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Officers, what offense have these men done?

Officers, what offense 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.

What your wisdoms could not discover,
these shallow fools have brought to light

First, I ask thee what they have done; thirdly, I
ask thee what’s their offense; 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.
Prince, to Borachio and Conrade
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 offense?
Sweet prince, let me go no farther 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 villainy
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.
Prince, to Claudio
Runs not this speech like iron through your blood?
I have drunk poison whiles he uttered it.
Prince, to Borachio
But did my brother set thee on to this?
Yea, and paid me richly for the practice of it.
He is composed and framed of treachery,
And fled he is upon this villainy.
Sweet Hero, now thy image doth appear
In the rare semblance that I loved it first.
Come, bring away the plaintiffs. By this
time our sexton hath reformed Signior Leonato of
the matter. And, masters, do not forget to specify,
when time and place shall serve, that I am an ass.

Act 5
Scene 1
Line 224

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