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She knows the heat of a luxurious bed:
Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty.
Leon. What do you mean, my lord?

Not to be married, Not knit my soul to an approved wanton.

Leon. Dear my lord, if you, in your own proof Have vanquish'd the resistance of her youth, And made defeat of her virginity,

Claud. I know what you would say; if I have known her,

You'll say, she did embrace me as a husband,
And so extenuate the 'forehand sin:

No, Leonato,

I never tempted her with word too larget;
But, as a brother to his sister, show'd

Bashful sincerity, and comely love.

Hero. And seem'd I ever otherwise to you? Claud. Out on thy seeming! I will write against it: You seem to me as Dian in her orb;

As chaste as is the bud ere it be blown;

But you are more intemperate in your blood

Than Venus, or those pamper'd animals

That rage in savage sensuality.

Hero. Is my lord well, that he doth speak so

wide +?

Leon. Sweet prince, why speak not you?
D. Pedro.

What should I speak!

I stand dishonour'd, that have gone about
To link my dear friend to a common stale.

Leon. Are these things spoken? or do I but dream?
D. John. Sir, they are spoken, and these things

are true.

Bene. This looks not like a nuptial.


Claud. Leonato, stand I here?

True, O God!

Is this the prince? Is this the prince's brother?
Is this face Hero's? Are our eyes our own?


↑ Licentious.

Remote from the business in hand.

Leon. All this is so; but what of this, my lord? Claud. Let me but move one question to your daughter;

And, by that fatherly and kindly power

That you have in her, bid her answer truly.

Leon. I charge thee do so, as thou art my child. Hero. O God defend me! how am I beset!What kind of catechizing call you this?

Claud. To make you answer truly to your name. Hero. Is it not Hero? Who can blot that name With any just reproach?


Marry, that can Hero;

Hero itself can blot out Hero's virtue.

What man was he talk'd with you yesternight
Out at your window, betwixt twelve and one?
Now, if you are a maid, answer to this.

Hero. I talk'd with no man at that hour, my lord.
D. Pedro. Why, then are you no maiden.-Leo-


I am sorry you must hear; upon mine honour,
Myself, my brother, and this grieved count,
Did see her, hear her, at that hour last night,
Talk with a ruffian at her chamber-window;
Who hath, indeed, most like a liberal* villain,
Confess'd the vile encounters they have had
A thousand times in secret.

D. John.
Fy, fy! they are
Not to be nam'd, my lord, not to be spoke of;
There is not chastity enough in language,
Without offence, to utter them: thus, pretty lady,
I am sorry for thy much misgovernment.

Claud. O Hero! what a Hero hadst thou been,

If half thy outward graces had been placed
About thy thoughts, and counsels of thy heart!
But, fare thee well, most foul, most fair! farewell,
Thou pure impiety, and impious purity!
For thee I'll lock up all the gates of love,
And on my eye-lids shall conjecture hang,

Too free of tongue.

To turn all beauty into thoughts of harm,
And never shall it more be gracious".

Leon. Hath no man's dagger here a point for me? [Hero swoons.

Beat. Why, how now, cousin? wherefore sink you down?

D. John. Come, let us go: these things, come thus to light,

Smother her spirits up.

[Exeunt Don Pedro, Don John, and Claudio. Bene. How doth the lady?


Dead, I think;-help, uncle ;

Hero! why, Hero!-Uncle!-Signior Benedick!—


Leon. O fate, take not away thy heavy hand!

Death is the fairest cover for her shame,

That may be wish'd for.


Friar. Have comfort, lady.


How now, cousin Hero?

Dost thou look up?

Friar. Yea; wherefore should she not?

Leon. Wherefore? Why, doth not every earthly


Cry shame upon her? Could she here deny
The story that is printed in her blood?-
Do not live, Hero; do not ope thine eyes:
For did I think thou would'st not quickly die,

Thought I thy spirits were stronger than thy shames,
Myself would, on the rearward of reproaches,
Strike at thy life. Griev'd I, I had but one?
Chid I for that at frugal nature's framet?
O, one too much by thee! Why had I one?
Why ever wast thou lovely in my eyes?
Why had I not, with charitable hand,
Took up a beggar's issue at my gates;
Who smirched thus, and mired with infamy,
I might have said, No part of it is mine,

* Attractive.

+ Sullied.

+ Disposition of things.

This shame derives itself from unknown loins?
But mine, and mine I lov'd, and mine I prais'd,
And mine that I was proud on; mine so much,
That I myself was to myself not mine,
Valuing of her; why, she-O, she is fallen
Into a pit of ink! that the wide sea

Hath drops too few to wash her clean again;
And salt too little, which may season give
To her foul tainted flesh!


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Sir, sir, be patient: For my part, I am so attir'd in wonder,

I know not what to say.

Beat. O, on my soul, my cousin is belied! Bene. Lady, were you her bedfellow last night? Beat. No, truly, not: although, until last night, I have this twelvemonth been her bed-fellow.

Leon. Confirm'd, confirm'd! O, that is stronger made,

Which was before barr'd up with ribs of iron!
Would the two princes lie? and Claudio lie?
Who lov'd her so, that, speaking of her foulness,
Wash'd it with tears? Hence from her; let her die.
Friar. Hear me a little;

For I have only been silent so long,
And given way unto this course of fortune,
By noting of the lady: I have mark'd
A thousand blushing apparitions start
Into her face; a thousand innocent shames
In angel whiteness bear away those blushes;
And in her eye there hath appear'd a fire,
To burn the errors that these princes hold
Against her maiden truth :-Call me a fool;
Trust not my reading, nor my observations,
Which with experimental seal doth warrant
The tenour of my book; trust not my age,
My reverence, calling, nor divinity,
If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here
Under some biting error.


Friar, it cannot be :

Thou seest, that all the grace that she hath left,

Is, that she will not add to her damnation
A sin of perjury; she not denies it :

Why seek'st thou then to cover with excuse
That which appears in proper nakedness?

Friar. Lady, what man is he you are accused of? Hero. They know that do accuse me; I know none: If I know more of any man alive,

Than that which maiden modesty doth warrant,
Let all my sins lack mercy!-O my father,
Prove you that any man with me convers'd
At hours unmeet, or that I yesternight
Maintain'd the change of words with any creature,
Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death.

Friar. There is some strange misprision in the princes.

Bene. Two of them have the very bent of honour; And if their wisdoms be misled in this,

The practice of it lives in John the bastard,

Whose spirits toil in frame of villainies.

Leon. I know not; If they speak but truth of her, These hands shall tear her; if they wrong her honour, The proudest of them shall well hear of it. Time hath not yet so dried this blood of mine,

Nor age so eat up my invention,

Nor fortune made such havock of my means,
Nor my bad life reft me so much of friends,
But they shall find, awak'd in such a kind,
Both strength of limb, and policy of mind,
Ability in means, and choice of friends,
To quit me of them thoroughly.


Pause a while,

And let my counsel sway you in this case.
Your daughter here the princes left for dead;
Let her awhile be secretly kept in,

And publish it, that she is dead indeed:
Maintain a mourning ostentation;
And on your family's old monument

* Misconception.

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