Hero. Is it not Hero? who can blot that name With any iust reproach? Claud. Marry that can Hero, Hero it selfe can blot out Heroes vertue. What man was he, talkt with you yesternight, Out at your window betwixt twelue and one? Now if you are a maid, answer to this

Hero. I talkt with no man at that howre my Lord

Prince. Why then you are no maiden. Leonato, I am sorry you must heare: vpon mine honor, My selfe, my brother, and this grieued Count Did see her, heare her, at that howre last night, Talke with a ruffian at her chamber window, Who hath indeed most like a liberall villaine, Confest the vile encounters they haue had A thousand times in secret

Iohn. Fie, fie, they are not to be named my Lord, Not to be spoken of, There is not chastitie enough in language, Without offence to vtter them: thus pretty Lady I am sorry for thy much misgouernment

Claud. O Hero! what a Hero hadst thou beene If halfe thy outward graces had beene placed About thy thoughts and counsailes of thy heart? But fare thee well, most foule, most faire, farewell Thou pure impiety, and impious puritie, For thee Ile locke vp all the gates of Loue, And on my eie-lids shall Coniecture hang, To turne all beauty into thoughts of harme, And neuer shall it more be gracious

Leon. Hath no mans dagger here a point for me? Beat. Why how now cosin, wherfore sink you down? Bast. Come, let vs go: these things come thus to light, Smother her spirits vp

Bene. How doth the Lady? Beat. Dead I thinke, helpe vncle, Hero, why Hero, Vncle, Signor Benedicke, Frier

Leonato. O Fate! take not away thy heauy hand, Death is the fairest couer for her shame That may be wisht for

Beatr. How now cosin Hero? Fri. Haue comfort Ladie

Leon. Dost thou looke vp? Frier. Yea, wherefore should she not? Leon. Wherfore? Why doth not euery earthly thing Cry shame vpon her? Could she heere denie The storie that is printed in her blood? Do not liue Hero, do not ope thine eyes: For did I thinke thou wouldst not quickly die, Thought I thy spirits were stronger then thy shames, My selfe would on the reward of reproaches Strike at thy life. Grieu'd I, I had but one? Chid I, for that at frugal Natures frame? O one too much by thee: why had I one? Why euer was't thou louelie in my eies? Why had I not with charitable hand Tooke vp a beggars issue at my gates, Who smeered thus, and mir'd with infamie, I might haue said, no part of it is mine: This shame deriues it selfe from vnknowne loines, But mine, and mine I lou'd, and mine I prais'd, And mine that I was proud on mine so much, That I my selfe, was to my selfe not mine: Valewing of her, why she, O she is falne Into a pit of Inke, that the wide sea Hath drops too few to wash her cleane againe, And salt too little, which may season giue To her foule tainted flesh

Ben. Sir, sir, be patient: for my part, I am so attired in wonder, I know not what to say

Bea. O on my soule my cosin is belied

Ben. Ladie, were you her bedfellow last night? Bea. No, truly: not although vntill last night, I haue this tweluemonth bin her bedfellow

Leon. Confirm'd, confirm'd, O that is stronger made Which was before barr'd vp with ribs of iron. Would the Princes lie, and Claudio lie, Who lou'd her so, that speaking of her foulnesse, Wash'd it with teares? Hence from her, let her die

Fri. Heare me a little, for I haue onely bene silent so long, and giuen way vnto this course of fortune, by noting of the Ladie, I haue markt. A thousand blushing apparitions, To start into her face, a thousand innocent shames, In Angel whitenesse beare away those blushes, And in her eie there hath appear'd a fire To burne the errors that these Princes hold Against her maiden truth. Call me a foole, Trust not my reading, nor my obseruations, Which with experimental seale doth warrant The tenure of my booke: trust not my age, My reuerence, calling, nor diuinitie, If this sweet Ladie lye not guiltlesse heere, Vnder some biting error

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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