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Friendship is conftant in all other things,
Bene. Even to the next willow, about your own business, Count. What fashion will you wear the garland of? about your neck, like an Ufurer's chain ? or under your arm, like a Lieutenant's fcarf? you muft wear it one way, for the Prince hath got your Hero.
Claud. I wish him Joy of her.
Bene. Why, that's spoken like an honest drover fo they fell bullocks: but did you think, the Prince would have ferved you thus?
Claud. I pray you, leave me.
Bene. Ho! now you ftrike like the blind man ; 'twas the boy that stole your meat, and you'll beat the Poft.
Claud. If it will not be, I'll leave you.
Bene. Alas, poor hurt fowl! now will he creep into fedges. But, that my Lady Beatrice fhould know me, and not know me! the Prince's fool!-ha? it may be, I go under that Title, because I am merry
Ufurer's chain?] know not whether the chain was, in our authour's time, the common ornament of wealthy citi
zens, or whether he fatirically ufes usurer and alderman as synonymous terms.
yea, but fo I am apt to do myfelf wrong: I am not fo reputed. It is the base (tho' bitter) difpofition of Beatrice, that puts the world into her perfon, and fo gives me out; well, I'll be reveng❜d as I may.
Enter Don Pedro.
Pedro. Now, Signior, where's the Count? did you fee him?
Bene. Troth, my lord, I have play'd, the part of lady Fame. I found him here as melancholy as a lodge in a warren, I told him (and I think, told him true) that your Grace had got the Will of this young lady, and I offer'd him my company to a willow tree, either to make him a garland, as being forfaken, or to bind him up a rod, as being worthy to be whipt. Pedro. To be whipt! what's his fault?
Bene. The flat tranfgreffion of a School-boy; who, being overjoy'd with finding a bird's neft, fhews it his companion, and he fteals it.
Pedro. Wilt thou make a trust, a tranfgreffion? the tranfgreffion is in the stealer.
Bene. Yet it had not been amifs, the rod had been made, and the garland too; for the garland he might have worn himself, and the rod he might have beftow'd on you, who (as I take it) have ftol'n his bird's neft.
Pedro. I will but teach them to fing, and restore them to the owner.
7 It is the bafe, tho' bitter, difpofition of Beatrices, who puts the world into her perfon.] That is, it is the difpofition of Beatrice, who takes upon her to perfonate the world, and therefore reprefents the world as faying what the only fays
Rafe tho' bitter. I do not underftand how bafe and bitter are inconfiftent, or why what is bitter should not be base. I believe we may fafely read, it is the bafe, the bitter difpofition.
Bene. If their finging anfwer your faying, by my faith, you fay honestly.
Pedro. the lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you; the. gentleman, that danc'd with her, told her fhe is much wrong'd by you.
Bene. O, the mifus'd me paft the indurance of a block; an oak, but with one green leaf on it, would have answer'd her; my very visor began to affume life, and fcold with her; fhe told me, not thinking I had been myself, that I was the Prince's jefter, and that I was duller than a great thaw; hudling jeft upon jeft, with fuch impaffable conveyance upon me, that I ftood like a man at a mark, with a whole army fhooting at me; the speaks Ponyards, and every word ftabs: if her breath were as terrible as her terminations, there were no living near her, the would infect to the North-ftar; I would not marry her, though fhe were endowed with all that Adam had left him before he tranfgrefs'd; fhe 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 fhall find her 'the infernal Até in good apparel. I would to God, fome fcholar
8 $ fuch IMPOSSIBLE conveyance] We should read IMPASSABLE. A term taken from fencing, when the ftrokes are so fwift and repeated as not to be parried or paffed off. WARB.
I know not what to propose. Impo Jible feems to have no meaning here, and for impaffable I have not found any authority. Spenfer ufes the word importable in a fenfe very congruous to this paffage, for insupportable, or not to be fuftained.
Both him charge on either fide With hideous firokes and import able porv'r, Which forced him his ground to traverse wide.
It may be eafily imagined, that the tranfcribers would change a word fo unufual, into that word most like it, which they could readily find. It must be however confeffed, that importable appears harsh to our ears; and I wish a happier Critick may find a better word.
Sir Thomas Hanmer reads impetuous, which will ferve the purpofe well enough, but is not likely to have been changed to impoffible.
9 the infernal Até in good apparel.] This is a pleafant allufion to the cuftom of ancient poets and painters, who reprefent the furies in raggs. WARB. O 3 would
would conjure her; for, certainly, while fhe is here, a man may live as quiet in hell as in a fanctuary, and people fin upon purpose, because they would go thither, fo, indeed, all difquiet, horror, and perturbation follow her.
Enter Claudio, Beatrice, Leonato and Hero.
Pedro. Look, here fhe comes.
Bene. Will your Grace command me any fervice to the world's end? I will go on the flighteft errand now to the Antipodes, that you can devife to send me on; I will fetch you a tooth-picker now from the fartheft inch of Afia; bring you the length of Prefer John's foot: fetch you a hair off the great Cham's beard: do you any ambaffage to the pigmies, rather than hold three words conference with this harpy; you have no employment for me?
Pedro. None, but to defire your good company. Bene. O God, Sir, here's a difh I love not. I cannot indure this Lady Tongue.
Pedro Come, Lady, come; you have loft the heart of Signior Benedick.
Beat. Indeed, my Lord, he lent it me a while, and I gave him ufe for it, a double heart for a fingle one; marry, once before he won it of me with falfe dice, therefore your Grace may well fay, I have lost it.
Pedro. You have put him down, Lady, you have put him down.
Beat. So I would not he fhould do me, my Lord, left I should prove the mother of fools; I have brought Count Claudio, whom you fent me to seek.
Pedro. Why, how now, Count, wherefore are you
Claud. Not fad, my Lord.
Claud. Neither, my Lord.
Beat. The Count is neither fad, nor fick, nor merry, nor well; but civil, Count, civil as an orange, and fomething of that jealous complexion.
Pedro. I'faith, Lady, I think your blazon to be true; though I'll be fworn, if he be fo, 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.
Leon. Count, take of me my daughter, and with her my fortunes: his Grace hath made the match, and all grace fay, Amen, to it.
Beat. Speak, Count, 'tis your cue.
Claud. Silence is the perfecteft herald of joy; I were but little happy, if I could fay how much. Lady, as you are mine, I am yours: I give away myself for you, and doat upon the exchange.
Beat. Speak, Coufin, or (if you cannot) ftop his mouth with a kiss, and let him not speak neither.
Pedro. In faith, Lady, you have a merry heart. Beat. Yea, my Lord, I thank it, poor fool, it keeps on the windy fide of care; my coufin tells him in his ear, that he is in her heart.
Claud. And fo fhe doth, coufin.
Beat. Good Lord, for alliance!-'thus goes every
* Thus goes every one to the world but I, and I am funburnt.] What is it, to go to the world? perhaps, to enter by marriage into a fettled ftate: but why is the unmarried Lady funburnt? I believe we should read, thus goes every one to the wood but 1, and I am funburnt. Thus does every one but I find a fhelter, and I am left expofed to wind and fun. The nearest away to the wood, is a phrafe for the readieft means to any end. It is faid of
a woman, who accepts a worse match than thofe which fhe had refufed, that fhe has paffed through the wood, and at laft taken a crooked ftick. But conjectural criticism has always fomething to abate its confidence. Shakespeare, in All's well that ends well, ufes the phrase, to go to the world, for marriage. So that my emendation depends only on the oppofition of wood to Jun-burut,