Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Grechen Minton
Not Peer Reviewed

Much Ado About Nothing (Folio 1, 1623)

Much ado about Nothing.
Yet, by mine honor, I will deale in this,
As secretly and iustlie, as your soule
Should with your bodie.
Leon. Being that I flow in greefe,
1915The smallest twine may lead me.
Frier. 'Tis well consented, presently away,
For to strange sores, strangely they straine the cure,
Come Lady, die to liue, this wedding day
Perhaps is but prolong'd, haue patience & endure.
1920Bene. Lady Beatrice, haue you wept all this while?
Beat. Yea, and I will weepe a while longer.
Bene. I will not desire that.
Beat. You haue no reason, I doe it freely.
Bene. Surelie I do beleeue your fair cosin is wrong'd.
1925Beat. Ah, how much might the man deserue of mee
that would right her!
Bene. Is there any way to shew such friendship?
Beat. A verie euen way, but no such friend.
Bene. May a man doe it?
1930Beat. It is a mans office, but not yours.
Bene. I doe loue nothing in the world so well as you,
is not that strange?
Beat. As strange as the thing I know not, it were as
possible for me to say, I loued nothing so well as you, but
1935beleeue me not, and yet I lie not, I confesse nothing, nor
I deny nothing, I am sorry for my cousin.
Bene. By my sword Beatrice thou lou'st me.
Beat. Doe not sweare by it and eat it.
Bene. I will sweare by it that you loue mee, and I will
1940make him eat it that sayes I loue not you.
Beat. Will you not eat your word?
Bene. With no sawce that can be deuised to it, I pro-
test I loue thee.
Beat. Why then God forgiue me.
1945Bene. What offence sweet Beatrice?
Beat. You haue stayed me in a happy howre, I was a-
bout to protest I loued you.
Bene. And doe it with all thy heart.
Beat. I loue you with so much of my heart, that none
1950is left to protest.
Bened. Come, bid me doe any thing for thee.
Beat. Kill Claudio.
Bene. Ha, not for the wide world.
Beat. You kill me to denie, farewell.
1955Bene. Tarrie sweet Beatrice.
Beat. I am gone, though I am heere, there is no loue
in you, nay I pray you let me goe.
Bene. Beatrice.
Beat. In faith I will goe.
1960Bene. Wee'll be friends first.
Beat. You dare easier be friends with mee, than fight
with mine enemy.
Bene. Is Claudio thine enemie?
Beat. Is a not approued in the height a villaine, that
1965hath slandered, scorned, dishonoured my kinswoman? O
that I were a man! what, beare her in hand vntill they
come to take hands, and then with publike accusation
vncouered slander, vnmittigated rancour? O God that I
were a man! I would eat his heart in the market-place.
1970Bene. Heare me Beatrice.
Beat. Talke with a man out at a window, a proper
Bene. Nay but Beatrice.
Beat. Sweet Hero, she is wrong'd, shee is slandered,
1975she is vndone.
Bene. Beat?
Beat. Princes and Counties! surelie a Princely testi-
monie, a goodly Count, Comfect, a sweet Gallant sure-
lie, O that I were a man for his sake! or that I had any
1980friend would be a man for my sake! But manhood is mel-
ted into cursies, valour into complement, and men are
onelie turned into tongue, and trim ones too: he is now
as valiant as Hercules, that only tells a lie, and sweares it:
I cannot be a man with wishing, therfore I will die a wo-
1985man with grieuing.
Bene. Tarry good Beatrice, by this hand I loue thee.
Beat. Vse it for my loue some other way then swea-
ring by it.
Bened. Thinke you in your soule the Count Claudio
1990hath wrong'd Hero?
Beat. Yea, as sure as I haue a thought, or a soule.
Bene. Enough, I am engagde, I will challenge him, I
will kisse your hand, and so leaue you: by this hand Clau-
dio shall render me a deere account: as you heare of me,
1995so thinke of me: goe comfort your coosin, I must say she
is dead, and so farewell.

Enter the Constables, Borachio, and the Towne Clerke
in gownes.

Keeper. Is our whole dissembly appeard?
2000Cowley. O a stoole and a cushion for the Sexton.
Sexton. Which be the malefactors?
Andrew. Marry that am I, and my partner.
Cowley. Nay that's certaine, wee haue the exhibition
to examine.
2005Sexton. But which are the offenders that are to be ex-
amined, let them come before master Constable.
Kemp. Yea marry, let them come before mee, what is
your name, friend?
Bor. Borachio.
2010Kem. Pray write downe Borachio. Yours sirra.
Con. I am a Gentleman sir, and my name is Conrade.
Kee. Write downe Master gentleman Conrade: mai-
sters, doe you serue God: maisters, it is proued alreadie
that you are little better than false knaues, and it will goe
2015neere to be thought so shortly, how answer you for your
Con. Marry sir, we say we are none.
Kemp. A maruellous witty fellow I assure you, but I
will goe about with him: come you hither sirra, a word
2020in your eare sir, I say to you, it is thought you are false
Bor. Sir, I say to you, we are none.
Kemp. Well, stand aside, 'fore God they are both in
a tale: haue you writ downe that they are none?
2025Sext. Master Constable, you goe not the way to ex-
amine, you must call forth the watch that are their ac-
Kemp. Yea marry, that's the eftest way, let the watch
come forth: masters, I charge you in the Princes name,
2030accuse these men.
Watch 1. This man said sir, that Don Iohn the Princes
brother was a villaine.
Kemp. Write down, Prince Iohn a villaine: why this
is flat periurie, to call a Princes brother villaine.
2035Bora. Master Constable.
Kemp. Pray thee fellow peace, I do not like thy looke
I promise thee.
Sexton. What heard you him say else?
Watch 2. Mary that he had receiued a thousand Du-
2040kates of Don Iohn, for accusing the Lady Hero wrong-