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BENEDICK

I pray you, what is he?

BENEDICK

Please tell me, who is this man?

BEATRICE

Why, he is the Prince’s jester, a very dull fool, only his gift
is in devising impossible slanders. None but libertines
115delight in him, and the commendation is not in his wit but
in his villainy, for he both pleases men and angers them,
and then they laugh at him and beat him. I am sure he is in
the fleet. I would he had boarded me.

BEATRICE

Why, he’s the Prince’s fool, and a very dull fool at that. His only talent is his capacity to come up with unbelievable slanders. Only the most immoral people enjoy his company, and they like him not for his wit but his outrageousness. He manages to both please and anger people; they laugh at him and then beat him up. I’m sure he’s out there dancing. I could have sworn he trampled on me.

BENEDICK

When I know the gentleman, I’ll tell him what you say.

BENEDICK

When I meet this gentleman, I’ll tell him what you’ve said.

BEATRICE

120Do, do. He’ll but break a comparison or two on me, which,
peradventure not marked or not laughed at, strikes him into
melancholy, and then there’s a partridge wing saved, for the
fool will eat no supper that night.

BEATRICE

Oh, please do. He’ll say a few nasty things about me, and if nobody listens to him or laughs, he’ll be thrown into a funk. And that will save a partridge wing from being eaten, because he’ll be too miserable for dinner.
Music for the dance
Music for the dance begins.
We must follow the leaders.
Come on, we have to follow the leaders of the dance.

BENEDICK

125In every good thing.

BENEDICK

In every good thing they do.

BEATRICE

Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at the next
turning.

BEATRICE

No, if they try to lead us to harm, I will leave the dance floor at the next song.
Dance, then exeunt all except DON JOHN, BORACHIO, and CLAUDIO
There is a dance. Everyone exits except DON JOHN, BORACHIO, andCLAUDIO.

DON JOHN

(to BORACHIO) Sure my brother is amorous on Hero, and
hath withdrawn her father to break with him about it. The
130ladies follow her, and but one visor remains.

DON JOHN

(to BORACHIO) My brother just wooed Hero and now has taken her father inside to tell him his feelings. The ladies have followed Hero, but one masked man remains.