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Claud. Now, signior! what news?
Bene. Good day, my lord.

D. Pedro. Welcome, signior: You are almost come to part almost a fray.

Claud. We had liked to have had our two noses snapped off with two old men without teeth.

D. Pedro. Leonato and his brother: What think'st thou? Had we fought, I doubt, we should have been too young for them.

Bene. In a false quarrel there is no true valour : I came to seek you both.

Claud. We have been up and down to seek thee; for we are high proof melancholy, and would fain have it beaten away: Wilt thou use thy wit?

Bene. It is in my scabbard; Shall I draw it? D. Pedro. Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side? 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.

D. Pedro. As I am an honest man, he looks pale: -Art thou sick, or angry?

Claud. What! courage, man! What though care killed a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill

care.

Bene. Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career, an you charge it against me:-I pray you, choose another subject.

Claud. Nay, then give him another staff; this last

was broke cross.

D. Pedro. By this light, he changes more and more; I think, he be angry indeed.

I will leave you now to your gossip-like humors, you break jests as braggarts do their blades, which, God be thanked, hurt not.-My lord, for your many courtesies I thank you: I must discontinue your company: your brother, the bastard, is fled 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.

D. Pedro. He is in earnest. Claud. In most profound earnest; and I'll warrant you, for the love of Beatrice.

D. Pedro. And hath challenged thee?
Claud. Most sincerely.

D. Pedro. What a pretty thing man is, when he goes in his doublet and hose, and leaves off his wit! Enter DOGBERRY, VERGES, and the Watch, with CONRADE and BORACHIO.

Claud. He is then a giant to an ape: but then is an ape a doctor to such a man.

D. Pedro. But, soft you, let be; pluck up, my heart, and be sad! Did he not say, my brother was fled ?

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 must be looked to.

D. Pedro. How now, two of my brother's men bound! Borachio, one!

Claud. Hearken after their offence, my lord! D. Pedro. Officers, what offence have these men done?

Claud. If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle. Bene. Shall I speak a word in your ear? Claud. God bless me from a challenge! Dogb. Marry, sir, they have committed false re Bene. You are a villain ;-I jest not-I will make port; moreover, they have spoken untruths; seit good how you dare, with what you dare, and when condarily, they are slanders; sixth and lastly, they you dare:-Do me right, or I will protest your cow-have belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified unardice. 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.

D. Pedro. What a feast? a feast?

Claud. I'faith, I thank him; he hath bid me to a calf's head and a capon, the which if I do not carve most curiously, say, my knife's naught.-Shall I not find a woodcock too?

Bene. Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes easily. D. Pedro. I'll tell thee how Beatrice praised thy wit the other day: said, thou hadst a fine wit; True, says she, a fine little one: No, said I, a great wit; Right, says she, a great gross one: Nay, said I, a good wit; Just, said she, it hurts nobody: Nay, said I, the gentlemen is wise; Certain, said she, a wise gentleman: Nay, said I, he hath the tongues; That I believe, said she, for he swine a thing to me on Monday night, which he forswore on Tuesday morning; there's a double tongue; there's two tongues. Thus did she, an hour together, transshape thy particular virtues; yet, at last, she concluded with a sigh, thou wast the properest man in Italy.

Claud. For the which she wept heartily, and said, she cared not.

D. Pedro. Yea, that she did; but yet, for all that, an 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 saw him when he was hid in the garden.

D. 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; |

just things: and, to conclude, they are lying knaves.

D. Pedro. First, I ask thee what they have done; thirdly, I ask thee what's their offence; sixth and lastly, why they are committed: and, to conclude, what you lay to their charge?

Claud. Rightly reasoned, and in his own division; and, by my troth, there's one meaning well suited.

D. 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 you hear me, and let this count kill me. I have deceived even your very eyes: what your wisdoms could not discover, these shallow fools have brought to light; who, in the night, overheard me confessing to this man, how Don John your brother incensed me to slander the lady Hero; how you were brought into the orchard, and saw me court Margaret in Hero's garments; how you disgraced 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 false accusation; and, briefly, I desire nothing but the reward of a villain. D. Pedro. Runs not this speech like iron through

your blood?

:

Claud. I have drunk poison, whiles he uttered it. D. Pedro. But did my brother set thee on to this? Bora. Yea, and paid me richly for the practice of it. D. Pedro. He is compos'd and fram'd of treaAnd fled he is upon this villany. [cheryClaud. Sweet Hero! now thy image doth appear

In the rare semblance that I loved it first.

Dogb. Come, bring away the plaintiffs; by this

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Leon. No, not so, villain; thou bely'st thyself; Here stand a pair of honourable men,

A third is fled, that had a hand in it :

I thank you, princes, for my daughter's death;
Record it with your high and worthy deeds;
Twas bravely done, if you bethink you of it.

Claud. I know not how to pray your patience,
Yet I must speak: Choose your revenge yourself;
Impose me to what penance your invention
Can lay upon my sin: yet sinn'd I not,
But in mistaking.

D. Pedro.

By my soul, nor I;

And yet, to satisfy this good old man,
I would bend under any heavy weight
That he'll enjoin me to.

Leon. I cannot bid you bid my daughter live,
That were impossible; but I pray you both,
Possess the people in Messina here

How innocent she died: and, if your love
Can labour aught in sad invention,
Hang her an epitaph upon her tomb,

And sing it to her bones; sing it to-night :-
To-morrow morning come you to my house;
And since you could not be my son-in-law,
Be yet my nephew: my brother hath a daughter,
Almost the copy of my child that's dead,
And she alone is heir to both of us;

Give her the right you should have given her cousin,
And so dies my revenge.

Claud.

O, noble sir,

Your over kindness doth wring tears from me!
I do embrace your offer; and dispose

For henceforth of poor Claudio.

Lean. To-morrow then I will expect your coming; To-night I take my leave.-This naughty man Shall face to face be brought to Margaret, Who, I believe, was pack'd in all this wrong, Hir'd to it by your brother.

Bora. No, by my soul, she was not; Nor knew not what she did, when she spoke to me; But always hath been just and virtuous, la any thing that I do know by her.

Dogb. Moreover, sir, (which, indeed, is not under white and black,) this plaintiff here, the offender, d1 call me ass: I beseech you, let it be remembered in his punishment: And also, the watch heard them talk of one Deformed: they say, he wears a key in his ear, and a lock hanging by it; and borrows money in God's name; the which he hath used so long, and never paid, that now men grow hard-hearted, and will lend nothing for God's sake: Pray you, examine him upon that point.

Dogb. I leave an arrant knave with your worship; which, I beseech your worship, to correct yourself, for the example of others. God keep your worship; I wish your worship well; God restore you to health: I humbly give you leave to depart; and if a merry meeting may be wished, God prohibit it.-Come neighbour. [Exeunt DOGBERRY, VERGES, and Watch. Leon. Until to-morrow morning, lords, farewell. Ant. Farewell, my lords; we look for you toD. Pedro. We will not fail. [morrow. Claud. To-night I'll mourn with Hero. [Exeunt Don PEDRO and CLAUDIO. Leon. Bring you these fellows on; we'll talk with Margaret,

How her acquaintance grew with this lewd fellow.

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Marg. Will you then write me a sonnet in praise of my beauty?

Bene. In so high a style, Margaret, that no man living shall come over it; for, in most comely truth, thou deservest it.

Marg. To have no man come over me? why, shall I always keep below stairs?

Bene. Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound's mouth, it catches.

Marg. And your's as blunt as the fencer's foils, which hit, but hurt not.

Bene. A most manly wit, Margaret, it will not hurt a woman; and so, I pray thee, call Beatrice : I give thee the bucklers.

Marg. Give us the swords, we have bucklers of

our own.

Bene. If you use them, Margaret, you must put in the pikes with a vice; and they are dangerous weapons for maids.

Marg. Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who, I think, hath legs. [Exit MARGARET

Be e. And therefore will come.

The god of love,

That sits above,

And knows me, and knows me,

How pitiful I deserve,—

-

[Singing.

I mean, in singing; but in loving. Leander the good swimmer, Troilus the first employer of panders, and a whole book full of these quondam carpetmongers, whose names yet run smoothly in the even road of a blank verse, why, they were never so truly turned over and over as my poor self, in love: Marry, I cannot shew it in rhyme; I have tried; I can find out no rhyme to lady but baby, an innocent rhyme; for scorn, horn, a hard rhyme; for school, fool, a babbling rhyme; very ominous endings: No, 1 was not born under a rhyming planet, nor I cannot woo in festival terms.

Enter BEATRICE.

Sweet Beatrice, would'st thou come when I called thee?

Beat. Yea, signior, and depart when you bid me. Bene. O, stay but till then!

Leon. I thank thee for thy care and honest pains. Dogb. Your worship speaks like a most thankful and reverend youth; and I praise God for you. Leon. There's for thy pains. Dogb. God save the foundation! [thank thee. Leon. Go, I discharge thee of thy prisoner, and I] you and Claudio.

Beat. Then, is spoken; fare you well now :and yet, ere I go, let me go with that I came for, which is, with knowing what hath passed between

Bene. Only foul words; and thereupon I will | Now, music, sound, and sing your solemn hymn.

kiss thee.

Beat. Foul words is but foul wind, and foul wind is but foul breath, and foul breath is noisome; therefore I will depart unkissed.

Bene. Thou hast frighted the word out of his right sense, so forcible is thy wit: But, I must tell thee plainly, Claudio undergoes my challenge; and either I must shortly hear from him, or I will subscribe him a coward. And, I pray thee now, tell me, for which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love with me?

Beat. For them all together; which maintained so politic a state of evil, that they will not admit any good part to intermingle with them. But for which of my good parts did you first sufferto love me. Bene. Suffer love; a good epithet! I do suffer love, indeed, for I love thee against my will.

Beat. In spite of your heart, I think; alas! poor heart! If you spite it for my sake, I will spite it for yours; for I will never love that which my friend hates.

Bene. Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably. Beat. It appears not in this confession: there's not one wise man among twenty, that will praise

himself.

Bene. An old, an old instance, Beatrice, that lived in the time of good neighbours: if a man do not erect in this age his own tomb ere he dies, he shall live no longer in monument, than the bell rings, and the widow weeps.

Beat. And how long is that, think you? Bene. Question?-Why, an hour in clamour, and a quarter in rheum: Therefore it is most expedient for the wise, (if Don Worm, his conscience, find no impediment to the contrary,) to be the trumpet of his own virtues, as I am to myself: So much for praising myself, (who, I myself will bear witness, is praise-worthy,) and now tell me, How doth your

cousin?

Beat. Very ill.
Bene. And how do
Beat. Very ill too.

you ?

SONG.
Pardon, Goddess of the night,
Those that slew thy virgin knight;
For the which, with songs of woe,
Round about her tomb they go.
Midnight, assist our moan;
Help us to sigh and groan,
Heavily, heavily:

Graves, yawn, and yield your dead,
Till death be uttered,

Heavenly, heavenly.

Claud. Now unto thy bones good night!
Yearly will I do this rite.
[out:
D.Pedro. Good morrow, masters; put your torches
The wolves have prey'd: and look the gentle
Before the wheels of Phoebus, round about [day,

Dapples the drowsy east with spots of gray :
Thanks to you all, and leave us; fare you well.
Claud. Good morrow, masters; each his several
way.
[weeds;

D. Pedro. Come, let us hence, and put on other
[speeds,
And then to Leonato's we will go.
Claud. And, Hymen, now with luckier issue
Than this, for whom we render'd up this woe!

[Exeunt.

SCENE IV.-A Room in Leonato's House.
Enter LEONATO, ANTONIO, BENEDICK, BEATRIce,
URSULA, Friar, and HERO.

Friar. Did I not tell you she was innocent?
Leon. So are the prince and Claudio, who accus'd
Upon the error that you have heard debated: [her,
But Margaret was in some fault for this;
Although against her will, as it appears
In the true course of all the question.

Ant. Well, I am glad that all things sort so well.
Bene. And so am I, being else by faith enforc'd
To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it.
Leon. Well, daughter, and you gentlewomen all,
Withdraw into a chamber by yourselves;

Bene. Serve God, love me, and mend: there will And, when I send for you, come hither mask'd! I leave you too, for here comes one in haste.

Enter URSULA.

The prince and Claudio promis'd by this hour
To visit me :-You know your office, brother;
You must be father to your brother's daughter,

Urs. Madam, you must come to your uncle, yon-And give her to young Claudio. [Exeunt Ladies. der's old coil at home: it is proved, my lady Hero hath been falsely accused, the prince and Claudio mightily abus'd; and Don John is the author of all, who is fled and gone; will you come presently?

Beat. Will you go hear this news, signior? Bene. I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be buried in thy eyes; and, moreover, I will go with thee to thy uncle's. [Exeunt.

SCENE III.-The Inside of a Church.
Enter Don PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and Attendants, with
music and tapers.

Claud. Is this the monument of Leonato ?
Atten. It is, my lord.

Claud. [Reads from a scroll.]

Done to death by slanderous tongues

Was the Hero that here lies:

Death, in guerdon of her wrongs,

Gives her fame which never dies:
So the life, that died with shame,
Lives in death with glorious fame.

Hang thou there upon the tomb, [affixing it.
Praising her when I am dumb.—

Ant. Which I will do with confirm'd countenance.
Bene. Friar, I must intreat your pains, I think.
Friar. To do what, signior?

Bene. To bind me, or undo me, one of them.—
Signior Leonato, truth it is, good signior,
Your niece regards me with an eye of favour. [true.
Leon. That eye my daughter lent her; "Tis most
Bene. And I do with an eye of love requite her.
Leon. The sight, whereof, I think, you had from

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We here attend you; Are you yet determin'd To-day to marry with my brother's daughter? Claud. I'll hold my mind, were she an Ethiope. Leon. Call her forth, brother, here's the friar ready. [Exit ANTONIO.

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 And got a calf in that same noble feat, Much like to you, for you have just his bleat.

[cow,

Re-enter ANTONIO, with the Ladies masked. Claud. For this I owe you here come other recWhich is the lady I must seize upon? [konings. Ant. This same is she, and I do give you her. Claud. Why, then she's mine: Sweet, let me see your face. [hand, Leon. No, that you shall not, till you take her 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 lived, I was your other wife: [Unmasking. And when you lov'd, 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!
Lean. She died my lord, but whiles her slander
Friar. All this amazement can I qualify; [lived.
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;

What is your will?

Bene. Do not you love me?
Beat. No, no more than reason.

[Unmasking.]

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.

[sula,

Beat. Why, then my cousin, Margaret, and UrAre much deceiv'd; for they did swear, you did. Bene. They swore that you were almost sick for me.

me.

Beat. They swore that you were well-nigh dead for [love me? Bene. 'Tis no such matter:-Then you do not Beat. No, truly, but in friendly recompense. Leon. Come, cousin, I am sure you love the gentleman.

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 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, 'o my word; therefore, play music.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.

This play may be justly said to contain two of the most sprightly characters that Shakspeare ever drew. The wit, the baziourist, 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 license 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 risk 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.

MIDSUMMER-NIGHT'S DREAM.

This play was entered at Stationers' Hall, Oct. 8, 1600.-And there were two editions of it published in quarto in that year. Mr. Malone supposes it to have been written in 1594. It is distinguished by one of the strongest characteristics of our author's early plays-the recurrence of passages and scenes in rhyme.

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SCENE I.-Athens. A Room in the Palace of
Theseus.

Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PHILOSTRATE,
and Attendants.

The. Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
Another moon: but, oh, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes! she lingers my desires,
Like to a step-dame, or a dowager,
Long withering out a young man's revenue. [nights;
Hip. Four days will quickly steep themselves in
Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
And then the moon, like to a silver bow
Now bent in heaven, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities.

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Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments;
Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth;
Turn melancholy forth to funerals,
The pale companion is not for our pomp.-
[Exit PHILOSTRate.
Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword,
And won thy love, doing thee injuries;
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling.
Enter EGEUS, HERMIA, LYSANDER, and DEMETRIUS.
Ege. Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke! [thee?
The. Thanks, good Egeus: What's the news with

Ege. Full of vexation come I, with complaint Against my child, my daughter Hermia.Stand forth, Demetrius ;-My noble lord, This man hath my consent to marry her :Stand forth, Lysander-and, my gracious duke, This hath bewitch'd the bosom of my child: Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes And interchang'd love-tokens with my child: Thou hast by moon-light at her window sung, With feigning voice, verses of feigning love; And stol'n the impression of her fantasy With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits, Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweet-meats; messengers Of strong prevailment in unharden'd youth: With cunning hast thou filch'd my daughter's heart, Turn'd her obedience, which is due to me,

To stubborn harshness :-And, my gracious duke,
Be it so she will not here before your grace
Consent to marry with Demetrius,

I beg the ancient privilege of Athens ;
As she is mine, I may dispose of her:
Which shall be either to this gentleman,
Or to her death; according to our law,
Immediately provided in that case.

The. What say you, Hermia? be advis'd, fair maid:
To you your father should be as a god;
One that compos'd your beauties; yea, and one
To whom you are but as a form in wax,
By him imprinted, and within his power
To leave the figure, or disfigure it.
Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.
Her. So is Lysander.
The.

In himself he is:

But, in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
The other must be held the worthier.

Her. I would, my father look'd but with my eyes.
The. Rather your eyes must with his judgment look.
Her. I do entreat your grace to pardon me.

I know not by what power I am made bold;
Nor how it may concern my modesty,
In such a presence here to plead my thoughts:
But I beseech your grace that I may know
The worst that may befal me in this case,

If I refuse to wed Demetrius.

The. Either to die the death, or to abjure
For ever the society of men.

Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires,
Know of your youth, examine well your blood,
Whether, if you yield not to your father's choice,
You can endure the livery of a nun;
For aye to be in shady cloister mew'd,
To live a barren sister all your life,
Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.
Thrice blessed they, that master so their blood,
To undergo such maiden pilgrimage:
But earthlier happy is the rose distill'd,
Than that, which, withering on the virgin thorn,
Grows, lives, and dies, in single blessedness.

Her. So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
Ere I will yield my virgin patent up
Unto his lordship, whose unwished voke

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