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Beat. Speak, cousin; or, if you cannot, stop his mouth with a kiss, and let him not speak, neither.
D. Pedro. In faith, lady, you have a merry heart.
Beat. Yea, my lord; I thank it, poor fool, it keeps on the windy side of care : My cousin tells him in his ear, that he is in her heart.
Claud. And so she doth, cousin.
Beat. Good lord, for alliance! - Thus goes every one to the world but I, and I am sun-burned; I may sit in a corner, and cry, heigh ho! for a husband.
D. Pedro. Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.
Beat. I would rather have one of your father's getting: Hath your grace ne'er a brother like you? Your father got excellent husbands, if a maid could come by them.
D. Pedro. Will you have me, lady ?
Beat. No, my lord, unless I might have another for working-days; your grace is too costly to wear every day:-But, I beseech your grace, pardon me: I was born to speak all mirth, and no matter.
D. Pedro. Your silence most offends me, and to be merry best becomes you; for, out of question, you were born in a merry hour.
Beat. No, sure, my lord, my mother cry'd; but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born.-Cousins, God give you joy!
Leon. Niece, will you look to those things I told
Beat. I cry you mercy, uncle.-By your grace's pardon.
[Exit BEATRICE. D. Pedro. By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady. Leon. There's little of the melancholy element in
her, my lord: she is never sad, but when she sleeps; and not ever sad then; for I have heard my daughter say, she hath often dreamed of unhappiness, and waked herself with laughing.
D. Pedro. She cannot endure to hear tell of a busband.
Leon. O, by no means; she mocks all her wooers out of suit.
D. Pedro. She were an excellent wife for Benedick.
Leon. O lord, my lord, if they were but a week married, they would talk themselves mad.
D. Pedro. Count Claudio, when mean you to go to church?
Claud. To-morrow, my lord : ' Time goes on crutches, till love have all his rites.
Leon. Not till Monday, my dear son, which is hence a just seven-night; and a time too brief too, to have all things answer my
mind. D. Pedro. Come, you shake the head at so long a breathing; but, I warrant thee, Claudio, the time shall not go dully by us; I will, in the interim, undertake one of Hercules' labours; which is, to bring signior Benedick, and the lady Beatrice into a mountain of affection, the one with the other. I would fain have it a match; and I doubt not but to fashion it, if you three will but minister such assistance as I shall give you direction.
Leon. My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten nights' watchings.
Claud. And I, my lord.
Hero. I will do any modest office, my lord, to help my cousin to a good husband.
D. Pedro. And Benedick is not the unhopefullest husband that. I know: thus far can I praise him ; he is of a noble strain,4 of approved valour, and confirmed honesty. I will teach you how to humour your cousin, that she shall fall in love with Benedick :--and I, with your two helps, will so practice on Benedick, that, in despite of his quick wit and his queasy 5 stomach, he shall fall in love with Beatrice. If we can do this, Cupid is no longer an archer; his glory shall be ours, for we are the only love-gods. Go in with me, and I will tell you my drift.
D. John. It is so; the count Claudio shall marry the daughter of Leonato.
Bora. Yea, my lord; but I can cross it,
D. John. Any bar, any cross, any impediment will be medicinable to me: I am sick in displeasure to him; and whatsoever comes athwart his affection, ranges evenly with mine. How canst thou cross this marriage ?
Bora. Not honestly, my lord; but so covertly that no dishonesty shall appear in me.
D. John. Show me briefly how.
Bora. I think, I told your lordship, a year since, how much I am in the favour of Margaret, the waiting-gentlewoman to Hero.
D. John. I remernber.
Bora. I can, at any unseasonable instant of the night, appoint her to look out at her lady's chamberwindow.
D. John. What life is in that, to be the death of this marriage ?
Bora. The poison of that lies in you to temper. Go you to the prince your brother; spare not to tell him, that he hath wronged his honour in marrying the renowned Claudio (whose estimation do you mightily hold up) to a contaminated stale, such a one as Hero.
D. John. What proof shall I make of that?
Bora. Proof enough to misuse the prince, to vex Claudio, to undo Hero, and kill Leonato: Look you for any other issue?
D. John. Only to despite them, I will endeavour any thing.
Bora. Go then, find me a meet hour to draw Don Pedro and the count Claudio, alone : tell them, you know that Hero loves me; intendó a kind of zeal both to the prince and Claudio, as in love of your brother's honour who hath made this match; and his friend's reputation, who is thus like to be cozened with the semblance of a maid,—that you have discovered thus. They will scarcely believe this without trial : offer them instances; which shall bear no less likelihood, than to see me at her chamber
window; hear me call Margaret, Hero; hear Margaret term me Borachio; and bring them to see this, the very night before the intended wedding : for, in the mean time, I will so fashion the matter, that Hero shall be absent; and there shall appear such seeming truth of Hero's disloyalty, that jealousy shall be callid assurance, and all the preparation overthrown.
D. John. Grow this to what adverse issue it can, I will put it in practice : Be cunning in the working this, and thy fee is a thousand ducats.
Bora, Be you constant in the accusation, and my cunning shall not shame me.
D. John. I will presently go learn their day of marriage.
Enter BENEDICK and a Boy.
Bene. In my chamber-window lies a book; bring it hither to me in the orchard.
Boy. I am here already, sir.
Bene. I know that; but I would have thee hence, and here again. [Exit Boy.]—I do much wonder, that one man, seeing how much another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviours to love, will, after he hath laughed at such shallow follies in others, become the argument of his own scorn, by falling in love: And such a man is Claudio. I have known,