• Enter BENEDICK andMARGARET

    BENEDICK

    Pray thee, sweet Mistress Margaret, deserve well at my
    hands by helping me to the speech of Beatrice.

    MARGARET

    Will you then write me a sonnet in praise of my beauty?

    BENEDICK

    In so high a style, Margaret, that no man living shall come
    5over it, for in most comely truth thou deservest it.

    MARGARET

    To have no man come over me! Why, shall I always keep
    below stairs?

    BENEDICK

    Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound’s mouth; it catches.

    MARGARET

    And yours as blunt as the fencer’s foils, which hit but hurt
    10not.

    BENEDICK

    A most manly wit, Margaret, it will not hurt a woman. And
    so, I pray thee, call Beatrice. I give thee the bucklers.

    MARGARET

    Give us the swords; we have bucklers of our own.

    BENEDICK

    If you use them, Margaret, you must put in the pikes with
    15a vice, and they are dangerous weapons for maids.

    MARGARET

    Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who I think hath legs.
  • BENEDICK andMARGARET enter.

    BENEDICK

    Please Margaret, help me write this poem for Beatrice.

    MARGARET

    Afterward, will you write a sonnet for me, praising my beauty?

    BENEDICK

    I’ll write you such a glorious sonnet, Margaret, that no man will ever be able to come over it. You certainly deserve it.

    Benedick means that no man will ever improve on his sonnet;

    MARGARET

    No man will come over me! What a life that would be!

    over me

    Margaret interprets “come over” in a sexual way

    BENEDICK

    Your wit is as quick as a greyhound’s jaws—it catches whatever it goes after.

    MARGARET

    And your wit is as blunt as a practice sword, with its dull tip; it hits people but doesn’t hurt them.

    BENEDICK

    It’s just that my wit is very gentlemanly, Margaret, and refuses to hurt a woman. Now please, tell Beatrice to come out. I admit defeat; I give you the bucklers.

    bucklers

    A “buckler” is a shield with a spike in the middle of it.

    MARGARET

    No, you should give a woman your sword—we have our own bucklers!

    bucklers

    Margaret interprets “buckler” as the vagina (and the sword as the penis).

    BENEDICK

    Watch out, though, Margaret—virgins shouldn’t be brandishing their bucklers around.

    MARGARET

    I’ll go get Beatrice for you, who can walk here by herself—she has legs.