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About this text

  • Title: Much Ado About Nothing (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: Gretchen Minton
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-516-2

    Copyright Gretchen Minton. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Gretchen Minton
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Much Ado About Nothing (Folio 1, 1623)

    Much adoe about Nothing.
    100Pedro. You embrace your charge too willingly: I
    thinke this is your daughter.
    Leonato. Her mother hath many times told me so.
    Bened. Were you in doubt that you askt her?
    Leonato. Signior Benedicke, no, for then were you a
    Pedro. You haue it full Benedicke, we may ghesse by
    this, what you are, being a man, truely the Lady fathers
    her selfe: be happie Lady, for you are like an honorable
    110Ben. If Signior Leonato be her father, she would not
    haue his head on her shoulders for al Messina, as like him
    as she is.
    Beat. I wonder that you will still be talking, signior
    Benedicke, no body markes you.
    115Ben. What my deere Ladie Disdaine! are you yet
    Beat. Is it possible Disdaine should die, while shee
    hath such meete foode to feede it, as Signior Benedicke?
    Curtesie it selfe must conuert to Disdaine, if you come in
    120her presence.
    Bene. Then is curtesie a turne-coate, but it is cer-
    taine I am loued of all Ladies, onely 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 still in that minde,
    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
    Ben. I would my horse had the speed of your tongue,
    and so good a continuer, but keepe your way a Gods
    140name, I haue done.
    Beat. You alwaies end with a Iades tricke, I know
    you of old.
    Pedro. This is the summe of all: Leonato, signior Clau-
    dio, and signior Benedicke; my deere friend Leonato, hath
    145inuited you all, I tell him we shall stay here, at the least
    a moneth, and he heartily praies some occasion may de-
    taine vs longer: I dare sweare hee is no hypocrite, but
    praies from his heart.
    Leon. If you sweare, my Lord, you shall not be for-
    150sworne, let mee bid you welcome, my Lord, being re-
    conciled to the Prince your brother: I owe you all
    Iohn. I thanke you, I am not of many words, but I
    thanke you.
    155Leon. Please it your grace leade on?
    Pedro. Your hand Leonato, we will goe together.
    Exeunt. Manet Benedicke and Claudio.
    Clau. Benedicke, didst thou note the daughter of sig-
    nior Leonato?
    160Bene. I noted her not, but I lookt on her.
    Claud. Is she not a modest yong Ladie?
    Bene. Doe 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
    165to their sexe?
    Clau. No, I pray thee speake in sober iudgement.
    Bene. Why yfaith me thinks shee's too low for a hie
    praise, too browne for a faire praise, and too little for a
    great praise, onely this commendation I can affoord her,
    170that were shee other then she is, she were vnhandsome,
    and being no other, but as she is, I doe not like her.
    Clau. Thou think'st I am in sport, I pray thee tell me
    truely how thou lik'st her.
    Bene. Would you buie her, that you enquier after
    Clau. Can the world buie such a iewell?
    Ben. Yea, and a case to put 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
    180Carpenter: Come, in what key shall a man take you to
    goe in the song?
    Clau. In mine eie, she is the sweetest Ladie that euer
    I lookt on.
    Bene. I can see yet without spectacles, and I see no
    185such matter: there's her cosin, and she were not possest
    with a furie, exceedes her as much in beautie, as the first
    of Maie doth the last of December: but I hope you haue
    no intent to turne husband, haue you?
    Clau. I would scarce trust my selfe, though I had
    190sworne the contrarie, if Hero would be my wife.
    Bene. Ist come to this? in faith hath not the world one
    man but he will weare his cap with suspition? shall I ne-
    uer see a batcheller of three score againe? goe to yfaith,
    and thou wilt needes thrust thy necke into a yoke, weare
    195the print of it, and sigh away sundaies: looke, don Pedro
    is returned to seeke you.

    Enter don Pedro, Iohn the bastard.
    Pedr. What secret hath held you here, that you fol-
    lowed not to Leonatoes?
    200Bened. I would your Grace would constraine mee to
    Pedro. I charge thee on thy allegeance.
    Ben. You heare, Count Claudio, I can be secret as a
    dumbe man, I would haue you thinke so (but on my al-
    205legiance, marke you this, on my allegiance) hee is in
    loue, With who? now that is your Graces part: marke
    how short his answere is, with Hero, Leonatoes short
    Clau. If this were so, so were it vttred.
    210Bened. Like the old tale, my Lord, it is not so, nor 'twas
    not so: but indeede, God forbid it should be so.
    Clau. If my passion change not shortly, God forbid it
    should be otherwise.
    Pedro. Amen, if you loue her, for the Ladie is verie
    215well worthie.
    Clau. You speake this to fetch me in, my Lord.
    Pedr. By my troth I speake my thought.
    Clau. And in faith, my Lord, I spoke mine.
    Bened. And by my two faiths and troths, my Lord, I
    220speake mine.
    Clau. That I loue her, I feele.
    Pedr. That she is worthie, I know.
    Bened. That I neither feele how shee should be lo-
    ued, nor know how shee should be worthie, is the
    225opinion that fire cannot melt out of me, I will die in it at
    the stake.
    Pedr. Thou wast euer an obstinate heretique in the de-
    spight of Beautie.
    Clau. And neuer could maintaine his part, but in the
    230force of his will.
    Bene. That