Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Grechen Minton
Not Peer Reviewed

Much Ado About Nothing (Quarto 1, 1600)

Enter the Constables, Borachio, and the Towne clearke
in gownes.
Keeper Is our whole dissembly appeard?
2000Cowley O a stoole and a cushion for the Sexton.
Sexton Which be the malefactors?
Andrew Mary that am I, and my partner.
Cowley Nay thats certaine, we haue the exhibition to exa-
2005Sexton But which are the offenders? that are to be exami-
ned, let them come before maister constable.
Kemp Yea mary, let them come before mee, what is your
name, friend?
Bor. Borachio.
2010Ke. Pray write downe Borachio. Yours sirra.
Con. I am a gentleman sir, and my name is Conrade.
Ke. Write downe maister gentleman Conrade: maisters,
do you serue God?
Both Yea sir we hope.
Kem. Write downe, that they hope they serue God: and
write God first, for God defend but God shoulde goe before
such villaines: maisters, it is prooued alreadie that you are little
better than false knaues, and it will go neere to be thought so
2015shortly, how answer you for your selues?
Con. Mary sir we say, we are none.
Kemp A maruellous witty fellowe I assure you, but I will
go about with him: come you hither sirra, a word in your eare
2020sir, I say to you it is thought you are false knaues.
Bor. Sir, I say to you, we are none.
Kemp VVel, stand aside, fore God they are both in a tale:
haue you writ downe, that they are none?
2025Sexton Master constable, you go not the way to examine,
you must call foorth the watch that are their accusers.
Kemp Yea mary, thats the eftest way, let the watch come
forth: masters, I charge you in the Princes name accuse these
Watch 1 This man said sir, that don Iohn the Princes bro-
ther was a villaine.
Kemp Write downe, prince Iohn a villaine: why this is flat
periurie, to call a Princes brother villaine.
2035Borachio Maister Constable.
Kemp Pray thee fellowe peace, I doe not like thy looke I
promise thee.
Sexton VVhat heard you him say else?
Watch 2 Mary that he had receiued a thousand duckats of
2040don Iohn, for accusing the Ladie Hero wrongfully.
Kemp Flat burglarie as euer was committed.
Const. Yea by masse that it is.
Sexton VVhat else fellow?
2045Watch 1 And that Counte Claudio did meane vppon his
wordes, to disgrace Hero before the whole assemblie, and not
marrie her.
Kemp O villaine! thou wilt be condemnd into euerlasting
redemption for this.
2050Sexton VVhat else?
Watch This is all.
Sexton And this is more masters then you can deny, prince
Iohn is this morning secretlie stolne awaie: Hero was in this
manner accusde, in this verie manner refusde, and vppon the
2055griefe of this, sodainlie died: Maister Constable, let these men
be bound, and brought to Leonatoes, I will goe before and
shew him their examination.
Constable Come, let them be opiniond.
Couley Let them be in the hands of Coxcombe.
2060Kemp Gods my life, wheres the Sexton? let him write down
the Princes officer Coxcombe: come, bind them, thou naugh-
ty varlet.
Couley Away, you are an asse, you are an asse.
Kemp Doost thou not suspect my place? doost thou not
2065suspect my yeeres? O that he were here to write me downe an
asse! but maisters, remember that I am an asse, though it bee
not written downe, yet forget not that I am an asse: No thou
villaine, thou art full of pietie as shal be prou'de vpon thee by
good witnes, I am a wise fellow, and which is more, an officer,
2070and which is more, a housholder, and which is more, as pret-
ty a peece of flesh as anie is in Messina, and one that knowes
the Law, goe to, and a rich fellow enough, go to, and a fellow
that hath had losses, and one that hath two gownes, and euery
thing hansome about him: bring him away: O that I had bin
2075writ downe an asse!