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Bene. What's he?
Beat. Why, he is the Prince's jefter; a very dull fool, only his gift is in devising impassible slanders: none but libertines delight in him, and the com mendation is not in his wit, but in his villany; for he both pleaseth men and angers them, and then they laught at him, and beat him; I am sure, he is in the fleet; I would, he had boarded me.
Bene. When I know the gentleman, I'll tell him what you say.
Beat. Do,' do, he'll but break a comparison or two on me; which, peradventure, not mark'd, or not laugh'd at, strikes him into melancholy, and then there's a partridge wing sav'd, for the fool will eat no supper that night. We must follow the leaders.
Music within. Bene. In every good thing.
Beat. Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at the next turning.
SC EN E III.
Bora. And that is Claudio; I know him by his Bearing.
John. Signior, you are very near my brother in his love, he is enamour'd on Hero; I pray you, disfuade him from her, she is no equal for his birth; you may do the part of an honest man in it.
Claud. How know
he loves her? John. I heard him swear his affection.
Bora. So did I too, and he swore he would marry her to-night. John. Come, let us to the banquet.
(Exeunt John and Bor.
Bene. Even to the next willow, about your own business, Count. What fashion will you wear the garland of? about your neck, like an Usurer's chain ? or under your arm, like a Lieutenant's scarf? you must wear it one way, for the Prince hath got your Hero.
Claud. I wish him Joy of her.
Bene. Why, that's spoken like an honest drover; so they fell bullocks: but did you think, the Prince would have served you thus? Claud. I pray you,
Faith melteth into Blood.] i. e. These intemperate Desires make Men treacherous; but the Expression alludes to the old Opinion of Superstition concerning Witches; that they turned wholesome Liquors into Blood by their Charms.
ftrike like the blind man; 'twas the boy that stole your neat, and you'll beat the Post.
Claud. If it will not be, I'll leave you. [Exit.
Bene. Alas, poor hurt fowl! now will he creep into sedges. But, that my Lady Beatrice should know me, and not know me! the Prince's fool! ha? it may be, I go under that Title, because I am merry; yea, but so I am apt to do myself wrong: I am not so reputed. It is the base (tho’ bitter) disposition of Beatrice, that puts the World into her person, and so gives me out; well, I'll be reveng'd as I may.
Enter Don Pedro.
OW, Signior, where's the Count? did
fee him? Bene. Troth, my lord, I have play'd the part of lady Fame.
I found him here as melancholy as a lodge in a warren, I told him and I think, told him true) that your Grace had got the Will of this young lady, and I offer'd him my company to a willowtree, either to make him a garland, as being forsaken, or to bind him up a rod, as being worthy to be whipt.
Pedro. To be whipt! what's his fault?
Bene. The flat transgression of a School-boy; who, being overjoy'd with finding a bird's nest, shews it his companion, and he steals it.
Pedro. Wilt thou make a trust, a transgression? the transgreflion is in the stealer.
Bene. Yet it had not been amiss, the rod had been made, and the garland too; for the garland he might have worn himself, and the rod he might have beftow'd on you, who as I take it) have ftol'n his bird's nest.
Pedro. I will but teach them to fing, and restore them to the owner.
Bene. If their singing answer your saying, by my faith, you fay honestly.
Pedro. The lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you; the gentleman, that danc'd with her, told her she is much wrong'd by you.
Bene. O, she misus'd me past 'the indurance of a block; an oak, but with one green leaf on it, would have answer'd her; my very visor began to assume life, and scold with her; she told me, not thinking I had been myself, that I was the Prince's jefter, and that I was duller than a great thaw; hudling jest upon jest, with such impassable conveyance upon me, that I stood like a man at a mark, with a whole army shooting at me; the speaks Ponyards, and every word ftabs; if her breath were as terrible as her terminations, there were no living near her, she would infect to the North-Star; I would not marry her, though she were endowed with all that Adam had left him before he transgress'd; she would have made Hercules have turn'd Spit, yea, and have cleft his club to make the fire too. Come, talk not of her, you
shall find her the infernal Até in good apparel. I would to God, fome scholar would conjure her; for, certainly, while she is here a man may live as quiet in hell as in a sanctuary, and people fin upon purpose, because they would go thither; fo, indeed, all disquiet, horror, and perturbation follow her.
Enter Claudio, Beatrice, Leonato and Hero. Pedro. Bene. Will your Grace command me any
OOK, here she comes. service to the world's 'end? I will go on the slightest
errand now to the Antipodes, that you can devise to fend me on; I will fetch you a tooth-picker now from the farthest inch of Aja; bring you the length of Prefter John's foot; fetch you a hair off the great Cham's beard ; do you any emballage to the pigmies, rather than hold three words conference with this harpy; you have no employment for me?
Pedro. None, but to desire your good company.
Bene. O God, Sir, here's a dish I love not. I can. not indure this Lady Tongue.
Pedro. Come, Lady, come; you have lost the heart of Signior Benedick.
Beat. Indeed, my Lord, he lent it me a while, and I
gave him use for it, a double heart for a single one ; marry, once before he won it of me with false dice, therefore your Grace may well say, I have lost it.
Pedro. You have put him down, Lady, you have put him down.
Beat. So I would not he should do me, my Lord, left I should prove the mother of fools: I have brought Count Claudio, whom you fent me to seek.
Pedro. Why, how now, Count, wherefore are your fad?
Claud. Not fad, my Lord.
Beat. The Count is neither sad, nor fick, nor merry, nor well; but civil, Count, civil as an orange, and something of that jealous complexion.
Pedro. l'faith. Lady, I think your blazon to be true; though I'll be sworn, if he be fo, his conceitis false. Here, Claudio, I have wooed in thy name, and fair Hero is won; I have broke with her father, and his good will obtained ; name the day of marriage, and God give thee joy.
Leon. Count, take of me my daughter, and with her my fortunes : his Grace hath made the match, and all grace say, Amen, to it.