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Claudio sings.]

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,

Men were deceivers ever,
One foot in sea and one on shore,

To one thing constant never.
Then sigh not so, but let them go,

And be you blitheand bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe

Into Hey nonny, nonny.?
Don Pedro. A good song.
Claudio.3 And a bad singer, my lord.
Don Pedro. No, no, thou singest well enough.
Benedick. If he had been a dog and howled thus, they

would have hanged him; and I pray God his bad voice bode no mischief. I had as lief have heard the night

raven, come what plague could have come after it. Don Pedro. Come hither, Leonato. What was it you told

me of today, that your niece Beatrice was in love with

Signior Benedick? Claudio. O, ay. I did never think that lady would have

loved any man. Leonato. No, nor I either; but most wonderful that she

should so love Signior Benedick. Benedick. Is't possible? Sits the wind in that corner? Leonato. I cannot tell what to think of it, but she loves him

with consuming affection. Don Pedro. Why, what effects of love shows she? Claudio. [Aside.] Bait the hook well; this fish will bite.

1 blithe (blīth): gay; merry; 2 Hey nonny, nonny: an exclamation expressing a frolicsome happiness.

3 Claudio: If Claudio cannot be the singer, another rôle from the complete play may be restored to the cast, that of the singer Balthasar, who should speak this line; or the song may be a part song, and be sung off stage.

you heard

Leonato. What effects, my lord? She will sit,

my daughter tell you how. Claudio. She did, indeed. Don Pedro. How, how I pray you? You amaze me; I

would have thought her spirit had been invincible against

all assaults of affection. Leonato. I would have sworn it had, my lord; especially

against Benedick. Benedick. I should think this a trick, but that the white

bearded fellow speaks it. Claudio. He hath caught the infection. Hold it up. Don Pedro. Hath she made her affection known to Benedick? Leonato. No; and swears she never will. That's her tor

ment. Claudio. 'Tis true, indeed; so your daughter says. "Shall I,"

says she, “that have so often treated him with scorn, write

to him that I love him?" Leonato. This she says now when she is beginning to write

to him; for she'll be up twenty times a night, and there will she sit in her gown till she have writ a sheet of paper. My daughter tells us all. Then she tears the letter into a thousand halfpence; rails at herself, that she should be so immodest to write to one that she knew would flout 1 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.” Claudio. Then down upon her knees she falls, weeping, “O

sweet Benedick!” Don Pedro. It were good that Benedick knew of it from

someone else, if she will not tell him. Claudio. He would but make a sport of it and torment the

poor lady worse. Don Pedro. If he should, it were an alms to hang him. She's an excellent sweet lady.

1 flout (flout): mock.

Claudio. And she is wise.
Don Pedro. In everything but in loving Benedick. – I

would she had bestowed this love on me; I would have

made her half myself. Claudio. Hero thinks surely she will die; for she says she

will die if he love her not, and she will die before she will make her love known, and she will die if he woos her, rather

than she will stop one word of her accustomed crossness. Don Pedro. She doth well. If she should make known her

love, 'tis very possible he'll scorn it; for the man, as you

know, hath a contemptible spirit. Claudio. He is a very proper man. Don Pedro. He doth indeed show some sparks that are like


Claudio. Never tell him, my lord.
Don Pedro. I love Benedick well; and I could wish he would

modestly examine himself, to see how much he is unworthy

so good a lady. Leonato. My lord, will you go? Dinner is ready. Don Pedro. (Aside.) Let there be the same net spread for

her, and that must your daughter and her gentlewomen manage.

Let us send her to call him in to dinner. (Exeunt Don Pedro, Claudio, and Leonato, C.] Benedick. (Coming forward.] This can be no trick; they

have the truth of this from Hero. They seem to pity the lady. Love me! why, it must be requited. 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 must not seem proud. Happy are they that hear their faults and can put them to mending. They say the lady is fair; 'tis a truth, I can bear them witness; and wise, but for loving me; by my troth, it is no addition to her wit, nor no great proof of her folly, for I will be

requited (rē-quit'-ěd): repaid, rewarded.


horribly in love with her. When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married. Here comes Beatrice. By this day! she's a fair lady. I do spy some marks of love in her.

Beatrice comes (C.]. Beatrice. Against my will I am sent to bid you come to

dinner. Benedick. Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains. Beatrice. I took no more pains than you take pains to thank

me. If it had been painful, I would not have come. Benedick. You take pleasure then in the message? Beatrice. Yea, just so much as you may take upon the point of a knife and choke a bird with.

She leaves (C.). Benedick. Ha! there's a double meaning in that; that's as

much as to say, "Any pains that I take for you are as easy as thanks.” If I do not pity her, I am a villian; if I do not love her, I am a miser. I will go get her picture. [Exit C.]

(Episode 2.] [Prolog.] After dinner

[Exit.] Hero, Margaret, and Ursula enter (R.) walking in the garden. Hero. Good Margaret, run to the parlor.

There shalt thou find my cousin Beatrice
Talking with the Prince and Claudio.
Whisper in her ear and tell her, I and Ursula
Walk in the orchard and our whole discourse
Is all of her. Say that thou overheard'st us,
And bid her steal into the bower,
Where honeysuckles hide her,

To listen to our gossip.
Margaret. I'll make her come, I warrant you.

(Exit C.]

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