MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
Comments on this play
Enter LEONATO, HERO, and BEATRICE, with a MessengerLEONATO
I learn in this letter that Don Peter of ArragonMessenger
comes this night to Messina.
He is very near by this: he was not three leagues offLEONATO
when I left him.
How many gentlemen have you lost in this action?Messenger
But few of any sort, and none of name.LEONATO
A victory is twice itself when the achiever bringsMessenger
home full numbers. I find here that Don Peter hath
bestowed much honour on a young Florentine called Claudio.
Much deserved on his part and equally remembered byLEONATO
Don Pedro: he hath borne himself beyond the
promise of his age, doing, in the figure of a lamb,
the feats of a lion: he hath indeed better
bettered expectation than you must expect of me to
tell you how.
He hath an uncle here in Messina will be very muchMessenger
glad of it.
I have already delivered him letters, and thereLEONATO
appears much joy in him; even so much that joy could
not show itself modest enough without a badge of
Did he break out into tears?Messenger
In great measure.LEONATO
A kind overflow of kindness: there are no facesBEATRICE
truer than those that are so washed. How much
better is it to weep at joy than to joy at weeping!
I pray you, is Signior Mountanto returned from theMessenger
wars or no?
I know none of that name, lady: there was none suchLEONATO
in the army of any sort.
What is he that you ask for, niece?HERO
My cousin means Signior Benedick of Padua.Messenger
O, he's returned; and as pleasant as ever he was.BEATRICE
He set up his bills here in Messina and challengedLEONATO
Cupid at the flight; and my uncle's fool, reading
the challenge, subscribed for Cupid, and challenged
him at the bird-bolt. I pray you, how many hath he
killed and eaten in these wars? But how many hath
he killed? for indeed I promised to eat all of his killing.
Faith, niece, you tax Signior Benedick too much;Messenger
but he'll be meet with you, I doubt it not.
He hath done good service, lady, in these wars.BEATRICE
You had musty victual, and he hath holp to eat it:Messenger
he is a very valiant trencherman; he hath an
And a good soldier too, lady.BEATRICE
And a good soldier to a lady: but what is he to a lord?Messenger
A lord to a lord, a man to a man; stuffed with allBEATRICE
It is so, indeed; he is no less than a stuffed man:LEONATO
but for the stuffing,--well, we are all mortal.
You must not, sir, mistake my niece. There is aBEATRICE
kind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick and her:
they never meet but there's a skirmish of wit
Alas! he gets nothing by that. In our lastMessenger
conflict four of his five wits went halting off, and
now is the whole man governed with one: so that if
he have wit enough to keep himself warm, let him
bear it for a difference between himself and his
horse; for it is all the wealth that he hath left,
to be known a reasonable creature. Who is his
companion now? He hath every month a new sworn brother.
Very easily possible: he wears his faith but asMessenger
the fashion of his hat; it ever changes with the
I see, lady, the gentleman is not in your books.BEATRICE
No; an he were, I would burn my study. But, I prayMessenger
you, who is his companion? Is there no young
squarer now that will make a voyage with him to the devil?
He is most in the company of the right noble Claudio.BEATRICE
O Lord, he will hang upon him like a disease: heMessenger
is sooner caught than the pestilence, and the taker
runs presently mad. God help the noble Claudio! if
he have caught the Benedick, it will cost him a
thousand pound ere a' be cured.
I will hold friends with you, lady.BEATRICE
Do, good friend.LEONATO
You will never run mad, niece.BEATRICE
No, not till a hot January.Messenger
Don Pedro is approached.DON PEDRO
Enter DON PEDRO, DON JOHN, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK, and BALTHASAR
Good Signior Leonato, you are come to meet yourLEONATO
trouble: the fashion of the world is to avoid
cost, and you encounter it.
Never came trouble to my house in the likeness ofDON PEDRO
your grace: for trouble being gone, comfort should
remain; but when you depart from me, sorrow abides
and happiness takes his leave.
You embrace your charge too willingly. I think thisLEONATO
is your daughter.
Her mother hath many times told me so.BENEDICK
Were you in doubt, sir, that you asked her?LEONATO
Signior Benedick, no; for then were you a child.DON PEDRO
You have it full, Benedick: we may guess by thisBENEDICK
what you are, being a man. Truly, the lady fathers
herself. Be happy, lady; for you are like an
If Signior Leonato be her father, she would notBEATRICE
have his head on her shoulders for all Messina, as
like him as she is.
I wonder that you will still be talking, SigniorBENEDICK
Benedick: nobody marks you.
What, my dear Lady Disdain! are you yet living?BEATRICE
Is it possible disdain should die while she hathBENEDICK
such meet food to feed it as Signior Benedick?
Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you come
in her presence.
Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain IBEATRICE
am loved of all ladies, only you excepted: and I
would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard
heart; for, truly, I love none.
A dear happiness to women: they would else haveBENEDICK
been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I thank God
and my cold blood, I am of your humour for that: I
had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man
swear he loves me.
God keep your ladyship still in that mind! so someBEATRICE
gentleman or other shall 'scape a predestinate
Scratching could not make it worse, an 'twere suchBENEDICK
a face as yours were.
Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher.BEATRICE
A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours.BENEDICK
I would my horse had the speed of your tongue, andBEATRICE
so good a continuer. But keep your way, i' God's
name; I have done.
You always end with a jade's trick: I know you of old.DON PEDRO
That is the sum of all, Leonato. Signior ClaudioLEONATO
and Signior Benedick, my dear friend Leonato hath
invited you all. I tell him we shall stay here at
the least a month; and he heartily prays some
occasion may detain us longer. I dare swear he is no
hypocrite, but prays from his heart.
If you swear, my lord, you shall not be forsworn.DON JOHN
To DON JOHNLet me bid you welcome, my lord: being reconciled to
the prince your brother, I owe you all duty.
I thank you: I am not of many words, but I thankLEONATO
Please it your grace lead on?DON PEDRO
Your hand, Leonato; we will go together.CLAUDIO
Exeunt all except BENEDICK and CLAUDIO
Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of Signior Leonato?BENEDICK
I noted her not; but I looked on her.CLAUDIO
Is she not a modest young lady?BENEDICK
Do you question me, as an honest man should do, forCLAUDIO
my simple true judgment; or would you have me speak
after my custom, as being a professed tyrant to their sex?
No; I pray thee speak in sober judgment.BENEDICK
Why, i' faith, methinks she's too low for a highCLAUDIO
praise, too brown for a fair praise and too little
for a great praise: only this commendation I can
afford her, that were she other than she is, she
were unhandsome; and being no other but as she is, I
do not like her.
Thou thinkest I am in sport: I pray thee tell meBENEDICK
truly how thou likest her.
Would you buy her, that you inquire after her?CLAUDIO
Can the world buy such a jewel?BENEDICK
Yea, and a case to put it into. But speak you thisCLAUDIO
with a sad brow? or do you play the flouting Jack,
to tell us Cupid is a good hare-finder and Vulcan a
rare carpenter? Come, in what key shall a man take
you, to go in the song?
In mine eye she is the sweetest lady that ever IBENEDICK
I can see yet without spectacles and I see no suchCLAUDIO
matter: there's her cousin, an she were not
possessed with a fury, exceeds her as much in beauty
as the first of May doth the last of December. But I
hope you have no intent to turn husband, have you?
I would scarce trust myself, though I had sworn theBENEDICK
contrary, if Hero would be my wife.
Is't come to this? In faith, hath not the worldDON PEDRO
one man but he will wear his cap with suspicion?
Shall I never see a bachelor of three-score again?
Go to, i' faith; an thou wilt needs thrust thy neck
into a yoke, wear the print of it and sigh away
Sundays. Look Don Pedro is returned to seek you.
Re-enter DON PEDRO
What secret hath held you here, that you followedBENEDICK
not to Leonato's?
I would your grace would constrain me to tell.DON PEDRO
I charge thee on thy allegiance.BENEDICK
You hear, Count Claudio: I can be secret as a dumbCLAUDIO
man; I would have you think so; but, on my
allegiance, mark you this, on my allegiance. He is
in love. With who? now that is your grace's part.
Mark how short his answer is;--With Hero, Leonato's
If this were so, so were it uttered.BENEDICK
Like the old tale, my lord: 'it is not so, norCLAUDIO
'twas not so, but, indeed, God forbid it should be
If my passion change not shortly, God forbid itDON PEDRO
should be otherwise.
Amen, if you love her; for the lady is very well worthy.CLAUDIO
You speak this to fetch me in, my lord.DON PEDRO
By my troth, I speak my thought.CLAUDIO
And, in faith, my lord, I spoke mine.BENEDICK
And, by my two faiths and troths, my lord, I spoke mine.CLAUDIO
That I love her, I feel.DON PEDRO
That she is worthy, I know.BENEDICK
That I neither feel how she should be loved norDON PEDRO
know how she should be worthy, is the opinion that
fire cannot melt out of me: I will die in it at the stake.
Thou wast ever an obstinate heretic in the despiteCLAUDIO
And never could maintain his part but in the forceBENEDICK
of his will.
That a woman conceived me, I thank her; that sheDON PEDRO
brought me up, I likewise give her most humble
thanks: but that I will have a recheat winded in my
forehead, or hang my bugle in an invisible baldrick,
all women shall pardon me. Because I will not do
them the wrong to mistrust any, I will do myself the
right to trust none; and the fine is, for the which
I may go the finer, I will live a bachelor.
I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with love.BENEDICK
With anger, with sickness, or with hunger, my lord,DON PEDRO
not with love: prove that ever I lose more blood
with love than I will get again with drinking, pick
out mine eyes with a ballad-maker's pen and hang me
up at the door of a brothel-house for the sign of
Well, if ever thou dost fall from this faith, thouBENEDICK
wilt prove a notable argument.
If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat and shootDON PEDRO
at me; and he that hits me, let him be clapped on
the shoulder, and called Adam.
Well, as time shall try: 'In time the savage bullBENEDICK
doth bear the yoke.'
The savage bull may; but if ever the sensibleCLAUDIO
Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull's horns and set
them in my forehead: and let me be vilely painted,
and in such great letters as they write 'Here is
good horse to hire,' let them signify under my sign
'Here you may see Benedick the married man.'
If this should ever happen, thou wouldst be horn-mad.DON PEDRO
Nay, if Cupid have not spent all his quiver inBENEDICK
Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly.
I look for an earthquake too, then.DON PEDRO
Well, you temporize with the hours. In theBENEDICK
meantime, good Signior Benedick, repair to
Leonato's: commend me to him and tell him I will
not fail him at supper; for indeed he hath made
I have almost matter enough in me for such anCLAUDIO
embassage; and so I commit you--
To the tuition of God: From my house, if I had it,--DON PEDRO
The sixth of July: Your loving friend, Benedick.BENEDICK
Nay, mock not, mock not. The body of yourCLAUDIO
discourse is sometime guarded with fragments, and
the guards are but slightly basted on neither: ere
you flout old ends any further, examine your
conscience: and so I leave you.
My liege, your highness now may do me good.DON PEDRO
My love is thine to teach: teach it but how,CLAUDIO
And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn
Any hard lesson that may do thee good.
Hath Leonato any son, my lord?DON PEDRO
No child but Hero; she's his only heir.CLAUDIO
Dost thou affect her, Claudio?
O, my lord,DON PEDRO
When you went onward on this ended action,
I look'd upon her with a soldier's eye,
That liked, but had a rougher task in hand
Than to drive liking to the name of love:
But now I am return'd and that war-thoughts
Have left their places vacant, in their rooms
Come thronging soft and delicate desires,
All prompting me how fair young Hero is,
Saying, I liked her ere I went to wars.
Thou wilt be like a lover presentlyCLAUDIO
And tire the hearer with a book of words.
If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it,
And I will break with her and with her father,
And thou shalt have her. Was't not to this end
That thou began'st to twist so fine a story?
How sweetly you do minister to love,DON PEDRO
That know love's grief by his complexion!
But lest my liking might too sudden seem,
I would have salved it with a longer treatise.
What need the bridge much broader than the flood?
The fairest grant is the necessity.
Look, what will serve is fit: 'tis once, thou lovest,
And I will fit thee with the remedy.
I know we shall have revelling to-night:
I will assume thy part in some disguise
And tell fair Hero I am Claudio,
And in her bosom I'll unclasp my heart
And take her hearing prisoner with the force
And strong encounter of my amorous tale:
Then after to her father will I break;
And the conclusion is, she shall be thine.
In practise let us put it presently.
Enter LEONATO and ANTONIO, meetingLEONATO
How now, brother! Where is my cousin, your son?ANTONIO
hath he provided this music?
He is very busy about it. But, brother, I can tellLEONATO
you strange news that you yet dreamt not of.
Are they good?ANTONIO
As the event stamps them: but they have a goodLEONATO
cover; they show well outward. The prince and Count
Claudio, walking in a thick-pleached alley in mine
orchard, were thus much overheard by a man of mine:
the prince discovered to Claudio that he loved my
niece your daughter and meant to acknowledge it
this night in a dance: and if he found her
accordant, he meant to take the present time by the
top and instantly break with you of it.
Hath the fellow any wit that told you this?ANTONIO
A good sharp fellow: I will send for him; andLEONATO
question him yourself.
No, no; we will hold it as a dream till it appear
itself: but I will acquaint my daughter withal,
that she may be the better prepared for an answer,
if peradventure this be true. Go you and tell her of it.
Enter AttendantsCousins, you know what you have to do. O, I cry you
mercy, friend; go you with me, and I will use your
skill. Good cousin, have a care this busy time.
Enter DON JOHN and CONRADECONRADE
What the good-year, my lord! why are you thus outDON JOHN
of measure sad?
There is no measure in the occasion that breeds;CONRADE
therefore the sadness is without limit.
You should hear reason.DON JOHN
And when I have heard it, what blessing brings it?CONRADE
If not a present remedy, at least a patientDON JOHN
I wonder that thou, being, as thou sayest thou art,CONRADE
born under Saturn, goest about to apply a moral
medicine to a mortifying mischief. I cannot hide
what I am: I must be sad when I have cause and smile
at no man's jests, eat when I have stomach and wait
for no man's leisure, sleep when I am drowsy and
tend on no man's business, laugh when I am merry and
claw no man in his humour.
Yea, but you must not make the full show of thisDON JOHN
till you may do it without controlment. You have of
late stood out against your brother, and he hath
ta'en you newly into his grace; where it is
impossible you should take true root but by the
fair weather that you make yourself: it is needful
that you frame the season for your own harvest.
I had rather be a canker in a hedge than a rose inCONRADE
his grace, and it better fits my blood to be
disdained of all than to fashion a carriage to rob
love from any: in this, though I cannot be said to
be a flattering honest man, it must not be denied
but I am a plain-dealing villain. I am trusted with
a muzzle and enfranchised with a clog; therefore I
have decreed not to sing in my cage. If I had my
mouth, I would bite; if I had my liberty, I would do
my liking: in the meantime let me be that I am and
seek not to alter me.
Can you make no use of your discontent?DON JOHN
I make all use of it, for I use it only.BORACHIO
Who comes here?
Enter BORACHIOWhat news, Borachio?
I came yonder from a great supper: the prince yourDON JOHN
brother is royally entertained by Leonato: and I
can give you intelligence of an intended marriage.
Will it serve for any model to build mischief on?BORACHIO
What is he for a fool that betroths himself to
Marry, it is your brother's right hand.DON JOHN
Who? the most exquisite Claudio?BORACHIO
Even he.DON JOHN
A proper squire! And who, and who? which way looksBORACHIO
Marry, on Hero, the daughter and heir of Leonato.DON JOHN
A very forward March-chick! How came you to this?BORACHIO
Being entertained for a perfumer, as I was smoking aDON JOHN
musty room, comes me the prince and Claudio, hand
in hand in sad conference: I whipt me behind the
arras; and there heard it agreed upon that the
prince should woo Hero for himself, and having
obtained her, give her to Count Claudio.
Come, come, let us thither: this may prove food toCONRADE
my displeasure. That young start-up hath all the
glory of my overthrow: if I can cross him any way, I
bless myself every way. You are both sure, and will assist me?
To the death, my lord.DON JOHN
Let us to the great supper: their cheer is theBORACHIO
greater that I am subdued. Would the cook were of
my mind! Shall we go prove what's to be done?
We'll wait upon your lordship.
Enter LEONATO, ANTONIO, HERO, BEATRICE, and othersLEONATO
Was not Count John here at supper?ANTONIO
I saw him not.BEATRICE
How tartly that gentleman looks! I never can seeHERO
him but I am heart-burned an hour after.
He is of a very melancholy disposition.BEATRICE
He were an excellent man that were made just in theLEONATO
midway between him and Benedick: the one is too
like an image and says nothing, and the other too
like my lady's eldest son, evermore tattling.
Then half Signior Benedick's tongue in Count John'sBEATRICE
mouth, and half Count John's melancholy in Signior
With a good leg and a good foot, uncle, and moneyLEONATO
enough in his purse, such a man would win any woman
in the world, if a' could get her good-will.
By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee aANTONIO
husband, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.
In faith, she's too curst.BEATRICE
Too curst is more than curst: I shall lessen God'sLEONATO
sending that way; for it is said, 'God sends a curst
cow short horns;' but to a cow too curst he sends none.
So, by being too curst, God will send you no horns.BEATRICE
Just, if he send me no husband; for the whichLEONATO
blessing I am at him upon my knees every morning and
evening. Lord, I could not endure a husband with a
beard on his face: I had rather lie in the woollen.
You may light on a husband that hath no beard.BEATRICE
What should I do with him? dress him in my apparelLEONATO
and make him my waiting-gentlewoman? He that hath a
beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no
beard is less than a man: and he that is more than
a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a
man, I am not for him: therefore, I will even take
sixpence in earnest of the bear-ward, and lead his
apes into hell.
Well, then, go you into hell?BEATRICE
No, but to the gate; and there will the devil meetANTONIO
me, like an old cuckold, with horns on his head, and
say 'Get you to heaven, Beatrice, get you to
heaven; here's no place for you maids:' so deliver
I up my apes, and away to Saint Peter for the
heavens; he shows me where the bachelors sit, and
there live we as merry as the day is long.
[To HERO] Well, niece, I trust you will be ruledBEATRICE
by your father.
Yes, faith; it is my cousin's duty to make curtsyLEONATO
and say 'Father, as it please you.' But yet for all
that, cousin, let him be a handsome fellow, or else
make another curtsy and say 'Father, as it please
Well, niece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband.BEATRICE
Not till God make men of some other metal thanLEONATO
earth. Would it not grieve a woman to be
overmastered with a pierce of valiant dust? to make
an account of her life to a clod of wayward marl?
No, uncle, I'll none: Adam's sons are my brethren;
and, truly, I hold it a sin to match in my kindred.
Daughter, remember what I told you: if the princeBEATRICE
do solicit you in that kind, you know your answer.
The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you beLEONATO
not wooed in good time: if the prince be too
important, tell him there is measure in every thing
and so dance out the answer. For, hear me, Hero:
wooing, wedding, and repenting, is as a Scotch jig,
a measure, and a cinque pace: the first suit is hot
and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as
fantastical; the wedding, mannerly-modest, as a
measure, full of state and ancientry; and then comes
repentance and, with his bad legs, falls into the
cinque pace faster and faster, till he sink into his grave.
Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly.BEATRICE
I have a good eye, uncle; I can see a church by daylight.LEONATO
The revellers are entering, brother: make good room.DON PEDRO
All put on their masks
Enter DON PEDRO, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK, BALTHASAR, DON JOHN, BORACHIO, MARGARET, URSULA and others, masked
Lady, will you walk about with your friend?HERO
So you walk softly and look sweetly and say nothing,DON PEDRO
I am yours for the walk; and especially when I walk away.
With me in your company?HERO
I may say so, when I please.DON PEDRO
And when please you to say so?HERO
When I like your favour; for God defend the luteDON PEDRO
should be like the case!
My visor is Philemon's roof; within the house is Jove.HERO
Why, then, your visor should be thatched.DON PEDRO
Speak low, if you speak love.BALTHASAR
Drawing her aside
Well, I would you did like me.MARGARET
So would not I, for your own sake; for I have manyBALTHASAR
Which is one?MARGARET
I say my prayers aloud.BALTHASAR
I love you the better: the hearers may cry, Amen.MARGARET
God match me with a good dancer!BALTHASAR
And God keep him out of my sight when the dance isBALTHASAR
done! Answer, clerk.
No more words: the clerk is answered.URSULA
I know you well enough; you are Signior Antonio.ANTONIO
At a word, I am not.URSULA
I know you by the waggling of your head.ANTONIO
To tell you true, I counterfeit him.URSULA
You could never do him so ill-well, unless you wereANTONIO
the very man. Here's his dry hand up and down: you
are he, you are he.
At a word, I am not.URSULA
Come, come, do you think I do not know you by yourBEATRICE
excellent wit? can virtue hide itself? Go to,
mum, you are he: graces will appear, and there's an
Will you not tell me who told you so?BENEDICK
No, you shall pardon me.BEATRICE
Nor will you not tell me who you are?BENEDICK
That I was disdainful, and that I had my good witBENEDICK
out of the 'Hundred Merry Tales:'--well this was
Signior Benedick that said so.
I am sure you know him well enough.BENEDICK
Not I, believe me.BEATRICE
Did he never make you laugh?BENEDICK
I pray you, what is he?BEATRICE
Why, he is the prince's jester: a very dull fool;BENEDICK
only his gift is in devising impossible slanders:
none but libertines delight in him; and the
commendation is not in his wit, but in his villany;
for he both pleases men and angers them, and then
they laugh at him and beat him. I am sure he is in
the fleet: I would he had boarded me.
When I know the gentleman, I'll tell him what you say.BEATRICE
Do, do: he'll but break a comparison or two on me;BENEDICK
which, peradventure not marked or not laughed at,
strikes him into melancholy; and then there's a
partridge wing saved, for the fool will eat no
supper that night.
MusicWe must follow the leaders.
In every good thing.BEATRICE
Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them atDON JOHN
the next turning.
Dance. Then exeunt all except DON JOHN, BORACHIO, and CLAUDIO
Sure my brother is amorous on Hero and hathBORACHIO
withdrawn her father to break with him about it.
The ladies follow her and but one visor remains.
And that is Claudio: I know him by his bearing.DON JOHN
Are not you Signior Benedick?CLAUDIO
You know me well; I am he.DON JOHN
Signior, you are very near my brother in his love:CLAUDIO
he is enamoured on Hero; I pray you, dissuade him
from her: she is no equal for his birth: you may
do the part of an honest man in it.
How know you he loves her?DON JOHN
I heard him swear his affection.BORACHIO
So did I too; and he swore he would marry her to-night.DON JOHN
Come, let us to the banquet.CLAUDIO
Exeunt DON JOHN and BORACHIO
Thus answer I in the name of Benedick,BENEDICK
But hear these ill news with the ears of Claudio.
'Tis certain so; the prince wooes for himself.
Friendship is constant in all other things
Save in the office and affairs of love:
Therefore, all hearts in love use their own tongues;
Let every eye negotiate for itself
And trust no agent; for beauty is a witch
Against whose charms faith melteth into blood.
This is an accident of hourly proof,
Which I mistrusted not. Farewell, therefore, Hero!
Yea, the same.BENEDICK
Come, will you go with me?CLAUDIO
Even to the next willow, about your own business,CLAUDIO
county. What fashion will you wear the garland of?
about your neck, like an usurer's chain? or under
your arm, like a lieutenant's scarf? You must wear
it one way, for the prince hath got your Hero.
I wish him joy of her.BENEDICK
Why, that's spoken like an honest drovier: so theyCLAUDIO
sell bullocks. But did you think the prince would
have served you thus?
I pray you, leave me.BENEDICK
Ho! now you strike like the blind man: 'twas theCLAUDIO
boy that stole your meat, and you'll beat the post.
If it will not be, I'll leave you.BENEDICK
Alas, poor hurt fowl! now will he creep into sedges.DON PEDRO
But that my Lady Beatrice should know me, and not
know me! The prince's fool! Ha? It may be I go
under that title because I am merry. Yea, but so I
am apt to do myself wrong; I am not so reputed: it
is the base, though bitter, disposition of Beatrice
that puts the world into her person and so gives me
out. Well, I'll be revenged as I may.
Re-enter DON PEDRO
Now, signior, where's the count? did you see him?BENEDICK
Troth, my lord, I have played the part of Lady Fame.DON PEDRO
I found him here as melancholy as a lodge in a
warren: I told him, and I think I told him true,
that your grace had got the good will of this young
lady; and I offered him my company to a willow-tree,
either to make him a garland, as being forsaken, or
to bind him up a rod, as being worthy to be whipped.
To be whipped! What's his fault?BENEDICK
The flat transgression of a schoolboy, who, beingDON PEDRO
overjoyed with finding a birds' nest, shows it his
companion, and he steals it.
Wilt thou make a trust a transgression? TheBENEDICK
transgression is in the stealer.
Yet it had not been amiss the rod had been made,DON PEDRO
and the garland too; for the garland he might have
worn himself, and the rod he might have bestowed on
you, who, as I take it, have stolen his birds' nest.
I will but teach them to sing, and restore them toBENEDICK
If their singing answer your saying, by my faith,DON PEDRO
you say honestly.
The Lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you: theBENEDICK
gentleman that danced with her told her she is much
wronged by you.
O, she misused me past the endurance of a block!DON PEDRO
an oak but with one green leaf on it would have
answered her; my very visor began to assume life and
scold with her. She told me, not thinking I had been
myself, that I was the prince's jester, that I was
duller than a great thaw; huddling jest upon jest
with such impossible conveyance upon me that I stood
like a man at a mark, with a whole army shooting at
me. She speaks poniards, and every word stabs:
if her breath were as terrible as her terminations,
there were no living near her; she would infect to
the north star. I would not marry her, though she
were endowed with all that Adam bad left him before
he transgressed: she would have made Hercules have
turned spit, yea, and have cleft his club to make
the fire too. Come, talk not of her: you shall find
her the infernal Ate in good apparel. I would to God
some scholar would conjure her; for certainly, while
she is here, a man may live as quiet in hell as in a
sanctuary; and people sin upon purpose, because they
would go thither; so, indeed, all disquiet, horror
and perturbation follows her.
Look, here she comes.BENEDICK
Enter CLAUDIO, BEATRICE, HERO, and LEONATO
Will your grace command me any service to theDON PEDRO
world's end? I will go on the slightest errand now
to the Antipodes that you can devise to send me on;
I will fetch you a tooth-picker now from the
furthest inch of Asia, bring you the length of
Prester John's foot, fetch you a hair off the great
Cham's beard, do you any embassage to the Pigmies,
rather than hold three words' conference with this
harpy. You have no employment for me?
None, but to desire your good company.BENEDICK
O God, sir, here's a dish I love not: I cannotDON PEDRO
endure my Lady Tongue.
Come, lady, come; you have lost the heart ofBEATRICE
Indeed, my lord, he lent it me awhile; and I gaveDON PEDRO
him use for it, a double heart for his single one:
marry, once before he won it of me with false dice,
therefore your grace may well say I have lost it.
You have put him down, lady, you have put him down.BEATRICE
So I would not he should do me, my lord, lest IDON PEDRO
should prove the mother of fools. I have brought
Count Claudio, whom you sent me to seek.
Why, how now, count! wherefore are you sad?CLAUDIO
Not sad, my lord.DON PEDRO
How then? sick?CLAUDIO
Neither, my lord.BEATRICE
The count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, norDON PEDRO
well; but civil count, civil as an orange, and
something of that jealous complexion.
I' faith, lady, I think your blazon to be true;LEONATO
though, I'll be sworn, if he be so, his conceit is
false. Here, Claudio, I have wooed in thy name, and
fair Hero is won: I have broke with her father,
and his good will obtained: name the day of
marriage, and God give thee joy!
Count, take of me my daughter, and with her myBEATRICE
fortunes: his grace hath made the match, and an
grace say Amen to it.
Speak, count, 'tis your cue.CLAUDIO
Silence is the perfectest herald of joy: I wereBEATRICE
but little happy, if I could say how much. Lady, as
you are mine, I am yours: I give away myself for
you and dote upon the exchange.
Speak, cousin; or, if you cannot, stop his mouthDON PEDRO
with a kiss, and let not him speak neither.
In faith, lady, you have a merry heart.BEATRICE
Yea, my lord; I thank it, poor fool, it keeps onCLAUDIO
the windy side of care. My cousin tells him in his
ear that he is in her heart.
And so she doth, cousin.BEATRICE
Good Lord, for alliance! Thus goes every one to theDON PEDRO
world but I, and I am sunburnt; I may sit in a
corner and cry heigh-ho for a husband!
Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.BEATRICE
I would rather have one of your father's getting.DON PEDRO
Hath your grace ne'er a brother like you? Your
father got excellent husbands, if a maid could come by them.
Will you have me, lady?BEATRICE
No, my lord, unless I might have another forDON PEDRO
working-days: your grace is too costly to wear
every day. But, I beseech your grace, pardon me: I
was born to speak all mirth and no matter.
Your silence most offends me, and to be merry bestBEATRICE
becomes you; for, out of question, you were born in
a merry hour.
No, sure, my lord, my mother cried; but then thereLEONATO
was a star danced, and under that was I born.
Cousins, God give you joy!
Niece, will you look to those things I told you of?BEATRICE
I cry you mercy, uncle. By your grace's pardon.DON PEDRO
By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady.LEONATO
There's little of the melancholy element in her, myDON PEDRO
lord: she is never sad but when she sleeps, and
not ever sad then; for I have heard my daughter say,
she hath often dreamed of unhappiness and waked
herself with laughing.
She cannot endure to hear tell of a husband.LEONATO
O, by no means: she mocks all her wooers out of suit.DON PEDRO
She were an excellent wife for Benedict.LEONATO
O Lord, my lord, if they were but a week married,DON PEDRO
they would talk themselves mad.
County Claudio, when mean you to go to church?CLAUDIO
To-morrow, my lord: time goes on crutches till loveLEONATO
have all his rites.
Not till Monday, my dear son, which is hence a justDON PEDRO
seven-night; and a time too brief, too, to have all
things answer my mind.
Come, you shake the head at so long a breathing:LEONATO
but, I warrant thee, Claudio, the time shall not go
dully by us. I will in the interim undertake one of
Hercules' labours; which is, to bring Signior
Benedick and the Lady Beatrice into a mountain of
affection the one with the other. I would fain have
it a match, and I doubt not but to fashion it, if
you three will but minister such assistance as I
shall give you direction.
My lord, I am for you, though it cost me tenCLAUDIO
And I, my lord.DON PEDRO
And you too, gentle Hero?HERO
I will do any modest office, my lord, to help myDON PEDRO
cousin to a good husband.
And Benedick is not the unhopefullest husband that
I know. Thus far can I praise him; he is of a noble
strain, of approved valour and confirmed honesty. I
will teach you how to humour your cousin, that she
shall fall in love with Benedick; and I, with your
two helps, will so practise on Benedick that, in
despite of his quick wit and his queasy stomach, he
shall fall in love with Beatrice. If we can do this,
Cupid is no longer an archer: hi s glory shall be
ours, for we are the only love-gods. Go in with me,
and I will tell you my drift.
Enter DON JOHN and BORACHIODON JOHN
It is so; the Count Claudio shall marry theBORACHIO
daughter of Leonato.
Yea, my lord; but I can cross it.DON JOHN
Any bar, any cross, any impediment will beBORACHIO
medicinable to me: I am sick in displeasure to him,
and whatsoever comes athwart his affection ranges
evenly with mine. How canst thou cross this marriage?
Not honestly, my lord; but so covertly that noDON JOHN
dishonesty shall appear in me.
Show me briefly how.BORACHIO
I think I told your lordship a year since, how muchDON JOHN
I am in the favour of Margaret, the waiting
gentlewoman to Hero.
I can, at any unseasonable instant of the night,DON JOHN
appoint her to look out at her lady's chamber window.
What life is in that, to be the death of this marriage?BORACHIO
The poison of that lies in you to temper. Go you toDON JOHN
the prince your brother; spare not to tell him that
he hath wronged his honour in marrying the renowned
Claudio--whose estimation do you mightily hold
up--to a contaminated stale, such a one as Hero.
What proof shall I make of that?BORACHIO
Proof enough to misuse the prince, to vex Claudio,DON JOHN
to undo Hero and kill Leonato. Look you for any
Only to despite them, I will endeavour any thing.BORACHIO
Go, then; find me a meet hour to draw Don Pedro andDON JOHN
the Count Claudio alone: tell them that you know
that Hero loves me; intend a kind of zeal both to the
prince and Claudio, as,--in love of your brother's
honour, who hath made this match, and his friend's
reputation, who is thus like to be cozened with the
semblance of a maid,--that you have discovered
thus. They will scarcely believe this without trial:
offer them instances; which shall bear no less
likelihood than to see me at her chamber-window,
hear me call Margaret Hero, hear Margaret term me
Claudio; and bring them to see this the very night
before the intended wedding,--for in the meantime I
will so fashion the matter that Hero shall be
absent,--and there shall appear such seeming truth
of Hero's disloyalty that jealousy shall be called
assurance and all the preparation overthrown.
Grow this to what adverse issue it can, I will putBORACHIO
it in practise. Be cunning in the working this, and
thy fee is a thousand ducats.
Be you constant in the accusation, and my cunningDON JOHN
shall not shame me.
I will presently go learn their day of marriage.
In my chamber-window lies a book: bring it hitherBoy
to me in the orchard.
I am here already, sir.BENEDICK
I know that; but I would have thee hence, and here again.DON PEDRO
Exit BoyI do much wonder that one man, seeing how much
another man is a fool when he dedicates his
behaviors to love, will, after he hath laughed at
such shallow follies in others, become the argument
of his own scorn by failing in love: and such a man
is Claudio. I have known when there was no music
with him but the drum and the fife; and now had he
rather hear the tabour and the pipe: I have known
when he would have walked ten mile a-foot to see a
good armour; and now will he lie ten nights awake,
carving the fashion of a new doublet. He was wont to
speak plain and to the purpose, like an honest man
and a soldier; and now is he turned orthography; his
words are a very fantastical banquet, just so many
strange dishes. May I be so converted and see with
these eyes? I cannot tell; I think not: I will not
be sworn, but love may transform me to an oyster; but
I'll take my oath on it, till he have made an oyster
of me, he shall never make me such a fool. One woman
is fair, yet I am well; another is wise, yet I am
well; another virtuous, yet I am well; but till all
graces be in one woman, one woman shall not come in
my grace. Rich she shall be, that's certain; wise,
or I'll none; virtuous, or I'll never cheapen her;
fair, or I'll never look on her; mild, or come not
near me; noble, or not I for an angel; of good
discourse, an excellent musician, and her hair shall
be of what colour it please God. Ha! the prince and
Monsieur Love! I will hide me in the arbour.
Enter DON PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and LEONATO
Come, shall we hear this music?CLAUDIO
Yea, my good lord. How still the evening is,DON PEDRO
As hush'd on purpose to grace harmony!
See you where Benedick hath hid himself?CLAUDIO
O, very well, my lord: the music ended,DON PEDRO
We'll fit the kid-fox with a pennyworth.
Enter BALTHASAR with Music
Come, Balthasar, we'll hear that song again.BALTHASAR
O, good my lord, tax not so bad a voiceDON PEDRO
To slander music any more than once.
It is the witness still of excellencyBALTHASAR
To put a strange face on his own perfection.
I pray thee, sing, and let me woo no more.
Because you talk of wooing, I will sing;DON PEDRO
Since many a wooer doth commence his suit
To her he thinks not worthy, yet he wooes,
Yet will he swear he loves.
Now, pray thee, come;BALTHASAR
Or, if thou wilt hold longer argument,
Do it in notes.
Note this before my notes;DON PEDRO
There's not a note of mine that's worth the noting.
Why, these are very crotchets that he speaks;BENEDICK
Note, notes, forsooth, and nothing.
Now, divine air! now is his soul ravished! Is itBALTHASAR
not strange that sheeps' guts should hale souls out
of men's bodies? Well, a horn for my money, when
Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,DON PEDRO
Men were deceivers ever,
One foot in sea and one on shore,
To one thing constant never:
Then sigh not so, but let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into Hey nonny, nonny.
Sing no more ditties, sing no moe,
Of dumps so dull and heavy;
The fraud of men was ever so,
Since summer first was leafy:
Then sigh not so, & c.
By my troth, a good song.BALTHASAR
And an ill singer, my lord.DON PEDRO
Ha, no, no, faith; thou singest well enough for a shift.BENEDICK
An he had been a dog that should have howled thus,DON PEDRO
they would have hanged him: and I pray God his bad
voice bode no mischief. I had as lief have heard the
night-raven, come what plague could have come after
Yea, marry, dost thou hear, Balthasar? I pray thee,BALTHASAR
get us some excellent music; for to-morrow night we
would have it at the Lady Hero's chamber-window.
The best I can, my lord.DON PEDRO
Do so: farewell.CLAUDIO
Exit BALTHASARCome hither, Leonato. What was it you told me of
to-day, that your niece Beatrice was in love with
O, ay: stalk on. stalk on; the fowl sits. I didLEONATO
never think that lady would have loved any man.
No, nor I neither; but most wonderful that sheBENEDICK
should so dote on Signior Benedick, whom she hath in
all outward behaviors seemed ever to abhor.
Is't possible? Sits the wind in that corner?LEONATO
By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to thinkDON PEDRO
of it but that she loves him with an enraged
affection: it is past the infinite of thought.
May be she doth but counterfeit.CLAUDIO
Faith, like enough.LEONATO
O God, counterfeit! There was never counterfeit ofDON PEDRO
passion came so near the life of passion as she
Why, what effects of passion shows she?CLAUDIO
Bait the hook well; this fish will bite.LEONATO
What effects, my lord? She will sit you, you heardCLAUDIO
my daughter tell you how.
She did, indeed.DON PEDRO
How, how, pray you? You amaze me: I would have ILEONATO
thought her spirit had been invincible against all
assaults of affection.
I would have sworn it had, my lord; especiallyBENEDICK
I should think this a gull, but that theCLAUDIO
white-bearded fellow speaks it: knavery cannot,
sure, hide himself in such reverence.
He hath ta'en the infection: hold it up.DON PEDRO
Hath she made her affection known to Benedick?LEONATO
No; and swears she never will: that's her torment.CLAUDIO
'Tis true, indeed; so your daughter says: 'ShallLEONATO
I,' says she, 'that have so oft encountered him
with scorn, write to him that I love him?'
This says she now when she is beginning to write toCLAUDIO
him; for she'll be up twenty times a night, and
there will she sit in her smock till she have writ a
sheet of paper: my daughter tells us all.
Now you talk of a sheet of paper, I remember aLEONATO
pretty jest your daughter told us of.
O, when she had writ it and was reading it over, sheCLAUDIO
found Benedick and Beatrice between the sheet?
O, she tore the letter into a thousand halfpence;CLAUDIO
railed at herself, that she should be so immodest
to write to one that she knew would flout her; 'I
measure him,' says she, 'by my own spirit; for I
should flout him, if he writ to me; yea, though I
love him, I should.'
Then down upon her knees she falls, weeps, sobs,LEONATO
beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, curses; 'O
sweet Benedick! God give me patience!'
She doth indeed; my daughter says so: and theDON PEDRO
ecstasy hath so much overborne her that my daughter
is sometime afeared she will do a desperate outrage
to herself: it is very true.
It were good that Benedick knew of it by someCLAUDIO
other, if she will not discover it.
To what end? He would make but a sport of it andDON PEDRO
torment the poor lady worse.
An he should, it were an alms to hang him. She's anCLAUDIO
excellent sweet lady; and, out of all suspicion,
she is virtuous.
And she is exceeding wise.DON PEDRO
In every thing but in loving Benedick.LEONATO
O, my lord, wisdom and blood combating in so tenderDON PEDRO
a body, we have ten proofs to one that blood hath
the victory. I am sorry for her, as I have just
cause, being her uncle and her guardian.
I would she had bestowed this dotage on me: I wouldLEONATO
have daffed all other respects and made her half
myself. I pray you, tell Benedick of it, and hear
what a' will say.
Were it good, think you?CLAUDIO
Hero thinks surely she will die; for she says sheDON PEDRO
will die, if he love her not, and she will die, ere
she make her love known, and she will die, if he woo
her, rather than she will bate one breath of her
She doth well: if she should make tender of herCLAUDIO
love, 'tis very possible he'll scorn it; for the
man, as you know all, hath a contemptible spirit.
He is a very proper man.DON PEDRO
He hath indeed a good outward happiness.CLAUDIO
Before God! and, in my mind, very wise.DON PEDRO
He doth indeed show some sparks that are like wit.CLAUDIO
And I take him to be valiant.DON PEDRO
As Hector, I assure you: and in the managing ofLEONATO
quarrels you may say he is wise; for either he
avoids them with great discretion, or undertakes
them with a most Christian-like fear.
If he do fear God, a' must necessarily keep peace:DON PEDRO
if he break the peace, he ought to enter into a
quarrel with fear and trembling.
And so will he do; for the man doth fear God,CLAUDIO
howsoever it seems not in him by some large jests
he will make. Well I am sorry for your niece. Shall
we go seek Benedick, and tell him of her love?
Never tell him, my lord: let her wear it out withLEONATO
Nay, that's impossible: she may wear her heart out first.DON PEDRO
Well, we will hear further of it by your daughter:LEONATO
let it cool the while. I love Benedick well; and I
could wish he would modestly examine himself, to see
how much he is unworthy so good a lady.
My lord, will you walk? dinner is ready.CLAUDIO
If he do not dote on her upon this, I will neverDON PEDRO
trust my expectation.
Let there be the same net spread for her; and thatBENEDICK
must your daughter and her gentlewomen carry. The
sport will be, when they hold one an opinion of
another's dotage, and no such matter: that's the
scene that I would see, which will be merely a
dumb-show. Let us send her to call him in to dinner.
Exeunt DON PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and LEONATO
[Coming forward] This can be no trick: theBEATRICE
conference was sadly borne. They have the truth of
this from Hero. They seem to pity the lady: it
seems her affections have their full bent. Love me!
why, it must be requited. I hear how I am censured:
they say I will bear myself proudly, if I perceive
the love come from her; they say too that she will
rather die than give any sign of affection. I did
never think to marry: I must not seem proud: happy
are they that hear their detractions and can put
them to mending. They say the lady is fair; 'tis a
truth, I can bear them witness; and virtuous; 'tis
so, I cannot reprove it; and wise, but for loving
me; by my troth, it is no addition to her wit, nor
no great argument of her folly, for I will be
horribly in love with her. I may chance have some
odd quirks and remnants of wit broken on me,
because I have railed so long against marriage: but
doth not the appetite alter? a man loves the meat
in his youth that he cannot endure in his age.
Shall quips and sentences and these paper bullets of
the brain awe a man from the career of his humour?
No, the world must be peopled. When I said I would
die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I
were married. Here comes Beatrice. By this day!
she's a fair lady: I do spy some marks of love in
Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner.BENEDICK
Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains.BEATRICE
I took no more pains for those thanks than you takeBENEDICK
pains to thank me: if it had been painful, I would
not have come.
You take pleasure then in the message?BEATRICE
Yea, just so much as you may take upon a knife'sBENEDICK
point and choke a daw withal. You have no stomach,
signior: fare you well.
Ha! 'Against my will I am sent to bid you come in
to dinner;' there's a double meaning in that 'I took
no more pains for those thanks than you took pains
to thank me.' that's as much as to say, Any pains
that I take for you is as easy as thanks. If I do
not take pity of her, I am a villain; if I do not
love her, I am a Jew. I will go get her picture.
Enter HERO, MARGARET, and URSULAHERO
Good Margaret, run thee to the parlor;MARGARET
There shalt thou find my cousin Beatrice
Proposing with the prince and Claudio:
Whisper her ear and tell her, I and Ursula
Walk in the orchard and our whole discourse
Is all of her; say that thou overheard'st us;
And bid her steal into the pleached bower,
Where honeysuckles, ripen'd by the sun,
Forbid the sun to enter, like favourites,
Made proud by princes, that advance their pride
Against that power that bred it: there will she hide her,
To listen our purpose. This is thy office;
Bear thee well in it and leave us alone.
I'll make her come, I warrant you, presently.HERO
Now, Ursula, when Beatrice doth come,URSULA
As we do trace this alley up and down,
Our talk must only be of Benedick.
When I do name him, let it be thy part
To praise him more than ever man did merit:
My talk to thee must be how Benedick
Is sick in love with Beatrice. Of this matter
Is little Cupid's crafty arrow made,
That only wounds by hearsay.
Enter BEATRICE, behindNow begin;
For look where Beatrice, like a lapwing, runs
Close by the ground, to hear our conference.
The pleasant'st angling is to see the fishHERO
Cut with her golden oars the silver stream,
And greedily devour the treacherous bait:
So angle we for Beatrice; who even now
Is couched in the woodbine coverture.
Fear you not my part of the dialogue.
Then go we near her, that her ear lose nothingURSULA
Of the false sweet bait that we lay for it.
Approaching the bowerNo, truly, Ursula, she is too disdainful;
I know her spirits are as coy and wild
As haggerds of the rock.
But are you sureHERO
That Benedick loves Beatrice so entirely?
So says the prince and my new-trothed lord.URSULA
And did they bid you tell her of it, madam?HERO
They did entreat me to acquaint her of it;URSULA
But I persuaded them, if they loved Benedick,
To wish him wrestle with affection,
And never to let Beatrice know of it.
Why did you so? Doth not the gentlemanHERO
Deserve as full as fortunate a bed
As ever Beatrice shall couch upon?
O god of love! I know he doth deserveURSULA
As much as may be yielded to a man:
But Nature never framed a woman's heart
Of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice;
Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes,
Misprising what they look on, and her wit
Values itself so highly that to her
All matter else seems weak: she cannot love,
Nor take no shape nor project of affection,
She is so self-endeared.
Sure, I think so;HERO
And therefore certainly it were not good
She knew his love, lest she make sport at it.
Why, you speak truth. I never yet saw man,URSULA
How wise, how noble, young, how rarely featured,
But she would spell him backward: if fair-faced,
She would swear the gentleman should be her sister;
If black, why, Nature, drawing of an antique,
Made a foul blot; if tall, a lance ill-headed;
If low, an agate very vilely cut;
If speaking, why, a vane blown with all winds;
If silent, why, a block moved with none.
So turns she every man the wrong side out
And never gives to truth and virtue that
Which simpleness and merit purchaseth.
Sure, sure, such carping is not commendable.HERO
No, not to be so odd and from all fashionsURSULA
As Beatrice is, cannot be commendable:
But who dare tell her so? If I should speak,
She would mock me into air; O, she would laugh me
Out of myself, press me to death with wit.
Therefore let Benedick, like cover'd fire,
Consume away in sighs, waste inwardly:
It were a better death than die with mocks,
Which is as bad as die with tickling.
Yet tell her of it: hear what she will say.HERO
No; rather I will go to BenedickURSULA
And counsel him to fight against his passion.
And, truly, I'll devise some honest slanders
To stain my cousin with: one doth not know
How much an ill word may empoison liking.
O, do not do your cousin such a wrong.HERO
She cannot be so much without true judgment--
Having so swift and excellent a wit
As she is prized to have--as to refuse
So rare a gentleman as Signior Benedick.
He is the only man of Italy.URSULA
Always excepted my dear Claudio.
I pray you, be not angry with me, madam,HERO
Speaking my fancy: Signior Benedick,
For shape, for bearing, argument and valour,
Goes foremost in report through Italy.
Indeed, he hath an excellent good name.URSULA
His excellence did earn it, ere he had it.HERO
When are you married, madam?
Why, every day, to-morrow. Come, go in:URSULA
I'll show thee some attires, and have thy counsel
Which is the best to furnish me to-morrow.
She's limed, I warrant you: we have caught her, madam.HERO
If it proves so, then loving goes by haps:BEATRICE
Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.
Exeunt HERO and URSULA
What fire is in mine ears? Can this be true?
Stand I condemn'd for pride and scorn so much?
Contempt, farewell! and maiden pride, adieu!
No glory lives behind the back of such.
And, Benedick, love on; I will requite thee,
Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand:
If thou dost love, my kindness shall incite thee
To bind our loves up in a holy band;
For others say thou dost deserve, and I
Believe it better than reportingly.
Enter DON PEDRO, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK, and LEONATODON PEDRO
I do but stay till your marriage be consummate, andCLAUDIO
then go I toward Arragon.
I'll bring you thither, my lord, if you'llDON PEDRO
Nay, that would be as great a soil in the new glossBENEDICK
of your marriage as to show a child his new coat
and forbid him to wear it. I will only be bold
with Benedick for his company; for, from the crown
of his head to the sole of his foot, he is all
mirth: he hath twice or thrice cut Cupid's
bow-string and the little hangman dare not shoot at
him; he hath a heart as sound as a bell and his
tongue is the clapper, for what his heart thinks his
Gallants, I am not as I have been.LEONATO
So say I methinks you are sadder.CLAUDIO
I hope he be in love.DON PEDRO
Hang him, truant! there's no true drop of blood inBENEDICK
him, to be truly touched with love: if he be sad,
he wants money.
I have the toothache.DON PEDRO
You must hang it first, and draw it afterwards.DON PEDRO
What! sigh for the toothache?LEONATO
Where is but a humour or a worm.BENEDICK
Well, every one can master a grief but he that hasCLAUDIO
Yet say I, he is in love.DON PEDRO
There is no appearance of fancy in him, unless it beCLAUDIO
a fancy that he hath to strange disguises; as, to be
a Dutchman today, a Frenchman to-morrow, or in the
shape of two countries at once, as, a German from
the waist downward, all slops, and a Spaniard from
the hip upward, no doublet. Unless he have a fancy
to this foolery, as it appears he hath, he is no
fool for fancy, as you would have it appear he is.
If he be not in love with some woman, there is noDON PEDRO
believing old signs: a' brushes his hat o'
mornings; what should that bode?
Hath any man seen him at the barber's?CLAUDIO
No, but the barber's man hath been seen with him,LEONATO
and the old ornament of his cheek hath already
Indeed, he looks younger than he did, by the loss of a beard.DON PEDRO
Nay, a' rubs himself with civet: can you smell himCLAUDIO
out by that?
That's as much as to say, the sweet youth's in love.DON PEDRO
The greatest note of it is his melancholy.CLAUDIO
And when was he wont to wash his face?DON PEDRO
Yea, or to paint himself? for the which, I hearCLAUDIO
what they say of him.
Nay, but his jesting spirit; which is now crept intoDON PEDRO
a lute-string and now governed by stops.
Indeed, that tells a heavy tale for him: conclude,CLAUDIO
conclude he is in love.
Nay, but I know who loves him.DON PEDRO
That would I know too: I warrant, one that knows him not.CLAUDIO
Yes, and his ill conditions; and, in despite ofDON PEDRO
all, dies for him.
She shall be buried with her face upwards.BENEDICK
Yet is this no charm for the toothache. OldDON PEDRO
signior, walk aside with me: I have studied eight
or nine wise words to speak to you, which these
hobby-horses must not hear.
Exeunt BENEDICK and LEONATO
For my life, to break with him about Beatrice.CLAUDIO
'Tis even so. Hero and Margaret have by thisDON JOHN
played their parts with Beatrice; and then the two
bears will not bite one another when they meet.
Enter DON JOHN
My lord and brother, God save you!DON PEDRO
Good den, brother.DON JOHN
If your leisure served, I would speak with you.DON PEDRO
In private?DON JOHN
If it please you: yet Count Claudio may hear; forDON PEDRO
what I would speak of concerns him.
What's the matter?DON JOHN
[To CLAUDIO] Means your lordship to be marriedDON PEDRO
You know he does.DON JOHN
I know not that, when he knows what I know.CLAUDIO
If there be any impediment, I pray you discover it.DON JOHN
You may think I love you not: let that appearDON PEDRO
hereafter, and aim better at me by that I now will
manifest. For my brother, I think he holds you
well, and in dearness of heart hath holp to effect
your ensuing marriage;--surely suit ill spent and
labour ill bestowed.
Why, what's the matter?DON JOHN
I came hither to tell you; and, circumstancesCLAUDIO
shortened, for she has been too long a talking of,
the lady is disloyal.
Who, Hero?DON PEDRO
Even she; Leonato's Hero, your Hero, every man's Hero:CLAUDIO
The word is too good to paint out her wickedness; ICLAUDIO
could say she were worse: think you of a worse
title, and I will fit her to it. Wonder not till
further warrant: go but with me to-night, you shall
see her chamber-window entered, even the night
before her wedding-day: if you love her then,
to-morrow wed her; but it would better fit your honour
to change your mind.
May this be so?DON PEDRO
I will not think it.DON JOHN
If you dare not trust that you see, confess notCLAUDIO
that you know: if you will follow me, I will show
you enough; and when you have seen more and heard
more, proceed accordingly.
If I see any thing to-night why I should not marryDON PEDRO
her to-morrow in the congregation, where I should
wed, there will I shame her.
And, as I wooed for thee to obtain her, I will joinDON JOHN
with thee to disgrace her.
I will disparage her no farther till you are myDON PEDRO
witnesses: bear it coldly but till midnight, and
let the issue show itself.
O day untowardly turned!CLAUDIO
O mischief strangely thwarting!DON JOHN
O plague right well prevented! so will you say when
you have seen the sequel.
Enter DOGBERRY and VERGES with the WatchDOGBERRY
Are you good men and true?VERGES
Yea, or else it were pity but they should sufferDOGBERRY
salvation, body and soul.
Nay, that were a punishment too good for them, ifVERGES
they should have any allegiance in them, being
chosen for the prince's watch.
Well, give them their charge, neighbour Dogberry.DOGBERRY
First, who think you the most desertless man to beFirst Watchman
Hugh Otecake, sir, or George Seacole; for they canDOGBERRY
write and read.
Come hither, neighbour Seacole. God hath blessedSecond Watchman
you with a good name: to be a well-favoured man is
the gift of fortune; but to write and read comes by nature.
Both which, master constable,--DOGBERRY
You have: I knew it would be your answer. Well,Second Watchman
for your favour, sir, why, give God thanks, and make
no boast of it; and for your writing and reading,
let that appear when there is no need of such
vanity. You are thought here to be the most
senseless and fit man for the constable of the
watch; therefore bear you the lantern. This is your
charge: you shall comprehend all vagrom men; you are
to bid any man stand, in the prince's name.
How if a' will not stand?DOGBERRY
Why, then, take no note of him, but let him go; andVERGES
presently call the rest of the watch together and
thank God you are rid of a knave.
If he will not stand when he is bidden, he is noneDOGBERRY
of the prince's subjects.
True, and they are to meddle with none but theWatchman
prince's subjects. You shall also make no noise in
the streets; for, for the watch to babble and to
talk is most tolerable and not to be endured.
We will rather sleep than talk: we know whatDOGBERRY
belongs to a watch.
Why, you speak like an ancient and most quietWatchman
watchman; for I cannot see how sleeping should
offend: only, have a care that your bills be not
stolen. Well, you are to call at all the
ale-houses, and bid those that are drunk get them to bed.
How if they will not?DOGBERRY
Why, then, let them alone till they are sober: ifWatchman
they make you not then the better answer, you may
say they are not the men you took them for.
If you meet a thief, you may suspect him, by virtueWatchman
of your office, to be no true man; and, for such
kind of men, the less you meddle or make with them,
why the more is for your honesty.
If we know him to be a thief, shall we not layDOGBERRY
hands on him?
Truly, by your office, you may; but I think theyVERGES
that touch pitch will be defiled: the most peaceable
way for you, if you do take a thief, is to let him
show himself what he is and steal out of your company.
You have been always called a merciful man, partner.DOGBERRY
Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will, much moreVERGES
a man who hath any honesty in him.
If you hear a child cry in the night, you must callWatchman
to the nurse and bid her still it.
How if the nurse be asleep and will not hear us?DOGBERRY
Why, then, depart in peace, and let the child wakeVERGES
her with crying; for the ewe that will not hear her
lamb when it baes will never answer a calf when he bleats.
'Tis very true.DOGBERRY
This is the end of the charge:--you, constable, areVERGES
to present the prince's own person: if you meet the
prince in the night, you may stay him.
Nay, by'r our lady, that I think a' cannot.DOGBERRY
Five shillings to one on't, with any man that knowsVERGES
the statutes, he may stay him: marry, not without
the prince be willing; for, indeed, the watch ought
to offend no man; and it is an offence to stay a
man against his will.
By'r lady, I think it be so.DOGBERRY
Ha, ha, ha! Well, masters, good night: an there beWatchman
any matter of weight chances, call up me: keep your
fellows' counsels and your own; and good night.
Well, masters, we hear our charge: let us go sit hereDOGBERRY
upon the church-bench till two, and then all to bed.
One word more, honest neighbours. I pray you watchBORACHIO
about Signior Leonato's door; for the wedding being
there to-morrow, there is a great coil to-night.
Adieu: be vigitant, I beseech you.
Exeunt DOGBERRY and VERGES
Enter BORACHIO and CONRADE
[Aside] Peace! stir not.BORACHIO
Conrade, I say!CONRADE
Here, man; I am at thy elbow.BORACHIO
Mass, and my elbow itched; I thought there would aCONRADE
I will owe thee an answer for that: and now forwardBORACHIO
with thy tale.
Stand thee close, then, under this pent-house, forWatchman
it drizzles rain; and I will, like a true drunkard,
utter all to thee.
[Aside] Some treason, masters: yet stand close.BORACHIO
Therefore know I have earned of Don John a thousand ducats.CONRADE
Is it possible that any villany should be so dear?BORACHIO
Thou shouldst rather ask if it were possible anyCONRADE
villany should be so rich; for when rich villains
have need of poor ones, poor ones may make what
price they will.
I wonder at it.BORACHIO
That shows thou art unconfirmed. Thou knowest thatCONRADE
the fashion of a doublet, or a hat, or a cloak, is
nothing to a man.
Yes, it is apparel.BORACHIO
I mean, the fashion.CONRADE
Yes, the fashion is the fashion.BORACHIO
Tush! I may as well say the fool's the fool. ButWatchman
seest thou not what a deformed thief this fashion
[Aside] I know that Deformed; a' has been a vileBORACHIO
thief this seven year; a' goes up and down like a
gentleman: I remember his name.
Didst thou not hear somebody?CONRADE
No; 'twas the vane on the house.BORACHIO
Seest thou not, I say, what a deformed thief thisCONRADE
fashion is? how giddily a' turns about all the hot
bloods between fourteen and five-and-thirty?
sometimes fashioning them like Pharaoh's soldiers
in the reeky painting, sometime like god Bel's
priests in the old church-window, sometime like the
shaven Hercules in the smirched worm-eaten tapestry,
where his codpiece seems as massy as his club?
All this I see; and I see that the fashion wearsBORACHIO
out more apparel than the man. But art not thou
thyself giddy with the fashion too, that thou hast
shifted out of thy tale into telling me of the fashion?
Not so, neither: but know that I have to-nightCONRADE
wooed Margaret, the Lady Hero's gentlewoman, by the
name of Hero: she leans me out at her mistress'
chamber-window, bids me a thousand times good
night,--I tell this tale vilely:--I should first
tell thee how the prince, Claudio and my master,
planted and placed and possessed by my master Don
John, saw afar off in the orchard this amiable encounter.
And thought they Margaret was Hero?BORACHIO
Two of them did, the prince and Claudio; but theFirst Watchman
devil my master knew she was Margaret; and partly
by his oaths, which first possessed them, partly by
the dark night, which did deceive them, but chiefly
by my villany, which did confirm any slander that
Don John had made, away went Claudio enraged; swore
he would meet her, as he was appointed, next morning
at the temple, and there, before the whole
congregation, shame her with what he saw o'er night
and send her home again without a husband.
We charge you, in the prince's name, stand!Second Watchman
Call up the right master constable. We have hereFirst Watchman
recovered the most dangerous piece of lechery that
ever was known in the commonwealth.
And one Deformed is one of them: I know him; a'CONRADE
wears a lock.
Masters, masters,--Second Watchman
You'll be made bring Deformed forth, I warrant you.CONRADE
Never speak: we charge you let us obey you to go with us.BORACHIO
We are like to prove a goodly commodity, being takenCONRADE
up of these men's bills.
A commodity in question, I warrant you. Come, we'll obey you.
Enter HERO, MARGARET, and URSULAHERO
Good Ursula, wake my cousin Beatrice, and desireURSULA
her to rise.
I will, lady.HERO
And bid her come hither.URSULA
Troth, I think your other rabato were better.HERO
No, pray thee, good Meg, I'll wear this.MARGARET
By my troth, 's not so good; and I warrant yourHERO
cousin will say so.
My cousin's a fool, and thou art another: I'll wearMARGARET
none but this.
I like the new tire within excellently, if the hairHERO
were a thought browner; and your gown's a most rare
fashion, i' faith. I saw the Duchess of Milan's
gown that they praise so.
O, that exceeds, they say.MARGARET
By my troth, 's but a night-gown in respect ofHERO
yours: cloth o' gold, and cuts, and laced with
silver, set with pearls, down sleeves, side sleeves,
and skirts, round underborne with a bluish tinsel:
but for a fine, quaint, graceful and excellent
fashion, yours is worth ten on 't.
God give me joy to wear it! for my heart isMARGARET
'Twill be heavier soon by the weight of a man.HERO
Fie upon thee! art not ashamed?MARGARET
Of what, lady? of speaking honourably? Is notHERO
marriage honourable in a beggar? Is not your lord
honourable without marriage? I think you would have
me say, 'saving your reverence, a husband:' and bad
thinking do not wrest true speaking, I'll offend
nobody: is there any harm in 'the heavier for a
husband'? None, I think, and it be the right husband
and the right wife; otherwise 'tis light, and not
heavy: ask my Lady Beatrice else; here she comes.
Good morrow, coz.BEATRICE
Good morrow, sweet Hero.HERO
Why how now? do you speak in the sick tune?BEATRICE
I am out of all other tune, methinks.MARGARET
Clap's into 'Light o' love;' that goes without aBEATRICE
burden: do you sing it, and I'll dance it.
Ye light o' love, with your heels! then, if yourMARGARET
husband have stables enough, you'll see he shall
lack no barns.
O illegitimate construction! I scorn that with my heels.BEATRICE
'Tis almost five o'clock, cousin; tis time you wereMARGARET
ready. By my troth, I am exceeding ill: heigh-ho!
For a hawk, a horse, or a husband?BEATRICE
For the letter that begins them all, H.MARGARET
Well, and you be not turned Turk, there's no moreBEATRICE
sailing by the star.
What means the fool, trow?MARGARET
Nothing I; but God send every one their heart's desire!HERO
These gloves the count sent me; they are anBEATRICE
I am stuffed, cousin; I cannot smell.MARGARET
A maid, and stuffed! there's goodly catching of cold.BEATRICE
O, God help me! God help me! how long have youMARGARET
Even since you left it. Doth not my wit become me rarely?BEATRICE
It is not seen enough, you should wear it in yourMARGARET
cap. By my troth, I am sick.
Get you some of this distilled Carduus Benedictus,HERO
and lay it to your heart: it is the only thing for a qualm.
There thou prickest her with a thistle.BEATRICE
Benedictus! why Benedictus? you have some moral inMARGARET
Moral! no, by my troth, I have no moral meaning; IBEATRICE
meant, plain holy-thistle. You may think perchance
that I think you are in love: nay, by'r lady, I am
not such a fool to think what I list, nor I list
not to think what I can, nor indeed I cannot think,
if I would think my heart out of thinking, that you
are in love or that you will be in love or that you
can be in love. Yet Benedick was such another, and
now is he become a man: he swore he would never
marry, and yet now, in despite of his heart, he eats
his meat without grudging: and how you may be
converted I know not, but methinks you look with
your eyes as other women do.
What pace is this that thy tongue keeps?MARGARET
Not a false gallop.URSULA
Madam, withdraw: the prince, the count, SigniorHERO
Benedick, Don John, and all the gallants of the
town, are come to fetch you to church.
Help to dress me, good coz, good Meg, good Ursula.
Enter LEONATO, with DOGBERRY and VERGESLEONATO
What would you with me, honest neighbour?DOGBERRY
Marry, sir, I would have some confidence with youLEONATO
that decerns you nearly.
Brief, I pray you; for you see it is a busy time with me.DOGBERRY
Marry, this it is, sir.VERGES
Yes, in truth it is, sir.LEONATO
What is it, my good friends?DOGBERRY
Goodman Verges, sir, speaks a little off theVERGES
matter: an old man, sir, and his wits are not so
blunt as, God help, I would desire they were; but,
in faith, honest as the skin between his brows.
Yes, I thank God I am as honest as any man livingDOGBERRY
that is an old man and no honester than I.
Comparisons are odorous: palabras, neighbour Verges.LEONATO
Neighbours, you are tedious.DOGBERRY
It pleases your worship to say so, but we are theLEONATO
poor duke's officers; but truly, for mine own part,
if I were as tedious as a king, I could find it in
my heart to bestow it all of your worship.
All thy tediousness on me, ah?DOGBERRY
Yea, an 'twere a thousand pound more than 'tis; forVERGES
I hear as good exclamation on your worship as of any
man in the city; and though I be but a poor man, I
am glad to hear it.
And so am I.LEONATO
I would fain know what you have to say.VERGES
Marry, sir, our watch to-night, excepting yourDOGBERRY
worship's presence, ha' ta'en a couple of as arrant
knaves as any in Messina.
A good old man, sir; he will be talking: as theyLEONATO
say, when the age is in, the wit is out: God help
us! it is a world to see. Well said, i' faith,
neighbour Verges: well, God's a good man; an two men
ride of a horse, one must ride behind. An honest
soul, i' faith, sir; by my troth he is, as ever
broke bread; but God is to be worshipped; all men
are not alike; alas, good neighbour!
Indeed, neighbour, he comes too short of you.DOGBERRY
Gifts that God gives.LEONATO
I must leave you.DOGBERRY
One word, sir: our watch, sir, have indeedLEONATO
comprehended two aspicious persons, and we would
have them this morning examined before your worship.
Take their examination yourself and bring it me: IDOGBERRY
am now in great haste, as it may appear unto you.
It shall be suffigance.LEONATO
Drink some wine ere you go: fare you well.Messenger
Enter a Messenger
My lord, they stay for you to give your daughter toLEONATO
I'll wait upon them: I am ready.DOGBERRY
Exeunt LEONATO and Messenger
Go, good partner, go, get you to Francis Seacole;VERGES
bid him bring his pen and inkhorn to the gaol: we
are now to examination these men.
And we must do it wisely.DOGBERRY
We will spare for no wit, I warrant you; here's
that shall drive some of them to a non-come: only
get the learned writer to set down our
excommunication and meet me at the gaol.
Enter DON PEDRO, DON JOHN, LEONATO, FRIAR FRANCIS, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK, HERO, BEATRICE, and AttendantsLEONATO
Come, Friar Francis, be brief; only to the plainFRIAR FRANCIS
form of marriage, and you shall recount their
particular duties afterwards.
You come hither, my lord, to marry this lady.CLAUDIO
To be married to her: friar, you come to marry her.FRIAR FRANCIS
Lady, you come hither to be married to this count.HERO
I do.FRIAR FRANCIS
If either of you know any inward impediment why youCLAUDIO
should not be conjoined, charge you, on your souls,
to utter it.
Know you any, Hero?HERO
None, my lord.FRIAR FRANCIS
Know you any, count?LEONATO
I dare make his answer, none.CLAUDIO
O, what men dare do! what men may do! what men dailyBENEDICK
do, not knowing what they do!
How now! interjections? Why, then, some be ofCLAUDIO
laughing, as, ah, ha, he!
Stand thee by, friar. Father, by your leave:LEONATO
Will you with free and unconstrained soul
Give me this maid, your daughter?
As freely, son, as God did give her me.CLAUDIO
And what have I to give you back, whose worthDON PEDRO
May counterpoise this rich and precious gift?
Nothing, unless you render her again.CLAUDIO
Sweet prince, you learn me noble thankfulness.LEONATO
There, Leonato, take her back again:
Give not this rotten orange to your friend;
She's but the sign and semblance of her honour.
Behold how like a maid she blushes here!
O, what authority and show of truth
Can cunning sin cover itself withal!
Comes not that blood as modest evidence
To witness simple virtue? Would you not swear,
All you that see her, that she were a maid,
By these exterior shows? But she is none:
She knows the heat of a luxurious bed;
Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty.
What do you mean, my lord?CLAUDIO
Not to be married,LEONATO
Not to knit my soul to an approved wanton.
Dear my lord, if you, in your own proof,CLAUDIO
Have vanquish'd the resistance of her youth,
And made defeat of her virginity,--
I know what you would say: if I have known her,HERO
You will say she did embrace me as a husband,
And so extenuate the 'forehand sin:
I never tempted her with word too large;
But, as a brother to his sister, show'd
Bashful sincerity and comely love.
And seem'd I ever otherwise to you?CLAUDIO
Out on thee! Seeming! I will write against it:HERO
You seem to me as Dian in her orb,
As chaste as is the bud ere it be blown;
But you are more intemperate in your blood
Than Venus, or those pamper'd animals
That rage in savage sensuality.
Is my lord well, that he doth speak so wide?LEONATO
Sweet prince, why speak not you?DON PEDRO
What should I speak?LEONATO
I stand dishonour'd, that have gone about
To link my dear friend to a common stale.
Are these things spoken, or do I but dream?DON JOHN
Sir, they are spoken, and these things are true.BENEDICK
This looks not like a nuptial.HERO
True! O God!CLAUDIO
Leonato, stand I here?LEONATO
Is this the prince? is this the prince's brother?
Is this face Hero's? are our eyes our own?
All this is so: but what of this, my lord?CLAUDIO
Let me but move one question to your daughter;LEONATO
And, by that fatherly and kindly power
That you have in her, bid her answer truly.
I charge thee do so, as thou art my child.HERO
O, God defend me! how am I beset!CLAUDIO
What kind of catechising call you this?
To make you answer truly to your name.HERO
Is it not Hero? Who can blot that nameCLAUDIO
With any just reproach?
Marry, that can Hero;HERO
Hero itself can blot out Hero's virtue.
What man was he talk'd with you yesternight
Out at your window betwixt twelve and one?
Now, if you are a maid, answer to this.
I talk'd with no man at that hour, my lord.DON PEDRO
Why, then are you no maiden. Leonato,DON JOHN
I am sorry you must hear: upon mine honour,
Myself, my brother and this grieved count
Did see her, hear her, at that hour last night
Talk with a ruffian at her chamber-window
Who hath indeed, most like a liberal villain,
Confess'd the vile encounters they have had
A thousand times in secret.
Fie, fie! they are not to be named, my lord,CLAUDIO
Not to be spoke of;
There is not chastity enough in language
Without offence to utter them. Thus, pretty lady,
I am sorry for thy much misgovernment.
O Hero, what a Hero hadst thou been,LEONATO
If half thy outward graces had been placed
About thy thoughts and counsels of thy heart!
But fare thee well, most foul, most fair! farewell,
Thou pure impiety and impious purity!
For thee I'll lock up all the gates of love,
And on my eyelids shall conjecture hang,
To turn all beauty into thoughts of harm,
And never shall it more be gracious.
Hath no man's dagger here a point for me?BEATRICE
Why, how now, cousin! wherefore sink you down?DON JOHN
Come, let us go. These things, come thus to light,BENEDICK
Smother her spirits up.
Exeunt DON PEDRO, DON JOHN, and CLAUDIO
How doth the lady?BEATRICE
Dead, I think. Help, uncle!LEONATO
Hero! why, Hero! Uncle! Signior Benedick! Friar!
O Fate! take not away thy heavy hand.BEATRICE
Death is the fairest cover for her shame
That may be wish'd for.
How now, cousin Hero!FRIAR FRANCIS
Have comfort, lady.LEONATO
Dost thou look up?FRIAR FRANCIS
Yea, wherefore should she not?LEONATO
Wherefore! Why, doth not every earthly thingBENEDICK
Cry shame upon her? Could she here deny
The story that is printed in her blood?
Do not live, Hero; do not ope thine eyes:
For, did I think thou wouldst not quickly die,
Thought I thy spirits were stronger than thy shames,
Myself would, on the rearward of reproaches,
Strike at thy life. Grieved I, I had but one?
Chid I for that at frugal nature's frame?
O, one too much by thee! Why had I one?
Why ever wast thou lovely in my eyes?
Why had I not with charitable hand
Took up a beggar's issue at my gates,
Who smirch'd thus and mired with infamy,
I might have said 'No part of it is mine;
This shame derives itself from unknown loins'?
But mine and mine I loved and mine I praised
And mine that I was proud on, mine so much
That I myself was to myself not mine,
Valuing of her,--why, she, O, she is fallen
Into a pit of ink, that the wide sea
Hath drops too few to wash her clean again
And salt too little which may season give
To her foul-tainted flesh!
Sir, sir, be patient.BEATRICE
For my part, I am so attired in wonder,
I know not what to say.
O, on my soul, my cousin is belied!BENEDICK
Lady, were you her bedfellow last night?BEATRICE
No, truly not; although, until last night,LEONATO
I have this twelvemonth been her bedfellow.
Confirm'd, confirm'd! O, that is stronger madeFRIAR FRANCIS
Which was before barr'd up with ribs of iron!
Would the two princes lie, and Claudio lie,
Who loved her so, that, speaking of her foulness,
Wash'd it with tears? Hence from her! let her die.
Hear me a little;LEONATO
For I have only been silent so long
And given way unto this course of fortune.
By noting of the lady I have mark'd
A thousand blushing apparitions
To start into her face, a thousand innocent shames
In angel whiteness beat away those blushes;
And in her eye there hath appear'd a fire,
To burn the errors that these princes hold
Against her maiden truth. Call me a fool;
Trust not my reading nor my observations,
Which with experimental seal doth warrant
The tenor of my book; trust not my age,
My reverence, calling, nor divinity,
If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here
Under some biting error.
Friar, it cannot be.FRIAR FRANCIS
Thou seest that all the grace that she hath left
Is that she will not add to her damnation
A sin of perjury; she not denies it:
Why seek'st thou then to cover with excuse
That which appears in proper nakedness?
Lady, what man is he you are accused of?HERO
They know that do accuse me; I know none:FRIAR FRANCIS
If I know more of any man alive
Than that which maiden modesty doth warrant,
Let all my sins lack mercy! O my father,
Prove you that any man with me conversed
At hours unmeet, or that I yesternight
Maintain'd the change of words with any creature,
Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death!
There is some strange misprision in the princes.BENEDICK
Two of them have the very bent of honour;LEONATO
And if their wisdoms be misled in this,
The practise of it lives in John the bastard,
Whose spirits toil in frame of villanies.
I know not. If they speak but truth of her,FRIAR FRANCIS
These hands shall tear her; if they wrong her honour,
The proudest of them shall well hear of it.
Time hath not yet so dried this blood of mine,
Nor age so eat up my invention,
Nor fortune made such havoc of my means,
Nor my bad life reft me so much of friends,
But they shall find, awaked in such a kind,
Both strength of limb and policy of mind,
Ability in means and choice of friends,
To quit me of them throughly.
And let my counsel sway you in this case.
Your daughter here the princes left for dead:
Let her awhile be secretly kept in,
And publish it that she is dead indeed;
Maintain a mourning ostentation
And on your family's old monument
Hang mournful epitaphs and do all rites
That appertain unto a burial.
What shall become of this? what will this do?FRIAR FRANCIS
Marry, this well carried shall on her behalfBENEDICK
Change slander to remorse; that is some good:
But not for that dream I on this strange course,
But on this travail look for greater birth.
She dying, as it must so be maintain'd,
Upon the instant that she was accused,
Shall be lamented, pitied and excused
Of every hearer: for it so falls out
That what we have we prize not to the worth
Whiles we enjoy it, but being lack'd and lost,
Why, then we rack the value, then we find
The virtue that possession would not show us
Whiles it was ours. So will it fare with Claudio:
When he shall hear she died upon his words,
The idea of her life shall sweetly creep
Into his study of imagination,
And every lovely organ of her life
Shall come apparell'd in more precious habit,
More moving-delicate and full of life,
Into the eye and prospect of his soul,
Than when she lived indeed; then shall he mourn,
If ever love had interest in his liver,
And wish he had not so accused her,
No, though he thought his accusation true.
Let this be so, and doubt not but success
Will fashion the event in better shape
Than I can lay it down in likelihood.
But if all aim but this be levell'd false,
The supposition of the lady's death
Will quench the wonder of her infamy:
And if it sort not well, you may conceal her,
As best befits her wounded reputation,
In some reclusive and religious life,
Out of all eyes, tongues, minds and injuries.
Signior Leonato, let the friar advise you:LEONATO
And though you know my inwardness and love
Is very much unto the prince and Claudio,
Yet, by mine honour, I will deal in this
As secretly and justly as your soul
Should with your body.
Being that I flow in grief,FRIAR FRANCIS
The smallest twine may lead me.
'Tis well consented: presently away;BENEDICK
For to strange sores strangely they strain the cure.
Come, lady, die to live: this wedding-day
Perhaps is but prolong'd: have patience and endure.
Exeunt all but BENEDICK and BEATRICE
Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while?BEATRICE
Yea, and I will weep a while longer.BENEDICK
I will not desire that.BEATRICE
You have no reason; I do it freely.BENEDICK
Surely I do believe your fair cousin is wronged.BEATRICE
Ah, how much might the man deserve of me that would right her!BENEDICK
Is there any way to show such friendship?BEATRICE
A very even way, but no such friend.BENEDICK
May a man do it?BEATRICE
It is a man's office, but not yours.BENEDICK
I do love nothing in the world so well as you: isBEATRICE
not that strange?
As strange as the thing I know not. It were asBENEDICK
possible for me to say I loved nothing so well as
you: but believe me not; and yet I lie not; I
confess nothing, nor I deny nothing. I am sorry for my cousin.
By my sword, Beatrice, thou lovest me.BEATRICE
Do not swear, and eat it.BENEDICK
I will swear by it that you love me; and I will makeBEATRICE
him eat it that says I love not you.
Will you not eat your word?BENEDICK
With no sauce that can be devised to it. I protestBEATRICE
I love thee.
Why, then, God forgive me!BENEDICK
What offence, sweet Beatrice?BEATRICE
You have stayed me in a happy hour: I was about toBENEDICK
protest I loved you.
And do it with all thy heart.BEATRICE
I love you with so much of my heart that none isBENEDICK
left to protest.
Come, bid me do any thing for thee.BEATRICE
Ha! not for the wide world.BEATRICE
You kill me to deny it. Farewell.BENEDICK
Tarry, sweet Beatrice.BEATRICE
I am gone, though I am here: there is no love inBENEDICK
you: nay, I pray you, let me go.
In faith, I will go.BENEDICK
We'll be friends first.BEATRICE
You dare easier be friends with me than fight with mine enemy.BENEDICK
Is Claudio thine enemy?BEATRICE
Is he not approved in the height a villain, thatBENEDICK
hath slandered, scorned, dishonoured my kinswoman? O
that I were a man! What, bear her in hand until they
come to take hands; and then, with public
accusation, uncovered slander, unmitigated rancour,
--O God, that I were a man! I would eat his heart
in the market-place.
Hear me, Beatrice,--BEATRICE
Talk with a man out at a window! A proper saying!BENEDICK
Nay, but, Beatrice,--BEATRICE
Sweet Hero! She is wronged, she is slandered, she is undone.BENEDICK
Princes and counties! Surely, a princely testimony,BENEDICK
a goodly count, Count Comfect; a sweet gallant,
surely! O that I were a man for his sake! or that I
had any friend would be a man for my sake! But
manhood is melted into courtesies, valour into
compliment, and men are only turned into tongue, and
trim ones too: he is now as valiant as Hercules
that only tells a lie and swears it. I cannot be a
man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving.
Tarry, good Beatrice. By this hand, I love thee.BEATRICE
Use it for my love some other way than swearing by it.BENEDICK
Think you in your soul the Count Claudio hath wronged Hero?BEATRICE
Yea, as sure as I have a thought or a soul.BENEDICK
Enough, I am engaged; I will challenge him. I will
kiss your hand, and so I leave you. By this hand,
Claudio shall render me a dear account. As you
hear of me, so think of me. Go, comfort your
cousin: I must say she is dead: and so, farewell.
Enter DOGBERRY, VERGES, and Sexton, in gowns; and the Watch, with CONRADE and BORACHIODOGBERRY
Is our whole dissembly appeared?VERGES
O, a stool and a cushion for the sexton.Sexton
Which be the malefactors?DOGBERRY
Marry, that am I and my partner.VERGES
Nay, that's certain; we have the exhibition to examine.Sexton
But which are the offenders that are to beDOGBERRY
examined? let them come before master constable.
Yea, marry, let them come before me. What is yourBORACHIO
Pray, write down, Borachio. Yours, sirrah?CONRADE
I am a gentleman, sir, and my name is Conrade.DOGBERRY
Write down, master gentleman Conrade. Masters, doCONRADE BORACHIO
you serve God?
Yea, sir, we hope.DOGBERRY
Write down, that they hope they serve God: andCONRADE
write God first; for God defend but God should go
before such villains! Masters, it is proved already
that you are little better than false knaves; and it
will go near to be thought so shortly. How answer
you for yourselves?
Marry, sir, we say we are none.DOGBERRY
A marvellous witty fellow, I assure you: but IBORACHIO
will go about with him. Come you hither, sirrah; a
word in your ear: sir, I say to you, it is thought
you are false knaves.
Sir, I say to you we are none.DOGBERRY
Well, stand aside. 'Fore God, they are both in aSexton
tale. Have you writ down, that they are none?
Master constable, you go not the way to examine:DOGBERRY
you must call forth the watch that are their accusers.
Yea, marry, that's the eftest way. Let the watchFirst Watchman
come forth. Masters, I charge you, in the prince's
name, accuse these men.
This man said, sir, that Don John, the prince'sDOGBERRY
brother, was a villain.
Write down Prince John a villain. Why, this is flatBORACHIO
perjury, to call a prince's brother villain.
Pray thee, fellow, peace: I do not like thy look,Sexton
I promise thee.
What heard you him say else?Second Watchman
Marry, that he had received a thousand ducats ofDOGBERRY
Don John for accusing the Lady Hero wrongfully.
Flat burglary as ever was committed.VERGES
Yea, by mass, that it is.Sexton
What else, fellow?First Watchman
And that Count Claudio did mean, upon his words, toDOGBERRY
disgrace Hero before the whole assembly. and not marry her.
O villain! thou wilt be condemned into everlastingSexton
redemption for this.
This is all.Sexton
And this is more, masters, than you can deny.DOGBERRY
Prince John is this morning secretly stolen away;
Hero was in this manner accused, in this very manner
refused, and upon the grief of this suddenly died.
Master constable, let these men be bound, and
brought to Leonato's: I will go before and show
him their examination.
Come, let them be opinioned.VERGES
Let them be in the hands--CONRADE
God's my life, where's the sexton? let him writeCONRADE
down the prince's officer coxcomb. Come, bind them.
Thou naughty varlet!
Away! you are an ass, you are an ass.DOGBERRY
Dost thou not suspect my place? dost thou not
suspect my years? O that he were here to write me
down an ass! But, masters, remember that I am an
ass; though it be not written down, yet forget not
that I am an ass. No, thou villain, thou art full of
piety, as shall be proved upon thee by good witness.
I am a wise fellow, and, which is more, an officer,
and, which is more, a householder, and, which is
more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any is in
Messina, and one that knows the law, go to; and a
rich fellow enough, go to; and a fellow that hath
had losses, and one that hath two gowns and every
thing handsome about him. Bring him away. O that
I had been writ down an ass!
Enter LEONATO and ANTONIOANTONIO
If you go on thus, you will kill yourself:LEONATO
And 'tis not wisdom thus to second grief
I pray thee, cease thy counsel,ANTONIO
Which falls into mine ears as profitless
As water in a sieve: give not me counsel;
Nor let no comforter delight mine ear
But such a one whose wrongs do suit with mine.
Bring me a father that so loved his child,
Whose joy of her is overwhelm'd like mine,
And bid him speak of patience;
Measure his woe the length and breadth of mine
And let it answer every strain for strain,
As thus for thus and such a grief for such,
In every lineament, branch, shape, and form:
If such a one will smile and stroke his beard,
Bid sorrow wag, cry 'hem!' when he should groan,
Patch grief with proverbs, make misfortune drunk
With candle-wasters; bring him yet to me,
And I of him will gather patience.
But there is no such man: for, brother, men
Can counsel and speak comfort to that grief
Which they themselves not feel; but, tasting it,
Their counsel turns to passion, which before
Would give preceptial medicine to rage,
Fetter strong madness in a silken thread,
Charm ache with air and agony with words:
No, no; 'tis all men's office to speak patience
To those that wring under the load of sorrow,
But no man's virtue nor sufficiency
To be so moral when he shall endure
The like himself. Therefore give me no counsel:
My griefs cry louder than advertisement.
Therein do men from children nothing differ.LEONATO
I pray thee, peace. I will be flesh and blood;ANTONIO
For there was never yet philosopher
That could endure the toothache patiently,
However they have writ the style of gods
And made a push at chance and sufferance.
Yet bend not all the harm upon yourself;LEONATO
Make those that do offend you suffer too.
There thou speak'st reason: nay, I will do so.ANTONIO
My soul doth tell me Hero is belied;
And that shall Claudio know; so shall the prince
And all of them that thus dishonour her.
Here comes the prince and Claudio hastily.DON PEDRO
Enter DON PEDRO and CLAUDIO
Good den, good den.CLAUDIO
Good day to both of you.LEONATO
Hear you. my lords,--DON PEDRO
We have some haste, Leonato.LEONATO
Some haste, my lord! well, fare you well, my lord:DON PEDRO
Are you so hasty now? well, all is one.
Nay, do not quarrel with us, good old man.ANTONIO
If he could right himself with quarreling,CLAUDIO
Some of us would lie low.
Who wrongs him?LEONATO
Marry, thou dost wrong me; thou dissembler, thou:--CLAUDIO
Nay, never lay thy hand upon thy sword;
I fear thee not.
Marry, beshrew my hand,LEONATO
If it should give your age such cause of fear:
In faith, my hand meant nothing to my sword.
Tush, tush, man; never fleer and jest at me:CLAUDIO
I speak not like a dotard nor a fool,
As under privilege of age to brag
What I have done being young, or what would do
Were I not old. Know, Claudio, to thy head,
Thou hast so wrong'd mine innocent child and me
That I am forced to lay my reverence by
And, with grey hairs and bruise of many days,
Do challenge thee to trial of a man.
I say thou hast belied mine innocent child;
Thy slander hath gone through and through her heart,
And she lies buried with her ancestors;
O, in a tomb where never scandal slept,
Save this of hers, framed by thy villany!
Thine, Claudio; thine, I say.DON PEDRO
You say not right, old man.LEONATO
My lord, my lord,CLAUDIO
I'll prove it on his body, if he dare,
Despite his nice fence and his active practise,
His May of youth and bloom of lustihood.
Away! I will not have to do with you.LEONATO
Canst thou so daff me? Thou hast kill'd my child:ANTONIO
If thou kill'st me, boy, thou shalt kill a man.
He shall kill two of us, and men indeed:LEONATO
But that's no matter; let him kill one first;
Win me and wear me; let him answer me.
Come, follow me, boy; come, sir boy, come, follow me:
Sir boy, I'll whip you from your foining fence;
Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will.
Content yourself. God knows I loved my niece;LEONATO
And she is dead, slander'd to death by villains,
That dare as well answer a man indeed
As I dare take a serpent by the tongue:
Boys, apes, braggarts, Jacks, milksops!
Hold you content. What, man! I know them, yea,LEONATO
And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple,--
Scrambling, out-facing, fashion-monging boys,
That lie and cog and flout, deprave and slander,
Go anticly, show outward hideousness,
And speak off half a dozen dangerous words,
How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst;
And this is all.
But, brother Antony,--ANTONIO
Come, 'tis no matter:DON PEDRO
Do not you meddle; let me deal in this.
Gentlemen both, we will not wake your patience.LEONATO
My heart is sorry for your daughter's death:
But, on my honour, she was charged with nothing
But what was true and very full of proof.
My lord, my lord,--DON PEDRO
I will not hear you.LEONATO
No? Come, brother; away! I will be heard.ANTONIO
And shall, or some of us will smart for it.DON PEDRO
Exeunt LEONATO and ANTONIO
See, see; here comes the man we went to seek.CLAUDIO
Now, signior, what news?BENEDICK
Good day, my lord.DON PEDRO
Welcome, signior: you are almost come to partCLAUDIO
almost a fray.
We had like to have had our two noses snapped offDON PEDRO
with two old men without teeth.
Leonato and his brother. What thinkest thou? HadBENEDICK
we fought, I doubt we should have been too young for them.
In a false quarrel there is no true valour. I cameCLAUDIO
to seek you both.
We have been up and down to seek thee; for we areBENEDICK
high-proof melancholy and would fain have it beaten
away. Wilt thou use thy wit?
It is in my scabbard: shall I draw it?DON PEDRO
Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side?CLAUDIO
Never any did so, though very many have been besideDON PEDRO
their wit. I will bid thee draw, as we do the
minstrels; draw, to pleasure us.
As I am an honest man, he looks pale. Art thouCLAUDIO
sick, or angry?
What, courage, man! What though care killed a cat,BENEDICK
thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.
Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career, and youCLAUDIO
charge it against me. I pray you choose another subject.
Nay, then, give him another staff: this last wasDON PEDRO
By this light, he changes more and more: I thinkCLAUDIO
he be angry indeed.
If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle.BENEDICK
Shall I speak a word in your ear?CLAUDIO
God bless me from a challenge!BENEDICK
[Aside to CLAUDIO] You are a villain; I jest not:CLAUDIO
I will make it good how you dare, with what you
dare, and when you dare. Do me right, or I will
protest your cowardice. You have killed a sweet
lady, and her death shall fall heavy on you. Let me
hear from you.
Well, I will meet you, so I may have good cheer.DON PEDRO
What, a feast, a feast?CLAUDIO
I' faith, I thank him; he hath bid me to a calf'sBENEDICK
head and a capon; the which if I do not carve most
curiously, say my knife's naught. Shall I not find
a woodcock too?
Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes easily.DON PEDRO
I'll tell thee how Beatrice praised thy wit theCLAUDIO
other day. I said, thou hadst a fine wit: 'True,'
said she, 'a fine little one.' 'No,' said I, 'a
great wit:' 'Right,' says she, 'a great gross one.'
'Nay,' said I, 'a good wit:' 'Just,' said she, 'it
hurts nobody.' 'Nay,' said I, 'the gentleman
is wise:' 'Certain,' said she, 'a wise gentleman.'
'Nay,' said I, 'he hath the tongues:' 'That I
believe,' said she, 'for he swore a thing to me on
Monday night, which he forswore on Tuesday morning;
there's a double tongue; there's two tongues.' Thus
did she, an hour together, transshape thy particular
virtues: yet at last she concluded with a sigh, thou
wast the properest man in Italy.
For the which she wept heartily and said she caredDON PEDRO
Yea, that she did: but yet, for all that, an if sheCLAUDIO
did not hate him deadly, she would love him dearly:
the old man's daughter told us all.
All, all; and, moreover, God saw him when he wasDON PEDRO
hid in the garden.
But when shall we set the savage bull's horns onCLAUDIO
the sensible Benedick's head?
Yea, and text underneath, 'Here dwells Benedick theBENEDICK
Fare you well, boy: you know my mind. I will leaveDON PEDRO
you now to your gossip-like humour: you break jests
as braggarts do their blades, which God be thanked,
hurt not. My lord, for your many courtesies I thank
you: I must discontinue your company: your brother
the bastard is fled from Messina: you have among
you killed a sweet and innocent lady. For my Lord
Lackbeard there, he and I shall meet: and, till
then, peace be with him.
He is in earnest.CLAUDIO
In most profound earnest; and, I'll warrant you, forDON PEDRO
the love of Beatrice.
And hath challenged thee.CLAUDIO
Most sincerely.DON PEDRO
What a pretty thing man is when he goes in hisCLAUDIO
doublet and hose and leaves off his wit!
He is then a giant to an ape; but then is an ape aDON PEDRO
doctor to such a man.
But, soft you, let me be: pluck up, my heart, andDOGBERRY
be sad. Did he not say, my brother was fled?
Enter DOGBERRY, VERGES, and the Watch, with CONRADE and BORACHIO
Come you, sir: if justice cannot tame you, sheDON PEDRO
shall ne'er weigh more reasons in her balance: nay,
an you be a cursing hypocrite once, you must be looked to.
How now? two of my brother's men bound! BorachioCLAUDIO
Hearken after their offence, my lord.DON PEDRO
Officers, what offence have these men done?DOGBERRY
Marry, sir, they have committed false report;DON PEDRO
moreover, they have spoken untruths; secondarily,
they are slanders; sixth and lastly, they have
belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified unjust
things; and, to conclude, they are lying knaves.
First, I ask thee what they have done; thirdly, ICLAUDIO
ask thee what's their offence; sixth and lastly, why
they are committed; and, to conclude, what you lay
to their charge.
Rightly reasoned, and in his own division: and, byDON PEDRO
my troth, there's one meaning well suited.
Who have you offended, masters, that you are thusBORACHIO
bound to your answer? this learned constable is
too cunning to be understood: what's your offence?
Sweet prince, let me go no farther to mine answer:DON PEDRO
do you hear me, and let this count kill me. I have
deceived even your very eyes: what your wisdoms
could not discover, these shallow fools have brought
to light: who in the night overheard me confessing
to this man how Don John your brother incensed me
to slander the Lady Hero, how you were brought into
the orchard and saw me court Margaret in Hero's
garments, how you disgraced her, when you should
marry her: my villany they have upon record; which
I had rather seal with my death than repeat over
to my shame. The lady is dead upon mine and my
master's false accusation; and, briefly, I desire
nothing but the reward of a villain.
Runs not this speech like iron through your blood?CLAUDIO
I have drunk poison whiles he utter'd it.DON PEDRO
But did my brother set thee on to this?BORACHIO
Yea, and paid me richly for the practise of it.DON PEDRO
He is composed and framed of treachery:CLAUDIO
And fled he is upon this villany.
Sweet Hero! now thy image doth appearDOGBERRY
In the rare semblance that I loved it first.
Come, bring away the plaintiffs: by this time ourVERGES
sexton hath reformed Signior Leonato of the matter:
and, masters, do not forget to specify, when time
and place shall serve, that I am an ass.
Here, here comes master Signior Leonato, and theLEONATO
Re-enter LEONATO and ANTONIO, with the Sexton
Which is the villain? let me see his eyes,BORACHIO
That, when I note another man like him,
I may avoid him: which of these is he?
If you would know your wronger, look on me.LEONATO
Art thou the slave that with thy breath hast kill'dBORACHIO
Mine innocent child?
Yea, even I alone.LEONATO
No, not so, villain; thou beliest thyself:CLAUDIO
Here stand a pair of honourable men;
A third is fled, that had a hand in it.
I thank you, princes, for my daughter's death:
Record it with your high and worthy deeds:
'Twas bravely done, if you bethink you of it.
I know not how to pray your patience;DON PEDRO
Yet I must speak. Choose your revenge yourself;
Impose me to what penance your invention
Can lay upon my sin: yet sinn'd I not
But in mistaking.
By my soul, nor I:LEONATO
And yet, to satisfy this good old man,
I would bend under any heavy weight
That he'll enjoin me to.
I cannot bid you bid my daughter live;CLAUDIO
That were impossible: but, I pray you both,
Possess the people in Messina here
How innocent she died; and if your love
Can labour ought in sad invention,
Hang her an epitaph upon her tomb
And sing it to her bones, sing it to-night:
To-morrow morning come you to my house,
And since you could not be my son-in-law,
Be yet my nephew: my brother hath a daughter,
Almost the copy of my child that's dead,
And she alone is heir to both of us:
Give her the right you should have given her cousin,
And so dies my revenge.
O noble sir,LEONATO
Your over-kindness doth wring tears from me!
I do embrace your offer; and dispose
For henceforth of poor Claudio.
To-morrow then I will expect your coming;BORACHIO
To-night I take my leave. This naughty man
Shall face to face be brought to Margaret,
Who I believe was pack'd in all this wrong,
Hired to it by your brother.
No, by my soul, she was not,DOGBERRY
Nor knew not what she did when she spoke to me,
But always hath been just and virtuous
In any thing that I do know by her.
Moreover, sir, which indeed is not under white andLEONATO
black, this plaintiff here, the offender, did call
me ass: I beseech you, let it be remembered in his
punishment. And also, the watch heard them talk of
one Deformed: they say be wears a key in his ear and
a lock hanging by it, and borrows money in God's
name, the which he hath used so long and never paid
that now men grow hard-hearted and will lend nothing
for God's sake: pray you, examine him upon that point.
I thank thee for thy care and honest pains.DOGBERRY
Your worship speaks like a most thankful andLEONATO
reverend youth; and I praise God for you.
There's for thy pains.DOGBERRY
God save the foundation!LEONATO
Go, I discharge thee of thy prisoner, and I thank thee.DOGBERRY
I leave an arrant knave with your worship; which ILEONATO
beseech your worship to correct yourself, for the
example of others. God keep your worship! I wish
your worship well; God restore you to health! I
humbly give you leave to depart; and if a merry
meeting may be wished, God prohibit it! Come, neighbour.
Exeunt DOGBERRY and VERGES
Until to-morrow morning, lords, farewell.ANTONIO
Farewell, my lords: we look for you to-morrow.DON PEDRO
We will not fail.CLAUDIO
To-night I'll mourn with Hero.LEONATO
[To the Watch] Bring you these fellows on. We'll
talk with Margaret,
How her acquaintance grew with this lewd fellow.
Enter BENEDICK and MARGARET, meetingBENEDICK
Pray thee, sweet Mistress Margaret, deserve well atMARGARET
my hands by helping me to the speech of Beatrice.
Will you then write me a sonnet in praise of my beauty?BENEDICK
In so high a style, Margaret, that no man livingMARGARET
shall come over it; for, in most comely truth, thou
To have no man come over me! why, shall I alwaysBENEDICK
keep below stairs?
Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound's mouth; it catches.MARGARET
And yours as blunt as the fencer's foils, which hit,BENEDICK
but hurt not.
A most manly wit, Margaret; it will not hurt aMARGARET
woman: and so, I pray thee, call Beatrice: I give
thee the bucklers.
Give us the swords; we have bucklers of our own.BENEDICK
If you use them, Margaret, you must put in theMARGARET
pikes with a vice; and they are dangerous weapons for maids.
Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who I think hath legs.BENEDICK
And therefore will come.BEATRICE
SingsThe god of love,
That sits above,
And knows me, and knows me,
How pitiful I deserve,--
I mean in singing; but in loving, Leander the good
swimmer, Troilus the first employer of panders, and
a whole bookful of these quondam carpet-mangers,
whose names yet run smoothly in the even road of a
blank verse, why, they were never so truly turned
over and over as my poor self in love. Marry, I
cannot show it in rhyme; I have tried: I can find
out no rhyme to 'lady' but 'baby,' an innocent
rhyme; for 'scorn,' 'horn,' a hard rhyme; for,
'school,' 'fool,' a babbling rhyme; very ominous
endings: no, I was not born under a rhyming planet,
nor I cannot woo in festival terms.
Enter BEATRICESweet Beatrice, wouldst thou come when I called thee?
Yea, signior, and depart when you bid me.BENEDICK
O, stay but till then!BEATRICE
'Then' is spoken; fare you well now: and yet, ereBENEDICK
I go, let me go with that I came; which is, with
knowing what hath passed between you and Claudio.
Only foul words; and thereupon I will kiss thee.BEATRICE
Foul words is but foul wind, and foul wind is butBENEDICK
foul breath, and foul breath is noisome; therefore I
will depart unkissed.
Thou hast frighted the word out of his right sense,BEATRICE
so forcible is thy wit. But I must tell thee
plainly, Claudio undergoes my challenge; and either
I must shortly hear from him, or I will subscribe
him a coward. And, I pray thee now, tell me for
which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love with me?
For them all together; which maintained so politicBENEDICK
a state of evil that they will not admit any good
part to intermingle with them. But for which of my
good parts did you first suffer love for me?
Suffer love! a good epithet! I do suffer loveBEATRICE
indeed, for I love thee against my will.
In spite of your heart, I think; alas, poor heart!BENEDICK
If you spite it for my sake, I will spite it for
yours; for I will never love that which my friend hates.
Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.BEATRICE
It appears not in this confession: there's not oneBENEDICK
wise man among twenty that will praise himself.
An old, an old instance, Beatrice, that lived inBEATRICE
the lime of good neighbours. If a man do not erect
in this age his own tomb ere he dies, he shall live
no longer in monument than the bell rings and the
And how long is that, think you?BENEDICK
Question: why, an hour in clamour and a quarter inBEATRICE
rheum: therefore is it most expedient for the
wise, if Don Worm, his conscience, find no
impediment to the contrary, to be the trumpet of his
own virtues, as I am to myself. So much for
praising myself, who, I myself will bear witness, is
praiseworthy: and now tell me, how doth your cousin?
And how do you?BEATRICE
Very ill too.BENEDICK
Serve God, love me and mend. There will I leaveURSULA
you too, for here comes one in haste.
Madam, you must come to your uncle. Yonder's oldBEATRICE
coil at home: it is proved my Lady Hero hath been
falsely accused, the prince and Claudio mightily
abused; and Don John is the author of all, who is
fed and gone. Will you come presently?
Will you go hear this news, signior?BENEDICK
I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be
buried in thy eyes; and moreover I will go with
thee to thy uncle's.
Enter DON PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and three or four with tapersCLAUDIO
Is this the monument of Leonato?Lord
It is, my lord.CLAUDIO
[Reading out of a scroll]CLAUDIO
Done to death by slanderous tongues
Was the Hero that here lies:
Death, in guerdon of her wrongs,
Gives her fame which never dies.
So the life that died with shame
Lives in death with glorious fame.
Hang thou there upon the tomb,
Praising her when I am dumb.
Now, music, sound, and sing your solemn hymn.
Pardon, goddess of the night,
Those that slew thy virgin knight;
For the which, with songs of woe,
Round about her tomb they go.
Midnight, assist our moan;
Help us to sigh and groan,
Graves, yawn and yield your dead,
Till death be uttered,
Now, unto thy bones good night!DON PEDRO
Yearly will I do this rite.
Good morrow, masters; put your torches out:CLAUDIO
The wolves have prey'd; and look, the gentle day,
Before the wheels of Phoebus, round about
Dapples the drowsy east with spots of grey.
Thanks to you all, and leave us: fare you well.
Good morrow, masters: each his several way.DON PEDRO
Come, let us hence, and put on other weeds;CLAUDIO
And then to Leonato's we will go.
And Hymen now with luckier issue speed's
Than this for whom we render'd up this woe.
Enter LEONATO, ANTONIO, BENEDICK, BEATRICE, MARGARET, URSULA, FRIAR FRANCIS, and HEROFRIAR FRANCIS
Did I not tell you she was innocent?LEONATO
So are the prince and Claudio, who accused herANTONIO
Upon the error that you heard debated:
But Margaret was in some fault for this,
Although against her will, as it appears
In the true course of all the question.
Well, I am glad that all things sort so well.BENEDICK
And so am I, being else by faith enforcedLEONATO
To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it.
Well, daughter, and you gentle-women all,ANTONIO
Withdraw into a chamber by yourselves,
And when I send for you, come hither mask'd.
Exeunt LadiesThe prince and Claudio promised by this hour
To visit me. You know your office, brother:
You must be father to your brother's daughter
And give her to young Claudio.
Which I will do with confirm'd countenance.BENEDICK
Friar, I must entreat your pains, I think.FRIAR FRANCIS
To do what, signior?BENEDICK
To bind me, or undo me; one of them.LEONATO
Signior Leonato, truth it is, good signior,
Your niece regards me with an eye of favour.
That eye my daughter lent her: 'tis most true.BENEDICK
And I do with an eye of love requite her.LEONATO
The sight whereof I think you had from me,BENEDICK
From Claudio and the prince: but what's your will?
Your answer, sir, is enigmatical:LEONATO
But, for my will, my will is your good will
May stand with ours, this day to be conjoin'd
In the state of honourable marriage:
In which, good friar, I shall desire your help.
My heart is with your liking.FRIAR FRANCIS
And my help.DON PEDRO
Here comes the prince and Claudio.
Enter DON PEDRO and CLAUDIO, and two or three others
Good morrow to this fair assembly.LEONATO
Good morrow, prince; good morrow, Claudio:CLAUDIO
We here attend you. Are you yet determined
To-day to marry with my brother's daughter?
I'll hold my mind, were she an Ethiope.LEONATO
Call her forth, brother; here's the friar ready.DON PEDRO
Good morrow, Benedick. Why, what's the matter,CLAUDIO
That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?
I think he thinks upon the savage bull.BENEDICK
Tush, fear not, man; we'll tip thy horns with gold
And all Europa shall rejoice at thee,
As once Europa did at lusty Jove,
When he would play the noble beast in love.
Bull Jove, sir, had an amiable low;CLAUDIO
And some such strange bull leap'd your father's cow,
And got a calf in that same noble feat
Much like to you, for you have just his bleat.
For this I owe you: here comes other reckonings.ANTONIO
Re-enter ANTONIO, with the Ladies maskedWhich is the lady I must seize upon?
This same is she, and I do give you her.CLAUDIO
Why, then she's mine. Sweet, let me see your face.LEONATO
No, that you shall not, till you take her handCLAUDIO
Before this friar and swear to marry her.
Give me your hand: before this holy friar,HERO
I am your husband, if you like of me.
And when I lived, I was your other wife:CLAUDIO
UnmaskingAnd when you loved, you were my other husband.
Nothing certainer:DON PEDRO
One Hero died defiled, but I do live,
And surely as I live, I am a maid.
The former Hero! Hero that is dead!LEONATO
She died, my lord, but whiles her slander lived.FRIAR FRANCIS
All this amazement can I qualify:BENEDICK
When after that the holy rites are ended,
I'll tell you largely of fair Hero's death:
Meantime let wonder seem familiar,
And to the chapel let us presently.
Soft and fair, friar. Which is Beatrice?BEATRICE
[Unmasking] I answer to that name. What is your will?BENEDICK
Do not you love me?BEATRICE
Why, no; no more than reason.BENEDICK
Why, then your uncle and the prince and ClaudioBEATRICE
Have been deceived; they swore you did.
Do not you love me?BENEDICK
Troth, no; no more than reason.BEATRICE
Why, then my cousin Margaret and UrsulaBENEDICK
Are much deceived; for they did swear you did.
They swore that you were almost sick for me.BEATRICE
They swore that you were well-nigh dead for me.BENEDICK
'Tis no such matter. Then you do not love me?BEATRICE
No, truly, but in friendly recompense.LEONATO
Come, cousin, I am sure you love the gentleman.CLAUDIO
And I'll be sworn upon't that he loves her;HERO
For here's a paper written in his hand,
A halting sonnet of his own pure brain,
Fashion'd to Beatrice.
And here's anotherBENEDICK
Writ in my cousin's hand, stolen from her pocket,
Containing her affection unto Benedick.
A miracle! here's our own hands against our hearts.BEATRICE
Come, I will have thee; but, by this light, I take
thee for pity.
I would not deny you; but, by this good day, I yieldBENEDICK
upon great persuasion; and partly to save your life,
for I was told you were in a consumption.
Peace! I will stop your mouth.DON PEDRO
How dost thou, Benedick, the married man?BENEDICK
I'll tell thee what, prince; a college ofCLAUDIO
wit-crackers cannot flout me out of my humour. Dost
thou think I care for a satire or an epigram? No:
if a man will be beaten with brains, a' shall wear
nothing handsome about him. In brief, since I do
purpose to marry, I will think nothing to any
purpose that the world can say against it; and
therefore never flout at me for what I have said
against it; for man is a giddy thing, and this is my
conclusion. For thy part, Claudio, I did think to
have beaten thee, but in that thou art like to be my
kinsman, live unbruised and love my cousin.
I had well hoped thou wouldst have denied Beatrice,BENEDICK
that I might have cudgelled thee out of thy single
life, to make thee a double-dealer; which, out of
question, thou wilt be, if my cousin do not look
exceedingly narrowly to thee.
Come, come, we are friends: let's have a dance ereLEONATO
we are married, that we may lighten our own hearts
and our wives' heels.
We'll have dancing afterward.BENEDICK
First, of my word; therefore play, music. Prince,Messenger
thou art sad; get thee a wife, get thee a wife:
there is no staff more reverend than one tipped with horn.
Enter a Messenger
My lord, your brother John is ta'en in flight,BENEDICK
And brought with armed men back to Messina.
Think not on him till to-morrow:
I'll devise thee brave punishments for him.
Strike up, pipers.