Actus Tertius.

Enter Hero and two Gentlemen, Margaret, and Vrsula.

Hero. Good Margaret runne thee to the parlour, There shalt thou finde my Cosin Beatrice, Proposing with the Prince and Claudio, Whisper her eare, and tell her I and Vrsula, Walke in the Orchard, and our whole discourse Is all of her, say that thou ouer-heardst vs, And bid her steale into the pleached bower, Where hony-suckles ripened by the sunne, Forbid the sunne to enter: like fauourites, Made proud by Princes, that aduance their pride, Against that power that bred it, there will she hide her, To listen our purpose, this is thy office, Beare thee well in it, and leaue vs alone

Marg. Ile make her come I warrant you presently

Hero. Now Vrsula, when Beatrice doth come, As we do trace this alley vp and downe, Our talke must onely be of Benedicke, When I doe name him, let it be thy part, To praise him more then euer man did merit, My talke to thee must be how Benedicke Is sicke in loue with Beatrice; of this matter, Is little Cupids crafty arrow made, That onely wounds by heare-say: now begin, Enter Beatrice.

For looke where Beatrice like a Lapwing runs Close by the ground, to heare our conference

Vrs. The pleasant'st angling is to see the fish Cut with her golden ores the siluer streame, And greedily deuoure the treacherous baite: So angle we for Beatrice, who euen now, Is couched in the wood-bine couerture, Feare you not my part of the Dialogue

Her. Then go we neare her that her eare loose nothing, Of the false sweete baite that we lay for it: No truely Vrsula, she is too disdainfull, I know her spirits are as coy and wilde, As Haggerds of the rocke

Vrsula. But are you sure, That Benedicke loues Beatrice so intirely? Her. So saies the Prince, and my new trothed Lord

Vrs. And did they bid you tell her of it, Madam? Her. They did intreate me to acquaint her of it, But I perswaded them, if they lou'd Benedicke, To wish him wrastle with affection, And neuer to let Beatrice know of it

Vrsula. Why did you so, doth not the Gentleman Deserue as full as fortunate a bed, As euer Beatrice shall couch vpon? Hero. O God of loue! I know he doth deserue, As much as may be yeelded to a man: But Nature neuer fram'd a womans heart, Of prowder stuffe then that of Beatrice: Disdaine and Scorne ride sparkling in her eyes, Mis-prizing what they looke on, and her wit Values it selfe so highly, that to her All matter else seemes weake: she cannot loue, Nor take no shape nor proiect of affection, Shee is so selfe indeared

Vrsula. Sure I thinke so, And therefore certainely it were not good She knew his loue, lest she make sport at it

Hero. Why you speake truth, I neuer yet saw man, How wise, how noble, yong, how rarely featur'd. But she would spell him backward: if faire fac'd, She would sweare the gentleman should be her sister: If blacke, why Nature drawing of an anticke, Made a foule blot: if tall, a launce ill headed: If low, an agot very vildlie cut: If speaking, why a vane blowne with all windes: If silent, why a blocke moued with none. So turnes she euery man the wrong side out, And neuer giues to Truth and Vertue, that Which simplenesse and merit purchaseth

Vrsu. Sure, sure, such carping is not commendable

Hero. No, not to be so odde, and from all fashions, As Beatrice is, cannot be commendable, But who dare tell her so? if I should speake, She would mocke me into ayre, O she would laugh me Out of my selfe, presse me to death with wit, Therefore let Benedicke like couered fire, Consume away in sighes, waste inwardly: It were a better death, to die with mockes, Which is as bad as die with tickling

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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