1. Scene I. Before LEONATO'S House.
Officers, what offence have these men done?
Marry, sir, they have committed false report; moreover, they have
spoken untruths; secondarily, they are slanders; sixth and lastly,
they have belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified unjust things;
and to conclude, they are lying knaves.
First, I ask thee what they have done; thirdly, I ask thee what's
their offence; sixth and lastly, why they are committed; and, to
conclude, what you lay to their charge?
Rightly reasoned, and in his own division; and, by my troth, there's
one meaning well suited.
Who have you offended, masters, that you are thus bound to your
answer? this learned constable is too cunning to be understood.
What's your offence?
Sweet prince, let me go no further to mine answer: do you hear me,
and let this count kill me. I have deceived even your very eyes: what
your wisdoms could not discover, these shallow fools have brought to
light; who, in the night overheard me confessing to this man how Don
John your brother incensed me to slander the Lady Hero; how you were
brought into the orchard and saw me court Margaret in Hero's
garments; how you disgraced her, when you should marry her. My
villany they have upon record; which I had rather seal with my death
than repeat over to my shame. The lady is dead upon mine and my
master's false accusation; and, briefly, I desire nothing but the
reward of a villain.
Runs not this speech like iron through your blood?
I have drunk poison whiles he utter'd it.
But did my brother set thee on to this?
Yea; and paid me richly for the practice of it.
He is compos'd and fram'd of treachery:
And fled he is upon this villany.