Pedr. Thou wast euer an obstinate heretique in the despight of Beautie

Clau. And neuer could maintaine his part, but in the force of his will Ben. That a woman conceiued me, I thanke her: that she brought mee vp, I likewise giue her most humble thankes: but that I will haue a rechate winded in my forehead, or hang my bugle in an inuisible baldricke, all women shall pardon me: because I will not do them the wrong to mistrust any, I will doe my selfe the right to trust none: and the fine is, (for the which I may goe the finer) I will liue a Batchellor

Pedro. I shall see thee ere I die, looke pale with loue

Bene. With anger, with sicknesse, or with hunger, my Lord, not with loue: proue that euer I loose more blood with loue, then I will get againe with drinking, picke out mine eyes with a Ballet-makers penne, and hang me vp at the doore of a brothel-house for the signe of blinde Cupid

Pedro. Well, if euer thou doost fall from this faith, thou wilt proue a notable argument

Bene. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a Cat, & shoot at me, and he that hit's me, let him be clapt on the shoulder, and cal'd Adam

Pedro. Well, as time shall trie: In time the sauage Bull doth beare the yoake

Bene. The sauage bull may, but if euer the sensible Benedicke beare it, plucke off the bulles hornes, and set them in my forehead, and let me be vildely painted, and in such great Letters as they write, heere is good horse to hire: let them signifie vnder my signe, here you may see Benedicke the married man

Clau. If this should euer happen, thou wouldst bee horne mad

Pedro. Nay, if Cupid haue not spent all his Quiuer in Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly

Bene. I looke for an earthquake too then

Pedro. Well, you will temporize with the houres, in the meane time, good Signior Benedicke, repaire to Leonatoes, commend me to him, and tell him I will not faile him at supper, for indeede he hath made great preparation

Bene. I haue almost matter enough in me for such an Embassage, and so I commit you

Clau. To the tuition of God. From my house, if I had it

Pedro. The sixt of Iuly. Your louing friend, Benedick

Bene. Nay mocke not, mocke not; the body of your discourse is sometime guarded with fragments, and the guardes are but slightly basted on neither, ere you flout old ends any further, examine your conscience, and so I leaue you.


Clau. My Liege, your Highnesse now may doe mee good

Pedro. My loue is thine to teach, teach it but how, And thou shalt see how apt it is to learne Any hard Lesson that may do thee good

Clau. Hath Leonato any sonne my Lord? Pedro. No childe but Hero, she's his onely heire. Dost thou affect her Claudio? Clau. O my Lord, When you went onward on this ended action, I look'd vpon her with a souldiers eie, That lik'd, but had a rougher taske in hand, Than to driue liking to the name of loue: But now I am return'd, and that warre-thoughts Haue left their places vacant: in their roomes, Come thronging soft and delicate desires, All prompting mee how faire yong Hero is, Saying I lik'd her ere I went to warres

Pedro. Thou wilt be like a louer presently, And tire the hearer with a booke of words: If thou dost loue faire Hero, cherish it, And I will breake with her: wast not to this end, That thou beganst to twist so fine a story? Clau. How sweetly doe you minister to loue, That know loues griefe by his complexion! But lest my liking might too sodaine seeme, I would haue salu'd it with a longer treatise

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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