Page images

Bene. It is in my scabbard ; Shall I draw it?
D. Pedro. Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side ?

Claud. Never any did so, though very many have been beside their wit.--I will bid thee draw, as we do the minstrels; draw, to pleasure us.

D. Pedro. As I am an honest man, he looks pale : -Art thou sick, or angry

? Claud. What! courage, man! What though care killed a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill


Bene. Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career, an you charge it against me :-I pray you, choose, another subject.

Claud. Nay, then give him another staff; this last was broke cross.

D. Pedro. By this light, he changes more and more; I think, he be


indeed. Claud. If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle.? Bene. Shall I speak a word in your ear? Claud. God bless me from a challenge!

Bene. You are a villain ;-) jest not :- I will make it good how you dare, with what you dare, and when you dare :-Do me right, or I will protest your cowardice. You have killed a sweet lady, and her death shall fall heavy on you: Let me hear from you. Claud. Well, I will meet you, so


have good cheer.

D. Pedro. What, a feast? a feast?

Claud. I'faith, I thank him; he hath bids me to a calf's-head and a capon; the which if I do not

[ocr errors]

7 To give a challenge.

8 Invited.

carve most curiously, say, my knife's naught. Shall I not find a woodcock too?

Bene. Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes easily.

D. Pedro. I'll tell thee how Beatrice praised thy wit the other day: I said, thou hadst a fine wit; True, says she, a fine little one: No, said I, a great wit ; Right, says she, a great gross one : Nay, said I, a good wit ; Just, said she, it hurts nobody: Nay, said I, the gentleman is wise ; Certain, said she, a wise gen. tleman: Nay, said I, he hath the tongues; That I believe, said she, for he swore a thing to me on Monday night, which he foreswore on Tuesday morning; there's a double tongue; there's two tongues. Thus did she, an hour together, transshape thy particular virtues; yet, at last, she concluded with a sigh, thou wast the properest man in Italy.

Claud. For the which she wept heartily, and said, she cared not.

D. Pedro. Yea, that she did ; but yet, for all that, an if she did not hate him deadly, she would love him dearly : the old man's daughter told us all.

Claud. All, all; and moreover, God saw him when he was hid in the garden. D. Pedro. But when shall we set the


bull's horns on the sensible Benedick's head ?

Claud. Yea, and text underneath, Here dwells Benedick the married man?

Bene. Fare you well, boy; you know my mind; I will leave you now to your gossip-like humour: you break jests as braggarts do their blades, which, God be thanked, hurt not.-My lord, for your many courtesies I thank you : I must discontinue your

company: your brother, the bastard is fled from Messina : you have, among you, killed a sweet and innocent lady: For my lord Lack-beard, there, he and I shall meet; and till then, peace be with him.

[Exit BENEDICK. D. Pedro. He is in earnest.

Claud. In most profound earnest; and, I'll warrant you, for the love of Beatrice.

D. Pedro. And hath challenged thee?
Claud. Most sincerely.

D. Pedro. What a pretty thing man is, when he goes in his doublet and hose, and leaves off his wit!

Enter DOGBERRY, VERGES, and the Watch, with

CONRADE and BORACHIO. Claud. He is then a giant to an ape : but then is an ape a doctor to such a man.

D. Pedro. But, soft you, let be; pluck up, my heart, and be sad!9 Did he not say, my brother was fied ?

Dogb. Come, you, sir; if justice cannot tame you, she shall ne'er weigh more reasons in her balance: nay, an you be a cursing hypocrite once, you must be looked to.

D. Pedro. How now, two of my brother's men bound! Borachio, one!

Claud. Hearken after their offence, my lord !

D. Pedro. Officers, what offence have these men done?

Dogb. Marry, sir, they have committed false report; moreover, they have spoken untruths ; se.

9 Serious.

condarily, they are slanders ; sixth and lastly, they have belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified unjust things : and, to conclude, they are lying knaves.

D. Pedro. First, I ask thee what they have done; thirdly, I ask thee what's their offence; sixth and lastly, why they are committed; and, to conclude, what you lay to their charge.

Claud. Rightly reasoned, and in his own division; and, by my troth, there's one meaning well suited.

D. Pedro. Whom have you offended, masters, that you are thus bound to your answer? this learned constable is too cunning to be understood: What's

your offence?

do you

hear me,


Bora. Sweet prince, let me go no further to mine ;

and let this count kill me. I have deceived even your very eyes:


wisdoms could not discover, these shallow fools have brought to light; who, in the night, over-heard me confessing to this man, how Don John your brother incensed' me to slander the lady Hero; how you were brought into the orchard, and saw me court Margaret in Hero's garment; how you disgraced her, when you should marry her: my villainy they have upon record; which I had rather seal with my death, than repeat over to my shame : the lady is dead upon mine and my master's false accusation ; and, briefly, I desire nothing but the reward of a villain. D. Pedro. Runs not this speech like iron through

your blood ?

-- Claud. I have drunk poison, whiles he utter'd it. - D. Pedro. But did my brother thee on to this?

I Incited.

Bora. Yea, and paid me richly for the practice of it. D. Pedro. He is compos'd and fram’d of trea

chery And fled he is upon this villainy. Claud. Sweet Hero! now thy image doth

appear In the rare semblance that I loved it first.

Dogb. Come, bring away the plaintiffs; by this time our Sexton hath reformed signior Leonato of the matter: And masters, do not forget to specify, when time and place shall serve, that I am an ass.

Verg. Here, here comes master signior Leonato, and the Sexton too.

Re-enter LEONATO and ANTONIO, with the Sexton.

Leon. Which is the villain? Let me see his eyes; That when I note another man like him, I may avoid him: Which of these is he?

Bora. If you would know your wronger look on me. Leon. Art thou the slave, that with thy breath

hast kill'd Mine innocent child ? Bora.

Yea, even I alone. Leon. No, not so, villain; thou bely'st thyself; Here stand a pair of honourable men, A third is filed, that had a hand in it:I thank you, princes, for my daughter's death; Record it with your high and worthy deeds; 'Twas bravely done, if you bethink you of it.

Claud. I know not how to pray your patience, Yet I must speak: Choose your revenge yourself ;



« PreviousContinue »