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"hath he kill'd? for, indeed, I promis'd to eat all "of his killing."

Leon, Faith, Neice, you tax Signior Benedick too much; but he'll be meet with you, I doubt it


Mes. He hath done good fervice, Lady, in these


"Beat. You had musty victuals, and he hath holp "to eat it; he's a very valiant trencher-man, he hath "an excellent ftomach."

Meff. And a good foldier too, Lady.

Beat. And a good foldier to a lady? but what is he to a lord?

Meff. A lord to a lord, a man to a man, stufft with all honourable virtues.

Beat. It is fo, indeed: he is no less than a stufft man: but for the ftuffing,-well, we are all mortal.

Leon. You must not, Sir, mistake my Neice; there is a kind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick and her; they never meet, but there's a skirmish of Wit between them.


Beat. Alas, he gets nothing by That. In our laft conflict, four of his five wits went halting off, and now is the whole man govern'd with one: So that if he have wit enough to keep himfelf from harm, let him bear it for a difference between himself and his horfe; for it is all the wealth that he hath left, to be known a reasonable creature. Who is his companion now? he hath every month a new fworn brother.

wit enough to keep himself WARM,] But how would that make a difference between him and his horfe? We should read, Wit enough to keep himself FROM HARM. This fuits the fatirical turn of her fpeech, in the character fhe would give of Benedick; and this would make the difference fpoken of. For 'tis the nature of horfes, when wounded, to run upon the point of the weapon.


B 3


Mell. Is it poffible?

Beat. Very eafily poffible; he wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat, it ever changes with the - next block.

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Meff. I fee, Lady, the gentleman is not in your books.

Beat. "No; an he were, I would burn my Study.

But, I pray you, who is his companion? is there "no young fquarer now, that will make a voyage "with him to the devil?

Me. He is moft in the company of the right noble Claudio.

Beat. O lord, he will hang upon him like a disease; he is fooner caught than the peftilence, and the taker runs presently mad. God help the noble Claudio, if he have caught the Benedick; it will coft him a thousand pounds ere he be cur'd.

Meff. I will hold friends with you, Lady.
Beat. Do, good friend.

Leon. You'll ne'er run mad, Neice.

Beat. No, not 'till a hot January.

Meff. Don Pedro is approach'd.

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Enter Don Pedro, Claudio, Benedick, Balthazar, and Don John.

Pedro. Good Signior Leonato, you are come to meet your trouble: the fashion of the world is to avoid cost, and you encounter it.

Leon. Never came trouble to my house in the likenefs of your Grace; for trouble being gone, comfort

5. be wears bis faith] Not religious Profefiion, but Profef fion of friendship; for the fpeaker gives it as the reafon of her asking, who was now his Companion? that he had every month a new fuorn brother.


fhould remain; but when you depart from me, forrow abides, and happiness takes his leave.

Pedro. You embrace your charge too willingly: I think, this is your daughter.

Leon. Her mother hath many times told me fo.
Bene. Were you in doubt, Sir, that you askt her?
Leon. Signior Benedick, no; for then were you a


Pedro. You have it full, Benedick; We may guess by this what you are, being a man: truly, the lady fathers her felf, be happy, lady, for you are like an honourable father.

Bene. If Signior Leonato be her Father, fhe would not have his head on her shoulders for all Mefina, a's like him as fhe is.

Beat. I wonder, that you will ftill be talking, Signior Benedick; no body marks you.

Bene. What, my dear lady Difdain! are you yet living?

Beat. Is it poffible, Difdain fhould die, while fhe hath fuch meet food to feed it, as Signior Benedick? Courtefie it self must convert to Difdain, if you come in her presence.

Bene. Then is courtefie a turn-coat; but it is certain, I am lov'd of all ladies, only you excepted; and I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart, for truly I love none.

Beat. A dear happiness to women; they would elfe have been troubled with a pernicious fuitor. I thank God and my cold blood, I am of your Humour for that; I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow, than a man fwear he loves me.

Bene. God keep your ladyship still in that mind! fo fome gentleman or other fhall fcape a predeftinate fcratcht face.

Beat. "Scratching could not make it worse, an " 'twere fuch a face as yours were."

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Bene. Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher.

Beat. A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours.

Bene. I would, my horfe had the speed of your tongue, and fo good a continuer; but keep your way o' God's name, I have done.

Beat. You always end with a jade's trick; I know you of old.

Pedro. This is the fum of all: Leonato,-Signior Claudio, and Signior Benedick, my dear friend Leonato hath invited you all; I tell him, we shall stay here at the leaft a month; and he heartily prays, fome occafion may detain us longer: I dare fwear, he is no hypocrite, but prays from his heart.

Leon. If you fwear, my Lord, you fhall not be forfworn. Let me bid You welcome, my lord, being reconciled to the prince your brother; I owe you all duty.

John. I thank you; I am not of many words, but

I thank you.

Leon. Please it your Grace lead on?

Pedro. Your hand, Leonato; we will go together. [Exeunt all but Benedick and Claudio.

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Claud. Benedick, didft thou note the daughter of Signior Leonato?

Bene. I noted her not, but I look'd on her.
Claud. Is the not a modeft young lady?

Bene. Do you queftion me, as an honeft man fhould do, for my fimple true judgment? or would you have me fpeak after my custom, as being a professed tyrant to their fex?

Claud. No, I pr'ythee, fpeak in fober judgment. Bene. Why, i'faith, methinks, fhe is too low for an high praise, too brown for a fair praise, and too lit


tle for a great praife; only this commendation I can "afford her, that were fhe other than fhe is, fhe were "unhandsome; and being no other but as the is, I "do not like her."

Claud. Thou think'ft, I am in fport; I pray thee, tell me truly how thou lik'ft her.

Bene. Would you buy her, that you enquire after her?

Claud. Can the world buy fuch a jewel?

Bene. Yea, and a cafe 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 fhall a man take you to go in the Song?

Claud. In mine eye, fhe is the fweetest lady that I ever look'd on."

Bene. I can fee yet without fpectacles, and I fee no fuch matter; there's her Coufin, if fhe were not pofsest with such a Fury, exceeds her as much in beauty, as the first of May doth the laft of December: but I hope, you have no intent to turn husband, have you? Claud. I would scarce truft my felf, tho' I had fworn the contrary, if Hero would be my wife.

Bene. Is't come to this, in faith? hath not the world one man, but he will wear his cap with fufpicion? fhall I never see a batchelor of threefcore again? go to, i'faith, if thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it, and 7 figh away Sundays: look, Don Pedro is return'd to feek you.

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Re-enter Don Pedro and Don John.

Pedro. What Secret hath held you here, that you follow'd not to Leonato's house?

7 figh away Sundays:] A proverbial expreffion to fignify that a man has no reft at all; when Sunday, a day formerly of eafe and diverfion, was paffed fo uncomfortably.


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