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

Mel. A lord to a lord, a man to a man, stuff'd with all honourable virtues.

Beat. It is fo, indeed: he is no less than a stuff'd man: but for the stuffing, -well, we are all mortal.'

Leon. You must not, Sir, mistake my niece; 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 last conflict, four of his five wits went halting off, and now is the whole man govern'd with one: fo that, if he have wit enough to keep himself from harm, let himni bear it for a difference between himself and his horse ; 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 sworn brother.

Meil. Is it poflible ?

Beat. Very easily possible; he wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat, it ever changes vrith the next block,

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

Beat. “ No; an he were, I would burn my audy.. “ But, I pray you, who is his companion ? is there

no young squarer now that will make a voyage with 6 him to the devil ?”

Mef. He is most in the company of the Right Noble Claudio.

Beat. O Lord, he will hang upon him like a disease; he is sooner caught than the pestilence, and the taker runs presently mad. God help the Noble Claudio, if he have caught the Benedick; it will cost him a thou. fand pounds ere he be cur'd.

Mell. I will hold friends with you, Lady.
Beat. Do, good friend.
Leon. You'll ne'er run mad, niece.
Beat. No, not till a hot January.
Mel. Don Pedro is approach'd.

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SCENE 11. Enter Don Pedro, Claudio, Benedick, Balthazar, and

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

Leon. Never came trouble to my house in the likeness of your Grace: for trouble being gone, comfort should 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 so. Bene. Were you in doubt, Sir, that you ask'd her?

Leon. Signior Benedick, no; for then were you a child.

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

Bere. If Signior Leonato be her father, she would not have his head on her shoulders for all Meflina, as like him as she is.

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

Bene. What, ny.dear Lady Disdain! are you yet living?

Beat. Is it possible Disdain should die, while she hath fuch meet food to feed it as Signior Benedick? Courtefy itself must convert to Dirdain, if you come in her prefence.

Bene. Then is Courtesy 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 hcrt; for truly I love none.

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

Bene

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

Mel. A lord to a lord, a man to a man, stuff'd with all honourable virtues.

Beat. It is fo, indeed: he is no less than a stuff?d man: but for the stuffing, -well, we are all mortal

... Leon. You muit not, Sir, mistake my niece; 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 last conflict, four of his five wits went balting off, and now is the whole man govern'd with one: fo that, if he have wit enough to keep himself from harm, let hiiri bear it for a difference between himself and his horsc ; 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. Mel. Is it poflible ?

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

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

Beat. “ No; an he were, I would burn my ludy. " But, I pray you, who is his companion ? is there

no young squarer now that will make a voyage with 66 him to the devil ?”

Mej. He is most in the company of the Right Noble Claudio.

Beat. O Lord, he will hang upon him like a disease; he is sooner caught than the pestilence, and the taker runs presently mad. God help the Noble Claudio, it he have caught the Benedick; it will cost him a thou-fand pounds ere he be curd.

Mej: I will hold friends with you, Lady.
Beat. Do, good friend.
Leon. You'll ne'er run mad, niece.
Beat. No, not till a hot January.
Mel. Don Pedro is approach'd.

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11.

S CE N E Enter Don Pedro, Claudio, Benedick, Balthazar, and

Don Jolin. 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 likeness of your Grace: for trouble being gone, comfort should 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 so. Bene. Were you in doubt, Sir, that you ask'd her!

I.eon. Signior Benedick, no; for then were you a child.

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

Bene. If Signior Leonato be her father, she would not have his head on her shoulders for all Meflina, as like him as she is.

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

Bene. What, my dear Lady Disdain! are you yet living ?

Bent. Is it poflible Disdain should die, while she hath fach meet food to feed it as Signior Benedick? Courtefy itself mult convert to Distain, if you come in her prefence.

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

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

Bene

Bene. God keep your Ladyship still in that mind ! fo fome gentleman or other shall fcape a predeftinate scratch'd face.

Beat. Scratching could not make it worse, an “ 'twere such a face as your's were.”

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

Beat. A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of your's,

Bene. I would my horse had the speed of your tongue, and so 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

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

Leon. If you swear, my Lord, you shall not be forsworn.—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

you

I thank you.

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Leon. Please it your Grace lead on?
Pedro. Your hand, Leonato; we will go together.

[Exeunt all but Benedick und Claudio.

S CE N E III.
Claud. Benedick, didit 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 question me, as an honeft man should do, for my simple true judgement? or would you have me speak after my custom, as being a profeffed tyrant to their fex ?

Claud. No, I pr’ythee, speak in sober judgement.

Bene. Why, i'faith, methinks she is too low for an high praise, too brown for a fair praise, and too litele for a great praise is only this commendation I can A 3

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