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D. Pedro. Good morrow, Benedick: Why, what's the
Claud. I think, he thinks upon the savage bull:
Bene. Bull Jove, sir, had an amiable low;
Re-enter ANTONIO, with the Ladies masked.
Claud. For this I owe you: here come other reckon
Ant. This same is she, and I do give you her.
your face. Leon. No, that you shall not, till you take her hand Before this friar, and swear to marry her.
Claud. Give me your hand before this holy friar:
[Unmasking. And when you loved, you were my other husband.
Claud. Another Hero ?
D. Pedro. The former Hero! Hero that is dead !
lived. Friar. All this amazement can I qualify;
• T 2
When, after that the holy rites are ended,
Bene. Soft and fair, friar.—Which is Beatrice?
your will ?
* No, no more than reason. Bene. Why, then your uncle, and the prince, and
Beat. Do not you love me?
No, no more than reason t. Beat. Why, then my cousin, Margaret, and Ursula, Are much deceiv’d; for they did swear you did.
Bene. They swore that you were almost sick for me. Beat. They swore that you were well-nigh dead for
me. 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 gentle
man. 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,
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
* “Why no." Malone. † “ Troth no, no more than reason." Malone,
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 witcrackers 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, omy word ; therefore play, musick.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.
[Dance. Exeunt'. 3 This play may be justly said to contain two of the most sprightly characters that Shakspeare ever drew. The wit, the
humourist, the gentleman, and the soldier, are combined in Benedick. It is to be lamented, indeed, that the first and most splendid of these distinctions is disgraced by unnecessary profaneness; for the goodness of his heart is hardly sufficient to atone for the licence of his tongue. The too sarcastic levity, which flashes out in the conversation of Beatrice, may be excused on account of the steadiness and friendship so apparent in her behaviour, when she urges her lover to risque his life by a challenge to Claudio. In the conduct of the fable, however, there is an imperfection similar to that which Dr. Johnson has pointed out in The Merry Wives of Windsor :—the second contrivance is less ingenious than the first : -or, to speak more plainly, the same incident is become stale by repetition. I wish some other method had been found to entrap Beatrice, than that very one which before had been successfully practised on Benedick. Steevens.