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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    late stood out against your brother, and hee hath tane
    you newly into his grace, where it is impossible you
    365should take root, but by the faire weather that you make
    your selfe, 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
    370all, then to fashion a carriage to rob loue from any: in this
    (though I cannot be said to be a flattering honest man)
    it must not be denied but I am a plaine dealing villaine, I
    am trusted with a mussell, and enfranchisde with a clog,
    therefore I haue decreed, not to sing in my cage: if I had
    375my mouth, I would bite: if I had my liberty, I would do
    my liking: in the meane time, let me be that I am, and
    seeke not to alter me.
    Con. Can you make no vse of your discontent?
    Iohn. I will make all vse of it, for I vse it onely.
    380Who comes here? what newes Borachio?

    Enter Borachio.
    Bor. I came yonder from a great supper, the Prince
    your brother is royally entertained by Leonato, and I can
    giue you intelligence of an intended marriage.
    385Iohn. Will it serue for any Modell to build mischiefe
    on? What is hee for a foole that betrothes himselfe to
    Bor. Mary it is your brothers right hand.
    Iohn. Who, the most exquisite Claudio?
    390Bor. Euen he.
    Iohn. A proper squier, and who, and who, which way
    lookes he?
    Bor. Mary on Hero, the daughter and Heire of Leo-
    395Iohn. A very forward March-chicke, how came you
    to this?
    Bor. Being entertain'd for a perfumer, as I was smoa-
    king a musty roome, comes me the Prince and Claudio,
    hand in hand in sad conference: I whipt behind the Ar-
    400ras, and there heard it agreed vpon, that the Prince should
    wooe Hero for himselfe, and hauing obtain'd her, giue
    her to Count Claudio.
    Iohn. Come, come, let vs thither, this may proue food
    to my displeasure, that young start-vp hath all the glorie
    405of my ouerthrow: if I can crosse him any way, I blesse
    my selfe euery way, you are both sure, and will assist
    Conr. To the death my Lord.
    Iohn. Let vs to the great supper, their cheere is the
    410greater that I am subdued, would the Cooke were of my
    minde: shall we goe proue whats to be done?
    Bor. Wee'll wait vpon your Lordship.

    Actus Secundus.

    Enter Leonato, his brother, his wife, Hero his daughter, and
    Beatrice his neece, and a kinsman.

    Leonato. Was not Count Iohn here at supper?
    Brother. I saw him not.
    Beatrice. How tartly that Gentleman lookes, I neuer
    420can see him, but I am heart-burn'd an howre after.
    Hero. He is of a very melancholy disposition.
    Beatrice. Hee were an excellent man that were made
    iust in the mid-way betweene him and Benedicke, the one
    is too like an image and saies nothing, and the other too
    425like my Ladies eldest sonne, euermore tatling.
    Leon. Then halfe signior Benedicks tongue in Count
    Iohns mouth, and halfe Count Iohns melancholy in Sig-
    nior Benedicks face.
    Beat. With a good legge, and a good foot vnckle, and
    430money enough in his purse, such a man would winne any
    woman in the world, if he could get her good will.
    Leon. By my troth Neece, thou wilt neuer get thee a
    husband, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.
    Brother. Infaith shee's too curst.
    435Beat. Too curst is more then curst, I shall lessen Gods
    sending that way: for it is said, God sends a curst Cow
    short hornes, but to a Cow too curst he sends none.
    Leon. So, by being too curst, God will send you no
    440Beat. Iust, if he send me no husband, for the which
    blessing, 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 vpon a husband that hath no
    Batrice. What should I doe with him? dresse him in
    my apparell, 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 hee that is more then a
    450youth, is not for mee: and he that is lesse then a man, I am
    not for him: therefore I will euen take sixepence in ear-
    nest of the Berrord, and leade his Apes into hell.
    Leon. Well then, goe you into hell.
    Beat. No, but to the gate, and there will the Deuill
    455meete mee like an old Cuckold with hornes on his head,
    and say, get you to heauen Beatrice, get you to heauen,
    heere's no place for you maids, so deliuer I vp my Apes,
    and away to S. Peter: for the heauens, hee shewes mee
    where the Batchellers sit, and there liue wee as merry as
    460the day is long.
    Brother. Well neece, I trust you will be rul'd by your
    Beatrice. Yes faith, it is my cosens dutie to make curt-
    sie, and say, as it please you: but yet for all that cosin, let
    465him be a handsome 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 till God make men of some other met-
    470tall then earth, would it not grieue a woman to be ouer-
    mastred with a peece of valiant dust? to make account of
    her life to a clod of waiward marle? no vnckle, ile none:
    Adams sonnes are my brethren, and truly I hold it a sinne
    to match in my kinred.
    475Leon. Daughter, remember what I told you, if the
    Prince doe solicit you in that kinde, you know your an-
    Beatrice. The fault will be in the musicke cosin, if you
    be not woed in good time: if the Prince bee too impor-
    480tant, tell him there is measure in euery thing, & so dance
    out the answere, for heare me Hero, wooing, wedding, &
    repenting, is as a Scotch ijgge, a measure, and a cinque-
    pace: the first suite is hot and hasty like a Scotch ijgge
    (and full as fantasticall) the wedding manerly modest,
    485(as a measure) full of state & aunchentry, and then comes
    repentance, and with his bad legs falls into the cinque-
    pace faster and faster, till he sinkes into his graue.