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Urs. I know you by the waggling of your head.
Urs. You could never do him so ill-well, unless you were the very man: Here's his dry hand’ up and down; you are he, you are he.
Ant. At a word, I am not.
Urs. Come, come; do you think I do not know you by your excellent wit ? Can virtue hide itself? Go to, mum, you are he: graces will appear, and there's an
Beat. Will you not tell me who told you so ?
Beat. That I was disdainful,--and that I had my good wit out of the Hundred merry Tales 8 :- Well, this was signior Benedick that said so.
Bene. What's he?
Beat. Why, he is the prince's jester: a very dull fool ; only his gift is in devising impossible slanders : none but libertines delight in him; and the commendation is not in his wit, but in his villainy; for he both pleaseth men, and angers them, and then they laugh 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 marked, or not laughed at, strikes him into melancholy; and then there's a
7 — his dry hand —] A dry hand was anciently regarded as the sign of a cold constitution.
8 - Hundred merry Tales :] Perhaps Boccace's Decameron.
partridge' wing saved, for the fool will eat no supper that night. [Musick within.] We must follow the leaders.
Bene. In every good thing.
Beat. Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at the next turning.
[Dance. Then exeunt all but Don John,
Borachio, and CLAUDIO. D. John. Sure, my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath withdrawn her father to break with him about it: The ladies follow her, and but one visor remains.
Bora. And that is Claudio: I know him by his bearingo
D. John. Are not you signior Benedick ?
D. John. Signior, you are very near my brother in his love: he is enamoured on Hero ; I pray you, dissuade him from her, she is no equal for his birth : you may do the part of an honest man in it.
Claud. How know you he loves her ?
Bora. So did I too; and he swore he would marry her to-night. D. John. Come, let us to the banquet.
[Exeunt Don John and BORACHIO. Claud. Thus answer I in name of Benedick, But hear these ill news with the ears of Claudio.'Tis certain so ;-the prince wooes for himself. Friendship is constant in all other things, Save in the office and affairs of love: Therefore, all hearts in love use their own tongues ; Let every eye negotiate for itself, And trust no agent: for beauty is a witch, Against whose charms faith melteth into blood. This is an accident of hourly proof, Which I mistrusted not: Farewell, therefore, Hero!
his bearing.] i.e. his carriage, his demeanor.
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 sell bullocks. But did you think, the prince would have served you thus ?
Claud. I pray you, leave me.
Bene. Ho! now you strike like the blind man; 'twas the boy that stole your meat, and you'll beat the post.
Claud. If it will not be, I'll leave you. [Erit.
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, the bitter disposition of Beatrice, that puts the world into her person, and so gives me out. Well, I'll be revenged as I may.
Re-enter Don PEDRO. D. Pedro. Now, signior, where's the count ? Did you see him?
Bene. Troth, my lord, I have played the part of lady Fame. I found him here as melancholy as a lodge in a
i— usurer's chain?] Chains of gold, of considerable value, were, in our author's time, usually worn by wealthy citizens, and others; and it appears that the merchants were the chief usurers of the age.
warren; I told him, and, I think, I told him true, that your grace had got the good will of this young lady ; and I offered him my company to a willow tree, either to make him a garland, as being forsaken, or to bind him up a rod, as being worthy to be whipped.
D. Pedro. To be whipped! What's his fault?
Bene. The flat transgression of a school-boy; who, being overjoy'd with finding a bird's nest, shows it his companion, and he steals it.
D. Pedro. Wilt thou make a trust a transgression ? The transgression 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 bestow'd on you, who, as I take it, have stol’n his bird's nest.
D. Pedro. I will but teach them to sing, and restore them to the owner.
Bene. If their singing answer your saying, by my faith, you say honestly.
D. Pedro. The lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you ; the gentleman, that danced with her, told her, she is much wrong'd by you.
Bene. O, she misused me past the endurance of a block; an oak, but with one green leaf on it, would have answerd 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 jester ; that I was duller than a great thaw; huddling jest upon jest, with such impossible conveyance ?, upon me, that I stood like a man at a mark, with a whole army shooting at me: She speaks poniards, and every word stabs: 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 transgressed : she
9 — such impossible conveyance,] Impossible seems to be used in the sense of incredible, or inconceivable.
would have made Hercules have turned 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, some scholar would conjure her; for, certainly, while she is here, a man may live as quiet in hell, as in a sanctuary; and people sin upon purpose, because they would go thither; so, indeed, all disquiet, horror, and perturbation follow her.
Re-enter Claudio and BEATRICE, HERO and LEONATO. D. Pedro. Look, here she comes.
Bene. Will your grace command me any service to the world's end? I will go on the slightest errand now to the Antipodes, that you can devise to send me on; I will fetch you a toothpicker now from the farthest inch of Asia ; bring you the length of Prester John's foot; fetch you a hair off the great Cham's beard ; do you any embassage to the Pigmies, rather than hold three words' conference with this harpy: you have no employment for me?
D. Pedro. None, but to desire your good company.
Bene. O God, sir, here's a dish I love not ; I cannot endure my lady Tongue.
[Exit. D. 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 his single one: marry, once before, he won it of me with false dice, therefore your grace may well say, I have lost it.
D. Pedro. You have put him down, lady, you have put him down.
Beat. So I would not he should do me, my lord, lest I should prove the mother of fools. I have brought count Claudio, whom you sent me to seek.
the infernal Até – ] The Goddess of Revenge, or Dis
3 — cord.
I gave him use for it,] Use, or interest.