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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 ado about Nothing.
    109
    loue, 'tis very possible hee'l scorne it, for the man (as you
    know all) hath a contemptible spirit.
    1010Clau. He is a very proper man.
    Prin. He hath indeed a good outward happines.
    Clau. 'Fore God, and in my minde very wise.
    Prin. He doth indeed shew some sparkes that are like
    wit.
    1015Leon. And I take him to be valiant.
    Prin. As Hector, I assure you, and in the managing of
    quarrels you may see hee is wise, for either hee auoydes
    them with great discretion, or vndertakes them with a
    Christian-like feare.
    1020Leon. If hee doe feare God, a must necessarilie keepe
    peace, if hee breake the peace, hee ought to enter into a
    quarrell with feare and trembling.
    Prin. And so will he doe, for the man doth fear God,
    howsoeuer it seemes not in him, by some large ieasts hee
    1025will make: well, I am sorry for your niece, shall we goe
    see Benedicke, and tell him of her loue.
    Claud. Neuer tell him, my Lord, let her weare it out
    with good counsell.
    Leon. Nay that's impossible, she may weare her heart
    1030out first.
    Prin. Well, we will heare further of it by your daugh-
    ter, let it coole the while, I loue Benedicke well, and I
    could wish he would modestly examine himselfe, to see
    how much he is vnworthy to haue so good a Lady.
    1035Leon. My Lord, will you walke? dinner is ready.
    Clau. If he do not doat on her vpon this, I wil neuer
    trust my expectation.
    Prin. Let there be the same Net spread for her, and
    that must your daughter and her gentlewoman carry:
    1040the sport will be, when they hold one an opinion of ano-
    thers dotage, and no such matter, that's the Scene that I
    would see, which will be meerely a dumbe shew: let vs
    send her to call him into dinner.
    Exeunt.
    Bene. This can be no tricke, the conference was sadly
    1045borne, they haue the truth of this from Hero, they seeme
    to pittie the Lady: it seemes her affections haue the full
    bent: loue me? why it must be requited: I heare how I
    am censur'd, they say I will beare my selfe proudly, if I
    perceiue the loue come from her: they say too, that she
    1050will rather die than giue any signe of affection: I did ne-
    uer thinke to marry, I must not seeme proud, happy are
    they that heare their detractions, and can put them to
    mending: they say the Lady is faire, 'tis a truth, I can
    beare them witnesse: and vertuous, tis so, I cannot re-
    1055prooue it, and wise, but for louing me, by my troth it is
    no addition to her witte, nor no great argument of her
    folly; for I wil be horribly in loue with her, I may chance
    haue some odde quirkes and remnants of witte broken
    on mee, because I haue rail'd so long against marriage:
    1060but doth not the appetite alter? a man loues the meat in
    his youth, that he cannot indure in his age. Shall quips
    and sentences, and these paper bullets of the braine awe
    a man from the careere of his humour? No, the world
    must be peopled. When I said I would die a batcheler, I
    1065did not think I should liue till I were maried, here comes
    Beatrice: by this day, shee's a faire Lady, I doe spie some
    markes of loue in her.

    Enter Beatrice.

    Beat. Against my wil I am sent to bid you come in to
    1070dinner.
    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 been painefull, I
    would not haue come.
    1075Bene. You take pleasure then in the message.
    Beat. Yea iust so much as you may take vpon a kniues
    point, and choake a daw withall: you haue no stomacke
    signior, fare you well.
    Exit.
    Bene. Ha, against my will I am sent to bid you come
    1080into dinner: there's a double meaning in that: I tooke
    no more paines for those thankes then you tooke paines
    to thanke me, that's as much as to say, any paines that I
    take for you is as easie as thankes: if I do not take pitty
    of her I am a villaine, if I doe not loue her I am a Iew, I
    1085will goe get her picture.
    Exit.



    Actus Tertius.



    Enter Hero and two Gentlemen, Margaret, and Vrsula.

    Hero. Good Margaret runne thee to the parlour,
    There shalt thou finde my Cosin Beatrice,
    1090Proposing with the Prince and Claudio,
    Whisper her eare, and tell her I and Vrsula,
    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 bower,
    1095Where hony-suckles ripened by the sunne,
    Forbid the sunne to enter: like fauourites,
    Made proud by Princes, that aduance their pride,
    Against that power that bred it, there will she hide her,
    To listen our purpose, 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 doe name him, let it be thy part,
    To praise him more then euer man did merit,
    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,
    Enter Beatrice.
    For looke where Beatrice like a Lapwing runs
    Close by the ground, to heare our conference.
    Vrs. The pleasant'st 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.
    1120Her. Then go we neare her that her eare loose nothing,
    Of the false sweete baite that we lay for it:
    No truely Vrsula, she is too disdainfull,
    I know her spirits are as coy and wilde,
    As Haggerds of the rocke.
    1125Vrsula. But are you sure,
    That Benedicke loues Beatrice so intirely?
    Her. So saies the Prince, and my new trothed Lord.
    Vrs. And did they bid you tell her of it, Madam?
    Her. They did intreate me to acquaint her of it,
    1130But I perswaded them, if they lou'd Benedicke,
    K
    To