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Bene. Two of them have the very bent of honour, And if their wifdoms be mif-led in this, The Practice of it lives in John the bastard, Whose spirits toil in frame of villanies.
Leon. I know not: if they speak but truth of her,
Nor fortune made fuch havock of my means,
Friar. Paufe a while,
And let my counsel fway you in this cafe.
And publish it, that he is dead, indeed:
Leon. What fhall become of this? what will this do?
Friar. Marry, this, well carry'd, fhall on her behalf Change flander to remorfe; that is fome good: But not for that dream I on this ftrange course, But on this travel look for greater birth: She dying, as it must be fo maintain'd, Upon the inftant that fhe was accus'd Shall be lamented, pity'd, and excus'd, Of every hearer: for it fo falls out,
That what we have we prize not to the worth,
The virtue that poffeffion would not fhew us
• Shall come apparel'd in more precious habit;
• More moving, delicate, and full of life,
Into the eye and profpect of his foul, •Than when the liv'd indeed.' Then fhall he mourn, If ever love had interest in his liver,
And wish, he had not so accused her;
Out of all eyes, tongues, minds, and injuries.
Bene. Signior Leonato, let the friar advise you :
Leon. Being that I flow in grief,
Friar. 'Tis well confented, prefently away; For to strange fores, ftrangely they strain the cure. Come, lady, die to live; this wedding day,
Perhaps, is but prolong'd: have patience and endure.
Manent Benedick and Beatrice.
Bene. Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while?
Beat. You have no reason, I do it freely.
Bene. Surely, I do believe, your fair coufin is wrong'd.
Beat. Ah, how much might the man deserve of me, that would right her!
Bene. Is there any way to fhew fuch friendship?
Beat. It is a man's office, but not yours. Bene. I do love nothing in the world fo well as you; is not that strange?
Beat. As ftrange as the thing I know not; it were as poffible for me to fay, I loved nothing fo well as you; but believe me not; and yet I lye not; I confefs nothing, nor I deny nothing. I am forry for my coufin.
Bene. By my fword, Beatrice, thou lov❜st me.
6 SCENE III.] The poet, in my opinion, has fhewn a great deal of addrefs in this scene. Beatrice here engages her lover to revenge the injury done her coufin Hero: And without this very natural incident, confidering the character of Beatrice, and that the ftory of her Paffion for Benedick was all a fable, fhe could never have been easily or naturally brought to confefs the loved him, notwithstanding all the foregoing preparation. And yet, on this confeffion, in this very place, depended the whole fuccefs of the plot upon her and Benedick. For had fhe not owned her love here, they must have foon found out the trick, and then the defign of bringing them together had been defeated; and fhe would never have owned a paffion fhe had been only tricked into, had not her defire of revenging her coufin's wrong made her drop her capricious humour at once.
Bene. I will fwear by it that you love me; and I will make him eat it, that fays, I love not you. Beat. Will you not eat your word?
Bene. With no fauce that can be devis'd to it; I proteft, I love thee.
Beat. Why then, God forgive me.
Bene. What offence, fweet Beatrice?
Beat. You have ftay'd me in a happy hour; I was about to proteft, I lov'd you.
Bene. And do it with all thy heart.
Beat. I love you with fo much of my heart, that none is left to protest.
Bene. Come, bid me do any thing for thee.
Beat. Kill Claudio.
Bene. Ha! not for the wide world.
Beat. You kill me to deny; farewel.
Bene. Tarry, fweet Beatrice.
Beat. I am gone, tho' I am here; there is no love
in you; nay, I pray you, let me go.
Beat. In faith, I will go.
Bene. We'll be friends firft.
Beat. You dare eafier be friends with me, than fight with mine enemy.
Bene. Is Claudio thine enemy ?
Beat. Is he not approved in the height a villain, that hath flander'd, scorn'd, difhonour'd my kinswoman! O, that I were a man! what! bear her in hand until they come to take hands, and then with publick accufation, uncover'd flander, unmitigated rancour O God, that I were a man! I would eat his heart in the market-place.
Bene. Hear me, Beatrice.
Beat. Talk with a man out at a window?-a proper faying!
Bene. Nay, but Beatrice.
Beat. Sweet Hero! fhe is wrong'd, fhe is flander'd, she is undone.
Beat. Princes and Counts! furely, a princely teftimony, a goodly count-comfect, a fweet gallant, furely! O that I were a man for his fake! Or that I had any friend would be a man for my fake! but manhood is melted into curtefies, valour into compliment, and men are only turn'd into tongue, and trim ones too; he is now as valiant as Hercules, that only tells a lie, and fwears it: I cannot be a man with wifhing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving.
Bene. Tarry, good Beatrice; by this hand, I love thee.
Beat. Use it for my love fome other way than fwearing by it.
Bene. Think you in your foul, the Count Claudio hath wrong'd Hero?
Beat. Yea, as fure as I have a thought or a foul. Bene. Enough, I am engag'd; I will challenge him, I will kifs your hand, and fo leave you; by this hand, Claudio fhall render me a dear account; as you hear of me, fo think of me; go comfort your coufin; I must fay, fhe is dead, and fo farewel. [Exeunt.
Changes to a Prifon.
Enter Dogberry, Verges, Borachio, Conrade, the Town-Clerk and Sexton in Gowns.
To. Cl. S our whole diffembly appear'd?
Dogb. O, a ftool and a cushion for the fexton! Sexton. Which be the malefactors?
Verg. Marry, that am I and my Partner. Dogb. Nay, that's certain, we have the exhibition to examine.