Much Ado About Nothing - Entire Play
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Navigate this workMuch Ado About Nothing - Entire Play
The primary plot of Much Ado About Nothing turns on the courtship and scandal involving young Hero and her suitor, Claudio, but the witty war of words between Claudio’s friend Benedick and Hero’s cousin Beatrice often takes center stage.
Set in Messina, the play begins as Don Pedro’s army returns after a victory. Benedick, a gentleman soldier, resumes a verbal duel with Beatrice, the niece of Messina’s governor, Leonato. Count Claudio is smitten by Leonato’s daughter, Hero. After Don Pedro woos her in disguise for Claudio, the two young lovers plan to marry in a week. To fill in the time until the wedding, Don Pedro and the others set about tricking Benedick and Beatrice into falling in love with each other. Meanwhile, Don Pedro’s disgruntled brother, Don John, plots to ruin Hero and halt her wedding. Claudio believes Don John’s deception, is convinced Hero has a lover, and, at the wedding, brutally rejects her.
With Hero in hiding and falsely reported dead, Beatrice persuades Benedick to fight Claudio. Tragedy is averted when the bumbling city watch, having discovered Don John’s treachery, arrives and clears Hero’s name. With Claudio forgiven, both couples are ready to get married.
and Beatrice his niece, with a Messenger.
LEONATO, ⌜with a letter⌝ 0001 I learn in this letter that Don
0002 Pedro of Aragon comes this night to Messina.
MESSENGER 0003 He is very near by this. He was not three
0004 leagues off when I left him.
LEONATO 0005 5How many gentlemen have you lost in this
MESSENGER 0007 But few of any sort, and none of name.
LEONATO 0008 A victory is twice itself when the achiever
0009 brings home full numbers. I find here that Don
0010 10 Pedro hath bestowed much honor on a young
0011 Florentine called Claudio.
MESSENGER 0012 Much deserved on his part, and equally
0013 remembered by Don Pedro. He hath borne himself
0014 beyond the promise of his age, doing in the figure
0015 15 of a lamb the feats of a lion. He hath indeed better
0016 bettered expectation than you must expect of me to
0017 tell you how.
LEONATO 0018 He hath an uncle here in Messina will be
0019 very much glad of it.
MESSENGER 0020 20I have already delivered him letters, and
0021 there appears much joy in him, even so much that
0022 joy could not show itself modest enough without a
0023 badge of bitterness.
MESSENGER 0025 25In great measure.
LEONATO 0026 A kind overflow of kindness. There are no
0027 faces truer than those that are so washed. How
0028 much better is it to weep at joy than to joy at
BEATRICE 0030 30I pray you, is Signior Mountanto returned
0031 from the wars or no?
MESSENGER 0032 I know none of that name, lady. There
0033 was none such in the army of any sort.
LEONATO 0034 What is he that you ask for, niece?
HERO 0035 35My cousin means Signior Benedick of Padua.
MESSENGER 0036 O, he’s returned, and as pleasant as ever
0037 he was.
BEATRICE 0038 He set up his bills here in Messina and
0039 challenged Cupid at the flight, and my uncle’s Fool,
0040 40 reading the challenge, subscribed for Cupid and
0041 challenged him at the bird-bolt. I pray you, how
0042 many hath he killed and eaten in these wars? But
0043 how many hath he killed? For indeed I promised to
0044 eat all of his killing.
LEONATO 0045 45Faith, niece, you tax Signior Benedick too
0046 much, but he’ll be meet with you, I doubt it not.
MESSENGER 0047 He hath done good service, lady, in these
BEATRICE 0049 You had musty victual, and he hath holp to
0050 50 eat it. He is a very valiant trencherman; he hath an
0051 excellent stomach.
MESSENGER 0052 And a good soldier too, lady.
BEATRICE 0053 And a good soldier to a lady, but what is he
0054 to a lord?
MESSENGER 0055 55A lord to a lord, a man to a man, stuffed
0056 with all honorable virtues.
BEATRICE 0057 It is so indeed. He is no less than a stuffed
0058 man, but for the stuffing—well, we are all mortal.
0060 60 a kind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick and
0061 her. They never meet but there’s a skirmish of wit
0062 between them.
BEATRICE 0063 Alas, he gets nothing by that. In our last
0064 conflict, four of his five wits went halting off, and
0065 65 now is the whole man governed with one, so that if
0066 he have wit enough to keep himself warm, let him
0067 bear it for a difference between himself and his
0068 horse, for it is all the wealth that he hath left to
0069 be known a reasonable creature. Who is his companion
0070 70 now? He hath every month a new sworn
MESSENGER 0072 Is ’t possible?
BEATRICE 0073 Very easily possible. He wears his faith but
0074 as the fashion of his hat; it ever changes with the
0075 75 next block.
MESSENGER 0076 I see, lady, the gentleman is not in your
BEATRICE 0078 No. An he were, I would burn my study. But
0079 I pray you, who is his companion? Is there no
0080 80 young squarer now that will make a voyage with
0081 him to the devil?
MESSENGER 0082 He is most in the company of the right
0083 noble Claudio.
BEATRICE 0084 O Lord, he will hang upon him like a
0085 85 disease! He is sooner caught than the pestilence,
0086 and the taker runs presently mad. God help the
0087 noble Claudio! If he have caught the Benedick, it
0088 will cost him a thousand pound ere he be cured.
MESSENGER 0089 I will hold friends with you, lady.
BEATRICE 0090 90Do, good friend.
LEONATO 0091 You will never run mad, niece.
BEATRICE 0092 No, not till a hot January.
MESSENGER 0093 Don Pedro is approached.
Benedick, Balthasar, and John the Bastard.
PRINCE 0094 Good Signior Leonato, are you come to meet
0095 95 your trouble? The fashion of the world is to avoid
0096 cost, and you encounter it.
LEONATO 0097 Never came trouble to my house in the
0098 likeness of your Grace, for trouble being gone,
0099 comfort should remain, but when you depart from
0100 100 me, sorrow abides and happiness takes his leave.
PRINCE 0101 You embrace your charge too willingly. ⌜Turning
to Hero.⌝ 0102 I think this is your daughter.
LEONATO 0103 Her mother hath many times told me so.
BENEDICK 0104 Were you in doubt, sir, that you asked her?
LEONATO 0105 105Signior Benedick, no, for then were you a
PRINCE 0107 You have it full, Benedick. We may guess by
0108 this what you are, being a man. Truly the lady
0109 fathers herself.—Be happy, lady, for you are like
0110 110 an honorable father.
⌜Leonato and the Prince move aside.⌝
BENEDICK 0111 If Signior Leonato be her father, she would
0112 not have his head on her shoulders for all Messina,
0113 as like him as she is.
BEATRICE 0114 I wonder that you will still be talking, Signior
0115 115 Benedick, nobody marks you.
BENEDICK 0116 What, my dear Lady Disdain! Are you yet
BEATRICE 0118 Is it possible disdain should die while she
0119 hath such meet food to feed it as Signior Benedick?
0120 120 Courtesy itself must convert to disdain if you come
0121 in her presence.
BENEDICK 0122 Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain
0123 I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted; and
0124 I would I could find in my heart that I had not a
0125 125 hard heart, for truly I love none.
0127 else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I
0128 thank God and my cold blood I am of your humor
0129 for that. I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow
0130 130 than a man swear he loves me.
BENEDICK 0131 God keep your Ladyship still in that mind,
0132 so some gentleman or other shall ’scape a predestinate
0133 scratched face.
BEATRICE 0134 Scratching could not make it worse an
0135 135 ’twere such a face as yours were.
BENEDICK 0136 Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher.
BEATRICE 0137 A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of
BENEDICK 0139 I would my horse had the speed of your
0140 140 tongue and so good a continuer, but keep your
0141 way, i’ God’s name, I have done.
BEATRICE 0142 You always end with a jade’s trick. I know
0143 you of old.
⌜Leonato and the Prince come forward.⌝
PRINCE 0144 That is the sum of all, Leonato.—Signior
0145 145 Claudio and Signior Benedick, my dear friend
0146 Leonato hath invited you all. I tell him we shall stay
0147 here at the least a month, and he heartily prays
0148 some occasion may detain us longer. I dare swear
0149 he is no hypocrite, but prays from his heart.
LEONATO 0150 150If you swear, my lord, you shall not be
0151 forsworn. ⌜To Don John.⌝ Let me bid you welcome,
0152 my lord, being reconciled to the Prince your brother,
0153 I owe you all duty.
DON JOHN 0154 I thank you. I am not of many words, but I
0155 155 thank you.
LEONATO 0156 Please it your Grace lead on?
PRINCE 0157 Your hand, Leonato. We will go together.
⌜All⌝ exit except Benedick and Claudio.
CLAUDIO 0158 Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of
0159 Signior Leonato?
CLAUDIO 0161 Is she not a modest young lady?
BENEDICK 0162 Do you question me as an honest man
0163 should do, for my simple true judgment? Or would
0164 you have me speak after my custom, as being a
0165 165 professed tyrant to their sex?
CLAUDIO 0166 No, I pray thee, speak in sober judgment.
BENEDICK 0167 Why, i’ faith, methinks she’s too low for a
0168 high praise, too brown for a fair praise, and too
0169 little for a great praise. Only this commendation I
0170 170 can afford her, that were she other than she is, she
0171 were unhandsome, and being no other but as she is,
0172 I do not like her.
CLAUDIO 0173 Thou thinkest I am in sport. I pray thee tell
0174 me truly how thou lik’st her.
BENEDICK 0175 175Would you buy her that you enquire after
CLAUDIO 0177 Can the world buy such a jewel?
BENEDICK 0178 Yea, and a case to put it into. But speak you
0179 this with a sad brow? Or do you play the flouting
0180 180 jack, to tell us Cupid is a good hare-finder and
0181 Vulcan a rare carpenter? Come, in what key shall a
0182 man take you to go in the song?
CLAUDIO 0183 In mine eye she is the sweetest lady that ever
0184 I looked on.
BENEDICK 0185 185I can see yet without spectacles, and I see
0186 no such matter. There’s her cousin, an she were not
0187 possessed with a fury, exceeds her as much in
0188 beauty as the first of May doth the last of December.
0189 But I hope you have no intent to turn husband, have
0190 190 you?
CLAUDIO 0191 I would scarce trust myself, though I had
0192 sworn the contrary, if Hero would be my wife.
BENEDICK 0193 Is ’t come to this? In faith, hath not the
0194 world one man but he will wear his cap with
0195 195 suspicion? Shall I never see a bachelor of threescore
0197 thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it, and sigh
0198 away Sundays. Look, Don Pedro is returned to seek
Enter Don Pedro, ⌜Prince of Aragon.⌝
PRINCE 0200 200What secret hath held you here that you followed
0201 not to Leonato’s?
BENEDICK 0202 I would your Grace would constrain me to
PRINCE 0204 I charge thee on thy allegiance.
BENEDICK 0205 205You hear, Count Claudio, I can be secret as
0206 a dumb man, I would have you think so, but on my
0207 allegiance—mark you this, on my allegiance—he
0208 is in love. With who? Now, that is your Grace’s part.
0209 Mark how short his answer is: with Hero, Leonato’s
0210 210 short daughter.
CLAUDIO 0211 If this were so, so were it uttered.
BENEDICK 0212 Like the old tale, my lord: “It is not so, nor
0213 ’twas not so, but, indeed, God forbid it should be
CLAUDIO 0215 215If my passion change not shortly, God forbid
0216 it should be otherwise.
PRINCE 0217 Amen, if you love her, for the lady is very well
CLAUDIO 0219 You speak this to fetch me in, my lord.
PRINCE 0220 220By my troth, I speak my thought.
CLAUDIO 0221 And in faith, my lord, I spoke mine.
BENEDICK 0222 And by my two faiths and troths, my lord, I
0223 spoke mine.
CLAUDIO 0224 That I love her, I feel.
PRINCE 0225 225That she is worthy, I know.
BENEDICK 0226 That I neither feel how she should be loved
0227 nor know how she should be worthy is the opinion
0228 that fire cannot melt out of me. I will die in it at the
0231 despite of beauty.
CLAUDIO 0232 And never could maintain his part but in the
0233 force of his will.
BENEDICK 0234 That a woman conceived me, I thank her;
0235 235 that she brought me up, I likewise give her most
0236 humble thanks. But that I will have a recheat
0237 winded in my forehead or hang my bugle in an
0238 invisible baldrick, all women shall pardon me.
0239 Because I will not do them the wrong to mistrust
0240 240 any, I will do myself the right to trust none. And the
0241 fine is, for the which I may go the finer, I will live a
PRINCE 0243 I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with love.
BENEDICK 0244 With anger, with sickness, or with hunger,
0245 245 my lord, not with love. Prove that ever I lose more
0246 blood with love than I will get again with drinking,
0247 pick out mine eyes with a ballad-maker’s pen and
0248 hang me up at the door of a brothel house for the
0249 sign of blind Cupid.
PRINCE 0250 250Well, if ever thou dost fall from this faith, thou
0251 wilt prove a notable argument.
BENEDICK 0252 If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat and
0253 shoot at me, and he that hits me, let him be clapped
0254 on the shoulder and called Adam.
PRINCE 0255 255Well, as time shall try.
0256 In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke.
BENEDICK 0257 The savage bull may, but if ever the sensible
0258 Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull’s horns and set
0259 them in my forehead, and let me be vilely painted,
0260 260 and in such great letters as they write “Here is good
0261 horse to hire” let them signify under my sign “Here
0262 you may see Benedick the married man.”
CLAUDIO 0263 If this should ever happen, thou wouldst be
0266 Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly.
BENEDICK 0267 I look for an earthquake too, then.
PRINCE 0268 Well, you will temporize with the hours. In the
0269 meantime, good Signior Benedick, repair to Leonato’s.
0270 270 Commend me to him, and tell him I will not
0271 fail him at supper, for indeed he hath made great
BENEDICK 0273 I have almost matter enough in me for such
0274 an embassage, and so I commit you—
CLAUDIO 0275 275To the tuition of God. From my house, if I had
PRINCE 0277 The sixth of July. Your loving friend,
BENEDICK 0279 Nay, mock not, mock not. The body of your
0280 280 discourse is sometimes guarded with fragments,
0281 and the guards are but slightly basted on neither.
0282 Ere you flout old ends any further, examine your
0283 conscience. And so I leave you.He exits.
0284 My liege, your Highness now may do me good.
0285 285 My love is thine to teach. Teach it but how,
0286 And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn
0287 Any hard lesson that may do thee good.
0288 Hath Leonato any son, my lord?
0289 No child but Hero; she’s his only heir.
0290 290 Dost thou affect her, Claudio?
CLAUDIO 0291 O, my lord,
0292 When you went onward on this ended action,
0293 I looked upon her with a soldier’s eye,
0294 That liked, but had a rougher task in hand
0295 295 Than to drive liking to the name of love.
0296 But now I am returned and that war thoughts
0298 Come thronging soft and delicate desires,
0299 All prompting me how fair young Hero is,
0300 300 Saying I liked her ere I went to wars.
0301 Thou wilt be like a lover presently
0302 And tire the hearer with a book of words.
0303 If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it,
0304 And I will break with her and with her father,
0305 305 And thou shalt have her. Was ’t not to this end
0306 That thou began’st to twist so fine a story?
0307 How sweetly you do minister to love,
0308 That know love’s grief by his complexion!
0309 But lest my liking might too sudden seem,
0310 310 I would have salved it with a longer treatise.
0311 What need the bridge much broader than the flood?
0312 The fairest grant is the necessity.
0313 Look what will serve is fit. ’Tis once, thou lovest,
0314 And I will fit thee with the remedy.
0315 315 I know we shall have reveling tonight.
0316 I will assume thy part in some disguise
0317 And tell fair Hero I am Claudio,
0318 And in her bosom I’ll unclasp my heart
0319 And take her hearing prisoner with the force
0320 320 And strong encounter of my amorous tale.
0321 Then after to her father will I break,
0322 And the conclusion is, she shall be thine.
0323 In practice let us put it presently.
LEONATO 0324 How now, brother, where is my cousin, your
0325 son? Hath he provided this music?
LEONATO’S BROTHER 0326 He is very busy about it. But,
0327 brother, I can tell you strange news that you yet
0328 5 dreamt not of.
LEONATO 0329 Are they good?
LEONATO’S BROTHER 0330 As the events stamps them, but
0331 they have a good cover; they show well outward.
0332 The Prince and Count Claudio, walking in a thick-pleached
0333 10 alley in mine orchard, were thus much
0334 overheard by a man of mine: the Prince discovered
0335 to Claudio that he loved my niece your daughter and
0336 meant to acknowledge it this night in a dance, and if
0337 he found her accordant, he meant to take the
0338 15 present time by the top and instantly break with you
0339 of it.
LEONATO 0340 Hath the fellow any wit that told you this?
LEONATO’S BROTHER 0341 A good sharp fellow. I will send
0342 for him, and question him yourself.
LEONATO 0343 20No, no, we will hold it as a dream till it
0344 appear itself. But I will acquaint my daughter
0345 withal, that she may be the better prepared for an
0346 answer, if peradventure this be true. Go you and tell
0347 her of it.
⌜Enter Antonio’s son, with a Musician and Attendants.⌝
0348 25 Cousins, you know what you have to do.—O, I cry
0349 you mercy, friend. Go you with me and I will use
0350 your skill.—Good cousin, have a care this busy
CONRADE 0352 What the goodyear, my lord, why are you
0353 thus out of measure sad?
DON JOHN 0354 There is no measure in the occasion that
0355 breeds. Therefore the sadness is without limit.
CONRADE 0356 5You should hear reason.
DON JOHN 0357 And when I have heard it, what blessing
0358 brings it?
CONRADE 0359 If not a present remedy, at least a patient
DON JOHN 0361 10I wonder that thou, being, as thou sayst thou
0362 art, born under Saturn, goest about to apply a moral
0363 medicine to a mortifying mischief. I cannot hide
0364 what I am. I must be sad when I have cause, and
0365 smile at no man’s jests; eat when I have stomach,
0366 15 and wait for no man’s leisure; sleep when I am
0367 drowsy, and tend on no man’s business; laugh when
0368 I am merry, and claw no man in his humor.
CONRADE 0369 Yea, but you must not make the full show of
0370 this till you may do it without controlment. You
0371 20 have of late stood out against your brother, and he
0372 hath ta’en you newly into his grace, where it is
0373 impossible you should take true root but by the fair
0374 weather that you make yourself. It is needful that
0375 you frame the season for your own harvest.
DON JOHN 0376 25I had rather be a canker in a hedge than a
0377 rose in his grace, and it better fits my blood to be
0378 disdained of all than to fashion a carriage to rob
0379 love from any. In this, though I cannot be said to be
0380 a flattering honest man, it must not be denied but I
0381 30 am a plain-dealing villain. I am trusted with a
0382 muzzle and enfranchised with a clog; therefore I
0383 have decreed not to sing in my cage. If I had my
0385 my liking. In the meantime, let me be that I am, and
0386 35 seek not to alter me.
CONRADE 0387 Can you make no use of your discontent?
DON JOHN 0388 I make all use of it, for I use it only. Who
0389 comes here?
0390 What news, Borachio?
BORACHIO 0391 40I came yonder from a great supper. The
0392 Prince your brother is royally entertained by
0393 Leonato, and I can give you intelligence of an
0394 intended marriage.
DON JOHN 0395 Will it serve for any model to build mischief
0396 45 on? What is he for a fool that betroths himself to
BORACHIO 0398 Marry, it is your brother’s right hand.
DON JOHN 0399 Who, the most exquisite Claudio?
BORACHIO 0400 Even he.
DON JOHN 0401 50A proper squire. And who, and who? Which
0402 way looks he?
BORACHIO 0403 Marry, on Hero, the daughter and heir of
DON JOHN 0405 A very forward March chick! How came you
0406 55 to this?
BORACHIO 0407 Being entertained for a perfumer, as I was
0408 smoking a musty room, comes me the Prince and
0409 Claudio, hand in hand, in sad conference. I
0410 whipped me behind the arras, and there heard it
0411 60 agreed upon that the Prince should woo Hero for
0412 himself, and having obtained her, give her to Count
DON JOHN 0414 Come, come, let us thither. This may prove
0415 food to my displeasure. That young start-up hath
0416 65 all the glory of my overthrow. If I can cross him any
0418 will assist me?
CONRADE 0419 To the death, my lord.
DON JOHN 0420 Let us to the great supper. Their cheer is the
0421 70 greater that I am subdued. Would the cook were o’
0422 my mind! Shall we go prove what’s to be done?
BORACHIO 0423 We’ll wait upon your Lordship.
Beatrice his niece, ⌜with Ursula and Margaret.⌝
LEONATO 0424 Was not Count John here at supper?
LEONATO’S BROTHER 0425 I saw him not.
BEATRICE 0426 How tartly that gentleman looks! I never
0427 can see him but I am heartburned an hour after.
HERO 0428 5He is of a very melancholy disposition.
BEATRICE 0429 He were an excellent man that were made
0430 just in the midway between him and Benedick. The
0431 one is too like an image and says nothing, and the
0432 other too like my lady’s eldest son, evermore
0433 10 tattling.
LEONATO 0434 Then half Signior Benedick’s tongue in
0435 Count John’s mouth, and half Count John’s melancholy
0436 in Signior Benedick’s face—
BEATRICE 0437 With a good leg and a good foot, uncle, and
0438 15 money enough in his purse, such a man would win
0439 any woman in the world if he could get her
LEONATO 0441 By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee a
0442 husband if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.
LEONATO’S BROTHER 0443 20In faith, she’s too curst.
BEATRICE 0444 Too curst is more than curst. I shall lessen
0445 God’s sending that way, for it is said “God sends a
0447 sends none.
LEONATO 0448 25So, by being too curst, God will send you no
BEATRICE 0450 Just, if He send me no husband, for the
0451 which blessing I am at Him upon my knees every
0452 morning and evening. Lord, I could not endure a
0453 30 husband with a beard on his face. I had rather lie in
0454 the woolen!
LEONATO 0455 You may light on a husband that hath no
BEATRICE 0457 What should I do with him? Dress him in my
0458 35 apparel and make him my waiting gentlewoman?
0459 He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he
0460 that hath no beard is less than a man; and he that is
0461 more than a youth is not for me, and he that is less
0462 than a man, I am not for him. Therefore I will even
0463 40 take sixpence in earnest of the bearherd, and lead
0464 his apes into hell.
LEONATO 0465 Well then, go you into hell?
BEATRICE 0466 No, but to the gate, and there will the devil
0467 meet me like an old cuckold with horns on his
0468 45 head, and say “Get you to heaven, Beatrice, get you
0469 to heaven; here’s no place for you maids.” So deliver
0470 I up my apes and away to Saint Peter; for the
0471 heavens, he shows me where the bachelors sit, and
0472 there live we as merry as the day is long.
LEONATO’S BROTHER, ⌜to Hero⌝ 0473 50Well, niece, I trust you
0474 will be ruled by your father.
BEATRICE 0475 Yes, faith, it is my cousin’s duty to make
0476 curtsy and say “Father, as it please you.” But yet for
0477 all that, cousin, let him be a handsome fellow, or
0478 55 else make another curtsy and say “Father, as it
0479 please me.”
LEONATO 0480 Well, niece, I hope to see you one day fitted
0481 with a husband.
0483 60 than earth. Would it not grieve a woman to be
0484 overmastered with a piece of valiant dust? To make
0485 an account of her life to a clod of wayward marl?
0486 No, uncle, I’ll none. Adam’s sons are my brethren,
0487 and truly I hold it a sin to match in my kindred.
LEONATO, ⌜to Hero⌝ 0488 65Daughter, remember what I told
0489 you. If the Prince do solicit you in that kind, you
0490 know your answer.
BEATRICE 0491 The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you
0492 be not wooed in good time. If the Prince be too
0493 70 important, tell him there is measure in everything,
0494 and so dance out the answer. For hear me, Hero,
0495 wooing, wedding, and repenting is as a Scotch jig, a
0496 measure, and a cinquepace. The first suit is hot and
0497 hasty like a Scotch jig, and full as fantastical; the
0498 75 wedding, mannerly modest as a measure, full of
0499 state and ancientry; and then comes repentance,
0500 and with his bad legs falls into the cinquepace faster
0501 and faster till he sink into his grave.
LEONATO 0502 Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly.
BEATRICE 0503 80I have a good eye, uncle; I can see a church
0504 by daylight.
LEONATO 0505 The revelers are entering, brother. Make
0506 good room.⌜Leonato and his brother step aside.⌝
Enter, ⌜with a Drum,⌝ Prince Pedro, Claudio, and
Benedick, ⌜Signior Antonio,⌝ and Balthasar, ⌜all in
masks, with Borachio and Don⌝ John.
PRINCE, ⌜to Hero⌝ 0507 Lady, will you walk a bout with your
0508 85 friend?⌜They begin to dance.⌝
HERO 0509 So you walk softly, and look sweetly, and say
0510 nothing, I am yours for the walk, and especially
0511 when I walk away.
PRINCE 0512 With me in your company?
HERO 0513 90I may say so when I please.
HERO 0515 When I like your favor, for God defend the lute
0516 should be like the case.
PRINCE 0517 My visor is Philemon’s roof; within the house
0518 95 is Jove.
HERO 0519 Why, then, your visor should be thatched.
PRINCE 0520 Speak low if you speak love.
⌜They move aside;
Benedick and Margaret move forward.⌝
BENEDICK, ⌜to Margaret⌝ 0521 Well, I would you did like me.
MARGARET 0522 So would not I for your own sake, for I have
0523 100 many ill qualities.
BENEDICK 0524 Which is one?
MARGARET 0525 I say my prayers aloud.
BENEDICK 0526 I love you the better; the hearers may cry
MARGARET 0528 105God match me with a good dancer.
⌜They separate; Benedick moves aside;
Balthasar moves forward.⌝
BALTHASAR 0529 Amen.
MARGARET 0530 And God keep him out of my sight when the
0531 dance is done. Answer, clerk.
BALTHASAR 0532 No more words. The clerk is answered.
⌜They move aside;
Ursula and Antonio move forward.⌝
URSULA 0533 110I know you well enough. You are Signior
ANTONIO 0535 At a word, I am not.
URSULA 0536 I know you by the waggling of your head.
ANTONIO 0537 To tell you true, I counterfeit him.
URSULA 0538 115You could never do him so ill-well unless you
0539 were the very man. Here’s his dry hand up and
0540 down. You are he, you are he.
ANTONIO 0541 At a word, I am not.
URSULA 0542 Come, come, do you think I do not know you
0543 120 by your excellent wit? Can virtue hide itself? Go to,
⌜They move aside;
Benedick and Beatrice move forward.⌝
BEATRICE 0546 Will you not tell me who told you so?
BENEDICK 0547 No, you shall pardon me.
BEATRICE 0548 125Nor will you not tell me who you are?
BENEDICK 0549 Not now.
BEATRICE 0550 That I was disdainful, and that I had my
0551 good wit out of The Hundred Merry Tales! Well, this
0552 was Signior Benedick that said so.
BENEDICK 0553 130What’s he?
BEATRICE 0554 I am sure you know him well enough.
BENEDICK 0555 Not I, believe me.
BEATRICE 0556 Did he never make you laugh?
BENEDICK 0557 I pray you, what is he?
BEATRICE 0558 135Why, he is the Prince’s jester, a very dull
0559 fool; only his gift is in devising impossible slanders.
0560 None but libertines delight in him, and the commendation
0561 is not in his wit but in his villainy, for he
0562 both pleases men and angers them, and then they
0563 140 laugh at him and beat him. I am sure he is in the
0564 fleet.I would he had boarded me.
BENEDICK 0565 When I know the gentleman, I’ll tell him
0566 what you say.
BEATRICE 0567 Do, do. He’ll but break a comparison or two
0568 145 on me, which peradventure not marked or not
0569 laughed at strikes him into melancholy, and then
0570 there’s a partridge wing saved, for the fool will eat
0571 no supper that night. ⌜Music for the dance.⌝ We must
0572 follow the leaders.
BENEDICK 0573 150In every good thing.
BEATRICE 0574 Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them
0575 at the next turning.
Dance. ⌜Then⌝ exit ⌜all except
Don John, Borachio, and Claudio.⌝
0577 on Hero, and hath withdrawn her father to break
0578 155 with him about it. The ladies follow her, and but one
0579 visor remains.
BORACHIO 0580 And that is Claudio. I know him by his
DON JOHN, ⌜to Claudio⌝ 0582 Are not you Signior Benedick?
CLAUDIO 0583 160You know me well. I am he.
DON JOHN 0584 Signior, you are very near my brother in his
0585 love. He is enamored on Hero. I pray you dissuade
0586 him from her. She is no equal for his birth. You
0587 may do the part of an honest man in it.
CLAUDIO 0588 165How know you he loves her?
DON JOHN 0589 I heard him swear his affection.
BORACHIO 0590 So did I too, and he swore he would marry
0591 her tonight.
DON JOHN 0592 Come, let us to the banquet.
They exit. Claudio remains.
0593 170 Thus answer I in name of Benedick,
0594 But hear these ill news with the ears of Claudio.
0595 ’Tis certain so. The Prince woos for himself.
0596 Friendship is constant in all other things
0597 Save in the office and affairs of love.
0598 175 Therefore all hearts in love use their own tongues.
0599 Let every eye negotiate for itself
0600 And trust no agent, for beauty is a witch
0601 Against whose charms faith melteth into blood.
0602 This is an accident of hourly proof,
0603 180 Which I mistrusted not. Farewell therefore, Hero.
BENEDICK 0604 Count Claudio?
CLAUDIO 0605 Yea, the same.
BENEDICK 0606 Come, will you go with me?
CLAUDIO 0607 Whither?
0609 business, county. What fashion will you wear the
0610 garland of? About your neck like an usurer’s chain?
0611 Or under your arm like a lieutenant’s scarf? You
0612 must wear it one way, for the Prince hath got your
0613 190 Hero.
CLAUDIO 0614 I wish him joy of her.
BENEDICK 0615 Why, that’s spoken like an honest drover; so
0616 they sell bullocks. But did you think the Prince
0617 would have served you thus?
CLAUDIO 0618 195I pray you, leave me.
BENEDICK 0619 Ho, now you strike like the blind man.
0620 ’Twas the boy that stole your meat, and you’ll beat
0621 the post.
CLAUDIO 0622 If it will not be, I’ll leave you.He exits.
BENEDICK 0623 200Alas, poor hurt fowl, now will he creep into
0624 sedges. But that my Lady Beatrice should know
0625 me, and not know me! The Prince’s fool! Ha, it may
0626 be I go under that title because I am merry. Yea, but
0627 so I am apt to do myself wrong. I am not so reputed!
0628 205 It is the base, though bitter, disposition of Beatrice
0629 that puts the world into her person and so gives me
0630 out. Well, I’ll be revenged as I may.
Enter the Prince, Hero, ⌜and⌝ Leonato.
PRINCE 0631 Now, signior, where’s the Count? Did you see
BENEDICK 0633 210Troth, my lord, I have played the part of
0634 Lady Fame. I found him here as melancholy as a
0635 lodge in a warren. I told him, and I think I told him
0636 true, that your Grace had got the goodwill of this
0637 young lady, and I offered him my company to a
0638 215 willow tree, either to make him a garland, as being
0639 forsaken, or to bind him up a rod, as being worthy to
0640 be whipped.
PRINCE 0641 To be whipped? What’s his fault?
0643 220 being overjoyed with finding a bird’s nest, shows it
0644 his companion, and he steals it.
PRINCE 0645 Wilt thou make a trust a transgression? The
0646 transgression is in the stealer.
BENEDICK 0647 Yet it had not been amiss the rod had been
0648 225 made, and the garland too, for the garland he
0649 might have worn himself, and the rod he might
0650 have bestowed on you, who, as I take it, have stolen
0651 his bird’s nest.
PRINCE 0652 I will but teach them to sing and restore them
0653 230 to the owner.
BENEDICK 0654 If their singing answer your saying, by my
0655 faith, you say honestly.
PRINCE 0656 The Lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you. The
0657 gentleman that danced with her told her she is
0658 235 much wronged by you.
BENEDICK 0659 O, she misused me past the endurance of a
0660 block! An oak but with one green leaf on it would
0661 have answered her. My very visor began to assume
0662 life and scold with her. She told me, not thinking I
0663 240 had been myself, that I was the Prince’s jester, that I
0664 was duller than a great thaw, huddling jest upon jest
0665 with such impossible conveyance upon me that I
0666 stood like a man at a mark with a whole army
0667 shooting at me. She speaks poniards, and every
0668 245 word stabs. If her breath were as terrible as her
0669 terminations, there were no living near her; she
0670 would infect to the North Star. I would not marry
0671 her though she were endowed with all that Adam
0672 had left him before he transgressed. She would have
0673 250 made Hercules have turned spit, yea, and have cleft
0674 his club to make the fire, too. Come, talk not of her.
0675 You shall find her the infernal Ate in good apparel. I
0676 would to God some scholar would conjure her, for
0677 certainly, while she is here, a man may live as quiet
0679 purpose because they would go thither. So indeed
0680 all disquiet, horror, and perturbation follows her.
Enter Claudio and Beatrice.
PRINCE 0681 Look, here she comes.
BENEDICK 0682 Will your Grace command me any service
0683 260 to the world’s end? I will go on the slightest errand
0684 now to the Antipodes that you can devise to send
0685 me on. I will fetch you a toothpicker now from the
0686 furthest inch of Asia, bring you the length of Prester
0687 John’s foot, fetch you a hair off the great Cham’s
0688 265 beard, do you any embassage to the Pygmies, rather
0689 than hold three words’ conference with this harpy.
0690 You have no employment for me?
PRINCE 0691 None but to desire your good company.
BENEDICK 0692 O God, sir, here’s a dish I love not! I cannot
0693 270 endure my Lady Tongue.He exits.
PRINCE, ⌜to Beatrice⌝ 0694 Come, lady, come, you have lost
0695 the heart of Signior Benedick.
BEATRICE 0696 Indeed, my lord, he lent it me awhile, and I
0697 gave him use for it, a double heart for his single
0698 275 one. Marry, once before he won it of me with false
0699 dice. Therefore your Grace may well say I have lost
PRINCE 0701 You have put him down, lady, you have put
0702 him down.
BEATRICE 0703 280So I would not he should do me, my lord,
0704 lest I should prove the mother of fools. I have
0705 brought Count Claudio, whom you sent me to seek.
PRINCE 0706 Why, how now, count, wherefore are you sad?
CLAUDIO 0707 Not sad, my lord.
PRINCE 0708 285How then, sick?
CLAUDIO 0709 Neither, my lord.
BEATRICE 0710 The Count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry,
0712 something of that jealous complexion.
PRINCE 0713 290I’ faith, lady, I think your blazon to be true,
0714 though I’ll be sworn, if he be so, his conceit is
0715 false.—Here, Claudio, I have wooed in thy name,
0716 and fair Hero is won. I have broke with her father
0717 and his goodwill obtained. Name the day of marriage,
0718 295 and God give thee joy.
LEONATO 0719 Count, take of me my daughter, and with her
0720 my fortunes. His Grace hath made the match, and
0721 all grace say “Amen” to it.
BEATRICE 0722 Speak, count, ’tis your cue.
CLAUDIO 0723 300Silence is the perfectest herald of joy. I were
0724 but little happy if I could say how much.—Lady, as
0725 you are mine, I am yours. I give away myself for you
0726 and dote upon the exchange.
BEATRICE 0727 Speak, cousin, or, if you cannot, stop his
0728 305 mouth with a kiss and let not him speak neither.
PRINCE 0729 In faith, lady, you have a merry heart.
BEATRICE 0730 Yea, my lord. I thank it, poor fool, it keeps on
0731 the windy side of care. My cousin tells him in his ear
0732 that he is in her heart.
CLAUDIO 0733 310And so she doth, cousin.
BEATRICE 0734 Good Lord for alliance! Thus goes everyone
0735 to the world but I, and I am sunburnt. I may sit in a
0736 corner and cry “Heigh-ho for a husband!”
PRINCE 0737 Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.
BEATRICE 0738 315I would rather have one of your father’s
0739 getting. Hath your Grace ne’er a brother like you?
0740 Your father got excellent husbands, if a maid could
0741 come by them.
PRINCE 0742 Will you have me, lady?
BEATRICE 0743 320No, my lord, unless I might have another for
0744 working days. Your Grace is too costly to wear
0745 every day. But I beseech your Grace pardon me. I
0746 was born to speak all mirth and no matter.
0748 325 best becomes you, for out o’ question you were
0749 born in a merry hour.
BEATRICE 0750 No, sure, my lord, my mother cried, but then
0751 there was a star danced, and under that was I
0752 born.—Cousins, God give you joy!
LEONATO 0753 330Niece, will you look to those things I told
0754 you of?
BEATRICE 0755 I cry you mercy, uncle.—By your Grace’s
0756 pardon.Beatrice exits.
PRINCE 0757 By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady.
LEONATO 0758 335There’s little of the melancholy element in
0759 her, my lord. She is never sad but when she sleeps,
0760 and not ever sad then, for I have heard my daughter
0761 say she hath often dreamt of unhappiness and
0762 waked herself with laughing.
PRINCE 0763 340She cannot endure to hear tell of a husband.
LEONATO 0764 O, by no means. She mocks all her wooers
0765 out of suit.
PRINCE 0766 She were an excellent wife for Benedick.
LEONATO 0767 O Lord, my lord, if they were but a week
0768 345 married, they would talk themselves mad.
PRINCE 0769 County Claudio, when mean you to go to
CLAUDIO 0771 Tomorrow, my lord. Time goes on crutches
0772 till love have all his rites.
LEONATO 0773 350Not till Monday, my dear son, which is hence
0774 a just sevennight, and a time too brief, too, to have
0775 all things answer my mind.
PRINCE, ⌜to Claudio⌝ 0776 Come, you shake the head at so
0777 long a breathing, but I warrant thee, Claudio, the
0778 355 time shall not go dully by us. I will in the interim
0779 undertake one of Hercules’ labors, which is to bring
0780 Signior Benedick and the Lady Beatrice into a
0781 mountain of affection, th’ one with th’ other. I
0782 would fain have it a match, and I doubt not but to
0784 assistance as I shall give you direction.
LEONATO 0785 My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten
0786 nights’ watchings.
CLAUDIO 0787 And I, my lord.
PRINCE 0788 365And you too, gentle Hero?
HERO 0789 I will do any modest office, my lord, to help my
0790 cousin to a good husband.
PRINCE 0791 And Benedick is not the unhopefullest husband
0792 that I know. Thus far can I praise him: he is of
0793 370 a noble strain, of approved valor, and confirmed
0794 honesty. I will teach you how to humor your
0795 cousin that she shall fall in love with Benedick.—
0796 And I, with your two helps, will so practice on
0797 Benedick that, in despite of his quick wit and his
0798 375 queasy stomach, he shall fall in love with Beatrice.
0799 If we can do this, Cupid is no longer an archer; his
0800 glory shall be ours, for we are the only love gods. Go
0801 in with me, and I will tell you my drift.
DON JOHN 0802 It is so. The Count Claudio shall marry the
0803 daughter of Leonato.
BORACHIO 0804 Yea, my lord, but I can cross it.
DON JOHN 0805 Any bar, any cross, any impediment will be
0806 5 med’cinable to me. I am sick in displeasure to him,
0807 and whatsoever comes athwart his affection ranges
0808 evenly with mine. How canst thou cross this
BORACHIO 0810 Not honestly, my lord, but so covertly that
0811 10 no dishonesty shall appear in me.
DON JOHN 0812 Show me briefly how.
0814 how much I am in the favor of Margaret, the
0815 waiting gentlewoman to Hero.
DON JOHN 0816 15I remember.
BORACHIO 0817 I can, at any unseasonable instant of the
0818 night, appoint her to look out at her lady’s chamber
DON JOHN 0820 What life is in that to be the death of this
0821 20 marriage?
BORACHIO 0822 The poison of that lies in you to temper. Go
0823 you to the Prince your brother; spare not to tell
0824 him that he hath wronged his honor in marrying
0825 the renowned Claudio, whose estimation do you
0826 25 mightily hold up, to a contaminated stale, such a
0827 one as Hero.
DON JOHN 0828 What proof shall I make of that?
BORACHIO 0829 Proof enough to misuse the Prince, to vex
0830 Claudio, to undo Hero, and kill Leonato. Look you
0831 30 for any other issue?
DON JOHN 0832 Only to despite them I will endeavor
BORACHIO 0834 Go then, find me a meet hour to draw Don
0835 Pedro and the Count Claudio alone. Tell them that
0836 35 you know that Hero loves me; intend a kind of zeal
0837 both to the Prince and Claudio, as in love of your
0838 brother’s honor, who hath made this match, and his
0839 friend’s reputation, who is thus like to be cozened
0840 with the semblance of a maid, that you have discovered
0841 40 thus. They will scarcely believe this without
0842 trial. Offer them instances, which shall bear no less
0843 likelihood than to see me at her chamber window,
0844 hear me call Margaret “Hero,” hear Margaret term
0845 me “Claudio,” and bring them to see this the very
0846 45 night before the intended wedding, for in the meantime
0847 I will so fashion the matter that Hero shall be
0848 absent, and there shall appear such seeming truth
0850 assurance and all the preparation overthrown.
DON JOHN 0851 50Grow this to what adverse issue it can, I will
0852 put it in practice. Be cunning in the working this,
0853 and thy fee is a thousand ducats.
BORACHIO 0854 Be you constant in the accusation, and my
0855 cunning shall not shame me.
DON JOHN 0856 55I will presently go learn their day of
BENEDICK 0858 Boy!
BOY 0859 Signior?
BENEDICK 0860 In my chamber window lies a book. Bring it
0861 hither to me in the orchard.
BOY 0862 5I am here already, sir.
BENEDICK 0863 I know that, but I would have thee hence
0864 and here again.⌜Boy⌝ exits.
0865 I do much wonder that one man, seeing how much
0866 another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviors
0867 10 to love, will, after he hath laughed at such
0868 shallow follies in others, become the argument of
0869 his own scorn by falling in love—and such a man is
0870 Claudio. I have known when there was no music
0871 with him but the drum and the fife, and now had he
0872 15 rather hear the tabor and the pipe; I have known
0873 when he would have walked ten mile afoot to see a
0874 good armor, and now will he lie ten nights awake
0875 carving the fashion of a new doublet. He was wont
0876 to speak plain and to the purpose, like an honest
0878 his words are a very fantastical banquet, just so
0879 many strange dishes. May I be so converted and see
0880 with these eyes? I cannot tell; I think not. I will not
0881 be sworn but love may transform me to an oyster,
0882 25 but I’ll take my oath on it, till he have made an
0883 oyster of me, he shall never make me such a fool.
0884 One woman is fair, yet I am well; another is wise, yet
0885 I am well; another virtuous, yet I am well; but till all
0886 graces be in one woman, one woman shall not
0887 30 come in my grace. Rich she shall be, that’s certain;
0888 wise, or I’ll none; virtuous, or I’ll never cheapen
0889 her; fair, or I’ll never look on her; mild, or come not
0890 near me; noble, or not I for an angel; of good
0891 discourse, an excellent musician, and her hair shall
0892 35 be of what color it please God. Ha! The Prince and
0893 Monsieur Love! I will hide me in the arbor.
Enter Prince, Leonato, Claudio, and Balthasar
PRINCE 0894 Come, shall we hear this music?
0895 Yea, my good lord. How still the evening is,
0896 As hushed on purpose to grace harmony!
PRINCE, ⌜aside to Claudio⌝
0897 40 See you where Benedick hath hid himself?
CLAUDIO, ⌜aside to Prince⌝
0898 O, very well my lord. The music ended,
0899 We’ll fit the kid-fox with a pennyworth.
0900 Come, Balthasar, we’ll hear that song again.
0901 O, good my lord, tax not so bad a voice
0902 45 To slander music any more than once.
0903 It is the witness still of excellency
0904 To put a strange face on his own perfection.
0905 I pray thee, sing, and let me woo no more.
0906 Because you talk of wooing, I will sing,
0907 50 Since many a wooer doth commence his suit
0908 To her he thinks not worthy, yet he woos,
0909 Yet will he swear he loves.
PRINCE 0910 Nay, pray thee, come,
0911 Or if thou wilt hold longer argument,
0912 55 Do it in notes.
BALTHASAR 0913 Note this before my notes:
0914 There’s not a note of mine that’s worth the noting.
0915 Why, these are very crotchets that he speaks!
0916 Note notes, forsooth, and nothing.⌜Music plays.⌝
BENEDICK, ⌜aside⌝ 0917 60Now, divine air! Now is his soul
0918 ravished. Is it not strange that sheeps’ guts should
0919 hale souls out of men’s bodies? Well, a horn for my
0920 money, when all’s done.
0921 Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,
0922 65 Men were deceivers ever,
0923 One foot in sea and one on shore,
0924 To one thing constant never.
0925 Then sigh not so, but let them go,
0926 And be you blithe and bonny,
0927 70 Converting all your sounds of woe
0928 Into Hey, nonny nonny.
0929 Sing no more ditties, sing no mo,
0930 Of dumps so dull and heavy.
0931 The fraud of men was ever so,
0932 75 Since summer first was leavy.
0934 And be you blithe and bonny,
0935 Converting all your sounds of woe
0936 Into Hey, nonny nonny.
PRINCE 0937 80By my troth, a good song.
BALTHASAR 0938 And an ill singer, my lord.
PRINCE 0939 Ha, no, no, faith, thou sing’st well enough for a
BENEDICK, ⌜aside⌝ 0941 An he had been a dog that should
0942 85 have howled thus, they would have hanged him. And
0943 I pray God his bad voice bode no mischief. I had as
0944 lief have heard the night raven, come what plague
0945 could have come after it.
PRINCE 0946 Yea, marry, dost thou hear, Balthasar? I pray
0947 90 thee get us some excellent music, for tomorrow
0948 night we would have it at the Lady Hero’s chamber
BALTHASAR 0950 The best I can, my lord.
PRINCE 0951 Do so. Farewell.Balthasar exits.
0952 95 Come hither, Leonato. What was it you told me of
0953 today, that your niece Beatrice was in love with
0954 Signior Benedick?
CLAUDIO 0955 O, ay. ⌜Aside to Prince.⌝ Stalk on, stalk on; the
0956 fowl sits.—I did never think that lady would have
0957 100 loved any man.
LEONATO 0958 No, nor I neither, but most wonderful that
0959 she should so dote on Signior Benedick, whom she
0960 hath in all outward behaviors seemed ever to
BENEDICK, ⌜aside⌝ 0962 105Is ’t possible? Sits the wind in that
LEONATO 0964 By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to
0965 think of it, but that she loves him with an enraged
0966 affection, it is past the infinite of thought.
PRINCE 0967 110Maybe she doth but counterfeit.
CLAUDIO 0968 Faith, like enough.
0970 of passion came so near the life of passion as
0971 she discovers it.
PRINCE 0972 115Why, what effects of passion shows she?
CLAUDIO, ⌜aside to Leonato⌝ 0973 Bait the hook well; this fish
0974 will bite.
LEONATO 0975 What effects, my lord? She will sit you—you
0976 heard my daughter tell you how.
CLAUDIO 0977 120She did indeed.
PRINCE 0978 How, how I pray you? You amaze me. I would
0979 have thought her spirit had been invincible against
0980 all assaults of affection.
LEONATO 0981 I would have sworn it had, my lord, especially
0982 125 against Benedick.
BENEDICK, ⌜aside⌝ 0983 I should think this a gull but that the
0984 white-bearded fellow speaks it. Knavery cannot,
0985 sure, hide himself in such reverence.
CLAUDIO, ⌜aside to Prince⌝ 0986 He hath ta’en th’ infection.
0987 130 Hold it up.
PRINCE 0988 Hath she made her affection known to
LEONATO 0990 No, and swears she never will. That’s her
CLAUDIO 0992 135’Tis true indeed, so your daughter says. “Shall
0993 I,” says she, “that have so oft encountered him with
0994 scorn, write to him that I love him?”
LEONATO 0995 This says she now when she is beginning to
0996 write to him, for she’ll be up twenty times a night,
0997 140 and there will she sit in her smock till she have writ
0998 a sheet of paper. My daughter tells us all.
CLAUDIO 0999 Now you talk of a sheet of paper, I remember
1000 a pretty jest your daughter told ⌜us of.⌝
LEONATO 1001 O, when she had writ it and was reading it
1002 145 over, she found “Benedick” and “Beatrice” between
1003 the sheet?
CLAUDIO 1004 That.
1006 railed at herself that she should be so
1007 150 immodest to write to one that she knew would flout
1008 her. “I measure him,” says she, “by my own spirit,
1009 for I should flout him if he writ to me, yea, though I
1010 love him, I should.”
CLAUDIO 1011 Then down upon her knees she falls, weeps,
1012 155 sobs, beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, curses:
1013 “O sweet Benedick, God give me patience!”
LEONATO 1014 She doth indeed, my daughter says so, and
1015 the ecstasy hath so much overborne her that my
1016 daughter is sometimes afeared she will do a desperate
1017 160 outrage to herself. It is very true.
PRINCE 1018 It were good that Benedick knew of it by some
1019 other, if she will not discover it.
CLAUDIO 1020 To what end? He would make but a sport of it
1021 and torment the poor lady worse.
PRINCE 1022 165An he should, it were an alms to hang him.
1023 She’s an excellent sweet lady, and, out of all suspicion,
1024 she is virtuous.
CLAUDIO 1025 And she is exceeding wise.
PRINCE 1026 In everything but in loving Benedick.
LEONATO 1027 170O, my lord, wisdom and blood combating in
1028 so tender a body, we have ten proofs to one that
1029 blood hath the victory. I am sorry for her, as I have
1030 just cause, being her uncle and her guardian.
PRINCE 1031 I would she had bestowed this dotage on me. I
1032 175 would have daffed all other respects and made her
1033 half myself. I pray you tell Benedick of it, and hear
1034 what he will say.
LEONATO 1035 Were it good, think you?
CLAUDIO 1036 Hero thinks surely she will die, for she says
1037 180 she will die if he love her not, and she will die ere
1038 she make her love known, and she will die if he woo
1039 her rather than she will bate one breath of her
1040 accustomed crossness.
1042 185 her love, ’tis very possible he’ll scorn it, for the man,
1043 as you know all, hath a contemptible spirit.
CLAUDIO 1044 He is a very proper man.
PRINCE 1045 He hath indeed a good outward happiness.
CLAUDIO 1046 Before God, and in my mind, very wise.
PRINCE 1047 190He doth indeed show some sparks that are like
CLAUDIO 1049 And I take him to be valiant.
PRINCE 1050 As Hector, I assure you, and in the managing
1051 of quarrels you may say he is wise, for either he
1052 195 avoids them with great discretion or undertakes
1053 them with a most Christianlike fear.
LEONATO 1054 If he do fear God, he must necessarily keep
1055 peace. If he break the peace, he ought to enter into
1056 a quarrel with fear and trembling.
PRINCE 1057 200And so will he do, for the man doth fear God,
1058 howsoever it seems not in him by some large jests
1059 he will make. Well, I am sorry for your niece. Shall
1060 we go seek Benedick and tell him of her love?
CLAUDIO 1061 Never tell him, my lord, let her wear it out
1062 205 with good counsel.
LEONATO 1063 Nay, that’s impossible; she may wear her
1064 heart out first.
PRINCE 1065 Well, we will hear further of it by your daughter.
1066 Let it cool the while. I love Benedick well, and I
1067 210 could wish he would modestly examine himself to
1068 see how much he is unworthy so good a lady.
LEONATO 1069 My lord, will you walk? Dinner is ready.
⌜Leonato, Prince, and Claudio begin to exit.⌝
CLAUDIO, ⌜aside to Prince and Leonato⌝ 1070 If he do not
1071 dote on her upon this, I will never trust my
1072 215 expectation.
PRINCE, ⌜aside to Leonato⌝ 1073 Let there be the same net
1074 spread for her, and that must your daughter and her
1075 gentlewomen carry. The sport will be when they
1077 220 such matter. That’s the scene that I would see,
1078 which will be merely a dumb show. Let us send her
1079 to call him in to dinner.
⌜Prince, Leonato, and Claudio exit.⌝
BENEDICK, ⌜coming forward⌝ 1080 This can be no trick. The
1081 conference was sadly borne; they have the truth of
1082 225 this from Hero; they seem to pity the lady. It seems
1083 her affections have their full bent. Love me? Why, it
1084 must be requited! I hear how I am censured. They
1085 say I will bear myself proudly if I perceive the love
1086 come from her. They say, too, that she will rather
1087 230 die than give any sign of affection. I did never think
1088 to marry. I must not seem proud. Happy are they
1089 that hear their detractions and can put them to
1090 mending. They say the lady is fair; ’tis a truth, I can
1091 bear them witness. And virtuous; ’tis so, I cannot
1092 235 reprove it. And wise, but for loving me; by my troth,
1093 it is no addition to her wit, nor no great argument of
1094 her folly, for I will be horribly in love with her! I
1095 may chance have some odd quirks and remnants of
1096 wit broken on me because I have railed so long
1097 240 against marriage, but doth not the appetite alter? A
1098 man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot
1099 endure in his age. Shall quips and sentences and
1100 these paper bullets of the brain awe a man from the
1101 career of his humor? No! The world must be peopled.
1102 245 When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not
1103 think I should live till I were married. Here comes
1104 Beatrice. By this day, she’s a fair lady. I do spy some
1105 marks of love in her.
BEATRICE 1106 Against my will, I am sent to bid you come
1107 250 in to dinner.
BENEDICK 1108 Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains.
1110 you take pains to thank me. If it had been painful, I
1111 would not have come.
BENEDICK 1112 255You take pleasure then in the message?
BEATRICE 1113 Yea, just so much as you may take upon a
1114 knife’s point and choke a daw withal. You have no
1115 stomach, signior. Fare you well.She exits.
BENEDICK 1116 Ha! “Against my will I am sent to bid you
1117 260 come in to dinner.” There’s a double meaning in
1118 that. “I took no more pains for those thanks than
1119 you took pains to thank me.” That’s as much as to
1120 say “Any pains that I take for you is as easy as
1121 thanks.” If I do not take pity of her, I am a villain; if I
1122 265 do not love her, I am a Jew. I will go get her picture.
1123 Good Margaret, run thee to the parlor.
1124 There shalt thou find my cousin Beatrice
1125 Proposing with the Prince and Claudio.
1126 Whisper her ear and tell her I and Ursula
1127 5 Walk in the orchard, and our whole discourse
1128 Is all of her. Say that thou overheardst us,
1129 And bid her steal into the pleachèd bower
1130 Where honeysuckles ripened by the sun
1131 Forbid the sun to enter, like favorites,
1132 10 Made proud by princes, that advance their pride
1133 Against that power that bred it. There will she hide
1135 To listen our propose. This is thy office.
1136 Bear thee well in it, and leave us alone.
1137 15 I’ll make her come, I warrant you, presently.
1138 Now, Ursula, when Beatrice doth come,
1139 As we do trace this alley up and down,
1140 Our talk must only be of Benedick.
1141 When I do name him, let it be thy part
1142 20 To praise him more than ever man did merit.
1144 Is sick in love with Beatrice. Of this matter
1145 Is little Cupid’s crafty arrow made,
1146 That only wounds by hearsay. Now begin,
1147 25 For look where Beatrice like a lapwing runs
1148 Close by the ground, to hear our conference.
Enter Beatrice, ⌜who hides in the bower.⌝
URSULA, ⌜aside to Hero⌝
1149 The pleasant’st angling is to see the fish
1150 Cut with her golden oars the silver stream
1151 And greedily devour the treacherous bait.
1152 30 So angle we for Beatrice, who even now
1153 Is couchèd in the woodbine coverture.
1154 Fear you not my part of the dialogue.
HERO, ⌜aside to Ursula⌝
1155 Then go we near her, that her ear lose nothing
1156 Of the false sweet bait that we lay for it.—
⌜They walk near the bower.⌝
1157 35 No, truly, Ursula, she is too disdainful.
1158 I know her spirits are as coy and wild
1159 As haggards of the rock.
URSULA 1160 But are you sure
1161 That Benedick loves Beatrice so entirely?
1162 40 So says the Prince and my new-trothèd lord.
1163 And did they bid you tell her of it, madam?
1164 They did entreat me to acquaint her of it,
1165 But I persuaded them, if they loved Benedick,
1166 To wish him wrestle with affection
1167 45 And never to let Beatrice know of it.
1168 Why did you so? Doth not the gentleman
1170 As ever Beatrice shall couch upon?
1171 O god of love! I know he doth deserve
1172 50 As much as may be yielded to a man,
1173 But Nature never framed a woman’s heart
1174 Of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice.
1175 Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes,
1176 Misprizing what they look on, and her wit
1177 55 Values itself so highly that to her
1178 All matter else seems weak. She cannot love,
1179 Nor take no shape nor project of affection,
1180 She is so self-endeared.
URSULA 1181 Sure, I think so,
1182 60 And therefore certainly it were not good
1183 She knew his love, lest she’ll make sport at it.
1184 Why, you speak truth. I never yet saw man,
1185 How wise, how noble, young, how rarely featured,
1186 But she would spell him backward. If fair-faced,
1187 65 She would swear the gentleman should be her
1189 If black, why, Nature, drawing of an antic,
1190 Made a foul blot; if tall, a lance ill-headed;
1191 If low, an agate very vilely cut;
1192 70 If speaking, why, a vane blown with all winds;
1193 If silent, why, a block moved with none.
1194 So turns she every man the wrong side out,
1195 And never gives to truth and virtue that
1196 Which simpleness and merit purchaseth.
1197 75 Sure, sure, such carping is not commendable.
1198 No, not to be so odd and from all fashions
1199 As Beatrice is cannot be commendable.
1200 But who dare tell her so? If I should speak,
1202 80 me
1203 Out of myself, press me to death with wit.
1204 Therefore let Benedick, like covered fire,
1205 Consume away in sighs, waste inwardly.
1206 It were a better death than die with mocks,
1207 85 Which is as bad as die with tickling.
1208 Yet tell her of it. Hear what she will say.
1209 No, rather I will go to Benedick
1210 And counsel him to fight against his passion;
1211 And truly I’ll devise some honest slanders
1212 90 To stain my cousin with. One doth not know
1213 How much an ill word may empoison liking.
1214 O, do not do your cousin such a wrong!
1215 She cannot be so much without true judgment,
1216 Having so swift and excellent a wit
1217 95 As she is prized to have, as to refuse
1218 So rare a gentleman as Signior Benedick.
1219 He is the only man of Italy,
1220 Always excepted my dear Claudio.
1221 I pray you be not angry with me, madam,
1222 100 Speaking my fancy: Signior Benedick,
1223 For shape, for bearing, argument, and valor,
1224 Goes foremost in report through Italy.
1225 Indeed, he hath an excellent good name.
1226 His excellence did earn it ere he had it.
1227 105 When are you married, madam?
1228 Why, every day, tomorrow. Come, go in.
1230 Which is the best to furnish me tomorrow.
⌜They move away from the bower.⌝
URSULA, ⌜aside to Hero⌝
1231 She’s limed, I warrant you. We have caught her,
1232 110 madam.
HERO, ⌜aside to Ursula⌝
1233 If it prove so, then loving goes by haps;
1234 Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.
⌜Hero and Ursula exit.⌝
BEATRICE, ⌜coming forward⌝
1235 What fire is in mine ears? Can this be true?
1236 Stand I condemned for pride and scorn so much?
1237 115 Contempt, farewell, and maiden pride, adieu!
1238 No glory lives behind the back of such.
1239 And Benedick, love on; I will requite thee,
1240 Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand.
1241 If thou dost love, my kindness shall incite thee
1242 120 To bind our loves up in a holy band.
1243 For others say thou dost deserve, and I
1244 Believe it better than reportingly.
PRINCE 1245 I do but stay till your marriage be consummate,
1246 and then go I toward Aragon.
CLAUDIO 1247 I’ll bring you thither, my lord, if you’ll vouchsafe
PRINCE 1249 5Nay, that would be as great a soil in the new
1250 gloss of your marriage as to show a child his new
1251 coat and forbid him to wear it. I will only be bold
1252 with Benedick for his company, for from the crown
1253 of his head to the sole of his foot he is all mirth. He
1255 little hangman dare not shoot at him. He hath a
1256 heart as sound as a bell, and his tongue is the
1257 clapper, for what his heart thinks, his tongue
BENEDICK 1259 15Gallants, I am not as I have been.
LEONATO 1260 So say I. Methinks you are sadder.
CLAUDIO 1261 I hope he be in love.
PRINCE 1262 Hang him, truant! There’s no true drop of
1263 blood in him to be truly touched with love. If he be
1264 20 sad, he wants money.
BENEDICK 1265 I have the toothache.
PRINCE 1266 Draw it.
BENEDICK 1267 Hang it!
CLAUDIO 1268 You must hang it first, and draw it afterwards.
PRINCE 1269 25What, sigh for the toothache?
LEONATO 1270 Where is but a humor or a worm.
BENEDICK 1271 Well, everyone ⌜can⌝ master a grief but he
1272 that has it.
CLAUDIO 1273 Yet say I, he is in love.
PRINCE 1274 30There is no appearance of fancy in him, unless
1275 it be a fancy that he hath to strange disguises, as to
1276 be a Dutchman today, a Frenchman tomorrow, or
1277 in the shape of two countries at once, as a German
1278 from the waist downward, all slops, and a Spaniard
1279 35 from the hip upward, no doublet. Unless he have a
1280 fancy to this foolery, as it appears he hath, he is no
1281 fool for fancy, as you would have it appear he is.
CLAUDIO 1282 If he be not in love with some woman, there
1283 is no believing old signs. He brushes his hat o’
1284 40 mornings. What should that bode?
PRINCE 1285 Hath any man seen him at the barber’s?
CLAUDIO 1286 No, but the barber’s man hath been seen
1287 with him, and the old ornament of his cheek hath
1288 already stuffed tennis balls.
1290 loss of a beard.
PRINCE 1291 Nay, he rubs himself with civet. Can you smell
1292 him out by that?
CLAUDIO 1293 That’s as much as to say, the sweet youth’s in
1294 50 love.
⌜PRINCE⌝ 1295 The greatest note of it is his melancholy.
CLAUDIO 1296 And when was he wont to wash his face?
PRINCE 1297 Yea, or to paint himself? For the which I hear
1298 what they say of him.
CLAUDIO 1299 55Nay, but his jesting spirit, which is now crept
1300 into a lute string and now governed by stops—
PRINCE 1301 Indeed, that tells a heavy tale for him. Conclude,
1302 conclude, he is in love.
CLAUDIO 1303 Nay, but I know who loves him.
PRINCE 1304 60That would I know, too. I warrant, one that
1305 knows him not.
CLAUDIO 1306 Yes, and his ill conditions; and, in despite of
1307 all, dies for him.
PRINCE 1308 She shall be buried with her face upwards.
BENEDICK 1309 65Yet is this no charm for the toothache.—
1310 Old signior, walk aside with me. I have studied eight
1311 or nine wise words to speak to you, which these
1312 hobby-horses must not hear.
⌜Benedick and Leonato exit.⌝
PRINCE 1313 For my life, to break with him about Beatrice!
CLAUDIO 1314 70’Tis even so. Hero and Margaret have by this
1315 played their parts with Beatrice, and then the two
1316 bears will not bite one another when they meet.
Enter John the Bastard.
DON JOHN 1317 My lord and brother, God save you.
PRINCE 1318 Good e’en, brother.
DON JOHN 1319 75If your leisure served, I would speak with
PRINCE 1321 In private?
1323 hear, for what I would speak of concerns him.
PRINCE 1324 80What’s the matter?
DON JOHN, ⌜to Claudio⌝ 1325 Means your Lordship to be
1326 married tomorrow?
PRINCE 1327 You know he does.
DON JOHN 1328 I know not that, when he knows what I
1329 85 know.
CLAUDIO 1330 If there be any impediment, I pray you discover
DON JOHN 1332 You may think I love you not. Let that
1333 appear hereafter, and aim better at me by that I
1334 90 now will manifest. For my brother, I think he holds
1335 you well, and in dearness of heart hath holp to effect
1336 your ensuing marriage—surely suit ill spent and
1337 labor ill bestowed.
PRINCE 1338 Why, what’s the matter?
DON JOHN 1339 95I came hither to tell you; and, circumstances
1340 shortened, for she has been too long
1341 a-talking of, the lady is disloyal.
CLAUDIO 1342 Who, Hero?
DON JOHN 1343 Even she: Leonato’s Hero, your Hero, every
1344 100 man’s Hero.
CLAUDIO 1345 Disloyal?
DON JOHN 1346 The word is too good to paint out her
1347 wickedness. I could say she were worse. Think you
1348 of a worse title, and I will fit her to it. Wonder not
1349 105 till further warrant. Go but with me tonight, you
1350 shall see her chamber window entered, even the
1351 night before her wedding day. If you love her then,
1352 tomorrow wed her. But it would better fit your
1353 honor to change your mind.
CLAUDIO, ⌜to Prince⌝ 1354 110May this be so?
PRINCE 1355 I will not think it.
DON JOHN 1356 If you dare not trust that you see, confess
1357 not that you know. If you will follow me, I will
1359 115 and heard more, proceed accordingly.
CLAUDIO 1360 If I see anything tonight why I should not
1361 marry her, tomorrow in the congregation, where I
1362 should wed, there will I shame her.
PRINCE 1363 And as I wooed for thee to obtain her, I will
1364 120 join with thee to disgrace her.
DON JOHN 1365 I will disparage her no farther till you are
1366 my witnesses. Bear it coldly but till midnight, and
1367 let the issue show itself.
PRINCE 1368 O day untowardly turned!
CLAUDIO 1369 125O mischief strangely thwarting!
DON JOHN 1370 O plague right well prevented! So will you
1371 say when you have seen the sequel.
with the Watch.
DOGBERRY 1372 Are you good men and true?
VERGES 1373 Yea, or else it were pity but they should suffer
1374 salvation, body and soul.
DOGBERRY 1375 Nay, that were a punishment too good for
1376 5 them if they should have any allegiance in them,
1377 being chosen for the Prince’s watch.
VERGES 1378 Well, give them their charge, neighbor
DOGBERRY 1380 First, who think you the most desartless
1381 10 man to be constable?
FIRST WATCHMAN 1382 Hugh Oatcake, sir, or George Seacoal,
1383 for they can write and read.
DOGBERRY 1384 Come hither, neighbor Seacoal. ⌜Seacoal
steps forward.⌝ 1385 God hath blessed you with a good
1387 fortune, but to write and read comes by nature.
⌜SEACOAL⌝ 1388 Both which, master constable—
DOGBERRY 1389 You have. I knew it would be your answer.
1390 Well, for your favor, sir, why, give God thanks, and
1391 20 make no boast of it, and for your writing and
1392 reading, let that appear when there is no need of
1393 such vanity. You are thought here to be the most
1394 senseless and fit man for the constable of the watch;
1395 therefore bear you the lantern. This is your charge:
1396 25 you shall comprehend all vagrom men; you are to
1397 bid any man stand, in the Prince’s name.
⌜SEACOAL⌝ 1398 How if he will not stand?
DOGBERRY 1399 Why, then, take no note of him, but let him
1400 go, and presently call the rest of the watch together
1401 30 and thank God you are rid of a knave.
VERGES 1402 If he will not stand when he is bidden, he is
1403 none of the Prince’s subjects.
DOGBERRY 1404 True, and they are to meddle with none but
1405 the Prince’s subjects.—You shall also make no
1406 35 noise in the streets; for, for the watch to babble and
1407 to talk is most tolerable and not to be endured.
⌜SECOND⌝ WATCHMAN 1408 We will rather sleep than talk.
1409 We know what belongs to a watch.
DOGBERRY 1410 Why, you speak like an ancient and most
1411 40 quiet watchman, for I cannot see how sleeping
1412 should offend; only have a care that your bills be not
1413 stolen. Well, you are to call at all the alehouses and
1414 bid those that are drunk get them to bed.
⌜SEACOAL⌝ 1415 How if they will not?
DOGBERRY 1416 45Why then, let them alone till they are sober.
1417 If they make you not then the better answer, you
1418 may say they are not the men you took them for.
⌜SEACOAL⌝ 1419 Well, sir.
DOGBERRY 1420 If you meet a thief, you may suspect him, by
1421 50 virtue of your office, to be no true man, and for such
1423 them, why, the more is for your honesty.
⌜SEACOAL⌝ 1424 If we know him to be a thief, shall we not
1425 lay hands on him?
DOGBERRY 1426 55Truly, by your office you may, but I think
1427 they that touch pitch will be defiled. The most
1428 peaceable way for you, if you do take a thief, is to
1429 let him show himself what he is and steal out of
1430 your company.
VERGES 1431 60You have been always called a merciful man,
DOGBERRY 1433 Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will,
1434 much more a man who hath any honesty in him.
VERGES, ⌜to the Watch⌝ 1435 If you hear a child cry in the
1436 65 night, you must call to the nurse and bid her still it.
⌜SECOND⌝ WATCHMAN 1437 How if the nurse be asleep and
1438 will not hear us?
DOGBERRY 1439 Why, then depart in peace, and let the
1440 child wake her with crying, for the ewe that will
1441 70 not hear her lamb when it baas will never answer a
1442 calf when he bleats.
VERGES 1443 ’Tis very true.
DOGBERRY 1444 This is the end of the charge. You, constable,
1445 are to present the Prince’s own person. If you
1446 75 meet the Prince in the night, you may stay him.
VERGES 1447 Nay, by ’r Lady, that I think he cannot.
DOGBERRY 1448 Five shillings to one on ’t, with any man that
1449 knows the statutes, he may stay him—marry, not
1450 without the Prince be willing, for indeed the watch
1451 80 ought to offend no man, and it is an offense to stay a
1452 man against his will.
VERGES 1453 By ’r Lady, I think it be so.
DOGBERRY 1454 Ha, ah ha!—Well, masters, goodnight. An
1455 there be any matter of weight chances, call up me.
1456 85 Keep your fellows’ counsels and your own, and
1457 goodnight.—Come, neighbor.
⌜Dogberry and Verges begin to exit.⌝
1459 sit here upon the church bench till two, and then all
1460 to bed.
DOGBERRY 1461 90One word more, honest neighbors. I pray
1462 you watch about Signior Leonato’s door, for the
1463 wedding being there tomorrow, there is a great coil
1464 tonight. Adieu, be vigitant, I beseech you.
⌜Dogberry and Verges⌝ exit.
Enter Borachio and Conrade.
BORACHIO 1465 What, Conrade!
⌜SEACOAL, aside⌝ 1466 95Peace, stir not.
BORACHIO 1467 Conrade, I say!
CONRADE 1468 Here, man, I am at thy elbow.
BORACHIO 1469 Mass, and my elbow itched, I thought there
1470 would a scab follow.
CONRADE 1471 100I will owe thee an answer for that. And now
1472 forward with thy tale.
BORACHIO 1473 Stand thee close, then, under this penthouse,
1474 for it drizzles rain, and I will, like a true
1475 drunkard, utter all to thee.
⌜SEACOAL, aside⌝ 1476 105Some treason, masters. Yet stand
BORACHIO 1478 Therefore know, I have earned of ⌜Don⌝
1479 John a thousand ducats.
CONRADE 1480 Is it possible that any villainy should be so
1481 110 dear?
BORACHIO 1482 Thou shouldst rather ask if it were possible
1483 any villainy should be so rich. For when rich
1484 villains have need of poor ones, poor ones may
1485 make what price they will.
CONRADE 1486 115I wonder at it.
BORACHIO 1487 That shows thou art unconfirmed. Thou
1488 knowest that the fashion of a doublet, or a hat, or a
1489 cloak, is nothing to a man.
BORACHIO 1491 120I mean the fashion.
CONRADE 1492 Yes, the fashion is the fashion.
BORACHIO 1493 Tush, I may as well say the fool’s the fool.
1494 But seest thou not what a deformed thief this
1495 fashion is?
⌜FIRST⌝ WATCHMAN, ⌜aside⌝ 1496 125I know that Deformed. He
1497 has been a vile thief this seven year. He goes up and
1498 down like a gentleman. I remember his name.
BORACHIO 1499 Didst thou not hear somebody?
CONRADE 1500 No, ’twas the vane on the house.
BORACHIO 1501 130Seest thou not, I say, what a deformed thief
1502 this fashion is, how giddily he turns about all the
1503 hot bloods between fourteen and five-and-thirty,
1504 sometimes fashioning them like Pharaoh’s soldiers
1505 in the reechy painting, sometimes like god Bel’s
1506 135 priests in the old church window, sometimes like
1507 the shaven Hercules in the smirched worm-eaten
1508 tapestry, where his codpiece seems as massy as his
CONRADE 1510 All this I see, and I see that the fashion wears
1511 140 out more apparel than the man. But art not thou
1512 thyself giddy with the fashion too, that thou hast
1513 shifted out of thy tale into telling me of the
BORACHIO 1515 Not so, neither. But know that I have tonight
1516 145 wooed Margaret, the Lady Hero’s gentlewoman,
1517 by the name of Hero. She leans me out at
1518 her mistress’ chamber window, bids me a thousand
1519 times goodnight. I tell this tale vilely. I should first
1520 tell thee how the Prince, Claudio, and my master,
1521 150 planted and placed and possessed by my master
1522 Don John, saw afar off in the orchard this amiable
1523 amiable encounter.
CONRADE 1524 And thought they Margaret was Hero?
BORACHIO 1525 Two of them did, the Prince and Claudio,
1527 and partly by his oaths, which first possessed them,
1528 partly by the dark night, which did deceive them,
1529 but chiefly by my villainy, which did confirm any
1530 slander that Don John had made, away went Claudio
1531 160 enraged, swore he would meet her as he was
1532 appointed next morning at the temple, and there,
1533 before the whole congregation, shame her with
1534 what he saw o’ernight and send her home again
1535 without a husband.
FIRST WATCHMAN 1536 165We charge you in the Prince’s name
⌜SEACOAL⌝ 1538 Call up the right Master Constable. ⌜Second
Watchman exits.⌝ 1539 We have here recovered the most
1540 dangerous piece of lechery that ever was known in
1541 170 the commonwealth.
FIRST WATCHMAN 1542 And one Deformed is one of them. I
1543 know him; he wears a lock.
⌜Enter Dogberry, Verges, and Second Watchman.⌝
⌜DOGBERRY⌝ 1544 Masters, masters—
⌜FIRST⌝ WATCHMAN, ⌜to Borachio⌝ 1545 You’ll be made bring
1546 175 Deformed forth, I warrant you.
⌜DOGBERRY, to Borachio and Conrade⌝ 1547 Masters, never
1548 speak, we charge you, let us obey you to go with us.
BORACHIO, ⌜to Conrade⌝ 1549 We are like to prove a goodly
1550 commodity, being taken up of these men’s bills.
CONRADE 1551 180A commodity in question, I warrant you.—
1552 Come, we’ll obey you.
HERO 1553 Good Ursula, wake my cousin Beatrice and
1554 desire her to rise.
URSULA 1555 I will, lady.
HERO 1556 And bid her come hither.
URSULA 1557 5Well.⌜Ursula exits.⌝
MARGARET 1558 Troth, I think your other rebato were
HERO 1560 No, pray thee, good Meg, I’ll wear this.
MARGARET 1561 By my troth, ’s not so good, and I warrant
1562 10 your cousin will say so.
HERO 1563 My cousin’s a fool, and thou art another. I’ll
1564 wear none but this.
MARGARET 1565 I like the new tire within excellently, if the
1566 hair were a thought browner; and your gown’s a
1567 15 most rare fashion, i’ faith. I saw the Duchess of
1568 Milan’s gown that they praise so.
HERO 1569 O, that exceeds, they say.
MARGARET 1570 By my troth, ’s but a nightgown ⌜in⌝ respect
1571 of yours—cloth o’ gold, and cuts, and laced with
1572 20 silver, set with pearls, down sleeves, side sleeves,
1573 and skirts round underborne with a bluish tinsel.
1574 But for a fine, quaint, graceful, and excellent fashion,
1575 yours is worth ten on ’t.
HERO 1576 God give me joy to wear it, for my heart is
1577 25 exceeding heavy.
MARGARET 1578 ’Twill be heavier soon by the weight of a
HERO 1580 Fie upon thee! Art not ashamed?
MARGARET 1581 Of what, lady? Of speaking honorably? Is
1582 30 not marriage honorable in a beggar? Is not your
1583 lord honorable without marriage? I think you
1584 would have me say “Saving your reverence, a husband.”
1585 An bad thinking do not wrest true speaking,
1587 35 for a husband”? None, I think, an it be the right
1588 husband and the right wife. Otherwise, ’tis light and
1589 not heavy. Ask my lady Beatrice else. Here she
HERO 1591 Good morrow, coz.
BEATRICE 1592 40Good morrow, sweet Hero.
HERO 1593 Why, how now? Do you speak in the sick tune?
BEATRICE 1594 I am out of all other tune, methinks.
MARGARET 1595 Clap ’s into “Light o’ love.” That goes
1596 without a burden. Do you sing it, and I’ll dance it.
BEATRICE 1597 45You light o’ love with your heels! Then, if
1598 your husband have stables enough, you’ll see he
1599 shall lack no barns.
MARGARET 1600 O, illegitimate construction! I scorn that
1601 with my heels.
BEATRICE 1602 50’Tis almost five o’clock, cousin. ’Tis time
1603 you were ready. By my troth, I am exceeding ill.
MARGARET 1605 For a hawk, a horse, or a husband?
BEATRICE 1606 For the letter that begins them all, H.
MARGARET 1607 55Well, an you be not turned Turk, there’s no
1608 more sailing by the star.
BEATRICE 1609 What means the fool, trow?
MARGARET 1610 Nothing, I; but God send everyone their
1611 heart’s desire.
HERO 1612 60These gloves the Count sent me, they are an
1613 excellent perfume.
BEATRICE 1614 I am stuffed, cousin. I cannot smell.
MARGARET 1615 A maid, and stuffed! There’s goodly catching
1616 of cold.
BEATRICE 1617 65O, God help me, God help me! How long
1618 have you professed apprehension?
1620 become me rarely?
BEATRICE 1621 It is not seen enough; you should wear it in
1622 70 your cap. By my troth, I am sick.
MARGARET 1623 Get you some of this distilled carduus benedictus
1624 and lay it to your heart. It is the only thing for
1625 a qualm.
HERO 1626 There thou prick’st her with a thistle.
BEATRICE 1627 75Benedictus! Why benedictus? You have some
1628 moral in this benedictus?
MARGARET 1629 Moral? No, by my troth, I have no moral
1630 meaning; I meant plain holy thistle. You may think
1631 perchance that I think you are in love. Nay, by ’r
1632 80 Lady, I am not such a fool to think what I list, nor I
1633 list not to think what I can, nor indeed I cannot
1634 think, if I would think my heart out of thinking, that
1635 you are in love or that you will be in love or that you
1636 can be in love. Yet Benedick was such another, and
1637 85 now is he become a man. He swore he would never
1638 marry, and yet now, in despite of his heart, he eats
1639 his meat without grudging. And how you may be
1640 converted I know not, but methinks you look with
1641 your eyes as other women do.
BEATRICE 1642 90What pace is this that thy tongue keeps?
MARGARET 1643 Not a false gallop.
URSULA 1644 Madam, withdraw. The Prince, the Count,
1645 Signior Benedick, Don John, and all the gallants of
1646 the town are come to fetch you to church.
HERO 1647 95Help to dress me, good coz, good Meg, good
⌜Verges,⌝ the Headborough.
LEONATO 1649 What would you with me, honest neighbor?
DOGBERRY 1650 Marry, sir, I would have some confidence
1651 with you that decerns you nearly.
LEONATO 1652 Brief, I pray you, for you see it is a busy time
1653 5 with me.
DOGBERRY 1654 Marry, this it is, sir.
VERGES 1655 Yes, in truth, it is, sir.
LEONATO 1656 What is it, my good friends?
DOGBERRY 1657 Goodman Verges, sir, speaks a little off the
1658 10 matter. An old man, sir, and his wits are not so blunt
1659 as, God help, I would desire they were, but, in faith,
1660 honest as the skin between his brows.
VERGES 1661 Yes, I thank God I am as honest as any man
1662 living that is an old man and no honester than I.
DOGBERRY 1663 15Comparisons are odorous. Palabras, neighbor
LEONATO 1665 Neighbors, you are tedious.
DOGBERRY 1666 It pleases your Worship to say so, but we
1667 are the poor duke’s officers. But truly, for mine
1668 20 own part, if I were as tedious as a king, I could find
1669 in my heart to bestow it all of your Worship.
LEONATO 1670 All thy tediousness on me, ah?
DOGBERRY 1671 Yea, an ’twere a thousand pound more
1672 than ’tis, for I hear as good exclamation on your
1673 25 Worship as of any man in the city, and though I be
1674 but a poor man, I am glad to hear it.
VERGES 1675 And so am I.
LEONATO 1676 I would fain know what you have to say.
VERGES 1677 Marry, sir, our watch tonight, excepting your
1678 30 Worship’s presence, ha’ ta’en a couple of as arrant
1679 knaves as any in Messina.
DOGBERRY 1680 A good old man, sir. He will be talking. As
1682 help us, it is a world to see!—Well said, i’ faith,
1683 35 neighbor Verges.—Well, God’s a good man. An two
1684 men ride of a horse, one must ride behind. An
1685 honest soul, i’ faith, sir, by my troth he is, as ever
1686 broke bread, but God is to be worshiped, all men
1687 are not alike, alas, good neighbor.
LEONATO 1688 40Indeed, neighbor, he comes too short of you.
DOGBERRY 1689 Gifts that God gives.
LEONATO 1690 I must leave you.
DOGBERRY 1691 One word, sir. Our watch, sir, have indeed
1692 comprehended two aspicious persons, and we
1693 45 would have them this morning examined before
1694 your Worship.
LEONATO 1695 Take their examination yourself and bring it
1696 me. I am now in great haste, as it may appear unto
DOGBERRY 1698 50It shall be suffigance.
LEONATO 1699 Drink some wine ere you go. Fare you well.
⌜Enter a Messenger.⌝
MESSENGER 1700 My lord, they stay for you to give your
1701 daughter to her husband.
LEONATO 1702 I’ll wait upon them. I am ready.
He exits, ⌜with the Messenger.⌝
DOGBERRY 1703 55Go, good partner, go, get you to Francis
1704 Seacoal. Bid him bring his pen and inkhorn to the
1705 jail. We are now to examination these men.
VERGES 1706 And we must do it wisely.
DOGBERRY 1707 We will spare for no wit, I warrant you.
1708 60 Here’s that shall drive some of them to a noncome.
1709 Only get the learned writer to set down our excommunication
1710 and meet me at the jail.
Claudio, Benedick, Hero, and Beatrice, ⌜with
LEONATO 1711 Come, Friar Francis, be brief, only to the
1712 plain form of marriage, and you shall recount their
1713 particular duties afterwards.
FRIAR, ⌜to Claudio⌝ 1714 You come hither, my lord, to marry
1715 5 this lady?
CLAUDIO 1716 No.
LEONATO 1717 To be married to her.—Friar, you come to
1718 marry her.
FRIAR 1719 Lady, you come hither to be married to this
1720 10 count?
HERO 1721 I do.
FRIAR 1722 If either of you know any inward impediment
1723 why you should not be conjoined, I charge you on
1724 your souls to utter it.
CLAUDIO 1725 15Know you any, Hero?
HERO 1726 None, my lord.
FRIAR 1727 Know you any, count?
LEONATO 1728 I dare make his answer, none.
CLAUDIO 1729 O, what men dare do! What men may do!
1730 20 What men daily do, not knowing what they do!
BENEDICK 1731 How now, interjections? Why, then, some
1732 be of laughing, as ah, ha, he!
1733 Stand thee by, friar.—Father, by your leave,
1734 Will you with free and unconstrainèd soul
1735 25 Give me this maid, your daughter?
1736 As freely, son, as God did give her me.
1737 And what have I to give you back whose worth
1738 May counterpoise this rich and precious gift?
1739 Nothing, unless you render her again.
1740 30 Sweet prince, you learn me noble thankfulness.—
1741 There, Leonato, take her back again.
1742 Give not this rotten orange to your friend.
1743 She’s but the sign and semblance of her honor.
1744 Behold how like a maid she blushes here!
1745 35 O, what authority and show of truth
1746 Can cunning sin cover itself withal!
1747 Comes not that blood as modest evidence
1748 To witness simple virtue? Would you not swear,
1749 All you that see her, that she were a maid,
1750 40 By these exterior shows? But she is none.
1751 She knows the heat of a luxurious bed.
1752 Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty.
1753 What do you mean, my lord?
CLAUDIO 1754 Not to be married,
1755 45 Not to knit my soul to an approvèd wanton.
1756 Dear my lord, if you in your own proof
1757 Have vanquished the resistance of her youth,
1758 And made defeat of her virginity—
1759 I know what you would say: if I have known her,
1760 50 You will say she did embrace me as a husband,
1762 No, Leonato,
1763 I never tempted her with word too large,
1764 But, as a brother to his sister, showed
1765 55 Bashful sincerity and comely love.
1766 And seemed I ever otherwise to you?
1767 Out on thee, seeming! I will write against it.
1768 You seem to me as Dian in her orb,
1769 As chaste as is the bud ere it be blown.
1770 60 But you are more intemperate in your blood
1771 Than Venus, or those pampered animals
1772 That rage in savage sensuality.
1773 Is my lord well that he doth speak so wide?
1774 Sweet prince, why speak not you?
PRINCE 1775 65 What should I
1777 I stand dishonored that have gone about
1778 To link my dear friend to a common stale.
1779 Are these things spoken, or do I but dream?
1780 70 Sir, they are spoken, and these things are true.
BENEDICK 1781 This looks not like a nuptial.
HERO 1782 True! O God!
CLAUDIO 1783 Leonato, stand I here?
1784 Is this the Prince? Is this the Prince’s brother?
1785 75 Is this face Hero’s? Are our eyes our own?
1786 All this is so, but what of this, my lord?
1787 Let me but move one question to your daughter,
1789 That you have in her, bid her answer truly.
1790 80 I charge thee do so, as thou art my child.
1791 O, God defend me, how am I beset!—
1792 What kind of catechizing call you this?
1793 To make you answer truly to your name.
1794 Is it not Hero? Who can blot that name
1795 85 With any just reproach?
CLAUDIO 1796 Marry, that can Hero!
1797 Hero itself can blot out Hero’s virtue.
1798 What man was he talked with you yesternight
1799 Out at your window betwixt twelve and one?
1800 90 Now, if you are a maid, answer to this.
1801 I talked with no man at that hour, my lord.
1802 Why, then, are you no maiden.—Leonato,
1803 I am sorry you must hear. Upon mine honor,
1804 Myself, my brother, and this grievèd count
1805 95 Did see her, hear her, at that hour last night
1806 Talk with a ruffian at her chamber window,
1807 Who hath indeed, most like a liberal villain,
1808 Confessed the vile encounters they have had
1809 A thousand times in secret.
1810 100 Fie, fie, they are not to be named, my lord,
1811 Not to be spoke of!
1812 There is not chastity enough in language,
1813 Without offense, to utter them.—Thus, pretty lady,
1814 I am sorry for thy much misgovernment.
1815 105 O Hero, what a Hero hadst thou been
1817 About thy thoughts and counsels of thy heart!
1818 But fare thee well, most foul, most fair. Farewell,
1819 Thou pure impiety and impious purity.
1820 110 For thee I’ll lock up all the gates of love
1821 And on my eyelids shall conjecture hang,
1822 To turn all beauty into thoughts of harm,
1823 And never shall it more be gracious.
1824 Hath no man’s dagger here a point for me?
1825 115 Why, how now, cousin, wherefore sink you down?
1826 Come, let us go. These things, come thus to light,
1827 Smother her spirits up.
⌜Claudio, Prince, and Don John exit.⌝
1828 How doth the lady?
BEATRICE 1829 Dead, I think.—Help, uncle!—
1830 120 Hero, why Hero! Uncle! Signior Benedick! Friar!
1831 O Fate, take not away thy heavy hand!
1832 Death is the fairest cover for her shame
1833 That may be wished for.
BEATRICE 1834 How now, cousin Hero?⌜Hero stirs.⌝
FRIAR, ⌜to Hero⌝ 1835 125Have comfort, lady.
LEONATO, ⌜to Hero⌝
1836 Dost thou look up?
FRIAR 1837 Yea, wherefore should she not?
1838 Wherefore? Why, doth not every earthly thing
1839 Cry shame upon her? Could she here deny
1840 130 The story that is printed in her blood?—
1841 Do not live, Hero, do not ope thine eyes,
1842 For, did I think thou wouldst not quickly die,
1844 Myself would, on the rearward of reproaches,
1845 135 Strike at thy life. Grieved I I had but one?
1846 Chid I for that at frugal Nature’s frame?
1847 O, one too much by thee! Why had I one?
1848 Why ever wast thou lovely in my eyes?
1849 Why had I not with charitable hand
1850 140 Took up a beggar’s issue at my gates,
1851 Who, smirchèd thus, and mired with infamy,
1852 I might have said “No part of it is mine;
1853 This shame derives itself from unknown loins”?
1854 But mine, and mine I loved, and mine I praised,
1855 145 And mine that I was proud on, mine so much
1856 That I myself was to myself not mine,
1857 Valuing of her—why she, O she, is fall’n
1858 Into a pit of ink, that the wide sea
1859 Hath drops too few to wash her clean again,
1860 150 And salt too little which may season give
1861 To her foul tainted flesh!
BENEDICK 1862 Sir, sir, be patient.
1863 For my part, I am so attired in wonder
1864 I know not what to say.
1865 155 O, on my soul, my cousin is belied!
1866 Lady, were you her bedfellow last night?
1867 No, truly not, although until last night
1868 I have this twelvemonth been her bedfellow.
1869 Confirmed, confirmed! O, that is stronger made
1870 160 Which was before barred up with ribs of iron!
1871 Would the two princes lie and Claudio lie,
1872 Who loved her so that, speaking of her foulness,
1873 Washed it with tears? Hence from her. Let her die!
FRIAR 1874 Hear me a little,
1876 And given way unto this course of fortune,
1877 By noting of the lady. I have marked
1878 A thousand blushing apparitions
1879 To start into her face, a thousand innocent shames
1880 170 In angel whiteness beat away those blushes,
1881 And in her eye there hath appeared a fire
1882 To burn the errors that these princes hold
1883 Against her maiden truth. Call me a fool,
1884 Trust not my reading nor my observations,
1885 175 Which with experimental seal doth warrant
1886 The tenor of my book; trust not my age,
1887 My reverence, calling, nor divinity,
1888 If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here
1889 Under some biting error.
LEONATO 1890 180 Friar, it cannot be.
1891 Thou seest that all the grace that she hath left
1892 Is that she will not add to her damnation
1893 A sin of perjury. She not denies it.
1894 Why seek’st thou then to cover with excuse
1895 185 That which appears in proper nakedness?
1896 Lady, what man is he you are accused of?
1897 They know that do accuse me. I know none.
1898 If I know more of any man alive
1899 Than that which maiden modesty doth warrant,
1900 190 Let all my sins lack mercy!—O my father,
1901 Prove you that any man with me conversed
1902 At hours unmeet, or that I yesternight
1903 Maintained the change of words with any creature,
1904 Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death!
1905 195 There is some strange misprision in the princes.
1906 Two of them have the very bent of honor,
1908 The practice of it lives in John the Bastard,
1909 Whose spirits toil in frame of villainies.
1910 200 I know not. If they speak but truth of her,
1911 These hands shall tear her. If they wrong her honor,
1912 The proudest of them shall well hear of it.
1913 Time hath not yet so dried this blood of mine,
1914 Nor age so eat up my invention,
1915 205 Nor fortune made such havoc of my means,
1916 Nor my bad life reft me so much of friends,
1917 But they shall find, awaked in such a kind,
1918 Both strength of limb and policy of mind,
1919 Ability in means and choice of friends,
1920 210 To quit me of them throughly.
FRIAR 1921 Pause awhile,
1922 And let my counsel sway you in this case.
1923 Your daughter here the princes left for dead.
1924 Let her awhile be secretly kept in,
1925 215 And publish it that she is dead indeed.
1926 Maintain a mourning ostentation,
1927 And on your family’s old monument
1928 Hang mournful epitaphs and do all rites
1929 That appertain unto a burial.
1930 220 What shall become of this? What will this do?
1931 Marry, this well carried shall on her behalf
1932 Change slander to remorse. That is some good.
1933 But not for that dream I on this strange course,
1934 But on this travail look for greater birth.
1935 225 She, dying, as it must be so maintained,
1936 Upon the instant that she was accused,
1937 Shall be lamented, pitied, and excused
1938 Of every hearer. For it so falls out
1939 That what we have we prize not to the worth
1941 Why then we rack the value, then we find
1942 The virtue that possession would not show us
1943 Whiles it was ours. So will it fare with Claudio.
1944 When he shall hear she died upon his words,
1945 235 Th’ idea of her life shall sweetly creep
1946 Into his study of imagination,
1947 And every lovely organ of her life
1948 Shall come appareled in more precious habit,
1949 More moving, delicate, and full of life,
1950 240 Into the eye and prospect of his soul,
1951 Than when she lived indeed. Then shall he mourn,
1952 If ever love had interest in his liver,
1953 And wish he had not so accused her,
1954 No, though he thought his accusation true.
1955 245 Let this be so, and doubt not but success
1956 Will fashion the event in better shape
1957 Than I can lay it down in likelihood.
1958 But if all aim but this be leveled false,
1959 The supposition of the lady’s death
1960 250 Will quench the wonder of her infamy.
1961 And if it sort not well, you may conceal her,
1962 As best befits her wounded reputation,
1963 In some reclusive and religious life,
1964 Out of all eyes, tongues, minds, and injuries.
1965 255 Signior Leonato, let the Friar advise you.
1966 And though you know my inwardness and love
1967 Is very much unto the Prince and Claudio,
1968 Yet, by mine honor, I will deal in this
1969 As secretly and justly as your soul
1970 260 Should with your body.
LEONATO 1971 Being that I flow in grief,
1972 The smallest twine may lead me.
1973 ’Tis well consented. Presently away,
1975 265 cure.—
1976 Come, lady, die to live. This wedding day
1977 Perhaps is but prolonged. Have patience and
⌜All but Beatrice and Benedick⌝ exit.
BENEDICK 1979 Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while?
BEATRICE 1980 270Yea, and I will weep a while longer.
BENEDICK 1981 I will not desire that.
BEATRICE 1982 You have no reason. I do it freely.
BENEDICK 1983 Surely I do believe your fair cousin is
BEATRICE 1985 275Ah, how much might the man deserve of me
1986 that would right her!
BENEDICK 1987 Is there any way to show such friendship?
BEATRICE 1988 A very even way, but no such friend.
BENEDICK 1989 May a man do it?
BEATRICE 1990 280It is a man’s office, but not yours.
BENEDICK 1991 I do love nothing in the world so well as
1992 you. Is not that strange?
BEATRICE 1993 As strange as the thing I know not. It were as
1994 possible for me to say I loved nothing so well as you,
1995 285 but believe me not, and yet I lie not; I confess
1996 nothing, nor I deny nothing. I am sorry for my
BENEDICK 1998 By my sword, Beatrice, thou lovest me!
BEATRICE 1999 Do not swear and eat it.
BENEDICK 2000 290I will swear by it that you love me, and I will
2001 make him eat it that says I love not you.
BEATRICE 2002 Will you not eat your word?
BENEDICK 2003 With no sauce that can be devised to it. I
2004 protest I love thee.
BEATRICE 2005 295Why then, God forgive me.
BENEDICK 2006 What offense, sweet Beatrice?
BEATRICE 2007 You have stayed me in a happy hour. I was
2008 about to protest I loved you.
BEATRICE 2010 300I love you with so much of my heart that
2011 none is left to protest.
BENEDICK 2012 Come, bid me do anything for thee.
BEATRICE 2013 Kill Claudio.
BENEDICK 2014 Ha! Not for the wide world.
BEATRICE 2015 305You kill me to deny it. Farewell.
⌜She begins to exit.⌝
BENEDICK 2016 Tarry, sweet Beatrice.
BEATRICE 2017 I am gone, though I am here. There is no
2018 love in you. Nay, I pray you let me go.
BENEDICK 2019 Beatrice—
BEATRICE 2020 310In faith, I will go.
BENEDICK 2021 We’ll be friends first.
BEATRICE 2022 You dare easier be friends with me than
2023 fight with mine enemy.
BENEDICK 2024 Is Claudio thine enemy?
BEATRICE 2025 315Is he not approved in the height a villain
2026 that hath slandered, scorned, dishonored my kinswoman?
2027 O, that I were a man! What, bear her in
2028 hand until they come to take hands, and then, with
2029 public accusation, uncovered slander, unmitigated
2030 320 rancor—O God, that I were a man! I would eat his
2031 heart in the marketplace.
BENEDICK 2032 Hear me, Beatrice—
BEATRICE 2033 Talk with a man out at a window! A proper
BENEDICK 2035 325Nay, but Beatrice—
BEATRICE 2036 Sweet Hero, she is wronged, she is slandered,
2037 she is undone.
BENEDICK 2038 Beat—
BEATRICE 2039 Princes and counties! Surely a princely testimony,
2040 330 a goodly count, Count Comfect, a sweet
2041 gallant, surely! O, that I were a man for his sake! Or
2042 that I had any friend would be a man for my sake!
2043 But manhood is melted into curtsies, valor into
2045 335 and trim ones, too. He is now as valiant as Hercules
2046 that only tells a lie and swears it. I cannot be a man
2047 with wishing; therefore I will die a woman with
BENEDICK 2049 Tarry, good Beatrice. By this hand, I love
2050 340 thee.
BEATRICE 2051 Use it for my love some other way than
2052 swearing by it.
BENEDICK 2053 Think you in your soul the Count Claudio
2054 hath wronged Hero?
BEATRICE 2055 345Yea, as sure as I have a thought or a soul.
BENEDICK 2056 Enough, I am engaged. I will challenge
2057 him. I will kiss your hand, and so I leave you. By
2058 this hand, Claudio shall render me a dear account.
2059 As you hear of me, so think of me. Go comfort your
2060 350 cousin. I must say she is dead, and so farewell.
Town Clerk, ⌜or Sexton,⌝ in gowns, ⌜with the Watch,
Conrade, and⌝ Borachio.
⌜DOGBERRY⌝ 2061 Is our whole dissembly appeared?
⌜VERGES⌝ 2062 O, a stool and a cushion for the Sexton.
⌜A stool is brought in; the Sexton sits.⌝
SEXTON 2063 Which be the malefactors?
⌜DOGBERRY⌝ 2064 Marry, that am I, and my partner.
⌜VERGES⌝ 2065 5Nay, that’s certain, we have the exhibition to
SEXTON 2067 But which are the offenders that are to be
2068 examined? Let them come before Master
⌜Conrade and Borachio are brought forward.⌝
2071 What is your name, friend?
BORACHIO 2072 Borachio.
⌜DOGBERRY⌝ 2073 Pray, write down “Borachio.”—Yours,
CONRADE 2075 15I am a gentleman, sir, and my name is
⌜DOGBERRY⌝ 2077 Write down “Master Gentleman Conrade.”—
2078 Masters, do you serve God?
BORACHIO/CONRADE 2079 Yea, sir, we hope.
⌜DOGBERRY⌝ 2080 20Write down that they hope they serve
2081 God; and write God first, for God defend but God
2082 should go before such villains!—Masters, it is
2083 proved already that you are little better than false
2084 knaves, and it will go near to be thought so shortly.
2085 25 How answer you for yourselves?
CONRADE 2086 Marry, sir, we say we are none.
⌜DOGBERRY⌝ 2087 A marvelous witty fellow, I assure you,
2088 but I will go about with him.—Come you hither,
2089 sirrah, a word in your ear. Sir, I say to you it is
2090 30 thought you are false knaves.
BORACHIO 2091 Sir, I say to you we are none.
⌜DOGBERRY⌝ 2092 Well, stand aside.—’Fore God, they are
2093 both in a tale. Have you writ down that they are
SEXTON 2095 35Master constable, you go not the way to
2096 examine. You must call forth the watch that are
2097 their accusers.
⌜DOGBERRY⌝ 2098 Yea, marry, that’s the eftest way.—Let
2099 the watch come forth. Masters, I charge you in the
2100 40 Prince’s name, accuse these men.
FIRST WATCHMAN 2101 This man said, sir, that Don John, the
2102 Prince’s brother, was a villain.
⌜DOGBERRY⌝ 2103 Write down Prince John a villain. Why,
2104 this is flat perjury, to call a prince’s brother villain!
⌜DOGBERRY⌝ 2106 Pray thee, fellow, peace. I do not like thy
2107 look, I promise thee.
SEXTON, ⌜to Watch⌝ 2108 What heard you him say else?
⌜SEACOAL⌝ 2109 Marry, that he had received a thousand
2110 50 ducats of Don John for accusing the Lady Hero
⌜DOGBERRY⌝ 2112 Flat burglary as ever was committed.
⌜VERGES⌝ 2113 Yea, by Mass, that it is.
SEXTON 2114 What else, fellow?
FIRST WATCHMAN 2115 55And that Count Claudio did mean,
2116 upon his words, to disgrace Hero before the whole
2117 assembly, and not marry her.
⌜DOGBERRY, to Borachio⌝ 2118 O, villain! Thou wilt be condemned
2119 into everlasting redemption for this!
SEXTON 2120 60What else?
⌜SEACOAL⌝ 2121 This is all.
SEXTON 2122 And this is more, masters, than you can deny.
2123 Prince John is this morning secretly stolen away.
2124 Hero was in this manner accused, in this very
2125 65 manner refused, and upon the grief of this suddenly
2126 died.—Master constable, let these men be bound
2127 and brought to Leonato’s. I will go before and show
2128 him their examination.⌜He exits.⌝
⌜DOGBERRY⌝ 2129 Come, let them be opinioned.
⌜VERGES⌝ 2130 70Let them be in the hands—
⌜CONRADE⌝ 2131 Off, coxcomb!
⌜DOGBERRY⌝ 2132 God’s my life, where’s the Sexton? Let
2133 him write down the Prince’s officer “coxcomb.”
2134 Come, bind them.—Thou naughty varlet!
⌜CONRADE⌝ 2135 75Away! You are an ass, you are an ass!
⌜DOGBERRY⌝ 2136 Dost thou not suspect my place? Dost
2137 thou not suspect my years? O, that he were here to
2138 write me down an ass! But masters, remember that
2139 I am an ass, though it be not written down, yet
2140 80 forget not that I am an ass.—No, thou villain, thou
2142 good witness. I am a wise fellow and, which is more,
2143 an officer and, which is more, a householder and,
2144 which is more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any is in
2145 85 Messina, and one that knows the law, go to, and a
2146 rich fellow enough, go to, and a fellow that hath had
2147 losses, and one that hath two gowns and everything
2148 handsome about him.—Bring him away.—O, that I
2149 had been writ down an ass!
2150 If you go on thus, you will kill yourself,
2151 And ’tis not wisdom thus to second grief
2152 Against yourself.
LEONATO 2153 I pray thee, cease thy counsel,
2154 5 Which falls into mine ears as profitless
2155 As water in a sieve. Give not me counsel,
2156 Nor let no comforter delight mine ear
2157 But such a one whose wrongs do suit with mine.
2158 Bring me a father that so loved his child,
2159 10 Whose joy of her is overwhelmed like mine,
2160 And bid him speak of patience.
2161 Measure his woe the length and breadth of mine,
2162 And let it answer every strain for strain,
2163 As thus for thus, and such a grief for such,
2164 15 In every lineament, branch, shape, and form.
2165 If such a one will smile and stroke his beard,
2166 ⌜Bid⌝ sorrow wag, cry “hem” when he should
2168 Patch grief with proverbs, make misfortune drunk
2169 20 With candle-wasters, bring him yet to me,
2170 And I of him will gather patience.
2171 But there is no such man. For, brother, men
2173 Which they themselves not feel, but tasting it,
2174 25 Their counsel turns to passion, which before
2175 Would give preceptial med’cine to rage,
2176 Fetter strong madness in a silken thread,
2177 Charm ache with air and agony with words.
2178 No, no, ’tis all men’s office to speak patience
2179 30 To those that wring under the load of sorrow,
2180 But no man’s virtue nor sufficiency
2181 To be so moral when he shall endure
2182 The like himself. Therefore give me no counsel.
2183 My griefs cry louder than advertisement.
2184 35 Therein do men from children nothing differ.
2185 I pray thee, peace. I will be flesh and blood,
2186 For there was never yet philosopher
2187 That could endure the toothache patiently,
2188 However they have writ the style of gods
2189 40 And made a push at chance and sufferance.
2190 Yet bend not all the harm upon yourself.
2191 Make those that do offend you suffer too.
2192 There thou speak’st reason. Nay, I will do so.
2193 My soul doth tell me Hero is belied,
2194 45 And that shall Claudio know; so shall the Prince
2195 And all of them that thus dishonor her.
Enter Prince and Claudio.
2196 Here comes the Prince and Claudio hastily.
2197 Good e’en, good e’en.
CLAUDIO 2198 Good day to both of you.
2199 50 Hear you, my lords—
PRINCE 2200 We have some haste,
2202 Some haste, my lord! Well, fare you well, my lord.
2203 Are you so hasty now? Well, all is one.
2204 55 Nay, do not quarrel with us, good old man.
2205 If he could right himself with quarrelling,
2206 Some of us would lie low.
CLAUDIO 2207 Who wrongs him?
2208 Marry, thou dost wrong me, thou dissembler, thou.
2209 60 Nay, never lay thy hand upon thy sword.
2210 I fear thee not.
CLAUDIO 2211 Marry, beshrew my hand
2212 If it should give your age such cause of fear.
2213 In faith, my hand meant nothing to my sword.
2214 65 Tush, tush, man, never fleer and jest at me.
2215 I speak not like a dotard nor a fool,
2216 As under privilege of age to brag
2217 What I have done being young, or what would do
2218 Were I not old. Know, Claudio, to thy head,
2219 70 Thou hast so wronged mine innocent child and me
2220 That I am forced to lay my reverence by,
2221 And with gray hairs and bruise of many days
2222 Do challenge thee to trial of a man.
2223 I say thou hast belied mine innocent child.
2224 75 Thy slander hath gone through and through her
2226 And she lies buried with her ancestors,
2227 O, in a tomb where never scandal slept,
2228 Save this of hers, framed by thy villainy.
2229 80 My villainy?
LEONATO 2230 Thine, Claudio, thine, I say.
2231 You say not right, old man.
LEONATO 2232 My lord, my lord,
2233 I’ll prove it on his body if he dare,
2234 85 Despite his nice fence and his active practice,
2235 His May of youth and bloom of lustihood.
2236 Away! I will not have to do with you.
2237 Canst thou so daff me? Thou hast killed my child.
2238 If thou kill’st me, boy, thou shalt kill a man.
2239 90 He shall kill two of us, and men indeed,
2240 But that’s no matter. Let him kill one first.
2241 Win me and wear me! Let him answer me.—
2242 Come, follow me, boy. Come, sir boy, come, follow
2244 95 Sir boy, I’ll whip you from your foining fence,
2245 Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will.
LEONATO 2246 Brother—
2247 Content yourself. God knows I loved my niece,
2248 And she is dead, slandered to death by villains
2249 100 That dare as well answer a man indeed
2250 As I dare take a serpent by the tongue.—
2251 Boys, apes, braggarts, jacks, milksops!
LEONATO 2252 Brother Anthony—
2253 Hold you content. What, man! I know them, yea,
2254 105 And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple—
2255 Scambling, outfacing, fashionmonging boys,
2256 That lie and cog and flout, deprave and slander,
2257 Go anticly and show outward hideousness,
2259 110 How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst,
2260 And this is all.
LEONATO 2261 But brother Anthony—
LEONATO’S BROTHER 2262 Come, ’tis no matter.
2263 Do not you meddle. Let me deal in this.
2264 115 Gentlemen both, we will not wake your patience.
2265 My heart is sorry for your daughter’s death,
2266 But, on my honor, she was charged with nothing
2267 But what was true and very full of proof.
LEONATO 2268 My lord, my lord—
PRINCE 2269 120I will not hear you.
2270 No? Come, brother, away. I will be heard.
2271 And shall, or some of us will smart for it.
⌜Leonato and his brother⌝ exit.
2272 See, see, here comes the man we went to seek.
CLAUDIO 2273 Now, signior, what news?
BENEDICK, ⌜to Prince⌝ 2274 125Good day, my lord.
PRINCE 2275 Welcome, signior. You are almost come to
2276 part almost a fray.
CLAUDIO 2277 We had ⌜like⌝ to have had our two noses
2278 snapped off with two old men without teeth.
PRINCE 2279 130Leonato and his brother. What think’st thou?
2280 Had we fought, I doubt we should have been too
2281 young for them.
BENEDICK 2282 In a false quarrel there is no true valor. I
2283 came to seek you both.
CLAUDIO 2284 135We have been up and down to seek thee, for
2285 we are high-proof melancholy and would fain have
2286 it beaten away. Wilt thou use thy wit?
PRINCE 2288 Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side?
CLAUDIO 2289 140Never any did so, though very many have
2290 been beside their wit. I will bid thee draw, as we do
2291 the minstrels: draw to pleasure us.
PRINCE 2292 As I am an honest man, he looks pale.—Art
2293 thou sick, or angry?
CLAUDIO, ⌜to Benedick⌝ 2294 145What, courage, man! What
2295 though care killed a cat? Thou hast mettle enough
2296 in thee to kill care.
BENEDICK 2297 Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career, an
2298 you charge it against me. I pray you, choose another
2299 150 subject.
CLAUDIO, ⌜to Prince⌝ 2300 Nay, then, give him another staff.
2301 This last was broke ’cross.
PRINCE 2302 By this light, he changes more and more. I
2303 think he be angry indeed.
CLAUDIO 2304 155If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle.
BENEDICK 2305 Shall I speak a word in your ear?
CLAUDIO 2306 God bless me from a challenge!
BENEDICK, ⌜aside to Claudio⌝ 2307 You are a villain. I jest
2308 not. I will make it good how you dare, with what you
2309 160 dare, and when you dare. Do me right, or I will
2310 protest your cowardice. You have killed a sweet
2311 lady, and her death shall fall heavy on you. Let me
2312 hear from you.
CLAUDIO 2313 Well, I will meet you, so I may have good
2314 165 cheer.
PRINCE 2315 What, a feast, a feast?
CLAUDIO 2316 I’ faith, I thank him. He hath bid me to a
2317 calf’s head and a capon, the which if I do not carve
2318 most curiously, say my knife’s naught. Shall I not
2319 170 find a woodcock too?
BENEDICK 2320 Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes easily.
PRINCE 2321 I’ll tell thee how Beatrice praised thy wit the
2322 other day. I said thou hadst a fine wit. “True,” said
2324 175 “Right,” says she, “a great gross one.” “Nay,” said I,
2325 “a good wit.” “Just,” said she, “it hurts nobody.”
2326 “Nay,” said I, “the gentleman is wise.” “Certain,”
2327 said she, “a wise gentleman.” “Nay,” said I, “he
2328 hath the tongues.” “That I believe,” said she, “for he
2329 180 swore a thing to me on Monday night which he
2330 forswore on Tuesday morning; there’s a double
2331 tongue, there’s two tongues.” Thus did she an hour
2332 together transshape thy particular virtues. Yet at
2333 last she concluded with a sigh, thou wast the
2334 185 proper’st man in Italy.
CLAUDIO 2335 For the which she wept heartily and said she
2336 cared not.
PRINCE 2337 Yea, that she did. But yet for all that, an if she
2338 did not hate him deadly, she would love him
2339 190 dearly. The old man’s daughter told us all.
CLAUDIO 2340 All, all. And, moreover, God saw him when
2341 he was hid in the garden.
PRINCE 2342 But when shall we set the savage bull’s horns
2343 on the sensible Benedick’s head?
CLAUDIO 2344 195Yea, and text underneath: “Here dwells Benedick,
2345 the married man”?
BENEDICK 2346 Fare you well, boy. You know my mind. I
2347 will leave you now to your gossip-like humor. You
2348 break jests as braggarts do their blades, which, God
2349 200 be thanked, hurt not.—My lord, for your many
2350 courtesies I thank you. I must discontinue your
2351 company. Your brother the Bastard is fled from
2352 Messina. You have among you killed a sweet and
2353 innocent lady. For my Lord Lackbeard there, he and
2354 205 I shall meet, and till then peace be with him.
PRINCE 2355 He is in earnest.
CLAUDIO 2356 In most profound earnest, and, I’ll warrant
2357 you, for the love of Beatrice.
CLAUDIO 2359 210Most sincerely.
PRINCE 2360 What a pretty thing man is when he goes in his
2361 doublet and hose and leaves off his wit!
CLAUDIO 2362 He is then a giant to an ape; but then is an ape
2363 a doctor to such a man.
PRINCE 2364 215But soft you, let me be. Pluck up, my heart,
2365 and be sad. Did he not say my brother was fled?
Enter Constables ⌜Dogberry and Verges, and the Watch,
with⌝ Conrade and Borachio.
⌜DOGBERRY⌝ 2366 Come you, sir. If justice cannot tame you,
2367 she shall ne’er weigh more reasons in her balance.
2368 Nay, an you be a cursing hypocrite once, you must
2369 220 be looked to.
PRINCE 2370 How now, two of my brother’s men bound?
2371 Borachio one!
CLAUDIO 2372 Hearken after their offense, my lord.
PRINCE 2373 Officers, what offense have these men done?
⌜DOGBERRY⌝ 2374 225Marry, sir, they have committed false
2375 report; moreover, they have spoken untruths;
2376 secondarily, they are slanders; sixth and lastly, they
2377 have belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified unjust
2378 things; and, to conclude, they are lying knaves.
PRINCE 2379 230First, I ask thee what they have done; thirdly, I
2380 ask thee what’s their offense; sixth and lastly, why
2381 they are committed; and, to conclude, what you lay
2382 to their charge.
CLAUDIO 2383 Rightly reasoned, and in his own division;
2384 235 and, by my troth, there’s one meaning well suited.
PRINCE, ⌜to Borachio and Conrade⌝ 2385 Who have you offended,
2386 masters, that you are thus bound to your
2387 answer? This learned constable is too cunning to be
2388 understood. What’s your offense?
BORACHIO 2389 240Sweet prince, let me go no farther to mine
2390 answer. Do you hear me, and let this count kill me.
2392 wisdoms could not discover, these shallow fools
2393 have brought to light, who in the night overheard
2394 245 me confessing to this man how Don John your
2395 brother incensed me to slander the Lady Hero, how
2396 you were brought into the orchard and saw me
2397 court Margaret in Hero’s garments, how you disgraced
2398 her when you should marry her. My villainy
2399 250 they have upon record, which I had rather seal with
2400 my death than repeat over to my shame. The lady is
2401 dead upon mine and my master’s false accusation.
2402 And, briefly, I desire nothing but the reward of a
PRINCE, ⌜to Claudio⌝
2404 255 Runs not this speech like iron through your blood?
2405 I have drunk poison whiles he uttered it.
PRINCE, ⌜to Borachio⌝
2406 But did my brother set thee on to this?
BORACHIO 2407 Yea, and paid me richly for the practice of
2409 260 He is composed and framed of treachery,
2410 And fled he is upon this villainy.
2411 Sweet Hero, now thy image doth appear
2412 In the rare semblance that I loved it first.
⌜DOGBERRY⌝ 2413 Come, bring away the plaintiffs. By this
2414 265 time our sexton hath reformed Signior Leonato of
2415 the matter. And, masters, do not forget to specify,
2416 when time and place shall serve, that I am an ass.
⌜VERGES⌝ 2417 Here, here comes Master Signior Leonato,
2418 and the Sexton too.
Enter Leonato, his brother, and the Sexton.
2419 270 Which is the villain? Let me see his eyes,
2420 That, when I note another man like him,
2421 I may avoid him. Which of these is he?
2422 If you would know your wronger, look on me.
2423 Art thou the slave that with thy breath hast killed
2424 275 Mine innocent child?
BORACHIO 2425 Yea, even I alone.
2426 No, not so, villain, thou beliest thyself.
2427 Here stand a pair of honorable men—
2428 A third is fled—that had a hand in it.—
2429 280 I thank you, princes, for my daughter’s death.
2430 Record it with your high and worthy deeds.
2431 ’Twas bravely done, if you bethink you of it.
2432 I know not how to pray your patience,
2433 Yet I must speak. Choose your revenge yourself.
2434 285 Impose me to what penance your invention
2435 Can lay upon my sin. Yet sinned I not
2436 But in mistaking.
PRINCE 2437 By my soul, nor I,
2438 And yet to satisfy this good old man
2439 290 I would bend under any heavy weight
2440 That he’ll enjoin me to.
2441 I cannot bid you bid my daughter live—
2442 That were impossible—but, I pray you both,
2443 Possess the people in Messina here
2444 295 How innocent she died. And if your love
2445 Can labor aught in sad invention,
2446 Hang her an epitaph upon her tomb
2447 And sing it to her bones. Sing it tonight.
2448 Tomorrow morning come you to my house,
2450 Be yet my nephew. My brother hath a daughter,
2451 Almost the copy of my child that’s dead,
2452 And she alone is heir to both of us.
2453 Give her the right you should have giv’n her cousin,
2454 305 And so dies my revenge.
CLAUDIO 2455 O, noble sir!
2456 Your overkindness doth wring tears from me.
2457 I do embrace your offer and dispose
2458 For henceforth of poor Claudio.
2459 310 Tomorrow then I will expect your coming.
2460 Tonight I take my leave. This naughty man
2461 Shall face to face be brought to Margaret,
2462 Who I believe was packed in all this wrong,
2463 Hired to it by your brother.
BORACHIO 2464 315No, by my soul, she was not,
2465 Nor knew not what she did when she spoke to me,
2466 But always hath been just and virtuous
2467 In anything that I do know by her.
⌜DOGBERRY, to Leonato⌝ 2468 Moreover, sir, which indeed is
2469 320 not under white and black, this plaintiff here, the
2470 offender, did call me ass. I beseech you, let it be
2471 remembered in his punishment. And also the watch
2472 heard them talk of one Deformed. They say he
2473 wears a key in his ear and a lock hanging by it and
2474 325 borrows money in God’s name, the which he hath
2475 used so long and never paid that now men grow
2476 hardhearted and will lend nothing for God’s sake.
2477 Pray you, examine him upon that point.
LEONATO 2478 I thank thee for thy care and honest pains.
⌜DOGBERRY⌝ 2479 330Your Worship speaks like a most thankful
2480 and reverent youth, and I praise God for you.
LEONATO, ⌜giving him money⌝ 2481 There’s for thy pains.
⌜DOGBERRY⌝ 2482 God save the foundation.
2484 335 thank thee.
⌜DOGBERRY⌝ 2485 I leave an arrant knave with your Worship,
2486 which I beseech your Worship to correct
2487 yourself, for the example of others. God keep your
2488 Worship! I wish your Worship well. God restore you
2489 340 to health. I humbly give you leave to depart, and if a
2490 merry meeting may be wished, God prohibit it.—
2491 Come, neighbor.⌜Dogberry and Verges exit.⌝
2492 Until tomorrow morning, lords, farewell.
2493 Farewell, my lords. We look for you tomorrow.
2494 345 We will not fail.
CLAUDIO 2495 Tonight I’ll mourn with Hero.
LEONATO, ⌜to Watch⌝
2496 Bring you these fellows on.—We’ll talk with
2498 How her acquaintance grew with this lewd fellow.
BENEDICK 2499 Pray thee, sweet Mistress Margaret, deserve
2500 well at my hands by helping me to the speech of
MARGARET 2502 Will you then write me a sonnet in praise
2503 5 of my beauty?
BENEDICK 2504 In so high a style, Margaret, that no man
2505 living shall come over it, for in most comely truth
2506 thou deservest it.
MARGARET 2507 To have no man come over me? Why, shall I
2508 10 always keep below stairs?
2510 mouth; it catches.
MARGARET 2511 And yours as blunt as the fencer’s foils,
2512 which hit but hurt not.
BENEDICK 2513 15A most manly wit, Margaret; it will not hurt
2514 a woman. And so, I pray thee, call Beatrice. I give
2515 thee the bucklers.
MARGARET 2516 Give us the swords; we have bucklers of our
BENEDICK 2518 20If you use them, Margaret, you must put in
2519 the pikes with a vice, and they are dangerous
2520 weapons for maids.
MARGARET 2521 Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who I
2522 think hath legs.
BENEDICK 2523 25And therefore will come.
⌜Sings⌝ 2524 The god of love
2525 That sits above,
2526 And knows me, and knows me,
2527 How pitiful I deserve—
2528 30 I mean in singing. But in loving, Leander the good
2529 swimmer, Troilus the first employer of panders, and
2530 a whole book full of these quondam carpetmongers,
2531 whose names yet run smoothly in the even
2532 road of a blank verse, why, they were never so truly
2533 35 turned over and over as my poor self in love. Marry,
2534 I cannot show it in rhyme. I have tried. I can find out
2535 no rhyme to “lady” but “baby”—an innocent
2536 rhyme; for “scorn,” “horn”—a hard rhyme; for
2537 “school,” “fool”—a babbling rhyme; very ominous
2538 40 endings. No, I was not born under a rhyming
2539 planet, nor I cannot woo in festival terms.
2540 Sweet Beatrice, wouldst thou come when I called
BENEDICK 2543 45O, stay but till then!
BEATRICE 2544 “Then” is spoken. Fare you well now. And
2545 yet, ere I go, let me go with that I came, which is,
2546 with knowing what hath passed between you and
BENEDICK 2548 50Only foul words, and thereupon I will kiss
BEATRICE 2550 Foul words is but foul wind, and foul wind is
2551 but foul breath, and foul breath is noisome. Therefore
2552 I will depart unkissed.
BENEDICK 2553 55Thou hast frighted the word out of his right
2554 sense, so forcible is thy wit. But I must tell thee
2555 plainly, Claudio undergoes my challenge, and either
2556 I must shortly hear from him, or I will subscribe
2557 him a coward. And I pray thee now tell me, for
2558 60 which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love
2559 with me?
BEATRICE 2560 For them all together, which maintained so
2561 politic a state of evil that they will not admit any
2562 good part to intermingle with them. But for which
2563 65 of my good parts did you first suffer love for me?
BENEDICK 2564 Suffer love! A good epithet. I do suffer love
2565 indeed, for I love thee against my will.
BEATRICE 2566 In spite of your heart, I think. Alas, poor
2567 heart, if you spite it for my sake, I will spite it for
2568 70 yours, for I will never love that which my friend
BENEDICK 2570 Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.
BEATRICE 2571 It appears not in this confession. There’s not
2572 one wise man among twenty that will praise
2573 75 himself.
BENEDICK 2574 An old, an old instance, Beatrice, that lived
2575 in the time of good neighbors. If a man do not erect
2576 in this age his own tomb ere he dies, he shall live no
2577 longer in monument than the bell rings and the
2578 80 widow weeps.
BENEDICK 2580 Question: why, an hour in clamor and a
2581 quarter in rheum. Therefore is it most expedient for
2582 the wise, if Don Worm, his conscience, find no
2583 85 impediment to the contrary, to be the trumpet of
2584 his own virtues, as I am to myself. So much for
2585 praising myself, who, I myself will bear witness, is
2586 praiseworthy. And now tell me, how doth your
BEATRICE 2588 90Very ill.
BENEDICK 2589 And how do you?
BEATRICE 2590 Very ill, too.
BENEDICK 2591 Serve God, love me, and mend. There will I
2592 leave you too, for here comes one in haste.
URSULA 2593 95Madam, you must come to your uncle. Yonder’s
2594 old coil at home. It is proved my Lady Hero
2595 hath been falsely accused, the Prince and Claudio
2596 mightily abused, and Don John is the author of all,
2597 who is fled and gone. Will you come presently?
BEATRICE 2598 100Will you go hear this news, signior?
BENEDICK 2599 I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be
2600 buried in thy eyes—and, moreover, I will go with
2601 thee to thy uncle’s.
tapers, ⌜and Musicians.⌝
CLAUDIO 2602 Is this the monument of Leonato?
⌜FIRST⌝ LORD 2603 It is, my lord.
2604 Done to death by slanderous tongues
2605 Was the Hero that here lies.
2606 5 Death, in guerdon of her wrongs,
2607 Gives her fame which never dies.
2608 So the life that died with shame
2609 Lives in death with glorious fame.
⌜He hangs up the scroll.⌝
2610 Hang thou there upon the tomb,
2611 10 Praising her when I am ⌜dumb.⌝
2612 Now music, sound, and sing your solemn hymn.
2613 Pardon, goddess of the night,
2614 Those that slew thy virgin knight,
2615 For the which with songs of woe,
2616 15 Round about her tomb they go.
2617 Midnight, assist our moan.
2618 Help us to sigh and groan
2619 Heavily, heavily.
2620 Graves, yawn and yield your dead,
2621 20 Till death be utterèd,
2622 Heavily, heavily.
2623 Now, unto thy bones, goodnight.
2624 Yearly will I do this rite.
2625 Good morrow, masters. Put your torches out.
2626 25 The wolves have preyed, and look, the gentle day
2627 Before the wheels of Phoebus, round about
2628 Dapples the drowsy east with spots of gray.
2629 Thanks to you all, and leave us. Fare you well.
2630 Good morrow, masters. Each his several way.
⌜Lords and Musicians exit.⌝
2631 30 Come, let us hence, and put on other weeds,
2632 And then to Leonato’s we will go.
2633 And Hymen now with luckier issue speed ’s,
2634 Than this for whom we rendered up this woe.
⌜Leonato’s brother,⌝ Friar, Hero.
2635 Did I not tell you she was innocent?
2636 So are the Prince and Claudio, who accused her
2637 Upon the error that you heard debated.
2638 But Margaret was in some fault for this,
2639 5 Although against her will, as it appears
2640 In the true course of all the question.
2641 Well, I am glad that all things sorts so well.
2642 And so am I, being else by faith enforced
2643 To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it.
2644 10 Well, daughter, and you gentlewomen all,
2645 Withdraw into a chamber by yourselves,
2646 And when I send for you, come hither masked.
2647 The Prince and Claudio promised by this hour
2648 To visit me.—You know your office, brother.
2649 15 You must be father to your brother’s daughter,
2650 And give her to young Claudio.The ladies exit.
2651 Which I will do with confirmed countenance.
2652 Friar, I must entreat your pains, I think.
FRIAR 2653 To do what, signior?
2654 20 To bind me, or undo me, one of them.—
2655 Signior Leonato, truth it is, good signior,
2656 Your niece regards me with an eye of favor.
2657 That eye my daughter lent her; ’tis most true.
2658 And I do with an eye of love requite her.
2659 25 The sight whereof I think you had from me,
2660 From Claudio, and the Prince. But what’s your will?
2661 Your answer, sir, is enigmatical.
2662 But for my will, my will is your goodwill
2663 May stand with ours, this day to be conjoined
2664 30 In the state of honorable marriage—
2665 In which, good friar, I shall desire your help.
2666 My heart is with your liking.
FRIAR 2667 And my help.
2668 Here comes the Prince and Claudio.
Enter Prince, and Claudio, and two or three other.
PRINCE 2669 35Good morrow to this fair assembly.
2670 Good morrow, prince; good morrow, Claudio.
2671 We here attend you. Are you yet determined
2672 Today to marry with my brother’s daughter?
2673 I’ll hold my mind were she an Ethiope.
2674 40 Call her forth, brother. Here’s the Friar ready.
⌜Leonato’s brother exits.⌝
2675 Good morrow, Benedick. Why, what’s the matter
2676 That you have such a February face,
2677 So full of frost, of storm, and cloudiness?
2678 I think he thinks upon the savage bull.
2679 45 Tush, fear not, man. We’ll tip thy horns with gold,
2680 And all Europa shall rejoice at thee,
2681 As once Europa did at lusty Jove
2682 When he would play the noble beast in love.
2683 Bull Jove, sir, had an amiable low,
2684 50 And some such strange bull leapt your father’s cow
2685 And got a calf in that same noble feat
2686 Much like to you, for you have just his bleat.
2687 For this I owe you. Here comes other reck’nings.
Enter ⌜Leonato’s⌝ brother, Hero, Beatrice, Margaret,
Ursula, ⌜the ladies masked.⌝
2688 Which is the lady I must seize upon?
2689 55 This same is she, and I do give you her.
2690 Why, then, she’s mine.—Sweet, let me see your face.
2691 No, that you shall not till you take her hand
2692 Before this friar and swear to marry her.
CLAUDIO, ⌜to Hero⌝
2693 Give me your hand before this holy friar.
⌜They take hands.⌝
2694 60 I am your husband, if you like of me.
2695 And when I lived, I was your other wife,
2696 And when you loved, you were my other husband.
2697 Another Hero!
HERO 2698 Nothing certainer.
2699 65 One Hero died defiled, but I do live,
2700 And surely as I live, I am a maid.
2701 The former Hero! Hero that is dead!
2702 She died, my lord, but whiles her slander lived.
2703 All this amazement can I qualify,
2704 70 When after that the holy rites are ended,
2705 I’ll tell you largely of fair Hero’s death.
2706 Meantime let wonder seem familiar,
2707 And to the chapel let us presently.
2708 Soft and fair, friar.—Which is Beatrice?
2709 75 I answer to that name. What is your will?
2710 Do not you love me?
BEATRICE 2711 Why no, no more than reason.
2712 Why then, your uncle and the Prince and Claudio
2713 Have been deceived. They swore you did.
2714 80 Do not you love me?
BENEDICK 2715 Troth, no, no more than reason.
2716 Why then, my cousin, Margaret, and Ursula
2717 Are much deceived, for they did swear you did.
2718 They swore that you were almost sick for me.
2719 85 They swore that you were well-nigh dead for me.
2720 ’Tis no such matter. Then you do not love me?
2721 No, truly, but in friendly recompense.
2722 Come, cousin, I am sure you love the gentleman.
2723 And I’ll be sworn upon ’t that he loves her,
2724 90 For here’s a paper written in his hand,
2725 A halting sonnet of his own pure brain,
2726 Fashioned to Beatrice.⌜He shows a paper.⌝
HERO 2727 And here’s another,
2728 Writ in my cousin’s hand, stol’n from her pocket,
2729 95 Containing her affection unto Benedick.
⌜She shows a paper.⌝
BENEDICK 2730 A miracle! Here’s our own hands against
2731 our hearts. Come, I will have thee, but by this light
2732 I take thee for pity.
BEATRICE 2733 I would not deny you, but by this good day, I
2734 100 yield upon great persuasion, and partly to save your
2735 life, for I was told you were in a consumption.
⌜BENEDICK⌝ 2736 Peace! I will stop your mouth.
2737 How dost thou, Benedick, the married man?
BENEDICK 2738 I’ll tell thee what, prince: a college of
2739 105 wit-crackers cannot flout me out of my humor.
2740 Dost thou think I care for a satire or an epigram?
2741 No. If a man will be beaten with brains, he shall
2742 wear nothing handsome about him. In brief, since I
2743 do purpose to marry, I will think nothing to any
2744 110 purpose that the world can say against it, and
2746 against it. For man is a giddy thing, and this is my
2747 conclusion.—For thy part, Claudio, I did think to
2748 have beaten thee, but in that thou art like to be my
2749 115 kinsman, live unbruised, and love my cousin.
CLAUDIO 2750 I had well hoped thou wouldst have denied
2751 Beatrice, that I might have cudgeled thee out of thy
2752 single life, to make thee a double-dealer, which out
2753 of question thou wilt be, if my cousin do not look
2754 120 exceeding narrowly to thee.
BENEDICK 2755 Come, come, we are friends. Let’s have a
2756 dance ere we are married, that we may lighten our
2757 own hearts and our wives’ heels.
LEONATO 2758 We’ll have dancing afterward.
BENEDICK 2759 125First, of my word! Therefore play, music.—
2760 Prince, thou art sad. Get thee a wife, get thee a wife.
2761 There is no staff more reverend than one tipped
2762 with horn.
MESSENGER, ⌜to Prince⌝
2763 My lord, your brother John is ta’en in flight,
2764 130 And brought with armed men back to Messina.
BENEDICK, ⌜to Prince⌝ 2765 Think not on him till tomorrow.
2766 I’ll devise thee brave punishments for him.—Strike
2767 up, pipers!⌜Music plays. They⌝ dance.