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Much Ado About Nothing
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Navigate this workMuch Ado About Nothing
Act 2, scene 1
Don Pedro and his soldiers, disguised in masks, dance with the ladies of Leonato’s household. While Don Pedro woos Hero, Beatrice mocks Benedick. After the dance, Don John distresses Claudio by telling him that Don Pedro has won Hero’s love. When Claudio learns that Hero has been won in his name, he wants to marry her immediately. Leonato insists that at least a week is needed to prepare for the wedding. Don Pedro proposes that the intervening time be used to trick Benedick and Beatrice into falling in love.Enter Leonato, his brother, Hero his daughter, and
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
p. 390446 curst cow short horns,” but to a cow too curst, he
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.
p. 41BEATRICE 0482 Not till God make men of some other metal
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.
p. 43PRINCE 0514 And when please you to say so?
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,
p. 450544 mum, you are he. Graces will appear, and there’s an
⌜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.⌝
p. 47DON JOHN, ⌜to Borachio⌝ 0576 Sure my brother is amorous
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?
p. 49BENEDICK 0608 185Even to the next willow, about your own
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?
p. 51BENEDICK 0642 The flat transgression of a schoolboy who,
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
p. 530678 255 in hell as in a sanctuary, and people sin upon
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,
p. 550711 nor well, but civil count, civil as an orange, and
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.
p. 57PRINCE 0747 Your silence most offends me, and to be merry
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
p. 590783 360 fashion it, if you three will but minister such
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.