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Leonato. (To Don John.] Let me bid you welcome, my
lord. You being reconciled to the Prince your brother, I
owe you all duty. Don John. I thank you. I am not of many words, but I
Leonato. Please it your Grace lead on?
[Exeunt C. all except Benedick and Claudio.] Claudio. Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of Signior
Leonato? Benedick. I noted her not; but I looked on her. Claudio. Is she not a modest young lady? In mine eye she
is the sweetest lady that ever I looked on. Benedick. I can see yet without spectacles and I see no
such matter. There's her cousin (if she were not possessed with a fury), exceeds her as much in beauty as the first of May doth the last of December. But I hope you
have no intent to turn husband, have you? Claudio. I would if Hero would be my wife. Benedick. Is't come to this? Shall I never see a bachelor of
threescore again? Go to, if thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a yoke. Look! Don Pedro is returned to seek you.
(Don Pedro stands in the entrance way.] Don Pedro. What secret hath held you here, that you fol
lowed not? Benedick. I would your Grace would constrain' me to tell. Don Pedro. I charge thee on thy allegiance. Benedick. He is in love with Hero, Leonato's daughter. Don Pedro. Amen, if you love her; for the lady is very well
worthy. Claudio. That I love her, I feel.
1 constrain: force, compel.
Benedick. That I neither feel how she should be loved nor
know how she should be worthy, is the opinion that fire
cannot melt out of me. I will die in it at the stake. Don Pedro. Thou wast ever an obstinate heretic in the
despite of beauty. Benedick. I will live a bachelor. Don Pedro. I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with love. Benedick. If ever thou dost, pick out mine eyes with a
valentine maker's pen and hang me up for the sign of blind
"In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke." Benedick. The savage · bull may; but if ever the sensible
Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull's horns — and set them in my forehead; and let a picture of me be vilely painted, and under it in such great letters as they write "Here is good horse to hire,” let them signify, "Here you may
see Benedick the married man.” Don Pedro. Nay, if Cupid have not spent all his quiver, thou
wilt quake for this shortly. Benedick. I look for an earthquake too, then. (Exeunt C.]
Episode 2. Evening. [Music. A ball is in progress in the house.) Borachio, entering [C.), meets Don John (L.) lurking in the garden. Don John. What news, Borachio? Borachio. I came yonder from a great supper. The Prince
your brother is royally entertained by Leonato; and I can give you intelligence of an intended marriage.
1 in the despite: in the contemptuous hate.
Don John. Will it serve for any model to build mischief
on? What is he for a fool that betroths himself to un
quietness? Borachio. It is your brother's right hand. Don John. Who? The most exquisite Claudio? Borachio. Even he. I heard it agreed upon that the Prince
should woo Hero himself for Count Claudio. Don John. That young start-up hath all the glory of my
overthrow. If I can cross him any way, I bless myself
every way. You will assist me? Borachio. To the death, my lord. Hearing footsteps they hide (L.).
Leonato, Beatrice, and Claudio enter. Leonato. Was not Count John here at supper? Claudio. I saw him not. Beatrice. How tartly that gentleman looks! I never can see
him but I am heart-burned for an hour after. Claudio. He is of a very melancholy disposition. Beatrice. It were an excellent man that were made just in the
midway between him and Benedick. Leonato. Half Signior Benedick's tongue in Count John's
mouth, and half Count John's sourness in Signior Bene
dick's face, Beatrice. Would win any woman in the world, if he could
get her good will. Leonato. By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee a
husband, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue. Beatrice. May God send me no husband; for the which
blessing I am at Him upon my knees every morning and evening. I could not endure a husband with a beard on
his face! Leonato. You may find a husband that hath no beard.
The Prince, Don Pedro, enters [C.] with Hero.
Don Pedro. Here, Claudio, I have wooed in thy name, and
fair Hero is won. I have spoken with her father, and his good will obtained. Name the day of marriage, and God
give thee joy! Leonato. Count, take of me my daughter, and with her my
fortunes. The Prince hath made the match, and all say Amen to it.
(Claudio takes Hero's hand, and leads her to the bench R., where they sit.] Beatrice. A match! Thus goes everyone to the world but I,
and I am sunburnt. I may sit in a corner and cry “Heigh
ho for a husband!” Don Pedro. Lady Beatrice. I will get you one. Beatrice. Cousins, God give you joy! Leonato. Niece, will you look to those things I told you of? Beatrice. I cry you mercy,' uncle. — By your Grace's pardon.
(Exit.) Don Pedro. She cannot endure to hear tell of a husband. Leonato. O, by no means; she mocks all her wooers. Don Pedro. She were an excellent wife for Benedick. Leonato. My lord, if they were but a week married, they
would talk themselves mad. Don Pedro. Count Claudio, when mean you to go to church? Claudio. Tomorrow, my lord. Leonato. Not till Monday, my dear son; a time too brief, too,
to have all things answer my mind. Don Pedro. Come, you shake the head, but Claudio, the
time shall not go dully by us. I will undertake one of Hercules' labors; which is, to bring Benedick and Beatrice
into a mountain of affection the one with the other. Leonato. My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten nights'
watchings. Claudio. And I, my lord.
1 cry you mercy: beg your pardon.
Don Pedro. And you too, gentle Hero?
(Enter Don John and Borachio L.] Don John. It is so; the Count Claudio shall marry the
daughter of Leonato. Borachio. Yea, my lord, but I can cross it. Don John. How? Borachio. I am in the favor of Margaret, the waiting gentle
woman to Hero. I can, at any hour of the night, appoint her to look out at Hero's chamber-window. Go then, tell Claudio that you know that Hero loves me; let him see me at her chamber-window and hear me call Margaret Hero; and bring him to see this the very night before the
intended wedding. Don John. I will put it into practice. [Exeunt L.)
Episode 1 [Prolog.] The next day.
[Exit.] Benedick in the garden. He hides (L. 1] as Don Pedro, Claudio, and Leonato appear (R. 2]. Don Pedro. Come, shall we hear this music? Claudio. Yea, my good lord. How still the evening is,
As hushed on purpose to grace harmony! Don Pedro. (A side.] See you where Benedick hath hid
himself? Claudio. O very well, my lord.
(Accompaniment.) Benedick. Now, song divine! now is his soul ravished!