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Bene. 'Tis no such matter:-Then, you do not love me?
Beat. No, truly, but in friendly recompense.
Leon. Come, cousin, I am sure you love the gentleman.
Claud. And I'll be sworn upon't, that he loves her;
For here's a paper, written in his hand,
A halting sonnet of his own pure brain,
Fashion'd to Beatrice.
Hero. And here's another,
Writ in my cousin's hand, stolen from her pocket,
Containing her affection unto Benedick.
Bene. A miracle! here's our own hands against our hearts! -Come, I will have thee; but, by this light, I take thee for pity. Beat. I would not deny you; but, by this good day, I yield upon great persuasion; and, partly, to save your life, for I was told you were in a consumption.
Bene. Peace, I will stop your mouth.
[Kissing her. D. Pedro. How dost thou, Benedick the married man? Bene. I'll tell thee what, prince; a college of wit-crackers cannot flout me out of my humour: Dost thou think, I care for a satire, or an epigram? No: if a man will be beaten with brains, he shall wear nothing handsome about him: In brief, since I do propose to marry, I will think nothing to any purpose that the world can say against it; and therefore never flout at me for what I have said against it; for man is a giddy thing, and this is my conclusion.-For thy part, Claudio, I did think to have beaten thee; but in that thou art like to be my kinsman, live unbruised, and love my cousin.
Claud. I had well hoped, thou wouldst have denied Beatrice, that I might have cudgelled thee out of thy single life, to make thee a double dealer; which, out of question, thou wilt be, if my cousin do not look exceeding narrowly to thee.
Bene. Come, come, we are friends :-let's have a dance ere we are married, that we may lighten our own hearts, and our wives' heels.
Leon. We'll have dancing afterwards.
Bene. First o' my word; therefore, play, music.—
Prince, thou art sad; get thee a wife, get thee a wife: there is no staff more reverend than one tipped with horn.
Enter a MESSENGER.
Mess. My lord, your brother John is ta'en in flight, And brought with armed men back to Messina.
Bene. Think not on him till to-morrow, I'll devise thee brave punishments for him.-Strike up, pipers.
The. Go, Philostrate,
Stir up the Atherian youth to merriments;
SCENE.-Athens, and a Wood not far from it.
SCENE I-Athens. A Room in the Palace of THESEUS.
Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PHILOSTRATE, and Attendants.
The. Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
Another moon: but oh, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes! she lingers my desires,
Like to a step-dame, or a dowager,
Long withering out a young man's revenue.
Hip. Four days will quickly steep themselves in nights;
Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
And then the moon, like to a silver bow
New bent in heaven, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities.
Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth⚫
Turn melancholy forth to funerais,
The pale companion is not for our pomp.- [Exit PHILOSTRATE
Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword,
And won thy love, doing thee injuries;
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph,* and with revelling.
Enter EGEUS, HERMIA, LYSANDER, and DEMETRIUS.
Ege. Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke!
The. Thanks, good Egeus: What's the news with thee?
Ege. Full of vexation come I, with complaint
Against my child, my daughter Hermia.-
Stand forth, Demetrius;-My noble lord,
This man hath my consent to marry her:-
Stand forth, Lysander;-and, my gracious duke,
This hath bewitch'd the bosom of my child:
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,
And interchanged love-tokens with my child:
Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung,
With feigning voice, verses of feigning love;
And stolen the impression of her fantasy
With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds,t conceits,
Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats; messengers
Of strong prevailment in unharden'd youth:
With cunning hast thou filch'd my daughter's heart ·
Turn'd her obedience, which is due to me,
To stubborn harshness :-And, my gracious duke,
Be it so she will not here before your grace
Consent to marry with Demetrius,
I beg the ancient privilege of Athens;
As she is mine, I may dispose of her:
Which shall be either to this gentleman,
Or to her death; according to our law,
Immediately provided in that case.
The. What say you, Hermia? be advised, fair maid:
To you your father should be as a god;
One that composed your beauties; yea, and one
To whom you are but as a form in wax,
By him imprinted, and within his power
To leave the figure, or disfigure it.
Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.
Her. So is Lysander.
The. In himself he is:
But, in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
The other must be held the worthier.
Her. I would, my father look'd but with my eyes.
The. Rather your eyes must with his judgment look.
Her. I do entreat your grace to pardon me.
I know not by what power I am made bold;
Nor how it may concern my modesty,
In such a presence here, to plead my thoughts;
But I beseech your grace that I may know
The worst that may befall me in this case,
If I refuse to wed Demetrius.
The. Either to die the death, or to abjure For ever the society of men.
Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires,
Know of your youth, examine well your blood,
Whether, if you yield not to your father's choice,
You can endure the livery of a nun;
For aye* to be in shady cloister mew'd,
To live a barren sister all your life,
Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.
Thrice blessed they, that master so their blood,
To undergo such maiden pilgrimage:
But earthlier happy is the rose distill'd,
Than that, which, withering on the virgin thorn,
Grows, lives, and dies, in single blessedness.
Her. So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord.
Ere I will yield my virgin patent up
Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke
My soul consents not to give sovereignty.
The. Take time to pause: and by the next new moon
(The sealing-day betwixt my love and me,
For everlasting bond of fellowship),
Upon that day either prepare to die,
For disobedience to your father's will;
Or else, to wed Demetrius, as he would:
Or on Diana's altar to protest,
For aye, austerity and single life.
Dem. Relent, sweet Hermia;-And, Lysander, yield Thy crazed title to my certain right.
Lys. You have her father's love, Demetrius; Let me have Hermia's: do you marry him.
Ege. Scornful Lysander! true, he hath my love;
And what is mine my love shall render him;
And she is mine; and all my right of her
I do estate unto Demetrius.
Lys. I am, my lord, as well derived as he,
As well possess'd; my love is more than his;
My fortunes every way as fairly rank❜d,
If not with vantage, as Demetrius';
And, which is more than all these boasts can be,
I am beloved of beauteous Hermia:
Why should not I then prosecute my right?
Demetrius, I'll avouch it to his head,
Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena,
And won her soul; and she, sweet lady dotes,
Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry,
Upon this spotted† and inconstant man.
The. I must confess, that I have heard so much, And with Demetrius thought to have spoke thereof;
But, being over-full of self affairs,
My mind did lose it.-But, Demetrius, come;
And come, Egeus; you shall go with me.
I have some private schooling for you both.-
For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself
To fit your fancies to your father's will;
Or else the law of Athens yield you up
(Which by no means we may extenuate),
To death, or to a vow of single life.-
Come, my Hippolyta; What cheer, my love?—
Demetrius, and Egeus, go along:
I must employ you in some business
Against our nuptial; and confer with you
Of something nearly that concerns yourselves.
Ege. With duty, and desire, we follow you.
[Exeunt THES. HIP. EGE. DEM. and train Lys. How now, my love? Why is your cheek so pale? How chance the roses there do fade so fast?
Her. Belike for want of rain; which I could well
Beteem them* from the tempest of mine eyes.
Lys. Ah me! for aught that ever I could read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth:
But, either it was different in blood;
Her. O cross! too high to be enthrall'd to low!
Lys. Or else misgraffed, in respect of years;
Her. O spite! too old to be engaged to young!
Lys. Or else it stood upon the choice of friends:
Her. O hell! to choose love by another's eye!
Lys. Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it;
Making it momentany† as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream;
Brief as the lightning in the collied‡ night,
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
And ere a man hath power to say,-Behold!
The jaws of darkness do devour it up:
So quick bright things come to confusion.
Her. If then true lovers have been ever cross'd,
It stands as an edict in destiny:
Then let us teach our trial patience,
Because it is a customary cross;
As due to love, as thoughts, and dreams, and sighs,
Wishes and tears, poor fancy's § followers.
Lys. A good persuasion; therefore, hear me, Hermia.
I have a widow aunt, a dowager
Of great revenue, and she hath no child:
From Athens is her house remote seven leagues:
And she respects me as her only son.
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee;
And to that place the sharp Athenian law