Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Grechen Minton
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Much Ado About Nothing (Quarto 1, 1600)


0.1
Much adoe about
Nothing.
As it hath been sundrie times publikely
acted by the right honourable, the Lord
.5
Chamberlaine his seruants.
Written by William Shakespeare.
LONDON
Printed by V.S. for Andrew Wise, and
William Aspley.
.10
1600.
Much adoe about
Nothing.
Enter Leonato gouernour of Messina, Innogen his wife, Hero
his daughter, and Beatrice his neece, with a
messenger.
Leonato.
5I Learne in this letter, that don Peter of Arragon
comes this night to Messina.
Mess. He is very neare by this, he was not three
leagues off when I left him.
Leona. How many gentlemen haue you lost in this action?
Mess. But few of any sort, and none of name.
Leona. A victory is twice it selfe, when the atchiuer brings
home ful numbers: I find here, that don Peter hath bestowed
much honour on a yong Florentine called Claudio.
Mess. Much deseru'd on his part, and equally remembred
by don Pedro, he hath borne himselfe beyond the promise of
his age, doing in the figure of a lamb, the feats of a lion, he hath
indeed better bettred expectation then you must expect of me
20to tell you how.
Leo. He hath an vnckle here in Messina will be very much
glad of it.
Mess. I haue already deliuered him letters, and there ap-
peares much ioy in him, euen so much, that ioy could not shew
25itselfe modest enough, without a badge of bitternesse.
Leo. Did he breake out into teares?
Mess. In great measure.
Leo. A kind ouerflow of kindnesse, there are no faces truer
30then those that are so washt, how much better is it to weepe at
ioy, then to ioy at weeping?
Beatr. I pray you, is Signior Mountanto returnd from the
warres or no?
Messen. I know none of that name, ladie, there was none
35such in the army of any sort.
Leonato What is he that you aske for neece?
Hero My cosen meanes Signior Benedicke of Padua.
Mess. O hee's returnd, and as pleasant as euer he was.
Bea. He set vp his bills here in Messina, and challengde
40Cupid at the Flight, and my vncles foole reading the chalenge
subscribde for Cupid, and challengde him at the Burbolt: I
pray you, how many hath he kild and eaten in these warres?
but how many hath he kild? for indeede I promised to eate all
of his killing.
45Leo. Faith neece you taxe Signior Benedicke too much,
but heele be meet with you, I doubt it not.
Mess. He hath done good seruice lady in these warres.
Beat. You had musty vittaile, and he hath holpe to eate it,
he is a very valiaunt trencher man, he hath an excellent sto-
50macke.
Mess. And a good souldier too, lady.
Beat. And a good souldiour to a Lady, but what is he to a
Lord?
Mess. A lord to a lord, a man to a man, stufft with al hono-
55rable vertues.
Beat. It is so indeed, he is no lesse then a stuft man, but for
the stuffing wel, we are al mortall.
Leo. You must not, sir, mistake my neece, there is a kind
of mery warre betwixt Signior Benedicke and her, they neuer
60meet but there's a skirmish of wit betweene them.
Beat. Alas he gets nothing by that, in our last conflict, 4 of his
fiue wits went halting off, and now is the whole man gouernd
with one, so that if he haue wit enough to keep himself warm,
65let him beare it for a difference between himself and his horse,
for it is all the wealth that he hath left, to be known a reasona-
ble creature, who is his companion now? he hath euery month
a new sworne brother.
70Mess. Ist possible?
Beat. Very easily possible, he weares his faith but as the fa-
shion of his hat, it euer changes with the next blocke.
Mess. I see lady the gentleman is not in your bookes.
75Beat. No, and he were, I would burne my study, but I pray
you who is his companion? is there no yong squarer now that
will make a voyage with him to the diuell?
Mess. He is most in the companie of the right noble Clau-
80dio.
Beat. O Lord, he will hang vpon him like a disease, hee is
sooner caught than the pestilence, and the taker runs present-
ly madde, God help the noble Claudio, if he haue caught the
Benedict, it will cost him a thousand pound ere a be cured.
Mess. I will holde friends with you Ladie.
Beat. Do good friend.
Leon. You will neuer runne madde niece.
Beat. No, not till a hote Ianuary.
90Mess. Don Pedro is approacht.
Enter don Pedro, Claudio, Benedicke, Balthasar
and Iohn the bastard.
Pedro Good signior Leonato, are you come to meet your
trouble: the fashion of the world is, to auoyd cost, and you in-
95counter it.
Leon. Neuer came trouble to my house, in the likenesse of
your grace, for trouble being gone, comfort should remaine:
but when you depart from mee, sorrow abides, and happines
takes his leaue.
100Pedro You embrace your charge too willingly: I thincke
this is your daughter.
Leonato Her mother hath many times tolde me so.
Bened. Were you in doubt sir that you askt her?
Leonato Signior Benedicke, no, for then were you a child.
Pedro You haue it full Benedicke, wee may ghesse by this,
what you are, being a man, truely the Lady fathers her selfe:
be happy Lady, for you are like an honourable father.
110Be. If Signior Leonato be her father, she would not haue
his head on her shoulders for all Messina as like him as she is.
Beat. I wonder that you will still be talking, signior Bene-
dicke, no body markes you.
115Bene. What my deere lady Disdaine! are you yet liuing?
Bea. Is it possible Disdaine should die, while she hath such
meete foode to feede it, as signior Benedicke? Curtesie it selfe
must conuert to Disdaine, if you come in her presence.
Bene. Then is curtesie a turne-coate, but it is certaine I am
loued of all Ladies, onelie you excepted: and I would I could
finde in my heart that I had not a hard heart, for truely I loue
none.
125Beat. A deere happinesse to women, they would else haue
beene troubled with a pernitious suter, I thanke God and my
cold blood, I am of your humour for that, I had rather heare
my dog barke at a crow, than a man sweare he loues me.
130Bene. God keepe your Ladiship stil in that mind, so some
Gentleman or other shall scape a predestinate scratcht face.
Beat. Scratching could not make it worse, and twere such
a face as yours were.
135Bene. Well, you are a rare parrat teacher.
Beat. A bird of my tongue, is better than a beast of yours.
Ben. I would my horse had the speed of your tongue, and
so good a continuer, but keep your way a Gods name, I haue
140done.
Beat. You alwayes end with a iades tricke, I knowe you of
olde.
Pedro That is the summe of all: Leonato, signior Claudio,
and signior Benedicke, my deere friend Leonato, hath inuited
145you all, I tell him we shall stay here, at the least a moneth, and
he heartily praies some occasion may detaine vs longer, I dare
sweare he is no hypocrite, but praies from his heart.
Leon. If you sweare, my lord, you shall not be forsworne,
150let mee bidde you welcome, my lord, being reconciled to the
Prince your brother: I owe you all duetie.
Iohn I thanke you, I am not of many wordes, but I thanke
you
155Leon. Please it your grace leade on?
Pedro Your hand Leonato, we wil go together.
Exeunt. Manent Benedicke & Claudio.
Clau. Benedicke, didst thou note the daughter of Signior
160Bene. I noted her not, but I lookte on her,
Clau. Is she not a modest yong ladie?
Bene. Do you question me as an honest man should doe,
for my simple true iudgement? or would you haue me speake
after my custome, as being a professed tyrant to their sex?
Claudio No, I pray thee speake in sober iudgement.
Bene. Why yfaith me thinks shees too low for a hie praise,
too browne for a faire praise, and too litle for a great praise, on-
lie this commendation I can affoord her, that were shee other
170then she is, she were vnhansome, and being no other, but as she
is, I do not like her.
Claudio Thou thinkest I am in sport, I pray thee tell mee
truelie how thou lik'st her.
Bene. Would you buie her that you enquier after her?
Claudio Can the world buie such a iewel?
Bene. Yea, and a case to putte it into, but speake you this
with a sad brow? or doe you play the flowting iacke, to tell vs
Cupid is a good Hare-finder, and Vulcan a rare Carpenter:
180Come, in what key shall a man take you to go in the song?
Claudio In mine eie, shee is the sweetest Ladie that euer I
lookt on.
Bened. I can see yet without spectacles, and I see no such
185matter: theres her cosin, and she were not possest with a fury,
exceedes her as much in beautie, as the first of Maie dooth the
last of December: but I hope you haue no intent to turne hus-
band, haue you?
Claudio I would scarce trust my selfe, though I had sworne
190the contrarie, if Hero would be my wife.
Bened. Ist come to this? in faith hath not the worlde one
man but he will weare his cappe with suspition? shall I neuer
see a batcheller of three score againe? go to yfaith, and thou wilt
needes thrust thy necke into a yoke, weare the print of it, and
195sigh away sundaies: looke, don Pedro is returned to seeke you.
Enter don Pedro, Iohn the bastard.
Pedro What secret hath held you here, that you followed
not to Leonatoes?
200Bene. I would your Grace would constraine me to tell.
Pedro I charge thee on thy allegeance.
Ben. You heare, Count Claudio, I can be secret as a dumb
man, I woulde haue you thinke so (but on my allegiance,
205marke you this, on my allegiance) he is in loue, with who? now
that is your Graces part: marke how short his answer is, with
Hero Leonatoes short daughter.
Clau. If this were so, so were it vttred.
210Bened. Like the olde tale, my Lord, it is not so, nor twas
not so: but indeede, God forbid it should be so.
Claudio If my passion change not shortly, God forbid it
should be otherwise.
Pedro Amen, if you loue her, for the Lady is very well
215worthy.
Claudio You speake this to fetch me in, my Lord.
Pedro By my troth I speake my thought.
Claudio And in faith, my Lord, I spoke mine.
Bened. And by my two faiths and troths, my Lorde, I
220spoke mine.
Clau. That I loue her, I feele.
Pedro That she is worthy, I know.
Bened. That I neither feele how she should be loued, nor
know how she should be worthie,
is the opinion that fire can
225not melt out of me, I will die in it at the stake.
Pedro Thou wast euer an obstinate heretique in the de-
spight of Beauty.
Clau. And neuer could maintaine his part, but in the force
230of his wil.
Bene. That a woman conceiued me, I thanke her: that she
brought me vp, I likewise giue her most humble thankes: but
that I will haue a rechate winded in my forehead, or hang my
bugle in an inuisible baldricke, all women shall pardon mee:
235because I will not doe them the wrong to mistrust any, I will
doe my selfe the right to trust none: and the fine is, (for the
which I may go the finer,) I will liue a bacheller.
Pedro I shall see thee ere I die, looke pale with loue.
240Bene. With anger, with sickenesse, or with hunger, my
Lord, not with loue: proue that euer I loose more blood with
loue then I will get againe with drinking, picke out mine eies
with a Ballad-makers penne, and hang me vp at the doore of a
brothel house for the signe of blinde Cupid.
Pedro Well, if euer thou dost fall from this faith, thou wilt
prooue a notable argument.
Bene. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a Cat, and shoote at
me, and he that hits me, let him be clapt on the shoulder, and
250calld Adam.
Pedro Well, as time shal trie: in time the sauage bull doth
beare the yoake.
Bene. The sauage bull may, but if euer the sensible Bene-
dicke beare it, plucke off the bulls hornes, and set them in my
255forehead, and let me be vildly painted, and in such great let-
ters as they write, here is good horse to hyre: let them signi-
fie vnder my signe, here you may see Benedicke the married
man.
Claudio If this should euer happen, thou wouldst be horn
260madde.
Pedro Nay, if Cupid haue not spent all his quiuer in Venice,
thou wilt quake for this shortly.
Bened. I looke for an earthquake too then.
Pedro Well, you will temporize with the howres, in the
265meane time, good signior Benedicke, repaire to Leonatoes,
commend me to him, and tell him I will not faile him at sup-
per, for indeede he hath made great preparation.
Bened. I haue almost matter enough in mee for suche an
270Embassage, and so I commit you.
Clau. To the tuition of God: from my house if I had it.
Pedro The sixt of Iuly: your louing friend Benedicke.
Bened. Nay mocke not, mocke not, the body of your dis-
275course is sometime guarded with fragments, and the guardes
are but slightly basted on neither, ere you flowt old ends any
further, examine your conscience, and so I leaue you.
exit
Claudio My liege, your Highnesse nowe may doe mee
280good.
Pedro My loue is thine to teach, teach it but how,
And thou shalt see how apt it is to learne
Any hard lesson that may do thee good.
Clau. Hath Leonato any sonne, my lord?
285Pedro No childe but Hero, shees his onely heire:
Doost thou affect her Claudio?
Claudio O my lord,
When you went onward on this ended action,
I lookt vpon her with a souldiers eie,
290That likt, but had a rougher taske in hand,
Than to driue liking to the name of loue:
But now I am returnde, and that warre-thoughts,
Haue left their places vacant: in their roomes,
Come thronging soft and delicate desires,
295All prompting mee how faire yong Hero is,
Saying I likt her ere I went to warres.
Pedro Thou wilt be like a louer presently,
And tire the hearer with a booke of words,
If thou dost loue faire Hero, cherish it,
300And I wil breake with hir, and with her father,
And thou shalt haue her: wast not to this end,
That thou beganst to twist so fine a storie?
Clau. How sweetly you do minister to loue,
That know loues griefe by his complexion!
But lest my liking might too sodaine seeme,
305I would haue salude it with a longer treatise.
Pedro What need the bridge much broder then the flood?
The fairest graunt is the necessitie:
Looke what wil serue is fit: tis once, thou louest,
And I wil fit thee with the remedie,
310I know we shall haue reuelling to night,
I wil assume thy part in some disguise,
And tell faire Hero I am Claudio,
And in her bosome ile vnclaspe my heart,
And take her hearing prisoner with the force
315And strong incounter of my amorous tale:
Then after, to her father will I breake,
And the conclusion is, she shal be thine,
In practise let vs put it presently.
exeunt.
Enter Leonato and an old man brother to Leonato
320Leo. How now brother, where is my cosen your sonne, hath
he prouided this musique?
Old He is very busie about it, but brother, I can tell you
strange newes that you yet dreampt not of.
Leo. Are they good?
325Old As the euents stampes them, but they haue a good co-
uer: they shew well outward, the prince and Count Claudio
walking in a thicke pleached alley in mine orchard, were thus
much ouer-heard by a man of mine: the prince discouered to
Claudio that he loued my niece your daughter, and meant to
330acknowledge it this night in a daunce, and if he found her ac-
cordant, he meant to take the present time by the top, and in-
stantly breake with you of it.
Leo Hath the fellow any wit that told you this?
335Old A good sharp fellow, I wil send for him, and question
him your selfe.
Leo. No, no, we wil hold it as a dreame til it appeare itself:
but I will acquaint my daughter withall, that she may bee the
better prepared for an answer, if peraduenture this be true: go
340you and tel hir of it: coosins, you know what you haue to doe,
O I crie you mercie friend, go you with me and I wil vse your
shill: good cosin haue a care this busie time.
exeunt.
Enter sir Iohn the bastard, and Conrade his companion.
345Con. What the goodyeere my lord, why are you thus out of
measure sad?
Iohn There is no measure in the occasion that breeds, ther-
fore the sadnesse is without limit.
Con. You should heare reason.
350Iohn And when I haue heard it, what blessing brings it?
Con If not a present remedy, at least a patient sufferance.
Iohn I wonder that thou (being as thou saist, thou art, borne
vnder Saturne) goest about to apply a morall medicine, to a
355mortifying mischiefe: I cannot hide what I am: I must be sad
when I haue cause, and smile at no mans iests, eate when I haue
stomack, and wait for no mans leisure: sleep when I am drow-
sie, and tend on no mans businesse, laugh when I am mery, and
claw no man in his humor.
Con. Yea but you must not make the full show of this till
you may do it without controllment, you haue of late stoode
out against your brother, and he hath tane you newly into his
grace, where it is impossible you should take true root, but by
365the faire weather that you make your self, it is needful that you
frame the season for your owne haruest.
Iohn I had rather be a canker in a hedge, then a rose in his
grace, and it better fits my bloud to be disdain'd of all, then to
370fashion a cariage to rob loue from any: in this (thogh I cannot
be said to be a flatering honest man) it must not be denied but I
am a plain dealing villaine, I am trusted with a mussel, and en-
fraunchisde with a clogge, therfore I haue decreed, not to sing
in my cage: if I had my mouth I would bite: if I had my liber-
375ty I would do my liking: in the mean time, let me be that I am,
and seeke not to alter me.
Con. Can you make no vse of your discontent?
Iohn I make all vse of it, for I vse it only,
380Who comes here? what newes Borachio?
Enter Borachio.
Bor. I came yonder from a great supper, the prince your
brother is royally entertain'd by Leonato, and I can giue you
intelligence of an intended mariage.
385Iohn Wil it serue for any model to build mischiefe on? what
is he for a foole that betrothes himselfe to vnquietnesse?
Bor. Mary it is your bothers right hand.
Iohn Who, the most exquisite Claudio?
390Bor. Euen he.
Iohn A proper squier, and who, and who, which way looks
he?
Bor. Mary one Hero the daughter and heire of Leonato.
395Iohn A very forward March-chicke, how came you to
this?
Bor Being entertain'd for a perfumer, as I was smoaking a
musty roome, comes me the prince and Claudio, hand in
hand in sad conference: I whipt me behind the arras, and there
400heard it agreed vpon, that the prince should wooe Hero for
himselfe, and hauing obtain'd her, giue her to Counte Clau-
dio.
Iohn Come, come, let vs thither, this may proue food to my
displeasure, that yong start-vp hath all the glory of my ouer-
405throw: if I can crosse him any way, I blesse my selfe euery way,
you are both sure, and wil assist me.
Conr. To the death my Lord.
Iohn Let vs to the great supper, their cheere is the greater
410that I am subdued, would the cooke were a my mind, shall we
go proue whats to be done?
Bor. Weele wait vpon your lordship.
exit.
415
Enter Leonato, his brother, his wife, Hero his daughter, and
Beatrice his neece, and a kinsman.
Leonato Was not counte Iohn here at supper?
brother I saw him not.
Beatrice How tartely that gentleman lookes, I neuer can see
420him but I am heart-burn'd an hower after.
Hero He is of a very melancholy disposition.
Beatrice He were an excellent man that were made iust in
the mid-way between him and Benedick, the one is too like an
image and saies nothing, and the other too like my ladies eldest
425sonne, euermore tatling.
Leonato Then halfe signior Benedickes tongue in Counte
Iohns mouth, and halfe Counte Iohns melancholy in Signior
Benedickes face.
Beatrice With a good legge and a good foote vnckle, and
430money inough in his purse, such a man would winne any wo-
man in the world if a could get her good will.
Leonato By my troth neece thou wilt neuer get thee a hus-
band, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.
brother Infaith shees too curst.
435Beatrice Too curst is more then curst, I shall lessen
Gods sending that way, for it is saide, God sends a curst cow
short hornes, but to a cow too curst, he sends none.
Leonato So, by being too curst, God will send you no
hornes.
440Beatrice Iust, if he send me no husband, for the which bles-
sing, I am at him vpon my knees euery morning and euening:
Lord, I could not endure a husband with a beard on his face, I
had rather lie in the woollen!
Leonato You may light on a husband that hath no beard.
Beatrice What should I do with him, dresse him in my ap-
parell and make him my waiting gentlewoman? he that hath a
beard, is more then a youth: and he that hath no beard, is lesse
then a man: and he that is more then a youth, is not for me, and
450he that is lesse then a man, I am not for him, therefore I will
euen take sixpence in earnest of the Berrord, and leade his
apes into hell.
Leonato Well then, go you into hell.
Beatrice No but to the gate, and there will the diuell meete
455me like an old cuckold with hornes on his head, and say, get
you to heauen Beatrice, get you to heauen, heeres no place for
you maids, so deliuer I vp my apes and away to saint Peter: for
the heauens, he shewes me where the Batchellers sit, and there
liue we as mery as the day is long.
brother Well neece, I trust you will be rulde by your fa-
ther.
Beatrice Yes faith, it is my cosens duetie to make cursie and
say, father, as it please you: but yet for all that cosin, let him be a
465handsome fellow, or else make an other cursie, and say, father,
as it please me.
Leonato Well neece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a
husband.
Beatrice Not til God make men of some other mettal then
470earth, would it not grieue a woman to be ouer-masterd with
a peece of valiant dust? to make an account of her life to a clod
of waiward marle? no vnckle, ile none: Adams sonnes are my
brethren, and truely I holde it a sinne to match in my kin-
red.
475Leonato Daughter, remember what I told you, if the prince
do solicite you in that kind, you know your answer.
Beatrice The fault will be in the musique cosin, if you be
not wooed in good time: if the prince be too important, tell
480him there is measure in euery thing, and so daunce out the an-
swer, for here me Hero, wooing, wedding, and repenting, is
as a Scotch ijgge, a measure, and a cinquepace: the first suite is
hot and hasty like a Scotch ijgge (and ful as fantasticall) the
wedding manerly modest (as a measure) full of state and aun-
485chentry, and then comes Repentance, and with his bad legs
falls into the cinquepace faster and faster, til he sincke into his
graue.
Leonato Cosin you apprehend passing shrewdly.
Beatrice I haue a good eie vnckle, I can see a church by
490day-light.
Leonato The reuellers are entring brother, make good
roome.
Enter prince, Pedro, Claudio, and Benedicke, and Balthaser,
or dumb Iohn.
495Pedro Lady will you walke about with your friend?
Hero So, you walke softly, and looke sweetly, and say no-
thing, I am yours for the walke, and especially when I walk a-
way.
Pedro With me in your company.
500Hero I may say so when I please.
Pedro And when please you to say so?
Hero When I like your fauour, for God defend the lute
should be like the case.
Pedro My visor is Philemons roofe, within the house is
505Ioue.
Hero Why then your visor should be thatcht.
Pedro Speake low if you speake loue.
Bene. Well, I would you did like me.
Mar. So would not I for your owne sake, for I haue ma-
510ny ill qualities.
Bene. Which is one?
Mar. I say my praiers alowd.
Bene. I loue you the better, the hearers may cry Amen.
Marg. God match me with a good dauncer.
515Balth. Amen.
Marg. And God keepe him out of my sight when the
daunce is done: answer Clarke.
Balth. No more words, the Clarke is answered.
Vrsula I know you well enough, you are signior Antho-
520nio.
Antho. At a word I am not.
Vrsula I knowe you by the wagling of your head.
Antho. To tell you true, I counterfeit him.
Vrsula You coulde neuer doe him so ill well, vnlesse you
525were the very man: heeres his drie hand vp and downe, you
are he, you are he.
Antho. At a word, I am not.
Vrsula Come, come, do you thinke I do not know you by
your excellent wit? can vertue hide it selfe? go to, mumme, you
530are he, graces will appeere, and theres an end.
Beat. Will you not tell me who tolde you so?
Bened. No, you shall pardon me.
Beat. Nor will you not tell me who you are?
535Bened. Not now.
Beat. That I was disdainefull, and that I had my good wit
out of the hundred mery tales: wel, this was signior Benedick
that said so.
Bened. Whats he?
540Beat. I am sure you know him well enough.
Bened. Not I, beleeue me.
Beat. Did he neuer make you laugh?
Bened. I pray you what is he?
Beat. Why he is the princes ieaster, a very dul fool, only his
545gift is, in deuising impossible slaunders, none but Libertines
delight in him, and the commendation is not in his wit, but in
his villanie, for he both pleases men and angers them, and then
they laugh at him, and beate him: I am sure he is in the Fleete,
I would he had boorded me.
Bene. When I know the Gentleman, ile tell him what you
say.
Beat. Do, do, heele but break a comparison or two on me,
which peraduẽture, (not markt, or not laught at) strikes him in-
555to melancholy, and then theres a partrige wing saued, for the
foole will eate no supper that night: wee must follow the lea-
ders.
Bene. In euery good thing.
Beat. Nay, if they leade to any ill, I will leaue them at the
560next turning.
Dance exeunt
Iohn Sure my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath with-
drawne her father to breake with him about it: the Ladies fo-
low her, and but one visor remaines.
565Borachio And that is Claudio, I knowe him by his bear-
ing.
Iohn Are not you signior Benedicke?
Clau. You know me well, I am he.
Iohn Signior, you are very neere my brother in his loue, he
570is enamourd on Hero, I pray you disswade him from her, she
is no equall for his birth, you may doe the parte of an honest
man in it.
Claudio How know you he loues her?
Iohn I heard him sweare his affection.
575Borac. So did I too, and he swore hee would marry her to
night.
Iohn Come let vs to the banquet.
exeunt: manet Clau.
Claud. Thus answer I in name of Benedicke,
But heare these ill newes with the eares of Claudio:
580Tis certaine so, the Prince wooes for himselfe,
Friendship is constant in all other things,
Saue in the office and affaires of loue:
Therefore all hearts in loue vse their owne tongues.
Let euery eie negotiate for it selfe,
585And trust no Agent: for Beauty is a witch,
Against whose charmes, faith melteth into blood:
This is an accident of hourely proofe,
Which I mistrusted not: farewel therefore Hero.
Enter Bene-
590Benedicke Count Claudio.
Claudio Yea, the same.
Bene. Come, will you go with me?
Claudio Whither?
Bene. Euen to the next willow, about your owne busines,
595county: what fashion will you weare the garland of? about
your necke, like an Vsurers chaine? or vnder your arme, like a
Lieutenants scarffe? you must weare it one way, for the prince
hath got your Hero.
Claudio I wish him ioy of her.
600Bened. Why thats spoken like an honest Drouier, so they
sell bullockes: but did you thinke the Prince would haue ser-
ued you thus?
Claudio I pray you leaue me.
Benedicke Ho now you strike like the blindman, twas the
605boy that stole your meate, and youle beate the post.
Claudio If it will not be, ile leaue you.
exit
Benedicke Alas poore hurt foule, now will hee creepe into
sedges: but that my Ladie Beatrice should know me, and not
know mee: the princes foole! hah, it may be I goe vnder that
610title because I am merry: yea but so I am apte to doe my selfe
wrong: I am not so reputed, it is the base (though bitter) dispo-
sition of Beatrice, that puts the world into her person, and so
giues me out: well, ile be reuenged as I may.
615
Enter the Prince, Hero, Leonato, Iohn and Borachio,
and Conrade.
Pedro Now signior, wheres the Counte, did you see him?
Benedicke Troth my lord, I haue played the part of Ladie
Fame, I found him heere as melancholy as a Lodge in a War-
620ren, I tolde him, and I thinke I tolde him true, that your grace
had got the goodwil of this yoong Lady, and I offred him my
company to a willow tree, either to make him a garland, as be-
ing forsaken, or to binde him vp a rod, as being worthie to bee
whipt.
625Pedro To be whipt, whats his fault?
Benedicke The flatte transgression of a Schoole-boy, who
being ouer-ioyed with finding a birds nest, shewes it his com-
panion, and he steales it.
Pedro Wilt thou make a trust a transgression? the transgres-
630sion is in the stealer.
Benedicke Yet it had not beene amisse the rodde had beene
made, & the garland too, for the garland he might haue worn
himselfe, and the rodde he might haue bestowed on you, who
(as I take it) haue stolne his birds nest.
635Pedro I wil but teach them to sing, and restore them to the
owner.
Benedicke If their singing answer your saying, by my faith
you say honestly.
Pedro The ladie Beatrice hath a quarrell to you, the Gen-
640tleman that daunst with her, told her shee is much wrongd by
you.
Bened. O shee misusde me past the indurance of a blocke:
an oake but with one greene leafe on it, would haue answered
her: my very visor beganne to assume life, and scold with her:
645she tolde me, not thinking I had beene my selfe, that I was the
Princes iester, that I was duller than a great thawe, huddleing
iest vpon iest, with such impossible conueiance vpon me, that
I stoode like a man at a marke, with a whole army shooting
at me: she speakes poynyards, and euery word stabbes: if her
650breath were as terrible as her terminations, there were no liu-
ing neere her, shee would infect to the north starre: I woulde
not marry her, though shee were indowed with al that Adam
had left him before he transgrest, she would haue made Her-
655cules haue turnd spit, yea, and haue cleft his club to make the
fire too: come, talke not of her, you shall find her the infernall
Ate in good apparell, I would to God some scholler woulde
coniure her, for certainely, while she is heere, a man may liue
as quiet in hell, as in a sanctuarie, and people sinne vpon pur-
660pose, because they would goe thither, so indeede all disquiet,
horrour, and perturbation followes her.
Enter Claudio and Beatrice.
Pedro Looke heere she comes.
665Benedicke Will your grace command me any seruice to the
worldes end? I will go on the slightest arrand now to the An-
typodes that you can deuise to send mee on: I will fetch you a
tooth-picker now from the furthest inch of Asia: bring you
the length of Prester Iohns foot: fetch you a haire off the great
670Chams beard: doe you any embassage to the Pigmies, rather
than holde three words conference, with this harpy, you haue
no imployment for me?
Pedro None, but to desire your good company.
675Benedicke O God sir, heeres a dish I loue not, I cannot in-
dure my Ladie Tongue.
exit.
Pedro Come Lady, come, you haue lost the heart of signi-
or Benedicke.
Beatrice Indeed my Lord, he lent it me awhile, and I gaue
680him vse for it, a double heart for his single one, mary once be-
fore he wonne it of me, with false dice, therefore your grace
may well say I haue lost it.
Pedro You haue put him downe Lady, you haue put him
downe.
685Beatrice So I would not he should do me, my Lord, lest I
should prooue the mother of fooles: I haue brought Counte
Claudio, whom you sent me to seeke.
Pedro Why how now Counte, wherefore are you sad?
Claudio Not sad my Lord.
690Pedro How then? sicke?
Claudio Neither, my Lord.
Beatrice The Counte is neither sad, nor sicke, nor merry,
nor well: but ciuill Counte, ciuil as an orange, and something
of that iealous complexion.
695Pedro Ifaith Lady, I think your blazon to be true, though
ile be sworne, if he be so, his conceit is false: heere Claudio, I
haue wooed in thy name, and faire Hero is won, I haue broke
with her father, and his good will obtained, name the day of
marriage, and God giue thee ioy.
Leonato Counte take of me my daughter, and with her my
fortunes: his grace hath made the match, and all grace say A-
men to it.
Beatrice Speake Counte, tis your Qu.
705Claudio Silence is the perfectest
Herault of ioy, I were but
little happy if I could say, how much? Lady, as you are mine,
I am yours, I giue away my selfe for you, and doate vpon the
exchange.
Beat. Speake cosin, or (if you cannot) stop his mouth with a
710kisse, and let not him speake neither.
Pedro Infaith lady you haue a merry heart.
Beatr. Yea my lord I thanke it, poore foole it keepes on the
windy side of Care, my coosin tells him in his eare that he is in
her heart
715Clau. And so she doth coosin.
Beat. Good Lord for aliance: thus goes euery one to the
world but I, and I am sun-burnt, I may sit in a corner and crie,
heigh ho for a husband.
Pedro Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.
720Beat. I would rather haue one of your fathers getting: hath
your grace ne're a brother like you? your father got excellent
husbands if a maide coulde come by them.
Prince Will you haue me? lady.
Beatr. No my lord, vnles I might haue another for work-
725ing-daies, your grace is too costly to weare euery day: but I
beseech your grace pardon me, I was born to speake all mirth,
and no matter.
Prince Your silence most offends me, and to be merry, best
becomes you, for out a question, you were borne in a merry
730hower.
Beatr. No sure my lord, my mother cried, but then there
was a starre daunst, and vnder that was I borne, cosins God
giue you ioy.
Leonato Neece, will you looke to those things I tolde you
735of?
Beat I crie you mercy vncle, by your graces pardon.
exit Beatrice.
Prince By my troth a pleasant spirited lady.
Leon. Theres little of the melancholy element in her my
740lord, she is neuer sad, but when she sleeps, & not euer sad then:
for I haue heard my daughter say, she hath often dreampt of
vnhappines, and wakt her selfe with laughing.
Pedro She cannot indure to heare tell of a husband.
745Leonato O by no meanes, she mockes al her wooers out of
sute.
Prince She were an excellent wife for Benedick.
Leonato O Lord, my lord, if they were but a weeke married,
they would talke themselues madde.
750Prince Countie Claudio, when meane you to goe to
church?
Clau. To morow my lord, Time goes on crutches, til Loue
haue all his rites.
Leonato Not til monday, my deare sonne, which is hence a
755iust seuennight, and a time too briefe too, to haue al things an-
swer my mind.
Prince Come, you shake the head at so long a breathing,
but I warrant thee Claudio, the time shall not go dully by vs, I
wil in the interim, vndertake one of Hercules labors, which is,
760to bring Signior Benedick and the lady Beatrice into a moun-
taine of affection, th'one with th'other, I would faine haue it a
match, and I doubt not but to fashion it, if you three will but
minister such assistance as I shall giue you direction.
765Leonato My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten nights
watchings.
Claud. And I my Lord.
Prince And you too gentle Hero?
Hero I wil do any modest office, my lord, to help my cosin
770to a good husband.
Prince And Benedicke is not the vnhopefullest husband
that I know: thus farre can I praise him, he is of a noble strain,
of approoued valour, and confirmde honesty, I will teach you
how to humour your cosin, that she shall fal in loue with Be-
775nedicke, and I, with your two helpes, wil so practise on Bene-
dicke, that in dispight of his quicke wit, and his queasie sto-
macke, he shall fall in loue with Beatrice: if we can do this, Cu-
pid is no longer an Archer, his glory shall bee ours, for we are
the onely loue-gods, goe in with mee, and I will tell you my
780drift.
exit.
Enter Iohn and Borachio.
Iohn It is so, the Counte Claudio shall marry the daughter
of Leonato.
Bora. Yea my lord, but I can crosse it.
785Iohn Any barre, any crosse, any impediment, will be med-
cinable to me, I am sicke in displeasure to him, and whatsoeuer
comes athwart his affection, ranges euenly with mine, how
canst thou crosse this marriage?
Bor. Not honestly my lord, but so couertly, that no disho-
790nesty shall appeare in me.
Iohn Shew me briefely how.
Bor. I thinke I told your lordship a yeere since, how much
I am in the fauour of Margaret, the waiting gentlewoman to
Hero.
795Iohn I remember.
Bor. I can at any vnseasonable instant of the night, appoint
her to looke out at her ladies chamber window.
Iohn What life is in that to be the death of this mariage?
800Bor. The poison of that lies in you to temper, goe you to
the prince your brother, spare not to tell him, that he hath
wronged his honor in marrying the renowned Claudio, whose
estimation do you mightily hold vp, to a contaminated stale,
such a one as Hero.
805Iohn What proofe shall I make of that?
Bor. Proofe enough, to misuse the prince, to vexe Claudio,
to vndoe Hero, and kill Leonato, looke you for any other
issue?
Iohn Onely to dispight them I will endeuour any thing.
Bor. Go then, find me a meet houre, to draw don Pedro and
the Counte Claudio alone, tell them that you know that Hero
loues me, intend a kind of zeale both to the prince & Claudio
(as in loue of your brothers honor who hath made this match)
815and his friends reputation, who is thus like to bee cosen'd with
the semblance of a maid, that you haue discouer'd thus: they wil
scarcely beleeue this without triall: offer them instances which
shall beare no lesse likelihood, than to see me at her chamber
820window, heare me call Margaret Hero, heare Marg. terme me
Claudio, & bring them to see this the very night before the in-
tended wedding, for in the mean time, I wil so fashion the mat-
ter, that Hero shal be absent and there shal appeere such seeming
truth of Heroes disloyaltie, that iealousie shal be cald assu-
825rance, and al the preparation ouerthrowne.
Iohn Grow this to what aduerse issue it can, I will put it in
practise: be cunning in the working this, and thy fee is a thou-
sand ducates.
830Bor. Be you constant in the accusation, and my cunning
shall not shame me.
Iohn I will presently go learne their day of marriage.
exit
Enter Benedicke alone.
835Bene. Boy.
Boy Signior.
Bene. In my chamber window lies a booke, bring it hither
to me in the orchard.
Boy. I am here already sir.
exit.
840Bene. I know that, but I would haue thee hence and here a-
gaine. I do much wonder, that one man seeing how much an
other man is a foole, when he dedicates his behauiours to loue,
wil after he hath laught at such shallow follies in others, becom
the argument of his owne scorne, by falling in loue, and such a
845man is Claudio, I haue knowne when there was no musique
with him but the drumme and the fife, and now had he rather
heare the taber and the pipe: I haue knowne when he would
haue walkt ten mile afoot, to see a good armour, and now wil
850he lie ten nights awake caruing the fashion of a new dublet: he
was woont to speake plaine, and to the purpose (like an honest
man and a souldier) and now is he turnd ortography, his words
are a very fantasticall banquet, iust so many strange dishes:
may I be so conuerted and see with these eies? I cannot tell, I
855thinke not: I wil not be sworne but loue may transforme me to
an oyster, but ile take my oath on it, till he haue made and oy-
ster of me, he shall neuer make me such a foole: one woman is
faire, yet I am well, an other is wise, yet I am well: an other
vertuous, yet I am wel: but till all graces be in one woman, one
womã shal not com in my grace: rich she shal be thats certain,
wise, or ile none, vertuous, or ile neuer cheapen her: faire, or ile
neuer looke on her, mild, or come not neare me, noble, or not I
for an angell, of good discourse, an excellent musitian, and her
865haire shall be of what colour it please God. hah! the prince and
monsieur Loue, I wil hide me in the arbor.
Enter prince, Leonato, Claudio, Musicke.
Prince Come shall we heare this musique?
870Claud. Yea my good lord: how stil the euening is,
As husht on purpose to grace harmonie!
Prince See you where Benedicke hath hid himselfe?
Claud. O very wel my lord: the musique ended,
Weele fit the kid-foxe with a penny worth.
Enter Balthaser with musicke.
875Prince Come Balthaser, weele heare that song againe.
Balth. O good my lord, taxe not so bad a voice,
To slaunder musicke any more then once.
Prince It is the witnesse still of excellencie,
To put a strange face on his owne perfection,
I pray thee sing, and let me wooe no more.
Balth. Because you talke of wooing I will sing,
Since many a wooer doth commence his sute,
885To her he thinkes not worthy, yet he wooes,
Yet will he sweare he loues.
Prince Nay pray thee come,
Or if thou wilt hold longer argument,
Do it in notes.
890Balth. Note this before my notes,
Theres not a note of mine thats worth the noting.
Prince Why these are very crotchets that he speakes,
Note notes forsooth, and nothing.
Bene. Now diuine aire, now is his soule rauisht, is it not
895strange that sheepes guts should hale soules out of mens bo-
dies? well a horne for my mony when alls done.
The Song.
Sigh no more ladies, sigh no more,
900Men were deceiuers euer,
One foote in sea, and one on shore,
To one thing constant neuer,
Then sigh not so, but let them go,
And be you blith and bonnie,
905Conuerting all your soundes of woe,
Into hey nony nony.
Sing no more ditties, sing no moe,
Of dumps so dull and heauy,
The fraud of men was euer so,
910Since summer first was leauy,
Then sigh not so, &c.
Prince By my troth a good song.
Balth. And an ill singer my lord.
Prince Ha, no no faith, thou singst wel enough for a shift.
Ben. And he had bin a dog that should haue howld thus,
they would haue hangd him, and I pray God his bad voice
bode no mischeefe, I had as liue haue heard the night-rauen,
come what plague could haue come after it.
Prince Yea mary, doost thou heare Balthasar? I pray thee
get vs some excellent musique: for to morow night we would
haue it at the ladie Heroes chamber window.
Balth. The best I can my lord.
Exit Balthasar.
925Prince Do so, farewell. Come hither Leonato, what was
it you told mee of to day, that your niece Beatrice was in loue
with signior Benedicke?
Cla. O I, stalke on, stalk on, the foule sits. I did neuer think
that lady would haue loued any man.
930Leo. No nor I neither, but most wonderful, that she should
so dote on signior Benedicke, whome she hath in all outward
behauiors seemd euer to abhorre.
Bene. Ist possible? sits the wind in that corner?
Leo. By my troth my Lord, I cannot tell what to thinke of
935it, but that she loues him with an inraged affection, it is past the
infinite of thought.
Prince May be she doth but counterfeit.
Claud. Faith like enough.
Leon. O God! counterfeit? there was neuer counterfeit of
940passion, came so neare the life of passion as she discouers it.
Prince Why what effects of passion shewes she?
Claud. Baite the hooke wel, this fish will bite.
Leon. What effects my Lord? she wil sit you, you heard my
945daughter tell you how.
Claud. She did indeede.
Prince How, how I pray you! you amaze me, I would haue
thought her spirite had beene inuincible against all assaults of
affection.
950Leo. I would haue sworn it had, my lord, especially against
Benedicke.
Bene. I should think this a gull, but that the white bearded
fellow speakes it: knauery cannot sure hide himself in such re-
uerence.
955Claud. He hath tane th'infection, hold it vp.
Prince Hath shee made her affection knowne to Bene-
dicke?
Leonato No, and sweares shee neuer will, thats her tor-
ment.
960Claudio Tis true indeed, so your daughter saies: shall I, saies
she, that haue so oft encountred him with scorne, write to him
that I loue him?
Leo. This saies she now when she is beginning to write to
him, for sheel be vp twenty times a night, and there will she sit
965in her smocke, til she haue writ a sheete of paper: my daughter
tels vs all.
Clau. Now you talk of a sheet of paper, I remember a prety
iest your daughter told of vs.
Leonato O when she had writ it, and was reading it ouer, she
970found Benedicke and Beatrice betweene the sheete.
Claudio That.
Leon. O she tore the letter into a thousand halfpence, raild
at her self, that she should be so immodest to write, to one that
she knew would flout her, I measure him, saies she, by my own
975spirit, for I should flout him, if he writ to me, yea thogh I loue
him I should.
Clau. Then downe vpon her knees she falls, weepes, sobs,
beates her heart, teares her haire, prayes, curses, O sweet Bene-
dicke, God giue me patience.
980Leonato She doth indeed, my daughter saies so, and the ex-
tasie hath so much ouerborne her, that my daughter is some-
time afeard shee will doe a desperate out-rage to her selfe, it is
very true.
Prince It were good that Benedicke knew of it by some o-
985ther, if she will not discouer it.
Claudio To what end: he would make but a sport of it, and
torment the poore Lady worse.
Prince And he should, it were an almes to hang him, shees
an excellent sweete lady, and (out of all suspition,) she is vertu-
990ous.
Claudio And she is exceeding wise.
Prince In euery thing but in louing Benedicke.
Leonato O my Lord, wisedome and blood combating in
so tender a body, we haue ten proofes to one, that bloud hath
995the victory, I am sory for her, as I haue iust cause, beeing her
vncle, and her gardian.
Prince I would shee had bestowed this dotage on mee, I
would haue daft all other respects, and made her halfe my self:
I pray you tell Benedicke of it, and heare what a will say.
Leonato Were it good thinke you?
Claudio Hero thinkes surely she will die, for she sayes shee
will die, if he loue her not, and shee will die ere shee make her
loue knowne, and she will die if he wooe her, rather than shee
1005will bate one breath of her accustomed crosnesse.
Prince She doth well, if shee shoulde make tender of her
loue, tis very possible heele scorne it, for the man (as you know
all) hath a contemptible spirite.
1010Claudio He is a very proper man.
Prince He hath indeede a good outward happines.
Claudio Before God, and in my mind, very wise.
Prince Hee dooth indeede shew some sparkes that are like
wit.
1015Claudio And I take him to be valiant.
Prince As Hector, I assure you, and in the mannaging of
quarrels you may say he is wise, for either hee auoydes them
with great discretion, or vndertakes them with a most christi-
anlike feare.
1020Leonato If he do feare God, a must necessarily keep peace,
if hee breake the peace, hee ought to enter into a quarrel with
feare and trembling.
Prince And so will hee doe, for the man doth feare God,
howsoeuer it seemes not in him, by some large iestes hee will
1025make: well I am sory for your niece, shall we go seeke Bene-
dicke, and tell him of her loue?
Claudio Neuer tell him, my Lord, let her weare it out with
good counsell.
Leonato Nay thats impossible, shee may weare her heart
1030out first.
Prince Well, we will heare further of it by your daughter,
let it coole the while, I loue Benedicke wel, and I could wish
he would modestly examine himselfe, to see how much he is
vnworthy so good a lady.
1035Leonato My lord, will you walke? dinner is ready.
Claudio If he do not doate on her vppon this, I will neuer
trust my expectation.
Prince Let there be the same nette spread for her, and that
must your daughter and her gentlewomen carry: the sporte
1040will be, when they holde one an opinion of an others dotage,
and no such matter, thats the scene that I woulde see, which
wil be meerely a dumbe shew: let vs send her to call him in to
dinner.
Benedicke This can be no tricke, the conference was sadly
1045borne, they haue the trueth of this from Hero, they seeme to
pittie the Lady: it seemes her affections haue their full bent:
loue me? why it must be requited: I heare how I am censurde,
they say I will beare my selfe prowdly, if I perceiue the loue
come from her: they say too, that she will rather die than giue
1050anie signe of affection: I did neuer thinke to marry, I must
not seeme prowd, happy are they that heare their detractions,
and can put them to mending: they say the Lady is faire, tis a
trueth, I can beare them witnesse: and vertuous, tis so, I can-
not reprooue it, and wise, but for louing me, by my troth it is
no addition to her wit, nor no great argument of her follie, for
I will be horribly in loue with her, I may chaunce haue some
odde quirkes and remnants of witte broken on me, because I
haue railed so long against marriage: but doth not the appe-
1060tite alter? a man loues the meate in his youth, that he cannot in-
dure in his age. Shall quippes and sentences, and these paper
bullets of the brain awe a man from the carreere of his humor?
No, the world must be peopled. When I saide I woulde die a
batcheller, I did not think I should liue til I were married, here
1065comes Beatrice: by this day, shees a faire lady, I doe spie some
markes of loue in her.
Enter Beatrice.
Beatr. Aganst my will I am sent to bid you come in to din-
1070ner.
Bene. Faire Beatrice, I thanke you for your paines.
Beat. I tooke no more paines for those thankes, then you
take paines to thanke me, if it had bin painful I would not haue
come.
1075Bene. You take pleasure then in the message.
Beat. Yea iust so much as you may take vppon a kniues
point, and choake a daw withall: you haue no stomach signior,
fare you well.
exit.
Bene. Ha, against my will I am sent to bid you come in to
1080dinner: theres a double meaning in that: I took no more paines
for those thanks thẽ you took pains to thank me, thats as much
as to say, any pains that I take for you is as easy as thanks: if I do
not take pitty of her I am a villaine, if I do not loue her I am a
Iew, I will go get her picture,
exit.
Enter Hero and two Gentlewomen, Margaret, and Vrsley.
Hero Good Margaret runne thee to the parlour,
There shalt thou find my cosin Beatrice,
1090Proposing with the prince and Claudio,
Whisper her eare and tell her I and Vrsley,
Walke in the orchard, and our whole discourse
Is all of her, say that thou ouer-heardst vs,
And bid her steale into the pleached bowere
1095Where hony-suckles ripened by the sunne,
Forbid the sunne to enter: like fauourites,
Made proud by princes, that aduaunce their pride,
Against that power that bred it, there will she hide her,
To listen our propose, this is thy office,
1100Beare thee well in it, and leaue vs alone.
Marg. Ile make her come I warrant you presently.
Hero Now Vrsula, when Beatrice doth come,
As we do trace this alley vp and downe,
Our talke must onely be of Benedicke,
1105When I do name him let it be thy part,
To praise him more than euer man did merite,
My talke to thee must be how Benedicke,
Is sicke in loue with Beatrice: of this matter,
Is little Cupids crafty arrow made,
1110That onely wounds by heare-say: now begin,
For looke where Beatrice like a Lapwing runs
Close by the ground, to heare our conference.
Enter Beatrice.
Vrsula The pleasantst angling is to see the fish
1115Cut with her golden ores the siluer streame,
And greedily deuoure the treacherous baite:
So angle we for Beatrice, who euen now,
Is couched in the wood-bine couerture,
Feare you not my part of the dialogue.
1120Hero Then go we neare her that her eare loose nothing,
Of the false sweete baite that we lay for it:
No truly Vrsula, she is too disdainfull,
I know her spirits are as coy and wild,
As haggerds of the rocke.
1125Vrsula But are you sure,
That Benedicke loues Beatrice so intirely?
Hero So saies the prince, and my new trothed Lord.
Vrsula And did they bid you tel her of it, madame?
Hero They did intreate me to acquaint her of it,
1130But I perswaded them, if they lou'de Benedicke,
To wish him wrastle with affection,
And neuer to let Beatrice know of it.
Vrsula Why did you so, dooth not the gentleman
Deserue as full as fortunate a bed,
1135As euer Beatrice shall couch vpon?
Hero O God of loue! I know he doth deserue,
As much as may be yeelded to a man:
But nature neuer framde a womans hart,
Of prowder stuffe then that of Beatrice:
1140Disdaine and Scorne ride sparkling in her eies,
Misprising what they looke on, and her wit
Valewes it selfe so highly, that to her
All matter els seemes weake: she cannot loue,
Nor take no shape nor proiect of affection,
1145She is so selfe indeared.
Vrsula Sure I thinke so,
And therefore certainely it were not good,
She knew his loue lest sheele make sport at it.
Hero Why you speake truth, I neuer yet saw man,
1150How wise, how noble, yong, how rarely featured.
But she would spel him backward: if faire faced,
She would sweare the gentleman should be her sister:
If blacke, why Nature drawing of an antique,
Made a foule blot: if tall, a launce ill headed:
1155If low, an agot very vildly cut:
If speaking, why a vane blowne with all winds:
If silent, why a blocke moued with none:
So turnes she euery man the wrong side out,
And neuer giues to Truth and Vertue, that
1160Which simplenesse and merite purchaseth.
Vrsula Sure, sure, such carping is not commendable.
Hero No not to be so odde, and from all fashions,
As Beatrice is, cannot be commendable,
But who dare tell her so? if I should speake,
1165She would mocke me into ayre, O she would laugh me
Out of my selfe, presse me to death with wit,
Therefore let Benedicke like couerd fire,
Consume away in sighes, waste inwardly:
It were a better death, then die with mockes,
1170Which is as bad as die with tickling.
Vrsula Yet tel her of it, heare what she wil say.
Hero No rather I will go to Benedicke,
And counsaile him to fight against his passion,
And truly ile deuise some honest slaunders,
1175To staine my cosin with, one doth not know,
How much an ill word may impoison liking.
Vrsula O do not do your cosin such a wrong,
She cannot be so much without true iudgement,
Hauing so swift and excellent a wit,
1180As she is prisde to haue, as to refuse
So rare a gentleman as signior Benedicke.
Hero He is the onely man of Italy,
Alwaies excepted my deare Claudio
Vrsula I pray you be not angry with me, madame,
1185Speaking my fancy: signior Benedicke,
For shape, for bearing argument and valour,
Goes formost in report through Italy.
Hero Indeed he hath an excellent good name.
Vrsula His excellence did earne it, ere he had it:
1190When are you married madame?
Hero Why euery day to morrow, come go in,
Ile shew thee some attyres, and haue thy counsaile,
Which is the best to furnish me to morrow.
Vrsula Shees limed I warrant you,
1195We haue caught her madame.
Hero If it proue so, then louing goes by haps,
Some Cupid kills with arrowes some with traps.
Beat. What fire is in mine eares? can this be true?
Stand I condemn'd for pride and scorne so much?
1200Contempt, farewel, and maiden pride, adew,
No glory liues behind the backe of such.
And Benedicke, loue on I will requite thee,
Taming my wild heart to thy louing hand:
If thou dost loue, my kindnesse shall incite thee
1205To bind our loues vp in a holy band.
For others say thou dost deserue, and I
Beleeue it better then reportingly.
exit.
Enter Prince, Claudio, Benedicke, and Leonato.
Prince I doe but stay til your mariage be consummate, and
1210then go I toward Arragon.
Claud. Ile bring you thither my lord, if youle vouchsafe
me.
Prince Nay that would be as great a soyle in the new glosse
of your marriage, as to shew a child his new coate and forbid
1215him to weare it, I wil only be bold with Benedick for his com-
pany, for from the crowne of his head, to the sole of his foot,
he is al mirth, he hath twice or thrice cut Cupides bow-string,
and the little hang-man dare not shoot at him, he hath a heart
as sound as a bell, and his tongue is the clapper, for what his
1220heart thinkes, his tongue speakes.
Bene. Gallants, I am not as I haue bin.
Leo. So say I, me thinkes you are sadder.
Clau. I hope he be in loue.
1225Prince Hang him truant, theres no true drop of bloud in
him to be truly toucht with loue, if he be sadde, he wantes mo-
ney.
Bene. I haue the tooth-ach.
Prince Draw it.
1230Bene. Hang it.
Clau. You must hang it first, and draw it afterwards.
Prince What? sigh for the tooth-ach.
Leon. Where is but a humour or a worme.
Bene. Wel, euery one cannot master a griefe, but he that
1235has it.
Clau. Yet say I, he is in loue.
Prince There is no appeerance of fancie in him, vnlesse it
be a fancy that he hath to strange disguises, as to be a Dutch-
man to day, a French-man to morrow, or in the shape of two
countries at once, as a Germaine from the waste downward,
all slops, and a Spaniard from the hip vpward, no dublet: vn-
1240lesse he haue a fancie to this foolery, as it appeares he hath,
he is no foole for fancy, as you would haue it appeare he
is.
Clau. If he be not in loue with some woman, there is no be-
leeuing old signes, a brushes his hat a mornings, what should
1245that bode?
Prince Hath any man seene him at the Barbers?
Clau. No, but the barbers man hath bin seene with him,
and the olde ornament of his cheeke hath already stufft tennis
balls.
1250Leon. Indeed he lookes yonger than he did, by the losse of
a beard.
Prince Nay a rubs himselfe with ciuit, can you smell him
out by that?
Claud. Thats as much as to say, the sweete youthe's in
1255loue.
Bene. The greatest note of it is his melancholy.
Claud. And when was he woont to wash his face?
Prince Yea or to paint himselfe? for the which I heare what
they say of him.
1260Claud. Nay but his iesting spirit, which is now crept into a
lute-string, and now gouernd by stops.
Prince Indeed that tells a heauy tale for him: conclude, con-
clude, he is in loue.
Claud. Nay but I know who loues him.
1265Prince That would I know too, I warrant one that knows
him not.
Claud. Yes, and his ill conditions, and in dispight of al, dies
for him.
Prince She shall be buried with her face vpwards.
1270Bene. Yet is this no charme for the tooth-ake, old signior,
walke aside with me, I haue studied eight or nine wise wordes
to speake to you, which these hobby-horses must not heare.
Prince For my life to breake with him about Beatrice.
1275Claud. Tis euen so, Hero and Margaret haue by this played
their parts with Beatrice, and then the two beares will not
bite one another when they meete.
Enter Iohn the Bastard.
Bastard My lord and brother, God saue you.
1280Prince Good den brother.
Bastard If your leisure seru'd, I would speake with you.
Prince In priuate?
Bastard If it please you, yet Count Claudio may heare, for
what I would speake of, concernes him.
1285Prince Whats the matter?
Bast. Meanes your Lordship to be married to morrow?
Prince You know he does.
Bast. I know not that when he knowes what I know.
1290Claud. If there be any impediment, I pray you discouer it.
Bast. You may think I loue you not, let that appeare here-
after, and ayme better at me by that I now will manifest, for
my brother (I thinke, he holdes you well, and in dearenesse of
1295heart) hath holpe to effect your ensuing mariage: surely sute ill
spent, and labor ill bestowed.
Prince Why whats the matter?
Bast. I came hither to tel you, and circumstances shortned,
(for she has bin too long a talking of) the lady is disloyall.
Clau. Who Hero?
Bastar. Euen she, Leonatoes Hero, your Hero, euery mans
Hero.
Clau. Disloyall?
1305Bast. The word is too good to paint out her wickednesse, I
could say she were worse, thinke you of a worse title, and I wil
fit her to it: wonder not till further warrant: go but with me
to night you shall see her chamber window entred, euen the
night before her wedding day, if you loue her, then to morow
1310wed her: But it would better fitte your honour to change your
mind.
Claud. May this be so?
Prince I wil not thinke it.
Bast. If you dare not trust that you see, confesse not that
1315you knowe: if you will follow mee, I will shew you enough,
and when you haue seene more, and heard more, proceede ac-
cordingly.
Claudio If I see anie thing to night, why I should not mar-
ry her to morrow in the congregation, where I should wed,
1320there will I shame her.
Prince And as I wooed for thee to obtaine her, I wil ioyne
with thee, to disgrace her.
Bastard I will disparage her no farther, till you are my wit-
nesses, beare it coldely but till midnight, and let the issue shew
1325it selfe.
Prince O day vntowardly turned!
Claud. O mischiefe strangely thwarting!
Bastard O plague right well preuented! so will you say,
when you haue seene the sequele.
1330
Enter Dogbery and his compartner with the Watch.
Dog. Are you good men and true?
Verges Yea, or else it were pitty but they should suffer sal-
uation body and soule.
Dog. Nay, that were a punishment too good for them, if
1335they should haue any allegeance in them, being chosen for the
Princes watch.
Verges Well, giue them their charge, neighbour Dog-
bery.
Dogbery First, who thinke you the most desartlesse man
1340to be Constable?
Watch 1 Hugh Ote-cake sir, or George Sea-cole, for they
can write and reade.
Dogbery Come hither neighbor Sea-cole. God hath blest
you with a good name: to be a welfauoured man, is the gift of
1345Fortune, but to write and reade, comes by nature.
Watch 2 Both which maister Constable.
Dogbery You haue: I knew it would be your answer: wel,
for your fauour sir, why giue God thanks, and make no boast
1350of it, and for your writing and reading, let that appeere when
there is no neede of such vanity, you are thought heere to be
the most senslesse and fit man for the Constable of the watch:
therefore beare you the lanthorne: this is your charge, You
shall comprehend all vagrom men, you are to bidde any man
1355stand, in the Princes name.
Watch 2 How if a will not stand?
Dogbery Why then take no note of him, but let him goe,
and presently call the rest of the watch together, and thanke
1360god you are ridde of a knaue.
Verges If he wil not stand when he is bidden, he is none of
the Princes subiects.
Dogbery True, and they are to meddle with none but the
Princes subiects: you shall also make no noise in the streetes:
1365for, for the watch to babble and to talke, is most tollerable, and
not to be indured.
Watch We will rather sleepe than talke, we know what be-
longs to a watch.
Dogbery Why you speake like an antient and most quiet
1370watchman, for I cannot see how sleeping should offend: one-
ly haue a care that your billes bee not stolne: well, you are to
cal at al the alehouses, and bid those that are drunke get them to
bed.
Watch How if they will not?
1375Dogbery Why then let them alone til they are sober, if they
make you not then the better answer, you may say, they are not
the men you tooke them for.
Watch Well sir.
Dogbery If you meete a thiefe, you may suspect him, by
1380vertue of your office, to be no true man: and for such kind of
men, the lesse you meddle or make with them, why the more
is for your honesty.
Watch If we know him to be a thiefe, shal we not lay hands
on him?
1385Dogbery Truely by your office you may, but I thinke they
that touch pitch will be defilde: the most peaceable way for
you, if you doe take a thiefe, is, to let him shew himselfe what
he is, and steale out of your companie.
Verges You haue beene alwayes called a mercifull manne,
partner.
1390Dog. Truely I would not hang a dogge by my will, much
more a man who hath anie honestie in him.
Verges If you heare a child crie in the night you must call to
the nurse and bid her stil it.
Watch How if the nurse be asleepe and will not heare vs.
Dog. Why then depart in peace, and let the child wake her
with crying, for the ewe that will not heare her lamb when it
baes, will neuer answer a calfe when he bleates.
1400Verges Tis very true.
Dog. This is the end of the charge: you constable are to
present the princes owne person, if you meete the prince in the
night, you may stay him.
Verges Nay birlady that I thinke a cannot.
1405Dog. Fiue shillings to one on't with any man that knowes
the statutes, he may stay him, mary 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.
1410Verges Birlady I thinke it be so.
Dog. Ha ah ha, wel masters good night, and there be any
matter of weight chaunces, cal vp me, keepe your fellowes
counsailes, and your owne, and good night, come neigh-
bour.
1415Watch Well masters, we heare our charge, let vs goe sitte
here vppon the church bench till twoo, and then all to
bed.
Dog. One word more, honest neighbors, I pray you watch
about signior Leonatoes doore, for the wedding being there to
1420morrow, there is a great coyle to night, adiew, be vigitant I be-
seech you.
exeunt.
Enter Borachio and Conrade.
Bor. What Conrade?
Watch Peace, stir not.
1425Bor. Conrade I say.
Con. Here man, I am at thy elbow.
Bor. Mas and my elbow itcht, I thought there would a
scabbe follow.
Con. I will owe thee an answer for that, and now forward
1430with thy tale.
Bor. Stand thee close then vnder this penthouse, for it
drissells raine, and I will, like a true drunckard, vtter all to
thee.
Watch Some treason masters, yet stand close.
1435Bor. Therefore know, I haue earned of Dun Iohn a thou-
sand ducates.
Con. Is it possible that any villanie should be so deare?
Bor. Thou shouldst rather aske if it were possible any vil-
lanie shuld be so rich? for when rich villains haue need of poor
1440ones, poore ones may make what price they will.
Con. I wonder at it.
Bor. That shewes thou art vnconfirm'd, thou knowest
that the fashion of a dublet, or a hat, or a cloake, is nothing to a
1445man.
Con. Yes it is apparell.
Bor. I meane the fashion.
Con. Yes the fashion is the fashion.
Bor. Tush, I may as well say the foole's the foole, but seest
1450thou not what a deformed theefe this fashion is?
Watch I know that deformed, a has bin a vile theefe, this
vij. yeere, a goes vp and downe like a gentle man: I remember
his name.
Bor. Didst thou not heare some body?
1455Con. No, twas the vane on the house.
Bor. Seest thou not (I say) what a deformed thiefe this fashi-
on is, how giddily a turnes about all the Hot-blouds, between
foureteene and fiue and thirtie, sometimes fashioning them
like Pharaoes souldiours in the rechie painting, sometime like
1460god Bels priests in the old church window, sometime like the
shauen Hercules in the smircht worm-eaten tapestry, where
his cod-peece seemes as massie as his club.
Con. Al this I see, and I see that the fashion weares out more
1465apparrell then the man, but art not thou thy selfe giddy with
the fashion too, that thou hast shifted out of thy tale into telling
me of the fashion?
Bor. Not so neither, but know that I haue to night wooed
Margaret the Lady Heroes gentle-woman, by the name of
1470Hero, she leanes me out at her mistris chamber window, bids
me a thousand times good night: I tell this tale vildly. I should
first tel thee how the prince Claudio and my master planted,
and placed, and possessed, by my master Don Iohn, saw a farre
off in the orchard this amiable incounter.
Conr. And thought they Margaret was Hero?
Bar. Two of them did, the prince and Claudio, but the di-
uel my master knew she was Margaret, and partly by his oths,
which first possest them, partly by the darke night which did
1480deceiue them, but chiefely, by my villany, which did confirme
any slander that Don Iohn had made, away went Claudio en-
ragde, swore he would meet her as he was apointed next mor-
ning at the Temple, and there, before the whole congregation
shame her, with what he saw o're night, and send her home a-
1485gaine without a husband.
Watch 1 We charge you in the princes name stand.
Watch 2 Call vppe the right maister Constable, wee haue
here recouerd the most dangerous peece of lechery, that euer
1490was knowne in the common wealth.
Watch 1 And one Deformed is one of them, I know him, a
weares a locke.
Conr Masters, masters.
Watch 2 Youle be made bring deformed forth I warrant
1495you.
Conr Masters, neuer speake, we charge you, let vs obey you
to go with vs.
Bor. We are like to proue a goodly commoditie, being ta-
ken vp of these mens billes.
1500Conr. A commodity in question I warrant you, come weele
obey you.
exeunt.
Enter Hero, and Margaret, and Vrsula.
Hero Good Vrsula wake my cosin Beatrice, and desire her
to rise.
1505Vrsula I wil lady.
Hero And bid her come hither.
Vrsula Well.
Marg. Troth I thinke your other rebato were better.
Hero No pray thee good Meg, ile weare this.
1510Marg. By my troth's not so good, and I warrant your cosin
will say so.
Hero My cosin's a foole, and thou art another, ile weare
none but this.
Mar I like the new tire within excelently, if the haire were a
1515thought browner: and your gown's a most rare fashion yfaith,
I saw the Dutchesse of Millaines gowne that they praise so.
Hero O that exceedes they say.
Marg. By my troth's but a night-gown it respect of yours,
1520cloth a gold and cuts, and lac'd with siluer, set with pearles,
downe sleeues, side sleeues, and skirts, round vnderborne with
a blewish tinsell, but for a fine queint graceful and excelent fa-
shion, yours is worth ten on't.
Hero God giue me ioy to weare it, for my heart is exceed-
1525ing heauy.
Marg. T'will be heauier soone by the weight of a
man.
Hero Fie vpon thee, art not ashamed?
Marg. Of what lady? of speaking honourably? is not marri-
1530age honourable in a beggar? is not your Lord honourable
without mariage? I thinke you would haue me say, sauing your
reuerence a husband: & bad thinking do not wrest true spea-
king, ile offend no body, is there any harm in the heauier, for a
husband? none I thinke, and it be the right husband, and the
1535right wife, otherwise tis light and not heauy, aske my lady Beatrice
els, here she comes.
Enter Beatrice.
Hero Good morrow coze.
1540Beat. Good morrow sweete Hero.
Hero Why how now? do you speake in the sicke tune?
Beat. I am out of all other tune, me thinkes.
Mar Clap's into Light a loue, (that goes without a burden,)
do you sing it, and ile daunce it.
1545Beat. Ye Light aloue with your heels, then if your husband
haue stables enough youle see he shall lacke no barnes.
Mar. O illegitimate construction! I scorne that with my
heeles.
1550Beat. Tis almost fiue a clocke cosin, tis time you were rea-
dy, by my troth I am exceeding ill, hey ho.
Mar. For a hauke, a horse, or a husband?
Beat. For the letter that begins them al, H.
Mar. Wel, and you be not turnde Turke, theres no more
1555sayling by the starre.
Beat. What meanes the foole trow?
Mar. Nothing I, but God send euery one their hearts de-
sire.
Hero These gloues the Counte sent me, they are an excel-
1560lent perfume.
Beat. I am stuft cosin, I cannot smell.
Mar. A maide and stuft! theres goodly catching of
colde.
Beat. O God help me, God help me, how long haue you
1565profest apprehension?
Mar. Euer since you left it, doth not my wit become me
rarely?
Beat. It is not seene enough, you should weare it in your
cap, by my troth I am sicke.
1570Mar. Get you some of this distill'd carduus benedictus,
and lay it to your heart, it is the onely thing for a qualme.
Hero There thou prickst her with a thissel.
Beat. Benedictus, why benedictus? you haue some moral in this
benedictus.
1575Mar. Morall? no by my troth I haue no morall meaning,
I meant plaine holy thissel, you may thinke perchaunce that I
think you are in loue, nay birlady I am not such a foole to think
what I list, nor I list not to thinke what I can, nor indeed I can
not think, if I would thinke my heart out of thinking, that you
1580are in loue, or that you will be in loue, or that you can be in
loue: yet Benedicke was such another, and now is he become a
man, he swore he would neuer marry, and yet now in dispight
of his heart he eates his meate without grudging, and how you
1585may be conuerted I know not, but me thinkes you looke with
your eies as other women do.
Beat. What pace is this that thy tongue keepes?
Marg. Not a false gallop.
Enter Vrsula.
1590Vrsula Madame withdraw, the prince, the Count, signior
Benedicke, Don Iohn, and all the gallants of the towne are
come to fetch you to church.
Hero Help to dresse me good coze, good Meg, good Vr-
sula.
1595
Enter Leonato, and the Constable, and the Headborough.
Leonato What would you with me, honest neighbour?
Const. Dog. Mary sir I would haue some confidence with
you, that decernes you nearely.
1600Leonato Briefe I pray you, for you see it is a busie time with
me.
Const. Dog. Mary this it is sir.
Headb. Yes in truth it is sir.
Leonato What is it my good friends?
1605Con. Do. Goodman Verges sir speaks a little of the matter,
an old man sir, and his wittes are not so blunt, as God helpe I
would desire they were, but infaith honest, as the skin between
his browes.
Head. Yes I thank God, I am as honest as any man liuing,
1610that is an old man, and no honester then I.
Const. Dog. Comparisons are odorous, palabras, neighbour
Verges.
Leonato Neighbors, you are tedious.
Const. Dog. It pleases your worship to say so, but we are the
poore Dukes officers, but truly for mine owne part, if I were as
1615tedious as a King I could find in my heart to bestow it all of
your worship.
Leonato Al thy tediousnesse on me, ah?
Const. Dog. Yea, and't twere a thousand pound more than tis,
for I heare as good exclamation on your worshippe as of any
1620man in the citie, and though I be but a poore man, I am glad to
heare it.
Head. And so am I.
Leonato I would faine know what you haue to say.
Head. Mary sir our watch to night, excepting your wor-
1625ships presence, ha tane a couple of as arrant knaues as any in
Messina.
Const. Dog. A good old man sir, he will be talking as they
say, when the age is in, the wit is out, God help vs, it is a world
to see: well said yfaith neighbour Verges, well, God's a good
1630man, and two men ride of a horse, one must ride behind, an ho-
nest soule yfaith sir, by my troth he is, as euer broke bread, but
God is to be worshipt, all men are not alike, alas good neigh-
bour.
Leonato Indeed neighbour he comes too short of you.
1635Const. Do. Gifts that God giues.
Leonato I must leaue you.
Const. Dog. One word sir, our watch sir haue indeede com-
prehended two aspitious persons, and wee woulde haue them
this morning examined before your worship.
1640Leonato Take their examination your selfe, and bring it me,
I am now in great haste, as it may appeare vnto you.
Constable It shall be suffigance.
Leonato Drinke some wine ere you goe: fare you well.
Messenger My lord, they stay for you, to giue your daugh-
1645ter to her husband.
Leon. Ile wait vpon them, I am ready.
Dogb. Go good partner, goe get you to Francis Sea-cole,
bid him bring his penne and inckehorne to the Gaole: we are
now to examination these men.
1650Verges And we must do it wisely.
Dogbery We will spare for no witte I warrant you: heeres
that shall driue some of them to a noncome, only get the lear-
ned writer to set downe our excommunication, and meet me
at the Iaile.
Enter Prince, Bastard, Leonato, Frier, Claudio, Bene-
dicke, Hero, and Beatrice
Leonato Come Frier Francis, be briefe, onely to the plaine
forme of marriage, and you shall recount their particular due-
1660ties afterwards.
Fran. You come hither, my lord, to marry this lady.
Claudio No.
Leo To bee married to her: Frier, you come to marry her.
1665Frier Lady, you come hither to be married to this counte.
Hero I do.
Frier If either of you know any inward impediment why
you should not be conioyned, I charge you on your soules to
1670vtter it.
Claudio Know you any, Hero?
Hero None my lord.
Frier Know you any, Counte?
Leonato I dare make his answer, None.
1675Clau. O what men dare do! what men may do! what men
daily do, not knowing what they do!
Bene. Howe nowe! interiections? why then, some be of
laughing, as, ah, ha, he.
Claudio Stand thee by Frier, father by your leaue,
1680Will you with free and vnconstrained soule
Giue me this maide your daughter?
Leonata As freely sonne as God did giue her mee.
Claudio And what haue I to giue you backe whose woorth
May counterpoise this rich and pretious gift?
1685Princn Nothing, vnlesse you render her againe.
Claudio Sweete Prince, you learne me noble thankfulnes:
There Leonato, take her backe againe,
Giue not this rotten orenge to your friend,
Shee's but the signe and semblance of her honor:
1690Behold how like a maide she blushes heere!
O what authoritie and shew of truth
Can cunning sinne couer it selfe withall!
Comes not that blood, as modest euidence,
To witnesse simple Vertue? would you not sweare
1695All you that see her, that she were a maide,
By these exterior shewes? But she is none:
She knowes the heate of a luxurious bed:
Her blush is guiltinesse, not modestie.
Leonato What do you meane, my lord?
1700Claudio Not to be married,
Not to knit my soule to an approoued wanton.
Leonato Deere my lord, if you in your owne proofe,
Haue vanquisht the resistance of her youth,
And made defeate of her virginitie.
1705Claudio I know what you would say: if I haue knowne her,
You will say, she did imbrace me as a husband,
And so extenuate the forehand sinne: No Leonato,
I neuer tempted her with word too large,
1710But as a brother to his sister, shewed
Bashfull sinceritie, and comelie loue.
Hero And seemde I euer otherwise to you?
Claudio Out on thee seeming. I wil write against it,
You seeme to me as Diane in her Orbe,
1715As chaste as is the budde ere it be blowne:
But you are more intemperate in your blood,
Than Venus, or those pampred animalls,
That rage in sauage sensualitie.
Hero Is my Lord well that he doth speake so wide?
1720Leonato Sweete prince, why speake not you?
Prince What should I speake?
I stand dishonourd that haue gone about,
To lincke my deare friend to a common stale.
Leonato Are these things spoken, or do I but dreame?
1725Bastard Sir, they are spoken, and these things are true.
Bened. This lookes not like a nuptiall.
Hero True, O God!
Claud. Leonato, stand I here?
Is this the prince? is this the princes brother?
1730Is this face Heroes? are our eies our owne?
Leonato All this is so, but what of this my Lord?
Claud. Let me but moue one question to your daughter,
And by that fatherly and kindly power,
That you haue in her, bid her answer truly.
1735Leonato I charge thee do so, as thou art my child.
Hero O God defend me how am I beset,
What kind of catechising call you this?
Claud. To make you answer truly to your name.
Hero Is it not Hero, who can blot that name
1740With any iust reproch?
Claud. Mary that can Hero,
Hero it selfe can blot out Heroes vertue.
What man was he talkt with you yesternight,
Out at your window betwixt twelue and one?
1745Now if you are a maide, answer to this.
Hero I talkt with no man at that hower my lord.
Prince Why then are you no maiden. Leonato,
I am sory you must heare: vpon mine honor,
My selfe, my brother, and this grieued Counte
1750Did see her, heare her, at that howre last night,
Talke with a ruffian at her chamber window,
Who hath indeede most like a liberall villaine,
Confest the vile encounters they haue had
A thousand times in secret.
1755Iohn Fie, fie, they are not to be named my lord,
Not to be spoke of,
There is not chastitie enough in language,
Without offence to vtter them: thus pretty lady,
I am sory for thy much misgouernement.
1760Claud. O Hero! what a Hero hadst thou bin,
If halfe thy outward graces had bin placed,
About thy thoughts and counsailes of thy heart?
But fare thee well, most foule, most faire, farewell
Thou pure impietie, and impious puritie,
1765For thee ile locke vp all the gates of Loue,
And on my eie-liddes shall Coniecture hang,
To turne all beautie into thoughts of harme,
And neuer shall it more be gracious.
Leonato Hath no mans dagger here a point for me.
1770Beatrice Why how now cosin, wherfore sinke you down?
Bastard Come let vs go: these things come thus to light,
Smother her spirits vp.
Benedicke How doth the Lady?
Beatrice Dead I thinke, help vncle,
1775Hero, why Hero, vncle, signior Benedicke, Frier.
Leonato O Fate! take not away thy heauy hand,
Death is the fairest couer for her shame
That may be wisht for.
Beatrice How now cosin Hero?
1780Frier Haue comfort lady.
Leonato Dost thou looke vp?
Frier Yea, wherefore should she not?
Leonato Wherfore? why doth not euery earthly thing,
Cry shame vpon her? could she here deny
1785The story that is printed in her bloud?
Do not liue Hero, do not ope thine eies:
For did I thinke thou wouldst not quickly die,
Thought I thy spirites were stronger than thy shames,
My selfe would on the rereward of reproches
1790Strike at thy life. Grieued I I had but one?
Chid I for that at frugall Natures frame?
O one too much by thee: why had I one?
Why euer wast thou louely in my eies?
Why had I not with charitable hand,
1795Tooke vp a beggars issue at my gates,
Who smirched thus, and mired with infamy,
I might haue said, no part of it is mine,
This shame deriues it selfe from vnknowne loynes,
But mine and mine I loued, and mine I praisde,
1800And mine that I was prowd on mine so much,
That I my selfe, was to my selfe not mine:
Valewing of her, why she, O she is falne,
Into a pit of incke, that the wide sea
Hath drops too few to wash her cleane againe,
1805And salt too little, which may season giue
To her foule tainted flesh.
Ben. Sir, sir, be patient, for my part I am so attired in won-
der, I know not what to say.
Beat. O on my soule my cosin is belied.
1810Bene. Lady, were you her bedfellow last night?
Beat. No truly, not although vntill last night,
I haue this tweluemonth bin her bedfellow.
Leon. Confirmd, confirmd, O that is stronger made,
Which was before bard vp with ribs of yron,
1815Would the two princes lie, and Claudio lie,
Who loued her so, that speaking of her foulenesse,
Washt it with teares! hence from her, let her die.
Frier Heare me a little, for I haue only bin silent so long, &
giuen way vnto this course of fortune, by noting of the lady, I
1820haue markt,
A thousand blushing apparitions,
To start into her face, a thousand innocent shames,
In angel whitenesse beate away those blushes,
And in her eie there hath appeard a fire,
1825To burne the errors that these princes hold
Against her maiden truth: call me a foole,
Trust not my reading, nor my obseruations,
Which with experimental seale doth warrant
The tenure of my booke: trust not my age,
1830My reuerence, calling, nor diuinitie,
If this sweete ladie lie not guiltlesse here,
Vnder some biting errour.
Leonato Frier, it cannot be,
Thou seest that al the grace that she hath left,
1835Is, that she will not adde to her damnation,
A sinne of periury, she not denies it:
Why seekst thou then to couer with excuse,
That which appeares in proper nakednesse?
Frier Lady, what man is he you are accusde of?
1840Hero They know that do accuse me, I know none,
If I know more of any man aliue
Then that which maiden modesty doth warrant,
Let all my sinnes lacke mercie, O my father,
Proue you that any man with me conuerst,
1845At houres vnmeete, or that I yesternight
Maintaind the change of words with any creature,
Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death.
Frier There is some strange misprision in the princes.
Bene. Two of them haue the very bent of honour,
1850And if their wisedomes be misled in this,
The practise of it liues in Iohn the Bastard,
Whose spirites toyle in frame of villanies.
Leonato I know not, if they speake but truth of her,
These hands shall teare her, if they wrong her honour,
1855The prowdest of them shal wel heare of it.
Time hath not yet so dried this bloud of mine,
Nor age so eate vp my inuention,
Nor Fortune made such hauocke of my meanes,
Nor my bad life reft me so much of friends,
1860But they shall find awakte in such a kind,
Both strength of limbe, and policy of mind,
Ability in meanes, and choise of friends,
To quit me of them throughly.
Frier Pawse awhile,
1865And let my counsell sway you in this case,
Your daughter here the princesse (left for dead,)
Let her awhile be secretly kept in,
And publish it, that she is dead indeede,
Maintaine a mourning ostentation,
1870And on your families old monument,
Hang mourneful epitaphes, and do all rites,
That appertaine vnto a buriall.
Leon. What shall become of this? what will this do?
Frier Mary this well caried, shall on her behalfe,
1875Change slaunder to remorse, that is some good,
But not for that dreame I on this strange course,
But on this trauaile looke for greater birth:
She dying, as it must be so maintaind,
Vpon the instant that she was accusde,
1880Shal be lamented, pittied, and excusde
Of euery hearer: for it so falls out,
That what we haue, we prize not to the worth,
Whiles we enioy it, but being lackt and lost,
Why then we racke the valew, then we find
1885The vertue that possession would not shew vs
Whiles it was ours, so will it fare with Claudio:
When hee shall heare she died vpon his words,
Th Idaea of her life shall sweetly creepe,
Into his study of imagination,
1890And euery louely Organ of her life,
Shall come apparelld in more precious habite,
More moouing delicate, and full of life,
Into the eie and prospect of his soule
Then when she liude indeed: then shall he mourne,
1895If euer loue had interest in his liuer,
And wish he had not so accused her:
No, though he thought his accusation true:
Let this be so, and doubt not but successe
Will fashion the euent in better shape,
1900Then I can lay it downe in likelihood.
But if all ayme but this be leuelld false,
The supposition of the ladies death,
Will quench the wonder of her infamie.
And if it sort not wel, you may conceale her,
1905As best befits her wounded reputation,
In some reclusiue and religious life,
Out of all eies, tongues, minds, and iniuries.
Bene. Signior Leonato, let the Frier aduise you,
And though you know my inwardnesse and loue
1910Is very much vnto the prince and Claudio,
Yet, by mine honor, I will deale in this,
As secretly and iustly as your soule
Should with your body.
Leon. Being that I flow in griefe,
1915The smallest twine may leade me.
Frier Tis wel 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 and endure.
exit.
1920Bene. Lady Beatrice, haue you wept al this while?
Beat. Yea, and I will weep a while longer.
Bene. I will not desire that.
Beat. You haue no reason, I do it freely.
Bene. Surely I do beleeue your faire cosin is wronged.
1925Beat. Ah, how much might the man deserue of me that
would right her!
Bene. Is there any way to shew such friendship?
Beat. A very euen way, but no such friend.
Bene. May a man do it?
1930Beat. It is a mans office, but not yours.
Bene. I doe loue nothing in the worlde so well as you,
is not that strange?
Beat. As strange as the thing I knowe not, it were as possi-
ble for me to say, I loued nothing so wel as you, but beleue me
1935not, and yet I lie not, I confesse nothing, nor I deny nothing, I
am sory for my coosin.
Bened. By my sword Beatrice, thou louest me.
Beat. Do not sweare and eate it.
Bened. I will sweare by it that you loue me, and I wil make
1940him eate it that sayes I loue not you.
Beat. Will you not eate your word?
Bened. With no sawce that can be deuised to it, I protest I
loue thee.
Beat. Why then God forgiue me.
1945Bened. VVhat offence sweete Beatrice?
Beat. You haue stayed me in a happy houre, I was about
to protest I loued you.
Bened. And do it with all thy heart.
Beat. I loue you with so much of my heart, that none is left
1950to protest.
Bened. Come bid me doe any thing for thee.
Beat. Kill Claudio.
Bened. Ha, not for the wide world.
Beat. You kill me to deny it, farewell.
1955Bened. Tarry sweete Beatrice.
Beat. I am gone, though I am here, there is no loue in you,
nay I pray you let me go.
Bened. Beatrice.
Beat. In faith I will go.
1960Bened. VVeele be friends first.
Beat. You dare easier be friends with mee, than fight with
mine enemy.
Bened. Is Claudio thine enemy?
Beat. Is a not approoued in the height a villaine, that hath
1965slaundered, scorned, dishonored my kinswoman? O that I
were a man! what, beare her in hand, vntill they come to take
handes, and then with publike accusation vncouerd slaunder,
vnmittigated rancour? O God that I were a man! I woulde
eate his heart in the market place.
1970Bened. Heare me Beatrice.
Beat. Talke with a man out at a window, a proper saying.
Bened. Nay but Beatrice.
Beat. Sweete Hero, she is wrongd, she is slaundred, shee is
1975vndone.
Bened. Beat?
Beat. Princes and Counties! surely a princely testimonie, a
goodly Counte, Counte Comfect, a sweete Gallant surely, O
that I were a man for his sake! or that I had any friend woulde
1980be a man for my sake! But manhoode is melted into cursies,
valour into complement, and men are only turnd into tongue,
and trim ones too: he is now as valiant as Hercules, that only
tels a lie, and sweares it: I cannot be a man with wishing, ther-
fore I will die a woman with grieuing.
Bened. Tarry good Beatrice, by this hand I loue thee.
Beatrice Vse it for my loue some other way than swearing
by it.
Bened. Thinke you in your soule the Count Claudio hath
1990wrongd Hero?
Beatrice Yea, as sure as I haue a thought, or a soule.
Bened. Enough, I am engagde, I will challenge him, I will
kisse your hand, and so I leaue you: by this hand, Claudio shal
render me a deere account: as you heare of me, so think of me:
1995goe comforte your coosin, I must say she is dead, and so fare-
well.
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-
mine.
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
2030men.
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!
exit.
Enter Leonato and his brother.
Brother If you go on thus, you will kill your selfe,
2080And tis not wisedome thus to second griefe,
Against your selfe.
Leonato I pray thee cease thy counsaile,
Which falles into mine eares as profitlesse,
As water in a syue: giue not me counsaile,
2085Nor let no comforter delight mine eare,
But such a one whose wrongs doe sute with mine.
Bring me a father that so lou'd his child,
Whose ioy of her is ouer-whelmd like mine,
And bid him speake of patience,
2090Measure his woe the length and bredth of mine,
And let it answer euery straine for straine,
As thus for thus, and such a griefe for such,
In euery lineament, branch, shape, and forme:
If such a one will smile and stroke his beard,
2095And sorrow, wagge, crie hem, when he should grone,
Patch griefe with prouerbes, make misfortune drunke,
With candle-wasters: bring him yet to me,
And I of him will gather patience:
But there is no such man, for brother, men
2100Can counsaile, and speake comfort to that griefe,
Which they themselues not feele, but tasting it,
Their counsaile turnes to passion, which before,
Would giue preceptiall medcine to rage,
Fetter strong madnesse in a silken thred,
2105Charme ach with ayre, and agony with words,
No, no, tis all mens office, to speake patience
To those that wring vnder the loade of sorrow
But no mans vertue nor sufficiencie
To be so morall, when he shall endure
2110The like himselfe: therefore giue me no counsaile,
My griefes crie lowder then aduertisement.
Brother Therein do men from children nothing differ.
Leonato I pray thee peace, I wil be flesh and bloud,
For there was neuer yet Philosopher,
2115That could endure the tooth-ake patiently,
How euer they haue writ the stile of gods,
And made a push at chance and sufferance.
Brother Yet bend not all the harme vpon your selfe,
Make those that do offend you, suffer too.
2120Leonato There thou speakst reason, nay I will do so,
My soule doth tell me, Hero is belied,
And that shall Claudio know, so shall the prince,
And all of them that thus dishonour her.
Enter Prince and Claudio.
2125Brother Here comes the Prince and Claudio hastily.
Prince Good den, good den.
Claudio Good day to both of you.
Leonato Heare you my Lords?
Prince We haue some haste Leonato.
2130Leonato Some haste my lord! well, fare you well my lord,
Are you so hasty now? wel, all is one.
Prince Nay do not quarrel with vs, good old man.
Brother If he could right himselfe with quarrelling,
Some of vs would lie low.
2135Claudio Who wrongs him?
Leona. Mary thou dost wrong me, thou dissembler, thou:
Nay, neuer lay thy hand vpon thy sword,
I feare thee not.
Claudio Mary beshrew my hand,
2140If it should giue your age such cause of feare,
Infaith my hand meant nothing to my sword.
Leonato Tush, tush man, neuer fleere and iest at me,
I speake not like a dotard, nor a foole,
As vnder priuiledge of age to bragge,
2145What I haue done being yong, or what would doe,
Were I not old, know Claudio to thy head,
Thou hast so wrongd mine innocent child and me,
That I am forst to lay my reuerence by,
And with grey haires and bruise of many daies,
2150Do challenge thee to triall 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 toomb where neuer scandal slept,
2155Saue this of hers, framde by thy villanie.
Claudio My villany?
Leonato Thine Claudio, thine I say.
Prince You say not right old man.
Leonato My Lord, my Lord,
2160Ile prooue it on his body if he dare,
Dispight his nice fence, and his actiue practise,
His Maie of youth, and bloome of lustihood.
Claudio Away, I will not haue to doe with you.
Leonato Canst thou so daffe me? thou hast kild my child,
2165If thou kilst me, boy, thou shalt kill a man.
Brother He shal kill two of vs, and men indeed,
But thats no matter, let him kill one first:
Win me and weare me, let him answer me,
Come follow me boy, come sir boy, come follow me
2170Sir boy, ile whip you from your foyning fence,
Nay, as I am a gentleman I, will.
Leonato Brother.
Brother Content your self, God knowes, I loued my neece,
And she is dead, slanderd to death by villaines,
2175That dare as well answer a man indeed.
As I dare take a serpent by the tongue,
Boyes, apes, braggarts, Iackes, milke-sops.
Leonato Brother Anthony.
Brother Hold you content, what man! I know them, yea
2180And what they weigh, euen to the vtmost scruple,
Scambling out-facing, fashion-monging boies,
That lie, and cogge, and flout, depraue, and slaunder,
Go antiquely, and shew outward hidiousnesse,
And speake of halfe a dozen dang'rous words,
2185How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst,
And this is all.
Leonato But brother Anthonie.
Brother Come tis no matter,
Do not you meddle, let me deale in this.
2190Prince Gentlemen both, we will not wake your patience,
My heart is sory for your daughters death:
But on my honour she was chargde with nothing
But what was true, and very full of proofe.
Leonato My Lord, my Lord.
2195Prince I will not heare you.
Leo. No come brother, away, I wil be heard.
Exeunt amb.
Bro. And shal, or some of vs wil smart for it.
Enter Ben.
2200Prince See see, heere comes the man we went to seeke.
Claud. Now signior, what newes?
Bened. Good day my Lord:
Prince Welcome signior, you are almost come to parte al-
most a fray.
2205Claud. Wee had likt to haue had our two noses snapt off
with two old men without teeth.
Prince Leonato and his brother what thinkst thou? had we
fought, I doubt we should haue beene too yong for them.
2210Bened. In a false quarrell there is no true valour, I came to
seeke you both.
Claud. We haue beene vp and downe to seeke thee, for we
are high proofe melancholie, and would faine haue it beaten
away, wilt thou vse thy wit?
2215Bened. It is in my scabberd, shal I drawe it?
Prince Doest thou weare thy wit by thy side?
Claud. Neuer any did so, though very many haue been be-
side their wit, I will bid thee drawe, as wee doe the minstrels,
draw to pleasure vs.
2220Prince As I am an honest man he lookes pale, art thou
sicke, or angry?
Claud. What, courage man: what though care kild a catte,
thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.
Bened. Sir, I shall meete your wit in the careere, and you
2225charge it against me, I pray you chuse another subiect
Claud. Nay then giue him another staffe, this last was broke
crosse.
Prince By this light, he chaunges more and more, I thinke
2230he be angry indeed.
Claud. If he be, he knowes how to turne his girdle.
Bened. Shall I speake a word in your eare?
Claud. God blesse me from a challenge.
Bened. You are a villaine, I ieast not, I will make it good
2235howe you dare, with what you dare, and when you dare: doe
mee right, or I will protest your cowardise: you haue killd a
sweeete Lady, and her death shall fall heauie on you, let me
heare from you.
Claud. Well I wil meet you, so I may haue good cheare.
Prince What, a feast, a feast?
Claud. I faith I thanke him he hath bid me to a calues head
& a capon, the which if I doe not carue most curiously, say my
kniffe's naught, shall I not find a woodcocke too?
Bened. Sir your wit ambles well, it goes easily.
Prince Ile tell thee how Beatrice praisd thy witte the other
day: I said thou hadst a fine witte, true said she, a fine little one:
no said I, a great wit: right saies she, a great grosse one: nay said
2250I, a good wit, iust said she, it hurts no body: nay said I, the gen-
tleman is wise: certaine said she, a wise gentleman: nay said I, he
hath the tongues: that I beleeue said shee, for he swore a thing
to mee on munday night, which hee forswore on tuesday mor-
ning, theres a double tongue theirs two tongues, thus did shee
an houre together trans-shape thy particular vertues, yet at last
she cõcluded with a sigh, thou wast the properst man in Italy.
Claud. For the which shee wept heartily and saide she ca-
2260red not.
Prince Yea that she did, but yet for all that, and if she did
not hate him deadly, she would loue him dearely, the old mans
daughter told vs all.
Claud. All all, and moreouer, God sawe him when he was
2265hid in the garden.
Prince But when shall we set the sauage bulles hornes one
the sensible Benedicks head?
Clau. Yea and text vnder-neath, here dwells Benedick the
married man.
2270Bened. Fare you wel, boy, you know my minde, I wil leaue
you now to your gossep-like humor, you breake iests as brag-
gards do their blades, which God be thanked hurt not: my
Lord, for your many courtisies I thanke you, I must disconti-
nue your company, your brother the bastard is fled from Messina:
2275you haue among you, kild a sweet and innocent lady: for
my Lord Lacke-beard, there hee and I shal meet, and till then
peace be with him.
Prince He is in earnest.
2280Claudio In most profound earnest, and ile warrant you, for
the loue of Beatrice.
Prince And hath challengde thee.
Claudio Most sincerely.
Prince What a pretty thing man is, when he goes in his
2285dublet and hose, and leaues off his wit!
Enter Constables, Conrade, and Borachio.
Claudio He is then a Giant to an Ape, but then is an Ape a
Doctor to such a man.
Prince But soft you, let me be, plucke vp my heart, and be
2290sad, did he not say my brother was fled?
Const. Come you sir, if iustice cannot tame you, she shall
nere weigh more reasons in her ballance, nay, and you be a
cursing hypocrite once, you must be lookt to.
Prince How now, two of my brothers men bound? Bora-
2295chio one.
Claudio Hearken after their offence my Lord.
Prince Officers, what offence haue these men done?
Const. Mary sir, they haue committed false report, moreo-
uer they haue spoken vntruths, secondarily they are slanders,
2300sixt and lastly, they haue belyed a Lady, thirdly they haue ve-
refied vniust thinges, and to conclude, they are lying knaues.
Prince. First I aske thee what they haue done, thirdly I
ask thee whats their offence, sixt and lastly why they are com-
2305mitted, and to conclude, what you lay to their charge.
Claud. Rightly reasoned, and in his owne diuision, and by
my troth theres one meaning wel suted.
Prince Who haue you offended maisters, that you are thus
2310bound to your answere? this learned Constable is too cunning
to be vnderstood, whats your offence?
Bor. Sweete prince, let me goe no farther to mine answere:
do you heare me, and let this Counte kill me: I haue deceiued
euen your very eyes: what your wisedoms could not discouer,
2315these shallowe fooles haue broght to light, who in the night o-
uerheard me confessing to this man, how Don Iohn your bro-
ther incensed me to slaunder the Lady Hero, howe you were
brought into the orchard, and saw me court Margaret in He-
roes garments, how you disgracde hir when you should marry
hir: my villany they haue vpon record, which I had rather seale
with my death, then repeate ouer to my shame: the lady is dead
vpon mine and my masters false accusation: and briefely, I de-
sire nothing but the reward of a villaine.
Prince Runnes not this speech like yron through your
bloud?
Claud. I haue dronke poison whiles he vtterd it.
Prince But did my brother set thee on to this?
2330Bor. Yea, and paid me richly for the practise of it.
Prince He is composde and framde of treacherie,
And fled he is vpon this villanie.
Clau. Sweet Hero, now thy image doth appeare
In the rare semblance that I lou'd it first.
2335Const. Come, bring away the plaintiffes, by this time our
sexton hath reformed Signior Leonato of the matter: and ma-
sters, do not forget to specifie when time and place shal serue,
that I am an asse.
Con. 2 Here, here comes master Signior Leonato, and the
2340sexton too.
Enter Leonato, his brother, and the Sexton.
Leonato Which is the villaine? let me see his eies,
That when I note another man like him,
I may auoide him: which of these is he?
2345Bor. If you would know your wronger, looke on me.
Leonato Art thou the slaue that with thy breath hast killd
Mine innocent child?
Bor. Yea, euen I alone.
Leo. No, not so villaine, thou beliest thy selfe,
2350Here stand a paire of honourable men,
A third is fled that had a hand in it:
I thanke you Princes for my daughters death,
Record it with your high and worthy deeds,
Twas brauely done, if you bethinke you of it.
2355Clau. I know not how to pray your pacience,
Yet I must speake, choose your reuenge your selfe,
Impose me to what penance your inuention
Can lay vpon my sinne, yet sinnd I not,
But in mistaking.
2360Prince By my soule nor I,
And yet to satisfie this good old man,
I would bend vnder any heauy waight,
That heele enioyne me to.
Leonato I cannot bid you bid my daughter liue,
2365That were impossible, but I pray you both,
Possesse the people in Messina here,
How innocent she died, and if your loue
Can labour aught in sad inuention,
Hang her an epitaph vpon her toomb,
2370And 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 copie of my child thats dead,
2375And she alone is heyre to both of vs,
Giue her the right you should haue giu'n her cosin,
And so dies my reuenge.
Claudio O noble sir!
Your ouer kindnesse doth wring teares from me,
2380I do embrace your offer and dispose,
For henceforth of poore Claudio.
Leonato To morrow then I wil expect your comming,
To night I take my leaue, this naughty man
Shal face to face be brought to Margaret,
2385Who I beleeue was packt in al this wrong,
Hyred to it by your brother.
Bor. No by my soule she was not,
Nor knew not what she did when she spoke to me,
But alwayes hath bin iust and vertuous,
2390In any thing that I do know by her.
Const. Moreouer sir, which indeede is not vnder white and
blacke, this plaintiffe heere, the offendour, did call me asse, I
beseech you let it be remembred in his punishment, and also
the watch heard them talke of one Deformed, they say he
2395weares a key in his eare and a locke hanging by it, and borows
monie in Gods name, the which he hath vsde so long, & neuer
paied, that now men grow hard hearted and wil lend nothing
for Gods sake: praie you examine him vpon that point.
2400Leonato I thanke thee for thy care and honest paines.
Const. Your worship speakes like a most thankful and re-
uerent youth, and I praise God for you.
Leon. Theres for thy paines.
Const. God saue the foundation.
2405Leon. Goe, I discharge thee of thy prisoner, and I thanke
thee.
Const. I leaue an arrant knaue with your worship, which I
beseech your worship to correct your selfe, for the example of
others: God keepe your worship, I wish your worship well,
2410God restore you to health, I humblie giue you leaue to depart
and if a merie meeting may be wisht, God prohibite it: come
neighbour.
Leon. Vntill to morrow morning, Lords, farewell.
Brot. Farewell my lords, we looke for you to morrow.
Prince We will not faile.
Claud. To night ile mourne with Hero.
2420Leonato Bring you these fellowes on, weel talke with Mar-
garet, how her acquaintance grew with this lewd felow.
exeunt
Enter Benedicke and Margaret.
Bened. Praie thee sweete mistris Margaret, deserue well at
2425my hands, by helping me to the speech of Beatrice.
Mar. Wil you then write me a sonnet in praise of my beau-
tie?
Bene. In so high a stile Margaret, that no man liuing shall
2430come ouer it, for in most comely truth thou deseruest it.
Mar. To haue no man come ouer me, why shal I alwaies
keep below staires.
Bene. Thy wit is as quicke as the grey-hounds mouth, it
2435catches.
Mar. And your's, as blunt as the Fencers foiles, which hit,
but hurt not.
Bene. A most manly witte Margaret, it will not hurt a wo-
man: and so I pray thee call Beatrice, I giue thee the buck-
2440lers.
Marg. Giue vs the swordes, wee haue bucklers of our
owne.
Bene. If you vse them Margaret, you must putte in the
pikes with a vice, and they are daungerous weapons for
2445maides.
Mar. Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who I thinke hath
legges.
Exit Margarite.
Bene. And therefore wil come. The God of loue that sits
aboue, and knowes mee, and knowes me, how pittifull I de-
2450serue. I meane in singing, but in louing, Leander the good
swimmer, Troilus the first imploier of pandars, and a whole
booke full of these quondam carpet-mongers, whose names
yet runne smoothly in the euen rode of a blancke verse, why
they were neuer so truly turnd ouer and ouer as my poore selfe
2455in loue: mary I cannot shew it in rime, I haue tried, I can finde
out no rime to Ladie but babie, an innocent rime: for scorne,
horne, a hard rime: for schoole foole, a babling rime: very omi-
nous endings, no, I was not borne vnder a riming plannet,
2460nor I cannot wooe in festiuall termes: sweete Beatrice wouldst
thou come when I cald thee?
Enter Beatrice.
Beat. Yea signior, and depart when you bid me.
2465Bene. O stay but till then.
Beat. Then, is spoken: fare you wel now, and yet ere I goe,
let me goe with that I came, which is, with knowing what
hath past betweene you and Claudio.
Bene. Onely foule words, and therevpon I will kisse thee.
Beat. Foule words is but foule wind, and foule wind is but
foule breath, and foule breath is noisome, therfore I wil depart
vnkist.
Bene. Thou hast frighted the word out of his right sence,
2475so forcible is thy wit, but I must tel thee plainly, Claudio vnder-
goes my challenge, and either I must shortly 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 fal in loue with me?
2480Beat. For them all together, which maintaind so politique
a state of euil, that they will not admitte any good part to inter-
mingle 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 indeed,
2485for I loue thee against my will.
Beat. In spight of your heart I thinke, alas poore heart, if
you spight it for my sake, I will spight it for yours, for I wil ne-
uer loue that which my friend hates.
Bene. Thou and I are too wise to wooe peaceably.
Beat. It appeares not in this confession, theres 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 do not erect in this age his owne
2495toomb ere he dies, he shall liue no longer in monument, then
the bell rings, and the widow weepes.
Beat. And how long is that thinke you?
Bene. Question, why an hower in clamour and a quarter in
2500rhewme, therefore is it most expedient for the wise, if Don
worme (his conscience) find no impediment to the contrary, to
be the trumpet of his owne vertues, as I am to my self so much
for praising my selfe, who I my selfe will beare witnes is praise
worthie, and now tell me, how doth your cosin?
Beat. Verie ill.
Bene. And how do you?
Beat. Verie ill too.
2510Bene. Serue God, loue me, and mend, there wil I leaue you
too, for here comes one in haste.
Enter Vrsula.
Vrsula Madam, you must come to your vncle, yonders old
coile at home, it is prooued my Lady Hero hath bin falsely ac-
cusde, the Prince and Claudio mightily abusde, and Don Iohn
2515is the author of all, who is fled and gone: will you come pre-
sently?
Beat. Will you go heare this newes signior?
Bene. I will liue in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be buried in
thy eies: and moreouer, I wil go with thee to thy vncles.
exit.
Enter Claudio, Prince, and three or foure with tapers.
Claudio Is this the monument of Leonato?
Lord It is my Lord. Epitaph.
Done to death by slauderous tongues,
2525Was the Hero that heere lies:
Death in guerdon of her wronges,
Giues her fame which neuer dies:
So the life that dyed with shame,
Liues in death with glorious fame.
2530Hang thou there vpon the toomb,
Praising hir when I am dead.
Claudio Now musick sound & sing your solemne hymne.
Song Pardon goddesse of the night,
2535Those that slew thy virgin knight,
For the which with songs of woe,
Round about her tombe they goe:
Midnight assist our mone, help vs to sigh & grone.
Heauily heauily.
2540Graues yawne and yeeld your dead,
Till death be vttered,
Heauily heauily.
Lo. Now vnto thy bones good night, yeerely will I do this
Prince Good morrow maisters, put your torches out,
2545The wolues haue preied, and looke, the gentle day
Before the wheeles of Phœbus, round about
Dapples the drowsie East with spots of grey:
Thanks to you al, and leaue vs, fare you well.
Claudio Good morrow masters, each his seuerall way.
2550Prince Come let vs hence, and put on other weedes,
And then to Leonatoes we will goe.
Claudio And Hymen now with luckier issue speeds,
Then this for whom we rendred vp this woe.
exeunt.
Enter Leonato, Benedick, Margaret Vrsula, old man, Frier, Hero.
2555Frier Did I not tell you shee was innocent?
Leo. So are the Prince and Claudio who accusd her,
Vpon the errour that you heard debated:
But Margaret was in some fault for this,
Although against her will as it appeares,
2560In the true course of all the question.
Old Wel, I am glad that all things sorts so well.
Bened. And so am I, being else by faith enforst
To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it.
Leo. Well daughter, and you gentlewomen all,
2565Withdraw into a chamber by your selues,
And when I send for you come hither masked:
The Prince and Claudio promisde by this howre
To visite me, you know your office brother,
You must be father to your brothers daughter,
2570And giue her to young Claudio.
Exeunt Ladies.
Old Which I will doe with confirmd countenance.
Bened. Frier, I must intreate your paines, I thinke.
Frier To doe what Signior?
Bened. To bind me, or vndo me, one of them:
2575Signior Leonato, truth it is good Signior,
Your niece regards me with an eye of fauour.
Leo. That eye my daughter lent her, tis most true.
Bened. And I do with an eye of loue requite her.
Leo. The sight whereof I thinke you had from me,
2580From Claudio and the Prince, but whats your will?
Bened. Your answere sir is enigmaticall,
But for my wil, my will is, your good will
May stand with ours, this day to be conioynd,
In the state of honorable marriage,
2585In which (good Frier) I shal desire your help.
Leo. My heart is with your liking.
Frier And my helpe.
Heere comes the Prince and Claudio.
Enter Prince, and Claudio, and two or three other.
Prince Good morrow to this faire assembly.
2590Leo. Good morrow Prince, good morrow Claudio:
We heere attend you, are you yet determined,
To day to marry with my brothers daughter?
Claud. Ile hold my mind were she an Ethiope.
Leo Call her foorth brother, heres the Frier ready.
2595P. Good morrow Bened. why whats the matter?
That you haue such a Februarie face,
So full of frost, of storme, and clowdinesse.
Claud. I thinke he thinkes vpon the sauage bull:
Tush feare not man, weele tip thy hornes with gold,
2600And all Europa shall reioyce at thee,
As once Europa did at lustie Ioue,
When he would play the noble beast in loue.
Bene. Bull Ioue sir had an amiable lowe,
And some such strange bull leapt your fathers cowe,
2605And got a calfe in that same noble feate,
Much like to you, for you haue iust his bleate.
Enter brother, Hero, Beatrice, Margaret, Vrsula.
Clau. For this I owe you: here comes other recknings.
Which is the Lady I must seize vpon?
2610Leo. This same is she, and I do giue you her.
Claud. Why then shees mine, sweet, let me see your face.
Leon. No that you shall not till you take her hand,
Before this Frier, and sweare to marry hir.
Claud. Giue me your hand before this holy Frier,
2615I am your husband if you like of me.
Hero And when I liu'd I was your other wife,
And when you loued, you were my other husband.
Claud. Another Hero.
Hero Nothing certainer.
2620One Hero died defilde, but I do liue,
And surely as I liue, I am a maide.
Prince The former Hero, Hero that is dead.
Leon. She died my Lord, but whiles her slaunder liu'd.
Frier All this amazement can I qualifie,
2625When after that the holy rites are ended,
Ile tell you largely of faire Heroes death,
Meane time let wonder seeme familiar,
And to the chappell let vs presently.
Ben. Soft and faire Frier, which is Beatrice?
2630Beat. I answer to that name, what is your will?
Bene. Do not you loue me?
Beat. Why no, no more then reason.
Bene. Why then your vncle, and the prince, and Claudio,
Haue beene deceiued, they swore you did.
2635Beat. Do not you loue me?
Bene. Troth no, no more then reason.
Beat. Why then my cosin Margaret and Vrsula
Are much deceiu'd, for they did sweare you did.
Bene. They swore that you were almost sicke for me.
2640Beat. They swore that you were welnigh dead for me.
Bene. Tis no such matter, then you do not loue me.
Beat. No truly, but in friendly recompence.
Leon. Come cosin, I am sure you loue the gentleman.
Clau. And ile besworne vpon't, that he loues her,
2645For heres a paper written in his hand,
A halting sonnet of his owne pure braine,
Fashioned to Beatrice.
Hero And heres another,
Writ in my cosins hand, stolne from her pocket,
2650Containing her affection vnto Benedicke.
Bene. A miracle, heres our owne hands against our hearts:
come, I will haue thee, but by this light I take thee for pittie.
Beat. I would not denie you, but by this good day, I yeeld
2655vpon great perswasion, and partly to saue your life, for I was
told, you were in a consumption.
Leon. Peace I will stop your mouth.
Prince How dost thou Benedicke the married man?
Bene. Ile tel thee what prince: a colledge of witte-crackers
2660cannot flout me out of my humour, dost thou think I care for
a Satyre or an Epigramme? no, if a man will be beaten with
braines, a shall weare nothing hansome about him: in briefe,
since I doe purpose to marrie, I will think nothing to anie pur-
pose that the world can saie against it, and therfore neuer flout
2665at me, for what I haue said against it: for man is a giddie thing,
and this is my conclusion: for thy part Claudio, I did thinke
to haue beaten thee, but in that thou art like to be my kinsman,
liue vnbruisde, and loue my cousen.
2670Clau. I had wel hopte thou wouldst haue denied Beatrice,
that I might haue cudgelld thee out of thy single life, to make
thee a double dealer, which out of question thou wilt be, if my
coosin do not looke exceeding narrowly to thee.
Bene. Come, come, we are friends, lets haue a dance ere we
2675are maried, that we may lighten our own hearts, and our wiues
heeles.
Leon. Weele haue dancing afterward.
Bene. First, of my worde, therefore plaie musicke, Prince,
thou art sad, get thee a wife, get thee a wife, there is no staffe
2680more reuerent then one tipt with horne.
Enter Messenger.
Mess. My Lord, your brother Iohn is tane in flight,
And brought with armed men backe to Messina.
Bene. Thinke not on him till to morrow, ile deuise thee
braue punishments for him: strike vp Pipers.
dance.
2685 FINIS.