They did entreat me to acquaint her of it;
But I persuaded them, if they loved Benedick,
To wish him wrestle
And never to let Beatrice know of it.
Why did you so? Doth not the gentleman
Deserve as full as fortunate a bed
As ever Beatrice shall couch
O god of love! I know he doth deserve
As much as may be yielded to a man:
But Nature never framed a
Of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice;
Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes,
what they look on, and her wit
Values itself so highly that to her
All matter else seems weak: she cannot
Nor take no shape nor project of affection,
She is so self-endeared.
Sure, I think so;
And therefore certainly it were not good
She knew his love, lest she make sport at it.
Why, you speak truth. I never yet saw man,
How wise, how noble, young, how rarely featured,
would spell him backward: if fair-faced,
She would swear the gentleman should be her sister;
If black, why,
Nature, drawing of an antique,
Made a foul blot; if tall, a lance ill-headed;
If low, an agate very vilely cut;
speaking, why, a vane blown with all winds;
If silent, why, a block moved with none.
So turns she every
man the wrong side out
And never gives to truth and virtue that
Which simpleness and merit purchaseth.
Sure, sure, such carping is not commendable.
No, not to be so odd and from all fashions
As Beatrice is, cannot be commendable:
But who dare tell her
so? If I should speak,
She would mock me into air; O, she would laugh me
Out of myself, press me to
death with wit.
Therefore let Benedick, like cover'd fire,
Consume away in sighs, waste inwardly:
It were a
better death than die with mocks,
Which is as bad as die with tickling.
Yet tell her of it: hear what she will say.
No; rather I will go to Benedick
And counsel him to fight against his passion.
And, truly, I'll devise some
To stain my cousin with: one doth not know
How much an ill word may empoison liking.
O, do not do your cousin such a wrong.
She cannot be so much without true judgment
Having so swift
and excellent a wit
As she is prized to haveas to refuse
So rare a gentleman as Signior Benedick.
He is the only man of Italy.
Always excepted my dear Claudio.
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