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her; they never meet, but there's a fkirmish of Wit between them.

Beat. Alas, he gets nothing by That. In our laft conflict, four of his (7) five wits went halting off, and now is the whole man govern'd with one: So that if he have (8) wit enough to keep himself warm, 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 sworn brother.

Meff. Is it poffible?

Beat. Very eafily poffible; (9) he wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat, it ever changes with the next block.

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Mell. I fee, Lady (1), the gentleman is not in your books.

(7)-four of bis five wits] In our author's time, wit was the general term for intellectual powers. So Davies on the Soul, Wit, feeking truth, from caufe to caufe afcends,

And never refts till it the first attain; Will, feeking good, finds many middle ends, But never flays till it the laft do gain. And in another part,

But if a pbrenzy do poffefs the brain, It fo difturbs and blots the form of things, As fantafy proves altogether vain, And to the wit no true relation brings.

Then dotb the wit, admitting all for true, Build fond conclufions on thofe idle grounds;

The wits feem to have reckoned five, by analogy to the five fenfes, or the five inlets of ideas.

(8) wit enough to keep bimfelf w ARM,] But how would that make a difference between him and his borfe? We should read, Wit enough to keep bimfelf FROM HARM. This fuits the fatirical turn of her fpeech, in the character fhe would give of Benedick, and this would make the difference spoken of. For 'tis the nature of horfes, when wounded, to run upon the point of the weapon. WARBURTON.

(9) be wears bis faith] Not religious Profeffion, but Profeffion of friendship; for the fpeaker gives it as the reafon of her asking, who was now bis Companion? that be bad every month a new fworn brother.


(1) the gentleman is not in your books.] This is a phrafe ufed, I believe, by more than understand it. To be in one's books it to be in one's codicils or will, to be among friends fet down for legacies.


Beat. No; an he were, I would burn my Study. But, I pray you, who is his companion? is there no (2) 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 difeafe; 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 thoufand 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.
Meff Don Pedro is approach'd.


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 coft, and you encounter it.

Leon. Never came trouble to my houfe in the likenefs 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 (3) 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 afkt her? Leon. Signior Benedick, no; for then were you a child

(2) young Squarer-] A Squarer I take to be a choleric, quarrelfome fellow, for in this fenfe Shakespeare ufes the word to fquare. So in Midfummer Night's Dream it is faid of Oberon and Titanir, that they never meet but they fquare. So the fenfe may be, Is there no hot-blooded youth that will keep him company through all bis mad pranks?

(3) You embrace your charge] That is, your burthen, your encumbrance. Pedro.

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 fhoulders for all Meffina, as 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 should die, while fhe hath fuch meet food to feed it, as Signior Benedick? Courtefie itself muft convert to Difdain, if you come in her presence.

Bene. Then is courtefie a turncoat; 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 else 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 ftill 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.

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 fpeed 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 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 fhall ftay 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.

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Leon. Please it your Grace lead on?

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

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 queftion me, as an honeft man fhould do, for my fimple true judgment? or would you have me fpeak after my cuftom, as being a profeffed tyrant to their fex?

Claud. No, I pr'ythee, fpeak in fober judgment.

Bene. Why, i'faith, methinks, the is too low for an high praife, too brown for a fair praife, and too little for a great praife; only this commendation I can afford her, that were fhe other than fhe is, the were unhandfome; and being no other but as the is, I do not like her.

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

eli Bene, Would you buy her, that you enquire after her? Claud. Can the world buy yefuch a jewel?

Bene. Yea, and a cafe to put it into. But fpeak you this with a fad brow? or do you play the flouting Jack, to tell us Cupid is (4) a good hare-finder, and Vulcan a

(4) to tell us Cupid is a rare bare-finder, &c.] I know not whether I conceive the jeft here intended. Claudio hints his love of Hero. Benedick afks whether he is ferious, or whether he only means to jeft, and tell them that Cupid is a good bare-finder, and Vulcan a rare carpenter. A man praifing a pretty lady in jeft, may fhew the quick fight of Cupid, but what has it to do with the carpentry of Vulcan? Perhaps the thought lies no deeper than this, Do you mean to tell us as new what we all know already?




rare carpenter? come, in what key fhall a man take in the fong. you to go

Claud. In mine eye, fhe is the sweetest 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 the were not poffest with fuch a fury, exceeds her as much in beauty, as the firft of May doth the laft of December: but I hope, you have no intent to turn husband, have you?


Claud. I would fcarce truft myself, tho' I had fworn 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 (5) his cap with fufpicion? fhall I never fee a batchelor of threefcore again? go to, i'faith, if thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into as yoke, wear the print of it, and (6) figh away Sundays: look, Don Pedro is return'd to feek you.


Re-enter Don Pedro and Don John.

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


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Bene. I would your Grace would constrain me to tell. Pedro. I charge thee on thy allegiance. Bene. You hear, Count Claudio, I can be fecret as a dumb man, I would have you think fo;



mark you this,

but on my alon my allegiance. He is in love. With whom? now that is Mark how fhort his anfwer is

Grace's part. with Hero, Leonato's fhort daughter, Claud. If this were fo, fo were it uttered (7).


quear bis con


cap with fufpicion ?] That is, subject his head to the difquiet of jealoufy.


figb 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.


(7) Claud. If this were fo, fo were it uttered.] This and the three next fpeeches I do not well understand; there feems fomething emitted relating to Hero's confent, or to Claudio's marriage, else I


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