He were an excellent man that were made just in the midway
between him and Benedick. The one is too like an image and says
nothing, and the other too like my lady's eldest son,
Then half Signior Benedick's tongue in Count John's mouth, and
half Count John's melancholy in Signior Benedick's face--
With a good leg and a good foot, uncle, and money enough in his
purse, such a man would win any woman in the world--if 'a could
get her good will.
By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee a husband if thou be
so shrewd of thy tongue.
Too curst is more than curst. I shall lessen God's sending that
way, for it is said, 'God sends a curst cow short horns,' but to
a cow too curst he sends none.
So, by being too curst, God will send you no horns.
Just, if he send me no husband; for the which blessing I am at
him upon my knees every morning and evening. Lord, I could not
endure a husband with a beard on his face. I had rather lie in
You may light on a husband that hath no beard.
What should I do with him? dress him in my apparel and make him
my waiting gentlewoman? He that hath a beard is more than a
youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man; and he that
is more than a youth is not for me; and he that is less than a
man, I am not for him. Therefore I will even take sixpence in
earnest of the berrord and lead his apes into hell.
No; but to the gate, and there will the devil meet me like an old
cuckold with horns on his head, and say 'Get you to heaven,
Beatrice, get you to heaven. Here's no place for you maids.' So
deliver I up my apes, and away to Saint Peter--for the heavens.
He shows me where the bachelors sit, and there live we as merry
as the day is long.
ANTONIO [to Hero] Well, niece, I trust you will be rul'd by your father.
Yes faith. It is my cousin's duty to make cursy and say, 'Father,
as it please you.' But yet for all that, cousin, let him be a
handsome fellow, or else make another cursy, and say,
'Father, as it please me.'
Well, niece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband.
Not till God make men of some other metal than earth. Would it
not grieve a woman to be overmaster'd with a piece of valiant
dust? to make an account of her life to a clod of wayward marl?
No, uncle, I'll none. Adam's sons are my brethren, and truly I
hold it a sin to match in my kinred.
Daughter, remember what I told you. If the Prince do solicit you
in that kind, you know your answer.
The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you be not wooed in
good time. If the Prince be too important, tell him there is
measure in everything, and so dance out the answer. For, hear me,
Hero: wooing, wedding, and repenting is as a Scotch jig, a
measure, and a cinque-pace: the first suit is hot and hasty like
a Scotch jig--and full as fantastical; the wedding, mannerly
modest, as a measure, full of state and ancientry; and then comes
Repentance and with his bad legs falls into the cinque-pace
faster and faster, till he sink into his grave.
[Enter, [masked,] Don Pedro, Claudio, Benedick, and Balthasar.
With them enter Antonio, also masked. After them enter
Don John [and Borachio (without masks), who stand aside
and look on during the dance.]
Lady, will you walk a bout with your friend?
So you walk softly and look sweetly and say nothing, I am yours
for the walk; and especially when I walk away.
Why, he is the Prince's jester, a very dull fool. Only his gift
is in devising impossible slanders. None but libertines delight
in him; and the commendation is not in his wit, but
in his villany; for he both pleases men and angers them, and then
they laugh at him and beat him. I am sure he is in the fleet. I
would he had boarded me.
When I know the gentleman, I'll tell him what you say.
Do, do. He'll but break a comparison or two on me; which
peradventure, not marked or not laugh'd at, strikes him into
melancholy; and then there's a partridge wing saved, for the
fool will eat no supper that night.
'Tis certain so. The Prince wooes for himself.
Friendship is constant in all other things
Save in the office and affairs of love.
Therefore all hearts in love use their own tongues;
Let every eye negotiate for itself
And trust no agent; for beauty is a witch
Against whose charms faith melteth into blood.
This is an accident of hourly proof,
Which I mistrusted not. Farewell therefore Hero!
Even to the next willow, about your own business, County. What
fashion will you wear the garland of? about your neck, like an
usurer's chain? or under your arm, like a lieutenant's scarf?
You must wear it one way, for the Prince hath got your Hero.
Alas, poor hurt fowl! now will he creep into sedges. But, that my
Lady Beatrice should know me, and not know me! The Prince's fool!
Ha! it may be I go under that title because I am merry. Yea, but
so I am apt to do myself wrong. I am not so reputed. It is the
base (though bitter) disposition of Beatrice that puts the world
into her person and so gives me out. Well, I'll be revenged as I
Now, signior, where's the Count? Did you see him?
Troth, my lord, I have played the part of Lady Fame, I found him
here as melancholy as a lodge in a warren. I told him, and I
think I told him true, that your Grace had got the good will of
this young lady, and I off'red him my company to a willow tree,
either to make him a garland, as being forsaken, or to bind him
up a rod, as being worthy to be whipt.
The flat transgression of a schoolboy who, being overjoyed with
finding a bird's nest, shows it his companion, and he steals it.
Wilt thou make a trust a transgression? The transgression is in
Yet it had not been amiss the rod had been made, and the garland
too; for the garland he might have worn himself, and the rod he
might have bestowed on you, who, as I take it, have stol'n his
I will but teach them to sing and restore them to the owner.
If their singing answer your saying, by my faith you say
The Lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you. The gentleman that
danc'd with her told her she is much wrong'd by you.
O, she misus'd me past the endurance of a block! An oak but with
one green leaf on it would have answered her; my very visor began
to assume life and scold with her. She told me, not thinking I
had been myself, that I was the Prince's jester, that I was
duller than a great thaw; huddling jest upon jest with such
impossible conveyance upon me that I stood like a man at a mark,
with a whole army shooting at me. She speaks poniards, and every
word stabs. If her breath were as terrible as her terminations,
there were no living near her; she would infect to the North
Star. I would not marry her though she were endowed with all that
Adam had left him before he transgress'd. She would have made
Hercules have turn'd spit, yea, and have cleft his club to make
the fire too. Come, talk not of her. You shall find her the
infernal Ate in good apparel. I would to God some scholar would
conjure her, for certainly, while she is here, a man may live as
quiet in hell as in a sanctuary; and people sin upon purpose,
because they would go thither; so indeed all disquiet, horror,
and perturbation follows her.
Will your Grace command me any service to the world's end? I will
go on the slightest errand now to the Antipodes that you can
devise to send me on; I will fetch you a toothpicker now from the
furthest inch of Asia; bring you the length of Prester John's
foot; fetch you a hair off the great Cham's beard; do you any
embassage to the Pygmies--rather than hold three words'
conference with this harpy. You have no employment for me?
Come, lady, come; you have lost the heart of Signior Benedick.
Indeed, my lord, he lent it me awhile, and I gave him use for
it--a double heart for his single one. Marry, once before he won
it of me with false dice; therefore your Grace may well say I
have lost it.
You have put him down, lady; you have put him down.
So I would not he should do me, my lord, lest I should prove the
mother of fools. I have brought Count Claudio, whom you sent me
The Count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor well; but
civil count--civil as an orange, and something of that jealous
I' faith, lady, I think your blazon to be true; though I'll be
sworn, if he be so, his conceit is false. Here, Claudio, I have
wooed in thy name, and fair Hero is won. I have broke with her
father, and his good will obtained. Name the day of marriage, and
God give thee joy!
Count, take of me my daughter, and with her my fortunes. His
Grace hath made the match, and all grace say Amen to it!
There's little of the melancholy element in her, my lord. She is
never sad but when she sleeps, and not ever sad then; for I have
heard my daughter say she hath often dreamt of
unhappiness and wak'd herself with laughing.
She cannot endure to hear tell of a husband.
O, by no means! She mocks all her wooers out of suit.
O Lord, my lord! if they were but a week married, they would talk
County Claudio, when mean you to go to church?
To-morrow, my lord. Time goes on crutches till love have all his
Not till Monday, my dear son, which is hence a just sevennight;
and a time too brief too, to have all things answer my mind.
Come, you shake the head at so long a breathing; but I warrant
thee, Claudio, the time shall not go dully by us. I will in the
interim undertake one of Hercules' labours,
which is, to bring Signior Benedick and the Lady Beatrice into a
mountain of affection th' one with th' other. I would fain have
it a match, and I doubt not but to fashion it if you three will
but minister such assistance as I shall give you direction.
My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten nights' watchings.
I will do any modest office, my lord, to help my cousin to a good
And Benedick is not the unhopefullest husband that I know. Thus
far can I praise him: he is of a noble strain, of approved
valour, and confirm'd honesty. I will teach you how to humour
your cousin, that she shall fall in love with Benedick; and I, [to Leonato and Claudio] with your two helps, will so practise on
Benedick that, in despite of his quick wit and his queasy
stomach, he shall fall in love with Beatrice. If we can do this,
Cupid is no longer an archer; his glory shall be ours, for we are
the only love-gods. Go in with me, and I will tell you my drift.