Come hither, Leonato. What was it you told me of
to-day, that your niece Beatrice was in love with
CLAUDIO: O, ay: stalk on. stalk on; the fowl sits. I did 
never think that lady would have loved any man.
LEONATO: No, nor I neither; but most wonderful that she
should so dote on Signior Benedick, whom she hath in
all outward behaviors seemed ever to abhor.
BENEDICK: Is't possible? Sits the wind in that corner? 
LEONATO: By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to think
of it but that she loves him with an enraged
affection: it is past the infinite of thought.
DON PEDRO: May be she doth but counterfeit.
CLAUDIO: Faith, like enough. 
LEONATO: O God, counterfeit! There was never counterfeit of
passion came so near the life of passion as she
DON PEDRO: Why, what effects of passion shows she?
CLAUDIO: Bait the hook well; this fish will bite. 
LEONATO: What effects, my lord? She will sit you, you heard
my daughter tell you how.
CLAUDIO: She did, indeed.
DON PEDRO: How, how, pray you? You amaze me: I would have I
thought her spirit had been invincible against all 
assaults of affection.
LEONATO: I would have sworn it had, my lord; especially
BENEDICK: I should think this a gull, but that the
white-bearded fellow speaks it: knavery cannot, 
sure, hide himself in such reverence.
CLAUDIO: He hath ta'en the infection: hold it up.
DON PEDRO: Hath she made her affection known to Benedick?
LEONATO: No; and swears she never will: that's her torment.
CLAUDIO: 'Tis true, indeed; so your daughter says: 'Shall 
I,' says she, 'that have so oft encountered him
with scorn, write to him that I love him?'
LEONATO: This says she now when she is beginning to write to
him; for she'll be up twenty times a night, and
there will she sit in her smock till she have writ a 
sheet of paper: my daughter tells us all.
CLAUDIO: Now you talk of a sheet of paper, I remember a
pretty jest your daughter told us of.
LEONATO: O, when she had writ it and was reading it over, she
found Benedick and Beatrice between the sheet? 
LEONATO: O, she tore the letter into a thousand halfpence;
railed at herself, that she should be so immodest
to write to one that she knew would flout her; 'I
measure him,' says she, 'by my own spirit; for I 
should flout him, if he writ to me; yea, though I
love him, I should.'
CLAUDIO: Then down upon her knees she falls, weeps, sobs,
beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, curses; 'O
sweet Benedick! God give me patience!' 
LEONATO: She doth indeed; my daughter says so: and the
ecstasy hath so much overborne her that my daughter
is sometime afeared she will do a desperate outrage
to herself: it is very true.
DON PEDRO: It were good that Benedick knew of it by some 
other, if she will not discover it.
CLAUDIO: To what end? He would make but a sport of it and
torment the poor lady worse.
DON PEDRO: An he should, it were an alms to hang him. She's an
excellent sweet lady; and, out of all suspicion, 
she is virtuous.
CLAUDIO: And she is exceeding wise.
DON PEDRO: In every thing but in loving Benedick.
LEONATO: O, my lord, wisdom and blood combating in so tender
a body, we have ten proofs to one that blood hath 
the victory. I am sorry for her, as I have just
cause, being her uncle and her guardian.
DON PEDRO: I would she had bestowed this dotage on me: I would
have daffed all other respects and made her half
myself. I pray you, tell Benedick of it, and hear 
what a' will say.
LEONATO: Were it good, think you?
CLAUDIO: Hero thinks surely she will die; for she says she
will die, if he love her not, and she will die, ere
she make her love known, and she will die, if he woo 
her, rather than she will bate one breath of her
DON PEDRO: She doth well: if she should make tender of her
love, 'tis very possible he'll scorn it; for the
man, as you know all, hath a contemptible spirit. 
CLAUDIO: He is a very proper man.
DON PEDRO: He hath indeed a good outward happiness.
CLAUDIO: Before God! and, in my mind, very wise.
DON PEDRO: He doth indeed show some sparks that are like wit.
CLAUDIO: And I take him to be valiant. 
DON PEDRO: As Hector, I assure you: and in the managing of
quarrels you may say he is wise; for either he
avoids them with great discretion, or undertakes
them with a most Christian-like fear.
LEONATO: If he do fear God, a' must necessarily keep peace: 
if he break the peace, he ought to enter into a
quarrel with fear and trembling.
DON PEDRO: And so will he do; for the man doth fear God,
howsoever it seems not in him by some large jests
he will make. Well I am sorry for your niece. Shall 
we go seek Benedick, and tell him of her love?
CLAUDIO: Never tell him, my lord: let her wear it out with
LEONATO: Nay, that's impossible: she may wear her heart out first.
DON PEDRO: Well, we will hear further of it by your daughter: 
let it cool the while. I love Benedick well; and I
could wish he would modestly examine himself, to see
how much he is unworthy so good a lady.
LEONATO: My lord, will you walk? dinner is ready.
CLAUDIO: If he do not dote on her upon this, I will never 
trust my expectation.
DON PEDRO: Let there be the same net spread for her; and that
must your daughter and her gentlewomen carry. The
sport will be, when they hold one an opinion of
another's dotage, and no such matter: that's the 
scene that I would see, which will be merely a
dumb-show. Let us send her to call him in to dinner.
[Exeunt DON PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and LEONATO]
BENEDICK: [Coming forward] This can be no trick: the
conference was sadly borne. They have the truth of
this from Hero. They seem to pity the lady: it 
seems her affections have their full bent. Love me!
why, it must be requited. I hear how I am censured:
they say I will bear myself proudly, if I perceive
the love come from her; they say too that she will
rather die than give any sign of affection. I did 
never think to marry: I must not seem proud: happy
are they that hear their detractions and can put
them to mending. They say the lady is fair; 'tis a
truth, I can bear them witness; and virtuous; 'tis
so, I cannot reprove it; and wise, but for loving 
me; by my troth, it is no addition to her wit, nor
no great argument of her folly, for I will be
horribly in love with her. I may chance have some
odd quirks and remnants of wit broken on me,
because I have railed so long against marriage: but 
doth not the appetite alter? a man loves the meat
in his youth that he cannot endure in his age.
Shall quips and sentences and these paper bullets of
the brain awe a man from the career of his humour?
No, the world must be peopled. When I said I would 
die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I
were married. Here comes Beatrice. By this day!
she's a fair lady: I do spy some marks of love in
BEATRICE: Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner. 
BENEDICK: Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains.
BEATRICE: I took no more pains for those thanks than you take
pains to thank me: if it had been painful, I would
not have come.
BENEDICK: You take pleasure then in the message? 
BEATRICE: Yea, just so much as you may take upon a knife's
point and choke a daw withal. You have no stomach,
signior: fare you well.
BENEDICK: Ha! 'Against my will I am sent to bid you come in
to dinner;' there's a double meaning in that 'I took 
no more pains for those thanks than you took pains
to thank me.' that's as much as to say, Any pains
that I take for you is as easy as thanks. If I do
not take pity of her, I am a villain; if I do not
love her, I am a Jew. I will go get her picture.