Actus Quartus.

Enter Prince, Bastard, Leonato, Frier, Claudio, Benedicke, Hero, and Beatrice.

Leonato. Come Frier Francis, be briefe, onely to the plaine forme of marriage, and you shal recount their particular duties afterwards

Fran. You come hither, my Lord, to marry this Lady

Clau. No

Leo. To be married to her: Frier, you come to marrie her

Frier. Lady, you come hither to be married to this Count

Hero. I doe

Frier. If either of you know any inward impediment why you should not be conioyned, I charge you on your soules to vtter it

Claud. Know you anie, Hero? Hero. None my Lord

Frier. Know you anie, Count? Leon. I dare make his answer, None

Clau. O what men dare do! what men may do! what men daily do! Bene. How now! interiections? why then, some be of laughing, as ha, ha, he

Clau. Stand thee by Frier, father, by your leaue, Will you with free and vnconstrained soule Giue me this maid your daughter? Leon. As freely sonne as God did giue her me

Cla. And what haue I to giue you back, whose worth May counterpoise this rich and precious gift? Prin. Nothing, vnlesse you render her againe

Clau. Sweet Prince, you learn me noble thankfulnes: There Leonato, take her backe againe, Giue not this rotten Orenge to your friend, Shee's but the signe and semblance of her honour: Behold how like a maid she blushes heere! O what authoritie and shew of truth Can cunning sinne couer it selfe withall! Comes not that bloud, as modest euidence, To witnesse simple Vertue? would you not sweare All you that see her, that she were a maide, By these exterior shewes? But she is none: She knowes the heat of a luxurious bed: Her blush is guiltinesse, not modestie

Leonato. What doe you meane, my Lord? Clau. Not to be married, Not to knit my soule to an approued wanton

Leon. Deere my Lord, if you in your owne proofe, Haue vanquisht the resistance of her youth, And made defeat of her virginitie

Clau. I know what you would say: if I haue knowne (her, You will say, she did imbrace me as a husband, And so extenuate the forehand sinne: No Leonato, I neuer tempted her with word too large, But as a brother to his sister, shewed Bashfull sinceritie and comely loue

Hero. And seem'd I euer otherwise to you? Clau. Out on thee seeming, I will write against it, You seeme to me as Diane in her Orbe, As chaste as is the budde ere it be blowne: But you are more intemperate in your blood, Than Venus, or those pampred animalls, That rage in sauage sensualitie

Hero. Is my Lord well, that he doth speake so wide? Leon. Sweete Prince, why speake not you? Prin. What should I speake? I stand dishonour'd that haue gone about, To linke my deare friend to a common stale

Leon. Are these things spoken, or doe I but dreame? Bast. Sir, they are spoken, and these things are true

Bene. This lookes not like a nuptiall

Hero. True, O God! Clau. Leonato, stand I here? Is this the Prince? is this the Princes brother? Is this face Heroes? are our eies our owne? Leon. All this is so, but what of this my Lord? Clau. Let me but moue one question to your daughter, And by that fatherly and kindly power, That you haue in her, bid her answer truly

Leo. I charge thee doe, as thou art my childe

Hero. O God defend me how am I beset, What kinde of catechizing call you this? Clau. To make you answer truly to your name

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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