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  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 ado about Nothing.
    Bene. Troth my Lord, I haue played the part of Lady
    Fame, I found him heere as melancholy as a Lodge in a
    620Warren, I told him, and I thinke, told him true, that your
    grace had got the will of this young Lady, and I offered
    him my company to a willow tree, either to make him a
    garland, as being forsaken, or to binde him a rod, as be-
    ing worthy to be whipt.
    625Pedro. To be whipt, what's his fault?
    Bene. The flat transgression of a Schoole-boy, who
    being ouer-ioyed with finding a birds nest, shewes it his
    companion, and he steales it.
    Pedro. Wilt thou make a trust, a transgression? the
    630transgression is in the stealer.
    Ben. Yet it had not beene amisse the rod had beene
    made, and the garland too, for the garland he might haue
    worne himselfe, and the rod hee might haue bestowed on
    you, who (as I take it) haue stolne his birds nest.
    635Pedro. I will but teach them to sing, and restore them
    to the owner.
    Bene. If their singing answer your saying, by my faith
    you say honestly.
    Pedro. The Lady Beatrice hath a quarrell to you, the
    640Gentleman that daunst with her, told her shee is much
    wrong'd by you.
    Bene. O she misusde me past the indurance of a block:
    an oake but with one greene leafe on it, would haue an-
    swered her: my very visor began to assume life, and scold
    645with her: shee told mee, not thinking I had beene my
    selfe, that I was the Princes Iester, and that I was duller
    then a great thaw, hudling iest vpon iest, with such im-
    possible conueiance vpon me, that I stood like a man at a
    marke, with a whole army shooting at me: shee speakes
    650poynyards, and euery word stabbes: if her breath were
    as terrible as terminations, there were no liuing neere
    her, she would infect to the north starre: I would not
    marry her, though she were indowed with all that Adam
    had left him before he transgrest, she would haue made
    655Hercules haue turnd spit, yea, and haue cleft his club to
    make the fire too: come, talke not of her, you shall finde
    her the infernall Ate in good apparell. I would to God
    some scholler would coniure her, for certainely while she
    is heere, a man may liue as quiet in hell, as in a sanctuary,
    660and people sinne vpon purpose, because they would goe
    thither, so indeed all disquiet, horror, and perturbation
    followes her.

    Enter Claudio and Beatrice, Leonato, Hero.
    Pedro. Looke heere she comes.
    665Bene. Will your Grace command mee any seruice to
    the worlds end? I will goe on the slightest arrand now
    to the Antypodes that you can deuise to send me on: I
    will fetch you a tooth-picker now from the furthest inch
    of Asia: bring you the length of Prester Iohns foot: fetch
    670you a hayre off the great Chams beard: doe you any em-
    bassage to the Pigmies, rather then hould three words
    conference, with this Harpy: you haue no employment
    for me?
    Pedro. None, but to desire your good company.
    675Bene. O God sir, heeres a dish I loue not, I cannot in-
    dure this Lady tongue.
    Pedr. Come Lady, come, you haue lost the heart of
    Signior Benedicke.
    Beatr. Indeed my Lord, hee lent it me a while, and I
    680gaue him vse for it, a double heart for a single one, marry
    once before he wonne it of mee, 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.
    685Beat. So I would not he should do me, my Lord, lest
    I should prooue the mother of fooles: I haue brought
    Count Claudio, whom you sent me to seeke.
    Pedro. Why how now Count, wherfore are you sad?
    Claud. Not sad my Lord.
    690Pedro. How then? sicke?
    Claud. Neither, my Lord.
    Beat. The Count is neither sad, nor sicke, nor merry,
    nor well: but ciuill Count, ciuill as an Orange, and some-
    thing of a iealous complexion.
    695Pedro. Ifaith Lady, I thinke your blazon to be true,
    though Ile be sworne, if hee 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
    700thee ioy.
    Leona. Count, take of me my daughter, and with her
    my fortunes: his grace hath made the match, & all grace
    say, Amen to it.
    Beatr. Speake Count, tis your Qu.
    705Claud. 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
    doat vpon the exchange.
    Beat. Speake cosin, or (if you cannot) stop his mouth
    710with a kisse, and let not him speake neither.
    Pedro. In faith 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 my heart.
    715Clau. And so she doth coosin.
    Beat. Good Lord for alliance: thus goes euery one
    to the world but I, and I am sun-burn'd, I may sit in a cor-
    ner and cry, 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 maid could come by them.
    Prince. Will you haue me? Lady.
    Beat. No, my Lord, vnlesse I might haue another for
    725working-daies, your Grace is too costly to weare euerie
    day: but I beseech your Grace pardon mee, I was borne
    to speake all mirth, and no matter.
    Prince. Your silence most offends me, and to be mer-
    ry, best becomes you, for out of question, you were born
    730in a merry howre.
    Beatr. No sure my Lord, my Mother cried, but then
    there was a starre daunst, and vnder that was I borne: co-
    sins God giue you ioy.
    Leonato. Neece, will you looke to those rhings I told
    735you of?
    Beat. I cry you mercy Vncle, by your Graces pardon.
    Exit Beatrice.
    Prince. By my troth a pleasant spirited Lady.
    Leon. There's little of the melancholy element in her
    740my Lord, she is neuer sad, but when she sleepes, and not
    euer sad then: for I haue heard my daughter say, she hath
    often dreamt of vnhappinesse, and wakt her selfe with
    Pedro. Shee cannot indure to heare tell of a husband.
    745Leonato. O, by no meanes, she mocks all her wooers
    out of suite.
    Prince. She were an excellent wife for Benedick.
    Leonato. O Lord, my Lord, if they were but a weeke