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    Act 5, Scene IV

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    Chapter 17
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    SCENE IV. A room in LEONATO'S house.

    Enter LEONATO, ANTONIO, BENEDICK, BEATRICE, MARGARET, URSULA, FRIAR FRANCIS, and HERO
    FRIAR FRANCIS
    Did I not tell you she was innocent?

    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.

    Exeunt Ladies

    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.

    FRIAR FRANCIS
    To do what, signior?

    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.

    FRIAR FRANCIS
    And my help.
    Here comes the prince and Claudio.

    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.

    Exit ANTONIO

    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:

    Unmasking

    And when you loved, you were my other husband.

    CLAUDIO
    Another Hero!

    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
    Do not you love me?

    BEATRICE
    Why, no; no more than reason.

    BENEDICK
    Why, then your uncle and the prince and Claudio
    Have been deceived; they swore you did.

    BEATRICE
    Do not you love me?

    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.

    Kissing her

    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.

    Dance

    Exeunt
    Chapter 17
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