Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Grechen Minton
Not Peer Reviewed

Much Ado About Nothing (Folio 1, 1623)


Enter Benedicke and Margaret.
Ben. Praie thee sweete Mistris Margaret, deserue
2425vvell at my hands, by helping mee to the speech of Bea-
trice.
Mar. Will you then write me a Sonnet in praise of
my beautie?
Bene. In so high a stile Margaret, that no man liuing
2430shall come ouer it, for in most comely truth thou deser-
uest it.
Mar. To haue no man come ouer me, why, shall I al-
waies keepe below staires?
Bene. Thy wit is as quicke as the grey-hounds mouth,
2435it catches.
Mar. And yours, as blunt as the Fencers foiles, which
hit, but hurt not.
Bene. A most manly wit Margaret, it will not hurt a
woman: and so I pray thee call Beatrice, I giue thee the
2440bucklers.
Mar. Giue vs the swords, wee haue bucklers of our
owne.
Bene. If you vse them Margaret, you must put in the
pikes with a vice, and they are dangerous weapons for
2445Maides.
Mar. Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who I thinke
hath legges.
Exit Margarite.
Ben. And therefore will come. The God of loue that
sits aboue, and knowes me, and knowes me, how pitti-
2450full I deserue. I meane in singing, but in louing, Lean-
der the good swimmer, Troilous the first imploier of
pandars, and a whole booke full of these quondam car-
pet-mongers, whose name yet runne smoothly in the e-
uen rode of a blanke verse, why they were neuer so true-
2455ly turned ouer and ouer as my poore selfe in loue: mar-
rie I cannot shew it rime, I haue tried, I can finde out no
rime to Ladie but babie, an innocent time: for scorne,
horne, a hard time: for schoole foole, a babling time:
verie ominous endings, no, I was not borne vnder a ri-
2460ming Plannet, for I cannot wooe in festiuall tearmes:
Enter Beatrice.
sweete Beatrice would'st thou come when I cal'd
thee?
Beat. Yea Signior, and depart when you bid me.
2465Bene. O stay but till then.
Beat. Then, is spoken: fare you well now, and yet ere
I goe, let me goe with that I came, which is, with know-
ing what hath past betweene you and Claudio.
Bene. Onely foule words, and thereupon I will kisse
2470thee.
Beat. Foule words is but foule wind, and foule wind
is but foule breath, and foule breath is noisome, there-
fore I will depart vnkist.
Bene. Thou hast frighted the word out of his right
2475sence, so forcible is thy wit, but I must tell thee plainely,
Claudio vndergoes my challenge, and either I must short-
ly heare 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 loue with me?
2480Beat. For them all together, which maintain'd so
politique a state of euill, that they will not admit any
good part to intermingle with them: but for which of
my good parts did you first suffer loue for me?
Bene. Suffer loue! a good epithite, I do suffer loue in-
2485deede, for I loue thee against my will.
Beat. In spight of your heart I think, alas poore heart,
if you spight it for my sake, I will spight it for yours, for
I will neuer loue that which my friend hates.
Bened. Thou and I are too wise to wooe peacea-
2490blie.
Bea. It appeares not in this confession, there's not one
wise man among twentie that will praise himselfe.
Bene. An old, an old instance Beatrice, that liu'd in
the time of good neighbours, if a man doe not erect in
2495this age his owne tombe ere he dies, hee shall liue no
longer in monuments, then the Bels ring, & the Widdow
weepes.
Beat. And how long is that thinke you?
Ben. Question, why an hower in clamour and a quar-
2500ter in rhewme, therfore is it most expedient for the wise,
if Don worme (his conscience) finde no impediment to
the contrarie, to be the trumpet of his owne vertues, as
I am to my selfe so much for praising my selfe, who I my
selfe will beare witnesse is praise worthie, and now tell
2505me, how doth your cosin?
Beat. Verie ill.
Bene. And how doe you?
Beat. Verie ill too.
Enter Vrsula.
2510Bene. Serue God, loue me, and mend, there will I leaue
you too, for here comes one in haste.
Vrs. Madam, you must come to your Vncle, yon-
ders old coile at home, it is prooued my Ladie He-
ro hath bin falselie accusde, the Prince and Claudio
2515mightilie abusde, and Don Iohn is the author of all, who
is fled and gone: will you come presentlie?
Beat. Will you go heare this newes Signior?
Bene.I will liue in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be bu-
ried in thy eies: and moreouer, I will goe with thee to
2520thy Vncles.
Exeunt.