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D. Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover presently,
Claud. How sweetly do you minister to love,
I would have salved it with a longer treatise.
D. Pedro. What need the bridge much broader than the flood?
The fairest grant is the necessity:
Look, what will serve, is fit: 'tis once, thou lov'st;
I know we shall have revelling to-night;
I will assume thy part in some disguise,
SCENE II. A Room in Leonato's House.
Enter LEONATO and ANTONIO.
Leon. How now, brother? Where is my cousin, your son? Hath he provided this music?
Ant. He is very busy about it. But, brother, I can tell you strange news that you yet dreamed not of.
Leon. Are they good?
Ant. As the event stamps them; but they have a good cover; they show well outward. The prince and count
Claudio, walking in a thick-pleashed alley in my orchard, were thus much overheard by a man of mine. The prince discovered to Claudio, that he loved my niece your daughter, and meant to acknowledge it this night in a dance; and, if he found her accordant, he meant to take the present time by the top, and instantly break with you of it."
Leon. Hath the fellow any wit, that told you this? Ant. A good sharp fellow: I will send for him, and question him yourself.
Leon. No, no; we will hold it as a dream, till it appear itself:- but I will acquaint my daughter withal, that she may be the better prepared for an answer, if peradventure this be true. Go you, and tell her of it. [Several persons cross the stage.] Cousins, you know what you have to do. -O, I cry you mercy, friend; you go with and I will use your skill:-good cousins, have a care this busy time.
SCENE III. Another Room in Leonato's House.
Enter DON JOHN and CONRADE.
Con. What the goodjere, my lord! Why are you thus out of measure sad?
D. John. There is no measure in the occasion that breeds it, therefore the sadness is without limit.
Con. You should hear reason.
D. John. And when I have heard it, what blessing bringeth it?
Con. If not a present remedy, yet a patient sufferance. D. John. I wonder, that thou, being (as thou say'st thou art) born under Saturn, goest about to apply a moral medicine to a mortifying mischief. I cannot hide what I am: I must be sad when I have cause, and smile at no man's jests; eat when I have stomach, and wait for no man's leisure; sleep when I am drowsy, and tend to no man's business; laugh when I am merry, and claw no man in his humor.
Con. Yea, but you must not make the full show of this, till you may do it without controlment. You have of late stood out against your brother, and he hath ta'en you newly into his grace; where it is impossible you should take true root, but by the fair weather that you make yourself: it is needful that you frame the season for your own harvest.
D. John. I had rather be a canker in a hedge, than a rose in his grace; and it better fits my blood to be disdained of all, than to fashion a carriage to rob love from any; in this, though I cannot be said to be a flattering honest man,
it must not be denied that I am a plain-dealing villain. I am trusted with a muzzle, and enfranchised with a clog; therefore I have decreed not to sing in my cage: If I had my mouth, I would bite; if I had my liberty, I would do my liking in the mean time, let me be that I am, and seek not to alter me.
Con. Can you make no use of your discontent?
D. John. I make all use of it, for I use it only. Who comes here? What news, Borachio?
Bora. 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.
D. John. Will it serve for any model to build mischief on? What is he for a fool, that betroths himself to unquietness?
Bora. Marry, it is your brother's right hand.
D. John. Who? the most exquisite Claudio?
Bora. Even he.
D. John. A proper squire! And who, and who? Which way looks he?
Bora. Marry, on Hero, the daughter and heir of Leonato. D. John. A very forward March chick! How came you to this?
Bora. Being entertained for a perfumer, as I was smoking a musty room, comes me the prince and Claudio, hand in hand, in sad conference: I whipped me behind the arras; and there heard it agreed upon, that the prince should woo Hero for himself, and having obtained her, give her to count Claudio.
D. John. Come, come, let us thither; this may prove food to my displeasure; that young start-up hath all the glory of my overthrow; if I can cross him any way, I bless myself every way. You are both sure, and will assist me? Con. To the death, my lord.
D. John. Let us to the great supper; their cheer is the greater, that I am subdued: would the cook were of my mind! Shall we go prove what's to be done?
Bora. We'll wait upon your lordship.
SCENE I. A Hall in Leonato's House.
Enter LEONATO, ANTONIO, HERO, BEATRICE, and others.
Leon. Was not count John here at supper •?
Ant. I saw him not.
Beat. How tartly that gentleman looks! I never can see him, but I am heart-burned an hour after.
Hero. He is of a very melancholy disposition.
Beat. He were an excellent man, that were made just in the mid-way between him and Benedick: the one is too like an image, and says nothing; and the other, too like my lady's eldest son, evermore tattling.
Leon. Then half seignior Benedick's tongue in count John's mouth, and half count John's melancholy in seignior Benedick's face,
Beat. With a good leg, and a good foot, uncle, and money enough in his purse, such a man would win any woman in the world, if he could get her good will.
Leon. By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee a husband, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.
Ant. In faith, she is too curst.
Beat. Too curst is more than curst: I shall lessen God's sending that way: for it is said, God sends a curst cow short horns; but to a cow too curst he sends none.
Leon. So, by being too curst, God will send you no horns. Beat. Just, if he send me no husband: for the which blessing, I am at him upon my knees every morning and evening lord! I could not endure a husband with a beard on his face; I had rather lie in the woollen.
Leon. You may light upon a husband that hath no beard. Beat. What should I do with him? dress him in my apparel, and make him my waiting gentlewoman? He that hath a beard, is more than a youth; and he that hath no beard, is less than a man: and he that is more than a youth, is not for me; and he that is less than a man, I am not for him. Therefore I will even take sixpence in earnest of the bear-herd, and lead his apes into hell.
Leon. Well, then, go you into hell?
Beat. No; but to the gate; and there will the devil meet me, like an old cuckold, with horns on his head, and say, Get you to heaven, Beatrice, yet you to heaven; here's no
place for you maids: so deliver I up my apes, and away to Saint Peter for the heavens: he shows me where the bachelors sit, and there live we as merry as the day is long.
Ant. Well, niece, [To HERO.] I trust you will be ruled by your father.
Beat. Yes, faith; it is my cousin's duty to make courtesy, and say, Father, as it please you:- but yet for all that, cousin, let him be a handsome fellow, or else make another courtesy, and say, Father, as it please me.
Leon. Well, niece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband.
Beat. Not till God make men of some other metal than earth. Would it not grieve a woman to be overmastered with a piece of valiant dust? To make an account of her life to a clod of wayward marl? No, uncle, I'll none: Adam's sons are my brethren; and truly, I hold it a sin to match in my kindred.
Leon. Daughter, remember what I told you; if the prince do solicit you in that kind, you know your answer.
Beat. The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you be not wooed in good time: if the prince be too important, tell him, there is measure in every thing, and so dance out the answer. For hear me, Hero; wooing, wedding, and repenting, is as a Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinque-pace; the first suit is hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as fantastical; the wedding, mannerly-modest, as a measure full of state and ancientry; and then comes repentance, and, with his bad legs, falls into the cinque-pace faster and faster, till he sink into his grave.
Leon. Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly.
Beat. I have a good eye, uncle; I can see a church by day-light.
Leon. The revellers are entering; brother, make good
Enter DON PEDRO, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK, BALTHAZAR; DON JOHN, BORACHIO, MARGARET, URSULA, and others masked.
D. Pedro. Lady, will you walk about with your friend? Hero. So you walk softly, and look sweetly and say nothing, I am yours for the walk; and, especially, when I walk away.
D. Pedro. With me in your company?
Hero. I may say so, when I please.
D. Pedro. And when please you to say so?