and depart when you bid me. Bene. O, stay but till then!
Beat. "Then" is spoken; fare you well now:and yet, ere I go, let me go with that I came for; which is, with knowing what hath passed between you and Claudio.
Bene. Only foul words; and thereupon I will kiss thee.
Beat. Foul words is but foul wind, and foul wind is but foul breath, and foul breath is noisome; therefore I will depart unkissed.
Bene. Thou hast frighted the word out of his right sense, so forcible is thy wit. But, I must tell thee plainly, Claudio undergoes my challenge, and either I must shortly hear from him, or I will subscribe him a coward. And, I pray thee now, tell me, for which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love with me?
Beat. For them all together; which maintained so politic a state of evil, that they will not admit any good part to intermingle with them. But for which of my good parts did you first suffer love for me?
Bene. Suffer love! a good epithet. I do suffer love, indeed, for I love thee against my will.
Beat. In spite of your heart, I think. Alas, poor heart! If you spite it for my sake, I will spite it for yours; for I will never love that which my friend hates.
Bene. Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably. Beat. It appears not in this confession: there's not one wise man among twenty that will praise himself.
Bene. An old, an old instance, Beatrice, that lived in the time of good neighbours. If a man do not erect, in this age, his own tomb ere he dies, he shall live no longer in monument, than the bell rings, and the widow weeps.
Beat. And how long is that, think you?
Bene. Question: why an hour in clamour, and a quarter in rheum: therefore is it most expedient for the wise, (if Don Worm, his conscience, find no impediment to the contrary,) to be the trumpet of his own virtues, as I am to myself. So much for praising myself, who, I myself will bear witness, is praiseworthy. And now tell me, how doth your cousin?
Beat. Very ill.
Bene. And how do you? Beat. Very ill too.
Bene. Serve God, love me, and mend. There will I leave you too, for here comes one in haste. Enter URSULA.
Urs. Madam, you must come to your uncle. Yonder's old coil at home: it is proved, my lady Hero hath been falsely accused, the prince and Claudio mightily abused; and Don John is the author of all, who is fled and gone. Will you come presently?
Beat. Will you go hear this news, signior?" Bene. I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be buried in thy eyes; and, moreover, I will go with thee to thy uncle's. [Exeunt.
SCENE III.-The Inside of a Church. Enter Don PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and Attendants, with music and tapers.
Claud. Is this the monument of Leonato?
Done to death by slanderous tongues
Gives her fame which never dies.
Now, music, sound, and sing your solemn hymn.
Pardon, goddess of the night,
Those that slew thy virgin knight;
Graves, yawn, and yield your dead,
Claud. Now, unto thy bones good night!
Yearly will I do this rite.
D. Pedro. Good morrow, masters: put your torches out.
The wolves have prey'd; and look, the gentle day,
Before the wheels of Phoebus, round about
Dapples the drowsy east with spots of grey. Thanks to you all, and leave us: fare you well. Claud. Good morrow, masters: each his several
D. Pedro. Come, let us hence, and put on other weeds;
And then to Leonato's we will go.
Claud. And Hymen now with luckier issue speeds,
Than this, for whom we render'd up this woe! [Exeunt.
SCENE IV.-A Room in LEONATO's House. Enter LEONATO, ANTONIO, BENEDICK, BEATRICE, URSULA, Friar, and HERO.
Friar. Did I not tell you she was innocent? Leon. So are the prince and Claudio, who accus'd her
Upon the error that you heard debated:
Ant. Well, I am glad that all things sort so well.
Bene. And so am I, being else by faith enforc'd To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it.
Leon. Well, daughter, and you gentlewomen all, Withdraw into a chamber by yourselves, And, when I send for you, come hither mask'd: The prince and Claudio promis'd by this hour To visit me.-You know your office, brother; You must be father to your brother's daughter, And give her to young Claudio.
[Exeunt Ladies. Ant. Which I will do with confirm'd countenance. Bene. Friar, I must entreat your pains, I think. Friar. To do what, signior?
Bene. To bind me, or undo me; one of them.Signior Leonato, truth it is, good signior. Your niece regards me with an eye of favour. Leon. That eye my daughter lent her: 'tis most
Enter Don PEDRO and CLAUDIO, with Attendants.
We here attend you. Are you yet determin'd
D. Pedro. Good morrow, Benedick.
what's the matter,
That you have such a February face,
Claud. I think, he thinks upon the savage bull.Tush! fear not, man, we'll tip thy horns with gold, And all Europa shall rejoice at thee,
As once Europa did at lusty Jove,
When he would play the noble beast in love.
And some such strange bull leap'd your father's
And got a calf in that same noble feat,
Much like to you, for you have just his bleat.
Re-enter ANTONIO, with the Ladies, masked. Claud. For this I owe you: here come other reckonings.
Which is the lady I must seize upon?
Leon. This same is she, and I do give you her. Claud. Why, then she's mine.-Sweet, let me see your face.
Leon. No, that you shall not, till you take her hand
Before this friar, and swear to marry her.
Claud. Give me your hand before this holy friar: I am your husband, if you like of me.
Hero. And when I liv'd, I was your other wife: [Unmasking.
And when you lov'd, you were my other husband. Claud. Another Hero?
One Hero died defil'd; but I do live,
D. Pedro. The former Hero! Hero that is dead! Leon. She died, my lord, but whiles her slander liv'd.
Friar. All this amazement can I qualify; When after that the holy rites are ended, I'll tell you largely of fair Hero's death: Mean time, let wonder seem familiar,
And to the chapel let us presently.
Bene. Soft and fair, friar.-Which is Beatrice? Beat. I answer to that name. [Unmasking.]—
What is your will?
Bene. Do not you love me?
Beat. No, truly, but in friendly recompense. Leon. Come, cousin, I am sure you love the gentleman.
Claud. And I'll be sworn upon't, that he loves her;
For here's a paper, written in his hand,
Bene. A miracle! here's our own hands against our hearts.-Come, I will have thee; but, by this light, I take thee for pity.
Beat. I would not deny you;-but, by this good day, I yield upon great persuasion, and, partly, to save your life, for I was told you were in a consump
Bene. Peace! I will stop your mouth.
D. Pedro. How dost thou, Benedick, the married man?
Bene. I'll tell thee what, prince; a college of witcrackers cannot flout me out of my humour. Dost thou think, I care for a satire, or an epigram? No: if a man will be beaten with brains, a' shall wear nothing handsome about him. In brief, since I do purpose to marry, I will think nothing to any purpose that the world can say against it; and therefore never flout at me for what I have said against it, for man is a giddy thing, and this is my conclusion.For thy part, Claudio, I did think to have beaten thee; but, in that thou art like to be my kinsman, live unbruised, and love my cousin.
Claud. I had well hoped, thou wouldst have denied Beatrice, that I might have cudgelled thee out of thy single life, to make thee a double dealer; which, out of question, thou wilt be, if my cousin do not look exceeding narrowly to thee.
"-with a Messenger"-The old stage-direction runs thus, explaining the relations of the parties to each other, there being originally no list of characters:-"Enter Leonato, governor of Messina, Imogen his wife, Hero his daughter, and Beatrice his niece, with a messenger." It is clear, therefore, that the mother of Hero made her appearance before the audience, although she says nothing throughout the comedy.
"I know none of that name"-Beatrice asks after Benedick by a term of the fencing-school, "Montanto:" a term with which Capt. Bobadil has made most readers familiar-"Your punto, your reverso, your stoccato, your montanto," etc. The humour of this the messenger does not understand, and answers, "I know none of that name, lady."
"He set up his bills"-To "set up bills" was to give public notice of a challenge, by posting placards.
"-challenged Cupid at the FLIGHT"-"Flights' were long and light-feathered arrows, that went directly to the mark; bird-bolts, short thick arrows, without a point, and spreading, at the extremity, into a blunt or nobbed head. The meaning of the whole is-Benedick, from a vain conceit of his influence over women, challenged Cupid at the 'flight'-i. e. to shoot at hearts. The fool, to ridicule this piece of vanity, in his turn challenged Benedick at the bird-bolt-an inferior kind of archery, used by fools, who, for obvious reasons, were not permitted to shoot with pointed arrows: whence the proverb- A fool's bolt is soon shot." "DOUCE.
"-he'll be MEET with you"-i. e. He will be even with you, or he will be your match-a phrase common in old dramatists, and other writers; and still preserved, in colloquial use, in the midland counties of England. "STUFFED with all honourable virtues"-"Stuffed," in this first instance, has no ridiculous meaning. Mede,
in his discourses on Scripture, quoted by Edwards, speaking of Adam, says-" He whom God had stuffed with so many excellent qualities." And, in the WINTER'S TALE, we have
-of stuff'd sufficiency.
Beatrice starts an idea at the words stuffed man, and prudently checks herself in the pursuit of it. A stuffed man appears to have been one of the many cant phrases for a cuckold.
"-four of his five wITS"-The five senses, long before the time of Shakespeare, were called the "five wits." In his time wits became the general name for the intellectual powers, and these, by analogy to the senses, "the inlets of ideas," were also supposed to be five in number. Shakespeare, in his One hundred and forty-first "Sonnet," distinguishes the "five wits" from the five senses:
But my five wits, nor my five senses, can Dissuade one foolish heart from loving thee. "the fashion of his HAT, it ever changes with the next BLOCK"-"In the perpetual change of fashions which was imputed to the English in Elizabeth's day, the hat underwent every possible transition of form. We had intended to have illustrated this by exhibiting the principal varieties which we find in pictures of that day; but if our blocks had been as numerous as these blocks, we should have filled pages with the graceful or grotesque caprices of the exquisites from whom Brummell inherited his belief in the powers of the hat. Why, Mr. Brummell, does an Englishman always look better dressed than a Frenchman? The oracular reply was, "Tis the hat.' We present, however, the portrait of one ancient Brummell, with a few hats at his feet to choose from."-KNIGHT. (See cut, end of scene, p. 44.)
"the gentleman is not in your books"-" The meaning of this expression, which we retain to the present day, is generally understood. He who is in your books'-or, as we sometimes say, in your good books-is he whom you think well of whom you trust.