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Act 5, Scene 2

[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     [5]
deservest it.

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,     [10]
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.     [15]

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.

[Exit MARGARET]

[Sings]

The god of love,     [20]
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     [25]
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     [30]
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.     [35]

[Enter BEATRICE]

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     [40]
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.     [45]

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     [50]
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?     [55]

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.     [60]

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     [65]
in this age his own tomb ere he dies, he shall live
no longer in monument than the bell rings and the
widow weeps.

BEATRICE: And how long is that, think you?

BENEDICK: Question: why, an hour in clamour and a quarter in     [70]
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     [75]
praiseworthy: and now tell me, how doth your cousin?

BEATRICE: Very ill.

BENEDICK: And how do you?

BEATRICE: Very ill too.

BENEDICK: Serve God, love me and mend. There will I leave     [80]
you too, for here comes one in haste.

[Enter URSULA]

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     [85]
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.     [90]

[Exeunt]


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