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Much Ado About Nothing - Act 3, scene 1
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Navigate this workMuch Ado About Nothing - Act 3, scene 1
Act 3, scene 1
Beatrice is lured into overhearing a staged conversation between Hero and Ursula, a waiting gentlewoman, who talk about Benedick’s desperate love for Beatrice and about Beatrice’s arrogance. Beatrice decides that she must return Benedick’s love.Enter Hero and two gentlewomen, Margaret and Ursula.
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.
p. 851143 My talk to thee must be how Benedick
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
p. 871169 Deserve as full as fortunate a bed
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,
p. 891201 She would mock me into air. O, she would laugh
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.
p. 911229 I’ll show thee some attires and have thy counsel
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.