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great praise; only this commendation I can afford her, that were she other than she is, the were unhandsome; and being no other but as she is, I do not like her.
Claud. Thou think'it, I am in sport; I pray thee, tell me truly how thou lik'it her.
Bene. Would you buy her, that you enquire after her?
Bene. Yea, and a case to put it into; but speak you this with a fad brow? or do you play the flouting Jack, to tell us Cupid is a good hare-finder, and Vulcan a rare carpenter? come, in what key shall a man take you to go in the song ?
Claud. In mine eye, she is the sweetest lady that I ever look'd on.
Bene. I can see yet without spectacles, and I see no such matter; there's her Cousin, if he were not posseft with such a Fury, exceeds her as much in beauty, as the first of May doth the last of December : but i hope, you
have no intent to turn husband, have you ? Claud. I would scarce trust myself, tho' I had sworn the contrary, if Hero would be
wife. Bene. Is't come to this, in faith? hath not the world one man, but he will wear his cap with suspicion ? shall I never see a bachelor of threescore again ? go to, i' faith, if thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it, and figh away Sundays : look, Don Pedro is return'd to seek you.
Re-enter Don Pedro and Don John. Pedro. What secret hath held you here, that you follow'd not to Leonato's house ?
Bene. I would, your Grace would constrain me to tell. Pedro. I charge thee on thy allegiance.
Bene. You hear, Count Claudio, I can be secret as a dumb man, I would have you think so; buċ on my allegiance, mark you this, on my allegiance :-he is in love : with whom? now that is your Grace's part: mark, how short his answer is, with Hero, Leonato's fhort daughter.
Claud. If this were so, so were it uttered.
Bene. Like the old tale, my lord, it is not so, nor 'twas not so; but, indeed, God forbid it should be so.
Claud. If my passion change not fhortly, God forbid it should be otherwise.
Pedro. Amen, if you love her, for the Lady is very well worthy.
Claud. You speak this to fetch me in, my Lord.
Bene. And by my two faiths and troths, my Lord, I fpeak mine.
Claud. That I love her, I feel.
Bene. That I neither feel how she should be loved, nor know how the should be worthy, is the opinion that fire cannot melt out of me; I will die in it at the stake.
Pedro. Thou wast ever an obstinate heretick in the dełpight of beauty.
Claud. And never could maintain his part, but in the force of his will,
Bene. That a woman conceived me, I thank her ; that she brought me up, I likewise give her moft humble thanks : but that I will have a recheate winded in my forehead, or hang my bugle in an invisible baldrick, all women shall pardon me; because I will not do them the wrong to mistrust any, I will do myself the right to trust none; and the fine is, (for the which I may go the finer,) I will live a bachelor.
Pedro. I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with love.
Bene. With anger, with fickness, or with hunger, my lord, not with love: prove that ever I lose more blood with love, than I will get again with drinking, pick out mine eyes with a ballad-maker's pen, and hang me up at the door of a brothel-house for the Sign of blind Cupid.
Pedro. Well, if ever thou dost fall from this faith, thou wilt prove a notable argument. Bene. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat, and
shoot at me; and he that hits me, let him be clapt on the shoulder, and call'd Adam. (3)
Pedro. Well, as time fhall try; in time the favage bull doth bear the yoke.
Bene. The favage bull may, but if ever the fensible Benediek, bear it, pluck off the bull's-hirns, and jet them in my forehead, and let me be vilely painted ; and in such great letters as they write, Here is good Horse to hire, let them fignify under my fign, Here you may fee Benedick the marry'd man.
Claud. If this should ever happen, thou would't be horn-mad.
(3) And be that bits me, let bim be clap'd on tbe shoulder, and call's Adam.) But why fhould he therefore be call'd Adam? Perhaps, by a quotation or two we may be able to trace the poet's allufion here. In Law-Ir:cks, or, Wło wouli bave thought it, (a Comedy written by John Day, and printed in 1608) I find this speecr.
I have heard, Old dam was an bine mun, eid a good Gardiner ; Jov'd Leduce well
, Salads and Cabage reafonulle well, yet no Tobacco;Again, Adam Bull, a fubfiantial Outlaw, and a paling good Archer, yel no Tobccorift.
By this it appears, that Ad m Bell at that time of day was of reputation for his skill at the bow. I find him again mention’d in a burlesque poem of Sir William Davenuni's, cali'd, The lorg Vacation is London.
Now lean Attorney that his cheese
Sol se s, for fear they'll shoct at him. By the pafiage, which I have above quoted foam Law-Tricks, 'tis plain, Sir Woham's editor has taliely pointed ihe laft line but one; we muft correct it thus;
Like ghosts of Adar Bill, and Cl, mme ; 'Tis this wight, no doubt, whom our author here alludes to: and had I the convenier ce ot confuiting Ajibam's Toxopbilus, I might probably grow better acquainted with bis history.
Pedro, I leave you.
Pedro. Nay, if Cupid hath not spent all his quiver in Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly.
Bene. I look for an earthquake too then.
Pedro. Well you will temporize with the hours; in the mean time, good Signior Benedick, repair to Leonate's, commend me to him, and tell him I will not fail him at supper; for, indeed, he hath made great preparation,
Bene. I have almost matter enough in me for such an embassage, and so I commit you
Claud. To the tuition of God; From my house, if I had it
Pedro. The sixth of July, your loving friend, Benedick.
Bene. Nay, mock not, mock not; the body of your discourse is sometime guarded with íragments, a d the guards are but slightly based on neither: ere you
flrut old ends any further, examine your conscience, and 10
[Exit, Claud. My liege, your Highness now may do me good.
Pedro. My love is thine to teach, teach it but how,
Claud. Hath Leonato ary fon, my lord ?
Pedro. No child but Ilero, she's his only heir :
Claud. O my lord,
Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover presently,
Claud. How sweetly do you minister to love,
Pedro. What need the bridge much broader than the The fairest grant is the necessity;
[flood Look, what will serve, is fit; 'tis once, thou lov'it ; And I will fit thee with the remedy. I know, we shall have revelling to-night; I will assume thy part in some diguise, And tell fair Hero I am Claudio ; And in her bosom I'll unclasp my heart, And take her hearing prisoner with the force And strong encounter of my amorous tale: Then, after, to her father will I break: And the conclusion is, the shall be thine ; In practice let us put it presently.
[Exeunk Re-enter Leonato and Antonio. Leon. How now, brother, where is my Cousin your fon? hath he provided this musick?
Ant. He is very busy about it; but, brother, I can tell you news that you yet dream'd not of.
Leon. Are they good ?
Ant. As the event stamps them, but they have a good: cover; they show well outward. The Prince and Count: Claudio, walking in a thick-pleached alley in my ore chard, were thus overheard by a man of mine : The Prince discover'd to Claudio, that he lov'd my Niece your daughter, and meant to acknowledge it this night in a dance; and if he found her accordant, he meant to take the present time by the top, and instantly break with
Leon. Hath the fellow any wit, that told you this?
Ant. A good sharp fellow; I will send for him, and question him yourself.
Leon. No, no; we will hold it as a dream, 'till it appear itself: but I will acquaint my daughter withal, that the may be the better prepared for answer, if peradventure this be true; go you and tell her of it:
you of it.