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And, with grey hairs, and bruife of many days,
Claud. My villany?
Leon. My lord, my lord,
prove it on his body, if he dare ; Despight his nice fence and his active practice, His May of youth, and bloom of lustyhood.
Claud. Away, I will not have to do with you. (24) Leon, Canst thou so daffe me ? thou hast kill'd
Ant. He shall kill two of us, and men indeed;
Ant. Content yourself; God knows, I lov'd my niece; And she is dead, flander'd to death by villains, That dare as well answer a man, indeed, As I dare take a serpent by the tongue.
(24) Canst thou fo daffeme?-). This is a country word, Mr. Pope tells us, signifying daunt. It may be fo; but that is not the exposition here: To daffe, and diffe, are fynonomous terms, that mean, to put off: which is the very sense requir'd here, and what Lronato would reply, upon Claudio's saying, he would have nothing to do with him. So Hotspur, in the i Hen. IV.
Where is his son,
And bid it, pass? i. e. put it aside; neglected all considerations of the world. Doffe is to perpetual in our author, to need any quotations in proof of it.
Boys, apes, braggarts, jacks, milksops !
Leon. Brother Anthony, —
Ant. Hold you content; what, man? I know them,yea, And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple : Scambling, out-facing, fashion-mongring boys, That lye, and cog, and flout, deprave and flander, Go antickly, and thew an outward hideousness, And speak off half a dozen dangerous words, (25) How they might hurt their enemies, if they durit; And this is all.
Leon. But, brother Anthony,
Ant. Come, 'tis no matter;
Pedró. Gentlemen both, we will not wake your patience.
Leon. My lord, my lord
Pedro Welcome, Signior ; you are almost come to part almost a fray.
Claud. We had like to have had our two noses snapt off with two old men without teeth.
Pedro. Leonato and his brother; what think'st thou ? had we fought, I doubt, we should have been too young for them.
(25) And speak of balf a dozen dangerous words,] These editors are persons of unmatchable indolence, that can't afford to add a single letter to retrieve common sense. To speak off, as I have reform'd the text, is to throw out boldly, with an oftentation of bravery, & c, So in Twelfib-nigbt ; A terrible cath, with a swaggering accent sharply twang'd off :
Bene. In a false quarrel there is no true valour : I came to seek
both. Claud. We have been up and down to seek thee; for we are hig' proof melancholy, and would fain have it beaten away: wilt thou use thy wit ?
Bene. It is in my scabbard ; fall I draw it?
Claud. Never any did so, though very many have been beside their wit. I will bid thee draw, as we do the minstrels; draw, to pleasure us.
Pedro. As I am an honest man, he looks pale: art thou sick or angry?
Claud. What! courage, man : what tho' care kill'd a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kiil care.
Bene. Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career, if you charge it against me. - I pray you, chuse another subject.
Claud. Nay, then give him another staff; this last was broke cross.
Pedro. By this light, he changes more and more : I think, he be angry, indeed.
Claud. If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle.
I will make it good how
you dare, with what you dare, and when you dare. Do me right, or I will proteft your cowardise. You have killed a sweet lady, and her death shall fall heavy on you. Let me hear from you.
Claud. 'Well, I will meet you, so I may have good cheer.
Pedro. What, a feast?
Claud. l' faith, I thank him ; he hath bid me to a calves-head and a capon, the which if I do not carve moft curiously, fay, my knife's naught. Shall I not find a woodcock too ?
Bene. Sir, your wit ambles well ; it Pedro. I'll tell thee, how Beatrice prais'd thy wit the other day; I said, thou hadít a fine wit; right, says she, a fine little one; no, said I, a great wit; juft, said she, a great gross one ; nay, said I, a good wit; juft, faid
the, it hurts no body; nay, said I, the gentleman is wife ; certain, said she, a wise gentleman ; nay, faid I, he hath the tongues ; that I believe, says she, for he swore a thing to me on Monday night, which he forfwore on Tuesday morning; there's a double tongue, there's two tongues. Thus did the an hour together tranf fhape thy particular virtues; yet, at last, the concluded with a sigh, thou waft the properest man in Italy.
Claud. For the which she wept heartily, and said the car'd noc.
Pedro. Yea, that she did ; but yet for all that, and if she did not hate him deadly, she would love him dearly ; the old man's daughter told us all.
Claud. All, all; and moreover, God farw him when he was bid in the garden.
Pedro. But when shall we set the savage bull's horns on the sensible Benedick's head ?
Claud. Yea, and text underneath, Here dwells Benedick the married man.
Bene. Fare you well, boy, you know my mind; I will leave you now to your goffip-like humour; you break jests as braggarts do their blades, which, God be thank'd, hurt not. My lord, for your many courtefies I thank you ; I must discontinue your company; your brother the bastard is filed from Messina; you have among you killed a sweet and innocent lady. For my lord lack-beard there, he and I shall meet; and 'till then peace be with him.
[Exit Benedick. Pedro. He is in earnest.
Claud. In most profound earnest, and, I'll warrant you, for the love of Beatrice.
Pedro. And hath challeng'd thee?
Pedro. What a pretty thing man is, when he goes in his doublet and hole, and leaves off his wit! Enter Dogberry, Verges, Conrade and Borachio
guarded. Claud. He is then a giant to an ape ; but then is an ape a doctor to such a man. VOL. II.
Pedro. But, foft you, let me see, pluck up my heart and be sad; did he not say, my brother was fed?
Dogb. Come you, Sir, if justice cannot tame you, she shall ne'er weigh more reasons in her balance; nay, an you be a cursing hypocrite once, you muft be look'd to. Pedro. How now,
brother's men bound? Borachio, one ?
Claud. Hearken after their offence, my lord.
Dogb. Marry, Sir, they have committed false report; moreover, they have spoken untruths ; secondarily, they are slanders ; fixth and lastly, they have bely'd a lady ; thirdly, they have verify'd unjust things ; and to conclude, they are lying knaves.
Pedro. First, I ask thee what they have done ; thirdly, I ask thee what's their offence; fixth and lastly, why they are committed; and to conclude, what you lay to their charge?
Claud. Rightly reason'd, and in his own division; and, by my troth, there's one meaning well suited.
Pedro. Whom have you offended, masters, that you are thus bound to your answer? This learned constable is too cunning to be understood. What's your
offence? Bora. Sweet Prince, let me go no further to mine answer : do
hear me, and let this Count kill me: I have deceiv'd even your very eyes ;
wisdoms could not discover, these shallow fcols have brought to light, who in the night overheard me confesling to this man, how Don John your brother incens'd me to Nander the lady Hero; how you were brought into the orchard, and saw me court Margaret in Hero's garments; how you disgrac'd her, when you should marry her; my villany they have upon record, which I had rather seal with my death, than repeat over to my shame; the lady is dead upon mine and my master's falle accusation; and briefly, I desire nothing but the reward of a villain. Pedro. Runs not this speech like iron through your
blood ? Claud. I have drunk poison while he utter'd it.