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BENEDICK

Yet it had not been amiss the rod had been made, and the
garland too, for the garland he might have worn himself
and the rod he might have bestowed on you, who, as I take
195it, have stolen his birds' nest.

BENEDICK

It might have been appropriate to make both the rod and the garland. He could have worn the garland himself and beaten you with the rod, since you—as I understand it—have stolen his bird’s nest.

DON PEDRO

I will but teach them to sing and restore them to the owner.

DON PEDRO

I only want to teach the baby birds to sing; then I will return the nest to its rightful owner.

BENEDICK

If their singing answer your saying, by my faith, you say
honestly.

BENEDICK

We’ll wait and see; if the chicks follow your lead—if Hero is ready to love Claudio—then we’ll know you’re telling the truth.

DON PEDRO

The Lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you. The gentleman
200that danced with her told her she is much wronged by you.

DON PEDRO

Lady Beatrice is angry with you. The gentleman she danced with told her you insulted her.

BENEDICK

O, she misused me past the endurance of a block! An oak
but with one green leaf on it would have answered her. My
very visor began to assume life and scold with her. She told
me, not thinking I had been myself, that I was the Prince’s
205jester, that I was duller than a great thaw, huddling jest
upon jest with such impossible conveyance upon me that I
stood like a man at a mark with a whole army shooting at
me. She speaks poniards, and every word stabs. If her
breath were as terrible as her terminations, there were no
210living near her; she would infect to the north star. I would
not marry her, though she were endowed with all that
Adam had left him before he transgressed. She would have
made Hercules have turned spit, yea, and have cleft his club
to make the fire, too. Come, talk not of her. You shall find
215her the infernal Ate in good apparel. I would to God some
scholar would conjure her, for certainly, while she is here,
a man may live as quiet in hell as in a sanctuary, and people
sin upon purpose because they would go thither. So indeed
all disquiet, horror and perturbation follows her.

BENEDICK

Not even a block of wood could handle her abuses! An oak tree barely clinging to life would have revived itself to fight her. Even my mask seemed to come to life in order to argue with her. She told me—not realizing it was me—that I was the Prince’s jester and as dull as mud. She hurled mocking insults at me with such incredible speed that all I could do was stand there, paralyzed. She speaks daggers, and every word stabs. If her breath were as terrible as her words, she would kill every living thing from here to the furthest star. I wouldn’t marry her, even if she were as blessed as paradise. If she were married to the great hero Hercules, she would have humiliated him with chores around the house and ordered him to chop up his famous club for firewood. Please, don’t mention her. She’s as wicked as

Ate

Ate was the goddess of conflict.

Ate
, just disguised in pretty clothes. I wish to God that some wise man would conjure her away, because as long as she lives on earth, our lives are filled with turmoil. It’s quieter in hell, where people, sinning on purpose, are eager to be sent just to get away from her. So chaos, horror, and sorrow follow her wherever she goes.