ACT II
Scene 3
 

Leonato's orchard.

[Enter Benedick alone.]

BENEDICK
Boy!

[Enter Boy.]

BOY
Signior?

BENEDICK
In my chamber window lies a book. Bring it hither to me in he
orchard.

BOY
I am here already, sir.

BENEDICK
I know that, but I would have thee hence and here again.
(Exit Boy.) I do much wonder that one man, seeing how much
another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviours to love,
will, after he hath laugh'd at such shallow follies in others,
become the argument of his own scorn by falling in love; and such
a man is Claudio. I have known when there was no music with him
but the drum and the fife; and now had he rather hear the tabor
and the pipe. I have known when he would have walk'd ten mile
afoot to see a good armour; and now will he lie ten nights awake
carving the fashion of a new doublet. He was wont to speak plain
and to the purpose, like an honest man and a soldier; and now is
he turn'd orthography; his words are a very fantastical
banquet--just so many strange dishes. May I be so converted and
see with these eyes? I cannot tell; I think not. I will not be
sworn but love may transform me to an oyster; but I'll take my
oath on it, till he have made an oyster of me he shall never make
me such a fool. One woman is fair, yet I am well; another is
wise, yet I am well; another virtuous, yet I am well; but till
all graces be in one woman, one woman shall not come in my grace.
Rich she shall be, that's certain; wise, or I'll none; virtuous, or I'll
never cheapen her; fair, or I'll never look on her; mild, or come
not near me; noble, or not I for an angel; of good discourse, an
excellent musician, and her hair shall be of what colour it
please God. Ha, the Prince and Monsieur Love! I will hide me in
the arbour.

[Hides.]

[Enter Don Pedro, Leonato, Claudio.]

[Music within.]

PEDRO
Come, shall we hear this music?

CLAUDIO
Yea, my good lord. How still the evening is,
As hush'd on purpose to grace harmony!

PEDRO
See you where Benedick hath hid himself?

CLAUDIO
O, very well, my lord. The music ended,
We'll fit the kid-fox with a pennyworth.

[Enter Balthasar with Music.]

PEDRO
Come, Balthasar, we'll hear that song again.

BALTHASAR
O, good my lord, tax not so bad a voice
To slander music any more than once.

PEDRO
It is the witness still of excellency
To put a strange face on his own perfection.
I pray thee sing, and let me woo no more.

BALTHASAR
Because you talk of wooing, I will sing,
Since many a wooer doth commence his suit
To her he thinks not worthy, yet he wooes,
Yet will he swear he loves.

PEDRO
Nay, pray thee come;
Or if thou wilt hold longer argument,
Do it in notes.

BALTHASAR
Note this before my notes:
There's not a note of mine that's worth the noting.

PEDRO
Why, these are very crotchets that he speaks!
Note notes, forsooth, and nothing!

[Music.]

BENEDICK
[aside] Now divine air! Now is his soul ravish'd! Is it not
strange that sheep's guts should hale souls out of men's bodies?
Well, a horn for my money, when all's done.

[Balthasar sings.]

               The Song.

    Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more!
      Men were deceivers ever,
    One foot in sea, and one on shore;
      To one thing constant never.
        Then sigh not so,
        But let them go,
      And be you blithe and bonny,
    Converting all your sounds of woe 
      Into Hey nonny, nonny.
    Sing no more ditties, sing no moe,
      Of dumps so dull and heavy!
    The fraud of men was ever so,
      Since summer first was leavy.
        Then sigh not so, &c.

PEDRO
By my troth, a good song.

BALTHASAR
And an ill singer, my lord.

PEDRO
Ha, no, no, faith! Thou sing'st well enough for a shift.

BENEDICK
[aside] An he had been a dog that should have howl'd thus, they
would have hang'd him; and I pray God his bad voice bode no
mischief. I had as live have heard the night raven, come what
plague could have come after it.

PEDRO
Yea, marry. Dost thou hear, Balthasar? I pray thee get us some
excellent music; for to-morrow night we would have it at the Lady
Hero's chamber window.

BALTHASAR
The best I can, my lord.

PEDRO
Do so. Farewell.

[Exit Balthasar [with Musicians.]

Come hither, Leonato. What was it you told me of to-day? that
your niece Beatrice was in love with Signior Benedick?

CLAUDIO
O, ay!-[Aside to Pedro] Stalk on, stalk on; the fowl sits. --I
did never think that lady would have loved any man.

LEONATO
No, nor I neither; but most wonderful that she should so dote on
Signior Benedick, whom she hath in all outward behaviours seem'd
ever to abhor.

BENEDICK
[aside] Is't possible? Sits the wind in that corner?

LEONATO
By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to think of it, but that
she loves him with an enraged affection. It is past the infinite
of thought.

PEDRO
May be she doth but counterfeit.

CLAUDIO
Faith, like enough.

LEONATO
O God, counterfeit? There was never counterfeit of passion came
so near the life of passion as she discovers it.

PEDRO
Why, what effects of passion shows she?

CLAUDIO
[aside] Bait the hook well! This fish will bite.

LEONATO
What effects, my lord? She will sit you--you heard my daughter
tell you how.

CLAUDIO
She did indeed.

PEDRO
How, how, I pray you? You amaze me. I would have thought her
spirit had been invincible against all assaults of affection.

LEONATO
I would have sworn it had, my lord--especially against Benedick.

BENEDICK
[aside] I should think this a gull but that the white-bearded
fellow speaks it. Knavery cannot, sure, hide himself in such
reverence.

CLAUDIO
[aside] He hath ta'en th' infection. Hold it up.

PEDRO
Hath she made her affection known to Benedick?

LEONATO
No, and swears she never will. That's her torment.

CLAUDIO
'Tis true indeed. So your daughter says. 'Shall I,' says she,
'that have so oft encount'red him with scorn, write to him that I
love him?'"

LEONATO
This says she now when she is beginning to write to him; for
she'll be up twenty times a night, and there will she sit in her
smock till she have writ a sheet of paper. My daughter tells us
all.

CLAUDIO
Now you talk of a sheet of paper, I remember a pretty jest your
daughter told us of.

LEONATO
O, when she had writ it, and was reading it over, she found
'Benedick' and 'Beatrice' between the sheet?

CLAUDIO
That.

LEONATO
O, she tore the letter into a thousand halfpence, rail'd at
herself that she should be so immodest to write to one that she
knew would flout her. 'I measure him,' says she, 'by my own
spirit; for I should flout him if he writ to me. Yea, though I
love him, I should.'

CLAUDIO
Then down upon her knees she falls, weeps, sobs, beats her heart,
tears her hair, prays, curses--'O sweet Benedick! God give me
patience!'

LEONATO
She doth indeed; my daughter says so. And the ecstasy hath so
much overborne her that my daughter is sometime afeard she will
do a desperate outrage to herself. It is very true.

PEDRO
It were good that Benedick knew of it by some other, if she will
not discover it.

CLAUDIO
To what end? He would make but a sport of it and torment the poor
lady worse.

PEDRO
An he should, it were an alms to hang him! She's an excellent
sweet lady, and (out of all suspicion) she is virtuous.

CLAUDIO
And she is exceeding wise.

PEDRO
In everything but in loving Benedick.

LEONATO
O, my lord, wisdom and blood combating in so tender a body, we
have ten proofs to one that blood hath the victory. I am sorry
for her, as I have just cause, being her uncle and her
guardian.

PEDRO
I would she had bestowed this dotage on me. I would have daff'd
all other respects and made her half myself. I pray you tell
Benedick of it and hear what 'a will say.

LEONATO
Were it good, think you?

CLAUDIO
Hero thinks surely she will die; for she says she will die if he
love her not, and she will die ere she make her love known, and
she will die, if he woo her, rather than she will bate one
breath of her accustomed crossness.

PEDRO
She doth well. If she should make tender of her love, 'tis very
possible he'll scorn it; for the man (as you know all) hath a
contemptible spirit.

CLAUDIO
He is a very proper man.

PEDRO
He hath indeed a good outward happiness.

CLAUDIO
Before God! and in my mind, very wise.

PEDRO
He doth indeed show some sparks that are like wit.

CLAUDIO
And I take him to be valiAntonio.

PEDRO
As Hector, I assure you; and in the managing of quarrels you may
say he is wise, for either he avoids them with great discretion,
or undertakes them with a most Christianlike fear.

LEONATO
If he do fear God, 'a must necessarily keep peace. If he break
the peace, he ought to enter into a quarrel with fear and
trembling.

PEDRO
And so will he do; for the man doth fear God, howsoever it seems
not in him by some large jests he will make. Well, I am sorry for
your niece. Shall we go seek Benedick and tell him of her love?

CLAUDIO
Never tell him, my lord. Let her wear it out with good counsel.

LEONATO
Nay, that's impossible; she may wear her heart out first.

PEDRO
Well, we will hear further of it by your daughter. Let it cool
the while. I love Benedick well, and I could wish he would
modestly examine himself to see how much he is unworthy so good a
lady.

LEONATO
My lord, will you walk? Dinner is ready.

[They walk away.]

CLAUDIO
If he dote on her upon this, I will never trust my expectation.

PEDRO
Let there be the same net spread for her, and that must your
daughter and her gentlewomen carry. The sport will be, when they
hold one an opinion of another's dotage, and no such matter.
That's the scene that I would see, which will be merely a dumb
show. Let us send her to call him in to dinner.

[Exeunt Don Pedro, Claudio, and Leonato.]

[Benedick advances from the arbour.]

BENEDICK
This can be no trick. The conference was sadly borne; they have
the truth of this from Hero; they seem to pity the lady. It
seems her affections have their full bent. Love me? Why, it must
be requited. I hear how I am censur'd. They say I will bear
myself proudly if I perceive the love come from her. They say too
that she will rather die than give any sign of affection. I did
never think to marry. I must not seem proud. Happy are they that
hear their detractions and can put them to mending. They say the
lady is fair--'tis a truth, I can bear them witness; and
virtuous--'tis so, I cannot reprove it; and wise, but for loving
me--by my troth, it is no addition to her wit, nor no great
argument of her folly, for I will be horribly in love with her. I
may chance have some odd quirks and remnants of wit broken on me
because I have railed so long against marriage. But doth not the
appetite alters? A man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot
endure in his age. Shall quips and sentences and these paper
bullets of the brain awe a man from the career of his humour? No,
the world must be peopled. When I said I would die a bachelor, I
did not think I should live till I were married.

[Enter Beatrice.]

Here comes Beatrice. By this day, she's a fair lady! I do spy
some marks of love in her.

BEATRICE
Against my will I am sent to bid You come in to dinner.

BENEDICK
Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains.

BEATRICE
I took no more pains for those thanks than you take pains to
thank me. If it had been painful, I would not have come.

BENEDICK
You take pleasure then in the message?

BEATRICE
Yea, just so much as you may take upon a knives point, and choke
a daw withal. You have no stomach, signior. Fare you well.

[Exit.]

BENEDICK
Ha! 'Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner.'
There's a double meaning in that. 'I took no more pains for those
thanks than you took pains to thank me.' That's as much as to
say, 'Any pains that I take for you is as easy as thanks.' If I
do not take pity of her, I am a villain; if I do not love her, I
am a Jew. I will go get her picture.

[Exit.]