[Enter BENEDICK and MARGARET, meeting]
- Benedick. Pray thee, sweet Mistress Margaret, deserve well at
my hands by helping me to the speech of Beatrice.
- Margaret. Will you then write me a sonnet in praise of my beauty?
- Benedick. In so high a style, Margaret, that no man living
shall come over it; for, in most comely truth, thou
- Margaret. To have no man come over me! why, shall I always
keep below stairs?
- Benedick. Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound's mouth; it catches.
- Margaret. And yours as blunt as the fencer's foils, which hit,
but hurt not.
- Benedick. A most manly wit, Margaret; it will not hurt a
woman: and so, I pray thee, call Beatrice: I give
thee the bucklers.
- Margaret. Give us the swords; we have bucklers of our own.
- Benedick. If you use them, Margaret, you must put in the
pikes with a vice; and they are dangerous weapons for maids.
- Margaret. Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who I think hath legs.
- Benedick. And therefore will come.
The god of love,
That sits above,
And knows me, and knows me,
How pitiful I deserve,—
I mean in singing; but in loving, Leander the good
swimmer, Troilus the first employer of panders, and
a whole bookful of these quondam carpet-mangers,
whose names yet run smoothly in the even road of a
blank verse, why, they were never so truly turned
over and over as my poor self in love. Marry, I
cannot show it in rhyme; I have tried: I can find
out no rhyme to 'lady' but 'baby,' an innocent
rhyme; for 'scorn,' 'horn,' a hard rhyme; for,
'school,' 'fool,' a babbling rhyme; very ominous
endings: no, I was not born under a rhyming planet,
nor I cannot woo in festival terms.
Sweet Beatrice, wouldst thou come when I called thee?
- Beatrice. Yea, signior, and depart when you bid me.
- Benedick. O, stay but till then!
- Beatrice. 'Then' is spoken; fare you well now: and yet, ere
I go, let me go with that I came; which is, with
knowing what hath passed between you and Claudio.
- Benedick. Only foul words; and thereupon I will kiss thee.
- Beatrice. Foul words is but foul wind, and foul wind is but
foul breath, and foul breath is noisome; therefore I
will depart unkissed.
- Benedick. Thou hast frighted the word out of his right sense,
so forcible is thy wit. But I must tell thee
plainly, Claudio undergoes my challenge; and either
I must shortly hear from him, or I will subscribe
him a coward. And, I pray thee now, tell me for
which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love with me?
- Beatrice. For them all together; which maintained so politic
a state of evil that they will not admit any good
part to intermingle with them. But for which of my
good parts did you first suffer love for me?
- Benedick. Suffer love! a good epithet! I do suffer love
indeed, for I love thee against my will.
- Beatrice. In spite of your heart, I think; alas, poor heart!
If you spite it for my sake, I will spite it for
yours; for I will never love that which my friend hates.
- Benedick. Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.
- Beatrice. It appears not in this confession: there's not one
wise man among twenty that will praise himself.
- Benedick. An old, an old instance, Beatrice, that lived in
the lime of good neighbours. If a man do not erect
in this age his own tomb ere he dies, he shall live
no longer in monument than the bell rings and the
- Beatrice. And how long is that, think you?
- Benedick. Question: why, an hour in clamour and a quarter in
rheum: therefore is it most expedient for the
wise, if Don Worm, his conscience, find no
impediment to the contrary, to be the trumpet of his
own virtues, as I am to myself. So much for
praising myself, who, I myself will bear witness, is
praiseworthy: and now tell me, how doth your cousin?
- Benedick. And how do you?
- Benedick. Serve God, love me and mend. There will I leave
you too, for here comes one in haste.
- Ursula. Madam, you must come to your uncle. Yonder's old
coil at home: it is proved my Lady Hero hath been
falsely accused, the prince and Claudio mightily
abused; and Don John is the author of all, who is
fed and gone. Will you come presently?
- Beatrice. Will you go hear this news, signior?
- Benedick. I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be
buried in thy eyes; and moreover I will go with
thee to thy uncle's.