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And falt too little, which may feafon give
To her foul tainted flesh!

Bene. Sir, Sir, be patient;
For my part, I am fo attir'd in wonder,
I know not what to say.

Beat. O, on my foul, my coufin is bely'd.
Bene. Lady, were you her bedfellow last night?
Beat. No, truly, not; altho' until last night
I have this twelvemonth been her bedfellow.

Leon. Confirm'd, confirm'd! O, That is ftronger made,


Which was before barr'd up with ribs of iron.
Would the two Princes lie? and Claudio lie?
Who lov'd her fo, that, speaking of her foulness,
Wash'd it with tears? hence from her, let her die.
Friar. Hear me a little,

For I have only been filent fo long,

And given way unto this courfe of fortune,
By noting of the lady. I have mark'd

A thousand blufhing apparitions

To ftart into her face; a thousand innocent fhames
In angel whitenefs bear away thofe blushes;
And in her eye there hath appear'd a fire,
To burn the errors that these Princes hold
Againft her maiden truth. Call me a fool,
Trust not my reading, nor my observations,
Which with experimental feal do warrant
The tenour of my book; truft not my age,
My reverence, calling, nor divinity,
If this fweet lady lie not guiltless here
Under fome biting, error.

Leon. Friar, it cannot be ;

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Thou feeft, that all the grace, that the hath left,
Is, that fhe will not add to her damnation
A fin of perjury; fhe not denies it :
Why feek'st thou then to cover with excufe
That, which appears in proper nakedness ?

Friar. Lady, what man is he you are accus'd of ?
Hero. They know, that do accufe me; I know


If I know more of any man alive,

Than that which maiden modefty doth warrant,
Let all my fins lack mercy! O my father,
Prove you that any man with me convers'd
At hours unmeet, or that I yefternight
Maintain'd the change of words with any creature,
Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death.

Friar. There is fome ftrange mifprifion in the Princes.
Bene. Two of them have the very bent of honour,
And if their wifdoms be mif-led in this,
The Practice of it lives in John the baftard,
Whofe fprits toil in frame of villanies.

Leon. I know not: if they fpeak but truth of her,
Thefe hands fhåll tear her; if they wrong her honour,
The proudest of them fhall well hear of it.
Time hath not yet fo dry'd this blood of mine,
Nor age fo eat up my invention,
Nor fortune made fuch havock of my means,

Friar. Lady, what man is he you are accus'd of?] The friar had just before boafted his great skill in fishing out the truth. And indeed, he appears, by this question, to be no fool. He was by, all the while at the accufation, and heard no names mentioned. Why then fhould he afk her what man fhe was accused of? But in this lay the fubtilty of his examination. For had Hero been guilty, it was very probable that, in that hurry and confufion of fpirits, into which the terrible infult of her lover had thrown her, fhe would never have observed that the man's name was not mentioned; and fo, on this question, have


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Nor my bad life reft me so much of friends,
But they fhall find awak'd, in fuch a kind,
Both ftrength of limb, and policy of mind,
Ability in means, and choice of friends,
To quit me of them thoroughly.
Friar. Paufe a while,

And let my counsel sway you in this cafe.
Your daughter here the Princes left for dead';
Let her awhile be fecretly kept in,
And publish it, that he is dead, indeed:
Maintain a mourning oftentation,
And on your family's old Monument
Hang mournful Epitaphs, and do all rites
That appertain unto a burial.


Leon. What shall become of this? what will this do? Friar. Marry, this, well carry'd, fhall on her behalf

In former copies, Your Daughter here the Princefs (left for dead;] But how comes Hero to ftart up a Princfs here? We have no Intimation of her Father being a Prince; and this is the firft and only Time that She is complimented with this Dignity. The Remotion of a fingle Letter, and of the Parenthesis, will bring her

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Change flander to remorfe; that is fome good:
But not for that dream I on this strange course,
But on this travail look for greater birth:
She dying, as it must be fo maintain'd,
Upon the inftant that fhe was accus'd,
Shall be lamented, pity'd, and excus'd,
Of every hearer for it fo falls out,
That what we have we prize not to the worth,
Whiles we enjoy it; but being lack'd and loft,
Why, then we reck the value; then we find
The virtue that poffeffion would not fhew us
Whilft it was ours; fo will it fare with Claudio:

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When he thall hear fhe dy'd upon his words,
Th' idea of her Life fhall fweetly creep
Into his study of imagination,
And every lovely organ of her life

Shall come apparel'd in more precious habit;
More moving, delicate, and full of life,
Into the eye and profpect of his foul,

Than when the liv'd indeed. Then fhall he mourn,
If ever love had intereft in his liver,

And wish, he had not fo accused her;

No, though he thought his accusation true:
Let this be fo, and doubt not, but fuccefs
Will fashion the event in better shape
Than I can lay it down in likelihood.
But if all Aim but this be levell'd falfe,
The fuppofition of the lady's death
Will quench the wonder of her infainy.
And, if it fort not well, you may conceal her,

As beft befits her wounded reputation,


In fome reclufive and religious life,
Out of all eyes, tongues, minds, and injuries.
Bene. Signior Leonato, let the friar advise
And though you know, my inwardness and love
Is very much unto the Prince and Claudio,
Yet, by mine honour, I will deal in this
As fecretly and juftly as your foul
Should with your body."

Leon. Being that I flow in grief,
The fmalleft twine may lead ine 3,


Friar. 'Tis well confented, prefently away;
For to ftrange fores, ftrangely they ftrain the cure.

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Come, lady, die to live; this wedding day, Perhaps, is but prolong'd: have patience and [Exeunt.



Manent Benedick and Beatrice.

Bene. Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while?
Beat. Yea, and I will weep a while longer.
Bene. I will not defire that.

Beat. You have no reason, I do it freely.

Bene. Surely, I do believe, your fair coufin is wrong'd.

Beat. Ah, how much might the man deferve of me, that would right her!

Bene. Is there any way to fhew fuch friendship?
Beat. A very even way, but no fuch friend.
Bene. May a man do it?

Beat. It is a man's office, but not yours.

Bene. I do love nothing in the world fo well as you; is not that strange?

Beat. As ftrange as the thing I know not; it were as poffible for me to fay, I loved nothing fo well as you; but believe me not; and yet I lie not; I con

4 SCENE III.] The poet, in my opinion, has fhewn a great deal of addrefs in this fcene. Beatrice here engages her lover to revenge the injury done her coufin Hero: And without this very natural incident, confidering the character of Beatrice, and that the story of her Paffion for Benedick was all a fable, the could never have been easily or naturally brought to confefs fhe loved him, notwithstanding all the foregoing preparation. And

yet, on this confeffion, in this very place, depended the whole fuccefs of the plot upon her and Benedick. For had the not owned her love here, they must have foon found out the trick, and then the defign of bringing them together had been defeated; and the would never have owned a paffion fhe had been only tricked into, had not her defire of revenging her coufin's wrong made her drop her capricious humour at once. WARBURTON.


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