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Leon. Well, daughter, and you gentlewomen all,
Bene. To bind me, or undo me, one of them.-
Leon. That eye my daughter lent her ; 'Tis most true.
Leon. The sight whereof, I think, you had from me. From Claudio, and the prince ; But what's your will ?
Bene. Your answer, sir, is enigmatical :
And my help.
Enter Don Pedro and Claudio, with Attendants.
D. Pedro. Good morrow to this fair assembly.
Leon. Good morrow, prince; good morrow, Claudio;
Claud. I'll hold my mind, where she an Ethiope.
[Exit ANTONIO. D. Pedro. Good morrow, Benedick : Why, what's the
matter, That you have such a February face, So full of frost, of storm, and cloudiness?
Claud. I think, he thinks upon the savage bull :-
Bene. Bull Jove, sir, had an amiable low;
Re-enter ANTON10, with the Ladies masked.
Ant. This same is she, and I do give you her.
Leon. No, that you shall not, till you take her hand [face. Before this friar, and swear to marry her.
Claud. Give me your hand before this holy friar;
[Unmasking And when
you were my other husband.
D. Pedro. The former Hero! Hero that is dead!
Friar. All this amazement can I qualify;
Bene. Soft and fair, friar. Which is Beatrice?
the suvage bull:-) Alluding to the passage quoted in act. 1. scene 1, from Kyu's Hieronymo.
Why no, no more than reason. Bene. Why, then your uncle, and the prince, and ClauHave been deceived; for they swore you did. [dio,
Beat. Do not you love me?
Troth no, no more than reason.
Bene. They swore that you were almost sick for me.
Claud. And I'll be sworn upon't, that he loves her;
And here's another.
Bene. A miracle ! here's our own hands against our hearts !—Come, I will have thee ; but, by this light, I take thee for pity.
Beat. I would not deny you :—but by this good day, I yield upon great persuasion ; and, partly, to save your life, for I was told you were in a consumption.
Bene. Peace, I will stop your mouth. [Kissing her. D. Pedro. How dost thou, Benedick the married man?
Bene. I'll tell thee what, prince; a college of witcrackers cannot fout me out of my humour: Dost thou think, I care for a satire, or an epigram? No: if a man will be beaten with brains, he shall wear nothing handsome about him: In brief, since I do
to marry, I will think nothing to any purpose that the world can say against it; and therefore never flout at me for what I have said against it; for man is a giddy, thing, and this is my conclusion. For thy part, Claudio, I did think to have beaten thee; but in that thou art like to be my kinsman, live unbruised, and love my cousin.
Claud. I had well hoped, thou wouldst have denied Beatrice, that I might have cudgelled thee out of thy
single life, to make thee a double dealer : which, out of question, thou wilt be, if my cousin do not look exceeding narrowly to thee,
Bene. Come, come, we are friends :-let's have a dance ere we are married, that we may lighten our own hearts, and our wives' heels.
Leon. We'll have dancing afterwards.
Bene. First, o'my word; therefore play, music.-Prince, thou art sad; get thee a wife, get thee a wife : there is no staff more reverend than one tipped with horn.P
Enter a Messenger.
Bene. Think not on him till to-morrow ; I'll devise thee brave punishments for him.-Strike up, pipers.
[Dance. Exeunt, p — no staff more reverend than one tipped with horn.] Mr. Steevens, to assist future editors to an explanation of these words which he declares himself unable to furnish, has given several quotations to prove that a staff tipped with horn was the weapon used by the parties in the ancient trial by wager of battle. It may be so; but may not the allusion here be to the common horn headed walking sticks carried by old and reverend men?
9 This play may be justly said to contain two of the most sprightly characters that Shakspeare ever drew. The wit, the humourist, the gentleman, and the soldier, are combined in Benedick. It is to be lamented, indeed, tbat the first and most splendid of these distinctions, is disgraced by unnecessary profaneness ; for the goodness of his heart is hardly sufficient to atone for the licence of his tongue. The too sarcastic levity, which flashes out in the conversation of Beatrice, may be excused on account of the steadiness and friend. ship so apparent in her behaviour, when she urges her lover to risk his life by a challenge to Claudio. In the conduct of the fable, however, there is an imperfection similar to that which Dr. Johnson has pointed out in The Verry Wives of Windsor :- the second contrivance is less ingenious than the first :or, to speak more plainly, the same incident is become stale by repetition. I wish some other method had been found to entrap Beatrice, than that very one which before had been successfully practised on Benedick.-SLEEVENS.
To this last observation of Steevens's, M. Schlegel replies, “ Je ne sais qui a blâmé cette répétition du même moyen pour les enlacer, mais il me semble que le plaisant de la chose consiste précisément dans la symétrie des illusion." The following remark is original and just.“ Leurs ames s'attribuent toute la gloire de leurs défaite, mais la direction exclusive des plaisanteries de tous deux vers un seul objet, etait déjà le germe d'une inclination cachée.- Cours des Literature Dramatique, vol. iii. 20.
A MIDSUMMER-NIGHT'S DREAM.
Tuis play was entered at Stationers' Hall, Oct. 8, 1600.-And there were two editions of it published in quarto in that year. Mr. Malone supposes it to have been written in 1594. It is distinguished by one of the strongest characteristics of our author's early plays-the recurrence of passages and scenes in rhyme.