Actus Secundus.

Enter Leonato, his brother, his wife, Hero his daughter, and Beatrice his neece, and a kinsman.

Leonato. Was not Count Iohn here at supper? Brother. I saw him not

Beatrice. How tartly that Gentleman lookes, I neuer can see him, but I am heart-burn'd an howre after

Hero. He is of a very melancholy disposition

Beatrice. Hee were an excellent man that were made iust in the mid-way betweene him and Benedicke, the one is too like an image and saies nothing, and the other too like my Ladies eldest sonne, euermore tatling

Leon. Then halfe signior Benedicks tongue in Count Iohns mouth, and halfe Count Iohns melancholy in Signior Benedicks face

Beat. With a good legge, and a good foot vnckle, and money enough in his purse, such a man would winne any woman in the world, if he could get her good will

Leon. By my troth Neece, thou wilt neuer get thee a husband, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue

Brother. Infaith shee's too curst

Beat. Too curst is more then curst, I shall lessen Gods sending that way: for it is said, God sends a curst Cow short hornes, but to a Cow too curst he sends none

Leon. So, by being too curst, God will send you no hornes

Beat. Iust, if he send me no husband, for the which blessing, I am at him vpon my knees euery morning and euening: Lord, I could not endure a husband with a beard on his face, I had rather lie in the woollen

Leonato. You may light vpon a husband that hath no beard

Beatrice. What should I doe with him? dresse him in my apparell, and make him my waiting gentlewoman? he that hath a beard, is more then a youth: and he that hath no beard, is lesse then a man: and hee that is more then a youth, is not for mee: and he that is lesse then a man, I am not for him: therefore I will euen take sixepence in earnest of the Berrord, and leade his Apes into hell

Leon. Well then, goe you into hell

Beat. No, but to the gate, and there will the Deuill meete mee like an old Cuckold with hornes on his head, and say, get you to heauen Beatrice, get you to heauen, heere's no place for you maids, so deliuer I vp my Apes, and away to S[aint]. Peter: for the heauens, hee shewes mee where the Batchellers sit, and there liue wee as merry as the day is long

Brother. Well neece, I trust you will be rul'd by your father

Beatrice. Yes faith, it is my cosens dutie to make curtsie, and say, as it please you: but yet for all that cosin, let him be a handsome fellow, or else make an other cursie, and say, father, as it please me

Leonato. Well neece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband

Beatrice. Not till God make men of some other mettall then earth, would it not grieue a woman to be ouermastred with a peece of valiant dust: to make account of her life to a clod of waiward marle? no vnckle, ile none: Adams sonnes are my brethren, and truly I hold it a sinne to match in my kinred

Leon. Daughter, remember what I told you, if the Prince doe solicit you in that kinde, you know your answere

Beatrice. The fault will be in the musicke cosin, if you be not woed in good time: if the Prince bee too important, tell him there is measure in euery thing, & so dance out the answere, for heare me Hero, wooing, wedding, & repenting, is as a Scotch jigge, a measure, and a cinquepace: the first suite is hot and hasty like a Scotch jigge (and full as fantasticall) the wedding manerly modest, (as a measure) full of state & aunchentry, and then comes repentance, and with his bad legs falls into the cinquepace faster and faster, till he sinkes into his graue

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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