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help my

it, if you three will but minister such assistance as I shall give you direction.

Leon. My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten nights' watchings.

Claud. And I, my lord.
D. Pedro. And you too, gentle Hero?
Hero. I will do any modest office, my lord, to

cousin to a good husband. D. Pedro. And Benedick is not the unhopefullest husband that I know: thus far can I praise him; he is of a noble strain 3, of approved valour, and confirmed honesty. I will teach you how to humour your cousin, that she shall fall in love with Benedick:—and I, with your two helps, will so practice on Benedick, that, in despite of his quick wit and his queasy 24 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.

SCENE II. Another Room in Leonato's House.

Enter Don John and BORACHIO. D. John. It is so: the count Claudio shall marry the daughter of Leonato.

Bora. Yea, my lord; but I can cross it.

D. John. Any bar, any cross, any impediment will be medicinable to me: I am sick in displeasure to him; and whatsoever comes athwart his affection, ranges evenly with mine. How canst thou cross this marriage?

Bora. Not honestly, my lord; but so covertly that no dishonesty shall appear in me.

D. John. Show me briefly how. 23 The same as strene, descent, lineage. 24 Squeamish.

Bora. I think, I told your lordship, a year since, how much I am in the favour of Margaret, the waiting-gentlewoman to Hero.

D. John. I remember.
Bora. I can, at any

unseasonable instant of the night, appoint her to look out at her lady's chamberwindow.

D. John. What life is in that to be the death of this marriage?

Bora. The poison of that lies in you to temper. Go you to the prince your brother; spare not to tell him, that he hath wronged his honour in marrying the renowned Claudio (whose estimation do you mightily hold up) to a contaminated stale?, such a one as Hero.

D. John. What proof shall I make of that?

Bora. Proof enough to misuse the prince, to vex Claudio, to undo Hero, and kill Leonato : Look you for any

other issue? D. John. Only to despite them, I will endeavour any thing.

Bora. Go then, find me a meet hour to draw Don Pedro and the count Claudio alone: tell them, that you know that Hero loves me; intend? a kind of zeal both to the prince and Claudio, as-in love of your brother's honour, who hath made this match; and his friend's reputation, who is thus like to be cozened with the semblance of a maid, -that you have discovered thus. They will scarcely believe this without trial : offer them instances; which shall bear no less likelihood, than to see me at her chamber-window; hear me call Margaret, Hero; hear Shakspeare uses stale here, and in a subsequent scene,

for an abandoned woman. A stale also meant a decoy or lure, but the two words had different origins. It is obvious why the term was applied to prostitutes.

2 Pretend.

Margaret term me Claudio 3; and bring them to see this, the very night before the intended wedding; for, in the mean time I will so fashion the matter, that Hero shall be absent; and there shall appear such seeming truth of Hero's disloyalty, that jealousy shall be call'd assurance, and all the preparation overthrown.

D. John. Grow this to what adverse issue it can, I will put it in practice: Be cunning in the working this, and thy fee is a thousand ducats.

Bora. Be you constant in the accusation, and my cunning shall not shame me.

D. John. I will presently go learn their day of marriage.


SCENE III. Leonato's Garden.

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Enter BENEDICK and a Boy.
Bene. Boy,
Boy. Signior.

Bene. In my chamber-window lies a book; bring it hither to me in the orchard 1.

Boy. I am here, already, sir.

Bene. I know that;—but I would have thee hence, and here again. [Exit Boy.]-I do much wonder,

3 The old copies read Claudio here. Theobald altered it to Borachio; yet if Claudio be wrong, it is most probably the poet's oversight. Claudio might conceive that the supposed Hero, called Borachio by the name of Claudio in consequence of a secret agreement between them, as a cover in case she were overheard; and he would know without a possibility of error that it was not Claudio with whom in fact she conversed. For the other arguments pro and con we must refer to the variorum Shakspeare.

1 Orchard in Shakspeare's time signified a garden. So, in Romeo and Juliet:

• The orchard walls are high and hard to climb.' This word was first written hort-yard, then by corruption hortchard, and hence orchard.

that one man, seeing how much another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviours to love, will, after he hath laughed 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 musick with him but the drum and fife; and now had he rather hear the tabor and the pipe: I have known, when he would have walked 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 orthographer; 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;

? This folly is the theme of all comic satire. In Andrew Borde's 'Introduction to Knowledge,' the English gentleman is represented naked, with a pair of shears in one hand and a piece of cloth on his arm, with the following verses:

' I am an Englishman, and naked I stand here,
Musing in my mynde what rayment I shal were,
For now I will ware this, and now I will were that,

And now I will were I cannot tell what.' In Barnahe Riche's · Faults and nothing but Faults,' 1606, • The fashionmonger that spends his time in the contemplation of suites,' is said to have a sad and heavy countenance,' because his tailor “ hath cut his new sute after the olde stampe of some stale fashion that is at the least of a whole fortnight's standing.'

noble, or not I for an angel; of good discourse, an excellent musician, and her hair shall be of what colour it please Gods. Ha! the prince and monsieur Love! I will hide me in the arbour.

[Withdraws. Enter Don PEDRO, LEONATO, and CLAUDIO. D. Pedro. Come, shall we hear this musick ? Claud. Y ea, my good lord:-How still the evening

is, As hushid on purpose to grace harmony ! D. Pedro. See you where Benedick hath hid him

self? Claud. O, very well, my lord: the musick ended, We'll fit the kid-fox+ with a penny-worth.

Enter BALTHAZAR, with musick. D. Pedro. Come, Balthazar, we'll hear that song

again. Balth. () good my lord, tax not so bad a voice To slander musick any more than once.

D. 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.

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

3 Benedick may allude to the fashion of dyeing the hair, very common in Shakspeare's time. Or to that of wearing false hair, which also then prevailed. So, in a subsequent scene :

“ I like the new tire within excellently, if the hair were a thought browner.”

4 Kid-fox has been supposed to mean discovered or detected fox; Kid certainly meant known or discovered in Chaucer's time. It may have been a technical term in the game of hidefox; old terms are sometimes longer preserved in jocular sports than in common usage. Some editors have printed it hid-for; and others explained it young or cub-fox.

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