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D. Pedro. Good morrow, Benedick: Why, what's the

matter,
That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm, and cloudiness ?

Claud. I think, he thinks upon the savage bull:
Tush, fear not, man, we'll tip thy horns with gold,
And all Europa shall rejoice at thee;
As once Europa did at lusty Jove,
When he would play the noble beast in love.

Bene. Bull Jove, sir, had an amiable low;
And some such strange bull leap'd your father's cow,
And got a calf in that same noble feat,
Much like to you, for you have just his bleat.

Re-enter ANTONIO, with the Ladies masked.

Claud. For this I owe you: here come other reckon

ings.
Which is the lady I must seize upon ?

Ant. This same is she, and I do give you her.
Claud. Why, then she's mine: Sweet, let me see

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:
I am your husband, if you like of me.
Hero. And when I liv'd, I was your other wife:

[Unmasking. And when you loved, you were my other husband.

Claud. Another Hero ?
Hero.

Nothing certainer:
One Hero died defil'd; but I do live,
And, surely as I live, I am a maid.

D. Pedro. The former Hero! Hero that is dead !
Leon. She died, my lord, but whiles her slander

lived. Friar. All this amazement can I qualify;

• T 2

When, after that the holy rites are ended,
I'll tell you largely of fair Hero's death :
Mean time, let wonder seem familiar,
And to the chapel let us presently.

Bene. Soft and fair, friar.—Which is Beatrice?
Beat. I answer to that name ; [unmasking. What is

your will ?
Bene. Do not you love me?
Beat.

* No, no more than reason. Bene. Why, then your uncle, and the prince, and

Claudio,
Have been deceived; for they swore you did.

Beat. Do not you love me?
Bene.

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,
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

* “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.

A MIDSUMMER-NIGHT'S

DREAM.

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