[Enter LEONATO, ANTONIO, BENEDICK, BEATRICE,]
[p]MARGARET, URSULA, FRIAR FRANCIS, and HERO]
- Leonato. So are the prince and Claudio, who accused her
Upon the error that you heard debated:
But Margaret was in some fault for this,
Although against her will, as it appears
In the true course of all the question.
- Antonio. Well, I am glad that all things sort so well.
- Benedick. And so am I, being else by faith enforced
To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it.
- Leonato. Well, daughter, and you gentle-women all,
Withdraw into a chamber by yourselves,
And when I send for you, come hither mask'd.
The prince and Claudio promised by this hour
To visit me. You know your office, brother:
You must be father to your brother's daughter
And give her to young Claudio.
- Antonio. Which I will do with confirm'd countenance.
- Benedick. Friar, I must entreat your pains, I think.
- Benedick. To bind me, or undo me; one of them.
Signior Leonato, truth it is, good signior,
Your niece regards me with an eye of favour.
- Leonato. That eye my daughter lent her: 'tis most true.
- Benedick. And I do with an eye of love requite her.
- Leonato. The sight whereof I think you had from me,
From Claudio and the prince: but what's your will?
- Benedick. Your answer, sir, is enigmatical:
But, for my will, my will is your good will
May stand with ours, this day to be conjoin'd
In the state of honourable marriage:
In which, good friar, I shall desire your help.
- Leonato. My heart is with your liking.
[Enter DON PEDRO and CLAUDIO, and two or three others]
- Don Pedro. Good morrow to this fair assembly.
- Leonato. Good morrow, prince; good morrow, Claudio:
We here attend you. Are you yet determined
To-day to marry with my brother's daughter?
- Claudio. I'll hold my mind, were she an Ethiope.
- Leonato. Call her forth, brother; here's the friar ready.
- Don Pedro. Good morrow, Benedick. Why, what's the matter,
That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?
- Claudio. I think he thinks upon the savage bull.
Tush, fear not, man; we'll tip thy horns with gold
And all Europa shall rejoice at thee,
As once Europa did at lusty Jove,
When he would play the noble beast in love.
- Benedick. Bull Jove, sir, had an amiable low;
And some such strange bull leap'd your father's cow,
And got a calf in that same noble feat
Much like to you, for you have just his bleat.
- Claudio. For this I owe you: here comes other reckonings.
[Re-enter ANTONIO, with the Ladies masked]
Which is the lady I must seize upon?
- Antonio. This same is she, and I do give you her.
- Claudio. Why, then she's mine. Sweet, let me see your face.
- Leonato. No, that you shall not, till you take her hand
Before this friar and swear to marry her.
- Claudio. Give me your hand: before this holy friar,
I am your husband, if you like of me.
- Hero. And when I lived, I was your other wife:
And when you loved, you were my other husband.
- Hero. Nothing certainer:
One Hero died defiled, but I do live,
And surely as I live, I am a maid.
- Don Pedro. The former Hero! Hero that is dead!
- Leonato. She died, my lord, but whiles her slander lived.
- Friar Francis. All this amazement can I qualify:
When after that the holy rites are ended,
I'll tell you largely of fair Hero's death:
Meantime let wonder seem familiar,
And to the chapel let us presently.
- Benedick. Soft and fair, friar. Which is Beatrice?
- Beatrice. [Unmasking] I answer to that name. What is your will?
- Benedick. Why, then your uncle and the prince and Claudio
Have been deceived; they swore you did.
- Benedick. Troth, no; no more than reason.
- Beatrice. Why, then my cousin Margaret and Ursula
Are much deceived; for they did swear you did.
- Benedick. They swore that you were almost sick for me.
- Beatrice. They swore that you were well-nigh dead for me.
- Benedick. 'Tis no such matter. Then you do not love me?
- Beatrice. No, truly, but in friendly recompense.
- Leonato. Come, cousin, I am sure you love the gentleman.
- Claudio. And I'll be sworn upon't that he loves her;
For here's a paper written in his hand,
A halting sonnet of his own pure brain,
Fashion'd to Beatrice.
- Hero. And here's another
Writ in my cousin's hand, stolen from her pocket,
Containing her affection unto Benedick.
- Benedick. A miracle! here's our own hands against our hearts.
Come, I will have thee; but, by this light, I take
thee for pity.
- Beatrice. 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.
- Benedick. Peace! I will stop your mouth.
- Don Pedro. How dost thou, Benedick, the married man?
- Benedick. I'll tell thee what, prince; a college of
wit-crackers cannot flout 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, a' shall wear
nothing handsome about him. In brief, since I do
purpose 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.
- Claudio. 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
exceedingly narrowly to thee.
- Benedick. 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.
- Leonato. We'll have dancing afterward.
- Benedick. First, of 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.
[Enter a Messenger]
- Messenger. My lord, your brother John is ta'en in flight,
And brought with armed men back to Messina.
- Benedick. Think not on him till to-morrow:
I'll devise thee brave punishments for him.
Strike up, pipers.