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Don Pedro, Prince of Arragon.
Don John, his bastard brother.
Claudio, a young Lord of Florence, favourite to

Don Pedro.
Benedick, a young Lord of Padua, favoured like-

wise by Don Pedro.
Leonato, Governor of Messina.
Antonio, his brother.
Balthazar, servant to Don Pedro.

Bonaldico } followers of Don Joha.


two-foolish officers.
A. Sexlon.
A Triar.
A Boy.
Hero, daughter to Leonato.
Beatrice, niece to Leonato.

Veste ting", } gentlewomen attending on Hero.

Messengers, Watch, and Attendants.







Before LEONATO's House.


with a Messenger.

and Others,

Leon. I learn in this letter, that Don Pedro of Arragon comes this night to Messina.

Mess. He is very near by this; he was not three leagues off when I left him.

Leon. How many gentlemen have you lost in this action?

Mess. But few of any sort, and none of name.

Leon. A victory is twice itself, when the are chiever brings home full numbers. I find here, that Don Pedro hath bestowed much honour on a young Florentine, called Claudio.

Mess. Much deserved on his part, and equally remember'd by Don Pedro: Hc hath bornc himself beyond the promise of his age,: doing, in the figure of a lam)), the fcats of a lion: he hath, iudeed, better better'd expectation, than you must expect of me to tell you how.

Leon. He hath an uncle here in Messina will be very much glad of it.

Mess. I have already delivered him letters, and thercappears much joy iu u; even so much,


that joy could not show itself modest enough, without a badge of bitterness.

Leon. Did he break out into tears ?
Mess. In great mcasure.

Leon. A kind overflow of kindness: There are no faces truer than those that are So washed. How much better is it to weep at joy, than to joy at weeping ?

Beat, I pray you, is Signior Montanto returned from the wars, or no?

Mess. I kifow 11011e of that name, Lady; there was none such in the army of any sort.

Leonc. What is he that you ask for, niece ? -Hero. My cousin means Signior Benedick of Padua.

Mess, O, he is returned; and as pleasant as ever he was. Beat. He set up his bills here in Messina ,

and challenged Cupid at the Night: and my uncle's fool, reading the challenge, subscribed for Cupid, and challeuged him at the bird · bolt. you, how many hath he killed and eaten in these wars? But how many liath he lilled? for, indeed, I promised to eat all of his killing.

Leon. Faith, niece, you tax Signior' Berledick 100 much; but he'll be meet with you, I doubt it not.

Mess. He hath done good scryice, Lady, in these wzrs.

Bral, Yon had musty victual, and he hath holp to cat it: he is a very valiant treicher-mail, he hath an excellent stomach.

Mess. And a good soldier too, Lady,

Beat. And a good soldier to a lady; But what is he to a lord ? Mess. A lord to a loral,

I pray

to a man; stuffed with all honourable virtues.

a man

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hath every

Beat. It is so', indced; he is no less than a stufied man: but for the stuffing, Well, we are all mortal,

Leon. You must not, Sir, mistake my niece: there is a kind of merry war betwixt Signior Denedick and hér: they never meet, but there is a skirmish of wit beiween them. Beat. Alas, he gets nothing by that.

In OILT last conflict, four of his five wits went halting off, and now is the whole man governed with onre : so that if he have wit enough to keep him. self warm, let him bear it for a difference between himself and his horse; for it is all the wealth he hath left, to be known a reasonable creature. Wiyo is his companion now? Hc mouth a new sworn brother.

Mess. Is it possible ?

Beat. Very easily possible: he wears his faith but as the fashion of his lat, it ever changes with the next block.

Mess. 'I see, Lady, the gentleman is not in your books.

Beat. No: an he 'were, I would burn my study. Ent, I pray you, who is his companion? Is there no young squarer now, that will make, a voyage with him to the devil?

*Mess. He is most in the company of the right noble Claudio.

Beat: O Lord! he will hang upon him like a disease : he is sooner caught than the pestilence, and the taker runs presently mad. God help the ancobole Claudio! if he have caught the Benedick, it will cost him a thousand pound ere he be cured. Mess. I will hold friends with you, Lady, Brat. Dó, good friend. Leon, You will ncvcr ruin mad, niece,

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