This is all far too much for one to bear,
The Count, the Princes brother, and the Prince himself
All cried shame upon me, yet I confessed, truthfully
That I spoke not to any man that night.
Yet still they cast their shame upon me
And before all those in attendance they shamed me.
My own father hath wished me dead
And Beatrice doth stand beside me yet alone,
For none else shall stand beside me, so great this shame.
How is it that a thing so simple as vows of marriage,
Could turn and twist so cruelly upon oneself?
I admit myself wooed by the Prince in the name of Claudio
And profess my desire to have wedded him.
Yet by some twist of Fate, instead, so it seemed,
I was doomed to spend my years living as dead.
At least some light hath come out from this dark nightmare of mine,
For my cousin and Benedick have once more claimed love
For one another. Really, twas not so hard
To deceive them into love once more.
Indeed, could not have been done, were not there
Still feelings for each other living yet within their hearts.
[Hero pauses for a moment, as if gathering her thoughts.]
How could it be, in so short a time, I have fallen in love
And been promised to marriage. Beatrice hath
Once more confessed her love to Benedick,
And he to her. And on the very morn of my wedding,
That which should have been that most sacred and Holy
Union between two souls, I am proclaimed a common stale
And shamed on what would have been a most joyous occasion.
What deception was played upon the Count and the Prince and his brother
That hath so convinced them of my supposd impurity?
What would any have to gain from such a deception?
This I may never know, but I cannot help but to wonder
About these events that have destroyed my life in so short a time.
[Hero pauses again.]
And now father hath planned this wedding in masks,
And he plans for me to wed Claudio, as arranged before.
Yet even as I should be happy that I am still to wed Claudio,
One cannot help but to think on the man I am to marry.
What will he be, this proposed husband of mine,
Who was so quick to judge and denounce me without mine own
Word to perhaps sway his thoughts? Can one truly love such a man?
For, if I am to love and marry Claudio, perhaps Id best be as the Phoenix
And rise from the ashes of a life now old, to live a life anew.
Perhaps that is the best for Hero, let the Hero of old die
And let a new Hero live in her stead.
Yet not so different from the Hero before, this new Hero,
But wiser now than she was before. And none shall
Doubt her a maid still, if she is born again.
I may only hope that I am not forever cursed
To spend my days alone, and that my fathers plan shall
Work as he hopes it will, for I no longer wish my father
To wish me dead himself. Id best be ready
To reveal my born-again self on the morrow.
For indeed there is naught much more I can do
Than prepare for the wedding and pray that naught more
Will turn wrong. And for this, I shall pray.