A hall in Leonato’s house.
(Don John the Bastard; Conrade; Borachio)
Grumpy and ill-natured, Don John refuses to be cheered up by the fact that his brother has not punished him for rebelling. His henchman Conrade counsels patience, but Don John has no intention of being pleasant. His other henchman Borachio comes in, telling Don John that he overheard Don Pedro and Claudio discussing the wooing of Hero, and Don John immediately decides to seize the opportunity to cross the upstart. Both henchmen agree to help him. (24 lines)
Enter Don John the Bastard and Conrade, his companion.
What the good-year, my lord, why are you thus out of measure sad?
There is no measure in the occasion that breeds, therefore the sadness is without limit.
You should hear reason.
And when I have heard it, what blessing brings it?
If not a present remedy, at least a patient sufferance.
I wonder that thou (being, as thou say’st thou art, born under Saturn) goest about to apply a moral medicine to a mortifying mischief. I cannot hide what I am: I must be sad when I have cause, and smile at no man’s jests; eat when I have stomach, and wait for no man’s leisure; sleep when I am drowsy, and tend on no man’s business; laugh when I am merry, and claw no man in his humor.
Yea, but you must not make the full show of this till you may do it without controlment. You have of late stood out against your brother, and he hath ta’en you newly into his grace, where it is impossible you should take true root but by the fair weather that you make yourself. It is needful that you frame the season for your own harvest.
I had rather be a canker in a hedge than a rose in his grace, and it better fits my blood to be disdain’d of all than to fashion a carriage to rob love from any. In this (though I cannot be said to be a flattering honest man) it must not be denied but I am a plain-dealing villain. I am trusted with a muzzle, and enfranchis’d with a clog, therefore I have decreed not to sing in my cage. If I had my mouth, I would bite; if I had my liberty, I would do my liking. In the mean time let me be that I am, and seek not to alter me.
Can you make no use of your discontent?
I make all use of it, for I use it only. Who comes here?
What news, Borachio?
I came yonder from a great supper. The Prince your brother is royally entertain’d by Leonato, and I can give you intelligence of an intended marriage.
Will it serve for any model to build mischief on? What is he for a fool that betroths himself to unquietness?
Marry, it is your brother’s right hand.
Who, the most exquisite Claudio?
A proper squire! And who, and who? Which way looks he?
Marry, one Hero, the daughter and heir of Leonato.
A very forward March-chick! How came you to this?
Being entertain’d for a perfumer, as I was smoking a musty room, comes me the Prince and Claudio, hand in hand in sad conference. I whipt me behind the arras, and there heard it agreed upon that the Prince should woo Hero for himself, and having obtain’d her, give her to Count Claudio.
Come, come, let us thither, this may prove food to my displeasure. That young start-up hath all the glory of my overthrow. If I can cross him any way, I bless myself every way. You are both sure, and will assist me?
To the death, my lord.
Let us to the great supper, their cheer is the greater that I am subdu’d. Would the cook were a’ my mind! Shall we go prove what’s to be done?
We’ll wait upon your lordship.