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Bene. Is't possible? Sits the wind in that corner? [afide.
Leon. By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to think of it'; but that she loves him with an enraged affection,-it is past the infinite of thought*.
D. Pedro. May be, The doth but counterfeit.
Leon. O God! counterfeit! There never was counterfeit of passion came so near the life of passion as she discovers it.
D. Pedro. Why, what effects of passion shews she? Claud. Bait the hook well; this fish will bite. [afide.
Leon. What effects, my lord! She will fit you, you heard my daughter tell you how.
Claud. She did, indeed.
D. Pedro. How, how, I pray you? You amaze me: I would have thought her spirit had been invincible against all assaults of affection.
Leon. I would have sworn it had, my lord; especially against Benedick.
Bene. [aside.] I should think this a gull, but that the white-bearded fellow speaks it: knavery cannot, sure, hide himself in such reverence.
Claud. He hath ta'en the infection ; hold it up. [afide.
D. Pedro. Hath the made her affection known to Benedick?
Leon. No ; and swears she never will : that's her torment.
Claud. 'Tis true, indeed; fo your daughter says: Shall I, says the, that have so oft encounter'd him with scorn, write to him that I love him?
Leon. This says she now when she is beginning to write to him : for she'll be up twenty times a night; and
- burtbat she loves bim with an enraged affe&tion, it is paft:be inf. nite of thougbr.] The plain sense is, I know not what to tbink otherwise, but that she loves bim with an enraged affection : It (this affection) is paft the infinite of thought. Infinite is used by more careful writers for indefinite : and the speaker only means, that rbougbi, though in itself unbounded, cannot reach or estimate the degree of her passion. JOHNS.
The meaning, I think, is, but wirb wbat an enraged affeétion pe loves bim, it is beyond ebe power of bought to conceive. MALONI.
there will she fit in her smock, till she have writ a sheet of papers my daughter tells us all.
Claud. Now you talk of a sheet of paper, I remember a pretty jest your daughter told us of.
Leon. 0,-When she had writ it, and was reading it over, the found Benedick and Beatrice between the sheet ?
Leon. O, she tore the letter into a thousand half-pence; rail'd at herself, that she should be so immodest to write to one that she knew would fout her: I measure him, says she, by my own spirit; for, I should flout him, if he writ to me, yea, though I love him, I should.
Claud. Then down upon her knees she falls, weeps, sobs, beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, curses ;O fweet Benedick! God give me patience!
'Leon. She doth indeed ; my daughter says so : and the ecitacy* hath fo much overborne her, that my daughter is fometime afeard she will do desperate outrage to herself; It is very true.
5 This says she now when she is beginning to write to bim : for me'll be *p twenty times a nigbı; and obere will me fit in ber smock, vill she bave writ a sheet of paper:] Shakspeare has more than once availed hiinself of such incidents as occurred to him from history, &c. to compliment the princes before whom his pieces were performed. A triking inItance of flattery to James occurs im Macbeth ; perhaps the passage here quoted was not less grateful to Elizabeth, as it apparently alludes to an extraordinary trait in one of the letters pretended to have been written by the hated Mary to Bothwell.
“ I am nakit, and ganging to Neep, and zit I cease not to scribble all this paper, in fo meikle as reft is thairof." Tbar is, I am naked, and going to sleep, and yet I cease not to fcribble to the end of my paper, much as there remains of it unwritten on. HENLEY.
60, jhe tore the letter into a thousand half.pence;] i, e. into a thou. fand pieces of the same bigness. So, in As ysu like it :-"they were all like one anotber, as balfpence are.” THEOBALD.
A faribing, and perhaps a balfpenny, was used to signify any small particle or division. So, in the character of the Prioress in Cbaucer :
" That in hire cuppe was no fertbing sene
Prol. to the Cant. Tales, late edit. v. 135. STELVINS. and obe ecstacy] Ecstacy formerly signified a violent perturbation of mind. So, in Macbeibi min restless ecstacy". MALONE.
D. Pedro. It were good, that Benedick knew of it by some other, if she will not discover it.
Claud. To what end? He would but make a sport of it, and torment the poor lady worse.
D. Pedro. An he Thould, it were an alms to hang him: She's an excellent sweet lady; and, out of all fufpicion, she is virtuous.
Claud. And she is exceeding wise.
Leon. O my lord, wisdom and blood combating in fo tender a body, we have ten proofs to one, that blood hath the victory. I am sorry for her, as I have just cause, being her uncle and her guardian.
D. Pedro. I would, the had bestow'd this dotage on me; I would have daff'd 8 all other respects, and made her half myself: I pray you, tell Benedick of it, and hear what he will say
Leon. Were it good, think you ?
Claud. Hero thinks surely, he will die: for she says, she will die if he love her not; and she will die ere the make her love known; and he will die if he woo ker, rather than she will 'bate one breath of her accustom'd crossness.
D. Pedro. She doth well : if she should make tender of her love, 'tis very possible, he'll scorn it ; for the man, as you know all, hath a contemptible fpirit'.
Claud. He is a very proper man*.
– wisdom and blood-] Blood is here as in many other places used by our author in the sense of paffion, or rather temperament of body.
MALONE. - bave daftd-] To daff is the same as to doff, to do off, to put aside.
STEEVENS. 9 — contemprible spirit.] That is, a temper inclined to scorn and contempt. It has been before remarked, that our author uses his verbal adjectives with great licence. There is therefore no need of changing the word with fir T. Hanmer to contemptuous. Johnson.
In the argument to Darius, a tragedy, by lord Sterline, 1603, it is said, that Darius wrote to Alexander - in a proud and contemprible man. ner.” In this place contemprible certainly means contemptuous. STEES.
- a very proper man.] i. e. a very handsome man. See Vol. I. p. 160. MALONE.
Claud. 'Fore God, and in my mind, very wise.
D. Pedro. He doth, indeed, new some sparks that are like wit.
Claud. And I take him to be valiant:
D. Pedro. As Hector, I assure you : and in the managing of quarrels you may say he is wise ; for either he avoids them with great discretion, or undertakes them with a most christian-like fear.
Leon. If he do fear God, he must necessarily keep peace; if he break the peace, he ought to enter into a quarrel with fear and trembling.
D. Pedro. And so will he do ; for the man doth fear God, howsoever it seems not in him, by some large jefts he will make. Well, I am sorry for your niece : Shall we go seek Benedick, and tell him of her love?
Claud. Never tell him, my lord ; let her wear it out, with good counsel.
Leon. Nay, that's impossible; she may wear her heart out first.
D. Pedro. Well, we will hear further of it by your daughter; let it cool the while. I love Benedick well; and I could wish he would modestly examine himself, to see how much he is unworthy to have so good a lady.
Leon. My lord, will you walk? dinner is ready.
Claud. If he do not dote on her upon this, I will never trust my expectation.
[aside. D. Pedro. Let there be the same net spread for her, and that must your daughter and her gentlewomen carry. The sport will be, when they hold one an opinion of another's dotage, and no such matter ; that's the scene that I would lee, which will be meerly a dumb show. Let us send her to call him to dinner.
[afide. [Exeunt Don PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and LEONATO. Bene. (advancing.] This can be. no trick: The conference was sadly borne'.—They have the truth of this from Hero. They seem to pity the lady; it seems, her affections have the full bent*. Love me! why, it must be
was fadly borne.] i.e. was seriously carried on. STEEVENS.
beveibe full bent.] A metaphor from archery. So, in Hamlet : “ They fool me to the top of my bent." MALONE.
requited. I hear how I am cenfured: they say, I will bear myself proudly, if I perceive the love come from her; they say too, that she will rather die than give any sign of affection. I did never think to marry : I must not seem proud :-happy are they that hear their de. tractions, and can put them to mending. They say, the lady is fair ; 'tis a truth, I can bear them witness : and virtuous ;-'tis so, I cannot reprove it: and wise, bat for loving me ;-By my troth, it is no addition to her wit ;—nor no great argument of her folly, for I will be horribly in love with her.-I may chance have some odd quirks and remnants of wit broken on me, because I have rail'd so long against marriage : But doth not the appetite alter ? A man loves the meat in his youth, that he cannot endure in his age : Shall quips, and sentences, and these paper bullets of the brain, awe a man from the career of his humour ? No: The world must be peopled. When I said, I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were marry'd.—Here comes Beatrice : By this day, she's a fair lady: I do spy fome marks of love in her.
Enter Beatrice. Beat. Against my will, I am sent to bid you come in to dinner.
Bene. Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains.
Beat. I took no more pains for those thanks, than you take pains to thank me; if it had been painful, I would not have come.
Bene. You take pleasure then in the message?
Beat. Yea, just to much as you may take upon a knife's point, and choke a daw withal :-You have no stomach, signior ; fare you well.
[Exit. Bene. Ha ! Against my will I am sent to bid
you come in to dinner—there's a double meaning in that. I rock 7.9 more pains for those thanks, than you cook pains to thank
-that's as much as to say, Any pains that I take for you is as easy as thanks :- If I do not take pity of her, I am a villain ; if I do not love her, I am a Jew: I will go get her picture.