페이지 이미지

yond the promise of his age, doing in the figure of a lamb the feats of a lion: he hath, indeed, better better'd expectation, than you muft expect of me to tell you how.

Leon. He hath an uncle here in Melfina will be very much glad of it.

Mell. I have already delivered him letters, and there appears much joy in him; even fo much, that joy could not fhew it felf modeft enough, without a badge. of bitterness.

Leon. Did he break out into tears?

Me. In great meafure,

[ocr errors]

Leon. A kind overflow of kindnefs; there are no faces truer than those that are fo wafh'd; how much better is it to weep at joy, than to joy at weeping? Beat. I pray you, is Signior Montanto return'd from the wars or no.

Me. I know none of that name, Lady; there was none fuch in the army of any Sort.


Leon. What is he that you ask for, Neice?

Hero, My Coufin means Signior Benedick of Padua. Me. O, he's return'd, and as pleafant as ever he


Beat. He fet up his bills here in Meffina, and challeng'd Cupid at the flight; and my Uncle's fool, reading the challenge, fubfcrib'd for Capid, and challeng'd him at the bird-bolt. I pray you, how many hath he kill'd and eaten in thefe wars? but how many hath he kill'd? for, indeed, I promis'd to eat all of his killing.

Leon. Faith, Neice, you tax Signior Benedick too much; but he'll be meet with you, I doubt it not. Mell. He hath done good fervice, Lady, in thefe


Beat. You had mufty victuals, and he hath holp to eat it; he's a very valiant trencher-man, he hath an excellent ftomach.

Mell. And a good foldier too, Lady.

Beat. And a good foldier to a lady? but what is he to a lord?


Mell. A lord to a lord, a man to a man, ftufft with all honourable virtues.

[ocr errors]

Beat. It is fo, indeed: (2) he is no less than a stuft man: but for the stuffing, well, we are all mortal. Leon. You must not, Sir, mistake my Neice; there is a kind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick and her; they never meet, but there's a skirmish of wit between them.

Beat. Alas, he gets nothing by That. In our last conflict, four of his five wits went halting off, and now is the whole man govern'd with one: So that if he have wit enough to keep himself warm, let him bear it for a difference between himself and his horfe; for it is all the wealth that he hath left, to be known a reasonable creature. Who is his companion now? he hath every month a new fworn brother.

Me. Is it poffible?

Beat. Very easily poffible; he wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat, it ever changes with the next block.

Meff. I fee, Lady, the gentleman is not in your books.

Beat. No; an he were, I would burn my Study. But, I pray you, who is his companion? is there no young fquarer now, that will make a voyage with him. to the devil?

Me. He is moft in the company of the right noble Claudio.

Beat. O lord, he will hang upon him like a difeafe; he is fooner caught than the peftilence, and the taker runs prefently mad. God help the noble Claudio, if he have caught the Benedick; it will coft him a thousand pound ere he be cur'd.

(2) he is no less than a flufft man; but for the Stuffing well, we are all mortal.] Thus has this Paffage been all along top'd, from the very first Edition downwards. If any of the Editors could extract Senfe from this Pointing, their Sagacity is a Pitch above mine. I believe, by my Regulation of the Stops, I have retriev'd the Poet's true Meaning. Our Poet feems to ufe the Word Stuffing here much as Plautus does in his Moftellaria; A&t. 1. Sc.


Nox Veftem amatores mulieris amant, fed Veftis fartum.


Meff. I will hold friends with you, Lady.
Beat. Do, good friend.

Leon. You'll ne'er run mad, Neice.
Beat. No, not 'till a hot January.

Meff. Don Pedro is approch'd.

Enter Don Pedro, Claudio, Benedick, Balthazar and Don John.

Pedro. Good Signior Leonato, you are come to meet your trouble: the fashion of the world is to avoid coft, and you encounter it.

Leon. Never came trouble to my houfe in the likeness of your Grace; for trouble being gone, comfort fhould remain; but when you depart from me, forrow abides, and happiness takes his leave. Pedro. You embrace your charge too willingly: I think, this is your daughter.

Leon. Her mother hath many times told me fo. Bene. Were you in doubt, Sir, that you askt her? Leon. Signior Benedick, no; for then were you a child.

[ocr errors]

Pedro. You have it full, Benedick; We may guess by this what you are, being a man: truly, the lady fathers her felf, be happy, lady, for you are like an honourable father.

Bene. If Signior Leonato be her Father, the would not have his head on her fhoulders for all Mefina, as like him as fhe is.

Beat. I wonder, that you will ftill be talking, Signior Benedict; no body marks you.

Bene. What, my dear lady Difdain! are you yet living?

Beat. Is it poffible, Difdain fhould die, while fhe hath fuch meet food to feed it, as Signior Benedick? Courtefie it felf muft convert to Difdain, if you come in her prefence.

Bene. Then is courtefie a turn-coat; but it is certain, I am lov'd of all ladies, only you excepted; and I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart, for truly I love none.


Beat. A dear happiness dear happiness to women; they would elfe have been troubled with a pernicious fuitor. I thank God and my cold blood, I am of your humour for that; I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow, than a man fwear he loves me.

Bene. God keep your ladyship ftill in that mind! fo fome gentleman or other fhall scape a predeftinate fcratcht face.

Beat. Scratching could not make it worse, an 'twere fuch a face as yours were.

Bene. Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher.

Beat. A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours.

Bene. I would, my horfe had the speed of your tongue, and fo good a continuer; but keep your way a God's name, I have done.

Beat. You always end with a jade's trick; I know you of old.

Pedro. This is the fum of all: Leonato, Sig nior Claudio, and Signior Benedick, Benedick, my dear friend Leonato hath invited you all; I tell him, we fhall ftay here at the leaft a month; and he heartily prays, fome occafion may detain us longer: I dare fwear he is no hypocrite; but prays from his heart.

Leon. If you you fwear, my lord, you fhall not be forfworn. Let me bid You welcome, my lord, being reconciled to the prince your brother; I owe you all duty.

John. I thank you; I am not of many words, but I thank you.

Leon. Please it your Grace lead on?

Pedro. Your hand, Leonato we will go together.

[Exeunt all but Benedick and Claudio. Claud. Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of Signior Leonato?

Bene. I noted her nót, but I look'd on her.
Claud. Is fhe not a modeft young lady?

Bene. Do you queftion me, as an honeft man fhould do, for my fimple true judgment? or would you have

Dd 4


me speak after my cuftom, as being a profeffed tyrant to their fex?

Claud. No, I pry'thee, fpeak in fober judgment.

Bene. Why, i'faith, methinks, fhe is too low for an high praife, too brown for a fair praife, and too little for a great praife; only this commendation I can afford her, that were the other than fhe is, fhe were uphandsome; and being no other but as the is, I do not like her.

Claud. Thou think'ft, I am in fport; I pray thee, tell me truly how thou lik'ft her.

Bene. Would you buy her, that you enquire after her?

Claud. Can the world buy fuch a jewel?

Bene. Yea, and a cafe to put it into; but fpeak you this with a fad brow? or do you play the flouting Jack, to tell us Cupid is a good hare-finder, and Vulcan a rare carpenter? come, in what key fhall a man take you to go in the Song?

Claud. In mine eye, fhe is the fweeteft lady that I ever look'd on.

Bene. I can fee yet without fpectacles, and I fee no fuch matter; there's her Coufin, if the were not poffeft with fuch a Fury, exceeds her as much inty, as the first of May doth the laft of December: but I hope, you have no intent to turn husband, have you?

Claud. I would fcarce truft my felf, tho' I had fworn the contrary, if Hero would be my wife.

Bene. Is't come to this, in faith? hath not the world one man, but he will wear his cap with fufpicion? fball I never fee a batchelor of threefcore again? go to, i'faith, if thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it, and figh away Sundays: look, Don Pedro is return'd to feek you.

Re-enter Don Pedro and Don John. Pedro. What Secret hath held you here, that

low'd not to Leonato's houfe?

you here, that you fol

Bene. I would, your Grace would conftrain me to tell. Pedro. I charge thee on thy allegiance.


« 이전계속 »